Today’s Reading is Exodus 34-35 and Mark 3:20-35.
As an artist, I should be thrilled that I Exodus 35 fell on my day to blog. I can stand on my soapbox and talk to everyone about appreciating the arts and the artists as ministers. However, what I really want to do is tell you about Abbey.
My wife and I just returned from a two-day conference in Irving, Texas that featured Dr. Karyn Purvis, who specializes in assisting children from hard places (especially foster/adoptive kids) heal from their past by giving their caregivers healing tools. Through the course of the conference we discussed issues that foster children may have with sensory perception. Imagine that you live alone with no contact with another person. You wake up each day and trot off to your dining room table where you eat and work. The days are extremely quiet with little to no noise in your home. You find that you make noises or talk to yourself just to get a little audio stimulation for your brain. You do this for years and this is your normal way of life. Now imagine that one day you receive an E-mail that declares that you are required to work and eat from your new office, which is a cubicle in the middle of O’Hare International Airport. You brain immediately goes into overload. What sounds like garbled noise to most people sounds like a thousand jet engines in your head. You fight to concentrate on any one task but can’t block the deafening noise out of your person. You soon find yourself completely overwhelmed and start to tear up with no sign of solution to the dilemma in sight. A businessman happily and briskly walking by is whistling near you. The high pitch noise is the last straw and you sucker punch the man in the gut. Security is called in for the seemingly random act and you are put in a holding cell.
Now before I intertwine the Scripture for the day let me briefly tell you about Abbey. Abbey is a girl who appeared to be about 7 to 9 years old. She is in a loving foster family and attended one of Dr. Purvis’ summer camps for foster children. Abbey is an adorable little girl who has sensory issues. I believe she actually has issues with balance. What I mean is that her body chemistry is such that she is in a constant state of limbo. A toy that the camp had for this problem is Sit N’ Spin. One could tell from the video case study that Abbey enjoyed spinning on the floor toy. One day Abbey was spinning on the beloved toy and her head was getting too close to the corner of a table. Naturally, as a good camp aid, the adult came over and told Abbey that she needed to stop her play. This sent Abbey into a HUGE meltdown. This adorable little girl suddenly became an enraged little person that could out cry, kick, or scream any adult. When Abbey was calmed down and asked what she needed, it was discovered that she wanted to break her record for “number of spins in a row.” The meltdown was actually a result from a precious child not understanding how to cope with her situation.
The part that touched me was when I observed a change in Abbey. Suddenly, her eyes went from being chaotic to focused. Abbey was thinking clearer and was recounting the recent events that found her lying in the arms of Dr. Purvis. Abbey began to cry shameful tears and pleaded with Dr. Purvis, “When my mom picks me up… when you tell my mom what happened, don’t… don’t tell her I ruined the entire day.” Dr. Purvis stroked her face and assured her that she hadn’t ruined the day and that Abbey was in fact a great girl.
It was the shameful emotions of Abbey that struck through my bones and straight to the core of the marrow of my being. I’ve felt that way loads of times. Come on! I’m sure that you have too. It’s those times when you get caught in your sin or you realize what you’re doing. It’s the times when you suddenly examine yourself and the Holy Spirit shows you an area of disobedience. The guilt and the shame settle in the pit of your stomach. You feel as though you have ruined everything and like Abbey, don’t want everyone to know that you wrecked life.
Israel seems to have this problem. Despite all the miracles that God performed to rescue them from slavery they still did not fully trust Him. Moses goes to meet with God on Mount Sinai for an extended period of time and like Abbey the Israelites act out. They aren’t sure what to do in the situation so they make a god that can lead them. Their sin is pointed out to them by God and Moses. Upon returning to Mount Sinai Moses quickly admits to the Lord that his people are sinful. I can only imagine how ashamed and scared Moses must have been in Exodus 34:8 & 9. Like Abbey Moses has that pit in his stomach that God could change His mind about Israel. Moses begs that God would make them into His inheritance still. God doesn’t exactly comfort Moses. Instead He makes a covenant, a promise, of the great things He will do for Israel if they will follow His commands. I also think it’s interesting that God has a talk about NOT intermingling with the other people groups so that Israel doesn’t once again decide to worship an idol. It’s almost like Dad saying, “Now we saw what happened last time we did this so let’s think of some ways to avoid it in the future.”
The part of today’s reading that I’m connecting with is that God doesn’t want me to setup camp in my shameful emotions. In this passage it was unbelievable news for the Israelites that God would create a covenant they could trust that proved how precious they were to Him. For me, for us, it’s amazing that Christ died and rose again to away our shame.