The story of this picture has to start with my mother’s visit in July. We were shopping for house goodies and we ran across a couch, reduced 75%. It was in my mother’s favorite color, almost a lime green. How do you explain it? Destiny.
She went home and thought about this couch, they kept reducing it. What is a girl to do, but buy it? So, after the price was right, and the negotiations done, my husband and I picked up the couch from the store. We stored it in the garage for a month while planning a trip to her house.
So, Labor Day finally came. We loaded up the couch and lovingly took it, even in a little rain, to my mom’s house. My husband did an amazing tarp wrapping job. After months, it was all hers.
The couch was in place the day that we took this picture. This is one of many that were taken for my mom’s Christmas card (So, if you are on the list, look away, please.). I am in the back, in the white sweater. The others are sisters and mom. It might be confusing because she looks like she could be my sister (she reads this), but my mom is on the right.
What is interesting and difficult to see is that I am on my knees and somehow my behind is lodged in the fireplace. I did not know the exact location of my behind, nor did I know that gas fireplaces made soot. I was concentrating on bright eyes and avoiding gummy smiles. My husband calls this picture, “Tracy Sootbottoms”.
I was walking through the living room after we were finished when I realized that I had a dark spot on my sleeve. Soot? From a gas fireplace? Novelty. Then I looked over to the brand new, destined to be my mother’s, lime green couch, where I had been sitting after this picture was taken. There was a dark spot on the cushion that was cradling my sootbottom only moments before.
Then I looked to the couch’s perfectly coordinated pillow where I had rested my arm…dark spot. I essentially had carried my sootbottom throughout the house staining every single object that came near me.
That was a lovely couch, and luckily it fared better than my white sweater.
Enter life lesson here…
When I was younger, one of my pitfalls was misunderstanding the influence of one dark sooty spot. It could be a negative friend, dabbling in something that opened up unhealthy doors, or being around that “yes” person. It only had to be a tiny spot, but it spreads.
We, as humans, move down, not up. That is why we are told to find someone that we admire to emulate. I have found AMAZING women who offer their lives in the ministry of writing every day. Please look on the side bar and click until you bubble over. On our own, we move to the lowest common denominator and it takes relationship and encouragement to move against our will.
The easiest way to move up? Be completely focused on Christ. He moves His people up.
This morning I was doing my “morning study thing” (which I would like to make a new name for because I love themes, e.g. Seafood Sundays and Mexican Mondays) and I ran across, James 1:27, NRSV, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”
In this Christmas card experience, I understood the influence of a spot. We all have them. To keep ourselves unstained by the world, we have to be diligent; even, having eyes on the back of our heads, apparently.
So, ladies, watch your back!
Do you relate to the Tale of the Sootbottom?
Do you have a special name for your quiet times?
Father, thank you for pulling your people up against our nature. Expose the dark areas around us that spread. Let us eliminate these things from our life so that we remain unstained by this world. We need you, Father.