Monday, January 28, 2013

Red Neck Grocery Shopping...

...or "Why I Shouldn't Buy Bras at the Same Store I Purchase Food"

I ran in to WalMart for a quick trip. I wanted to get my hair trimmed in the salon.  Once inside the store, I was told it would be a 45 minute wait so I decided to head home.  But while I was there, why not be efficient and pick up some Diet Coke?  Since I only had  one item to buy I didn't bother with a cart.  If I take a cart during these escapades I end up spending a small fortune; so in an effort to be frugal I abstained.

I was in a hurry so I took the diagonal short cut through Ladies clothing.  I passed a cute skirt (black a-line with a splashy white rose print) that was inexpensive.  I did a quick check and the size and the price were right so I took the hangar off the rack and proceeded towards the grocery section with my spontaneous acquisition.

A few rows later I saw some tights that might look good with the skirt but there were none in the right color or pattern so I refrained, proud of my budget discipline.  I then continued forward to the food, which was why I entered the store in the first place.  Because of some people standing in the aisle on my route, I had to detour.  I then found myself in the lingerie section.  In desperate need of bras and remembering that I'd found an inexpensive, utilitarian model a few months ago, I scanned the racks looking for the proper size that would support my rack.  I found it, grabbed it, and then speedily walked towards the food.  I was congratulating myself on my quick progress through the store. 

I grabbed my intended purchase (Diet Coke) and headed towards the checkout line purchases in hand, as I had wisely forgone a cart.  Again, due to shoppers, I was forced to take an especially circuitous route, this time through the grocery aisles.  Diet Coke and skirt weighed down my right hand at my side, while in my left was the new brassiere, moving in cadence with my step.  Back and forth, up and down the double-barrelled slingshot swung and bounced with abandon.  My speed and tempo was akin to a running back, dodging shoppers right and left, the checkout line my only goal.  The over-the-should-boulder-holder in hand, it brushed against a few shoppers.  Only when the ample, empty cups nearly collected a few canned goods off a shelf did I realize I had been swinging a bra all the way through WalMart!

Next time, I get a cart.

PS - In the "it could have been worse category" I had originally been eyeing up a (tasteful) black lace model but decided to be practical and bought the beige model instead.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Checkout Line

I stand expectantly
In the checkout line
Waiting for my turn to come;
Biding my time. 

Many others have gone ahead of me
They waited for their turns.
I understand their places in front
They previously had earned. 

But some have come from behind
And pushed me aside.
The jumped the line ahead of me
My good manners they did deride. 

I wonder should I join them,
Taking others’ places?
Ignoring their positions?
Ignoring their pained, hurt faces? 

I still hold my place
Respecting others’ stations.
I accept my circumstance
But I’ve become impatient. 
My legs are weak, my feat are numb
My spot in line has not moved.
I've worked so hard, I've waited long
But my place has not improved.

I worry that when I get to the front,
Where the shelves were once so plenty
My turn will come and I will find
The shelves are all now empty.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Waiting for Christmas

Remember as a child, waiting for Christmas to come?  We were distracted and occupied by the excitement of Halloween, then the preparations for Thanksgiving.  But after the turkey was eaten and the leftovers wrapped and packed away, Christmas and all it's trappings were dead in our sights!

The days on the calendar were checked off.  As each block was counted down, the pile of gifts stacked  up proportionally.  Every day one more house on the block was bedecked in lights and garland.

The wait was excruciating.  Curiosity was painful; the anticipation was like an electric current running throughout our bodies, making us tense and excited.  Trying to complete schoolwork was next to impossible, distracted by the thoughts of what was in all those decorated boxes.  The closer Christmas came the worse it got with the anxiety and "what-ifs" and "what-if-nots" stampeding through our emotions.

I've been waiting for "Christmas" to come for a long time.  Earlier in my life, I was distracted by work and activities that kept my mind, body and emotions busy.  But they no longer work.  I'll be 52 in a few months, all the major "holidays" behind me.  The only one looming is "Christmas".  Only this "Christmas" doesn't have a specific date on the calendar on which I can pinpoint being able to open my gift.  There's no way to countdown.  Every day is painful, as I look for signs that "Christmas" is coming.  I don't know if it ever will come for me.

My pain is compounded by the fact most all of my friends have already had their celebrations.  Now their children are enjoying their holidays, as the parents look on sharing in their joy and remembering their  own "Christmas".  I'm still anxiously waiting, wondering if there is a gift for me or am I not supposed to ever celebrate my own "Christmas".  I've had a gift waiting for someone, wrapped and ready; but no one seems to want it.

Every moment I'm on edge - curious, wondering if and when...and why.  At this age, after so long a wait, it's mostly "why?".  My prayers usually consist of two words - my heart not able to voice anything else but "Why?" and "Please!"  I repeat them over and over again, almost like a mantra.  Only this mantra does not bring comfort or peace.

Is this how Jesus feels - the gift He has to offer so many don't notice or outright reject?  Is this what it means to share in His suffering?

To climb out of this vat of self-pity I need to remind myself of the first Christmas 2000 years ago, when the King of Kings lowered himself and volunteered for a messy human birth followed by a messy human life, ending with a humiliating death reserved for criminals, not innocent Kings.  I need to remind myself that though I do not know the date or time or even if "Christmas" will come, the King of Kings knows the plan He has for me.  His plan ends with a great celebration that surpasses any Christmas that we can plan on earth. 

I wait with electric anticipation.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Miracle Man

Thinking about Jesus' miracles, I realize He didn't perform His miracles to say "Hey, look at what I can do!"  He didn't perform His miracles to say "Hey, you can't do this!"  He performed His miracles to say "You can't do this, so let me do it for you.  Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest."

Monday, January 14, 2013

Remember Me - A Psalm and a Prayer

The sound of my heartbeats
   echo in my empty soul;
Their percussive waves
   shake my being like aftershocks;
A continual reminder of it's desolate state.

Their voice mocks me
"No one wants you."
"There is no one for you"
No one.

I cry out ot my God,"Help me.
Stop the noise,
Fill the void."

But no sound comes back.
My pleas are sucked in to the vacuum of space.
Heaven does not answer me.

So many around me are crying out the same prayer.
The same prayer I've prayed for myself, I've prayed for them.
You hear their prayers.  You hear my prayers for them.

You answer.
You remember them.

Remember me, now.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Thirty One Days of Joy - Days 1-7

A friend invited me to participate in a Facebook Event, "31 Days of Joy" where participants posted daily throughout the month of January different thoughts on joy.  God has been blessing me with a lot of insight on joy, a topic on which I am woefully inexperienced.  Allow me to share some of these thoughts with you here:

Day 1:  "For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere."  Ps 84:10a

Joy is not dependent on my physical circumstances but on the condition of my spirit.  As long as I am in the secure confines of His walled courts, I know my eternal soul is safe.  It is the condition of my eternal spirit that determines the eternal condition of my mind, body and heart.

Day 2:  Joy through tears.  Interesting concept that I began to understand when I listened to Page CXVI sing their version of "I've got that joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart..."  Normally a rousing chorus, they sing it as a dirge.  Joy is possible through tears when you define joy as Webster's 7th Collegiate Dictionary does - "the prospect of possessing what one desires".  Because of Jesus, believers have the prospect- the good outlook - the sure hope of receiving our hearts desire - eternity with Him.

Day 3:  "Joyful, joyful we adore Thee, God of glory, Lord of love"
Hearing this song does NOT bring me joy.  It just musically expresses what God, in His great mercy placed in my heart.  My heart unfolds "like flowers before Thee, opening to the sun above".

Day 4:  I read a Tweet by Paul Tripp - "When you work to convince yourself that you're okay, you tell yourself that you don't need the grace that is your only hope."  Knowing that the Graceful God, who is my only hope, is also very merciful when I try to tell myself I'm okay.

Day 5:  Joy immeasurable.  This idea brings to mind a picture of overflowing joy; a tsunami of joy!  But immeasurable things can be small, too.  So small they're almost imperceptible.  Sometimes joy is this small.  Sometimes it's so teeny, teeny, teeny tiny you'd need a microscope to see it.  BUT, it's still there.  Even in the darkest times I know there is some iota of joy deep within the recesses of my soul where Jesus still resides.
Day 6:  Having trouble finding joy today.  But because of God's word, I know it's there.  Today is one of those days where I have to allow mind over matter.  I have to believe what I read and know, and not how I feel.
Day 7:  Joy unspeakable.  "Though you do not now see him, you believe him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory..."  1Peter 1:8
How often I rely on that verse that says the Spirit is able to translate those deep painful groanings that I cannot put to words - usually when I'm not getting something I want.  In this verse, there's a joy so complex that I cannot wrap my finite brain around it - here I have something I do not understand.  But the Spirit again translates for me to God's glory.  And I'm able to move forward with quiet confidence.


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Land of the Giants

Every day I face giants.  Giants who are prettier, younger, smarter and more successful than me.  How can I compete?

Every day I drag myself to the battlefield and plunge on in.  I march through the muck and the mire, evading their blows and dodging their enormous giant feet trying to keep from being crushed under their heels.  Every day. 

Each night I crawl back home to tend my wounds.  My muscles ache and new bruises begin to form on my heart while yesterday's bruises have not even begun to heal.  Every night.

I hurt.

The battle belongs to You, LORD.  Your word says it; I believe it.  I just don't know if I'll be there at the victory celebration.  One day I might trip and be trampled.  One morning I might not be able to drag myself to the battlefield.


When Moses wondered about his ability You told him "Who has made man's mouth?  Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind?  Is it not I, the LORD?"


When the spies returned to the people of Israel to report what they'd seen in Canaan, though the Canaanites were much stronger, Joshua and Caleb said "If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us..."


You who began a good work in me will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus.

You created me, LORD.  And because of Jesus, You delight in me.  And You finish what your start.

So tomorrow and any day you ask, I will show up at the battlefield.  I will fight and duck and dart my way through the army of pretty, smart, young, successful giants.  Because when the war is over, there is a place of eternal peace.  There will be no more tears, no more pain, no more bruises.  No more lonlieness or inferiority complexes.   And no more giants who scoff at and ridicule me.