There by the front door is a little vignette that includes a plant stand of begonias that bloom almost year round, a lovely little metal snail, a handy small rake and an ancient pitcher that has poured water, tea, milk and lemonade for decades.
I have these little groups of favorites all over my home, each item represents something special … each holds a memory, wish, hope, dream or prayer. Each item has symbolism. I see life this way … God speaking through the things, the people and the words He allows to cross my path.
I’ve mentioned before that my grown-up people
have smoked cigarettes.
I don’t like it, but they’re grown.
I am certain that I still do things today that my own parents do not like.
If they don’t find displeasure with me, it is only because they don’t live in close enough proximity
to feel my every thought, experience my motive and see my actions.
(Don’t get me wrong here. I am not disrespectful of my parents and do not intentionally disobey them ..
but I know that I wouldn’t please them fully if they saw my life in full swing all the time.)
James is my least neat child. He doesn’t put things back and he doesn’t clean up behind himself. If he were to read this, the hair on the back of his neck would stand up … but while he’s gruffing, there is a spoon on the counter beside the microwave and there are dishes in and beside the sink that were not there when I went to bed. The driveway is full of car stuff – parts, repair tools, and cleaning supplies- that have been there off and on for weeks and the bathroom is always littered from end to end, floor to counter with …. stuff.
A huge frustration for me is James’ continued habit of stuffing cigarettes into little-almost-hiding places. He uses the ivory ceramic pitcher on the front porch as an ashtray. I agreed that this would be fine, if he would just keep it emptied so that it won’t make the entryway to our home
smell like an ashtray.
Even with an established “ashtray” in an accessible place, he continues to tuck cigarettes into corners … even there at the front porch …. less than five feet from the agreed-upon disposal spot.
I always say that mercy is my weakest character trait. Yet, I tend to forgive, forgive, forgive
even for irritating habits like this.
I’ve asked this man/child over and over not to tuck his lighter and butts under the back porch deck stairs.
I’ve asked him not to put his cigarettes out on the brick work of our home
and leave little black ash circles here and there.
I’ve asked him not to drop his butts in the yard or on the street.
But, he forgets ….
he disobeys ….
he disrespects me
…. he chooses to do what he wants to do rather than what he has been asked.
And THEN he gets irritated when I remind him that he is not honoring my requests.
And when I get upset …
when my feathers ruffle …
when the hair stands up on the back of MY neck …
my sweet, gentle Lord reminds me
of my forgetfulness …
my hiding places …
my intentional disobediences …
and I am humbled.
I break His heart.
I know it.
We all do.
I go to Him and ask for His help …. I lay my toys on His table and I take a step back.
I wait and I wait and I wait ..
in my impatience,
I step up to the table and offer ideas and suggestions
from my limited knowledge and shallow perspective
on how to restore and repair
those things that He knows intimately, thoroughly, fully.
There must be some balance
between grace and mercy for wrongdoing
justice and discipline for disobedience.
I have to admit to you
that I’m pretty good at drawing the line in the sand …
but I fail at figuring out
what to do with the man/child
who chooses to step across the line
and then gets angry with me for drawing it.
Praise God, that He has no such problem
figuring out what to do with me
when I disobey.
My desire is that I draw a little closer to Him each week … day … moment
that I might hear His voice,
heed His leadings
and hurry to obedience
with humility and a contrite heart.
Praise God for vignettes
that tell me stories.