The Time My Kid Took Up INTERIOR Landscaping…. Yeah….

The Time My Kid Took Up INTERIOR Landscaping…. Yeah….

(Photo credit: Deva Williamson)

One Easter when my son was about three, he received a basket from the Easter Bunny. It was filled with the usual things- candy, small toys, and plenty of loose strips of fake green grass. Now he has always been very content to entertain himself, but one day I realized that he and his new basket had been particularly quiet in his room.

Quiet. The “Q” word. In the parenting dictionary this is defined as one of two things:

1. an indication of sleep

..or, (and more likely)..

2. an indication of trouble

Any gamblers out there want to take a guess which one applied in this case?

.

.

.

.

.

Yep. Option #2 gets it.

(Photo credit: Debby Hudson)

Once I realized that he had been so uncharacteristically quiet, I crept down the hall and peeked into his room. What I saw can only be described as the beginnings of the most unsuccessful clean up effort of which I’d ever partake.

I caught his eye and he looked back at me, beaming with pride, and declared, “Mommy! Grass!”

He had taken each strip of plastic grass from his Easter basket, almost individually, and carefully placed each one in between the strands of the expanse of carpeting in his room. Hundreds.. perhaps thousands (probably not thousands, but it seemed so,) of bright green strips lay meticulously matted into the carpeting. He looked to me for a reaction, smile still spread across his innocent face as he admired both his new pretend lawn and me. I paused, then resigned in that moment to let him have his happiness.

“Looks great, buddy,” I said, a stiff smile stationed painfully on my face, silently dreading the cleanup to come. I vowed to myself in that moment that this Easter bunny would never again use the fake plastic grass.

That memory is still laughed over in our family. Even now, after nearly six years and a move to a new house I still, on occasion, find a strip of bright green plastic grass. It may be lurking in a storage container, the corner of a rarely used closet, or may have snuck its way in clinging to an old stuffed animal or wrapped up in an unused blanket. I don’t know how it’s managed to do it, but still it finds me from time to time. It has permeated my life in some strange way and I’ve forfeited trying to escape it.

– • – • – • – • –

(Photo credit: Debby Hudson)

I’m sure we’ve all heard that we’re to love the sinner and hate the sin. (#Goals.) But what happens when we end up being influenced by another sinner, rather than that person being encouraged by us?

Easter grass.

In our all important mission to bring others to all the good we experience by following Christ, sometimes we get too comfortable in the middle ground. Each and every one of us is also a sinner, so it can be easy to relate to a person who doesn’t know Christ. That’s where we have to be careful not to start making exceptions in our faith.

When we love people it becomes natural to accept each one as a person- but then it can get messy. Do we accept their sins, too? Do we let things slide because we know “her heart is in the right place,” or “he’s a good person underneath it all”? The next step then becomes that our loved one rubs off on us, permeating our habits and bents with their own. If you need some examples of the habits we pick up in friendship, let me assure you that I never really thrift store shopped, used cheesecake as a means of emotional therapy, considered contacting my pastor for guidance, or listened to 90s rock before my two closest friends came along. Some practices are good, some are questionable, but both became a part of my life at some point nonetheless. People permeate people. The grass gets wrapped around the fibers of the carpet. It all meshes together until you’re not sure if the carpet is green and the grass is tan, or if your opinion is yours or your friend’s.

The book of Jude was pretty eye opening on this for me:

“They told you that in the last times there would be scoffers whose purpose in life is to satisfy their ungodly desires. These people are the ones who are creating divisions among you. They follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.”

‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:18-19‬ ‭NLT

I don’t think all non-believers purposely try to derail you from a life of faith. As Jude says, “they follow their natural instincts because they do not have God’s Spirit in them.”

Sometimes we hold on to old habits because we are still trying to navigate a new life with God’s Spirit in us. For me, bad language can be difficult to let go of. It was normal in my “B.C.” life, and it was normal around certain friends. Now when I slip, I feel an instant uncomfortable twinge- a guiding instinct of the Spirit living in me, directing me toward godliness and eternal life. This is my hope for my loved ones- that they may experience that guidance and eventually, eternal life in Heaven.

(Photo credit: Aaron Burden)

To help our friends and family get there, and to preserve our own faith in the process, Jude says:

“But you, dear friends, must build each other up in your most holy faith, pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, and await the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will bring you eternal life. In this way, you will keep yourselves safe in God’s love. And you must show mercy to those whose faith is wavering. Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment. Show mercy to still others, but do so with great caution, hating the sins that contaminate their lives.

‭‭Jude‬ ‭1:20-23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Build each other up, pray, and wait as God works. Show love to every person who crosses your path, and especially those close to your heart. Just take care in building relationships- and let your relationship with God be above all. After all, He is the only one uncontaminated by sin, the only one not tangled up in the messy plastic grass that clings to the rest of us.

A very Happy Easter to you all!

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Pieces & Promise

Pieces & Promise

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NLT

– • – • – • – • –

Guys…. Something happens to me when I walk into a fabric store.

I don’t know if I can quite explain it, really. It’s an emotional mixture of calm and giddy, paired with a sharp decrease in logical reasoning. I suddenly forget all of life’s problems and get excited for every new line of fabrics that come out. Then, I forget all about the other beautiful fabric I have at home and begin rationalizing the purchases I’m about to make with reasons that aren’t very rational at all:

  1. “Someone is bound to have a baby sometime, somewhere- this adorable print will be perfect for that!”
  2. “I know I don’t NEED another sewing notion but this coupon makes it too good to pass up!”
  3. “This fabric would look great with the other stuff I have! (Even though they won’t be going into the same project. 🤷🏻‍♀️)

And the list goes on of course….

There is just something about the process of creating that seems to put all things into perspective once the cutter starts rolling and the machine starts buzzing. The sounds of my sewing room alone are enough to put my spirit at ease. It’s interesting, isn’t it, the way a quilter looks at piles of broken fabric pieces with stars in her eyes? It seems fundamentally true that someone with a heart to mend and create can always look at brokenness and see building. They can spot fragments and see a future. They admire pieces and see promise.

That is how God sees you, and sees me. He looks at the pieces of us left behind by our own sin and by the sins of others which have affected us, and I imagine He is both calm and giddy; both confident in His perfect skill to mend us, and thrilled by His almighty power to create newness in us. He isn’t the one to have caused our brokenness, but He is eager to begin a good work in us and carry it to completion when we come to Him. He looks at our disassembled state with great plans to give us hope and a bright future. What a comfort it is that our God is one who mends and loves all our broken pieces- and refuses to leave us incomplete!

“And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

‭‭Philippians‬ ‭1:6‬ ‭NLT‬‬

– • – • – • – • –

UPDATE:

If you read my New Year’s post, then you know that taking up quilting was one of my resolutions for 2019. I’ve (finally) recently finished my first quilt and thought I’d share with my craft-loving readers. I’d love to know if any of you quilt or craft, so feel free to share in the comments below!

My first quilt, made in crib size for my daughter: