by Lea Holt
So here I am. Guest blogging on the big mouth... A blog that I love that my sister Julie has which speaks so eloquently about life and Christ and His influence in her life. She’s funny and real and she relates His love to her simple doings. Work, raising Bill, being married, going to Target, cooking, dressing, rocking out to music and movies and basically figuring out how to live a Christian life amongst all the influences and media and texting and emails and all the things that take us away from the quiet. Quiet thoughts, quiet prayer, time when we just sit with ourselves and God and the universe and feel... peaceful. Serene. Connected to something bigger than we are. It is something that I’m working on.
I will be honest – I’m new to this whole Jesus business. I grew up Christian, but then went off to Meredith College and took a lot of religion classes and because of studying the Bible as a book, and not THE book, and other religions as well, I began to question things. Was the Bible a history book? How would a God so grand and forgiving and great condemn so so many people in the world just because they didn’t know Christ? Surely He had a bigger plan than this and I questioned and fought and wrestled and fought and languished in the “out there” that is “questioning and floundering.” I remember asking Julie about all this, and she told me so simply that she didn’t have the answers- that it wasn’t up to her to know these things-- And that she simply knew that Christ was her way into peace and forgiveness and a best way to live. So the years went on and I fought and resisted and raised kids and had jobs and made friends and went on trips and was fairly happy.
And then it happened. Jesus came to me in the quietest of moments, when I was upset and stressed and He spoke so loudly, but so gently and powerfully, to me by my bed. I remember looking around to see if someone was actually there... But it was just Jesus, in my head and my heart and my vision, telling me to rest and that He had me, if only I believed and accepted all that my heart already knew. It was magic. It was stunning and powerful and the remembering makes me cry and feel awed and humble and strong and that I can do anything that I set my mind to.
It amazes me that such a reluctant Christian can be so awed by Christ’s power. I was always all in for God, but I never believed that Jesus was the way for me... I thought that my studies and my beliefs in the powers of other great religions and doing good and being a good, generous spirit was enough. But Jesus sat by my bed one night and laughed so kindly and so wisely at my humanness and told me in a breathless instant, that there is so much more.
I am still a fledgling Christian, all new wings and wobbly legs. But the power and grace and forgiveness I feel when I think of Christ now gives me more hope than I ever could have imagined. Suddenly, there is nothing I can’t do – There is no dream too big. I am awed by the fact that HE came down and spoke to me – such an insignificant person in this world, and yet He spoke to me so personally. He saved me from myself, just so quietly and powerfully. He laughed with me, and He knew me. And He got me. And somehow there’s no going back.
It’s like when I look at a design project I’m doing... Today is a perfect example of an on-going thing... I bought these awesome Italian-made urn/vase things at TJ Maxx and drilled the holes in the back with my proud ceramic bit and bought the lamp kits and was determined to make these suckers into lamps. I got the fixture kits and ALL BY MYSELF hooked these things up and connected the wires and plugged in a bulb. AND there was light!! I ran around my office/craft room and said, in a salute to Tom Hanks in Castaway, “I HAVE MADE FIRE!!” I called in my husband, my 17 year old son... “LOOK!!!! I HAVE MADE FIRE!!!” And they chuckled at me and were not nearly as impressed with my accomplishments as I was. So there I was, basking in the making of fire. So satisfied was I until I realized that this particular victory would not be complete until I actually found the right lamp shades to go onto these lamps I had created. These pots are squaty and beautiful and the way I had to glue-gun the lamp kit onto the necks of them... This would not be easy. But undeterred, I set out to Kmart and TJ Maxx and Target... I looked online... For the perfect lampshades, the odd size I needed to fit these “perfect” lamps I had so smuggly created. I was so much more creative than most people – I could envision these urns as lamps. If only everyone had my talent.
Long story short, there are no lamp shades that look right with these damn urn lamps. I found some small ones I thought would work, and I thought that if used linen-colored burlap and mod podge to cover them, that I could, again, create the vision I had in my head. Mod Podge and burlap – not a great mix. I resorted to the glue gun. Again, a design disaster of cursing and burnt fingers that lead me to ball up the whole mess, spent lamp shade and all and throw it all in the trash. But one of the most frustrating elements of the whole experience was that my lamp kit, so smuggly glued to my urn, sagged and wobbled and no matter how I rigged and glued, it would not stand straight and secure. My “I have made fire” dance went limp... My lamp still made fire, but the light kit hung pitifully over the side of the pretty white Italian urn, the cord still plugged in, still casting light, but sideways and sad.
Well that is how I was, I think, before my “finding” Jesus or whatever you call it. I cast a light, because I’ve always believed in God. But I think my light was sad and sideways and unsure. Much like the weak glue I used from a crappy Micheal’s glue gun, instead of Gorilla Glue, my faith was based on the cheap stuff... I liked the easy parts. I liked God being all loving and I liked His forgiveness and His goodness, but going all in – using the best of my heart, the whole of my heart, seemed too much. Too permanent, too... committed. But now, as I think about my little Italian would-be lamp, I realize that accepting Jesus, going all in for permanent bonding, the Gorilla Glue, has made my spirit brighter and that I no longer sag along the side of something beautiful. I shine tall – the perfectly installed lamp kit with the perfectly-sized, textured, homemade silk and burlap shade.