Do what you can do

Come ye, who are bruised and wounded, or even bandaged and in need of encouragement and together we’ll bind one another up in order to offer others some hope and grace in their world.

Something to chew on:

She has done what she could…..” Jesus said. The woman just walked into the home of Simon the leper (he had been healed but was still labeled as such) and before anyone else could object, she knelt before Jesus and opened this alabaster vial of costly perfume and pored it on the feet of Jesus! Now. Lest we wonder what in the world she was doing with the perfume in the first place and what business she had doing such a thing on the dirty feet of a man, just look first at his response. Jesus did not rebuke her. Rather, he viewed what she did as a prophecy of what was to come in the not too distant future to him. He was going to be killed and the custom of the day was that before a body was to be entombed it would be anointed with oils and wrapped in clean cloths.
Of course, she had no way of knowing that. The woman’s act was her way of worshiping Jesus. Why? It’s not mentioned in Scripture but it seems that she had been around Him and seen His love for others, witnessed His miracles and heard His mysterious yet profound teaching of hope and love. His teaching was so contrary to the teachings of the leaders of her church that she was compelled to do something to show her love for him. Even if it meant receiving ridicule or scorn.

So, in the doorway she purposefully walked. Right into a room full of common men and right to where Jesus was reclining. Amid the scorn, she went right to the reason she was there. She opened the vial and pored it tenderly over the head of the one she had come to love. “This perfume could have been sold and the money given to feed the poor,” one disciple said. “Let her alone,” Jesus said to them,”Why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For the poor you have with you always, and whenever you wish, you can do good to them.” Now listen to this, “She has done what she could.”

In our world, all around us, we are bombarded with so many needs. We see homeless on the street corners with their cardboard signs and windblown faces. We hear of orphans needing a home in the ads on TV. We hear of school children going to bed hungry many nights, especially on weekends when they have no school lunch. We know about the lonely widows sitting around in the nursing home waiting to die. We are overwhelmed. Jesus said to the disciples about this woman, she did what she could do. I do know that is all He asks of any of us. To be available to do what we can do with what we have at that moment. Encouraging you to open your eyes and heart to see what Jesus would have you see and with your heart do what you can do. You’ll be blessed as the one you see is also blessed. Go out with Joy and be led forth in His peace.
claypot earthen vessel   The reason I found what Jesus said liberating came in the form of a handout in our Sunday bulletin. In the past at this time of year, I would have taken this handout and pored over it and tried to DO as many things as possible on that list before Christmas day and in my heart I would have thought I was doing the right thing. In my body I would have been stressed and most likely irritable at those I love most and what good would all my “good things” have done?

But this year is now different because I know I can only do what I can do and that whatever it is it must be to honor my Lord and Savior and no one else.

Eyes to see

homeless woman eyes

There she was.
Leaning on her cane, looking directly at me.
“Help me,” she seemed to be saying desperately.
I saw her. Her sunburned face.
Auburn hair in dire need of a shampoo and conditioner.
The traffic light changed. I had to move on.
Down deep in the recesses of my heart she knitted herself to me.
I wanted to reach out to her.
To give her a meal, some shampoo, a bus ticket to a shelter.

Eyes to see,
Leah said to me.
So many folks have no idea
that there are even people standing on the street
begging for a few dollars
so they can eat,
much less seeing some of these are women!

Five dollar gift cards to the local fast food;
New underwear from the Dollar Store;
Toiletries collected from a stay at the hotel
Or from the half-off bin at Target.
A Gideon New Testament.
Some baby wipes and chapstick.
Put them in the gallon zip lock bag.
Take them to the street where Dr. Mosely preaches
On Sunday afternoons.
After the service, we offer a meal and a bag of toiletries.

Prayers. Hugs. A look into their eyes to say,
“I care. I see you. You are real.
You are loved.”
“You have done what you could,” said Jesus,
And that’s enough.

Jesus saw individuals.
Not categories.
He saw the one woman with the issue of blood.
He saw the one Centurion who sought after Him.
He touched the one blind man.
Looking directly into his eyes
And had compassion on him.

Categories are safe.
But inhumane.
Categories keep one from seeing the people
That God wants you to see and touch
And tell them of Him.
Removing the categories requires faith
And risk.
Trust.
And great reward.

See.
See into their eyes.
Feel what they are feeling.
And then they will no longer be a
homeless person with no face or history.
They’ll be someone who needs your care and
Your word from Jesus. “I love you.”
“I died for you.”

Mark 14:1-9

The Good Story

Lucy could take me at 10:30, but some of the time I’d have to wait between other appointments. That’s fine, I said, smiling. I hung up. In less than 20 minutes I had put on makeup, made up the bed, grabbed a book upstairs and left the house. At the hair salon by 10:30 on the dot. Lucy was standing near the door showing her boss some pictures and looked up and smiled. There’s “Miss Dianne”!! We hugged. Such a cutie! I only had to ask her how her classes were going and then sat back and listened. What a smarty-pants! She had made a 100 on her final in anatomy! We laughed and talked all the time while she was “covering the gray.”

Her next appointment arrived. While I sat in the chair baking, so to speak, she moved to the next station and worked on the  high school young lady, highlighting her long hair. After about 20 minutes or so, Lucy asked an employee if she would shampoo and condition my hair. Of course! Come with me, she said.

Dressed in knee length brown boots over skinny jeans, this little lady led me to the back where she pointed to the first chair and asked me to take the seat. She was a short slender young lady with an uneven cut – long on one side of her face and short above the ears on the other. Highlighted blonde in front and the sides to a light brown in the back. So trendy. On her.

As I got as comfortable as one can get while leaning your head back against a porcelain sink, I introduced myself and learned her name was Amy. Greetings, Amy. Thank you for taking me. Oh! No problem! I’m an apprentice right now. In other words, I thought, right now you do as you’re told.

After a short silence, I asked her if she lived around here – one of my general “getting to know you without asking anything too personal” question. “I live outside of Tomball.”  It was that leading question that got Amy to tell me what would become “the good story.”

“You see, right now, my husband and 2 children and I are living in a garage apartment at my grandparents and it’s going well. I was living downtown and driving back up here to Tomball College. But we separated for awhile but we’re back together.”  “Oh, Amy!” I exclaimed, “I’m so encouraged by your story. That you and your husband reconciled and are back together! That’s such good news! Lately, I’ve been grieving over so many friends’ marriages falling apart and it’s so hard.” She told me that she had had a child by her high school sweetheart, they married and moved to the downtown area and she wanted to go to school in Tomball. But, she said, I went from living at home with my parents to living with my husband and I was quite clingy. We separated and I realized that I could make it on my own. I also learned that I needed to change some things about me before we could get back together.”

I told her that my husband had some issues with me and I decided that my marriage was more important than trying to fight his issues and I made some changes and am better for it. Much better.

In the fall I had been made aware of several friends whose marriages were struggling and indeed had died. What’s going on with Christians and their marriages? What’s happening to couples who’ve been married for over 30 years and are now divorced? What happened to the commitment? To the vow? I’ve prayed and cried out to God to restore these couples back together. To forgive. To date again. To love again. I know there are some restored relationships that happened after heartache, work, forgiveness, time. I am praying my friends’ marriages are restorable. But it will take a work of the Lord in both people; a restorative work.

When I heard that this nearly 30 year old who had lived some years beyond her time share that though she and her husband were young when they married, with a child; though they had some issues to work out and separated over it, still. They saw the love they had for one another, the vow they had made. The child they had made together and they forgave. Why is that so hard for others?

I left her a tip for washing and conditioning my hair. I thanked her for sharing some good news. Some encouraging news. There are some marriages that are working at it. Giving. Forgiving. Thriving.tatooed married hands

morsels of grace

girls leaving schoolShe didn’t know how low I was; how I was owning just one class – just three or four kids were totally stealing my joy for the rest of the day. Can’t believe I gave them that much control.

But she didn’t know all that as she brushed past me and then turned around slightly and said, “you’re the best music teacher ever!” and kept walking out the cafeteria doors to the awaiting bus.

I heard her. And I decided to let that morsel of grace that came straight from my benevolent Father wash all over me. And a slight smile crept across my face. Sigh. It’s okay. Thank you, Father, for your Grace.arms outstretched