Laurel Thomas



April 2014



Capacity in the River

Written by , Posted in Blog

Summer heat crept through narrow slits around our front door. The cracked tile on one end of the foyer drew my eyes up to a hole in the drywall. A roller blade mishap. Mental note. Find a bigger rug.

I picked up a crumpled braid rug to shake it outside. A crawdad fell out. Alive. A mother crawdad. A mother giving birth to tiny crawdads, spilling like Rice Krispies on the floor.

I shrieked. Just a little. Not like when I saw a tarantula exiting the mop with slow, deliberate steps on my kitchen floor.

Not like when I watched bloody footprints travel behind our five-year old’s limp home from a nearby drainage ditch. Or saw his brother’s broken bone stick out of tender skin after a misguided save on a backyard touch-down sent him elbow first into the privacy fence.

According to the Bible we had a good excuse for constant messes and mishaps. We had a lot of oxen in our stall. Lots of messy life going on all around us.

I was a big cleaner-upper. I loved order. Life didn’t cooperate, despite my best efforts to control it. The Lord watched and waited for me to call for help. I couldn’t ask for help. I had to do it alone, to prove to no one in particular that I could get it together.

My husband said it was because I never thought I was “enough”. Not enough smarts, not enough strength, not enough whatever I needed to keep me from melting into a hot mess as I bellowed like a fish wife, “Everyone in the car!” Then fumbled for missing car keys.

I increased my efforts. After all, I was young and had plenty of energy. But if “try harder” had worked, I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

I got tired. Did I mention all this trying came under the banner of loving Jesus? Not only was I squashed under the stamp of “not enough”, my performance required the attention of a holy God. No pressure, though.

After much frustration, I learned a helpful word. One that moved me, sometimes at imperceptible speed, out of self-imposed craziness. It was the word, “repent”. Not the fire and brimstone kind. The simple truth of adjusting my thinking in line with grace and truth. That adjustment on my part beamed His light of truth on hidden lies.

Out of that spirit I heard the Lord whisper one morning. “Don’t look for sufficiency. Ask for capacity.”

Sufficiency, the state of being enough, drove me like a relentless task-master. Capacity, the ability to hold or contain, invited me to receive.

For years I strived alone when help was all around me. I struggled because I believed a lie. It cost me peace. It cost me pleasure in my imperfect, but life-filled journey.

When truth came, the light turned on. It made sense. Why would the Lord who wiped away my sin, be unwilling to help me now? Why would He refuse goodness He’d stored up for me at that time and for that need?

In short, would He not be my daily bread? Not provision I had to earn, but goodness He placed all around me when I asked and received.

Now my prayer is, “Lord, come. Enlarge my capacity for You.” I ask Him to pour His strength, wisdom and love into me. I’ve found that like Jesus asleep on the boat with fearful disciples and storm raging all round, capacity comes by invitation. It grows by restful trust.

Frenetic energy to bail out my own sinking ship with a tin can doesn’t save me. Knowing Him and receiving His help bring me to the other side.

Remember Rahab? That unlikely gate for God’s people into a new era? Like Rahab, the very essence of Him in us collides with our messes and turns us into a gate. A gate for me. A gate for others, leading to love Himself.

As my world gets bigger, it stretches beyond my ability to manage. That’s a good thing. Enlargement is messy. Status quo is challenged. Old mind-sets are shaken by a fresh breeze of revealed truth. Life propels me forward into the unknown, but delightful. This is a ride I don’t want to miss – crawdads and all!


Laurel Thomas

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