When Spring Comes Reluctantly

 

I’ve been working against a deadline.

On Monday I will have completed another year of life. 42 of them so far. Another circle around the sun. Another cycle of life. Another end. Another beginning.

It has not been lost on me that the day falls immediately after Easter this year. It did the same 11 years ago when I was cradling a week-old baby in Sunday services. How fresh a resurrection message falls on days like these.

Emerging from Darkness. New Life.  A Birth Day.

In preparation for such a day – especially against the backdrop of Lent – I could not help but think on the need for some dying in my life. On the giving up. The letting go.

What needed to die to make room for new life?
What was I not willing to carry forward into my 43rd year?
Where was my surrender less than everything?

I often do my best work against a deadline.

But the frost on budding trees tells me this. Sometimes Spring comes reluctantly.

It comes in fits and spurts. It comes in fully blooming pear trees outside the tightly closed windows where the furnace has turned back on. It comes in pollen-covered sidewalks traversed by coat-covered people.

Spring does not bow to a deadline. Awakening comes in its own time.

I, too, am coming reluctantly to the turning of a page. As glorious is the spring, the winter lingers still.

There is more dying to be done.

There will be celebration over the coming days. Family. Easter. Birthday.
There will be warm days and deep laughter and lots and lots of life.
There will be Spring.

But deep at the roots – where the darkness never eases – it is the breaking  open that lives on still.

There is no deadline on that.

Mile One (Brave Every Day Series)

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There is a long stretch of country road across Kentucky where the hills are many and the gas stations few. I’m only a minute or two headed west when I spot a marker. Mile 1.

Years of road trips have trained me to keep my eyes open for the passing numbers. A way to track progress towards an anticipated exit. A way of knowing where I am in the world.

So a few minutes later I glance to the side of the road again. Mile 1.

Yes. Again.

Over the course of the next hour or so I pass Mile 1 no less than 5 more times. While driving in a straight line.

I was confused at first.

Then annoyed. Then angry.

How could I be moving — and making absolutely no progress?

Starting over. And over. It’s pure exhaustion.

And then I heard the whisper.  “New every morning.”

What if Mile 1 was an invitation to start fresh? To wipe the slate clean? To wash off the dirt of the road behind me and move forward without baggage.

What if these signs aren’t meant as altars to my progress and are instead opportunities for grace? No matter how many times I have to start again at Mile 1?

What if I had the courage to keep driving, not knowing how many more Mile 1 markers I might face? Could I be Brave Every Day?

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This post is a Mile 1 of sorts. It’s been weeks since my last blog entry. And even that was a re-post. So months is a more accurate measure of my absence from writing. Not just publishing, but nearly all kinds of writing. Which, I have learned, is not a particularly healthy state of my soul.

Moving forward from Mile 1 — while knowing it’s extremely likely there is another Mile 1 in the future is an act of hope. Of faith. Of mustard seed faith. A small planting of courage that may just bloom into brave.

A little Brave. Every day.

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brave-squareIn response to the 31 Day blogging challenge, I will be publishing EVERY DAY in October — reporting on ways I reach out to bravery in my everyday life. (See all posts to date HERE.) To be alerted to new posts, please follow me on Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right side of this page. Or Subscribe to get posts sent to your Email.

PLEASE use the comment section to share your own thoughts, questions, or experiences of everyday bravery. It’s a road better traveled with friends.

When God Showed up in My Kitchen

kitchen-cabinet-clean-200364123-001-resizedI did not expect cleaning my kitchen to be a spiritual experience.

But as I began to empty the shelves and inventory the spices, I could not help but know I was not alone.

Pandora will tell you its online radio station uses sophisticated algorithms to determine a playlist. I know better. On that unsuspecting Saturday, it was the Holy Spirit singing — literally singing — over me.

Words about His sufficiency. His all-consuming love. Invitations to know Him more. To live in His grace.

Everything I need. Immeasurably more. Life from dry bones. Making me brave.

And there between the crumbs and the casserole dishes,  as the Tupperware soaked in the kitchen sink, my soul began to absorb the message, too.

That I have confused the volume of stuff in my cabinets with the weight of my worthiness. That more things can be the exact opposite of more joy. That letting go of what is no longer needed doesn’t mean it was a waste.

I mingled in the mystery of How I dwell with Him as He dwells in me and how He loves hanging out in my kitchen on a Saturday afternoon.

As I sorted and tossed and uncovered and built a pile for Goodwill, He was there. Not on the other side of my mess waiting for me to get my act together, but near me. At my side, working with me to make something new. Something simple. A space uncluttered and without distraction.

In my kitchen. And in my soul.

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Linking this reflection of Small Wonder with my friend and fellow blogger, Kelly Chripczuk, who has recently launched a Community of blogging Beauty Hunters at her site. So grateful for the reminder that our Big God shows himself in the most amazing small ways.

For When Life calls for Silence

psalm 62-5Perhaps my One Word for 2015 should have been Shh.

For as I learn to sit with Jesus, I find myself hushed. Each time I go to open my mouth, the words that begin to exit are held back by those The Spirit is breathing in.

I want to listen well.
I am being reminded often to listen well.

Listening means sitting still. And silently.

Let all that I am wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. (Psalm 62:5)

Luke tells us that as Jesus grew, Mary “pondered” — treasuring moments and minutes. I don’t think that’s because she didn’t have access to a blog. I think that’s because she knew the value of quiet reflection. Of listening well.

This is the message my pondering has produced — Some things are meant to be said. Some are meant to be treasured.

Knowing the difference between that which is sweeter in the sharing and that which gets diluted in the discussion is an ongoing piece of my training in what it means to DWELL.

So I will settle myself at His feet. And hush.

 

Linking this reflection of Small Wonder with my friend and fellow blogger, Kelly Chripczuk, who is launching a Community of blogging Beauty Hunters at her site this week. So grateful for the reminder that our Big God shows himself in the most amazing small ways.

Youer Than You

youer than youGrowing up is hard.

Even when you’re almost 41.

Even when it’s not the first time you’ve had your feelings hurt or your pride bruised or your confidence shaken.

Even when every rational bone in your body knows the stinky breath of the enemy is the one whispering about your lack of worthiness. Even when you know he’s a lying snake.

Even when you know Jesus and talk to Him often and have seen Him faithful over and over and over again. Even when you know His love is wide and deep and high and long.

Even then there are moments of shock of how much this life can be unsettling. Like the first moment as a child you realize not everyone will like you. Because, up to that point, you never considered that not everyone spoke nicely and could be your friend.

And you start to think it has something to do with you and hardly anything to do with the fact that people who walk around broken can’t help but cut each other with their rough edges.

Maybe all there is to do in that moment is stop. And listen to some wisdom from the great Dr. Seuss.

Today you are you; that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.

I’ll Just Be Beth. You Just Be You, friend.

Because no matter what else happens today, you are still the best and youest you that I know.

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TWWbutton200x200_zps62610d74Linking with Kristin Hill Taylor and #threewordwednesday (Click the logo to the left for insights from more wonderful writers and friends.)

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