Monday, February 28, 2011

On Whirring Wings

--

When do you suppose it happens?  Where along the way do we begin to become things we're not?  And at what point do we stop becoming the things we are . . . or get sidetracked, anyway?

Why are we tempted to squeeze ourselves into molds other than what God designed us to be?  How is it that sometimes we're not even sure we KNOW what He wants us to be?  "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Are you any of the things you thought you'd be?  Sometimes, even when we are grown up, we're not sure if we know the answer to that question, and being what we'll be feels as far distant as it did when we were children,

. . . maybe farther.

It can't possibly be for lack of options.  In our time, the options are practically limitless!  Maybe there are too many options, and we just can't zero in on what our "thing" is. Maybe we have a vague idea or bits and pieces that seem unrelated, but we can't quite nail it down to an elevator speech that sounds polished and professional. Or maybe we think our "thing" isn't marketable, or has already been done, and probably better than we could ever do it, so why try?  Maybe we're afraid we'll sound presumptuous if we say it out loud.  Maybe we haven't the foggiest notion how to get there, even if we do have an idea what IT is.

Maybe . . . Maybe . . . Maybe . . .

Maybe what feels like legitimate reasoning
is just a collection of cleverly disguised excuses
that keep us
wistful
and wishful
and stuck.

Hummingbirds never question what they ought to be when they grow up.  They are, from day one, laser-focused on the things they are divinely designed to do.  Like tiny fighter jets possessing the agility of helicopters, they can perform maneuvers that run circles around those mechanical similitudes.  They make full use of their very particularly equipped beaks and slurp up every bit of nectar within reach of their specialized tongues.

Have you ever seen a hummingbird look discouraged or dejected or confused?  Have you ever known a hummingbird who tried to roar like a lion, or who wanted to run like a racehorse?  Me neither.

Instead, with their cherubim wings arrayed in iridescent colors only the angels can name, they hum and they flit, they hover and they dive.  All this while shimmering in the Son-made sunlight, making the world beautiful with every awe-inspiring flap of their blurring, whirring wings.

They are exactly what God made them to be!

The last thing I want to make is an excuse!  I can't tell what tomorrow holds, never mind my whole future, but I do know that 1) my calling is obedience to God's Word, 2) my purpose is to love and bring glory to God, and 3) my destiny is a life transformed to the likeness of Christ.  Beyond this threefold Master plan for my life He has left a lot of leeway for me to dream big dreams and uniquely put my personality and gifts to work for Him.  He promises wisdom to those who ask Him for it--to those who believe He will give it.

Oh my friends, spread your wings--that's what God gave them to you for!  Fly high and sing your song as only you can.  Do not listen to the naysayers (particularly the one in the mirror) who call you replaceable and those who try to clip your wings to keep you on the ground.  Follow leaders who follow Jesus and then, GO on whirring wings to new heights for His glory!

"Whatever you do,
do it enthusiastically,
as something done for the Lord . . ."


Do you know what you want to be when you grow up?
What big dreams are you designed to make come true?
________________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp for her Multitude Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

#326-340
326. The old man in the baseball cap who took his dog out to play ball
327. The satisfying snap of sliding a headphone cord into a headphone jack
328. Red tail lights reflecting red streaks off wet pavement
329. Fleece blankets
330. Drummer Boy's exciting call about getting great feedback on his new song from someone who knows whereof he speaks!
331. Being inside during a storm, with windows to watch it from
332. Shared laughter
333. She So Sweet, glowing happy
334. My house, minus a mouse!
335. Hero Husband who disposed of said subtracted mouse
336. When she said, "That's not how we roll!" =)  She was right.
337. Birds that puff their feathers out round and fat to keep warm
Nanny McPhee (Widescreen Edition)338. Watching Nanny McPhee again with Hero Husband and enjoying it like children
339. Sleepyhead teenagers
340. That bad haircuts aren't permanent! :-/

Also joining L.L. Barkat for:
 On In Around button

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Little Something About Valleys

--
". . . burst into song, you mountains!
For the LORD comforts His people
and will have compassion on His afflicted ones."

I craned my neck, bending to peer out the airplane window that is much too small for a photographer's liking.  I took this picture of Mount Hood in Oregon, hoping to capture something of its breathtaking grandeur.  In gradients of blue and white, this sleeping volcano towers over dozens of lesser mountains, rugged ridges and rocky crags.  Range upon range laid out in rows, each just a layer in the landscape parfait before me.  Even the sky was arranged in layers above the mountain splendor that day, so I tucked it all neatly into my memory card in an effort to take it with me.

In this picture you can't see the valley floors between the mountains, but rest assured, they are there.

How deep?

How wide?

No telling.

I know a little something about valleys . . . I grew up in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley.  Valleys are fertile places, and there are often, as with the Okanagan, rivers and lakes that fill the grooves between the peaks above. Rich nutrients wash down and down from rain and snow runoff in the spring, making the soil on the valley floor incredibly rich. The Okanagan is known for growing beautiful fruit trees with orchards of many kinds, and now for award-winning vineyards. Things grow in the valley.

When I was a kid, one of my favorite things was getting to go to Fellowship of Christian Athletes conferences in the summertime.  We would rent a van and take a group of athletes to the conference in Ashland, Oregon and spend a week of "inspiration and perspiration" as they liked to describe it.  Those mountaintop experiences still hold extremely high spots on my list of the best times in my life.  At the end of the week, it was agonizing to say goodbye to people and to leave the spiritual mountaintop to head back for the valley, even the Okanagan Valley that I love so much.

I have always wanted to stay on the mountaintop.  One time when I was about 5 years old, we were returning to our home in Iowa from a summer living in Greeley, Colorado. About an hour into the trip, I started to cry.  When my momma and daddy asked me what was wrong, I sobbed, "I can't see my mountains anymore."  I still feel that way all these years later.  I love and long for "my" mountaintops!

Many of us are finding ourselves far from the mountaintops, in deep valleys right now.  Not places of our choosing, not places we want to stay, but places we have to live for the time being.  I have two friends battling breast cancer--they and their families are in a valley both deep and wide.  I have other friends whose husbands have been without work for months-stretching-into-years--I know that valley well, having lived there for over two years myself.  I don't live in that particular valley anymore, but we are in a bit of a financial valley, me looking for work, with maybe a few rolling hills along the way. I am praying for all of us to be led to higher ground!

I'm a mountain girl, remember Lord?!!

Things grow in the valley.

We grow in valleys too.

In the valley, we may live whole seasons, sometimes long seasons, where we will undoubtedly grow. God walks the valley times with us, and will not leave us there forever!

   No matter how deep the valley is,   
   it's only the foot of the next mountaintop.   

My perspective is so limited by being on the ground.  Sometimes the valley is so wide, I can't even see to the other side of it like the enormous Central Valley here in California.  Thankfully, God is not limited by what I can see.  He sees over the tops of all the ranges, past all the valleys, to the towering peak of where He's promised He's taking me.  WE. WILL. REACH. THE SUMMIT!!

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess,
for He who promised is faithful."



Do you find yourself in a valley?
How does hope keep you moving toward your next mountaintop?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty

--
Years have come and gone since I got the first phone call . . . and the second. Twice in two weeks a well-regarded ministry leader here in my area called to make an invitation. Both times she said that while praying about a ministry position she needed to fill, my name came to her mind, and she wondered if I would be interested. I had only recently learned that I wasn't required to give an automatic yes to everything I was asked to do, so I flexed my new muscle and twice told her I would pray about it.

The reason she called twice is that the first time, I told her no. I had, true to my word, prayed and asked God whether He would have me take this position. There was nothing in my seeking of Him that gave me even the slightest whisper of a "yes" answer. I then talked to Hero Husband, and he agreed with me for many reasons that it didn't seem that I should do it.

When the second call came, I was a little confused, and almost wavered, but since I believe God is perfectly capable of giving guidance to ME directly about what He wants ME to do, again I prayed. There still was not even an inkling that God wanted me to do this, and even less desire on my part to do it. Again, I told her, "Thank you for asking, but no." I also told her that I knew God definitely WAS putting it on my heart to write and that I had to be obedient to that before I tried to take on anything else. I told her I would join her in praying that God would provide the best person for the job, and I did.

That was in the spring and the next fall when the position started, there she was, the woman God had provided for that important position. Every . . . single . . . week, I am filled with joy as I watch this woman work. She does that job, the one that held no allure for me whatsoever, either personally or spiritually, with such excellence and sparkle and with such a beautiful spirit! It is obvious that she holds her responsibilities in high regard and honors their importance with her diligence and passion for the work she does. It is clearly HER position, the one God meant for her and just as clearly, He meant HER for it! She is one continuous blossom, blooming in exactly the spot God wants her!!


What a mistake it would have been for me to cave in to the well-intentioned persistence (and unintentional pressure) of that highly respected ministry leader who initially tapped me for that job. I would have been taking something that didn't belong to me. While I could have done the job, and would have done it to the best of my ability if I had taken it, I would never have had the from-the-inside-out passion and giftedness of this truly God-chosen woman who is so perfectly placed now.

I have never again been shy or uncertain or felt guilty about responding to an invitation to service by saying, "I'm not sure, but I'll be happy to pray about it, when do you need an answer?" And after the promised prayer, if I am not sure of a "yes" answer from God, I feel completely free to decline the opportunity, confident that doing otherwise would prevent someone else from doing the thing God wants THEM to do. What freedom! And what joy in seeing God provide the right people for the work that He wants done!

One last thing--when I said, out loud, that I could not take that position because I needed to be obedient and start writing as God was directing, it put a just-right godly pressure on me to follow through. It was that same month that I started my greeting card company which later opened the door for me to start Up the Sunbeam.  In declining one opportunity, I left the way clear for someone else to find her passion, and I got serious about the passion God had already called my heart to. Win--Win!!

If you are, as I was, someone who has a hard time saying no when asked to fill a need, I pray that my experience will give you courage and help you feel that you have permission not to give that immediate 'yes.' God doesn't tell other people what He wants you to do without also telling you to do it . . . no matter what they think or how many times they come back to ask again. It is not selfish to say no to an opportunity when you know that you are leaving the way clear for someone else to walk in blessing and obedience to God's call. When you say no, look around and see if there is something you've been putting off that you KNOW God wants you to do and then GO FOR IT!!
"He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing."  Ephesians 2:10 MSG

Have you ever felt pressured to say yes?
Is there something God wants you to do that you haven't started yet?
________________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp for her Multitude Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"

#311-326
311. The pleasant spice-heat of my Chicken Tikka Masala and the sweet-savory-exotic flavors of the wonderful sauce gathered by the nutty basmati rice--such a Valentine dinner!
312. The little nervous thrill of being on a date with Hero Husband who still makes my heart beat faster
313. Towering puffy white clouds
314. The captivating wild percussion of the rain after midnight
315. Clean pajamas
316. The healing power of rest
317. Kissin' curls that sneak unbidden into She So Sweet's straightened hair
318. A floor swept clean of crumbs and the satisfaction that comes of beating the chaos back into cosmos
319. Homemade Shepherd's Pie
320. The squeak of white leather high-tops on the polished wood of a basketball floor
321. Raindrops that splash


322. Our house that is a home
323. Plum blossoms that burst open like a riot of pink popcorn
324. Snow on Mt. Diablo
325. Snow-chilled air that is so UNLIKE the blazing heat of summer

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mary's Heart and Martha's Work


   "As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, 'Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!'
   'Martha, Martha,' the Lord answered, 'you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.'” Luke 10:38-42 NIV
I have had this title in my Onenote notebook for Blog Ideas since October 4, 2009.  That was all I had.


A title.

And a blank page.

And a huge question mark in my heart.

How can I have Mary's heart when Martha's work needs to get done?

That page has stayed blank because I thought I'd write it when I had figured everything out.

Uh-huh.  So much for that idea. It's 2011 and I still don't know how it's supposed to work.

I've heard (at least) a zillion sermons about how Mary chose the better thing, the sitting, in rapt attention at Jesus' feet, inhaling the very breath of the Logos and soaking up the words that flowed from Him.  I'm there.  I buy in.  I eagerly desire to have Mary's heart and to have my priorities aligned with hers--
both eyes
whole heart
fully fixed on Jesus.
GOT IT!

But what about Martha? I always feel sorry for Martha and a little bewildered on her behalf.  At least that's how I feel with the way sermons on this passage are usually presented.  So often they tend to be scornful of Martha's busyness and wag their finger at her asking Jesus to get Mary to help her.  But is that the way Jesus treated her?  With scorn and disapproval?  That's not how it feels to me.

Hospitality was a core value in Martha's culture.  The work she was doing was necessary and important and she was doing her best literally to serve the Lord!  This was her house and it was suddenly filled with a dozen or more disciples and the Son of God was her guest!! Who among us wouldn't leap into action to serve Him and His followers to the best of her ability?  No matter what century you live in, that's a lot to think about, a lot to do, and none of us would want to just throw on a pot of mac & cheese from a box!  Martha wanted to serve her Lord well. She also didn't want to be the only one sweating in the kitchen, spending Jesus' entire visit away from Him--maybe she wanted to hear what Jesus had to say too, but couldn't be two places at once.   Martha's work was good work.  It was her responsibility as the lady of the house.  Martha's work needed to get done

So does mine.

The Mary heart is easy for me.  I love to study.  Love to read.  Love to sing and write and notice Him in every little detail of my day and the people around me.  I SO would have been Mary, ignoring all that needed to be done to sit at Jesus' feet.  Ask my mother how eager to help her I was growing up when guests were in town--I far preferred the living room where the conversation was over the kitchen where she was preparing the meal for them.  Ask Hero Husband, who is far more naturally passionate about a clean house than I am--I'm afraid I test the limits of his patience much too often.  He well knows what wins in a battle between housework and pursuits of a more contemplative nature. It's not that cleanliness isn't important to me, it's just not always urgent to me in the moment.  Housework is not my natural inclination and I will almost always give priority to people and to matters of spirit and relationship and to the work of transforming and enriching my mind.

Judging from the results of my Mary-heartedness, something may be out of whack.

Nevermind Martha's work, Shaunie's work is not getting done.

What was Jesus really saying to Martha? Was Jesus saying that her work didn't matter?  Was He telling her not to do it?  Was He giving ME permission to ignore work that needs to be done because I'm pursuing study or service in words?

That can't be it.  There are too many places in God's word that put high value on the importance of diligence and hard work (Psalm 90:17, Proverbs 12:11, Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 18:9, and the one that always beats me over the head Proverbs 31:10-31).  It just can't be an either/or proposition.

So how can I have Mary's heart when I need to get Martha's work done?

After reading and re-reading this passage again and again, I'm starting to think it wasn't that Jesus was correcting Martha for being about the work of serving Him, only that she was fretting so about it, and that she was trying to correct Mary's manner of serving Him.  The better thing Mary had chosen cast no indictment on Martha's spirituality, but neither did Martha's service render Mary lazy and useless for sitting at the Master's feet.  Both active service AND comtemplative study and prayer are important aspects of our Christian lives.

I really love this:
"We must not be so active as to neglect communion with God, nor so contemplative as to become unpractical."  C. H. Spurgeon
Father, please help me to find the place of balance between the active ways I am charged with serving You by serving my family, and the study, prayer, writing, learning that truly is the "better" thing.  Help me to keep Mary's heart AND to get Martha's work done.  Help me to do my active work without fretting and being encumbered by it.  Help me to learn from both Martha and Mary--they both loved You, both served You, both lived for Your glory.  That is what I want to do.

Do you identify more with Martha or Mary in this story?
How do you strike a balance in your focus?
__________________________

Joining Emily Wierenga for Imperfect Prose

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Beloved . . . and Me

--

He looked like he'd stepped off the pages of Sports Illustrated and had a name to match--Tony Friday.

He was lean and strong and every bit of "tall, dark and handsome."

He loved His Momma and he gallantly opened doors for me.

He made me laugh out loud and made me think deeply.

He could hold a note forEVER and suddenly make characters spring to life with no warning.

He was a big kid and he was a Bible scholar.

He made me feel both completely safe and wildly vulnerable.

He was everything I wanted, and wonder of wonders, he wanted ME!

Me . . . the girl who had never had a boyfriend before him.

Me . . . the girl who was 22 years old before she got her first kiss . . . and he gave it to her.

Me . . . the girl who had always felt on the outside looking in when it came to love.

Me . . . the girl who never thought she measured up to the brand of beauty the world required.

Me . . . he wanted . . . me.

Oh!

He is nothing but a gift!  He is living, breathing, powerful evidence of God's love toward me--that He would grace me with this man, this walking gift of love and life--I am wordless, speechless, unable to come up with anything to express my gratitude to God for him.  I am no better at wrapping words around all I feel for my Hero Husband who means more to me than my little, broken efforts can ever convey.  I pray that somehow my life with him says what I have no words for and that I can be, every day, a better Valentine to him than I was the day before.

"My beloved is mine and I am his . . ."



When I met my Tony Friday it gave the expression TGIF a whole new meaning--it still does!
And I like it that it's always Friday at our house!! 

Wishing everyone a Valentine's Day that is a pure reflection of the perfect love of God!
________________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp for her Multitude Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"


#296-310

296. Phone call from Hero Husband to tell me Super Bowl day blog post is one of his favorites!
297. The way the whole house vibrates its joy when Drummer Boy plays his drums
298. Seeing clothes yield their wrinkles to the steam
299. Ladybugs & Mustard pollen!
300. A few minutes between pickups & drop-offs to take pictures of Mt. Diablo 
301. The way bronchitis (or whatever it is) makes you appreciate that you can USUALLY walk up a small hill AND breathe at the same time.
302. That I didn't pass out on that walk up a small hill--sheesh!
303. A day of feeling LOUSY and how it makes you appreciate all the days you feel well enough to function.
304. Answered prayers for Generous S-I-L and Hero Husband who worked so well together
305. That shattered drinking glasses and ruined food are on my list of "won't be's" in Heaven
306. That Hero Husband was so smart about his LONG bike ride
307. Drummer Boy and his generous heart (Los jeans)   =]
308. The way She So Sweet looks in yellow :) 
309. Things you "stumble" across just when you need them
310. Hero Husband and his uplifting, encouraging, motivating spirit!!!  He is my Valentine!!!



Also joining L.L. Barkat for:
 On In Around button

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Story the Ladybug Tells

--
The whimsical whistle of my cell phone ring tone beckoned from my purse.  It was She So Sweet's biology teacher returning my call to answer a couple of questions I had about his class.  He was very helpful in answering my questions and in the course of our conversation, I decided to talk to him a little bit about the upcoming unit on evolution.

With a 20 year (combined) history of my kids being in public schools and many teachers during that time who were . . . um . . . passionate about their beliefs in evolution, I always like to touch base with new teachers, hopefully to assure that they will at the very least be respectful of students who hold a creationist viewpoint.  I was so impressed with this teacher (who clearly does believe in evolution) when he spoke of "the theory of evolution and what it suggests."  I was quick to thank him for stating it that way rather than the fierce dogma I have experienced from other teachers.

We went on to have a very cordial conversation about the importance of keeping an open dialogue and being respectful and intellectually honest in the study of how our planet and all its many lifeforms came to be.

We built bridges instead of walls--the conversation can continue.  I. Love. That!


Spring is springing around here, and the mustard is taking over the world as we know it.  My deep red SUV is positively yellow with mustard pollen!


Did you know that ladybugs eat mustard pollen?
Did you know that they are some of the first bugs to show up each spring?
Don't you think it's clever of God to have the ladybug's favorite plant bloom just at the time they appear with eggs to lay?


Like a tiny Volkswagen wearing a coat of yellow confetti, this ladybug is so surrounded by her much-needed food source, she is covered in it! The bountiful provision of an eminently good God is displayed so beautifully in His care for even some of His smallest creations.

When it comes to the natural world and the story it tells, the words are written plainly without ever opening the Book.  But if you do open the Book it will tell you this,
"For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."  Romans 1:20 NIV
What God has revealed of Himself in His glorious creation leaves people without excuse to say He isn't there. I pray that we, as Christians, will never do anything in our dialogue with the world that gives them an excuse to tune Him out.  There are so many voices screeching their opinions and beliefs, but few are listening . . . listening to the bell clear sound of His voice in creation.

I hope that just as this evolution-believing teacher pleasantly surprised me with his honesty, our creation-believing family can be a pleasant surprise to him. Maybe we can amplify the sound of the Voice who calls out His goodness in everything He has made.

Where do you see God's invisible qualities on display in His creation?
Have you or your children had opportunities to bring a creationist viewpoint to teachers of evolution?  Tell me about it!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Destined to Win

--
"The LORD will march out like a champion . . ."


The Super Bowl has not yet begun as I sit down to write this.  It is a story yet to be written, a battle yet to be fought.  Football fans everywhere are poised and waiting for the contest to unfold.  I am one of them.  Who will win the day?  Whose great season will end in triumph and who will go home in deepest disappointment?  Who will have the game of his life?  Who will make mistakes that affect the outcome of the game?  We don't know!  As they say, "That's why they play the game."

Humanity loves a contest!  We just love to watch and/or participate in competition.  The Super Bowl is in an elite category of contests, right up there with Game 7 of a World Series (or NBA or NHL Championship), the 5th Set of a Wimbledon Final, the final round at Augusta, the Home Stretch at the Kentucky Derby, the Gold Medal game in the Olympics.  The drama just doesn't get any bigger in athletic competition than these pinnacle moments of determining who the ultimate champion will be!

Why do you suppose we care so much?

Oh, I know, some care more than others.  Growing up a coach's daughter, our family thrived on sporting events of all kinds--we cared a lot!  Others, not as much, but even those who are lukewarm about football, maybe even those who haven't watched a single game all season and can't name a single player, will tune in for the Super Bowl.  Why is that?  What is it about an epic contest that captures our imagination on such a universal scale?

We are hard-wired to care who wins!

Immediately after mankind fell (the most epic fumble of all time, not to mention the mortal injury it caused), God announced His plan to overcome their devastating turnover and win the victory for them, setting in motion the granddaddy of all contests.

"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, 
   and between your offspring and hers; 
he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

That contest continues.  Here, in TIME, we play our positions on a cosmic gridiron, we play hard, leaving it all on the field of competition.  But from Heaven's perspective, the game we're playing is already recorded on God's DVR. It's a fait accompli! The Victor's Name is already on the trophy! The championship has already been won!!  The team in the blood-red jerseys with the name JESUS CHRIST emblazoned in gold across the chest will one day catch up with that moment of completion! As the clock runs down to zero, the trumpet will sound the end of the game, when we will be carried to victory and presented with a banquet unparalleled in the history of celebration!

THAT is why we're hard-wired to love competition!  Every contest here on earth is a tiny picture of the ultimate game where God and His people are already destined to win! Are you on His team?

God is a fierce competitor!
He ALWAYS wins!

"But thanks be to God! He gives us the
VICTORY
through our Lord
-JESUS CHRIST "

Whose name is on your jersey?
________________________________________

     . . . After the game . . .    
     Congratulations to the Green Bay Packers on a great win in a down-to-the-wire contest!      
________________________________________

Joining Ann Voskamp for her Multitude Monday
I hope you'll join in if you haven't already!
In the counting of the endless gifts I say with C. S. Lewis,
"This also is Thou!"


#281-295
281. An unexpected chance to catch up with old friends at Peet's
282. The very busy afternoon/evening schedule transforming itself into an evening at home instead
283. Despite having laryngitis, feeling well enough to take She So Sweet to officiate basketball
284. Tea with honey and lemon that helps my throat, even though I don't like it
285. Reconnecting with far-flung family members on facebook
286. The gift that came in the mail, filled with a thousand more gifts
287. Fun call from a dear friend who was glad to do all the talking since I had no voice :)
288. Drummer Boy's new song and his joy in the creation
289. Getting to hear Amy & Smitty sing Friends over John's cell phone because he and Colleen wished I was there with them!
290. My too-generous sister-in-law--I would have gladly done it for free!
291. Lazy Saturday mornings
292. My computer that is hanging in there
293. The infectious sound of my kids laughing together
294. facebook and the way it can, in an instant, be the world's biggest and fastest prayer chain
295. The fun of watching the Super Bowl together as a family!

Also joining L.L. Barkat for:
 On In Around button

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

His Goodness is Still Good

--
Snow . . . wind . . . sleet . . . ice . . . cars crumpled and off the road . . . planes staying put . . . snow plows that can't keep up . . . power outages and people trying to stay warm--that's one story on the news today.

Clashing mobs . . . anger . . . rage . . . demands . . . tanks in the streets of Cairo . . . Molotov cocktails lighting up a night darker than dark . . . bullets firing in the air, at least for now--that is the other big story of the day.

There are a host of other stories too.

None of them hold out hope for tomorrow to be better than today.

So where can we look that will not drive us to distraction or depression, or both?

Is there anything right with the world on this very turbulent day?
Is anything alive?
Is anything good growing?

Photo Courtesy of freebigpictures.com
When I was a little girl, it was snowdrops--beautiful white flowers that would bravely push their lovely heads up through the powdery British Columbia snow, heralding that spring really would come!  Even in the loveliest of winters, there comes a time where everyone is sick of short days and shades of grey and white and the sickly brown of last year's dead grass.  What a welcome sight to see those tender bits of green leaves and stems that accompany the new-whiteness of the snowdrop's head-bowed flowers!

It always amazed me that under all that snow, inside the ground that was frozen rock-hard, life was erupting before you could even see anything.  And then, as the flowers started to climb up and up, what was it that made them push defiantly on through inches of ice crystals, hard and jagged, and so cold?

Well, there are no snowdrops here in this part of California, but the daffodils do come awfully early by midwest or Canadian standards either one.  While all the trees are still bare, except for the occasional tenacious autumn colored leaf clinging against the wind, I stop in my tracks to marvel at these soon-to-be daffodils rising out of the ground, full of life and promise.


The flowers aren't here yet, but they WILL come.  Even in the dormancy of winter, the promise of spring cannot be suppressed for long.

Here it is--evidence that life still lives!!
Goodness is still good!!
And snow drops and daffodils still grow!!

When the bleak, the barren, the tragic and the wicked threaten to convince you that goodness is dying, rise up in a defiant shout of praise and declaration:

"I am still confident of this:
   I will see the goodness of the LORD
   in the land of the living." 

Does the darkness in this world ever discourage you?
How can we really live in light of God's goodness, no matter what?
_______________________________

Joining Emily Wierenga for Imperfect Prose

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