When Seasons Collide

I can’t help but ponder the transitioning continually taking place throughout the sameness of life. When winter lingers long into spring as it has done this year, it’s easy to become frustrated, melancholy, even despondent. A mixing of seasons is not how things should be. One season at a time is quite enough, thank you very much.

As I’ve watched this mysterious mixing play out over the course of these past months, this blending of snow and blossoms, of frost creeping to smother sunshine’s warmth, my heart longs to side with one extreme or the other, but not both at once. I’m quite discontent to mingle. Unwilling to see the beauty of this collision. Worried that Jack Frost’s gentle breath will encroach upon my spring and nip it in the bud, forever stunting its blossom.

It’s a perfect metaphor of life. I fear the newness will be lost in the old, smothered beneath a frosty chill instead of released to bloom in the brightness of the sun.

Will sameness forever stifle the fullness lying in wait beneath the surface?

Will the newness remain enslaved beneath the former’s heavy coat of duty, cloaked under the guise of doing things a certain way because it’s all we’ve known? All we’ve been taught to expect.

It’s time to learn to breathe freely.

Here.
Here in the very depths of our reality.
Here where the seasons collide.
Here in this mixing of the now and not-yet.

To trust the Creator of every new thing and every established work.

To trust His timing.

To trust for the coming of spring even when winter’s chill lingers long.

To trust and believe in the newness waiting beneath.

Close.

So very near.

To look with new eyes at the sameness, and ask for a heart that willingly transitions with the passing of days.

To be unafraid of unfulfilled promises, and trust in the makings of transformation at work in this moment.

Even when it lies beyond what naked eye can see.

Perhaps this mixing of seasons is exactly how things are supposed to be after all.

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To Step Into the Grayness

Yesterday morning I awoke to a torrential downpour. It was chilly, cloudy and gray, and raining like crazy. A day to curl up with a good book and sip a cup of cocoa, never mind that it’s mid-May.

IMG_4027With journal and Bible open before me, I scribbled the following: I feel like writing, but I don’t know what to say. Maybe I should just put down my pen and go wander in the rain.

And so I did.

IMG_4029Donning a less-than-rainproof jacket, I slipped outdoors, stepping into the grayness. No agenda other than to make my way back to the woods that beckoned, despite their somewhat dismal appearance.

With sound of pounding raindrops filling my ears, I intentionally ventured forth to wander aimlessly. Am I the only one who does this? I ask myself. Who in their right mind purposefully wanders through a heavy rain when all is warm and dry indoors? But I couldn’t not go. I couldn’t shake this desire, couldn’t deny the adventure of doing something nonsensical.

I do a lot of “not knowing” in this life. There are moments when I can measure productivity, but there are many more occasions when I can’t tell up from down. When I don’t know the reasoning or the answer — I simply hear the calling.

So into the grayness I go…

IMG_4030Not knowing the full purpose, yet answering the call to step out. Braving the rain. Venturing forth when the rest of the world is content to remain where it’s warm and dry, where settling down to wait out the downpour seems the best option. In restlessness, I rise to shake free.

Even when I don’t know what freedom holds.

Even when I’m not entirely sure what it is I’m searching for.

Even when I don’t like the answers I may discover along the way.

I move through the grayness, squishing and splashing through mud and puddles. One step after another. Looking without searching. Simply moving into the call. Following the longing for the unknown.

I melt into the mystery.

IMG_4031…and find life. Vibrant and lush. Life beyond the grayness. And within it.

IMG_4044Entwining with the holy. I cling to the hope that my faith is a cycle of conversions and transformations. I choose to believe and recognize God here — among the grayness and the greenness. Among the questions and uncertainties.

I choose hope. Here in the smallness of me and the largeness of Him.

IMG_4048Standing still, I find the beauty that bows in worship before its Creator. Through downpours of life, it offers itself. Bent, but not broken. Wilted, yet not crushed. Fragrant still, despite the storms of life.

I join with nature’s chorus and rejoice, astonished again by the wonder of the goodness of His hand outstretched on my behalf.

IMG_4052I worship through my noticing what lies beyond the grayness. A life overflowing with wonder and mercy; droplets turning to rivers of life for those who have eyes to see.

In the seeing, I breathe in grace and exhale thankfulness and dedicate myself anew to the Purposer of my heart.

IMG_4056Through rushing waters and blocked paths or open meadows and wide spaces, I lean into the knowing of what I do not know, and am content to call it faith. Grasping what it means to be made in His image more and more fully each day. Wondering and wandering, both pursuing and resting in His grace, and learning to press beyond the torrents to capture the beauty that is there. Waiting for me to step into the grayness…

I sink into the depths of knowing Him and being known.

Behold and Be Held

All beauty is only reflection. ~ Ann Voskamp

It’s true, you know. All beauty is merely a reflection.

A reflection of the imagination and creativity of a God at play. Flinging galaxies across the expanse of infinity. Bouncing stars and planets into perfect precision. Shooting hoops of Northern Lights to sink into Alaskan sky. Carving canyons and mounding Himalayan peaks. Tracing rushing rivers with divine fingertip.

Sand and shells and granite and marble; trees and ferns and toadstools and flowers. From East to West and Northern tip to Southern pole of planet earth, all is filled with beauty and wonder. Catching rays of glory reflecting through pinpricks in atmosphere as heaven leaks drops of ethereal eternal into the here and now.

Some days I see Him.

Some days my eyes are wide open and I notice Him in every mirror of beauty reflecting brightly into my life.

Some days I gasp in awe to catch a glimpse of Father’s face shining through everything. Each grain of sand; each droplet of ocean water; every intricate snowflake falling softly to the ground, piling high to absorb the sounds of earth. And in those moments, God’s beauty absorbs into me, as well.

Some days I give sway to His beauty and allow His presence to tuck me tightly against His chest as I breathe in the scent that is uniquely His own.

Some days I really do see Him. A God who cares enough to reveal Himself here. To me. And I lift my voice with all of creation and join in the song of praise.

But then there are other days.

Other days, I neglect the beauty.

Other days, I refuse to open my eyes to anything but the ugly pain that infects my heart as surely as it infects this sinful world.

Other days, I allow the voices of rocks to outshout my praises to the One and Only who is worthy of them at all times.

Other days, I give sway to temptations and allow my soul to be absorbed by the pit from which I have already been rescued.

Other days, I forget the grace that is mine and the beauty that surrounds these blind eyes too stubborn to accept the healing hand of sight.

But not today.

Today I choose to open my eyes wide and see the gifts.

Today I will lift my voice in praise to the One who instigates His own worship simply by being Himself.

Today I choose to behold beauty… and be held by God.

Join me?

Snowflake-2     A little bit of beauty can create…

Winter_wallpapers_363                                                                                             …a wonderland of awe.

Regifting Beauty

The Saturday before Mother’s Day, I purchased a dozen roses to use in decorating for a small wedding reception held in honor of my son and his new bride. That same evening my husband presented this “gently used” bouquet to our youngest daughter at the conclusion of a dramatic performance in which she had a role. Apparently Lydia had requested for her dad to bring her flowers, and since there were some so readily available, my husband happily obliged.

The next morning, Jon once again gathered this up-cycled arrangement of floral beauty and extended it to me with a mischievous grin and a “Happy Mother’s Day!” I couldn’t help but smile as I looked at my husband’s face and  accepted the proffered pink flowers. Ah, the joy of a gift that keeps on giving!

Lest you think my husband is always so cheap… ahem, I mean thoughtful, I must tell you that our daughter was delighted her father would hold a bouquet of flowers throughout an hour-and-a-half-long performance just for her. She giggled as their shared sense of humor revealed itself amidst a handful of pale, pink roses. And I couldn’t hold back the smile when I noted the cute grin behind the unique Mother’s Day sentiments, either.

The more I thought about this bundle of blooms that continued to make its rounds from person to person, the more I was reminded of the importance of “regifting” the beauty that surrounds us each day.

All too often we think we have to come up with something extravagant in order to impress people, when all it sometimes takes is something as simple as passing on a bit of beauty that is within reach.

Sharing a portion of the gift that is within you.

At the same reception where the flowers made their debut, two of my best friends and my sister extended beauty to me through their willing hands of service. Because it had been a very full and hectic week for me (to say the least), they stepped in to help. My sister baked and decorated the cake. Another friend gathered pretty jars from her home to add to the decor. My other friend found some leftover ribbon and proceeded to take the initiative of making garlands of bows to run down each table. In short, they each used the beauty that was at their disposal and “regifted” it as a blessing to others.

Too often we are tempted to withhold beauty, thinking that what others have to give is somehow more valuable than our own rather wilted offerings.

I am so glad my sister and friends were not selfish or inhibited with their talents. I’m thankful they did not view each other as competitors, but instead worked together to serve in ways that were uniquely their own. Ways that were very much needed and appreciated. They simply shared what they had. Although they perceived their gifts of service as small things, to me, each offering was lavish and lovely. The combination of their gifts created a place for beauty to work its way into hearts, mine most of all.

Never underestimate the beauty that is within you or think that your gifts are somehow unworthy of bringing joy to others.

You were created with the purpose of bestowing YOU upon the world. And that makes the perfect gift every time.

So don’t hold back. Don’t bottle up the beauty within. Release it, and bless the world with the joy of offering yourself.

Regift the beauty.

No matter how small a gift it may seem.

Who knows? It may be the very thing God chooses to make someone’s day a little brighter.

Even if it is comes in the form of a gently-used bouquet.

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