Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beauty in the Mess

As people, we are not much different than that of the might Sycamore tree.  We are layered.  We have the capability of being mighty and strong in a graceful way.

The trunk of a Sycamore sapling starts out small, with a dark covering of bark to protect it as it grows into a massive tree.  As the tree ages and faces weather, the bark peels down in places, exposing different, lighter colors.  And, in some places white.

We are the same way - innocent in our protective environment as a child - until the storms of life happen, tearing away at our protective "bark" and exposing the sensitive side.  This tearing away often causes scars, causes us to look or act differently.  It affects us.  It changes us.  We are not the same after it.

As the Sycamore grows and reaches towards the sky, it's branches spread, sometimes growing into a gnarly, curly, confusing mass of branches.  Our lives are not much different.

Sometimes the circumstances of our lives create a gnarly mess and layers of...well, "ick".  This gnarly mess may appear ugly to an onlooker.  Tangled.  Confused.  Messy.

God uses those massive branches of the Sycamore to create homes for wildlife; he uses them to protect from the wind; he uses them to create awe in the onlooker.  He can do the same for the tangled web of circumstances in our lives - mine and yours.

I once heard a lesson given to middle school students that has been forever etched in my mind.  It was that God makes beautiful things out of our messes - no mess is too big for God.  Nothing, nothing is ever too great or too big of a mistake for God to use in powerful ways.

So, let us be strong, graceful and mighty despite our tangled past or our gnarly present.  May we allow those layers to shine brightly and the hurts to float away on the wind like the layers that pull away from the mighty Sycamore. 

2 Corinthians 12:9-10~ "But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

From Travesty to Faith

We each suffer from qualities or traits that we wish did not exist in us.  For me, I have insecurities that drive me crazy at times.  I doubt myself.  I feed into the insecurity.  I hide from life.  I don't believe in myself.  I let it all limit me.

Guess what? There is one that enjoys this process - the devil.  He flourishes when I listen to that negative voice, when I doubt my capabilities, when I allow that voice to hold me back.  It is a travesty of the mind - truly.

My fear gets in the way of me following God, living out what he wants for my life.  It clouds my vision, brings me down, creates battles in my head...and really accomplishes nothing.  And, the devil throws a party every single time that happens, every single one.  I could get down on myself when I allow that to happen or I can choose to pray right then and there to give my fear over to the One that can eradicate it.  I can stop and realize:  " God would never say that about me.  God loves me regardless of how many times I stumble.  THIS ISN'T OF GOD."

Further, I rededicate myself (flaws and fears) to God.  I will open every corner of my heart to his goodness and grace.  I will strive in faith to continue walking (or running) for Him.  And, if necessary, I will awake the next day and rededicate all over again before the devil gets a foothold on my day.

Call it a pact for my life, but I refuse to allow someone - devil or earthly person - to tell me that I am not enough.  I was uniquely made for a purpose.  I will strive to do that which I feel God is directing me toward.  My lifelong prayer will be that my faith grow deeply and take root, growing into a fortress, impenetrable by the dark one. 

Do you need to consider rededicating your life, giving up your fears? 

NOTE:  My marathon, crazy as it sounds, is my journey in faith to something I feel God wants to use.  And, I'm along for the ride...err run.

Exodus 15:2 "The Lord is my strength and my song; he has given me victory.  This is my God and I will praise him.  My father's God, and I will exalt him."