Sunday, July 21, 2013

BOXED UP MEMORIES

"One more box," I tell myself. Bending down to avoid another close encounter with the low ceiling, I inch my way toward the back of the attic.

"This is why I want to be more organized," I audibly chide myself. Each box is a mystery. I don't know what I'll find as I lift another lid.

The heat of the summer day is making its presence known as I commit to just one more project. Settling onto a pillow, I lift the dusty lid to see what treasures await me.

Maybe it's this season of transition, saying goodbye to the familiar while waiting for the unknowns around the bend. Or maybe it's the culmination of raising a family of four. All I know is my emotions are raw. One minute I'm laughing at clothing I wore twenty years ago. The next, I'm in tears, wondering where the time went.

Today's treasures take my breath away. The sweat on my brow mingles with unexpected tears as I lift each content out of the box. Reliving the moments is bittersweet. A small ziplock baggie of brown locks from my son's first hair cut. A colorful picture my daughter drew as a pre-schooler, her attempts to cheer me up when I wasn't feeling well. Dozens of momentos, pieces of history, all nestled in an unmarked box.

I don't feel the heat in the attic anymore. Just the pulse of my heart as it swells with sweet memories. I want to climb into that cardboard box and relive it all. I want the days of crayons and matchbox cars and barbies back.

Our house has become a museum of boxes as we sort, pack, and prepare for our daughter's move out of state. And this mama's heart cries, "NO!" Stop the clock. Hit the reverse button. I want a re-do.

I close the box. The contents will remain safely tucked in our attic for now. They're too much a part of this heart. I can't let them go. When I feel the need to revisit those fleeting, messy, beautiful days of childrearing, I can open the box. With kleenex closeby. And transport myself back in time when bedtime stories and teddy bears were a part of each glorious day.

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things."
~Robert Brault

"Stockpile treasures in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."
~Matthew 6:20, 21 The Message

WEEDS AND WORDS

I'd paint my thumb green if I thought it would help. I try. Really, I do. I stroll through the nursery and study the plants carefully. I make my selections as I envision the blossoms bursting with color. I dig the holes and add the soil mix, gently placing the plants in their new homes. I step back and imagine how the yard will look as they grow and mature.

Come to my house. See for yourself. Weeds of all shapes and sizes thrive on our property. But the plants I picked out, purchased and planted? They are hanging on for dear life. Some have already made their way into our green trash bin, a lost cause.

I long to have a beautiful garden! I want to possess the skills and a green thumb to make my dream garden come to life. But I fall short. Everytime. And I beat myself up. Because I am not gifted when it comes to gardening, and no amount of effort seems to make a difference.

But if you place a pen in my hand and a notebook on my lap, something else happens. I come alive. It's not so much about the final product as it is the process. Pen in hand, words pouring onto paper, I feel at home. I'm doing what comes naturally.

Writing is a form of worship for me. I believe we honor God when we are obedient to what we feel called to do. I may not be the most talented writer. And my words may appear like those weeds in my yard, untamely and unplanned. But we honor God when we use the tools He gives to us, whatever the gift may be.

I wish I could retire my spade and do only the activities that come easily. But life is a lot like school, and every lesson has a purpose. Pulling weeds and penning words are part of the package for me. One of the lessons I'm learning along the way is to embrace who I am. Strengths and weaknesses, gifts and flaws.

And always, always I'm called to do the work ~ what I do well and what I struggle at ~ with all my heart. When done unto Him, it's wondrous worship.

"Let every detail of your lives -- words, actions, whatever -- be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way."
~Colossians 3:17, The Message

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

EYES TO SEE

"I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim...And they were calling to one another: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.'"
~From Isaiah 6

My prayer list in hand, I began my petitions too casually. I wasn't praying for myself, but I was conscious of how good it would feel if my prayers for others were answered.

But then it hit me ~like a ton of bricks. If God was standing visibly in front of me, would I be so casual in my requests?

No! If I could see Jesus beside me, I'd fall down on my knees in utter worship. I would be trembling in holy awe of being in the presence of Almighty God. Speechless by his glory, I'd find it impossible to make eye contact with him, feeling so unworthy to be in his presence.

But isn't that exactly where I am, with my prayer list in hand, and my head bowed low? Though my physical eyes can't see him, I have a heart knowledge of his presence. That's what faith is ~ believing in what we can't see. Perhaps I couldn't handle such a glorious vision.

The seraphim saw him, and their response was complete worship. "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty. The whole earth is full of his glory."

The WHOLE earth?! Why can't I see it? Eyes too tainted by sin, I cannot behold such glory. Eyes too focused on the temporal, I can't even glimpse at eternity.

My list of people to pray for sits by my side. Their faces and circumstances flood my thoughts. And I realize, as I pray, my focus must shift to him who already knows what my list looks like. Because God inhabits the praises of his people, then worship should be the heartbeat of my prayer time.

And in complete adoration of him who is with me, even when my worldly eyes don't see him, I can lift these dear people to his throne with praise instead of worry, adoration rather than obligation.

"Holy, holy, holy...the whole earth is full of his glory." Open my eyes, Lord. I want to see Jesus.

"Happy the soul that has been awed by a view of God's majesty."
~A. W. Pink