Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blessed Love Affair

Don’t laugh. I have a love affair: with a skirt. I fell for the famed love at first sight when I was sixteen with my dream skirt…brown, corduroy, godet inserts, low rise, pockets in front and none in back. We have been so happy together ever since I saw it on a sale rack at Macy’s as a teenager. I took it home and we have enjoyed years of bliss. Except I’m definitely not a teenager now and its definitely aged, too. I have often been heard to say, “If I only I could have another one of these! I wish there had been two: I would have bought them both!”

I get second glances elevator-style from my mother. My sister says, “Oh. You’re wearing it again.” People still say “Where did you get that?!” but the intonation is oddly different. I turn a deaf ear to these feeble affronts to my friend. We ne’er shall part. Except, its parting itself. It is thread bare in the truest sense of homelessness and destitution and neglect. Like see-through quality. It’s bordering on being mistaken for curtain sheers on a gnarly waistband. (Well, not quite.) Call me strange, but I’ve even prayed and told God about my special skirt and my sadness to see it need to go.

I am 22 and take my little mother and big, little sister shopping. I take them to the secret places I have found and show them the wonders of second- hand stores. I toss them Banana Republic and Limited buys with one tag that says $150 and another that says $1.50. I’d do it for you, too.

This trip was different. That morning I had done my customary mental whine about wishing I had another edition of my skirt, and then I had worked on a frustrating hour long project from morning until four in the afternoon. Now trying to recover, I kicked completely into my shopping mode, glassily rummaging along racks using my systematic technique that bars all possibility of missing the perfect wardrobe piece, I moved along the aisles snatching buys for my ever-growing sister. People chattered noisily, co- workers were joking with each other; a boy in blue overalls threw a ball
past me and ran then slid after it, while a glass fish bowl shattered next to what was once a red-hatted garden gnome somewhere over by ‘Collectibles.’ Suddenly, everything faded to hazy, silent mist except one object. My hand ran along the edge of the most beautiful skirt I’d ever experienced. Except
this one was brand new. I shrieked. And soon I joined the huzzah of the bustling store as I eagerly eyed the size that matched mine exactly.

I was in love, again. This time with my Best Friend Who thinks of little details and knows me so well. He provided and was looking out for me. Such a little thing, I know. But that’s why I fell in love with Him all over. Jesus does care. And He looks into your life and sees the littlest of details. Tell him about your small treasures and big woes. He listens.

Singing to myself, I brought my new skirt into my bedroom and hung it on a hanger. I pulled out the old one and hung it next to it where I could see them both and I talked to them. I do not apologize: I told you it was a love affair. I took the old one down lovingly, folded it, and slipped it into the garage sale box. And then I pulled it out and hung it back up.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


[mur-mi-don, -dn]
1. a person who executes without question or scruple a master's commands.

"Let me be!" angry words spat silently through her mind. Bloodshot eyes, tired by time spent in inner strife, silently searched her master's face for a shadow of mercy, or sense. None seen, she followed the order.

But was she 'obedient'? Ah me. Anyone can do what she did. But the example of true obedience is drastically different. Ladies, our heart leads in it.

5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
12 ¶ Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
14 ¶ Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
17 Yea, and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all.
18 For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. (Philippians 2:5-17)

This call to humbly, blindly, give up your own way to follow another's is culturally unattractive, ignorant, and foolish. And to top it off, calling it a cause for joy to give in with selfless submission to your authority is nearly impossible. What's the point and why bother? Need we always be the self-sacrificing followers? Many times, yes.

"But, I'm smarter, I'm faster, I wouldn't hurt anyone! But that boy is ALWAYS in charge and I am supposed to listen to him." My little sister stuck out her lower lip. Her gaze once fixed on mine shot away to the side. Apparently, I was looking at her scrunched up little forehead too searchingly. "What is a helper supposed to do?" I questioned. Her misty brown found mine. "The helper is always a step ahead, really, you know. They know what's happening, think ahead, foresee needs of the one in charge. Frankly, they ARE usually smarter. The helper thinks through what the boss didn't. You can't expect him to if you're smarter."

When God created Adam He said, "This, exactly this, is your job." Then He told Eve, "Help him." Ever been in the place where you really don't know 'how' to help? Be assured that if you were created for such a job, you are capable and discerning.You have the ability to see what needs to be done. And that addresses the unquestioning following question. If you're all that, you can definitely figure out a way to get the job done without the "scruples" being violated. My mother says it, "Be smarter than the problem."

There is no humiliation OR pride and condescension in quietly following a leader. It signifies great strength, calms tempests, and actually frees the follower to be the leader without the strings attached. It proves your faith founded in being Christlike. Doing what goes against your natural sin nature strengthens your strengths and undermines those personal traits you despise. Besides, experience tells me being a henchman has perks you'll remember vividly once you're the mastermind.

The Myrmidons of Achilles are remembered for their incredible feats in battle and unyielding strength as warriors. Battle after battle they overcame, through the strength of their discipline and obedience. Working as one with their leader provided the protection, power, and ability to achieve the impossible. They are not commonly marked as "those worthless minions who groveled and got bossed around," but as "the conquering few who fought together valiantly and bravely under authority." That's how it works.

"But you don't understand, in my home, it really is an evil mastermind in charge!" God thought about that one, too. I once actually read this passage when someone mentioned it to me; it changed my life. Skip it if you don't like truth.

17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1 ¶ Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;
2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
5 For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:
6 Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.
7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
8 ¶ Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
9 Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. (I Peter 2:17-3:9)
Let go. Be wise. Go far. Be a myrmidon. That's what I'm pondering today...