Monday, September 26, 2011

'S all about me.

Friday night I got my eyebrows shaped. Following that I spent hours being taught about shading and hues in regards to eye shadow.

And then? Saturday night at church, Jeff, the pastor, talked about our culture's incessant need for perfectly arched eyebrows. (Yes! He totally did. I know! SO random.) He also talked about the lies we listen to about beauty.

It was one of those times that I knew God was trying to get my attention.
He wanted to remind me of this:
(1 Peter 3:3,4)

Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

 "Gentle and quiet spirit..."
Will I ever have that?

Actually, even before Jeff started preaching, I knew that being in church was the right place for me that evening for two other reasons:
1. A friend emailed me an hour before church started to see if I was going. She wanted to come to my church and sit with me. BONUS. I love having friends to sit with.

2. While we were singing (many new-to-me songs) I said to God during (what I thought was) the last song, "Please can we do one more. An oldie? One that I know? One that, maybe you'd want to hear me sing?" and as the song faded away, there was a pause on stage. And then the words to It Is Well (With My Soul) came on the screen and I started bawling. I love that song. I love that God wanted to hear me sing it to Him. (Which for the record, I mostly didn't. Because, do you know how hard it is to sing when there's a lump in your throat, and a sniffle in your nose?) (And mostly I can't carry a tune in my throat. I can carry it just fine in my head, but it can't seem to escape out my mouth as it was intended to.)

So, you see, by the time Jeff mentions eyebrows, I am ready to hear what God has to say regarding Revelations 2. It feels personal. Like this whole horse and pony show is for my benefit. ("Me, me, me". Talk about being narcissistic...)

Anyway, the gist of the message, as I understood it, was this:

1. Jesus knows. He knows what we're going through. He knows about suffering. He knows about injustice. He knows about poverty.

2. Jesus commands. "Do not fear what you're about to suffer." (Say wut? How can we NOT be afraid?) We can rest because of Jesus's character:

  • He is sovereign. "I am the first and the last and everything inbetween is Mine." Every hassle and hurt we experience is let through the loving hands of Jesus. It happens on His watch.
  • He has a purpose. A time of testing = a time of refining. We are refined everytime we go through adversity. It's a wonderful thing, really.
  • He grants prizes at the end of the race. Of course, you have to finish - no bailing out before you're done. 
  • He knows the way. He's done this before. He knows how to live. And die. And live again. We can trust Him to show us the way. Just hold His hand. (Oy. I am a sucker for hand-holding.)

 - Something about the way I heard the statement "I am the first and the last. Everthing inbetween is Mine. When you suffer, it happens on My watch..." seemed so very personal. It just settled into my soul and snuggled me from the inside.

My faith? Originates in my brain. It is a decision I made with my mind and rarely do my feelings get involved. But on Saturday night, I got the warm fuzzies and it had nothing to do with my head and everything to do with my heart. 

As the service was ending, Marj turned to me and said, "Oh boy. I wish we could go out for coffee - there's just so much to unpack about tonight's sermon, isn't there ..."

Are we getting old? Seriously? Never in my younger years would I have thought I'd ever want to go out for coffee after church TO TALK ABOUT A SERMON. Either this is an old person thing, or I've never heard sermons preached like this before. 

Regardless of our longing to sit and talk, she went her way afterwards, and I went to a party.

Which was totally fun even though I probably knew less than 1/3 of the guests.

It is the fall. These photos were taken at 11 pm. And we're sitting outside. Most of us without sweaters on. Exclamation mark.

I love that.

Know that else was fun about the evening?
I was sitting next to Sharon, who I know a little bit, who introduced me to Carolyn who is a stranger to me.
Sharon: Jane this is Carolyn.
Jane: Hi Carolyn. (Like a moron I put out my hand to shake hers. Where do I think I am? A networking business luncheon?)
Carolyn: Hi Jane. (She shakes my hand, graciously, not at all weirded out by my questionable social skills.)
Carolyn, turning to Sharon: Is she the one?
Carolyn looks back at me: Are you pixnprose?

I blink.
Jane: Oh my goodness. Uh, yeah, I am.
Carolyn: I've been following along your 30 Day Photography Challenge...

So fun.

And then? When I got home at midnight? Drew was home. With Brett. And it just felt like the Best. Day. Ever. Which reminded me of another part of the sermon, Revelations 2:9, "I know about your suffering and poverty, but you are rich..."

I am.
I am rich.
I have friends. Family. 23 boxes of books. And 4 uninsured (but totally secured) vehicles in various states of road-readiness on my driveway and in my garage.
And I have believe in a God who reminds me He loves me.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. The boys who own these cars. I consider it a privilege to have them park their vehicles here. I love having them around to work on them.

2. Young men who invest time in teenagers. Derek is ten years older than Drew, and married. And yet? He still has time to park his butt on my couch and race cars with my boy.

3. Last minute supper with my dad and mom.... I phoned at 5 pm:
Dad answers: HELLO?!
Jane: Hi dad. What are you doing?
Dad: Eating supper.
Jane: Oh. I was going to see if you wanted to meet me at the White Spot.
Dad: (silent)
Jane: Maybe I should talk to mom. Okay?
Dad: Yes.
Clomp, clomp, clomp. I hear him taking slow steps across the room. Or it could be across the street. He takes alot of steps.
Mom: Hi!
Jane: Hi. I was going to see if you wanted to meet me for supper, but dad says you're already eating...
Mom: I'll pack this away. Which White Spot should we meet you at. We'll leave right now.

With parents like these, of course I thought the earth revolved around me.

I am rich.

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