Thursday, June 03, 2010

Sweet Misfortune

When you walk into a hospital, one of the first ways you can tell a patient from a doctor or nurse is by a uniform. They wear scrubs or white coats, something that differentiates them from the rest of the staff. But even the staff has a sort of uniform: they have a name tag. Their uniform tells the world what they do and where they work. It says that have a position of authority and lets everyone know who walks in the doors that this is a person who can help.

Even patients in a hospital have a uniform of sorts, as embarrassing as it is. The ugly gown, tied in the back. You aren’t going to mistake a patient in the hospital as part of the staff when they are trying to make sure that their back side isn’t showing!

Pastors often have a uniform of sorts as well. On Sundays, they wear a suit and tie, or robes, something that when stepping up to the lectern tells the people in the pews that they are in charge here.

Lots of other positions and jobs wear uniforms too: police officers, military, firefighters, even fast food workers wear something that lets everyone they see know who they are and where they belong.

We often wear uniforms to define to the world who we are, but we too often forget the most important clothing of all. When we belong to Jesus, he has some specific clothing he calls us to put on daily. Most people are familiar with the armor of God from Ephesians 6: Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

But there are several other verses about what we are to wear each days as well:

Proverbs 31:25 tells women especially, but it applies to men as well, to be clothed with strength and dignity.

Ephesians 4:24 says: to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

Colossians 3:12 instructs: Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

So as a Christian, our daily uniform should be: truth, righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the Spirit, strength, dignity, compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, or as Galatians 3:27 sums it up: all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

This is an important reminder, one I wish that I remembered each day as I woke up, because it tells the world who I belong to: Jesus, and where I belong: Heaven. Remind yourself today and every day to put on your uniform before leaving the house to let the world know this about you too.

Sweet Misfortune by Kevin Alan Milne is a fantastic romance with a message of letting go of guilt and learning to trust love. Sophie Jones loves running her candy shop which has become well known for its Misfortune Cookies: dipped in bitter baker's chocolate, each one has a unique, hand-written negative fortune. Unlike your usual fortunes that promise good things and blessings, these predict car repairs, balding, and broken hearts. Sophie came up with the idea after her fiance, Garrett, canceled their wedding just days before the date. Already suffering from guilt from her parents' deadly car accident on her ninth birthday, she had trouble allowing herself to love anyone, so Garrett's betrayal cut extra deep. Now, nearly a year after the break-up, Garrett is back and wants to explain his actions. Sophie sets up a nearly impossible bet with him to ensure they will never have the date he wants, but the bet gets a little out of hand and the whole country gets involved. Milne is best known for writing super sentimental stories like The Paper Bag Christmas, but I think that he's truly hit his stride with this romance. Sophie's pain is palpable, yet Milne keeps her likable. Her stepsister Evi nearly steals the novel away from Sophie, and I hope that Milne writes something for her as well. The story is thoroughly enjoyable, a great escape, but there's a powerful message of letting go of guilt and trusting love again.

Thank you to Goldberg McDuffie Communications for providing me with a copy of this book for review.

Believe it or not, Mia took today's picture. I showed her how to use the macro and supermacro functions on my camera, and she took this amazing shot of a honeysuckle bloom. She just blows me away.