The Simple Things….Rain Washed

It is always the simple things bring the greatest joys.

When was the last time you stopped and appreciated the simple little things?

Rain Washed

A little girl had been shopping with her Mom in Target. She must have been 6 years old, this beautiful red haired, freckle faced image of innocence. It was pouring outside. The kind of rain that gushes over the top of rain gutters, so much in a hurry to hit the earth it has no time to flow down the spout. We all stood there under the awning and just inside the door of the Target.

We waited, some patiently, others irritated because nature messed up their hurried day. I am always mesmerized by rainfall. I got lost in the sound and sight of the heavens washing away the dirt and dust of the world. Memories of running, splashing so carefree as a child came pouring in as a welcome reprieve from the worries of my day.

The little voice was so sweet as it broke the hypnotic trance we were all caught in,
“Mom, let’s run through the rain,” she said. “What?” Mom asked.

“Let’s run through the rain!” She repeated.

“No, honey. We’ll wait until it slows down a bit,” Mom replied.

This young child waited about another minute and repeated, “Mom, let’s run through the rain.”

“We’ll get soaked if we do,” Mom said.

“No, we won’t, Mom. That’s not what you said this morning,” the young girl said as she tugged at her Mom’s arm.

“This morning? When did I say we could run through the rain and not get wet?”

“Don’t you remember? When you were talking to Daddy about his cancer, you said, ‘If God can get us through this, he can get us through anything!'”

The entire crowd stopped dead silent. I swear you couldn’t hear anything but the rain. We all stood silently. No one came or left in the next few minutes. Mom paused and thought for a moment about what she would say. Now some would laugh it off and scold her for being silly. Some might even ignore what was said. But this was a moment of affirmation in a young child’s life. A time when innocent trust can be nurtured so that it will bloom into faith.

“Honey, you are absolutely right. Let’s run through the rain. If God let’s us get wet, well maybe we just needed washing,” Mom said.

Then off they ran. We all stood watching, smiling and laughing as they darted past the cars and yes, through the puddles. They held their shopping bags over their heads just in case. They got soaked. But they were followed by a few who screamed and laughed like children all the way to their cars.

And yes, I did. I ran. I got wet. I needed washing.

Circumstances or people can take away your material possessions, they can take away your money, and they can take away your health. But no one can ever take away your precious memories…

So, don’t forget to make time and take opportunities to make memories everyday. To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under heaven.

I hope you still take the time to run through the rain.

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Be Careful Who You Listen To!

We should heed a lesson from the Bible on being careful who we listen to .
Even those that claim they are defending the faith, if done in the wrong way, or with the wrong heart, can cause more harm than good.

I don’t know about you, but I will tune out the ones who are arguing at the top of their lungs all red faced and finger pointing….even if they are doing it in the blogoshpere!

An angry man stirs up dissension, and a hot-tempered one commits many sins.
A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.

Proverbs 29:22-23

Just a thought!

Eugene Peterson on Prayer

From his book Practice Resurrection:

“Not all prayers are conscious. Not all prayers can be identified as prayers. Prayer is the language underlying and sometimes surfacing in all our language as we grow up in Christ. Most of us pray a good deal more than we are aware that we are praying. It’s not that prayer does not involve attentiveness and alertness to God; it’s only that it doesn’t require a learned skill. Trying harder doesn’t help.” (Practice Resurrection, p 266).

May you be blessed today as you practice resurrection.

Because he Shakes, we will not

I am sort of amazed at how two books, one I just finished and the other I am half-way through, have sort of intersected and complimented one another. The first is Eugene Peterson’s Practice Resurrection which I have written about a couple of other times and the second is Annie Dillard’s The Maytrees. These are two of my favorite writers and I rarely have anything but praise for either of them.

Anyhow, as part of my practice to create space to write each day (so that my skills and passion do not fade) I will be reviving a blog habit I started when I wrote for the blog Prophets, Priests and Poets called Thought for the Day. Today’s thought is from Dillard’s book The Maytrees. When I read this paragraph I was struck by the similarities between the way Lou (a female character in the book who has been deserted by her husband Toby) and I seem to have a kindred heart. She has been deserted by her husband Toby and is trying to come to grips with it each day, little by little. I, on the other hand, have been left out to dry by a church and have had to find ways each day to come to grips with that reality.

Here are Lou’s thoughts:

If she, Lou, had known how long her first half-inch beginning to let go would take–and how long her noticing and renouncing owning and her turning her habits, and beginning the slimmest self-mastery whose end was nowhere in sight–would she have begun? Would she have turned herself over like a row of salt hay? Tossed herself to loose her own chaff? It took her months to learn that she could get clean for more than a minute at a time. Consciously she looked out for resentment, self-cherishing, and envy. Over years she formed the habit of deflecting them before they dug in. But she lived through those years in any case, and now she lived from that steady ground she won. More distances opened as she opened. Not that town, national, and world life as it was going did not give her fits. (p 93)

The transitions we have to make in life are difficult and, sometimes, Lord only knows the beginnings and the ends and the means in between. I like the idea of tossing oneself to loose our own chaff. My wife said to me tonight “I know what God is doing to you right now.” She said it with more enthusiasm than I could have conjured up for such a statement, but she was claiming God’s wisdom so I listened as she replied to my “what’s that?” with a rather anticlimactic, “He’s smoothing out your rough edges!” I didn’t know I had any (*smile*).

I’m not strong enough to loose my own chaff so for now the Lord has taken hold this pile of wheat and tossed it in the air. A strong wind has blown away a lot of chaff, but I suspect for now there is more yet to be loosed.

*Sigh.*

So we are tossed–a salad, a ball, a small boat out on the rough sea. But a large part of the tossing, we learn in Ephesians, is that we might be able to stand firm and, thus, no longer be tossed about. He tosses us so that no one else can. Here’s where part of what Peterson wrote compliments this short passage from Peterson:

Christians who let themselves be seduced into taking promised shortcuts of instant gratification that bypass the way of the Cross eventually find that the so-called gratification turns into addictions, incapacitating them for mature relationships in household, workplace, and congregation. (Practice Resurrection, 252).

I remember praying the prayer. Indeed. If there are rough edges they prevented me from standing firm and balanced. If there are smooth edges they have nothing to do with my own strength. If there is a resurrection, there must be a death. So we wait, patiently, not-so-silently, while the Father moves. His movement is the firmness under our feet. Because he moves, we won’t. Because he shakes, we will not be shaken.

What is a Christian’s Purpose?

You hear a lot of talk now days about living a life of purpose.

There are books that claim to help you figure out this age old question like Rick Warren’s “Purpose Driven Life” and even ones to help your church find it’s purpose with “Purpose Driven Church”.

With all of these helps, have we really learned our ‘Purpose in Life’?

Do you know your purpose in life? Have you made that discovery?

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