Of Grace and Carpentry

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Jake, my husband, has a shop that he doesn’t get to be in near often enough. We moved into our new home and he discovered that, hey! He’s handy! Like, I’ll-fix-any-problem-in-the-house-make-my-own-furniture kind of handy. I, of course, am thrilled. Because what woman doesn’t like a man who can build her basically whatever she wants and smells like fresh sawdust?

He’s working on an interactive station for Juniper right now. It’ll have little knobs and latches and doors on it for her to play with. First he’s sanding. Then he’s assembling. Running his hands over the grain of the wood, brow furrowed slightly. Shoulders stooped. Silent in concentration and study, pondering how to improve his handiwork. His thoughts dedicated to our daughter. Will she like this? I hope this entertains her for more than five seconds out of the day. I sure do love that girl. How can I make this more enjoyable for her?

I’m speculating. But I know my husband, and I know these thoughts were running through his head at some point in the creative process. I think about how handsome Jake is. The way I love watching his hands create and work with a variety of tools, gadgets, and wood. About how much quieter he is than me.

I think about Jesus being a carpenter - the creator of the worlds sawing, hammering, sanding away to create a product that would be of use to someone. Can you imagine being the recipient? “Oh this ol’ table? It’s no big deal, it was only made by GOD HIMSELF!” The Creator of all things, dedicated to the mundane for about thirty years before starting his official ministry.

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I can only imagine Jesus in present day, running into modern church members prior to starting His ministry. “Jesus, didn’t you know, you’re wasting your talents and short time here on earth? You really need to DO something for God you know.” 

I think about my own desperate need to DO something for God. Something grand. Something self-sacrificing. Something that would tell the world HOW SPIRITUAL I AM. <insert cringe emoji> And I think about my husband and his incredible ability to simply be present. Who isn’t distracted by a million commitments, but instead pours his heart into the lives he’s been given and is the best husband and father I’ve ever witnessed.

And yet something inside of me is yelling, “Babe! Come on, you need to DO something for God, you know? Have a ministry. We need to serve more, do more, be more places!” And I don’t (usually) say it out loud because I’m also secretly marveling his ability to be so....content.

I’m slowly coming to realize that it’s not about doing, going, doing more, doing better. It’s about worship. Having your thoughts dedicated to those around you and their well being. Caring about the mundane tasks at hand and meeting God in them with worship and praise and communication. And when that happens, service starts to pour out.

My husband, so concerned with blessing Juniper and I, creates beautiful furniture and gifts to please us and make our home a more lovely place. Not trying to prove his abilities or worthiness, but instead display his love and care using the talents he was given. Working and serving from a place of rest and thoughtfulness.

And me with my spiritual checklist can never seem to do enough or get close enough to godliness....or to God for that matter. Except in these moments where I practice inviting God into the mundane moments of my life. I’ve been more intentional about it lately through many difficult lessons. And guess what? God shows up. And He gives me tiny ministries that very few people see and that don’t usually involve a lot of grandeur or applause. And its beautiful and intimate as God cuts away the rough grain and sands out the uneven parts of me.

It hurts. Oh man it hurts. But He’s shaping me, thinking of my best and His glory. And by simply being who He created me to be and living in rest and worship, the tasks and the ministry follows....but maybe not how I originally thought it would. And occasionally my husband, in his quiet, steady manner, reminds me of God’s character and the gentleness of His carpenter hands.