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

DSCN2995So the other morning, it was one of those mornings. You know, the ones where you can hear the lines of the childhood book, “Alexander and the Horrible, No-good, Very Bad Day” that list all the “awful ,horrible, no good very bad things” that happen to poor Alexander one day.   My list started like this:  I woke up late because I forgot to put the ringer on my phone so that the 5 different ringtones set apart at random minutes could go off. So, I rushed downstairs to get the much-needed coffee and when I opened the cabinet, two cups fell out right at me. I caught the mug with my hand, and sandwiched the plastic one between me and the counter before it fell. Definitely another rude awakening.

Then I made coffee in the Keurig, but the lid must not have been shut on the little canister thing I use and when I went to sip the coffee in the dimly lit kitchen, there were coffee grounds floating all over the top.That rude awakening was way worse than the cups or the waking up late.  Then  I turned on the brighter light and saw that the container for the lunch that I had packed the night before, was on the counter….empty. Somebody had eaten it late last night. (And my work friends know that I’m not the greatest at packing lunches for me…and that a 50 cent pack of crackers has been ‘lunch’ way more than I’d like to admit.)

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I remade the coffee, readjusted the mugs and cups in the cabinet, and flew up the stairs to get ready for the day. I didn’t say a word to my husband about the lunch..or lack there of. (I kind of had a feeling, a very strong suspicion, that he was the culprit.)

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I could list lots of faux pas of the morning because the day kept going on as it had started. I had forgotten about a meeting, and had some things not yet checked off my list that should’ve been checked off, and at 8:01, I get a phone call from my husband (the ringer was back on…but now should’ve been off because I was in the classroom with students.)  I was worried about why he was calling me at this time, so I pick up and he says, “I’m bringing you lunch today. Sorry….I ate yours last night.”

And I was glad that I hadn’t said anything about the empty container on the counter this morning.  Because if I had made some remark, not only would I not have gotten a better lunch than the one I had packed, I probably would’ve had a not-so-happy husband, and …. absolutely no lunch.

And I kept thinking about how there’s a flip side to everything.  I had tried to tell myself that on the way to work.  Not, ‘What the heck was Tanner thinking when he emptied the dishwasher last night and put too many mugs in the cabinet…”, but “I’m thankful Tan emptied the dishwasher.” Period. And the mug I caught could’ve fallen or hit me in the head or something, so I could be thankful for that. And not, “What the in the world is my problem that I forgot to set my 5 alarms?” But, I’m thankful I made it to work on time. And not, “Who does that?  Who eats his wife’s lunch and leaves the empty container for her to clean up?”  But, “I’m thankful that he cared enough to bring me lunch…lunch that was WAY better than the leftovers I had packed.”

So, yes, I was reminded that there’s a flip side to most everything. There’s a different angle, vantage point, perspective from which to see things in our 3D world. There’s often a negative dimension that has a positive dimension that takes a little bit more effort and squinting to see. Am thinking there’s also a spiritual dimension that sees things in the light of God’s grace.  Three-D.  And it’s funny how often the lens we see through is a bit one dimensional. We can tend toward one dimension or another. Some of us are a bit more positive in our view of things. We see that rose colored glass half-full. And some of us are a bit more negative and worry takes front and center stage in our view of things. But I love how scripture continually paints a picture of hope and positive perspective that points to a God who is in it ALL and can use it ALL for the good. When we bring it to Him, that is. Our faith, or lack there of surely colors our worlds, our views, our world view…

DSCN6460I don’t yet wear glasses. I wear readers sometimes because my arms are not quite long enough for my eyes to focus sometimes, ha! (But my husband ‘borrowed’ my readers as well…not sure where they are so have been holding things at a stretched arm’s length for awhile!) But I do know from having a son who wears glasses that they can get smudged and cloud the view a bit when you don’t take the time to clean them. I think reading God’s word, and spending time in prayer, seeking Him is like that daily cleaning of the lens of our hearts. He gives clarity, perspective that’s not just in the now, but sees beyond what’s seen, beyond the moment, to help see the flip side of things.

I often reference I Corinthians 13:12 that says,  “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  I love that. Some versions say, “we see through a glass darkly”, like glasses that haven’t been cleaned or through a window of a dimly lit house. We see in part. We know in part. But….then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.”  What a great thing…to see with perspective..to know every angle of something so as to understand, to KNOW.  To KNOW, comprehend, and understand is a good thing. But to be known and understood?  That’s an amazing thing. DSCN2532

I think we can all sense when we’re known in a one dimensional way…when people see  us through their positive or negative lens.I’m sometimes amazed at how quick people are to judge, how rarely some folks realize that their view might be just a tad-bit one-dimensional. So often, these folks can make quick verdicts and later need to backtrack and re-view their initial judgements…  Three-Dimensional vision takes the perspective of having different vantage points, and that takes t  i  m  e . But to be known, seen, understood…in a way that sees that 3 D view of who we are…that’s a gift. Especially when the knowing comes with an appreciation, even a love of who we are as the whole package. Yes, that is a gift to be treasured and valued and invested in.

I have a globe in my classroom, a one-dimensional cut-out-of-posterboard globe. On it, I wrote, “How I see the world can change how the world sees me.”  I want my students to start recognizing that it takes time and effort to see with a clear view …to see beyond what themselves, and to see beyond what’s seen. I want them to see that the lens they see through is often clouded by our own experience, views, and perspective, and  that in order to see clearly, we need to take into account how others might be feeling or seeing things.  In the same way that a new pair of well-prescribed glasses can correct vision, seeing things through the lens of empathy can allow people to see a more accurate 3-D view of their world, of our world. And eyes of faith, well, that adds a whole new beautiful dimension.

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Well, the day ended up just fine, and the many not-so-perfect moments will be forgotten soon, but the lessons of the flip side? I hope it continues. I hope I’m constantly looking for the flip side, the other angle when things aren’t quite the scene that I’d choose.

And here’s one random visual that I thought I might not share, but it’s late and I’m tired, and so I don’t have much of a filter…so here goes 🙂  Pancakes. Love them. You know when you’re watching the bubbles pop on the pancake and you wait with anticipation to see the golden brown beauty when that spatula flips that pancake?  There’s nothing like that perfectly browned pancake, hot off the griddle, that’s been flipped at just the right time.  Well, am thinking that flipping at the right time is important. With pancakes, and with perspective. You see, if we aren’t in the habit of seeking out the flip side of things in the time that we see them, well, we miss the chance to change the scene in that moment. If I hadn’t sought out the ‘flip side’ the other morning, I could’ve created lots of fiascos with angry husbands and empty stomachs and teachers and students who were in the wake of my terrible no good very bad morning. But when we see the flip side, we can change the view. For us and for others. That’s a beautiful thing.

If we wait too long to see the flip side, well, it might just be like the very well done overly blackened pancake…a missed opportunity to enjoy something great.

Just a thought.

Well, gonna go set my alarm(sssss…..). Here’s to a good morning for you all…and  here’s to seeing the flip side when life gets a little topsy turvy. Remembering that God looks at us through eyes of grace, through the flip side of the Cross, that can help us change perspective on just about everything. Man sees a cross as death and endings and defeat. God allowed the flip side of the cross to bring life and victory and beginnings.  He’s the Master of the flip side. Am thinking that in the light of His grace, it’s a lot easier for us to see and to seek the flip side.

By His Grace~
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

 

 

 

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…

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….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

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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

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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

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