God Whispers

Thank God our newest addition, Flint, finally did arrive on Christmas Eve, 2015.  He is a total blessing and joy to our family.  Something about having new babies around makes me very reflective.  My heart feels full of things I could write here.IMG_5462

Today as my 2 littlest were napping, I took my lunch outside, left my phone and all reading material inside, and just sat and listened.  Have you ever noticed how the wind rushing through bare trees sounds so much like the ocean waves?  Have you seen how quickly light can change everything around you just because of a cloud blowing in front of the sun?  Have you watched a tall tree sway violently at its top but stay still and steady at its base?  These are all the things I treasured in my silently loud lunch today.  And in watching all this, God whispered to my heart.

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The way the wind roams freely and affects everything in its path – that is so much like God.  He does not change but He does indeed move.  That one thing breathed hope into my soul.  My changeless Rock, my wise and loving Father, is moving in this fallen world.  He is working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Rom.8:28).  He is finishing what He started (Phil. 1:6).  His truth has not changed but it is on the move.

The way the tall trees sway at the top but stay still at the bottom – that is me and God’s calling on my life as a Christ-follower in this world.  I am rooted deep in Him and those roots will not be severed because of His faithfulness.  The truth of His Word is what grows those roots deeper and deeper and makes me stronger and stronger.  But those roots are not meant to make the entire tree stuck in space like a statue.  Instead, the strength of the roots allows the tree to bend, sway, carry great weight, and even drop weight when branches break.  All this happens without damage to the roots but rather, because of the roots. Like the tree, I also am meant to sway – bend in serving others, put my own goals aside at times, listen to others, humbly learn, carry weight or burdens of others, drop weight or burdens not from God…all while staying firmly rooted in Him, because of Him.

God, thank you for your whispers of truth through all creation.  Help us to listen more.  Thank you for your truth and for being on the move in this world.  Grow my roots deeper in You and teach me to sway with beauty for your glory.  Amen

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Hope

18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.

22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.   Romans 8:18-23

 

I went on a walk this morning while it was still dark.  The air was blustery at times and eerily still at times.  The leaves played in symphony as the wind rustled them with it’s abnormal rhythm.  Then suddenly the sound would halt, as if directed to rest by their Conductor. The street light by my house burnt out and sporadic lightning lit my way.  A storm was brewing and it felt like creation was holding its breath, waiting for what would come next.  I found myself joining in the anticipation… looking at the sky, reading the wind, feeling the air, wondering how long I had before the bottom would drop.  Every creaky tree, every paper dry leaf, every stalk of grass, every sheltered animal seemed to ache and groan for God’s rain.

Today, I echo creation’s groan for my Creator’s provision.  My soul is bordering on paper dry, my mind feels creaky and worn out.  I am battered by the pain in this world.  I find myself calling out to God, asking Him, “How long Lord?  How long before You return and revive all things?”  The verses above contrast the world of “here and now” with the world of ” is to come”.  The present world is frustrated, anxious, and in bondage but the world that is to come is liberated, free, glorious, and redeemed. Amen!

“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”  Oh how excited this makes me!  The present sufferings are real and shattering but God’s glory is too wonderful for me to even imagine.  Truths like this build hope in me,  reminiscent of waiting for the building storm this morning.  I knew it was coming, I just didn’t know when.  I know that Jesus is coming, I just don’t know when.  But when He does, we will no longer hold our breath.  In fact, we may join Creation in taking the first real breath our lungs have ever felt.  And the air will be sweet my friends, just wait.

Lord, thank you for hope.  Remind those in dark seasons of life that your hope is the flame that never goes out, even in the darkest nights.  Thank you for promising your presence with us always.  Help us remember You as we go about our days on earth and help us look joyfully forward to the life that is to come.  I love you.  Amen

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Photo Credit: Brice Alvord

Beautiful Order

It’s snowing in our city today.  This happens so rarely that people go certifiably insane.  There is a rush on the grocery store, chaos on the road, and anxiety in every parent who has a child in school. And when I say it’s snowing, I mean, there are flurries of snow falling from the sky and melting on the ground – no accumulation.  The way snow makes us behave in the South must blow a Northerner’s mind.

But I really can’t say anything because here I am tucked in my warm little home with my kiddos, watching the snow through the window.  It’s really beautiful when you just sit and watch it fall.  It’s hard to believe it has school-cancelling, accident-causing, fear-inducing power.  From this side of the window, it’s purely mesmerizing. At first glance, it looks like an unrehearsed dance – beautiful but illogical. But as my stare lingers, I recognize order in the falling snow.  The majority of the flakes fall at the same rate, in the same direction, with similar spacing between flakes.  You don’t see a huge snowball fall next to a single flake or a lightning fast one next to a barely moving one.  There is order.

Immediately, I think of my life.  From my limited perspective, my life often feels out-of-order.  There are things I don’t understand, things I can’t fix, things that cause fear – disorder.  Yet there is a God who is ordering it all, much like He orders the snow.  In my stillness, the Creator’s design of the snow revealed itself.  How often does my lack of stillness obscure my view of His order in my life?

Lord, You tell me to “be still and know that you are God” (Psalm 46:10).  Forgive my lack of stillness.  Teach me this godly practice.  Thank you for making the snow so beautiful through your order.  Give me a heart of trust in You and your beautiful design for my life.  Amen

 

Driftwood

We were at the beach this weekend, just a few days after Hurricane Isaac passed through.  The weather was mostly sunny but the beach showed signs of recent ravage.  It was covered in layers of seaweed and all sorts of other “treasures” churned up by an angry sea.  We saw an assortment of old boat pieces, crumbled sand dollars, shells of all sizes, interesting plant life, broken sunglasses, driftwood, and even a kitchen sink.  Our family had a blast digging through it all and trying to imagine where the life of these items began.

The most interesting treasure to me was the myriad of unique driftwood.  I was captivated by it.  Each piece is all its own – some with hundreds of tiny holes, some smooth as a stone, some a home to baby crabs, some mangled, some flat…each absolutely beautiful.  I’ve had a fascination with driftwood for a few years now and have collected small pieces to fill some bowls and vases at home but I’ve never seen the huge chunks brought in by a hurricane’s power.  I lugged in pieces so dense and heavy that I could carry only one at a time.  I even talked my precious husband into snagging a 100 pound piece for us that is amazingly beautiful.

So what’s the deal with me and driftwood?  Whenever I see it, I think of people and the story God is writing for each of us.  Every time I pick up a new driftwood treasure, I study it and wonder about its story.  Where did it begin?  What object was it originally?  How long has it been drifting in the ocean?  What are the heights and the depths of God’s creation it has seen?  How many and what strength of storms has it weathered?  All I can see is its breath-taking beauty, most likely created from a life of severe weathering and testing.

I guess that’s what makes me think of people.  I wonder the same questions about every person I meet.  What is their story?  Some of us have weathered beauty-producing storms or loss.  Some of us have yet to realize the beauty out of our trials.  Some of us are still drifting, waiting to experience the heights and depths of God.  The mercy of it all is that, for those in God’s family, our story ends in beauty.  Isaiah 61:3 says that God makes beauty even out of ashes.  Regardless of where we are in our journey, our Maker sees us as that “finished” driftwood, displaying His glorious beauty.

I love to think of His tender care as He guides me through the ocean of my life.  He knows the exact moment that I need a storm to break off my dangerously rough edges.  He knows the intensity of the current needed to smooth those broken places.  He knows when I need to see and experience depths and sometimes darkness.  He knows when I need to float near the surface and soak in His light.  And to His eternal praise, He knows how all these things will reveal His beauty, as He has always intended to display through me and each of His children.

Lord, give me more trust in You as You masterfully orchestrate the journey of my life.  Give me your eyes to enjoy the beauty You are creating in those around me.  Let me love others at their exact stage in their journey, believing in your perfect love and plan for them.  Thank you for your beauty displayed in something as simple as driftwood.  Amen

Snails on the Playset

Our treasured roly-polys / snails.

This morning was a lovely morning, cooler and shadier than usual – perfect for playing outside.  The boys were in the backyard soon after breakfast, still in their pajamas, just playing in their magical world.  I sat out there reading and writing, playing referee every once in a while but mostly just enjoying the way they imagine and play together.  They were building towers out of dirt and rocks, fighting bad guys, and “painting” the swing set with chalk.  I thought they were mostly unaware of my presence until I heard a scream, “MOOOOOMMMM, come quick!!!”  Every mother panics at this and I ran to their side as quickly as my pregnant body would take me.  As soon as I got there, I saw them both crouched down on the upper level of the play set staring at something underneath one of the stairs.  With the brightest eyes and the most intense voice, D (our 4-year-old)  says, “We found roly-polys” (which were really snails).  Of course, it was all I could do not to burst out laughing at my intense kiddos.  I said, “Should we take a picture?” and D says, “Yes, and let’s send it to daddy.”  So I ran to get my phone so we could snap and send and I thought about the preciousness of this moment – in fact, I thought about the worship of this moment.  When I returned, nothing about the scene had changed except for maybe my heart.  Both boys were still crouched, the roly-polys/snails were still there, and the air was still one of awe.  I asked D, “Who made those snails?” and he said, “God”.  That was it.  God was praised for His marvelous creation.  God was given credit for His snails on the play set. The picture was taken and sent to daddy and the boys went back to “painting”.

Lord, thank you for the simplicity of children.  Thank you that their entire world stops for your snails.  Father, let me not miss the wonder You have put in all the parts of my day.  Give me the simple eyes of children to see You and praise You.  Amen