Friday, January 2, 2009

The first day

As I begin to write tonight, it is technically still January 2 and I am attempting to avoid being a dreadful failure at fulfilling my intention to blog each day this year. I know there will be days that it is impossible or that I just don't feel like writing, but hopefully that will happen when I have a really good excuse-- like the amazing surprise trip I imagine my husband is planning for our anniversary this spring. (hint hint honey).

Yesterday, I drove to Greenville, NC to return my 10-year-old nephew D.J. to his parents. He just wasn't ready to leave us here in Charlotte quite as early as reality beckoned his parents back to their home and work.

I love visiting Lisa and Dale because their house is happy. By that, I mean both literally and decoratively. Lisa's a designer, and together, they own a furniture and fabric store that is amazing--or off the chain as some of the people in my life might say. The only problem with going there is that I always end up wanting to redecorate my whole house or buy something I really don't need. I envy Lisa's whimsical style--I'm pretty boring and traditional and predictable when it comes to my home's interior. Thankfully, she's helped me take a risk or two here and there and things are not as plain as they once were.

At her house, there are lime green walls in the kitchen with a big black rug featuring limes, oranges, and various other fun colors. Her family room is lemon yellow and has another fun rug along with the coolest sectional I've ever seen. I should have taken pictures to post because words don't do justice to the showplace. Despite its beauty however, the house isn't the least bit stuffy. Their huge Golden Retriever, Lacy, is allowed to lounge anywhere she pleases, and trust me, she does.

My sister's place is so much fun that it was difficult for me to turn around and head back home so soon, but I'm here and I've now completed the first three chapters of Genesis in my attempt to begin my chronological reading of scripture this year."

Wow! What a read. In these few pages, God creates the earth, animals, people, and this exquisite garden, and by the end of chapter 3, we've already blown it. When he told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he meant it, and we experience the resulting consequences to this day.

Several things jumped off the pages as I read. First, GOD made better clothes to cover Adam and Eve than they'd made for themselves. Don't you know those fig leaf garments felt and looked pretty terrible? Verse 20 of Genesis 3 says that God made them coverings of animal skin. Where did he get the animal skins?

Scripture doesn't specify, but the animals had to die in order for their skins to be available, so here in the very beginning of God's Word we see the first time blood is shed to help make a "sin covering". Unfortunately, it wasn't completely adequate or permanent, but what a beautiful picture of God's willingness to provide the covering for his wayward children. I am thankful, Lord, for the final and permanent covering you made for me in Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection.

The other things that really struck me in addition to the awe I feel about His amazing creation in general (I love stargazing on clear, moonlit nights) is that from the very beginning of time, man and woman wanted more and expertly played the blame game.

It was literally as if God said to them, don't worry, be happy! In a perfect place where all their needs were met, they had an insatiable hunger for more. Oh how I identify--because as I mentioned already, there is nothing I genuinely need, but just one trip to Lisa and Dale's store leaves me pining for new things.

And about that blame thing, dear Adam wasted no time blaming Eve for his predicament, bless him--but in turn, she immediately pointed her finger at the serpent. Neither wanted to just fess up and say they'd blown it.

I think in marriage, in parenting, and in every other arena, the temptation to explain away my wrong choices, decisions, or actions in terms of their being someone else's fault or responsibility has been a battle I have to fight to overcome.

Lisa and I were discussing today how we hope we've both progressed in the area of willingness to suck it up and say, "I sure messed up," (followed by an, "and I am truly sorry,") when that's the case. It's not easy though--because the flesh in me wants to maintain the illusion of perfection (HA!), wisdom, right thinking, even superior spirituality (who would I be kidding?). How that must disgust The Lord when he knows so very well the truth about me.

Tonight, I thank Him for bringing me back home to my lovely (if less whimsical) home, precious family, and blessed reality. Father, help me stop in my tracks and make a U-turn when and if I'm tempted to justify my sinful ways or want more than YOU want for me. Amen.

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