Archives for category: Faith

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Anxiety. If you listen, or scroll, or read for any amount of time these days, that word will most likely pop up pretty quickly. Worry, anxiety, depression…these are battles  of the mind and heart that so many face in their lives. About a month ago, I was dealing with a lot of worry about a current situation in our lives. I couldn’t see how things would play out and it was really eating at me from the inside. It was pretty all-consuming, and I was making bold attempts to not feed the worry (cause yep, as I’ve said ad nauseum, “What we feed grows…”), but I was having a tough time. Worry seemed to be winning. But then, then… I read this quote: “Faith is rest, because it believes the work is done.” (Dan Bailey).

I stopped.  Rest.  I’m not sure why it hit me so incredibly hard, but it did. I smiled big.  Faith, belief leads to rest.  Not just rest like a nap. Rest like a quieting of the heart’s hamster wheel of worry. Rest like an ability to be ‘all in’ in the moment we’re in because we’re not pondering what the future will hold. Rest like a holding out of our empty hands instead of wringing them in anxious waiting. Rest in the soul that allows me to go all out in the daily stuff of life. Rest that says, “You’ve got this” not to me, but to the One who really does. God has got this.

He knew what would come before I did. He knows what is to come. And He’s right there in the middle of it all. When we take those situations, heartaches, worries to Him and lay it down, we make room for Him to do what we can’t. When we trust Him with it all, it frees us up to be wholly devoted to Him in the big and little stuff of our daily lives.

We are much more present living life with the people in our midst, working hard, loving well and reaching those in our world, when we’re not so busy trying to keep the world spinning…or worrying about it not spinning.  So, “Faith is Rest”.  Trusting is Resting. That’s been my new ‘go-to’ when worry crops up. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting.  When fears for my (adult) child crop up.  Trusting is resting.  When the uncertainty of future weighs on heart and mind. Trusting is resting. When my friend and her family were in a car accident yesterday and her neck was fractured. Tears were flowing, but my heart was knowing that God is in control and because of that I can trust Him with her and her family. Why?  Because trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. Trusting is resting. That’s what I spoke to my heart.  Truth. And Truth sets us free to rest in our hearts in situations that are difficult, trying, even terrifying.

If I believe God is who He says He is, I can trust Him with it all.  And the cool thing is?  He can use it all. For our good, For His Glory, He can use it all as we lay it at His feet. We put our spinning worlds down, and He, the Creator of All, can get our wobbly worlds back in sync.  When we put our worries into praying with faith, knowing that God can use it all, we put the reigns back in the hands of the One who Loves and Knows and sees beyond what we ever could. He’s a bit more adept at spinning the World than I am. That sun comes up every single solitary morning whether I see it (or worry about it!) or not. Just saying.

So, when worries crop up (daily, hourly, even momentarily!), am learning to speak truth to myself…to remind myself that I can trust God with it all.  Trusting is resting in His Sovereign Will, in His undying Love.  Trusting is Resting.

Blessings~

Heather

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.”  

Romans 8:26-28

P.S. ( Always, right?  Sorry!)

Romans 8  I have  to include the link to whole chapter of Romans 8. It is so incredibly rich on any given day, but it is especially full when battling fears. No condemnation. He works all things for our good. He loves us. He has provided.  Yes, rich words and Truths indeed that can fill the heart that needs to remember who they trust and why they can rest.

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“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

Matthew 6:26

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Sometimes waiting is hard. It just is.  But it’s a lot harder when we focus on what’s not there rather than the beauty that is.  Take this little branch for instance. It’s there.. Dormant. Sturdy. Barren. Little buds are just starting to  form. And pretty soon, it will be covered with leaves and the branches will be barely visible for all of the growth of the leaves.  But it will still be there…it will be the foundation that’s been there all along, the structure on which the delicate blooms sprout.

Maybe one of the sweet benefits of waiting for what is to come, is just being aware of what is…and seeing things as they are. Because sometimes the greatest foundations, the ‘bare bones’ of the structure of our lives are only recognized when all of the fluff and growth and answered prayer isn’t there…yet. Sometimes waiting in the barrenness of winter is such a good thing. Gratitude grows in the waiting. It grows in the winters of our lives because it has to search, to dig deep, to see and be thankful for what is…and still hope for what will be.

 “But as for me, I will look to the LORD;

I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.”

 Micah 7:7

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Maybe “sassy” looks like a 3 inch bird who stares down a 5’6″ human. Maybe it looks like diving into the whole cup of birdseed rather than teetering on the edge and reaching for a few kernels. Maybe it sounds like the song …the beautifully loud and clear tune from a tiny little bird that boldly breaks the silence and fills the air with a melody.  Maybe “sassy” is attitude that looks beyond stature and circumstance. Maybe sassy is a really good thing.  Because this kind of sassy sure sounds a lot like ‘faith’ to me.

… a few thoughts that came to me as I came eye to eye with this sassy little thing  just outside of my window.

 

“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear?                                                                 The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?”                                                Psalm 27:1

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So, I’ve done a load or two of laundry in my day.  In fact, I’ve probably done at least a load or two of laundry per day for over 25 years. Having a large family has helped me do my share and more of this chore.

I’ve learned a lot.  Separating is imperative if you have a new red shirt. With six males in the house, pink was never a dominant color choice.  Another thing is that you can’t overload the bin. If you overload the bin, well, the laundry doesn’t get clean, the washer starts to thump, and bump causing the launderer (me) to run frantically from one side of the house to another before something snaps (in the washer of course.) One more thing.  Never, ever, ever put a white sock in the load with dark sweaters. Never, never, never.

Why is this you ask?  Because one seemingly innocent move like putting a white sock or two in a dark load of clothes can create hours and hours of painstaking removal of lint from dark sweaters. Either that or the sweater gets put away for years.  Or the sweater is worn with lots of little white dots all over it. It’s not a fashion statement to be envied…trust me. I’ve worn those sweaters a time or two (or two hundred).

I have also wasted precious time trying to de-lint the sweater that was a cohabitant of the sock(s) in the washer.  Yep, I’ve wasted precious, precious time using every form of lint remover there is in an attempt to remove what could have easily been prevented by just not putting  socks into the washer. “A stitch in time saves nine” is one way of saying that… a white sock kept out of the washer saves a lot of annoying lint removal later on…

And why do I blog of this today?  What’s the deal with the white socks?  Well, I just did a load of black clothes and almost dropped a pair of very white wooly socks in to the washer.  Yikes. I did get them out in time, but  immediately was thankful for the analogy. Because why?

Well, I was thankful for the analogy because words…words are much like socks.  One white sock in a load of black, one bad apple in a basket of fruit, one ill-timed ugly word in a conversation….they all seem to have the same effect….lots of wasted energy and time.

See, ill-timed, reactionary, words that aren’t thought through, well, they have an impact much like the white sock in a sea of black.  They waste a lot of time, energy, and ruin something that was good.  Words matter.  Spoken and unspoken, they matter.  What we think and feed in our minds matter way before they come out of our mouths in words.

I love the way the Bible likens words to a rudder on a ship, for they do steer and lead and direct not only the people in the conversation, but can impact those we never even meet. Words matter.  The Bible also likens words to a fire…fire can warm or be useful, or burn and be incredibly destructive.  Just ask the people who love the beautiful mountains of North Carolina….a campfire can be a beautiful thing, but a fire untamed, un restrained, in full-on fury is terrifying, destructive, and devastating.

So, am reminding myself to be careful.  I’ve gotta be careful with fruit ….(note to self: gotta get those bananas out of the fruit bowl today..either to make banana bread or trash them because they will soon lead to some bad apples.)  Also, I’ve gotta be careful with socks and breathe a huge sigh of relief that I just rescued the black sweaters from a pair of hidden white socks.  And, way most importantly, I’ve gotta be very very careful with the words I speak out loud and even the words I don’t say.I’ve gotta filter the words I hear through what I know to be true. I’ve gotta be careful with the words that are spoken to me in anger and hurt and be determined to have a teflon spirit. I’ve gotta be careful with words. Period. What I let in. What I let out.  What I do with both.

Words are rudders. Words lead the heart, the mind, the soul, and we are to guard our hearts with truth. Period.  Reactionary words happen. They just do.  Forgiveness needs to happen then too. But more than that, it’s such a great thing to be well equipped with truth from the Word of God that acts as a filter, a dryer’s lint guard if you will, to get all the fluff out of the way and stay clean, dare I say, “pure”.  That’s what the Bible says…How can a young man keep his way pure?  By guarding it according to Your Word.” Psalm 119:9.  And if it can keep a young man pure, well, am thinking that it will definitely have a great impact on keeping others on the right track. So here’s to throwing away bad fruit, keeping laundry sorted, and hiding God’s Word in our hearts, (order of importance reversed of course!)

And if you get a chance, read Psalm 119.  The whole thing. It’s awesome.  Talks about how God uses His Word to revive our spirits, enlarge our hearts, keep us on the right track. His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. His Word refreshes and gives hope.Hiding God’s Word in our hearts, meditating on it and filtering our thoughts through the treasure of Truth found in the Word can prevent so much waste in our hearts, minds, and lives.  Yes, it’s definitely worth the time to read…Kind of like those white socks…being mindful can prevent a lot of annoying wasted time, energy, and even heartache later on. And unlike the effects of white socks on sweaters, the impact of words can last as long as the memory allows and can lead us down paths that are difficult to redirect.  Here’s to letting that ‘lamp unto our feet’ help keep us on good paths. Just a few thoughts as I did my laundry and rescued my sweaters from a few white socks.

Blessings ~
Heather

Psalm 119 – ALL oF it is so good, but below is just verse 11 through 32.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
         By keeping it according to Your word.

With all my heart I have sought You;
         Do not let me wander from Your commandments.

Your word I have treasured in my heart,
         That I may not sin against You.

Blessed are You, O LORD;
         Teach me Your statutes.

With my lips I have told of
         All the ordinances of Your mouth.

I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies,
         As much as in all riches.

I will meditate on Your precepts
         And regard Your ways.

I shall delight in Your statutes;
         I shall not forget Your word.

Deal bountifully with Your servant,
         That I may live and keep Your word.

Open my eyes, that I may behold
         Wonderful things from Your law.

I am a stranger in the earth;
         Do not hide Your commandments from me.

My soul is crushed with longing
         After Your ordinances at all times.

You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed,
         Who wander from Your commandments.

Take away reproach and contempt from me,
         For I observe Your testimonies.

Even though princes sit and talk against me,
         Your servant meditates on Your statutes.

Your testimonies also are my delight;
         They are my counselors.

My soul cleaves to the dust;
         Revive me according to Your word.

I have told of my ways, and You have answered me;
         Teach me Your statutes.

Make me understand the way of Your precepts,
         So I will meditate on Your wonders.

My soul weeps because of grief;
         Strengthen me according to Your word.

Remove the false way from me,
         And graciously grant me Your law.

I have chosen the faithful way;
         I have placed Your ordinances before me.

I cling to Your testimonies;
         O LORD, do not put me to shame!

I shall run the way of Your commandments,
         For You will enlarge my heart.”

Psalm 119:9-32

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I hadn’t been to the beach for awhile, so I just couldn’t pass up the chance to breathe in a little ocean air over Thanksgiving break while we were visiting family who live near the coast. Even just a little time at the beach was better than nothing, for sure.  My niece was ‘bored’, so she came with me and I’m so glad she did.We walked and talked and saw lots of people there who seemed to be getting their ocean air fix as well. There were couples walking hand in hand. There were people walking their dogs. There were some teenagers in the waves swimming, and older folks just walking barefoot in the sand and dipping their toes in the ocean every once in a while like yours truly.  But then, I saw these two boys and I just had to smile.

futility2 It brought me back to a place in time when my kids were little and would do much the same thing.These two boys with rake and shovel in hand, were digging as fast as their little bodies would go.  They didn’t talk much at all, just kept their noses down and worked and worked to accomplish the goal that they had set. To be honest, I’m not sure what that goal was, but the determination in their little bodies and faces sure made it apparent that they knew what the goal was and that’s what mattered! (I’m thinking it was probably trenches and ponds and dams…I think those are sometimes more fun than castles anyway…)

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Now to the rational mind, this kind of thing was just a lesson in futility.  I mean, what can two boys with two shovels and determination do to make a difference with the waves and the wind? I mean, obviously whatever they did would disappear and be swallowed up in the waves when the tide came in, right?

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Of course it would. I mean, everyone knows that the things we build in the sand will often not last for hours, let alone a day.

left-behind7But it seems that young boys often have a good grasp of what we adults can often forget. Working side by side with a common goal is fun.  Work and play can be interchangeable.  Making a difference in our little area is making a difference period. Trenches and ponds and castles of sand can be rebuilt again, and again, and again.  Failure helps us think critically.  Challenges help us grow.  The ocean comes in just one wave at a time, and fills the gaps one wave at a time. Ocean water can be guided by little shovels. That’s some pretty powerful stuff for two little boys against the landscape of a vast ocean.

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So much of our work, our adult ‘stuff’, our so-very-important projects, well, aren’t they oftentimes a bit like castles in the sand?  They matter, they are appreciated for awhile, but then, they disappear into the landscape as if they were never even there, like sand castles swallowed up in a wave. Life is so very full of loss. It just is. Relational, Material, Financial, Professional, Physical, Medical,….we all have our own areas where we can point to our losses…when what we worked towards or for, is all of a sudden, or gradually, swallowed up till there’s very little recognition left. Castles built. Castles lost.

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But here’s a little something these boys reminded me of… the beauty of the process is as significant (or maybe even more significant) than the accomplishment of the product. It just is. For oftentimes, the stuff that outlasts winds and waves is the stuff that no one can see, the “stuff” that makes us who we are, the relational, untouchable “stuff” that no one can take away. 

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Our lives leave traces behind.  Legacies.  Not just when we die.  When we live. Day by day, moment by moment, we matter.  (Way more than stuff).  These little boys I didn’t even know inspired me. (Who knows, maybe they’ll even inspire you!)  And no matter what material “products” we attain or lose, who we are in the use (or misuse) of those acquisitions is what makes the difference.  How we impact others…. what light we shine or don’t shine…that’s where the impact lies. And it’s often in the processes, the hard day in, day out work, that we grow and change and inspire without even realizing it.I’m pretty certain those hardworking little fellows didn’t even realize I was there…let alone that their little hearts were encouraging mine. The insignificant little things are often the significant big things. Hopefully so.

Those little boys were most likely not cognizant of the fact that their little heart and minds and hearts were so growing in the process of digging the trenches.  They were focused on the goal, the task, the team effort. But that’s the beauty of working hard…so often it’s not about what we work for, but about the amazing growth that occurs during the process that makes all the difference in how we do or do not impact those around us.

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So, here’s to so enjoying our castles in the sand… working for them, using them, sharing them, admiring them, but also, letting go of them when times of loss may come.  Because castles in the sand?  They are temporary…but those things we can’t see…the intangibles of who we are, what we are, who God is, and what we do for Him…that, THAT is what lasts and what no one can take away.

One of my all time favorite verses is 2 Corinthians 4:17-18. It says, “For our light and temporary affliction is producing for us an eternal glory that far outweighs our troubles.So we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” A dear friend of mine and I have reminded each other of this verse time and time again.  Through day to day struggles. Through marital issues. Through births and raising of children. Through relational challenges.  Through financial strain.  Through the death of her child (yes, even that…) Through, through, through…one thing remains.  Through castles built. Through castles lost. Through castles restored.

We can hope in the midst of any of those stages because we have faith in the Unseen God who is and loves and redeems.

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We can press on with our little rakes and shovels with faith and tenacity and hope because we believe He IS.  The work He does in our lives is about so much more than end results like castles.  His work in our lives is about knowing and serving Him in the midst of what we face each day with determined and child like faith. pier6.JPG

Keep pressing on, friend. Even when you can’t see the results, maybe there’s something more than ‘results’ going on. Just a reminder inspired by two hardworking and determined boys, a rake and a shovel, and a sea of sand and waves.  

Blessings ~

Heather

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward.

It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

 Colossians 3:23-24

screen-shot-2016-11-24-at-7-14-36-amLove the words of Ann Voskamp, and the reminders to live intentionally each day.  ‘Grateful joy’…love that she has the word ‘grateful’ before ‘joy’  because am thinking that joy often follows being grateful, thankful, aware of the gifts in our lives and around us.  Am thinking ThanksGiving leads to  ThanksLiving, and ThanksLiving leads to Joy. And here’s the thing. Like Ann said, “Any amount of grateful joy changes the present.”  It just does.Love that amazing truth.  May you and yours (and I and mine) live in those moments of grateful joy today ❤

Blessings and Happy ThanksGiving~

Heather

“The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.

My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

Psalm 28:7

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So, in recent weeks, I have heard reference to a story multiple times. It’s a story in the Bible of a man who had been sick for a long time.  I’m not certain of the infirmity, but according to scripture, he had been waiting to be healed for close to 4 decades.  Yep, almost 40 years of waiting.  So Jesus comes along and asks him a very obvious question. This is how John 5:1-5 tells the story…After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, which is called in Hebrew, Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain time into the pool and stirred up the water; then whoever stepped in first, after the stirring of the water, was made well of whatever disease he had.Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

I bet there were some raised eye brows and then maybe some snickers then. Of course he wants to get well, right?  I mean, of COURSE!  But Jesus asks.  And Jesus is good at cutting through all the layers of facade to the heart of the issue.  He merely turns the most obvious assumption (that this man indeed does want to get well) into a question which encourages the man to take ownership of the issue.  And what does the man say? It’s pretty comical actually. He starts the blame game a bit. John 5: 6 states,   The sick man answered Him, “Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; but while I am coming, another steps down before me.”    Observation number one…we need each other.  He could’ve asked for help.  Observation number two, he blames his not being able to get in the water on having others stepping in before him. If it were his child he were concerned about or a family member, would he have pushed through with everything in his power to ensure that they’d get in the pool.  Did he advocate for himself and his ‘becoming well’ with that same passionate whatever-it-takes motivation?

And I wonder…I wonder if he had actually become somewhat comfortable with his infirmity.  That is to say that  I wonder if his scars, his infirmity, his lack of ‘being well’ became such a part of his identity that he had lost the drive that would make him scoot with abandonment to the pools with the desire to be healed. I wonder if he forgot what it was like to desire to live without the affliction.  Sometimes, when things are not within our reach, it just hurts too much to desire it, to hope.  A hope deferred truly does make the heart sick.  We wait, to no avail, and then we stop expecting, hoping, wishing, and become stuck in the place where we are. Or, we realize that it’s “easier” (short-term), to just stay stuck…because it takes a heck of a lot of effort to move from complacency to becoming well.

I recently had the honor of being around a number of people who struggle with alcohol and various addictions.  They had all gotten to the place where they were tired of sitting at that pool’s edge living with their battles and most said, “YES”, I want to get well. They said “yes to working hard, sweating through, and overcoming the challenges they were facing as much as it depends on them. Some had had friends, or legal ramifications,  literally drop them in that pool of water, that is to say, the desire for them to get well was owned by someone else. These were the ones  that seemed half-hearted in the attempts.  But the ones who knew how life had gotten so out of control that truly said, “YES”, I want to get well…those seemed to be the ones who were hungry, passionate, striving for something more.

A loved one of mine was in their midst.  He kept saying that after the number of weeks he was there, he could do this on his own.  He could muster up the energy and courage to fight the battle on his own.  And I was terrified.  Because, although he had taken steps and had the desire to get well, the “well” that he wanted was very shallow…for it takes time to deal and heal and develop patterns that reach to the core of who we are and heal from within.  I know God can heal in a heartbeat, but I also know that there are scars that come along with almost any affliction/sin/sickness… some visible scars, some so deep that we don’t even know how much they effect our daily lives. And I wanted more for him.  So much more.  I didn’t want the toe dipped in the water and a short – term heal, I longed for him to have that total immersion, that total commitment to being truly ‘well’.

So here’s the thing.  He said yes.  He mustered up the courage to say that there was a big need that he couldn’t handle on his own.  He  said yes to the fact that it wasn’t a quick fix, but would take time, energy and a lifestyle change. He said yes to the commitment to courageously seek change, to seek to be well not just for the short term but for a life time.  He said yes.  And all I kept thinking was that he’s alive again. ALIVE.  And he knows and I know that when you’re alive, you feel things.  Good things. Bad things.  You’re not numb, anesthetized to it all, you feel…  Complacency can feel like comfort, but looks more numb.  Risking, living, breathing, changing, all costs.  It hurts. And there are times in our lives when we are so aware of that. Taking risks, growing, sets us up for rejection.  But it also sets us up for a possibility to truly make an impact, to share, to lose, to gain, to LIVE and ultimately to live the life that God created us to live.  He knows the plans He has for us.  It is ours to walk in them, …or not.

Well, I say all this to say, that I’m thinking there are areas in my life where I’m a little too content to sit by the pool.  There are areas in my life where I’ve been passively “waiting”, when I need to be actively scooting toward the waters of change.  I love how Jesus can change, redeem, renew things in a heartbeat, but often, the first steps begins with our acknowledgement not only of our infirmity/sin/habits, but of our desire to be well.  He will do what we can’t if we will offer Him what we can. I love that so much.  God loves us…so much.  He doesn’t want us stuck, comfortably numb waiting for what He has already offered.  He calls us to a life of risk, of adventure, of passion, not a life of waiting by the pool.  Life is short.  Life is also a gift…not just to us, but to those around us.  We impact.  If our lives are spent blaming others for why we aren’t this or that, we may be missing out on so much.  LIke the man by the pool, we can rationalize why we are still stuck in this or that area of our lives, but we need to ask ourselves, do we want to get well?  Excuses can so be rationalize and laughed at and made light of.  But excuses keep us stuck.

So, when my loved one said, “YES” to taking the short term hard road for the long term gain, I rejoiced.  He was choosing to grow.  He was choosing to LIVE.  And each step, each day, each “yes” he says in his life, is like a little green shoot on a vast tree.  It comes quietly, and appears so small, so tender at first, but over time, the leaves grow and cover a vast tree.  One step plus one step plus one step leads to a journey of growth.  And he is being an incredible example to me of being courageous to say I don’t want to be ‘stuck’ here anymore.  And as I watch the process unfold, I am aware that it truly is a process. Like so many good things, it takes time.

And that brings me back to the photo, to the visual that encourages me so much.  See that little teeny tiny shoot of a green leaf?  It’s just one little leaf.  But one plus one plus one plus one equals an infinite number.  Pretty soon the leaves will just cover the tree.  What will draw out those little leaves?  Sunlight. The sunlight beckons the little leaf on out…and provides nutrients to allow for that little leaf to grow and join other little leaves that end up covering a tree.The love of Christ is so like that.  The warmth, the light, the truth of Christ just beckons us onward, to be enveloped and embraced by the wonder of being loved. And when we know we’re loved so deeply, so totally, in such an all consuming way, it makes us want to grow, to leave beyond the sin, the complacency, the habits, and flourish. It makes us want to scoot with abandonment to the pool and say ‘yes’, I want to be well. I want to be WELL.  And then….then we can say, ‘it IS well, it IS well with our souls’…  Thanks be to God for the love that fills and moves and motivates and heals to depths we don’t even know are there.  May we forever be aware of the love of God that urges us to leave behind the complacency and not only say ‘yes’ to being well, but be willing to scoot and  jump into the pools with abandonment.  I can’t help but think that like a loving Father waiting in the pool for his child to jump in the water, God is waiting with arms wide open for those who trust in Him.  Here’s to little steps and big leaps.

Blessings~

Heather

“…His loving kindness leads me to repentance.”

 Romans 2:4

 

weave

I remember as a child so enjoying making paper placemats.  Usually, the teacher would instruct on how to cut the template for the placemat.  We’d take a piece of construction paper and then cut vertical slits, careful not to cut through to the edge.  Then, we’d cut long strips of paper in various colors to weave in and out horizontally.  Over, under, over, under, over, under, a beautiful pattern would emerge right before out eyes, and after a period of time, each piece would be in place and we’d have a beautiful placemat to share with our families.

I thought about that pattern as I saw the beauty of this palm tree at the beach the other day.  The tall grasses were blowing gently in the wind, the waves were rolling in, the palm leaves were blowing turbulently with the strong wind, and…the trunk of the palm tree stood as steady as a rock. I looked at the trunk and marveled at the beauty of the pattern, over, under, over, under.  And I smiled.

You see, it reminded me of something I needed to be reminded of…that God’s design is perfect.  It is intricate.  It is beautiful. It is unique.  Oh, so unique. God knows what He’s doing. The pattern of the palm tree was beautiful, but had a purpose. Although I will never really have a total comprehensive understanding of all of the whys of the design, I can trust the Designer with the intricate details and reasons for them. I can also appreciate the beauty of the artistry of the pattern, in the same way that oh, so many years ago, I appreciated the pattern of the beautiful little placemats created by my own hands.

So here’s the thing.  I think God has a beautiful template for my life, much like the piece of construction paper with the vertical slits.  There’s a plan.  There’s a purpose.  There’s a pattern.  There are gifts, and abilities, and a myriad of “givens” that were who I was before I even knew I was alive.  All these things help form the backdrop, the template, the background of a life, again, much like the construction paper with the vertical slits.

Then, there are the variables.  These are the choices, opportunities taken and lost, effort given or not, words spoken or not, and the list goes on with each step forward or back. These are like the strips that are cut and woven in and out.  Some may cut their strips  uniformly and thin, weaving them in and out meticulously.  Others may cut them with wavy patterns, and the strips may be varying in width.  Some of us may weave methodically over, under, over, under, making wise choices along the way, day after day, year after year. Others, much like me then, and me now, might rush things a bit and go over, under, over, under, over, over, under, over, under, “oops I skipped a slit”, go back and pull the strip out and start again,….over under, over, under….  Some of us may see beautiful patterns emerge.  Others of us may be so up close and focused on the tiny little strip that we don’t see the beautiful pattern emerging.

Anyway, all this from looking at a palm tree?  Yep.  All this from looking at a palm tree and being reminded that He creates good things and there is beauty all around to remind me of  that. The heavens declare the glory of God.  So do ocean waves.  So do palm trees.   And it is my hope and prayer that , well, so do I.  Even when my little placemat of a life may have lots of not-so-uniform perfectly cut little strips, I’m praying that His beauty shines through that template that He made, and that His grace shines through the strips that I weave, day after day, year after year.   I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to remember that there’s a bigger picture, and that even though I might not be able to see the design at times, I can so trust that my little efforts each day are woven into a much bigger picture, tapestry, or …placemat, if you will!  Here’s to thanking God for the templates we are given, and being faithful in our efforts to “weave” lives that honor Him.

Blessings~

Heather

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,

so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

Ephesians 2:10

 

 

 

 

 

journey

through

You can see it in the distance

the sun over the hill

Though the fog offers resistance

The sun shines through still

Though the fog may be prevailing

Though the way is not clearly seen

There’s a knowing, there’s a growing of

Seeing through the trees

The forest that is darkened

The fog that fills and fades

Will be burned away in time

Till true sight is what remains

Faith sees through the trees

And faces one step at a time

Faith fixes  eyes on things unseen

And Believes God for His Light to shine

In time…

12-13-15

 

The morning fog was so thick this morning, and so beautiful.  Kept thinking about faith and how fog is such a picture of how so much of life and the steps we take depends on whether or not we walk by faith, or we try to control the uncontrollable and frustrate ourselves, waste time, and create so much turmoil merely because we can’t control some things or see the way ahead.

I can’t make the fog lift any more than I can change some things that are out of control in my life. (Of course, this isn’t referring to things that I should and can control and be responsible for, but for those that I have no control over.)  But I can trust that God will give me the faith to keep moving forward one step at a time when I don’t have visibility for the mile ahead. I can trust Him for this minute when I don’t know what tomorrow brings.

The fog is beautiful, too.  And the “fog” in our lives can create beauty as well because as we move forward, we grow in faith.  We’re more slow and deliberate with our steps, and for me…I just get this picture of clinging to Jesus…clinging closer in the fog than I would need to if I knew that everything was just hunky-dory and  that I had everything under control.

Just a few thoughts on faith in the fog…yet again!

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, for what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 

2 Corinthians 4 (yet again!)  

 

 

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