I have bruises on my knees—but not from prayer. Or are they?
Last week, I spent the equivalent of two whole days organizing and storing the Christmas decorations at Turtle Creek Farm, the 18-acre piece of land (mostly protected marsh) that my daughter, Melissa, and son-in-law, Doug Timberlake, bought two years ago. Their home is a converted dairy barn, and David and I are making plans to move into the north wing sometime at the end of this summer.
The place is huge and therein lies the problem. It is simply too big for one couple and their two kids to care for without some help. I, however, am the rally-the-troops lady. People avoid me because they suspect I have a job for them to do! Well, not really—most of the time. I pride myself on my administrative gifts; I love to plug people into what serves their greatest passions. A former Episcopalian rector once said to me, “How do you do it? You get people to do for you what I never could get them to do for me.”
In addition to a big living space in the converted barn, there are horses, cats, dogs, chickens and sheep that also need to be cared for. This animal menagerie requires a barn, paddocks, a chicken coop, feeding troughs, watering buckets, an ATV to haul away manure, constant trips to feed stores for supplies, a truck to pick up the supplies—well you get the idea.
In addition, the Timberlakes moved the month that our son, Jeremy Mains, came down with an acute and rare lymphoma that five wretched months later took his life. It has been a year in November since Jeremy died, and Melissa has never really had a chance to get settled.
There is a wonderful large attic that was perfect for storing all the Christmas and seasonal decorations we seem intent on using come spring, summer, fall and winter. The problem is that the space is only 3½ feet high, impossible to stand up in, uncomfortable to bend over in—the only solution is to crawl around on one’s knees, which I did for several hours over a two-day period.
Melissa had already taken down most of her Christmas trees and stored some of the decorations; it was left to me and to Joscelyn, my 17-year-old granddaughter, who worked like a trouper beside me, to pack up all the rest—wreathes and knickknacks, box the artificial trees, strip Josie’s room and store anything that looked holidayish.
In time we had 10-15 large plastic bins, all full, all labeled, but how to get them across the large floor to the other side of the attic crawlspace when our knees were already bruised and our backs sore from hours of hunching and crawling across the floor? Exhausted, I went home—a 50-minute drive from the farm—and woke the next morning determined to finish the job.
On the patio, beneath the snow, I found a plant stand with moveable casters. David hauled the large shop-vac into our car, and I set my face early the next morning to scoot across the floor pushing plastic bins before me. When I arrived, however, another plan unfolded in the form of a long skateboard belonging to my grandson Ayden, age 14, and a sports jock at that. Together, we three—the attic aficionados—developed what we all felt was a brilliant scheme. I sat on a pillow on the plant stand and scooted myself to one station across the attic while Joscelyn took up another mobile station, vacuuming the sawdust and dirt from the floor with the durable vacuum cleaner.
Ayden, outside the attic door, loaded the long skateboard with as many bins as it would hold without tipping, then scooted the delivery device to either me (Christmas station) or to Josie who took her place at the fall station. We each would unload and stack the bins in their proper areas, then scoot the empty skateboard back to him. By this time we were all laughing. I thanked Ayden, telling him I didn’t think we could have finished without him. “Oh, that’s OK,” he replied. “It was fun.”
It was fun. I found myself comparing bruises with Josie. “Well, at least I can say I have bruises on my knees (but not from prayer).” But then who is to say what prayer is and what prayer isn’t? So many ideas do not come to life until there is intentional action. An invention in the head is not an invention in the hand. Who’s to say that crawling around on one’s knees for a couple of days because you know someone you love needs a hand is not a form of prayer? It is idea, mixed with love, becoming action. I think the Divine Organizer may have laughed at our skateboard delivery system. I suspect He delighted at our laughter. I know He was pleased that we helped one another.
Last week, I spent two days crawling around on my knees. I’ll leave it there…
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at email@example.com and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.