Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Injustice of Snow in Spring : for Cindy


Snow white skin and hair,
pale pink lipstick and finger nails,
bows in her french braid and a big Cindy smile on her face.

 That was who greeted me on the High School bus every morning in late High School. She had been a part of our lives since we were little. Going to Sunday School with us, elementary school and visiting with my older sister many times. All they would do is laugh. Two insecure, shy little gigglers. Putting away the monumental stresses of a typical school child and just laughing. I had no idea what could be so funny for so long, but it didn't matter, now, as a mother of a little girl, can I really understand the joy that fills a home with such laughter.

My hour long bus rides every morning to school years later were met with the same subtle giggles. She looked picture perfect at 7:30am. Evidence of early morning care taken. By the end of a long High School day, her french braid was falling out, the lipstick had worn well off and the hair bow was crooked...but the smile was just as bright. The stories of the day brought more laughter, even if the events were not good. She had a way of turning everything into a giggle, a joke or a small hurdle in her life race. It was a happy hour. My half empty cup seemed a little fuller after riding home with her, or at least her presence made it seem like sparkling grape juice instead of tasteless water. 

Laughter. That's what I remember most. She was kind and gentle. If she ever raised her voice it was always punctuated with a largely dimpled smile and snicker...pretending to be mad. No negative thing ever seemed to matter much and I needed that at that time. Light-hearted laughter. Sweet Cindy. 

No words can really articulate the tragedy of her passing.The world needs more gentleness and laughter. It has a little less of that today. My prayer is that her 4 children and their children may inherit her bubbly, positive, loving ways. Injustice saturates the air and questioning reigns. I have to  trust that the Almighty knows what He is doing and has "the whole world in His hands", even a small east coast city...covered in cold, empty snow when it should be Spring. It just seems wrong in every way. There should be flowers, grass, sunshine and singing birds...but they are just not there. The past cannot be changed, the present is painful and the future is waiting for our reaction.

Cindy faced problems much bigger than her own fragile soul. She worked very hard to overcome them and did what she did best...she loved and laughed. May we muster up the energy to do the same on a bitter cold day. We all know it should look different out our window today, but there it is...cold covering everything. Where is the joy, beauty and warmth? It's coming. You can be sure it is coming. Not because I insist, but because Someone more powerful than death itself rules this universe and he will have the final everything. Spring will come. Joy will come. Love, laugh, look to Him and trust in word and deed while you wait.

"Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him."
Isaiah 30:18

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Ruby Red Baby Steps

This is not an audible conversation with God. This is my imagination in overdrive, to the point of comical, but it is real. It is this morning:
Some mornings,
The light of day is seen.
The need to move is felt.
Feet on the floor is unwanted, too far to go.
A smile needs a million muscles.
Spirit living will take a miracle.
Paralized for a few more minutes.
The only action is my prayer.
Conversation with an omnipotent God in my dead state.
Easter is coming. The ressurection.
A little of that could get me out of bed.
Forgive my weakness Lord, be my strength today. Take your mighty right hand and move my in front of the other.
Your strong arms around me can squeeze a smile out.
Tell me what to do first, then next. I'll ask each step of the way.

Wake the kids. What next?
Eat something helpful.
Smile and speak kindly to the kids. Check. Next?
Shower and wash away yesterday. Yes. Next?
Play worship music. Ahhhh, yes. Next?
Put tea on. Absolutely. Next?
Smile and be kind to our precious offenders. Again? 
Yes again. Recite Galatians 2;20.
"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me."
Listen to the scripture and song lyrics playing life into your body. 
Thank you for that Jesus.Tears, warm and relieving. 
Even dead artists still minister. I want to be like that.
STOP! Refrain from big, deep, tomorrow thoughts...just cook the oatmeal.
Right. Sorry. Focus on today...the next minute and step.
There goes another precious
How am I doing Lord?
Awesome. Keep it up. I'm still holding you. Forever holding you. Resurrection power. I'll lead you.
I hate being so weak.
Yes, but because your are, I can be strong for you. I love being strong for you. This is kingdom living. This is submission. This is the irony of the cross. Losing your life to find it.Looking and feeling weak only to find yourself strong and victorious just because you let Me lead, hold, direct...without fear. 

Emotions and thoughts will not have me.
 I am being held up, fed and loved today by the Almighty Beautiful.
His perfection, power and sovereignty is the only peace pill that works. I just have to make a conscious effort to take it every moment of the dead days. No fear of overdose and the side effects are helpful. It's a little addictive, but dependance on Him is encouraged. 

I might not trust circumstances, people, even myself some days, but my life, my breath, my everything is given into your hands. Oh my God, I need you, I love you. Stay close today. Keep moving my feet and whispering truth in my ear. No Amen to this prayer because it continues...
Taking the next step. Waiting for God to tell me what to make for supper ;)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Choose Your View

Happy Trails.

We live next to a highway. It's a secondary highway, but busy enough to make some noise and keep one from wearing pj's outside. I rarely visit the front part of the yard for this very reason. If the window boxes on the front deck didn't need watering in the summer, I'd likely never be out front. 

Our back yard however, is a dream. It's huge. Spacious. beautiful. Calming. It smells nice...once you get past the chicken coup. Every morning, when I let the dog out the back door, I take a moment, no matter the weather, and take a peek at it. Breath in the merciful country air and allow the sounds of the season to sing me a quick chorus. It's a good way to start the day and reminds me to take some time that day to get outside awhile, away from the business and stresses of life.

Whether I just swing in my hammock chair or walk with the dog around the field-bush trail, I need to get outside. Senses need the therapy. The brain needs the pure Canadian oxygen. The Spirit needs the closeness with the Creator felt by touring His gallery. I could stay in the house and get stuff done, which is always a strong temptation, but I have to set my gaze on something else once in awhile.

 Even though life does not always allow you to choose what happens or what you must do, we always have the choice of how we will look at it. How much time we invest in giving attention to things. What we will fix our gaze upon. There is a time and place for everything under the sun, and when given the chance, look at the bright side...the back yard...the majestic mountain in your life...the wide-open field...the flowers...the big blue sky with it's clouds and mysteries. Yes, the indoor business and the front yard are still there, and you must return, but for the moment, let the Beautiful fill your cells to the inmost part...then go back for more when you get the chance. 

Ostriches stick their heads in the sand. Ignorance in never bliss in the long leaves your vital organs unprotected.

Hanging your head to naval gaze never builds a strong neck. Pity parties bring eternal hangovers.

Looking back over the shoulder at the past will most definitely cause a head on collision in the future.

Fix your gaze on that which God has graciously put in your life for your pleasure and benefit, and when it's time, let His filling strengthen you to do what needs to be done. When Jesus lived here, He spent most of His time with His like-minded disciples, looking to teach and to heal the wounded and dead souls. When it was time to love like no one has loved before, He set His face toward Jerusalem and didn't look back. When it was the most torturous moment of His life, He gazed to Heaven looking for the Father.

Now, the eyes of the Lord, "...move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His."
 2 Chronicles 16:9

If we cannot see Him, it's because we aren't looking in the right places. 

God's sovereignty is for sure. How much control, influence, choice we have in this life is debatable. God has told us in His Word that we are to set our minds on "things above"...that is something we must choose to do.

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things."
Philippians 4:8

That sounds a lot like my back yard.

 Harvest Beauty

 When letting Nature take it's course is a good thing.

 Another hammock perspective.

 Only those who are consistently happy and loyal may join me.

 I wish you could feel the warm sun in this shot.