Archives for posts with tag: 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

I love the zoom lens on my camera. The lens will go from a close up of one thing to a close up of another thing in the push of a button and then back again in a heartbeat. The camera is still pointed at the exact same place, but the whole perspective changes. (Nothing else changes, only the perspective…)

So this morning as I held up my camera, my view which started out as this…a tree just beginning to bud…

DSCN2967.JPG

….turned to this…blooms…full pink blossoms…in the push of a button. Voila!

DSCN2935.jpgAm thinking two things.

First, what we zoom into is what we see. There are a myriad of lenses to look through. Where we fix our gaze is what we see. Faith helps us fix our eyes on the unseen…to trust in God, and that filter can become a lens that helps us see the beauty beyond the bare. I don’t know about  you, but there’s a  lot of “bare” to see in my world. Zooming in helps me see the beauty…and the presence of God in the midst of it all.

Second…that our human eyes (and hearts) can only see so much, even with zoom lenses…. And that what we may see as bare branches and a teeny tiny bit of growth, God may look beyond to see as the beautiful thing that is yet to be.  He knows what is to come and He loves us right in the middle of it all. That’s a beautiful thing that I’m zooming in on today.

Blessings ~

Heather

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

futility8

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…)

futility3

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?

windandwaves3windandwaveswindandwaves4

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.

futility

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.

pier3pier2pier4

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. 

left-behind3

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.

futility4

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.

mb-cross-pier

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

WinterFire

It’s been a week of winter grays. The January sky has been whitish gray, colorless and cold. The landscape has been faded, dull, and cold. That’s why it was such a breath of fresh air to see these beautiful winterberries the other day. They were bright red, vibrant, full of life! Red berries in a sea of gray.

Well, to be honest, I’m a little sensitive these days about that bland color. Gray. I’ve never really liked the color, but, I find that I have really disliked it recently. More like intensely disliked. Especially when I look in the mirror in the morning and see more and more of it! Yes, I’m thinking it just might be my year to go gray.

Or…not!

So I’m at a bit of a crossroads. Do I, who have never done anything but add “Sun-in” to my hair at my friend’s house when I was in 6th grade, color my hair? Hmmm. Or do I highlight it to disguise the gray a bit and buy myself a little time to make the decision? If you knew my schedule of visits to the salon, you might be quite amused. The time between visits would allow my gray roots to grow so long that I’d probably have a “wide-striped brunette skunk” kind of look. (Not quite the ‘look’ that I’d be going for!) Or do I concede to just going gray? That is the question.

Or…is it?

So here’s the thing. Maybe, when I’m honest with myself, the dilemma isn’t really about gray hair. Maybe it’s a bit more of realizing that things are changing, and those changes aren’t always things that I’d choose. Maybe the gray is a reminder, that in the seasons of life, winter is coming. And maybe, just maybe, that’s another reason why I smiled from ear to ear when I saw the winter berries.

Because winter isn’t only gray. It is bright blue skies against mountains covered in snow, vibrant red berries on bare branches, children snuggled in snowsuits, then snuggled in blankets with warm hot chocolate and pink cheeks. It is trees with bare branches that stand as beautiful silhouettes against the sky as the sun goes down. Winter is a light blue morning sky brushed with soft pink and periwinkle clouds. Winter is of endings, and of beginnings. It is a time when the growth going on on the inside may not be visible on the outside.

And so it is with our winters to come, my going gray (or not!) friends. I’d like to believe that I’m in the “Autumn” stage of life right now, and I don’t want to fight the inevitable. I want to embrace every season. But I refuse to go gray. Refuse. I’m not saying I’m going to color my hair. (This is about so much more than a few gray strands!) What I am saying is that I want to stay alive, vibrant, excited about each new day, not conceding to days that are more dull and gray. I want my attitude to say Spring even though my outward appearance may say “Winter is on it’s way!” I want to see the winter berries, not the sea of gray. Maybe that’s why, the more gray I see, the more I love the following verse:

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

I think that’s the bottom line for me as a believer in Christ. It’s all about perspective. So in the morning, I’m not going to fix my eyes on the gray. (Actually, yes I will!) But hopefully only ‘momentarily’… Hopefully, I can fix my eyes on the unseen truths of scripture that help me grow in wisdom and grace and hope and joy. The Word of God talks about the life in us is growing and being renewed, and that’s what our time with the Lord does. It renews us so that, we may be like Autumn or Winter on the outside, but growing like Spring on the inside. Spring. Vibrant, Full of Life. Women who have lived and learned and loved and now shine from the inside out with the grace that comes from knowing God in a way that they didn’t know in the early seasons of life.

He does the renewing. We just need to do the accepting, and then look for beauty in the ever changing landscape (or mirror!). And when we least expect it, we might just see (or better yet, be, like) beautiful red winterberries in a sea of gray.

Blessings,
Heather

%d bloggers like this: