Azusa Now 2016

I don’t even know how to put it all in words.

The stimulus around me in the Los Angeles Memorial Colliseum with 60K+ people was almost too much to take in, but too glorious to miss!

It took about half an hour before I could get into the stadium at the beginning. The lines fanned out around the coliseum in all directions. I stood next to a man from Australia who came for this event. Behind me a large group of women were speaking Spanish.

When I finally entered the building and found my seat, the stage before me was filled with Koreans who were praying down heaven over America. That’s when my tears started, and there was no stopping them. I decided right then and there that if you have a prayer need, grab a Korean and ask them to pray. I think God Himself could almost be yanked out of heaven through the prayers of these passionate faithful men and women.  In both English and Korean, they prayed for America. Prayers for holiness, faith, hope and love in this land again. They prayed for unity, for forgiveness, and for the life of God to breathe in us again. They prayed for North Korea. They prayed that God would send more South Korean’s to North Korea with the gospel. They were so strong in prayer, and I wept at the blessing and heritage they were sharing with us in Los Angeles.

Prayers went up for the First Nations people of America. They prayed for the end of suicide and alcoholism, they prayed that they would awaken and take their place in the Spirit of God as sons and daughters of God with a purpose and a destiny. It was glorious, it was heart-rending, and it was powerful.

Prayer, worship, and declarations continued. There was the sound of tens of thousands of people lost in worship, singing with all of their hearts with the worship band on the stage who was cranking out music that went right to the very soul, and there was “open” area of the floor of the Coliseum where children, and adults were dancing, waving banners, and even turning cartwheels as they worshiped freely with all of their strength. This beautiful tumult was punctuated with the large group of people cheering and shouting as a man who had come to the event in a wheelchair, was now taking steps around the arena. He was swarmed by people raising iPhones above their heads in hopes of capturing this incredible miraculous moment.

Behind me six rows was a young man praying to be set free from drug addiction while his father wept over him. Students had gathered around this precious family and began to speak life and hope into them.

I couldn’t see it all. Brain cancer was being healed, deaf ears were being opened, six more people got up out of wheelchairs and began to walk, people were giving their lives to Jesus for the first time, and hundreds were coming back to Jesus who had walked away from Him. The miracles were happening all around the stadium, in the outer hallways, in the parking lots, and around the world as people tuned in to watch the event live.

I couldn’t keep from weeping. Hourly, moment by moment for the 15 hours.

The rain would begin to pour, and we in the audience would quickly don our rain coats, or ponchos, pull our hoods up over our heads and I would stand so that the water would run straight down me rather than pooling in my lap.

This was an historic event. One I had prayed to see since I was a teenager asking God to send a revival to our nation. To see on the stage a representative from so many ethnic groups and races represented in prayer, forgiveness, and reconcilliation, was a powerful sight.

 

Lou Engle encouraged all attendees to not interact as though we were there to see an event, but to respond as one Body as the leaders led us in prayer, worship, repentance, and honor. We stood together, we knelt together, we shouted, we prayed, we applauded. When there was a request for silence, the hum and buzz of 60k + people quieted as if a blanket rested on all of us. There were such holy moments.

I flew over 2000 miles to be there, and I didn’t want to miss a thing.

I’m quite sure there will be more to this event that I will process later, but I am so thrilled to have been a part of an event that will shape history. I agree with Lou Engle in this: “The answer to a divided nation is a united church.”

May we continue to forgive, reconcile, and stand with one another for the healing of our nation.

http://www.thecall.com/azusa

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We Want a King Pt.6

I’ve always been afraid to feel. I’ve dodged feelings most of my life. I’ve numbed myself for so long that this day is terrorizing me. I’ve awakened to my own nightmares.

I passed out once already. I don’t know how long I was out, but I was awakened by the cold splashing of vinegar on my face as another nail was driven into my other wrist. I screamed and spit at the executioners. They bound my feet and nailed them too.

When they lifted up the cross and let it drop into the hole, I passed out again.

I’m awakened again, but by the screaming of the thief two crosses down. He’s cursing and thrashing like someone trying to hasten their death. God is being blasphemed in words I wouldn’t dare utter.

I hurt. Excruciatingly I hurt. The pain I was most afraid to feel, however, is the pain that weighed on me heavier than the cross I carried up this hill. 40 years of grief, of sorrow, of sin, of guilt, of shame. This pain I cannot bear. These are blows of a damning variety, and they have bludgeoned my soul more than the Roman executioners could ever bludgeon my back.

There’s a crowd gathered below our crosses. The man in the middle…they’re calling him the “King of the Jews.” ……Jesus??…..

People are taunting him to come down from the cross and save Himself. The thief on his other side has joined the jeering. The crowd below is full of mockers…except the small band of women and a handful of men whose attention is transfixed in mournful silence on the man in the middle.

Listen, I don’t know who this man in the middle really is. I have only ever believed what the religious rulers said about him (a lesson learned too late about trusting them to tell the truth), but something tells me this man is hanging here because of a lie and he is innocent, and although lies incriminated me, I’m hanging here because of the truth…I’m guilty.

“Save yourself! Save us all!!” sneered the crucified thief.

I breathed in a sharp shallow breath. “Don’t you fear God,” I yelled to the thief two crosses down, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve! But this man has done nothing wrong!”

I shocked myself. I shocked the crowd below…but not the ones gathered at Jesus’ feet. Their eyes met mine with pain-filled approval.

My head is spinning…my heart is aching…

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Those are the first words I have heard from Jesus.

He’s forgiving sin? Is he really who John the Baptist said he was “The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world?” Could he forgive mine? He’s calling God his father…

Flashes of images, conversations, sound bytes are flooding me all at once…The adulterous woman…He forgave her….”Your Messiah will come to you riding on the foal of a donkey”….”If I by the finger of God cast out devils, surely the kingdom of God has come unto you.” “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except by me…” I heard the Roman guards quoting him while in my prison cell…

My lungs are losing capacity. My conscience has condemned me. My guilt has stabbed my heart and I’m bleeding out…but hope is rising in me…

“Jesus, if you really are a king, the Son of God, the Messiah, remember me when you come into your kingdom!” I cried out.

Jesus answered me, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

***************

“As if a million rivers washed me, all my guilt was swept away, as this Savior in His mercy somehow carried all my pain.

And the Father God embraced me, and I heard Him call me “son”, because the penalty of  sin was now resting on that One…

Jesus, the man in the middle.”

I wanted a king…I needed a savior.

Three crosses“He paid a debt He did not owe. I owed a debt I could not pay.”* (Crum)

*”He Paid a Debt He Did Not Owe” © 1977 Ellis J. Crum, Publisher (Admin. by Sacred Selections R.E. Winsett LLC)

 

We Want a King Pt. 5

My death sentence was handed to me today.

There’s not enought time! My whole life…every dream, every hope, my plans….ripped from me! I curse Caiaphas! I curse Pilate! I curse the entire Roman Empire! Tyrrants! Blood-sucking murderers! My life has been diseased by the edicts and trickery of the leaders in this nation…

Death row gives you time to think.

I was nine when Herod ordered baby boys ages 2 and under to be murdered in my village. My mother was nursing two twin boys, who were 15 months old when that Heinous Villain ordered his police force to break into homes to slaughter Jewish boys. I wasn’t strong enough to fight them off, and I’ll never forget how my mother screamed when they tore those boys away from our arms. She threw herself at the feet of the commanding officer and begged for their lives. He kicked her. He kicked her so hard she hemorrhaged from the inside out, and she was never able to bear children again. I spit and swore and fought with all my might, but I couldn’t stop them. I couldn’t save my brothers…

We were never the same. My mother “disappeared” after that–stolen away by depression, and numbness. I could never get her back. My father, who was gone when the murders came, could never make sense of it all and drank himself to death within a year. But I, I, on the other hand, decided I would never be a fool of this regime! What they stole from me, I would steal 100 fold in my lifetime. But I would be clever!

Now I’m in the same prison as Barrabas, that infamous murderer and I feel as poisoned as he in my heart.

Am I bitter? Heck, yes! Now I’ve been betrayed by the ones who supposedly are closest to God! I’ve been sold out in exchange for what? For what?

My every waking thought is murder, darkness, destruction, hatred, bitterness, envy, and pride…and severe regret. No, I’m not innocent. But death? Crucifixion?

Tomorrow I’ll carry my cross. Tomorrow  I will die alone. Not even God is going to look my direction. I’m a lying, murdering thief. I know it now, and it’s too late.

We Want a King Pt.4

Part 4 of a short story for Holy Week

I’m an idiot! I should have known better!

Passover is happening in the city this week. Pilgrims from all over are gathering here in Jerusalem to celebrate with family and loved ones. The town is inundated with tourists, and every market buzzing with the fresh clientel. Of course a person in my line of work gets a little excited. In large groups you can do a little pushing and shoving, and lifting of belongings without much notice.

Of course the Roman government would “up” their security measures during this holiday. He must have been a new guard on the policing force because he was cocky, and I didn’t recognize him. At least I hadn’t seen him before. But he saw me. I was helping an older gentleman “offload” his cart in the market place. I helped him offload a few of his coins too when his back was turned. Petty theft, I was sure. But this guy blew it all out of proportion! I’ve been arrested!

I thought that Caiaphas, the High Priest, should be able to get me out of this. I’ve done a few jobs for him, and surely he needs my help if he is going to successfully get rid of that Jesus character. But I should have known that Pharisees have no loyalties. Instead of coming to my defense, Caiaphas sent false witnesses to my jail cell who have now blown my cover and exposed me as a criminal. Why would he do this to me? Instead of standing trial for petty theft, I am now going to stand trial for all of my crimes! What is happening to me? How did I become so disposable?

I’ve always had an alibi! I’ve done so much good for the Jewish rebellion. It can’t be ending like this for me. I know the penalty for thieves like me…

To add insult to injury, the only topic I hear talked about in this prison cell is that man Jesus. Some have said he is a miracle worker who has come from God Himself. The stories they are telling are extravagant. There’s no way that so many miracles could be attributed to one guy. I saw the man. He was riding on a donkey! There was nothing powerful about him. He gets his influence from the stupidity of people. That’s all.

This is madness! I’ve got to get out of here!

 

 

We Want a King Pt.3

Part 3 of a short story for Holy Week

National pride is a beautiful thing. Especially when you know what you could be as a country, or what you used to be. It’s the stuff post cards are made of, and wall calendars that hang in our homes.  Our balladeers sing the songs of the glory days, and we listen with longing. This is where we freedom fighters draw our inspiration. We’ve got to get our country back!

Okay, I’ll be honest. I started out a Freedom Fighter, but I got a little jaded, and maybe a little greedy. When you start showing some initiative to make changes, some of the most interesting people come out of the woodwork. Cash starts exchanging hands for “secret operations,” and I’m talking BIG cash! That’s when I learned about the how deep the treasury is with the religious ruling class. Oh, they’ll pay alright, but their “jobs” are some of the most devious. But hey, for the right price, I can be devious!

You know, when you’ve got nothing to live for, you can be bought for the right price. Some people call it “selling your soul”, I just call it making a living. Everyone knows outside of a miracle, there just isn’t any future here. I hate to have to live like a thief, (sort of), but a man has to make a buck. Heck, I’ve got nothing but what I aquired with my own hands–legally or not, and I’m sure not giving it up for some big government. I’m not going to be their slave! No, I’ll be a thief before I’ll be a slave!

Judas Iscariot, was one of those guys who joined the rebellion early on, but then he just seemed to disappear. I found out recently that he has been hanging out with that Jesus guy, and I thought, “That’s interesting! What the heck is Judas doing? “True, I’ve never seen a homeless man with as much influence as Jesus, and He does have quite a big following these days, especially now that the Jewish community wants to make him king! Then I learned Judas was the treasurer for that entire band of men who followed Jesus! “That Rascal! I should have become better friends with that guy!”

Jesus….He’s aquiring quite a following, but He is political suicide! Judas better play his hand well, because I don’t think that Jesus will be around much longer if you know what I mean. Judas picked a loser, but he may still make a buck yet.

You got to hand it to people like Judas and me. We found a way to provide for ourselves while sticking it to the man! We are inside saboteurs! You’ll probably read about our names in history some day. We are a different kind of “war hero.”

 

 

We Want a King Pt. 2

Part 2 of a short story series for Holy Week.

What I love about political turmoil, is that you can take advantage of the fears of people. I mean, when people are insecure about their futures, you can make them any kind of promise, and they will latch on to it. The promise becomes a distraction of sorts, because while people have their hopes set on the promise, you can steal their rights out from under them. Yes, political turmoil contains just the right conditions for thieves. That’s why I got in the business.

Dominating powers pay well to have their agendas pushed. I am fortunate to work for the ruling religious class of my day. I wouldn’t call myself religious, but I’ll fake it for the cash. Pharisees are pretty eager to spend their fortunes if it means buying themselves position, and as a thief I’m pretty apt to accept their deals.

It’s just too easy, I mean really! Take for instance the political rally yesterday when that guy Jesus came riding through town on a donkey. The crowd went wild! They were shouting and dancing, waving palm branches, and making such fools of themselves falling all over this guy, that they weren’t minding their wallets, their children, or their houses back home. Well, I wasn’t exactly “on the time clock” yesterday, but, come on, it was too much of a temptation not to pass up. I stole some things. Okay, I stole a lot of things…for myself. Every good thief needs to be tipped once in a while.

I don’t know what people see in this Jesus guy. I’ve heard that he supports paying taxes to Caesar. Not only that, when corporal punishment was due for an adulteress caught in the act, (a scenario I helped set up with the Pharisees for a handsome sum), Jesus refused to stone her, and somehow pursuaded the others with rocks in their hands to put them down and walk away. Absurd! This is who they want for king?

I usually keep my political views to myself, so forgive me, but there are lots of things about this guy that just don’t add up. However, I’ve heard some of my bosses talking about getting rid of Jesus…now that’s a paycheck that might add up just right. Who cares about politics when cash is being doled out, right?

We Want a King

A short story series for Holy Week

I think I get it now. Our country is run by tyrants. We believe we can be better than this. We have a dream for a better country…one without oppression, where our children can grow up in freedom and opportunity. A country where everyone lives from the same moral page, and the Golden Rule is still esteemed.

We have some fighters among us trying to start a revolution, but we are getting weary having to wait.

Whoever our next leader is has to be strong. He has to be able to throw off the oppression of the over-reaching government. He has to re-calibrate our monetary systems and get rid of the dishonest scales and the pilfering tax collecting agencies. He must be strong and give us national pride again. Give us something to believe in!!

They say our next leader is riding in today from the East Gate of the city on a donkey. You can be sure we will be there lining the streets. We have large palm branches to wave, and slogans to shout!

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!!”

Oh, did you think I was talking about America?

Yes, this candidate looks very promising!! He appears humble now, we just need to see if he has any military training. Someone said he once kicked dishonest merchants out of our local religious temple by making a whip out of cords and throwing tables over. Yes, we could use a guy like that in our national government! Clean up house!!

What we need is more force! More “in your face”leadership! Someone who can’t be bullied! Someone who is willing to unite our country again. We want a king!!

“Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord!!!”

…….

If this guy can’t get the job done, I say we kill Him. We’d be better off to release a murdering criminal back into society than deal with another lame candidate.

Lucky for us, crosses are being constructed this week.palm branches

Welcome to Holy Week. AD 30

The Proverbs 31 Husband

Have you ever wondered about the Proverbs 31 woman? How did she get to be so admired? As I look at wives all around me, I find that how the husband treats them makes a big difference. I’ve seen many Proverbs 31 wives belittled and unappreciated, and others flourish and grow. Her character is paramount, but her husband is also key in her success.

Upon reading through the Proverbs 31 passage again, I put the husband in mind, and these are some of the things I have extrapolated:

The Proverbs 31 husband has found a wife of great value. He married someone that he can place his full confidence in. He paid attention to his would-be wife before he married her, and found that she was someone who was kind, faithful, who loved others, and who worked on her own character and person-hood, and he admired that in her. Upon marrying her, the husband came to realize that this woman was worth more than rubies. And so he treats her as such.

He is not threatened in the least by the fact that this woman is ambitious, and works hard. He notices the amount of work she accomplishes and either provides extra help for her by hiring assistants, or gives her full permission to hire whatever she needs to accomplish her tasks.

He isn’t jealous of her ability to produce. In fact, he gives her room to grow in business. She can purchase a field, she can plant a vineyard, she can make a profit. She has learned to work hard for her family which is a character trait he admired in her from the beginning, and although he does not burden her with the task of providing financially for the needs of the whole family, he gives her room to grow and bless the family.

But it’s not just her family that benefits. The husband has also opened his home to the poor and needy. Knowing that he and his wife together make a great team, he is not selfish with his house or possessions, but lives with an open hand as God directs he and his wife to help meet the needs of others.

Between the two of them, they have been good stewards of their own family. Their children are prepared for winters as well as summers. They are constantly attending to the needs of their own household, and out of that, the needs of the world around them.

At the city gate, this man is well respected. He is not embarrassed of the fact that his wife is successful. He has no need to keep her secluded, or isolated, or dependent because she has proven by her character that she is a blessing to her husband, family, and neighbors. He doesn’t feel threatened as a man, and is not known to belittle his wife among his peers.

He speaks highly of her wisdom and character. Even the local merchants know of her integrity of work and skill, and they praise her for her value, and that does not threaten him.

She remained a Proverbs 31 wife because that was her character, but along the way she was given many opportunities to change her character. She could have become vain, over-bearing, selfish, proud, greedy, negative, idle, a gossip, bitter, or invisible. But she chose over and over to love her husband, to serve her family, to bless her community, and she succeeded, also,  because she had a Proverbs 31 husband who did not squelch her passions, limit her resources, become jealous of her successes, or belittle her efforts. Instead, he made room for her successes and helped to resource her efforts.

She is a woman who fears the Lord above all. That is the most important trait her husband saw in her. Because of this, he ensured that their household would be one that would fear the Lord, and would serve Him first. He did not allow spiritual passivity in his own life or the lives of his family.

He realized that how he treated his wife would determine their families success. He also realized that his children would repeat his behavior, and he was responsible to “set the bar” as to how his wife should be treated. Consequently, her children rose up to call her “Blessed”. They did this because their father set the example.

He decided early on to let her be praised at the city gates, and he would be her head cheer leader.

Thank God for Proverbs 31 husbands! I happen to have one, and am so blessed because of him.

Pass It On

2015-06-07 18.40.08.jpgThis particular blog that I am writing today passes through a lot of pain. I feel compelled to write it for the sake of others who may be standing in the place I will describe. I am praying as I write it, that my words articulate well the message, and my heart faithfully carries the meaning.

I was the favorite child of my father when I was little. I was the baby girl. With one older brother almost three years my senior, and another older brother in heaven, I was the grand finale of children (or so my parents thought).

I was about three years old when I began to notice that my dad treated my mother poorly. One poignant memory was when my mom and dad were arguing, and my mom gathered my brother and I and headed to the car to go to town. My father chased my mother down, grabbed her car keys and threw them into our overgrown horse pasture. I remember spending a good portion of the rest of the afternoon helping my mom find those keys. We never did get to leave. This was one of many incidents where I watched my father overpower my mother. And if it wasn’t overpowering her physically, he would use his words to make her feel unlovely, rejected, small, and insignificant. He was a man who lived in constant fear of losing power.

Maybe that’s why my brother became his next target. Boys can grow up to be men. Men can overpower other men. My Dad seemed to work a plan to ensure that his son would never succeed at manhood by using the same methods on him as he did my mother. He belittled him, gave him chore after chore, bullied him, never praised him for his work, and rarely showed him affection. He was determined to always be dominate, and make my brother subordinate.

I, on the other hand, brought my Dad a lot of attention. I could sing. I began soloing as a singer at 5 years old. My Dad decided we should be touring musical family, so he bought sound equipment, background tracks, and we as an entire family sang together. My Dad had a good voice, my mother sang like an angel, and my brother had a great voice that he would lend to the “ministry”. Maybe because I was the youngest, and a girl, and didn’t mind soloing, I got a lot of attention. And that attention was great for me. It affirmed my gifting, it encouraged me to keep going, and it taught me how to express thoughts to a large group of people. The attention shined favorably upon my parents as well. My Dad soaked it up. He could take credit for such talent, and he was esteemed in the places we went for his “beautiful godly family.”

The abuses of my mother and my brother continued. As a child I observed it, not having any power to stop it. I made mental notes: “Stay on Dad’s good side.” “Always look busy.”
“Just keep singing.” There were times, though, that even my cuteness could not overcome the anger and rage of my father, and I would be a recipient of his wrath. It was always out of control, and I still shudder in my memories of it.

I was around nine years old when I formulated a plan that I was sure would turn the tide in our family. I noticed that my Dad would hug me in front of my brother, and bark out orders to him to go do some sort of chore. While he would hold me, he would belittle my brother and tell him what a failure he was. I watched this scenario play out while I was within the grasp of my Dad’s “love”. I couldn’t stand for it anymore.

My plan was to stop hugging my Dad. If my Dad didn’t get hugs from me, maybe he would reach out to my brother! Maybe he would notice the deficit, and realize he needed to do something about it. Once he noticed the loss, I mused, he would begin hugging my brother, and then, I could begin hugging him again and everything would be even. It was a perfect plan in my mind.

Oh, but you can’t force love. You can’t mamipulate kindness or compassion out of someone who doesn’t want to give it. You can only make them more and more fearful of losing power by changing your role. That’s when the tables began turning.

My Dad saw my lack of affection as rejection of him which began to complicate and compound his insecurities. He needed a way to get back what I was not giving. I wouldn’t budge. He became angry, and I received his wrath. And although I hated how he treated me, something about it was satisfying because at least my mother and brother were no longer alone. Now we were all on the same playing field.

That sick satisfaction worked its way into depression, and I along with my mother and brother were suicidal and wanted out of living.

My younger sister came into the picture when I was thirteen years old. I think it was her birth that was the catalyst to give us all the courage to walk out of the abuse. Knowing the kind of childhood we had up until then, My brother and I promised to help our mom get out. My brother got a night job to provide for us. My mom borrowed money from dear friends to hire a lawyer and file for divorce. Our church helped to set us up with temporary housing while in transition, and we stayed in a homeless shelter, and later, a motel. The lunch ladies at the school I attended sent me home with the lunch left-overs so that we could have a reheatable dinner at night. I took on the role as second Mama for my little sister while my Mom pursued training for a job. I was sixteen when my parents finally divorced. My brother was 18, and my little sister was almost three.

The one thing a child always wants to hear from their parents is “I am proud of you.” They want to their parents to reflect on their child’s accomplishments throughout grade school, junior high, high-school, and beyond, and say “You are so amazing!” “I love you!” Girls want to hear that they are beautiful, that they are a prize, and they want to hear their parents speak into their future with words of hope, encouragement, and blessing. Boys want to hear that they are capable, strong, great learners and future leaders. They need to hear praise for the works of their hands, and the efforts of their intellect. They need to be told they are becoming great men, and their efforts are appreciated and invaluable.

It starts in your home.

You can watch movies like “8 Seconds”, and “Ragamuffin”, and many others that show the results of adult men growing up without the praise of their fathers. It will rip your heart out. Un-praised men will always be looking for approval. Maybe in a virtual world, or by becoming work-a-holics, becoming addicted to porn or alcohol, or struggling with their sexual identity.  Likewise, girls without praise grow up to either seek affection from multiple men, become work-a-holics, live a life of servitude, or struggle with their sexual identities as they wonder “what’s so great about being female?”

You don’t have to be an abuser by nature to withhold this most important piece of your child’s well-being. You might feel you have “righteous reasons” for your lack of affection and praise. “Well, I don’t want my children to become proud”, you may say to yourself. “They should instinctively know I love them without me having to say it.” or “If I praise them too much they will have too much confidence and leave me, and I can’t risk that.”

Whatever has tricked you out of the greatest blessing you have to pass on, is complete crap. COMPLETE CRAP, I said.

Moms, Dads, own your wounds. Own your shortcomings. Be responsible for what you are or are not providing for your family, and while you still have breath in your lungs, and the ability to communicate love and gratitude–do it! It doesn’t matter if your children are 50 years old now. If you never gave them that piece of the puzzle–your affirmation, spoken love, or affection, get to it!

If you are raising children now and you are tempted to spend your breath on belittling them, or speaking doom and gloom into their future–Stop it! Put your hand on your mouth. Don’t let your children hear you belittle their siblings. Don’t let your children hear you break them down with your words. Discipline is correction, not dismembering.

Life is precious. Love is powerful. Your words and actions will outlive you. If you have anything left in your heart to bless your children with, by any and all means–pass it on.

 

 

A Letter to My Budding Artist

2004-01-04 13.31.47Dear One,

You are making a beautiful self portrait from little colorful pieces of paper and cardboard. It is a mosaic, that requires you to step back and take a look at it before the whole picture comes to together. In response to your question, “How is life like a mosaic?” I would like to offer these thoughts:

Life is like a mosaic, with many colorful pieces.  Not every piece as it is being added makes sense. When we are living the experiences, we are only able to see individual pieces like the ones you used in your mosaic. Sometimes we like what we see, and other times we wonder if something else would have been a better choice.

Here is something interesting though to consider:

When you were making your mosaic, you were choosing the pieces. You had an idea what the outcome should look like, so you chose pieces that would give you that desired outcome. You, the creator and designer, have opportunities before the picture is finished, to re-arrange some pieces, remove some pieces, replace some pieces, or alter the picture until it is just right. You have something in mind–a purpose that causes you to have creative control over what you are making.

If your picture had emotions, thought and a voice, it might ask you along the way “Why did you choose that piece? I don’t like that color.” or “Ouch! That one was glued. why did you remove it?” You see, the picture is the thing in process. It cannot see the end result ahead of time. It can’t objectively decide what pieces it needs and what pieces it doesn’t need because it is incomplete.

Art doesn’t make itself. Art is made by a creator and designer who has an end goal in mind of a masterpiece.

Our lives our designed and crafted by God, who has limitless creativity, and unlimited resources. Added to that, He loves and cares for the things He has made. He works with us, and for us–allowing us to see the beautiful pieces and be a part of the choosing of the colors. But there are those dark pieces–that add the shading, the contrast, the deep lines that draw the boundaries for the beautiful and cause the colors to “pop”. These are the ones we don’t always understand at first when they are added, but become important for the picture to take shape. These are the ones we question. Our inability to see the whole picture can sometimes cause us to doubt the Artist.

So remember this:

The Designer of our lives is not distant or unconcerned with our needs. In fact He is so vested in our outcome that He staked His own life for ours. He made a promise that reads: “He who began a good work in you will be faithful to complete it.” Philippians 1:6 (And many many other promises that He is keeping.)

So like your picture, you and I are the product of a Designer and Artist. One who takes great pride in His work, and great care for His art. One day we will see the finished product and marvel at His expertise, but for now, we trust.

If He can cause the sun to rise every morning, and the planets to orbit in their places, the seasons to change and produce new life, then He is trustworthy and able to make something beautiful out of us! And already, I get to see His beauty in you!

Love,

Mom