Archives for posts with tag: trust

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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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Consider…

 

Silent Sunday

silentsunday“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”

Psalm 143:8

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“In quietness and trust is your strength.”  Isaiah 26:3

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Silent Sunday

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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

 

 

 

 

 

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“He had everything but he possessed nothing.

That is the spiritual secret.”

A.W. Tozer

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So, today, as I walked out of work, I looked up.  What I saw when I looked up made me breathe a deep sigh and smile a bit, for there in the sky was actually a bit of blue.  Haven’t seen blue in the sky for quite awhile it feels like, and this was “Carolina blue”, no less.  And for some reason, it just gave me a lot of hope, because that little bit of blue?  It was a gentle visual reminder to me that there IS hope.

The past few weeks, well, they have been challenging to say the least.  Seems like it’s been raining and pouring in more ways than the weather, that’s for sure. Car troubles, relational issues, financial stretches to the max, sickness, fear, fatigue, work overload, and decisions pending, health concerns, and well, they have all hit at once.  I know these are the ordinary challenges we face…I mean, that’s just life.  But when they hit at once?  Well, it makes you feel like the cloud that surrounds is just never going to lift.  So, when I saw that little bit of blue?  Boy, was that a sight for sore eyes.

So, I got in the car (my son’s car, for my car broke down in the mountains last week and we were waiting on the estimate of how much the repair would be), and I was actually thankful for a lot of things.  One of them was the ‘extra’ car to drive.  We’re trying to sell my son’s car as he’s out of the country for a year and won’t be needing it in Sweden!  Anyway, I was really making a conscious effort to be thankful, (so why were the tears starting to roll?) Before I made it to the first errand, my husband called and gave me the news about the car.  Repair?  Well, more like an overhaul.   Verdict:  the car repair will probably cost more than the value of the car.  Heavy sigh.  But do you know what was really cool?  My husband was steady.  He was encouraging.  “i know it’s tough now, Heath, just hang in there.”  And the tears that were a drizzle turned to a pour because honestly? Honestly the tears weren’t about the car or the struggles or the being stretched to the limit feeling.  The tears were falling because I was allowed to let down.  I was given the grace to be, to be loved in the midst of the crap, and to be assured, that no matter what, we’ll get through.  It’s going to be okay.  Blue skies ahead.  (Maybe teeny tiny bits of blue sky far far ahead, but blue skies ahead, nonetheless.)

And it is. Going to be okay, that is.

Because I know, that life is full of the crazy roller coaster ups and downs and with our large family and some of the residual effects of destructive patterns that take a toll, well, there’s always going to be a lot of “stuff” to deal with.  But the cool thing is, in the midst of it all, there are so very many things to be incredibly thankful for.  So on this “Thankful Thursday”, here are a few from the past week:

I’m thankful for the beauty these eyes had seen as I drove up to the mountains (when the car was actually drivable, pre-breakdown!)  There’s nothing like being in the mountains in the Fall with the brilliant colors.  I’m also thankful for the truth that even though it seems like it’s been ages since we’ve seen blue sky…it hasn’t been as long as it feels.  In fact, I have absolute proof that there were very blue skies exactly 7 days ago when I went to get my daughter in Boone.  This photo was pre-breakdown. Would you just look at that blue sky?  Now, that’s a blue sky!  Beautiful, and only a short week ago.  Sometimes my perception is so off.  Waiting for blue sky is a lot easier when we choose to keep perspective, knowing that feelings aren’t necessary reality.

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Birthdays of my 4th and 5th children, Chase and Hope, and time to celebrate them as a family.  Thankfulness that on their birthdays, these college students wanted to be with family on the weekend, and when they were home that they said the “it’s so good to be home, mom” words.  They didn’t just think it.  They said it. And my heart was so encouraged.  Yep, it was so good to have them home. Yes, am so thankful for family, for memories of the precious kids they were and the young adults they are.

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For memories.  I’m thankful for parents who came when the car broke down and we really needed a lift for an hour leg of the journey from where the car broke down to home.  And I’m thankful for the time spent in the car.  I’m thankful for the second leg of the journey driven by my son who had just driven 6 hours from the coast and then didn’t hesitate to go an hour more.  “No problem, mom,” he says.  Yeah.  Lots to be thankful for.  And then, to hear the loud laughter in the car as we shared stories in the car of when they were little. It was the kind of laughter that makes your stomach hurt and your eyes water.  Yeah, the beauty of the time together just laughing and listening to music,…you can’t beat that. I’m thankful for more memories that came as I looked through photos.  I’m so incredibly thankful for the joys and aches of being a mom. It’s made me cling to my bit of blue more than just about anything else in my life.  Here’s one of the frames of photos I found.  These are the first four of our six gifts… Precious, precious gifts…

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I’m thankful for phone calls from abroad and for struggles and honesty and solutions sought.  I’m thankful for growing pains and for impact, incredible impact that comes with vulnerability.  But sometimes it just feels vulnerable.  I’m thankful for prayer and that we can cast our cares on Jesus for he cares for us.  I”m thankful He is present with my children when I am not. He leads.  I know He knows what He’s doing.  I’m trusting Him with the ones I love the most.

I’m thankful for lasagne prepared by precious hands of a mother who knows about all the details of caring for a family.  I’m thankful that my mom’s lasagne is the best ever, and that she shared it with our family on this birthday weekend. I’m thankful that we could eat and enjoy and that her time spent preparing gave me time to spend with my family instead of preparing dinner.

I’m thankful for memories of friendships shared, encouraging words of friends, laughter, and scripture that shouts to the mountaintops of hope.  I’m thankful for creative outlets and song and words that come out and somehow bring clarity of heart and mind and healing at the same time. I’m thankful for that moment in the car tonight when I was allowed to be vulnerable and loved and given grace, and I’m so thankful that God so calls us to be his children—reliant, dependent, and LOVED.  You know, when my kids came home and wanted to be home, well, it just felt so good…to them and to me.  I think that’s such a visual of who God is to us.  He wants to be our Home, our safe place, our respite, in the here and now.  And the eternal Heaven that we speak of?  It’s so  not about clouds and harps and angels’ wings. It’s about being in His Presence, the Lord of all. It’s about being accepted as we are because of who He is.  Yes, He wants to be our Home every day.  It’s not about a place, it’s about His Presence.  Yes, that’s an amazing thing to be thankful for.

I”m thankful for truth and the word of God, and hope, hope that looks like a bit of blue in a sea of gray. I’m thankful that there always is hope no matter what, not because of me, but because of who God is. I’m thankful that God gives us gentle reminders of His presence, and opportunities to allow us to press in to Him, to know our need, to let down when we’re always having to gear up. I’m thankful for the “out of the blue” text from a cousin and the precious reminder to “keep chopping”, a phrase that our grandfather always used to say that I probably hadn’t heard in 15 years.  Keep chopping.  Keep pressing on.  Keep your eyes on that bit of blue. That bit of blue?  That hope in the distance?  In Christ, it is a reality.  The blue is the end of the story, the clouds are the here and now. The blue is the eternal glory, the light at the end of the tunnel, the finish line to the race.  So endurance and perseverance and tenacious holding on to hope is sometimes necessary.  But, that bit of blue is worth it. It is so incredibly worth it.

Keeping my eyes on the bit of blue.  Hope you are, too, friend.

Blessings~

Heather

P. S.  It’s not an exaggeration to say I’ve listened to this song at least 30 times today. If you have a few minutes to listen, it’s worth it.  (Natalie Grant, King of the World)

“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Amen.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/events/thankful-thursday/

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Here’s a thought:  in the same way that moss will often fill in the gaps between trees and rocks, God so often fills in the gaps, the voids, in our lives.  I think it’s all a matter of not letting other “fillers” in.  Like for instance, when there’s an ache, a loneliness, a need that we try to fill in a way that is not in God’s timing, it seems as though the void or the chasm grows.  But when we bring our aches, our needs, our pains to Jesus, He has a way of filling in the gaps in a way that may not look like what we had hoped, but that is so much bigger and better and a long term fix rather than a short term band-aid.

“Delight yourselves in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.”  (Psalm 37:4)  That verse is often interpreted to mean that God will give you whatever you want.  But the want, the desire, the pursuit?  That first needs to be God.  To delight in God and His ways, His agenda, His will.  But the cool thing is is that it seems that as we delight in the Lord,…we choose to pursue Him, that that long lists of wants that are pretty daggone temporal, fade away.  God fills in the gaps with His presence and becomes the glue that makes those voids fade away and makes us whole.  Not fragmented pieces of this or that pursuit, but whole.

Life is full of voids.  Full of them.  But how cool is it that  God can fill each and every one with His plans, His purpose, His presence.  I am trying to recognize and get the “fillers” out of my life with hopes that more  and more, little by little, what God intends and what I intend walk hand in hand.  This walk of faith is full of uncertainties, but the older I get the more I see that He waits.  He waits for us to come to Him.  Sometimes in His severe mercy He even creates voids to help us to see our need for Him.  Would that we would come to Him right away with those voids.  Just like a little child that knows to cry out RIGHT when something happens…instantaneously!  Seems the older children get, the more the wait time, and the more the weight and the void, created by trying to do things totally on our own when we need a hand. Would that we would run to God RIGHT away with our needs, our voids, our brokenness.

A few ramblings as I’m choosing to be thankful and hopeful and seeking Him with the many many needs that I see in my life and my children’s lives.  These years of the teens and twenties are so not easy…a million transitions.  But God goes before us and He picks up the pieces behind, and He walks with us in the midst and will fill in the gaps.  Praying that for my little world today.

Blessings ~

Heather

P.S.  The youth pastor preached on Psalm 37 on Sunday.  It was so good. The psalm says 3 times, “DO NOT FRET”.  Do not fill your voids with worry, agitation, fret.  We are to trust, delight, commit, rest.  Hmmm.  Psalm 37 is a really good read if you have time today!  I know I’ll be filling some of my time with those words that I so need to read again.

Photo taken in Banner Elk, North Carolina

July 2015

Birds Waiting for spring

When I was a little girl I knew the names of all of the birds in the backyard.  Not just birds.  Trees as well.  And fish in the nearby ponds and rivers.  You see,  my Dad is a teacher at heart.  We spent a lot of time outside and there were always a lot of teachable moments that he took advantage of.  I’m thankful for that.

I’m not sure whether it was my Dad or my mom, or both or neither, but as a child, when I saw a robin in the winter, it was said to be a sign of Spring.  So when I saw this robin perched on the branch with it’s little head facing toward the sun, all I could think of was that this little guy looked like it was waiting for Spring.  (Me, too!)

And that brings me to the topic of ……………………….waiting. It’s not an easy topic at all.  I learned that firsthand today as I tried to get some photos of birds. You see, birds can be a bit camera shy for sure.  Especially chickadees.  And the chickadee was the one that I thought was so cute so I really wanted to get a few shots of these little creatures that flit all about.  So, I’d wait.  And wait some more.  And then, there would come a little chickadee landing right at a spot for a great photograph, almost posing, for Heaven’s sake, but by the time I’d find the little guy in the lens and then focus, he’d flit off in the wild blue yonder.  And I’d wait some more.

Well, after a lot of those unsuccessful moments of trying to capture a photo of some birds, I learned something. If I’d anticipate where the birds were landing (all near the birdseed of course), and focus my camera on that area and wait for the birds to fly on into my range of vision instead of trying to point the camera all over creation as it came in, well, I was a lot more successful.

birds dinnertime

And I started to think about waiting, and how we can make things so much harder on ourselves in the waiting.  There’s a verse that says, “Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint…” (Isaiah 40:31)   T


Life is full of lots of waiting. Sometimes we can be like the chickadee flitting around trying to busy ourselves to fill the time until whatever we’re waiting for finally shows up.  Or, we can be like the blue jay that bulldozes it’s way and takes over the situation and tries to control what it can’t control.  Meanwhile, all the rest of the little birds have made sure to steer clear of this disruptive fellow. 

birds little chickadee

Or, we can be like the bird that pouts a bit and lets everyone know that he indeed is waiting and how incredibly difficult it is.  We can complain with the waiting. And complain and complain and grumble some more.

Birds who's looking at you

Or we can be proud and pretend.  We can pretend that we aren’t waiting and we don’t have a care in the world.  We are just fine and no we are fully in control of ourselves and our surroundings thank you very much.  Proud Bubble. About to pop when the waiting goes a little bit too long…

birds wren 2

Or we can take it to a whole other level and just not be satisfied with anything or anybody until the waiting is over.  We can challenge people to get things going or ….or …..or we don’t know what we’ll do, but it’s so not going to be good!  (The cardinal’s face says it all!)

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Or, we can learn to focus on the tasks at hand.  Not looking to and fro, trying to make things happen quicker.  I’m all for hard work, but right now, the waiting I’m referring to has to do with waiting for things that are out of our control, not in our control.  We can be resolved to enjoy the moment.  Do the task at hand and notice our surroundings and the ones who are around us.  Be all in where we are rather than focusing on the next thing.  Funny how it’s easy to always be looking forward to the next thing in a way that makes us not even enjoy the moment we’re in.  I don’t want to look back and think on missed opportunities because I was always focused on the next thing.

birds portrait

This photo sums up for me the waiting process that I think is pleasing to God.  No matter how busy we are, if we can find that place of solitude of knowing that God has it all in control and we can trust Him, the waiting looks a lot different.  It’s the “Be still and know that I am God” kind of waiting demeanor.  Not like the bulldozing blue jay, or flitting about chickadee, or confrontative cardinal.  It’s  the ‘I’m going to fly on wings of eagles’ kind of waiting.  Because why?

birds be still and know

Because….I know who holds me in the shadow of His wings. Right before the verse that says, “those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength….”, the verses say, “Do you not know?  Have you not heard?The Lord is the Everlasting God, the Creator of the Ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom.”  (Isaiah 40:28)

In those times in my life when I’ve been able to be still like the above bird, rather than being the cardinal or blue jay, or chickadee, there’s been a resolve of knowing a few things.  God is in control.  I am not. ( I mean, there are just some things …a lot of them…that are not in our hands!)  And last, God is good.  Put them all together, and it’s just trust.  Trust.  Trusting God and His perfect timing can make the waiting for the answered prayers and relational breakthroughs and desire for direction a joy rather than a wrenching of the heart and a wringing of the hands.  God’s got this…

Oh, and I hope I can get a memo out to my little (metaphorical) bird friends. His eye isn’t just on the sparrow….  He’s non discriminatory when it comes to caring for “birds” of any feathers.  Confrontative Cardinals.  Flitting Chickadees, Bull dozing blue jays.  He knows us well and He loves us well.   He gives.  It is ours but to receive.

Matthew 6:25 says, “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? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Take heart, little cardinal.  His eye is on you, too.

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