My goal in having all these guest posts for the month of October was to refocus my own mindset towards this month. I wanted posts that made me smile and shared joy, beauty and celebration, and it worked. It’s the end of the month and I didn’t even hate it!
My friend, Maria Keffler, (I’ve known her long before the oft-mentioned launch team) sent me her submission right away, but I held off sharing it, partly because I’m a procrastinator, but mostly because her words seemed like the perfect way to wrap up the month.
Maria is one of the smartest, funniest, most creative and actually productive women I know. She’s written several books, is an amazing knitter, and I’d go over to her house for dinner anytime (just saying, Maria, eh hem). She is so faithful to let God pour His gifts through her and isn’t afraid to speak out for justice and common sense.
Here she shares about just that: how to let what God put in us come out, which starts with believing what He says. And there is nothing, not even the most beautiful, picturesque fall in all its glory, that compares to knowing the love of God.
Love, the Magnet
By Maria Keffler
My nine-year-old daughter made me cry yesterday.
I was prepping dinner when she came into the kitchen with a stack of cards she’d pulled from the new Apples to Apples game our friends gave us.
“Mom, here are all the adjectives I found that describe you!” she said, and she began to flip through the words:
My eyes couldn’t have swamped more if my dog dropped dead while I was chopping Vidalia onions, reading Where the Red Fern Grows, and listening to Ne Me Quitte Pas.
See, my daughter’s list of descriptors were not ones I tend to associate with myself.
(Except funny. I am way funny. No matter how many blank stares my jokes get.)
The world, other people, and likely the spreading darkness of the kingdom of the Liar have done effective work toward convincing me that I’m anything but beautiful, I’m more insipid than interesting, and I’m about as important as last week’s newspaper lining the hamsters’ cage.
Intellectually and as a follower of Jesus, I know that I’m a creation of God, and therefore I’m beautiful, interesting, important, et. al., in God’s estimation. And I know that God’s opinion is the only one that matters.
I also know I’m not alone in struggling to let my life manifest what God says about me.
A few years ago, a friend told me that she felt God telling her she was a prophet.
She wanted no part of it. “I’m not a prophet,” she argued. “And I don’t want to be a prophet.”
But then someone told her, “You’re already a prophet. You tell people what they already know about God and themselves, but which they’ve either forgotten or are doubting.”
It’s true. My friend faithfully speaks God’s truth into others’ lives. In the same way, my daughter prophesied over me yesterday at the kitchen sink. She reminded me who I am.
Some years ago I noticed that I’d become a people magnet. As a goal-oriented introvert this alarmed me. I’ll never forget the older man at the grocery store who launched into story after story about his life and his travels and his grandchildren, when all I wanted was to get a jar of pasta sauce off the shelf behind him and escort my fidgety toddler out of the store and home for her nap.
Stuff like that happens entirely too much for me when I’m out and about. Strangers just start chatting me up.
One afternoon I muttered to God about it as I unloaded the car. “I’m busy. Why can’t people leave me alone?” I groused. “What is so appealing about yammering at me?”
He answered: The love of God in you.
Uh, beg pardon?
My life’s goal is to emulate Christ and be the person God created me to be. I fail every single day, but I strive to evict sin from my behavior and to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control—that Jesus-people should embody.
So, it follows that the closer I get to God the more inviting I become to others. (If I think I’m super close to God but I’m actually repelling others, it might be time to re-examine my words and demeanor.)
There’s a colossal dearth of love in the world. I don’t know of anyone who feels like they get enough, unless they’re truly saturated in the light and life of heaven. How awesome is it that others are drawn to us, not because of anything about ourselves, but because of the presence, or the incense, or the aura of God’s love that resides in us?
What a gift. I am to be nothing more (or less) than a vessel for that, a clay jar that carries God with me into the world, wherever I go.
I, too, am to be a prophet to others of God’s love, truth, and mercy.
If a fourth-grader can do it with a stack of Apples to Apples cards, I guess I can too.
Maria Keffler lives in Arlington, VA, near (but not in) the cemetery, with her STEM-y Hubs and three darling cherubs. She blogs at www.wastingmyeducation.blogspot.com about living, and parenting, and spousing, and childing, and work, and life, and cats taking Prozac, and lawyers being like tarantulas, and skiing, and running, and drinking coffee, and occasionally saying bad words, and mixing too many of the above things together, sometimes while swilling a glass of wine and popping Hershey’s Kisses with both hands . Maria also likes to novel novel novels, and is working on a simple formula that can predict prime numbers to infinity. Find her at Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WastingMyEducation/ and Instagram @mariakeffler.