Tag Archives: Light

A Snowy Job

I happened across chapter 6 in the book of Job today. From the beginning, I relate to the words. From misery outweighing all the sands of the sea to not having the strength to endure – believe I’ve said I need a strength that is not my own a time or two recently – to feeling deceived by those closest to you. “…when it is swollen with ice and melting snow.” I stop dead in my tracks or snow tracks, perhaps.

I feel the need to sit and gather my thoughts. I pop open my computer and as I begin to let my thoughts trickle out, the lyric of a song playing in the background catches my ear, “to hear sleigh bells in the snow”. My skin prickles. I go back to finish Job chapter 6. He continues to speak to me: “But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears.” and the travelers become disappointed and their hopes are ‘dashed’ because they were counting on the water. Job talks about his ‘friends’ criticisms being more than just hard to hear honest words. Does that make them ‘right’ and him ‘wrong’?  He’s not sinless, but he has the right values and actions – he turns to God.

“Kindness is like snow, beautifying everything it covers.” One of my favorite verses my 6 year old and I quote is Ephesians 4:32 “Be kind and loving to each other…”. It’s typically the daily reminder he receives as he hops out of the car for school each morning. Compassion and empathy towards others and especially those hurting does so much for the human soul – both the giver and receiver.

I’ve talked about my tribe so much recently. I absolutely adore them. They have kind hearts, fierce minds and brave spirits. They, well, this:tribe

All. Day. ❤

So today marks 6 years. Six years since the best man I’ve ever known left this earth early. I got up this morning, surprisingly in good spirits. I selected my outfit and was off to start my day. It was during my car ride I did some reflecting. My dad had a larger than life personality so when that is gone suddenly from your life one day, never to return again – well it makes for a tough life adjustment.

As I was recalling his life and his death, I understand I may not fully get the ‘whys’ of him leaving so early, but the life lessons he’s taught me even in death have been priceless. It was then I realized what I was wearing…collagemaker_20161128_133101_resized

Another snowy moment. Another snowy message. Another snowy lesson. “When snow falls, nature listens.” And I do too. It’s hard to stop imagining life the way we think it should be and let God do work. Job goes through trials and comes out triumphant. Much to learn about faith and perseverance from ole Job – hear those sleigh bells in the snow, if you will.

“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their endings.” Time to slay – or ‘sleigh’ 😉

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Okay, so now what?

Earlier this week, I voiced out loud a prayer that’s been brewing in my heart. Something that had started troubling my peace. In a group devotion the question posed for discussion was “Do you feel a tug at your heart to live completely with God, but are still uncertain about pursuing it? Explain.”

I felt this tug a few years ago. I dragged my feet for a bit and felt much like the child trying to yank the hand I was holding in another direction until one day, I took the plunge. I believed in God, but have struggled centering ‘my’ life around His plans instead of my own. This plunge was scary. It had no safety net. At times I was sure I felt the air being sucked right out of my lungs.

To fully live with God means letting go of a lot. I had to let go of my life expectations, my life plans, my feelings, and at the same time be willing to examine who I am as a person and let him expose some ugly things. I’m still not perfect, but I am more me than I have been in a really long time (if ever). I have more of a simple peace in life than I thought possible. As a human, I don’t fully ‘like’ the circumstances I went through to get where I am, but I cannot deny I am much happier here.

All of that is great. Okay, so now what? I’ve taken the plunge. I’ve followed God’s direction and some pretty amazing things have happened, but what now? Where do I go from here? I took the leap (off the cliff), landed on my feet, planted my feet, but am unsure where or how to grow from here. It’s kind of dark and quiet in this place. Sometimes I feel like I’m in an abyss and I can hear my echo, “Heeellloooooooo???”

I think of my favorite four-letter word <insert eye roll>, wait. So, I voiced my prayer out loud to my friends. It pretty much went, “Now what?” I think I needed some reassurance that I’m supposed to be waiting. I got the physical votes of assurance from my girlfriends, but the real reassurance came over the next couple of days.

I was wrapping up my daily task for the devotion homework the next day and there was that question <insert snarky-ness> again about ‘a tug of the heart’ for us to answer by ourselves in our quiet time. Heaving a sigh, I wrote that I currently felt in limbo, unsure what comes next. I shut my study and moved on.

I had decided to embark on a personal bible verse-a-day for December. It is definitely geared for the season, but the first line of the verse hit me like a ton of bricks considering what I had written two seconds earlier for my ‘tug’ answer, “All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign.” Isaiah 7:14. I could almost feel the Lord’s snarky-ness as I re-read the verse “All right then”. I continued reading and the last verse felt reassuring too, “Then the Lord will bring things on you, your nation, and your family unlike anything…” Isaiah 7:17.

I closed my eyes and listened. My heart said, ‘Patience, child.’ My eyes bolted open. He hasn’t left me alone in this dark, albeit peaceful, place. It’s just time to be quiet right now. Put one foot in front of the other, if you will. He simply wants me to honor the space between no longer and not yet. I shed some tears of thanks for the reassurance my heart needed. And in response, the very next verse I spied as I dove back into the world, was on social media, Isaiah 55:11 “It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it.” Amen. I hear you, Lord. Thank you for clarifying any last little shred of doubt, it was you telling me to be patient.

The next day’s verse-a-day proved further conviction. I typically read around (before and after) to get a bigger picture of the verses I’m given to read. Isaiah 9:2 affirmed my answer from the day before, “The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness a light will shine.” And the first portion of verse 4, “For you will break the yoke of their slavery and lift the heavy burden from their shoulders.” He’s not going to leave me here in the still darkness forever. I will know what’s next when it’s time to know.

As I’m letting all of this resonate and thinking about the clarity I’m feeling about patience, the song in the background on the ‘Sounds of the Season’ channel catches my attention. It’s by Dan Wilson and the song is titled, “What a Year for a New Year”. A beautiful summation of the answer to my prayer. The next thing will come. The next new year. Patience.

Don’t get me wrong, life is pretty happy- peaceful. Not much ruffles the feathers. It’s pleasant. But internally I have felt this question stirring, “What should I do now?” I do not believe we’re meant to live a stagnant life. It would stink. I believe we’re meant to grow and evolve. However, I’m also realizing that sometimes God calls us, but then puts us in these quiet, still places. It can be a time for reflection. I find I work on my flaws more when I’m still. You can heal some broken places. It’s like the cocoon- the transition between the caterpillar and the butterfly. Or the season of winter- the transition between a completed purpose (fall) and new life (spring). It’s in the quiet, dark places that some of the greatest work is done.

Today there is no further ‘answer’. No further conviction to have patience. He’s made His point. I believe, He knows it’s been received. And I don’t find “What now?” as the center of my unsettled prayer anymore. I feel at peace with that…So, what now? Well, I wait.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1PxqT6IUEo (link to song)

Lyrics to What a Year for a New Year by Dan Wilson

What a year for a new year
We need it like we needed life I guess
Last one left us lying in a mess
What a year for a new year

What a night for a sunrise
And we thought the dark would never end
Reaching out to try to find a friend
What a night for a sunrise
Sunrise

What a day for new day
And our star shines like a miracle
And our world is almost beautiful again
What a day for a new day
New day

What a year for a new year

What a night for a sunrise
And we thought the dark would never end
Reaching out to try to find a friend
What a night for a sunrise
Sunrise

Soon we’ll be lying in our beds
And new dreams will fill our heads
And the old ones will be ended
Hope we’ll forget about this place
Let it go without a trace
Wipe the teardrops from our faces
Oh! What a year for a new year!

You’re Here…

“When I look to the sky, something tells me you’re here with me.” ❤

I awaken early this morning which isn’t abnormal, but instead of rolling over to go back to sleep my heart all ready aches. The weight of November 28th always stings. I know my mind won’t let me fall back asleep, my thoughts are all ready too consumed of you. I get up. I have a task to do for a turkey anyways. Season it. My mood is grumpy. This time of year is usually emotional now. I feel cheated. The holiday season doesn’t ever feel complete anymore. Something always seems ‘off’.

It’s challenging. November 26th is my anniversary. A wonderful time, a happy time, a cherished time followed two days later by my least favorite memory. How do I not steal moments from my marriage with the impending dread of November 28th? I try hard to be more present during this time so I can focus on the moment I’m in, but it’s always there. I’ll find myself snappy or impatient or just plain grumpy, and at first I’m not sure where it’s coming from. When I stop to gain control of my emotions, I quickly realize it’s sadness speaking out.

Back to this turkey. Season it. I’m tiredly and admittedly cranky seasoning this turkey. I feel like the naked bird – bland. Wish I could throw some salt, pepper, garlic, thyme and sage on me and VOILA! Transformed. As these thoughts are running through my head, the sky through my kitchen window catches my eye. “Beautiful.” I mumble to myself. I finish my task, grab my phone and tea, and head for my safe haven – the back porch. It’s quite nice outside to be so late in November. I snap some pictures. I let the moment soak in. You’re here. This is you saying good morning. Thank you for coming on the morning I need it most. I feel a little uplifted.

Back inside I decide to make your trademark breakfast, oatmeal. But not the same this morning, with a twist. Spice it up. Season it. Transformed. (Btw- it was good. Link here: http://www.foodista.com/recipe/64CFRJ68/baked-smores-oatmeal)

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After getting dressed, we decide to go pick out a Christmas tree. I snap a picture of course making the 5 year old pose in front of the selected tree. I see the sun rays coming in on the image, but when I get home to really check it out one ray shines brighter than the rest. Yes, I see you. Thank you. We’ll take this tree home and season it too. Transformed.

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As I’m riding back home the car in front of me catches my attention. The last kind of car you drove. You’re definitely here, especially today.

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The rest of the day provided more distraction than emotion. Which is a nice and needed break. You knew that too, didn’t you? You sat back, you watched, you smiled. You enjoyed seeing the laughs and grins and hugs throughout the day.

I felt you once again this evening. Watching my brother, at 29, tackle a new sport, hockey. Oh, you smirked (quite a few times), I felt it. Your presence was so close, a couple of times I thought I’d turn to my right and you’d be sitting there leaning back, arms crossed, long legs stretched out in front, with that smirk on your face you got when you were really tickled at something. You loved it. And were proud of your son (and probably slightly impressed too). My brother chose to try something new. Season it. Transformed.

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Five years. Five. Has it really been five years since I’ve hugged your neck, held your hand, curled up in your lap (yes, even at 27 years old I would curl up in my daddy’s lap) or pecked those lips (yes, we’re ‘that family’ that goes for the lips)?

With blurry eyes as I’ve written this, a tear finally escapes and slides down my cheek just now. It makes it all the way to my neck. A chill sets in deep. To try and explain how time passes when a close loved one is lost is hard. Time flies by, as it often does in life, but at the same time it feels as though laughter or a touch or tears were just shared with the one suddenly missing. Wasn’t it just yesterday…

“Time heals all wounds.” I’m not particularly fond of this saying. When a wound heals, it leaves a scar, a reminder. You do get used to this new life without this special person, but time doesn’t make the loss any easier.

I saw a quote not long ago, “The wound is the place where light enters you.” It caught me where I least expected it to. There is truth here. But only if you allow it. I felt the light all day. It doesn’t take the pain away, but I smile through the tears. And I’m left – transformed.