Feeling Parched

But the kaleidoscope ends just as quickly as it starts, and within weeks the once bountiful trees are nothing more than skeletal shadows against the fall sky. Their colorful beauty is gone and what's left behind stands in stark black and white contrast to what once was full of life and color.

Often I feel like my spiritual life mimics the physical. I look back at seasons full of growth and maturation. Times of abundant colors, times of plentiful leaves, times of rich bounty. Other times I feel as if the whipping winds of change are swirling about me- ripping leaves off of my heart, dead things falling to my sides. Sometimes I just feel parched... empty... naked as a tree in winter- just bark with no protection. The color from life is gone, the comfort of my 'clothing' has fallen away, and I'm left naked and bare, dry and seemingly empty.

But God is there too. Just as we all know that the life of trees is not in the leaves but in the roots, so also is our walk with God. There are seasons of change, seasons when we are more exposed, seasons of perceived deadness; but there is still LIFE within. God, living in us, remains.

So as fall closes and winter gears up, either physically or spiritually, take heart dear ones. Just as the leaves of the trees will be reborn in the right time, so also will the seasons of our life blossom and bear fruit once again. If our roots run deep into Him, our branches will produce His abundance as well.

Feeling spiritually parched is okay. You're not dead, you're not empty. Dig deeper into God during those times. Seek His Living Water, root yourself in His Word. A harvest of renewed beauty- bigger, stronger, more glorious than the last will follow in it's time.

Psalm 1:1-3 (NIV)

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on His law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.

Take heart!

(Reposted from my Tuesday blog for Holy Beautiful)

Mirror Image

I’ve been spending a lot of time with Adam and Eve lately in my studying, and it has struck me over and over again- the imagery of imagery. Genesis 1:27 (ESV) say, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them." Images are interesting things because they are made to reflect or mimic something else. They are not, in them of themselves, anything but a copy of an original. They are a reflection... an image of something else.

There are references all over the place of images in the Bible. Some are beautiful, most are not. Scripture talks of the Israelites making images of a golden calves, of mice, of tumors, of other gods. In this idolatry, and many more like them, humanity was trying to replicate God.

Time and time again they failed.

Because what they didn't realize and embrace, is that WE are made in His image. Humanity was designed to reflect God's glory. All of creation was designed to show Him off, but WE are made specifically in God Almighty's image.

Colossians 1:15 tells us of another who is the image of God... Christ Jesus. "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." Unlike humans, I believe this scripture tells less of the physical image of God and more about the nature and character of God. Furthermore, scripture does not stop there. Jesus (as a man) was the image of God and we are called and purposed to be remade in Christ's image, "and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator."

People worship graven images because they do not know the 'real thing'. We can point them to the Real Thing! We are made in God's image, we are called to reflect Jesus (the very image of God). Physically, mentally, emotionally, "in spirit and in truth" we are designed to reflect the image of God and His glory. Wow! What a weighty and marvelous thing.

Today I challenge you to look at your reflection- look hard. Do you see Jesus? Will other see Him? If not, clean up the image dear one! I pray that Jesus' light shines so brightly in you that others can't help but be drawn to your image... His image.

Mirrors reflect perfectly the image within them. A dirty mirror however will mare the image. If we are looking at Christ, and adequately reflecting His image back through us, we must make sure our mirrors are clear. Keep them clean, free of smudges, absent of scratches. Our daily fellowship with Jesus- being in the Word, prayer, worship all contribute to keeping our mirrors bright and shining. "...which is being renewed..." is not a static occurrence, we must continue to push forth, cleaning our mirrors along the way, as we are being transformed more and more into the image of Christ. God will shine out through the clear glass, straight through us and out to the world.

We need to be Christ's mirror image- aim for the perfect image dear ones! We won't attain it all the way on this side of heaven, but you certainly can strive for it. Reflect Him today dear ones, and everyday! Be that image that draws people to worship... not you, but the One within you. The image of the invisible God who is the only One worthy of our praise and adoration. Mirror Jesus!

God is in the Details

The following is from my weekly post through Holy Beautiful. Please take a minute to hear my heart. Enjoy and be sure to stop and smell the roses today!  

These last few months have been a very interesting season with God and myself. I say interesting because I can’t. quite. figure. out a better way to describe it. After 10 years of critical care and ER nursing, 7 of those as a flight nurse, He led me away to…. well, nothing. I’m not doing anything right now. For someone who’s had a job of some sort since I was 15, and used to working long, hard, intense hours, it’s a super weird place to say the least.

And to make things really interesting, bills are coming due, and I have zero idea of even where to apply. I’ve stuck. I’m God-stuck. It’s a super peaceful place, I know that I’m not supposed to be employed currently. But it’s also a very uncomfortable place for me.

But God has been teaching me about the details. His details. Despite the fact that scripture is chalk-full of promises about the details (see Matthew 6 for just a glimpse!), I’m learning a whole new way to appreciate His details.

God is a details guy, and I love that about Him!

Take a look around nature. The design, the spectacle, the scenery, the intricacies… the details. He most certainly could’ve mailed it in. He could’ve stopped at a billion stars, yet He went on to design a billion galaxies with a billion stars each. He could’ve called it a day painting each sunset, yet each one is different. He most certainly could’ve mass produced the exact same snowflake a gazillion times and no one would have noticed. Yet He didn’t.

And yet stars, and galaxies, rain, snow, flowers, sunsets, and sunrises are not even close to the crowning glory of His creation. Us.

Wow.

God cares… no, He focuses, He tends, He plans and prepares for us- His people, the sons and daughters of His family. Each hair on our head, each beat of our heart, each breath we take- is by His design. By His detail. There is not a single. solidary. second. of our lives that’s not been already purposed for us. That is an overwhelming thought. One that I admittedly can’t quite get my head all the way around. But it’s pretty awesome to fathom just the tip of the iceberg of the details that God designs.

Too often I find myself missing the trees for the forest. I’m a big picture gal. I often get bogged down in details that overwhelm me, that I perceive as too many or too cumbersome. Details, especially ones that I can’t ‘fix’ stress me out. Anyone else?

I miss the little things all the time because I’m not a detail-person. But those details do matter. The bills, the check-ups, the oil changes, the pancake making, the carpooling, the vacuuming, the homework, the weeding, the quiet times- our lives are nothing if not the sum of a ginormous amount of details all coming together to make that big picture.

Like a mosaic with tiles, each one is necessary to the big picture. Those tiny tiles matter. The details matter, they’re important, they’re necessary.

And if you take a minute at them (or in my case, I’ve got nothing better to do right now than to concentrate minutely on them… one. by. one….), the individual beauty… better… the grace and mercy impregnated within each of those tiles, each of those moments, each of those seconds, each of those details… is astounding. The Grand Plan, the design, the forethought and care given to each one is breath-taking.

I am grateful for the Designer of Details in my life. I am grateful for His hand in every one of them. I am grateful for my big picture being taken from me and learning to focus on each moment and appreciate it for what it is and nothing else. What a low level of perspective to have! And the wonderful thing is that while my focus may be super limited right now, the big picture still exists outside of my periphery. It’s still there, being designed and perfected constructed by the Master Artist.

Writing this, I’d like to think that this particular tile that God has zeroed me into right now must be super important to the bigger mosaic.

And yet a gentle whisper tells me that isn’t so- God spends this much time on all His details.

And that, dear ones, is comforting.

Life is So Unfair!

God must be trying to tell me to slow down and enjoy His creation more. I've found myself meditating on it a lot recently. Everywhere I turn I'm being smacked in the face with beauty. It's wonderful and yet makes me feel small. It's fall and everything is just so stinkin' pretty right now. The weather is fantastic and I love just enjoying the change of seasons. The colors, the fall breeze, the clear skies. As I pause though, it is hard for me to comprehend that the Creator of the universe, who set stars and planets in place, scheduled the tides, and sculpted the mountains- also has me in mind. All. The. Time. He tells me in scripture that He does. That is exceedingly sobering to me. I am grateful but feel so unworthy.

Because I AM unworthy. Totally and completely unworthy.

It's one thing to talk about, it's another to daily live with this truth. It hurts my pride. It slams against my selfish ambitions. My human self-worth tries to argue against it; and I wrestle against it's veracity in my life. Part of me is ashamed to be counted in His family, the other part of me tries to ridiculously convince myself that, of course, I'm not that bad, I'm pretty awesome actually, why would God not want to hang with me?

But then these crazy verses slip across my path and my heart has to reconcile what I know my rightful place is before God with what He tells me I mean to Him. What a weird juxtaposition of locations- where I should be and where He's placed me instead.

It's not fair. To Him especially. But how much do I LOVE that God is not fair! He's not fair ever!

He has chosen to love me and cherish me. He's chosen me to be His firstfruits- rotted parts, smushy pieces, worms and all. Not exactly the ideal picture of the kind of firstfruits He's instructed us to bring to Him (thank God!)- and yet He tells us we are His. In all His creation I am still on His mind and He wants to be near to me.  It's simply mind-boggling. It makes no sense for so many reasons. It's not fair... But I love that also! I love that so much of this world makes no sense- the good, the bad, and the ugly- and I really love that I don't have to worry about it. God's got it. He's got me, unworthiness (is that even a word?!) and all.

And speaking of crazy stuff... He tells us to simply ask and He'll let us in on some of His GodStuff... talk about unfair- we have been placed in the most unfair yet insider position there is!

Right. Next. To. God.

We've got His ear, we've got His attention, we have access to His heart. Wow, do you see the possibilities there? Do you feel the importance of what that can mean? Do you feel the power at our fingertips that God wants us to tap into... His power, His insight, His knowledge, His plans. It's an unbelievable thing.

Today I challenge you to seek Him harder. I challenge you to realize and meditate on the position you SHOULD BE in before God and the position He's PLACED you in. It's unfair and it's wonderful!

 

 

Why I'm up at 4 o'clock in the morning and maybe you should be to

Mornings are hard for me, especially when they start with feeding the crying baby at some ridiculous hour. At 4 o'clock in the morning specifically.

Every. Single. Day.

But today as I sit here with a baby and a bottle, I'm reminded through the open window nearby that despite the fact it's the middle of the night the crickets are still busy praising God. The stars are still twinkling brightly glorifying their Creator. The wind is still rustling through the trees, telling the world of the Savior. All of Creation is busy worshiping God. The creation is doing nothing right but exactly what it is created to do- bring glory to it's Creator and praise Him.

Still. At 4 o'clock in the morning.

Mere bugs, vegetation, and elements maintain perfect obedience to God. I am convicted. Surely as firstfruits of His creation (James 1: 18) I can manage to do better.

Even at 4 o'clock in the morning.

Will you as well?