22 August 2012

In Joy

i have begun telling my children to come to the table for our morning reading of the bible "with empty hands". it began out of necessity. their fidgeting became too distracting. yesterday i explained, "we come to god with empty hands". and then i recited a line from a hymn, "nothing to the cross we bring simply to the cross we cling". my hands were held out empty for them to notice. 

it's not that i feel that the only time we can talk to god is when we are prostrate with eyes tightly shut. but i have noticed in myself a casual lack of respect for the one who created me. it really makes me sick to think of my lackadaisical heart. as if i introduce my heavenly father-the creator of the heavens-He who spoke light into existence with a nonchalant, "o, yeah. that's my dad." when i should be reverently grateful for the gift of air and voice and hands that can lift in worship. 

think about all your hands do in a given day. mine type, wipe, clean, write, tickle, hold, rub, stir, grip and push to name a few, but in that list, if i think and squint back over the order of my day, i do not see worship on the list. o, sure. you might encourage, "we worship when we type and wipe and clean and write." and that is true. very, very true. but there is distraction that comes when we are doing other things besides coming to god with EMPTY hands. hands without dishcloths, without pencils, or books or boys or steering wheels. and for that i am deeply sorrowful. of all the time i did not come to god with my whole heart. with my single-minded focus. with my empty hands-so that i could fully grasp how wide and how long and how high and how deep is his love for me. 

o, even now as i confess a sense of shame fills me. but i remember that his mercies are new every morning. that he sets his banner over me with love. and i am compelled to set an intention for my 'morrow. to sit and read and pray and think and gasp at HIS goodness to me that in joy I may enjoy HIM the one who loves us and cherishes us and sings over us and woos us and forgives us and calls us back into his benevolent fellowship. "prone to wander. lord i feel it. prone the leave the god i love. he to rescue me from danger. bought me with his precious blood." that is the song of this wayward girl. 

today as one of my boys confessed, "mom, i cheated on my math. will you sit with me so that if i feel tempted you will be there to remind me?" he began to weep. i offered, "boy, if you are going to mess up, this is the safest place for you to mess up-while you are still home with parents who care about you. who love you." and then i tenderly reminded him of the gospel. "god loves you. he sings over you. he forgives you. but sin {like cheating} robs us of the best life we can live. don't live a cheated life. live an honest life. and when you fail-own it. be restored." and we commenced to re-working those math problems.

i am glad. so glad that the lord sits with me whenever i cheat or feel tempted to cheat on my math life lessons. he is good! "great is thy faithfulness. lord unto me."


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