Thursday, August 19, 2004

Wisdom in the Winds

We have this new house. My husband is a fantastic contractor--skill up the wazoo. The first two were all the work and contriving and detail that everyone warns you about. They turned out as solid and lovely as he envisioned. Took about eight months to build each of them. This is the third house he's built for us. It has single-handledly mde up for ALL the breaks and smooth-going we experienced with the other two. At my husband's funeral, I will know that he would have lived another ten years if it wasn't for this house...

I’ve written pages and pages in my mind about all the junk that’s happened with the building of this place. Fiction could not be wilder or stranger. Yesterday brought yet another gem.

I came home to see the newly poured driveway pad and sidewalk. They were texture brushing the surface, finalizing the project. Not half an hour later it started to rain. The weatherman said it was a bruiser of a storm that was pummeling the town just north of us. Sure enough, the winds blasted in, flying my hanging baskets horizontally, whipping the cover ten feet away from the hot tub, and bringing with it the kind of rain that precedes a tornado. Only a taste of what Charley brought, but certainly doing its own Pacific NW brand of damage—felled trees, power outages, flash floods—and brand new concrete that looks ten years old already.

My poor husband paced around the house, looking helplessly out at all that hard work, all that new surface getting pelted, abraded, assaulted. It’s been in the 90’s for weeks now. We pour concrete, and a BA Storm gusts in. It’s always miserable to be helpless to help the helpless.

As we watched the storm from the garage, our 15 year-old came out and announced that not only was there water drizzling into three buckets he set in his brother’s bedroom, but water was getting Wallace all wet (the nickname for the deer head in the basement).

My best consolation was that it wasn’t a matter of life and death—my family was safe. Everything else is expendable.
Takes me a while to process, but eventually I reminded myself that this was no surprise to Him. His concern is more for my reaction to the event than the event itself. Oswald Chambers’ words to me this morning were,
“It is never God’s will that we should be anything less than absolutely complete in Him. Anything that disturbs rest in Him must be cured at once, and it is not cured by being ignored, but by coming to Jesus Christ. If we come to Him and ask Him to produce Christ-consciousness, he will always do it until we learn to abide in Him.”

The abrasions, the ambushes, the drainage, even good surprises, can cause the feeling of isolation or abandonment. But I like this verse in the Amplified, I will not, I will not in any degree leave you helpless nor forsake nor [5] let you down ,[6] relax My hold on you! [7] Assuredly not! (Hebrews 13:5)

I flipped to today’s reading in My Utmost because I was looking for a reminder of some truth in this. I smiled as I read this: Never allow the dividing up of your life in Christ to remain without facing it. Beware of leakage, of the dividing up of your life by the influence of friends or of circumstances; beware of anything that is going to split up your oneness with Him and make you see yourself separately... “Come unto Me.” LEAKAGE! Did you catch that?! Oh, man, God has a crazy sense of humor...

House number three—fraught with difficulty, delay, disappointment, doubt, disturbance, debt, and near-disaster. But I cannot look at it all apart from the knowledge down in my deeps that His wisdom is in the leaks, scrapes, and displeasures. It’s where I need Him. It’s where He grows me up and develops me into the me I want to be. I can’t say I welcome the junk, but I know it’s not all for nothing. And I know I’m not alone.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Please, Daddy, help me to grow in You now. Help me catch the little foxes, and make it B&W clear as to when I choose and what I choose. Help me to discipline my thought life, and restore to me the joy of Your salvation. I remember when You were all I wanted--my divine obsession. Take me there again, Lord God. You grace me with the privilege of my family, and I cannot yet say that if You take them, I would be okay with that. I would still follow You because who else but You has words of life...? You alone can satisfy this growing discontent.

I’m wondering if I will simply have to come to the point of looking at myself, my thoughts, my actions, and finally have them sicken me. Like a big plate of lasagna set before someone with stomach flu. Maybe I need that gagging and those waves of nausea to rise and blast. But Lord, You know I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to embarrass my family or You--or me... I want to be about the journey of doing Your will, not mine; of offering the hands of Jesus to people who need Him; of speaking words of life and hope and encouragement to souls unfamiliar with Your intimate way. I want to enable You to grow and harvest fruit from the mission You’ve given me.

The skies are gray, and I can’t see far. If I stumble, let it be into Your arms. You can carry me wherever it is I need to go. †

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Fear or Yield

"Look at us. We're so afraid of each other."

Those were the words of my friend last night. She's renewing her wedding vows next Tuesday, and only being allotted 50 guests, they whittled the list down, inviting only the people with which they both had comfortable relationships. But yesterday after looking out across the seating area, envisioning the guests, she could not imagine looking out during this most momentous occasion and not seeing every one of the faces of the girlfriends who had come to know, love, and experience her. Not all the Ya-Yas were invited. In fact, only two.

She called me for input on an email she had composed to explain why only two were invited, and then go on to make an invitation to one and all. Had I heard from the ones who hadn't been invited? Were they offended? Was she just projecting? Would there be further offense when they read that it was adults only? And how would the hostess feel about their going well beyond 50...?

Disturbing to me was the fact that despite the closeness the seven Ya-Yas once shared, here we were five years later asking the same questions we asked in high school--Did I hurt her feelings? Do I apologize for doing something I felt was right at the time? Will we ever be close again?

We are still so afraid of each other. Deep down, we all bear the fear of rejection. We enjoyed a camaraderie and closeness envied by all the other women in our lives. And yet, when it comes right down to it, we never really developed an intimacy much different than that of other groups. How very sad...

Believers, of all people, have an opportunity the world does not to share an intimacy not of this world. In Christ, we are not free to sin, but free to not sin. How vitally life-changing it would be for us and for those in our everyday lives if we lived like we believed this! In recognizing our own poverty, we are free to embrace the deficiency in others, thereby entering into the companionship of beggars.

Offense is only one of the tools the enemy uses as a multi-pronged knife to slash God's lambs. But when we allow the blade to stay in, permit it even deeper entry, it becomes our choice to hold the dagger's handle, twist it, and when time comes for dislodging, if gangrene hasn't already set in, the disemboweling leaves us chewed up, torn apart, poisoned, disfigured, and wretched.

I speak to me firstmost in this: Children of the Living God, is the life of the Son of God in you getting the chance to manifest His holy innocence, simplicity, and oneness with the Father? If you do not desire that, then pray for the desire. When was the last time you wanted to give up something you had a "right" to? We have enough to defend against in this world. Let us look to how we can be comfort, compassion, and life to one another since we have at our disposal all the power that raised Christ from the dead.

Bend the neck. Bow the knee. Lift your hands. Asking is a rule of the Kingdom. Servanthood is our exclusive privilege as Christians. Jesus is at the ready for you with the basin and the towel.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Rain Down

When it rains, it pours.

This little anecdote hit home this morning as I was coming back from my morning walk. I wanted something personal from Him. I can go weeks without something intimately personal from Him, but then I find myself asking for something. Something for just Me, so I know He still cares in Hs large way. I was praying, interceding for the people He brought to mind, and then it started sprinkling. I kept praying, and then the sprinkles turned to rain.

Suddenly, WORSHIP radiated from my soul in all directions! The rain came down, and I bid it on. Rain down on me! Pour out Your Spirit on me! I am Yours. A hymn sang itself into my mind, “All to Jesus I surrender, all to Thee I freely give...” My little victory last night over the little fox that’s been spoiling my vineyard gave further boost to the lyrics. “Rain down on me” is the song that burst out next. “Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me...” Potter, You mold me and shape me as You deem best. Grant me the courage to obey you, like I did last night. Thank You for this cold that helped me forge that decision. Help me not lose sight of the process being the goal.

Problems rain. Problems pour.

But Jesus reigns. And the Spirit pours.