Clean Laundry

This is a picture from our old house in Maine.  You can see Ezra with her two-toothed smile. While she looks radiant, what always draw me into this photo is the line of clothes hanging just beyond the window.  Many colors were represented on the line that day as it swung in the wind, sunshine speckling each piece in-between each leafy shadows.  Our clothes are not quite as brilliantly colored here.  In fact the impressive sunshine is not often paired with leafy shadows, so most of our things are becoming a bit faded.  I think about laundry nearly everyday because it is waiting for me to wash, hang, or fold just as much as it used to when we lived in the states.

Recently I began picturing the stories that I share with folks here, there, and everywhere as clothes hanging out to dry, on display for everyone to see.  I often write out the tidbits that I want to share and wonder, “Is this depicting an accurate picture of life here?”  “Am I honoring the culture I am in as well as the one that I have come from as I hang each piece out there for other people to look at?”  “Am I coming across as bragging, boastful, complacent or leading others to feel shabby about their own day?”  “Should I tuck them in the back among the underwear and other stained garments, hiding them for another time or bring them out front to see better?”  My intention is simply to share what God is doing through our family right now and today that will be done through garments.  “In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise His name forever. “ Psalm 44:8
She was blissful the other day.  Her T-shirt was soaked, clinging to her as tightly as her faith was clinging to the cross.  Towera was baptized on Easter Sunday, a turning point in her life and how she would interact with it.  A couple days before her public declaration to make Jesus Lord of her life, we sat at my dining room table sweating our way through a set of questions posed to her to make sure that she in fact understood what she was doing.  Upon the conclusion of our time together I said, “Well, what do you think, are you still going to go through with it?”  She smiled, beaming radiantly and said, “Mama, I have to.  I want to obey Jesus and be free with Him.”  I have never seen her so joyful.

Gators, not alligators, will be worn to protect my ankles from ticks and other creepy crawlies in less than a month.  I have not worn a pair of these since Randall and I hiked on the Appalachian Trail fifteen years ago.  I am meeting a team from one of our sending churches on June 1st in Kenya.  We will head to Southern Kenya, near the Tanzania border to tent camp in the Maasai Mara.  Our plan is to go out in teams to share the incredible news about Jesus with truly unreached people.  I emphasize unreached because they do not have access to the gospel. (The good news of Jesus)  They do not hear church bells inviting them to worship and learn what it is to be a disciple of Christ on Sundays.  They have not heard of the Bible, God’s precious word, that He has written for every tongue and every nation. These people have never met Jesus, they have never heard about Him, but I know that their hearts have already been prepared, their minds already wonder about why they are here and where they will go when they take their final breath.  The gators will get muddy, sweaty, but the joyful stories they will be able to tell once they make their way back onto clothesline to dry.

Light blue polo shirt and navy blue shorts.  Everyday, hundreds of sets of this uniform are worn across our school campus.  I make the assumption that every student is a believer, because it is, after all, a Christian school.  Not so, many religions are represented on campus.  While Christ is at the center of what is taught, the question remains open to each student to respond to, the choice is there out in the open:  What do you believe?  What is truth?  Who will you choose to follow?  Where will you lay your foundation?  Just this morning R was grieving over the students that have not yet allowed the truth (that Christ has in fact bridged the gap and that He desires for everyone to know Him, His story, and where we each fit within it) to set them free.  R said, “It is not often that I think this deeply, but we spend so much time thinking about this side of eternity when the reality is that it is a pin prick in the spectrum of time and some of my students don’t see that.  I don’t want them to miss it.”

I don’t want them to miss it either so we continue to slowly come to terms with where we live.  We realize that while everyday is not comfortable because of external circumstances coupled with internal fleshy battles, that this is home.  We must remain present to continue our story even though daily we are confronted with the temptation to fall into the warm fuzzy memories of the past or we might imagine what memory making moment awaits us around the corner.  For now we choose to dry our clothes on the line that God has provided us with here, each piece slowly fading while becoming saturated with stories.