Welcome to my blog, may you find hope, inspiration, peace and perhaps a chuckle or two!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Embracing the Slumber

I don’t have a favorite season, I love all of them for different reasons, but fall has so many things to love. With the smells, the colors, and the feel of the cool yet sunny days comes the earthly reminder that much outdoor life as we know it will be moving into sleep mode.

When I was younger, I equated fall with death. Things seemed to die and it made me sad. We were gardeners and the produce bounty would diminish as the plants got skinny and brown. My favorite ash tree would shed its leaves and look barren. Our grass would turn brown and many of the birds we loved to watch would speed away. Then I learned the truth about fall.

Fall is the beginning of a season of slumber. I thought the trees were dying but in reality all their power and energy was sinking back down into the trunk of the tree where it was conserved until it was needed to spur new growth in the spring.

And while the leaves were falling off and “dying” they were really creating matter for new growth. Leaves insulate the ground and protect small plants. They decompose making for rich nutritious food for new life.

Just like nature, our Creator provided us with a way to recharge. We all need time to conserve our resources so that we can regenerate and be ripe for new growth from a cell level to a spiritual one.

Just like nature, we have seasons of mass productivity and then other seasons where we seem stilted or stifled in our growth. But just like the stillness of growth in winter, our winter season can be productive in a different way. And just like the work unseen in winter, God can work in us in our unseen places.

When we begin to feel we are not being productive or “making a difference” we need to look inside to see if maybe something else is going on down deep. God might be setting us aside so that he can birth something in us or restore us from a wound.

If we suspect we are there, the first thing to do is wait and pray. Don’t rush it. Pray for wisdom and direction. Embrace the stillness. Don’t move forward until there’s a tugging from the Creator. We’ve all seen what happens to plants when there is an early thaw followed by the remainder of winter. Buds that thought they were ready for spring, encased in ice and snow meet their demise. So give it time. Don’t rush the spring.

To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose
under the heavens
Ecclesiastes 3:1

For an additional resource on this concept I recommend the book “anonymous” by Alicia Britt Chole – it is an amazing look at the journey of growth in those seasons where we seem invisible. It provides encouragement for embracing the pause.

To see how my family embraced winter by camping check out The Kissed by the Creator Photo Page!/photo.php?fbid=171220099573768&set=a.171220039573774.40718.141769015852210

Point to Ponder: Where are you? Are you in a hidden season? If not, what growth would you like to see in your life?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The Reckless Abandon of a Child

Watching home movies the other day I saw my kids embracing Nature with reckless abandon and it warmed my heart. One film showed them swinging on vines in the woods while another showed them relentlessly tackling the waves at the sea. I’ve witnessed these kids gleefully leaping off rocks into lakes, climbing up waterfalls and wading through frigid creeks and rivers in their bare feet in search of the crayfish with sharp wicked pincers. Their pursuit of nature is adventurous, hopeful and eager. As a mom, I find myself frequently holding my breath as they explore. Why? Because I am aware of the dangers, that they aren’t.

During devotions I came across the scripture:

“I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.”
Luke 18:17

It made me think about the way children approach things and the home movies. Adjectives like relentless, gleeful, fearlessly, adventurous, hopeful, and eager come to mind.

It would seem that children can battle waves for hours without exhaustion. Their excitement is contagious. Often more wary children can be encouraged to join in the fun by watching and catching onto the excitement.

Oh to love Christ like that with reckless abandon that is contagious!

Even after getting hurt or injured, a band aid or a kiss is all it takes and often the child heads back to the adventure.

Often when we get hurt in the church or by the church (which is human afterall) we shut down and turn it off. We aren’t quick to reenter into that state of relentless faith. How awesome it would be to allow God to kiss our boo-boo and move on with our walk, our faith, to NOT let the devil get the victory in our ouchie.

When I think of that verse, I have the desire to live my faith like that. Live out my faith adventurously, relentlessly and yes, recklessly! Taking risks for the Kingdom.

“Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” Luke 18:16

Today I pray for a childlike faith. I want to sit on His lap and learn how to follow. What about you?

Point to ponder:
What is preventing you from living out your faith with “child-like” enthusiasm? What steps can you take to catch that excitement about Christ again and spread it to others?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Flourishing in Barrenness

During a powerful windstorm I was watching leaves fiercely being plucked from the tree in my front yard. The afternoon wind relentlessly yanked the amber leaves until at dusk; all that remained was the skeleton of the tree.

How beautiful that tree was at sunrise and by night fall it was vastly changed.

It made me think of Job. Job woke up one day on the top of the world and in a short period of time he was stripped of his wealth, his family, and friends.

How many times have I been stripped of something and temporarily my faith goes with it? As a writer, rejection is a huge part of my life. Sometimes I allow rejection to strip me of my confidence and belief that I am doing what God has called me to do.

I watched a documentary on Yellowstone. They were discussing forest fires. Looking at the the barrenness left behind by devastating forest fires, I was heartbroken at all the glorious green that was turned to rubble and stripped by the raging flames. The charred blackened earth looked desolate and barren, similar to the way my spirit feels sometimes.

I learned about a certain tree whose seeds can only regenerate after a fire. Yellowstone geologists showed tiny shoots that emerge amidst the black barrenness within days of the fire. They even mentioned that the burned out area is like a firewall of sorts that will protect the area from another fire for up to 100 years.

“After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house.” Job 42:10-11

Interesting that growth happened in the midst of what seemed to be desolation. Growth with roots! Job was restored, the forest regenerated. So the trial yields something beneficial?

“These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire test and purifies gold – though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So that when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.” 1 Peter 1:7.

Point to Ponder: Are you in a season of barrenness or testing? Do you feel God allowing things to be stripped away? Look deep perhaps you will see the tiniest shoot of growth, it may be small but it has the potential to grow into a flourishing forest of faith. Enduring the stripping seems worth it when you know the outcome will be positive - that is His Promise!