It's been a long while since we had a bit of a heart to heart chat. I had some things sloshing around in my brain as I drifted off to sleep last night, and thought I'd process them out here, with you. That always seems to help.
When I think back to the day I wrote this in May of 2010, I had a picture in my mind of what our mission field was going to look like. We felt a calling and we thought we understood the direction it was going to take us. Get this... we didn't realize that we thought this at the time... but I'm pretty sure we thought it was going to be a tidy mission and a tidy journey. We saw a tidy calling full of grateful, hungry, tidy people, and their tidy stories in our minds-eye. We didn't picture broken people with broken, messy stories. We didn't picture our hearts struggling to understand their choices, yet feeling burdened to sling our arms over their shoulders and say, "We're here for you. You're not in this alone." We didn't picture that the messy brokenness would touch us. We never visualized their mess overlapping and getting into our business, changing our plans and making us grapple with so many emotions along the way. We couldn't have imagined the crushing weight bending our knees and forcing our eyes heavenward as desperation drove us to beg for strength and wisdom so we could help.
When we first felt called to do life differently, one thing we really never imagined was not having the ability to change things for others. Sure, we knew we were powerless without Christ working through us. We had the head-knowledge but we didn't know it. Not deep, within our bones, so aware of our inability to do anything in our own power. The past few years have shown us, more than anything else, that we are not equipped to deal, fix, help, or reach out and make one bit of difference in our own power. The past few years have shown us that God doesn't call people who have it all together to jump into the lives of those who don't, and show them how it's done. He calls the broken, messy and powerless to jump in, wrap their weak and shaky arms around the hurting and say, "With God leading us, we'll walk out of this hole together." He equips us, because He called us and He points the way out with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I always thought I'd be able to blog about the many ways God has directed and written our story. I never counted on the private journeys or the personal stories of loved ones that can't be shared here. More and more Adrain and I are being shown reasons why we were never allowed to move here or there... do this or that. We can see God's finger weaving the threads of our story together in ways we would have never imagined. We have been placed in a unique place to do a unique job and it baffles us yet seems so clear at the same time. We can't understand, yet it makes perfect sense. All I know is, we are being molded and shaped and our story is far from over.
The holiday season is nearly upon us and it often throws family, friends and loved ones into our path in intense ways. If you don't know why you're where you are, or why you have been given such messy stories all around you, or how you fit... I hope that you can somehow be encouraged that you are exactly where God wants you to be, this very day. Even if you're in a season of waiting, you're uniquely placed right there in that waiting room because you are the one He wants in that space. (Oh don't you love that?! I don't know about you but I mostly feel forgotten when I'm sitting in the waiting room. Not so!) I love the following encouragement from Ephesians and I especially love the way The Message translation says it;
Ephesians 2:10The Message (MSG)
7-10 "Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! We don’t play the major role. If we did, we’d probably go around bragging that we’d done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."
Okay, so now that we've talked about what's on my heart... I am getting ready for Thanksgiving and the transition into Christmas. (I will be talking about my heart on the matter soon but for now I thought I'd mix a bit of light-hearted home decor into this post.) Y'all know I have an eight foot-long table in my kitchen right? (I have this super long table, because I should have been born a little old Italian grandmother who pinches people and says things like, "You're too skinny, you need to eat!" and then ladles heaping portions of yummy goodness onto their plates. I'm just saying.) Anyway, I have a thing for white candles. They are classic and timeless and work in almost every season. I wanted a four foot long tray narrow enough to not take up a ton of space on the table top, yet able to hold a long mass of white candles from now until spring. Well I couldn't find one.
So I made one. It's rather rough "construction" but it works perfectly for what I needed. Perhaps we'll just call it "rustic." Yeah. That works.
I bought a long four foot board from Lowe's. It was the perfect width. I purchased three long strips of wood, also four foot long. I nailed two of them to the sides and then cut the third one to fit into the end spaces. Then I painted the whole thing a creamy "Navajo white" color (sherwin williams) and lined it with various sized candles that I've been purchasing over the past many months, from my grocery store. (I used to buy one each time I did my big grocery shop.) Once dry, I used self adhesive felt pads on the underside to protect my table top. Though I probably didn't need to bother with that since there is permanent marker residue all over the end of it from a certain child working on a science project, who shall remain nameless (he knows who he is).
So there you have it. A simple candle solution that will be perfect all through the holiday season!
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