My annual 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes. I am a day behind, but October snuck up on me this year so I’ll just start right where I am – on October 2.
Today I spent a large majority of our afternoon walk telling my eldest about how being kind to people, especially his siblings, is the mark of a true man. He’s not a man yet, but I have to train him up to be one of those one day, and I so want him to be a good one.
As I was talking with him, I remembered, thankfully, that I am his truth-teller right now. The words I say each day form a part of who he sees himself as. The thoughts that I voice about him become woven into his future adult self.
Stopping the flow of words that portray him in a negative light, I began to tell him what I know about him – that he is kind, gentle, generous, loving. All those things that I want him to be, that I know he is, that I have seen in his life.
He may not always have someone saying those things to him – calling out the God-given good that is within him. Everyday, he will be besieged with words that tell him differently – that tell him he is never good enough, that he needs to take all he can get, that he is not loved.
I pray that he will not believe what the world says about him. I hope that instead he will rely on the reserve of truth about who God says he is, and who I know he is, that I have poured into his heart. It will tell him the truth.
She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. Matthew 1:21
“Blessed is everyone through whom God reaches into the world to love others, for we are partners in the Gospel from this day until the day of Jesus, when God shall bring our good work to completion.” Preparing for Jesus, Walter Wangerin
While we are waiting, remembering God’s ultimate outstretched hand into this world through a tiny baby, we can also be partners in his greater plan. What began in a stable, we are continuing through the love we show to our family, our friends, and even strangers on the sidewalk or in the store. In this time of waiting, this advent, our acts of love can point people to those outstretched hands.
“And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” John 1:17
Before there was Jesus, there was John. John, whose job it was to prepare the way for Jesus, for the meeting of heaven and earth. John was a prayer answered, a miracle, an unlikely baby, who pointed the way to an even greater prayer answered, and even greater miracle, an even more unlikely baby. One that would rescue the world. And the world needed to be ready.
“For no word of God shall never fail.” Luke 1:37
What a wonder is this. Whatever God says, it happens. And we see proof of that in who Mary was, in who Jesus is. Many many years before Mary looked in the face of Gabriel, we knew of her. Many years before Jesus was born, we knew who he would be. The promise had been made – to Abraham, to David. The promise that God was going to send someone to rescue us, to heal the brokenness between us, between me and my God. And now, as we wait, all creation holds its breath.
When the sun shines on the November leaves, the dying leaves, making each one shine golden, it is a view so beautiful that my heart aches. Those leaves, hanging there, waiting to fall to the ground, useless, no longer giving life, are graced with a beauty as precious as gold.
That, that glowing, achingly beautiful gold, is what the heart of a servant must look like to Jesus. A heart surrendered, a heart dying to all that it once was, to all the life that it has in it. But in this dying, the heart becomes only more beautiful, not less. It becomes more than it could have ever been if it had held on, not surrendered. And, just like the leaves, it basks in the light.
Oh, the days of blowouts – the diaper kind. The one I specifically remember occurred in our blue Volkswagen Golf of all places – a pretty small space for that much smell. We were traveling to see my parents and the scent began to waft up from the backseat. The farmer decided that we were going to stop at the next restaurant to take care of our little problem, so we pulled in. I hopped out of the car and unbuckled the car seat only to find out that the little problem wasn’t so little – it was huge, covering clothes, seat, and everything else. To top it off – there wasn’t a changing table in either restroom at this fine establishment, so we had to use an outdoor table. Not the greatest car trip.
But I did learn that even the biggest blowouts can be contained (a lesson that was repeated multiple times with all my little people). It may not be an ideal situation, and you may not really have all the tools you need, but eventually, you will get back to the place where everything is clean again. Dealing with the mess is just part of the process.
Look what the wonderful UPS man brought today! I can’t wait to start reading and share with y’all! #thebrokenway #annvoskamp