Holy, Holy, Holy

The word holy may evoke images of Mary and Moses, but it simply means readiness, ripeness, or maturity. Ripening is never an easy process, but the result is love that doesn’t depend upon circumstances for its sweetness. My son and daughter-in-law were raving about some peaches a friend had given them. They were from Georgia and tasted the way a peach should taste. The image reminded me of Christians who reflect Christ’s precious love. Like that Georgia peach, they are who God created them to be and delight those around them.

The world is filled with people and produce that are poor imitations of what they should be. Nothing is more bitter than an unripe persimmon, and sour grapes contort the countenance and the stomach. I hate buying beautiful fruit that tastes horrible when I take a bite.

Immature fruit and immature believers require time and love to ripen, but God knows holiness is worth the wait. Anyone who has eaten a peach picked in a Georgia orchard knows what a peach truly is. Those who come to the mountains of North Carolina in the fall for juicy, ripe apples understand what an apple should be. Watermelons from a field in South Carolina defy description. As a Christian, I am called to be holy; but I shy away from that call because I think it means I must be perfect. 2 Timothy 1:9 makes it clear that holiness isn’t about works or perfection. It is about God’s grace.

“who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity,” (NASB)

No one ever grew a tomato as delicious as the ones my father grew in the little garden behind our house.  The taste of that first tomato sandwich in July was well worth the long wait, but daddy ruined me when it came to tomatoes because none meet his high standards. He saved the seeds from his tomatoes and planted them in the spring. They were seeds from his father’s farm and probably from his grandfather’s before that. Heirloom is the term used to describe such tomatoes, and that is precisely what they were. I knew my granddaddy’s tomatoes because I knew my daddy’s tomatoes, and I know God’s love because I know His Son’s precious love.

I fall short when it comes to being the Christian I should be, but I do try to love as Christ loved. I’ve stopped trying to be perfect because I know God wants me to be ready, not perfect. Perfection will only come when I am in His presence. I think the world is excessively hard on Christians, and no one bashes Christians more than those who call themselves Christians or use some other term that means the same thing. I imagine a bad experience caused the disdain, but I do wish they would stop bashing and start loving.

I’ve stopped expecting tomatoes to taste like daddy’s, but I do have a glimmer of hope each time I find an heirloom tomato that resembles one of daddy’s. I plan to keep on looking for that elusive tomato because the alternative is to stop eating tomatoes and go around talking about how much I miss the good old tomatoes of the past. I’m sure others would soon tire of my tirades just as I tire of the tirades against Christians. Watching those little seeds grow and waiting anxiously for them to ripen was a lot of what made them so special. I was invested in those tomatoes, and I knew them personally. The love daddy had for those tomatoes was a bigger part. Anyone who knew Foy Holden, knew how much he loved his tomatoes. I pray I will have the same love for God’s children, especially those who are not yet ripe.

I haven’t found a perfect Christian, and I’m not looking for one because I know God isn’t looking for one either.

Jesus Smiling

It’s Fitting!!

I took care of my two granddaughters while my daughter-in-law was on a mission trip to Costa Rica. I loved having the opportunity to spend quality time with them and my son. Keeping up with two very energetic little girls wasn’t easy, but it was a lot of fun. I felt ten years younger after ten days and noticed my clothes were fitting differently.

There’s nothing better than clothes that fit well, and that is especially true for me because I absolutely hate wearing them!! Little Mylah is the same way, so getting her ready to go somewhere is like moderating a political debate. She won’t wear anything that doesn’t fit perfectly, and she’s a diva when it comes to the way she looks. I learned to just leave her alone, let her go through the painful process, and pick up all the clothes on the floor afterward.

God used the girls to teach many lessons last week, and one was about the importance of a proper fit. I’ve gained twelve pounds in the past two and a half years because I turned to food to fill a space that food cannot fill. The result was a closet full of uncomfortably tight clothing. I wore yoga pants and comfortable shirts while watching the girls because I had a lot to manage and didn’t want to have to worry about clothes.

When I got home and had time to breath, I stepped on the scales and couldn’t believe I had lost four pounds. I got the tape measure out to make sure my scales were not broken and was even more surprised to learn that I had lost seven inches!!

Clothing was not the only thing not fitting lately, so God used the girls to teach a fitting lesson. I’ve struggled throughout my adult life with corporate worship. Some places were too tight, and some were too loose. Nothing seemed to suit or fit my spiritual needs. Trying to find the right fit left me frustrated and ready to quit.

A perfect fit is virtually impossible to find when it comes to clothes, but I do have outfits that feel wonderful and look great. I feel great when I wear them, so I can relate to Mylah’s struggle with clothing. Only God knows the perfect fit for my heart, and He showed me how it felt this week. On Tuesday, I shared communion with dear friends and knew I was right where I needed to be. It was a feeling far better than finding that perfect outfit.

Walking in God’s kingdom is about being where He wants me to be. He knows His kingdom is the perfect fit for my heart; and  He knows that once I feel its fit, I won’t settle for anything less.

Philippians 2:1-2 is a beautiful scripture that describes the perfect fit God has in mind. I think I’ll put it on my closet door 🙂

“Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” (NASB)

It's Fitting