He Still Wears Flesh


I’ll just say it. Her house scared me.

Jeff and I had volunteered to help Hope pack (not her real name). She was downsizing from her 3-bedroom house where she’d raised her family to a small condo in Tennessee where she’d live alone.

But something stood in the way:
her tons of stuff.

In the living room we stepped over clothes, empty boxes, frames, etc., to see the mattress she’d pulled to the floor. Her bedroom was no longer habitable because all the piles, so she’d been sleeping here instead.

I was overwhelmed. I walked to the son’s bedroom, who’d moved out months ago, thinking this room would be easier for me to pack. It wasn’t. His suits, his school notes, his collections were still crammed in every available space.

Jeff brought me a box and said, “Don’t think; just fill.”

We asked Hope about donations. Could we bag up outgrown clothes and donate them to a thrift store or to Manna House?

But Hope said no. She wasn’t opposed to giving them away (she had a big heart, I could tell), but she wanted it to be personal. She wanted to see faces of those who could use them before she’d let go. Until then, she’d keep them to herself, not risking their misuse from others.

I understand that. It’s hard for me to let go of my stuff, too. What if I’ll want it later? What if my kids might sometimes need it? Or my grandkids?

Until I picture a face of someone who needs it now.

I imagine an Hispanic mother sifting through the grocery carts of clothes at Manna House on Wednesday night, picking up the jacket I put there. I can see a needy man asking for a shirt to wear to a new job, and giving him one of Jeff’s donations.

Jesus saw the faces.

So he poured himself, the Spirit of Logos, into flesh, into something that could be seen, felt, heard. And for 33 years he wore it well.

But then took it off.

He moved out of his flesh into ours.

He’s willed his feet, his hands, his words to us to wear for him. He sees our faces, imagines our future actions, purposes our giving in his name, even knowing we’ll misuse the gift or forget to use it altogether at times.

Now is our turn.

Because the Word is still flesh.

We’re to touch with it, talk through it, go to others in it. This flesh, it’s for showing up in. To be worn well until it’s worn out.

Back at Hope’s, I finally gave up packing and just listened to her instead. She had a story behind every item she was hoarding and she needed someone to hear it. I kept her in the kitchen so Jeff could pack elsewhere without interruptions.

When we left her house a few hours later, I could see little difference. Yes, there were now more boxes taped and labeled, but there was so much more to go. It looked hopeless.

I later heard Hope got moved. She’d rented storage buildings to house her extras—Christmas decorations, coffee mugs, musical instruments, novels, boots. All in boxes. Not being used. Not being fleshed out.

The Word became flesh to be worn.

Put him on. Live him out. Wear him well.

* * *

How can you wear his flesh this Christmas? Share in the comments.

revised from the archives

31 thoughts on “He Still Wears Flesh

  1. Linda@Creekside

    mmm … you’ve got me thinking here, Lisa. What am I hoarding that could be shared freely? And not just the things, the accumulation …

    I don’t want my life to be holed up in storage somewhere, useless and forgotten.

    1. Lisa

      Little by little we learn to let go, yes? It’s gotten easier over the years for me to release certain things, but harder to release others. My time is hardest of all to let go of. 🙁

  2. floyd

    I think to remember is good, hanging onto things with a clinched fist crosses the line into idolatry. I get it, we all struggle, but our Savior is the temple, not the building… This has me thinking. May we where His light in this life.

    1. Lisa

      It definitely is hard to downsize. I know I hold on to too many things just for memory’s sake. I try to remind myself that the memory will still be intact though, even without the object itself. I have to really talk myself into letting things go…

  3. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! What a story…wow. And I like your idea of ‘being fleshed out’. How much ‘stuff’ do we really need? And it’s not just our physical goods that we should give life to again. I remember a post you did on being open to praying with people…that is giving the spirit a life again, giving flesh to Jesus’ love and intention.

    There are so many ways to be Christ to others. My husband and I gave some Christmas presents to two needy families, and that was fun. But we don’t see their faces, it’s a blind donation. But I’m ok with that. I don’t need to see that. (I think your friend might have used that as an excuse?) If we all remember we are Christ’s hands and feet, what a wonderful world it would be!

    Merry Christmas to you, Lisa. And thank you for this reminder to be joy and love to others,

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes–we don’t have to set our eyes personally on the faces; we just trust that those faces do exist and are real–each made by God–and that they will be touched by the love going out to them. I sometimes feel that way about our little friend we sponsor through World Vision–I can’t see him or his needs in El Salvador so I just have to trust that someone does and that the money is helping him in needed ways. It’s another lesson in faith.

      Merry Christmas to you, too, Ceil. I pray you have meaningful celebrations with friends and family and our Savior!

  4. Dea Moore

    Fleshed out. Yes, such a well told story. Thank you for listening and helping “Hope” process her transition. Praying that she will be able let go and grab hold of the new thing God has for her.

    1. Lisa

      That’s a sweet prayer, Dea, for Hope and for all of us. I don’t know if my path will cross again with hers or not, but we can always pray for those we can’t see. She did have faith in the Lord so I know he will continue to move in her life.

  5. Dawn

    Beautiful…just being present. Your sensitive spirit and presence reveals His presence.
    I read your post this morning, but was interrupted halfway through…now I am home again, cooking dinner and reading the second half. So good…I think I will savor it full, more slowly, while the pasta cooks! Love to you, Lisa! You bless me!

    1. Lisa

      I’m imagining you standing over a stove cooking your pasta, with the ocean waves in the background. Would love to sit down and have a plate of whatever you’re cooking. 🙂 I know we’d have lots to talk about. Thanks for your sweet spirit, Dawn. You bless me too.

    1. Lisa

      I set some used boots outside last night where we volunteer, and just had to go back to peek a few minutes later–they were already gone. I wish I were that fast in putting on what Christ lays out for me to wear each day! 🙂

  6. Mia

    Dear Lisa
    I cannot agree more. I think people offer to pray much to often for others who have great need and it is not wrong per se, but without helping with whatever we are able, it might just sound a bit same old, same old. Let us pray and at the same time fill a hungry belly!
    Blessings XX

    1. Lisa

      God bless you, Mia. Yes–let’s pray AND fill the bellies. I need to be reminded of this often because it’s easy for me to lean only on the praying part and go easy on the doing part. Let’s do both, not just one, when possible.

    1. Lisa

      Ooh, this is good, Sharon: “He did not come here to be a memory.” Thanks.

      I’m grateful for that reality. He is just alive now as ever, and wants to show that life through us.

    1. Lisa

      I need to do a lot more cleaning out too. We had a lady stop by Manna House last night with lots of toy donations–such a gift. But like most of us, she said she knew her own kids were about to get a brand new supply of everything. We have so much that it bothers me at times. May we continue to share more and more from our bounty.

  7. Krista

    Lisa this was amazing girl!
    You’re making me think long and hard about the things I’ve “boxed up” that I should be dusting off and using to his glory!
    Merry Christmas to you! 🙂

    1. Lisa

      Thanks, Krista. I shudder to think about how many things I have boxed up that could be put to use. May the Lord bring to light what he wants us to dust off first!

  8. Joanne Viola

    This is a beautiful post! We can so hold on. May we realize the many ways we can bless others, if we just let go and open our hands. I stopped by from Spiritual Sundays. May you & your family have a blessed Christmas!

    1. Lisa

      Thanks for stopping by, Joanne. I needed to be reminded of this; you phrase it so well: “We can bless others if we just let go and open our hands.” Praying I do that better the remainder of this week.

  9. Jean Wise

    what a story. Hard to imagine. “Jesus saw faces.” is the line that struck my heart. Reminds me to really see who is before me and to see Jesus in them.

  10. Debbie Wilson

    Lisa, this is so good. When I returned from a mission trip to Poland, I packed up all my wool clothes and sent them. I lived in Southern CA. at the time and didn’t need them. When I had faces that I knew needed the warm clothing, giving them became a joy. But putting things I still like into a grocery sack and dropping it off is not the same. Love how you imagine the faces of those receiving them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *