This is my first post on the fresh face of my blog! I do like the new look. It's also feels more streamlined to have it incorporated into my main website.
Some things, like this one, change by our own choosing. We end chapters in favor of a brighter prospect, and put in the effort necessary to make the transition. Other changes come by the will of another, some for good and some for ill, and we then "recalculate" our route to best get back on track toward our ultimate goal, though perhaps by a different road. Still more change is brought simply by passage of time--this steady ticking of chronological progression that brings us to forks and bridges in our life paths. By one impetus or another, and sometimes combinations of these, change does come.
Change is exhilarating. Change is frustrating. Change is beautifully inevitable. I myself often experience a convoluted reaction, leaving me dancing between a swirl of leaves, their cherished colors fading, and the bare branches of unseen promise.
I learn I must die to live.
Like a hermit crab searching for a new shell because the old no longer fits, or a snake shedding its skin to reveal the new, so I must embrace the vulnerability of leaving behind the past to live Today in the place God has me. I find myself grieving sometimes over a loss, forgetting that "it came to pass", and what is yet in store has its own wonderfulness. It is not wrong to remember, but when the remembering bleeds into a habit of discontent, it is evidence of my focus having turned horribly inward. If the past was hurtful, remember God's grace to move on. If the chapter closing was beautiful, smile because it happened, and trust for more beauty among life's ashes. Because it is there. Oh, it is there!
Do not scorn the unfolding of the fresh rose in favor of fragrant dried petals. Should I not choose to relish the daily discovery of the new gifts God has given? Rejoice in the sure promise of those to come? I want to live in thankfulness for simply being a part of His story.
He is the master of great story, and the end is already foretold. If a chapter ends in suspense or leaves characters (even me!) in a position of difficulty, surely it will be resolved!
We can rest in the knowledge that this next page will draw us ever nearer to the glorious finish line. Will the last chapter leave us hanging? I don't know; but I've heard it on good authority that there is a sequel....
So times change. Circumstances change. We change. And always the old gives way to new, and everything seems different now. Good different? That's partly up to us. Every day there are new choices, and the paths we take lead to the next choices. Don't let what is past keep you from the right choice for Today!
Yes, I am an actress. Yet this is real life. Are these not the roles we "live" for? Complex, heartbreakingly real characters. People who encounter both obstacles and opportunities, sorrow and joy, pain and healing. These show us that there is something, Someone, greater than ourselves or our own personal drama.
I am grateful to be a sketching of His grace.
We have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us....We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed....Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4)
This God Who Is
Today is a good day. Because I'm with God, and he is with me. Tomorrow will be a good day. Because even if I change and/or circumstances go crazy around me, God is still the same--good. And he won't leave me.
I love this God that loves and buys what this world says is worthless.
He breathes his life into our mess, and creates beauty from ashes.
He sees our confusion, our fallenness from his glorious plan, and reaches out.
He does what we cannot, and the result is grace.
How can we please him? By trusting, believing to the core of our soul that what he did trumps our black hole of debt.
By knowing that he is. And that he is ever and always enough.
I love this God that knows my pain and heals the wounds I am afraid to touch, binds my heart-fractures with his comfort. Bids me rest in his peace as he knits me back together in wholeness.
In quietness I wait. Listening. Hearing. His dear whisper speaks deeper than any voice I've ever known.
And his words are very life to me.
What does he desire of me? This I want to give.
A broken, repentant heart...to cherish his presence...pursue truth and kindness...to love as he loves.
I love this God who sees each life he created as infinitely precious.
Worth living. Worth loving. Worth dying for to save.
Who else gazes on this darkness of rebellion and deceit and decides to send his greatest treasure
to rescue a stray sheep? A stray flock? A stray human race?
And one of those sheep was I.
You drew near when I called on you; you said, "Do not fear!" O Lord, you have pleaded my soul’s cause; you have redeemed my life. ~ Lamentations 3:57-58
For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:20
Keeping In Step
Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved to dance. Loved the dizzying wind rushing past my uplifted face; exulting in the grandeur of my long twirling skirt; pointing my toes as I stretched to full height, my arms encircling imaginary beach balls as I spun and spun again....Or spreading my hands wide as I speed-turned in a stretch of grass, like Maria in The Sound of Music.
One day I realized that I had stopped dancing. Not on purpose. I'd just gotten busy with other things. I guess I still wanted to dance, but now it felt awkward, like a new teenager trying to get used to their skin again. Come to think of it, I was.
Have you heard Michael W. Smith's instrumental album "Freedom"? It's a soundtrack-like collection he composed over a decade ago, now. I was playing it one day and, realizing I was alone in the room, got up and simply started to dance again. Stepping, balancing, sweeping spins. And I began to cry healing tears. Healing a hurt I hadn't known was there. I felt God so close. He was right there, holding my heart ever so gently. I'd let a beautiful expression of worship fade away with time, but God was giving it back to me with joy unspeakable.
There are other joys I'm in the process of getting back. I'd fallen out of my (formerly) regular strength-training routine; last night I did a set of shoulder exercises, and I am already starting to notice the benefits. This last weekend, after an eleven-week hiatus, I got my clarinet out and played a few songs. In the busyness of my summer, I let this blog slip a little. But today I am posting!
Wholesome habits can slip away through neglect, and it's often hard to break past motivational or fear-based barriers to recover the discipline. But if the rewards are worth the effort, let's go boldly the throne of God's grace to obtain help in our time of need.
"Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." ~ Galatians 5:25
How are we to live by the Spirit? One step at a time.
One step in His time.
It reminds me of the expression "to waltz right through." Whoever came up with that must have been a girl, and had a good partner. ;) Trying to waltz with a guy who doesn't know how is frustrating. But when he leads well and you're paying attention, it's easy to follow.
What is the next Spirit-step for you?