What Nakedness Reveals

Fall is the celebrated season to break out the flannel, boots, and pumpkin spice, yet it’s also a time to see immense change happen in nature. We’ve just watched what was once growing, green, and full of life burst forth with bold vibrancy before all-too-quickly fading into drab tones, weathered stiffness, and the preparation for dormancy.

The trees have been shedding what’s left of their leaves, and the storms which are due to arrive soon will likely finish off whatever remains.

Trees can be a window into our soul. It can be good to let go of dead things, but doing so can also leave us feeling naked, feeling exposed and feeling vulnerable. Being uncovered—and letting others see our realness—can be a challenge.

I’ve been gone from the visibility of published writings here for a time, and it may be a while until I post again, but I’m here now. Here…in the moment because of the trees. Much like the trees, life and change can be a process to shed what is seen by others while being brave enough to reveal broken branches, burls of curled wood, and scattered parts that were once full of life and purpose.

Don’t you feel like this at times?

Yesterday, I took a walk in the forest behind my house. The sound of silence from the trees contrasting with the crunch of the dried and fallen leaves beckoned me. To be able to look up, look down, and look around—seeing the divergence of what is alive, what is changing, and what is dead—reminded me of how we are much like these majestic creations that blend together in a forest. There is beauty to be found in every season—with trees and within ourselves, too.

It’s easy to see the forest, yet harder to see the tree within the forest. …that is, until we get up close to see the tree for what it is:

  • The tree is changing with the seasons of its life;
  • it’s letting go of that which is dead while standing strong;
  • it’s giving life to a network of tiny organisms resting beneath its cover;
  • it’s offering fruit to other living creatures;
  • it’s preparing to rest;
  • it’s patiently waiting for the next season;
  • it’s readying itself for rebirth…and growth…and beauty to come.

Those trees—and you—isn’t this what your life has been about, too?

“Trust the journey.”

It’s what I say to myself when forward progress is slower than it seems it should be.

Trust your journey.

Trust in the season in which you find yourself.

Trust in the seeds you have planted while getting to where you are today.

Trust in the change that has taken place.

Trust in the work you are doing to prepare for what is coming.

Faith is not a moment; faith is a journey.

Seasons change.
We change.
Life gives us opportunities to be the change.

As much as you might miss some of what’s been left behind, trust in the opportunity ahead that has been created by being willing for forge a new path after letting go of what may no longer serve the same purpose for you.

It’s okay to be naked and exposed for a while. 

It really is!

 


 

The Purifying Fires of Suffering in Your Story

I am fortunate to be digging into a thorough study of the book of Revelation with some incredibly amazing women.

We’re examining the letters to the seven churches in Revelation 2 & 3 right now, and one of the commentaries I’m referencing is by John F. Walvoord.

Walvoord’s quote about the suffering church of Smyrna really got me thinking about the challenges I’ve gone through.

What about your own sufferings? What about your own choices, words, actions and deeds in your agony? What about the story being written about your next steps?

We all have a story.
We all have sufferings. 
We all have an opportunity to have our story be used for a greater purpose.

In time and when you are ready, be encouraged to let your story burn brilliantly like a lamp on a stand.

Someone out there needs to see the Light.


Finding Hope in Shedding an Old Life

In April, I adopted an orchid. It was a take-home gift from a lovely bridal shower I attended in Michigan. I’ve never been tasked with caring for an orchid, but it was so lovely with its six blooms, that I was excited to transport it home.

The conditions in Michigan gave us a wintry blast of ice that coated the car to 1/4″ thick. It took 30 minutes of running the defrost and chipping away to clear the car before loading up my luggage and moving the orchid from the warmth of the hotel room. She was buckled into the seat belt in the back seat for the six-hour drive.

Upon arriving home, I settled her in on my kitchen counter with an ice cube for refreshment (Google is so helpful), before doing some laundry and packing up again for a seven-hour drive to Virginia. I gave strict orders to my family to NOT touch it or water the orchid while I was gone.

I returned a few days later to find a few buds had sprung open and new buds were forming. Yes! Victory in the moment! I had never grown one of these tropical beauties, but she was growing and glowing without much help from me.

Her 15 blooms have dazzled me with their beauty for months. A few weeks ago, her blooms began to wrinkle and lose some luster. Now, just three remain, and soon, she will seemingly slumber. As a first-time orchid owner, I’m not sure how long she’ll rest, but I’ll remain expectantly hopeful of her reawakening, no matter how long it takes.

 

 

This little orchid helps me to see the circle of life through the challenges and hopes within each of us. She has particular needs, and when her needs are nurtured, she is mesmerizing. Overdo or under do anything with her, and there will be issues. She’ll be less than she was created to be.

That’s life, isn’t it? There are surprises, delights, new opportunities, beauty, blossoming, showy moments and confidence in becoming who we have been created to be. Yet, in all of this, there are disappointments, heartache, a shedding of the old, fading joys, wrinkles, retreat, silence, and a feeling of loss where we have trouble knowing when we’ll get our groove back.

Expectant hope abounds in this little orchid, in all of nature, in us and in others. It’s all around us.

Can we see it in the simple?  Can we see it in the small?  Can we see it in the lonely?  Can we see it when we are shedding an old life, old habits or that which leaves us feeling dead?  Can we see it with a new opportunity?  Can we see it in our smile?  Can we see it when the Creator is working in us?  Can we see it?

Expectant hope abounds all around us.
Can we see it?


 

Enjoying the Moment & Missing the Pic

A coyote emerged from the woods this morning—right from where we send the dog to poo—and then he played in the snow for about 10 minutes, running, leaping and doing a prancy-pounce thing.

I didn’t take a picture of him. I just wanted to watch him, as eerie as it was to have a coyote visible in the daylight. [Those if you who have coyotes around know that they are more often heard at night than seen in the day.]

I didn’t take a picture of him.

Does anyone else feel like we spend too much time instagramming our lives instead of enjoying the moments in the moment? I felt the temptation this morning, but didn’t give in. I just wanted to watch him, not photograph him.

 


 

The Feelings of Christmas

 

What is it about Christmas? …about the feelings this time of year brings about in us?

The stage is set in our intentions:

the twinkling of lights,
Christmas cookies baked by the dozen,
the wow gift for each of our loved ones,
a fresh-cut tree brimming with ornaments,
parties galore,
a crackling fire,
Christmas songs lulling us into a smile,
peppermint cocoa brimming our cup,
the sound of laughter,
the feeling of contentment,
[cue the softly falling snow].

How many of us experience the idyllic Christmas of our mind’s eye?  Sure, we find it in our head, and we have meaningful intentions in our hearts, but there’s a gap in what actually transpires as we ready ourselves for the season.

What are you really looking for this Christmas? …and can it be filled by the things of the season? 

Be encouraged to seek and to search. Feelings can be a challenge to deal with, yet spending some time with them can help to bring about a clarity which equips us with the courage and expectant hope to be more real in our own head and heart.