The Thanksgiving Tree

The Thanksgiving Tree

Friday, September 23, 2011

This is Home

Oh, tasting the sweet goodness of Christ this morning even amidst the cloudy, seemingly glum day. I heard this song again and it stirred my heart. It is from the soundtrack of Chronicles of Narnia. Visions of the "thawing" occurring in all of Narnia fill my mind. I hear the powerful line, "Aslan is on the move."

I know our TRUE home is Heaven. But while I'm here on this earth, now, my home is Christ. I am realizing this more and more everyday. He is home! His words are HOME! His TRUTH is home. Now read these lyrics with that in mind. No, I can't go back, now...we are miracles.. and we not ALONE!

"This Is Home"-- Switchfoot

I've got my memories
Always inside of me
But I can't go back
Back to how it was
I believe you now
I've come too far
No I can't go back
Back to how it was

Created for a place I've never known

This is home
Now I'm finally where I belong
Where I Belong
Yeah, this is home
I've been searching for a place of my own
Now I've found it
Maybe this is home
This is home

Belief over misery
I've seen the enemy
And I won't go back
Back to how it was
And I got my heart set on what happens next
I got my eyes wide it's not over yet
We are miracles and we're not alone


And now after all my searching
After all my questions
I'm gonna call it home
I've got a brand new mindset
I can finally see the sunset
I'm gonna call it home


Now I know
Yeah, this is home
I've come too far
And I won't go back
Yeah, this is home

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Gift of Windshield Wipers

It was pouring rain this morning as I drove my boys to school. In the silent pauses of our conversations, the windshield wipers squeaked as they furiously worked.

Back and forth. Back and forth.

As soon as they made a complete swipe, water had already consumed the glass. Up and down. At the highest speed. Back and forth. Fighting to defend against such shards of precipitation.

I feel like windshield wipers most days. No sooner do I sit and take a moment to catch my breath, is the rain of my world smeared across the shield, needing my furious attention to wash and wipe up. A husband. A child. A house. A homework assignment. A meal. An errand. Throw in Bible Study, exercise, involvement in ministry or community and my blades are full speed ahead.

And right up there in front of my face is the windshield of my faith. Somewhere in between the back and forth is the battle for my belief; the hope that this rain brings with it showers of blessing in the pounding; the promise that no matter what is smeared, smudged, iced over, and/or fogged through, it is truly wiped clean in Christ. In fact, if tomorrow should be bright and sunny, my windshield will actually be cleaner because of this very storm. My eyes will see clearer through it, as well.

For now [I] see in a mirror dimly, but THEN face to face; now I know in part, but THEN I will know fully just as I have been fully known. (1 Cor. 13:12)

I park the car at this very thought. I take the keys out. A gentle ooze of water cascades down in front of me exposing the world a dark gray, impressionistic painting. So blurry. Life is so blurry.

I crank up and flip the wipers on. I can see better... sort of. I hope in the FINAL Sunny Day...

and thank the Lord for the gift of windshield wipers.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

River God

I went running this morning to clear my mind. I am leading worship for our women's retreat this weekend and I just needed some rest from the swirling spiritual attack and chaos our home has undergone this past week. I needed to pray through my songs. I needed focused time in prayer for my heart.

Our retreat is about our "story". It's about seeing our stories as a part of His greater story. I have spent much time sorting out the "good" in tragedy and hardship. Accepting our fallen world for what it is, and embracing the Hope of eternity. Hard stuff.

The why questions seem to get me no where. I concentrate on the Who ones. Instead of asking, "whyGod?" I ask, "Who are you, God?" Those I find answers for. He is faithful, loving, a Father, a healer, Redeemer, has plans, one who rescues, one who holds my tears in a bottle, and one who will one day wipe them from my eyes. He is beginning and end. He's a creator. He is a lover. He is joy and peace. He is wisdom. He is mighty. He is gentle. He is a warrior for my heart. He is the Shepherd of my heart. He puts me to bed. He wakes me in the morning. He rewards. He disciplines. He goes before me. He goes behind me. He walks beside me- all at the same time. He is King of Kings. He is humble in heart. He is the lover of my soul. His love is never used to manipulate.

When I set my mind on these truths, the less I desire to inquire why.

Having just listened to a song entitled, "River God." I noticed a frothy brook babbling beneath a wooden bridge. Stepping onto the planks, I gazed down at the rushing water. My children love to play in this creek during the summer. I thought about the rocks under that stream. How the rushing water smooths their surfaces. If these rocks were rough and jagged, my children couldn't frolic over them.

Perhaps our difficult lives... these rushing currents that seem to want us drowned, that cut so deep.. are all a part of smoothing the stones of our lives for others and the generations to come. As we trust in Him, who chisels and chills, smooths and refines, a safe foundation is provided on which they may stand and observe how we deal with and experience Christ. Let the river flow, so our children and our children's children will want to come and wade in the Water. Bathe in the Water. Drink of that Water.

And for today, in this moment, that is enough of a why reason to keep me holding fast, submerged 'neath the rapids.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Seeing how "it is good."

"Mommy, can you help me find a Lego piece I need?" Will called down to me from the top of the stairs.

He had been silent in his room all morning creating buildings with Legos. I made my way up the stairs to assist as he began describing the exact particular color and size of the certain piece he needed. After much what felt like searching for a needle in a haystack, we found the small, two-pronged, faint yellow block forming a tiny light in the "kitchen" of his house.

"This is JUST what I wanted it to look like," he said smiling proudly.

I am reminded of that moment today as I spend time in God's word. My oldest has a wonderful imagination and LOVES to create what he has imagined.

How many times have I heard the story of Creation? How many times have I told it to my children? Have I read it in Genesis? Too many. Yet today it's as if I've read it for the first time. Today I am moved by the artistry of God. The great Creator. Just in the birds alone...their colors... their shapes and sizes. Then the animals. The massive seas. The great sky. The clouds. The earth. The mountains. All from nothing. He simply designed. He created and formed... from nothing.

"Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness.... God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good." Genesis 1:26,31

When I consider that I bear the image of our Triune God, there becomes a shift in my perspective. When I dwell on the fact that I bear qualities of Christ, I see the value in myself. I see value in others. I treat them that way. After all, we were created.

I think we forget that. Scripture tells us God formed us. We were designed. We weren't thrown together. Just as my son had that exact particular part for his building in mind, so God purposely plans accordingly for me. He didn't just grab any old eyes. He had the color, hazel, in mind the entire time. He didn't just throw me in some woman's womb. He chose my mother. He is the designer of my life. Every block is specific and unique, hand-picked, for me... for all of us.

All that God created He saw as good. When he created man, it was very good. We are precious and honored in His sight. He LOVES us. (Isaiah 43:4). Yet, we live in this fallen world. Life is hard. How can we believe the fact that we are loved and all things are working together for our good(Romans 8:28) in this reality?

How can this all be good, Lord?

The answer was swift.

Because I AM the Creator. I AM the builder of your life. I AM the foundation upon which you were built and the source of strength by which you can stand. You are an unfinished building. Though some bricks seem painful, some too much to bear, they are necessary for my specific design. Your blueprint is engraved on my hand. I AM purposeful in your story. Trust me, my child, I see the finished treasure. It is BEAUTIFUL! But for now, I AM still creating... and because I am creating... it IS good.