Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'm Sure I'll Laugh About This One Day

It's the day before Thanksgiving and I have about a gazillion things on my list to get done before I can even start cooking tomorrow but I just had to take some time and blog.

This morning, as usual, I awoke to my two boys banging around in their room with toys. And, of course, I stuck my head under my pillow and covered myself up even deep under the covers. I hear doors up and close, the not so soft sound of pitter patter up and down the hall. But, hey, no one was screaming. I lay in bed a while longer before frantically, my daughter Lydia runs into my room saying, "Momma the boys let Ginger out and she ate the turkey!" I shoot out of my bed, now wide awake. I scream, "WHAT?!" and run, frantically down the stairs. What do I find there? My 140 pound St. Bernarnd, Ginger, stuffing her face with MY, used to be, 20 pound turkey.

*sigh* Yeah. *sigh*

Let me back up. I forgot to put the turkey in the fridge to thaw a couple of days ago. So yesterday, when I remember that it takes forever for frozen turkeys to thaw.  I realized it was too late to let it sit in the fridge until Thanksgiving. So I pulled it out to thaw in the sink. It was still covered in plastic and netting and inside two Target sacks so I thought it was safe.

Ginger sleeps in Lydia's room. It's Lydia's job in the morning to let her out to go potty. Occasionally one of the boys will open Lydia's door and let her out and she usually gets into some kind of mischief so it's very important for Lydia to get up straight away and let her outside. The boys also know they are supposed to stay in their room after they wake up and play quietly with toys until the rest of us get up. That's ideally how it's supposed to work around here. Obviously, that's not what happened today. The boys opened Lydia's door. Ginger ran out and Lydia covered her head with the pillow and snuggled deeper into her covers. Like mother, like daughter eh? Ginger stumbles upon the trash first and then discovers the somewhat thawed turkey in the sink and helps herself. It's pretty remarkable that she was able to lift a frozen 20 lb turkey out of my sink. By the time I stumbled down the stairs it looked like a crime scene in my kitchen. If I hadn't been so livid I would have thought to take a picture because I know someday I'll probably laugh over the scene. Turkey blood and guts all over my white tile and splattered over the cabinets and baseboards.

So what did I do? I calmly let Ginger out. Told the kids, in no uncertain terms to get back in their beds, and went back to my room and screamed like a crazy person into my pillow. Then I called my husband and told him all about it swearing that this was the last straw. Ginger had to go. Images of past holiday sitcoms started running through my mind. I saw myself and my three kids driving all over town searching for the last Thanksgiving turkey, pushing over little old ladies to get to a measly 5 pound turkey that I would some how have to make stretch to feed everyone. I quickly jump up, throw on some clothes, rush around to get the kids dressed and fed, and the turkey mess cleaned up. We get in the car and I rush back to Target all the while, berating my children for, "disobeying and leaving your room" and for, "not getting out of bed to let Ginger out." Conveniently leaving out that I, too stayed in bed and that if I had remembered to put the turkey in the fridge in the first place none of it would have happened either. *sigh* Once we get in the car Lydia's Awana's CD starts up. Too upset to turn it off I let it play. It keeps the kids quiet after all.

About 3 minutes into the drive the story goes like this, 3 children were getting a gift for their teacher. They just found the perfect lamp at a garage sale and went back to their club house to paint it. A fourth friend shows up and breaks it accidentally. In my head, I saw this whole scenario of the other three children shouting at their friend for ruining all their hard work and being so thoughtless and inconsiderate. I was prepared to side with them. I figured there would probably be some lesson about not being so careless with other peoples things. But no. The three children did not get up set with their friend. In fact they told her it was OK because it was just an accident. The children were calm and rational. There was no shouting or berating. Then one little girl said, "I know what to do. We should pray and ask God to help us." And so they did.

*Gulp* And then I felt like a complete idiot. *sigh* I realized I was acting like a spoiled, immature, brat, throwing a fit over a situation that was really no ones fault. Yes it was an expensive piece of meat. Yes there were things we could have all done differently. But I just got schooled by a bunch of first graders on my bad attitude.

I had to repent to my children and to God. And of course they all forgave me. And of course we got to Target and there were still plenty of turkeys. And the truth is I needed to go anyway to get a few last minute things. And I'm sure that if I let the turkey sit in warm water it will be thawed out by tomorrow to cook....hopefully! But if it's not, it won't be the end of the world. Nothing is worth loosing your dignity, and hurting other people over.

A tough, and slightly embarrassing lesson for me to learn. I'm sure this will all be funny someday. Hopefully it will be tomorrow as we all sit down to eat our Thanksgiving meal.

Blessings to you all this holiday season. Cherish this time. I know I will be.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

No, It's Not Ok

If you've never read this blog before you may want to back up a bit to get to know me and what I'm about because I gotta just say this. I. Love. Him. My God. My Savior. My Pappa. My Breath. My Life. My Everything. I just love Him and sometimes I just gotta say it.

And the truth is, I don't always feel that way. I mean, I always mean to love Him but some days I get distracted and the love "feelings" just don't overwhelm me. And that's just not OK. It really isn't. When I stop and let Him wash over me. His love. His joy. His peace. I'm full. That's how it's supposed to be every day. All the time.

I'm overwhelmed by the moment. Letting the emotions of my soul enjoy what my spirit gets to partake in all the time. Just to be near Him. Just to know Him. It's what I live for.

If this doesn't describe you, well, it's not OK. Not because I'm judgmental and everyone should be like me but because the more you seek Him the more you find Him. And that moment when you do. When you find a new part of Him you never knew before. It's just so wonderful. Like all the empty broken places of your heart and soul come together and you are who He created you to be. And that's how it's supposed to be all the time.

I know we get busy. We have priorities. Children. Work. Family. Commitments. But if you are weary and tired. If you are stressed. If you are confused. Sick. Irritable. Distracted. Sad. Depressed. Lonely. Bitter. Angery. Selfish. Well. It's just not OK. There's no excuse. Not when all you have to do is stop. Just for a moment and welcome Him in. Sometimes that looks like a deep breath. Sometimes that looks like spending some time in the Word. Sometimes it's letting Him give you a new perspective. Sometimes that's dancing wildly in your living room to music created just for Him. I'm just sick of hearing, "Oh well, He knows what your life is like. He understands. It's OK." Because it's not. He does know and understand. But He's called you to something greater. To something higher. To something more wonderful then you could have ever imagined. And you don't get there by putting Him last. It's not OK to neglect your relationship with Him. It's not OK to go days with out seeking Him. It's not OK to feel like you just haven't been good enough to talk to Him with out spending an hour repenting. He says "Come." Come just as you are. Be with Him. Because anything less is just not OK. And if you don't have friend in your life telling you that...get one.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Lost in Translation

Recently, I have discovered a free online Interlinear Bible (Hebrew, Greek, and English) and I'm in heaven...actually...kind of literally! One thing I've learned is, A LOT is lost in translation. I mean, a lot. There are so many awesome nuggets of wisdom, truth, emotion, and inspiration that the English language just can not contain. I've been dissecting the book of John with my D-Group (discipleship group), delving in a chapter a week. This past week was chapter 4 and what I found was just too good not to share with all of you. This may end up being my longest, rambling post yet but just bare with me. I encourage you to read the chapter in it's entirety because I'm going to skip a few verses here and there. Which, if you're like me, means you have to make time to read the whole book. (Am I the only one like that??) Praying the Word comes alive for you like it has me this past week.

Chapter 4 of John is mostly about the Samaritan woman at the well. and that's mostly what this post will be about. It starts off in verse 5 saying Jesus came to a city of Samaria called Sychar, near Jacob's well. Being about 6 pm Jesus was weary and set by the well. Take note of that word, "weary" I'll come back to it.

I'm probably going to say the word, "interesting" in this post a gazillion times but I really have no other word to describe how, well, interesting this whole chapter has been. The first time I thought it was when I discovered what the name "Sychar" means. It literally means, "drunken." Huh. Really? There was a town that actually means drunken? Isn't it interesting that of all places to use an analogy about drinking living water Jesus stopped by a town called Drunken? And that of all places, He sat at a well and asked a woman, from the city of Drunken for, of all things, a drink? And then teaches and eventually brings eternal life to most of the Drunken town with an analogy about drinking. Living water, that is.

So Jesus is weary and seeing a woman coming to draw water (Ha! Like He didn't know she would be coming) He asks her for a drink. He didn't ask her for just any drink. The word "drink" used in verse 7 means, "to drink figuratively, to receive into the soul what serves to refresh or strengthen it into life eternal." It's actually the same word used in John 7:37- "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink." Why would Jesus ask a Samaritan woman from a Drunken city for an eternal life kind of drink? No wonder the Samaritan woman said, and I'm paraphrasing, "Why are you asking me? You're a Jew, I'm a Samaritan, what do I know about the eternal life kind of drink?"

Now if this Man had been any other Jew, well for starters, he wouldn't have asked for a drink because we all know Jews didn't talk to Samaritans, but say he was just some other Samaritan. How would this conversation have gone down? Would she have said, "Sure I'll get you a drink, even though I've been working all day and have to haul up my own water and then carry it (most likely on her head, I mean hello) all the way back down into town." From verse 20 we know she's on a mountain. Or would she have been a little less sarcastic and just have ignored him or told him no or even would she have just gotten him a drink? I didn't go do a ton of research on all the customs of the day so I don't know what she would have said. My point is, for her, this is just another day in the life. She probably would never, in a million years, considered asking what Jesus suggested. He says to her in verse 10, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

On a side note. Do you remember the day He came into your life? Was it like hers and so many others He encountered while He walked this earth? Was it out of the complete blue? One day you're just getting water the next day, BAM He's saving you from a pit of despair you never thought you'd be free from or maybe never even knew you were in. It's a beautiful thing, to encounter Him. We see it so often. But how different her's is from Nathan's. You can read about his encounter here.

So she makes it clear to everyone reading the story thousands of years later that she really didn't get it. Like, at all. She says to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You..."

Let me stop here and expound on that word, "well." It has different meanings throughout this chapter. In verse 6 (describing where they are) and 14 (when Jesus is speaking) the word "well" literally means "a well, or a fountain fed by a spring of water." But when she uses the word in verses 11 and 12 it means, "the pit of the abyss." She saw the pit, not the living water. She saw the condition of her life not what He was offering her. How could He draw the living water out of that? It's all she had ever known. It's all her forefathers had ever known. And she didn't get that He was the Messiah yet. She's honestly a little slow on the uptake but I love that because aren't we all at times? He doesn't give up on her. Instead, He reiterates in verse 13, "Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again." Hmm. This water and anything else y'all been drinking up in the city of Drunken.

Still not realizing who she's talking to she says in verse 15, "Sir," not Messiah or Savior or anything, else because in her mind He's still this crazy Jew who's actually talking to a Samaritan, "give me this water, so I will not be thirsty" and have to climb all the way up this blasted mountain everyday and carry a giant water pot on my head all the way back down. OK, OK I paraphrased that last bit. It's just very obvious that she still does not get what Jesus is talking about. It's not really liquid water. But that's OK. If all else fails all He has to do is tell her something about herself that she already knows but knows He doesn't know, thereby a miracle for Him to know and be able to tell her. Make sense?

It's clear she doesn't get the analogy but it's really probably for all of our benefit that He used it anyway. This is that part where they have the whole, "you're not married but have been married five times but you're living with a man you're not married to" conversation. It's really a beautiful thing that of all people, He used her to save an entire city. But that's who He is and what He's about so it's not surprising at all.

He tells her all about herself but does she get it? Mmm not quite, but she's getting warmer. Verse 19, again with the Sir, "I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Aaaaa bitter much? First of all what the heck does that have to do with anything? I mean really, that is so besides the point. But you know how we get when the Holy Spirit comes and convicts us. That moment the Light shines into a hidden part of our soul that was hidden for a reason, because it was ugly! We, or I guess I should say, I tend to squirm a bit. I sometimes get a little uncomfortable and try and change the subject to get that Light off myself and remind Him of all the wrongs done to me! After all she says, "Our fathers have worshiped here for generations. It's Jacob's well for crying out loud. He built it, drank from it, and fed his cattle from it but it's not good enough for you people who say we have to worship in Jerusalem or we can't worship at all." OK she, practically says that.

This is where it starts to get really good. Jesus cuts straight to the heart of the matter and again I feel like His words aren't just for her. They are for us: "Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth."

Alright here's what I think. She probably looked at Him with an extremely perplexed expression, not unlike many Jesus spoke to I'm sure. Before I move on I'd like to point out that Jesus knew she didn't know. I mean He even says it, "You worship what you do not know." She doesn't know anything about worshiping God and even after conversing WITH God she still didn't get it. But that's not the point. The Jews got salvation but only after thousands of years of having it pounded into their heads and many still missed it. But that's not the point either. It's not about where, whether on the mountain, in Jerusalem, or on a house or with a mouse or in a box in red socks. An hour is coming, and now is. All. The. Time. When the true worshipers will worship in spirit and truth. That part was for me and you. But back to her.

Does she get it? And by "It" I mean does she see HIM? Does she perceive He is her's? Does her soul wake up and see that He sees her. All that she is? All that she was created to be? Does she realize who she is talking to like He said way back in verse 10? *sigh* Sadly, no. She does not. Again, she tells Him what she knows. Which is nothing. At all. It's almost painful to see. After those beautiful words tumble from His beautiful lips she says, like an eager student to prove she's not a ding bat, "I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ; when that one comes He will declare all things to us." Oh precious child. How she is loved! For He says, "I who speak to you am He." Please know I am not judging this woman. I am this woman. Have been this woman. Except for the five husbands thing, I know what it is like to see and not perceive. To hear but not understand. I know what it is to be loved by Him despite my idiocy.

"I who speak to you am He." At this point the disciples walk up and are amazed that He's speaking to her, which amazes me. I mean, hasn't He done enough amazing things by now to just trust in every single move He makes and every word He speaks without wondering what the heck He's doing and why and doesn't He know He's not supposed to do it? At least they've learned by now to keep their mouths shut (vrs 27). So she leaves. And maybe that's why He seems to me to be a little perturbed with His disciples. I wish I could have been there. I wish I could have seen exactly what happened. She leaves her pot too. He just told her who He is. And it's clear she still doesn't get it because later she tells the men in Drunken to come see a man who told her all the things that she has ever done and "this is not the Christ, is it?" Is it?

In my heart I believe that her heart must have been doing some crazy flip flops. Something had to have happened in her heart for her to be able to convince all those men to climb up that mountain. She must have been beautiful so that probably helped, but still. It was a mountain that they had to climb and even Jesus was weary from climbing it and He was probably climbing down.

"Meanwhile." Love that word here. It's like watching a movie right? Or a TV show. Two perspectives at once. She's talking to all the men and meanwhile the disciples were urging Jesus to eat something. And this next bit made my heart ache to the point I had to take a break from studying it. If you're still reading this I congratulate you and thank you. Please bare with me a bit longer.

In verse 32 Jesus does His thing, ya know, confusing the disciples and often all of us (Ha!) with riddles. "I have food to eat that you do not know about." Food. What might have appeared to be an exhausting, exasperating, in all probability pointless conversation with someone was actually, according to the Hebrew translation of that word "food," the soul's food, either which refreshes the soul, or nourishes and supports it. It's the same word used in John 6:55, "For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink." And John 6:27, "Do not work for that which perishes but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you , for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." Again, the same Hebrew word for, "eating" used in  Romans 14:17, " for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." And the same as in 2 Cor. 9:10, " Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness."

This soul nourishing food is Jesus. It comes from Jesus. And the Father. And the Holy Spirit. It's supplied by Him, cultivated in us by Him and the harvest, in turn, is His food. His food was to do the Father's will, which was to accomplish His work. Which was to save all of us. So who are we to say, "There is yet four months to harvest" (vrs 35). For behold, "lift up your eyes" the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing. Say, as the men from Samaria, "we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world" (vrs 42).