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Archive for April, 2016

Speaking_winter_new

I have the best job in the world, I get to help students learn. At least, that is what I am paid to do.

Most days, if I keep my mind open, I am the one who does the learning, and it is the students who do the teaching.

A couple of weeks ago, while going over the characters in a novel, I looked across the table at the young man I was working with. A young man I have known since he was very young. A young man who lives with the struggles of having a diagnosis that is written clearly all over his face. As I looked at him, I felt the strength of his character, his faith, his compassion.

I smiled.

He smiled back.

I said, “I like you.”

He smiled bigger, and said, “I love you.”

My heart broke …

for he reminded, no, he taught me something,

let your words be true.

You see, what I meant in my heart, when I looked at him, was I love you. Not in some creepy way, but in a true, pure heart, I would do anything for him way (at least, I hope that is what I would do).

But I was inhibited, in ‘paid to work’ mode, where saying ‘I love you’ is awkward and inappropriate.

He, though, always says what is true. Oh, he can be a cheeky monkey, teasing and fooling around with the best of them, but he does not understand the world in terms of what is appropriate or compartmentalization, he lets his words be true … all the time.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Ephesians 4:15

 

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Back as the spring was warming up, one of my daughters commissioned her dad to hang a rope from our deck to a great big tree. Soon after, the ages old practice of hanging her clothes on the line, began.

After seeing her take clothes off the line with a folded crease, down the middle, from where she had hung them, I purchased clothes pins for her use.

Once school and work were done, and summer break began, I joined her in her environmental exercise of hanging clothes on the line. My participation was more selfish … I did not want to use a heat-producing appliance in the summer heat.

As my habit began to form, I grew to love hanging out clothes out on the rope, even with the dollar store pins that snapped apart frequently. Though the clothes came in less soft, and with more wrinkles, they also smelled heavenly fresh, and my whites sparkled after experiencing the natural bleaching power of the sun.

I did have inner turmoil about … unmentionables. Would I hang them, for all the world to see (or the families who came to our pool for swim lessons with my daughter)? My uncertainty faded and soon I was letting it all hang out.

One day, while reaching up to pin a piece of clothing to our rope, I thought about how joyful I was to hang my dirty laundry, holes and all. I thought how I am not at all joyful about hanging metaphorical laundry for all to see. I prefer to take care of that in the privacy of my home, behind closed doors.

This is how our modern, self sufficient, independent, outward focused world works, and we expect that even the tough stuff of life can be dealt with on the speed cycle, folded and placed back in our closet without even our closest neighbour catching sight of our stains.

The Bible is full of sin-stained people, and it is through them that God reminds us of our human need of cleansing.

In Psalm 51, after Nathan has confronted David over the dirty Bathsheba affair, King David dumps his dirty laundry at the feet of God.

David was aware that his dirty laundry was now in view of the kingdom, and of the greatest king. It was the publicity of his sins that brought him to his knees in humility. From that vantage point, his sin stained laundry could be bleached spotless.

To read this Psalm is to recognize the therapeutic benefits of hanging ones laundry out on a clothesline, and once dried in the wind and sun, to retrieve what was pinned there, only better and brighter.

“Generous in love—God, give grace!
Huge in mercy—wipe out my bad record.
Scrub away my guilt,
soak out my sins in your laundry.
I know how bad I’ve been;
my sins are staring me down.
You’re the One I’ve violated, and you’ve seen
it all, seen the full extent of my evil.
You have all the facts before you;
whatever you decide about me is fair.
I’ve been out of step with you for a long time,
in the wrong since before I was born.
What you’re after is truth from the inside out.
Enter me, then; conceive a new, true life.
Soak me in your laundry and I’ll come out clean,
scrub me and I’ll have a snow-white life.
Tune me in to foot-tapping songs,
set these once-broken bones to dancing.
Don’t look too close for blemishes,
give me a clean bill of health.
God, make a fresh start in me,
shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life.
Don’t throw me out with the trash,
or fail to breathe holiness in me.
Bring me back from gray exile,
put a fresh wind in my sails!
Give me a job teaching rebels your ways
so the lost can find their way home.
Commute my death sentence, God, my salvation God,
and I’ll sing anthems to your life-giving ways.
Unbutton my lips, dear God;
I’ll let loose with your praise.
Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship
when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice.
Make Zion the place you delight in,
repair Jerusalem’s broken-down walls.
Then you’ll get real worship from us,
acts of worship small and large,
Including all the bulls
they can heave onto your altar!”

 

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Driving down the road I felt that burden every momma feels at times … worry for her child.

The situation was not one of life or death, but, my momma heart was heavy with concern for my child.

After leaving my child, I prayed a brief prayer, and flipped on the radio. The DJ introduced the next song as the perfect song for such a beautiful, warm spring day. Then I heard the first words:

“Don’t worry about a thing,
‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright”

Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMZGOnFer4k) had me captivated for it’s entire four plus minutes. The longer I listened, the louder I heard the words of Jesus as he spoke his Sermon on the Mount.

“I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:25-26

When the song was over, I was empowered by the truth that Mr. Marley’s words reminded me of. I felt as though I had been comforted by Biblical truth, with an Islands flair.

All of my children are so loved and valued by their mom, but they are even more valuable to Christ. To Him, all of my children, all of HIS children are more valuable to Him than any other of His creations, and he constantly reminds us to not worry.

As you go about this day, listen for the …

“three little birds,
singin’ sweet songs
of melodies pure and true,
saying’, (“This is my message to you”)
singing’ “Don’t worry ’bout a thing,
’cause every little thing gonna be alright.”

Things might not turn out the way I want, but God loves my child more, and that does a momma heart good, ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.

 

 

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The Handiwork of God

  
Good morning baby girl, it’s your birthday.

You were born on a brilliantly sunny and warm spring day, in North Vancouver, the hospital framed by magnolia trees heavy with blossoms.

Your birthday and magnolia blossoms always go together in my mind. 

Speaking of magnolia blossoms, did you know that scientists believe that magnolia trees existed before bees? They believe that pollination occurred with the assistance of beetles. They were first noted in writing in the early 1700s. That is quite a history.

More importantly than their past (I believe) is their present. They are so beautiful, delicate, yet firm. Shades of pinks, purples, pearly whites and even yellows. And a delicate, unique scent that no perfume has yet to duplicate.

You, as well, are beautiful, unique, colourful.

You, as well, were known generations ago, before bees … even before the world began.

In the mind of God every detail of who you are was crafted to be delicate, yet firm. Every detail planned, every quality hand-grafted to your soul.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us:

“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” 

Baby girl, YOU are God’s handiwork, not just a cellular mass of the genetic material combination of your dad and I. You are a handcrafted piece of art, formed by the hand of a creator who loves you, a love beyond any human love. A love that has been proved not just by words, but by action, by sacrifice.

You have a purpose, to do good works. Not just a job that pays you money, so that you can survive, but a purpose that goes beyond even your own life. Your purpose is always to love others, as Christ loves, and by doing so you will reflect the image of the one who made you.

So, today, open your presents, eat your cake, celebrate this new year of life and breath. Know that you are so very loved.

Know too, that you have existed in the mind of God since the beginning of time … and He has a plan and purpose for you, beyond anything your dad and I could ever dream.

Love you!

Mom

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