TABITHA, GET UP!

Mother and daughter walking arm in arm along trai

By Lisa Huddleston

 

Today’s sermon came from Acts 9:31-43. My pastor’s well-thought and well-taught points were:

  1. Follow Jesus’ example
  2. Depend on Jesus’ power
  3. Point others to Jesus

Clear, to the point, and well-supported by the text.

 

I sat where I usually sit. Comfortably snugged in between my sweet daughter on my left (with her sweet husband to her left) and my equally sweet husband on my right. We all heard the same words, we all read them on our various devices, and we all processed the points that were projected on the screen; however, we did not receive the same message. At least my daughter and I did not.

 

And here is where our paths diverged:

 

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. She was always doing good works and acts of charity. In those days she became sick and died. After washing her, they placed her in a room upstairs.

 

To cut this a little shorter, Peter was nearby so they had him hurry on over to see what he could do. The people figured Jesus had raised the dead, and Peter seemed to be following along in the healing business—maybe there was still time.

 

When he arrived, they led him to the room upstairs. And all the widows approached him, weeping and showing him the robes and clothes that Dorcas had made while she was with them.

 

And Peter actually did it! Following the good example and in the powerful might of Jesus, Peter told Tabitha to get up, and she did!

 

This became known in Joppa, and many believed in the Lord.

 

And that’s where the sermon diverged for my daughter and me. She heard that “nothing can hold God back when He chooses to act.” And those were the very words our pastor spoke, and they were and are very true words. And my daughter is young and has big dreams and sometimes what seem like impossible aspirations, and she left encouraged and inspired and quite full of hope.

 

I, however, am not young, and my dreams have grown smaller and smaller, and I heard these words, “Tabitha served people however she could. She looked them in the eyes, and she sewed clothes for widows and blessed others with her needle and thread.” Okay, that’s actually a paraphrase of Pastor Jim’s words, but it was the gist of what I heard and jotted in my journal. Tiny dreams that still mattered. Sewing clothes for widows whose husbands had been lost at sea and who probably would have worn rags without Tabitha’s caring for them.

 

And both sermons were preached today, and both sermons were true. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

 

 

POTENTIAL AND OTHER UNACHIEVABLE IDEAS THAT CAUSE ME TO WHINE (A LOT)

Welcome to my pity party!

Welcome to my pity party!

By Lisa Huddleston

I’m throwing a little pity party, and lucky you are cordially invited. So what’s the problem? Oh just more of the same: feeling as though I don’t fit in any category I can find and knowing that unrealized potential is worse than no potential at all.

Haven’t I written about this stuff before? Sure I have! And that makes my party even more spectacular. Balloons, banners, confetti–the works!

What’s  today’s cause for celebration? Let’s see: a less than stellar grade on an assignment for my Evaluation and Remediation of Reading class, a growing recognition that I am wasting time and money by taking these classes to renew my teaching license because odds are that I will never really teach, and a general sense of failure and despair. Yeah, that covers and smothers it pretty well. (Why yes, that IS a reference to Waffle House’s menu.)

Oh well, what’s a girl to do? Get over herself, I guess.

I did read a wonderful passage from Galatians this morning, chapter 6, verses 4-5, that contains some pretty good words to consider right about now:

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life. (The Message)

Who am I? (THE question of the ages.) What is my given work? (Don’t I wish I knew.)  Am I sunk deeply into it? (Probably not–unless that explains that sinking feeling I’ve been experiencing–no.) Am I too impressed with myself? (Sometimes.) Am I too hard on myself by comparing myself with others? (Very likely.) Am I taking responsibility for doing my creative best with my own life? (Ah, God knows I’m trying, but this isn’t a game of horse shoes.)

And as is pretty obvious by my quick and snarky responses to Paul’s deeply probing questions, I still have a lot of work to do. Work that starts on the inside and hopefully works its way out to the world.

Change my heart, Oh God,

Make it ever true.

Change my heart, Oh God,

May I be like You.

Real. Honest. Thinking neither too highly nor too lowly of myself–nor too often. Deep. Hard working. Responsible. Creative.

Okay. The party’s over. Please, turn off the lights on your way out.