“The reason one writes isn’t the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald


"But how could you live and have no story to tell?" ~ Fyodor Dostoyevsky


"Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph" ~Matt Hardy


“A mother keeps a garden of the heart, planting the seeds of faith and character that give her children hope and purpose for the years ahead.” ~Anonymous


“If your story is never told, it becomes something else...forgotten.” ~Anonymous

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Winter And Waiting

I woke this morning to bright almost blinding sunshine pouring in through the windows.  It lit up the entire room.  An absolutely glorious scene filling me with a sense of “wow, spring is almost here”.  Then, I realized how COLD I was.  The house was cold.  My feet were cold and I needed coffee.  I also needed to build a fire to heat up the room.  And I knew, springtime was at least another 2 months away.   My heart keeps wishing - we’ve had an unusual cold, snowy, icy winter here in the Northwest and we are winter-fatigued.  We don’t get this type of weather often, so even though other parts of the country are worse off than us, we are tired of it because it is not our norm.

As I sat holding the coffee cup to warm my hands and relish in the heat of the newly built fire, it was calming as I looked out the windows to our deck.  The glass enclosing our deck was totally white, encrusted with ice.  I could only see above, the trees and blue sky.  The white iced glass prevented me from seeing my normal view.  It bothered me as I wanted to see more.  I thought, “I guess I will have to wait until it melts.”  I don’t do waiting well.  I busied myself getting my Bible to read, checking my emails and texting a friend about preparations for a Bible study we will be leading.  I read a wonderful article on “rest” and how we need to learn to stop and rest.  As I pondered the words, I glanced up and the sun had melted the ice on the glass.  I could see!  

I know I do not like to wait.  I do not like to sit still.  It makes me think I am wasting time.  So, as I busied myself, the ice melted.  Too often, I busy myself while waiting…waiting for God to come through with answered prayer.  Waiting to get what I want.  Sometimes, God wants me to wait in expectation, but doing His tasks while I wait.  Other times, it would do my heart and soul well, to stop.  And wait.  

I remember one time a few winters back, my car was covered with frost and ice when I went to leave in the morning.  I could have started the car ahead of time and let the heater defrost the windows. But that would have required patience….instead I grabbed a small piece of wood to scrape the windows (I didn’t have an ice scraper).  In doing so, I scratched the window.  We’d only had this car a month.  Once the ice melted, my window had a permanent scratch.  I was not happy and lived with that scratch for years.  

This morning I was reminded in my waiting, if I jump ahead of God in my impatience, I can damage the today.  When the ice melts (which it always will - just takes some time), I can have some scratches or repercussions of my impatience that I may have to live with for some time.  If I stop and patiently wait for God to do His work in and around me, the view will be clear in time.  

The last 3 months have been filled with aches and pains.  I had excruciating back pain in October, shoulder pain in November and in December during the holidays, I had the flu, which developed into bronchitis, which I have since suffered with twice.  I had no choice but to stop.  Stop and rest.  Something I don’t do well.  I’ve tried not to scrape away in impatience.  I’ve tried to rest for my health and be in touch with God in daily quiet moments.  It has been rewarding.  And it has been difficult.  And at times lonely. I've cried and I've laughed.  But God has been meeting me, in odd moments and with gentle revelation.  I don’t think I am done with the waiting period, but the ice is beginning to melt and I am beginning to see.  

A dear and special friend gave this Scripture to me in a birthday card in December.  How applicable it is for my life right now…”Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.  See!  The winter is past, the rain is over and gone.  The flowers have already appeared in the land.”  (Song of Solomon 2:11,12)

In the dark, cold, icy months, God has been building something in me.  And around me.  This might be true for so many of us.  If we can be patient, waiting, listening, stopping, doing only what He tells us to do (that may be tasks of serving, or it may be stopping), if we can wait, the ice will melt and the rains will stop and the flowers will once again appear.  And we will have a view….hopefully, without any scratches!

Monday, January 16, 2017

My Spiritual Hearing Aid

Two weeks into the new year....wow!  I am not sure exactly "when" 2016 ended and 2017 began.  I began the Christmas holidays with good cheer and ended it with bronchitis.  The flu virus hit me head on and knocked me off my feet (literally).  So, the last 3 weeks have gone by in a bit of a blur.   But as my head cleared, so did my thinking.  Welcome New Year!  Let's hope the next eleven months are better than the first!!

Lately I’ve been pondering listening and hearing.  With my congestion and bronchitis, it is a bit more difficult to hear.  I have had to ask those around me to talk louder at me or yell, if need be :)  I can listen, but I have to be able to hear.  

For the last few years, it has been suggested by those close to me that I probably should have my hearing checked and even go so far as to get a hearing aid, it is something to consider.  But lately my thoughts have turned to the spiritual side of this.  Hearing God’s voice is one of the most important things in my life.  Many years ago when I first realized that God actually speaks to us and I can hear Him, it revolutionized my life.  I thrive on hearing God.  I need to hear Him.  It is breath of life to me.  As I have grown deeper in relationship with God over the years and learned to hear Him, I listen more.  I test what I hear to be sure it is Him.  Just like recognizing the voice of your child or your husband, I have come to more easily know when it is God speaking.  I recognize His voice.  Sometimes, when there is a lot of noise or our emotions are so deeply affected by something life has thrown at us, it can be difficult to hear….or recognize.  But as the years have gone by, I am more spiritually sensitive and confident when it is Him.

As is often the case, my physical condition has caused me to look spiritually.  I feel like I need to “turn up my hearing aid” so I can hear.  Turn up my spiritual hearing aid.  I want to hear God, but there is either too much other noise or the sound is muted.  I am asking God to turn up my spiritual hearing aid.  It may be “easier” to hear Him as I get older and know Him deeper, but it seems like I need to turn the volume up so I can clearly hear it is Him.  Circumstances dictate that I readjust so I can hear.

I also need to “lean in” to hear.  The volume may be up, but I need to lean in….stop and listen.  Because if I don’t, it just magnifies whatever noise is out there.  I want His voice to be magnified, not the noise around me. Clean out whatever wax or dust is keeping my ear from doing what it was created to do.  Hear.  Listen.    Fine tune my hearing aid, Lord.   

It’s expensive to have hearing aids.  They cost something.  It costs something to be able to hear clearly.  It will cost me something to be able to hear God clearly these days.  Time.  Obedience.   My heart.  My attention.  

I want to HEAR.  I want to HEAR clearly.  Turn up the volume, Lord.  Clean out the dust.  Speak, Lord, for your servant is leaning in to listen.  My hope and prayer for all of us that as we march headlong into 2017 or approach it with caution....we will lean in to listen and hear what the King of the universe is saying to His people.  And we will obey.