Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pretty Beads On Dirty Carpet

This morning

Erin called to me, "I need your help, Mom!"

Common phrase.

Like, I don't get too worked up about it.

Into the living room I go.

Here she is on the floor with a pink funnel in my glass bead jar.

She is picking up teeny tiny beads that are spilled into the carpet.

I told her that next time she needed to ask for my help.

"I know," she said.

There is nothing like getting your nose and fingers

down into the carpet picking up pretty beads,

to make me see how filthy, dirty my carpet is.  Just gross.

But we did it anyway.

And I said, "Guess what?  Even though you spilled the beads . . . "

Erin finished my sentence, " . . . you still love me anyway. 
I knew you were going to say that you still love me anyway."

"You are so right," I said.  "That is exactly what I was going to say."

She teaches me much.
She came clean and told me she needed help.
She knew that I still loved her anyway.

I had been reading in my Bible this morning.
Seeing and knowing that no matter what, I don't do it all right all the time.
Even though I try, my life still gets messed up with bad choices and thoughts sometimes.
And I was on the verge of discouragement.
Because sometimes I think I'm doing really good
and I get proud.
And sometimes I get lazy and slack off, and other times just exhausted.
Sometimes I do something like blatantly choosing to spend too much money when I should save it.
And I beat myself up in my head, thinking all kinds of mean thoughts toward myself
and get fearful, doubtful.
My "carpet" is dirty.  Even though I'm trying my best to keep it clean.
I cannot satisfy every person, including myself, all the time.
And this walk of life and of faith is hard.
But like these butterflies in the mud and with broken, tattered wings,
that still do what they were created to do--
that still fly anyway,
I am reminded by my daughter,
to love anyway,
to live anyway.
and that
God still loves me even though I spilled the beads
when I should have asked for His help in the first place.
And He helps me clean up the mess,
when I come clean and ask Him to help me clean it up.

Thanks, my girl.

I read this in Eugene Peterson's The Message this morning,
it's Paul lamenting about doing what he doesn't want to do
...that battle within us between flesh & spirit...
at the end of Romans 7 and beginning of Romans 8.
It brought much relief to me.

It happens so regularly that it's predictable. 
The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. 
I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight.  Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge.

I've tried everything and nothing helps.  I'm at the end of my rope.
Is there no one who can do anything for me?
Isn't that the real question?

The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does.
He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions
where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind,
but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different.

With the arrival of Jesus, the Messiah, that fateful dilemma is resolved.
Those who enter into Christ's being-here-for-us
no longer have to live
under a continuous, low-lying black cloud. 
A new power is in operation. 
The Spirit of life in Christ,
like a strong wind,
has magnificently cleared the air,
freeing you from a fated lifetime of brutal tyranny . . .

Thank you, Lord.
Thank you, Jesus.

I think I will vacuum my floor.
Funny how grace doesn't make me want
to keep sinning.
But to clean it up.
Without the condemnation.
But with love instead.

All photos copyright Jodene (Jodi) Shaw.


  1. Jodi! I want to shout happy shouts and smile big. I wish I had all the words to express how your blog post brings me relief. You said it and showed it so well. Thank you. And thank you for sharing with all of us. Grace, indeed!

  2. As always I have gained so much from your post. What an amazing photographer, artist and storyteller you are.


  3. This was a really good perspective shift for me today -- I don't get it right all the time and God heaps grace on me. I need to heap that same grace onto my children.

  4. Wow.. what a beautiful post.. this really was beautiful. Thanks. I am so grateful that God picks up the Beads i can drop sometimes and loves me anyway. Thank you.. what a beatiful writer you are!


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