Inside Out Light (#smallwonder)

Psalm764 Cindee Photography
photo by Cindee Snider Re, originally designed for #sundaycirclegroup, used with permission

Not once in my entire life have I considered myself “resplendent.” I doubt, in fact, I have described anything in that manner.

Radiant. Glowing.

On my wedding day, perhaps. Maybe the junior prom — my first real dress-up event.

Even there I speak of looking radiant. Feeling a glow.

But BEING resplendent?

The Psalmist tells God He is. Resplendent that is. More majestic than the mountains. (Psalm 76:4)

So as I reflect that I dwell with God but that He also dwells in me, I must consider that His qualities, too, live beneath my skin.

I could get a spray tan. Add glitter to my eye shadow. Wear a sequined dress.

But that would only make me shiny.

Resplendence, instead, rises slowly to the surface. It’s an inside out light.

The fullness of all the beauty of God Himself, fanned forever by the Holy Spirit.

In. Me.

Can you imagine?

I hope you can. Because it’s in you, too.

So let us ready our vessels. Let us welcome the rising. Let us be polished. Let us be resplendent.

Indeed, we already are.

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Linking this reflection of Small Wonder with my friend and fellow blogger, Kelly Chripczuk, who hosts a Community of blogging Beauty Hunters at her site. Because our Big God shows himself in the most amazing small ways. #smallwonder

Grace is an Island (Unforced Rhythms Link-up)

digital art by nienor
island in a storm by nienor

I am pulled by the tides. Battered by the waves. Tossed about by circumstance. Worn down by the struggle.

Like Paul I cry out, “I decide to do good, but I don’t really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don’t result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.” (Romans 7:19-20, The Message)

I forget all that I have learned about floating. And I surrender to the flailing. The attempted saving of myself from what feels like drowning in a sea of stress. Never considering to check if my feet could touch the bottom of what might simply turn out to be only a momentary pool of pressure.

Gasping for breath. Thrashing my body from side to side. Reaching for an anchor. Settling instead for sugar.

And what I already knew about myself and my drug of choice was proven true again. It only takes a little to make me want a lot.

I allowed it for a day or two. It’s Christmas, I reasoned. Nothing more than I can handle, I pretended.

Knowing with each and every bite that I had awakened my addict persona. And that she would not go down easily.

So I braced for the storm. For the onslaught of shame and guilt. To be knocked back and forth against the stones of “shouldn’t have” and “how could you” and “you’ll never change.”

I set my jaw, tensed my muscles, and lowered my head for the coming punch.

But the punch did not come. The winds did not howl. The sea did not swallow me.

Because Grace came instead.

And where I expected to be pushed face-first into the sand, Grace lifted me.

Where my lungs had filled with salt-water, Grace replaced it with the Breath of Life.

Where Shame wanted to scream obscenities at my mistakes, Grace simply said, “Let’s start again.”

With a gentle hand, Grace set me on an island. A solid rock in the middle of the sea.

Here the tides only ebb and flow at the shore. The waves do not overtake me.

Here the breezes sing this song.

Grace. Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that will pardon and cleanse within.
Grace. Grace. God’s Grace. Grace that is greater than all my sin.

p.s. I did not intentionally plan for my last post of 2014 to be focused on my Word of the Year: Grace. But it’s a fitting finale, indeed. I have found nothing anything close to comparable to selecting One Word each year to keep me focused. Partner it with a scripture, and the power multiplies. I’ll be announcing my 2015 Word soon, but I am spending these days praying that YOU would meet with The Spirit to come to agreement on One Word for the new year. And that you would have the courage to embrace it, then allow Him to unfold it in you over the coming days.

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The wonderful Kelli Woodford (Chronicles of Grace) is taking a well-deserved blogging break in December, but she has graciously let me borrow the Unforced Rhythm link-up community for the next few weeks. Your words are welcome here. So very welcome.

If you stopped by here for the link-up, would you consider to connecting with me as well. On the right of this page you’ll find lots of ways to keep in touch. Just pick your favorite method of communication, and I’ll see you again soon!



Peace for those with Empty Arms (Unforced Rhythms Linkup)

peace-1024x682(pp_w579_h385)Empty arms carry some of the heaviest weight.

Maybe it’s Distance. Divorce. Depression. Deployment. Death.

A relationship unreconciled. A wound unhealed. A longing unfulfilled.

Maybe your hole is left from a dream that never came true. Or the one that ended before you were ready.

Oh, my friend, I have been praying for you.

Again and again this advent season, God has brought you to my mind.

You with the empty arms. The ones that feel especially vacant in this time of joy and celebration and light. I hear your soul’s songs of lament even among the 24-hour broadcasting of reindeer songs and snowman tunes. I see you standing timidly with your single candle of hope while it feels like the rest of the world is fully embracing multi-colored bulbs and twinkle lights.

And I have been holding you closer to heaven, dear one. Asking God to be extra close to your tender heart. Begging Him to show up for you in expected places this Christmas. Praying that you will taste of His love for you in new ways.

And that you will have peace. Oh, how I have been praying for your spirit to have peace.

For your soul to sit in stillness, acknowledging every ounce of your sadness, crying every necessary tear. But knowing, deeply knowing, that you are held.

You and your empty arms are embraced so very tightly in His.

Now. Always.

May you know it. May you feel it.

Now. Always.

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HEY, BETH... Where are the links!?! HEY, FRIENDS... Over HERE!


“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
(Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

The wonderful Kelli Woodford (Chronicles of Grace) was inspired by these verses to name a Weekly Web Gathering of grace as “Unforced Rhythms.” She is taking a well-deserved blogging break in December, but she has graciously let me borrow the UR link-up community for the next few weeks. Your words are welcome here. So very welcome.

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list… 

(due to technology issues, Linky is not allowing the actual links to show up on my post page… I hope to have this resolved by next week, but please COME OVER HERE to add your link and/or read precious words from my Grace-Filled friends)

a person I used to be

stone-angelThe tattered remains of tissues rest in my lap. Another clenched in my fist.

My young world has turned on its axis. For the first time really. The tough realities of death. And loss. And unfairness. And vulnerability.

My grandpa’s passing. Two dear families leaving my hometown. Being called a cheater by a teacher. The Junior High locker room.

I am 13. And nothing feels the same anymore.

If this is what lies ahead on the path of “growing up,” I want none of it.

Maybe that’s why on many days, in many ways, I still feel like that girl.

The calendar pages turned. My braces and glasses came off. My hair has been cut and grown again and cut and grown. I’ve lived in four additional states since then. My name has changed.

But have I?

For the remainder of this post, click over HERE to where I am guest hosting at Kelli’s Chronicles of Grace and kicking off the linking party with Unforced Rhythm friends.

For When I Tap my Toes & Trust the Driver (Word of the Week)

psalm 20-7In the days before SUVs and seat-belt laws, I spent my days in the back of a station wagon. Exploring the country’s interstates and landmarks in carefully planned summer vacations.

Mile after mile. Four people in a Ford.

Often you could find me ticking off the exits on an atlas. (Even then, I needed to know my place in the world.)

But there were also hours upon hours of car games, singing, caring for dolls, naps, and just laying back watching the sky surround us.

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My feet are on the dashboard. Toes tapping to James Taylor. Or The Beatles. Or an 80s pop mix where he quizzes me on band names while we ride.

I had been used to driving myself along these roads. Now I am a wife. And a passenger. I learn to relax and pass the time unconcerned with traffic and other drivers and the gas light.

But it’s not a natural reaction. Letting myself be led. Accepting there is more than one way to get from Point A to Point B. Forgiving the passing up of the parking spot I would have selected.

Not being in control.

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I awake every morning this week with Tim McGraw on my mind. “No other shotgun rider beside me singing to the radio.”

He wrote it as a love song. I hear it as a daily reminder of my positioning on this planet.

Stay in the shotgun seat, Beth.

No need to grab the wheel. I’ve got this covered.

Bridges. Tunnels. Mountain passes.

Snow. Ice. Rain. Tornado-like winds.

We travel together.

He drives.

Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. (Psalm 20:7)

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I return each Sabbath for a fresh Word of the Week. For the God-breathed pages to come alive in a phrase or two on which to spend a 7-day feast. To meditate upon. To use as a jumping off point for whatever other words God would have me hear during the week. I would love for you to join the Word of the Week (WOW) discussion by adding your selected verse to the comments … or reflections on any scripture reading. 

Linking with Unforced Rhythms — a wonderful community of writers who gather each Monday to share with you HERE.

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