Christmas decorating started earlier than usual around here as I worked to prepare my home to host
my big 4-5 Sole Hope Shoe Cutting UNbirthday Party!
I’d made a solemn promise not to freak out over anything or anyone. Somehow I managed to keep the promise and have a great time. Everything went as I hoped in spite of the fact that my punch looked like swamp water! (Note to self: cranberry ginger ale and lime sherbet will go from “marvelous to muddy” in no time flat. Jus’ sayin’)
Ten ladies from teenaged to well-seasoned graced my home this past Saturday with laughter, fabric and scissors enough to cut 25 pairs of shoes for the Sole Hope project! It was so much fun to plan and host and I’m still hearing from them about what more we can do together.
I had to ask “Why in the world don’t I do these things more often?” I mean, I used to do more and then something got in the way.
That something was (ahem) my “but”.
Seriously, when my kids were little, I’d host these happy little parties for older women and read aloud “A Cup of Christmas Tea”. We served at a food ministry. I had play dates with other Moms and would invite folks to dinner. Then…gradually, I started letting my but get in the way.
It went something like this: I’d have a GREAT idea, plan or intention and then talk myself out of it and put my BUT out there instead.
- I’d love to go with my kids and read to children stuck in the hospital BUT…….
- I’d bake bread and take soup to my neighbors BUT…..
- I’d visit so-n-so and their new baby BUT….
- I’d teach that study, speak at that meeting or help organize/host that gathering
- I don’t have enough money, time, talent, energy, space.
- I don’t have a big or nice enough car, house, wardrobe, voice.
- I’m too fat, busy, lazy, small, shy…whatever.
I’d make some lame or legitimate-at-the-time excuse. I’d blame my kids, my husband, my pets…til before I knew it,
I had let my
get bigger than my God.
OF COURSE…there were times when my BUT was somewhat justified. Whole periods where it was more difficult to do, give or go. Then, for a season, moments of pain and confusion clouded my ability to see clearly.
The problem came when those moments turned into days, then weeks and months and began to take up entire seasons. It had gotten easier to justify not doing things or giving what I could and to make excuses for why I didn’t, shouldn’t couldn’t….wouldn’t.
Fact is, I had forgotten how to be truly hospitable and had started simply camping out on my BUT. You see where I’m going with this….
It’s easy to do you know.
Quite often capable Christians can be found sitting out the entire game on their pew-shaped BUTs. Thankfully, God is too patient to let any of us stay there for long. Fact is, God wants to use our BUTs…to give them to Him for whatever He wants to do through us. He intimately knows our limitations, our grievances and dilemmas. He permits them. He permeates them.
Money, time, energy, space, talent, ability, sickness or health….you name it,
God makes it work. If we let Him.
See, while there are legitimate challenges to doing, being, going …legitimate limitations for us all, when we submit our excuses, reasons or impossibilities to God and trust Him, then He takes what little we have and makes it enough.
- A boy’s lunch feeds a crowd.
- Stutterers get speaking buddies.
- A widow’s tiny offering builds a Kingdom.
Seriously, I’ve seen it with my own two eyes.
There’s the lady with degenerative bone disease and scoliosis who could use her BUT quite legitimately, stay home and keep quietly to herself. But God and she go with a friend to the local schools a few times a week teaching His Word and her door is always open for the Tuesday night Ladies study.
Those two guys. They don’t have kids and work odd hours so shopping for Operation Christmas Child is not easy. But God has prompted them to give money to a Sister who shops for them. This year she took along a little Sister-in-training to help.
There’s the story of a woman who saw the need to build a house for a hard working Christian Sister in Haiti however, she couldn’t do it alone. But God and she, along with a few hundred of her closest writing buddies, came together to make it happen.
Oh there are others…so many who challenge my BUT and show me how to be the light and point the way for others to see and know Jesus …especially now. That’s the beauty of the plan: we don’t go it alone. God takes the spark of what we have and combines it with what He’s been given from another.
He bring us together and we ignite a fire!
Then, when we have those moments and our big BUT begins to get in the way again, when we seem to be resting on our but more often than not, those others are there to kick us in our BUT and get us up and moving again.
Yes…at Christmas BUT also, every other time of the year… 24-7-365.