Sunday, March 29, 2015

some sweet reflection

Dear Mercy,

Today I'm standing in the middle of your bright green room- we're planning to paint it this month. Papi bought grey paint, just ordinary grey. Truth be told- it's hard to cover up the old paint, the vibrant green that reminds me of you, of the way you live each day. I love that about you, Mercy.

So, I'm taking down your eclectic wall decor: Audrey Hepburn next to Tintin, fashion beside a cardboard basketball jersey, pictures of kids, lots of smiling kids, and worn dusty books- Anne of Green Gables, Betsy,Tacy, and Tib (and all the sequels). Next the closets (Aye!). . .the spaces crammed with memories of people, events, photos, thrift store finds, creative pursuits: fabric, paper, paint, sequins (did I mention the shoes?) I resist the temptation to dig in, to sort, to toss- and instead I just close the closet doors. And I think about all that overflowing mixture of life and beauty that reminds me of you.

Mercy, I love that you're relational and so persistent in pursuing people- and I've watched you pursue me.
I've noticed how you're not satisfied with "cream on the top" kind of conversations with me; if I don't go deeper then you take me there. . . so curious, since I'm the one known around here for going deep! I'm thinking about our conversation over coffee awhile back when I was struggling with an issue. You made some observations that surprised me, that brought me to a new place-- and I remember your thoughtful exhortation. That day was good, Mercy- Thank you. . .

with affection always,


Monday, March 23, 2015

to detect the burdens of others

I've never been fingerprinted. . . that is until now. I guess a woman doesn't need a background check to mother the children she gives birth to.. .
So,  the other day I helped my friend with 3 foster children, a set of tiny twins and their 15 month old sibling.
I rocked babies, held bottles, changed diapers, wiped spills and spit up, hugged and listened to my friend's big boys. And for a spare 30 minutes I sat with my friend, feet propped up, sipping coffee, a bit of a chat--this too is mentoring.

I was doing some on-line reading the other day and came across an article about the ministry of burden bearing.
I extracted this quote for my journal:

Here is a vocation that will bring you more satisfaction then if you become a millionaire 10 times over: Develop the extraordinary skill for detecting the burdens of others and devote yourself daily to making them lighter. (John Piper)

 John and I are defining a new season of life- a season of new vocations.
Lord, help me to see the beauty of  simply bearing burdens!
I do- but I don't. . .  my vision is short sighted.
I see the obvious, plain-as-day kind of opportunities (like my sweet friend and her foster children).
I want to start today- to work at developing this extraordinary skill for detecting the burdens of others and devote myself daily to making them lighter.

"Christians must have strong shoulders and mighty bones-
sturdy enough, that is, to carry heavy burdens"

Martin Luther

Thursday, March 12, 2015

cabled mittens. . . and my heart

Packing my suitcase for Ohio, I tucked in a skein of lovely grey wool along with the pattern for a pair of cabled mittens, size small- for me! So- I knit on and off, just enough to finish one mitten and begin the second before coming home. A few days ago I completed the second -although wool mittens aren't especially useful in the Texas spring time. Truth be told- I'm obsessed with completing pairs! I love the twisting pattern of cables knit into almost anything. Sometimes I knit the cable row all wrong; I have to rip out, back up, unravel, sort out stitches, but if I calculate and execute correctly, then it comes out just fine- smooth, cabled beauty!

I've been thinking about relationships that get tangled up, like tangled cables. . .  hmm, I wish the untangling could be as uncomplicated and predictable as fixing cables in my knitting.  God pushes himself and his truth into my tangled relationships. . .

( Colossians 3: 12-13) As those chosen of God, holy and beloved,  put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, love. . .all those qualities that are vital and useful in the context of relationships. God sees how I dress my heart and so do you!

Bearing with one another, if anyone has a complaint, forgive one another as God in Christ Jesus has forgiven you. (do you all ever have complaints?)

If I have a complaint, a persistent complaint resulting in disunity, I need to remember the question/answer from James 4:1

Q. "What is is it that causes quarrels and conflicts among you?"

A.  "Is it not the desires that wage war in your members."

So- lately I've been examining my heart for those stray selfish desires that sometimes hide deep; then if the conflict persists, I'm asking:

Have I been compassionate enough? Have I been gentle enough?  Have I been humble enough?

Have I loved fervently enough? Did I forbear long enough? And in the midst of the battle, did I loose hope? Did I give up?

It's not a formula- this pursuit of peace, of untangling relationships. But I worship the God of Peace, revealed in the Gospel of Peace- so I keep at it day after day til there's no more days

. . .to worship the Prince of Peace.