The healing good
of families is not to pile up love
under thick blankets for ourselves alone,
but to help each other carry it like lanterns
straight out our doors to a dark and hurting world.
I have so many failings and flaws of character, I told myself one miserable morning recently. I haven’t changed, I never will change, I never can change. I should just give up and throw myself in the trash.
Do you ever feel that way?
Still Small Voice: You’re not alone, you know? I’m always with you.
“I know You live in my heart,” I said. “But I’m such a poor representative.”
Maybe you’re looking at the wrong person?
As I lay on my pillow, I remembered a sweet Texas drawl from many years ago—it was my friend’s mother as she said: “Well of course you’re having trouble, darlin’–you’re goin’ into battle nekked!”
I realized I was doing it again.
And I was getting throttled.
My Texan sister was referring to Ephesians 6 and the full armor of God. That morning it seemed overwhelming to walk through the passage step-by-step. But I had to do something. I looked around for a quick spiritual sword to whack at the enemy and push him back.
The sword I swung is from Phil. 1:6, which says, “He who began a good work in you will complete it…”
HE–God–Creator, Majesty, lover of my soul. I remembered how God once granted my childish prayer to prevent an undeserved spanking from hurting. He has answered all such childish prayers since. “He will never leave you or forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6).
With this remembrance I put on my breastplate of His righteousness to protect my heart from Satan’s jabs.
WHO BEGAN–One day, this former runaway teen heard how Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sins and adopt me into His family. From that moment on, I had a future. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is anything too hard for Me?” (Jer. 32:27)
With this remembrance I donned my helmet of salvation to protect my mind from Satan’s trickery.
A GOOD WORK—when I bring my broken pieces and failed intentions to God, He exchanges my ashes for beauty, my mourning for the oil of joy, and my depression for a garment of praise. He exchanges withered sticks for “trees of righteousness, a planting for the Lord.” (Is. 61:3)
I gird my loins with the truth that God makes me beautiful and fruitful for Himself. I cover my nakedness so none other has mastery over me. I am His alone–His beautiful bride.
IN ME–He knows me: I love fields, red clay, baby feet, basil pesto. Loud noise and activities stress me. I want to be braver. He works with it all. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28)
The utter joy of being completely known and yet loved leads me to polish my shoes and shod my feet with the gospel of peace so I can tell everyone about this God who loves us to and for Himself.
WILL COMPLETE IT–completion of God’s good work doesn’t depend on me but on the completed work of Christ and promises of God. “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire…” (Is. 55:11)
I lift my shield and take up my sword. I remember that Jesus changed everything–my passage through time as well as my eternal destiny. I strike down the lies that discourage and derail me. I’m rescued from the trash, never to return.
I still have many flaws and failings of character but I rise, fully armored, in this promise:
“…He who began a good work in you will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Phil.1:6)
When the Enemy of your soul picks a fight with you, friends, put on your best Texas drawl and don’t go into battle nekked.
With much love for L and S
Where are You, O God? Where are You for our friends? I plant my elbows on the navy-checked tablecloth. I stare at the corncob salt-and-peppers from the thrift shop–mere specks of dust in the universe, but they usually make me smile. Not today. My heart is heavy.
Outside, brilliant oranges and yellows proclaim the time of rest for trees. Winter approaches—the first snows dust the tops of the nearby foothills. The once-dry creek roars again. My mind roars, too. But I want to hope.The evidence of You is all around.
Are You wrapped around our friends today? Are You their refuge and strength? Are You holding them up?
Why are these friends continuously pummeled by storms with little rest—cancer, deaths of loved ones, dementia in both fathers, and the latest blow–arrest of a son for whom they’ve prayed, sacrificed, counseled, and laid down their lives in every arena?
Satan pounds them without abatement. The “Adam” bombs of mortality threaten to blast them to dust and grind them to spit.
We’re not supposed to ask why. But Moses did. David did. May I ask for them, Lord? May I beg a respite for them from the storms? How much more? Will You hide them in the shelter of Your wings?
Can they find refuge in sleep? They bury their faces in wet pillows. A God who makes autumn and constellations and babies to grow inside us–the conclusion will be perfect, yes, but it looks a mess now. Where is the ray of hope?
The sister of Lazarus said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.” (John 11:21 NASB) Jesus asked Martha if she believed He could raise the dead. She did, she said, yes, certainly, sometime in the future. But Jesus raised Lazarus that very day.
We need a raising, Lord.
“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)
When Job lost his animals, servants, buildings, children, and health, he asked why. You answered him with Your beauty and majesty, Your authority over the store houses of snow and every created thing. Job fell on his face and retracted his questions as piffle.
We want to retract our questions but, right now, none of what’s happening feels like piffle.It feels like our hearts can’t continue beating against the flood–that they’re ripped out, strewn on the rocks, and bleeding underfoot.
But Your heart is breaking too, isn’t it, Lord? When we weep and cry out to You, and rail against the evil in the world that devastates us and kills the ones we love, You know how we feel, don’t You? You know because You were here once.
After You listened to Martha and Mary, You stood outside Lazarus’ tomb and wept.
That’s our ray of hope.
You wept over our reality. You accepted the whole pain of it on the Cross. You said to Your disciples–all the ones then and all the ones now–“In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Help us take courage today, Lord. Help us remember You standing outside that tomb looking at the wages of sin and weeping for us. Give our friends the courage of hope in You and Your finished work. Give us faith in things not seen.
We are creatures of dust. You’ve put it in our hearts to love and sacrifice for other creatures of dust, to find pleasure and beauty even in inanimate things that will all pass away. Therefore, hide us in the shelter of Your wings, that we would find hope in You, despite what we see.
Please, Lord–only You can give life.
When our children were in elementary school, they began to drag down to breakfast with sour faces, complained at scrambled instead of fried eggs, and whined they didn’t get the biggest cookie in their lunches.
They wanted striped shirts, not plain ones, and plain socks, not striped ones. They didn’t want to take the dog outside (the one they’d begged for and promised to take care of), and the toys were much too big a mess to clean up.
I prayed about what to do.
When the rescued people of Israel complained in the desert about manna for breakfast, manna for lunch, and manna for dinner, God was angry and sent them poultry to eat–so much poultry it piled up and spoiled, causing people to sicken and die.
If God considered complaining so serious an offense, I needed to take notice and teach my kids to be thankful for what they had and to do their work without complaint.
Then I came across Psalm 142:1-2, which says: “I cry aloud to the Lord; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy. I pour out before Him my complaint; before Him I tell my trouble.”
So then, there were at least two kinds of complaint to consider—the legitimate need to share feelings and the self-centered whine. I had been working hard on the first–practicing the art of looking in my childrens’ faces and really listening to them.
A Grumble Box can be made from anything. It can be a cardboard box with a colorful design and a slot cut in the top, or a decorated spice can. I wrote a little ditty for ours and taped it to the top of the box. It read like this:
When gratitude doth tumble and resulteth in a grumble, please deposit thou a coin, thy mouth for to humble.
“What’s this?” the kids asked when they came in the kitchen.
“This is the Grumble Box,” I said. “We all need to be more thankful and complain less. When you whine about doing chores or taking care of the dog or whatever, you’ll have to put a coin in the box.”
“What kind of coin?”
“It might be a penny, a nickel, a dime, or a quarter depending on the whine.”
“What about you?”
This took me aback. “Um,” I said, “yes, of course–me too. If I grumble I’ve got to pay.”
“We’ll give it to kids who need it. We’ll put it in the globe bank for Children of the Nations.”
Children of the Nations is a non-profit that provides food, homes, schools and medical care to children whose lives have been ravaged by war, poverty, disease, and death in the Dominican Republic and several African countries. For more info see www.cotni.org
“But Mom,” one argued, “we’re just going to sleep in them again tonight!”
“Oh dear,” I’d say. “Grab a penny for the Grumble Box.”
“What? ” they’d holler. “All I said was…”
“Oh my—I guess you’d better make it a nickel.”
“You drive a hard bargain–how about a quarter?”
The Grumble Box proved to be the reminder we all needed to complain less. It became a light-hearted way to remember to think before we spoke, retrain our mouths, and practice self-control.
We also learned to be more thankful for what we had.
Every time we emptied the box into the bank and took the bank to Children of the Nations, we looked outside ourselves to see some hungry child get a full belly, or go to school for the first time, or find a place to belong in one of the small family-style orphanages.
And that was the best lesson of all.
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge. Their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.” Ps. 19:1, 2, 4
I’m a Psalm 19 woman–one of those for whom God makes truth palpably clear, a doubting Thomasina who must press my fingers in His handprints to believe.
And His handprints are everywhere. I remember the first shock–the first obvious evidence of this great and awesome God we cannot imagine Who bends down to eyeless worms to give us glimpses of His beauty and majesty.
I was in high school Biology, a staunch and self-righteous Catholic, dropped off at Mass weekly by embattled parents who agreed that children should attend church, though they themselves came only during truces, when they played Chinese checkers by night.
I remember following them across the parking lot at those times, eyeing the hand-holding hopefully, wondering how long it would last. But it was never long. I became religious, but I didn’t yet know the saving power of grace and forgiveness. I didn’t know Jesus.
In high school Biology, I bent over the eye of a microscope, fiddling the little mirror into place until it should reflect enough light to illuminate whatever mystery hid in the elodea leaf on the glass.
There I saw chloroplasts– glowing green factories that turn light energy into sugar to feed every part of plant and tree. They bustled about like stained-glass nannies in the cry ward.
I remember the vision yet, though I never saw it again. It hooked me on the reality, omnipotence, and incomprehensibility of God–in awe that He allowed me to glimpse such things about Him.
For why should He show me? In those teen years, I drank, I swore, I feared my mother, and was ashamed of my father. I practiced the sacraments, but my heart boiled with evil, like one of the white-washed sepulchric Pharisees Jesus condemned to their faces.
But He had mercy on me and showed me not only chloroplasts but what they meant.
Later, I saw His handprints in the births of our four children, though I nearly died with the first. I slipped along towards Him and He sent me back, so I might see His handprints again through the lenses of children and parenting.
and how depression, self-loathing, and paralyzing fear had no power against love, laughter, and the light in children’s eyes when they presented me with tender words I didn’t deserve, written in childish scrawls on handmade Mother’s Day cards.
Through the lens of His word I learned that time doesn’t heal all wounds save by the glare of Holy Spirit truth, the shedding of tears, the embrace of thanksgiving, the blood of forgiveness, the balm of kindness, the steel of humility, and the ferocity of abiding love.
I see His handprints through the lens of the Perseids meteor shower, when Big Bang rocks crash through the atmosphere–red, green, and blue–and my blink of tiny dust bows to Him in the vastness, beauty, and testimony of His creation.
I see Him through the lens of rest in Sabbath sheep fields, the cares of the week floating away with the tumble of clouds and the quiet certainty that just as no one could mistake the artist in my pottery, so I cannot mistake my Creator in the gifts of peace and changing sky.
And I want to be a lens–that others might see Jesus, too.
Lord, thank You for this amazing creation that speaks of Your majesty. By Your grace, teach us how to be Your lenses that we might reflect, magnify, and illuminate the mystery of You to others.
Recently I began cleaning out boxes of old photos, cards, and papers. There is such a painful sweetness about looking at little faces all grown up, the penciled “I luv u momy” scrawls and handmade birthday cards offering bike shows for a gift or “brekfast in bed.”
Moms are especially blessed in that our lives “pass before our eyes” every time we clean the house. The process sparks not only memories but evaluation–a chance to think, to confess, to address, to rejoice.
We sift through books, report cards, term papers, chore charts, prayer lists, and letters. We unfold a paper found on the floor and quietly tuck it into our son’s bookshelf when we see it’s a heartfelt letter to his girlfriend, not meant for our eyes.
We find beer bottles from an unauthorized party that occurred when we went on an anniversary trip and we discover how to pray more specifically for that child.
We sweep leaves off the trampoline after the Perseids meteor shower with our nature-minded son and order a new closet door after the skateboard went through it with our more impulsive son.
We file receipts from Easter shoes that prompted tears because they were black and shiny like our dog that died; and receipts from volleyball uniforms and slippery fabric for another daughter to wrestle on the sewing machine for her first boy-girl banquet.
The procession of mundane tasks in a mother’s life also fosters a closer look –who is this child? How is she made? What are his strengths? What is he afraid of? What are her weaknesses? How do we listen better to this one? How can we best pray for that one?
But this recent cleaning was different—a time travel back through decades—and I was privileged to find this poem written by one of our precious daughters many years ago as she stood at a crossroads wrestling with how much control to give God over her life.
It comes at a perfect time.
I like it because it’s honest and wise and cuts me to the quick. It highlights the stakes. It forces us ask ourselves how small a box we’re offering God in which to put our futures, when He has no such boundaries.
I invited an artist to come to my house–“Paint me a picture,” I said. “Make it a field with flowers–Yellow, blue, and violet.” So he painted a field, just as I’d asked. And it was pretty.
I invited a chef to come to my house–“Cook me a dinner,” I said. “Make it a pasta with herbs–Parsley, basil, and thyme. So he cooked me a dinner, just as I’d asked. And it tasted good.
I invited God to come into my life–“Give me a future,” I said. “Make it a house with a family–husband, two kids, and a dog.” So he gave me a future, just as I’d asked. And it was nice.
My next-door-neighbor invited the artist to come to his house. “Paint me a picture,” he said. “Make it whatever you want–You are the master–I’ll just watch.” So he painted a picture, as he saw fit. And it was breathtaking.
My next-door-neighbor invited the chef to come to his house. “Cook me a dinner,” he said. “Make it whatever you want–You are the master–I’ll just watch.” So he cooked a dinner, as he saw fit. And it was delicious.
My next-door-neighbor invited God to come into his life. “Give me a future,” he said. “Make it whatever you want–You are the master–I’ll just submit.” So he gave him a future, as He saw fit. And it was amazing.
One day my neighbor invited me over for dinner. I looked at his painting. I ate his dinner. I evaluated his life. “I don’t get it,” I said. “I had the same artist, the same chef, the same God. Why is everything you have so much better?”
And my neighbor just smiled and nodded his head. “The secret,” he said, “is no limits.”
Nehemiah had guts. As cupbearer to the Persian king Artaxerxes during the Babylonian exile of the Jews, he was the king’s last defense between a poisoned drink and death. Every day Nehemiah’s life was at stake.
Every day required supernatural courage to perform his duties. And Nehemiah knew where to find it.
So when he went to Jerusalem and finished rebuilding the wall with the returned captives, he could hardly wait to share the book of the Law of Moses with the people. But when they heard it, they wept.
Nehemiah said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
It’s tempting to focus on weaknesses and dangers. But that’s like focusing the beam of a lighthouse so narrowly on the shoals, we can’t see the safe harbor just ahead.
Nehemiah reminds us to open our eyes to enjoy God, to share His gifts with others, and to rejoice because He has accomplished all His purposes. Our joy is in His sufficiency, and in that joy is our strength.
In keeping with Nehemiah’s instruction, here are info and directions for the Celebration Branch, as promised. The idea of a branch comes from Leviticus.
“Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the foliage of beautiful trees, palm branches, and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.” (Leviticus 23:,40)
The people of Israel gathered branches to make shelters for the Feast of Booths, a week-long Thanksgiving celebration after the harvest.
To celebrate the arrival of a newborn, foster, or adopted child, hang photos, shoes, rattles, toys, words of welcome, etc. For an exchange student, add welcomes in English and their native language, and brochures about places to share.
In Autumn, use artificial leaves, pencils, crayons, grades and photos of each school child and phrases about their hopes and dreams for the year.
At Thanksgiving, hang photos, drawings, or lists of things you’re grateful for, along with hand print or pine cone turkeys, strings of candy corn, etc.
The Celebration Branch is a perfect place for Jesse Tree, Advent, or other traditional Christmas ornaments including candy canes, stars, evergreen sprigs, snowflakes, Nativity figures, or gold ribbon.
Small cards with Easter promises can dangle amongst fresh or artificial flowers such as forsythia and lilies, along with other symbols of new life such as eggs and chicks.
Birthday or baptism celebrations might include the photo of a child, interests, strengths, testimony, favorite things, and other clues of how God has made them, such as small toys and books.
For summer vacation with the cousins, we hung crayon resist watercolors of flowers, frogs, and butterflies (See my post, “How to Make a Luscious Crayon Resist).
As you can see, the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Here’s how to make your Celebration Branch:
“Rejoice in all your doings in which the Lord Your God has blessed you.” (Deuteronomy 12:7, The Fifth Book of the Law of Moses)
I tried to cry it all out the first day, Lord—the big decision, the pain of it hitting me harder than it ought, confused with other losses, making me feel small and broken and alone. I sat on the stairs in my barn boots and flannel shirt in the early morning stillness before the thermostat started the furnace. I didn’t even wake the dogs.
In the mirror I looked so like and so unlike myself.
Child woman, shivering.
I asked You why there’s this stabbing longing in my heart, this feeling there’s a person inside me who cannot get out, a woman there’s no room for? And You said, “Now we see in a mirror dimly; but then face to face.”
I repeated this to myself as the household wakened and the girls arrived–someday I’ll know why.
Instead, I berated myself for self-indulgence when there’s so much need in the world—families who don’t have stairs or boots or mirrors—families who would be grateful for just one sandwich to split up amongst themselves. This self-beating seemed deserved, but it wasn’t from You.
The second day I forgot to look for Your words again. I put on my big girl panties to get back to work. But self-talk and grinding away alone, all the while telling myself someday I’ll know why couldn’t lift me out of my brokenness.
So that day rolled over and squashed me, too. This wasn’t You, either.
On the third day, the sky hung gloomy, dark, and NOTHING—no rain or sun or wind or bird calls—just the feeling of waiting so heavy over me. By then, I’d forgot all about seeing dimly in a mirror and understanding someday. I cried like I was falling, falling, and never going to fly again.
But I desperately wanted to be lifted up. So I did something I rarely do. And this was from You.
Though I was raised in a “don’t need nobody” home, I emailed a few folks about how I felt. Then I took the girls for a last-day-of-summer outing to the Children’s Museum where, away from the worry, we played, laughed, and wondered at Your amazing world.
When I checked my email later, people had sent love, encouragement, sympathy, empathy, sweet offers of help, and “ginourmous hugs.” Thank you to all of you. Though I felt embarrassed at sharing, you made me feel better. And this was God’s doing, too.
Then I searched the Bible for the mirror reference. You know what? It’s in the Love Chapter.
I Corinthians 13 is about world-changing face-to-face love—one truthful confidence, one selfless kindness, one generous offer, one “ginormous hug” at a time. It’s about growing up to discern what lasts. It’s about the inclusive we instead of the self-sufficient me. It’s about how “Love never fails” even when we’re embarrassed.
Did you hear that? Love NEVER fails. That’s a 100% success rate.
“Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”
(I Corinthians 13:12 NIV)
God already knows you and me fully because He created us. And if He made us, He also has made room for us. It may be we just have to learn to ask for help.
Someday we’ll see God face to face—our faces together with His. We’ll see Him in all His beauty, glory, and essence without vaporizing to particles. Like Job, we’ll realize our questions are profound as the color of toilet paper, our sorrows fleeting as grass.
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows…and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4,5)
Lord, You know me. You made the squeezing pump of my heart and the function of my tiniest cells. You know my secret longings and prayers. Help me with my brokenness. Forgive me when I try to overcome the hard things alone.
Have you ever been in an exercise class? Or chased kids around the yard? Or tried for five minutes to copy every move a baby makes during tummy time? If you’re like me, it only takes a few minutes of strenuous exercise to let you know what kind of shape you’re in.
To exercise muscles means to put them to use–to stretch them, to test their limits, to work up a sweat, to get the heart pumping, and to burn calories. In other words, this is not merely to go through the motions, but to develop physical and even spiritual virtues.
“…but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” (1Cor. 9:27)
One motivator for me to exercise is to lose weight so I’m lighter and faster on my feet, with improved stamina, health, strength, and appearance. But one look in the mirror or a few minutes of soccer with the kids shows me I’m not very disciplined in this area.
Exercising faith must look something like exercising the body. If I exercise faith, I stretch it, test its limits, work up a spiritual sweat, and a faster heartbeat. I burn the fat in my soul so I’m quicker to answer God’s call to obey, love, risk, and lay down my life for others.
If I exercise my faith, I want to improve my spiritual stamina, endurance, and health to withstand the attacks of the Enemy and “to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13) as God continues to make me beautiful.
Like any rigorous program of physical exercise, the spiritual exercise of faith will have at least two results:
1. Sore muscles–physical muscles tear a little in strenuous exercise. That’s why they hurt. There’s a cost to spiritual exercise, too–a decision to tear away lesser practices for greater ones.
2. Stronger faith–in the healing process, muscles grow larger and stronger–if we persevere in the training.
Every spiritual training program will be as individual as each person’s weaknesses and areas of spiritual cellulite. Just as distractions derail physical exercise programs, spiritual exercise is bound to meet with obstacles, too.
In fact, every time I determine again to begin a program of either physical or spiritual discipline, I find myself in a ferocious battle with God’s enemy and ours, the devil–a battle from which I often limp away–bruised, bleeding, and discouraged.
That battle is the test of my spiritual six-pack. How long does the Enemy fool me? How long before I remember he has no claim on me? That I’m not alone? That God has not and never will let go of me? How well do I know the character and promises of God?
How soon do I return to His path, and my discipline?
Do I know how to put on the full, protective armor of God, to thrust and parry with the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God–so that the Word Himself, this Jesus, fights for me? Do I have His Word hidden in my heart, thrust into my belt, my hand always on the hilt?
Lord–crummy as I am at sticking to a program of physical exercise and caloric restraint, I know I need Your help to exercise my faith to build my spiritual muscles and trim away the useless things I gorge on instead of You.
I praise You for Your promise to us that “He who began a good work in you will complete it,” (Phil. 1:6) so we know that, while the choice to obey You in exercising faith is ours, You’ll transform our pitiful offerings and attempts into wholeness, beauty, and strength. Thank You, Lord. I love You.
“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…” (Eph. 4:1).
I tenderly stacked the soft clay “blessing bowls” the morning campers had made in the crafts room at foster kid camp. I loaded them in the car, then headed home to let the dogs out, unpack the kiln, load more pots, and return to camp by afternoon craft time. On the way, I stopped for a burger.
That’s when I saw her.
A young woman sat on a rock, weeping. Her boyfriend hadn’t arrived to take her to her second job. She said she lived only 5-10 minutes away. Here was a soul crying out in front of me–there was my responsibility to campers. I prayed for God’s calling: Whatsoever you do for the least of these... Whatsoever.
She climbed into my car.
Her parents loved her but had kicked her out of the house because of her boyfriend. She said, “I wanted to be a grown-up, and now I have to work.”
In the 25-minute ride, we covered a lot of ground.
I drove and drove. She apologized. I said, “God runs my day and He chose to place you in it.”
I told her she is important to the One who created her. She sounded uncertain about her recent decisions. I encouraged her to “…speak the truth in love…” (Eph. 4:15)–first to herself and then to others.
Hurry can turn my love on its ear like the flick of a lamp. Off.
“…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love…” (Eph. 4:2).
If only I’d applied God runs my day to the next precious person whom He gave me to serve.
At home, my husband was boiling a plastic tub of bean dip in a pan on the stove. He’d hoped it was homemade chili. Frustrated at this new delay, I marched to the garage and yanked chili from the freezer.
I had trusted God when He’d dropped a crying stranger in my path. But now, I grumbled about my husband coming for lunch–to his home, to his castle.
I slammed chili into a casserole dish to thaw, dirtying three pans to find the right size. I heard God calling, but I stormed past Him. I forgot to see Him in my husband’s face. I checked the time–there wasn’t enough to prepare the chili before Tim returned to work.
I shoved it back in the freezer.
Flinging the pantry door open I gave him (or was it Him?) canned chili to cook for himself (Himself). I darted around–fussing, annoyed, and anxious.
But, back at camp–an hour late–no one had missed me.
The other two helpers chatted. The campers swam in the lake (as it turned out) another hour-and-a-half. I heard His soft voice, “See, daughter? Do you understand now?”
My heart ached over my sin. I had to speak truth to myself–I hadn’t trusted God’s timing for camp or for Tim. I had failed the real test. I hadn’t walked in a manner worthy of the calling. I hadn’t been humble, gentle, patient, forbearing in love, or anything near a Good Samaritan.
I had been a robber.
I confessed it all to God. When I got home, my sweet husband apologized for “messing everything up,” which stabbed me to the core. I asked his forgiveness.
I dusted off my spiritual knees to try again.
How about you? Is it easier to walk “worthy” with strangers, friends, or family?
For me, family relationships are the most humbling litmus test of who I really am and a continual reminder of why I need a Savior.
In Ephesians, Paul called himself “a prisoner of the Lord” and determined to “walk in a manner worthy” of that calling.
I want that perspective with every one of my callings. I know I’ll fail again and again until heaven. I know I’ll need the Holy Spirit for every step of worthy walking. But whether wiping noses, pulling a lamb into this world, making a handmade card or even–as God calls– being a prisoner for His sake, I want to be intentional about what it looks like to walk in a manner worthy.
What are your callings? How do you remember to be intentional about walking worthy when the day zooms in and out of different callings?