Wednesday, July 16, 2014

So Much Dirt

I was out in the garden weeding again,
counting tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers,
and looking with glee at the purple turnips swelling up.
Examining my yellow zucchinis.
And reaching into the tangle of tomato plants
to pull those weeds that want to take over out by the roots.

So much dirt.
You need the water to loosen the weeds,
but the water also makes the dirt so much dirtier.
I had flecks of it on my face, and ground into my knees.
I weed barefoot, so I'm sure you can imagine the state of my feet.
I wore gloves, to give me courage around the pincher bugs
and the spiders lurking in the leaves,
but the mud still got through.

It made me think about the importance
of washing with the Water of the Word myself
even as I try to help someone else pull their weeds.
Because that dirt just gets on everyone.

"My friends, if someone is caught in any kind of wrongdoing, 
those of you who are spiritual should set him right; 
but you must do it in a gentle way. 
And keep an eye on yourselves, so that you will not be tempted, too.
Help carry one another's burdens, 

and in this way you will obey the law of Christ."
Galatians 6:1,2 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

That We Might Hear It Later

Flipping through a book on my shelf this morning,
I found notes from something I wrote down about five years ago
on the back of an overdue notice from the library:
"Simon was so convinced of himself, that he couldn't hear the Lord."

I am thankful that the Lord speaks anyway:
that although our self-confidence shuts our ears to truth spoken to us,
He speaks it that we might 'hear' it later,
once we've failed in our estimation of ourselves;
denied Him, and cursed to emphasize our lie;
and run away just as weak and fearful
as all the weaklings we set ourselves up as stronger than;
and wept bitterly at our own inconstancy;
and our failed love and diminished strength.
That His love holds on to us through our failure to hold on to Him.

"But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail.
And when you turn back to Me, you must strengthen your brothers."

'When you are converted,' some versions say.
When you've done a 180.
When you've come around.
When you repent,
you'll be in a position to not just be strong for you,
but to make others stronger.
Real strength does that.
It makes others stronger.
It doesn't just rejoice in its own authority,
its own ability to conquer.
But it pulls strength out of grace, having failed,
and makes other people's hands stronger.
It stands beside the tired-armed, and helps them hold their arms up.
It doesn't just yell at others to Stop Limping!
It digs out the splinters as painlessly as possible,
so weak little feet can walk again.

He sees weakness and future failure,
and prays faith and strength into it.
And that very failure becomes the strengthener of the weak.
He is the Lifter of our heads, and the only good we have to boast of.

And turn your eyes and look at Him:
knowledge of coming failure in His friends
is met with hope, prayer, mercy, love, and forgiveness.
Though He is leaving them,
He does not fret that they are not what they ought to be.
I fret about those I consider it my duty to perfect.
But our Jesus isn't fretting.
He trusts the work of the Holy Spirit in Peter.
He prays for him, and speaks to him what he needs to hear,
and although He knows perfectly well Peter can't hear Him,
trusts His words will hit their mark
and do their work even after He's gone. 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Beautiful Things

Hilary and Kate made me cry with their beautiful music tonight.
I wanted to share it with you, too.
Please go listen to this.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Delaying Thanks

I expected my husband home Friday afternoon.
I sent him off last Saturday to a conference.
He rode in a bus with several other men, and to get down,
they drove straight through,
and arrived exhausted about 22 hours after he left me.
Thursday at noon, they began the drive north,
and I got regular texts along the way.
Towards the top of California, he told me they had blown a tire,
and were stuck until the tire shop opened the next morning.

The progress on Friday was slow.
It became more and more clear every hour
that an evening appointment was not going to be met.
They were hot and tired.

At 9:00 that night,
it was finally time to head to the meeting place to pick him up.
I pulled out of my driveway just in time
to see a flaming pink and purple sky behind the distant mountains.
In the other side of the sky hung a supermoon.
The temperature had come down enough
to enjoy the half hour drive in the beauty
I usually am closed up in my house for.
I put the c.d. in my player of two cello players my sister sent me as a gift,
and found myself breathing thanks at this forced pleasure.

I wonder at the seemingly meaningless delays that obstruct us.
Having a young baby,
I am regularly stopped on the side of the road feeding her
because she can't wait.
I try to point the car at something interesting and enjoy the delay.
I don't want to forget to look up when there is something worth seeing.

I was one time traveling to a conference myself
when we inexplicably took the wrong route.
It was a route we had driven before.
There was no excuse for the mistake.
Half an hour or an hour beyond where we should have turned off,
we noticed the mistake, and had to turn around and retrace it.
We were all so disappointed, because we ended up in a horrendous traffic jam.
It took forever, but we finally came upon the cause of the traffic jam.
There was a semi truck and several small cars
scattered and crushed all over the highway.
Recalculating where we would have been if our own timetable had been met,
we all grew quiet as the awareness of God's hand
obstructing our way for our own good sunk in.
I often think of it when I am irritated at obstacles.
Maybe this obstacle is God's provision for my needs.
Maybe this obstacle
is something I will thank Him for when I can see more clearly than I can now.

I don't know why always.
But I have seen Him stop me and thanked Him later more than once.
I might as well look around at the sunset and the supermoon,
and listen to the cellos, and breathe in the spearmint on the evening air
and thank Him now.