Thursday, October 21, 2010


While walking past a car the other day, I thought I saw a serene country scene, sort of resting on the dashboard. As I approached, eagerly straining to see the landscape that had been so wonderfully captured in this photograph, I realized it wasn’t a picture at all, but the rear-view mirror on the other side of the car. I was simply seeing a snippet of what was behind me. 

What was the difference? Cropping. The mirror had so cunningly cut out all of the houses, power lines, and any other bits of city life that were so obviously surrounding me. It’s quite astounding to think about what a little cropping can do for perspective.
I recently was not diagnosed with any particular condition, concerning some strange muscle problems, and all I could do was feel frustration, anger, and the unknown, looming over my weary body. My aching and burning muscles seemed to scream in desperation for something, anything... to put a name to their pains; all to no avail. No answers... yet. 
That day had been filled with multitudes of tears and complete anguish. All I wanted was to have a solution to my problem, and what the doctor did say brought more frustration than anything: the one thing she hypothesized, has no fix. Again--anguish, desperation, grieving to the nth degree. Tears were overflowing, spilling down into my brand new blue pashmina, and visible, physical sobbing took place while I drove home. 
Now I think back to that cropped “picture” of my surroundings. What a work of art. And if we really look into our own situations in life, whatever they may be, I bet we could find little masterpieces all around, surrounding us, waiting to be discovered and reveled in. God, our most loving and sovereign Creator, has hidden clues to His greatness all around us. He has given us little puzzles to piece together throughout the span of our lives, whether they are around us physically, or maybe somehow the pieces have been woven throughout the fabric of our very lives, traversing the many days and months and years that number us. 
I feel so very blessed to know that the many blood tests I did go through came back normal and not problematic. I really couldn’t see that at the very moment of the great revealing; that these results meant great things, marvelous things. I don’t need a kidney transplant, I don’t have chronic blood disorders, I have normally functioning organs, praise God! 
So whatever situation arises in our lives, whether they are small, or seem to be larger than anything this side of the atmosphere, remember to take out your tools and start looking for snippets to crop and frame. Those are the elements in life to remember. Those are the pieces that will always glorify God, that will cause a smile to form upon His fatherly face. It’s a glorious thing when your child is able to look outwardly, from a broken inward situation, and see the proverbial silver lining. And how much greater is it when that person uses this gift--this cropped portrait from within the larger, possibly uglier picture--and gifts it to someone else. A glimmer of faith arises, a soul is reborn. Finding God in common situations is beautiful. Finding God in difficult ones, a miracle.

As the apostle Paul said:
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. 
“It is written: ‘I believed; therefore I have spoken.’ With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
“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. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
2 Corinthians 4:6-18

Saturday, October 16, 2010


There are certain times in life when driving is a mundane and monotonous activity. Then there are other times, when one can have the most enlightening and revelatory moments while sitting behind the wheel. Of course, there are still other times when things can come to a crashing halt... but that's not the topic of today's blog... however it can apply...

I was on my way home the other night and came upon a stoplight as it yellowed. The five or so cars sharing this stretch of four-lane road with me all lit up the night simultaneously with the bright red hues that brake lights are famous for. I, of course, joined in the ritual as well. Almost instantly I realized that we had all done the same thing, because of a signal
Signals, or signs, are commands. They show us where to go, how to act or respond, or what to do. Often times in our Christian walk many signals come our way. I wonder... how many signals have I seen/heard/felt loud and clear, and have completely ignored them? 

What would happen if we were to equate our lives to driving a car? "I'm in a hurry, so I can't really pay attention to the red light up here/BAM! What just happened?" You get the point. How is it that we, people professing Jesus' lordship in our lives, can so easily ignore the commands, or signals, that He gives? Now, we don't always ignore Him. This is good. But how many times have I actually heard Him so clearly, but felt that my needs were more important? It sends a tidal wave of grief to my spirit to think of how often I have rebelliously chosen myself over Him. 

Now, I do know that because of Jesus and His immensely beautiful sacrifice, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Him. (Romans 8:1) But something else I know is this: When I was approaching that stoplight with my fellow travelers, and we all hit our brakes in a moment of synchronicity, I felt an immediate sense of togetherness--we belonged together for that one moment in time. I know it sounds corny, but I also know that God was using that moment to reveal Himself a bit more clearly to me. For that I am more than grateful. 

There is such a beauty that comes from the body of Christ coming together and actually moving forward in what the Lord God has spoken to them. When God speaks to His church, we not only need to listen, but we also need to DO what He says. When we actually DO what He says, something wonderful happens: we get to move on in maturity! Together, as one body, the way Christ has called us to move. It is a lovely thing to see people--together--not only seeing the signals, but then to see them doing what those signals tell us to do. Breath-taking. 

Keeping our eyes and ears open... and our feet willing to walk where He tells us. That's where I want us to be.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Autumn's Olfactory Hues, etc.

Happy October, everyone. Time for crisp breezes, watching your breath escape, savoring mulled cider, donning warm sweaters and scarves, watching fires crackle and pop in the fireplace and sharing close-up moments. Mmmm, pumpkin farms, apple picking... everything to make a girl swoon...

This was my Facebook status this morning, and I thought I would share here, as well, and maybe expound a bit on why this time is so important in my life.

Truthfully, I'm a bit of a nerd. I loved school. Each fall, buying school supplies (not in July, like they do nowadays...) brought excitement to my heart; smelling the crisp, fall air while I would walk to school, every moment was savored. Friends would walk together to school, maybe talk or throw a ball around. I was sort of a tomboy, so throwing a ball around was not uncommon to me. I found that I could run around and play much easier in the fall, because the heat wasn't a factor. I wouldn't get all sweaty as fast, and that meant more play time. It was also amazing to curl up with a good book and enjoy the faraway places that were expertly hidden among the pages. And the smell of a good book! Oh yes, I loved the smell of those pages. 

Another smell I adored (not sure why) was the smell of the wrappers from the fund-raising candy bars that we would receive from our classes. We would walk up and down the streets of our small town, peddling these delicious treats. Back then, schools did not sell the normal, "name-brand" candies, like Hershey's. I have since forgotten the name of these delectable goodies, but the wrappers are forever burned in my brain: shiny, white, and thick, with a thin foil underneath that made a crisp metal-tearing sound when opened. The little cases of candy bars had built-in handles for carrying ease, of course, and each student probably ended up eating more than they actually sold. I think my parents paid a whole lot for those fund-raising outings!

Another smell that is amazing is the smell of a nice, big leaf pile. Raking up the castoffs from the giant trees that stood through the years, collecting bits of the year's history in each new ring, that was something spiritual. The smell of the decaying flora somehow brought a new energy and life to my bones. 

It is interesting to think about that. Death and decay brought excitement. Hmmm... There is something there, I know it. I think of how we, as the human race, can become so frantic when a part of our lives come to an end, when really, it is also symbolizing the beginning of a new chapter. Quite the ponderous statement. Maybe this is why fall is so well-received by the masses. It symbolizes the end of one season, and ushers in a new hope; a new hope of things to come. Wonderment: How many NEW flowers will sprout up in my perennial garden in the spring? You see, with the end of each season, there are seeds that have been dropped everywhere, to lay dormant through the dead of winter, and will hopefully reawaken with the renewed, warm weather. 

It is like this with our souls as well. So, when a certain season is ending in your life, how will you approach it? Will you look at what you are losing, grasping effortlessly while these passing "things" slip through your fingers? Or will you allow God to warm you from His light, keep you safe through the cold months, and then help you to re-emerge as the newly transformed, fuller garden that He wants for you to become? The seeds are always there... And they long to sprout up. And when they do, I pray you will be there, watching with excitement, as each tender little stem and leaf push their way through the newly-warmed soil.

Peace, love and cider mugs to you all!