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Lights

light

Last week a friend and I visited a museum downtown, there was a temporary exhibit on Light that we were both interested in, so we took the afternoon to do something a little different. I have never regarded myself as artistic or particularly creative, so for me viewing art and seeing light and color tends to be a flat experience, while some of those closest to me see technicolor and life. This recent adventure started off similarly; my friend kept trying to show me beauty and magic and I saw mirrors reflecting not much of anything.
But then, we walked into a separate room that contained various glass objects on tables scattered throughout. There was a young man sitting near the door, so I approached him and asked him what we were meant to see there. The guy lit up, he came from around his desk and walked us to the first exhibit and showed us that instead of looking at the object, we should focus on the shadow it created. The next one cast a great prism onto the wall behind it, and suddenly I saw what the artist wanted us to see! Lights from the ceiling were placed just right onto the glass pieces, which dispersed color all over the place. It was beautiful. For the first time ever, I found myself excited to go to the next table to see what else was in store for us!
It occurred to me that recently I have been more willing to ask the expert in the room what it is that I am meant to see, instead of relying on my own ideas and limited experiences. Sometimes I even think to do this before reading a passage of scripture, or listening to a sermon; God, what am I meant to see here? When this happens, fresh wisdom rains down, opening my eyes to what has always been, but I was previously unable to see. I really want to hold on to this revelation because when I am willing to be open and teachable, light shines through.

https://thekaneko.org/seasons/light/

photo by Andreas Resch

 

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Porch Talk

porch

One night we were sitting out on the porch and a friend shared with me that she and her guy had been trying to get pregnant again. This is nothing new, I spend time one-on-one with a lot of women and am often privy to such information. But this situation was different; my friend is in her forties and has already raised her children. I was completely floored, because I can’t think of anything I would less like to be today than pregnant, except maybe the mother of toddlers. I asked if she was excited at the prospect and she sighed and said two words: not really. What??

You see, her guy loves having kiddos around the house. And over the last few months he kept hinting that he would like to have more. They finally sat down and seriously talked about it and he confessed that he felt that they were supposed to have more children. He said he had prayed about it, hoping the feeling would dissipate but it came on stronger, would she consider it? This friend of mine is a fantastic Mom, she is all in on the parenting gig right up until they fly the nest, and is so close to having it be just the two of them. And yet…..she said she would pray about it.

My friend asked God about having more children and did not feel what her guy did, she basically got no answer, and yet she agreed to try to conceive for a few months. She said she never prayed against having another baby, and even got excited at the thought here and there, and yet in her heart, really did not want to start over again. At the time that we talked about it, there was no baby news and as a couple they agreed that the time had come to stop trying. She was sad that her guy did not get what he wanted and believed was right, but she was also so relieved. Bittersweet.

I sat with my mouth hanging open as she shared her story; what would I have done in her place? Can I honestly say that I would be open to such a departure from my plan, just to appease my guy? In my opinion this is an extreme act of service and sacrificial love. And trust, in her guy and in her God. Over time I have watched many friends being taken on adventures that they never could have imagined, because they were open to God’s calling, even when it seemed inconvenient or even reckless. What crazy idea is stirring in your heart these days, or in the hints of your spouse? How are you going to respond?

Faith Restored

airport

Life can make a person pretty cynical if we’re not careful. Turn on the news and hear about abductions, terrorist attempts and people murdering their ‘loved ones’ – it’s enough on any given day to make you question where we are going as a society. Many people say they don’t watch the news anymore because it’s too depressing, and I understand that, we take a break from it from time to time for the same reason. But then I take a ride to the airport to pick up someone who has flown into town just to visit us, and my faith in humanity is restored!

If you’re feeling particularly bitter about the human race, go to the Baggage Claim area of your local airport. Order a cup of coffee and sit for a while and watch the people. You will witness grand hugs with shouts and tears, and tentative hellos with awkward beginnings and everything in between, often balloons or flowers are presented as a loved one is being enfolded back into a family. But most consistent of all, you will see smiles and true connections, even just for a second. Real people welcoming others into their circle.

I also like to watch people say goodbye at the airport curb; usually the words have all been said and there is a hurry to avoid getting yelled at by the police officer to move it along. But again, smiles, eye contact, connection. I drive away with a warm feeling because of the visit that just happened in my home, but also because of the energy of those around us, experiencing something similar. We are made for community, to connect with others even though it can be messy and hard. I like to think of those airport hugs and kisses as a precursor to heaven someday, with loved ones shouting and hugging, welcoming each other home.

What’s Your Sign?

hawkFor several years now I’ve had a theory and I am not at all interested in having anyone debunk it. In the past I had heard of people noticing something unusual, and attributing it to God; a certain song is played, lights come on for no reason, a certain animal is seen….that kind of thing. Some people believe when they witness one of these events, it’s a sign or a message from God. For the longest time I didn’t have anything like that, but about ten years ago I started noticing hawks. At first it was a novelty, really surprising each time one appeared, but then I started looking for them and was amazed at how often I would spy one nearby.

There are two main times when I tend to see a hawk: when I am questioning God and when I am fearful. I often pray out loud when I’m driving and I ask God a lot of questions, many times starting with the word ‘why’. I don’t often get an audible answer but I will invariably see a hawk within a couple of minutes of asking. I credit this to God, and view it as reassurance that He has it covered or confirmation that I am on the right path. There have been times when I have been very afraid – on the way to a doctors’ appointment or driving in an unknown place that feels unsafe and a hawk will appear, reassuring me that God sees me and knows how I feel, and again, He’s got it covered.

It may sound ridiculous, but I really don’t care. I’m not looking for validation because I truly feel like this is my own special signal to help me stay balanced when I’m likely to lose it. My question to you is this: what is your sign? What outward indicator do you have that reminds you that there is more at work than just what we can see, and that God is experiencing this life right along with you?

Shelter

shelterDo you have that person who you know you can call and feel better after spending time with them? Not because they will say what you want to hear, but because they really know you, and remind you of who you are.

This person provides shelter, protecting you from the lies of the enemy and the darts of man. If you’re really fortunate, this friend also turns your heart towards God, reminding you that He is the ultimate shelter.

I am so thankful that I have more than one of these in my life, pouring into me, encouraging me and having my back. And hopefully that allows me to turn around and be shelter for others.

 

All Day

pray

I was settling in to bed last night, thinking through my last 15 hours and was convicted that I needed to pray for several people who had specifically asked for it, and for many others who hadn’t, and for situations that are occurring and others that possibly could. I was talking to God about talking to God, telling Him how much more I needed to be praying and wondering how to cover it all.

And then I was gently reminded; yes, this is a time when we need to be praying non-stop for our families and communities and states and countries just like so many points in history and like always, this can be done all day everyday. God walks alongside and is accessible all the time. Yes child, pray but do it constantly and for every thing.

It’s not just my right but my responsibility.

Take Care

firstaid

It was a typical weeknight, I was cooking dinner and in a hurry to get it to the table. As I pulled the main dish out of the oven my left hand brushed up against the top coil that was currently 400 degrees, I could hear my skin sizzle immediately. There was a significant burn on my hand in that spot between my thumb and first finger. I didn’t think much of it, I usually heal very quickly.

But this time I didn’t. After several days I noticed it was getting worse, not better; it got swollen and inflamed and was very sensitive to the touch. I work in an industry where people see my hands a lot, and this was not something they want to see.

After a couple of weeks of this, I finally stopped and looked at my hand and thought about why it was still suffering. I realized that every time I picked up my purse, the length of the strap would slide through my fingers as I placed it on my shoulder, rubbing across that burn many times a day. There was no way it could heal because it wasn’t protected. I stopped the way that I picked up my purse and it began to heal immediately.

It occurred to me there are a lot of ways my life looks just like this. When I am distracted I can get myself into trouble, and if I don’t pay attention to my habits, that trouble can turn into something bigger like an infection. All I need to do is intentionally think about where I am and how I am, and I can protect myself, putting life back into balance.

For me this can be finding a daily devotional and reading time, or choosing to talk to someone who loves me enough to say the hard things, or taking everything, even the very small things to God in prayer.

The burn on my hand is now a rough spot that should completely go away very soon, but I would be fine with a scar remaining, to remind me of the lesson I learned. Obviously it would be best to guard myself against the burn in the first place, but when they happen, I need to be intentional in my response.

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