Saturday, February 28, 2009

The White Flag

Mr. Clark did not like my answer
so he flipped his fuzzy, hippy ponytail
behind his shoulder and clarified his question
in his best Art teacher whose patience is being tried voice
"No, Krissy, white is the absence of color.
So what is really your favorite color?"
I was taking a stand
my white-turning gray-Keds firmly planted
I looked down at the sticky, paint-freckled floor as I said it.
Wincing in hopes he wasn't angry with me.
He sighed with more Tornado coffee breath than usual
"Today's assignment deals with color.
You'll need to settle for something on your pallette
and capture the essence of a real object in our world.
I do not want to have to repeat myself again, young lady."
My 5th grade brain ran the hamster on the wheel
and wanted to ask for black paper and white paint
But it was a losing battle, so I nodded like a white flag waving.
I sighed as I swirled my brush between red and blue
and carefully painted the outline of a fluffy cloud
but in my heart I knew it wasn't about the purple lining...
white gloves with white pearl handled purses at Easter
White hymnal pages guiding us in "I Surrender All"
white daises, fresh linen pillowcases, dove soap bubble baths,
the white carpet in the living room when we removed shoes
to be standing on Mom's holy ground
lying in the grass making stories of white-horse heroes
from the cumulus canopies of cottonball possibilities
the white wig of my first transformation on the stage
into Huckleberry Finn's widow caretaker
the white tiped canes and white trimmed hats of dance
prom dress to wedding gown
and on to little white onesies snapping open
for a quick change back to clean, dry,
and powdered to perfection
but my favorite
the truth behind my all-time favorite color
or, according to Mr. Clark, lack thereof
that little white rabbit
I'll never stop chasing
the day I surrendered my life to You
and I will wave that white flag
each and every morning
as I surrender all
to You.

"Jesus paid it all, All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.
For nothing good have I
Whereby Thy grace to claim,
I’ll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv’ry’s Lamb."
(John T. Grape, "Jesus Paid it All" hymn, 1865)

"All to Jesus I surrenderAll to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In his presence daily live.
I surrender all, I surrender all;
All to thee, my blessed Savior, I surrender all."
(Judson VandeVenter,"I Surrender All"hymn, 1896)

"Faith, as Paul saw it, was a living, flaming thing leading to surrender and obedience to the commandments of Christ." A.W. Tozer

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship." Romans 12:1

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Boy on the Bus

now I know how a mother bird feels
that fateful day when those tiny, hopping feet
first fall outside her twiggy circle of safety
teetering on the edge of the branch
stretching their inexperienced wings and looking down
she must be breathless when she first loses sight of them...
but for us humans, it's a slow, hidden ritual
like watching the tree grow
but there are days you notice a new branch beginning
or a new site on the growing horizon
and today was one of those days.
She got off the bus slower than usual
her daily bounce and grin suddenly missing
as if stolen in some violent, unseen moment
and she stepped inside to tell the story.
Four older boys who I envisioned with forked tongues
had hovered over her seat like crows
the ring leader hit her on the back
"Hey, little girl! Do you know what a _________ is?"
He continued with a series of phrases and gestures
I hadn't learned until high school and way past puberty
As the vulgar words and gestures were repeated
by our naive, confused and eternally precious little kindergartener
our hearts slid into our stomaches and we tried to catch our breaths
for me, the tears were immediate,
but I was safely on the other end of the phone
keeping my voice from wavering, my tone calm, my mind racing
with routes to speed up the commute back to the nest
But she could see the anger tightening in her daddy's jawline
as he explained that those words were not meant for her ears
and the boys needed to pay for what they'd done
a noble calling for justice teetering on vengeance in his throat
and then it happened,
You were there in her voice
as she walked over and put her hand on his shoulder
"Daddy, it's ok. I bet there's a nice boy
deep down inside this mean boy
and we should say a prayer that he can come out
and that his momy and daddy can start doing better
at teaching him right from wrong."
And there she was, winging off into the sunlight
carried by the winds of You
as we marveled from the nest.
We can't shelter her from the world
or even from the boy on the bus
but we can trust in You
to help us teach her how to fly.

"Therefore you shall lay up these My words in your minds and hearts and in your entire being, and bind them for a sign upon your hands and as forehead bands between your eyes.
And you shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you rise up.
And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and on your gates,
That your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth."

Deuteronomy 11: 18-21

"To be 'in charge' as a parent means inspiring your children to motivate themselves. Servant leadership addresses the key principle of relationship vs. control. The truth is we have a far greater responsibility to our children than we have for our children. The bottom line is this: You need to be in control of the thing you can control, and that starts with you. I am responsible to my child for how I relate with my child. The only way to retain a position of influence with our children is to regain a positon of control over ourselves."
Ron Craker, "Parenting" Journey Bible Class, February 2009

"Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that."
Ephesians 5:1-2 (Msg)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Fashionably Late

"Kissing Cousins" : )

just like her mommy
our little niece has decided to take her time
and arrive fashionably late
with her own dramatic flare
and sweet romantic sensibilities
I look up at my "little" sister
facing the epic bildungsroman of motherhood
and still see a gangly nine year old
walking down the aisle
having arrived just minutes before
with a basket of flower petals
and pins still hidden in her dress
but a joy and bounce in her step
the bridesmaids had all grown out of
and a glowing smile grinning with dreams
they may have envied for a moment
three years later a daddy disappeared
in a hospital waiting room
like a car crash in slow motion
the first of many men to love, bruise, and leave
and the checkered flag was waved
growing up at NASCAR pace
and feeling a little queasy in the passenger's seat
just trying to brace herself for the next turn
the next driver to climb through the window
to love, bruise, and leave
But You had in mind a blessing she couldn't imagine
disguised as a mistaken compromise
all wrapped in pink and waiting for her
to end the spin cycle and rest in You
because it’s easy to see her daughter’s worth it
when she can’t seem to see it in herself
yet she still has that breathless fear of failure
bracing herself for the next romance and rejection
scared little Avery will follow in her footsteps
instead of walking in the truth of You
but the mother hen is pecking at the surface
and calling her back into Your arms
to the cliff's edge of complete trust
the image and reality of the one man
she can lean on
who comes to love, heal, and stay
and she wishes she'd stayed there years ago
but has that joy back in her walk
as she grins all the way to the hospital
baby equipment locked in her car
and You locked in her heart
fashionably late

Jesus replied, "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."
John 13:7

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth." 3 John 1:4