Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Treasures in Jars of Clay

"But we have this treasure
in jars of clay 
to show that this all-surpassing power
is from God and not from us.  
We are hard pressed on every side, 
but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair; 
persecuted, but not abandoned; 
struck down, but not destroyed."

2 Corinthians 4:7-9


Do I ever feel crushed, crunched?
Sure, but Jesus puts me back together.
I can expect healing again.

Do I ever feel despair, defeat? 
Sure, but I don't have to stay there.
I can reach for hope again.

Do I ever feel abandoned, alone?
Sure, but God is still there, still cares.
I can ask him to fill me with his presence again.

Do I ever feel destroyed, damaged?
Sure, but God is a great re-builder.
I can rise from the ashes again.

Oh, and just what is that treasure 
in the jars of clay?

"… God has chosen to make known
the glorious riches of this mystery,
which is Christ in you,
the hope of glory."
He is the one we proclaim,
admonishing and teaching everyone
with all wisdom, 
so that we may present everyone
fully mature in Christ. 
To this end I strenuously contend 
with all the energy
Christ so powerfully works in me.
Colossians 1:27-29

“Be filled with the Spirit.”
Ephesians 5:18

I want it all right now.
Sometimes I have to wait.
Sometimes I have to grow up.
And sometimes that's how he does it,
how I can cooperate with the change :
by patiently waiting and
by purposefully maturing
into authentic Christ-likeness.

He is the treasure 
in this jar of clay.

Virginia Knowles


(P.S. I oil painted the still life 
30 years ago.
The gray water jug and pink scarf 
are from a mission trip to Israel. )

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Just a Few More Things to Do...

I'm a busy mom.
I bet you are, too.

Lots of kids.
Lots of driving kids places.
Lots of shopping and cooking for hungry kids.
Lots of organizing. Because kids.

I try to rest before I get too exhausted, 
   too crabby, 
      too spaced out to be any good. 

I know there is always something more I could be doing, but if I don't take a nap when I'm out of it, I won't be worth much.


There are other times I am up and able. I can do stuff well enough, and there is always stuff to be done.

I could blow that time away on nothingness. (I'm not talking about reasonable hobbies and just plain sitting down. I write to stay sane.)

But there are times I should get up and get busy around the house. There's that much to do.

I could push myself to do a few more things in just a few minutes.
  • Fold a few towels and put them away.
  • Unload the dishwasher.
  • Rinse and stack the dishes.
  • Make my bed.
  • Fill my pill organizer or my CPAP water tank.
  • Pick out books to read with my daughter.
  • Write out a grocery list.
  • Wipe down a counter.
  • Take the meat out of the freezer for dinner.
  • Look up a new recipe.
  • Remind a child to do a chore.
  • Hunt for treasure in the couch cushions.
  • De-junk a drawer or shelf.
  • Jot down ideas for a blog post.

Just a few more things to do. Sometimes I start out thinking I'll spend a few minutes. Then I get into it and want to keep going. Amazing how it works like that!

When can I tuck in these little things? 

Let's say I've got chicken cooking in my electric skillet and I need to stay in the kitchen. I notice a lot of crumbs and some sticky spots on the counter. So I get out a wet cloth and wipe up the mess. I tend the chicken, and then unload the dishwasher.

Or I'm ready for bed, and I see the basket of clean laundry I set there earlier. I have already put away half of it. Now I could either put the basket on the floor and go to sleep (sometimes I do), or I can take a few more minutes and hang up the rest of my clothes. 

If I'm going to pick up a teen from an after school activity, I might get out my iPod, check my To Do list on my ToodleDo app, and see what other quick errands I could run in the same trip. 

If I'm sitting at my desk to do some computer work, rather than shoving aside a pile of papers, I can take a few minutes to figure out where each one should go. Maybe I won't take the time to put them in the correct sections of my notebooks, but I can at least sort them into my three quick file folders (health, school, other) on my desk.

My favorite strategy? It's called "Pick Ten." If I have a stray moment, I look for ten things to pick up and put away in whatever room I happen to be in. Maybe I'll do ten more after that if I'm in the groove.

Though there is always more to do, and though there are regular times for many of my tasks, "just a few more things" is how a lot of what does get done gets done.

And that's one way this mom grows up.


Virginia Knowles