>The other day I looked around my house and realized that every single piece of furniture we have is second, third of fourth hand. The piano was purchased at a garage sale. The table and chairs are from my childhood home. The love seat from Mike and Lisa Krauss, the big couch from the Hullahs. The cribs, bed frames, toy box…all used goods. Even our appliances came from the former home owners.
So often in my life I have wanted things. New furniture, new curtains, new clothes. I look at what I have and find a million reasons that it isn’t good enough. There’s a stain on the couch. The washing machine isn’t “high capacity”. The camera kills batteries like no body’s business. At tax refund time I made a list of what we “need” to replace.
I want to buy, use and throw away. I want to be a consumer. And don’t I deserve it?
During my internship in the Dominican Republic I was invited to have dinner at Luis’ house. At the time the Jimenez family lived in a really small, 2 room house. Not 2 bedroom. 2 room. They had a living/dining/family room and a bedroom for all of them to share. No couch. No TV. No piles of toys for the kids. They had to borrow chairs and a card table for us to eat on.
They didn’t gripe about what they lacked. They weren’t embarrassed that they didn’t have more. They were happy for what they had. They felt blessed to have their home.
So often we get entrenched in the idea that we need all kinds of different things. But the reality is that we need very little. And all that we need the Lord provides. But we forget all about that!
We work ourselves silly trying to acquire more. We think that if we can’t have the big flat screen LE…blah blah blah that we aren’t really living. That if our kids aren’t in 100 different activities that we have failed them as parents. That if our church buildings don’t have state of the art sound systems that we can’t really worship God. So we consume…consume…consume.
In the acquisition of things…junk…we have forgotten our worth. And we have forgotten His provision.
Aren’t we more beloved than flowers and birds? Our Heavenly Father takes care of them. What makes us think that He would neglect us…His precious, His children.
>As a 14 year old I wanted nothing more in this world than to be an actress. Somehow I would be discovered while buying candy at 7-11. From there, I would be whisked away to Hollywood where I would instantly be wed to Brad Pitt. After my first feature film the “Academy” would declare all other nominees to be unworthy of an Oscar nod compared to my amazing acting abilities. I would take no less than $20,000 for each film…come on. I was 14. What did I know about money?
In preparation for my life as Mrs. Pitt I took every opportunity to take the stage possible. One such role was that of a chorus member in Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Gondoliers”.
Here’s the thing; I was sure I was way too good to just be in the chorus. Everyone made it into the chorus. I had to prove to these people that I was destined for greatness.
Somehow I was given a special part. No lines. No solos. Yet, still special.
During the wedding scene the bride Tessa sings a song.
When a merry maiden marries
Sorrow goes and pleasure tarries…
I was to sway to the song and act like I was happy for this awkward, off key bride.
Every flower is a rose
Every goose becomes a swan…
It was a very, very long song. But I had to wait for my big part until the end.
Worry is melodious mirth
Grief is joy in masquerade…
And finally it was over.
Tessa tossed her bouquet over her head. I was to be the one to catch those flowers. Out of all the chorus girls I was chosen for this important part. Boy, oh boy. This would build my resume.
Each rehearsal I caught the bouquet to perfection. I visualized this choreography constantly. I analyzed my character to insure that I caught them just as she would have. I had my role down pat. I would steal the show.
On the night of the performance I shook off the flittering fluttering butterflies that attacked my guts. Practice had made perfect.
The flowers flew through the air. They flipped end over end over end. And landed on the floor at my feet.
My heart skipped a beat. My face felt flushed. What was I to do?
I remembered one thing…all good actors can recover. So, I bent over, scooped up the bouquet into my hands. Last minute I thought I would raise the flowers over my head and wave them in victory!
Yea! I was getting married next! To Brad Pitt!
But there was one small problem. Well, maybe a big problem. Perhaps the biggest problem I would encounter on the stage.
The stems of the flowers caught the hem of my skirt. Lifting them over head caused my skirt to follow…over…my…head. To the full extent of my arms.
Realizing what had just occurred I lowered the flowers and did the only thing I could think of. I smiled like an idiot and waved.
Thus my most embarrassing moment was born. Many other mortifications befell my life. But I must say, this is the winner.
Tell me about your most embarrassing moment.
The best story gets…um…Brad Pitt.
>Bad things happen. Bad people often make those bad things happen.
While reading a section of “Half The Sky” by Nick Kristoff I became overwhelmed. I was beyond grieved by the evil that is done in this world. It is incomprehensible the damage that one creature of God can commit to another creature of God. How could one made in the image of that all loving deity destroy the body of another? I will never understand. I had to put the book down on the nightstand. I had to place another volume atop it. I had to turn off the light.
I had to pray.
God, make me forget what I just read. I don’t want to think about it again.
The Heavenly Father answered my prayer with a clear and devastating “no”.
He wants me to keep that in my heart. He wants that heart to break for His beloveds who are hurt. And so, I must be mindful.
I decided to think of the hope that those victims have. The missionaries that can assist them. Education is spreading across the globe. And that learning is changing so many of these terrible acts of violence, dominance and exploitation.
Ah. That’s better.
The next day I was driving. David Crowder was singing of the love of God. Oh, how He loves us. I was struck by how undeserved I was of that adoration. I was moved at the measure of His great love for the widow, the orphan, the marginalized, the abused. Yeah, He loves us all.
He loves us…all? All? No, Lord. Not ALL of us. Not the dark, evil, cruel enemies.
No. Please, God, no.
“Yes” the Holy Spirit whispered. “I love them too. And you must also.”
A wave of humility flowed over me. I was hit by my own depravity. I am a sinner. In that sin I am an enemy of Christ.
My sin. The sin of others. It all gathers together in a mess of muck. It is putrid, disgusting, horrifying. And it all…all…all is what Jesus came to defeat.
He loves us. Oh, how He loves us all.
>I am just a little different.
One would think that a 32 year old woman would have figured this out 25 years ago. But…like I said…I’m different.
Can I just tell you that this realization was earth shattering. That I didn’t see this knowledge coming. I ended up in a crisis of ideology for which I hadn’t planned (does anyone ever plan such a crisis??).
To me the world is ripe with possibility! That people are generally good…and full of good intentions! That we all have such great jobs to do to better this world! Exclamation point…exclamation point…exclamation point! ! !
After all, what does the Gospel say? Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will be taken care of! There is an abundant life for you in Christ! And if tomorrow is a tough day and that abundance seems to be slow coming…well, there’s always that place that Jesus is going to prepare for us!
So, smile! Rejoice in all things! Be that bright, sparkling, beautiful light! We’re all going to be okay!
For 32 years I believed that everyone held these sunny ideals.
But, golly gee, Pollyanna…was I ever wrong.
After listening to negativity spew from a sister Christian I realized that she didn’t think of the world the way I did. She saw the world through very, very different eyes.
And then my eyesight changed too.
I started seeing people doubt that life would ever be good. Friends who questioned the love of Jesus. Family members who are stuck in the muck of hopelessness.
Suddenly I realized that I was not like most people.
I felt like a periwinkle peacock among a world of vibrant blues and greens. I was similar…but not quite the same.
What was wrong with me? Should I change? Might realism make me more equipped to face this broken world?
And then the answers came.
Oh, thank You, Holy Spirit for Your comfort!
Nothing was wrong with me! I should embrace the way I was created in the Lord’s image! He has given me the tools to journey through this crazy, pain-filled, roaming people. And one of those God given tools was a belief that this world can be a better place to the Glory of God!
So, here I am. I don’t ask you to agree with me. I don’t expect you to like me (although that would be nice).
All I ask is that you allow me to fight for a better world.