Our Powerful and Faithful God Breathes Hope Through His Creation

Opening our ears to the sweet symphony of nature, our eyes to its calming palette of color, and our understanding to our Creator’s faithful care cannot but give us hope in times of uncertainty. Its steady rhythm reminds us that some aspects of our lives are not affected by the chaos and destruction of the coronavirus.

God’s Almighty power created the heavens and the earth, and it is so evident He is still in control. He faithfully brings the change of seasons, no matter what is happening in this world.

“As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.”
Genesis 8:22

Every moment He faithfully watches over and cares for His creatures. Every morning the birds start an early chorus of praise to God. Unfettered by the cares of this world, it’s like their focus is fixed on their Creator alone.

“Look at the birds of the air;
they do not sow or reap or store away
in barns, and yet your
heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not much more
valuable than they?

Can any one of you by worrying
add a single hour to your life?”
Matthew 6:26-27

No, we can’t add a single hour to our lives or others’ lives by worrying, but I see and hear worry everywhere these days. In my own heart. In the eyes and voices of so many. Behind the tough exteriors of those who try so hard to be strong. In the text of our young grandson when he heard I was sick again and was being tested for Covid, how he expressed his worries of me as high risk and how they were praying. When he found out the test was negative, his words soothed my soul, “God has a plan for you and it doesn’t stop now.”

Yes, God has a plan for us. Even in the midst of uncertainty, sickness, and loss. We may rebel and think our plan would be better, but it’s not. There is going to be suffering and dying, cold and hunger, and loss of all kinds in this world. Do we always understand it? No. Can we make sense out of it? No. Can we run our lives better? No. From our side things look like a mess, like the threads on the underside of a weaving, but what God sees is the total picture of His plan, beautiful and glorious beyond compare. And we are included in that plan and never forgotten. We are the ones He calls much more valuable than the birds of the air He faithfully cares for.

“I lift my eyes toward the mountains.
Where will my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1-2

When you allow your senses to soak in God’s creation, whether outdoors or from your window or doorway ( or even from photos), does it breathe hope into your soul? What does it say to you about God’s faithful character?

All of the bird photos were taken through my tinted office windows.

My view from my office window. A house finch pair built a nest! The little ones have now hatched and are being fed.
Here is Papa!
“Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves
is heard in our land.”
Song of Solomon 2:12

The sun feels much warmer than the snow!
On the same day, this robin was also trying to keep warm.
This same robin devours seeds like he’s starving. He throws out the safflower seeds and seeks for the sunflower chips. Maybe when it’s warmer, he’ll check out the worms and bugs?
A chipping sparrow has been visiting.
The goldfinches left for a while after the big snow we had on Easter, but now they’re back. Hooray!

Maker of the Stars
by Demetrios Leiloglou

“I sat and watched the evening sky as it turned shades of red
One by one the stars came out like diamonds in a sea of black
And as I started to count them all I realized they had no end
That’s the way it must be with God’s love… the Maker of the Stars…”

Letting Truth Triumph Over Post-Traumatic Emotions

Photo Journal Your Heart.

How has God been touching your heart this month?

Share what you see. 

 

Anxiety rages in my soul. It seems worse this month ever since I chose my focus word for this year – TRUST. And since I started spilling out those deep places of my soul.

I want to scream and cry.

I want to run and hide.

I just don’t understand it. I recently found a “home” in cyberspace. A place where my heart feels safe. A place where I am encouraged to be “real.” A community of open hearts where I feel accepted just as I am.

But why then do I feel so afraid? Why do I want to withdraw from comfort-receiving and comfort-giving?

DSC_0332
Roaring In
Shame-slapping Scowls
Stormy Emotions
Stomping Down
Sinking Me

Toxic shame screams, “You don’t deserve comfort. You don’t deserve to be accepted. You will never be of any value to anyone else.” Shame pierces the very core of who I am. Encourages me to hide the painful experiences. Darkens and distorts the truth of who I am in Christ.

Panic shouts, “Watch out! You’re going to be hurt again. Reinforce that wall.” Many times in my life, when I told the truth and tried to be “real,” I was hurt. Friends I thought I had for life didn’t want to be with me anymore. I wondered, “What’s wrong with me?”

drowning
I can’t do this anymore!
Jesus, save me!

Fear chains my creativity. I write. I delete. I write. I delete. Then when I do send it out into cyberspace, I second guess myself and want to snatch it back. What if I said something wrong? What if I someday regret writing this? I comment on blogs, but fear twists my gut. If I write something to comfort, I feel hypocritical, because I don’t always feel courage myself. If I share painful feelings, I wonder if I sound like I’m looking for pity. And I worry… Did I encourage that person or did I only make her pain more heavy? What if I am misunderstood and I hurt someone? What if I become more self-centered than God-centered? 

Wouldn’t it be easier to numb my emotions again? To not rock the boat? To not risk writing that’s “real”? It’s easier. It hurts less. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know.

I’m drowning in all these insecurities, Lord! Will there never be an end to all the turmoil in my emotions? Please grab my hand and pull me up!

Then a still small voice. Hardly discernible amid all the cacophony in my soul.  Whispers of hope...

Troubled soul, be still and listen.

Trust Me, My child, trust Me.

“O storm-battered city,
troubled and desolate!
I will rebuild you with precious jewels
and make your foundations from lapis lazuli
(the symbol of wisdom and truth).”
(Isaiah 54:11)

 

My heart trembles as I try to grasp this TRUTH.

I lay down my “I-can-fix-this-myself” attitude.

As a child, I stretch out my hand and lay it in His.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

holdmyhand
You don’t need to understand;
you just need to hold My hand.

He pulls me up. The storm still rages, but I keep my eyes fastened on Him.

When I lose eye contact with His love, I sink again. So easily when the emotions roll in and knock me off-balance…

rollercoaster
Scary Monster
No power
No control
Memories trigger

This “being real” stuff opens up the vulnerable child in me. And it’s scary. Like some years ago when my kids convinced me to ride a roller coaster. Nose dives, upside down twists, hairpin turns. Terror sucked the breath out of me. I was powerless to stop this monster. No control about when I wanted to get off. When the monster finally stopped, my shaky legs stumbled to my husband. I heard his concern as he looked at my chalky white face, “Are you alright? You’re shaking!” He guided me to a bench. I shook and sobbed. Then I realized that feeling of powerlessness and lack of control triggered a memory and threw me back to a time of abuse. To the monster who took away my power.

But as I write this, I think of what my counselor has said, “If you hold onto the past, your abuser still has you under his control. Don’t let him have that power over you anymore. Don’t let him weigh you down in chains. Live in the blessings of the present. See the sun shining in the window? Breaths of God.”

I’m not going to let the monster win. I am no longer in the past. Today I am stronger. I will control the monster. He will not control me. Jesus is Power. I will focus on how He fought the monster for me. He has already won.

I don’t want to miss out anymore on blessings and opportunities. I want to move forward, one step at a time.

Letting TRUTH triumph over these post-traumatic emotions…

Listening to Whispers of hope...

Quieting my anxiety with the visible proof that no one has more power than the Creator, and He has all things under control.

sunrise
But for you who revere my name,
the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.
And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.
Then you will trample on the wicked;
they will be ashes under the soles of your feet
on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.
(Malachi 4:2-3)
Spearfish Falls
A “Soulrest” Moment
“Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love;
Our God is an awesome God.”
(Rich Mullins)
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I love how God’s creatures point to His promises.
“But you were washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and by the Spirit of our God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:11)
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I found these beautiful mushrooms
growing up out of a dead tree.
God springs up life out of death!
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“How does the Meadow-flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free
Down to its root, and, in that freedom, bold.”
(William Wordsworth)