Monday, 17 November 2014

V is for...

In the quest for authenticity, we sometimes go to the low points. To share the glory of the Gospel, we magnify our struggle.

Yet there are days when we must only preach victory. Not so we feel falsely secure in self strength, but to remind ourselves we are secure, for real. 

It is the ultimate truth, the final word, and in our tunnel visioned life of failing then praying for grace, we don't see it. We hope for squeaking by, when really, can we say victory enough?

And in the end it would seem, victory looks much like the nitty-gritty. It goes as low and "him exalting, self abasing, this is victory."

This is victory.


Saturday, 1 November 2014

What is kind, looks stern.

What is love, looks harsh.

What is simple, looks complicated.

Human-fashion, we hang upside down and look at the world askance, wondering why it won't make sense.

Do we have the eyes to see clear?

Are we truly asking for the Truth?

What if it proves us wrong?

But the sky looks better above us than below. Ask Him to keep it there. He's the only one who can.


Monday, 20 October 2014

The Rearview Mirror

It's not the copper hills or blue sky in front that holds me in the Fall.

It is behind, in my rear view mirror, and how the leaves dance behind me as I drive.

They seem possessed with a joy.

But I still keep my eyes on the road ahead. It does not do to dwell in what is past.

Let the Graces that are gone, dance out their dance. And if God keeps us on the road, there will be more sunshine to stir the leaves in.

The glances back on how His bridges hold will keep us living well. And living well, will keep the view in my mirror gentle - slipping through the Autumn air.



Tuesday, 16 September 2014

When people clustered around, wondering who Jesus was, I did not think I was among them.

They are the others, those doubters.

Yet like so much of life, it is crowded on the moral high-ground and if I'm honest the question comes back at time.

Is He or isn't He?

It is the question for every hour. For every troubled time. And funny, but it occurs to me that the question also becomes the answer. The answer I prod myself with when my mind wanders to worry.

In forgiveness, can you do it? Well, is He forgiveness or isn't He?

In love, are you consistent? Well, is He lover or isn't He?

In courage, do my knees buckle? Well Olivia, is He Lord or isn't He?

Because if He is Jesus the Messiah, then He is Jesus the King and He alone can strengthen and comfort and love and encourage.

Does it feel like His arms are really just rushing wind as you fall? I will not argue...but I can ask.

Is He or isn't He the one who can catch you?


Then wait awhile. He is there.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Fresh Air

I have to admit, I'm not a natural outdoorswoman. I am too frightened of snakes, probably.

But sometimes, Millie undertakes to teach me the skill of observance in nature. She practices the Charlotte Mason approach on me, as the closest thing to a toddler she has at hand.

At first (and still) I mostly excel at noticing trash. I think my voice shrilling through the woods is also a general deterrent to wildlife. However, I am getting better and holding a camera helps.
And just to be sure my new found skills stick, we plan to make the most of these trails, this Fall.
You should come with us, sometime!
I almost impaled myself trying to beat the timer.



Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Twenty Three Going on Two

Whenever I babysit, I'm struck by it at least once. And so during the meltdown or the pouting, I usually sit down and consider.

Is this what I look like to God? I ask myself, and in the stiff legs and tears before me,  I see yes.

Stubborn and sometimes angry. Our instinct is to fight against the hand that tells us no more candy. Or the love that says, this is best. I know.

I think about it too, when we start to sing on Sunday morning. Sometimes it's hard to hear the piano over lusty two year old lungs. We nod and smile and love it, and then suppose that our praise sounds more lovely to a Heavenly ear.

But surely our praise seems much like the babies, with every clue and no clue, taking ourselves quite seriously.

A friend recounted a worship service she attended at the old folk's home the other day. It was apparently complete with camp meeting hymns and the keyboard player wore a wig.

God most definitely has a sense of humour, we concluded. And who knows that our own worship is sometimes not as scattered, funny, hopeful, and given much grace before the throne of its beginning.

He loves us and I sometimes forget that this love is not because I'm managing to keep it together. He is the Father who watches me frown, arms crossed and leads me through repentance and making it right.

He is the Father who hears my voice in song, and smiles because I have so much to learn.

He is the Father...And the lines have fallen in pleasant places indeed, for I am his little child.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

'Tis Almost Fairy Time

"When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies."
                                                                                                       J. M. Barrie


"I felt in my bones; first, that this world does not explain itself. It may be a miracle with a supernatural explanation; it may be a conjuring trick, with a natural explanation. But the explanation of the conjuring trick, if it is to satisfy me, will have to be better than the natural explanations I have heard. The thing is magic, true of false. Second, I came to feel as if magic must have a meaning, and meaning must have some one to mean it. There was something personal in the world, as in a work of art; whatever it meant it meant violently. Third, I thought this purpose beautiful in its old design, in spite of its defects, such as dragons."
                                                                                        - G. K. Chesterton

"Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage."
                                                                                   - C.S. Lewis
"I have explained that the fairy tales founded in me two convictions; first, that this world is a wild and startling place, which might have been quite different, but which is quite delightful; second, that before this wildness and delight one may well be modest and submit to the queerest limitations of so queer a kindness."

                                                                                                           - G. K. Chesterton


"'That is what makes life at once so splendid and so strange. We are in the wrong world. When I thought that was the right town, it bored me; when I knew it was wrong, I was happy. So the false optimism, the modern happiness, tires us because it tells us we fit into this world. The true happiness is that we don't fit. We come from somewhere else. We have lost our way.'"

                                                                                                     G.K. Chesterton

"I laid out the laws of reality. Butterflies and lightning do not strike twice. And then God spoke.

'Do you see this man? He said to my son. 'He is your father. Do not believe a word he says.'

The second time the butterfly landed on his arm.

How many lies have I told him? I and the world both. I have repented now. I no longer tell him that he can't touch the moon from my shoulders. I tell him to stretch, and I offer to run and jump. There may be a dragon in the mulberries. I make sure to check. And I look for fish under the couch."

                                                                                                    - N. D. Wilson

"This is exactly the message that fairy tales get across to the child in manifold form: that a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinsic part of human existence - but that if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious."

                                                                                             - Bruno Bettelheim

Sometimes you just need to invite a dozen church children over to make sure they have not forgotten about the unseen - that to possess the unseen is to possess everything. And that is faith.

- Millie