Monday, December 13, 2010

Stacking Lack or Gathering Bounty?


Northern California is rainy this time of year.  While many of you are eagerly anticipating the beauty of a white Christmas, here we get rain.  Some people don't like it and can't wait for the return of the sunshine, but I like the break in the monotony of weather that doesn't have 4 distinct seasons to follow.  Rain is also lovely for turning the hills an almost Irish shade of green (at least how I imagine Ireland to be).  Then there's always the fact that I hate it when the powers that be talk about drought and rationing water and expecting me not to flush toilets--so yessirree, I do love the rain!!

This week brought rain, really more heavy mist than rain, but so heavy you could actually hear it. It soaked and soaked and soaked into everything.  For a day and a half it lingered.  It gave some people all the reason they needed to complain.  I just listened to the lovely soft sound it made and breathed it in.  The morning it stopped, I drove up a street that is lined on one side with huge eucalyptus trees.  In place of their usual silvery trunks were colors I didn't know they had in them!  I have been driving past these trees for over ten years and have NEVER seen them wearing COLORS like this!


Practically speaking, I shouldn't have taken the time, but I went home, got my camera and went out gathering pictures of the stunning and surprising beauty God had created.  For an hour and a half I meandered up and down a quarter of a mile stretch of road that I drive multiple times a day, examining in detail the unique beauty of that rain-drenched morning.


Later in the day I drove up the same avenue of eucalyptus again and it was as if it had never happened.  Drying in the peek-a-boo sunshine, the trees were back to their usual silvery browns and greys and all traces of the morning's glory were again cloaked in normal.  Like the sunrise I shared with you last week, and the rainbow before that, I could have missed it entirely.  I could have stacked up my lack of time and failed to gather the bounty of uncommon beauty.  I was utterly nourished in my spirit when I obediently . . . joyfully . . . CONTENTEDLY gathered up the good gift God wanted me to have for that day. This was my "up the sunbeam" moment to exclaim, "This also is Thou!" (C. S. Lewis)


I
n this world there will always be ample opportunity where I can choose to stumble around my days, stacking up lack and dissolving into the lamenting howl of a child who hasn't gotten everything she wanted . . . 

OR . . .


I can choose instead to deliberately walk out into my world with joyful wonder in my heart at all the miraculously good gifts there are to gather, and a song on my lips in gratitude to Jehovah Jireh who provides them every day!

"Every good and perfect gift is from above . . ."
James 1:17a NIV

Which one sounds like more fun . . . which one sounds like drudgery? Which one breathes the breath of life into weary bones . . . which one puffs the smoke of weariness in my face? Which one makes the trip drag on and on . . . which one makes the journey as miraculous as the destination?

Christmas itself is filled with these points of decision about what we will stack up.  Stress or Joy?  Busyness or presence in the moment?  Have to or want to?  The season or the Reason for it?  Mary showed us the way--she could have built a very tall stack of lack and lament over the way her life was interrupted, overtaken and redirected.  Instead of crying about having to give birth in a stable, she rejoiced in the divine identity of the baby she bore there, gathering up every detail for her collection of God's amazing favor toward her.

I have begun to ask myself--Which stack are you building?  Which collection are you adding to? Are you stacking up lack?  OR  Are you stacking up blessing and provision, joy and grace?  Are you collecting things to add to your list of what you want and don't have?  OR Are you adding to your collection of God's good gifts that He picked out just for you?  The stack I build each day, the collection I give my time and energy and passion to, determines to a large degree, the kind of day I have.

" . . . whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." Philippians 4:8 KJV

What are you stacking up this Christmas season?

__________________________________________

I'm joining Ann Voskamp in her counting of the multitude of gifts God bestows everyday!
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!


holy experience

#161-175

161. My first Christmas Tree Ornament sold!
162. For Drummer Boy's wry smile and self-control in a maddening moment
163. For She So Sweet rocking it out!
164. The chance to watch Hero Husband in action, motivating, inspiring and uplifting
165. For eyes that stayed open long enough to get it finished
166. My BSF girls who earnestly seek Him and help me chew on His truth
167. A wonderful evening with the World Impact team to wish Hendrik and Judy farewell
168. Cajun Macaroni & Cheese with Shrimp & Andouille Sausage! and Crème Brulee shared with Hero Husband
169. That every once in awhile the timing works out to perfection
170. Eye-achingly beautiful colors of LED Christmas lights
171. The soft misty rain that fell and fell and fell
172. The astounding colors of the eucalyptus trees revealed by that misty soaky rain
173. The time I stole to go on a photo-excursion exploring the visual mysteries of saturation
174. Getting to play vocal coach and sound tech (and Pro Tools wannabe) for Drummer Boy's project
175. That when you take it straight to Him, God counts even tearful temper tantrums as earnest prayer

Also linking to L.L. Barkat's Seedlings In Stone today!

11 comments:

Laura N. Farrar said...

Great perspective on a week that has seemed so dreary! It's a challenge to honestly think about which "stack" we're creating, but it's well worth it to spend some time in reflection. Thanks for the inspiration!

Jennifer@GDWJ said...

Those photos are GORGEOUS! That COLOR!

We are all white here. Hardly a stitch of green showing.

Shaunie Friday @ Up the Sunbeam said...

You're so welcome Laura! Happy reflecting! :)

Shaunie Friday @ Up the Sunbeam said...

Thank you Jennifer! I'm mentally looking out your window for a glimpse of white--I do SO miss the snow!!

Nancy said...

That Cajun mac and cheese sounds like some amazing stuff! I'm doing BSF, too. Isaiah--challenging, but so thankful for the opportunity to walk through it. And #175--yes, and amen!

Shaunie Friday @ Up the Sunbeam said...

Yes Nancy--the mac & cheese was quite a revelation! Today is my BSF day--so cool to know that you're studying the same lessons. You're right, this study is challenging, but I am really enjoying the chance to get the context sorted out a little--with so much moving through time, it's hard to keep it all straight if you're just reading straight through. And #175--actually a principle first learned through the BSF Life of Moses study (been through it twice--awesome!), but I learned it all over again firsthand last week--aren't you glad He doesn't change?!!

L.L. Barkat said...

That bark is stunning. I love the rain. :)

Sarah said...

Stacking water buffalo and figuring out a stocking big enough for His stocking.

Wanna do something spunky and eternal for Christmas? Then you're invited to a water buffalo party. No formal attire required. Just come and visit as we splash a family in India ...

http://justsarahdawn.blogspot.com/2010/12/all-i-want-for.html

Splashin'
Sarah

Shaunie Friday @ Up the Sunbeam said...

Thank you!! Me too!

Shaunie Friday @ Up the Sunbeam said...

Staking water buffalo--sounds like fun!! Thanks for stopping by Sarah!

Rosyrose72@gmail.com said...

Hi Shaunie...I linked up from incourage. I love your pictures!

http://raisinpraise.blogspot.com/

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