Whatever is Pure
Son, That's Not Going To Work
After a quick inspection of the playground, Marshall focused his attention on the spiral slide, climbing up and sliding down a few times, landing softly in the sandy lot. His father kept a watchful eye out, ready to step in at a moment's notice if need be and when Marshall asked if he could use one of our discarded cups to play in the sand, his father agreeably gave the cup a cursory drying with a napkin and handed it over.
Marshall promptly filled the cup with sand and climbed up to the top of the slide, then carefully poured the sand down its metal surface. As he couldn't see the results of his effort from his vantage, he scrambled down the stairs to look but wasn't daunted by the fact most of the sand had slipped right off the slide. Once again, he filled the cup, carefully balancing it so as not to spill a single grain and once again, he poured the precious contents down the slide. The sturdy four year old diligently climbed up and down those stairs countless times, never tiring in his little self-appointed task. As he was well occupied, his father and I took the opportunity to catch up on family news.
When it was time to pack up and head home from the park, a good while later, Marshall was reluctant to go, even though fatigue slowed his steps and he was beginning to spill sand on his dogged climb up the stairs. "But Daddy, I haven't filled it up yet!" He pointed to the slide and explained. "It's only a little bit full!" Sure enough, the slide's bottom was barely covered with sand and he had made little purchase up the slide's actual incline. The countless cups of sand that he had so diligently carried and poured into his project lay waste on the ground below. His father tried to explain to his son. "Marshall, it doesn't matter how many trips you make, it just won't work. There's nothing holding the sand back from spilling off the edge. You can't fill up something that doesn't have a way of containing."
As Christians, we so often pour of ourselves into the lives of others, our ministries and our own lives, only to see little if any fruit. No matter how diligent our effort and no matter how lofty our ambition, we seem to make little headway. Our churches do not grow, those we counsel fall repeatedly into the same sinful patterns and our ministries have little effect in the lives of those we wish to reach.
Perhaps, our heavenly Father speaks to us at those times. "Child, you can't fill up a vessel that has no way of containing all my blessings. Will you allow me to create a new one that has the capacity of holding my glory? I need to repair your walls, I need to build proper borders and boundaries within your life, but I can only do so, if you allow me to remove the rubble."
From the DCQ Archives at © 2007 Katherine Walden
Contact for permission to reprint or use in any format.
Receive a free weekly devotional by Katherine
My Head Upon Your Chest.
Abba Father come take me
You sit upon the waters deep
Your Voice the sound of Majesty
tell me I'm Your own to keep
cuddle me when I lay asleep
wake me at the dawn of day
lead me in my prayers I pray
guard every single word I say
let Your Spirit have His way
I need you Abba Father
take me on the water
tell me I'm Your daughter
comfort me forever
lead me where I go
deliver me from foe
all I need to know
I trust in You to show
You give me hope and vision
joy and inspiration
love and dedication
peace and restoration
Jesus Your my rest
Your yoke leaves me blessed
my head upon Your chest
You make all things new.
The Prodigal Shoe
I can't say that I remember what it was like to be a five-year-old, but I don't really have to make the effort. I have a living example who visits my home at least once a week. My observations tell me that being five is much like living on a rainbow. One can easily drift from cool blue complacency to an angry fireball of red in an instant and then, just as quickly gravitate to the lush silliness of green. One can also struggle mightily in the climb to the top of the arc, then squeal in euphoria while sliding haphazardly down the other side - only to begin again. There are no rules on the rainbow, save that of the constant need for exploration. And that's where my shoes come into play.
She started at the age of two, dropping one individual penny into the toe of each shoe in my closet. As my usual circumstance includes making a mad dash out the front door each morning, I seldom discovered the coin until I settled in behind my desk at work. My granddaughter delivered the gift of a smile from afar.
Now, at five, her shoe fascination has altered. Her weekly routine consists of standing before my over-the-door shoe container perusing. In an instant she can locate any new purchases I've made. She cares not that I wear a ladies size eight and she a child's size ten. Off come her sandals and on go my heels. Though treading appears precarious at first, after about ten or so minutes, she is more than able to strut, prance and sometimes even perform her customized ballet steps. A mere few minutes of victory and she has to change styles or colors until there is no less than six pair of my heels strewn around when I kiss her good-bye.
Last month, there was a new development in the program. As I retrieved all the shoes to put them away, I came up one black patent heel short. After a cursory search that yielded nothing, I tossed my lone shoe into a chair and thought, "It will turn up in the next couple of days."
But it didn't.
In fact, for the next three weeks I looked for the shoe. At first in passing and finally in that all out pull-everything-out-of-everywhere kind of search we've all had to do on occasion. Still - no shoe.
It's amazing what lessons can be learned from the tiniest deviation in our lives. I own thirty pair of shoes. I have all sizes, shapes and colors. But the missing shoe represented many things over those weeks. First, and foremost, I just couldn't stand the thought that a five-year-old child outsmarted me. I laughed every time I told someone. And the longer the shoe stayed gone, the more I told the story. Reactions varied from, "Aren't you angry?" to "You know, one time I lost this or that for months too!".
"I don't know, YaYa."
Well, what kind of answer did I really expect to get? Three weeks had gone by.
Then, my thoughts shifted. How fortunate was I to have shoes? How many on this planet do without while I live in comfort day in and day out? How blessed was I to be able to laugh instead of suffer. How very wonderful it was to have a granddaughter who led me to small life adventures that caused me to appreciate this tiny aspect of my life.
I finally gave up. I quit looking and decided she must have somehow thrown the shoe away. I decided to keep the other shoe as a memento with the intent of one day sharing this story with her. And, of course, that's when it happened. How many times, when we exhaust all our resources and throw up our hands, does the unexpected occur?
All I Have is Yours
Everything I Need
When I'm lonely he's the Friend
No Matter How Hard I Try...
I will sheepishly admit that I one of those women who attempts to clean her house the night before the cleaner is due. I find some solace that a large percentage of people who use a cleaning service are guilty of the same illogical behaviour. Never the less, every two weeks, I scurry around my apartment, tidying and dusting, sweeping and vacuuming and wiping down counters and sinks. Heavens! It would never 'do' for the person whom I pay to clean my apartment actually to see it in disarray.
Due to my disability, no matter how long or how hard I scrub some surfaces, I an unable to cleanse them thoroughly. Faint reminders of coffee and juice stains speckle my counters despite my best efforts. An artfully placed appliance over such a stain might temporarily cover it but I am well aware of what lies underneath. The corners of the tiled shower collect grime that is simply beyond my physical power to remove. Dust remains on shelves that I cannot reach safely, even though I attempt to clean them with a jury-rigged dust cloth attached to the end of a broom handle. By the time my cleaner, Charlene, arrives, I am exhausted. Exhaustion soon turns to wry frustration at my own foolishness as I watch the stained counter become sparkling clean with a few firm swipes of her cleaning rag, and the bathroom grout return to pristine white.
In the same way, I am spiritually unable to erase the stain of sin in my life. No amount of good intentions and resolutions will remove them. I cannot hide my guilt under a camouflage of good works. There are dark corners of my heart that provide perfect hiding spots for sin and try as I might, I cannot see them, no matter try to remove them.
From the DCQ Archives :
As of May 2012, "WHATEVER IS PURE" ARCHIVES will no longer be seeking submissions. As most authors and poets now have their own blogs, we noticed a significant drop in submissions over the past year and felt it was best to move on to other endeavors.