A few weeks ago, we woke to a blanket of white. About 8 inches of fresh and powdery snow fell unexpectedly in our home town.
I remember being struck by the quiet hush early that morning as I opened the front door to take in the morning air and snap a picture. It was a deep and heavy stillness that hung all around. It was so magical; like the morning held a secret it was holding back unsuccessfully as it kept erupting with the soft giggles of falling branches and tinkling ice covered limbs.
I find my soul longing for that level of deep, heavy, magical stillness each New Year. I want to walk alone in a snow covered forest with the morning sun sparkling on everything I see. I want to pray and commune with my Saviour; to be refreshed by some Living Water.
But often my New Year finds me already weary from holidays recently passed. I’m still trying to clean up and reorder the chaos, grasping for some order in my home and heart.
Even though it looks rather unlikely that my quiet walk in a snow-covered and tree laden forest will be my reality this year (or anytime in the future!), I am still longing and reaching. Still thirsting and weary. Still anticipating beauty, stillness and well…magic. Praying the peace of God will descend, dwell in me richly and surpass what I can understand. I’m almost ready in my head and heart for a new year. Almost…
November has come and gone! My little project went decently well I’d say. I certainly dropped off towards the end! But my goal wasn’t perfection; just a grateful heart. When Thanksgiving day did finally roll around, I was deeply thankful for a calm heart and good perspective. 2013 has been less than ideal in my mind and heart. But what I’m learning is that even in those times that are less than ideal-not everything I imagined or envisioned- I can still look around and see God in the every-day stuff that occurs. A text message from a friend, a day with cheerful children, a kind word overheard…all those things that happened helped me to stop, take a deep breath and say “thank you” because I was looking for them. Life can be hard and sad, but the little gifts like this that dot our days can help us continue forward with expectant hope. As I sit and think about the actual day-of Thanksgiving, my heart spilled over with gratefulness at some new beginnings God is weaving in some deep parts of my soul.
Jeremy and I love this verse from Jeremiah 29 in the OT. It’s a popular verse we know, but it has held a lot of meaning for us through the years. “11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me. 14 I will be found by you,” says the Lord. “I will end your captivity and restore your fortunes. I will gather you out of the nations where I sent you and will bring you home again to your own land.”.
This exercise in gratefulness (as well as my study I just finished in James) has helped my heart to ponder more deeply what it is that I want. It’s so compelling to me the way Jesus stopped and asked what the crippled man next to the pool of Bethesda wanted before he healed him. I think often times what we want is obvious, but perhaps our hopes of it happening are stifled by life or dulled by experience. It makes us forget that we want it or worse yet, lie to ourselves and say we don’t want it. This exercise has made me question what it really is that I want and whether my life reflects that or not?
What matters is how I see God stirring and what He is doing within me and within others while all that other life stuff is going on. The chains that are broken and the lives that are renewed because of Jesus are what gives me light and encouragement and life. Our Pastor said last Sunday that he often thinks no one desires to be made new more than him. This life can stifle and dull our hearts to what we really want. But ultimately, being made new is what I really want too. Just like that man at the pool. Just like our pastor.
So now, as we move into Advent (see the snow on my page?!), I’m pondering the poise of my heart. I’m fighting the sense of urgency all around me (and the desire to go off on a soap box about this Amazon Prime Air thing-hello impatient America!) and attempting to look around, soak in the deep beauty of Christmas and cue into where my hope is truly found. It’s hard work! I’m only 3 days into the month and I am enjoying a quiet pace. But I know better! It’ll pick up.
In the mean time, I have no idea what I’ll post here! Maybe some Advent thoughts as I read this book my friend Deb got for me. Who knows? Here are some fun pictures of all that happened to keep me away from my blog those last few days in November.