Rose-colored Perspective

Perspective can change how we look at everything, can’t it? My daughter, Abby, is getting ready to begin her senior year in high school and we’ve been in the process of senior portraits, classes and plans for the school year. When an email popped up in my inbox from a popular electronics company with the subject line: “Tech help for seniors”,  I opened it expecting to see something school related…to quickly realize…it was tech help — for senior citizens!! 

Perspective. Looking at a situation through our own eyes will only reveal the part of the story we see and know. So often its also colored by our past experiences and relationships. When we make decisions based solely on our finite knowledge and understanding we are missing the ‘whole picture’ point of view. And that only comes from God.

Asking God to show us all that we need to know to make informed decisions, to see beyond what we can see on our own, can make all the difference in how we respond and how we live. If we truly want the God kind of results in our lives we must be willing to trust His point of view and trade in our rose-colored perspective for His grace-colored one.

 

 

Broken Crayons

At the beginning of every school year my mom bought me a fresh box of crayons. You may have gotten a box too. Remember? The wrappers were brand new. Perfectly fresh points to help color inside the lines. Eventually, the points wear down. The wrappers peel away. And that would make it easy to spot our favorite colors, right? They were the crayons that were most worn in the box.

We are kind of like those crayons. The more life we live, the more worn we can become. The labels we wear may get a little torn. Or we may even find ourselves feeling exposed like we are left with no covering at all.

I saw a facebook post recently that read ‘broken crayons still color’. And, oh yes, they absolutely do! If you are feeling broken today, worn out, exposed, God is making all things new! And your beautiful color still has great value. So don’t give up! Keep coloring. You are part of a gorgeous tapestry that God has designed.

Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold I will do a new thing.                                 ~ Isaiah 43:18-19

All Things New

There’s something about turning a calendar page to a new month. Or opening a new journal for the new year and bending the pages back to hear that binding crack a bit. Reminding you its new…never been opened before. Blank pages or calendar spaces wide open with room for lots of possibilities.  We like new, don’t we? It shouts potential! What will we fill it with?

I’m so attracted to journals. My daughter jokingly says almost every time we go shopping together “if I lose you I know I’ll find you in the journal section of the store”. I WANT to journal. I have a shelf full of good intentions! Sticking to it…thats where the real value is found. Investing time to preserve a record of whats happening in our lives at the time. It can be therapeutic. It will remind us of how far we’ve come and what we worked through to get there. It can be a gift later in life when memories may be a little fuzzy or we want to pass our journey down through the generations.

For us, we have to set aside the old calendar or journal and pick up a new one. But not with God. He doesn’t have to start over with us. He sees our potential from the beginning and He’s been shaping our journey in this life all along the way. Every moment is a fresh start with God. He’s not making all new things. God is making ALL THINGS NEW! Today, this moment, is a fresh start for you and I. He’s given us a new page to fill in. What shall we do with it?!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!                                                        ~       2 Corinthians 5:17

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.     ~   Psalms 90:12

 

 

Are You Expecting?

I love this time of year! Almost everywhere you turn everything looks festive. Lots of lights. Ribbons and bows. Christmas trees. And there is anticipation in the air. Like something good is coming. Something new and fresh!

Even when I’m frazzled by a long list of things that must. get. done…I know that in just a few short weeks – ready or not – we will gather together with the ones we love – and just enjoy. Enjoy each other’s company. Reminisce over favorite or funny memories. Eat too much. Laugh. Cry. Love. Maybe even dare to share some dreams or future plans.

When Mary & Joseph were making their way to Bethlehem they knew something good was coming. Counting the cost they were still anticipating a Savior in the form of a baby who would change everything. The journey wasn’t easy. It wasn’t without danger. But they kept moving forward. Anticipating the good that was sure to come. And trusting that God had a plan.

Perhaps your journey hasn’t been an easy one. Maybe sickness, pain, maybe even the death of someone you love has caused you to dread the time ahead. Because this world is broken there will be difficult times and heartache and pain. But that baby, Jesus, who did change everything, grew up to be the Savior of the world. And He said, “In this world you will have trouble; but, take heart, for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

If you are having trouble focusing on something good – spend a quiet few minutes and jot down 5 good things that have happened to you this year. Just 5! Once you get started you may be reminded of many more good things that have already happened for which you are thankful. There is something about focusing on the good…that sets us on a path to expect something great! Are you expecting?!

 

 

 

Indelible Ink

I woke up thinking about this word today. Indelible. I most often think about it in the context of ink. Like permanent marker. When I looked up the definition I saw these words…”leaving marks that cannot be removed, unfading, enduring, unforgettable, not able to be forgotten or removed.” Wow. Indelible…is forever.

People, places & events can leave an indelible impression on us. A parent. A father figure. Your children and your grandkids. A vacation spot that became a favorite getaway for you and your spouse. A tattoo. A wedding. A water baptism. A funeral. Each one made a difference in one way or another and from the moment the connection was made your life was forever changed.

The greatest indelible mark that’s ever touched my life leaving a mark so unforgettable that it cannot be removed….God’s grace in my life. Ushered in through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, when I said “I believe.” From the moment I said yes to Him my life changed forever.

When we are intentional in our relationships we leave an indelible mark on the lives we touch. Not that we would be remembered for anything we’ve done but that long after we’re gone what’s left behind is the indelible impression – the fingerprint of God.

Desire Over Duty

A news article quoted Prince Harry this week as saying “no one in the royal family wants to be king or queen.” He continued to say that “it is duty, rather than desire, that prompts them (us) to continue on for the good of the people. People would be amazed at the ordinary life William (his brother) and I live.”  I have a feeling their idea of ‘ordinary’ and ours is quite different! But I would imagine that our idea of living as ‘royalty’ is quite different from their reality as well. I suppose no matter what side of the castle wall we’re born on its true that we all dream of what it could be like on the other side.  

Imagine not ever being able to just run into the local mini-market and grab a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk without being photographed or hollered at for a statement. Not being able to go to the beach, the fair, a ballgame, the movies, and yes, even to church, without an entourage of security and personal assistants who constantly have to buffer you from crowds of staring, sometimes rude, often obsessive people that never. stop. watching you. Waiting. For the perfect image ‘money’ shot, or worse, the misstep heard around the world by viral social media posts.

There is One who was born of royalty who never claimed it was duty over desire to serve the people. He was raised by a carpenter and a very young mama, who never once regretted their service to the Throne. Jesus, whose real Father, is God of the Universe, was born, not in a castle, but a manger. He was surrounded by animals, not photographers and gawkers. His 33 years on this earth, to some, may have looked ordinary, by royal standards; but His time here was anything but ordinary.

Crowds of huge proportions followed Jesus everywhere but He never tired of them. He never wanted anonymity or seclusion other than a few rare times when he withdrew to rest or spend time in prayer with His Father. And I think those examples were more for our benefit than because He really needed them. We needed to see that its important to rest and refocus in the midst of all that’s happening around us.

King Jesus, Ruler of the Universe, wants to be ruler in your heart and over your world. He never tires of your attention. You and I are what He thinks about more often than anything. In fact, He said His thoughts of us number more than the grains of sand! And while this life you and I live may be fairly ordinary by this worlds’ standards, we have been invited to live forever in His Kingdom. Granted unlimited access to come, not even timidly, but boldly, before His Throne. And for this time, in this life, He wants His throne to reside in your heart and in mine. That’s personal…and intimate…and without a doubt, desire over duty.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.  Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne.”  Revelation 3:20, 21

 

 

Authenticity

My friend loves to thrift shop. And to her credit she finds some of the most amazing things for the most amazing prices! Not too long ago she showed me this designer bag that she picked up for about twenty bucks from a local thrift store. The real deal would easily be worth hundreds of dollars. Looking at the outside of the bag it looked like a designer bag. All the signatures of that designer appeared to be in place. But, I’ve been tricked before. The real tell? It was the label on the inside of the bag. The leather label stitched perfectly inside and carefully embossed with the brand name and the following note from its maker…”This is a _____ bag. It was handcrafted from the finest materials. Its superior craftsmanship and attention to detail reflect our commitment to enduring quality.”

As I looked at that label I had a thought. What makes us authentic? We can wear designer clothes and shoes, dye away the gray, every hair in place and look picture perfect. We can go to church every week, carry our Bible everywhere and utter ‘bless your heart’ to every one we see. Does that make us authentic? We’ve been fooled before, haven’t we? Maybe we’ve fooled some ourselves, along the way.

There’s no fooling when someone gets a good look inside. No way can we be perfect or live up to the expectations of others, even worse, our own demands. But we can be real. Real, authentic people own their mistakes and shortcomings. No excuses.  Authentic believers know they are loved by God and try to love others as much as others will allow. Some days may be better than others but on those not so good days they don’t fake it. They admit they are struggling and accept help when they need it.

Inside, I want to be loved and treasured, not for who I can pretend to be, but for who I really am. Flaws and all. I’m willing to bet that you are as well. The good news is the King of the Universe, our Creator, breathed life into us. Our Maker left His mark. If you look closely you’ll see it. It reads, “This is My daughter. She was handcrafted from the finest materials. The superior craftsmanship and attention to detail reflect Our commitment to enduring quality.”  His mark of authenticity is the only one that really counts. Be who He made you to be!

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”  ~ Psalm 139:14