Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Student Who Does This

Today the student who knew all of our names the very first day of class because of his incredible memory arrives in class at just the right time. It's so hot and muggy, and I'm feeling drained enough to curl up under the desk for a quick, cool nap. (Additionally, we're all still nervous and insecure around each other; we've just had three days of class time.)

But this student brings the laughter and the energy just when we're all fading. And then, I hear this: "Who wants to have lunch together after class?" He extends the invitation to one and all; he doesn't discriminate as his smile bounces from student to student. Now, everyone gathers to make plans like they're some family and not a class of freshmen randomly assembled. Everyone responds to his genuine invitation.

It feels that everyone has a place to go--to belong--and even if they couldn't make that particular lunch event, at least they knew they were wanted.

Now, they're all laughing and talking and connecting. It's the third day of class, and already, there's something special happening here.

Students who build community right there in class just make me happy.

Monday, September 1, 2014

I Don't Know What I Want

I'm almost finished culling for the summer portion of my Live with Flair book. I come upon this quote from two years ago, and I'm struck again by the truth of it. It's just this: "They received more than they knew to want."

For readers just joining us this year, I'm including the full text from June 26, 2012 below. What I love about rereading this blog is that it's true! Over the past two years, I've received from God more than I knew to want. He brought things into my life I didn't even know I wanted.

I'm learning that I don't know what I want. I just don't. That's why I find it so intriguing when Jesus asks that very first recorded question in the gospels, "What do you want?" I laugh and cry all at once. I imagine the disciples stammering around a bit, maybe even stuttering as they simply say, "Rabbi, where are you staying?"

In other words, they have no idea what they want. They just want to be with Jesus, to know where He's going to be. I think, after all this time, that's finally what I want too.

I'm listening online to Paige Benton Brown give a talk at a women's conference. I remember her from 1998 (back when she spoke at Camp Greystone to a group of us counselors). She always knew how to make the Bible come alive and apply it in ways I so desperately needed as a young woman.

So I tune in all these years later to hear her again. As she begins teaching from the Bible, she describes how when people encounter God, "they received more than they even knew to want."

They received more than they even knew to want.

I write the sentence in my journal and stop listening to anything else. I'm just so amazed by the truth of it: God gives what we don't even know we want yet.

We don't know to want it.

Our hearts have been instructed by so many false narratives that we don't even know to want the great things of God.

God wants to give what I don't even know to want. The thought astounds me again. I entrust myself to this God who knows what I don't know.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Perfect Conditions

This afternoon I harvest raspberries in the rain. It's perfect this way; the bees stay hidden, so I don't need an epi-pen. 

Once again, I learn the principle that God creates the perfect conditions for protection and joy. 

Even if it looks like the bad luck of rain, it's filtered through God's permission for our good, for our growth. 

My husband reminds us that with rain, it's all about perspective. In ancient days, the rain represented God's favor and blessing. In modern days, we think rain symbolizes misfortune and sadness. 

The youngest says, "Yes, some people see rain and think God must be sad and crying. But what if the raindrops are tears of joy?"