Something Beautiful

IMG_7290 Steeples morning fog autumn ch_edited-1

I love this view of the Steeples Range. I often stop here. I took this about a month ago when the grass was still rich and green.

But there’s a reason it’s so green -and why there is a place to pull off the highway. There’s a pump house near this spot. It pumps effluent from the nearby town onto the field as a way of dealing with sewage.

In others words it makes something beautiful out of something, well, considerably less than beautiful.

My parents used to love the Gaither show on TV. At least I think that’s what it’s called. The Gaithers created a bit of a revolution in the style of music we were used to in church back in the 70’s. There was a level of honesty and joy in the reality of grace and the goodness of God we hadn’t seen for a while. The music gave Mom and Dad a lot of comfort. Dad still plays it. I remember the words of one song:

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life

If there ever were dreams
That were lofty and noble
They were my dreams at the start
And hope for life’s best were the hopes
That I harbor down deep in my heart
But my dreams turned to ashes
And my castles all crumbled, my fortune turned to loss
So I wrapped it all in the rags of life
And laid it at the cross.

Something beautiful, something good
All my confusion He understood
All I had to offer Him was brokenness and strife
But he made something beautiful of my life.

 

Many of us have been stopped in our tracks by disappointment in ourselves. The stuff that comes out of me sometimes is truly embarrassing.

Lord if you can use my mistakes somehow, you can have them. You said to give you everything, because you paid for it, and I don’t want to even admit some of this to myself, let alone have it flung out where everybody can see it, but here you go. I’ve done and said some pretty unpleasant things in my life, and I feel ugly sometimes, OK a lot of the time. But you can use anything, even my shame. So here. I lay it all down. The accomplishments, the failures. They’re yours. I know you can make something beautiful out of them.

All Truth is God’s Truth

 

IMG_7232 hosmer mountain bw warm

Sometimes an old truth gains new life when we see it through a fresh lens.

The  brilliant colour of seasonal change on the mountains can distract from the fact that this mountain has stood without change for many many many centuries. The season, the time of day, the weather conditions all change the appearance and either hide or highlight different planes of the mountain’s story. Sometimes shadows can deceive us into seeing something that is not actually there and those willing to take the risk of changing their vantage point will often be surprised when their assumptions vanish in the light of a new day.

Sometimes seeing an old truth from a different  perspective allows us to  let go of ideas we held fast that turned out to be merely  misleading shadows. Sometimes changing our vantage point allows us to see another aspect of truth we never noticed before -but it is still an ancient truth.

The good news of the gospel of Christ is expressed in many ways by many streams. It may appear to be different from different perspectives, but it is the same truth established from the foundation of the earth. God’s character and His plans are evident from Genesis to Revelation and all of it is the gospel truth.

All truth is God’s truth.

 

A Holy Mess

IMG_6586 Mt. fisher fog hwy

I want to be a person who is always at peace inside.

I’m getting better, but I’m not there yet. Until then, I would rather be a person who handles stress by cleaning and organizing. At least there would be slightly less chaos at the end of the day. When I am in the throes of useless obsession about a problem, I can step over mounds of rubble and not even notice. When the problem is resolved I am knee-deep in another one of my own making. It’s probably symbolic of the uselessness of worry.

People who clean obsessively are trying to find a measure of control in an atmosphere where things appear to be out of control. People who mull a problem over and over and over in their minds (aka worry) are doing the same thing, of course. We want to understand the eternal repercussions of every decision, every move toward the heights. We want a sense of certainty in the fog of unknowns.

Here’s the thing about change: It’s messy, and disorienting.

I finally got around to cleaning out some  closets  – but first I had to pull everything out and dump it on the floor and the bed. There was stuff in the back corners I don’t even remember putting there. (And since I haven’t missed it in five years it seemed like a good opportunity to bless the thrift shop.) But for a while the room looked like an episode of a hoarders TV show – piles of essentials and distractions and embarrassment and potential and memories all heaped together.

That’s what my life feels like this week.

Some people who choose to pursue God with all their hearts get the holy cuddles and effervescent joy special.  Some of us get thrown into the lake.

What? But, Lord, I thought I would get what she was getting. I wanted kindergarten happy-happy free-play time.  I got “let’s get serious.” I can’t touch the bottom! I’m drowning!

No you’re not!

I am!

I won’t let you drown, but you’re going to be miserable if you don’t get out of that stroller and kick the feet I gave you. I want to take you out swimming in the deep end with me, but I can’t if you don’t start using what you already have. Now kick your feet – and use your arms. That’s what they’re there for.

The fruit of the Spirit, like the Holy Spirit is already in you because I am in you. It’s my fruit, my character.  But the peace I bring you won’t do any good unless you pick it up and use it.

These circumstances are not just an attack of the devil to show you how much he hates you and wants to hinder you (although he does). They are meant to cause you to dig deeper, to lean harder on Me to discover the resources already placed within you – stuff you have never even taken out for a spin yet.

How does this peace thing work? Ask Me – I’ll show you.

And here’s some chaos to practise on.

Fifty Shades of Peace

IMG_3225 Glacier blue kootenay lake mountains

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” -Jesus

Jesus’ peace is not dependent on circumstances. When Holy Spirit lives in us, His peace is in our hearts, no matter what. So don’t let your heart -or your mind- be troubled. The voice that troubles, and makes you think you are not good enough for God to love, is not His.

He loves you with an everlasting love.

Mountain Morning

diagonal glacier mountain IMG_0829

Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes to us. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy. It will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.

– Henri Nouwen