In The Margins {These Things Will Never Change}

shoot in stones2It was early once again.  As the sun filled up the sky on a brand new day, people began to spill into the temple court.  Jesus was there!  (John 8:2 NASB)  Hungry to hear what He had to say, His very presence attracted a crowd as certainly as the pull of tides on the ocean.  Like “deep calls to deep” (Psalm 42), here were profound needs drawn to the unfathomable greatness of God incarnate.

Rather than seek an advantageous place to speak above and apart from them, He sat down among them and began to teach (8:2).

You see, it was more than just our thinking

He came to challenge;

it’s ever always been our hearts

He came to change.

And so, sitting with them, conversation flowed easily.  He looked them in the eye.  He knew them each by name.  I can’t help but wonder who the fortunate ones were to have negotiated a spot close to Him, the circle growing with every passing moment, neighbors and strangers from all walks of life pressing up close to make room for one more.  Peppered with questions and  knowing their individual stories were as diverse as the seadiverse faces of faces surrounding Him, Jesus was once again found in His Father’s house (Luke 2:41-52), only this time He wasn’t a young boy full of queries;  He was the teacher.  Here in His presence, hope had dawned with the sun on this beautiful morning!

But, it was a calm before the storm.  They soon would learn their teacher is Lord of all as He laid bare the hidden motives and intentions of the heart and, in mercy and love, invited one who had been marked by others as worthless to walk in newness of life!

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In The Margins {Waiting}

This is a re-post from 2017

looking down at feet2

I’ts something we all must embrace in varying degrees at different times through life. But why do we find it so hard to do?  Is there a way to view in a new and edifying light this most prosaic of disciplines?  What am I talking about?

Yep.  Waiting.  Here’s a picture of what that feels like sometimes, right?  Looking down, staring at your firmly planted feet; not gazing too far on the horizon for fear that to hope might disappoint.

I came across this little quote scribbled in my notes the other day — unfortunately I don’t know who said it.  Apparently not my best note-taking moment.  🙂

“Waiting faith is strong faith”.

I’m typing this as I sit on the sofa with my knee packed in ice … for the 6th day in a row. Pretty sure I have a slightly torn meniscus, an injury notoriously slow to heal.  Hubby’s been out of town for the entire week and so, with lots of time on my hands,  I’ve been propped up here, tending my knee while reading and writing and doing a lot of thinking … thinking about this quote.

Truth is, there has been an awful amount of waiting to be done these last four years. Not the  short-term kind of waiting, as with a knee injury, but the type that has a way of moving in and overstaying its welcome.  When life gets turned upside down and nothing fits into place like it used to, waiting seems to be the name of the game.

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Can you relate?  Waiting … to see where things will land … to know if life will level out long enough to begin making plans for the future … to find answers to a laundry list of big and seemingly unanswerable questions … for the Hand of God to move and direct and order all that we care so deeply about.

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In The Margins {Psalm 23 & Thanksgiving}

journal

Tell me, does the following sound at all familiar? (Please say “yes” ’cause I’d hate to be the only one who feels this way!)

/ WHERE I ASPIRE TO BE: / “Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise!”

/ WHERE I OFTEN FIND MYSELF: / Moments and days that all but blur into one long “To Do List” of sorts.

Let’s face it — life is sometimes packed to the brim with demands, making it impossible to add a single item to the list.  We ran out of lines and white space long ago and even our margins are so full of scribbles we can’t decipher the important stuff anymore! It can seem like a mountain waiting to be scaled, while for some there may only be one, yet equally daunting box to check today — simply to get out of bed.   Usually, it’s a literal list of tasks we must tackle,  but often it comes instead in the form of a toll life would exact and demand of our hearts as we walk through the hard stuff.   Acknowledging we all must deal on some level with this part of our humanity without allowing ourselves to settle into the well-worn rut of “woe is me”, let’s agree not to end the conversation there.  So, how do we adopt a fresh perspective?

Set the list aside for a moment.

 There’s something else,

something restorative to attend to first.

 

If you already feel spent and exhausted before beginning the climb, start by giving thanks. 

If counting our blessings and naming them one by one seems like an impossible choice (you may be saying “what blessings??”), let’s give thanks for who He is, for all we know to be true about Him, and for the promises He has made to us.

“Hold on a minute”,  you say — with all those “To Do’s” in mind,  perhaps you’re thinking that “…in everything, give thanks…” (I Thessalonians 5:18) just became one more task to complete! I’ve been there too.  But this isn’t just an arbitrary command, rather an invitation to rest for a moment in a place not shaped by all the stuff filling our lists and heavy hearts.  It’s easy to forget He always has our good in mind.

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In Quotes

“God became man to turn creatures into sons: not simply to produce better men of the old kind but to produce a new kind of man.” 

C. S. Lewis


butterfly

Right now, many of us are working hard to establish better habits, purging and prioritizing, and setting worthy goals with plans in place to reach them.  Or, maybe you’re dusting off past ones that were shelved when the holidays rolled around.  Personally, I like the way a brand new calendar gives rise to this longing for change and renewal.  Through the gray of winter, it’s the wind in my sails!  Are you part of the “new year, fresh start” camp?  Whether you find a January re-set inspiring or deflating, I’ve got good news. Continue reading

In the Margins {Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas}

snow covered pine

Here in Virginia, it’s a beautiful sunny December morning!  Light is streaming in the windows and the air is cold and crisp.  It’s a *second-cup-of-coffee-by-the-Christmas tree* kind of day and I’m finally stuffing stockings and planning menus while my favorite holiday playlist is on repeat.  It really is all about the little things.  Simple goodness.

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In Quotes

“Till ringing, singing on its way,

the world revolved from night to day;

A voice, a chime, a chant sublime

of peace on earth good-will to men.”

{Henry Wadsworth Longfellow}


church bells

There’s something truly wonderful about the sound of belfry bells ringing!  As a child, our house was just a few blocks from a beautiful old church whose steeple was home to three massive bells.  Every Sunday morning they would peal their reverent and joyful invitation as if to say “O come, let us adore Him!”.   Even today, that familiar sound brings back a rush of memories for me.  Without words they proclaim that all is well;  their music warms us on the inside while it blankets everything on the outside with a deep sense of comfort and calm anticipation.  Much as the angels’ burst of song to a hillside of shepherds stirred a slumbering, waiting world, the ringing of bells this time of year awakens in us the hope we possess knowing His birth was a promise fulfilled — it calls our hearts to worship.  Indeed, a new day has dawned! Continue reading

In Quotes

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

G.K. Chesterton


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Hello again, friends!  How have you been?  I’ve been praying for you — that, regardless of where your journey has taken you this week, His presence has been made more real and more abundant than anything else in your life.  Let’s keep abiding.

Today I’m stopping by briefly to share this wonderful quote with you!  Here in my corner of the globe, we’re entering a time of year when thoughts turn toward the simple act of giving thanks.  Of all the things we put on our calendar to mark with intent, this might be one of the best.

Chesterton often wrote about the power of thankfulness and here he gets to the heart of what gratitude really is by way of this lovely little word — wonder.  Do you remember the last time you were uplifted by wonderment?  The bright though brief days of childhood seem to hold the lion’s share of it for most of us.  Truly, I understand — realities of adulting can often numb us to simple mercies that fill our lives.  In a post from this past summer, I wrote that I want to daily be more gratefully aware of all the wonderful that surrounds me and flows from His loving kindness.  Even as I keep the long view of life in mind, it’s about taking notice of each small and good gift that graces our journey, noting the sacred in the midst of the secular, and allowing common simple goodness to foster as much delight as the exceptional.  Pausing to give thanks and pray.  To engage all of my senses as I see the beauty of each new day blooming alongside the thorns.  Because when happiness is humbly enjoyed with a profound sense of wonderment, it’s enlarged and leads to a profound sense of gratitude.

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