Unfinished

piant by number

The box under the bed held remnants of a life I’d forgotten.

There were spelling tests and penmanship practice sheets and report cards.  There were crayon drawings and birthday cards from grandparents and even an award for 2nd place in an elementary school sack race.  More than likely, it was the last award I’d ever receive for any kind of athleticism.  I really should frame it.

My mother has kept all these items in that box under the bed for years.  And while I was home for Thanksgiving, I decided to dig through it.  I sat on the floor in that bedroom for quite awhile, reliving memories I didn’t even know I had.

At the very bottom was something unexpected.  An unfinished “paint-by-number” picture.  Do kids even do paint-by-number anymore?  Why would we have saved an unfinished painting?  Did I plan to go back and fill in those numbers?

I think that maybe God wanted us to save it so that decades later it would remind me of how He works in my life.

I could tell it was going to be a picture of a big horse and a little horse.  What little girl didn’t go through the “I want a horse” phase?  The baby horse is almost filled in with paint.  The mother horse has a way to go.  And the background has an awful lot of empty numbers where paint should go eventually.  Maybe I got bored with the leaf color.

I’m sure the finished picture would have been beautiful.  But the fact that it’s unfinished holds the lesson.

Our lives unfold gradually,too.  God fills in a spot here, a spot there.  And sometimes it seems that we can’t see the big picture.  We can’t figure out what all these little empty places will come together to be.  They seem random.  And it feels incomplete.  We want to know the end of the story.

But this painting in a box under a bed reminded me that God is going to complete my painting in His way and in His time.  He’s got a plan.  He knows what the finished picture look like.

I think I’ll hang this picture up just like it is. And remember that He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it.

(from the archives – originally posted 11/28/12)

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.  Ephesians 2:10

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;  Philippians 1:6

The LORD will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O LORD, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.  Psalm 138:8

 

 

 

Savor

(I realize I’ve been “gone” for awhile.  New blog posts are coming!  I promise. Just had to work through a few things and writing hasn’t come easily.  In the meantime, because it’s Thanksgiving week, I thought I’d slightly edit and re-post something I wrote 6 years ago.  As you start your prep work for the most amazing meal of the year, stop…and savor.)

mushrooms-756406_1280

Julia Child would be proud.  I don’t just have “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” on my shelf.  I’ve actually cooked from it.   For my first foray into French cooking, I made Coq Au Vin , which is actually 3 recipes in one – the mushrooms, the onions and the chicken – something to keep in mind when timing the preparation.

It took me 6 hours.  But the fact that it actually involved igniting something made it so totally worth it.

My next undertaking was Steak au Poivre , a peppercorn-encrusted rib-eye gently bathed in a butter and brandy sauce that would give any cardiologist pause. But once in your life you should at least try it.

They were both amazing, memorable dishes.  Dishes I didn’t scarf down like my quick piece of toast in the morning.  Dishes I didn’t mindlessly pick at in front of the television.  They were dishes worthy of savoring, taking the time to identify the endless list of ingredients that went into them.  Dishes worthy of sinking into and lingering over.  There might even have been some sighing and rolling of the eyes. Like those chefs on TV.

When God was putting Adam together, He added taste buds.  He didn’t have to.  We could have just gathered necessary nutrition like animals or plants without regard for whether or not it actually had any taste.  We didn’t have to enjoy it.  But God wanted us to.  There’s something spiritual about tasting.

“My soul shall be satisfied with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5).  Now, if that doesn’t sound like something from Julia Child, what does? Marrow and fatness. Have you ever eaten the marrow out of a veal shank? Oh my.  I made a chocolate silk pie recently that the recipe called “profoundly rich”. It was. The Psalmist says, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth” (Psalm 119:103).

God reminds us about our ultimate satisfaction in Him and the sweetness of His Word… through our taste buds.

I want to remember to savor God’s words.  I don’t want to rush through my quiet time like my morning toast.  I don’t want to mindlessly pick at scripture, distracted by other things going on around me, or run through it, like I’m grabbing a donut on the way out the door.  I want to put in the effort, take the time,  and maybe even have some sighing and rolling of the eyes as I realize just how amazing and rich and wonderful those words are.

Oh yes, I want to “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).   

Savor.

Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.  Isaiah 55:22

In Jerusalem, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world.  It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat.  Isaiah 25:6