Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A not-so subtle reminder of Grace

After I returned from lunch I found this note on my car.

"Nest time I we key your car Dummie | your welcome"

Really? I guess Parking one inch ON the line caused some one some grief in their day.

Or who knows maybe I  cut this person off or took the spot they wanted. I have no idea. But getting this note elicited emotions in me. (Enough to blog about it, obviously). Part of me laughed at some of the spelling mistakes and made some assumptions about the person that actually took the time to write the note (For which I'm sorry that my thoughts quickly ran to judgment). Then I was sad to think what it would take to cause a person to choose to use their energy in such a negative way. Then I was humbled. I had to stop thinking about myself as a victim and  think about the person on the other end of the situation. And so I prayed for hope in this person's day. I know my parking job was not responsible for "making" this person angry..perhaps they are feeling low because they are unemployed, going through a hard relationship. lonely, or maybe they have even hurt because other people have called them names. Or what if, this is  extreme, but he/she may be living  under emotional and/or physical abuse from others. Or it could be none of those things.

It could be as simple as this person just made a one time bad choice in the course of his/her day that hurt another person (me),  like I do a lot to other people. And this person needs grace..just like I do for the way I act..and the way I park. God..thank you for reminders like this. Either way, today I pray that this person, that myself, and that every reader of this story knows that we have a creator who loves us and who always gives us second chances when we cross the line--in any and every way. This creator, this savior, this God who loves us will never demean us, and never call us "dummie."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Time...Time to slow down.

I've not made much time to blog lately. Notice the difference: I said I didn't "make" time, not I haven't "had" time. I've had lots of time, but I've had to make the choice to use my time in different ways on many, many other things lately. I'd like to be blogging more, honestly, but I have to sacrifice the long postings for more short updates--as in 140 characters on Twitter or Facebook. It's a humbling realization but I should not be doing as much as I'd like to be doing (or think I'm capable of doing). I have a huge to-do list. And I don't say that for pity, I actually enjoy accomplishing a lot of things and usually take on more things **outside of my job description** because I want to and it feels great, I like to help others, and I feel satisfied in my accomplishments, etc...but I'm seeing that God is teaching me to be careful in all the freedom he's given me. Sometimes he lets us choose all the things we want to do and other times he's clear what he wants us to do and what he doesn't want us to do. Right now, I'm in a season where God is telling me to wait, put things off, let go, and that I have to say NO more often, schedule less, and not be a slave to technology. With that comes accomplishing less and the challenge to keep my worth and identity rooted in Jesus. My worth doesn't come from what I do, but from who God says I am. Ephesians chapters 1-3 declare this loud and clear.

It reminds me of this picture my mom sent me. Check out this car wreck.

The passenger and driver were OK, thankfully. Sometimes I think about my life and how fast I am prone to go...and I'm grateful for the ways God allows me to see the need to stop and just be. Sometimes this comes from times of pain that I have no control over, sometimes it's because I got exhausted taking on too many things, and other times it comes because my kids need me to be dad and run around the house with them.

I don't want to pass these moments by and not learn anything, As if to say, "Whew, that was a close call." Because sometimes it's a lot closer than we think and consequences to disobedience or wrong alignment of priorities way deeper and dangerous to our life that we know.  And we don't even realize what God is doing, saving us from, or how he is protecting us in the heavenly realms. Just how this driver and passenger from the the car wreck above must have felt when they took in what almost happened to them---take a look at the rest of the picture. This is crazy. This is real.

I realized God may be giving me a new word for the season. SLOW.
(but I also am connected to the word REMAIN).
John 15: 1-5
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.