Three years ago, I blogged with joy about how we turned Velvetleaf into a beautiful indoor arrangement. You remember the story: My mother and I discovered this unwanted, invasive, terrible weed in the pumpkin patch at the fruit farm.
We created the most lovely bouquet. I boasted about how living with flair meant turning the obnoxious weed that nobody wanted into something beautiful.
But if you remember the story, the farmer warned us: “You do not want this anywhere near your home! Even one seed will destroy your yard! You can never get rid of velvetleaf. Don’t do it.”
I did it. And in summer, I threw the bouquet into the compost bin next to my berry patch because I wanted something fresh for my living room. I hadn’t been to my berry patch for a month or so, and I venture out this morning to find this:
I was warned and didn’t listen. Velvetleaf now covers my berry patch. My poor strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Immediately, I remembered with shame how even a little sin—something that seems beautiful that nevertheless plants a seed into the heart—will take over my life and choke the landscape of my soul. I remember how David cried out in Psalm 139: “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my anxious thoughts. Find out if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting!”
Velvet leaf—such a small, harmless looking thing—harbors toxins that destroy plants, blocks light from your crop, stays viable in soil for 50 years, is highly competitive with anything around it, knows how to block herbicides, releases chemicals to starve other plants, and if you crush it, it thrives.
I remember the warning from the farmer I never heeded today. And I praise God that “He is faithful and just to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
This morning, the little one plows into our bed and announces that she is about to lose her first loose tooth.
The world stops for a minute. A first lost tooth!
In our family, we let Dad do the tooth pulling. There’s even a title assigned to this role. He pinches his thumb and forefinger together and calls his hand the “Extractor.” The girls giggle and squeal as the Extractor approaches the loose tooth.
Meanwhile, my daughter’s mouth contains exceptionally tiny teeth, and the Extractor can hardly get a hold of that one small front tooth.
I’m watching this dad–so large by comparison–bending low and peering inside that small mouth. He examines with great care that little tooth and suggests we try to pull it this evening since it’s not quite ready. It seems so strange, so wonderful, as I observe this interaction.
Is there anything too small for this dad to care about–to know so well? Is there anything about his daughter that he wouldn’t stop everything for, bend low, and examine and tend to?
God whispers in my heart: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I imagine myself as that daughter. Do I realize God knows everything about me? Can it be true, as the Psalmist says, that our tears are on a scroll–part of God’s record? Can it be true that, as Jesus himself proclaims “even the very hairs of [our] head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid. . . “?
A father knows–and cares deeply about–even a loose tooth. What can happen to me today that falls outside the knowledge and loving attention of the Father?
Living with flair means I realize that even tiny details about me are known, cared about, and tended to by God.
Journal: What small event (that I’m tempted to think nobody cares about) might I entrust to God today?
|My Skunk Kitty
When you’re sick in bed, you have a lot of time to think about your life. You can have bizarre thoughts, brought on by fever and narcotics and the reality television shows you’ve been watching to pass the time.
You start asking yourself if you’re dying, and you wonder what the whole point of life is anyway. Then you start thinking you’ll never have another moment of flair again in your whole life. You think that God has abandoned you and everything you thought was true is now untrue.
You can’t remember any of God’s promises.
And then your kitty comes up to snuggle with you, and she rolls over to show you the single white stripe on her belly. She looks exactly like a skunk.
But she’s not a skunk. She’s a kitty. She only looks like a skunk.
What I see from this bed is not reality.
There’s another system, another actuality, that God knows and God sees. Good, beautiful, right, and true. As warm and comforting as this cat beside me.