God’s Handwriting

FTI pin Beauty Emerson

I have some of my best childhood scribblings and doodles and other handmade “art” stored away in a plastic box – scrapbook evidence of a mother’s love and the fact that beauty truly IS in the eye of the beholder.

Don’t we all tend to prize most those things created for us, crafted by the hands of those we love? Maybe that’s because we know that the time and thought taken to give us that gift is an expression of the heart, the purest form of affection.

Like this new day we’ve been given.

When we understand that every bit of beauty we see is a letter from God, in his own handwriting, to us – His beloved children, we begin to understand His heart.

And when we rejoice in the blessing of His good gifts, we bless the Giver. Our “thank you” to Him is in the cherishing of all these keepsake days.

We give thanks to You, O God, we give thanks!
For Your wondrous works declare that Your name is near.
Psalm 75:1

Unearthing a Dream

“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”  Charles Dickens

We are born into a world full of contradictions. The word paradox comes to mind. And all we need to do is look at ourselves to see the definition personified.

We crave joy but fill up on the crumbs of lesser things.

Our spirit yearns to fly but we weigh it down with worry.

Light is what we desire but we settle for shadows.

And when it comes to our God-sized dream, we want more than anything to be brave enough to believe it. But, more often, we just bury it because it’s easier than facing our fears. 

Maybe we’re afraid of losing joy once we’ve found it.

Afraid of what others will think and how painful the fall will be once we are in flight, in full pursuit of our dreams.

But can this last forever?

Us clinging to walls, dodging the spotlight, afraid of our own shadow?

I don’t know if I’m speaking to anyone but myself here but I think it’s time to bury fear and unearth the dream God has for us.

And I was reminded as my husband and I worked in our little garden this weekend – I have seen this same plot of ground hold both the dead and the living.

The Lord provides the seasons, the sun, the rain, the nutrient-rich soil. But I, too, have a part to play in how my garden grows. Whatever I neglect will die. Whatever I nurture will flourish.

I have taken this simple concept and really complicated it over the years. But God knows I want to be a nurturer of the gifts He has given me.  

And isn’t that what all His children want? Because our joy is in serving the One who has “made His light shine in our hearts.” (2 Cor. 4:6)
We live to glorify Him. 2 Corinthians 4:7 tells us that “we have this treasure (His light) in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 

And when you stop to think about that gift – the light inside of us – you start to realize it’s the reason for all the others we are given. 

We’re meant to shine. But the tricky part, at least for me, is getting past the fear that comes from focusing on this clay jar rather than the treasure within.

I’m covered with chips and cracks and sharp edges that need smoothing but that’s not the whole story. And I’m missing the point if I think I’ve got to be perfect before God can use me.

It’s not what I can do, but what He can do through me. Praise God! That’s the point. Good news… it’s not about you either. It’s about “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col. 1:27)
And isn’t that the greatest paradox of all?

The Dawn of a New Day

A new year, like the pages of a book, lies open before us. 

Each chapter offering new adventures.

Each adventure drawing us further into God’s story,
closer to the Author of our days. 

We owe everything to Him. 

From sunrise to sunset, every second we draw breath is a gift. 

So let’s dedicate our 2013 to finding the inspiring,

praising our Creator for every single moment of grace
we are given along the way.

The failures of the past are past. A new day dawns…

…forgetting those things which are behind,
and reaching forth unto those things which are before…

Philippians 3:13

Monday Meditation – The Gift of Days

“But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:8-9 NIV

Some days are full of sunshine and laughter. Some days feel dark and much too long. But all days are a gift from God.

Sometimes I forget.

Until I read a scripture like this and He reminds me that He is in charge of time. That His promises stand the test of time. That His mercy is timeless.

And, as the sun goes down, I bow my head and whisper a prayer to the Author of my days. I thank Him for the gift of days and pray that He will help me to open my hand to receive each new one with gratitude. For His glory.

Photo courtesy photos8.com

One Perfect Snowy Day

So I’ve been thinking about this season of giving a lot lately. I thought I might make my December blogs about that subject, what it means to be a giver, how we should be aware of those around us who are in need and give with a cheerful heart, etc.

Then, without warning (as usual), I got a surprise one morning last week. It was a huge, unexpected and perfect gift from God himself! Snow!

Now, you might think that’s not a big deal. But to get snow in Texas is a real miracle in the first place. Then, to realize that God knows the desires of my heart. He knew I’d been pining away for a glimpse of those fragile, frozen little gems falling from the sky.

I could sense something was different that particular morning. When I woke up, I was aware of how unusually cold it felt in the room. Then, I noticed the light peaking through the curtains had a certain glow, not like the sun, not yellow but white, a bright white glow.

I was compelled to get up and look out the window, hoping it might be what I had been dreaming about, but sure that I was imagining things. In those few seconds it took for me to move from my bed to the window, I was preparing myself for disappointment.

But, there it was! To my amazement, thick, beautiful flakes were quietly falling to earth and disappearing into the ground. I began to run around the house like a kid on Christmas morning, looking out every window to assure myself I was really seeing what I thought I was seeing. I grabbed my camera to try to get a picture. I knew this moment was fleeting so I just took it all in and breathed a sigh of contentment.

I was reminded that God is the perfect example of a Giver. If I want to learn what it means to give, I should just look to Him. In this season of frenzied shopping and frazzled emotions, we worry over finding that perfect gift for someone. But, it really is true that all we need to do is give from the heart, out of love. We should consider that giving our time to someone is a gift as well.

And, let’s not forget to be a good “receiver”. As a recipient of a gift, we should always show gratitude. That’s why I’m still saying “Thank you” to God for the gift of His Son and for all the blessings He has given me in my life, including one perfect, snowy day in December – a gift I’ll never forget.