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Monday, January 27, 2014

Mismatched Socks

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” — Lin Yutang

"I just KNEW that if I got rid of all those spare socks, their mates would come looking for them some day." It didn’t take long for my friends to respond to my Facebook post. Some shared words of encouragement: “Mismatched socks are trendy! J.C. Penney is selling them that way!” Others, empathized and advised: “I never get rid of them for just that reason.” Still another shared insight: “The dryer hides them.” 

I tried the fashion advice in secret, hiding them with boots. Still, I had to try to pair the height and feel of the mismatched socks in order to experience a degree of comfort with my choice. And, of course, there was to be no crying over lost socks, no turning back the clock to the day I made the fateful decision to finally clean off the top of the dryer and drop them into the nearest trash. I just had to let them go. From here on, however, I vow to look more carefully in the dryer as well as in the sleeves and pant legs of the shirts and trousers they tumbled with.

Frankly, I like to have everything where it belongs. I can live with dust, but I hate clutter.
I like to look around and see that everything is ‘just so.’ But, over the course of several small steps and several years, I had to choose to devote my attention to things of greater value. Like real peace in my home. Like completing coursework for my degree. Like presenting a successful lesson in the classroom. Like taking time to go to my grandson’s hockey game, or accompanying my husband on a photo shoot just to spend some time with him, or writing an email to a dear friend. 

Laundry day on an Amish Farm
in Lancaster County, PA
Maybe I'll never be completely content with the demise of the sock mates, but I will be eternally joyful about what I did spend time on. And some day, when I pass that way again, I’m going to stop and ask my Amish friends if they ever lose sock mates, since they have no clothes dryers. 

Meanwhile, I’ll take some time to enjoy looking at their colorful laundry. 

2 Corinthians 4:18 
“We don't look for things that can be seen but for things that can't be seen. Things that can be seen are only temporary. But things that can't be seen last forever” God’s Word.

Philippians 4:8 
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” ESV.

Luke 6:31 
“Think of the kindness you wish others would show you; do the same for them” The Voice.
1 Thessalonians 5:11
“Therefore encourage one another, and let each one help to strengthen his friend, as in fact you do” Weymouth.

Excerpt from:

While it is Called Today - a 30-day photo devotional for living well 

by Dee Marvin Emeigh

(c) 2014 Dee Marvin Emeigh

all rights reserved

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Made Perfect

Our lives, our brokenness, our flaws, and failures

are precisely what God designed to reflect a perfect love.” – Peter Adejimi

A Black Swallow-Tail gathers nectar from a crepe myrtle.
At first, I didn’t notice the imperfections. My delight in the translucent wings fluttering in front of me as I walked obscured them. Even as I edited the photo later, I didn’t notice them right away. But, as I focused more on the details and the color, I saw her wing was torn. She was obviously flying with an imperfect, torn wing! 

Perhaps it was because the lovely, pink buds of the crepe myrtle made up for what her wings lacked, but it was hardly noticeable in the grand scheme of color and light. 

I’ve known what it’s like to have torn wings. It feels like you will never fly again, never become all you were meant to be. You know you’re not perfect, but everyone seems to only focus on those imperfections. 

You may know what that feels like, as well. The very ability you were created to display has been stifled and all but destroyed.

In spite of Jesus’ declaration that we should be perfect even as our Father is perfect (Matthew 5:48), perfection is something we will not achieve on this earth. So, do we just give up and stop trying? Do we go back to the cocoon and begin again? Neither of these things is possible if we truly desire to be in the glorious state of perfection. 

The Pulpit Commentary (48 vols. London, 1880-97) notes: “Perfect… The word denotes those who have attained the full development of innate powers, in contrast to those who are still in the undeveloped state - adults in contrast to children. Thus the thought here is - Ye shall be satisfied with, and shall attain to, no lower state than that of maturity.” 

Perfection, then, is a state of maturity, not of doing everything perfectly, but of being spiritually mature. 

In the context of Matthew 5:48, the statement refers to loving others even though they have done you wrong. Nothing less is acceptable. This is how the Father God is. He sends rain and sun on all alike. He is no respecter of persons. 

Jesus didn’t stop to ask the multitudes if they would all like to become holy before He healed them. He healed them and had compassion on them, even though many would soon turn against Him. His love went only one direction: from the Father to the children. He walked in the full state of maturity, where He became the expression of His Father’s love. 

Taking our focus off our own imperfections and allowing God’s perfect, mature love to flow through us gives us translucent wings. His light shines through us, we are made perfect by it, and we are able to fly again.

Matthew 5:44-48 “But I tell you this: Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you. In this way you show that you are children of your Father in heaven. He makes his sun rise on people whether they are good or evil. He lets rain fall on them whether they are just or unjust.  If you love those who love you, do you deserve a reward? Even the tax collectors do that!  Are you doing anything remarkable if you welcome only your friends? Everyone does that!  That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” (God’s Word).

John 17:25-26 “Good Father, the people of this world don’t know you. But I know you, and my followers know that you sent me. I told them what you are like, and I will tell them even more. Then the love that you have for me will become part of them, and I will be one with them” (Contemporary English Version).

Isaiah 60:1-2 “Arise, shine, for your light has broken through! The Eternal One’s brilliance has dawned upon you. See truly; look carefully—darkness blankets the earth; people all over are cloaked in darkness. But God will rise and shine on you; the Eternal’s bright glory will shine on you, a light for all to see” (The Voice).

Excerpt from:
While it is Called Today - a 30-day photo devotional for living well 
by Dee Marvin Emeigh

(c) 2014 Dee Marvin Emeigh
all rights reserved