Saturday, October 30, 2010

Naturally beautiful






This post is dedicated to my BFF, Laura. I know that this term has been trivialized and overused in recent years, but in 1988 when I met my best friend, these three letters had deep meaning indeed. Like totally. We were there for each other at just the right time of our adolescence. No one can understand a junior high aged girl like another tween, of course. But what's so wonderful about my BFF is that even today there rarely seems to be another who can understand me quite like her.

And so, as I enjoy the amazing autumn the Lord has blessed me with this year, I cannot help but think of days gone by... where the two of us would hike and play, take a million pictures, find our favorite trees, trade sweaters, break out the jean jackets and thick socks, and soak in every bit of fall together. It used to be my favorite season. I now remember why. The beauty of nature, and my naturally beautiful BFF. They go hand in hand for me today. I am blessed.

As I share these photos and a bit of my thought process while I was walking and soaking in the fall, allow me to share what else was going on. I was having a lovely time with the Lord while taking these. I walked down our street and decided to climb the hill that is essentially the base of the mountain. It was as if God was guiding me while I walked and showing me that path... remember that shining path he showed me before? I am drawn to little paths now, and I seem to find them everywhere! It's funny, and a little overwhelming, I think.

It's in direct correlation with my life.
I see those pathways, so many of them. Which is the right one to take? The light that shines before me will simply have to lead the way, and I'll continue to stop and examine each one and just enjoy the natural beauty around me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The little things in life

I wanted to blog today. Just to write out some light-hearted, frivolous things that a girl can love to spend time on. I have emotions that continue to fluctuate, don't we all? And I just wanted to be able to spill something. Anything! Nothing heavy, nothing religious, nothing "churchy" or spiritual. But... then I began to think of what in the world I would write!

This morning when I awoke, the song "How great is our God, sing with me, how great is our God..." was singing happily in my head. Psalm 71:23 "My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing unto thee; and my soul, which thou hast redeemed." The fact that our God is great, good, loving and that he desires us, flooded my soul this morning. The activities of today are more enjoyable with that in mind. And I began to ponder the sweet thoughts that even the little things, the girly, the silly, the frivolous, and the light-hearted topics of my day are still wrapped up in the fact that God loves me and his thoughts are ever toward me! So I share with you a fun activity that made me think of God who loves spending time with me, even more than I love spending time with my kids!


This collage is actually from a fun activity that we had a few weeks ago. The electricity had gone out in our neighborhood (not an uncommon occurrence) and there was "Absolutely nothing to do"! According to the kids, that is. So, we decided to have a fun day of making cupcakes with colored cream-cheese icing and homemade play-dough to replace the hardened store-bought kind. And what fun we had both eating and creating!


And here are a couple of recent cakes I have had fun making as well. I'm trying to learn the best recipes for the perfect combination of beauty without sacrificing taste! If you have any yummy recipes that have worked for you, please do share!!!

God is so good. He is everywhere. He is in everything. Ah, the little things don't seem so little anymore, do they?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Darker Days


Today is bright and beautiful. Jesus has shown me a shining path that he has for me, and that it's there with a wide, vast future in store! However, after coming down from a spiritual high - the fact that my chrysalis was no longer binding me, the swift, wide wind at the tip of my spiritual wings - I became frightened. That big, wide world is intimidating, you know! My chrysalis beckoned me with a force that can not be explained. And I succumbed. My chrysalis is in fact a bedroom with dark, heavy drapes and a door that closes tightly. The quiet solitude it offers is almost intoxicating. I'm away from the world, reality, and all things scary when I shut myself in. Again I can only see darkness. I see no change of metamorphosis, no hope that there will be a day of flight. And I wonder how it is that after feeling so free, I can choose that cocoon once again! I know it is the work of the evil one, yet I feel defenseless against his powers.

Fact: He that is in me is greater than he that is in the world. Okay, true. I accept that. But am I the only one who doesn't always FEEL like it's true? I have heard discussions, sermons, and talks recently on feelings and though I know that they can be fickle, I find solace in the fact that the Psalmist says "RESTORE unto me the joy of thy salvation". Meaning at one point there wasn't that joy, and his feelings were the opposite of what he knew to be true.

I had the privilege of praying with a dear friend of mine a couple days ago, and her words encouraged me so much. The day seems brighter today because of the way we were able to grab hold of the words Jesus showed us to be true. And though I know that the darkness will come again because of warfare, I seek the light of his truth today. I hope I always will. Today is bright and beautiful.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Questioning

Looking out on this big wide world, I have questions. I can remember how as a child I would tinker with things, take them apart, and look at the intricacies of how they function. We had an old telephone that had stopped working. I couldn't have been more than 15 when I decided to take it apart, look at the wiring, and put it all back together, in working order, of course. The funny thing is, I did it.... for a short time, anyway. It worked, and I was allowed to keep it in my room until it died, really died, beyond repair... or at least beyond what my tinkering skills could decipher.



I would also look out at things like buildings, and wonder how they stood. I wanted to know it all, how it all worked, why it was there, and why it HAD to be a certain way. In time, of course, I learned the laws of physics and nature. Why a foundation could only bear a certain load and how a bridge could be suspended across a body of water. What made sound travel through wires and how energy can be harnessed in so many ways... and the questions somehow became answers and what had once been an insatiable desire to figure things out became a "that's just the way it is" attitude.

My entire life I have been involved in Christianity. Before I was a believer, I was a follower. Or maybe I was just a listener. Either way, my parents were going to church, and I was going with them. I remember having some questions, but when it came to believing, it seemed natural. I was taught in biblical ways from the time I was born and it made sense to me. It was almost the opposite as my physical world. I didn't question, I just followed. Until I became a teen. Oh, yes, the dreaded teenager. I can't say I caused too much grief for my parents, but questions, questions, questions galore!

And how the floods came. I am glad they did, because by then, I was not believing because I was told, not even AS I was told, but believing because of what I had experienced and learned. But then... somewhere along the road... I got that whole "that's just the way it is" answer so many times, that my questions slowed, and even stopped. I accepted things and went along my merry way. Until recently.

Over the past year I have seemed to question EVERYTHING, and boy do I mean everything. I felt guilty. I had thought for so long that it was wrong to question spiritual things. But then I started to find answers. Not right away, but eventually. It's kind of liberating. I hadn't felt that way since high school and my dad was encouraging me to figure things out for myself. After years of feeling like I was guilty if ever I questioned things, I was actually feeling freer and freer by the questions I would ask. You know why?

Because EVERY TIME Jesus was always the answer!!! No matter what I would ask, what area I would question, what kink I would throw into the well-oiled machinery of this religion I was in, the answer EVERY SINGLE TIME was Jesus. His love, his mercy, his gospel, his will. And it hit me. Like that proverbial ton of bricks. If Christianity is about THE answer, then all it will do to lead a soul to find it is provoke question, after question, after question. Because the answer is and always will be JESUS!

So in this time of dealing with my lovely, new mom-and-questioning-teenager-stage, I am excited about every question she brings. I was SO SCARED before when the nay-sayers would tell me their horror stories, but now, I truly believe that every question whether I see things the same way or not, will always lead us back to the answer. The way, the TRUTH, the life. All we have to do is embrace the answer. And I can't wait to learn more and more about the way this whole thing works, and just pray that those who follow me will someday be more than followers, more than listeners, but believers and "experiencers" of the relationship that will provoke question after question in order to draw them to the Answer!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Metamorphosis


My favorite place to go in the zoo is the butterfly habitat. I can remember the first time I had ever gone in such a place. It was warm, moist, and serene. The place was not crowded, and the few people who were there seemed to whisper so as not to disturb the peaceful home of our lovely, winged friends.

I love the fact that the butterflies are so freely at home in this warm, sheltered environment, and fly around you as if to say "Welcome! Isn't it beautiful here? Stay a while and look around!" During my most recent visit, the butterflies would even land on hands, hats, or t-shirts of the people in the passing crowds.

This past summer, I was at the zoo with our family and some friends and I took this picture of a majestic butterfly in all her glory. I love the colors in this picture, but I was somehow led to a different thought recently. Metamorphosis. I teach this process in school. I know what it means, what it entails, and can even name the various stages of its evolution. However, after someone mentioned to me that she thought I had been going through a sort of spiritual metamorphosis, I thought long and hard about the process.

A while ago, the stages in my life had begun to morph into this haze of doubt and question and I was astonished, to be honest. Things I thought I knew were seemingly unraveling and I started construction on my cozy cocoon. I love warmth. I love big sweaters and fuzzy socks this time of year, and I love emotional security just the same. It feels warm to me. It's what I want, inside and out, yet I was chilled to the bone and couldn't get warm. I was sure that my chrysalis would keep me safe and sound.

It's funny how apathy works as a buffer sometimes, but that's exactly what my chrysalis did. It buffered out the cold and kept me apathetic for the most part, but scared and suspicious too. I was always preoccupying myself with its construction, all the while keeping an eye out for danger of any penetration of my secure place.

And one day, I realized that this cocoon was not my shelter from the world, but a preparing place for me to changed. A hard, exhausting process by which I would morph into something I could not even imagine. For there was One person from whom I can not hide. Psalm 139:8 "If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there."

I feel almost as if I didn't even know Him before, not like I could have. As if it was all new. This metamorphosis in me may have been brought about because of my apathy, my mistakes, my shortcomings, and even my doubt; but what allowed me to see that I could break free of this constricting house of solitude is that there was a plan all along. As the fuzzy little caterpillar may crawl to its nearby destiny, be thrust into a constrictive prison of self-metamorphosis, and then break free to flights that can cross a continent; so I was meant to morph from babe, to gangly miss, to woman who must break free from binds of self-doubt and condemnation to soar where wings of hope and purpose may take her!

I didn't start this blog to do anything more than share my thoughts, but I hope that if you are reading this, you see that whether you are a caterpillar, in your warm, constrictive cocoon, or soaring above to new heights and lands you haven't yet seen; that you, as I have, experience the joy that comes with knowing that this stage is for your good.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."