The Cup

I am sitting in front of a fireplace on top of a mountain….more in my mind than in reality, yet not too far from the truth. It is my secret place. I am thinking back to last night. Holding him close to me. Cuddling him close to my cheek. Looking into his brown eyes. He will be ONE on Saturday. I had the utter privledge this weekend of spending precious time with my nieces and nephew. Precious and Dear. I leave a week from Thursday to return to Africa, and I want to be able to spend some time with them before I leave.

The house was quiet. Emma and I had shared prayers-n-kisses and she was fast asleep. Emerson – not so much. As I rocked him in the chair and sang to him....Him looking at me with that thumb in his mouth. Me looking at him with a smirk of adoration. I had somewhat of a mind spinning moment. A bit immersed lately in the wars of Congo, reading of wailing mothers, and dying children…..I feel at times as if I am racing the clock to help them, though I know the change for which I pray will take years – decades. My worldview has been so utterly massive as of late with thoughts of child soldier rehabilitation, African art therapy, and learning the language of Dinka; but in that moment……in that eye gazing, thumb sucking, cuddling and snuggling moment– it all went away. All that mattered was what was right in front of my fingertips. The most precious little boy in the world to me.

Plans gave way to pause, and I wondered……where does purpose really lie. To the mother of this dear one, the most important thing in the world is what I was holding. To me, in a little over a week – it will be going into a remote village of Sudan. But is any ONE purpose less purposeful than another? I think not. Loving is Loving whether that is rocking a one year old to sleep or holding an African child as they cry. Isn’t it all just about Loving God with all of our heart and living accordingly, accepting the gift of His love by letting Him love us, and then learning - day by day - to love all we come in contact with as He would love them?

I frequently hear comments shadowed with inadequacy from my family and friends who feel they are not doing much “with their lives” when they hear stories I share from Africa, Haiti, or the DR. When holding a newborn, thoughts of a warlord rebel capturing children to turn them into soldiers is a foreign concept. But my mind always returns to a hymn that was sung at the church my daddy preached at growing up. I loved it. I sang it – over and over and over….”Follow me.” There is one line that has always spoken to my heart:

"If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand."

Ironically, the sermon today was on this very topic. It's funny that in a room full of hundreds, it feels as if God has chosen the words specifically for your ears. As I listened, a different version of I Corinthians 13 appeared on the screen. It is the “love” chapter that I mischieviously like to call the “choice” chapter. I do this believing that when the desire to love is removed, then the decision to choose to be loving must take over…..which probably happens more often than naught. This morning, I ran out the door, grabbing a journal I hadn’t written in over a year. As I was writing down the words on the screen, I looked over to the opposite page of my journal. Written OVER A YEAR AGO I see this:

“I Corinthians 13: Love is Patient, Love is Kind, Love does not envy. It does not brag. It is humble. It is thoughtful. It is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered.."

Wow – does He think I need it so badly that he has to give me a double dose? And then confirm it times two? Yes - I, honestly, don't think I have been doing a good job of this lately. What did it mean to me? It meant this: If God IS love, and Jesus was LOVE personified, and we are to BE like Christ - then what he calls us to do is to love in whatever way and whichever way is set before us. That may be to the man that just brought me my hot tea with cream or maybe to the person I meet on the road tomorrow morning. Maybe that is to the lady who will be watching your child all day or the next door neighbor who grates on your last nerve. That may be to the co-worker who brings to life the definition of “vindictive” or the boss who doesn’t know how to give a compliment. Maybe that is to the spouse of 15 years who doesn’t understand or the child of three who seems to be possessed by Satan : ) The thoughtless roommate, the unfair professor, the elderly lady with her walker in the elevator. Or maybe it is to the child in a small Sudan village who has seen more horror through her eyes than any movie I could rent at blockbuster could portray.

BUT whoever, wherever, or whatever that cup of water looks like....what's most important is realizing that it is HE who has placed it within our hands. And it is in loving that person in the way that he loves us that gives purpose to our lives. To let Him love THROUGH us - what an incredibly humbling thought that is.

Lord, as I watch the fire dance in the covering of the stone fireplace – I think of you and I often wonder…..do you wish to be able to hold us when we need it, smile at us, speak those words verbally that you know we need to hear with our human ears. Do you depend on us to do that for you? Do you hope that for us – to be the words you wish to speak, the hug you wish to give, the smile you wish to share. The song you wish to sing to sweet Emerson…..What song would you sing to him? What words would you give to Emma? How many hugs would you give the homeless? What sort of kindness would you give to our worst enemy? May we be your smile, your touch, your words, your love – personified. May we take that cup of water that you have entrusted us with – (be that a precious brown-eyed baby boy who loves to suck his thumb or a sweet African little girl who lost her mother in the attacks to her village). May we simply be YOU. May we love freely with all of our might – as unto you…..As unto you.

For you are Love and we are

Yours, b