I went to a baby shower this weekend (an unfortunate reminder of my advancing age). As I sat fairly close to the mother-to-be, it fell to me to hold the garbage sack. For an hour, while the mom opened gifts, I dutifully filled the sack with wrapping paper, ribbon, and tissue paper.
I was helping.
When the shower was over we all mingled for quite a while. Finally, when I felt I could no longer put off going home and doing something responsible, I went in search of my purse. That is where I found the sister-in-law.
Hunched over the sack of garbage, she was gently pulling out every bright piece of tissue paper. Gently folding it. Slowly smoothing out the wrinkles with her hand.
She looked up at me sheepishly. It was killing me to watch you crumple up all that beautiful paper and shove it into that sack. Don’t you think the baby should have flowers made out of this?
Of course I did.
And before I left, I looked over, and she had all that beautiful tissue paper assembled in her hand. I could already see the hint of what would soon be a cheerful flower taking shape.
Of course it should be a flower.
In that experience, I see what I do to myself. I hold up much of what I do during the week and think, Oh, garbage. Crumple it up.
Even after this same baby shower, during which I shared a word of wisdom (?) with the mom, I came home and thought, Dumb! If only I had said this or not said that. There I was afterward, snuggled with my man on the couch, asking him to whisper to me that I probably was wrong in my self-assessment.
I write here every day and think –am I the only one who doubts pretty much everything I put my hand to? Am I the only one who is quick to see rubbish and very little in the way of sweet flowers in my endeavors?
Maybe you are more confident than I am. Well, if you are, perhaps you should follow a less self-doubting blogger?
But I do feel gently encouraged by the crafty sister-in-law (who, by the way, gave the coming baby boy a hand-made, big-wheel trike, fashioned only from diapers, socks, and bibs. Really.) I am encouraged, because she has reminded me that God is also in the habit of pulling things out of the trash.
“…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come…” (2 Corinthians 5:17 NIV)
For those of us who love the Lord, we wake up on Monday morning intent to give Him our best effort all week. Maybe, as we prepare to do this, He prepares to take what is offered (with best intent but regularly flawed in execution) and apply His creative power, to transform it into something useful and beautiful beyond our capability.
God whispers into this new week, Oh please don’t crumple that up. You have no idea what I can make of that.