My Path

water reflection photo gull

 

My ‘path of ordinary’ has been filled with peeks of wonder. Even as a child growing up in a home absent of faith I remember times of seeking and wondering. Could there be a God, and if there was, would he want anything to do with ordinary me? I remember lying in bed with covers tightly pulled over my head slipping out my tiny hand, just in case God wanted to touch it. Little did I know he was touching it and holding on tight all along.

A more serious pursuit occurred during college. My father’s cancer returned with a vengeance threatening to take him from us. Once again in a scared and desperate attempt, I reached out from the safety of my bed. I prayed for my dad and for myself.

In my bedroom, without a church or pastor I raised my hand in surrender to Jesus. He filled my room and my heart with a presence I will never forget. I’ve been wonderstruck ever since.

This ordinary person, on a path of ordinary, is desperate for peeks of a Heavenly Father who continues to hold her hand.

Thank you for joining me along the path…

 

Unspoken Words

 

“A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.” George Eliot

The anointing of Jesus at Bethany is possibly one of the most poignant passages in the Bible. We see a dinner party thrown by Martha with Jesus, Lazarus, and the disciples in attendance. The house was surely buzzing with conversation about Lazarus’ recent trip back from the dead. And then Mary quietly enters the scene bathing the feet of Jesus in expensive oil and wiping them clean with her hair. Stunningly Beautiful!

At the same time, Judas the betrayer begins to tantrum in agitation over such waste. John, the writer of the gospel, lets his readers know this was because Judas freely stole from their money box on a regular basis.

Such a crew they were – a man who’d been raised from the dead, a thief, extremely emotional women and the very Son of God. The striking distinction of Judas’ wretchedness sandwiched between the beauty of surrender and jubilant gratitude makes his comment all the more abhorrent. How could Jesus love so indiscriminately? He must have known Judas routinely stole from the group.

Obviously Jesus didn’t fixate on the flaws of his companions. He appears to accept the individuals His Father gave Him and loved each one completely. The story contains another stronger, perhaps more subtle aroma in the words Jesus did not say to Judas.

His acceptance and non-verbal love for Judas should drench our soul with a fragrance stronger than Mary’s ointment. While we celebrate Mary’s outward demonstration we should cherish the gracious love Jesus had for Judas. For most, our lives are spent wrestling through our propensity to fail. We long to pour out on a deserving Savior but can’t seem to shake the reality of our own hidden faults. We know we are undeserving.

The unspoken words of this account ought to propel us to the floor; where in prostration we breathe in this grace and claim it as our own.

How easily we fall into the trap of only loving the lovely or serving the deserving? Whether its family, co-workers, neighbors or peers – sometimes it feels as though the relationships we’ve been dealt are disproportionate and undeserved. Individuals don’t seem worthy of our whole heart, maybe part, but not the whole. So we carefully allow partial love or false love, to encase our actions and in so doing – we give none.

When we allow the stench of our own shortcomings to be overpowered with the perfume of Jesus’ solid commitment to love us as we are, we have touched his command to love like him. Let the aroma saturate the deep cells of our soul. There is no other way to fulfill His command of loving as He loved.

Verse for Reflection:

John 15:12 (ESV) “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you”

 

 

Words

I remember hearing the phrase “a spoken word can never be erased” at a young age. It impacted me deeply as my mind recalled the many times I’d used harsh words or had spoken impulsively. Now the stakes are even higher. Our words are recorded and stored in many places. From emails, texts, social networks to videos, whether we like it or not, our words have the ability to live forever. Trying to retract them can be next to impossible. Words remain powerfully permanent. We can blame our mood or our circumstances when words seep out in reckless abandon, however ultimately no one else can release them but the one who speaks. It’s no wonder the Word of God warns us to tame our tongue and encourages us to be selective about what we speak.

Words influence.
When we consider how many wonderful books are written and the exquisite poetry tucked between their pages, we have to marvel at the artistry of carefully connected strands of words. They can soothe us, or inspire us; move us to act or challenge us to change. Their fluid presentation and gracious harmony of expression are valuable instruments in their master’s hands.
Words can breathe life.
When we speak truth over or about someone – when we authentically and accurately affirm an individual, we can be certain our words will be lasting. They’re etched in the stone of the soul. The same is true with prophetic words. When the Holy Spirit carefully transfers a proclamation of destiny or design from one individual to another, both know it. The recipient grabs onto the confirmation of what’s already deep within their soul and change is inevitable.
Words can construct.
Writers, speakers, teacher, all have the ability to powerfully influence through words. We have the choice to carelessly scatter or meticulously plant life-giving seeds through words. We speak to the soft soil of the heart. Words remain and germinate beneath the soil, waiting for the appropriate time to break forth in new life.
May I always carefully guard my tongue and my pen, striving to be useful, helpful, accurate and gracious.  I choose to remember words aren’t easily erased and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Verse for Reflection:

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” Colossians 4:6 (ESV)