Monthly Archives: August 2012

Not My Choice of Cleaner

I just moved in to my first bona fide apartment, and after years of living on the move and out of a suitcase, it’s a little exciting. Cooking, cleaning, decorating – bring it on!

Today, I decided, was the day to clean the bathroom. When I took stock of what cleaning supplies I had on hand, I came to discover that it was pretty much all super-cleaner, meaning, “test this first, it might destroy your apartment” cleaner. Now one of the not-so-exciting parts of this particular apartment is that the bathroom appliances are blue – baby blue. And since I didn’t notice the “test this first” warnings until after the cleaning was underway, I had a good, “am I destroying the baby blue enamel of my apartment” scare. I say scare, because I think things came out ok. But I likely will not be using said cleaners on my baby blues again.

All of this, of course, got me thinking about cleaners, and how they typically come with watch-outs and warnings. Generally, the most powerful agents to get at grime have the potential to destroy other things as well. My solution to the problem is to find something “safe.” The jury is out on whether “safe” will actually do the job and deal with the dirty.

Contemplating abrasive cleaners makes me contemplate the more abrasive events in life. I wonder how often the purpose is the same. It’s not “safe,” and not my choice of cleaner. It may be potentially damaging. But maybe certain messes call for certain dangerous measures. Perhaps God is more concerned about the cleanliness of the toilet than the potential for baby blue enamel to get discolored. If that is the case, and God’s cleaning may not be pretty, will I still say with the Psalmist, “cleanse me…and I will be clean” or will I go with my own mild version of cleaning and call it good enough? How much do I want to be clean?


Considering Grace

Whilst traversing the globe I came across that well-known book “What’s So Amazing About Grace” by Philip Yancey. And I’ve been thinking about grace ever since. Grace means gift, and as I look at my life I see so much evidence of gift. Seeing gift, seeing grace, is giving me this crazy sense of awareness of God’s presence in my life. It’s like this peace-releasing security that defines my existence despite the waves of chaos, stress and change that I’ve been riding.

Gift takes many forms. Upon arriving home after 6 months of full-throttle globe trotting and missions, I realized that I was surrounded by answers to prayer. Many changes have occurred in my family. Many prayers I have prayed for them over the last months and even years have suddenly borne fruit. Recognizing this, I am overwhelmed  by gift, grace, God.

My baby sister got married last weekend. I remember the day she was born, and my childish joy at having a new member of the family. Now I am sister to another, and I see God’s gift to her life. Grace.

In the midst of wedding craziness my car broke down. Really. The front tire broke off of the steering rods. As I watched my car being towed away, the second car in our family to die that weekend, I had to laugh over the irony of our situation. When I got the service call and heard how much repairs would cost, it wasn’t funny anymore. But as I prayed about what to do, and where the money would come from, I realized it was already taken care of. Just the week before someone had arranged to give me a certain amount of money each month in repayment for work I had done years ago. The total amount pretty much covered my car repair. And I realized God had anticipated my need. Grace.

I like to live my life in intentional pathways, each thing I do pointed towards a specific goal, a determined direction. I like to know what I’m doing and why. I’m in a season of transition, lack of place and uncertainty about where to invest. And yet God’s grace to me is giving me a sense of security. I don’t know where I will be living 6 weeks from now or what I will be doing. But I know God’s hand on my life. And right now that is enough.

I’ve long loved the story of Hagar in the desert, at the end of her rope, sure she was going to die. She came to know God’s presence and provision, she knew Him as “the God Who Sees Me.” I am thankful for the God Who Sees Me today.

Desert Wanderer