Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stripped or Whitewashed

I have this really awesome wooden cart that I keep my herb garden on. It's been moved several times and beaten up by our crazy Oklahoma weather. It's got a lot of sentimental value so I don't want to just get rid of it, but it's been kind of an eye sore. I decided that I would strip the stain off and paint it. Along with this wood cart I also have a wooden rocking chair. It really needed a good paint job as well.

This morning I decided to take advantage of the cloudy skies and work on these pieces while it was cool. I decided that the chair really wasn't worth the effort of stripping the old paint off. My plan was to just paint over the chips and dirt with a couple coats of white paint and it would be good as new. I'm not the most detailed person in the world and I'm for sure not a perfectionist. I have 4 small children I have to take care of and what's the big deal? After all it's going to be outside and if it starts chipping, well I'll just paint it again....so goes my thought process. The cart, on the other hand was a little bit more important to me so I really wanted to take the time and do the job right. As I was painting the chair I began to think about the way God handles His children. He really does take the extra time to do the job right. Some of us have been beaten down by this world, battered by our circumstances. We've been chipped away at by people, by our own mistakes. Some look a lot like my old battered cart. They do not know the love of a Father who shelters, and protects them. Some come to know Father after they've been worn down and are in disrepair. But God is so faithful with us. He takes the time, the consideration, the effort to strip away all the things that come between us and Him. He loving removes layer after layer of our tough outer exterior. This process can take years but He's not daunted by the task. He never considers putting it off til later. He strips us and covers us in His mercy. He washes us in His righteousness and makes us like new.....
I was rejoicing in these thoughts as I'm halfheartedly slapping white paint on my rocking chair. Interesting how some try to do the same to themselves. Our natural inclination seems to be to cover ourselves up. We try to hide ourselves under a white washed idea of what everyone wants us to be. Of what religion and doctrine tell us to be. We paste fake smiles on and tell everyone we're fine. But the truth is we're like my chair. You see after I painted my chair a friend stopped by to pick up something and I got distracted. I left my chair in the middle of my yard, which would have been fine had it not rained. Poured. Down. Rain. I spent 2 solid hours painting this chair and after the rain. It looked exactly the way it did when I started. Filthy and chipped. The layers of white paint didn't change the chair one bit.
I'm so thankful for a Master Craftsman. He sees our potential. He sees us shiny and new. No matter how we try to hide under our layers, He sees and He loves.

Ephesians 3:14
My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you'll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ's love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

Dandelion Wisdom

We just moved to a new house and I decided I had better start working on the backyard. It's full of these huge, ugly weeds. They have thorns and are really difficult to pull up.
As I'm huffing and puffing and yanking and tugging I began to consider what it must be like for Father God trying to yank weeds out of my own heart. "Let it be easier then this Lord," I prayed. I realized that the weeds in our life are very similar to the weeds in my yard. Some were small, easy to pull out. Some were clustered together like they were clinging to each other. In one corner all the grass had been chocked out and only big ugly dandelions remained. I know there are things in my life that need adjusting and changed. My heart is still full of weeds. That's OK, weeds happen. I pray my heart will be fertile soil and the weeds don't take root. I'm so thankful for the Master Gardener. He's so gentle.

He has a beautiful vision of what His garden can be. He doesn't see the messy weeds, the dry and brittle grass, or even the poison ivy. He sees the flowers, the fruit, the peaceful fountain. He tends my heart with a kind, knowing hand. The pruning sometimes hurts but I trust He knows what He's doing, that He sees the bigger picture, and only wants the best for me.
All this runs through my mind as I'm sweating and laboring away. After a while I tire and give up until another day. How glad I am that He never gives up, He never tires of tending for the ones He loves.

Mark 4:
16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”