Almost a quarter of the year is gone-so soon- and its been a time of depth for me: searching of the heart and soul. I long for the things that make us beautiful on this earth and in the life to come.
The last couple of weeks have revealed some ugly things. We are flawed. That fact is not a new revelation so I should not be surprised to see ugly surface when I’ve asked God to set things right….but how to handle ugly when it arises???
Yesterday we had the opportunity to see beautiful. Two special cousins chose to be baptized so we made the trip to celebrate their decision with them. They are young ladies on the edge of adulthood wanting to publicly declare their wish to serve a God who loves them. As their earthly daddy brought them up from the water symbolizing so much to their Heavenly Daddy my heart sang with joy. It’s only one of many stands these girls will have to make in their lifetime.
Also included in this baptismal service was a young lady from Russia. I do not know the entirety of her story; only that with great strength she told of her past life in an orphanage where she was told no one could or would love her. But for the grace of God a family followed the Spirits leading and took her into their home ten years ago. As the man who took over that fatherly role on this earth baptized her in her native tongue I broke inside. Oh the choices we make-small and large-that affect lives for eternity.
On our own home front an incident occurred a little over a week ago to illustrate my point on a simpler level. We let our youngest hunt Starlings under some strict guidelines: he knows where he can hunt in the yard so as to not hit passing cars, our neighbors, or our windows. He knows gun safety rules to protect himself. He knows to only shoot Starlings. No songbirds. After seeing a group in the tree he asked permission to go out. I said yes and continued on with my activity. About fifteen minutes later I heard a soft knock on my door. Upon entry I saw tears and a quivering lip. What on earth! I expected something bad. This little man was clearly shaken. After a hug he spilled the fact that the bird he’d successfully shot was a red-wing black bird. He’d been too hasty in his identification, too quick to fire, and too late to save one of my favorite little songbirds. He was devastated. What stirred me was his example of quick admittance and then repentance for wrongdoing. What was done, was done. It would have been very easy for him to hide his error. How often we try to hide what we know to be wrong. It would have eaten him inside and he knew he couldn’t hide it from God…why do we think we can? Might as well get it taken care of. Once he had cleaned his conscience he asked his older siblings to help him make a grave marker. They buried the little bird by one of my flowerbeds.
Its marker is a reminder of the acts of obedience that form our lives. It starts with the small things. Setting aside errors leads to setting aside full blown sins …larger issues that hurt on a larger scale. It is a heart condition.
Those adults entrusted with care of children in an orphanage only to damage them in ways only God can fix is a prime example. Maybe the wrong wasn’t seen by others initially, but the results are far reaching telling the tale. There will be times when those close to us damage us, intentionally or non. The handling of such circumstances requires grace and forgiveness we can only find in the arms of a loving Father.
Our words, our thoughts, our ‘hidden’ actions all make a mark. There is nothing truly hidden, but it’s never too late to let God turn ugly into beautiful.