Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful for His Light

We had finished watching a gorgeous sunset and were headed back.  As we drove, the moon rose above the hill; large, orange and luminescent against a deep blue, quickly darkening sky.  I let out a loud, involuntary exclamation over the beauty of it, "look at the MOON!" and we quickly pulled over in an attempt to catch the splendor of this light.

And it was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. I didn't get many photos and instead watched it rise higher and higher - a ball of orange and yellow, casting light through the clouds and illuminating the sky.

Photo Credit: Jonathan McGowan, Instagram: @jkrswld1234

I am amazed by the moon. This rock that's completely void of any light in itself, can light up the night sky so brilliantly and boldly as it reflects like a mirror, the light of the sun. It pierces the dark by simply allowing the sun to do what it is supposed to do.

In that moment it dawned on me that my calling, our calling, is so similar to that of the moon's.  I am called to be a light in the darkness, but thankfully I don't have to do it by own might. There was a sense of freedom that came from seeing it In that way. I do not have to generate this light by my own strength, but instead can be a reflection of His light and His love shining through me.

He "turns my darkness into light." He takes my imperfections, fears, doubts and failures and shines light in those dark areas creating hope, peace and love. When I allow God to be God and have His place in my life, than the rest begins to happen. His Spirit at work within me will allow me to be a source of light in the darkness and the hurt of those around me.  It will allow me to show love to those I come in contact with.

"For God, who said, "let light shine out of darkness," made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God's glory displayed in the face of Christ." 2 Corinthians 4:6

Because He is the source of all light and of all hope.

And the hope we have in Him. . .that hope does not disappoint.

"Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has given to us." Romans 5:5 NKJV

In the end, that is what so many of us need is to know that there is hope. Even when things are difficult, we have the hope that all things are redeemed and all things are used for good. That is what the moon does in the darkness of night. It offers light and it offers the hope that there is still the sun on the other side doing its job.

So I am thankful for His light and that it can be present in me, and I am thankful for the hope that is found in that knowledge.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Thankful in a Fallen World

November is quickly and quietly slipping by.  In this month where we are to count our blessings, we also hear of thousands that have lost everything. This life here on earth, it isn't always an easy one. We live in a fallen world, full of hurting people and an enemy looking to destroy us.
It won't be until the other side of this life that we, and all that we are a part of, is perfect.
But God is good now and always, and He is here and He is in us. In a world that quakes with sadness and sends waves of destruction, God's love can still be seen. It is seen in the hands rebuilding broken homes, in those willing to give of their time and money to help those without, in an entire city that comes together to bring joy to a little boy and in the hearts that refuse to lose hope.
So I thank Him that He is still working and that He loves us. I lift up humbled heart and thank Him that even in a hurting world, I can trust Him to be present. I thank Him that I can stand on His promises and that because He loves us there is always hope.

And I whisper a prayer, half question and half assertion as I learn to trust, "your perfect love is casting out the fear and you have good, hope-filled plans for me and for this fallen world."  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A Month of Thankfulness

Last week my littlest asked if Halloween was over now and when I said yes, she excitedly yelled "Christmas time!!" The holiday catalogues have arrived and my munchkins are excitedly thinking about their lists and trees and all the fun. And I get it. I absolutely love Christmas time and am already thinking about decorations and doing my shopping.

But what about Thanksgiving, this holiday smack dab in the middle of candy-crazed Halloween and bedazzled Christmas?  There are no goodies, no gifts and no real marketing value, so it often serves as only a stepping stone to the next big thing.

But Thanksgiving is important; even imperative. Can we enter this month of November, marked by shortened days, long nights, cold weather and dying leaves, with grateful hearts? Can we be looking for all of the little blessings that can be hard to see in the busyness of the every day?

In this season of hurry and full schedules, I want to pause to remember the blessings and the goodness. I want to search for the light that can be seen in even the darkest of nights. Because it is in thankfulness that we can find fullness of joy.

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." Psalm 28:7

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pint-Sized Warrior

Her fists balled up at her sides, at just three feet tall, her frustration and anger are evident, to everyone within a mile's distance I'm sure. Her personality is strong and courageous, terrific qualities, but in this moment she's battling for control and it's exhausting.  It takes all my self-control to not raise my voice in response, to not threaten to take away all her toys and even Halloween itself if she doesn't stop throwing this epic fit.

Finally things settle and she sits quietly on time out and this worn out mama hides in her room, knowing I'm in need of my own timeout. I sit on the floor feeling defeated and the tears come. This mom gig can be tough and I feel ill-equipped at times. I close my eyes and silently pray, "Lord, I cannot do this on my own, I need you in this too." 
At first it feels like defeat, throwing in the towel, to recognize I cannot do this on my own. It's almost a prayer of regret, "In this moment, I'm failing." But the peace sinks in and fills the space, and it's actually hope.

And I see it's not weakness to need Him, but instead it's strength. He will be the strength I need in this, and in everything.

In the good and the bad, I need Him.  I feel that deeply this week, my desperate need for Him. I recognize the more I sink into this truth and allow Him to operate through me, the greater the opportunity for peace and joy. Even when I'm struggling or trying to figure out the next step, He's there, waiting to offer me peace and rest.

She comes in to find me after timeout is over, bottom lip quivering and whispers she is sorry and that she loves me. I grab her close and hug her tight and tell her I love her too. She lets me hug her for awhile and I'm silently thanking God for this beautiful little girl who both challenges and delights me, and I'm praying that He will help me be the mom she needs.