Yesterday morning, before church, I almost caught the house on fire. It involved a candle, some blue tissue paper, and a box of jewelry; but mostly it was about being distracted, not paying attention to what I was doing. Before I knew it, an entire swaft of blue was flaming yellow and orange. I threw it in the floor and poured a cup of water over it. Crisis averted. Thank goodness for sturdy tile that can be sponged clean of the burn. Jeff and Jeffrey were still sleeping upstairs, none the wiser to my careless accident when they came down for breakfast a little later. Nothing left but a faint hint of smoke in the air, tiny floating ashes settling into hard to reach places.
I carried the box of jewelry to church, where I tried to sell it to raise money for a charity our church supports. Vibella Jewelry gives 30% of all sales back to a charity of your choice if you host a party as a charity function. Plus, by supporting Vibella, you support a company that provides jobs where they are sorely needed. My Bible study class voted to try to raise money to buy a CerviScope for Family Health Ministries, a medical ministry that serves the Haitian people. Did you know that women in Haiti die of cervical cancer twice as often as their American sisters? The doctors over there need better tools to serve the people. We didn’t quite meet the goal we set but orders are still trickling in and I am hopeful we will be able to send Family Health Ministries a nice check to put toward purchasing a CerviScope. And a lot of the members of my church family got some early Christmas shopping out of the way. It was a win-win.
Anyway, this morning as I was sweeping a few remnants of ash from the corners of my kitchen, it occurred to me that most of our crises happen when no one is looking. Whether it’s some secret pain in our marriage, an illness doing its dark work on our body, or those longings for something we know is not in our best interest … secrets can destroy—send all the light of the blue up in flames so fast all we’re left with is smoke and ash.
Most often, the flame gains strength slow and steady when I am distracted, when I’m not paying attention to what I’m doing. I know the impact of living deliberately—I’ve felt how it changes a life, a marriage, a faith. But it takes work. And strength. Sometimes, I’m just too tired.
Last night we had our small group. We had a lesson, shared bread around the table, and later in the evening our conversation turned to some hard things we are all trying to process through together. Paying attention felt easier with all those extra eyes in the room. Making good choices felt right among those beautiful hearts.
Do you have a group of people like that in your life? Meeting with God alone has changed me. It’s created a space for deeper intimacy and a love I never could have imagined with an unseen God. But meeting with God amongst others? Living life together, being real, sharing our deepest thoughts and sorrows? Having this small, intimate circle of friends who love Jesus and one another helps me pay attention better. And even when I slip up and accidentally set the blue afire, their tender love extinguishes that flame before it all turns to ash.
I have to ship back the Vibella items we didn’t sell at our charity function, so I thought I’d give one item away to one of my dear community members here. You all help me pay attention to my life too! I’m dying to see the Salvation Bracelet (below) on a good friend’s wrist. Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. If you visit Vibella’s or Family Health Ministry’s pages, let me know and you’ll get an extra entry. Also, if you subscribe to my blog I’ll enter you two more times! I’ll announce the winner on next Monday’s Playdates post.
Every Monday I share one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find God and know joy. Click on the button below to add your link. I try to visit a few of your stories every week, so if you are a new visitor, be sure to let me know in the comments so I can welcome you. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us.
The winner of the signed copies of S.D. Smith’s books is … Constance Ann Morrison! Congratulations! I’ll be in touch.