Monthly Archives: April 2013

Fences and Friendship

“The wires are holding hands around the holes… with holes they make a fence…Lord, there are lots of holes in my life.  There are some in the lives of my neighbors.  But if you wish, we shall hold hands…”                                                  The Wire Fence from  Prayers by Micheal Quoist.

Families, churches, communities holding hands around the holes, making fences, creating and sustaining safety and security.

There are many people who have held their hands around my holes and secured my life.  One of those people was Chris, my sister-in-law, the one who gave me Prayers in 1968.  She and my brother, her husband, shared a rich friendship.  I was in 9th grade the year Jack brought her home to meet the family.  One morning while overhearing them talk, I dreamed a dream: one day I would marry a friend and we would talk like Chris and Jack.  God honored that dream.  I married my dearest friend.   The friendship has held through all the storms of married life.   My husband and I have held hands around the holes in our lives.

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Silly Conflict, Serious Conviction

I used to think I was a merciful person, that I treated other people the way I want to be treated, but I have come to realize these thoughts were merely delusions of goodness.

My husband went into the bathroom after I had brushed my teeth.  He called me into the room and in an annoyed tone showed me the splashes of water I had left on the wall by the sink. I replied, “So what?”

He sarcastically answered, “It leaves marks on the wall.”

“They wipe off with a damp rag.  It’s not a permanent mark; so wipe it all off, if it bugs you, ”  I angrily retorted.

I couldn’t let this go.  I had to escalate the situation.  It wasn’t fair.  The mercy I had been extending to him wasn’t being returned.  “I hate it when you use a kleenex once and leave it sitting on a surface to be used again.  It’s not sanitary, but rather than remind you, I throw it away and then wash my hands.”   I went on to give him several other examples of my long suffering as his wife, of all the grace I had been extending to him, the grace he was not returning.

A few days later, I became convicted that my behavior and attitudes were not fitting for a wife who follows Jesus.  Rather than giving mercy away because I would like to receive it, I was giving mercy to get mercy.  My motive was impure, self-seeking.  I remembered the words from I Corinthians 13 about love not keeping a record of wrongs.  I had been ignoring behaviors, but wasn’t being able to list them quickly in a heated moment, evidence that I had been keeping a record of wrongs, evidence I was not loving my husband?

Next time, with the Spirit’s help,  I hope I will say to my husband,  “I’m sorry.  I will wipe the water off the wall.”

Father, thank you for showing me my lack of mercy, my lack of love.  Forgive me.  Please make me like your Son, Jesus.  Amen.

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Without Love

I was yielding to my husband, after his firm reminder that we couldn’t afford to provide the meal for our small group.  We had agreed that I could contribute one dish each week.   I decided on a chicken salad because I had the needed supplies on hand.   Saturday evening I stood at the kitchen counter, running on empty, going through the motions, preparing a salad without love.  The truths of I Corinthians 13 came to mind.   The salad was a tiny sacrifice, nothing compared to giving my body to be burned.    Nevertheless, any sacrifice made without love profits me nothing.

The following morning as I sipped my cup of coffee and studied the beautiful morning sky, I found myself  praying Matthew West’s song, Motions.  “I don’t want to go through the motions without your all consuming passion inside of me.”

Lord,  my well is dry.  Fill me with your passion once again so that my service is driven by my love for you, by my gratitude to you.   May your love for the others in my life be poured out on them through me.   May my chicken salad nourish souls, as well as bodies.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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The Distressed God

“In all their distress, he too was distressed.”  Isaiah 63:9

When I am distressed, God is distressed.  The creator, the almighty, everlasting sovereign is so attuned to me, that he feels my anxiety, my pain.   His relationship with me is that intimate.  The burden of empathy a gift of his commitment.   Before I even cry out to him,  he is crying for me.

A God who cries for his creatures – this is a God to revere, a God to love and serve.   This is a God to seek and find, a God who wants to be found.   This God so wants to be found that he sent his one and only Son to the world to show us the way.   No one ever has to be alone with this God ruling the universe.

Father God,  seek and save all those who believe they are alone in their pain. Wrap them up in your loving embrace.  Breathe comfort and hope into their souls.  Keep them safe.  In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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