If you dig beneath the frozen hard pack, a seed lies encased in a small earthen capsule. Impatiently, it waits for the warmth of the sun to coax it from the fragile protection of a paper-thin wrap. Stretching and arching, tender leaves burst forth–cracking the protective gauze and unfurling with slow precision to reveal the unique impressions of individuality. There is a brightness of hue…a turn of the petal…that causes me to pause.
And I know…the Master Gardener chose this one to live a blessed life. A life of joy, meaning, and fulfillment. This young shoot was meant for more than the silken prison in which it was wrapped.
And I give thanks that in the midst of the dark and despite the odds…the seed became so much more. Then, slowly, I dip near the blossom to inhale its fragrance.
SCRIPTURE FOR REFLECTION
Praise be to the God and Father of our lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Ephesians 1:3, faith, purpose, spiritual growth, trust | Leave a Comment »
The barren places..we all have them. They are the wounded, aching parts left empty; still waiting to be filled.
Was your mother critical, self-absorbed, or caught up in a drama so consuming that she overlooked your hurts? Did your father fail to fight for you–abandon you when you needed a hero? Perhaps your husband chose another or your children turned from their faith.
Invite The Lord to tend those wounds, Friend. He is “the balm of Gilead”. He offers the everlasting salve for a needy soul.
We may grieve momentary losses of relationship, yet we have gained the eternal presence of Christ. We may yearn for the tender words of a mother’s heart but the Lord exclaims, “I have loved you with an everlasting love!” We may desire the triumphant, sacrificial love of a hero and we know that the Lamb of God expelled his last breath thinking of us–you and me. He is the hero of our yesterdays, today’s, and tomorrow’s.
Take heart. Be encouraged. Your barren places will be filled for He is willing and able.
Scripture for Reflection
A bruised reed he will not break. Isaiah 42:3
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Balm of gilead, Bruised reed, Christianity, God's faithfulness, Isaiah 42, purposeful living, Relationships | Leave a Comment »
The Shadow of Death surrounds her like a dark, oppressive fog obscuring the path. Swirling madly about the Woman’s feet, the Shadow twists itself round and round–eliminating vision. The Woman gropes her way in the dark. Is there a cliff? Shelter? Will Death overcome her?
Not understanding pain…failing to grasp the marriage between El Roi’s sovereignty and the blight of suffering…and hoping she has enough faith, Woman calls out in her desperate need for the Light to reveal himself.
And because of his matchless grace and mercy, the Light holds her gently. Wrapped in the warmth of His promise, the Woman notices the Shadow retracting. Where there is Light, darkness cannot exist.
Scripture for Reflection–”Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us..”. Luke 1:78-80
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Christian living, El Roi, faith, God's faithfulness, God's sovreignty, hope, Jesus Christ, Luke 1:78-80, suffering, The Shadow of Death surrounds, trusting God | Leave a Comment »
I read the child’s name and my throat constricts. The words seem detached from the page and I wish I could wrap my hand around each letter–crushing the message they bear. Dead. Eight year old. Mother attempted to revive.
Pausing, I think of my own children and something like guilt washes over me. My children have been spared death. They have escaped from the clasp of pneumonia…the rebellious actions of desperate youth…and the threat of childhood illness. My daughter survived when she was resuscitated–and the memory of unmatched pain still lingers within. And my heart aches for this mother.
Then, I think of the little boy–thin and frail when I knew him as a preschooler–and marvel at the way God used him to touch the lives of so many. On Christmas Day, the boy drew his final breath. And because of that boy several other children received an unimaginable Christmas gift–the gift of hope.
A blind child awakened to the colors of an undiscovered world while another now touches tender flesh marred by stiches–proof that much had been sacrificed for hope.
And my thoughts are of the boy–and of Hope. The one who fully restores the brokenhearted mother…the dying child…the blind and desperate. And I Ask for the grace to accept Hope’s promise for today.
Scripture for Reflection
“Put your hope in God and know real blessing.” Psalm 146:3-9 MSG
“Blessed are those…who have made The Lord their hope and confidence.” Jer. 17:7
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Christ's sacrifice, Christianity, encourage, Eternal hope, inspirational story, Jeremiah 17:7, Psalm 146, trust | Leave a Comment »
I’m awakened by the sound of my daughter’s voice, “I want French Toast, mama.”
Through sleep-dimmed eyes, I notice she stands next to the bed–a peace-offering in her hands and a wide grin on her freckled face. ”I’ve brought your coffee.” Reluctantly, I leave the warmth of the bed.
Less than gracious, I stumble down the stairs and assemble the ingredients. Milk…eggs…bread…cinnamon. I wish I were still sleeping. “Is someone grumpy?” she asks. “Yes,” I respond honestly. But, I smile as she wraps tiny arms around my waist and I’m reminded of how different life would be without her.
This one small act may be more important than so many others.
Work? Someone else could fill my shoes.
Sleep? It’s guaranteed twelve hours from now.
This moment? Fleeting.
My family? An eternal investment.
I feel my attitude change and I ask, “Three or four pieces?”
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged attitude, family, intentional living, motherhood, thankfulness | Leave a Comment »
The imperfect Christmas unfolded like a crumpled piece of gift wrap–its bright colors diminished by the absence of a firstborn son and a father more dedicated to the child than the comforts of home. And I think of the journey he made yesterday in a quest to lavish love on one who may not understand–a love with its source from above…and within. A love patterned after the One who is Christmas incarnate.
That first Christmas? The One who is Christmas left His glorious home and chose mortal flesh; His immortal glory shrouded by helpless mortality. The God whose breath filled the lungs of the first Adam now inhaled–the unpracticed movement of the babe foreshadowing the shallow breathing of a soon-to-be Savior gasping on a crude, wooden cross.
That Christmas? God’s firstborn son had forsaken the comforts of His heavenly home. Stripped of His heavenly robes, the Christ lay helpless and shivering…cloaked in nothing more than rags. And I think of the journey he made in a quest to lavish love on those who may not understand–that the imperfect might one day be made perfect.
Verse for Reflection
For unto us a son is born; unto us a son is given… Isaiah 9:6
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Christmas, imperfect Christmas, Isaiah 9:6, prodigal, salvation, unmerited grace | Leave a Comment »
I’ve been away for a few weeks–crying out to God. Praying…weeping…grieving…and daring to hope despite my fear and unbelief. This heavy burden–unfairly thrust upon precious innocents–seems out-of-place with what I would consider a plan to “work all things together for the good of those who love Him”. Yet, I know trials are a natural part of life this side of heaven and–sometimes–they drive all hope from the soul.
Then–a miracle…a prayer answered in unexpected ways…a promise fulfilled.
If your journey seems to have ended in a dark, cavernous hole take Hope. If you’ve uttered the same desperate words again–pleading with God for evidence of an answer–take Hope. If you can’t imagine something good coming from something meant for evil, then take Hope.
Have we forgotten? It was in a dark, cavernous hole Hope was born. Hope was the answer given for the redemption of people calling out for an answer…for deliverance…for more than all of this. And Hope was–and is–the promise that reassures God’s glory and our holy cleansing will come despite the here and now of our struggles.
Because of Hope…because of “confident expectation”…we celebrate Advent. We wait…knowing that He–the very Christ who was and is Hope embodied–will one day return and will bring to completion that which he began in the bowels of a cave while shivering in the cold.
Take Hope, dear friend. He is the miracle…He is the answered prayer…He is the promise fulfilled.
Thoughts for Advent
As we light the first candle on the wreath, may we remember that Advent is a posture of expectation, waiting, and sureness. We, dear ones, are eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of what began long ago. Whatever our struggles or burdens today, remember that Hope promises much more and we push on “toward the goal of the upward call of Christ”. (paraphrase Phil. 3:14) Hope came down that we might have life–and have it abundantly. We can trust in Hope–He is not a mere wish, but the fullness of reality and power wrapped in tender skin.
So dip the match closer to the wick…watch as the flame leaps to life…and hope with expectation. Hope is alive.
Words of Power
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1)
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Advent, Christ, Christmas, jesus, Phillipians 3:14, Religion and Spirituality, Second Coming | 1 Comment »