The Pictures Between the Pictures

 

Easter has come and gone and I hope it’s obvious our primary, over-arching focus was joining once again in the death, burial and resurrection of the Risen Lord.  But let’s all be honest with ourselves and admit as gifts are to Christmas so outfits are to Easter.  True to form I was shopping at 11:00 pm Saturday night trying to find clothes in a color palette that coordinated enough to satisfy me without matching too much for the teenagers.  You’d better believe after all that heartache I wasn’t about to let the day get away without a few pictures.  It didn’t take long for Luke and I to decide the pictures between the pictures tell the truer Story of Us.

 

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Show me your best side.

 

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Not you, Bailey.  That is inappropriate.  You are embarrassing Sawyer. (Don’t look, son.)

 

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It’s important to clarify which kid you are talking to when instructing on how to stand like a girl.

 

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Syd’s laugh.  It cures all that ails.  Except Sam’s head.


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You didn’t believe me, did you?  Please look at that face and just try to have a bad day.

 

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This is the picture we were going for.  Almost.  We have some eyes closed.

 

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And…. better.

 

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And yet these poses lasted only a moment.  I like to call this one, “I Crack Myself Up”.

 

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This laugh.  It cures all that ails.  Wait, don’t I have another kid with that same super power?

 

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And my favorite…the rare photo where all six of us are on the same side of the camera.  The better shot would have been the one of me sprinting across the yard to beat the timer in stiletto heels.  Easter is work, man.

As much as the Resurrection deserves profundity,  I will instead leave you with the simple truth that I look at this picture and am so incredibly grateful to God who died for us and lives in all 6 of us.  He lives for us while we are putting a great deal of effort in to having it all together but He works best in us in those pictures between the pictures where are most authentic selves are revealed.

It took some time but I’ve learned to love and embrace those moments the most.

Please remind me I said that next year if you see me shopping at 11 p.m. on Easter Eve.



Shin Splints for God

A couple of weeks ago our church began a new Bible study called Run for God that couples spiritual endurance-themed devotions with training for a 5 K which we will run together in April.  The response has been overwhelming and in our tiny town our group looks like this:

 

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It is a given this picture delights me.  It represents young and old, church members and community members, and those whose bodies hurt and don’t hurt.  The former outnumbers the latter if our groaned laps are any indication.  I hear a splinter cell Bible study is being formed called, “Eating Cheez-Its for Jesus”.  It has legs.  Flabby, cellulite-ridden legs but I’m becoming more and more comfortable with those because, y’all. My shins are ruined.  It’s my fault for running in bad shoes on concrete for the first week.  Luke’s knees are also a wreck so you can’t even imagine the whining that is going on especially on Saturday mornings when we meet to train at 7:30 a.m.

Luke and I are also trying to eat a little more healthy during this process.  How’s that going?  On our way home from running last night he said, “Pull in at the store so I can get some ice cream. Ummm, not to eat.  To put my knee in.”  So we soaked our knees in butter pecan and chocolate syrup and felt instantly better.

But here’s the thing, you can’t be a big baby when an 85-year-old woman is not only showing up for the Bible Study but running.  Mrs. Green has always been an inspiration to all of us for many reasons but it is confirmed now that she is the stuff of legend. We have developed a code word for whiners, “I.G.”  which are Mrs. Green’s initials.  So basically, take your ibuprofen and suck it up because if I.G. can do it, so can we.

Which is the point of this entire experience for me thus far.  We are better together.  We do things in community we can never accomplish alone.  We bear one another’s burdens, share our ankle braces and compression socks, spur each other on when we want to quit, and run the race set before us shoulder to shoulder.

Church together is a beautiful thing, shin splints and all.

(I love you, IBC. Can’t imagine the race with anyone but you.)



The Sacred Water Cooler

The first of December I took a new position in a workplace that I am loving very much.  Ironically, there is nothing church-related about it unless you keep in mind that Jesus ministered in the midst of people doing their daily business.  He moved in and out of the places where women drew water, boys ate fish for lunch, and men tended to fields and flock.  Here He used metaphor and mercy to teach people about Himself and the Kingdom to come.  Though there are no verses that say, “Jesus smiled”, I am convinced His personality was winsome, His eyes kind, and doggone it – people liked Him.

This is the part where I make a confession.  Almost 3 years ago when I joined the traditional workforce it felt like the death to some dreams.  In my naivete I believed real ministry was over and that I had joined the masses of Workplace Believers that lived predictable, robotic lives without opportunity to see God do the amazing things that He could only perform through those who sat at their dining room table blogging and teaching women’s events.

I was wrong.

I have earned a gigantic respect for the workplace faithful because it is among the common where the work of ministry is being done.  I’ve personally gathered with my own co-workers to intercede for our company and for one another in times of heartache, illness, and tragedy.   I can just imagine those of you who do the same either through something as overt as corporate prayer or as inconspicuous as encouraging your sister with a troubled marriage to give it one more chance because you did and saw your own relationship restored.  This is the Kingdom Come.

I have also learned it was somewhat easy to display a gentle spirit when I spent the majority of the day with either a) myself or b) people who stopped by the church when I spent time there working with Luke.  But, get yourself into an office or a hospital or a school where stress runs high and tempers flare and you will quickly find out that not only are there people who can really push your well-disguised buttons but that somewhere along the way you have become one gigantic button.   Work is the hardest place in the world not necessarily to be nice but to stay that way.    I’ve destroyed my credibility to witness in situations because I decided it was more important to be right than righteous.  Believer, it matters if people like you.  How can they believe God is love if His people are jerks?  That doesn’t mean we are mealy-mouthed doormats but one of the purpose statements of my new company says it best this way, “You can disagree without being disagreeable.”

I say these things to you because of the value of the experience of these past few years and how I have grown to cherish what I thought was me giving up.  May I encourage you as well?  Your work is worthwhile, your presence needful, your place is on purpose.  If seeking other employment ask yourself, “Is it the environment that needs to change or is it me?” Don’t shortcut the lessons God would teach about ourselves if we only walked the thing to it’s completion.  I know this because I’ve done this.  I did end up making a move but He didn’t create the opportunity until I was content to remain.

Let those who encounter you at the hallowed ground about the water cooler find refreshment because they did. This is the place where God will do the miraculous one conversation at a time through you…. the Work Place Believer.

 

 

 



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