Friday, October 31, 2014

Incarnate Me.

My thumb is finally recovered--Hallelujah!--so all the things that have been brewing in my brain are bubbling over to be written. See what I did there? Actually, 'brewing' and 'bubbling' are words that make me think more of MacBeth than Halloween, but I suppose I can give a nod to both today, but a glancing nod is both either is going to get. I just haven't the time.

Instead, I'm thinking about Jesus.
A far better topic any day of the week, don't you think?
Today, specifically, I'm thinking about the fact that Jesus is a man.
Okay, of course you know He is a man. It's part of the story, after all. But what hit me this morning (just when I was going about my business with another post lined up in the shoot of my brain, ready to be written) is that he's every bit as much of a man as my Beve or my J, or my dad, or every other guy I've ever known or liked. OR every other one I HAVEN'T LIKED either. Yep, that's the whole truth of it. He's a man. He was born with every single part a man has--and you know what I'm talking about--and every single one of them worked. He had to be breast-fed and potty-trained (whatever that meant back then) and taught all kinds of things little boys have to be taught that little girls don't (like where to aim when you pee, and where NOT to, and the luxury, the God-given luxury of being able to pee just about any place on earth without having to find a bush or tree to hide and squat behind).

He is human, too. While he was on earth, His body worked liked every human's does (I haven't the faintest idea how heavenly bodies work). That is to say, he was born with every organ every human has: a heart, two kidneys, a liver, intestines, a colon, a gall bladder--like my daughters, as my MOM, as every other woman I've every known, as every one you've known either. Every single one of them. He learned to walk, run, trip and fall. He didn't miss any of those steps being human means. He ate with his hands when he was a toddler, got mud on his face, he learned to read, and learned to help around the house. He was a real human child.

Look around the room where you're sitting. If there are others in it, look at them--Jesus of Nazareth is every bit as much a human as they are. And, if you're by yourself, take a good look in the mirror. You and Jesus--just the same. EXACTLY in every way that makes you human, and I'm NOT just talking physiologically. I'm talking about the ability to communicate, to love, to reason, to learn.

Come to think of it, those are also the things that make us "Made in His IMAGE."

So here's the fascinating, amazing, transforming truth:
Jesus wants us to be LIKE HIM! That is, He tells us to become like Him, "Be Holy as I am Holy."
That is, be fully human (like Him) and fully divine (also like Him).
This is what it means when we say, "Incarnate me, Lord!" Make me like you!
AND, this is exactly what the Holy Spirit is doing within us (and yes, I purposely used that ongoing verb tense--because it's a constant, ongoing process!). His whole job is to make us like Jesus but not to make us UNLIKE ourselves. He already created us as He intended us to be--each of us exactly as He intended--now He's simply filling up the rest. And that's all out of love. He makes the broken places whole. Holy. That's His job. His Incarnating job.

Already like Him,
and to become LIKE HIM.
That's the goal.
Amen, I say. Incarnate me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finding joy in simple things

It's been a long time between posts and this will be just a quick update, too, because I had a small in-office surgery on my right thumb today which not only wasn't improving but has continued to be so painful that typing, texting and turning a key in an ignition, shifting a car out of park, holding mugs, etc. have all been difficult. I thought I was an extraordinarily left-handed person until these last couple of weeks, when I've understood the joy of opposable thumbs by the loss of one of mine!

So after a bout of antibiotics and more to come, a rather excruciating ("Do you have a bullet I can bite?") session with silver nitrate last week, and today's surgery, I am hopeful that I will finally be able to stop wearing a bandage and thumb protector the size of Beve's ring finger (size 14 finger), and will be down to a simple band-aid soon.

In the meantime, our remodel moves along slowly. It's amazing how long these things take. We hoped to be finished by the end of this month. It looks like we'll be a couple weeks behind schedule--mostly because of a window kerfuffle. Sigh. But a whole lot has changed I wish I had pictures of our ordinary hallway bathroom of before, but alas, I didn't think to take those pictures. Still I've takes plenty during this process--from the rough openings, to the sound-proof insulation installation to the the current tape and texture stage we're at now. Tiles are at the ready, fixtures are picked out, we have widened doorways and stacked washer and dryer, and our entire hardwood is covered with paper ready for the texturing. And we're living in a constant mess. Oh, the joy of remodeling mess. But we're getting there.

So here are a few pictures.

So I'm looking forward to the wooden vanity being made to fit in this space, the rainhead shower that will come down from the ceiling behind the wall, the beautiful finished cedar post you see wrapped in plastic at the moment and the way we'll use it to care for our Grampie (and the many others who will use it as well!). AND, our daughters will be glad to know there are FOUR electric outlets in available just for them. I made sure of that, and their dad bought a heated towel rack. It's not a big room, but our guests will enjoy it.

And I'll enjoy the use of my thumb soon.
Yep, there's joy in simple things. Thumbs and finishing projects.

Friday, October 10, 2014

My right thumb

For those of you who have weak stomachs, I'm not going to post a picture, but I managed to pull off half of my right thumb nail Monday. It began as a sewing accident and rapidly progressed...Sigh. It's always something, I tell you. Anyway, when I say half, I mean, half, I'm exaggerating, but not but much, and I'm talking vertically.

And it's NOT pleasant. No, let me go so far as to say I'm in a whole lot of pain every time this blasted thumb touches anything and that's saying a whole lot for someone who lives in chronic pain.When a dog nudges me, or I try to text, or reach for a utensil in a drawer, it hurts like billy-o (as Eustace Shrugg says in Voyage of the Dawn Treader). The thing is, that the soft tissue beneath a fingernail normally never sees the light of day and there's a reason for that. I won't go into all the details, but whoa...

Now I'm sporting a finger protecter, a cornflower blue, velcro, metal and foam gadget that goes a long ways toward keeping my thumb safe from would-be assassins. You know, those menaces like  coffee cups and onions and the edge of chairs and a thousand other things out to get me in every-day life. I'm not saying my thumb isn't throbbing every second; no, I won't go that far, but at least I'm not curled up in a fetal position praying for heaven.

It's funny how one small part of a body can overwhelm with such exquisite agony. I'm blessed to be left-handed, and blessed that I don't make my living doing something that takes strong hands and both of them. I'm also blessed that I haven't had to suffer great piercing agony like so many others in history that I can whine about my thumb. I mean, speaking of thumbs, think of being strung up by them like those in the middle ages. Or having them cut off (along with the rest of your hand) because you displeased your husband. Or having your life cut short because someone wanted to make a statement to the western world. Or because you believe something.

I am afforded the luxury of my life, of whining and complaining my pain.
I know that. I know I've been plenty blessed and for no reason other than that I was born when and where and who I am.

I dare not take that for granted.
I dare not EVER take Him for granted for this specific life I was given.

Even the small pains I've been given I see in the context of my own life, my own luxurious life.
Or perhaps I should say, the abundant life.

It didn't have to have been this way.
So I praise Him,

Oddly, my right thumb reminds me to ask Him,
What would you have me do with this abundant life you have given?

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


The sound of an electric nail gun, a drill, a hammer.
The empty shell covered in plastic Beve and J start toward myriad times a day.
Dogs barking each morning when the knock comes signalling the arrival of men they are just beginning to know.
Sheetrock dust in the hallway, on the bookcases, in my chest--I can't keep up with it all.

Decisions every fifteen minutes:
Which tile, which tempered glass, how high the 'pony wall' (learning what a pony wall is!), which shower head, revising, revising--oh my gosh, am I like that woman in "Sleepless in Seattle"?

Remodeling is not for the faint of heart. I'm learning that.

But then I think of what God does.
Of the remodeling work He continues to do in my life.
Moving things around in my heart, revising, recreating,
yes, remodeling me so that I'm better suited for His purposes.
Made for His Kingdom,
More like Him.

In truth, remodeling is the never-ending story of our lives,
Isn't it?
His work isn't done with sledge hammer and electric nail guns,
Thank God!
But with His love,
His Holy Spirit working in us by grace
to take what we are--the made-in-His-image-but-damaged-by-sin-selves that we are
and transforming it into His holy Likeness.
It's a mighty work,
a glorious work.
The work of the cross,
the work of resurrection
the work of LIFE every day we walk with Him,
every day we say, "I am yours, Lord, do with me what You will."

Yes, remodel me.
Incarnate me. That's the truth of it, Incarnate me.

As I live in this house for the next month,
let it be an earthly reminder of the holy work
of Incarnation. Make me flooded with Christ in me,
changed into glory.