Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lean Not

I clearly remember the day this was handed to me by chubby, sticky fingers on a Sunday morning about 24 years ago. Sunday School fingers were always sticky from rice krispie treats and glue. "Pick off the Elmerts, Mom. My fingers feel funny." This little one was always creeped out by his fingers feeling funny - he even got the heebie-jeebies when I trimmed his nails.

"I made this for you, Mom," he said as he proudly reached up and handed it to me.

I loved it instantly. Proverbs 3:5 has always been one of my favorite scriptures, and now it was etched in my heart forever, conjuring up memories of ice-blue eyes and perfectly parted and combed platinum hair.

The overlapping red hearts are now faded to a light rose color. For a few months this had its place on the fridge, but as the artwork got rotated and things were moved to storage bins, I couldn't put this one away just yet.

I moved it to a place I would see it often. Three small children allowed me to frequent the laundry room several times a day (some days I actually went there to do laundry and not just hide), so the appropriate place seemed to be next to the detergent shelf where the stray GI Joes and Barbie shoes were safe after being rescued from little pockets.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart."

Throughout the pre-pubescent years, the unending laundering of athletic gear, and loads of "boat towels," this verse washed me clean with every visit to the Maytag.

By the time we built our home and moved 13 years ago, those fingers had morphed from chubby and sticky to adolescent gnawed nails that could palm a basketball. And testosterone-laced rebellion and pride had reared its ugly head. The verse had found a new home above the door of our bedroom closet, and I still read it every day as I get dressed and grab my shoes.

Every day.

I don't remember what the argument was about, but no doubt I had given a firm "No" to a request to do something that "everyone else was doing," And thinking in my head that I was not going to use the "if everyone else jumped off a cliff...." line like my own mother had used. But I probably did.

And he was furious. After storming through the house and taking down all the pictures I had displayed of him, he went into my closet and ripped the gift of Proverbs off the wall - and out of my heart.

I groveled. I begged. No matter what, I needed that verse. "Do with the pictures what you will, but I want that verse. I'm begging you."

He relented. I got the verse, though a quarter of it had been torn off in the ruckus. I remember sitting in the closet crying my eyes out, taping it together, and for a couple of days I hid it in my underwear drawer.

All precious things are safe among the granny panties, aren't they?

A few days later, it took up residence again in its proper spot in our closet, taped securely to the wall. It has been there ever since.

Last Thursday, I opened the closet to find the verse had fallen off the wall and landed stuck between the hangers of my pants. Not thinking too much about it, I stuck it back to the wall, noting that even in a closet, old construction paper continues to fade.

The words do not.

Friday, I opened the closet door and it fell down again. As I tried to catch it, it floated out the door onto the dresser, propelled by a vigorous ceiling fan. I took the Fun-Tak off the wall, re-molded it in my fingers, and firmly replaced it.

Yesterday, after a fitful, discontinuous 1 1/2 hours of Friday night sleep, I opened the closet door to grab a pair of socks, and the verse had dropped off the wall again. This time it landed on the top of my sock box.

Of course. God likes to get our attention that way.

Once again, I replaced it. Scotch tape this time.

This morning, I opened the closet to grab clothes for church. My first step was smack in the middle of the dry, cracked construction paper.

OK, Lord, I'm listening!!

He is painfully aware I haven't been listening enough. There are no accidents.

I replaced it this time with electrical tape firmly taped in circles on the back. I could care less what residue and gunk is left on the wall. Next time I may have to use duct tape.

Like that would make a difference when He wants to get His point across.

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the LORD and shun evil.

8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.


Annie K said...

Funny how long it takes us sometimes to 'listen' to God. Speaking from experience, of course.

I have a picture that Killian drew with a paragraph about me. I cherish it like you cherish what your son did for you. There is something about the small things our kids do for us...

Wendy said...

I love when my daughter brings home things like that that she's made for me. Gives me the warm fuzzies.

Listening gets hard sometimes, doesn't it?

sherri said...

Yeah, Candy- I think I'd be listening closely to this message!

I love things like this- I think allong those same lines- there are never coincidences!

That scripture is very true for me as well, and I don't find it at all a coincidence that it was posted on your blog today.

Now, if I step on the scripture, too....

sherri said...

sherrification word: allong =along (I'm blaming it on a sticky l key!)

katdish said...

Dang it! My comment didn't take! Oh, what did I say? I'm sure it was something wise and sage...

Oh, yeah: God has a way of getting our attention doesn't He? He's God like that...

Also? I'm going to make you a sign that says:

All precious things are safe among the granny panties, aren't they?

Because that's just so "you".

Helen said...

I hope things go well, for you, Candy.

Beth E. said...

I like the granny panties quote, too! I've hidden my fair share of precious things in my undies drawer...boys won't go NEAR it.

Great post, Candy. That's one of my favorite verses of scripture.

Annie K said...

Hee..grannie panties.

vanilla said...

I love your story. Children are a blessing.
They warm our souls, they blow our minds, spend our money, and break our hearts. But the message of Proverbs 3:5 will see us through it all.

Meme time. You have been tagged. It's all Chuck's fault.

t bess said...

i spent the afternoon reading your blog and felt really sad we got so disconnected. do you have any idea how much we've missed you girl? are you coming with us on Wednesday? pleeeezze?? We really need to catch up. we haven't played tennis together in ages. i need your forehand to carry me. Shoot me an email or call me, k? tb

Jo@Mylestones said...

Great post Candy. I'm still marveling at how you kept that verse/artwork all those years. And still chuckling about the granny panties hide out quote.
Prov 3:5 is one of my favorites too. How is it that we can read a verse like that every day for 24 years and still it speaks to us like it's brand new? His Word is powerful!

Post a Comment