Monthly Archives: March 2009

>Apples to Apples (OR Jennifer in the Sky With Diamonds)

>All my single ladies…


:::::::::::::::::Girls::::::::::::::::::::::
:::::::::::are like apples::::::::::::::::
::::::on trees. The best ones::::::::::
:::::are at the top of the tree.::::::::
:::The boys don’t want to reach:::::::
::for the good ones because they::::
:are afraid of falling and getting hurt.
:Instead, they get the rotten apples:
from the ground that aren’t as good,
but easy. So the apples up top think:
something’s wrong w/ them when in::
:reality they’re amazing. They just:::
:::have to wait for the right boy to::
:::: come along, the one who’s:::::::
::::::::::: brave enough to::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::climb all::::::::::::::::::::
:::::::::::::::the way:::::::::::::::::::
::::::::::::::to the top::::::::::::::::::

So this little burble has been around since I was in high school and I always thought this was just a lame attempt by unpopular girls (like, oh I don’t know, me) to feel better about their dateless selves. I realized today though that I never believed I was truly a good apple. Deep down I saw myself as a rotten, easy-to-reach apple and couldn’t understand why there still wasn’t anyone reaching for me. Frustrating, yes? This quarter I need Jesus to help me see that I am the apple of his eye.

Psalm 17:8 – Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Sarah put it this way (and I’m paraphrasing): You’re a diamond, but some guys can only handle cubic zirconium because diamond is too costly. Almost instantly the phrase, “Like a diamond in the sky,” popped into my head, which is funny because it’s related to the proposal scenario I dreamed up this week in Atlanta while looking at this piece of art:

We go out to the country, or at least away from the city, during the summer meteor shower to stargaze. We take turns naming constellations, then he points to a specific star. “Do you know what that one is called?” “No, I don’t.” “I named it for you.” “Really??” “Yup. That’s Jennifer. Jennifer [insert his last name here].” (At this point there will probably be a great deal of squealing. And some sort of diamond involved.)

So as Twinkle Twinkle is playing through my head, I realized that I need to be my own diamond in the sky before I can expect someone else to name a star after me! Diamonds are forged in the extreme heat and pressure of the earth (or lab, which I kind of prefer just to make sure no child was harmed in the extraction of my engagement ring), and are the hardest mineral known to man. Real diamonds are rarely flawless, but that’s one of the ways you can tell a real diamond from cubic zirconia or other imitations. (It’s kind of like Adam was talking about at church today: the point of Christianity is not to make everyone into a bunch of spiritual Stepford wives, but to allow us to live life to the fullest both here and after we die physically. The flaws and kinks and imperfections and ROYAL SCREW-UPS OF DOOM at the very least allow us to relate to other people; they also press us closer to God if we get on the right side of it.) And to borrow a passage from Les Miserables that I read today, “Diamonds are found only in the dark bowels of the earth; truths are found only in the depths of thought. It seemed to him [Jean Valjean] that after descending into those depths after long groping in the blackest of this darkness, he had at last found one of these diamonds, one of these truths and that he held it in his hand; and it blinded him to look at it.” Pray for me as Jesus grinds and polishes me…

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>Firewalker

>”We are the feet! We are the feet! Lalalalala!” –the lyrics of a song I made up with Maureen in fifth grade…man, I was cool.

This is not so much a well-reasoned metaphor as it is a word association that popped into my head while doing my devotions this afternoon. I was thinking and writing about a friend…

Let him not think he has lost everything…but believe that you can and will restore everything to him and more if only he accepts obedience to you. Lord, we are all like Job at some point or another, when the fire is at our feet and the question is asked, “Will you still follow?” And you know my answer is yes even though it’s darn hard to walk on burnt feet, but that’s when you carry us, God. Help me to be a firewalker, “With feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace” (Ephesians 6:15)–the foundation on which I can “stand firm” (v. 14).

I remember reading about firewalking in a book about unsolved mysteries I had as a kid. It’s a ritual practiced in traditional cultures around the world for thousands of years, more recently co-opted by American motivational speakers and corporate team-building exercises. The ritual involves walking barefoot over a bed of hot embers or stones and is used rites of healing, initiation, and faith.
In most cases, it is simply a matter of the stones’ relatively poor heat conductivity, but you still have to walk quickly. “Hesitate, and you get burned.” I remember that exact line from the book I read as a kid.

I am pathologically indecisive, so making the decision to stay at OSU for grad school has taken a lot of anxiety out of my life. A lot of times indecision is more paralyzing and scary than any possible consequences of choosing either way, and I think I see this in the friend I was writing about above, only he’s made a choice that I don’t agree with and has hurt me a lot. I guess I do have to respect him for making and sticking to that choice…but it is still possible to make a different choice…

My hopes are like embers lying around inside a firebed and
Your mind is a firewalker, it steps on them like they are dead but

I can grow
In spite of all you know
You might not recognize me tomorrow
Yes I can change
In spite of all they say
Become something strange and beautiful
Like joy, like joy
(Liz Phair – “Firewalker”)

…I’m not sure why I wrote this. I guess I just hope someone who reads this will be encouraged.

>Selective Permeability (OR: Jesus Fought the Battle of Jericho)

>

“If she is a wall, we will build towers of silver on her. If she is a door, we will enclose her with panels of cedar.” -Song of Solomon 8:9

I studied Song of Solomon back in January and realized that I had been playing a bit too fast and loose with my emotional intimacy with people. (Okay, specifically, men. Okay, specific men. Anyway.) So I retreated, and really just in time, because this quarter brought a lot of physical and emotional stress that was plenty to wrestle with on my own, never mind if there were a Y chromosome mucking up my life.

But some of my (ironically) male friends helped me realize that I’d walled out God too. My answer to the question, “Do I trust God to let Him mess up my life?” was a resounding No. And that’s not the way I want to live. I want to trust God, who’s been marching around my wall for the past two months blowing trumpets of blessings at me while I’ve been shivering in the basement. For some reason, though, my walls are all or nothing and honestly, I’m afraid to let the walls come tumbling down, even for Jesus, lest all the other riffraff come gushing in.

But maybe instead of a wall, I need a cell membrane. The cell membrane is selectively permeable because of its hydrophobic structure; polar molecules and ions can’t make it through. But the cell membrane is punctuated by proteins that allow transport of these vital molecules in a controlled fashion. One type of protein is called an aquaporin, which allows water molecules to cross freely. And isn’t Jesus the Living Water? So right now I’m working on letting Jesus in…to possibly mess up my life. It’s a little scary, but it’s been a thirsty few weeks and I’m ready to give it a try.

>The Heart of the House

>A single knock sounded at the door. Mary Jane galloped to the door, sliding a little on the floor in her stocking feet. “Hi, Jesus! Come on in, I’ve been waiting for you!” she chirped, bouncing alongside him like an excited puppy and unaware of his dusty feet leaving tracks on the floor. “I was cleaning all day before you came. Can I get you anything? Do you want something to eat? Oh my gosh, my cookies!” Hurrying into the kitchen, she pulled a tray of slightly scorched snickerdoodles out of the oven. “Oh no, I’m sorry, Jesus!” He smiled, picked up a cookie, and ate it. His smile broadened.

“I’ll make you something better later,” she promised as she tipped the burnt cookies into the trash. “Gosh, what a mess. Do you want to see my _ collection?” She turned around and saw him disappearing upstairs. “Hey, where are you going?”

She trotted up the stairs after him and found him in her bedroom looking around. “What are you looking for, Lord?” His gaze moved over the pile of books by her bedside; the framed certificates and snapshots taped on the wall; the closet full of clothes neatly organized by color, sleeve length, and fiber content. Mary Jane shifted from foot to foot, feeling a little uncomfortable with his silence. She opened her mouth to say something, but decided to wait.

He stood for a few more seconds, then knelt by her bed. “Oh, no, Lord, don’t look there!” She hung her head. “I couldn’t clean everything up fast enough before you came, so I had to put some stuff under the bed.” He just smiled at her and reached under the bed frame. “Really, God, there’s nothing important under there. It’s just some old junk I haven’t gotten around to throwing out yet.” Her voice took on a pleading quality.

He pulled out a small mirror, the glass cracked down the middle, the frame thickly covered with dust.

“Hey, I forgot that was down there. What do you want with that?

He looked straight at her and spoke for the first time since coming in the house. “I’m going to clean it up, and repair it, and make it new. Then you will be able to see yourself as I see you.”

Mary Jane began to tremble. “Can you really do that? It’s so old, and it’s cracked all the way through. I don’t know if it’s really worth saving, I haven’t looked at it in years.”

“I like it. It’s beautiful. I want you to have it. Are you going to let me fix it and give it back to you?”

–to be continued–