Wednesday, January 9, 2013

All princes start as frogs, Part 2

There is now a one-inch tall prince sitting on our window sill. Since the transformation that happened last week, I've looked at him and chuckled to myself, rolled my eyes, and dismissed him a few times.

But Sunday night at church we studied Ephesians 4, and I keep going back to it, and today when I saw Mr. Knightly on the window sill, he seemed to symbolize something new...

"So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." - Ephesians 4:11-16

Why does Jesus give us different gifts and roles? To equip us to serve.
Why does he equip us to serve? So we can be built up together.
Why are we being built up together? To reach unity in faith and in the knowledge of Christ, to become mature, and to grasp the whole measure of the fullness of him.

This is what we are living for! This is something that won't happen fully until Jesus returns, but it is something we are promised and we take steps toward. As followers of Jesus, we should be investing our lives in using our gifts for service and building each other up and speaking the truth in love...

And life gets hard sometimes. Even though we want to be whole and mature and stable, we are still just infants, so easily tossed around and knocked down by influences, emotions, people... this world. We are small and broken and incomplete, and sometimes in the battle we get weary. Kind of like that prince hidden in the shell of a frog, sitting in water... we see and feel the change happening, we know it's coming, but it is slow, and we're not there yet.

But there is a promise. And the good news about God's promises is that they all come true. One day, we will grow to maturity in Him; one day we will all reach unity of faith; one day we will stand unwavering; one day we will be exactly who we were created to be, as individuals and as one body together - whole, supported, strong. What a day that will be! I can't wait...

Until then, keep "bubbling" and "molting"... keep doing what we are called to do here and now, knowing that every day of faithfulness brings us closer to completion in Him.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

All princes start as frogs, Part 1

Meet Mr. Knightly.

Or "Mr. Insert-favorite-Jane-Austin-gentleman's-name-here." For Hannah, it's Mr. Knightly. Yes, he looks a little green around the gills, and yes, he's a bit stumpy and warty, and yes, he is contained in a small plastic jar. But the box promised that with true love's kiss... and a 5-minute soak in cold water... this frog would become a prince. So we gave it a shot.

As the water poured in, we were sure there was instant transformation... Here is a transcript of some of what was said between four sisters - Brie, Hannah, Hannah, and me.

Minute 1:

"It's turning white!"
"It may take up to 5 minutes..."
"Really? That long? Well, I suppose it is a prince..."
"All good things to those who wait."

Minutes 3:

"I feel like we should shake him..."
"He needs time! He's molting!"
"Yeah, give him time... Hey, this will last a lifetime, so he can take all his time..."
"The best guys are worth the wait."

Minute 5:

"Stir him! Encourage the process! Maybe the magic needs some help!"
"No, no, it'll ruin him if it goes too fast."
"You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles."
"Well, I was expecting a whoosh-boom kind of transformation."
"It's realistic."
"You're right. In the scope of our timeline... for today... he's coming very fast."

Minute 8:

"He doesn't look like a prince - he just looks like an albino frog."
"Is he acting like a prince?"
"He's taking all our ridicule very well... That's a good quality..."
"Look! He's deflating!! ewww, He's bubbling from the head..."

Minute 10:

"Hannah, what has waiting created in you? Are you still patient? kind? and gorgeous?"
"I hope so. I'm ready to  meet this person..."
"I think he's getting smaller."
"Maybe the water should have been colder."
"Is he bubbling faster?"
"Maybe he realizes he needs to hurry up. He knows you're doubting him."
"I'm not doubting!"

Minute 13:

"It's like all his insides are coming out first."
"I think it will become a hollow shell and then just fall off."
"So there's a lot going on that we can't see..."
"He's having an internal battle-"
"An internal change-"
"From the inside out!"
"He's changing his ways for you..."
"And for himself..."
"You're right, it would better him not to be a frog."

Minute 15:

"I wonder if I can see his head..."
"I don't think so, I feel like he needs more water."
"No, not allowed. Leave him alone."
"He's making strides."
"He's still looking very frog-like..."
"What if he's a midget? Just an inch tall?
"Then he'll be every inch the man he's supposed to be!"

Minute 20:

"Twenty minutes! Five minutes is a scam!"
"We need to give him some more ice water..."
"Yeah, let's help him out. This is tragic."
"Maybe we should not watch him."
"He does have four women staring at him. That's a lot of pressure."
"What if there's nothing in there at all?"
"Ok, no, he's in there... I know he is... I just have to wait."
"Have faith..."
"Yes, faith, hope and love - these are things we're working on this year, remember?"

Minute 35: After two more ice water soaks, Hannah decided to break protocol and stab at the stubborn shell with a straw...

"Chisel it away!"
"Come out of there!"
"Want that prince! Want him!"
"Fight for him! Fight for your man!"
"Get me a sturdier straw! It's not working!"

Minute 40:

"Now I can't get the rest, but we can see him!"
"He's not shirtless..."
"Mr. Knightly, eh?"
"Are you gonna give him a kiss, Hannah?"
"Well he did take his good old time..."
"But he was worth it!"