Saturday, January 28, 2012

How to Iron

Our iron and I have a love-hate relationship.

I use the thing a lot, of course, because of my sewing. And it's a very handy invention. I'm glad I don't have to stand over a hot stove every time I want wrinkle-free clothing or smooth fabric.

But I really can't stand our iron.

It's fussy. Nit-picky. Spits at me. Lets loose a puddle ...right on top of the skirt I'm ironing and want to wear to church in 30 minutes.

At first, I thought it was just him. Couldn't behave. Was defective.

A tiny part of my brain started beating me over the head with certain phrases I had read in the instruction manual for the thing. Specific instructions on how to fill the iron with water - and how NOT to fill it.

But our old iron - bless its dear departed machinery - could be filled with water at any time and any way and work just fine. Never ruined moisture-sensitive fabric. Never spit out rust-colored droplets on my white shirt. Why couldn't our new iron be just as friendly? It's new after all! High tech. Who care about instructions?

What's so hard about putting water in an iron, anyway? You just pour some in, being careful not to overfill, and wala! You're done. Why must the iron be unplugged? And why must it be cold? And why must it be sitting on a perfectly level surface?

I compromised. "Fine. When I run out of water in the middle of an ironing session, I'll unplug you before I refill you. But as for letting you cool and setting you face-down before filling Not happening. I'm in a hurry. I'll dump it in while you're sitting upright, and it's not too important to shut the "steam" switch off while I'm filling you, either."

He said "Yeah, right. If that's the way you feel, see what kind of results you get. How would you like a puddle of warm water leaking through the ironing board onto your bare feet?"

Actually, he didn't say that. And I didn't talk to him, either. I'm not that far gone. But I thought it. And I'm almost positive he thought it too. ...No, I can't lie. I do know irons don't think.

But on with my story. I finally got fed-up and desperate, and decided to do everything according to the book. Steam switch "off." Iron cool and unplugged. Sitting face down on a level surface. Water poured into spout at correct angle. Lid flipped closed. Iron plugged in. Heat turned "on." Iron heats up. Steam switched "on."

Big breath.

Ironing begins.

Iron spits NOT.

Clothes get steamed perfectly.

Amber sticks tongue out at iron.

...No, that part is a lie. Actually, what Amber did was sit the iron down and think to herself that she's a lot like that little machine. She's been given specific instructions on how to operate herself, and she doesn't bother reading the book. She fills herself with water, of course, but at her own pace and on her own terms. She doesn't bother to slow down and fill herself properly, and she sure doesn't humble herself face-down to receive that water. She likes to take it standing up, on the go, when she wants it.

And then I think that iron stuck his tongue out at me.

Aren't we like that, though? God has given us everything we need for life and godliness, in His Word. His Word is so precious that we cannot live life properly without it. Like an iron without steam. Many of us realize that, yet want to use His Word on our own terms, at our own pace. He didn't just give us His Word, then walk away - anymore than we would give a sharp sword to a child and tell her to go play. He has given us instructions on how to use it:

We are to be doers, not hearers only.
We are to meditate on it day and night.
We are to treasure it.
We are to obey it.
We are to receive it meekly.
We are to believe it.
We are to READ it. Often.
We are to hide it in our hearts.
We are to hear it.
We are to teach it to others.

Can you think of any other ways we are to use the Word of God? Any other commands? Any thoughts you'd like to share on the topic?

By the way, thank you for all the congratulations on the arrival of my nephew. We went to see him yesterday (again!) and I have to say I just adore cuddling him.

But...anyway...thoughts on an iron. Who knew you could be taught a lesson from an appliance? An enemy appliance, at that. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I'm an AUNTIE!!!

Yes, it's true. My darling sister (and my beloved brother-in-law) have given me a nephew! My heart overflows.

New life is exciting, fun, and mysteriously common-place when you become a big sister at 6 or 7.

When a newborn nestles in the grocery cart of a stranger, it's precious.

When friends have babies, it's special, awe-inspiring, and sweet.

When your own sister gives birth to a new human - a physical blend of herself and her husband - a being who has never yet opened his eyes to the light of day before, never been hugged before, and has yet to learn all the amazing things of individual who will one day go to Heaven or hell...a baby who belongs to you by right of love and blood, who fits your hands like two puzzle pieces finding each other...a new life, that has never happened before....

...That, my friends, is beautiful, solitary tear-drop of emotion, suspended in a held breath, and sparkling with billions of reflected rays of possibility. It is joy so sweet the sweetest honey would taste bitter on the tongue in comparison. It is an awe so overcoming that it leaves you powerless.

Byron David

"Oh Lord, I thank You for life! For Your power to create and infuse life into new little bodies! For the construction of the family; that mysterious bond between parents, their offspring, and the third and fourth generations. Thank you for the precious privilege of being an aunt. Thank you for the blessing of living close by my sister and her little family. Thank you for new life in Christ. May this little boy meet You at an early age, and dedicate his life to Your service. Help me lead him to You!"

I knew from the moment Heather married that her first child would be a boy, and that he would be special to me. I was right. I never wavered from predicting a boy when Eugene and Heather told us she was pregnant, and the ultrasound only confirmed it. I could not wait to meet this little fella, and February seemed so far off. He ended up coming early, and since mom and baby both are well and healthy, I'm glad he came early. I was tired of waiting!

He arrived last Sunday night, and has been home for a week and one day now. Life has been a little disrupted, or I would have shared the happy news earlier. But when it's a choice between blogging or holding a baby, where is the contest?

When I held him in my arms for the first time last Monday, I instantly lost my heart to him.

...So...anything exciting happened in YOUR life lately?

Thank You, Jesus!!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Rock

I'm thinking about the house on the rock tonight.

Did you ever sing that children's song about the wise man who built his house on the rock, and the foolish man who built his house on the sand (which went "splat!" in the end)?

Jesus' illustration of houses on different foundations gives us a vivid example of how trust-worthy his law is. If we commit ourselves to "hearing these sayings of Mine, and doing them," our house - our life - will stand.

Whenever I hear those verses, my ear focuses on the words like this:

"...Whosoever hearth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."
(Matt. 7:24-25)

That's great. It's wonderful. We can be confident in our foundation. But tonight, I read those verses again, and my eye caught a different theme:

"...Whosoever hearth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock."

Oh. You mean I should expect storms? I'm not a little child singing a song anymore. I've seen that life can be rough and unfriendly. But part of me wants to pull the covers over my head and pretend that the pattern of the ages is going to change somehow, and one human life (mine) will transpire without ever suffering loss, pain, or damage.

Then I read through some more verses, and I saw Jesus warning his disciples. The Son of man has nowhere to lay his head. Enter in the strait and narrow gate. You cannot serve both God and mammon. Not everyone who says unto Him, "Lord, lord," will enter into the kingdom.

I think He's trying to make a point. Life in His service will have trials. There will be floods, and wind. Money-back guarantee.

But that's what makes His assurance so precious. His Word will stand, like a rock - not just through rose gardens and sunshine, but through all the storms of a thousand lifetimes. And we can build upon it. By doing what He says.

This year - what will it hold? Only my Father knows. I bet it will include some storms. But He hasn't left me without instructions on how to prepare. Do His Word. Obey His commands.

And I'll have a house that will stand through any storm.

The view isn't bad in the sunshine, either.