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Transparent Thoughts

Eyeliner, Kitty Litter, and An Invitation to Dance

Wednesday, May 19, 2010 • Marcia Swearingen • Active faith


When He came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, "Master, you shouldn't be washing our feet like this!" Jesus replied, "You don't understand now why I am doing it; some day you will."

"No," Peter protested, "you shall never wash my feet!"

"But if I don't, you can't be my partner," Jesus replied.

--John 13:6-8 TLB

            The melodic notes of a bedside alarm reached through the fog of deep sleep to retrieve a reluctant victim.   An 8 a.m. meeting beckoned. After a steamy shower, my eyelids were still at half mast and my efforts with eyeliner looked like a print-out from an EKG.    I heaved a sigh of frustration and sensed an immediate inner response:  Let me help you with that.  Somewhat started, I relaxed my efforts and surrendered to an even, easy flow.

            Behind the wheel, still groggy, I concentrated on the road ahead and there it was again:  Let me help you with that.  So I yielded-- to an even greater focus.

            The final reminder came later that day as I scooped the cat's litter box.  The siren phrase returned to administer its magic:  Let me help you with that.   Such a mundane duty!  Such a magnificent offer! Does God really care about kitty litter? Then it hit me. He's been scooping my box for years and I take it for granted, just like my cat. He does for me what I can't possibly do for myself. I'd hate to think what my box would look like if He didn't.  Each day He takes out my trash.  Each day I must be willing to humble myself and trust His hands in my box. It's a partnership.

  I knew this insight was a grace I'd need for a challenging role I faced the next week. Let me help you with that became a remembrance of my commitment to let Him in my box. Let me help you with that became a guardian phrase against serving in my own strength as Food Coordinator for Vacation Bible School. Let me help you with that became an invitation to relinquish fear and control so I could enjoy each moment, watching Him work with excellence through me and others while savoring the result-God's hand of blessing, not only in young lives, but even in our own. Yes, it was hectic, sometimes chaotic, but incredibly invigorating. 

 Let me help you with that continues to be divine grace on tap even as I write this column. When I allow Him to help me, every effort becomes an act of grace rather than a badge of glory. God never forces Himself into our lives, but if we let Him be our "partner," the dance will be beautiful, the music incredibly sweet, and, even the small things, like eyeliner, will glide easily into place.  

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