Posts Tagged ‘Hope

10
Mar
10

Queen of Putrescence

The Princess Bride is definitely one of my favorite flicks. Funnily enough (thank you Christine, I totally agree it’s a word), it’s not just a favorite among chicks and my husband and several of my best male buddies like it as much as I do. Whether or not they would admit that in public…meh…different story. C’est la vie…

One of my favorite scenes is Buttercup’s nightmare when she envisions being “booed” by a village hag. It’s not my favorite because it’s a dream sequence – i usually hate that. It’s not my favorite because Buttercup is getting booed. It’s not my favorite because of the old hag…even though she is awesome. It’s my favorite because of the words the hag uses to insult Buttercup. Awesome words…like “refuse” not reFUSE (like my son reFUSES to eat mushrooms), REfuse. Made more impressive by her british accent. And…putrescence. Just a fabulous word. Rolls right off the tongue. Again – more impressive if you are fresh off a flight from Yorkshire. Try it. … I’ll wait. … Awesome – right?

I think I should verify that I looked up the definition. Not because I didn’t know its meaning (I mean, context is king, right?), but because I have been guilty MORE THAN ONCE of adding a 50-cent word to a sentence…only to owe change to the conversation. Putrescence defined: the state of being rotten, putrid.

That got me started thinking about the condition of my heart. And it isn’t pretty. I mean, there are parts that have been cleaned up. Parts that look a little bit like hope and joy and peace and forgiveness. And then there is the rest of it.  So much of what is harbored in the recesses of my heart is rotten…putrid. The hate, anger, fear, self-doubt….all of it rotten. Envy, greed, gluttony, disdain, cowardice…all of it putrid. Proverbs 4:23 says: Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life. If I am honest, I don’t GUARD my heart at all…I feed it. I seem to spend more time cultivating and feeding those parts of my heart than I do the good ones. I cuddle the anger like a lost child…nurturing it, reassuring it that it is justified, righteous. I reward my work with gluttony and grow the greed for fame, recognition as deserved offspring of that same hard work. I have disdain for those with whom I disagree. And don’t even get me started on the fear-self-doubt road I walk every time I look in the mirror.

Do you smell something? Yeah, me too. Yuck.

I don’t want to walk around this world spreading the smelly putrescence that is in my heart. I don’t want to be “that” girl…the one that brings down the room, that wet-towels everyone else. I never used to be, and now, I am finding it hard some days, to be the joy-grace-peace spreading chick I was not so long ago. Who can I blame? Yeah – that’s right – me. The Queen of Putrescence.  I have got to start GUARDING my heart – getting out that big ol’ giant can of Lysol (you remember the one – yep – every Kindergarten had one for the pukers) and clean up the stench instead of feeding it. But I can’t do that alone.

I have found that the only way i can actually start to REMOVE the nastiest, most putrid corners of my heart is the love of Jesus and intervention and grace of God. I don’t have enough strength, joy, compassion or even love on my own to muck out these stalls. Time and time again, when I turn the worst things over to him, laying them at his feet saying, “I am at the end, YOU deal with this junk”, he shows faithful. The putrescence is smaller and less important. I don’t need to cuddle the rottenness anymore.

Not today anyway.

We will see how things smell tomorrow.

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16
Oct
09

Jesus is not a teddy bear

Jesus is not a teddy bear.

So, some of you already know my (insert nasty adjective here) feelings about teddy bears. I am not sure if it stems from a bad Teddy Ruxpin or Care Bears experience, or just my internal snark rebelling against their internal fluff. Either way, let’s sum up by saying – I am not a bear fan.

This is not exactly a popular stand – especially among my (awesome) Middle School students. I think they may suspect that there may be something wrong with a girl that doesn’t like a feel-good, warm-fuzzy standard. Like somehow I missed the “how to be a happy-huggy-clown-bear-lovin’-girly-girl” developmental stage and I am now to be pitied, if not medicated. Hmmm. Ok, if you say so! 

As our church marches forward on a tremendous initiative to shift our perceptions and execution of what it means to do church, or rather be church, I have been faced with another “teddy bear”. So often in our celebrations of the grace and unending love of Jesus, we tend to over-fluffify (yep, it’s a word). We are bombarded with images (Jesus Needs New PR) and songs (too many to link) that sugar coat the gospel and the life of Jesus so much that there is significant danger of diabetic coma. Too easily, we hide the grit that a life of following Jesus promises.

This past week in our Middle School small groups, we focused on, in part, the following passage:
For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ Matthew 25:35-36.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t read anything in here about how much easier my life will be. I don’t get from this that I will no longer be heartbroken by all that is so completely wrong with this world. I don’t see prancing ponies, hearts, rainbows, unicorns, or teddy bears anywhere in the words of Jesus.

In fact, I hear the call to nurture our own broken heart while desperately trying to bring a even a bit of heaven to this place wracked with the pain of the fall.

Don’t get me wrong. I do believe and cling to the hope, rescue and comfort of the grace and redemption found in our Savior ( Matthew 11:28-30 and Romans 8:38-39). But I also believe that it only BEGINS there. The rest of the story, our story, the story of Jesus, the story of redemption – EVERY STORY – is more about allowing all of that HOPE to flow out of us and into a dark, dying, and desperate world. It won’t be comfortable, easy, clean, or even remotely fluffy.

And that ain’t a callin’ from no teddy bear, people.

not even close

not even close




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