Monthly Archives: September 2013
Preparing for the delivery of a new refrigerator, I removed all the magnets and photos from the old model before its scheduled removal. I carefully placed photographs of children, grandchildren, nieces & nephews in a cardboard box and dropped the variety of magnets beside the photos:
plain round magnets,
wooden hearts painted in long-past VBS crafts session,
and a lone “F,” all that remained from a set of magnetic letters given away years ago.
After the side of the new refrigerator was redecorated with magnetic smiles and frozen-in-time moments, the “F” remained on the front.
It became, however, less a child’s educational toy and more a graded evaluation of a time in my life, “F” for failure:
I hadn’t thought of “Sandy” in years, but one day a sudden flood of memories of my cruel words drowned me in remorse. I’d been happily chatting a moment before, but blue skies had turned to emotional storm clouds in a moment. I wished I had never hurt her, and I wished I could forget this long-ago, confessed sin the way God had.
For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.
Hebrews 8:12 (NIV)
I don’t know whether it is a gift of God or a product of a middle-aged memory, but as I write today, I can’t recall my cold-hearted offense toward “Sandy.” I have removed the “F” magnet from my refrigerator and placed this photo there instead to remind me of God’s abounding love.
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
Psalm 103:8-12 (NIV)
I am grateful that God’s love is so great that he can remove and forget my sins. He does not write red-inked and large across the papers of my life: “F” for failing. Like my gifted magnetic letters, God’s alphabet now has no “F.”
Photos by Barb Briggs
As I wash the copper-bottomed saucepan in the warm, soapy water in the kitchen sink, I gaze out the window at the apple trees in the back yard. The branches are bent low, nine-months-pregnant heavy, full of crimson fruit. I sigh, thinking of all the work I’m facing with those bushels of apples, the need to find ways to use or preserve them.
As the dishes are drying, I search cookbooks, with worn spines and splattered pages;
Apple pie, baked apples, apple juice, apple dumplings,
faded, dog-eared, recipes on 3″ x 5″ index cards;
apple cake, apple roll, apple bread, dried apples, apple bars, pickled apples,
apple sauce, apple jam, apple jelly, apple butter
and recipes, only a click away on the internet.
apple cider, caramel apples, apple fritters
I sigh again, wondering if I should freeze or can or dry or bake . . . There are so many apples.
What I should do is be content and thankful for the bounty God has provided. Usually I am discontented when I lack something, but today I am complaining about abundance. Paul had experienced these extremes, too.
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Philippians 4:12 NIV
I sigh again, this time with a whisper of “Thank you.”
I know what it is to have plenty.
I’ll have my apple pie with a scoop of contentment, please.