February 22, 2012

The Best Thing to Treasure

Popping in from Proverbs 31 Ministries? Thanks & welcome!

Several times I’ve shared about my sweet friends from El Salvador. These two adorables here….


…and talked of their gift to me—-a smudged tiny wooden bracelet. And I think of my friend Anna. An equally beautiful Greek grandma brandishing a rolling pin and hugs while scurrying to and fro in her beloved slippers. She had oomph and wit and got married in her early teens. You see, she loved her man Pete something fierce, and no boat would carry him across the ocean without her. Lady Liberty could keep her hands off.

{on their wedding day}

Anna had a house full of children, then grandchildren, and others she took in and served and fed. Oh did she feed. Her and her slippers and picnic tables lined up in her always-warm-from-the-oven kitchen. We’d hold hands in a circle, extending into the living room, and give grace. And she’d give double heapings of adoration and eggplant parm while padding around in her much-loved slippers.

Until one day a new guest in her home commented how lovely those cherished slippers were. Now, Anna and her man left the turquoise shores of Greece for the winter white of Maine. On cold wood floors, slippers are a nicety.

But not a treasure. Not to Anna at least. I watched as this gray-haired Yaya removed her slippers. The bustling house full of over 30 hungry creatures faded into the blazing warmth of the fire place. Or was it Anna’s selflessness burning a hole into my heart? She slipped her guest’s shoes off; fitted her slippers on their feet. I may have heard Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo.

Even this first-time guest sensed what we seasoned company knew. Anna’s slippers were special. But Anna wouldn’t take no for an answer. For to her, these slippers weren’t the treasure; but they told of The Treasure. And isn’t He worth letting possessions go and having chilly toes for?

I want a love like Anna’s. To follow my Man across the world, should that be where He leads. And invite others into our home, life, heart. Serve them and feed them with the richest of fare. Warm them by my passion for the Word. And give. Oh to give what I can’t keep in the long run anyhow.

We’ve all got something that can be used to tell of our greatest Tresure. I missed my chance with my South African bracelet. But here’s the grace: I’ve had other chances. And will have more. I wonder, would you share how you let go of a treasure in order to share The Treasure please? Sure would be good to hear and be encouraged.

I’d love to share with you the honor of sponsoring a kiddo or two from Compassion International? Like my friends in the photos. Click here…  If you do, will you please tell us about them? You’ll be entered to win this lovely bracelet.

{pictures from El Salvador below} {{the kid’s precious gift}

{bringing their family rice, soap and other needs}

{their home is under the tarp}

{inside their grandmother’s home}

{they loved taking pictures with my camera!}

{God’s treaures}

xoxo,
Sam

January 31, 2012

A Year of Yes!

No, I am too shy to go to that small group I don’t know anyone.

No, that country is so far away, I’ll skip this missions trip.
No, I gained weight since I last saw them. I’ll just skip that reunion.
No, not hanging with them. I’m still single and feel like a loser.
No, my writing is inadequate. I won’t submit to a publisher.

No No No

Tearing the hole wider until isolation and doubt and fear swallowed me whole. Some legitimate concerns hold me back. Others? Nothing but weights anchoring me to a stagnant present and future.

Dismal? Yes. Hence my desire for change. I’m saying no, no more, in order to say Yes.

Yes, Lord, I will take Your hand
Take You at Your Word
Take Your promises

Take a chance on life, love, hope. Because years of saying “no” have led me nowhere.

This is my year of saying Yes. Yes, I am a bit nervous. Yes, I’ll be pushed beyond my boundaries, my fears, my laziness. But I know there are things I want to say yes to in the future that will require me saying yes in the present.

Yes, I will go around the world on missions with you Lord.
Yes, I will publish my book with you Publishing House.
Yes, I will be your wife Mr. Husband-to-be

I’ll be posting once a week of something I said Yes to, that for one reason or another I would have said No to. And by the end of the year, I hope to have a new revelation of the greatness of God and a tale of adventure with the best person I’ve ever said yes to, Jesus.

Will you join me in saying Yes?

xoxo,
Sam

January 27, 2012

One Good Man

“I see Mercy’s dating you,” she says as if it’s common to say such things. As if I knew this fact. {I didn’t.}

True, there have been glints of Mercy hanging around: softer heart, gentler words. But dating? One must tread lightly; such things could lead to a lifetime commitment.

A laugh tries to move past her statement, but it sticks. Though she and I are editing 10’s of 100’s of 1000’s of so many words during our meeting, hers won’t go away. Days after, they trail me and greet me at my front door and bid me good morning.

There’s this list I etched in the early spring of life. Qualities of a dreamed of man-husband. Some sweet, most naive, like flowers that bloom too early, before the frost has been chased away till winter. Give him blue eyes, tall legs, guitar fingers and a fondness for snow, Lord. And a passion for You, a heart for missions, goofy humor, and desire to have a house full of children . And swirl in this and that and the list went off the margins.

Now? In the summer of my time, the list blooms with  just one characteristic sure to weather all seasons: good.

Because surely goodness and mercy walk hand-n-hand. Dream of giving love and money and peace. Care for the least and the more than enough and everyone in between. Ride the wave of justice to set captives free. Walk humbly with God.

Surely, goodness loves Mercy. This Mercy dating me, asking for my hand, my heart, my life.

I can’t help but think: if this is what the Lord requires of a man… must I need more?

Oh sure, my heart still leans toward many of those things on my adolescent list. I’ll gladly lay them down though for that greater characteristic. Then again, many of them are embedded in good. So, I’ll whittle my list down to that one thing: good. Well, perhaps there’s one more quality I’d want a husband to have: a desire for a good wife.

And so, I’m accepting Mercy’s hand as I wait for one good man.

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. ~Micah 6:8

 

 

xoxo,
Sam

January 25, 2012

Did You Hear That?

There’s this place of reverence within me. I feel it instinctively, as if born to lean toward it. Toward His ways, His voice. And sometimes I do. Other times I am too full of pride. Too many hurts rattle in my mind. I don’t hear a thing the Lord says. Much like when I tip-toed on pins and needles around our accountants during an annual audit.

His lips moved, but words didn’t compute. I heard every other syllable but didn’t listen. I couldn’t let go of deferred revenues, accruals, and doubts that I’d chopped my work’s finances to bits. He said something worthy of a hearty laugh, but I couldn’t tell you what. I remedied with a polite smile.

But no. He’s trained to catch what’s missing; he’s an accountant after all. The spotlight glared hotly. “You don’t know what I said, do you?”

“Not a clue,” my red hot cheeks tattled on me. I’m such a chump. Graciously he repeated and assured me all was well with the audit. I let go of the spreadsheets and receipts cramming out my thoughts, and listened.

Another inquisitive gentleman seeks to know if I’m listening to Him. Infinitely more vital are His voice and words. They’re the melodies to which life’s dance is set. The kindling that feeds our marrow’s fire. Sweet honey to our soul’s hive.

We miss a beat when we’re not fully engaged listening. Grow cold. Sour.

Jesus was “all ear” to the Father. This is true prayer: being all ear for God. ~Henri Nouwen

Half-listening ears beget half-lived lives. Lives that are meant to shine the light of Christ. And give the same grace we receive from the cross.

If only I had been all ears the dinner I pushed my lima beans aside. I might have served grace. If only I had turned down the voice of pride, and tuned in to the voice of humility.

At times I wonder what damage I might have done. And I pray. Oh so humbly do I pray for the Lord to mend any wounds I caused or any marring of His Name I did.

And I know, there is grace for her, for me, for you. For the taking.

Accepting this lavish grace begins with knowing we need it. Recognizing that spot of pride that deafens us to His voice of humility. Then listening, and responding, to the truth. That when we go low, He lifts us high. And yes, that this wild grace is ours to wash in each and every time we move the lima beans aside.


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xoxo,
Sam