How many times have I driven by simple beauty? The shades of green, from apple to spring bud, spring green, teal, lime, asparagus alone are blinding in their beauty. Shamrock green, chartreuse, jungle green and lawn green. God created, man named.
And how many times have I walked out into my daily life blind and alone. Seeing but not seeing. Struggling when He was there. Relying on my own strength and not His alone.
How overlooked is the bent oak bough reaching and calling and wooing me to take notice of her age and her magesty. Her dripping grey scarves of moss and fresh green buds.
Her canopy of strength and protection.
Joan Chittister writes in “Illuminated Life, “–” Dailiness, routine, sameness frees the heart to traffic in more important matters Mindless work…. is not a burden when the mind is full and the heart like a laser beam finds its way to God. …. We run from place to place and thing to thing, we skirt from idea to idea and do not recognize God in the humdrum of the day to day. We give our souls no rest and find them dying from spiritual starvation when we need them most.”
In my routine of passing by I had opportunity to capture her beauty and her presence. God the Creator created this bold, rough, boughed up, twisted and bent oak. I could notice it and thank. And I could hear God calling me, by name. If I would quiet my spirit. If I will still my flesh and body. If I bend my heart and my ear to hear Him whisper. And He does.
And so often like the single sheep or grazing cow away from the flock or herd, I wither. He calls me back in community and He calls me back through His people. I am redirected. I am sheltered.
I refresh and am restored by stories so many in small groups and teachings that God has called me in. Stories of bold faith, of pain and redemption. Stories that point to perserverance through long periods of prayer. Stories that tell of forgiveness and love and relying on him. Each story an individual God tale of His calling His people to Himself.
And I can authentically offer my story too. The real and raw telling of his moving and sustaining. Because it points to Him and His love and His Grace. When the masks come off and the real and true are shown, it is then that He can touch me and a story of Him and of all His Grace, all His Mercy, all His greatness can go out into dark.
In my routine I want His hemming in.
And in my blessed times of community and being built up I want to be filled to overflowing with encouragement of His goodness. To go out to bless and encourage others.
Rock, paper, scissors. It was a game that was simple. So very simple. And I can use this childrens game to steer my mind back to God in all matters.
Rock –That the hard places of my heart would soften by the touch of His hand
Paper — That I would be encouraged by rustling the pages of His word. And staying there. Meditating there.
Scissors — That He would cut away the rot, the sin, the masks, the inauthentic. Surgically remove with the sharpest tools and the steadiest hands, that which does not bring Him Glory.
In a tough parenting moment middle child asked me why if he was to take responsibility of himself and his academic struggles would I get involved. And I said we need accountability. We all need accountability partners and friends who lovingly redirect us back. And the Holy Spirit will gently do that if I allow Him to. Why would I tell my child I will follow up to hold you to account? Because accountability comforts and provides a check. Because the Shephard goes looking for the one lost sheep and the Shephard’s crook lovingly draws us back. Because His sheep know and hear His voice. And they respond. Because away from the Shephard away from the herd, I wither and I will not survive. Because His loving correction always brings blessing.
Rock, paper, scissors. A device for me to direct my heart back to His.
Easter is coming. Celebration is peeking around the corner. Joy wants to leap and spin and twirl around.
Lord, hold me to account. Show me my sin. My fake. My unreal. My inauthenic. Lord, thank you for new mercies and clean slates and fresh starts. What amazing grace.
Rock, paper, scissors.