Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Preparing for Rain

“I go to make an altar
And to offer up my lamb.”  
(Andrew Peterson) 



Do you remember dreams?  

I do.  

I remember questing after a song as old and as familiar as the first footfalls of time:  I went to seek my place in this world.  

But the adventure of becoming always lies along unfamiliar roads where the outcome is uncertain.  We wander paths through the rugged wilderness and journey in times of darkness.  Held aloft is our lamp of trust, which often illuminates the road ahead only once we’ve first taken a step into the unfamiliar.  But we continue on in pursuit of a promise, one that assures us that our dreams were gifted for a reason and given by a craftsman whose tools work in wisdom and whose hands build with love.  

However, as we walk along the way, it is inevitable for the dreamer to come to the place of sacrifice.  A rugged pile of stones bars his path, and each traveler must understand that he cannot continue on until he has made a sacrifice, until he has offered up his dreams to their maker.  The choices are limited.  A dreamer may go back and seek another way ‘round (though he will find none that satisfy), or he may take up the stones, build an altar upon his knees, and offer up his lamb.  

Do you remember dreams?  

I do.  

I remember lying beneath the covers, looking up to see the stars wink and nestle one by one in the silhouette bows of the oak tree.   But the true hope of a dream must travel farther than fancy and burn with more passion than a heart full of stargazing.  

A dream is tempered by trust in the crucible of its maker, and the dross of self is consumed only upon an altar.  For though the feet may tremble to walk the shuddering bridge, the soul must find rest in the hands of the one who made it.  

It is said that two men once asked the Lord for rain to bless their thirsty fields.  Two men spoke words of trust, but only one prepared his fields in faith to receive the rain.  Two men laid a prayer of incense before the altar, but only one placed his precious gift upon the stones, emptying his hands and stepping into the uncertain, preparing to receive whatever the Lord in his wisdom chose to give back.  

The language of trust is the action of letting go, the practice of sacrifice.  This is the song whose notes cry: not my will, and whose words achingly declare:  no matter what happens.  It is woven both of hope and contentment.  If the Lord gives back, He is God.  And if He does not, He is still God.  

But dreams were made for a purpose, and the Lord makes neither accidental object nor useless gift.  His love is boundless, His goodness is absolute, and He alone can make whole the hopes He instills.   
    
Do you remember dreams?  

I do.  






Image via:  tumblr

All work subject to copyright by the author.  Use by permission only.  2014. 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

September


The morning dawns to cleanse anew and wash the world in light,
September paints the mountains gold and lingers into the night.  
The meadows wink with flowers, their stems with color hung. 
Sunflowers send,
Around the bend,
To greet the autumn’s song.  
The noontime beckons; the pines all whisper, “Come drink the cool of shade.”
Kaleidoscope of stained glass leaves, branch upon branch in wooded glade.
The daisies fresh, the bluebells deep, the paintbrush blushing fierce and bright.  
Bound together,
By grass and heather,  
Gem studded hills, roll gently in sight.  
The evening sings in sunset hues; the twilight tiptoes on dancing feet.
Softly to see the sky catch fire, bright copper and crimson the clouds to greet.  
Have you heard the song that fills the night, diamond notes of heaven’s bars?
Bells that ring,
And winking sing,
To soak the night with stars. 


The morning dawns in a silver gown, curling drape of smoke and mist.  
Tattered shreds of autumn rains, scented by chimneys, the air to kiss.  
Aspens flush on the edge of gold, sweaters warm at the break of day,
Kettles sing,
Mugs clinking ring,
To speed October on its way.  
The noontime brings its healing balm, final drops from summer’s jar,
Sunshine melts the clouds for a time, warm scale of notes on a pine branch bar.  
Corn and squash now ripe to bear, honeycomb swells the sweet of gold,
Apples full,
West winds cool,
As the flowers bend to curtsy and fold.  
The evening plays twilit duets, the music mingled of warmth and cold,
September’s bounty pours forth its last, spills amber into October’s fold.  
Hay in the loft, playing horseshoes at dusk, drinking a ruddy bonfire’s glow,
Sparks climb high
Ember fireflies,
As October arrives and September goes.  


All work subject to copyright by the author. Use by permission only.  2014.  

Images via: fineartamerica.com, style-files.com, intagme.com 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Edge of Emptiness

“I imagine the size of the universe, 
And I wonder what’s out past the edges.  
And I discover inside me a space as big 
And believe that I’m meant to be filled up with more than just questions.” (Chris Rice)    


I stand upon a precipice.  The world, a vast map unfolded and spread wide around me, the mountains marching to an ancient pace, the very drumbeat of time.  Above, the heavens stretch vast and deep, pricked with stars lighting the way into a beyond I can neither see nor begin to fathom.  But beneath me—the void.

The abyss yawns wide at my feet, darkness oozing from the brink, the great chasm filled nearly to overflowing with emptiness. I catch the vague scent of decay drifting from within this essence of nothingness.  It sets my limbs to trembling, and deep in the rock I can feel a tremor in the roots of the earth.  The chuckling rumble roars into laughter, a voice mocking me from the deep.

I stare into the void, and it stares back at me, vowing to draw all the world into itself, to consume all that I see and transform it into what it truly is, the substance of nothing.  The threat rises to a crescendo of dissonance threaded with the chaos of unmaking.

***


Meaninglessness.  This may very well be one of the greatest threats to our world today.  It boldly flies the banner of Nihilism, which states that everything possesses only the meaning we assign to it, placing the power in our hands alone.  It decries creation, claiming our vastly intricate existence as a part of a cosmic accident.  It destroys truth, calling it a relative social construct.  But ultimately, it annihilates meaning:  the meaning of life, love, purpose, order, story, consequences, relationships, war, peace, living, dying—everything.

How great is the ultimate despair of such a darkness.

The enemy is launching a series of attacks, and not all of them are as blatant as the great social conflicts that are consistently being debated in courts and over kitchen tables.  Some threats are subtle and pleasantly inviting.  Picture some of the tools of our time:  youtube, facebook, TV media, and popular music.  Inch my inch they may sap our life, causing us to whittle away our time in places that are often no deeper than a wading pool.  In the end, these often represent nothing of true substance.  We are a culture of entertainment, which rears its head when the death of a single entertainer gains more public sorrow, praise, and concern than innocents being cruelly slaughtered across the globe at the same time.


Deepness frightens us, and we often choose to look away.  It is easier to sink into a place of shallow comfort rather than to confront the existence of the deeply meaningful, where we will no longer be safe.  A wading pool requires nothing from us; it examines us not, and it only seeks to confirm what we already think we know.

But in opposition to the grand scheme of the enemy flies the banner of truth, snapping like a pennon on a lance, as it defies the void with spears of light (Daniel 2:22).  It asks, “Why is there something rather than nothing?  Why is there order rather than chaos?  Why is there light rather than darkness?  And why, if the world is such a grand universal fluke populated by animals alone, why is there music?”



We were not made to fill the gaping hole, that vast tear in our soul, with emptiness.

The Bible is a grand narrative, a story saturated with meaning, significance, and with absolute truth.  It details the life of God’s creation from Eden to the Cross and from the Cross to the redemption of this world, which is slowly progressing towards an end.  This is a story of love, compassion, betrayal, forgiveness, freedom, defeat, triumph, struggle, mercy, and pain, and it is written by the hand of the one who is on the throne.  For this reason Jesus was born and for this He came into the world, to testify to the truth, and in doing so to free God’s children from the grip of the Enemy’s lies forever (John 18:37).

We fear deepness, and we fear meaning, not only because it is uncomfortable and unsafe, but because of something far more terrifying.  Despite our denial of all stories and ultimate meaning, we can never quite forget that if we look deep enough, we may find the source of that meaning.  Within that vastness of significance, we might gaze upon the face God himself (Romans 1:20).  To know who God is, and to therefore know who we truly are, is the key to unlocking the purpose of everything else.

***


I stand upon a shore, looking out towards an endless sea.  The shallow water is warm and soothing, but my soul is far thirstier than the provision of this place.  The wading depths cannot quench what was made to be filled by deeper waters beyond the safety of the shore.

The ocean looks inviting, despite its frightening vastness, and I hear the voice beckoning me into truth, into purpose, and into a constantly deeper communion with the one who brought me here.  He offers the shore for refreshment and warmth, but always He calls me to come and dive deeper, to know Him more fully and to pour my saturated soul upon His world.


I wish to know the depth of beauty, the meaning of grace, the truth of the story, and the existence of love.  Could I sour higher into Him, like an aluminum angel breaking the sky with my relentless and fearless quest for truth?  Could I become a hunter of beauty, seeking always towards the source of all that is green and good on this earth?  Could I bear a sword and shield with which to give the enemy battle and to shatter the chains of the void that bind a weary world?  Dare I go deeper?

With my body, I cut a silver slice in the water, arms and legs pumping with the passion of my pursuit, as I swim away from shore.  And there—in the deepness, I behold His face.    


All work subject to the copyright by the author.  Use by permission only.  2014.

Images via:  Maggie Wilson, bloglovin, tumblr, victorielle.com, pictacular.co, flickr, Libbie Shaffer

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chapter's End

"The end of a matter is better than its beginning."  (Ecclesiastes 7:8a)  


I opened a book one day.  I brushed pages stained with years, the corners dog-eared by moments and memories.  The dry whisper of their turning stirred a smell of deepness, of time.  It was penned in a flowing script, and passion gave blood to the ink that sought to fill the emptiness with words—with life.

There I met familiar figures, and places I’d called home, walking paths I’d wandered once, across the distant years.  Springs and summers of green and bloom; autumns of mist and gold.  Winters of splintered diamonds cast to freeze the sleeping world.


Yet the chasm of time began to narrow, and with it my sight grew shorter and sharp, the story touching nearer to present pains.  Old words and scars gave way to marks raw and fresh, ones still being etched upon my soul.  And I came to a void upon one page, final letters teetering upon the brink of an unknown precipice.  In the emptiness of the uncertainty I read a warning that pierced my thought:

“Behold, you have come to the Chapter’s End.”

I longed to remain in familiar paragraphs, the charted word-map of memory’s gaze.  With ink penning each page, I would never lack for the safety of the known world.

I paused to lay my finger upon the last page, but…just what lay beyond the Chapter’s End?


There was no bridge that I could see, no sense of certainty nor solid ground.  But as I studied the letters, their lines spread wide upon the edge of the unknown, I also wondered what it was like to fly.

With shaking hands I tucked into my heart the memories of previous pages.  Into a drawer went the words and worlds I knew.   I might take them out and admire them, and their wisdom I hid inside me, but I did not belong within  those pages any longer.  I was becoming.

Some dreams I laid within that drawer; some I bore with me for the journey ahead, for hope in the Author’s promises are what many dreams were made for.


The pages ahead were crisp and new, a canvas of earth and sky, empty to fill.  Metal ready for the maker’s hand, were these the many chapters still yet to come.

I was struck by an ache of sadness, as I turned the chapter, humbly uplifting the days ahead.  And I glanced back over the shoulder of the page, to the chasm of uncertainty, the last of what I knew.  But if the greatest adventure lies ever ahead of me, then so too must a story eternally look forward.  The pages of this book, I now knew, were not meant to be turned back.



I cannot see to “the end,” nor can I often peer even beyond each chapter’s close.  But there is one who has read this story before, and he is the great bridge builder.   Therefore I need not fear the brink of what is ahead, nor the current of uncertainty, which rages beneath.  For a book penned in the blood of sacrifice is firmly bound, and its author can always be trusted.  


As chapters of our stories close, they need not always signify the giving up of something, but instead they represent a continuing on, new notes intertwining to fill the symphony, which will only make it deeper and more beautiful.  There is joy ahead, and there is sorrow, but what we have read we take with us, as the author leads along sentence paths he well knows and has trod before—if only we will allow the page to be turned.


"There are far greater things ahead than any we leave behind." (C.S. Lewis)  

Images via:  iphonewalls.net, bohemianwornest.tumblr.com, flickr, october-afternoons.tumblr.com, 25-media.tumblr.com, jacobnordby.tumblr.com, Tracy,        

All work subject to copyright by the author.  Use by permission only.  2014.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Wedding and a Funeral


Is this the little girl I carried?  Is this the little boy at 
 play?  I don’t remember growing older.  When did they?  
Sunrise, Sunset.  Sunrise, Sunset.  Swiftly fly the years.  One season following another, laden with happiness and tears.”  (Fiddler on the Roof)



Time. 

For some it brings to mind freedom and hope, for others the bars of a prison gradually strengthening their grip.  The gypsy of time constantly runs the world o’er, stopping and staying for no man, woman, or child.  For each human being, time is measured, finite, and bounded by a beginning and an end.  Within the grasp of such a fate, how is it that one can live truly and fully? 

Is it possible that time can be redeemed? 



I attended a wedding this past weekend.  It was a day of beauty, celebration, happiness, love, purity, and promise.  The face of the bride was lovely, radiant, and full of joy.  And the groom?  Well, it looked to me as though he thought he were receiving the most terribly precious gift ever given to a man.  In between the laughter of the camera shutter and all the cake and smiles, I had a strange thought.  I was reminded of my late uncle’s memorial service.


Recently my family had held a simple time of remembrance for this man, and like my dear friend’s wedding, this too was a kind of celebration.  Relatives dusted off their fondest memories, drawing them out like old photo albums from a cardboard attic box.  All laughed, many cried, and this moment was also hallowed by time. 



Ecclesiastes assures us that, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens” (vs3).  There is Time appointed for life and death, sorrow and laughter, mourning and dancing, tearing and mending, for words and for silence (vs2-8).  And threaded throughout the song is the melody that “God has made everything beautiful in its time, and He has set eternity in the hearts of men” (vs11).  It is no coincidence that the old saying about a birth always following a death was written.  For that certainly seems to be the way of things on planet earth.  But again, the question remains.  How to live a full life as an earthbound creature, a being trapped in a finite skin?  How do we run well the one race we've been given?   


“Solomon also says that God has set eternity in the hearts of mankind.  Knowing that gives purpose to life.  The phrase ‘eternity in their hearts’ means God has placed a big question mark deep in every man’s soul.  We should be asking the question:  What is the meaning of life?  God intended it that way.  Anthropological evidence suggests that every culture has a God-given, innate sense of the eternal—that this world is not all there is” (Krell, “Time’s Up”).

The answer then is not really how to grasp at more time to get things done or do all the things we wanted to do.  It lies in the perspective, what we do with what we have.  It is asking of God what we must do, our purpose.  I don’t believe any soul is fully able to perceive this correctly without a true knowledge of who God is and therefore who they are.  We are bound; He is infinite.  We are imperfect;  He is perfect.  He is God; we are not.  But praise be to Him, that if we are found in Christ, we may share in the glory of eternity.        



Solomon would suggest that practically we must do good while we can, as our time lasts (vs12).  And I believe the New Testament would support this idea when it speaks of running the race marked out for us, living and dying to one day look upon the face of the Holy One.   According to Anne Voskamp, “Time is life—and if I want the fullest life, I need to find the fullest time.”  And that is what we must do, make our time full, saturated, being in each moment, while the ebb and flow of the seasons carries us forward.  God is teaching me that life is living – breathing each moment without tension – because I can rely on Him; because I can breathe in His promises; because I can live each moment grateful for little things” (Voskamp).

It’s been said that the dates that mark each man’s journey aren’t nearly as important as the line between the two, the life that was lived.  Not how long it was, or how much money was made, or many people attended the funeral, but the myriad of moments in the middle that answer the question:  how did he live and why?  

And if we are in Christ, we need not fear the binding of time on our lives, so long as we are able to live as full as we may and let the Father of Time handle the rest and fill our souls with His peace.  


Let us together keep running the race, doing good while we may and trusting the one who led us safe thus far and who will not fail in leading us Home.  Breathe out the tension, the anxiety, and the never-enough, and rely on the one who is outside Time, who has laid a life before you, one brimming with promise even in the midst of suffering.  As the currents change flow, He is able to keep you on course.    

To the Bride and Groom:  Blessings, dear friends, and may the Lord create something beautiful with your marriage, one that continues to bless others, and that only grows stronger and more radiant with each passing year. 

To My Uncle:  I love you, and I have faith that when I come home, I will see you in Paradise, walking with the Savior.  


Images via:  pin2fun7619.blogspot.com, hometalk.com, theultralinx.com, colincowieweddings.com, weddingchicks.com, inspiredbythis.com, and tumblr.com.  

All work subject to copyright by the author.  Use by permission only.  2014.  

Friday, July 11, 2014

Atlas Speaks


“God of life, with care you designed creation, called it good and whole
Wounded now it looks to the risen savior to redeem it all
You have heard the groans of nature as it calls for you
Praise and honor to the God who’s making all things new.”  ("Matchless God," Grace Long Beach)


Atlas Speaks

I have born so many faces
I have died and lived again
Past the edges of half-known worlds
Crowd of masks on a subway train



My feet leave furrows of deepness
As I walk this earthly track
I am stooped and bowed with the woes of all,
I bear the world upon my back.

The tear of the orphaned child,
The heart that pools with rain,
The boots and guns that go to war,
Souls of the lost, a haunted refrain. 

 Yet the heart-song of this Earth,
The language of the Fall,
Compels me to tell the Story of Love,
At Calvary’s hill to fulfill the Call.



You will not see my burden,
Yet still the weight remains,
Ever my soul is broken inside
The linen of Truth, so marred and stained. 

I yearn for mercy and justice,
I strain against the shadow’s shrieks
Hear my cry, oh Children of Men,
Listen, as Atlas speaks!

The dry land of my heart,
Split open, yawning wide
Is filled with rain, this thirsty ground,
Overflows with compassion’s tide.

On bended knee this cup I lift,
Water of life, yet dripping red
Flows from wineskins, whole and hale,
To right the wrong, restore the dead. 



Knuckles whitened to fleshly pearls,
I am bent beneath the terrestrial ball,
One arm to grasp this broken earth,
The other to offer both cup and call

 Yet hope remains, for the tomb was bare,
Look not for the living among the dead.
A foretaste of the Grave's defeat,
Light of the world, now dwelling in men.  

Sons of Adam, Men of the Truth,
To arms, draw swords, for darkness weighs
Heavy the chains that bind lost souls
Your strength is needed, lead the way

Daughters of Eve, Bearers of Light,  
With wisdom beauty, courage and grace,
Lend your aid, irreplaceable might
To confound the shadows that prowl this place



Hear the prophet, his words shall end
For time flies on, pacing fast. 
Do justice, speak mercy, and pour out your love,
Upon the world, while it lasts. 

My limbs begin to tremble,
My back, a vein of aching fire
Yet the sweat upon my brow is kissed,
By songs of life to lift me higher.  

I crane my neck towards Judgment Day
My load to bear until all is healed
Wrongs made right, no death in sight,
All things made new, forever sealed. 

Extend your cup to the least of these
Pour forth life, Love’s banner unfurled
Here I remain for a little while

I am Atlas.  I bear the world.  



Images via:  dsphotographic.com, holidayspots4u.com, flickr.com, imgur.com

All work subject to copyright by the author.  Use by permission only.  


Friday, June 27, 2014

"I Loved Her First"

"The hands of a king are the hands of a healer, and by this shall the rightful king be known."  (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King).  


I forgot Father’s Day this year.  In the midst of vacationing, photo snapping, and several badly pronounced “bonjours,” the holiday crept up softly and drifted quickly on by without so much as a murmur.  

You might be thinking that this is really no great error.  After all, the greeting card aisle half-heartedly offers beer and barbecue sentiments on this subject for what seems only a day or two, before rapidly preparing for the next holiday, likely Halloween *sigh*.  Father’s Day often feels like one of those holidays that’s not really a holiday, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, for example. 


But when I consider Fathers, when I remember Dads, I can’t help but feel that this day might deserve a second look. I see the broken families bleeding, and it comes to me that this is wrong.  A father is of far greater value than the poor and flimsy outline that the world often shows us.  



It would take pages and pages to detail the blessings a loving father has bestowed upon my life.  For it is a treasure so seldom to be found in this the land we live in.  The loss of the father, the absence of dad, has torn gaping rents in hearts, families, and the world itself.  It is an ugly wound, dissonance of the Fall, and it is because of these hurts that the role of the father has become ever so much more powerful.  It is a desperately needed strength that can match the evil and help to mend the tears. 



I cannot speak to all the fathers, and it would take much more ink to truly detail all a daddy does.  But I can thank the Lord for the blessing of my own, knowing the invaluable gift of his presence in my life both then and now, because “love woke me up this morning—with a memory” (Bethany Dillon).  
  


To:  Dad
I remember pink minigolf balls and chicken tenders from Red Robin
I remember movie popcorn, Toy Story, and the Wizard of Oz. 
I remember straining to see the white tents of Denver International Airport when you came home from a business trip
I remember stuffed toys and Invesco foam footballs at the end of your work day
I remember horse rides and bunny holes—tickling and wrestling 
I remember butterfly and Eskimo kisses at bedtime
I remember flannel shirts and sawdust and calloused hands. 
I remember snoopy fishing rods and rainbow trout 
I remember the huge rocking horse you made for me
I remember science fairs, school crafts, and the best birthday parties 
I remember slurpees and funions from 7-11 and shock tarts from the candy store
I remember Frodo and Sam, Jamie and Awasin, Hazel and Fiver. 
I remember bedtime dreaming, making castles in the air, when the night shadows prowled at the edge of my bed
I remember tire swings and treehouses, playing at Robin Hood while watching you work
I remember snow forts and Muppet movies and summer baseball games


I thank you for kissing mom, talking with her on the couch, and buying her beautiful presents at Christmas time
Thank you for telling me stories
Thank you for being my first Valentine
Thank you for teaching me to dream
Thank you for showing me how to hook my own worm, shoot a gun, and throw a spiral
Thank you for loving Kiersten and being Dad to Josh
Thank you for telling me that you loved me
Thank you for calling me beautiful 
Thank you for delighting in me
Thank you for supporting and encouraging me, for never laughing at my ideas
Thank you for being around
Thank you for serving us and loving us
Thank you for bending your knee to God
Thank you for walking me down the aisle and giving me away
And thank you for loving my husband

You’ll always be my daddy, and I know I don’t tell you nearly enough how much you mean to me and how thankful I am to be your little girl.  Happy Belated Father’s Day to the man who loved me first. 

 Love,

Emmy



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All work subject to copyright by the author.  Use by permission only.  

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Hunter


I am a hunter.  And I split the veiling darkness with light, tearing open drawers and sliding childlike under the bed.  I’ve haunted the dismal cellar, looked on every shelf, frantically thrown all closets open. 

I am a seeker.  And I drive into a horizon, where the hem of the sky brushes the turrets of the mountains.  Always, it is just beyond my reach, union of fabric between heaven and earth.

I am a chaser.  And I glide through the house, peering round corners and behind the pantry cupboards.  My quarry I have sighted but never once caught, elusive willow-the-wisp, taunting echo of a dream.


Of what I seek I can find no trace, for it is made of stuff beyond this world.  I seek the life I planned for myself.   

Perhaps it has merely been misplaced, I think.  Maybe it lies forlorn and buried in the shed under unruly stacks of ball gloves, fishing nets, and faded sidewalk chalk, those piles of grass-stained Illinois summers, now left behind, where once I dreamed.   

I know the scent of what I chase, can almost feel the all-familiar touch.  With care I fashioned it all myself, built my wishes into windows and walls.  Yet now it slips from my grasp each day, fading further into a haze on the horizon. 


Perhaps it was no more than a dream after all, a vision splendid spun only to fade with the waking, being driven out by the sunlight and the day.  Perhaps the fancy of twilit sleep is all that dreams were made for.   Perhaps—and yet…

And yet there it is once more!  The flicker of a shadow’s gown, like the deer going soft and gentle through the cathedral forest.  I give chase.  I can see the well-known edges.  I hunt.  Running frantic through the wood, the scent is familiar.  I seek.  I shred aside the leafy branches and leap the murmuring streams. 


Bursting into the meadow.  There it is, my quarry.  The same, and yet so very different.  Familiar, but somehow completely new.  The hope of my dreams has been refashioned by the hand of grace.    

I kneel quiet in the grass, tear off my shoes and plant hands and feet in the holy ground.  At last I think I understand, or at least I am beginning to.   The lesson is hard.  Perhaps it will be learned again and again until the heart freely makes dream-offering to the one who is able to do immeasurably more.  This sacrifice must know His goodness, cling to His love, and trust—trust that the fullness, the light, and the living, though mingled with the empty, the dark, and the dying will become the most perfect symphony, transfiguring fallen flesh into the image of His son. 

The image pauses, starts, and dashes away, offering me only a glimpse of Heaven’s hammer making perfect the life I planned, like the flash of a bird’s wing across my eye. 


It hurts at times, to feel nails driving into the flesh of the wood, to have the crooked places straightened and the rough patches smoothed.  But this I know, my God is good, and there is no evil within Him.  He dries the tears, allows mourning for what has been lost, and tenderly leads on.

My life I offer back to the One, still building dreams and hoping strong, but in this I extend my plans to the Builder, whose spirit leads and frames my steps along the earthly course. 

It is not the life I planned.  But I trust that it is better than what my own heart could conceive.  When I freely give rein, He is there to guide.  When I thrash and buck, confusion and pain pounding hard on His door, He opens to correct and to soothe His child.  And when I am weary, He carries me in love.  For the House of My Dreams belongs to Him, and He is the only one who can make it most beautiful. 



It is hard, but though I spend all my life in this hard learning I—Press—On. 

***
Life doesn't always turn out the way you planned.  Most of us know this to be true, but like spiritual amnesia, this lesson somehow slips away to be regained again and again.  By this point, I had hoped to have become an expert horsewoman...instead of a dirt flecked stablegirl, who spends hours sweating in the sand and sun for a living.  I had hoped to become a bestselling author by now...instead of endlessly "perfecting" a twilight-zone manuscript that seems likely to remain rejected and retiring comfortably in Microsoft Word for eternity.  There are a dozen others I could mention, but I believe the point to all of this is that lately I've been learning something.  God doesn't mind if we plan, so long as we leave room for the leading of the Holy Spirit, who may just violently swerve your neatly determined course to the right or left, sort of like avoiding tire rubber on the highway, but a lot more so.  Anyhow, it's difficult to surrender my dreams to the Lord, knowing that He may choose never to give them back to me, but it is still in Him that I trust, the anchor for my soul, which both tethers me firmly to Him while lifting me up in hope.  A Winged Anchor.  



"17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. 19 We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, 20 where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek...Such a high priest truly meets our need—one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners,exalted above the heavens."  (Hebrews 6:17-20-7:26) 
  


 Images via:  aminta gonzales, Sarah K, designinspiration.net, troymarcyphotography.com, flickr, Cassie Mitchel, tumblr, 
                 

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