Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesdays with Jesus #196

#196 "I Got Nothin'?"
April 26, 2011
"I look behind me and you're there, then up ahead and you're there, too- your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful- I can't take it all in!" (Psalm 139: 5-6 The Message)
One of the phrases my family uses when we're on the phone and there's either no news to report or we've exhausted conversation is, "I got nothin'."  That's some pretty bad grammar for a family with some writers in it, I know. As I look out my kitchen window, thinking about what I want to say to you today, I think about the fog enveloping my yard. I think about how it's supposed to rain all day....again. My wind chimes are humming a gentle song, and the baby birds in the bathroom air vent are singing for their breakfast. I sit, fingers poised over the keys of my laptop and I say to myself, "I got nothin'."
Some days are just like that, aren't they? We wake up to the same thing we woke up to yesterday. There are dirty dishes in the sink. Who was in my house last night while I was sleeping? There's laundry in baskets that were just emptied, washed, folded and put away the day before. The beds have to be made again. There are jobs to go to and diapers to change. Whatever it is for you, it seems we just did all of this - and we did - yesterday. We've got nothing profound to say, no heroic feats to accomplish and no dragons to slay. We know that there are people out there feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, finding cures for diseases and changing the world. But we've got nothin'.
What I do have is a huge load of laundry that I just folded and put away from two grown sons. How many clothes can men wear in the span of three days time? I'm just asking.
Today I asked the Lord to give me a fresh pair of eyes to see Him. It's easy to get lost in the mundane, the drudgery and the predictability of life and think that God isn't in any of it. Our worlds don't seem all that important, at least not in comparison to other peoples. As I shuffled along from room to room and task to task, I asked Him to show Himself to me on this not so significant Tuesday morning. Here's a little of what I saw.
I saw puzzles. My father-in-law loved to do puzzles; the big kind with a zillion pieces that he would then glue and frame and give away to his family. We have quite a few of them hanging on the basement walls and I thought about Dad, who passed away just last November. I made my entrance into the Schultz family some 20 years ago in a not so normal way. I won't go into the details, but let's just say, I was not an expected addition to the family. As I looked at his puzzles today I smiled as I remembered that over the years I really believe that Chuck's father loved me. Chuck always said that Dad was happier to see and talk to me than to him. Considering the way it all started, Dad grew to love me like I was his own daughter. When I looked at those puzzles, I saw a miracle working God.
I came upstairs and checked Facebook and Twitter. I saw something pretty amazing. There has been a blog that is about one family's journey with a very, very sick little girl. This girl went home to be with Jesus on Good Friday. She was only about 11 years old. On the blog this morning was an invitation to her family's "Celebration of Life". Here's what it said,
"No Black-Spring Colors and Casual Please".
When I read those words, I saw the God of comfort and hope. He is the only One who could cause a family with wounds so fresh and deep to respond this way. May He show up mightily at their Celebration of Life!
I heard a prompting in my spirit as I thought about a family so dear to me. They are sitting bedside as the husband and father of the family is going through the last days or perhaps hours of his life. I was able to stop what I was doing right there and pray. I prayed for strength, comfort and peace for my friends. I thanked God that when Ed closes his eyes for the last time, he will immediately look into the eyes of my Savior. I saw God when He reminded me by His Spirit to pray.
If we ask God to show us, and we keep our eyes and ears open, we will see Him all around and about us. No day is a drudge. No moment is a bore. There are burning bushes all over the landscapes of our lives. Everywhere our feet trod is holy ground.
Sometimes He will heal the sick, give sight to the blind and raise the dead, but more often than not He is right there whispering, "Here I am. Can you see Me? Can you hear Me?" Because He is alive, He gives life to everything around us if we would just have ears to hear and eyes to see. We won't have to look very far or hard to see Him.
It won't be long until they all ask me what's for dinner. Do you think that once, they could tell ME?
As I continue tidying around the house, I see pictures of my grandchildren. I see God in their smiles and I can close my eyes and hear their laughter. I have the most precious, beautiful grandchildren in the world. I never thought that I could fall in love again at my age, but when these babies were born, I was wrecked for life.
I see Chuck and me in a white porcelain frame. It's our wedding picture. I see a big, huge, mighty God. Because He lives and because of His blessings, we have beaten so many of the odds that statistics say should have done us in years ago.  My man has a favorite thing to say to me. He always says, "You're stuck with me." What I pray that he knows is that there is no one else on God's green earth that I would rather be stuck with until death do us part. He loves me as close to the love of God as any human man could. I see God when I see that Chuck respected me and loved me enough to commit to me until God calls one of us home.
I see God in the pictures of my children hanging on the wall and scattered on shelves. There is a story with each picture. I'm reminded of skinned knees and kissing booboos. I'm reminded of childhood fears that turned into teenage angst and all the moments in between. I've seen them grow and mature and suffer and rejoice. Some have suffered more than they should have at such a young age. But they thrive and forge ahead and are all walking their own journeys with God in one way or another. It's hard, but I try my hardest to let them have their own story with God, just as I did. It will be so much richer and life-changing, if I just watch. Sometimes I've watched with a broken heart only a mother could have. But I see God in each one of them. I cheer with their victories and cry with their failures and pain. I see God when I look at those pictures of the precious ones who call me "Mom".
I see God when I turn on the tap and clean, fresh water flows. It's not that way everywhere in the world. We are so blessed.
I see God in a refrigerator full of food. I'm reminded of those who are holding bowls to get one serving of porridge today.
Seriously, we need pop and juice and fruit roll-ups again???
Those clothes that I washed and folded and put away? I see the God who has provided for our every need.
I see God when I can look myself in the eye in the mirror, and not feel ashamed or dirty or discarded. It wasn't always that way. I can see a beautiful, loved, chosen, redeemed, transformed daughter of the Living God.
I see God when just the right Scripture comes to mind as I'm trying to make a decision or fretting over something. He brings just the right word at just the right time.
I see God when I'm about to give up and throw the towel over my hopes and dreams for the calling I believe God has placed on my life. He always brings someone with a word or a note of encouragement.
I see God in the spring buds on the trees outside my window. I even see Him in those daffodil "duds" with no heads on them. He reminds me through the changing of the season that He is faithful.
I hear God in the voices of talented, anointed Christian artists who lead me each day in the sweet sounds of praise and worship over Pandora radio.
God is all around us. We could not look on Him in the fullness of His great glory and radiance, but I assure you that through eyes of faith, you can see Him. Nothing is drudgery or mundane or boring. He is present in it all and longs to show Himself to you. Ask Him today for eyes afresh to see Him. You may think that you've got nothin'. Dear one, He will show you that you've got everything.
Living the Word along with you,  

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