To Everything There is a Season

 

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“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…” —Ecclesiastes 3:1

After living in Missouri for almost two years, I’ve noticed that—at least during these last two winters—a “spring teaser” appears every few weeks. After a few days of freezing temperatures and the occasional snowstorm, the temperatures will steadily climb again. Then on a day like today, a nice walk in the warm sunshine becomes possible. While the brain of this Northeastern girl surely gets confused, I definitely appreciate these springlike respites in the middle of the winter. Somehow, they help remind me that winter won’t last forever.

Over the last few years, the LORD has also been bringing my attention to the seasons we have in our lives. The last few winters I’ve noticed that my life seems to reflect the state of the trees and I will find myself in an uncomfortable time of dormancy and pruning. This winter has been particularly difficult, but just as a time of dormancy and pruning for trees is as critical to their continual growth as the spring, summer, and autumn, I know deep in my spirit that all of the seasons we face in our lives are critical to our continual growth as well.

It’s funny, I didn’t always feel this way though.  Continue reading

“The First and the Last” Available on Etsy

The First and the Last4Now available in my new Etsy Shop is an original 11″ x 14″ copic marker and colored pencil drawing called “The First and the Last”. This piece features the first and last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, Aleph and Tav. In the original pictograph language, aleph represents and “ox, strength, leader,” while Tav represents “covenant, seal, mark.”

This piece is connected to two Scriptures:

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God. —Isaiah 44:6

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end. — Ecclesiastes 3:11

This vibrant piece speaks of God’s work—in the grand design of creation and in our individual lives. Just as we cannot see the full picture of what God is creating from beginning to end, neither do we see Him or the work He is doing in our lives through God’s perspective. He is our strong leader, guiding us toward a lasting covenant. But only from eternity can we look back and see with joy the beautiful masterpiece He is building!

Wells in the Wilderness: When “Game Over” is a Matter of Perspective

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. — Isaiah 43:19

Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert. — Isaiah 43:19

In my lifetime thus far, I have marveled at how video games continue to grow in complexity. I remember the days when both storyline and design were fairly linear in a game. Two-dimensional heroes would traverse a two-dimensional world, fighting bad guys and surmounting obstacles which steadily increased in difficulty. Take too many hits, and it was “Game Over.” Any hope of saving the hero’s village, city, or world meant starting all over again. (Or if the game was really annoying you might just chuck it out the window.)

In the 21st Century, games are much more complex. Video game heroes and the world they are fighting in are now three dimensional, vast and detailed in their design. The hero has even more complex weapons of warfare and special gifts and talents to help them navigate their world and fight off adversaries. But in some games, game designers have removed the age old “Game Over” sign. Oftentimes, just when it looks like you’ve hit a dead end, a door of hope is actually close by—but only for the most perseverant players. Continue reading

The Backwards Brain Bicycle: Learning to Ride on the King’s Highway

girl-535251“You cannot heal a lifetime of pain overnight. Be patient with yourself. It takes as long as it take to rebuild yourself.”

Perhaps one of the hardest lessons I am continually learning is that healing takes as long as it takes. Whether it has been a cold or flu, a severely sprained ankle, or depression that seemed to have no end in sight, I have always been the type who wanted to “hurry up and get back to normal.” With a whole world of possibilities and activities out there waiting for me, resting and recuperating feels like a prison. However, over the last few years, my much more patient Creator and Healer has been teaching me to have more respect for the healing process.

This morning, I was crying out to the LORD about why I just couldn’t seem to get over certain past emotional wounds. I want to stop responding to life out of that wounding; sometimes I am successful, sometimes not. He has taken me round and round the proverbial mountain, giving me many opportunities to look at these hurts from through His eyes. I’ve come to know what His Word says about Him and about who I am as His child. God can be trusted to turn my mourning into dancing. Through thick and thin, I have learned that God does care about our broken hearts; He has been faithful in binding up my wounds with love, gentleness, and the truth of His Word. Yet as much as my mind knows the truth, my heart is sluggish in understanding.

From the healing I have had thus far, I have learned that the renewing of our minds through God’s Word is not an instantaneous process. In order to show me why this is so, the Father reminded me of a video I watched recently about an engineer who tried ride a very special bike. This engineer’s experiment is a perfect parable for why it seems like the longest distance in the world is between your head and your heart. Continue reading

There are No Mistakes, Only Happy Accidents

hands-423794As a firstborn perfectionist, I take it hard when I make a mistake. Even worse, my definition of “mistake” would probably be extreme to most people. While friends and family are raving about the latest dinner I have made, I am busy kicking myself for slightly overcooking, slightly under-seasoning, forgetting an ingredient, etc.

Creating a piece of art is no different. In every piece I create, there are usually a few wrong moves that create unplanned marks of color on my paper. If the peanut gallery in my mind had a say, I’m sure everything I make would end up in the trash. However, God is challenging the perfectionist within me. I’ve been struggling to accept that the best laid plans often go awry–and with good reason. God is always waiting for us to catch up with His plan. And His plan is very good at accounting for our mistakes. Continue reading

Commissioned: Living the Message of Hope

"Dawning Hope"

“Dawning Hope”

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. –Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth (Matthew 28:19,20)

At His first coming, Yeshua (Jesus) of Nazareth, the Son of God, was always about His Father’s business. The Word of God was ever on His lips. The Father’s love was what governed Yeshua’s every action–from teaching people the heart of God’s commandments and how to keep them, to healing the sick and raising the dead, to the very act of giving His life to pay for our sins. Truly, ascending into heaven never ended His work on earth; through those of us who follow after Yeshua and have a relationship with Him, we continue to walk as He walked and do what He was called to do. A true disciple of Yeshua is zealous for God and ever anxious to share the knowledge of Him and the message of hope with others. Continue reading

A True Mosaic Artist: God Makes Broken Beautiful

mosaic-200868Someone once commented on how painstaking a task it seemed for me to do mosaic art. Up until that point, I hadn’t given it much thought. Creating a whole picture by drawing and coloring in multiple shapes certainly takes more time and energy than other pieces I’ve created. Yet it is a wonderful feeling to see how so many small pieces come together to make a whole piece. Although the whole is created a piece at a time, I rarely concentrate on brokenness when the finished product is always kept in my mind’s eye.

This is very much how the LORD is with His creation. It doesn’t take very much to see that we are broken people living in a broken world. Generation after generation adds to the brokenness, and some days we may feel less than enthusiastic about passing our brokenness down to the next generation. However, that’s looking from the wrong perspective. When God is looking at us and working on us, He isn’t focused on our state of brokenness. Instead, God keeps the image of each of us in His mind as a whole, beautiful creation that He intended us to be. He is also more than patient about the process it takes to put us back together again. Continue reading