Welcome to the blog of author Marlo Schalesky!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Are You Running Through the Sprinklers of Grace?

Hi Friends,

It's been a crazy-busy summer for the Schalesky family with lots of fun activities, camps, and trips.  So, as I sit here catching my breath before the next "big thing" I'm reminded of this story of sprinklers and grace.  I was encouraged to run through the sprinklers of God's grace this summer.  I hope you'll be encouraged too!

It happened like this:

I sat back in my lawn chair, closed my eyes, and listened to the steady chit-chit-chit of the sprinklers.  Ice melted in the glass beside me.  The sun warmed my face.  Tension oozed from my shoulders, and I sighed.  All was peaceful, calm, and ...

Then came a shriek.

A scream.

A shout.

A giggle.

A laugh.

A squeal of delight.  

I opened my eyes.  There on the lawn before me twirled six little swimsuit-clad bodies, their arms waving, their cheeks sprinkled with water.  

They stopped.  Chit-chit-chit went the sprinkler.  They positioned themselves. Three more chits, then they ran through the falling drops with their chins raised and their voices once more loud with joy. Sunlight glinted off the water in a rainbow of color.  Again they paused, again they ran, again they laughed and danced.

On the first pass, the water made a few dark spots on their suits and hair.  By the fifth run, they were completely soaked.

“Come on, Mom, join us.  It’s fun!”  Joelle raced on tiptoe through the falling drops, until her long hair streamed with water.

I watched her and smiled.  “I’m not wearing my swimsuit.  I’m fine where I am.  You guys play.”  I motioned with my hand and settled deeper into my chair.

The baby raised her hands and toddled through the spray of water.  The older ones followed, each laughing and squealing and shouting with joy.

Wetter and wetter they got.

Happier and happier they became.

Until I realized that I had chosen poorly.  Here I sat, comfortably on my chair, outside of the spray of fun and joy.  I sat.  They ran.  I sighed.  They laughed.

When did I get so dull and boring?  

I stood up and put my hands on my hips.  Was I like this with God, too?  Did I sit on the sidelines, in my comfortable chair, while God was sprinkling his grace and love with abandon just a few feet away?  Was I too comfortable, too tired, or even too lazy to run through the sprinklers of his grace until I was soaked through and through?

If so, I wanted to change.  If God’s grace was raining down, I wanted to be a part of it.  And not just a few dribbles, I wanted to be soaked through and through.  

Joelle’s voice rang out again.  “Come on, Mom, get on your suit!”

I grinned and turned toward the house.  “I’ll be right there.”  Moments later, I was dressed in my physical swimsuit, but what about my spiritual one?  What kind of “suit” would prepare me for running through the sprinklers of God’s grace?

As I thought about the question, Colossians 2:6-7 (NIV) came to mind: “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  I pondered the last part of the verse until I began to glimpse the truth.  God had called me to be overflowing with thankfulness.  That was the “suit” I needed.  When thankfulness covers me, clothes me, I’m ready to receive the droplets of his grace, the pouring out of his love.  A thankful spirit is the suit that’s made especially for running through the water with joy.  

I jogged down the front steps and out onto the lawn.  Then, I raised my face, listened to the steady chit-chit-chit, and ran.  I squealed, I giggled, I laughed.  My kids laughed with me.  And that’s when I knew that I didn’t want to miss the fun anymore, not on the front lawn and not in life with God.  I needed to keep on my suit of thankfulness and see where God was sprinkling his grace -- in church, in books, in serving others, in reading my Bible, in quiet walks, in times with good friends -- so I could put myself in a position for the water to fall on me.  

If I do that, then I can run with abandon.  I can shriek and scream, laugh and squeal. I can dance through the sprinklers of his grace again and again until I’m soaked with the wonder of his love.  

That’s the way I want to live, everyday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

From Awful to Awe-Filled ... a Strange Week

Hi Friends,

Well, here’s to a very strange week.  It started with me having a meltdown on the way to church this Sunday.  Then, of course, the little ones didn’t want to go to Sunday school, so I ended up sitting in the car with Jayden (who threw a fit in Sunday school and refused to stay ... sigh) at which point I realized that since school’s ended it’s been all go-go-go and do-do-do.  Me time?  Quiet time? Contemplation, silence, solitude?  Nope.

And that equals mommy meltdown.  Yikes!

Lesson learned.

But that same night, after a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day, something else happened.

Little Beanie (age 2 1/2) asked Jesus into her heart for the very first time.  She was so pleased to pray and ask Jesus to forgive her sins and come into her “art.”  She held her breath as I told her the story of Jesus on the cross, and how one day passed, two days passed, and very early on the morning of the third day, the ground shook, the stone rolled away ... and Jesus was risen.  And that was the most incredible, wondrous, fantastic, amazing, super-awesome thing that has ever happened from the beginning of time until now.

She thought so too.  So we prayed.  Jesus came.  And now if you ask her where Jesus is, she will point to her chest and say, “In my heart.”

I thought it was an awful day.
I was wrong.  Very, very wrong.

And I learned:

--I have limits, God-given limits, that I must live within.  God made me that way.
--God offers the gift of rest. I need to take it.
--Failure is not the end, but the beginning of wisdom.
--God works, even when I can’t.
--Beauty comes from the hand of God, redemption and wonder from him ... not from me and how much I do.
--And even on my very worst day, God can do something absolutely amazing.  He can change a little girl’s heart.  What could be more wondrous than that?
--Our God is the expert at transforming our “awful” into moments of magnificent wonder.  It’s what He does best.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Freedom for the 4th of July

Hi Friends,

Happy 4th of July!  Independence Day reminds me how freedom comes through sacrifice, and how that sacrifice results in celebration and joy.  It’s true for America on the 4th, and it’s true for all of us when we remember Jesus and the freedom he won for us on the cross.

So today, I rejoice in true freedom, remembering:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. --Galatians 5:1

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  --2 Corinthians 3:17

... the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.  --Romans 8:21

And in response to this freedom ...

A PRAYER . . . 

Lord, I want to learn to dance
The dance of Israel's king.
I want to learn to sing the Psalms
With melodies of joy.
I want to learn to dream the dreams
Dreamt in prophet's night.
I want to learn to see the throne
As Isaiah saw that day.
Teach me, Lord, how to live
This life of Love in Christ.

AND A POEM . . .

His glory flames
Through my soul,
Illuminates my night,
The blazing dawn of glory
Of God who is my light.
His glory like the fiery sun
Sears my soul with joy.
My vision fills with wonder
No fear may dare destroy.