Monday, June 1, 2009


I think the hardest part about blogging so far (and yes, I'm already complaining), is inventing 1) the title of the blog, and 2) new, witty subtitles for each post thereafter. I feel this overwhelming pressure to "outdo" and/or "impress" my fellow bloggers with my clever title skills. Well, my apologies to all you crafty critters... "glean" is the best I can do.

However, even in its unwieldy, non-lyrical way, "glean" has somehow captured the very essence I intended to represent my heart in the web world. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, to "glean" is "to gather grain left behind by reapers," or "to collect bit by bit." It caught my attention today as I read a bit from the book of Ruth.

As the story goes, Ruth, bereft of her beloved, clings to Naomi, her obstinate mother-in-law, as she travels home to a land unfamiliar to Ruth, Bethlehem. As their hunger and the shame of being reduced to rags burns, Ruth offers to serve her only family by gleaning in the fields after the workers harvest the grain. With her head down, focused on the task to which she has been called, Ruth waits patiently for her provision, and, bit by bit, collects the only nourishment she and Naomi can cling to. Both because of this selfless display of obedience, and because of the mercy of the Lord through Boaz, Ruth eventually experiences the return of the promised blessing of a beautiful marriage. 

I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel like this is how the Lord reveals not only His plan, but also His very heart to His children. I certainly do not mean that the Lord leaves His leftovers for us to scrounge for, not that the leftovers of a flawless and awe-inspiring God would be anything less than extraordinary. On the contrary, the Lord SAVES the best for us, but only reveals it "bit by bit," in His perfect timing. We are promised the prize, but are only allowed a glimpse of it every now and then as we continue to learn, grow, and blossom into our potential.

It can be frustrating to wait on the Lord in a world driven by an instant gratification, "I can fix it myself" mentality. I admit, I struggle every day to fend off the hunger pains of my flesh that craves victory, glory, and accomplishment, but there is worth in the waiting, and shelter in the sacrifice of those perishable gods. I learn more when I am forced to evaluate my steps, and take hold of what the Lord is teaching me, rather than rush through them as a means of checking off my list of tasks. You see, there is no rushing the Father, though sometimes, I try.

That said, and in an effort to take the proverbial breath, here I lay my life evaluated... for today:

I'm learning that my deepest compassion for people pales in comparison to the fervor with which the Father pursues the "worst" of us, that loving on my friends, and sharing in their delights and achievements is one of my greatest pleasures, and that I would rather be a Timothy than a Paul, but I'm called to be a Ruth (to "glean"). I'm learning that my parents are getting older. My mother's face reflects the years she has fought off the world to shelter us from all that could disappoint or harm us, and my father's hands recall each heart the Father healed with them, and every loving embrace offered to console a sick heart from a hope deferred. I'm learning that my brother and sister are growing up. Forrest is fast-approaching adulthood, and is becoming a pillar for his future wife and family, while Madeleine is more of a woman of God than I was at thirteen. I'm learning that being lonely is not the same as being alone, that sometimes what my heart desires most is not at all what I need, and that faith is harder than obedience sometimes. I'm learning that our country is paralyzed by blindness, that we are crumbling, but also that the Lord has not forsaken us, but is pruning away the fear, hunger for power, and pride so that the Truth can have a place in the sun to flourish. I'm learning that I am being refined, and it hurts. I'm learning that I have a lot to learn. I'm learning that ultimately, the Father will reunite the hearts of His children, the Devil will be defeated... and we may live to see it. I'm learning that we live in a most exciting time, my brothers and sisters. I am learning what it means to truly LIVE.