Tuesday, May 31, 2011

As they looked... as i watched...

I watched him as he looked at the ruins of another man's wealth. Intrigued by the long lost splendor of mansions and gardens, servants and sailing ships ---- the emptiness of it all could be easily felt as the ocean breezes whistles through the remnants of days long gone. To imagine the grand parties and elaborate celebrations.  Horse drawn carriages had dropped their cargo of finely dressed women and strutting men of success; each of them had passed through this doorway where my 17 year old treasure now stood.
It's awe-inspiring and so stimulating to the imagination --- how did it really feel, all those years ago, to live in such grandeur? With 300 servants managing the home and gardens, meals and laundry. How did their world really feel? Were they kind to one another? Did they love as we love? Were they selfish or self-centered? Who or What was their God(s)? Did they talk with my Father in Heaven? Was He a guest in their home?

During our annual trip to camp on Cumberland Island, Steve, Maggie, Peter, and i spent a couple of days playing all around this crumbled castle. We laughed and talked and "let time go lightly" and wondered aloud ---- did the people who called this place home over a hundred years ago ---- love each other as we do? Did they walk with Christ in the elaborate, servant-manicured gardens?

As i watched Maggie photograph the property inch by inch ---- i prayed for her. That she would not be drawn into the secret desire of "wanting". It's a trap you know. We see something fine and beautiful and imagine it to be something more than it is actually. We romanticize it's graceful lines and wonder.
But what does scripture say about this ----
"It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman and in a wide house." Proverbs 21:9 and Proverbs 25:24 
(Hmmm - it was even worth saying twice in the Bible)
Lord may our Maggie remain a gentle woman who makes any home seem a palace because of your goodness, kindness, faithfulness, and peacefulness flowing through her within its walls.

As i watched Peter walk through the ruins of the mansion and playfully bike through the long gone gardens ---- i prayed for him. That he would not be intrigued to pursue great wealth over the pursuance of a great life with God. We can plan and pursue, seek out the best college, work towards the best paying careers, hope to marry the most beautiful of ladies and provide in grandiose ways --- filling ourselves up with thoughts of great success, influence, and even fame. But what does God's Word say about this ---
"I undertook great projects: I built houses for myself and planted vineyards. I became greater by far than anyone in Jerusalem before me. In all this my wisdom stayed with me. I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my labor, and this was the reward for all my toil. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun." Ecclesiastes 2:4, 9-11
Lord may Pete value above everything else ---- a life spent with you. May he walk in your ways; may he recognize what is not of you, and choose the better path. May he know success as it is defined by you. May Pete recognize the difference in worldly wealth and Heavenly gain. And if you, GOD, so choose that Pete experience worldly wealth, may he have a heart to insure it is used for Heavenly gain. May Pete someday share life with a lady who loves you and your ways Lord more than the things of this world.

I know very little about Thomas and Lucy Carnegie and their 9 children. Their legacy can not be seen in the ruins of Dungeness.  They may have loved the Lord deeply, they may have been generous and selfless, kind and upright in all their ways. They may have walked with God. They may not have --- i do not know.
What i do know --- is that now all they had ---- is gone. It stands in ruins and their chance to make a lasting difference in the world is past.

What a sobering reminder --- our days are numbered --- we really can't take it with us when we go. What we do while we are here matters --- it matters to the people around us and to the God over us.

Will our children be able to go farther - do more - be stronger - walk more closely with God ---- as a result of what they saw in our lives? Or ...
There can be great "lack" within the most magnificent walls.
There can be great "wealth" within the most simple of homes.

It's not the place where we live or the home we provide that makes a nickels worth of difference.

It's all about 
what we did, 
what we said, 
how we lived, 
and how we loved 
that will remain ------- 
long after we are gone. 

I watched him as he looked at the ruins of another man's wealth... and prayed.

Psalm 49:10-20 (Message)
10-11 Anyone can see that the brightest and best die,
      wiped out right along with fools and dunces.
   They leave all their prowess behind,
      move into their new home, The Coffin,
   The cemetery their permanent address.
      And to think they named counties after themselves!

 12 We aren't immortal. We don't last long.
      Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.

 13-15 This is what happens to those who live for the moment,
      who only look out for themselves:
   Death herds them like sheep straight to hell;
      they disappear down the gullet of the grave;
   They waste away to nothing—
      nothing left but a marker in a cemetery.
   But me? God snatches me from the clutch of death,
      he reaches down and grabs me.

 16-19 So don't be impressed with those who get rich
      and pile up fame and fortune.
   They can't take it with them;
      fame and fortune all get left behind.
   Just when they think they've arrived
      and folks praise them because they've made good,
   They enter the family burial plot
      where they'll never see sunshine again.

 20 We aren't immortal. We don't last long.
      Like our dogs, we age and weaken. And die.

Photos taken by Steve and Maggie on Cumberland Island, GA of Dungeness Ruins

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Whatever is true... think about such things...

James Allen, born in England in 1864, is considered to be the founder of motivational, inspirational self-talk. One of his 19 books has caught my attention of late - and i'm finding much truth to ponder on in its pages. He wrote with a style that is easy to comprehend but evokes the reader to sit with and press into --- because deep truths are embedded.
Here are a few of his quotes:
"All that you accomplish or fail to accomplish with your life is the direct result of your thoughts."
"Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him."
"A man is literally what he thinks."
"For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?"
Many recent authors have written chapters and even books based off of some of Mr. Allen's initial writings and intricate insights. 
As i began reading his book, The Way of Peace , i researched him a bit to see if he was a follower of Christ. His writings address deep, overarching concepts and refer to the teachings of various religious leaders. So i personally did not want to invest brain energy and mental focus on words that could misguide me. My concerns were allayed when i read words his close friend spoke at his funeral ----
"He overawed us all a little because of his appearance,
his gentle conversation, and especially because he
went out to commune with God on the hills before dawn”  
So i settled in to his writings and have been very moved by his wisdom and insight -- it is surely a result of his time "with God on the hills before dawn". 
We're all seeking --- aren't we?
Does anyone think they have "arrived"?
If we're not seeking --- then we're standing still aren't we?
Still waters become stagnant ---- so do still souls.
It's vitally important to pursue that constant change ---- our days here this side of Heaven will produce change --- pursuing the right change is KEY.
We can change and be transformed more and more into the likeness of Christ.
That transformation looks different in each of our lives. But when the change is in progress --- we can see it, we feel it, we know it. When we see that transformation taking place in others we are inspired by it, we are drawn to it.
Unless of course we've chosen NOT to change. Then we are pricked by it. If we have chosen to just remain as we are and not seek Christ's transformational work in our daily lives, then we become irritated by those who are paddling by in the waters of life change. We may even want to become critical of them. 
May that not be so in our lives please Lord. May we be children who seek change, your change, in our lives.

James Allen does a lovely job of putting this into words as a constrast between Truth and self. My "kindergarten" level of processing and thinking sees this as ---
pursuing Christ's transformation in our lives 
as opposed to 
remaining as we are and seeking nothing more. 
Christ's transformation = Truth. 
Remaining as we are = self. 
One of my favorite verses --- words that have turbo charged my pursuit of change  ---- 
John 3:30 - 
"He must become greater; I must become less."(NIV) 
"He must increase, but I must decrease." (KJV) 
"This is the assigned moment for him to move into the center, while I slip off to the sidelines." (Message)

He must increase = TRUTH
If that is not happening = self

I believe this transformational power can be effective in our lives, promoting much change, decreasing self, increasing Christ ---- until the day we breathe our last breath. 
It's unending. We may lose the ability to walk, talk, or even take care of ourselves, but the mind can still be pursuing Christ's transformation until the moment we move from here to Heaven. It's just a matter of our desires. Do we really want --- more of HIM and less of ourselves? 
Do we sincerely want more of -- His thoughts, His plans, His ways, His desires?
Or do we secretly want more of --- my thoughts, my plans, my ways, my desires?
Do my feelings matter more than His ways?
Do His plans matter more than my comforts?

We can act one way but deep in the marrow of our bones, in our hidden, secret thoughts ---- we each know the truth to these questions for us --- personally. No one else may know ---- and we may try to avoid facing it ---- but we can be certain --- our Lord knows.

James Allen wrote:
"The light of day is not hidden except to the blind, and the Light of Truth is not hidden except to those who are blinded by self. You can not perceive the beauty of Truth while you are looking out through the eyes of self. If you are vain, you will color everything with your own vanities. If proud and opinionative, you will see nothing in the whole universe except the magnitude and importance of your own opinions. There is one quality which pre-eminently distinguishes the man of Truth from the man of self, and that is humility. To be not only free from vanity, stubbornness and egotism, but to regard one's own opinions as of no value, this indeed is true humility."
"If you really seek Truth, and not merely your own gratification; if you love it above all worldly pleasures and gains; more, even, than happiness itself, you will be willing to make the effort necessary for its achievement."
"Whatsoever you constantly meditate upon you will not only come to understand, but will grow more and more into its likeness, for it will become incorporated into your very being, will become, in fact, your very self. If, therefore, you constantly dwell upon that which is selfish and debasing, you will untilmately become selfish and debased; if you ceaselessly think upon that which is pure and unselfish you will surely become pure and unselfish.
Tell me what that is upon which you most frequently and intensely think, that to which, in your silent hours, your soul most naturally turns, and I will tell you to what place of pain or peace you are traveling, and whether you are growing into the likeness of the Divine or the bestial."
Our Lord conveyed this to His Children profoundly through Paul in Philippians 4:8-9:
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
And again --- God sends us this message through Paul in Romans 12:2:
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Once we've tasted the "change", once we realize how sweet it is to no longer live enslaved to self ---- once we've felt the shift from self to Christ's ways ---- we no longer want the former, but we crave for more of Him. 

And it's in those transformational changes we realize our DEEP NEED to just touch His Robe.

I've got a handful this morning dear friends ---- hey -- is that you beside me holding onto His Robes as well. :)
May WE be transformed into the likeness of our Christ --- by the renewing of our minds --- as the God of Peace is with us.

Photo taken by Steve in Kenya. (Flowers transform beautifully - God's plan for us all i believe.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Ten Minutes Before the Game

The first wave of "memories in noun form" have left our home now.

For the past two weeks we've been working to pull them out of their stored away places and display them for their next owners. Baby shoes, picture frames (with sweet pictures removed), dishes from my grandmother, old tools from Steve's grandfathers, baby bouncy seats and a gazillion toys.
As we pulled out all these "treasures", my emotions ran away from me. There was this sincere sense of obedience and excitement, knowing these things belonged to someone else because our call was to leave all and go. But there was also an overwhelmingly intense walk down memory lane as i touched each item that had been held by those in this world i love deeply. Toys my babies had played with, ceramics my mother in law had made, vases she had used to placed flowers on my table, dishes my grandmother had placed her biscuits on, i could feel little baby hands last week again and smell my sweet grandmother again. It was as if i sat in a room alone with the fragrance of them all, it was a deeper level of surrender. One i was ill prepared for, but an undeniable part of my path of obedience.

Tears still sting my eyes as i type ---- but all is well with my heart and soul.

So last week, i reached for His Robes with a very shaky, unsure hand. I couldn't quite get a good grasp, i needed help.

And help came ---
I had to run to the store to pick up a few items, and Mike, our oldest son, offered to join me. He doesn't typically hop in the car for a trip to the grocery store with his mom. :) But he had witnessed my red eyes and felt my weakness and so he offered to come along and help --- i was thankful for his companionship. As we rode along - he asked me to share with him how i was feeling, he wanted to better understand. And so, God bless his heart, i unloaded my "grief" and he listened intently. I shared all with him, even that i was embarrassed to be feeling so weak. The "daughter of God" named Donna, was excited to take this step of obedience. The regular old Donna was weeping over the flushing of things that had been touched by precious fingers. He said not a word as i shared ---- and then when i was all done ---- he said,

"Mom, i don't want to over-simplify how you're feeling, but i believe i can truly relate, i think i completely understand.
And he began---
"You remember when i was in high school, how i LOVED to play soccer."
I nodded. He went on, "I mean i really loved the game. Everything about the game, the running, the hitting, the roughness, the sweat. I loved it all. And the tougher the opponent was, the more i loved it because it made me dig deeper and give more. The harder they hit the harder i hit --- and i loved it. On the field, i loved the game.
"But the ten minutes before the game --- no. I HATED the ten minutes before the game. I hated everything about it. I hated the warm ups, i hated the feeling in the pit of my stomach, i hated the peanut butter sandwich my coach made me eat, i hated the way i wanted to throw up after that last swallow, i hated the testosterone filled attitudes, i hated it all. Most games i wanted to run to the locker room put on my "normal" clothes and head for home. But i didn't.
"Because the second that buzzer sounded and the game was on, i LOVED IT. Everything changed at the sound of the buzzer. The game was on - i was prepared.
Then he said ---- "You'll be ok mom. You're just in the ten minutes before the game. And all this is a part of preparing you for when the buzzer sounds.  Mom - i know that when you step onto the field, you're going to love it, you're going to be prepared for the opponent, the harder the hits that come, the harder you're going to hit back. Mom, you're just still in the ten minutes before the game."

My soul cried and i thanked God.
He was right -- Mike, my son, spoke with wisdom. I was in the ten minutes before the game.
Then he told me how much he loved his father and me, and how thankful he was to be our son. He said many more things that will never leave this mother's heart. Things that will never need to be sold at a garage sale.

And i pledged to Michael --- and to my Lord --- once again --- that I will NOT run to the "field house", put on my "normal" clothes and head for "home". I will stay at the edge of the field, choke down my peanut butter sandwich, endure the stretches, and listen intently for the "game on" buzzer. In Jesus' Name, i will not cave in on the sideline. I'll tighten my shoe laces.

Then ---
God reminded me of how many times during the 10 minutes before Mike's games his father and i had held hands up in the stands and quietly prayed for Mike.
i realized --- i had not let anyone know, i was in need of prayers. I was trying to maneuver through this pre-game "stretching" exercise and was struggling -- i needed prayer cover.
God reminded me of His scripture --- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15 And it struck me, how could anyone mourn with me over the physical loss of these memory filled treasures --- if i did not let them know i was mourning?
(Perhaps i'm bad for needing to mourn the loss of them - i wonder if Hannah Whitall Smith or Elisabeth Elliot had these same moments of tearful surrendering or if i'm just much, much weaker than others called to leave home and serve. Regardless - it's the raw, transparent truth about me --- oh how i love my Father's Grace.)
So after we got home, i typed up a quick email and sent it out to a few close friends. Humbly confessing my weakness and asking for prayers.
My hand was reaching ---- i was beginning to feel the brush of His Robes.

That evening my sister and brother in law came to our home, along with two gentlemen for Steve and two dear girlfriends for Maggie and me ---- they helped us organize, price, arrange, and feel strengthened for the next two days. We laughed and giggled as the stickers went on. It all felt "ok" now -- they were there with us. I could feel, literally feel, the prayer cover arriving. Dear friends who ran to the Father on our behalf, met our Father halfway down the pathway as He was on His way to answer. Beautiful ---- the Body of Christ.

When one part of the body feels weak ---- the Father will send other parts of the body to help.

We need each other. We must have help. God designed it that way. We can do nothing on our own ---
but --- "can do all things through Christ who strengthens..."Philippians 4:13
And Christ reminds us over and over again in scripture ---- we are a part of the Body of Christ.

Nothing we accomplish for God can be done without God.

So, for those of you who know me best, i always work to simplify life. And Mike simplified the next several months for me beautifully ----
we're in the "ten minutes before the game".

Last week --- i "choked down a dry peanut butter sandwich" -- and then was able to wash it down with a cool cup of water given us by the many who came alongside us.

We're waiting for the "game on" buzzer together... and oh --- yes,
i can feel His Robe in my hands again.

"If you are willing and obedient,
   you will eat the good things of the land"... Isaiah 1:19

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." Galatians 6: 9-10

Photo taken by Steve in Kenya of little Faith Cherono riding "piggy back" on my back, with her new teddy bear tied to her back. When the children at Tumaini received new teddy bears from Aeropostle, the girls immediately tied them to their backs, just as the mothers of Kenya tie their babies onto their backs. 
This was one of the moments God used to propel me towards the "ten minutes before the game". Faith Cherono is tiny, but she is already on the "field". It's a hard field for a little girl to be on --- i want to be there for her.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

From a mother's heart --- the greatest of these is Love

When Steve and i married almost 29 years ago, we dreamed of bouncing boys and giggling girls running all around our little home on Mockingbird Road. We were giddy over the hope and hopeful that God would give us MANY little ones.
Our first years together were wonderful. The typical story --- we were poor as church mice but crazy in love. We loved doing the simplest goofy things together like going to the grocery store (buying what we wanted instead of what we should), staying up late eating pizza (because we could), talking 'til the morning hours (because no one could make us go to sleep), sleeping in the backyard under the stars (just for the fun of it), dreaming about the days ahead of us, and wondering how in the world we would ever be "grown up" enough to pull it all off. We waited for two years and then we were ready to hear squealing baby laughs under our roof.
But the Lord had different plans.
We did our part (husbands just love to joke about the "practicing"). But no baby came. We waited and prayed --- no baby. We prayed that God would change the desire of our heart ---- if He did not plan to bless us with a baby. Our desires did not change. We waited and wondered and i sometimes wept over it all.
Then after 4 years, i was able to whisper those words to my husband, "We're going to have a baby"! What a beautiful moment ---- i carried a gift from Heaven inside. But 3 months later --- the wrong words came to our ears, "the baby is dying, we're so sorry". There was a heartbeat, but it was too weak. The doctor's suggested a DNC the next morning - i refused. The baby could take all the time it needed to pass from my womb to Heaven ---- or ----- God might just work a miracle. But about 2 weeks later, our little treasure packed up and moved north --- our eyes cried, our souls wept, our hearts broke --- we were broken.
I was soul sick --- and did not recover well. No need to share too many details, but for those who have walked a similar path (or may be walking one now) you are not alone - the path you are on is familiar. 
We named the baby (privately) and trusted God that His decision to keep her in Heaven was far better than sharing her with us -- after all, He knew what this world held for her. We thanked Him that someday we'd see her face in Heaven. We've even dreamed of her since then --- several times.
I lost weight and cried every night ----- rejoiced over the birth of my first nephew and wept more because i had lost his play partner. I pinned my clothes together to keep them from falling off --- Steve and i could count every one of my ribs. I remember thinking i was crying myself away. I stopped crying in front of people, i didn't want anyone to think something was wrong with me ---but i knew --- i was a broken almost-momma.
My dear mother in law cried with me and loved me through the worst of it. (i miss her)

Then 3 months later sweet news came our way. We were pregnant again. i began gaining weight and all was right with our world. And this one stayed nestled inside for the needed 9 months. Our wild and wonderful Mike screamed his way into this world on March 6, 1987. (Exactly one year earlier, to the day March 6, 1986 our first child had moved to Heaven.)

What crazy joy was ours. He was beautiful and healthy and strong. Mike came into this world proclaiming his arrival, and the world became better in those moments. He filled up the aching places perfectly. i was no longer a broken-momma.
Then 4 years later our girl arrived. She was tiny and lovely and cried so softly. Born sunny side up on a stormy night --- she brings light to dark places. She's a gentle, safe, peaceful place in any storm --- we're certain angels sit with her to be comforted.
And we thought our quiver was blessed beyond measure. We would ask no more of God. Two in our arms and one waiting in Heaven ---- we did not want to be greedy with God's goodness.
But 2 years later our bonus boy bounced into this world. He arrived one Wednesday morning, silently sneaking into the middle of the week and the middle of our world. He was quiet and strong -- i sensed he was strong, knew he would be a strong man. The doctor looked in his eyes, Pete stopped moving and looked squarely into the doctor's eyes - time stood still. Then the doctor looked at me so sweetly and said, "this one is very wise already, he has very wise eyes". I thought of Solomon and thanked God.

Now, 17 years later, all three of our treasures stand taller than me, are stronger than me, and i'm quite certain will go farther than me. Time - it can't be seen but it can be felt passing by -- like wind.
They still let me love on them - i'm so thankful. When i look into their eyes, just as i did when they were tiny and in my arms --- i know their hearts hear my heart silently singing - "i love you". My love for them has no conditions smothering it ---
if they are good, i love them --- if they are not, i love them ----
if they are wealthy, i love them ----- if they are not, i love them ----
if they are influential, i love them ---- if they are not, i love them ----
if others approve of them, i love them ----- if they do not, i love them ----
if they are healthy, i love them ---- if they are not, i love them -----
if they succeed, i love them ---- if they do not, i love them -----
if they make the team, i love them ---- if they do not, i love them ----
if they get the job, i love them ----- if they do not, i love them ----
if life around them looks good, feels good, tastes good and sounds good, i love them -----
if it does not, i love them
if they run quick, fly high, dig deep, and go far, i'll love them ----
if they do not, i'll love them.

Dear God --- may my children, these three you let rest in my arms, may they know they are loved deeply and completely.

As i prepare to move to the other side of the world away from them --- thank you for allowing the youngest to join us for the first year. You knew this mother's heart would need this comfort --- of still being able to look into his wise eyes.
As i prepare to breath in and breath out and do life away from my first born and my girl ---- please comfort, hold, protect, enable, walk with, place favor on, and embrace them deeply and completely. May they all three rest in your love.

We have faith that the plans you have for them are good --- Jeremiah 29:11
We have hope in You Lord, for blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord --- Jeremiah 17:7
We rest in your love as we call on you Lord, we call upon you in truth --- Psalm 145: 18-20

Faith, hope, and love ---- the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
May my children embrace your unconditional love for them Lord ---- may it feel familiar to them --- because they have felt it already --- from this mother's heart.
And may they give this same love to others --- quickly, easily, and sincerely.

Thank you Lord for letting me become a mother. I remember -- you never gave them to me, you only shared them with me. They are not mine --- they are yours. Thank you for sharing.

Photo take by Steve on Mother's Day --- at my surprise lunch and movie date

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Pinches of Blue Sky Silently Preach

As if God pinched off a piece of the sky, rolled it in His hands like Play-doh and placed it in a safe, soft nest, these tiny blue spheres silently sit and wait. They are treasures, His treasures, i feel it as i look at them. They are from Him. His gift. He knows they sit right here, in this tiny nest across the road from our home.
If you have ever sat with us on our front porch, you know the sweetness that swirls around it. God surely sits on our front porch, we're quite certain of it. The view is from Him; we visit a peaceful place far from the madness of this world when we sit on our front porch. And just across the street, nestled in a bluebird house Pete made in 3rd grade hanging on an old fence post, God places treasure.
Every year we watch for the bluebirds to come, we anticipate the process as we watch them work together to build their home. God needs a place to put His tiny blue treasures. We watch them as they watch us. These tiny bluebirds surely know us by now --- i hope they know how much we see God in their world.
Do they see God in our world? i hope.
The mother bird diligently sits on her blue sky eggs, she peers at us through her round window. Her window faces our porch; we can see her as she waits.
A book, a grand book could be written about what unfolds across from our front porch each year. A book filled with lessons for parents, for marriages, for children, for life. The bluebirds have it right --- in many ways they are wiser than most people i know.
Is it their naivety that allows them to be wise?
Is it the lack of "knowing" so much that enables them to focus on what matters most?
i learn from the mother blue bird every year. She is a tiny blue and orange picture of the Proverbs 31 woman in so many ways. Is it odd that i admire the mother blue bird in the humble birdhouse more than i admire many people i know?
She obediently and diligently attends to the part of this world given her to care for.
She is steadfast in her attentions to the blue treasures given her.
She thinks not of herself as she sits for long hours on her nest, she resists the urge to fly and feel the cool air through her feathers. She sits in the hot nest, obediently and selflessly.
And when her treasures emerge, she WORKS. She works hard. She and the daddy bird fly back and forth all day long bringing food to the little ones who are helpless without them.

But this blog post is not even about the sweet lessons i am reminded of through the beautiful mother blue bird. This blog is about the picture of FAITH i see in the tiny, blue, sky-touched balls resting in her nest.

A friend and i had spent the majority of the day praying, reading, and talking on our front porch. She was mesmerized (as i am each day) by the tranquility and peace of our porch. I will miss this spot greatly when we move to Kenya, oh how i hope the family who comes to live here embraces the graces of this sweet place.
My friend and i talked over hard realities in life, struggles and hurts that are unavoidable it seems in this fallen world. We did not hide from the harshness of life, but we did pause on the porch to carry the pain to God. And His peace flowed like a river into the places that had been bruised and battered. As we talked, we watched the workings of the bluebird parents. It's a daily pleasure of mine, but one she has never witnessed. It was God's "touch".
As our day came to a close, i sensed we should peek in the nest, for over the days i had noticed the activities of the bluebirds had changed. I suspected their treasures had arrived. As we slowly lifted the lid and peeked in the nest, our hearts were perfectly primed to feel the greatness of the gift in the nest.
No person,
no committee,
no powerful company,
no ruler of a country,
no person of great wealth or influence,
no one ------- can do this.
It's the picture of peace and faith wrapped together in a tiny blue sky ball. Peace --- they do not move or stir. They are a perfect image of what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. They personify peace.
And they also carry the hope of faith. As we look at these tiny eggs, we can be "certain of what we hope for and sure of what we can not see". Inside these tiny blue balls a graceful bird is forming that will spread wings and fly in the sky it's very eggs appear to have been plucked from.

The egg does not at all resemble the thing it will produce.
We ---- are to be the same.
The finished product of "us" in God's hands will not even resemble the way we were "before" He touched us. Faith ---- to be sure of what we hope for even as we are certain of what we can not yet see.

The blue sky eggs in the nest fill my soul with great hope ------ of what my Father can and will do in me. It is my task to rest in His nest (no matter how comfortable or uncomfortable it may be). To patiently wait for Him, receive what He brings me, and grow strong ---- so that my wings will be able to carry me the distance He has planned for me. To be so filled with what HE places in me, that the outlfow of my life will be HIS.
If the little blue birds now hatched and chirping in the nest across the road can do it, surely, by God's grace, we can to.

I'm learning from the bluebirds --- they are such sweet silent teachers.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you." Philippians 4:7-9 NIV

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1 KJV  

Photos taken by my Steve of the bluebird house seen from our sweet front porch.