It Turns Out – A Children’s Story For Grown-Ups

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It Turns Out – A Children’s Story For Grown-Ups

It turns out
The shallow end
Is where the mud puddles are
And snakes creep
Each step taking her ankle-deep
In pluff mud and oyster shells
Razor blade sharp
Leaving her both bloodied
And muddied
A yucky combination
Of grime and blood and more
If she were a hippo
Grand and glorious it might be
Or even a alligator stalking his prey
Instead, she is a soul in need of a Savior
Sinking further and further
Up to her neck in muck
Paralyzed in wet, brown, slick
Ick
Like a child stuck in fear
Mud baths are for pigs
Not for grown ups
Alone and afraid

It turns out
The deep end is where life is
Best lived
In the waters far from shore
Waters cool, crisp like
Green apples, mountain grown
Bittersweet,
The waters run
And she should too
She was made for deep places
Never found the shallow
Had much to offer her
In life, in faith, in love

Equipped, she is
Created for diving off the end
The high dive made for the Bravest of souls
Into the dark cool, water
She shall dive
Freedom replaces fear, there
In love
Ocean of grace
Wait for her

And it turns out
The edge of the dark
Is the edge of the light
Thin veil of faith
Separates the two
She, quick to forget
Quick to unlearn
Sinking, not swimming
Setting for muck
Instead of a cleansing bath in
Warm Mercy waters, lapping her soul
With salted grace

It turns out
She would need reminding
Again and again
Child-like faith
Bold and brave
Seemed out of reach
Hers prone to
Sinking at the first big wave

It turns out
He knew this about
Her all along
And loved her anyway
And saved her anyway
And chose her anyway
And redeemed her anyway
It turns out

This is not the end.

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BEAUTY AND THE BARNACLES

Head down, eyes down, I walk.  And decide that  the vast seashore of this glorious beach on this day after super high tides and wind and moon  will contain a vast trove of treasures deposited on this very beach.

So I walk and I look.  I vary my path, zigzag from high in the dunes to down by the sea.  I think as a collector of beach beauty ,what will seem special, what will be treasure, what will look like art from the hand of The Artist, creator God. What beauty lies here to be found and gathered and picked.

No basket, no bucket nothing to gather but my hands I makeshift my coverup into a place to hold my findings.

And at the end of this day, as we leave by boat I force myself to decide which pieces to take with me back to the land.  I have a heavy load of beautiful conch shells, all chosen because they were perfect.  Their colors, their shapes, their uniqueness, they are beautiful each one.

Two olive shells would go with me to my bowl of shells, collected over time.

But I found the greatest beauty lay in the oyster shell covered in barnacles.  Blemish to some, beauty to others.  They added their layer of interest to the original shell.  And the moon shell, too she’s covered up.  She bears the passengers, barnacles, attached to her.  Giving her, this moon shell, an added radiance.  Added depth of interest.
We return to shore, my flawed treasures in tow.

And later, as we slowly put along the creek in the little Boston Whaler, with day ending and night beginning we soak in more.  And I record what makes this village special. What marks her uniqueness as a seaside town, unlike any other.

I look back at what was beautiful.  I think back on what seemed beautiful.  And while all the white boats and white houses against blue sky were and are, the little rusty Miss Candace caught my eye and I want to know her story.

Like a historian digging into her past  with the hope of finding more by digging deep in discovery as the archeologist would, I guess.  She has seen much.  She may need a fresh coat of paint.  She is perfect the way she is.

Her battleship gray and rust stand strong.  She wears weather well.  She has a life of stories that out last and outshine superficial exteriors. Her patina speaks softly of life and the sea.  She wears weathered storms like a beauty mark. She is strength.  She is beautiful.

And her neighbor Sarah.  Her name means lady of high ranking or high standing.  In Hebrew, princess. She wears her name well with dignity and pride, this little warrior of the ocean This shrimp boat whom others depend on to return to the docks with a bountiful harvest after long days and nights of labor.

She is small, but she is strong.  I wonder at her past.  I wonder of her hard times.  And below the water line I know she too carries barnacles, firmly attached.  Holding on, catching a ride through life on the sea.

They look steady.  They look strong.  They look useful.  And as we pass through on a little ride through their harbor they seem peaceful.  At rest.  No pitching and tossing on the sea, in search of shrimp.  Purposeful trips to the ocean postponed for a respite.

Story.  Their story.  Our stories.  My story.  Don’t they include the rust and the barnacle.

Isn’t the trip to sea which added the ding and the dent, one I want to hear.  One that has depth and meaning and lesson.  Isn’t it the one that added strength and charachter.

Didn’t the time she went out and almost didn’t return the one that shows she was tested out in that sea, that time when all seemed dark.  Wouldn’t I ask her to tell me more of that.

Is the time of full nets and blue skies and calm seas the story I most want to hear from her.  Don’t I want to know her overcoming times, her coming through rough sea times.

As I see her calm and at rest, covered up in peace and the still of her harbor, her dock.  I share her joy in this time of preparation.  She is beautiful at peace. And I am grateful that she will go out again, barnacles and uncertain seas and unknown trials to gather the shrimp which will go on my table.  Shrimp that will delight my family, meal after meal.

Her story is of great value.

Your story is of great value.

Our stories, with all that they are, the beauty and the barnacles are there to be told.  And cherished.  Learned from. Drawn from.  Celebrated.

Our journeys to the cross and by way of the cross and in the shadow of the cross.

And all God’s people say “Amen”

“Before God can use a man greatly he must wound him deeply.” Oswald Chambers.

Get Out Your Yellow Highlighter

If your blog is titled wynnegraceappears- viewing life through a lense of grace, then that is what you do.

And if the biggest word in your seek cloud is GRACE then you have focused on grace.

And you highlight GRACE.

Everywhere is Grace, to be found, and named and marked and highlighted with the lemon colored highlighter.

And like the full moon which washes white on world and blinds by night, you witness to the good of God.

And all the while praying that what wages against good, and God’s good, and beauty and joy is held back and away and does not get a toe hold.

But you grieve at the pain.

And you grieve at the sin.

You grieve as God grieves at a disgruntled person killing a headmaster at a private school, knowing your children are safe but vulnerable. In a similar environment.

And you grieve at schism and brokenness in your world, your family or your church.

You highlight the beauty and what has already won and that is Jesus.

And Grace pours out on the wounds.  Like a big tube of salve you pray for all of it to squeeze out on the world where the wounds are raw and real.

You witness brokeness and unforgiveness and not what you expected to be walked out. By people you know. You love.

Your child says she feels sorry for…. and that is  for a man caught in the middle of schism. You know her understanding and her processing of schism is colored with pain and hurt.  She is her mothers’s child and the child of God. And she is a child.

So you gather up all collective hurt and pain and sin and  brokeness — offer it back to the Creator and pray for healing and forgiveness.

And a pouring out afresh and anew of His compassion. And in the spirtit of Lent you pray for restoration of the brokenness in your home and in your church and in your world.

And you highlight His Grace.

You reach for the big fat highlight marker and you color away.

Bold, crazy Grace.

And you know that He heals and that He welcomes a contrite spirit. Thanks be to God.  And when His grace appears as it has, and it does, and it will you say humbly  – God is Good, God is Great, Thanks be to God. We say to Him be all praise and Glory.

And she is making notes in the margin on how reconciliation and restoration are worked out and walked out.  She watches like the child that she is. What is extended.  What is received.  How Mercy is poured out.

She will look for forgiveness and compassion and the dying to self.

Things which are difficult in situations of conflict.

Oswald Chambers says:  “We are supervictors with a joy that comes from experiencing the very  things which look as if they are going to overwhelm us.”

No, in all these things  we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. – Romans 8:37

In this Lenten Season where do I need to extend forgiveness and where do I go to restore brokeness.  The heart wants to know.  The struggle to seek it out and reconcile are
undergirded by the Love of God.  Nothing can change His love.  Nothing can separate us from it.

Where we are weak without words to speak, He is strong.

Where we are frozen in stubborness or self-righteousness, He is mighty.

“..neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Yesterday i bought an Easter tree.  And beautiful wooden pastel eggs, pale and dull in their gentle beauty. I want to hang each egg on the limb of my Easter egg as a symbol to the new. But I wait.  Not yet.  Not quite yet.

But what of the unresolved and unreconciled. When Easter morning comes I want to sing like feathered trumpeter outside my window, that Grace and Mercy prevailed.

Today I want to color bold with the hot pink and blaze orange highlighter on the areas in my life where Grace was given Grace received.  His Love prevailed. I want to testify to His Love which washes fresh every morning.  No trial, no tribulation, no pain, no struggle, no schism, nothing is beyond the Love and restorative power of His Grace.

Those yellow markers mark the light and make them brighter and they dull the shadows of fear and death and sting of hurt.

Get out the highlighter and proclaim His Love.

Not in my own strength.  Not because of anything I can do alone.

But in the strength of the One who made me. He is the Overcoming One. The victory is won.