Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Will Be A Fool For You

Driving down Aurora Avenue, I often see those windsock things in car lots that wiggle around. You know the ones? They look like clowns or aliens or something, and evidently they're supposed to get your attention and make you buy a used car... the air flows up through them and they bounce too-and-fro.... please tell me you know what I'm talking about or this post will make no sense.

Each time I see one of those floppy bobble-head things, I'm reminded of the Holy Spirit.

Stick with me here.

See, when we're filled with Gods Spirit, does that not mean that we move how He wants us to move, and walk where He wants us to walk? No matter how foolish we might look to others?

Thats how I feel sometimes... like a Jesus windsock/bobblehead. When I have the presence of mind to commit my day to him, I usually ask for things like "eyes to see what You see, Lord" or "help me not direct my day by my calendar. Keep me open to what You have in store."

Yesterday, I was listening to the new Jimmy Needham album "Nightlights." (Which comes out Tuesday, by the way.) I'm a big fan of his soulful sound, and theres a song on there called Just a Heartbeat. It has a fabulous groove and the chorus speaks straight to me:

You can do a lot with just a heartbeat
Give it two feet and suddenly you got me
Top it off with ears that listen closely
Then speak into me and put my mouth on repeat

How freaking simple. Perhaps its the sunshine, or the blue sky, or the piece of chocolate I just ate from my desk drawer, but today I just feel a little brighter: Jesus gave me a heartbeat. He gave me two feet. I know whats important to Him and therefore he can put my mouth on repeat. There IS something that He wants to accomplish through me today. And today, I am willing.

I really over complicate it most of the time. I think "I don't know my Bible well enough" or "I was really rude to that person who just called" or insert just about any other sinful, negative, guilt-ridden thought here. Then I get down on myself and it stops all my joy. AND it stops my actions. My windsock/bobblehead deflates to the ground. Its as if I intercepted the Holy Spirit and said "Hold on, You can't work through me yet. I need to get my act together and pray more first. Oh, and lose this last five pounds. Then You can have me."

Not today. Today, I wont put conditions on God. He can have me, just as I am. All the things on my calendar; all the things in my heart.

Sheesh, if this is what Jimmy Needhams music does to me, imagine what it can do for you :-)

I'm giving away a few copies of "Nightlights." But you have to promise me, if you win, you'll pop this uptempo, blue-eyed-soul record into your car and roll the windows down and let the wind blow through your hair.

Its the only way you can listen to his music.

If you're up to the task, leave a comment about a time where you felt like God was asking you to do something a little bit outside of your comfort zone, like my foolish car-lot windsocks.

I'll start:

Spirit 105.3 was out at a grocery store in Woodinville, and I had the presence of mind to pray before we set up the booth and start up the music.

"Lord, this time is Yours."

About an hour into our broadcast, I noticed an older woman walking towards me. She caught my eye because she reminded me of my Gran, who dresses really sparkly. :-) I noticed this woman was probably in her 60s or 70s, and she had gold bracelets and earrings on, and just seemed very "put together." I cant explain this next part further, but all I know is that I felt like she had taken extra time on her appearance that day, and needed someone to notice.

Then I heard a whisper in my mind:

Tell her she looks beautiful.

Now, I know that doesn't seem like a big request. But I'm also not in the habit of just walking around telling people they're beautiful. Perhaps I should. But I don't.

Anyway, as she got closer to our booth, I started to get apprehensive, the way I always do when I feel like maybe God is telling me to do something. Just when I was about to chicken out and keep my mouth shut, I caught her eye and I said "I just have to tell you.... you are beautiful."

She stopped.

She walked towards me slowly.

She put her hand on my hand and slowly said:

"I had a stroke 2 months ago. This is the first time I've left my house. I thought, maybe today I can just go to the grocery store."

Monday, May 3, 2010

I Just Want To Hold The Bag

With a smirk, my husband motions his hand for me to follow him into the kitchen. He shows me an open bag of mini-marshmallows on the shelf and begins to inform me of the afternoons events.

I'd been out of the house, and Olivia had grabbed the bag of marshmallows and wandered into the living room, asking Joel if she could have some.

"Not right now, Honey. Not before dinner."

She hung her head and looked at the ground. Before returning to the pantry, she looked back at him and very confidently said "Ok, well, then I'm just gonna hold the bag."

Lets pause for a moment here.

"I'm just gonna hold the bag."

We all know exactly what this means, do we not? In fact, the minute I heard Joel say that line, I knew what the outcome would be. I laughed out loud with anticipation to hear the story resolve exactly the way I knew it would. I mean, seriously, who among us can "just hold the bag." That's what I thought.

Where would he find her, elbow deep in marshmallow-land?

A few all-to-quiet moments pass, and Joel looks around, with his daughter nowhere to be found.

Then he hears a faint *crinkle, crinkle* of plastic coming from the kitchen pantry.

With the pantry door halfway shut, he finds his little curly-topped girl standing there, still, with the bag clutched to her chest.

One thing you should know about Joel is that he has the kindest, most even-toned voice of any guy I've ever known. Even when he's upset, he never yells. So in this moment, I can just hear him, calm as ever, saying:

"Olivia, did you eat one when I told you not to?"

Her head shakes no.

"You sure about that answer, Sweetheart?"


Now is when Joel gets down on her level and very softly says: "Olivia.... I need you to open your mouth. Show me whats in your mouth, please."

That was all it took. A look from Dad at eye-level and a call to action.

Two little tiny hands moved up towards her mouth and covered it, as if to form a barrier no one could remove. Her eyes welled with tears.

Oh, how well I know this feeling! The guilt! Sure, it starts out as marshmallows in a pantry... but wait until shes in grade school! And high school! And College! Oh...not College! :-) I take that back.

The circumstances change (and heighten) as we get older - and the consequences become much more severe than a tummy-ache from a fist-full of marshmallows... but the underlying issue remains the same. We do the things we are not supposed to do. Our father says one thing, we do another.

Olivia began to cry. She couldn't bear the thought of opening her mouth to show Joel what she'd done.

He scooped her up and hugged her and said something like "If we eat marshmallows when we're not supposed to, we get a stomach ache. And when we eat them after daddy tells us not to, we get in trouble. But today...well, today...we'll let it slide." And he wiped her tears.

Grace. In a kitchen pantry. Between a daddy and a daughter. :-)

I can't imagine a lesson on guilt ending in a better way.