Friday, September 3, 2010

Grass Stains

Do they bother you? They don't bother me.

Excuse me?

That's right. I don't mind the sight of a grass stain. Maybe if it were on my great-grandmother's heirloom garment or something I might feel differently, but otherwise I have absolutely no problem with grass stains. This stems from my last blog post.

You see, that wonderful, beautiful, albeit hot and muggy night in July in the mountains of Tennessee when Jesus called me to minister for Him was also the night I got the worst. grass. stains. ever. And the best part? They weren't on my clothes.

They were on my knees.

As I mentioned before, I was never really big on the whole "get on your knees and pray" deal. As far as I knew, I could pray just fine on my hind end in a chair or on my feet, or even laying in bed at night. But that night I learned a great deal about what it means to be in an attitude of prayer. I still remember the outfit I wore- a red and white striped shirt, blue jean shorts, and navy Keds with no socks. (No comments, please.) I spent a really long time on my knees experiencing Jesus that night. If I close my eyes and concentrate really hard, I can almost smell the scent of the grass. But I can still picture the grass stains on my knees. They stayed for days- I think through the rest the week we were at camp. An argument could be made that the less than stellar showering situation could've contributed to the extended stay of the greenish tent on my knees, but I like to also think the Master Gardner Himself used it as a reminder of what He had done in and through me that night.

Think back to a time in your life when you experienced a grass stain. Most likely that stain resided on a piece of clothing or some other material. The first time you slid into second base in a T-ball game? A picnic with a special someone that left a mark on the blanket you sat on? I'm sure at some point we've all had a stain to set in. And if we were around our mom during that time, we might've, just maybe, been scolded for said stain. "Do you KNOW how hard this stain is to get out of your clothes?"

Luckily for me, the stains on my knees eventually went away. But, the pigments, or memories, of that night stained my heart in such a way that a beautiful piece of artwork was born. The Artist Himself holds the brush and works, stroke by stroke, painting on the canvas of my life. Sometimes I try and take the brush thinking a blue stroke would be better than the green one He used, or thinking the road He's painting should go left instead of right. But, with patience that only He possesses, He lovingly and delicately takes the brush back from me and paints a curve that swerves the road from the left- and the danger sign that's ahead- back to the right, and smiles as He envisions how straight the road will be.

So, the next time you come across a grass stain- whether in your own garment or your child's, stop and think back on the situation that made the stain. Take time to see it for what it is- a chance to reflect. Stains are life-changing things, especially to the garment that bears them.

I hope you have a grass stain moment with Jesus soon, if you haven't had one lately. I've spent a lot of time in the past months trying to paint my own picture. Trying to make it match the vision Jesus gave me that July night so long ago. And I'm learning that the timing just might not be right for that picture to be finished. But through it all I'm learning. Learning that even though that vision was given to me, it wasn't time-stamped. Sure, I would've thought three years- one of planning and preparation and two of actual events and services- wold be enough. But, it's His timing and not mine. I'm thankful that what's on the canvas now is a picture of me and a very dear friend singing this coming Sunday.

And, if I look closely at the painting, I think I see a grass stain...

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