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Posts Tagged ‘Creation’

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As Sunday dawns so does Sabbath … a day of rest, renewal. In our North American culture, in this time, Sunday is no different from any other day of the week. Yet our bodies, out minds, our spirits and souls cry out for all that Sabbath can and should be … rest, renewal.

However one might interpret the actual turn of events, Genesis says that:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)

God, the Creator of the heavens and Earth, rested from his work.

I was speaking to my mom, a few days ago, about our recent move to a new home. I was tired, bone tired. We had been unpacking and organizing for six days straight (after packing for weeks prior). My mom, in mom fashion, reminded me that it’s okay, even good, to just sit and relax and enjoy our new place. I balked that there was too much to be done, and that I couldn’t possibly enjoy anything until we were unpacked.

Then, while chatting with one of our kids, I found myself offering the same advice … that it’s okay, even good, to just sit and relax …

When advice is good and beneficial, it can even come from those of us who do not practise what we preach. It is as though our souls know what is best, even if we are deaf and blind to it’s truth in our practise.

In reading Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Genesis passage about God resting, I found this:

“The eternal God, though infinitely happy in the enjoyment of himself, yet took a satisfaction in the work of his own hands. He did not rest, as one weary, but as one well-pleased with the instances of his own goodness and the manifestations of his own glory.”

Sabbath is not limited to a certain day, but we all need a day of rest in our seven days. It does not have to be about an afternoon nap, it can simply be taking satisfaction in what we have accomplished, created in the six days prior, giving appreciation and homage to work well done.

If we were to regularly take time each week to honour what we have been part of, what we have worked to accomplish, what we have created, perhaps we would experience less stress, anxiety and depression.

Perhaps there is something to this day of rest.

 

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“I can see your heart in everything you’ve made”
Hillsong

The words caught my attention as I drove to work one morning, sun peeking through the heavy clouds, opening up a segments of the mountains for my view.

Sign …

That’s my soul language … the amazing nature of creation.

If I feel heavy with the struggles of life …

the light of a sunrise or sunset can catch my breath,

spring flowers can bring a smile to my face,

a surprise path-crossing with a coyote can make my heart sing,

a ladybug holding tightly to a rose bush can give me child-like glee,

or (like last night) the song of an owl late into my sleepless night,

can remind me that I have a heart within me created by the same one who spoke life into all creatures, who set the Earth on it’s axis.

“For once you have spoken,
all nature and science follow the sound of your voice”

For me it is God’s beautiful, amazing and wonder-filled creation that reminds me that, no matter the weight on my shoulders, no matter the sadness in our world, no matter that I do not have the answers, He does. He’s got it. He is big enough for whatever I am not.

Not only does creation realign my mind, heart and soul, it also reminds me that my calling, like the rest of creation, is to praise the creator.

“If creation sings your praises, so will I”

This is my father’s world, and it teaches me about the one who created it, and the pride he has taken in each and every part of it. Through what he created I come to know his heart, he attention to detail (just look at a bee under a magnifying lens), his vastness (just look up at the stars on a clear night, or the changing moon), his miraculous ways (the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly), his redemption (just look at how a dead seed, planted and watered, comes alive again), his love (just look in the mirror).

“This is my father’s world
And to my listening ears
All nature sings, and round me rings
The music of the spheres
This is my father’s world
The birds their carols raise
The morning light, the lily white
Declare their maker’s praise
This is my father’s world
I rest me in the thought
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas
His hand the wonders wrought
This is my father’s world
Oh, let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet
This is my father’s world
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is king, let the heavens ring

God reigns, let the earth be glad”

 

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I love the arts. I love music, I love drama, I love literature, I love films, I love dance. I love all of the cultural disciplines that are included in ‘the arts.’

The arts are a means of expression, a means of sharing, a means of communication. They can move us to laughter, or tears. They can help us understand what our life experiences do not provide exposure to. They can help us to live vicariously through other characters, or creatures, or simply the created.

I love to go to Bard on the Beach productions (Bard on the Beach) in the Vancouver area (even though, I admit, I normally do not enjoy Shakespeare). There is nothing like beautiful architecture to delight my imagination. I love to watch an individual dance across a dance floor, like I would never have the gracefulness to do. I so enjoy reading a book, or poem, or verse that makes me stop, and just enjoy the words on the page. It is a joy to watch amateur or professional actors play parts, as though they are those very characters. I can be moved to tears by a song played by a musician with a giftedness that comes from more than just endless hours of practice.

One thing I am becoming aware of, though, is that not everything can be duplicated by the arts. There are some things that, no matter how hard we creative humans might try, we cannot duplicate the ‘real thing.’

Within nature there are things that, in my humble opinion, painters, artists, musicians or even photographers cannot match reality. Things like an eagle in flight, a rainbow, the sound of rain falling at night, or the sounds of an eagle, or an owl, or chickadees, or a band of coyotes (I never want to meet up with them on a walk, but there is something so hauntingly beautiful about their yipping and yelping).

In human life there are communications and responses that plays and films fall short of duplicating perfectly. Things like a parent looking into the face of their newborn baby, or the look between a couple who are in love, or a first kiss, or (something horror movies cannot reproduce at all) a persons responses to a trauma.

We cannot live vicariously through the arts. We need to live, really live in order to really experience our own life experiences.

We also need to recognize, and credit the originator of all of the arts of man, and that it is only through His incomparable creation that we have a model, a muse, through which to create, perform and express our gifts through the arts.

“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything, because he himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ Acts 17:24-28

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 It started in the beginning …

chaos.

Now the Earth was formless and empty,
darkness was over the surface of the deep …”
Genesis 1:2a

A Bible teacher at our school ensures that each student understands this formless, empty, darkness as Bohu and Tohu, Hebrew for wild and waste. Before creation there was wild and waste … chaos, disorder.

A week ago, we Canadians were excitedly counting the minutes until the start of the Victoria Day holiday weekend, aka. the unofficial start of summer. What it really was, was a teaser! A taste of summer’s repose … and then back at it all again on Tuesday! Now, we are left with the sweet taste of warm evenings, BBQ’s, and sunshine … and yet we still have weeks to go until the season’s name changes from spring to summer, and our vocation to vacation.

At this time of the school year, Bohu and Tohu (wild and waste) might adequately describe my house, my kids homework habits, our eating, sleeping, home maintenance habits (just to name a few).

Although I am a confirmed believer in the concept of finishing strong, the reality of my life would tell you that I do not practice what I preach as the dust bunnies in my house (quickly swept under the bed), the daydreaming in my eyes, the school books (of my kids) gathering dust, the pizza delivery guy (Jaz) who knows that my hubby’s voice on his phone means “bacon, bacon, bacon” Hawaiian, and Greek (because three cheap pizzas mean not having to make school lunches for days), and the dog begging for at least one walk a week, tell of the chaos in my life.

So, what follows Bohu and Tohu? What follows chaos?

God created …

light and darkness, day and night

sky

land and seas, plants and trees

sun, moon and stars

creatures of the water and the air

creatures of the Earth, man and woman

And, what follows the Bohu and Tohu of this point of the year for me (and you)?

Well, concerning summer, it is a coming. The light is shining in the darkness. The prize is just around the corner.

And we will re-create! And we will call it summer,

and it is good.

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I worked around my garden last evening, with the bright daylight stretching further with the hands of the clock. My holey, gloved hands covered in the dirt of the Earth, the trees, the shrubs that I touched. Tendrils of my hair, loosened from their elastic, to fall in the middle of my forehead. Muck from the hole that was dug, caked to the bottom of my shoes. Dirt across my pants, from when I ‘cleaned’ my gloved hands.

Dirt, dirt everywhere … enough to line the bottom of my bathtub, later that evening.

And. it. was. perfectly. glorious.

For I was not merely looking at the wonders of Creation, viewing just with my eyes, I was in the midst of the Creation, the wonder, the beauty. I was a part of it, and it was a part of me.

 If appreciating beauty was simply a visual experience, a picture would fill our cup. True appreciation of beauty requires inspection, not just of it’s outer appearance, but studying it fully and completely.

To see the ocean’s edge is lovely.

But, to walk, barefoot on the sand, feeling the cool of the water running over our feet, hearing the gulls above, the crashes of the tides, inhaling the fresh salty air … that is to experience divine beauty, from all around us.

To speed on a mountain bike over a quaint bridge with a brook running under it is adventure.

But, to stop that bike, and hear the symphony of the birds songs while hearing the beat of your own racing heart, and looking at the many shades of green all around, breathing in the most clean scent of fresh rain water falling from above … that is what it is to be united with beauty.

May we each have opportunity, this weekend, to become part of a glimmer of beauty, and to enjoy the refreshment and delight that can come from that.

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I actively look to see what I can learn from all created around me. If you have read enough of my posts, you will know that I am a dreamer, I am terribly immature, and I love wonder (like I love chocolate … and that is saying something). I hope that, when I die, I am even more of a dreamer, more immature, and that I can even see the wonder in the leaving of this Earth for my Foreverland.

The photo to the right is of a pond I frequently walk past with my beast (either beast #1 … the dog, or beast #2 … the hubby). One day, as I glanced towards the pond, I could see something in it … moving (and no, it wasn’t a bear). Upon investigation (and much squinting), I saw that it was a beaver. It glided beautifully along the water, then … flop … with a flap of it’s tail, it submerged. I was delighted with my ‘find’, which now gave further significance to the fallen tree a bit beyond the pond.

This was about a month ago, and I still look to that pond, every time I pass, for Mr. Beaver. I keep looking, because he showed himself to me once, and now I know he is there … somewhere.

Along my walks I also frequently see horses in a field. Their grace and beauty bring me to a place of awe, every time I see them! But sometimes … most times that I pass their field, I do not see them. Still, because I have seen them in the past, I know they are there, so I keep looking.

Along my walk I also get beautiful, jaw-dropping views of local mountains, that even I can snap a great picture of. They NEVER look the same, because the amount of snow changes, and the sun shining on them, from different angles changes their appearance. But some days (really, if you look at the 365 days of a year, it is most days) they are covered by clouds, and they cannot be seen at all. That fact does not mean I do not still look for them. I always look for them, because I know they are there … just hidden from view.

One day I saw something I had not seen before (and did NOT want to see any day). A snake (ewie)! And I guarantee you, I will be looking for him EVERY time I am on that part of the path, because I know he is there (and he is waiting for me. I looked back over my shoulders for at least a mile after seeing this guy, certain that he was creeping up behind me like Fred Flintstone … but I digress). I have seen him, once, and now I will be watching.

The beaver in the pond, made me consider how God, and his comfort, are not clearly, obviously, in your face visible every moment of every day. But, if you have ever known His comfort, His presence, His answers, in your life, you know He is there. Sometimes He is there in a piece of music, or a hug from a friend, or in falling rain, or an eagle soaring in the sky, or a buttercup, or … a beaver in the pond.

And, I think the message might be … keep looking. He has revealed Himself in the past, He is there/here … keep looking. Because it is in looking for Him, when we do not expect to see Him, that we are enabled to BELIEVE.

Music moves me, and, the first time I heard the following song, on a day when tears were leaking from my eyes, I was moved by how the lyrics spoke the words of my heart. And I pray, because I have seen Him in the past, I will die saying, just like a child, I believe …

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Last week I wrote about wanting to be really me … who I really am, and who God made me to be.

As I opened my emails the other day, one written by Bonnie Gray (faithbarista), jumped off the screen and into my heart. What captured me were the words :

“something beautiful and real”

Bonnie wrote that as she reminded her readers of the formless earth, before Creation. She wrote that, on the cusp of God creating all that was to come, when there was … no form … God was still moving in it.

And then He Created … making something new, and it was :

“something beautiful and real”

I am one who struggles at times with yearning for something more (The Day I Wanted To Run Away), and I know that all of us do, because we were created to live in a place of perfect peace (Peace-on-Earth), a place of perfect peace. And so, since leaving the perfect garden, we have been yearning for more …

It is a dichotomy that our yearning for the future, for the perfection that is to come, can keep us from seeing the very real beauty of today.

Although the personal reflections that Bonnie shares (below) may not be your experience, there is a very tangible lesson from the walk she is taking through her past, so as to see light and life in her future …

“both sadness and joy can co-exist”

and I would say that when they do co-exist we are living something beautiful and real!

Just like Jesus did not want to experience torture on a cross … separation from his Father … he chose to endure the pain, the rejection and the loss because …

WE were worth it …
WE are worth it …

“Comes a time, on the journey, you wonder how you will survive,
There comes a time, when you’re thirsty and so alone…
There is a pool in the desert, where water flows from fountains unseen,
Saving water, healing water flowing over me.”  The Choir, Flowing Over Me

You don’t have to die, in order to feel like you’re not really living.

You can even be loved by the man of your dreams whose arms as husband gently encircle your waist every night in bed — you can love the world’s most beautiful two boys, the ones you’ll always remember resting warm and soft in the cradle of your neck as newborns — and yet feel something missing inside.

It’s hard to talk to other people about what you find difficult to face yourself.

They might think you’re being ungrateful.

They might think you’re not counting your blessings.

They might think your faith is broken.

But, it’s not that way at all.

There is something deeper going on inside.

The Place Inside

I know what this is like.

To make it on my own. To be okay.

It’s a numbness.  In places no one can see.

It’s me from my childhood. Still alone.  Holding everything together.

It doesn’t show up at work, when I used to stand up making presentations in conference rooms.

It doesn’t show up when I’m hanging out with my friends, or even at church, where all is as it should be.

And if you saw me at the grocery store, or driving my kids to soccer, running errands, you would think all is fine.

This place inside me where I pull myself together is where I go whenever I’m feeling down, confused or stressed.

In the privacy of my soul — where my memories lay — lies the wounded me.

Greater Faith

You know, the month of November is the time of the year when we talk about being thankful.

But for someone like me, who is going through the journey of healing — having to remember all the people, places and stories that have wounded me — what I’m thankful for may not be what everyone else has on their list.

Before my journey through debilitating anxiety, I was able to ignore the undercurrent feeling of shame I’ve hidden growing up in a dysfunctional home.

I wanted to be strong and courageous — by being competent.

I didn’t understand God could make me strong and courageous — by being broken.

I was still young in my journey of faith.

It wasn’t time for me back then, as a little girl, to understand it takes greater faith to be broken than being competent.

Even Though

It’s what Jesus chose in the Garden of Gethsamane, the night everyone was remembering Passover and giving thanks for God’s protection from passing death.

It was the night Jesus chose not to pass death.

It was the night Jesus felt like dying –

even though He had just celebrated the Passover meal with His closest friends,

even though Jesus had given thanks, for the bread,

and even though Jesus had given thanks, for the cup.

Jesus confided –

My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.  
Stay here… With me.
I’m very sad.  It feel as if I’m dying…”
Matthew 26:37-38 (NIV, CEB)

 Jesus didn’t want pain, but He wanted us more.

So, Jesus chose to be broken.

This Thanksgiving, my heart is opening up.

My soul is awakening with each painful memory coming alive.

I’m stepping out — even in my numbness — to give thanks.

Not because I’m strong.

Not because everything is picture perfect.

I have something this year I’ve never had before.

I have a heart that is becoming real.

My Real Thanksgiving List

This year, I’m opening my heart to My Real Thanksgiving List.

I’m thankful –

I can be in need, so I can go on a new journey to find comfort.

I can feel sadness, so I don’t have to live separated from my heart.  I can cry and feel afraid because it means I’m real.

I don’t have to want suffering, but I can choose to embrace it.   Because God doesn’t see it as shameful.  He is going to stay with me.  As long as it takes.

I can fall apart.  Because Jesus is holding me tenderly and His tears are dropping onto the hands that have gone limp from praying too long and too hard in silence.

I’m thankful I can hear Him whispering –

I haven’t forgotten you.  

I’m not going to leave you.

over and again, even as I choke out in sobs to Him in return, “I don’t want this.  I don’t want this.”

I’m thankful I can finally stop to look at my wounds and investigate how they got there.

I’m learning to say no in ways I’ve never dared — to say yes to me and yes to God.

I’m thankful I can smell the rain and remember the dreams I’ve given up — so I can ask God if I can taste them again.

I can ask God, “Is it too late?” and still doubt, because God is faithful even when I’m not.

I’m thankful for beautiful things I’m finding among the devastation of letting go.

I’m thankful I can be broken and real.  Because Jesus still chooses me. 

Something Beautiful

I am finding new friends who understand that both sadness and joy can co-exist.  Who aren’t trying to fix me.

Friends who trust that love is greater than any resolution.

Friends who understand the journey of faith takes us off script.

Who share their own stories of struggle and dreams.

Who can touch the deep places.

Friends who remember the earth was once formless.

Empty.  

Yet, God was still moving in it, making something new and deep.

Something beautiful and real.

It was so real, that when God looked at what He was holding — after placing His lips and breathing into the dirt — He saw something come alive.

Something He never, ever made before.

It’s what God sees looking into your heart and mine today.

He is making something beautiful out of you.

Remember

As we walk into the heart of the Thanksgiving season, and all those picture perfect images and stories start flashing onto our screens, remember The Real Thanksgiving List taking shape in God’s heart — inside of yours.

This list is coming alive in the real stories He’s walking out with you in the current chapters you are living.  Today.

We can be thankful.

Jesus is going to keep loving us — the same way He calls the stars out on the darkest nights every day.

He whispers your name.  And mine.

Tenderly.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. 
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them.

~ Psalm  147:3-5

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