2016

2016 will dot the last period at the conclusion of one chapter.

And will stroke the first letter of another.

Continuing the growing story of a good work in progress.

May this be a year where you become convinced of God’s love, His faithfulness, and His sincerity for your good.

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For You, O Lord, are good, and ready to forgive [our sins, sending them away, completely letting them go forever and ever]; And abundant in lovingkindness and overflowing in mercy to all those who call upon You.

-Psalm 86:5

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Tis The Season

I’ve been away for a while.

Adapting, 

Folding my life into neater sections.

Amending, 

Transforming block lettered hope into calligraphic reality.

Adjusting, 

Retiring from the snug warmth of what was

To reside in the tingly shiver of what may be…

…and what will be…

…and what is.

The final quarter of 2014 was a dramatic experience. 

A reminder of a few things.

Of God’s love.

His provision.

Most especially, His faithfulness. 

A season is changing.

Preparing for 2015. 


“Look, the winter is past,
    and the rains are over and gone.
The flowers are springing up,
    the season of singing birds has come,
    and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.
The fig trees are forming young fruit,
    and the fragrant grapevines are blossoming.”

-Song of Solomon 2:11-13

Playtime

Sarah’s chubby fingers gripped the crooks of her folded arms.

Her usually cherubic face contorted into a grimace.

Her eyes became chocolate tongues of fire as she watched me collect the remaining cards.

In a crystalline 4-year-old aria, she sang,

“I don’t want to play any more.”

Now, the game was her idea.

She had bounced with excitement as I set up the board, arranged the cards, and gave her a game piece.

But Sarah stomped her Stride Rite sneakered feet in displeasure when she began to lose some of her gold tokens.

Something shifted when she realized that losing was a possibility.

I don’t want to play any more.

We can feel the same way at times in life.

We are granted moments that make us float with thrill and encounters that simmer into syrupy joy.

It is when these occasions threaten to persist

When they hint at continuance

That give us pause.

Because we know that floating too high can make you fall

And simmering can ease into a slow burn

And injury to our person

Our heart

Is imaginable.

The risk gets real.

And we don’t want to play any more.

But stopping the game means cutting a journey short.

Ending the happy

And closing the door to a win.

Yeah, painful defeat is conceivable.

So is exhilarating triumph.

Let’s see what’s next.

Stay in the game.  

And keep playing.

The Wall

Growing up, there was nothing more magical to me than a department store.

As soon as my mother’s glossy mauve fingertips loosened on my wrist, I was off to explore this grand kingdom.

The circular clothing racks would transform into miniature weeping willows.

I’d part them to carefully settle into a hidden cave, a cozy and dark hideway specially carved for me.

My fantastical trek was always cut short when my mother’s voice reached through the colorful trees and beckoned me to the register.

Or as I’d call it, “The Wall.”

To a short 6 year old, the register counter was a particularly annoying presence.

Sullenly teasing me with its height, shrouding what was behind it in wallpapered mystery.

Balancing on the tips of my Keds with ballerina concentration offered no real revelation.

Just slivers of possibles.

Flashes of dollar bills in metal drawers.

Peeks of logoed paper bags.

Views of glass merchandise on clear shelves.

I’d catch only drops of what was there before I crashed back on my heels.

Back into frustrating cluelessness.

We always wonder

Always ponder

What is next.

What awaits us in the next chapters of our lives. 

But all remains hidden by the wall of time and our limited understanding. 

We can breathe easy in knowing that our Heavenly Father is far bigger than we are.

He sees and controls what lies behind

and beyond

the wall.

Jesus stands beside us at the counter

Smiling reassuredly as we see saw between our toes and heels

He sees what we don’t. 

And we can trust Him.


 

I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord;

I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands…

Psalm 31:14-15a (AMP) 

The King

Recalling that I have a Father who lets His robe trail among twigs and His nail scarred feet walk upon hard cement to give His daughter her crown.
Thank You, Jesus.

the beautiful project

I can’t.

I can’t go on.

The words, weak and soft, were barely heard to her own ears.

She was so weary.

Her journey was long and rough.

Rough enough to lead her to a forest of broken trees and dead soil.

But she was so weary.

She walked a couple of steps more to a tree stump, where she eagerly collapsed.

She closed her eyes and breathed in deeply.

Unwanted tears spilled down her face but she didn’t wipe them away.

She just took a deep breath.

And exhaled.

Deep breath

And exhaled.

She lay there for a while in the quiet of night.

Too weary to move.

Too weary to speak.

Too weary to care.

Until a question came from behind her.

“What’s wrong?”

Without turning around, she exhaled,“I’m so tired. I don’t know what to do. I’m not good enough. I’m not doing enough of the right things…

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Bitter Batter

“He is no good.”

Freida’s brown eyes narrowed as she folded her arms and leaned back against the couch cushion.

I had said only a few words before she rapidly declared her judgment.

I tried to begin again but was cut off.

“But—“

“He is no good. What do you expect?”

Her voluminous conclusions drowned out my further facts and details.

“He’s trifling.”

“That’s what they all do.”

“He’s needs to be ashamed of himself.”

“I’m so sick of all of them.”

Eventually, I settled into silence as she preached the tainted sermon to her own choir.

As she spoke, I could almost see the words as they exited her mouth.

Each letter blackened with toxins and spiked with pain.

So heavy with hurt that entire sentences crashed into me.

Causing me to inch away from them…and from her.

I think Freida makes her batter each morning.

Her bitter batter.

Furiously stirs it in a large ceramic bowl.

The thick ooze poured into 3×4 muffin tins.

Baked at 500 degrees.

Each morsel slowly eaten until the tongue absorbs the flavor.

The bowl and spoon are licked and washed clean.

Until the next day.

When a fresh batch is made.

The ingredients came into Freida’s life 7 years ago.

She’d been dealt a heavy blow: Her 17-year marriage was ending.

Her ex-husband inarguably was the cause of the demise and had soon remarried.

Which made Freida’s recovery that much tougher.

And though it appeared from all outside appearances that she was rebounding quite nicely, any conversation with her proved that assumption wrong.

This daily dining on bitterness has become dangerous for Freida.

Its aroma repels those around her.

Its flavor colors everything she says and thinks.

And her emotions are gaining weight.

Added pounds that sadly will only make her sink.

We all have or will encounter situations that damage our spirit and make us look at life scornfully.

And left to ourselves, it is an easy opening for satan to convince us to stir the batter.

Bitterness will never let us heal.

But forgiveness does.

It is always difficult to forgive the source of our pain.

And sometimes it’s even harder to forgive ourselves for getting entwined in the first place.

But by praying for that person and asking Jesus to help us to release the grudge, the flow of bitterness will begin to slow and eventually cease.

Jesus, the Ultimate and Constant Forgiver, can completely heal the broken heart.

And only He can make the broken heart forgive.

Praying for Freida and for all who have bitter batter in a bowl.

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Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

Colossians 3:13

 

Snowflakes

snow flakes

I saw a snowflake the other day.

Not just a dollop of white cool.

Or a flicker of a crystal.

But a real live snowflake.

With sophisticated arcs and patterns

Chiseled peaks and valleys

Soft ice carved into order

I watched it for a moment as it landed on my coat sleeve.

It kinda tickled me.

This thin piece of art coming from the air.

A light wind made it flutter for a bit but it stuck there.

Until it melted.

Beautiful slivers of ice that cascade

Float

Dance

Fall from the sky

Only to melt.

Something so stunning just to be strangled by the atmosphere.

This beautiful thing created only to melt.

We want good things to last forever.

Snowflakes to be preserved in sub zero sculpture galleries

The glitter of life to sparkle on for years, decades, millennia.

But they don’t.

They can’t.

For since the fall, the nature of earthly life is to end.

Just like the nature of snow is to melt.

And knowing its lifespan would be short, the snowflake was still made a dazzling beautiful thing.

Because God wanted it to…be.

So while we’re here for however long we have,

every time our faces are warmed by a new day’s sun

we are to love

praise

cherish

enjoy

and to be.

Live, you beautiful thing, you.

It’s what you were created to do.

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“After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present….”

-Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 (The Message)