Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Give Me Words to Speak

What do you say about 25 years? When I turned 25 years old, I remember thinking that my life had no purpose because it’s been a quarter of a century already and what had I accomplished?

Well, I had graduated high school (the first in my family to do so,) graduated college, had a pretty good job, owned a home, and had gotten married. But even then I was searching for significance, not success as defined by the world. Twenty-five years at that time seemed like forever.

Now, 25 years seems like a blip, or a more accurate term would be bliss. Wedded bliss, that is. Michael Kevin Basham and I have been married for 25 years today! Now, there’s significance for you!

God opened up the heavens and rained down grace unimaginable when He gave us to each other. There’s no way that 25 years has passed. I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun.

A friend told me recently that I have a perfect marriage, at least the most perfect one that she knows. And I have to agree with her. I think our marriage is as close to perfect as one can get.

Not that I’m a perfect woman (though Mike says I’m really close) married to a perfect man (I think he’s really close) but that we both are close to the Perfect One and we allow Him to work in us and through us for the benefit of each other.

Yes, we disagree. But we agree to look to God for the resolution. Yes, we get mad. But we forgive each other quickly with God’s help. Yes, we’re both selfish. But we agree to put the other’s needs ahead of our own.

We love. A love that’s extremely easy most days, but on rare days it’s definitely a hard choice. We laugh. Not at each other, but with each other. (If you want to see some of the things that make us laugh, check out Tim Hawkins.)

We also cry. Together. We work to make sure the hard things unite us as we cling ever closer to Christ, and in turn that brings us ever closer to each other.

This is the scripture that we had printed on the napkins we used at our wedding reception. It encapsulates our marriage to this day:

Ecclesiastes 4.12b A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Mr. & Mrs. Michael Basham

January 21, 1984

I still like to watch him. It makes me smile to watch him when he doesn’t know. It also makes my heart overflow. I can’t believe how incredibly blessed I am.

I love to see his smile. He can smile at me from across the room and I feel so loved. I always feel like he is thrilled to see me. Michael is the epitome of how a man should love his wife as Christ loves the church.

What do you say about 25 years? I’m not really sure, but I’d like at least another 25 years with Michael to come up with something.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I'm Glad Dave's Not God

One chance! Only one chance! That means the rooster didn’t really have a chance at all. When Dave brought the rooster home to their urban farm, Mitzi had concerns about having a rooster in the middle of town.

All the other chickens they had were noiseless hens, laying eggs and clucking ever so softly. And having chickens inside the town limits had been approved by the town council because of this family’s example. But roosters in the mix might jeopardize that.

So Dave assured Mitzi that the first time the rooster crowed in their yard, the animal formerly known as rooster would simply be known then as that day’s dinner!

Well, you guessed it. The rooster crowed! It happened to be a day when my daughter was sleeping over. We called to say we were coming to pick her up, but Mitzi asked if Rachael could please stay a little longer so she could join in the neck-wringing festivities.

OK, I said yes, but all the while I was thinking Rachael would be pretty nasty to take to the movie we were planning to head to after we picked her up. But I still said yes.

Later, after we picked her up, I asked her how the circle of life went. She reported that Dave had decided to wait until the next day because the rooster had just been fed and the process of cleaning said dinner would make too much a mess unless the fowl was emptied of all the foul stuff first.

So Dave gave a reprieve so as not to be inconvenienced with the mess.

I really am glad Dave’s not God. God forgives me over and over, the same crowing I do over and over. Because He loves me. Not because it’s convenient or inconvenient.

I’m not judging Dave. I’m sure I would have had a similar stipulation if I were inclined to have roosters and lived in the town limits. That makes me glad that I’m not God either, no matter how hard I try sometimes!

Psalm 130.3-4a “If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness.”

1 John 1.9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Second chances with God are not hard to come by. But with Dave.....well, Mitzi tells me the rooster was delicious.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Don't Leave Him There

Maybe your household is like mine. My kids love to help put up Christmas decorations, but when it's time to take them down, they have made themselves scarce.

This is why I found myself alone putting away our Nativity set that spans the length of our credenza. Each little piece must be wrapped to avoid breaking, and each large piece has its own styrofoam sarcophagus-type enclosure so it's much like putting together a puzzle.

The kids set it up and did a lovely job. But since they set it up, I really didn't get a chance to reflect on the cast of characters and what that scene must really have been like. I did have solitude in the packing up, though, so I was free to speculate on the thoughts and feelings of those involved.

One thing came to mind that is not speculation. The last human figure I was placing in the box was that of Sweet Baby Jesus Himself and I thought of how He was going to rest in that manger for the next 11 months.

So different from the real Sweet Baby Jesus who came for one purpose.

Peter preached it best:

Acts 2.22-24 Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

And the people responded:

Acts 2.36-38 Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.
When the people heard this, they were cut to the
heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.

Three thousand people decided that day they would not leave Jesus in the manger. He was now their Christ and Lord.

So pack away your porcelain Nativity figurines and make sure Sweet Baby Jesus is nestled all snug in His manger.

But for real life, don't leave Him there this year. Spend time with Him every day. Get to know Him more. He's all grown up now and I think you'll love having that relationship. I think you'll love who you can become by your association with Him.