Saturday, August 3, 2013

The belly ball

In many languages, the "soul" is actually called the "belly".  I picture our souls as being one big ball  of lies and truth all tangled together in the pit of our stomachs.   If we are blind about the lies that are lurking in our souls, the work of the Holy Spirit will be hindered until the day we go Home.  Lies, Satan's weapon of choice,  weigh a lot.  Our Lord reveals His Truth through His Word.  As lies are discovered and dislodged, we "lighten up".  By sharing some of my soul journey with you, perhaps some Light will be shed on whatever is keeping you from fully embracing the fact that He loves you unconditionally.

Learning came easily for me,  probably because Mrs. Ethel, my first and second grade teacher in my one room country school took a special interest in me when she discovered my love of reading.  Secondly, I had the advantage of listening to the kids in the upper grades recite their lessons at the front of the classroom.  Our country school shut down as I was entering the fourth grade and I transferred into town school.  Because I was a farm girl whose home was primitive in comparison to the town girls'  homes,  I hid my life from those girls.  I always felt as though I was on the outside, looking in. 

By the seventh grade, the Second World War was raging in Europe and the South Pacific.  Many commodities were rationed.  Because we raised most of our own food, we had plenty to eat, whereas some people did not.  My grandmother's leg was amputated from complications associated with diabetes; my mother and dad had full care of her. The odor was nauseating and I felt terrible guilt for not wanting to sit by my grandmother's bed and sooth her. I believe it is that guilt that brought me to the Cross for forgiveness five years after her homegoing.

My older brother and his wife moved back to our farm to help with the hard work.  My other brother, in the Air Force  based in the Fiji Islands, shot himself in the foot while cleaning his gun and could not fly the next day's mission that wiped out his entire squadron of 75.  I've debated about saying this but the debate is over: That brother "shot himself in the foot" all of his life.

Many families we knew had loved ones fighting and dying. There were few young men left to help with anything. That's when women entered the "Rosie the Riveter" era.  My dad negotiated with the warden of a nearby German prison camp for inmate help with the harvest.  My mother and I cooked mountains of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and garden vegetables for young, blue-eyed blonde German boys, some no older than my classmates.

In the midst of all of this trauma,  a phone call came on a Saturday afternoon from three town girls: Mary Lou, Bonnie and Faye. They were all yelling at me: "We hate you! Stay in the country where you belong!  It's not fair that you are beating out Faye for Valedictorian." ...and there it was:  plain ol' green-eyed jealousy. ...but I was too hurt to figure that out at the time.   I knew that I needed to zip my lip about that call, for my parents and my brother would consider it a trifling matter and I would feel all the more alone.  At first I swallowed my pain;  then my Irish kicked in and I made two vows to myself:  1)  I will be valedictorian.  2. When I start dating, I will date the best looking guys in the school! 

That year when Ted Stone transferred from another school and walked into my classroom,  I said to myself: "That's the guy!" We didn't date until we were juniors in high school, ...but I got him! ...for sixty years!  ...and I was valedictorian, not only in grade school but in high school ...out of spite. Don't be too impressed.  There were only forty-two students in my class.

Last week's blog was entitled: "God is economical".  He wastes nothing.  To this day, I cannot bear to see a person abused. The Holy Spirit checks me when I feel like knocking somebody's block off. Remember the illustration from last week's blog about the grain of wheat?  Until it dies, it cannot live. After Christ entered my life when I was nineteen, He began His work of healing me from the cynicism that was creeping into my soul.  He started by placing me in a small circle of Christians whose unconditional love for me prompted me to take a look at Jesus, ...and He is still lookin' GOOD!  He continues to measure the worth of a person by every drop of His precious blood.

Mrs. Ethel's Epilogue: Her son, Bob drove from Kansas to Minneapolis, Minnesota for our wedding in 1949.  During the ceremony, Bob became a Christian.  He returned to Kansas,  told his mother about Jesus and she came to know Him.  I immediately reconnected with Mrs. Ethel and until her death at 95 we exchanged letters and phone calls that encouraged us both.  We asked the Lord together that He would take her Home in her sleep. ...and He did.

                                                     UNDER HIS WINGS  

Under His wings I am safely abiding; tho the night deepens and tempests are wild
Still I can trust Him; I know He will keep me
He has redeemed me, and I am His child.