Saturday, June 26, 2010

On Spiritual Gifts “Tests”

As we have been thinking and talking more about living in the power of the Holy Spirit, of course, the subject of spiritual gifts has come up. Looking back at some of our notes from year's ago, I am amazed by how easily we had skipped gifts of tongues and healing. :) While we feel confident now that there is no single set list of the gifts of the Spirit, I think the questionnaire-type evaluation can be helpful in some situations. Besides, I love filling out questionnaires. So I found one that had a very broad list and looked at it. I haven't actually completed it or submitted it, but I feel like I learned a lot through the process of answering the questions.
1.After 13 ½ years of marriage, it is sometimes hard to tell where Paul's gifts end and mine begin. There was one statement that I started to give myself a fairly high mark in until I realized with a start that our “ability” in that area is really Paul's. As for me alone, I had to score a zero. This discovery was actually not terribly disturbing since I am not me alone. Also, it rather confirms our idea that a marriage is like a micro-church. Since gifts are given for the eqquipping of the Body, it makes sense that we would individually bring to our marriage gifts that equip our joint ministry. Interesting.
2.Also, I recognized as I read various statements that my answer/score would be very different if the statement said , “I do....” instead of “I can ...” Hmmmm.
3.As I finally noted my own hesitance and second-guessing, I realized that I was still answering the quiz from a place of brokenness rather than health. I thought I had become a lot healthier spiritually over the past month, and I still think that's true. It was just a little disarming to realize that there is still so much brokenness that affects me and my thoughts so much. Interesting again. So, I'm not quite sure whether I'm supposed to beg for complete healing and get on with it having put the injuries behind me or whether the truth is that I have to speak from who I am now, carrying that injury rather than pretending I can have the same responses I would have a few years ago. Are the injured responses the ones that God could most effectively use now? Is the answer somewhere in between? Regardless, I feel grateful for the realization that I am not yet “all better”—I hate to walk around not knowing that I'm bleeding.

Friday, June 18, 2010


"if thou of fortune be bereft,
and in thy store there be but left
two loaves, sell one, and with the dole
buy hyacinths to feed thy soul."

I think that was probably the first poem I memorized as a child. I don't remember ever not knowing it. Perhaps that explains a lot.

So a few weeks ago, Paul had to stop at Lowe's to get some house repair stuff. as usual in such stores, I said, "Come find me in the garden area when you're done." As I walked into the garden area, I saw about ten big shelves with a sign that said, "Clearance--All you can pile into a shopping cart for $10." And I spied some petunias, which I had meant to buy this year because they're supposed to help your tomatoes, and some lantana, which is one of my favorites because I remember the flowers that are themselves tiny bouquets from my grandmother's yard. So I pretty much had to go and get a cart. Interestingly, the task of filling the cart brought out two definite parts of my character. The first is the tender-hearted lover of all things living. I just kept thinking, "They're probably going to throw these out tomorrow if they don't sell. I can't stand for them to just be thrown out to die--poor babies." And then this challenge somehow brought out my competitiveness, which I sometimes tell myself does not exist. :) I was going to get the maximum number of plants that I possibly could for that ten bucks. I was going to surprise them with how many plants they would have to give me for my money. Of course, these two characteristics wrestle back and forth because the competitive cheapskate wants to just pile as many plants in the basket as possible, but the life-cherisherer wants to make sure that no single plant suffers any more crushing or damage of any kind. Yes--it took a long time to fill my basket. And of course, the very sad thing is this: Since summer has hit Dallas, I can only physically stand to be outside before 8:30 a.m. Now my summer classes have begun, so I leave the house at 6:30 a.m. Monday thru Friday. So some of the precious plantlings that I saved from death by commercial garbage bin are now slowly dying of thirst and lack of root space while I try to make room for them in the few tiny spots of decent dirt we have.
But . . . I did fit sixty-something plants in that shopping cart.