Reaping What You Sow

Today I wonder about all the things I might sow into my life–and into the lives of others–in 2013. I scatter blessings like little seeds. I plant great hope in my own heart.

I pray and write and think and love. I scatter far and wide and wait to reap.

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What will you sow this year?

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The Strength and Courage You Need

This morning, I note the repetition of God’s command to “be strong and courageous” in Joshua 1. Five times in just one chapter! As I think about 2013 and entering into the new things God has in store, I take to heart the need to have strength and courage.

I’m not sure what the new year will bring; nobody can know for certain. I do know, however, that when moving into new territory, we need to be strong and courageous like Joshua and the people of Israel.

Perhaps it’s strength and courage to try something new, mend a hurting relationship, teach a new class, parent in a different way, or attempt a new physical, mental, or social challenge. What would we do if we had all the strength and courage we needed?

We do. All the resources of heaven are available to us. Maybe in 2013, We’ll really believe it and live like we do.

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What would you do in 2013 if you had all the courage and strength you needed?

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Loving Delusions and Seeking False Gods

All morning, I think about Psalm 4 and the question, “How long will you love delusions and seek false gods?”

I wonder about all the sources of delusional thinking and all the ways I seek false gods. I think about the ways I worship myself. I think about how delusional thinking begins when we question God’s word, His goodness, and His power.

Where am I questioning God’s word and choosing to sin? Where in my life am I doubting God’s goodness and power?

And how am I really–when it comes right down to it–actually worshipping myself?

Today, I’m thankful that Jesus rescues us, renews our mind, and shows us how to live.

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Where am I questioning, doubting, and worshipping false gods?

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How Else Will It?

This morning, we talk to our children about the particular beauty of boredom. We find ourselves exhausted by trying to keep them entertained.

(It’s harder and harder to impress children these days.) 

“But what should I do?” the youngest one asks over and over again.

“Think of something.” 

I remember a psychologist telling me the greatest gift I can give to my children is the gift of boredom. Wonderful and magical things happen when a child is left with nothing to do.  

With nothing to do, the real games begin. That’s when the stories are invented, the treasures of nature are discovered, and the small things are observed and delighted in.

That’s when thinking happens and imagination flourishes. How else will it?

Living with flair means we allow for boredom. We stop entertaining children and let them make their own fun.

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What did you do for fun when you were a child suffering from boredom?

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Going the Back Way

When you’re driving with folks who really know a town well, they’ll always say, “Let’s take the back way.” This means you journey down country roads. This means you avoid traffic, stop lights, and intersections. You’re on an easier–although winding–path towards your destination. You avoid delays, headaches, and noise.

And you get beautiful scenery. 

So today we take the back way home from shopping. I think about how Scripture talks about certain paths; there’s a back way of the righteous, known by God and that Proverbs describes as level, gleaming with light, smooth, and joyful.

The path of the wicked–the highway that most travel–in contrast, is full of snares and pitfalls.Certain paths mire us down, delay us, distract us, and detour us.

I’ll take the back way. I’ll take my directions from the One who knows this town better than I do.

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Am I willing to take the winding back way home?

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Larger Hearts and Wilder Yearnings

I read a quote from Jens Peter Jacobson (the Danish poet and novelist) this morning. He writes,“Know ye not that. . .people there are who by natural constitution have been given a different nature and disposition than the others; that have a larger heart and a swifter blood, that wish and demand more, have stronger desires and a yearning which is wilder and more ardent than that of the common herd. They are fleet as children over whose birth good fairies have presided; their eyes are opened wider; their senses are more subtle in all their perceptions. The gladness and joy of life, they drink with the roots of their heart, while the others merely grasp them with coarse hands.”

Surely, these artists suffer more, but they also live more fully.

I, too, want to have a larger heart and swifter blood. I want to wish and demand more, with stronger desires and wilder yearnings. I want to live out of the roots of my heart and drink up all the gladness and joy there is to be found right here.

And then, of course, to recount it all to others.
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I think this quote helps me understand artists and writers (and myself!) more. 

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When Your Candle Won’t Light During the Christmas Eve Service

My candle won’t light. Everyone leans over to help me; wax falls everywhere, and it’s becoming distracting. Every time someone tries to light my little candle, it burns for a moment and then flickers out.

Come on little candle. Come on flame. Shine bright, girl. Do it!

Nope.

Finally, from out of nowhere, a complete stranger hands me a huge, new candle. There’s no hope in yours. Take this one.

I’m standing there with two candles (one hopeless, one Glorious) singing Silent Night. Looking down at that strong, bright flame, I realize that my own candle indeed has no hope. I need Someone Else’s.

I need an exchanged life. I need the Light of the World because there’s no hope in me.

I take it, Lord!

Merry Christmas: Jesus comes down for the Great Exchange; He takes on our flesh, our sin, our hopelessness, and in return, hands us a new life and a new light.

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I hope you have a wonderful and very merry Christmas!

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Loving Well During the Holidays

Today we remember what it means to love well.  With every person we encounter, we ask God to help us, like Scripture describes in 1 Corinthians 13, to love well.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

When we feel impatient, we pray for patience.
When we want to be unkind, we pray for kindness.
When we feel jealous or proud, we pray for humble hearts that thank God for every blessing.
When we want to dishonor others, we pray we can believe the best about them and spread good reports. 
When we want to think about ourselves, we pray we can be others-focused.
When we are angry, we pray for the ability to forgive. And then we forget. We keep no record of wrongs.

We want to love well, and we can because of Him who first loved us. 

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Merry Christmas!!
  

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Snow Landscape

 We take to the hills; it’s a sunny day with just enough snow to sled.

Give a child even a little snow, and they figure out a way to slide on it.

Yes, even here, there’s beauty. Winter offers her own kind.  

Even the brittle things rise up against a blue sky and make the landscape beautiful. I love the fields in Winter!

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Out There Alone

On two separate afternoons, I watch my youngest bundle up and go outside to play in the snow alone.

Later, I find that she’s examining the snow, looking for animal tracks, and making her own sledding paths.  

Alone.

She’s an extrovert,  yet she has stuff to do out there by herself.

I remember all those days I played alone in my backyard. I remember the white expanse of snow and my small self waving snow angels in it.

When you’re alone out there in nature, something happens to you. You connect with yourself, with God, and with nature, and you grow up a little. You think about things and maintain the pure satisfaction that the whole experience was between you and God. Nobody saw what you saw. Nobody felt what you felt or thought your thoughts. You become a you–without anyone’s commentary on what you’re doing.

Sometimes we need to go out there alone for awhile.

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Do you have fond memories of being alone in nature?

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