Just Another Running Toilet

Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the Lord, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.” She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” Genesis 16:13 (NLT)

“Have a great time on your date!  Michael and I will have fun this morning,”  I reassured my middle daughter and her husband as they snuck out the back door.  My 2 year-old grandson Michael played with his car garage in the front room, talking happily to himself and his zoom-zooms.  As soon as Emily and Clark left, college sophomore daughter, Molly, set herself to doing dishes in the kitchen.

Then I noticed it. AGAIN.  The sound of running water coming from the bathroom.  I walked into the bathroom, determined to find the source.  Ah, coming from the toilet.  So, like any normal person, I hoisted the lid from the back of the commode to jiggle the little chain thing.  (Excuse my lack of toilet terminology knowledge.)  Except there was no little chain thing.  Only a small white tube to run water  into the return pipe.

That white tube was decidedly out of place.  It whipped up, rising above the toilet like an uncoiling snake, knowing no shame.  This was not a trickle of water.  This was a torrent.  Out of control, the little monster spun around and soaked my face, my hair, my clothes.  In a mili-second, I was standing in at least an inch of water on the floor of the bathroom.  I tried to shut off the water at the base of the toilet.  The valve. Would. Not. Budge.  I confess, I prayed not.  I screamed.
     ”MOLLY!!  CALL EMILY AND CLARK NOW!!!”
Unbeknownst to me, my nineteen-year-old was happily plugged in to her iPhone.  She didn’t hear a thing.
     ”MOLLY!! HELP!!”  No response.
Okay, I said to myself, put the tube in the return pipe and replace the lid on the back of the toilet.  Right. Water squirted out from under the lid, continuing to pour onto the floor.  That’s when I saw the clip.  The tube had a microscopic white clip on its side.  Clip attached.  Annoying sound stopped.   Situation under control.  A woman’s gotta do what a woman’s gotta do.  It took all the towels they owned to mop up the bathroom.

Just another running toilet.

“You need to go in the prayer room!”  My bright-eyed roommate’s passion spilled into her voice.  Even though she carried her sweetly round belly, pregnant for the fourth time, mother of 3 boys, her energy caught me.

“Prayer room?  Where is it?”

Two days before visiting my daughter, I had arrived at the Proverbs 31 She Speaks conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, ready for a surprise encounter from God, wanting direction for where I was to journey next in my semi empty-nest life.  I felt too unsure and too under-equipped, in mourning from life changes over the past 2 years. But I prayed.  Others were praying with me.  ”God, speak.”

Fending off the sleepiness from getting up at 3 am that morning to catch a plane from Iowa to North Carolina, I took the elevator down to the first floor of the hotel where the prayer room was located.  The door stood ajar, and the room was empty.  God’s presence beckoned as I walked in.  The Presence.

“Our names have all been prayed over.  Your name is next to a Name of God that the staff felt we needed to know.  You should look for it,” my roommate had encouraged me.

Arranged on tables around the room were sheets of paper with the names of God and over 750 women’s names placed next to them.  My name.  There.  Written on God’s heart next to El Roi, the God Who Sees.  El Roi, a God so watchful that He cares even when the smallest sparrow falls to the ground. A Fatherly God who is always near in the desolate places, helping us find a path through troubles, working out His plans for our future.  

El Roi, the Name of God that had been placed before me over and over the past 2 years.  I cried.  Tears of relief, tears of joy, tears because this God touches each one of us personally.  No, He doesn’t just touch.  He lifts, He provides, He restores, He heals.  He knows.

He knows every sleepless night you cradle your baby, every tear shed for an aging parent who can’t remember your name, every fear from the doctor’s diagnosis, every scar from feeling ignored in this life.  He sees the seemingly mundane, too.

Not just another running toilet.  Not just another tired toddler or challenging teenager.  Nor just another misunderstanding with your man or oatmeal that overcooked and stuck so hard to the pan that it took two days to clean.  He sees.  Like Haggai questioned, have you truly seen the One who sees you?  Ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  Ask Him to speak.   He promises that He will find you.





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Women of Grace

She took refuge among the trees, feeling an unnatural rush of adrenaline and her heart pounding for the first time.  She had never felt this emotion of fear or what it did to her body.  Did she wonder what was wrong with her?  Why did the lush green canopy overhead suffocate and the brilliant colors of the flowers underneath suddenly bother her? She couldn’t do it.  She couldn’t face Him.  But He knew, of course.  He knew where they were and asked anyway.  Thankfully, He asked her husband first.
“Where are you?”
“I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked ; so I hid,” her husband’s voice sounded different from the one she knew.
“Who told you you were naked?  Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”  It felt like an accusation.
Then her husband did the unthinkable.  He blamed her for his actions.  “The woman you put me here with.  It was her fault.”   She could think of no better answer than to blame the serpent.  Didn’t that gorgeous creature deceive her? And then the Lord God whom she used to walk in the garden with cursed them.  Cursed them and threw them out.   Wait, was there hope?  Woven into the terror of being thrown out of their home, was there hope?
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and he will strike his heel.”  Genesis 3:15
Eve treasured every word.  Some day, another life that came through her would crush the serpent that had deceived her in the garden, the place she had known the most intimate life offered to humanity, and redeem creation.   Some day, another woman would come.
“Woman, behold your son,” Jesus spoke to his mother.  She had known His presence from the time he had been in the womb.  She had given birth to him and now she would not leave him in death.  Her sister and Mary of Magdala stood with her at the cross.  And John.  Dear John whom Jesus loved.  “Behold your mother,” the words came in agonizing breaths.  The end was near.  The beginning was near.  His mother would be cared for.   Everything was finished. 
Woman.  In the Greek,  gunai.
Only two places in Scripture is the word woman used so definitively without  “the” or “a” in front of it- in Genesis, when God refers to Eve, and in the New Testament, when Jesus addresses His mother at the wedding in Cana and from the cross (see Genesis 2:23; John 2:4; John 19:27).   Although it was not unusual for a man to use the word gune when addressing a woman, it was unusual that Jesus referred to Mary as gunai.   The English equivalent of gune and gunai sounds harsh, but in the Greek, it was an expression of gentleness.  Gunaiwas a deliberate referral to the fulfillment of the first prophecy of Jesus’ coming in Genesis 3:15. 
Jesus Christ wants us to be women.  He created you to be woman.   When we embrace all that Christ can do in us through the fullness of Christ that dwells in us through the Holy Spirit, we grow up.   We grow into women of grace.


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