Magic in the Green Bean Aisle

She appeared in nearly every aisle we went. Cutting us off with a half-way “sorry” as the gray haired woman finagled her way in and out of the cracks between shopping carts and turkey hunting families, I came upon the last thread of my patience in the produce section. There she stood, blocking my way to the yellow peppers as she relaxed in front of them, meticulously sorting through the green beans. She carefully inspected them for imperfections before filling her bag. One. By. One.

The pressure inside me intensified, filling my ears with smoke. Pumping my heart to full beast mode. I’m sure this woman could sense the creature morphing beside her, but she was fully dedicated to her bean inspection. I could hear the warning siren going off in my head.

Assuming the woman experienced a season in her life where she had to balance 10 million things at once, I hoped she would have some grace and realize not everyone had time to wait for her to inspect the whole bin of green beans. Where’s the tolerance for imperfect produce?

But no, she either didn’t remember or didn’t care, because she just stood there with a colony of pilgrim descendants waiting for her to choose the perfect green beans. She turned aside once, trying to charm her way into our hearts by noting how cute my son was. My charm meter has been finely tuned to detect veiled manipulation, so I just clenched my teeth and waited.

Maybe the shopping frenzy from November through the end of December is the true Antichrist, I don’t know.

But in the midst of green bean #30, God stepped in line beside us. I don’t know that He said anything in particular, but laughter at the green bean situation suddenly bubbled up inside me.

Sometimes I need help laying stress down. Thankfully, God shows up in grocery stores and in the midst of our impossible schedules. I made a decision.

If my house isn’t clean enough, it’s because I’m looking at God’s magic.

20151125_124808

If someone doesn’t approve of the way I do things, or don’t do things, I’ll just turn my head to look at His grace.

20151114_160121

God’s magic is just one glance away from our distractions. I pray that God will pour His grace and loveliness into your holiday season.

 

 

 

Green towels and Gratitude

A Jonah day can blind. Even when God is calling, the pull of a dark room or the lowest part of a ship drapes comfort like a cave of warm blankets.

Sometimes, when the days gets too noisy, when the fights and whines of my kids cut into every nerve, I step into the bathroom and scream into my soft green towel. I can hide there for a moment, basking in the dampening cotton, hiding my frustration in the layers of its stitches.

Our country sits on raw nerves as well. The struggle for freedom has always been present, but the moment we gained the world, our leaders stepped over the edge into the abyss. The depths of this hole swirls full of selfishness, greed, void of anything good or generous. The news stations spout the echoes from this place, filling our homes with tendrils of darkness.

But when the days drag and hiding from the storm only gets us thrown overboard, we find ourselves staring into the eyes of a monster, and we realize in that single breath before it swallows us whole, we should have never sought the dark. There is only a moment of peace before we find ourselves in the depths of its belly.

The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head. I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O Lord my God. When my soul fainted within me I remembered the Lord: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple. Jonah 2: 5-7 KJV

Once I unbury my face from my green towel, I step into my bedroom. The sun comes in here, bright and warm and I glance at the light that is never just a ray of 100_3073sun, but a promise of the Son.

So my kids and I get this board and glue feathers and focus on the blessings. We write and draw our thanks, and one by one, we remember the goodness.

But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the Lord. Jonah 2: 9

I don’t want to stare into green cotton. I choose to see through the lens of thanks, to do my part to show a modern Nineveh that the Son is shining on them.

He takes a nation blind and blankets them in grace.

So the people of Nineveh believed in God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. Jonah 3:5

Never stop giving thanks, even when the shadowed corner of a ship calls you.

To give thanks releases his blessings.

To see gratitude is a beautiful choice.

And it is a choice.

For further reading on finding joy and thanksgiving, I recommend One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp.