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The grey days

winter 9

The greyness of the winter days stretch long. Though I know by fact that the nights are getting shorter this time of year, it seems an act of faith to believe it.

I saw someone’s Facebook post yesterday: “Anyone needing a little sunshine?” I responded with a “like” when what I really wanted to do was shout, “YES, I need the sunshine!”

It happens each January. The festive season passes, and we are left with the winter of despair” while we longingly wait for “the spring of hope.”

I should not be bewildered that history repeats itself and seasons come and go as naturally as night turns to day. But sometimes the short winter day can feel long when the sun does not appear.

Such is life. It is the waxing and waning of delight and pleasure versus the bitter and despondency that exists in our world. Somewhat like the moon. There are nights I see it brilliantly in its fullness or as a crescent sliver. At times it disappears altogether, being a new moon or a cloudy night.

Fact says the moon and sun are both still in the sky rotating as they have since creation day when the Creator set their courses and determined their orbit. Whether I see them with my eyes or not, they remain.

There is a confident knowing of this same Creator who also sets my course and determines my days, whether they be tinged with grey or absorbed in brightness.

It is just a season. And seasons change. Happiness is circumstantial. Joy is a deep resevoir within the heart of one who knows.

I know that my Redeemer lives, just as Job knew, despite our trials and tests. We walk through our own grey days while looking for the dancing sunbeams.

As I went to the bedroom to open blinds, I saw the light blinking through. It was the sun. I pulled up the blinds and saw it there in the sky, blue hues peeking through the clouds. It lasted only about an hour before soft ashen clouds covered the horizon.

But I have seen resplendent light once again. And hope rises.

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Be the light

I am intrigued by light and darkness. Perhaps it is one reason I rise early while it is still dark outside. I like watching the new day arrive, the eastern sky growing bright ever so gradually, the sign of a new day.

On a cloudless morning, I am often rewarded with a blaze of color that stretches across the expanse of sky.

When I was a little girl, I was very afraid of the dark. I needed a night-light. I needed reassurance. I needed my Mommy!

As I got older, sometimes my mother would send me next door to my Aunt and Uncle’s house to borrow something – in the dark. I learned to quote Bible verses, memorized in children’s church, all the way there and then back again to quell my fear and calm my beating heart.

Eventually, I overcame the fear of the dark.

As I read the stories of Jesus coming to this earth, clothed as an infant, I see references of light. The coming Light of a Savior was promised. Because who doesn’t want to be relieved of the darkness.

When our electricity goes out occasionally at night, Sweet William and I start scrambling for flashlights, candles, matches, something that will give us the ability to see in a dark house. When we find and turn on the flashlight, strike the match and ignite the candle, the darkness flees and we can see.

Jesus came to be a light to a dark, sin-filled world. He was showing the people who God really is. And He calls us, His followers, to be light. How we do that will be individual according to our personalities and what circumstance we find ourselves in. For some it will be having bold conversations. Other times, it will be a warm smile, a welcoming heart, or a simple acknowledgement of appreciation.

The ways to show light of Christ are only limited by our imaginations.

While we focus on Christmas virtues in December, could we be challenged to show Jesus’ light all year long? A perpetual Christmas celebration! The joy we feel during this month could carry on for the other eleven months. The patience and kindness we offer could be a year-long gift we give to others. We could extend grace instead of a whole host of negative emotions, and it would reward us as much as the other person.

Being the light will dispel the darkness wherever we allow Christ to shine. In our homes and neighborhoods, on the construction site, in the office and the classroom, at the factory or the grocery story.

Jesus the light of the world desires to fill us with Himself so that He shines through us, His children. Our brokenness allows His love to filter through, to flow out of hearts that have been forgiven and filled with glory.

Shine, for our Light has come. The glory of the Lord has risen upon us.

Be the light. Reflect His light. Shine for Jesus.

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And it was night

It was a dark night.

For Judas who walked away from the Passover, into his own passion for something other than he’d been offered, who left the Light of the world, it was dark.

For the leaders and authorities who refused to believe and accept the Son sent from God the Father, it was dark.

For the twelve disciples and others who loved Him, who saw Jesus arrested, convicted and crucified, it was the darkest of days and nights.

Jesus came to bring light, but for a while it seemed as if the light had been extinguished, and they were left in darkness.

Judgment must come.  Sentence would be passed and punishment meted out.  The prince of the world would be cast out.  And darkness veiled the earth for a time.

Those who will not believe remain in the darkness still.

Resurrection day will come at break of dawn.  Light will arise and shine throughout the world.

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Those who accept the Son and the Father who sent Him, will walk in the light.

And they will never be afraid of the dark again.

 

 

 

Sunday grace

I stand in front of yet another casket this week, a long time friend and mother of one I hold dear.  She weeps and I remember my own grief.

Her heart is broken and her mind cannot conceive how she will live without her mother.  I remember feeling the same way some 30 years ago.  My memories stir and I go back to that place in time when earthly life ended for my mother and I felt like mine did too.

But it didn’t.  I moved on.  I had no other choice.

And God was near.

There is evening and there is morning.  Each new day begins, even after the darkest of nights.  And grace is near in the dark and in the light.

After we walk through the shadow of death, we will enter the light of a new day, a new beginning, a new journey.  Until then, we look to the Ancient of Days who changes not.  Darkness and light are the same to Him and He is there in both.

Until the sun shines again, until the light of morning glows bright and color-hewed, we reach for the hand of the Almighty and find He is already holding us.

All is well and all will be well because He is near.

Sunday grace, friends.

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Hope

Sometimes I re-read my journals, the ones I have been writing in for years.

I wonder sometimes why I feel compelled to write, to record daily incidents and the big events in my life.  I think it must be that I want to remember.  I’m not sure what will happen to all those journals when I leave this world.  Who will read them when I’m gone, ride all my emotional roller-coasters, shake their heads and say, “who was this woman?”

Because I am very real on those pages.  I am more honest there than I am in living out my life in front of people.  My inner thoughts are there, those words that never come out of my mouth (we can all be thankful for that!).  I express joy and gladness and thankfulness.  But I also give voice to my hurts, my sorrows, my struggles, my questions.  Sometimes I am in a dark place with my words.

As I read those old journals, I see the deep valleys, the times I wondered what in the world was going to become of me.  Hope was dim.  As I read on, I see how God was with me even then, how He brought me through the darkness.  And I am encouraged to hope again.

Hope.  I’ve pondered the word lately, considered its implications to me.  How do I hope and dream for something while protecting my heart from the pain of disappointment when I don’t get what I hoped for?  I’ve recorded those kinds of experience in my journals.

I am learning a lesson.  I am learning to Hope In.  Instead of hoping for something, hoping for someone to do what I want, hoping to get what I long for, I Hope In the only One who knows what I need, what is best for me, what will help me grow to be more like Jesus.

So I Hope In God.  He has my best interest in mind.  I won’t always get what I want.  It will be painful at times.  I will walk in the darkness for seasons. But there is light at the end of my Tunnel of Hope.

For He is there.  At the end of it all, God is in my hope and I will hope in Him.

I will write my heart and my soul in the private words of my journals.  I will look back and remember Who is in charge of all of my words and all of my life.  I will see how He worked all things for my good.  And I will continue to Hope. In. Him.

For what He desires for me is right.  I pray for His desires to be my desires.

Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He will give you the desires and secret petitions of your heart.  — Psalm 37:4

Commit your way to the Lord, roll each care of your load on Him; trust, lean on, rely on, and be confident also in Him and He will bring it to pass.  — Psalm 37:5

For Hope is an open door into the ways of a good God who does all things well.  I cannot know what is best for me.  But He does.  When my hope lines up with what He desires for me, I will not be disappointed.

So I will seek His desires.  I will pray to crave what He wants to give.  I will look for His open door.  I will live in Hope.

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