Friday, January 30, 2009

Dirty Blinds

Every morning when I opened the blinds and let in the world, I was reminded of it, the task that just seemed to get crossed off my to do list and rewritten on other days: cleaning the wide wooden blinds on the 6 windows in our living room and 3 more in our bedroom. Each white painted slat said, "Do you see this layer of dust clinging to me, and are you ever going to do anything about it?" It was a daily reminder that I wasn't getting to some of my details. Then I got her email.

She said that God had impressed on her a desire to love her pastors' wives through acts of kindness and service. In obedience, she was offering herself to do a task for one wife each month. It was my month, she said, and she wanted to know what I wished I could get to, but couldn't. Immediately, I saw dirty blinds. It felt strange, taking her up on her sacrifice of time and energy, knowing she would see my dust and get her hands dirty for me. But I was so blessed, just thinking of clean slats. She came with her own supplies and got right to work. She told me to just do what I usually do. She served.

With four kids, a husband, and a dog at home, she isn't that different than I am. She has her own needs, her own burdens, and her own dirty things (I'm sure she does, tho' I haven't seen them up close). But she gave a whole morning to lift me up, to love me.

I'm studying I Thessalonians in preparation for some lessons, and I found a great description of peace in the "Life Application Bible Commentary." In describing Jesus, "he offers peace that is an inner calm no matter what the outward circumstances." When we come to a place of peace in the midst of the things of life, we are free to bless the lives of others. We can pray for someone else. We can make a meal for someone in need. We can make a phone call of care. We can pick up a lonely newcomer and include them. We can speak to one who appears discouraged. We can do an act of kindness to a sister in a trial. We can clean a pastor's wife's dirty blinds. We can wash the feet of others.

In John 13, Jesus modeled this kind of love, washing the feet of his companions. Such servant love is only expressed by those who discover peace in the face of life's challenges, both ordinary and extraordinary. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

One reason why we must paddle through the challenges of life and come to a place of peace is that it frees us to care for people. I'm so thankful for the blessing of my sweet, servant sister and for the deep well of peace from which she loved me.

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