Friday, August 5, 2011

1-2-3-4: Blessings Waiting at Your Door

1.  Nora and I had been cleaning all morning.  I was going to wait to shower and get dressed until all the dirty work was done.  Well, by the time I heard the knock at the door at 2:30, I had just finished cleaning the tub, but I was still wearing my Snuffleupagus pajamas.  Pastor was at the door.  I realized I hadn't even brushed my teeth yet.  Oh, well.  We sat at the table drinking coffee, which I needed, and talked.   I needed his visit today.  I had been so anxious all morning.  Our talk turned to suffering.  "We make the mistake of thinking that Christ will take away our suffering.  He doesn't do that.  But He will suffer with you."

I was stunned.  I have been struggling with this for awhile now:  I had somehow seen my inability to let go of this hurting as a lack of faith.

"Oh, that's just the devil trying to mess things up."  I've always loved Pastor's way of cutting through the crap.  He wouldn't mind if I said that.  Believe me.

I found myself looking at the kitchen cabinets, the same ones I had rested my head against a couple of weeks ago trying to "move beyond" my suffering and just needing a hug in the process.  And here it was:   Jesus takes our suffering and shares it.

"Yeah, about 10 years ago, I had that whole thing set straight.  I was talking to a man from (I can't remember which country Pastor said) and he said, 'You Americans are always praying to have your suffering taken away from you, and we pray that God will give us what we need to endure it.'"

My eyes go back to the cabinets and the tears are welling.  I've cried in front of Pastor many times, so I wasn't scared of letting a few fall then.  He said a prayer that God be with Nora and me, protecting and guiding us here in the life we're making.  He prayed a lot of things, and my shoulders fell peaceful and the air came in full breaths and my eyes were washed clean so they could see better again.  Pastor got up and said, "You look like someone who could use a hug."  Well, yes, actually.  I could.

2.  And after we meet Dad and Cheryl for supper at Runza (their first time eating there), I come home and find this basket waiting at the door.  I actually said to Nora, "Oh, I think this must belong to someone else.  We should try to find out who this is for."  In my mind, I had this vision of someone stopping by to ask where he or she could find "so and so" and accidentally leaving the basket behind.  Whoever you are, thank you.  I love it, as you knew I would.

3.  Nora and I have set up a wintertime/school days arts and crafts room in the back bedroom.  Today, she wanted to paint my portrait.  "You holding a flower."  She mixed, looked at me sitting still in the chair with a flower in hand, looked back at the canvas, and began.  There was absolutely no uncertainty in her.   She was simply looking and responding.  I wanted to ask her the secret--how she could approach the blank space without even thinking once, "I'm not sure if I can do this."  She didn't have to think about it.  She just did it.

4.  Well, this will sound weird, but oh well.  This tomato stopped me while I was pulling out grass from around my second round of radishes, and the tomato said, "Pick me and take me to the fair."  I almost didn't do it.  But I couldn't think of a good reason not to.  "That's crazy" didn't work because this is just a given.   Lots of people talk to vegetables, right?  So, meet Fernando, the green tomato who plans on being red by the time the fair rolls around on the 11th.  We'll be starting a fairly rigorous training routine tomorrow starting with push ups and running up and down the stairs of the Capitol building.  And soon, I hope to be having my picture taken with Fernando.


  1. I can't even imagine someone loving me like that. It takes my breath away.

  2. Thanks for those thoughts. Satan has been playing a few headgames with me lately as well. Can't get into the specifics...but Tuesday...2:00...send up a prayer or nine up to the heavens...His will be done.

  3. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. The part about what Pastor said made me think of one of the day's themes from Workcamp two weeks ago. We were looking at John 15:5 ("I am the vine, you are the branches...") On Wed. the theme was focused on "Remain in me" and the main point for that day was that sometimes we just have to remain through things... endure....perservere.

    When we got back and had our sharing service with the congregation, the sermon the sermon was based on our themes of the week, when it got to the part about "Remain in me" he talked about how in the suffering in life, there are two things going on.... always.
    1. God uses hard times to prepare us for ministry. God will use our suffering to help others.
    2. God uses the suffering to draw us back to Him... to remind us that "apart from Me you can do nothing"... to remind us that all we need to do as branches is simply, remain... remembering that as we remain, the Vine provides all we need for life and sustenance.

    Sounds like God continues to teach us similar things right now. :)

  4. I needed this too. Sometimes I get it into my head that suffering is a bad thing. It isn't, not always. Or rather, it's a thing that could be bad but that God uses for our good--our GREAT good--and suffers through it with us, while helping us to grow.

    God loves us that much, that he helps us to grow, AND shares our suffering with us.