Monday, December 30, 2013

A Fresh Start

I have a love of and a fascination for snowflakes! Makes one wonder why as it never snows where I live; I have to drive or fly to catch a glimpse of these wonderful winter wonders. The first time I can remember actually seeing it snow (i.e. falling from the sky) is when I was 17 years old and away at college. It entranced me. I was mesmerized. So fresh. So clean. So soft. So white.

My real love and appreciation for these lacy pieces of ice began just a short seven years ago while homeschooling my son.  Great science lesson. We talked about how snow is made, what happens to it when it hits the landscape, and 'made' our own out of Borax and pipe cleaners.  I checked books out of the library including one about the famous 'Snowflake Bentley' (who I had no idea was so famous until I checked out the book).  

"Under the microscope, I found that snowflakes were miracles of beauty and it seemed a shame that this beauty should not be seen and appreciated by others. Every crystal was a masterpiece of design and no one design was ever repeated. When a snowflake melted, that design was forever lost. Just that much beauty was gone without leaving any record behind."

William 'Snowflake' Bentley
Photographer, 1925

Pictures under the microscope by Bentley

Bentley was fascinated with these delicate creations.  I was and am still amazed. Amazed at what God has done and continues to do each winter with His magnificent creativity. For our enjoyment. For our amazement. To show Himself to us. His infinitely detailed self, His many facets and layers. Unending yet never changing.

So, as winter is upon us, my mind does wonder to thoughts of the snowflake. I don't envy those who live in colder climates but do relish the opportunity they have to watch the beauty of God in His creation of the snowflake. Its blanket of hush, its peace, its individuality, its community, its spiritual significance and in its purpose in making all things new again come springtime.

 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” saith the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.  For as the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: It shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

“For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace; the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 
Isaiah 55:8-12

And, as our calendar dictates yet another year going and coming, the snowflake again makes me reflect on His boundless creativity in each one of us.  No two are the same. Unique in composition, shape, form, and united in purpose. Praise Him!

 But rise and stand upon thy feet, for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose: to make thee a minister and a witness, both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee,  delivering thee from the people and from the Gentiles unto whom now I send thee,
to open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith that is in Me.’ 
Acts 26:16-18

Give yourself a fresh start. Ponder the snowflake. Remember Whose you are, who you are in Him. Who He made you to be. You, my friend, are His miracle of beauty just as the snowflake is His. Created by Him and for Him. His masterpiece of design. He made you just as you are to mold into the person He wants you to become. Unique, special. This journey is uniquely yours. Renew your focus, your energies, your time. Let your light shine; leave your record, your legacy, behind for His glory.....

I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Thy works, and that my soul knoweth right well.
Psalm 139:14

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Who's That Knocking at the Door?

My puppy. Actually, not a pup anymore.  He is about two and a half years old which makes him about 17 1/2 years old in human years, I guess.  Anyway, he is a sweet little puff of fluff with a 'fur'ocious  bark and a somewhat 'needy' disposition.  He loves company whether animal or human. His name is, most appropriately, Dr. Snuggles. And, yes, Snuggles absolutely loves to snuggle, cuddle and, of course, be petted and pampered almost continually.

Isn't he cute?!

Snuggles has developed the sweetest routine in the mornings around our home. (Dogs, like children, thrive on routine.)  He comes to my bedroom door somewhere between 7:30-8:00 a.m. each morning.  I'm usually enjoying my 'quiet time' then.  I can hear him outside my door sniffing and trying to see through crack underneath the door.  He then jumps up on his hind legs, places his front legs on the door itself, stretches, and drags his legs from top to bottom. Quite the noise he makes with his nails!  He then whimpers a bit; if I don't come to door right away, Snuggles' whimper turns into a bark.

So much FLUFF!

I treasure this time with him and he with me. He will curl up on my chair with me and usually let me stroke him for as long as I am willing. Sometimes he'll snooze. Sometimes he just gazes at me longingly. So peaceful. So sweet. So loving.  He will stay with me until I'm ready to go about my day and then move with me from chair to doorway and down the stairs.  My mornings just wouldn't be the same if I didn't open that door...

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Revelation 3:8

The door. THE DOOR. Yes, my mornings certainly wouldn't be the same if I don't open THE DOOR. My time with Him. In the beginning when I said "Yes!" to His invitation; even now, as I enjoy my time with Him in meditation and prayer.

Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. James 5:9

The word 'door' appears approximately 175 times in the Bible.  Some significance there I would suspect.  And, so many times it refers to our Christ, THE Door. It moves me to action.  I feel compelled to open that door as much as possible. A glimpse of the Old Testament:

  1. Exodus 21:6
    Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an aul; and he shall serve him for ever.
  2. Exodus 26:36
    And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework.
  3. Exodus 29:4
    And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water.
  4. Exodus 29:11
    And thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
  5. Exodus 29:32
    And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
  6. Exodus 29:42
    This shall be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord: where I will meet you, to speak there unto thee.
    I could list many more references. Our slavery. His Lordship, His priesthood, His kingship, His living water, His sacrifice, His body, His atonement. All for us. A shadow of what was to come.

    And, the New Testament:

    1. John 10:1
      Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
    2. John 10:2
      But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.
    3. John 10:7
      Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep.
    4. John 10:9
      I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.
    5. Luke 13:25
      When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are:
      Again, I could list many more verses.  To accept Him, we must open the door of acknowledgement of Who He Is and What He has done for us. To surrender to Him, we must continually open that door in submission everyday of our lives as a sacrifice to the One who loved us first. No, my mornings would be the same without Him walking through that door!

      And, one of my favorite verses:

      Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. Revelation 3:20

      He desires our companionship and He seeks us out to find it. He is eager. He is always knocking. He is always waiting. He wants to love and be loved. He wants to carry your burdens. He wants to heal your heart. He wants to guide you, bless you, impart wisdom upon you. Every morning. Every moment.

      I encourage you to open your door on a daily basis. Morning, noon, and/or night. Your life won't be the same.... Won't you open THE DOOR and let Him in!?

Sunday, December 22, 2013


Feeling a bit melancholy at the moment.... I just broke one of my favorite cooking bowls! A pale green mixing pitcher. Circa 1950. Yes, it was probably considered a collectible of sorts but the value in it for me was not monetary but emotional. It belonged to my mom....

If you've been a follower of my blog, you know my mom has been gone about six years now. Bittersweet parting, she and I. Yet, I have many fond memories of life with Mom including this small green mixing pitcher.  It is one of a few things that belonged to her that I elected to keep after her passing. Many a perfect pancake and cookie concoction came from this little treasure. (And, yes, I found it on eBay today for approximately $50.00).

Today, I dropped it on the kitchen floor when taking it out of the cupboard. It immediately smashed into several large portions and countless shards of glass. In an instant, my bowl was reduced to rubble! Too shambled to put it back together the way it was before. My treasure, emotionally and physically, was no more. A part of my heart broke with it....

I suppose, in a way, it kept my memories of Mom alive. The good ones. It was as if she was still with us in a small way. I still felt attached to her, remembered her in the younger years and the better times. And, I was hoping to pass that bowl on to my daughter. Now what....?

The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through Him might believe.  John 1:7

Now what, indeed! The physical reminders of Mom are fewer and fewer as time passes. I want to hold on to that keepsake!  How breaking it makes me long to see her that much more! For His kingdom to come, for all to be made right, for everything to be put under His feet.

 But our High Priest offered Himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then He sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. There He waits until His enemies are humbled and made a footstool under his feet. For by that one offering He forever made perfect those who are being made holy.  And the Holy Spirit also testifies that this is so. For He says,
 “This is the new covenant I will make
    with my people on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their hearts,
    and I will write them on their minds.”
Then He says,
“I will never again remember
    their sins and lawless deeds.” 
Hebrews 10:12-16 NLT

Yet I know I must pick up the pieces and move on. In the here and now, it helps me to remember the important legacies that I will leave behind for my own children. Not just mixing bowls. The life lessons, the spiritual journey, the laughter, the love.  The intangibles. The treasures worth collecting.

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew 6:21 KJV

To be a mom worth remembering rather than wishing and hoping to forget. No, not a 'perfect' mom. Just a mom who gives it everything she's got, fully relying on His power, pressing deepest into her faith in the weak moments, and flying by His Spirit everyday.  Being an ear and shoulder for them in the tough times, being tough on them and for them in their weak times, and on my knees when they need it and even when they think they don't. And, knowing when to let go and let God fully live in their lives rather than just through me. Passing on warmth, wisdom, wonder, and worthiness. His light. His love. Especially in the dark times when life doesn't make sense.

I will miss my bowl as I do miss my mom. As in all things, however, I must move onward in this journey remembering her limited legacy and doing my utmost in Him to leave something larger than myself for the blessings in my own nest. A treasure in a legacy of something, Someone larger than myself that will be here even when I am no longer. Something that can't be broken, taken away, or lost. Something that truly passes the test of time and transcends into eternity.... A legacy of faith.

"And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up."  Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV

"Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old." Matthew 13:52 KJV

Friday, December 13, 2013


The 'gap'.  As Christians, we hear this term often throughout our walk. It is usually used in the conjunction with the word 'separation.' Most appropriately. Our separation from God: the gap between sinfulness and righteousness.

A friend and fellow servant of mine has been in the midst of intense spiritual battle for many moons now. Attacks on health, emotional well being, and physical temptations among various family members.  She has been on her knees constantly and asking others to do so as well. She wants to make it right. She is worn out and desperate. She needs rest.

My friend recently used the word ‘gap’ when describing her feelings of separation between truth and emotion. How poignant!  Knowing God's Word, knowing what she should do but being unable to separate herself emotionally from the pain and suffering to do what she knows she should. Wanting control but not being in control. Wanting to do 'the right thing' but not knowing exactly what that looks like.

“I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one." Ezekiel 22:30

She needs a gap filler, THE gap filler. It is His grace that fills that ‘gap’! In His grace, and only there, will we find true rest.  Not absolution of responsibility. Not a free ticket to do what we like. A willingness to let go and let God do what He must.  A heart surrendered to Him knowing He knows best.  Not trying by our own might to make it right. Just knowing that He already has....

We don't need to fix it. He has done that for us. We need to experience the fullness of spiritual rest in not feeling like we need to be perfect in word and deed at every moment.  Rest from the pressure that we need to orchestrate every moment of life constantly planning and preparing to avoid the next catastrophe. Freedom to live our lives, love our families, and accept our appearances just as they are and as God has intended them to be (especially as Christians). Perfection is unattainable to us in this life yet we constantly strive to achieve it on our own.

Picture Jesus in the garden before His crucifixion…  Few looked upon Him as being perfect yet He was/is Perfection.You just know darkness was closing in, the weight of the evil one’s presence, the burden of sin.  Heavy on His heart and mind. He saw it, heard it, experienced it, bore it. He prayed, He struggled, He was obedient. He chose to submit all to the will of the Father. He let go and, because he let go, He bridged that gap for us then and He does it now. By His grace. Christ alone is THE Gap Filler. Nothing we do can compare or ever fill that place....

Strive for peace not for perfection. He knows your struggle. Experience freedom in Him. You are not expected to react ‘perfectly’ in every situation. You are human and of the flesh. He knows.  He uses this time to draw us near and draw near to us.  He knows your heart. He covers us, especially during these times, with His gift of grace.  Embrace that gift; it will bring you peace. Experience rest in Him. It is truly not meant to be easy; it is meant to grow us in ways that are often difficult and painful as we let go and let God have His way. Your beautiful obedience will help you through the darkest of times.

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine. Isaiah 9:2

I’ve been there, in my own ways, many times before. Those dark, lonely places. Gather together with like-minded brothers and sisters to pray and chat. I can think of nothing more important for this journey through despair than precious prayer and fellowship! Surround yourself with light. Edify and encourage one another and remind each other of His constant grace that overcomes our weakness and love that conquers all. His grace that fills the gap and shines light to shatter the darkness.

So, rest and rejoice. Repent and recommit as He breathes life and light into your life through His amazing grace. I pray for your peace as you become perfected through the pain and trial and for you to see the beauty in the struggle as you become more like Him! Praise Him for His goodness and grace!