In His IMAGination

I fear that I am going to veer a little off topic here. I’m still considering biblical, informed imagination, but, I’m stuck there. Mr. Card’s book, Luke, the Gospel of Amazement , continues through the book of Luke, almost chapter by chapter. He takes a segment, divides it into major themes and gives us the information to fuel our imagination. In the introduction, Card says that he is not going to explain to us how to read imaginatively, so I am taking what I learn, the information I glean and following his lead. Not surprisingly, given the unsearchable depths of God’s word, I haven’t made it past chapter two.

I want pose some thoughts I have about imagination:

1. Our imagination is a direct consequence of being made in God’s image. Think of it, eternal God had never before seen grass, animals, rainbows or seas. In seven days His creativity and imagination formed all that we see. And God continues on a daily basis to imagine new finger prints that have never been birthed before. Scientists are routinely discovering new species.  Every single morning He brushes a new sunrise across the sky and beds the stars.

2. It is interesting that when Zechariah exited the temple, mute, no one poked him and tried to force him to speak. No one rolled their eyes and whispered to their neighbor, “The old man must have been dreaming.” What has happened to our sense of wonder and our ability to accept what we cannot understand?

3. Imagination is essential to belief. Imagination might be the ability to believe the amazing – the wondrous – the things we wonder about. That’s why kids are so much more adept at it than adults. That might be why Jesus said that heaven requires the faith of a little child.

4. Did God come to Mary, still young, because her imagination was still ripe and her mind could still stretch to conceive that which wasn’t “normal?”

5. Maybe we don’t listen attentively and walk by the Spirit because we can’t imagine that God would speak to us. Abraham didn’t try to convince himself that the instructions to sacrifice Isaac were the result an errant imagination.

6. Can you imagine eternity? When I was little, my sisters and I used to describe our efforts to comprehend eternity as though just as we grasped the tendrils of it, something would snap shut, or hit us in the head.

Don’t try to read the Bible without allowing for the truth that seems inconceivable. God will never be contained by our systems, explanations, physical laws or moral codes. The juxtaposition of grace and wrath, justice and mercy, Christ’s death and eternal life – can’t be explained. Revel in the glory of God’s amazing imagination!

Picking Up Dog Poop

The Lie (OK, this one is comic relief): Someday you’ll outgrow having to do your chores!

Picking up dog poop.  We used to have to go around our large fenced backyard with a pair of scoopers that opened and shut their jaws like giant scissors.  My sisters and I fought over who had to do it this time.  The smelly job involved picking up each stinky mess and putting it into an old paper grocery bag.  The thank-less job preceded the lawn mower.

 

At first that was my parents’ job.  They traipsed along behind the green, push mower, collecting shredded grass in the catcher.  Then they dumped the clippings into a garbage bag.  As I grew that became my job, and how I loathed it.  What a treat when that chore became obsolete.  My husband and I bought a town-home when the Army moved us to Washington.  I gloated happily from my window above each time I watched the guys from “Soundview Landscaping” buzz their blades around my yard.

 

I do miss one chore from history.  Leaves – the delightful, crunchy, colorful remains of summer.  Every fall they dove to the ground, plucked from their branches by Oklahoma winds. My sisters and I fought again, but this time for the joy of who could wield the rake.  Piles of dusty oak leaves grew in each corner of the yard.  Pictures show us bouncing in the trash cans, smashing leaves lower and lower to make room for one more handful.  Other snapshots prove that it wasn’t all work and no play.  We took running starts and slid into piles of leaves like Babe Ruth sliding into home plate.

Time Warp

I used to think it was just my husband.  Then, I thought it was only me.  Now, I’m convinced it’s nearly everyone.  It’s a talent really: we not so much cross timezones when we travel – we time warp.

Recently, while I was home in Kansas visiting my family, my alter-personality, “Sister” emerged.  I didn’t have my own schedule or set of friends in Kansas, so I clung to Rachelle’s shirt tales.  I had so much fun going to see the play, “The Little Mermaid” with her.  We lost ourselves in the characters of a crime show called, Without a Trace.  We painted our toe nails, ate frozen yogurt, walked her dog, and drank exorbitant amounts of coffee.

“Daughter” also appeared.  I voluntarily washed the dishes and helped with laundry.  Like a cat getting its back scratched I thrilled to my father’s compliments or gratitude.  I put my head in my mother’s lap and let her play with my hair.  For two weeks I wasn’t concerned with groceries, laundry, litter pans, dirty floors or mowed lawns.  When I did chores, it was simply because I wanted to help and it hardly felt like work.

Then, POOF, suddenly I came home.  I mean to my real home, in Virginia, where the adult Abby lives.  Wake up!  The lawn desperately needed to be mowed, the litter pan was lending its fragrance to the entire house, the dishes I had left drying on the counter were still there.  Suddenly I remembered that I need to fix the rusts spots on my car’s trunk, Patrick’s car needs new tires and I had a meeting at the church the very next day.

The stark contrast between these two or three me’s, easily makes one pine for the good ol’ days.  We admire, wistfully, the carelessness of a child.  The truth is: we don’t have to lose it.  I’m no expert, in fact, I rarely get it right, but I firmly believe that we adults have no more reason to worry than a child.  After all, doesn’t God say He is our Father?  I am relieved to still be His child.

I recently visited another blog called, Not Bob.  He wrote this poem that I find mesmerizing and I think it fits here as well.  I hope you enjoy:

I think the world is a pin cushion

There’s a space between everyday matters
that makes someone feel every day matters,
a breath or sigh in the darkness. We surround
our time with excuses and distractions, bind
those we love with commitments when we should be
splashing around in dark puddles while the rain
covers us in nothing more than what it is.

– Robert Lee Brewer, author of Not Bob

How expensive is your beauty?

Tell yourself the truth.   How much do you think you spend on beauty products?  Or should I more accurately call them “self-esteem products?”  I confess that when I buy a new mascara, or spend copious amounts of time trying to determine the right shade of foundation, or agonize over what color of nail polish is the most “me,” or wonder if my new shampoo makes my hair feel limp – every time, I am trying to make myself more impressive to other people.  Why else do I lighten my hair for summer and bury my white shoes in the fall?  Because the world tells me that’s what looks good.

Now, shift your train of thought with me.  When we are feeling more serious, we ponder things like global hunger, poverty and children without clean water.  Did know that the amount of money Americans spend on beautification is almost equivalent to the amount of money it would take to eradicate world hunger?

Constance Rhodes is the founder of Finding Balance and The True Campaign, and True Sisterhood.  I listen to the True Sisterhood podcast frequently.  I just finished the episode called Chaos and Compassion. 

The challenge, and I’m going to echo it here: cut out a few things from your beauty budget and boost a child’s joy and hope, instead of your self-esteem.  Try it.

Compassion International is only one ministry that works to meet the needs of children in third world countries.  I am choosing to sponsor a child through them because they share Jesus, the true hope of the world and the living water, while they are meeting physical needs.

In the next few weeks I will share more about the child my husband and I are sponsoring.  I would love to know if you take my challenge.   Have you already been sponsoring a child or ministering in another way? I would love to hear about it.