It’s been a while, friends. Sometimes life twists and turns like a tilt-a-whirl, and I hold on for dear life.
I’ve been in a season of intense Bible study, just what I needed in the zig zagging. God’s Word speaks truth when other voices spill discouragement, fear, discontent, and misery. In the story of Ruth, the Moabitess, I read of redemption and being chosen. In surveying the Old Testament, I saw God’s story unfold, His love and faithfulness spilled across pages, a plan taking shape in the form of His Son. In the Names of God I see my Living Lord with fresh eyes in all of His glorious character, unique and holy, unlike any other. The breath of the Almighty speaks through His Spirit, the Ruach, creating words on fragile pages, and I inhale deeply to keep breathing.
Despite the ups and downs of weather, spring speaks in the bird songs of the pre-dawn. Even on the coldest of days, they praise their Creator, lifting my spirits. Daffodils spilled their hopeful beauty early and now they are gone. As the lone plum tree dresses in white, I watch the redbud trees begin to blossom in the yard and along the highways as I travel. I am still warming by the gas logs with hot coffee in the wee hours of the morning, and even Maisie doesn’t stay out long. I want to wear bright colors, but I grab a sweater or jacket on my way to the door.
I’ve been perusing old photos, some in albums and many more in boxes, divided by year and season. It is one area I feel failure. I know exactly when and why I stopped putting pictures in albums. A major life event flipped us upside down, and I was caught off guard and totally unprepared for the challenges that would be required of me. I continued to take lots of pictures, but empty albums gathered dust on the shelf. Once I got behind, it seemed impossible to catch up. I look at the disarray and despair at it.
Only God knows the implications of wintery seasons, how they seem long and harsh, yet they are meant to point us to the One who holds time in His hands. I learn to trust Him in the long nights, wrapping myself in the warmth of His presence and leaning hard on promises from His Word. Growing in grace is the reward of walking through trials as I witness His provision and needed strength.
I learn to depend less on me and more on the Almighty who holds all things together.
As I look at those fading photographs, I know He was there with us in it all, sustaining us by His powerful arm and His gentle mercy. His love was enduring when we laughed and cried, when we had plenty and when we were in need. In sickness and in health.
I wept this week, remembering, as I gazed at faded photos. The journey included pain and suffering, death and disease and distance, yet there was joy, laughter and sweetness. God is good in all of it.
The Psalms speak to me as writers experienced life just like me, the ups and the downs, the joyful songs of praise and the questions of “how long?” I always find solace and communion with those saints gone before me.
As I gain wisdom through experience, I keep surrendering to the unknown. It is not a “one time and done” for me, this thing of submission. I tend to do things my way until I cannot. My Father knows what I need every single day and is willing to provide. But sometimes I keep working at it, until I am at the end of myself, only then realizing He was waiting for me to relinquish control.
There is comfort in every prayer, knowing He hears my voice, leans down to listen to my tearful whispers, as He catches the droplets in a bottle. He calls me His own. I am precious in His sight. I humbly bow in awe of Him.
This Holy Week, as I look toward Jesus’ last Passover meal with His close friends and the road to Calvary, the moon in the sky moves toward its fullness as a sign, as if it might reveal something of a greater message. On the cloudy nights when I cannot see the moon, it is still there. My lack of seeing it does not diminish its reflected glory. When the clouds part, I know the moon was there all the time. In the same way, I know the Father is always there, in every situation, even in my blurred vision.
I remember that Jesus took on flesh, walked dusty roads and laughed with His disciples. He endured storms and ate from the harvest. He saw suffering and healed. He wept at the tomb, then raised the dead. He suffered in a broken world so He could mend and make us whole. He purchased salvation and Shalom for the world, offering it in nail-pierced hands. Whosoever will may come and partake.
As spring whispers newness, the cold dormancy gives way to life. Flowers will bloom again. Birds build nests and the geese in the lake across the road will hatch yellow goslings. Wildlife will emerge from their hibernation. Trees will burst with green and wave in the winds. Life comes forth because the Father wills it. He controls all creation, all of life. And all of my days.
“Our Saviour, King and Shepherd calls us home
And on our homeward journey bids us sing,
To join that all-renewing song to him
Which all creation sings.”
— Malcom Guite, David’s Crown