Posts Tagged "Crosswalk"
http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/women/chosen-by-him.html (link to this article in Crosswalk)
The valet line in front of the Ritz Carlton stretches down the street and winds around the block. After handing off my keys, I register for the charity auction at a table on the patio, and enter the conference area.
Women adorned in cocktail dresses, high heels and matching jewelry—at nine in the morning—mill from table to table, clutching numbered stickers and small goblets stained with lipstick.
Heels. I should’ve worn heels. I look down and notice how my black flats highlight the bruise covering my big toe. My dress, while cute—a Dillard’s outlet steal—hides beneath an old black cable sweater. A sorry stand-in for the silk wrap I lost last week. I pull the sweater off and drape it over my arm. Maybe no one will notice. Goosebumps race across my shoulders and back.
Cold and chic? Or warm and ratty? A dilemma—we’ll see how cold it gets.
I’ve already embarrassed myself three times this morning. I left my phone in the car after the valet drove away. I gashed the front of my shin when I tripped over the spotlight on the floor. And, by far the worst, I opened a door in the bathroom to find the stall occupied.
Maybe sitting is the best way to wait for the luncheon to start.
As I head for the lone chair at the edge of the room, I pass tables laden with beautiful purses, positioned just so on white silk tablecloths, waiting for the highest bidder to carry them home. I push through the sea of women perusing the bounty and glance at the invitation in my hand. In stylish cursive script, I am encouraged toDress Hip with a Hip Handbag.
My eyes catch on the plethora of hip handbags promenading around the room. I peek at my own bag—brown-striped tweed, half zipped, a wad of paper hanging out—and wince. When I reach the chair, I breathe a sigh of relief.
Poor purse. I frown and trace the front buckle. As we walked past the frou-frou handbags lining the tables, it must have cringed in humiliation. Cast-off, tossed to the bottom of the bin at Goodwill, it never perched, proud and regal on an auction table.
Kind of like me, needy and neglected, at the bottom of the reject bin. With great care, God rescued me, placed me among the adorned, heeled, and jeweled. The highest bidder, He paid the price and reminds me today as he whispers through His word. “…even the very hairs of your head are all numbered…you are worth more than many sparrows” (Matthew 10:30-31 NIV) and you are “…precious and honored in my sight…” (Isaiah 43:4).
I pat my purse and smile. “You’re mine. Doesn’t if feel amazing to be chosen?”Read More
It’s that time again. I rise with the sun, eager for what this school year will bring, yet sad to see summer end. And on this day, once again, the annual ritual outside my window lures me in.
Across, the street, Liz opens her door, tightening the belt on her blue terry robe as her girls scramble out underneath her arm. Next door, Dawn, toddler on her hip, strolls down the driveway. Her triplets follow behind, turning toward the bus stop, carrying purple lunchboxes and bright pink backpacks—no doubt filled with perfectly tipped crayons, unused glue sticks, and tightly capped markers. Two houses down, Tommy, laced into a pristine pair of white Nikes, races down the sidewalk for his first day of kindergarten. Clutching a large mug of coffee, his mom trails behind.
As my neighbors herd their kids to the end of the street, and one by one, their children disappear into the belly of the bus, a twinge of longing grips my heart. Longing for the serenity of an empty house, an open schedule, and weeks and months to pursue the things I desire. Longing for the novel in my head to emerge on paper this year rather than next.
With a sigh, I drop the curtain and pad to the kitchen where my kids lounge at the table cluttered with notebooks, textbooks, pens and markers. Breakfast dishes mound in the sink and slippers lay strewn across the floor.
Kyle, 16, is showered and dressed—ready to begin the school day no doubt in hopes of moving on to a more exciting endeavor involving a red and black controller. Maddy, 9, remains enamored of learning and is showered, re-pajama-ed, and industriously sharpens her brand new pencils. Alek, 13, unshowered and sporting the same attire as the day before, sprawls with his head down at the table and groans.
“Oops.” Maddy jumps off the chair as her markers clatter to the floor like heavy hail.
I sigh and top off the coffee in my Georgia Bulldogs mug. Add a little cream. Then a little more. The bus will be at school by now. And I envision my neighbors on their second cup of coffee, relaxing in serene and perfect silence.
“I’ll get them, Maddy.” In a rare show of kindness, Kyle reaches underneath his chair to collect the markers as they roll by his feet.
Alek stretches, then runs a hand across a large black book, a half-smile brightening his face. “Can I start with history this morning?”
His smile is contagious and I realize I don’t really want to pack them on the bus. I just crave a quiet moment here and there. Drinking coffee alone is overrated. I don’t really need days and weeks of an empty house. Just an hour every so often.
And maybe God’s timing for my novel is the year 2020.
The right thing isn’t always the easy thing—especially in the midst of daily bickering and the responsibility of vigilance as both parent and teacher. It’s a calling I don’t take lightly, yet I know for now God wants me here. And what I love about Him is that in the most necessary moments, He lifts me up and swathes my heart in grace and joy. “The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace” (Psalm 29:11 NIV).
The first day of school.
With a smile, I sip my coffee and take a seat between Alek and Maddy. My annual angst has disappeared inside the belly of the bus and chugged away. Maybe next year I’ll look for His joy at this table and skip the activities outside my window. I will live Isaiah 43:19 and forget the former things, stop dwelling on the past, and eagerly await the new thing God is doing!
I can just make out the small green numbers on the cable box. Why did I think this couch would be more comfortable than my bed? My body pillow hangs off the cushions and the blanket tangles around my legs. At least I’m free to toss and turn without heavy sighs from my husband’s side of the bed.
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.
Jeffrey scampers inside the blue plastic wheel hooked to the bars of his hamster cage. For the last hour, I’ve been tossing and turning to the rhythm of his relentless, nocturnal quest. The wheel spins faster and faster. Jeffrey goes nowhere.
Pushing my head into the pillow does nothing to block out the squeak of Jeffrey’s wheel. Restless, I can’t get comfortable. How am I going to clean the house, get to the grocery store, make snacks for Maddy’s Brownie party, edit Alek’s World View paper, help Kyle study for his Spanish test, prepare for our co-op’s student council meeting, and still get through Maddy’s Abeka worksheets in time to make writer’s group? Especially if I don’t get any sleep tonight?
How did I get so busy? Homeschooling three kids, teaching and advising student counsel at co-op, girl scouts, tennis, charities, driving the boys to outside classes. Not to mention the daily crush of dinner, cleaning and laundry.
Always worrying. Am I smart enough to teach? Have I rounded out our curriculum? Am I tuned into the kids’ learning styles? Would they be better off in real school? Will Kyle get into college? Was duel credit the right choice? Was I wrong not to push Alek into baseball? Am I pressing Maddy too hard in math? The wheel picks up speed. My mouth is dry. It hurts to swallow
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.
Can you WD-40 a hamster wheel?
Jeffrey’s persistent quest continues. Half his body slides off, but a last second foot maneuver saves him and he catches the wheel and keeps on running. Give it up already. Face it, Jeffrey—it doesn’t matter how fast you run—you’re still going nowhere.
Despite the amount of body hair he sports, Jeffrey and I aren’t that different. We both run. Neither one of us getting very far. Day after day, commitment after commitment, mini crisis after mini crisis, Jeffrey and I race ahead, never bothering to slow down long enough to look around and realize we haven’t moved at all.
What are we running for? What are we running toward? I can’t speak for Jeffrey, but my motto is Make It Through. I rarely stop and ask God what He wants me to do. I forget life is the sum of each moment. As I run past those moments, I’m wasting them.
In Matthew, Jesus confronts Peter on his wheel, challenging him. “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Matthew 16:23 NIV).
Uh oh. That’s harsh. My entire wheel spins with human concerns.
In that moment, God reaches down and ever so gently lays the tip of his finger on the top of my wheel, slowing it down carefully, so I don’t fall off.
Okay, Lord. I don’t know what to give up and what to keep. What plans do You have for my kids? For our homeschool? And their lives? Give me peace to let go of my human concerns and fall in line with Your plan. Weed out the distractions. Help me treasure each moment and not waste this time You’ve given me with my kids. Time I will never have again.
I roll to my side, snuggle into the softness of my body pillow, embracing the relief that always comes when I stop moving on my own power. Jesus, thank You that I don’t have to figure it out on my own. You know what You want from me.
Squeak. Squeak. Squeak.
Oh, and could You please put Your finger on Jeffrey’s wheel, too? Or at least make him very, very tired?Read More