on making pearls

sometimes when I am lost away in – I hesitate to use the word worship, because I think worship is so much more than a Sunday song session (much as I love those) – I feel like if it were only me and God how much I could do for him.

If I had no responsibilities to others, no mothering, wife-ing, working, caring, daily tasks to do,

if I had no friendships to attend to

…all of that…

what a wonderful, influential, all out there person I could be

and I feel like I hear this,

Miriam, dear one, those people and responsibilities and conflicts and relationships – those are my gift to you to grow you into the woman I want you to be. To grow you into the woman you could be.

It’s back to that old chestnut of iron sharpening iron and even the most wonderful of husbands, wives, children, extended family, friends…. all of them will get under my skin some days, they will hold up a mirror and reflect back, they will point out I’ve made a mess.

Those people, the ones I like, love, long for, cling to… they bring out the worst in me sometimes. Sadly, they see the worst of me too. But they are a gift to me – a gift from God who is more interested in the development of my character than he is in exploiting my talents and abilities for his purposes.

It’s like God is opposite of an agent – it’s more important to him that my inner self is beautiful and well developed than I make him ‘money’ from my outer self. An agent doesn’t care about how well their client will cope with the spotlight, an agent wants to make them famous and rich. Truth be told if it were left to me I’d be looking for ways to be launched into the spotlight rather than ways to do the hidden work of character development.

I am reminded of the oyster – for an oyster to grow a pearl something has to get under its skin and irritate it. It is the irritant that produces the response in the oyster that grows the pearl. Left to myself I’d be a delicious oyster,

but, as I rub up alongside the irritation of others who don’t allow me to be the diva I naturally would become I might just, with a lot of irritating help, produce a pearl that lasts much longer than an entree on someone’s table.

Maybe the most irritating thing in your life right now is actually a gift from God…

does it hurt to read that?

Isn’t it so much easier to get rid of the people who irritate so I can get on with the job of being a big juicy oyster? Maybe I’m being invited to the road of making a pearl….

I think I’d quite like to be a pearl. 
I just kind of forget that when the irritation starts.
Maybe this Lenten journey is about embracing irritation for the gift that it might be.
* it’s not to say for a second I am not so, so grateful for the beautiful, generous, glory-reflecting, inspiring husband, children, family and friends I have. They are my joy and my delight and the very best of all God has blessed me with.

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