I have a handful of crystal glasses that came with a matching pitcher from my Grandma. They are rimmed in gold and etched beautifully with a vine and clusters of grapes. I often admired them as a child running my fingers across the roughness of the images. I thought they were magnificent. I was happy to receive them as my parents cleared her house when they moved her to the rest home.
I wish I had more memories of her that warmed my heart. She was a hard woman of hard words and one did not drink of grace in her presence. I do remember, though, how her chocolate cake spoke deeply of her commitment to her family and her endless service to them. That was the sweetness I remember from my Grandma.
If every family possessed a cup filled to the brim that they passed on to the next generation, I wonder what drink they would share? Would it bitter or sweet? Would they drink of life or death? Would there be a cup of sorrow or would joy be what flowed from one person to the next?
From that crystal cup that passed from my Grandmother’s hand, to my father’s, to mine, I drank of the elixir that defined my family. It called forth the fruit we were known by. It was a strong drink and produced hard workers who were expected to earn good standing from diligent work. But it burned on the way down and hit the gut with a punch. You did not disappoint your Mother or Father because they kept track and had a long memory.
That cup was more than I could keep up with. I put it away in my cabinet. It burned me out and left me empty knowing I was a disappointment. It left me feeling disconnected from my heritage. I could not take it up, but I felt empty handed without it.
Six years ago, nearly to the day, the Lord spoke to me a longing of his. “I want to restore my purpose to your family.” Restoration. That stirred me deeply. But, I only knew one way to respond to this. I got to work. I diligently began to look for every opportunity to restore God’s purpose to my family. I was still drinking from that family cup. Work hard. Earn Good Standing. Don’t disappoint the one who I thought expected so much from me. I failed. I failed again. And again. But I could not stand to let God down so I couldn’t let myself stop. He allowed me to burn out. Completely.
Then, as I explored this prompt, he spoke to me.
I gave you a cup six years ago. Why did you not drink from it.
You did, Lord? I don’t know. What was in it? What did I miss?
Take a look.
It’s grace Lord. I thought it was that strong stuff. I thought I had to work hard.
No. That was not my plan for you. I wish you could have seen it then. It would have saved you so much effort.
Oh, Lord. Have mercy.
Six years of hard labor. I am way beyond weary. I can’t even begin to tell you all the Lord had to do to get me to this point. But now, my beloved has his hand stretched forth and beckons me to rest from my effort. In this seventh year of God's relentless pursuit of me, of my family, it is a relief to be able to accept permission to rest and enter a sabbath season.
So, I will take that crystal glass with vines and fruit. I will pour out that strong liquid and I will lift it to The Vine. Grace will fill it and I will allow myself to drink deeply of that sweetness. It will be the cup I choose to share with my loved ones. It holds the grace that will restore the Lord’s purpose to my family.
Concrete Words offers weekly prompts and this weeks is The Cup. You can try it yourself and link up with me on Monday at: http://sixinthehickorysticks.blogspot.com/
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