Sunday, August 21, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
"Ansel Adams once took a photograph he titled 'Jeffrey Pine, Sentinel Dome.' It is beautiful. He stood where he did, he saw what he saw, and he was able to catch it, fitting it into a small frame with only two dimensions and nothing but blends of black and white. The sky is there, the rock, the Jeffrey Pine.
"The tree grows on the left, but it is gnarled, bending even now, spreading across the picture in its struggle against the wind. Its muscled branches are frozen in their strain, unquivering; its roots claw into stone, matching granite strength. There is a mountain watching from the distance, wondering who will win. The tree has fought for this life, fought in this permanent unretreating retreat.
"The wind will win in the end, but this uncomplaining tree is noble. I see no bitterness, no resentment. We may forget, but this tree knows that the world is spinning, and it has hung on to the globe through decades. I see pride in those roots, gratitude where the light sits.
"Could we improve this picture? How can we make it not better but best? Remove the tension and the contrast. Remove the black. All of it. Remove the struggle and the inevitable end.
"Leave the white. Only white. And now it is perfect. Perfectly blank."
- Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl by N.D. Wilson, pages 84-85
I came across this passage as I was reading today. And it struck me. Made me stop and think. I long for beauty in my life, for my life to be seen as beautiful and pleasing to the Lord.
But so often, I reject and run away from that which will make me more beautiful. The Lord uses the storms and winds and struggles in my life to make me stronger and more beautiful. To create a depth and richness in me and my relationship with Him that is impossible to get in any other way.
Yet I run away. I pray that they would disappear. That life would be simple and easy to understand.
And, often, God says, "No." Life is not simple. It is not easy to understand. Real life includes trials and struggles and uncertainty and heartache and loss.
All that He requires is that I cling to Him through it all. That I don't let go through any of the storms in my life.
Because it is there that I will find true beauty. Rich and deep and lasting beauty. That only He could create through the storm.
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."
- James 1:2-4, English Standard Version
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
As a child (and still today), one of my favorite movies was (and still is) Mary Poppins. I never had a nanny, but if I did, I would have wanted one like Mary Poppins. Cleaning my room would be so much easier if I could snap everything into place. Taking medicine, I would imagine it was from one of her magic spoons. Chalk drawings on the sidewalk always remind me of Bert and make me wonder if I can jump into them. Smoke coming out of chimneys makes me wonder if I could walk up it to the sky. I’ve always wanted to try the one man band thing, though I think that would be a total disaster. I’ve thought about what it would be like to slide up a staircase railing and spent hours trying to figure out how to spell “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” I still don’t know… had to look that up.
Despite all the fun, there’s a serious side to Mary Poppins as well. Mary Poppins is exactly the nanny that Jane and Michael wanted and she loves them, but when they ask how long she will stay, she won’t commit to a timeframe, simply stating that she shall stay until the wind changes.
She never commits to a timeframe, knowing instead that when it comes her time to leave, she will leave.
I think this is the way that we, as Christians, should approach our lives. The Lord has a specific purpose for every second of our lives. And we don’t get to know what that purpose is. All we can do is simply follow, one step at a time. When it’s time for a change, He will let us know and we need to follow obediently. Which is much easier said than done. We need to approach life with the outlook that we shall stay until the wind changes. And then leave, so sooner and no later.
My wind is changing. God is changing it. As I’ve been evaluating and looking into my life recently, I’ve come to the realization that God is asking me to move. Not a little move from my apartment to my aunt’s house, like I did a couple months ago. A big move. 400 miles away. Next week, I’ll be loading up my car with whatever will fit, leaving the rest in my storage unit and moving north, to Clayton, where I grew up. Leaving the life that I’ve built and the friends I’ve made over the last few years of my life.
Why? I don’t know. Other than I believe that God has asked me to move. I don’t know what will happen once I get up there. I don’t know how long it will be before the Lord changes the wind again. It could be a week, a month, a year, never. But I’m okay with not knowing. I’ve come to understand that God doesn’t give us the whole plan, just the next step. So I’m taking it.
Eventually, the wind changed for Mary Poppins as well. Her work was done. The children ran off to fly a kite with their father without even saying goodbye, as her talking parrot umbrella points out. While saddened, Mary Poppins watches them run off and simply states that is as it should be.
After making my intentions “official” a few weeks ago, I’ve seen that life down here will indeed go on without me. My junior high girls will come to trust and confide in another female leader. Someone will step up and lead the Young Adults Girls’ Bible Study. Someone else will help with childcare at church when needed. God doesn’t need me for any of His work to happen. The ministries I have been involved in will go on and flourish without me. As sad as it is to write this, even think it, my prayer would be that I am not missed. That the Lord would fill the holes and seamlessly continue His ministry.
Simply because that is as it should be.