Tuesday, April 22, 2014
A couple of weeks ago our second grade teacher took a day off. Her father is battling pancreatic cancer and it appears his fight is nearing its end. She wanted to be with her family. It was a Wednesday -- my usual day to TA in the classroom. I went about my business that morning sorting papers and going down my checklist. I ran to the main building to drop some things off and when I came back to the classroom the kids were all praying. This is part of their morning routine and I quietly headed to the back of my classroom to my desk so as not to distract. As the students started praying for Mrs. B and her father, the sun broke through and created the most beautiful image on the floor. Three perfect cross silhouettes illuminated on the carpet. I was touched and in awe of the timing. Two amazing things about this image: First, all the windows are plastered with crosses that the kids made in anticipation of Easter; however, only the one with three crosses projected on the floor. Second, the sun broke through. In Oregon. In April. A miracle in and of itself. Seriously, though, it touched a nerve deep within me.
I ran to grab my phone to take a picture. I wanted to show Mrs. B what had happened while the kids had prayed specifically for her and for her father. Immediately I stood in front of the image to get a straight on shot. It disappeared behind my shadow as I eclipsed the sun. Duh. I gathered my minimal intelligence and moved to the side and captured the fleeting moment. As I called the sub and the kids over to see the image it started to fade and distort with the shifting sunlight. That image has not returned since.
We all returned to our seats and resumed our day, but something about that image and the timing of it comforted my soul. It's tugged at my heart for a couple of weeks and I have reflected on the picture often. A lot has been going on in our lives these days. I know so many people that I love that have burdens and sorrows that haunt them. Regrets. Sadness. Bitterness. Choices. Selfishness. There are also those stories that I am aware of, but not personally involved in. Messes. So many messy lives. You know what's funny, though? We all have messes. It's our lives. Our stories. We all have things that we haven't done quite right. We all have human tendencies that hurt others and ourselves. Many also have the things in their lives beyond control -- accidents, cancer, a cheating spouse, job losses. It's life. It's not perfect and we are so incredibly flawed.
For those of us who have a relationship with Jesus, we more than welcome him in to clean up our messes and save us from ourselves. He is an expert at redemption and healing. God sacrificed his son that we might have that relationship with him! But what I have noticed from so many believers is a tendency to step in front of the savior and take on his role. How many of us help those in need that appeal to us -- not the unlovely and difficult, but the ones that are easy and not messy. How many of us sit back and criticize the behavior of others -- using ourselves as a measuring stick for how others should behave? How many of us gossip? Judge? Make assumptions about situations we don't understand? Are condescending, proud, smug, or cliquish? I know I've been guilty of all the above at one time or another. What I have come to realize is that those attitudes don't reflect a heart that has submitted completely to God. They certainly don't reflect what God expects of us. In the process of being self serving others aren't seeing Him. People are stumbling over me. Are they stumbling over you?
Just think....if we could humble ourselves enough to be real and transparent how much we could serve and comfort each other. The facade we put up that makes it look like we have our act together doesn't help anyone. What if we admitted our brokenness and gave credit to our savior for cleaning up our mess? What if we stepped aside and made all of this about Him and not at all about us? What if we stopped eclipsing the Son? Just wondering.....
Hope you all had a wonderful Easter!
With love and gratitude....
Tuesday, April 8, 2014
Time has flown. Yesterday my sweet little boys were...well...little. They are still sweet, but I'm struck these days by how grown up they are. Perhaps it's because this is the first birthday that they are taller than me. Sniff. Or, perhaps, it's the razor and shaving cream that have appeared in their bathrooms. Is it their independence? Their increasing wit? Is it the driver's ed manual that Brian brought home? Maybe it's the fact that I'm seeing the next four years flying towards me and realizing that their time under my roof is nearing an end. They are just growing up too darn fast!
One of my favorite pictures of the boys is of Ben wearing Marc's shoes. Marc had big feet -- they went with his big framed body. I was always amused by the boys' fascination with their dad's shoes. They would put their tiny feet in them and try to clomp around the house. Inevitably they would start to giggle and fall over. I couldn't imagine them ever growing into them. Well. Here we are. They wear the same size shoes as their dad. They aren't babies anymore. Denial is over.
I've watched as my boys have not only grown into their dad's shoes, but his heart as well. I love seeing Marc's compassion and kindness come through in my two young men. Marc would be proud of his sons. While they are definitely 14 and teenager through and through, they make their mama proud. I love hearing what they think. I like watching them reach out and befriend others. I admire their ability to respect others and their genuine interest in people. It's not a common trait in adults, much less teens. The grace with which they have handled so much in their young lives takes my breath away. For all that life has thrown them, their smiles haven't changed all that much. What an amazing testament to God's love and provision!
I'm excited to watch them continue to grow. I know they aren't finished yet. We've got a long ways to go for that. For now, though, they are off to an amazing start. We couldn't be more pleased with the men they are becoming.
Adam and Ben --
Brian and I are so proud of you and love you so much! Keep up the good work! We think you're pretty awesome guys.