Stretched- like a rubber band, that snaps back (ouch!) and pops me when I pull too hard… or like a new, leather baseball glove,
Stretched- like a balloon, that children and adults alike can only enjoy at a birthday party or county fair after it’s been blown up with hot, stinky breath and uncomfortably expanded to fullness for the first time.
Lord, you stretch, expand and fill me. You fill me with courage, to enter a "land" (and all the variations thereof) I did not know, as Abraham once did-
You stretch me with testing and temptations as Daniel and his friends experienced in exile away from their families- and through it found a toughened faith to believe You, to drink grape juice, and even to step into a furnace. Only there did they encounter the Living Jesus (or an angel) who walked with them in the cool flames- no telling what they talked about!
You expand me- you expand the hours in my day, so that I accomplish more than I had dreamed of-
You expand my ears and mouth- to enter a Deutsch world with quick understanding and humility to make mistakes.
You expand my heart, to feel and love and care as never before, making new friends cross-culturally.
You expand my "gotta-have-it-my-way" preferences and needs- for sleep, my own space, own schedule, Momma’s cookin’ and air conditioning- so that what would have ticked me off months ago or in the States is now seen as normal, OK, or "es geht."
You expand my love for You, as I identify in a brand new way with Jesus’ leap onto Planet Earth and into our lives (sometimes in my leap to Jena I ask You, God, when I’ll finally feel like I’ve truly "landed.")
Thank you for the stretching, so that I can fit into and "fluid" into Your plans and purposes for my life and for the World.
I am blessed by the filling of Your Holy Spirit and recall with Your grace: "Das alles kann ich durch Christus, der mir Kraft und Stärke gibt." (Philippians 4:13)
-- August 2003 --