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How to Stuff Your Pockets Full of Grace

Tam Rim in summer

This morning slaps me on the face in a good way, like the tingle of aftershave, like a whiff of minty-fresh clarity. Today the mountains aren’t airbrushed or the least bit soft-spoken. They’re drawn with a fine tip, straightforward. Crags and cliffs protrude distinctly from the winter-white slopes of the one we call Broken Top.

Today’s invitation is just as clear. It’s a brand new day. So leave yesterday’s cumbersome load behind. Just leave it. Don’t pick it up again. Because the thing about a new day is its newness. This invitation is lying there, gleaming like the morning dew every. single. day. But I often look past it.

Today I get another chance to choose what I’ll stuff in my pockets–rocks or gems. So I open the book inspired by the one who drew those mountains, to start with a gem of truth. When I peel off my boots and turn out my pockets tonight, I hope truth is still all I find there.

In chapter 11 of Numbers, I’m reminded of God’s kindness, of how faithfully he provided breakfast for the wandering Israelites. How every day, “when the dew fell on the camp at night, the manna would fall with it.”

God’s provision, the dew of heaven. Still, they picked up the manna with one hand and poured *whine* with the other. They whined for more variety, more spice in their lives. I’m often whining too, on the inside.

So today I pray for his kindness to lead me to repentance as it’s meant to. Each new day, he replenishes the ground around me with his grace and favor. All I need to do is keep my hands empty enough to pick it up. Empty of worry. Empty of the need for control. Empty of idolizing the gifts over the giver.

Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance? -Romans 2:4

I can just receive with joy God’s gentle wake-up kiss. His this-is-how-to-keep-it-simple-stupid, I’ve-got- all-your-needs-already-covered kiss. I don’t ever need to retrieve yesterday’s load or berate myself about the past. I can leave it all on the ground at night to be covered over with dew. Each morning, all that remains is the gleam of grace.

I’ve always loved rocks. As a kid, I would lower my eyes and scour the ground, gather and label them — granite, sandstone, obsidian, — then polish them up in the rock polisher I chose from the toy section of the 1969 JC Penney’s Christmas catalog.  As an adult, I spent some years wandering, spiritually lost, picking up and turning over just about every kind of worldly rock. The ugliness, the underbelly of some of those rocks scorched my soul.

But on this brand new day, I wear a new brand. So do you, when you empty your pockets before our Father, the mountain carver. The new-day giver.

Lord, help your wandering children remain attentive to the glittering abundance spread out before us. As long as our hands are full, overflowing with the gems of your love and favor, we won’t be tempted to reach low, to pick up a rock that will only weigh us down and do us harm.

The rock of discontent, which leads to bitterness.

The rock of boredom, which leads to vice.

The rock of impatience, which leads to anxiousness.

The rock of self-condemnation, which is maybe the sharpest rock of all, as it stabs at the heart and deflates one’s joy.

Hallelujah for the riches, the truth you can stuff your pockets with today! You’re loved. Provided for. Redeemed. God’s polishing you for his glory.

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. -Psalm 143:8

raindrops on a leaf1040


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