Saturday, June 25, 2011

Grace is flowing.......

I heard a story recently from a sweet Pastor's Wife's own lips that frankly, still has me grinning from ear to ear.

She told me that she was in the car with her husband reading him a book regarding health. His health. He had been having a time physically and she, doing what all of us good wives would do, found some sort of information on how to help. AND SHARED. Well, apparently he was none the excited about what she was sharing, and when sweet she noticed that he was NOT noticing turned and asked him, "Are you even gonna DO any of these things I am telling you about??" And a turn of the head was the reply.

A horizontal turn of the head in case you were wondering.

And with that she rolled down her window and threw out the book.

(pause to grasp this friends)


Like, on the road.

And THAT. THAT makes me happy.

Giddy actually.

They were a happily married couple, faithfully serving the Lord, raising a Godly brood, and her, now in her I believe 60's, smiled as she relayed the circumstances to me that beautiful Spring afternoon. She even chuckled telling me that she had to go back to the woman who gave her the book and tell her what happened and asked her if she could have another one.

That would never come close to a window again unless she was putting it on the shelf.

Everyone has "life days."

I had one today.

And I am sitting on the bed, coffee nearby, wrapped in my fav blanket that was a gift from my sis in law her first Christmas with the fam. I am surrounded by happy.

And in my happy spot, I unfold the napkin of days events to relay them to you.

But the beginning begins with the end of my day funny enough.

Just a few minutes ago, while finishing up my time in my "think tank" otherwise known as the show-er, I realized the kids had taken all of the towels to various and sundry parts of the house.


So as I was preparing to wash my face, I got a good look at me, with my electric blue shirt wrapped around my head, with one earring showing and smiled thinking how closely I resembled an African woman.

These are "life day" moments.

They catch you off guard and smile and say, "Hello. This is your life. Dealwithit."

And sometimes you smile.

And sometimes you throw the book out the window.

On to today.....

Today we had a LOT on our plate.

And most of it was Brussel sprouts honestly.

But we were off and running and we whizzed to the first thing.

This put us in a situation where God led us to a man who so ministered to my husband. I sat and watched and smiled. I looked at the man, and then I looked at my husband. I looked back and the man and then again at my husband. I watched a sweet volley of conversation that was God ordained. Water to dry ground.

It was as if God said, "You need some grace poured into some cracks you have? Here ya go."

And conversation flowed.

And grace flowed.

Then in a flash we were gone and to our next event. It was a Graduation party. Just a party.

I should have known that a few life lessons were gonna show up and God would be working. He does love to work in base things, does He not?

We arrived and began the ascent to the house, barely standing. People drinking, laughing, hushing when we drew near to them.

I smiled, handed the graduate her card and sat next to one of our members. She looked uneasy, and I wanted to tell her, "Girl, the 'uneasy' is where I come alive!" We talked and laughed, were fed and the graduate and her fiance came to talk.

We have tried our dead level best to encourage them. Counsel them. But they would not.

Now, a week away from marrying, they both have STD's and our graduate is expecting.

I winced as each new "fact" was presented to us. I just died inside for them. No wisdom. Hard choices. No foundation for marriage. New baby.

Now I am not a "hide it on the outside" person. If I am sad, I show it. If I am happy, I show it.

Maybe good, maybe bad. But nevertheless it's me.

And out of the corner of my eye I see him.

An old him.

Old, tanned, wrinkled and every ounce persnickety.

He smokes and looks on.

He cannot hear our conversation, but he can see my face.

I swallow hard.

I listen on. Joel is all of grace. I am burying my head in pasta salad.

I literally want to run and hide, scream and come back to resume my Pastor's Wifely duties.

I cannot.

I look at their hands, showing rings already worn before any ceremony, clutching pop, nervous.

I look at their eyes, flinching, sad, scared.

They need grace.

They "want to make the best" of the situation. They want "to beat the odds."

CAN God take this.

Can he use us to pour grace into hard deep cracks? Broken spots, decay that shows?

I listen as Joel pours grace running off from his cracks to theirs.

I smile a "Whatever I can do. I WILL do" smile.

They need grace to show them help.

And it flows and brings smiles of hope.

We have to go. We thank everyone. People groping for themselves for want of wisdom. Sceptical of us. The NEW Pastor and his family. I decide to approach the wrinkled old man.

I stretch out my hand. He takes it, but his whole body leans away from it, as a sign that he is shaking my hand but wants no part of me. I get it. I press on.

I hear someone behind me, our church member tell me that she should introduce me to her Father.

Noooooo... not your Father. The one who you have told me about, everyone has told me about. The town knows about.

Who's daughter lost her arm in a meat grinder, who beat his son until he passed out. THIS man. Father?

They are grown, and he is an old man, but is still feared by everyone. And now me standing in front of him.

He looks at his cigarette as if I had a magnifying glass to it.

"I have been smoking since I was young ******** and I DON'T have lung cancer!!!******" he tells me sternly.

My stubbornness rises to the challenge.

"Well that's a good thing you don't."

He is taken back.

I am not running.

I smile.

He begins to tell me all of his injustices.

I am a great fan of people watching and as he speaks, I listen

and watch.

I cover every wrinkle, every scar, his completely toothless mouth, and see what the end of life without God will bring you to.

He tells me something.

I nod.

He swears.


and again.

I have heard it all before.

Joel comes to meet him.

He motions that we need to get to our next stop.

I thank the man for his time.

He is genuinely surprised.

I offer him my hand again.

He takes it.

I pat him on the arm as I walk by.

He is baffled.

I hug his daughter, still hurting, in her 40's. I hold on after she has let go.


Grace from God through me, covering the rough spots.

I smile.

It will be alright. God has grace for everyone.

Even me.

I cannot fix. I cannot heal. I CAN show grace. Grace that is given to me, flowing over from my cracks to yours.

"Life days" happen.

Hurt. Frustration.

Hurriedness. Hope deffered.


Grace is flowing like a river
From the mount of Calvary.
Look to Jesus Christ the Giver;
He from sin can set you free.

Grace is flowing like a river;
Millions there have been supplied.
Still it flows as fresh as ever
From the Savior's wounded side.

Heaven's fountain ever floweth;
All our need has been supplied.
Taste His love receive His mercy;
No one yet has been denied.

Grace is flowing like a river;
Millions there have been supplied.
Still it flows as fresh as ever
From the Savior's wounded side.

Through the blood of Christ forgiven,
Dry the tears from ev'ry face.
Through His cross an heir of Heaven,
Evermore a child of grace.

Grace is flowing like a river;
Millions there have been supplied.
Still it flows as fresh as ever
From the Savior's wounded side.

Come to Jesus, weary sinner;
Calv'ry's river flows today.
All who plunge beneath that fountain
Wash their guilty stains away.

Grace is flowing like a river;
Millions there have been supplied.
Still it flows as fresh as ever
From the Savior's wounded side.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

He leadeth me. A blessed thought!

Ever had a boss you just could not please?

No matter what?

I have. I have been a waitress, a cashier, a house cleaner, a secretary, a business cleaner, a librarian, and even had a stint as a sandwich with meat and cheese hanging all whichway.

Yes friends, when you are paying your way through high school you are stupid enough to take a job dressed as a sub sandwich, and you will subject yourself to waving to passerby's hoping they will visit your franchise.

I digress.

I have had great employers........and not so great.

There are few things more frustrating than trying to please someone whom you cannot understand. I remember working as a business cleaner with some friends and never really feeling like I could do a good job. Oh I cleaned my heart out, but the boss just never seemed happy, like he intentionally had a corner somewhere that unbeknownced to me SHOULD have been cleaned though I never knew it's whereabouts.

Or there was that boss that changed my responsibilities so fast that I was left doing half a job for each task just to make it through the day with every task getting SOME time spent on it.

you get me?

And on the flip side, how much security there is in knowing just what you are supposed to do, how you are supposed to do it, or maybe even a liberty to do the job required how you deem best. Get in, get going, give it your all, close up, go home, feel good. Loved those jobs.

Lately I have been feeling like I have too many plates spinning. I know some are gonna crash. I know it's gonna be messy, but for the life of me I just keep running and spinning them from day to day never feeling like I have gotten enough done when I lay my head on my pillow.

And I am not just talkin' laundry here.

I'm talkin' every room in my house and heart.

This desire to check in with the one who gives me my marching orders began a month or so ago. And I wanted to simplify life again, some soul spring cleaning. I was on a Ladies weekend with two of the bestest sweetest godliest ladies you could ever set your heart on. They were talking, sharing their hearts and I was......... um, doing what I do best.

Crying. And I listened to them and yearned to know what God wanted ME to do. They knew what to do and were doing it, seeing God bless, coming through trials wonderfully. I wept to hear the Lord answer, give, bless, and just plain love them through one mess after another.

When my sobs could not be contained I quietly excused myself to the bathroom of the hotel we were staying at and cried out to my Lord and Master. In my heart the only thing I could ask Him was:

"Lord, what do you want me to do?"

And I was at His disposal. No agenda, no ready made plans on my part. Just one blank page with pen ready to fill up with His "To Do" list for my life.

And He answered.

Like He does.

When we seek Him with our whole heart.

And just like Him.

He is soft and kind.

He told me two words followed by a verse.

He said:

"Forgive yourself."

I know. I was shocked too. Forgive me? Not "Forgive so and so." "Forgive yourself." Friend the "goodness of God" does lead us to repentance. It leads us to the room with the cobwebs on it that hides our inner most secrets known only to us... and God. And in that one glorious moment there was nothing in that room that needed dusting or the garbage pile. God wanted me to forgive myself and lay down that burden of guilt that I carried all day every day everywhere I went. I brought it to birthday parties, family gatherings, shopping, everywhere. It.was.there. It humbled me, angered me, frustrated the day lights out of me, depressed me, and even made me anxious.

Guilt over silly things, bad things, horrible things, things that haven't even happened but I know they will things. The past was always present with me. And in that moment my mind flooded. I knew what He meant. I knew he had reached into my back pocket and exposed what I had hiding. And I was embarrassed. I said in my heart, "But I deserve to have to carry these. I should be required to bear this." He said:

"He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" Micah 6:8.

I was silenced.

Do justly.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with thy God.

It was as if you had Cinderella's cleaning list in your hand and he wiped every job off but three.

Do justly.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with thy God.

Pilgrim from Pilgrim's Progress had to have felt like I did dropping all that baggage off in the hotel restroom.

My spirit soared. The God of the Universe met with me amidst dirty towels and running make up in a hotel restroom. He came to cross things off my "To Do" list. Better yet, He gave me a new one. And it's "Post It" sized.

Life simplified just for me.

Fast forward a month or two.

See me huffing up yet another hill on a five mile bike trail. And yes I am in first gear and way out of shape.

Ok picture me briefly and far off. FAR OFF.


I am sweaty, frustrated at the gnats that swarm me because I am so slow, the kids who keep getting too close to my bike making me yell at them in the perfect "Old Lady stay off my grass" voice, and even at my dear sweet husband who is soo drippingly sweet he would even make Cub Scout Leaders look like criminals. Sheesh doesn't this man ever have a bad day??

I digress.

I finally got off and walked. Yes I did. I walked up the dumb hill. I waved my hand to half swat the gnats and half tell the crew a mile or so ahead (ok slight exaggeration) that I was NOT in cardiac arrest and that they could go along their merry way without me for a while. (A loooong while) They refused.


They biked ahead. (GRIN)

So it was me and a beautiful woody opening with trees as high as I could see. It was just gorgeous and it was all mine for the taking in this moment of relief from frustration. Frustration with life. Life is hard folks. Add marriage and kids and more kids and more kids and..... well you get the idea. Add low income, high stress and get a sour spirit. Beautiful bike hike? Blah. Kids all smiles in shiny helmets and sweet spirits. Bleck.

So with up-turned nose I stood and He was there.


And he grabbed my list of complaints out of my back pocket. He grabbed my list of things that MUST be accomplished that day, you know while we were wasting time on this bike hike.....

I raised my arms to the sky, forgot about the gnats and said out loud, "Lord, I am trying. Please help me. Just help me."

And he crossed my list out and wrote three things. Three things that are more important than any others. The only things that must be accomplished that day:

Do justly.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with thy God.

I grinned a grin that showed I had been reproved. Again with Micah Lord? Ok.


And I shed some more tears alone in the woods. He bottled them up and gave me strength, renewed strength because I had waited upon Him. (Isaiah 40:31) And with that new strength I got on and biked ahead.

And when I wanted to pick a whole bundle of wildflowers from the Park.....the Lord said:

Do justly.

And I did what was right and snagged a small token to smell as I biked.

When one child could not find their shoes for the tenth time and waded in way past what they should have and came to me in a wet, muddy mess, God said:

Love mercy.

So I found their shoes and sat them on my lap.

And when Joel was obviously building a fire the WRONG way, the Lord of mercy reminded me to:

Walk humbly with thy God.

So I helped with a smile and without putting my two cents in.

Tomorrow is a new day. I am reminded that Proverbs 16:9 says, "A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps." I see where I need to be, but God knows where He needs me to go and patiently gets me there.

Goodnight friends!