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Remember The Wildflowers

A precious, little Cuban wildflower.

Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? ~Luke 12:27-28 (The Message)

Growing in grace teaches us that it is not the color of one’s skin, but the content of their soul that makes our world beautiful. Under all the facades, past all the tips and tricks to hide what we deem unsightly, God crafted a heart purposed to reflect the love of The Almighty.

Aging is a beautiful thing when we look beyond the ordinary markers to behold the extraordinary meanings.

Wrinkles are the troughs eroded by tears and settled by smiles. They map out our life right there in plain sight, telling the world of a life song threefold. Once a man, twice a child so the circle goes. And in the process of completion wisdom waltzes in and shares her instruction.

Bruises, and scars are signs of a life lived, loved and lost. They are medals of honor that portray the stories that sometimes made us laugh, and other times made us cry. Each one, a monument of rising to the mountaintop or descending into the valley. But we know life is both hard and holy.

Every year, a new number. A new season. A new calling. We all want to behold burning bush moments, but God. Sometimes He places us right in the midst of life’s mundane messes and asks us, live here. Make a difference here with all your scars and scrapes, not in the middle of momentous miracles and before millions of eyes, but among measureless mercies and man’s desperate cries.

Wherever you are friend, remember the wildflowers. You may be one dancing in the wind on a beautiful hillside for all the world to see, or maybe you are tucked into a safe corner disguised by many. Both coordinates are needed and necessary. Be about the business of Kingdom building. The harvest is plentiful in the majestic and the mundane. You were picked and planted to thrive right where you are by the Hands that molded the world. Thrive wildflower. Be alive.

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Broken And Beautiful

I was standing at my kitchen sink crying and smiling this morning as I was washing my grandmother’s Spode, Christmas Rose, China that I now own. I noticed the sharp incongruence in my heart. There I stood, a broken heart full of broken pictures as the ballad of my soul played its hymn; this is not how it is supposed to be. But then there was an accompanying melody of, thank you, Jesus, for how it was. Imperfect moments, incomplete holidays accompanied by irreplaceable memories; both beauty and brokenness reigned there in the ordinary, yet extraordinary moment at my kitchen window.

This week, I have followed one of my favorite celebrities as she has ministered to the people of Haiti alongside Samaritan’s Purse. She has documented her trip in pictures. Many of her posts have contained the same observance or a similar variation. Her tag lines all lamented Haiti, so much poverty surrounded by so much beauty. Her pictures are oxymorons, and her perplexity of that juxtaposition is evident. Broken people and broken countries, but all encapsulated by beauty. It is not supposed to be this way, but it is.

As I sat in Christmas Eve service tonight and we sang Silent Night while lighting the candles, The Lord showed me a picture. For the dormant candles to be kindled, the light from our neighbor must remain upright and firm, while the one receiving the light must bend, lean and become vulnerable, to be ignited. At times we are the beacons, and at times we are the broken. We each have light to give and light to receive but the cycle cannot be sustained without both the shattering and the shining of souls.

The examples of the ever-present and unchanging reality of the marriage of beauty and brokenness are more pervasive than I can list. They are present in every moment and every memory, in our tears and our triumphs, our pain and passions, our struggles and our strengths. Where there is beauty, there will always be brokenness, and it was this way from the beginning.

I am so thankful that The Son of God, The King of the world was born in a dirty stable and laid in a messy manger. The Light of the world, God’s most perfect Gift, a Savior for the world entered this life, and surrounding His arrival was beauty and brokenness. Broken circumstances, broken parents, broken leaders, broken countries and broken plans were the backdrops that set the stage for the most beautiful bounty the world would ever know. It was all necessary to remind and comfort us when life is not as it is supposed to be in our hearts, that it is as it is meant to be in our Savior’s hands.

Many of you are experiencing the poverty of loss, illness and difficult circumstances this Christmas Eve. I pray you find strength from the life of a baby born into bankrupt surroundings, who suffered among both the sick and the “sufficient” so that He may bring the beauty of His perfect light to mingle among the broken parts of our lives. Jesus, may we all have eyes to see your grace flowing through our moments of grief, and may we be consoled, sustained and encouraged by the sweet fragrance that accompanies all of our fractured moments as we travel home.

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A Beautiful Story

Her successes humbled her; she softly accepted them with gratitude.  Her wounds filled her heart with compassion, and she knew though painful, they would mature into wisdom that she would rely on to comfort others.  Both together wrote her story; the story she drew from to minister to others with gentleness and grace.  You, my dear, are a beautiful story with pages full of pleasure and pain that have formed your unique and eternal purpose.

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Vertical Vision

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When I have an issue, I do not have time for or do not want to address, I ignore it as if it will go away.  That senseless strategy only works for a limited time.

My vision is the perfect example.  I have glasses for distance that I have used intermittently for several years.  Now I require the aid of readers for smaller, up close print.  I know I need bifocals, but it has been easier to neglect that fact than to address it.

Yesterday I happened to have my readers on when I pulled out my iPhone to look at a text message.  I have the 6 Plus, so the screen and font are bigger, but when I viewed my phone with the advantage of my readers, it was like a whole new world opened up before me.  A crisp, clear, bright and beautiful world.  I did not realize how bad I had been struggling until that moment when my world was brought into focus.  Wow!  What a difference.

It occurred to me that this is not only representative of vision for daily tasks but also daily living.  When I become overwhelmed, exhausted or distracted, I am vulnerable to neglecting my “gospel glasses” that aid vertical vision.  That is always to my detriment because without them my life becomes blurry, unfocused, and I struggle to make sense of things.  Possibilities appear small, and my insufficiencies great.

Why would I want to navigate life with an obscured perspective?  There is a whole new world, a whole new life available when I see things through a lens focused on biblical truths.  To live life out of focus is to miss out on so much beauty and clarity that is available to me.

I am grateful for the reminder that played out before me yesterday.  Perspective makes all the difference.  May we not forget to put on our glasses every day, friends.

Matthew 6:22-23~ Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light.  But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!

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Just Believe

 

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Hey, you, That valley you are traveling. The one that is cutting you up as you wait; ripping your heart apart with worry, and making it hard to get up, dress and put on a smile. Yeah, you know the one. If you only knew! Sometimes in my desperate prayers for people I love; I cry out to The Lord, “if they only knew what I know. If they could only see what I see. They would be at peace. In my plea The Lord said back to me, “I feel the same about you.” Your pain is just a prelude to an eternal purpose. Battles are where beautiful souls are born. Your worry is a welcome invitation for a deeper relationship with a loving Father while you wait. He knows.. He sees. He hears. He loves you and knows the plans He has for you. Your job is just to believe.

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A Woman of Grace

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As a woman, growing in grace means when someone gives us a compliment, we do not dismiss it.  We do not tell them why we do not look pretty, are not a good cook, do not have a kind heart, have not lost weight…Grace enables us to embrace the compliment with a humble, soft, “thank you.”  Then we allow those words to settle into our souls and realize, yes, I am those things because that is how God created me. Sure we have moments when we do not like ourselves; everyone does. Those moments, however, should be fleeting. We become who we think we are, so we must allow ourselves to be a friend’s compliment! This is one of the hardest things to do for all of us, but let’s change that today! May we all be humbly adorned in the unique gifts God placed within each of us today and all days ahead!

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Share Your Story

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People are like books. Our lives tell a story. Everyone has chapters of triumph and tragedy, grief and gratitude, success and struggle. All of our stories depict beauty and brokenness. Those parts of our story-the broken ones- are usually the most poignant. Embrace them. Search for the meaning and the message nestled within them. Share them. Our triumph over tribulation is for our growth and God’s glory.

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Embracing Who We Are

 

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As a woman, growing in grace means when someone gives us a compliment, we do not dismiss it.  We do not begin to tell them why we do not look pretty, do not have a nice smile, are not a good cook, do not have a kind heart, have not lost weight, are not good at…Grace enables us to embrace the compliment with a humble, soft, “thank you.”  Then we allow those words to settle into our souls and realize, yes, I am those things because that is how God created me.  Sure we have moments when we do not like ourselves; everyone does.  Those moments, however, should be fleeting.  We become who we think we are, so we must allow ourselves to be a friend’s compliment!  This is one of the hardest things to do for all of us, but let’s change that today! May we all be humbly adorned in the unique gifts God placed within each of us today, and all days ahead!

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There is Beauty in the Crisis

 

It was exactly 5 weeks ago yesterday that Carter’s accident occurred, and our family began a new journey carved out of crisis. The definition of crisis is: A crucial or decisive point or situation, especially a difficult or unstable situation involving an impending change. It is the very identity of the word that sheds light on our fate of victim or victor. A crisis diverges into two roads, and the direction we walk either creates or conquers us.

There is so much potential, opportunity and beauty that can be born out of crisis. It is something most dread. None of us would choose it, but unfortunately it sometimes chooses us. It’s where we react from when our name is called that writes our story of one who soared or succumbed. It is not the strength of our faith, or the amount of knowledge we possess, but Who possesses us that determines our destiny as we travel through a crisis.

Today Carter was in the neuropsychologists office for 6.5 hours of cognitive testing. I picked him up at 11:30 for an hour lunch break. He ate about five bites of food, and immediately fell asleep in the car. He was huddled in the seat with the sun piercing the windows shining warmly on his face. It had been 2.5 hours into his day and he was exhausted. The taxing of his mind in that short time was a lofty challenge.

Before falling asleep he told me: my eyes hurt, I feel pressure in my head and my vision is blurry. He said it all from behind the voice of one trying to hold it all in, but tainted with the sound of tears. I knew that sound. He could not hide it. Not from me. Not from me who knows him so well. So he released it all bravely, and then he was rescued by a deep, desperate sleep.

Isn’t that an organic picture of life? We try to hold it all in, and conceal that which opposes us. We try hard, and then a little harder to not be found. Then there comes a point when we are pinned under the pressure of the fire we are walking through, and we release it in a spewing of toxic ash that has been brewing under the surface. It is in those times, when we let ourselves be fully known that we can be fully loved. It is those moments of true identity and authenticity that afford us the pacifying balm that our true self longs for everyday. It’s in the most desperate moments that we are most receptive to receiving the mending, and comfort of Jesus, who already knows us just as we are anyway.

Masking of inadequacies only delays His refurbishment. We live in a world that is in the business of replacing all that is broken, but Jesus is in the business of restoration. It was right there in my car today that Carter was allowed to fall apart and risk being fully recognized. It was also there in that hot, cramped parking lot of his favorite burger place that I was reminded that this is how it goes. We carry things far too long. We shoulder burdens and limitations that we were never meant to bear. Why do we delay our recovery so long?

There comes moments in this life when it takes more courage to fall apart in the presence of someone who loves us than it does to keep it all together. At the heart of us all we just really want to be seen, heard and understood.

Today, again was a call to trust in our Savior who in His timing restores, and makes all things strong and steadfast. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.~1 Peter 5:10

Restoration rarely happens how we envision it, and never as timely as we would like, but all good things have to happen on a timetable that is outside of ourselves. Overseen and orchestrated by The One who knitted us together, every little detail, with his soft and sovereign hands.

I am thankful for those moments when courage wins. I am thankful for glimpses of Carter’s true struggle today. I pray as he matures that he will become more and more comfortable shedding the layers of protection and trading them in for the acceptance and love that transparency affords. It is in our purest identity that we are open to the most beautiful of possibility. May we all embrace those things that embattle us. We were given them for a reason, a resource and as a bridge for restoration. Much love and thankfulness for all of your prayers and support in so many ways.