Friday, August 21, 2015

The Seen and the Unseen

Hebrews 11:1 "Now Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." 

There seemed to be an impending storm brewing the last 10 days or so. A fog of uncertainty just kept hanging around.

Fog amongst the vineyards. 

As someone who works for the school district, I've enjoyed my summer off, doing what I like, gardening, writing, walking...and the last two weeks, waiting for a new assignment, possibly a new school. I started praying long ago, actually beginning last September when I knew my time with my senior meant that a transition for both him and myself, culminated at graduation.

So I waited until the calendar rolled around to August to expect the letter, a reassignment of a new student and praying I'd remain on my same campus.

The letter never appeared. Every time I prayed again about this, I felt such peace. "God's got this," as the saying goes. The fog remained, the haze settled in and things continued to be very fuzzy, very unclear. With school starting in just a few days, I became proactive and began the e-mailing and calling down to the district office. Yes, I became a little concerned.

It seemed I had fallen into a black hole somewhere.  With each communication, the sun seemed to start to breakthrough. In my time with God where I like to hang out, I waited for a sign of strength, a butterfly, the ones I like to name. One day, as I sat out there drinking my whole cup of coffee, I got up to return to the house, and there it was, the butterfly I named "Faith."

God's Words came to me: Just have faith, I will make things clear.  I told God that I didn't think I was too great at waiting, especially about this. He probably smiled and thought...that's why I'm doing this!  

As I write this tonight, I am back at my same high school, a new student and a new challenge. God is faithful and He gives us the desires of our heart. Sometimes, though, we must wait in the haze until He makes things visible. In that, my faith and trust grows again. I will remember this time, this uncertainty, this provident answer in His timing when things looked pretty bleak, and encourage another.


Other times, clarity is so evident. For the last two summers, the writing of my memoir, a book about my journey through grief and healing remains my number one project. At this point, I am near completion. An old friend came to visit and I decided to show her my chapter titles.

"Pick one, I said."  "I'll read it to you."

So, she did; chapter 7 titled "My Timmy." It ends with a cliffhanger.

"I can't leave without you reading the next chapter to me!" she states.

So, I read her Chapter 8. She has closure and things are clear to her as we talk about my book.

Today, another friend came for a visit and when we returned to the house, I did the same thing. I handed her my chapter page and asked her to pick one and I'd preview my book with her by reading one chapter. Out of 31 chapters, she picked the exact same chapter as my other friend, "My Timmy," and of course when reaching the end, she just wanted more, the answer to what I had left the reader wondering in Chapter 7.

Knowing me for many years, it became clear to her how God's grace and my growth have moved the dark storm clouds away and my vision and attitude now look towards the bright side of life in and through the grieving process, which to me became a part of who I am. The writing of this memoir and the spiritual experiences I've had writing it, the continued healing and purpose in the words, the stories---all the insight is as crystal clear as a Santa Ana windy day in the valley.  I need to tell this story because this is all for His Glory.

I find that is how God works. He makes things like His creation, His love, His majesty so very clear and easy to grasp while other things more abstract like faith, trust and His will, forgiveness--actually are more to do with us, our growth, our willingness to surrender and to wait.

Clear view of Los Angeles Harbor

Lord, The weatherman is right. We need to take heed and wait out the storm, stay under an umbrella of prayer and trust that You, the Light will lead us safely through the haze of uncertainty to a sun shiny place once again. In the clear and sovereign purpose You have for us God, I can trust that the Son and His rays of Hope will keep me focused and headed into each new day with a story to tell, prepared for the rainbow of promise through what is known from the testimony of Your faithfulness to me.  And in all things... I give thanks. Amen.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Prayer Garden

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, O Lord, Thou wilt hear my voice; in the morning I will order my prayer to Thee and eagerly watch. 

I don't know why, but something called me outside this morning. I knew what that meant--I'd be lolly gagging with the flowers and bugs and not getting my walk in before the heat. Still cool, I grabbed my coffee and camera and went out back to sit and chat with the Lord. A dialogue happens while walking too, but a garden...well it just seems like a natural place to connect. 

OK God, here's the deal. You are so awesome in all things that You orchestrated this week. How can I not trust you?  And here I am, asking for just that, ... a little more faith, guidance, some peace.

The Tiger Swallowtail moves in on the end of that thought and for once...actually lands and stays on a zinnia right in front of me. I know this guys name for sure. He's been with me for 8 years now, coming alongside me in my grief, healing and purpose. I take his picture in his graceful pose and I name him Grace butterfly. I feel the bubbling up of faith and trust and I can't help but be thankful. 

In less than the time it takes to fly from one flower to the next, his buddy comes soaring in. Bright orange and white, I am thinking it is a Monarch.  Making his appearance quite regularly these last few weeks, today he is not at all camera shy. Diving in, he takes a look around and pops over the fence, around the tree and continues the relay. I hear God tell me something;  this guy has a different name. The butterfly provides for me an opportunity to take his picture many times. His name is Provision. 

How many more can I capture this morning Lord? What else are you giving me, that I asked for, sought for, knocked this morning for?  I am overwhelmed and blessed. 

When we think we don't have any peace, maybe we're just focusing on the negative, not seeing the goodness. It's there, really. Push back the clutter, the midnight minions that worry us  and ask God to open up your eyes to see Him. He waits for the discovery, down in the mess of fallen leaves...but also near the root, where life springs forth. 

The white flag of peace, waving in the earth, another attribute of the Lord along with His sovereign Grace and Provision. When I look in my garden at any given time, I see these guys. They love to fly in pairs, playing off each other and enjoying the flowers.  Now I name her Peace. She flies through and I know she wants to visit everywhere;  to go around the world in her life time,  fly into classrooms and executive board meetings, into huts and alleys, homeless shelters and NICU's, cemeteries and slums, GOP debates and over oceans where people are lost or sailing away to look for her. Peace, it's not elusive. It's so much like the butterfly, something that became transformed, a beautiful hope. 

The hummingbird reminds me to keep busy, keep praying, keep believing, knowing and sharing the GRACE that meets me every morning.  He hears my prayers and PROVIDES His mercy, within His will and timing. It is OK that I ask Him again, for I am weak at times, many times...I live in this crazy world, still human every morning but graced. Each day I ask for continued strength. The PEACE of God, I read and cling to in His Word and know it. I recognize His voice.  He promises that His goodness is sufficient. I am among the transformed and He gave me a new name as well. I continue to eagerly watch  and listen to His voice of Love. 

These guys, clipper butterflies, too numerous to count, I named my  PRAYER WARRIORS; my church, my closest friends here and a far. I love you and your strength. Your  love and support in return cannot be captured in a blog or a few pictures. 

Lord, I am just thankful for so much this week. To want to express it in my writing, sometimes  does not feel like enough. I never want to stop being overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit and how You minister to me. Keep flying in Lord.  What ever words I can come up with, may it be all for Your Glory. Not just working in me, but  Lord, my family is seeing You as well. Your goodness flies all over this world and may those who seek your GRACE, Your PROVISION, Your strength in FELLOWSHIP  and Your PEACE, find it soon and continue until Your Glory returns. Amen.  


When I came in from my garden, the morning sun ablaze now, I postponed my walk.  Logging  back into my Facebook account, an old classmate sent me this picture, the exclamation mark to my prayers.  God is good.