Monday, July 11, 2011

Metamorphosis

My daughter Taylor has served as a counselor at our church's middle school camp for two years now. This year she came back from camp a changed person. Taylor was already a believer, but her priorities were not always in line with God's best for her. She went to camp as a counselor and the Wonderful Counselor pulled at her heart. She responded. I have been able to watch the magnificent grace flow. I have even had the blessing of receiving some of the grace as well.

I have been privileged to hear about what God is showing her as she reads His Word and seeks His face. I love that sound of iron sharpening iron. Nothing gets me more excited than talking about the majesty and mercy of God with a fellow believer. That the fellow believer is my daughter only makes it that much more of a celebration.

My prayer has always been that my children would surpass me in faith and relationship with God. Seeing the beginning of that prayer's answer is like watching a butterfly break out of the cocoon. I always knew the necessary elements were there. But, as with the cocoon, a breaking has to occur. And the breaking must be the work of the one on the inside wanting to be free. If I had punctured the cocoon for her, her wings would never be strong enough to fly. It takes pushing on that shell to get the blood to flow into the wings and strengthen them into what they were created to do. All that struggle can be difficult to watch, but when the butterfly emerges. . . . It is worth the wait.

"For I am about to do something new. See, I have 
already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway
through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the 
dry wasteland."
Isaiah 43:19

Thank you Father, for newness of life that comes not only at salvation, but with every day You grant me to breathe. You never let go. You are always at work. You are continually making me and others new.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Towing the Line

There is something you should know about me. I am not all that graceful. I am not talking about giving grace to people (though I struggle with that too!). I am talking moving around the room without bumping my knee or hitting my funny bone. I wouldn't say I am a klutz, but I do avoid the step class when I work out at the Y.

That said, it shouldn't be shocking that when I decided to play tag with my class of four year olds I wound up getting hurt. The verse about pride coming before a fall comes to mind. I was getting a little cocky when I decided to juke the little blonde boy who was about to tag me. That's right, this 45 year old mom thought she still had it! My smooth move didn't turn out like I planned and KABOOM! My big toe collided with a slide and I went sailing through the air. It must have been quite a sight because all my loving co-workers laughed pretty hard.

It seems that I may or may not have broken my toe. Most people who have seen it say, "Oh, you broke your toe!" But since I haven't had it x-rayed, I hesitate to make that diagnosis. I just know that when it happened it really hurt and within an hour I could barely put any weight on it.

As I wobbled out to my car everyone who saw me asked if I was hurt. It was that bad. And it got me to thinking how much I use my toes and never think about it. But when there is intense pain even something so simple as walking becomes difficult. It was as if my whole body could only feel my toe and react to my toe. Everything became about caring for that big toe. I thought about this verse:

"There should be no division in the body,
but its parts should have equal concern
for each other. If one part suffers,
every part suffers with it; if one part
is honored, every part rejoices with it."
1 Corinthians 12:25-26

When I am hurt and in intense pain, I need the rest the body to cover the difference. My other toes and ankle and my other leg were all forced to be stronger and take on more responsibility because my hurt toe couldn't function like a healthy toe.

If I am in a place of great pain and hurt on the inside, it is no time to leave the body of Christ. It is time to allow my church family to care for me. I know from personal experience that the presence and prayers of other believers makes a big impact.

And if the trial is intense and emotionally draining, then it may be a time to take a break from serving and allow some time for healing in my own life. It was God who came up with the idea of rest. He thought it was so important for me that He gave me one day out of every seven. Then the One who never tires and never sleeps, rested as an example for me. And if it is good enough for God, then it is good enough for this child of His.

I remember a time when I had to say no to serving at church. It was difficult for me to let go because so much of who I was was defined by what I did. If I wasn't leading/teaching, then who was I? The Father used that time of recovery on the sidelines to teach me that I am more than what I do. I am valuable to God even when I am broken and have to rest and recover. My identity is found in who He is and what He says about me.

"You are precious and honored in my sight, and I love you."
Isaiah 43:4

Thank you, Father, that you have place me in a church that does care for me and my soul like You do. Thank you for rest and the refreshing and renewal You bring. Thank you for teaching me that I am valuable because You created me and redeemed me.