Don’t Lose Sight


What a season it has been. 

A virus, unseen to the naked eye, wreaked havoc on all mankind for almost the entire year.

Drastically affecting one of the most natural things often taken for granted in our world, fellowshipping with one another.

Even the greatest introvert, who adores solitude, has missed having the ability to stand quietly near strangers in this season.

And as for the extroverts, well… all the social distancing has just about pushed them over the edge entirely.

Yet here we are. 

With our masks and face shields, goggles and other protective, distancing gear.

We are here, not all but most.  

We are here, fully alive in a completely upside down world.

Cures are being considered, vaccines created and yes, in time this too shall pass.

But as of today, while we are here, in the thick of it all, tired of it all, remember these three simple words: Don’t Lose Sight.

Don’t lose sight of goodness, hope, gratitude, purpose, love, kindness, faith, truth.

Don’t lose sight of God.

Just because “our normal” stopped existing, doesn’t mean God did.

In fact, with the ways of mankind coming to a screeching halt in 2020 perhaps our Divine Creator was simply giving each of us the time to reset, regroup, refresh and refocus on Him for a brand new season ahead.

A Snowy Path

Fresh snow on a cold winter’s day covers a once well-traveled path.  Erasing all signs of prior activity, no shoe prints or hoof marks, no sprigs of dried grass peeking through, no fallen branches or twigs.  Just a thick layer of pure white snow covering it all.


Untouched and untraveled, one might believe the flawless snowy path hints towards something new and mysterious, perhaps an opportunity of potential. 

And yes, that may be true, but even the most magnificent path of fresh fallen powder has no real significance unless the path leads to warmth, truth and love. Unless it leads to You.

Pure Worship

A spirit of pure worship doesn’t usually flow from me with the sound of music the way it does for others.  Many lovers of God lose themselves completely in faith-filled lyrics and in instruments of praise. But not me.

Sometimes it comes across as a distracting noise for me.  Not every time, but most times.  Witnessing from a distance the intimate connection that transpires for others when a piano key tings or guitar strings vibrate has caused me question my worship.  What is wrong with me, am I defective? 

Scribbling in my journal one afternoon, feeling exceptionally content, it hit me.  Music may not bring out pure worship in me, but let me sit down to jot a line or two of inspiration, or grab a paint brush and produce expressive  art across a blank canvas, or use my hands to sprinkle glitter on glue and suddenly my spirit, my inner being, instantaneously connects with God.

Should my artistic expression come out exceptionally hideous it would not matter.  There is simply something about a quiet creative moment that draws me close to my Creator.  I sense His presence and feel the warmth of His Face shining upon me in a very real way.   Sensing His presence in those moments, causes my very soul to respond in the way that many others do with music–pure worship.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:24

Scattered

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To be scattered in thoughts and in way is often considered a pointless state of being.  Unfocused, undisciplined, all over the map in one’s mind is not something to particularly strive for but at times it is a reality. Right now it is mine.  

Scattered thoughts, dreams, prayers not for any one reason or the other, it’s just where I am, it’s who I am.  

So what does this scattered place say of me? What does it mean?  Does it render me inadequate, am I now considered pointless? If my mind is everywhere can God still reach me ? Can He still speak to my heart, guide my spirit, use me for a greater purpose?

I suppose it depends on which voice I choose to believe.  The voice that roars self-condemning judgement or the Voice of God that lovingly whispers,  I am here.  I am with you.  In the midst of your scattered map I will lead you with purpose right back to My loving arms.

I think I’ll choose the latter.

“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.” 

Romans 8:39

Drop the Marker

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Red check marks, underlines, circles and highlights represented a problem that required correcting as a young student from my teachers.  The crimson color reminded me that improvement was needed.  It was a good thing. Wasn’t it?

As I grew, I adopted my own red marker nature.  Inwardly check marking the areas of needed improvement within myself as well as those closest to me.

The marker became a way of life, keeping me on the edge of subconscious judgement.  Stirring feelings of discontentment because corrections always need to be made. Don’t they?    

Not good enough, check.  Needs improvement, underline.  Doesn’t meet requirements, circle. Can do better, highlight.  

How did I become such a red marker prodigy?

I wonder, what would happen if I dropped the marker I’ve grown so accustomed to carrying?  

If I actually released the inner tool of correction and proceeded on with life and interactions without it,  would I still grow, mature, learn, improve? Would others?

Would being completely marker-less be a catastrophe?  Or might it allow for a new found freedom?

Perhaps it’s time to drop the marker and find out.

Chaos-ful

Embrace the Chaos by Monica Cane

I don’t look for chaos, in fact when I see it coming, I run hard the other way.  Yet, there are seasons in life that no matter how far I run, chaos finds me. Like winds of a developing tornado, circumstances start out small, maybe a little gusty and then without warning picks up speed. Tornados grow faster, stronger, more powerful and quickly consume everything in sight.

With literal tornado’s it’s recommended to take cover but with personal tornados of chaos the only way to really survive is not to run and hide, but to face the whipping winds of chaos head on.

Why?

God is in the eye of the tornado just as much as He is in the calm that comes after.  When the dust settles, things may look different than they once did but the opportunity to start again with a fresh perspective will be there.

Chaos-ful 

Fully embrace the chaos, as God takes your hand and walks you through.

 

A Hallelujah Painting

MY FIRST TRY at Palette knife painting needs much improvement but it was loads of fun…

LET ME TELL YOU—While I really couldn’t reflect it in the painting, Each boat represents a verse in a song I heard at church today that I really like.:

“I raise a Hallelujah”

1st boat= I raise a hallelujah, louder than the unbelief

2nd boat= I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm

Third boat= I raise a hallelujah, my weapon is a melody…

Yep my painting skills may need help… Bur Whether it’s a good day (like today) or a not so good day… I always want to remember to raise a hallelujah.

 

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I wander along this path called life.

Stumbling forward, falling backwards, circling around.

Then I remember— I’m not wandering aimlessly.

You designed this path.

I have purpose and direction. I walk in the steps you’ve laid out for me.

I am following Your lead and it is truly a wonder.

Wonder

The Birds Figured it Out

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When we moved into our home two years ago there were two huge pine trees with lush green needles in our neighbors yard that oversaw our yard. Whenever I looked at the vibrant trees,so full of life and beauty, I instantly felt happy. But something changed along the way.

For some reason, a few months after moving in the rich green needles on the pine trees began to die off.  I assumed they would turn green again but they never did.  Two years later, all that remains on the branches are dull, brown, crunchy needles with seemingly no life in them at all.  Now when I look at the pine trees overseeing our yard I just feel a bit sad.

That familiar feeling hit me again when drinking coffee in my backyard a few mornings ago. I glanced at the lifeless-looking pine trees with its dried up needles and branches and wondered, What purpose do these trees have now?

The answer came swiftly when I looked up.  There, at the very tip-top of the brown pine trees were a handful of birds perched on the branches.  They were chirping and fluttering about, enjoying what God had provided them without any apparent sadness over the lack of green pine needles.  As I continued watching, the birds took turns weaving in and out of the twigs and from what I observed, they were having the time of their lives and more importantly they seemed content.

It dawned on me then, that while the outside of the pine trees did not look the way it once did, though now they appeared dry and lifeless, in truth, the trees are actually bigger than they were when we moved in which could only mean one thing,  Despite outward appearances my neighbors pines trees have strong, beautiful life growing on the inside of them.  The life inside them cause them to stand tall and firm and also give the birds a special place to enjoy with ease.

All this time I had been focusing on the wrong thing.  I looked only at what seemed dull, brown or dying on the trees instead of focusing on the deeper beauty growing on the inside.  With the right focus, I would be just as content as the birds.    If they figure it out, it was time that I did too.

You Were Created to Fly

“For we are God’s Masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:10
By Monica Cane

Three years ago my husband took me to Pets Mart to pick out a young parakeet for my birthday present. This was a huge deal because I had been bugging him about buying a bird for at least ten years with no luck. I can’t say the reason for the change of heart. Perhaps ten years of requesting the same thing wore him down or maybe his heart suddenly softened toward our fine feathered friends. Whatever the reason, my husband surprised me that year with the gift of a tiny yellow birdie which I named Lemon.

I made Lemon a nice home in a cage filled with bells, toys, ladders and treats and placed the cage in our living room, so he could be a part of our daily family noise which he seemed to enjoy judging by his birdie chirps.

Once when I was cleaning Lemon’s cage outside my husband called my name. When I turned to see what he wanted the bottom of the bird cage suddenly fell off. Instantly, Lemon flew up and over our house and landed in a tree in our backyard. Fortunately, I was able to climb the tree and rescue him and then made sure to put extra clips on the bottom of the cage so there wouldn’t be another birdie-jail break.

Overtime I noticed that Lemon wasn’t chirping quite as much as he once had and so I decided to give him a change of scenery. I placed his cage on a table next to flourishing herb plants and dwarf fruit trees in our patio and apparently being closer to a natural bird environment was exactly what Lemon needed. He was back to chirping, squawking and singing especially whenever he heard the free birds in the area chirping along as they flew by.

A few days ago, I began my usual routine of cleaning the bottom of Lemon’s cage outside while he watched from inside his cage on his perch. I sprayed a little water above him so he could take a bird bath but what I didn’t realize is that one of his cage doors had caught on a toy and been partially open the entire time he’d been sitting on the perch. As soon as the water touched his feathers Lemon flapped his wings and tumbled out of the open door.

He lopped in the air for only a brief moment as if unsure as to what happened and then quickly realized he was free. Immediately he flapped his wings with vigor, raised-up and allowed the wind carry him. This time Lemon didn’t head toward our backyard instead he flew above and beyond the houses next to us. It all happened so fast that before I could shout, “Lemon Wait!” He was gone.

I scoured the nearby area, made chirpy noises, put out seeds and turned on my water fountain in hopes of drawing Lemon back home. Realizing the odds of finding him, I mumbled, “Why did he have to fly away, God?”

Instantaneously a truthful thought was impressed upon my heart. Without my knowing the door had been opened to the cage the entire time I was cleaning it but Lemon didn’t realize that freedom was available to him. That’s a lot like us. We often sit on our own perch without a clue as to the freedom God has given us through His son, Jesus. (Galatians 5:1)

Once Lemon did realize he was free, he flew like he meant it. In fact, he flew the way God created him to fly.
I don’t know the outcome for Lemon but what I do know is that he flapped his wings and allowed the wind to lift him higher and in turn accomplished what God created him to do.

The same is true for us. As children of God, we must allow the wind of the Holy Spirit to take us to a higher place, to help us understand our purpose in God’s plan so that we too can spread our wings and fly the way God created us to do.