Monday, February 15, 2016

When you’ve given up what you love to find yourself waiting…

     You find yourself a new rider on the “bus”, so you slide into the most obscure seat available. Unsure of your role, you observe at first to grasp the bus’ inner workings. Before long, you’ve rolled up those sleeves and entrenched yourself neck deep in contributing to the bus’ mission.   
     Working with fellow riders ignites your soul. This team possesses strengths you lack and perspectives that challenge and sharpen you and love bursts in your heart for them!
     Over time you’ve seen riders come and go. Sometimes out of the blue, the Driver announces, “Next stop for …” You hear the swish of the air brakes and the squeak of the doors opening. With heavy heart you watch friends exit. Other times as the bus rolls to a stop you brace yourself, not only to keep your body in the seat, but because you don’t know who will be stepping on next.  Hopefully it’s someone likeminded who will aid in the bus’ mission. 
     As much as you adore the bus, in quite moments when you look out the window you can’t help but wonder if the bus is going the direction meant for you. Quickly you conclude that perhaps it’s not going in the exact direction, but maybe it is. So you gladly take your seat and thank God for the privilege of the ride.
     Then one day out of the blue, you glance into the rear view mirror. You catch Him eyeing you in the midst of delivering your best idea yet to the group.  Mid-sentence you notice those penetrating eyes and you stop for a second to decipher why they’re focused on you. It’s probably just your imagination. You shake it off and continue sharing your thought. 
     Then a few days later it happens again.  This time you’re sitting in your seat…thinking. You feel piercing eyes directed at you.  You glance at the Driver’s rear view mirror locking eyes, and then quickly divert your attention elsewhere…anywhere but there. 
     You scrunch down in your seat out of the Driver’s view.  You have a sneaking suspicion what the eyes are telling you, but you don’t want to go there.
     Then the adult in you realizes can’t hide forever, so you muster the inner strength to straighten up and take another look. It’s not your imagination. The eyes are fixed on you.    
     This time you intentionally look back. Your eyes ask with a wrinkled brow and a slight tilt of the head.  You hold your breath waiting for the answer.  The Driver’s eyes penetrate lovingly through the rear view mirror melting away the wall you tried to construct. They blink slightly with a gentle nod as if to say, “I know you’re sad, but it’s true.”
     Your heart sinks. You knew it.  Really, you did.  You had a sense in your gut, but didn’t want to admit it. You love your seat on this bus.
     You nod back to the Driver confirming you understand.  He gives a quick wink and a sad smile.  You sad smile back and look out the window again. 
     Only this time you really look. Honestly, you don’t have a clue what’s happening outside.  You’ve been so entrenched in keeping the bus’ activities on track how would you know if the bus is going the right direction?
     But leaving the bus feels like entering a black hole. Maybe you don’t need to go that far!  Maybe you misinterpreted the eyes and only need to change seats! 
    Then you feel it again.  Your peripheral vision catches His crystal eyes fixed on one thing. You. 
     Ignoring the eyes, you scheme your way around the bus considering ways to appease Driver by simply adjusting your role. You envision various options in your mind.  You can make something work!  You’re sure of it. 
     Then again ever since that first glance with the eyes, things feel different. No matter how many scenarios you create, the deep crevices of your heart are restless.  How could something so right suddenly become like a round peg in a square hole?
     Eventually you glance back up to the rear view mirror.
     Oh dear.  You hadn’t thought of that!  The blood drains from your face and in an instant, the decision is made. 
     While you love the bus, you love connection with the eyes more.  In fact, staying on the bus without the relationship of the eyes scares the living day lights out of you.
     You stare up at the mirror again hoping the eyes will reciprocate, but they do not.  You quickly gather your belongings all the while keeping your eyes peeled toward that mirror. 
     Eventually, the eyes scan back and almost turn away, but they notice your deliberate glare.  Their direct focus shouts without saying a word.  The eyes are pleased.  Somehow that will make this move bearable.
     Almost immediately you hear over the loud speaker, “Next stop for…” Your name is called.  Your friends hug your neck.  The swish of the air brakes signal it’s time.  Off you go.
     There on the sidewalk you take one last look up at the Driver’s eyes before the door squeaks shut.  The crystal blues send a message.  If you understood clearly they said, “Wait here till further notice.”  While you’re not sure what’s next, you do know those eyes radiate love and care. 
     You’re going to need to remember that…

That was months ago. Here you stand… waiting. Many worthy buses have invited you to hop on their mission. The temptation is great, until you recall those were not your instructions.
Waiting…it’s tough stuff. With others hopping on and off buses, the feeling rivals being picked last for the team or forgetting to be chosen at all.  You panic wondering if God forgotten you or cast you aside.
No, my friend; absolutely, resolutely no! There is grand purpose in your post at the bus stop.  You best embrace the moments. There will be individuals you’ll meet one on one; people you didn’t have time to know while you were on the bus’ mission; time alone to search deeply into your heart and hear the still small voice.  You are being prepared for your next mission and He is orchestrating it all as He planned because in His time…
You find yourself a “new” rider on the bus…

Monday, February 8, 2016

Winter of the soul…

My eyes scan the scenery…a heavy gray sky hovers low over gnarly, twisted trees once lush and full of life.  Today these trees stand naked, exposed: ugly and vulnerable. 
A few bits of dead foliage cling for dear life to bare branches hoping to relive more fruitful days.

Strange… my soul feels completely at home in these surroundings today. 
You too?

The trees and bushes have nothing left to offer.  All is dried up, lying shriveled and crisp on the cold ground.  Melancholy swirls as the wind stirs the stiff branches.  Once upon a time, leaves danced and sang when the breeze whistled through them.  Today the rigid twigs act embarrassed at the movement that calls attention to their barrenness. They would prefer to blend into the background, unnoticed.  Gloom drips from the cloudy sky like rain.

And yet, as I walk I see things…things I’ve never been able to see before.  My view through the woods is unhindered allowing me to see yards further than usual. During previous walks I’ve heard the mysterious sound of water rushing, but until today I
could never see its source. With all the fluff gone, I meet a quaint little creek tucked snuggly into the hillside as it meanders over rocks; and another and another…each landscape more picturesque than the last.

So yes while all is bare, it’s also simple, and in a strange way refreshing.  No use trying to hide anything.  All covering has slipped to the ground or been blown away by the winds.  Suddenly, the panorama takes on a fresh and freeing kind of beauty: a humble, no pretense, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of…what’s the word… ah, splendor!

As I walk, my senses begin to recover from the shock of the barren scene.  Suddenly, my breath catches. I notice that all is not completely void of life and lush.   Clustered here and there, scattered below the stiff branches puff pockets of bright green!
Tears puddle in the corner of my eyes as I consider the possibility. Could it be that God is doing the same in my life?  Could there indeed be new life exposing itself in the seeming deadness of my winter soul? 

That hopeful idea leads me like a sign marker down a trail of thought that puts a spring in my step.  On the surface, winter appears unresponsive and lifeless.  All seems lost, but in reality intricate, vital work is happening below the surface to ensure a splendid spring and following.

Like bringing my mind’s camera into focus I understand more clearly now the same is true in my own life.  Scripture teaches such.  Our lives must be pruned to bear much fruit.  Times of vulnerability and barrenness precede lavish seasons.

So, for today I will rest in the stark monochromatic scene.  I will take the time to look deeply into the woods of my heart, for today I am able to see without obstruction further than ever before.  I will embrace the stillness and trust my Creator for the growth and fruitfulness to follow.

Sweet peace to you today ~ Love