Sunday, November 29, 2015

Not in Vain

"Not in Vain" 
By Emily Dickenson 

If I can stop one heart from breaking, 
I shall not live in vain:
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again, 
I shall not live in vain. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Created to Create

The need to write is like the need to breathe--maybe even stronger. It's an action essential to my being. The need to write is not just a need for words but a need for what words bring--adventure, ideas, freshness, desire, beauty. I need to share what I see, feel, taste, hear, and believe. I need to convey my thoughts to others in a way they can understand. 

However, some things aren't meant for paper alone. They are meant to be shared, discussed, and analyzed together--among people--not just through the lines of paper, but in deep connection. This connection is deeper than the way ink connects to the page. It's a connection of hearts, souls, and spirits coming together. Are not the sharing of thoughts and emotions part of the way the human heart connects?  

We must share the very essence of our being with one another, for the sake of ourselves and of others. The longing for relation is at the very core of our being as humans. We were created to be in relationship with others and with our Creator. When we neglect to relate, we damage our souls. We must connect with our Creator and each other to truly be all we were made to be

Even so, it's not just about relating but also creating. Creating is our worship to our Creator. God loves to see our creations. This is simply using the talents God gives us to glorify Him, and it can happen in all forms.

This beautiful passage from one of my  favorite books, The Butterfly and the Violin, by Kristy Cambron describes this concept well:

"She told herself that to have something of worth in a world full of chaos was the very definition of beauty. It felt like a spirit liberation that couldn't be silenced. These prisoners, the ones who painted or wrote poetry or played in the orchestra--they refused to let that spirit die. And this, she decided, is why the heart creates. 

"God plants the talent and it grows, sustained by a spirit-given strength to endure, even in the mist of darkness. It thrives in the valleys of life and ignores the peaks. It blooms like a flower when cradled by the warmth of the sun. It remains in a hidden stairwell in a concentration camp. It grows, fed in secret, in the heart of every artist" (277-278).  

As I absorb the beauty of the dimming light before me dance on the land sprinkled with snow, I know that beauty can be found everywhere. It's in the sunset, it's in the concert hall, it's on the page. But it's also in the wind, it's teardrops, it's in the rain because the storm that pounds your heart will bring forth fruit. The fire that burns your soul will grow back flowers more beautiful than the ones it destroyed. The beauty of God's creation is in you. Let it out. Let others see it. You are His masterpiece. So, go. Relate, connect, create, and shine. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Even in Darkness

"But in this darkness still You find me
And You draw me to Your light
Though the shadows deepen, I can see
In this darkness, still You shine" 
("In This Darkness," Ginny Owens)

In your darkest hour, God is there. When you feel all alone, God is there. There is no place, no matter how deep, where the depths of God's love cannot reach you: no state of mind, no far away land, no secluded room, no private thought. He is everywhere and He is always. 

God cares about the little things that annoy you. He cares about your deepest pains. He cares about the simple joys you find in everyday life. So tell Him about all of these things! Express every thought and emotion to Him. He already knows it, so it's not like you can hid it from Him anyway, but He wants to hear about it from you. He wants to talk with you. He wants to spend quality time in conversation.

You cannot escape Him. Even in the deepest darkness, He will shine. Even in the face of death, He will shine. Even in conforming evil, He will shine. 

The King of Light is calling out to you, even if it feels like you are in darkness. He is inviting you on a journey--a battle. A battle against the darkness of this world. A battle against your own flesh and blood. A battle for the Kingdom. He is offering you forgiveness and redemption. He is offering you a new slate--a new beginning. He is offering you eternal life. In return, He asks that you follow Him. Pick up your cross, a symbol of ruthless death, and follow Him. 

Follow Him into the light. Follow Him into the Glorious Unfolding of His truth. 

Follow the One who shines--even in darkness.