Bonnie’s back! The Faith Jams are starting up again, and I am so glad! It was these, more than anything, that inspired me to write this blog. A prompt, a week to think about it, and a community to write together (no grade from a teacher)!
I went to check on my dad late one morning and he was lying in his bed. When I asked him how he was, he replied that he was thinking of a Korean lady whom he’d taught and blessed. She had told him that he had been used of the Lord to heal her heart! He had had no idea, but apparently she had felt put down by older people, and second class as a woman. But he taught her and respected her as an individual; he, a man and an elder. It went straight to her heart. He lay on his bed years later just marvelling because it wasn’t anything special that he had done, he was just being himself, and following the Lord, and God had brought about the blessing.
If he could say one thing before he died, he told me, he would tell people to just be themselves and follow God.
Marvel, I would add, as Dad is doing. Give thanks because this life isn’t about striving but about connection to a great and glorious God! He it is who orchestrates our lives best. He can be trusted.
Be myself? But I know my self: sometimes it’s not pretty. Sometimes it’s epic fail. I take Saturdays for sabbath (oh, not nearly as well as I aim for) and a couple Saturdays ago I was reading Some of the Ways of God in Healing by Joy Dawson when I encountered the little-known fact that resentment is sin. Really? Oh dear Lord, forgive me! Cleanse my heart.
I overheard musicians talking about a competition, and they were marvelling at the winner yet their comment that “she owned her mistakes,” has stayed with me. She was respected for her mistakes as well because of how she handled them.
We need to learn that in everything, don’t we?
How to handle our sins.
How to handle the sin of others.
How to give thanks in all things, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus.
Here’s the deal. I have known my dad to say some pretty old-fashioned things about women. Granted, he is 83! He has let me know in no uncertain terms that feminists are completely wrong. He is against women having any authority over men in church (or anywhere I suppose). But his courtesy to a Korean woman was used of God to heal her heart.
I, too, marvel at God’s goodness and how he can use his people as we walk through this hard life, clinging to him. I will take courage, then, to be myself (who else could I be?) more fully and own my mistakes which to me means bringing them to the cross, the throne, the world. Because I don’t want fame for what is good in me that will inevitably be tarnished by what is bad: I want God’s glory to be seen, his blessing to be shared, his purposes to come to pass.
I am so thankful (as the wife of Bath says in her introduction to her tale in Canterbury Tales) that I have had my world as in my time. I am thankful to God that I am alive now, in this place, and that he has written my life a good story. Not a perfect story like Jesus’ story, not one for others to emulate, but a story of his grace to me, his promises unfolding through my connection to him and despite my failures.