Rain is running down the roof, and gutters, down the creek and into the pond, washing away the last bits of yellow pollen from summer, as the beginning of winter moves into the South with cooler temperatures.
In the late afternoon, the sun to my back, I see the promise of long ago glowing above the trees. From Red to Indigo Blue an arch stretches across the sky in a spectacular display of color. All those who see marvel at the sight.
“A rainbow, a rainbow!” the young and old call out to each other.
Water droplets fill the air catching the invisible pure light beam – bending and breaking it apart, revealing all of the colors hidden within the beam.
And it is the bending and breaking of the light that causes the true glory of the beam to show.
Christ, part of the invisible God head, bent down and allowed His body to be broken apart, for His glory to show the greatest – His true colors show as He bent down to redeem the ones created in His image.
In our own lives there is always a point of bending and breaking. It is in bending the knee, and breaking our will, that His light shines through us into the world.
Just as clouds darken above us, and rain falls on us, we lean on Him and then His light shines through us, and His Glory is seen by the world; and they marvel at the sight.
“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
“I’m not doing well”, was her answer to my greeting.
“We have been so excited to come and now – I am sick, and don’t have a doctor, and I don’t know anyone to ask about a recommendation. I want to come home, it feels like I’m living on the dark side of the MOON!”
The truth is, my friend was home, but it was now on what seemed like foreign soil. She had all of her earthly treasures, her husband and children, a beautiful home but she was without friends in this new town.
Friendships can take time. If you are like me, you might be cautious about making friends because of past hurts, insecurities, or because you are just a quiet person until you get to know someone.
But until we have a community, it really doesn’t feel like home, does it?
When we have children attending school functions, going to gymnastic practice or sitting as their team practices can expose us to potential friendships.
But what if you are an empty nester? The challenge to find friends may seem more difficult.
I’m writing today with (In)Courage, and the question we are exploring is, “How do we build local community – some practical ideas…”
Be confidant in who you are. “Fake it until you make it! “, is what we would say in school. Fake a little confidence, remembering that God created you and you are fabulous to Him!
I have noticed that if I will smile gently, stand up straight not rolling my shoulders in self-consciousness, people are more willing to engage with me in conversation. Gentle confidence is attractive! If you are not comfortable with who you are then others will pick up on it.
“So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you!” Hebrews 10:35
Try Swimming in New Ponds (Even if you once said, “I’ll never”) “Oh, put on your big girl patties on and try!”, one friend told me when I was timid of meeting new friends.
Sometimes God will close many doors trying to get you to open the one He has prepared for you. Sometimes it is a door that we thought we would never go through on purpose – with people with whom we thought we did not have much in common. He will not send you to people that you cannot identify with. He loves community and wants us to be in community with Him and others. So try a different area of people – a new committee, or new Bible Study, or volunteer at a school.
“I am not sending you to a foreign people whose language you cannot understand.” Ezekiel 3:5
Finally, but most importantly — Pray, Even when you feel like you are on the dark side of the moon, He hears and has a beautiful plan for you!
You Rock, my Friend!
Linking today with (In)courage
“You are a liar.” And if that wasn’t hurtful enough, she continued, “…and reckless and irresponsible.”
The fact that the statements were untrue did little to ease the hurt. A friendship lost, and betrayal by someone I trusted and called a close friend is never an easy situation to work through in one’s heart.
Moments like this – unexpected and unreasonable – happen to all of us. Life changes in these situations, and inadvertently so do we.
The question becomes this:
Do you crawl into a cave and roll a boulder in front of the entrance, so no one else can hurt you? Or, do you stand straight, and allow God to show you how He would have you respond?
I am over with friends at (in)courage today and the question before us is, “ How do we forgive past hurt by community?”
“The hard discipline to lean into the ugly and whisper thanks to transfigure it into beauty.” ~ Ann Voskamp
“Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”(Matthew 5:11-12NAS)
I wanted to say mean things back to the ones who hurt me. After all, the world wants a good fight or revenge! But God’s ways are always different than the world’s ways. For me this translated, “Keep your mouth closed, and find a reason to be thankful.”
“The source of Divine vision must be restored to man’s daily work.” ~C.S. Lewis
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of the darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12NAS)
It seems like we are battling with people, but the truth is we are battling a different enemy and need Christ’s eyes to see. Satan wants us to be occupied with our circumstances so much that we take our eyes off of God, and off of the things for which we can be thankful. By rerouting our attention, he robs us of our joy. Ask yourself, “Did the situation, kill, steal or destroy a part of my life?” If yes, then the root of the problem is Satan.
“Two roads diverged in the wood and I – took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference.” ~Robert Frost, The Road Less Traveled
“And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” (Romans 4:32NAS)
When the enemy is spiritual, using flesh and blood against you, we need to use spiritual weapons in response. Forgiveness is the most powerful weapon we have from Christ. Not because it will change the offender, (though it certainly could), but because it frees you and me. It frees us to seek Christ, instead of allowing our minds to ruminate over sorrow. Forgiveness weakens the power of the enemy’s weapons, giving us an advantage in the battle. However, forgiveness is the road less traveled.
“This is the supreme demand. Through the medium of prayer we go to our enemy, stand by his side and plead for him to God. For if we pray for them, we are taking their distress and poverty, their guilt and perdition upon ourselves and pleading to God for them.” ~Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:44-45NAS)dsx9
To behave like Christ and show that we are His children – that we are part of a royal family then we are to pray for those who have offended us and possibly gone from friend to foe. We need to obey His guidelines in good times and bad. We need to pray for those who have wronged us as an act of forgiveness. Forgiving others who have wronged us is never easy. I know! But as a child of our Father in Heaven we have the ability to forgive, because Christ has set the example for us to follow.
Let’s stand with those who have offended us, in prayer, and intercede as Christ does for us each day, allowing our spiritual DNA to show through our flesh, so that when we come face to face with our Father, He can say of us, “Well done, daughter.”
It is early morning and I am up sipping steamy energy from a cup, turning the pages in my Bible seeking the diapason of His word for my soul.
Our cat, Lil Girl, snuggles in beside me on the well-loved couch and begins her purring of contentment.
She rolls over in trusting submission, exposing her underside, for a belly rub.
Lil Girl, was a rescue from the Animal Shelter, and was hours away from being “put-down” when we brought her home. Shelter animals seem to have such a grateful heart. They know the horrors of not having a master to love, and care for them, and live each day in thankfulness.
After a few minutes she begins to rub her chin on my hands, on the pen and journal, then she jumps onto the back of the couch and rubs her chin on my face and hair and gown.
Laughing, I place her on the floor.
“Okay, already! Enough!” She lays herself down at my feet watching me.
I read where cats rub their oil, to leave their scent on the ones they love. It marks something or someone who the cat considers “theirs”.
Petting Lil Girl, I read “Now, He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
To anoint – Chrio – To rub over with oil. From this derives, Christos, the Anointed One, Christ. ( Lexical Aids to the New Testament, Greek 5548)
Looking down at Lil Girl I smile, to her I smell like “Lil Girl”, but to God, I have the fragrance of Christ as I journey through this world.
The sun is now broken through the darkness and I walk to the garden to pull weeds from around the lavender. Gently, I break the over grown places to allow new growth and the plant’s oil seeps into my skin.
Even after washing my hands, the fragrance of Lavender fills my senses. This is what it is like for God to breath in the fragrance of Christ in us. It permeates every pore of our being. To be anointed as Christ’s own, to be a fragrance that is everlasting, and the inhalation catches your attention as unmistakably Christ.
Linking with The Wellspring, Soli Deo Gloria,