It always catches my eye, something sparkling, something shiny, on the ground near me. I see it reflecting the sunlight as I'm walking past, on the concrete, stuck in the low places. It is usually broken, lost.
I've been doing this for many years. A collection or shall I say a "treasure box" holds them, waiting until one day I can use them in art--like multi-medium, or a three-dimensional embellishment.
They once served a purpose as part of something, but became loose, separated, a bit bent. Once they are found though, I like to think their purpose is brought up to another level, waiting with the others until their do time, to shine again.
I've only told one other person about this crazy habit of mine. When these little bits of broken jewelry or clothing decor started appearing, I thought they were little messages from Heaven, to encourage me...a heart, a butterfly...yes, I've found several of each. Sometimes, I found stars, and I felt God just telling me I was on the right track, ...keep shining.
For the last several months, my writing and ministry partner, Linda, and I, embarked on a dream of extending our writers' group to a community event, hosting a half day writer's conference, to connect aspiring writers with others and encourage the journey. We hoped to even inspire the beginning of other writer's groups in other churches or elsewhere. After all, we have enjoyed great success in our 8 years, seeing many completed manuscripts and published articles.
Linda has thrived through her health challenges over the years, despite some setbacks. She is a miracle, living 30 years past the date the docs said she wouldn't. This year, her battle has taken her to the front lines, hospitalized for 3 weeks in February and for the last 8 1/2 weeks again. Yes, you read that right, 8 1/2 weeks! With the encouragement of the Body of Christ, I press on to make this conference, this initial concept of hers a reality. The big day is tomorrow. Though she came home yesterday, she will be unable to attend the event she so invisioned and prayed for to become another step of faith in her heart for writers and her Lord. My heart is broken over this. God has a plan and I see part of it is to stretch me.
Our goal stays the same, to build relationships through our common love of writing and in that, be salt and light. I dedicate the day to Linda, my writing mentor and dear friend, for without her, I would never have believed that God gave me this gift to write and share His truth in and through story. I would not be a leader in my church, respected and healed from the hurts of the past. God goes before me, slaying the giants that loom on the horizon.
As I have written before in this blog, God has a way of tangibly showing me His glory and love, His steadfast encouragement. Driving into work this morning, no DJ talked, just three songs played until I parked:
Strong Enough ~ Matthew West
The Heart of Worship ~ Matt Redman
Hills and Valleys ~ Tauren Wells
I immediately recognized my journey putting this conference together without Linda, that God is strong enough despite our weaknesses, that when we set out to bring Him glory, He will accomplish great things through us, despite the pitfalls and that God is with us in every hill and every valley as well as the mountaintops of our lives. What a great God I serve!
I took the students out to their P.E. class, sitting on the bleachers watching them play baseball. I looked down at this sort of shiny object, a scuffed up, bent star. I reached for it and smiled, hearing God's voice telling me all was good, keep trusting. I snapped a picture and sent it to my only friend that knows about my secret treasure box.
A bit ago, she knocked at my door with a note for me and a heart shaped box. Reading the verse, I am overwhelmed with God's way of showing me His love in the treasure box of special friends that surround me.
From her jean business, she found a stud that came loose. She placed in on her desk for a few days, never tossing it. Today, after receiving my picture and text of the star I found, she collected the shiny stud, wrote the note and made her way over to my house, her little gift in hand. I reached in my pocket and placed the scuffed up, bent star next to the beautiful shiny stud she gave me and proclaimed the truth, God makes beauty from ashes. He takes what is broken, lost... and brings it to glittering, shining beauty for His glory in and through our faith.
Lord, tomorrow is going to be good. Linda, God's got both of us, He always has. You are my shining star and I am yours and together we make up a sky full of the faithful, all for His glory. Melody, thank you for always making me smile with the smallest of gestures but the biggest heart. Lord, I thank you for allowing me to see Your vision that we persevere even when it seems impossible to press on. Lord, you make all things possible when we put our trust in You. Amen.