Thursday, September 30, 2010

People, Vol. 2

I met my new-ish friend Gail this morning for coffee.  We met at 7:45 and she had explicit instructions to kick me out Panera's door at 9:00.  Today is a writing day.

We chatted like two women with a deadline--100 miles an hour, no time for breathing---and at precisely 9:11 (ahem) a sweet gentleman placed his hand on my shoulder and asked,

Have you two solved all the problems of the world?

We paused, startled, and laughed.

Yes!  Aren't you glad we're here to do just that?

As he ambled back to his table, his wife smiled and gave a patient wave, as though his behavior was nothing new.  He settled into his seat and explained it all by saying,

We've been married sixty years, you know!

Okay, seriously.  He had me at Hello, if you know what I mean.  Sixty years?  Who stays married for sixty years?  Heck, I've been married for eight, and there are days when sixty feels like looking down a long, winding road, water vapor rising in the distance and obscuring the view, making it wavering and unreal and seemingly impossible to grasp.

Gail and I pulled over our chairs, taking his revelation as the invitation it was meant to be.  We asked how they did it, how they do it, and were met with an event that took place early in their marriage, back when the kids were still little:  They had words.  A kitchen door was slammed.  A cupboard door was slammed simultaneously, causing the sugar bowl to fall off the counter and onto the floor.  The waste was was did it, she said.  That, and the long, long stretch of time during which sugar crystals were found on the floor, no matter how many times it was swept.  They learned then to talk it out.  Fighting was a waste.

We chatted some more and were given more tidbits:

If you're irritated, stay away from each other for a bit (her).
Learn to ask the other what they think, and don't hold onto your position too tightly.  Unless it's on the topic of ice cream (him).

They were sweet, oh so sweet, but something was burning in my heart.  Something just didn't add up.  Something I know to be true wasn't addressed as part of the equation, so I asked.

Tell me, are you people of faith?

There was the teeniest moment of silence, before she answered thoughtfully,

Oh, yes.  There is no other way.  When you're walking next to the Lord, really, with the Lord inside of you, it's easy to put yourself aside.  That's what you have to do.

He nodded in agreement.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Our investments, like your own, have gone down the crapper.  (Can you say crapper on a Jesus blog?)

I don't worry about it too much (the investments), because I'm really not convinced I'll be here to need that money. 

(I'll save that topic for another day.)

There are investments I've been thinking more about lately, and those are of the eternal variety.  We are warned not to store up our treasures on earth, but rather to:

..lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (Matt. 6:20)

We're also not supposed to brag about it:

But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. (Matt 6:3)

Which is why I was hesitant to write about the things God has been growing in meThis morning a girlfriend blogged about something similar.  Reading her blog, it was easy to see that she wasn't bragging at all; she was encouraging.

Therefore: consider the above a very long preamble to me, a) relating what God is doing is my life (the very purpose of this blog) and, b) encouraging you to think about eternal investments.

I was driving to a middle school soccer game and listening to a local Christian radio station.  They were doing some kind of telethon for Food for the Poor, an international relief ministry that has been established in Haiti for more than 25 years.  Because of the infrastructure it has in place in that country, Food for the Poor is able to do tremendous amounts of good for the Haitian people.  One of their projects is to build cinder-block homes for those made homeless by the earthquake.  I have to admit that I haven't given Haiti much thought since news coverage of the earthquake died down.  Nevertheless, the story of a homeless widowed mother of five receiving her very own home--complete with windows and a locking door--brought me instantly to the kind of tears that make it dangerous to drive. 

Sometimes I'm a dummy, but I know when God is moving me. 

My husband, ever the planner, has been asking me for weeks to tell him what I want for my upcoming 40th birthday.  I haven't answered, because I don't know.  I spent some time dreaming of--knowing I can milk this one--a new road bike, an expensive piece of furniture, a fun trip.  I couldn't decide, couldn't nail down one single thing from my ever-growing list of wants

When I heard that story, though.  I knew.  For my 40th birthday, I want to give someone a house.

I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.  Matt. 25:40

Monday, September 27, 2010

You made the team!

I've started this great bible study at my church.  I would tell you the title, but it's all the way across the room and I can't get up.  No, really.  If I get up, something other than the bible study will catch my eye and I'll tend to that (quickly, with the idea that then it will be done, and I can get back to you with one less thing to do) in whatever room it needs tending, where something else will catch my eye and before you know it I'll be living one of those If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books instead of writing this post.


The study, whatever it's called, is really good.  It's about the life of David, and (so far) uses the biblical texts both about his anointing by Samuel and the New Testament texts about our own anointing by the Holy Spirit as proof  that we have been called by God to great things just as David had been called, and especially that God has made available to us (at the moment of our salvation) all the tools (ie power) of the Holy Spirit that were made available to David.  (I Peter 1:3, I John 2:27)

So we're talking this through, this idea of being chosen(!) and anointed(!!) in just the way that David was.  The leader asked us how living with this knowledge should change our perspectives, attitudes and behaviors.  As I sat and listened to the group members work through what was a very new idea to most of us, something came to me.  I shared it with the group, and I'd like to share it with you.

My son recently, against all odds, made the middle school soccer team.  Over the last two weeks, I've watched how belonging to that team has affected and changed my notorious goofball.  I have noticed that:

He is proud and excited to be a member of the team.
He loves to tell people he is on the team.
He takes the work he does, both in school and at practice, very seriously, because it affects his standing on the team.
For years I have despaired that he would ever dress in anything but basketball shorts and t-shirts, and now, without prompting, he has begun to wear khaki shorts and collared shirts to school.

The analogy to my personal life is apparent:

I should be proud (not prideful) of my anointing.
I should desire to tell people about Who has anointed me.
I should take the work I do very seriously, as it is a reflection on Him who anointed me.
Part of my personal anointing is to write.  In light of that, I should "dress" like a writer; be diligent in my writing, write in a way that honors the one Who has called me to do it.

So.  Now it's your turn.  How should being chosen(!) and (anointed!!) affect your daily life?

Friday, September 24, 2010

People, Vol. 1

I struggle with what to write here.  This isn't the place to blog about my kids and the dangerous levels of male hygiene products that threaten to asphyxiate me every morning.  I don't want to blog in a way that sounds all pious and perfect, because that would be a lie.  Initially, I wanted to write about my journey, my growth, my very personal relationship with Jesus, but oh! the pressure!  It was paralyzing, and so mostly, I wrote nothing.

I think that I've finally figured it out, this blog.

I think that I will write about the people I encounter.  I do seem to find some really interesting people.  It happens often enough to be reliable blog fodder, so I'll give it a try.  Here goes:

Last night, as I grudgingly took the dog for her nightly walk (the very same dog who refuses to use the backyard for its intended dog-purpose) I came across an exceedingly tall young man talking on a cell phone and walking a pretty chow-mix.  We've lived in this neighborhood for two years and I feel as though I have a pretty good handle on the evening dog-walkers, but this kid was new.  As we reigned in our leashes he snapped his phone closed and said, "Good evening, ma'am!" 

Always a sucker for a "ma'am," I responded in kind and then became the happy beneficiary of his very good news.  He told me, excitement ringing in his voice, that the phone call delivered the news that he's been accepted into the Navy.  He told me about boot camp in Chicago in December, and about his hopes and dreams for the future.  I listened and smiled and told him I was sure he was headed for a grand adventure.  I promised him my prayers.  When we parted ways I was nudged to make good on my promise, and I did.

Because I don't believe in chance meetings, I realize that I have been honored with the chance to meet and pray for this young man.  I have some ideas about why God chooses to work through the prayers of His people, who knows if they're correct.  Regardless, my life experience has taught me that indeed He does, and I'm thrilled for this most recent privilege.

Friday, September 10, 2010

THIS day

I was dreading this day.  The chores required of me are one step below drudgery.  They make drudgery look fun.  They cause drudgery to look at them and laugh hysterically.  My plan was to plow through this day, and come out alive on the other side.

Then I read a girlfriend's status on Facebook that said:

I intend to enjoy THIS day!

And it changed everything for me.

Psalm 118:24

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The first thing about Luke

I've been chewing on this one since I last wrote.  I'm going to write this very informally, because I have this great fear of coming off like I'm trying to be some great theologian, sounding like an idiot, and representing the Author of my faith poorly.

Let me rephrase:  I am not a theologian.  I am a girl on a journey.  I love Jesus.  I like to write.

So...many, many things in the book of Luke have grabbed my attention.  One of the things that has stuck with me is from Luke's rendering of the Lord's Prayer in chapter 11.  Actually, it came from the footnote concerning this passage.  The footnote states the importance of acknowledging God's holiness before we come to him with our requests.  You know, hallowed be thy Name...

Do I do that?  No, my prayers are most always on-the-run petitions, one-phrase pleas for help, and/or self-serving requests.  For example, every single time I go to the base hospital (where we receive our medical care, and where the parking situation is dire) I am running late and beg God, without preamble, for a parking spot.*

Clearly, I am not one of those people who thinks her God should not be bothered with little things.

Sometimes (well, actually with an embarrassing frequency), God wakes me in the night to tend to the conversation I've neglected with Him during the course of the day.  These are usually prayers for others, and I pray them sleepily, incoherently, obediently until I drop back off to sleep.

I'm working on this.  Actively attempting to give God even a wee bit of the credit to which He is entitled before I start off on my me, me, me monologue.  I need to work on that, too, but as they say, that's a topic for another post.

*The fact that I always, always find a good parking spot is evidence to me that while my prayer life is imperfect, my God is not.  I will say this again and again: If He loves me this much, He surely loves you, too.