Freedom

We Are God’s Masterpiece

Posted by on Aug 29, 2014 in Freedom, Life, Our Hope, Truth, Words | 18 comments

wyatt

 

“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 (NLT)

 

What a beautiful scripture this is, encouraging us to know who we are through the eyes of the one who created us. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just need to be reminded of this truth.

Deep within every human being is a longing to be loved and accepted. I need to remember this, because for most of us, this is not a reality we easily claim. Instead we look in the mirror and only see faults or reason for comparison. We allow the wrong voices to define who we are.

In some cases it’s our culture. But other times it’s the very people we love who wrongly define who we are. Hurtful words can deceive us into thinking we are unworthy.

Yet God created us to be people of strength and beauty, each with a divine purpose planned by Him before we were born. God alone has the right to define us.

He is the Creator. He is our designer. And this is what he says about you and me, WE ARE:

 

Created in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27)

Fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14)

Precious and honored in His sight. (Isaiah 43:4)

Redeemed and forgiven. (Ephesians 1:7)

A new creature in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Holy and blameless before God. (Ephesians 1:4, 1 Corinthians 1:30)

Chosen by God. (1 Peter 2:9)

God’s masterpiece. (Ephesians 2:10)

Created with purpose to do great works for God’s Kingdom. (Ephesians 2:10)

 

Will you believe these words about yourself today? Are you able to look for that same truth in your fellow man today as well?

We are God’s beloved creation, masterfully designed for his use. How absolutely amazing is that!

 

 

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My Brittle Heart Yearns To Be Soft

Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 in Control, Freedom, Love, Vulnerability | 20 comments

#42 love is patient

 

My brittle heart yearns for the softness of innocent trust. It squirms within the shell of experiences that mold it – waiting for occasional moments to beat with true freedom.

I know my heart was designed for feeling – for vulnerable encounters. Unfortunately like most people, I learned early on that along with vulnerability often comes pain . And pain drives me to the shelter of a hardened, secure place.

Our youthful hearts can easily becomes suspicious, self protective and old. Hard and hollow.

I admit it – my feelings get hurt. I wish I could say my tough exterior is made from some sort of righteous maturity, but it is not. I’ve learned to appear resolute and say the right words, but each time my heart is hurt the walls grow a little thicker. Just this morning someone hurt my feelings and didn’t even know it. I recoiled.

Proverbs 29:25 says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe”. I don’t believe this verse is suggesting I avoid people and trust God. I think it tells me to trust God with every relationship, avoiding the snare of fear.

A soft heart loves at all times – even through vulnerable and difficult encounters. There’s freedom in openness and vulnerability – freedom in trust. Trust encased in love generates life.

By God’s grace I will continue to take a sledge hammer to the hard walls I hide behind every time I’m hurt. I know I’m kidding myself to think genuine love can seep through the cracks of a self protected heart.

Love, Real love, God’s love – oozes out of and overflows from selfless vulnerability.

 

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Summertime

Posted by on Jul 4, 2014 in Freedom, Play, Summer, Wonder | 28 comments

for summertime

 

Summertime is the sweetheart of the seasons.

Children wait all year for its arrival. Anticipated and well planned vacations finally squeeze into its slim perimeters. Even fruit trees spend the year preparing for the grand finale. Summer comes with high expectations and crescendos with lazy relief.

Familiar scents usually lure us out of hiding into the glorious arms of the season. Cut grass, star jasmine, foggy air – even the tangy stench of sunscreen lathers the senses with intoxicating images.

Every soul needs summertime. Dreamy days, warm nights, less clothing and conversations that linger.

Children aren’t the only ones who gain from the decompression, we all do. Summer takes us away from our usual. Whether geographical or internal – we benefit from the slowing down. Our sun starved skin drinks in the extra Vitamin D while our minds unwind and soul feasts on the fruit of uncluttered moments.

Somehow reading a book by a river’s edge or at a packed pool for hours isn’t perceived as a waste of time. Summer both redeems and invests.

Layers of clothing along with accumulated concerns seem to drop off as the weeks linger on – exposing our kindred lumps, bumps, hopes and fears. Our feet can breathe – dreams swell as we lay in the grass or sand or unfamiliar turf.

We know summer is fleeting and we’ll soon be inching toward winter once again through the subtle door of fall – so we dance with our sweetheart – grasping what she offers and storing up till her next visit.

Take walks.

Befriend a stranger.

Read a book by a new author.

Watch a mother play with her child.

Listen for baby birds, look for new life around you.

Stay outside till the moon comes up and count the stars.

Pick fresh fruit from a vine and let its juices rest on your tongue before swallowing.

 winter is coming – this is the place we gather material for dreams and peace in our future.

Summertime.

 

 

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Memorial Day – More Than Remembrance

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Freedom, Love, Remembrance, Service | 22 comments

#43 memorial collage

 

The three day weekend is fast approaching. We will remember our heroes through an avalanche of patriotic commercials and emotional photos. The nation will take a short pause to commemorate our fallen on Memorial Day.

Like most major holidays the media inundates us with ads, short video clips and images. The Memorial Day photographs are meant to stimulate patriotism. They will be moving. They will be clean and pretty, leaving us with good feelings which is somewhat perplexing since they represent a very different reality.

In fairness, most difficult life experiences look better when we’re farther away from them.

I’m grateful I’ve never had to watch someone be struck by a bullet or smell the smoke of smoldering flesh. It’s hard to imagine the photos shown on Memorial Day come even close to depicting the devastation they represent.

I wonder how veterans who’ve lived through the real-life experiences of war think of the polished up images we circulate. The disabled vet who sits at the intersection panhandling in our community probably doesn’t have a Twitter account to give his opinion on the issue. He anesthetizes his mind from memories and we anesthetize ours to him as we pass by – even on Memorial Day.

It’s probably safe to assume the general population can’t identify with him. Besides not understanding the trauma of his combat, he’s certainly not airbrushed enough for our applause. Like many, he’s still attached to the umbilical cord of his pain.

Internal wars are just as hard to understand as physical wars. Inner wars bring their own kind of pain, suffering and even death.

As I sit in my comfortable chair plucking my keyboard in hypothetical thoughts, I am challenged with what I can do. How can I serve the wounded. The broken in our villages need to be fed, listened to and truly honored.

The battle-weary soldiers of internal wars are the poor and the brokenhearted spoken of in Isaiah 61. Many people are held prisoners of war right in our own communities, and they are part of us.

The truth is we all would benefit by standing at attention on Memorial Day. We’re all part of a battle and called to fight in a very real war.

Our identity and dignity are contingent upon truly remembering. By ongoing remembrance and involvement. More than a pause – a lingering that initiates action.

I want to be more than moved this Memorial Day. I want to be enlisted into the causes that move my Heavenly Father. I want to take my place on the battlefield of my own community, so maybe one day I’ll hear my commander say, “This one fought the best she knew how. She lingered long enough to act.”

For today – I linger and humbly ask forgiveness for my own lethargy and preoccupation with myself. I willingly yield these unfocussed eyes to open and see opportunity beyond the polished images of the hour.

 

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For Our Good

Posted by on Apr 18, 2014 in Courage, Freedom, Trust | 12 comments

#26 cross 3

 

The belief that things will eventually work out for good can certainly provide a level of peace to our life. It allows the difficult moments to roll off our back in the hope things will eventually get better – or be good. But when circumstances begin to pile up and our comfort is challenged, belief alone often comes up short.

Throughout his lifetime Jesus showed us how to believe and live in the truth of God’s goodness. It was especially evident on the cross. His life was shaped by the full embrace of the greater good found in his Father’s eternal story.

It’s the same for us. Where can disappointment live when our own prerequisite expectations are nailed to a cross? When we relinquish our need to control.

Meditate today-  Good  Friday –  on what Jesus has done for you. Ask him to help you embrace your own cross today. And then claim the package of good things he’s personalized for you in his eternal plan.

Have a glorious Easter.

 

 

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Lens Caps, Raindrops and Perspective

Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Control, Freedom, God Speaks, His Love | 16 comments

apple blossoms

Isn’t this a great picture – I can’t believe I took it!

 

I love beautiful art, both on film and canvas. Admittedly I’m neither an artist nor a photographer, so the fact I took this picture from my inexpensive point and shoot camera is beyond amazing to me.

I especially appreciate how the camera captured exactly what I wanted it to – crystal clear drips showcased on apple blossoms. Breathtaking!

It also blurred out what I didn’t want shown – the backdrop of our yard.

If the picture were to pan out, it would include the unsightly elements I choose to crop, such as the web of electrical wires above and brown spots on the lawn below.

 

Rain was falling the day I shot this picture, both on our yard and in my heart.

 

Some days just feel that way.

 

Circumstances unfold causing a tightening to the chest that moves up the throat and into our minds like lava from the core. We know the boil over won’t be pretty. So we fester and steam. We isolate and focus inward.

The day I took the picture was like that. Circumstances I had no control over were holding me hostage like the rain – I was stuck inside, both literally and figuratively.

When I find myself in that condition I can’t see clearly. My vision is out of focus or focused on the wrong things. Some call it morbid introspection. I call it suffocation. Electrical wires seem to wrap around my neck, holding my gaze on all the brown spots in my life.

That day I heard God’s voice prompt me to go outside. He challenged me to, “Keep my mind on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, and proper.” as Phil 4:8 says.

 

He knew my mind needed a singularity of focus – a refreshing.

 

When I apply the lens of his love to my sight – both in my mind and on my circumstances, he is faithful to show himself every time. Glimpses of him are life breathing, fire quenching and heavenly.

The beautiful little water drops were true, they were pure and right. They were also God’s mysterious way of cleansing my sour soul and drenching the fire within.

 

A fresh focus can also lead to a broader perspective.

 

Panning my focus out a bit, I could reclaim the truth that my life is my life, given by him – electrical wires, brown spots and all. The very wires I resent, even the circumstances I beg to control – are all here for my good. Who am I to question his divine plan for me?

He is certainly found in the beauty of raindrops – refreshing, cleansing, clinging. But he also sits unscathed with the birds on the high voltage wires I resent.

Today, my focused heart clings and releases. I choose gratitude for his divine care. I choose vision beyond what I see and freedom to exploit the perimeters of my own sight.

 

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