Tearing and Weaving. How we grow.

Tearing and Weaving. How we grow.

There is a spider outside the window. She is probably three inches across with a beautiful yellow and black design. Of course, we named her Charlotte. Every morning we stumble (I stumble, the younger girls bounce) into the kitchen to start the day. Sippy cup of milk for Peach, OJ for Lottie, coffee for me. And we make our way over to the window to check on our spider. This morning I watched her go around and around tearing up her old web and weaving a new one. She does this often. We’ve watched her make several iterations now because we’ve been watching her for weeks. It is mesmerizing.

This morning as I watched her tear down her old work and start again, I felt solidarity. It feels a lot like sanctification. The daily taking away of what doesn’t work or edify or bring beauty. The examination of my heart and uncovering ugly places that need to be reworked. The consideration of this particular season and my particular disciples, dismantling formulas and weaving growth and grace for this new day.

Our spider does this often and never knowing she has an audience. She spins and weaves and creates masterpiece after masterpiece, so that she can capture food and protect herself certainly, but also because she made to create. She doesn’t lament the demolition, and she doesn’t begrudge the construction. But with each gossamer thread she spells out glory.

I watched her spin and thought back over my last couple weeks, the plans that had to be ditched, the messes that had to be cleaned (so. much. throw. up.), the sour attitudes (mine the sourest), all the un-glorious of it. A lot of ugly came to the surface, and I had to hand to God some things that needed to be torn down. And now I have to be patient in the rebuilding.

It isn’t ever fun to feel like God’s forgotten you, but I’m guessing we’ve all felt that from time to time or maybe for a very long season. I think it’s okay to honestly tell Him how we feel. He might not change any of our circumstances, but that honest confession might be the gateway to weaving something new. And through it all–the surrendered undoing and the merciful creation–He’ll show us His glory in woven splendor.

 

The Problem with First World Problems

The Problem with First World Problems

Let’s talk about something hard, something the Holy Spirit brought front and center for me a couple days ago. We joke about #firstworldproblems. We take to Twitter and complain about how #slowComcast is. We lament the lines at the Apple Store, Disney World and Whole Foods. And we wonder, “Why me?!” when we forget to tell the Nest we aren’t away anymore and instead of a crisp 73 degrees when we walk through the door after being out of town we get a blistering 80 degrees. 

I gulp just writing those things because I know in the pit of my stomach how ridiculous it all is. How entitled and ungrateful I can be. How one moment I’m ready to give it all away and never buy clothes or curtains or toys again, and then in the next moment I’m searching Etsy to see what’s new. 

And I’ll just flat out tell you that I don’t know how to navigate this tug-of-war going on deep in my belly. But I was reading in Ezekiel a couple days ago and these words are life changing for me. 

Now this was the sin of your sister, Sodom: she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor or needy. Ezekiel 16:49

Ezekiel was a prophet talking to God’s people, the Israelites, giving them a dire warning, reminding them of what Sodom had done and where those choices took them. 

Arrogant, overfed and unconcerned. Y’all, I don’t know about you, but those words make my insides turn. Arrogant and battling the urge to keep up with the Joneses. Pinning this and tucking that and coloring those so we can look a part. Overfed with lots of knowledge and not enough application. Literally overfed when we try to comfort broken hearts and tired bodies with simple carbs instead of the Bread of Life. Unconcerned because it’s just too depressing to see ALL the brokenness. It’s just too much, so we shut it off. Ignore it. Turn the other way. 

“They did not help the poor and needy.” We do a great job of making the gospel a bunch of hoops for people to jump through and a really awful job at obeying what God told us to do–love God, love others, and make disciples. 

This is coming from someone who in the same day looked at the faces of her sweet Compassion kids while writing them letters and got frustrated because her Chipotle app order wasn’t ready at the time she specified. (The order she placed while parked on the couch reading books on her Kindle in her comfy house with the a/c rolling.) So, obviously, I’ve got some work to do. I’m pretty sure the other day I got the equivalent of the Holy Spirit bringing the bulldozer, and He keeps revealing more and more areas where I need to trade arrogance for humility, an overfed soul for one that’s pouring out, and an unconcerned heart for one that spends every breath showing a broken world the love of Christ. The love of a man who “made himself nothing taking the form of a servant” and “humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:7-8). The love of a man who when he was in the desert and hungry spoke to the devil, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4). The love of a man who says over and over to care for the poor and needy, the orphans and widows, the hurting and sick and reminded them, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). 

We have to open our eyes and see what God sees. And then we have to do something. Once we know, we can’t ignore it. We have to say no to things that make it harder to hear His voice–people and places and things that make us compare and covet–and yes when we do hear His voice, no matter how much it rubs against our first world comforts. Anything less would be a waste of a breath.