As we continue in our obedience to prepare for Kenya, we diligently release "things" we have spent years accumulating. After each yard sale we realize our home is becoming more and more "spacious". With my quiet time chair now sold to a precious friend, who will use it now as her quiet time chair --- i had borrowed Mike's old dorm room comfy chair. I'd nestle down in it with blankets and books to sit with God every morning.
But then Mike received his acceptance letter to graduate school. Within days it seemed we were packing up his car for the long drive to his "new chapter". Yep - the old dorm chair was stowed securely in his trunk --- lucky chair.
We've now moved a couch from one room to the other for my morning nesting spot. Makes me smile as i type this -- because in all this "change" God is showing me (at my needed kindergarten level) that always -- things change, we adjust. But it's the "sitting with Him" that matters and still must happen -- no matter what. What i'm sitting on or where i am -- is irrelevant. He knew i would need even this reminder to keep getting my head around --- breathing in deeply sunrise to sunrise, week after week, month after month, year after year ---- on the other side of the world.
What a patient, loving teacher.
He whispers to my soul...
"Here donna, we'll shift this in your life this way and turn this in your world that way. We'll completely remove this, and use a little less of that. It's all so different now. But really, it's very much the same, because----
I'm still in the middle.
I'm the axis donna.
I control the speed of the spinning and the placement on the path.
You, just keep your heart buckled in and your eyes on Me."
My quiet spot is now actually better than it was before ---- with a piece of furniture i would have never guessed would have worked so perfectly. Only God...
This tranquil spot, where i read, write, listen, and pray ----- is in the same room where Maggie paints. My stacks of books inevitably find themselves resting on her painting table most days. And today as i sat here reading again --- i paused to fully embrace my grateful heart. And i meditated on how God too pauses --- to "create" right here, in this spot, around me -- for me --- in me.
Beside me, a white canvas is waiting for color to reveal its purpose. It's a canvas stretched on a wooden frame right now --- just as surely as it will be a canvas stretched on a wooden frame after the color lands. So "what" it is --- will not change. But the colors will transform it into something usable, valuable, meaningful. Now it is only white, void, useless; unappealing in every way. But soon -- with focus and work and care and forethought --- it will completely change. The white canvas will no longer exist --- it will be transformed into what it was designed to be all along --- a beautiful painting. The Creator will touch one of His own and pour His creativity through her to transform the void into something of beauty. Yahweh -- He is in the business of transforming nothing into something. It began in Genesis and continues. Everyday. Everywhere.
As i look at the stack of my current morning books perched beside all the paints, i'm moved to realize the words in the books, the love letters from His Word, the time spent each day with Him focusing, working, listening, growing --- have the same potential to transform me. I, donna, the skin covered, cracked clay vessel, will not change on the outside --- but oh -- the inside -- yes Lord --- could we please transform that fully. I'd like to lay down much more of the old "flesh" and take in a bit of Mother Teresa and a portion of Corrie Ten Boom, plus a good helping of Ruth Bell Graham and could we round me off with a full dose of Esther and Ruth.
Words used well, for good purposes, syllables of truth, laced with love will color the bland canvas of me. They will add color where there was none. Changing what was void and empty into something He can fill up and use, transforming what had been tossed to the side into something He will flow through. And eventually God's creation will come into view. It won't just happen --- just like the paint won't just jump on the white canvas. It takes work, careful attention, forethought, diligence, and focus. It takes time -- time with the Creator --- times of intense, sincere surrender into His hands.
Just "trying to be a good person" won't paint the blankness ---- it might help keep it shiny and white --- but the colors God had intended to reveal -- the value of the finished product -- will be missed, lost.
Once we realize our blandness, our lack, the void we carry around ---- we long to be touched and transformed, used for whatever the Creator had intended from the beginning.
We must be transformed. It doesn't just happen. We must seek after it --- ask for it --- knock on the door of the One who transforms --- and then surrender to the workings of His hands upon us.
God is still creating --- everyday --- it's what He does.
But we can easily miss it -- we must be watchful to see it --- diligent to receive it.
God is creating, transforming, making things new --- everyday.
We have a place on HIS canvas -- by HIS design -- not because we are anything ourselves -- for we who have seen the blankness of our canvas know full well --- it is only --- by His Grace -- that He paints a stroke of His color into our lives.
Only God can bring into being --- the fullness of you, the person He has seen all along.
What the process feels like ---- no longer matters. That the process is happening - does.
What we are sitting on or where we are sitting --- doesn't matter. That we are sitting with HIM - does.
What we looked like before --- doesn't matter. That He, by Grace, will transform us - does.
What others might say ----- doesn't matter. What He is saying --- does.
What matters most -- is that we are being transformed --- by the Creator.
We are "becoming" --- what He envisioned all along.
Beauty from ashes.
Life from dust.
"Provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the LORD
for the display of his splendor."
Isaiah 61:3 NIV
"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." Romans 12:2
"And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18
Photos taken by Maggie - of "our" spot on Mockingbird Road :)