Wednesday, December 7, 2011
My first thought as I enter into this new adventure is why would anyone want to hear the random musings of my slightly twisted mind? Possibly there are some slightly twisted minds that can relate or it could just be a huge waste of time. But nothing ventured nothing gained.
I woke up today to a beautiful scene, it was snowing. The clean crisp white snow falling gracefully from the sky and attaching itself to whatever it comes in contact with. It is beautiful. I had to run some errands so I was driving and have some difficulty keeping my eyes on the road. The contrast between the white snow and the dark bark of the trees was enchanting. It was like living in a Thomas Kinkade painting.
When the car in front of me skidded a bit on the wet pavement I realized that beneath this enchanting scene lies a treacherous reality. I am warm and dry in my car so I am able to view the scene with wonder and appreciation, but what if I wasn’t in my car? What if I was homeless? Then my view would not be so enchanting. This side of heaven there will never be pure beauty, this earthly beauty must always be accompanied by stark reality.
Today I choose to live in my make-believe world where beauty exists without reality. I have the ability to see only what I want to see, however ridiculous that sounds, sometimes it’s the only way we can face the future. So I will enjoy the wonder and beauty of the snow and choose to not look any deeper.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Last summer I was in Paraguay on a mission trip. One of the pastors we were working with took us to a children’s home that he works with. As we toured the facility and interacted with the children I thought: What can we do to help? When I got back home I started a group at church to make quilts for the children. I’m not an experienced quilter; I had only made a couple of very simple quilts. We took in donations of fabric and dove right in! That is my personality, when I get an idea, I don’t research options or even think through the consequences, I just jump right in and deal with the fall-out later. Not generally a good tendency but occasionally God uses it to His advantage.
Last week our merry little band of quilters went to a quilt show. We were feeling pretty good about ourselves. We had just sent eight quilts to the children’s home in Paraguay. We were accomplished quilters! Once we entered the show it only took a few minutes for my bubble to burst. I suddenly felt like a little girl holding a drawing behind her back because she had just ran up to the front of the class to show her teacher and saw that the drawings of the girls in front of her were much better than hers.
These women were REAL quilters, we were just mediocre. We weren’t in the same league as these women; I’m not even sure we were playing the same sport! I felt alternately awed and deflated as I ogled the incredible creativity on display. Over the next few days the feeling didn’t subside, it settled in a little deeper. Until today. Today I saw the face of a child who had received one of our mediocre quilts. What that child’s face reflected was not mediocrity, it was pure joy.
I dream of being an author. I dream of what it would feel like to be on the best seller list or at a book signing. I think my writing is pretty good until I pick up a James Patterson or Nora Roberts novel and realize how mediocre my writing is in comparison. Then I think this is stupid, I’m just wasting my time pretending to be a writer.
Today God showed me once again that when I take my eyes off of Him and begin to compare myself to others I will always be disappointed. He reminded me that He has never asked me to be James Patterson, or an expert quilter; He has only asked me to use the talents He has given me to do the best I can to show His love to the world around me. God has used my mediocrity to comfort children who have been battered and bruised by life.
Although I don’t know what it would feel like to be an award winning author, I’m pretty sure it would pale in comparison to the feeling of knowing that you made a child smile.
What lessons has God taught you when comparing yourself to others?
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
A few months ago we (my husband and I) spoke at church about being missionaries to Central and South America. Afterward several people came to us to express how excited they were about what we were doing and how much they admired us for our commitment.
Since that time I have thought about these looks of admiration, and wonder if so many people seem to view me as some kind of super Christian. Do they see me in a white robe with a halo or what? I wondered why that bothered me so much. Don’t we all strive for the approval of our peers? Shouldn’t I be basking in the glory? Patting myself on the back? But I knew that I was not here because of anything I did. I felt like a hypocrite; still hiding behind a mask. I didn’t intend to wear a mask, but in reality we all do. We hide what’s really happening in our lives behind the mask of what we think we should be, what we’ve been told we should be or just what we wish we could be. It’s the trap.
I realized once again that I had fallen into the trap, the same trap I’d fallen into so many times before. The trap that says I am not worthy. The little voice that says if they knew the real you they wouldn’t look at you with admiration they would look at you with distain. The voice that says if you don’t keep up the facade, keep on the mask, they won’t accept you. You won't let you be part of them.
Don’t you wonder how many times God is thinking “How many times do you have to tell you?”
I know that in His eyes I am worthy, not because of what I've done but because of what He has done. Because of the blood of Christ, God sees me in His righteousness. The trap is a lie and it gets me every time. But this time, just like the last, it’s a little easier to get out.
I realized that my mask is not hiding my unworthiness it is hiding His glory. If I don’t tell them my story, the real story, they won’t see how far God has brought me. They won’t see how much He had to overcome to get me to this place. How it had nothing to do with what I had done, it was about what He had done. And if they don't accept me afterward that's OK, because the only one who matters is God. He accepts me as I am. He made me what I am today and anything He's made is something to be awed, not mocked.
I am going to tell my story to whoever will listen, are you willing to tell yours?