You're Going to do What?

>> Thursday, February 22, 2018

As the days of John’s life dwindled, we discussed everything. A romantic walk along the river could instantly turn into a discussion about cremation. A meal at the table was sidetracked with his question, “How do you feel about me dying?” 

So I shouldn’t have been surprised. 

Some background. When we built this house, we had a say in everything. John was very specific about his office. It had a large window to enable him to see the fireplace in the living room and the fire pit on the patio. The cupboards, the countertop around two walls, the lighting…he designed it all. 

It was the middle of the night, when suddenly he’s talking. His voice woke me with a question. “What are you going to do with my office?” 

“John, it’s the middle of the night.”

“I’ve been laying here awake for hours wondering. I designed that office for me. So what are you going to do with it?”

“I’m going to paint it pink. Go to sleep.”

“Joy, I’m serious. What do you think you will use it for?”

“I haven’t even thought about it, so give me some time. Now go to sleep.”

“Okay, a few days.”

A few days later I told him I would turn his office into my financial office, paying the bills, etc. I would also use it for my Bible study room.

He was satisfied. 

Last week I got serious about making his office my own. That was a huge endeavor. Some of his stuff was permanently removed. Other materials were moved to the garage. An under-the-counter file cabinet had been purchased. I now could file the current year in the built-in drawer and use the under-the-counter one for the previous year (Income tax time was upon me). Hanging folders and 1/3 cut files were purchased and marked. Then came the filing that hadn’t really been done for an unspecified time.

Side note: the bottom drawer of the new file cabinet kept sliding open. I would shut it and a few hours later as I passed by the doorway I could see the drawer had come open again.

“John, stop messing with me. I’m doing what I said.”

I completed the renovation two days ago. The file cabinet has stayed closed. But I digress. 

In talking with my daughter one day, she asked, “So what are you going to do to have some pink in your office? You told him you would.” 

I instantly thought of a pink cube that I have no idea what to call it, but one of his motorcycle buddies designed it and had given it to him. It’s similar to a Rubik cube, but just has various protrusions and holes. And I knew right where it was.

It now graces a shelf in my office as a reminder of that middle of night conversation.


Imperfect Vessels

>> Tuesday, February 20, 2018

My husband and I had been to the coast for a few days. On our way home, we stopped at a sandwich shop for a bite to eat. When I walked through the doorway of the deli, my eyes immediately spied a display of mugs on two shelves. Not stopping to find a table or look at a menu, I walked straight to the shelves and took out my camera.

My husband joined me as I snapped the pictures. “Why are you taking pictures of these mugs?”

“There’s a story here.”

They all had something in common. They weren’t normal shapes. Someone with a very creative mind had formed them.

I knew about misshapen mugs. I was one. Having been told many times by my mother I was a mistake, I had known from a very early age that I did not fit the mold for normal. As the years went by, it became very clear to me that I was not useful in society. I knew, deep inside, no one wanted to be around me. I was just an irregular piece of humanity.

When my husband left me, I was forced to go out into the world. Selling Avon was not my forte’, but I needed some kind of income and had no skills. With children counting on me, I couldn’t go home and hide. As I drove from house to house and neighborhood to neighborhood, I had time to think.

I needed to do something about me.

I began to spend serious time looking at me … and at the Bible. Imagine my surprise when I found a verse in there that spoke to my inner core. Col. 1:27 says, “The mystery in a nutshell is just this: Christ is in you…..”

It didn’t matter if I was imperfect. I could still be a vessel. Just as the odd shaped mugs could still hold coffee or hot chocolate, I could contain Christ. Someone with a very creative mind had formed me. The shape didn’t matter. How very freeing that discovery was. All I needed to do was be the very best receptacle I could be.

With Christ in me, who knew just how far I could go?

“What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.
      Does a clay pot argue with its maker?
   Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,
      ‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’
   Does the pot exclaim,
      ‘How clumsy can you be?” Isaiah 45:9 (NLT)


Secure in Him

>> Tuesday, February 13, 2018

It had been a busy day. First I met friends at Starbucks. After a brief time at home, I took myself to lunch and then a movie. Returning home, I settled myself in my recliner to watch the Olympics. Still trying to be careful with my foot and its tendency to plantar fasciitis, I raised the leg portion of the chair so my foot was out in front of me.

And then it was bedtime. 

In the bathroom, ready to wash my face…put drops in my eyes…and then don my pajamas, I reached in my pants pocket to remove the device I have carried since the death of my husband. Whether I am in my home or driving across the United States, as long as I am in cell phone range, that little tool keeps track of my location. No matter what kind of emergency I may be undergoing, all I have to do is push the call button and help is on the other end.  I’ve grown accustomed to that close security. 

My pocket was empty.

As I thought back over my day, I wondered exactly when it had slipped out of my pocket. Starbucks? Restaurant? Movie theater? Since I couldn’t retrace those steps, I started with my recliner. Digging deep into the cracks below the cushions, I felt my way around. No device. I raised the leg portion and practically crawled under the chair to poke and prod some more. No luck. The car also came up empty.

Now what was I supposed to do at 11:00 at night?

Still pondering my travels that day, I reached for my housecoat. “Guess I’ll just have to go to bed.” But the housecoat felt a little heavy. My security device had been in its pocket all day…in my closet…doing me absolutely no good. Yet I had sensed no unease, secure in the knowledge I was protected. 

Sometimes life is just like that.

We think we have a good friend. But then they don’t connect with us. Somewhere over the past months we’ve lost them and didn’t even realize it. I’ve had a few that were never found. Or what about feeling secure in our job? Promotion time and some one else gets it. They’re not really fond of us. Will we soon be out of a job?

As a Christ-follower, I have no worries about my security in this life and after. He never falls out of my pocket or gets broken. He is just there…always…when I need Him. The only monthly fee He charges is that I love Him and tell others.

I’m always secure in Him. 

“For he will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.Psalm 91:11-12 (NIV)



>> Thursday, February 8, 2018

The pastor on the podcast I listened to this morning told the story of his grandmother who lived to be 100. As he talked of the changes in her life from birth to 100, it triggered a memory of my mother. She was six years old when the Wright brothers took their momentous flight. And at the age of 72, she was told men had landed on the moon. (She never believed it….said it was staged).

I thought of the changes in my lifetime.

One year before I was born, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. The communication systems used back then are considered archaic in our eyes today. One method was carrier pigeons. Now we have instant communication using the Internet. We know how to make powerful rockets that send cameras far into the galaxies giving unbelievable pictures of what the universe looks like. Yesterday a Tesla car atop a rocket was sent hurtling into space. It’s now cruising around planets.

Those are impressive changes and generate wonder in our minds.

Currently my Life Group is studying a book about heaven. Need I say more? We live in a disposable world. Things break. People hate. If we choose, we can see ugliness all around. But heaven…. such a different story. The wonder of heaven is impossible to comprehend. Those fabulous pictures of our universe give us a tiny glimpse of the glory to come.

“What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)


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