my favorite things

As a young girl I recall the wonder and awe of the breathtaking mountain scenery and glorious melodies of The Sound of Music. Most likely the first movie I saw on the “big screen”, the story and pageantry of Austria and a home filled with happy children make for a grand early memory. Maria’s sweet voice still brings a smile to my face as she croons, “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens; Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens; Brown paper packages tied up with strings, These are a few of my favorite things…” These words have the ability to take me to a secure, happy place in time like none other.

In 2011 a friend gave me a copy of Ann Voskamp’s book, One Thousand Gifts. She challenged me to begin to compile a list of things I was grateful for. Rather than the lofty 1,000 gifts that Ann recorded, she suggested starting with 100. At the time I was in a dry, stuck place, and the precious gift of the book and her loving words began to do a deep work of healing in my heart. I listed such things as a warm cup of coffee, birds at the feeder, an unexpected letter from my daughter… all things that reminded me that God was for me, not sitting up in heaven on His throne waiting to fling down hardships and trials, but lovingly guiding me in the dark places of the soul. In that season my husband had decided that with his diagnosis of Parkinson’s he no longer had the energy or felt safe holding down a job. We literally went from being a two-income couple, with his income significantly larger than mine, to a one income lifestyle almost overnight. If I hadn’t already been listing the simple gifts of God, my focus may have strayed off my Provider and onto the circumstances and realities we found ourselves in. James wisely wrote:

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way… So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures.” James 1:2-4, 16-18

Our relationship became strained as I worked harder, became the primary care-giver, and watched my once vibrant, protective husband back down to the symptoms of ‘PD’. Continuing to shift my gaze from the trials to the blessings made all the difference.  We never missed a meal and our bills were miraculously paid on time. God proved Himself so faithful!

Music had always been a vital part of our life. We met at church at a youth meeting and what drew me to him was his sincerity and love for God as he played his guitar and sang. I remember shyly sitting next to him to hold the songbook so he could read the words. In choir together, later on worship teams and singing duets were always so important, a bond in ministry to God together. At my brother’s wedding we sang Steve Green’s “Household of Faith”, and pledged again to each other to stand alongside no matter what.

As the disease began to take away David’s abilities to play the guitar and sing, we discovered other musical couples, tuning in to their programs on TV and finding a connection that helped feed our relationship and bring a ray of bright joy. We found Joey+Rory, a singing duo with amazing harmony, deep country roots and a sincere faith. Joey’s song, “That’s Important to Me” was her own list of favorite things. “Having somebody to share my life, loving my husband and being a wife… that’s important to me…” Then we found Sharon White & Ricky Skaggs, a bluegrass singing couple who sang “Reasons to Hang On”. Even though life was difficult, there were still many reasons that we both had to hang on to our relationship, as well as the life we were living, because God was with us in it.  We would sit together and watch these musical couples as they promised to love even in the hard times, and it made us feel less alone in ours.

Thomas Merton wisely said, “To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us – and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is grace.” So I’m resurrecting my gratitude list, and I encourage you to begin your own as well. I’m grateful for skilled doctors and surgeons, and the Great Physician who is restoring my body during this time of healing. I’m finding simple pleasure in homemade, sweet and tart blueberry muffins, straight out of the oven, fresh and warm in the early morning. Then there are friends who call or text to make sure I’m recovering well and taking care of myself. All these gifts are evidence of my God’s presence even on dark days. I join with Paul and encourage you to:

“… Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8

Your gaze will be drawn upwards and I can guarantee that your face will be brighter with each gift you record. Each gift, every reason for life, those favorite and important things you list, will turn into moments of joy and will diminish the dark thoughts, as you focus on the Gift-giver. What are you grateful for today?

Advertisements

divine surgery

Surgery can really take it out of you! Just over a week ago I was waking up to “we got it all, we’ll have the pathology report in a few days…” With three laparoscopic incisions and a grateful heart, I began my current healing journey.

Recently I’ve had more time to sit and think about the condition of my heart. Is it truly submitted to God’s ways? I am drawn to the time of the exile of Israel and Judah. With the death of my husband, David, followed a year later by the passing of my dad, I feel more and more that this world is not my true home. Day to day interactions with evil, and people who don’t know God, can cast a dark shadow over my mind and give me a divided heart – loving God, loving the world, loving self and loving sin. Oh, I’m not a committer of the capital “S” sins of murder or theft or such, but I’m also not as kind as I’d like to be, or as patient as I know I should be, the characteristics of a God who is loving and faithful are often illusive.

In Ezekiel God talks about a surgery of sorts for the children of Israel.

“Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered… And when they come there, they will remove from it all its detestable things and all its abominations. And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.” Ezekiel 11:17-20

The Divine Surgeon would gently but firmly use His scalpel to remove the sinful, hard, waywardness from them and transplant a new, tender and receptive heart in it’s place.

The week before my surgery my physician called to check on me. When I told her that surgery was scheduled and what the plan for my treatment was, she said “sometimes all that’s  needed is the sure, clean cut of the knife.” In my instance this appears to be true. The enemy-mass was removed, an offensive yet contained object gone so that health and wholeness could take over in its place. I don’t have any memory of the searing pain of the incisions. My natural inner-workings are taking over, and as I obey the surgeon’s orders to rest, eat a healthy and balanced diet, abstain from lifting anything over 10 pounds, I’m trusting that I will heal completely and be back to normal in 3-4 weeks.

As for my heart, I must continue to fill it with the solid meat of the Word. I must resist the pull of the world to grasp for relationships and possessions and ideals that are contrary to God’s perfect will for me. I must cultivate the tender soil of a heart fully committed to being who God wants me to be. The Divine Surgeon understands the intricacies of my heart. He isn’t dismayed at what He finds there.

“The Lord looks down from heaven and sees the whole human race… He made their hearts so he understands everything they do… the Lord watches over those who fear him, those who rely on his unfailing love. He rescues them from death and keeps them alive in times of famine. We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.” Psalm 33:13,15, 18-22

The journey to health and wholeness requires a daily decision to continue on the path God has planned for me. So I will journey on in the strength of knowing that God has placed a tender heart of flesh within that aches to meet with Him, to be used of Him. My yieldedness  to His will makes the way a delight that enriches the lives of others as well.

You are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3

As I yield fully to Him, He is faithfully writing, using all the experiences of my days to bring about a grand story. My heart is a place of life and wholeness and hope for the world too see. Oh, Divine Surgeon, continue Your skillful work in me!

in exile

The past three years have been the hardest yet sweetest time of my life in so many ways. Watching my dear husband decline at a pace that seemed very rapid after years of the slow progression of Parkinson’s, his death which formally ushered me into widowhood, my adult children relocating their lives away from “home”, the death of my daddy and watching my mom follow in my steps on her own journey, to health issues this year, have brought an empathy for the plight of the people of Judah and Israel in the time of Jeremiah the prophet.

Exile. A separation from home, dislocation, being out of joint. In all of this, Jeremiah had a strong call on his life to live and write and speak in a time of hardship and transition and trial. All through his life God was telling Jeremiah to live out loud, to be present, to bring hope but also the stern warnings and rebukes that  God’s wayward people needed to hear. As God led the people forth into exile, He was still loving them, ready to forgive and protect and heal. They were challenged to not wallow in self pity, as many of the things they were experiencing were because they had turned away from God’s law and love. He was calling them to a new way of life, to thrive in the midst of the dark place of trials. The charge was to be human right where they were, to live by faith in the circumstances in which they found themselves.

Our family had the great opportunity to be together for a very joyous occasion, as my youngest son and his beloved were married this weekend. Because all my kids live on the east coast of Florida and the wedding was to be on Amelia Island, we rented a beach house nearby to stay in. This was the first time we have all stayed together away from “home” and it was a joy to gather and celebrate. There were conversations, lots of laughter and music, and of course meals together. There also were rare times of quiet and alone, most often for me on the front porch. I sat and reminisced about this season and home and family, and the time of trial I find myself in. I’m feeling a bit in exile, with many unknowns as far as my health goes, transitions in time away from work, having to ask for help and depend on others. But even in this place of “dislocation” I found the comfort of family and friends, and in the cardinals, tufted-titmouse and Carolina wrens in the bushes and trees nearby. These reminders are what are what helps to keep my focus on God when things get hazy.

The Israelites had to trust God was leading them out into what was most definitely the unknown during their time of exile. It doesn’t make sense to leave the familiar, and many of them did not heed the call and perished. But after exile God gave them a promise:

“This is God’s Message, the God who made earth, and made it livable and lasting…  ‘Call to me and I will answer you. I’ll tell you marvelous and wondrous things that you could never figure out on your own… I’m going to give this city a thorough renovation, working a true healing inside and out. I’m going to show them life whole, life brimming with blessings. I’ll restore everything that was lost… [they’ll] be a center of joy and praise and glory for all the countries on earth. They’ll be in awe of the blessings I am pouring on her… the time is coming when you’re going to hear laughter and celebration, marriage festivities, people exclaiming, “Thank God-of-the-Angel-Armies. He’s so good! His love never quits,” … I’ll restore everything that was lost… I’ll make everything as good as new.’” Jeremiah 33:2-3, 6-11 The Message

So I continue to trust as I walk this dark and unknown path in this my season of exile. The wise words of C. S. Lewis encourage me further: “There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.”  I choose to thrive, to live by faith in the God who created all from nothing, and who holds my hand, to know He is leading me. He will bring me out if this place, and the best of my life is yet to come!

the awakening

Lately there’s a stirring of life in the dead and dry places of my soul. It isn’t coming easily, and the struggle is something like giving birth. Have you ever noticed how the presence of personal pain will make you more aware of what’s going on around you? You receive a phone call with bad news that plunges you into despair. The doctor gives an unexpected diagnosis and your world shifts on its axis. To be in unfamiliar territory can make one sit up and take notice of the voices running through their head, and to regain a sense of security there is a need to reconnect with the One who is a lifeline and has the only words that are so vital for living.

For me over the past month there have come a series of tests, from minor inconveniences to major health issues. Last week as I listened to God call me to be more intentional about being unplugged so I could spend more time with Him, my Kindle decided to do an upgrade. My evening companion, the classic Solitaire game, became disabled. Then another few days passed and my cell phone took a brief dip in the toilet, effectively drowning my lifeline to the outside world. The health issues came out of the blue, changing the way the next season of my life may look, but God has faithfully brought the comfort of His presence, my family, and my faith community to my side and I know I’m not alone in this place.

As a teenager I learned a song with a folksy, catchy tune that was popular in church youth groups, which proclaims my thoughts exactly:

“Day by day, day by day, To see You more clearly, Love You more dearly, Follow You more nearly, Day by day by day…”

What is God saying? Am I so in tune with Him that I can hear His voice clearly? I really am nothing on my own. I easily get sidetracked from what God is saying and doing, entangled in the ways of the world, but the call is to come out of that place of complacency and move higher, to live in a place of total reliance on Him. This is the place of life – true life. Abiding. Living wide-awake! To purpose to be so close that my daily reality is that:

“The Sovereign Lord has given me his words of wisdom, so that I know what to say to all these weary ones. Morning by morning he wakens me and opens my understanding to his will.” Isaiah 50:4

Do I fail? Often! My flesh is weak and in myself I am so prone to taking the lazy way out. Do I give up? No, I can’t! For not living wide-awake means I’m not connected to the life-giving power of Jesus! I must make the constant decision to rest in, put my hope in, place my trust in, Him alone. As each day goes by with abiding in Him I find it gets easier to hear His voice. My spirit draws closer and the transfer of words and ideas and purposes becomes more like a second nature to me. I am more like Him in my inner wo-man. I am being refined and reformed. The noise of the world and the enemy dies down as He becomes more alive in me. Scripture, His love letter of life to us, becomes part of my mental makeup, and begins to bear fruit as I speak it out:

“The Lord… hears the prayer of the righteous. Light in a messenger’s eyes brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:29-30

My living wide-awake brings life to the world around me, allowing the Kingdom of Heaven to take over another patch of earth for His glory. I become His image bearer! The soul ambitions He placed in me from the beginning of time can come alive. In that place of living there is perfect Joy, even in the place of pain.

“This is why it is said: ’Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is… be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs… always giving thanks to God the Father for everything… “ Ephesians 5:14-20

I don’t want to miss an opportunity to bring Heaven to earth! So I commit to awaken every morning ready to hear His voice. I strive to be open to understanding His will. I choose to be obedient to speak His words as directed. And I seek to be ever abiding in the resting place where I am close enough to feel His breath on my skin. That is the place of life! Awake, oh my soul!

20/20 vision

I would never have imagined being able to say that I have 20/20 vision. It amazes me to think that with the advances of medicine, a surgeon with a laser and corrective lenses could make the precise cuts necessary for me to have near perfect vision at a distance after more than 50 years of wearing glasses. All. The. Time! Yet that is the reality of my physical eyesight now.

The work needed on my heart for spiritual sight is a much slower process, less dramatic, often painful as I strain to see and understand what God is saying.

God’s word gives the account of a man during the time of the advancement into the Promised Land. Balaam’s story sounds like the stuff of science fiction and fantasy. For someone who called himself the “man with 20/20 vision” God had to send a donkey to lead and speak to him, an angel to block him from doing what he had been instructed not to do, before he could see.

Balaam was a prophet from the country of Aram, a native of Pethor near the Euphrates River, a non-Israelite who obviously was known in his circle of influence for hearing from God and being able to pronounce a blessing or curse that was eternally binding. He heard clearly not to go with the princes of Moab, yet he waivered in his decision to be obedient to God’s voice. Even in this, God went with Balaam, proving that His desire to be in relationship was stronger than Balaam’s disobedient thinking, even sending an angel to speak to him. As Balaam persisted in going through with his ill-fated actions, the donkey, seeing with his 20/20 vision, detected the angel guarding the pathway, even trying to communicate with him to get him to turn around. God intervened further by allowing the donkey to be His mouthpiece. (Numbers 22-24)

Yes, God allowed him to go, but He also knew what was in Balaam’s heart, that he was ultimately being tempted to go for the fame and rich reward he would receive, not for the joy of being God’s mouthpiece.

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity, the clarity or sharpness of vision, measured at a distance of 20 feet. It does not mean “perfect” eyesight. Eyesight is the ability to see, sense of seeing, and range of sight, view. Vision usually includes contrast sensitivity, the ability to track moving objects with smooth and accurate eye movements, color vision, depth perception, focusing speed and accuracy.

There is a true blessing that comes from being able to see God at work all around us. I desire to be able to look beneath the surface and discern truth, to have my eyes wide open and a heart of faith that God will guide me in every decision and step I should make. To do this I must stay close to Him, in His range, and if I use the 20-foot rule found in ophthalmology’s definitions of excellent eyesight that means I’m constantly close to God, aware of Him, in fellowship with Him, in tune with what He is up to. Can I see Him? Better yet, can I touch Him? I must have a God-encounter! What words have been spoken over me that I have allowed to take root that have grown up to block my vision of Him? Where has my vision of Him been marred and blurred so that I cannot see Him clearly anymore?

What is the motive of my heart? Oh, I desire for it to be pure always! To be able to hear God clearly and act obediently, for the “eyes of my heart to be enlightened.” (Ephesians 1:17-19)

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.… put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. Psalm 131  (NIV)

The sad truth is that the 20/20 vision of Balaam was in hindsight! Yet his final Decree foreshadows the coming of the Messiah, a Savior, a star rising to reunite us with God.

Decree of Balaam son of Beor, decree of the man with 20/20 vision, Decree of the man who hears godly speech, who knows what’s going on with the High God, who sees what The Strong God reveals, who bows in worship and sees what’s real. I see him, but not right now, I perceive him, but not right here; A star rises from Jacob a scepter from Israel. Numbers 24

The goal of my life is to have 20/20 spiritual vision in the moment, vision to see a different story, a God-story. The more time I spend in His presence, the clearer my sight of Him at work in me and around me will be. Like any relationship, deep knowing of God takes time and trust. When my active reading intersects with God’s voice clearly speaking – my eyes are open, my ears are open, my heart is ready to receive and act on His promptings. I have to put myself in the correct place to hear.

Oh, to really have perfect vision, nothing between! Draw me closer, God! Pull me into Your embrace, so that You can guide me with Your eye.

 

 

 

 

true beauty

When God created me, He put some unique giftings and characteristics within my DNA. My bent is in helps and serving, administration and discernment. I am most comfortable in the background, making others look good and assisting in getting the job done. It comes as no surprise to those who know me well that I am much more like the biblical Martha than her sister Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus to learn more and to worship.

It has become a spiritual discipline for me to read through the Bible every year. I switch it up, chronologically then book by book, a new translation every year, but the words never fail to sound fresh and alive no matter how many years pass by. This year I’m enjoying The Message translation with the books arranged in the order they would have happened, with commentary by Eugene Peterson, who prayerfully and painstakingly made the words easy to understand to the average person. So as I am reading about Moses and the people of Israel, their trials and travels and training in holiness as they build the Tent of Meeting to allow them a place to meet with God and have their sins forgiven every year, I find it easy to feel the joys and heartaches of their lives.

Moses had been given specific instructions in how the structure was to be built. The people were called upon to bring offerings, of gold and silver, bronze and precious stones, fabric and animal skins, oil and fragrant spices. The people wanted to please the God who had brought them out of bondage, and there was an abundance of raw materials and costly gifts, so much that they were told to stop bringing and start crafting. Everyone had a task! There were priests and artisans, seamstresses and servers and woodworkers. As Moses describes the work that was going on he comes to the Bronze Basin that would be used to wash the feet and hands of the priests before they would begin to administer the sacrifices and sacraments at the golden Altar of God.

“He made the Bronze Washbasin and its bronze stand from the mirrors of the women’s work group who were assigned to serve at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.” Exodus 38:8 (MSG)

These dear women had somehow come to a place of submission and surrender to God – they were willing to sacrifice and offer their prize possessions, the bronze mirrors that had been given to them as they fled from Egypt and a life of slavery! Those who served at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting were charged to purity. They were serving the priests, the representatives of Almighty God! Their lives had been changed by the revelation of God’s glory on the mountain, and they willingly gave their precious mirrors to be crafted into the basin that would hold clean water for washing the hands and feet of the priests as they prepared to meet with God and minister to His people. They no longer felt the need to gaze at themselves to determine if they were beautiful. They were sacrificially ministering and in service their beauty was shining brightly.

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…”  1 Peter 3:3-5 (NIV)

With my serving, helping, task-oriented ways I must constantly be asking myself, is my heart in a place of true service and consecration to Him? Am I cleansed and prepared to shine brightly with His glory as I serve? Only His glory will draw men and women to Christ. I must have the mindset of serving Jesus rather than serving others, not the erroneous idea that I am somehow just working. It’s a sacrificial, loving response to all He did for me on the cross. Before going to Calvary, Jesus took up a basin of water and towel and washed the filthy feet of the Twelve, even the one He knew would betray Him. The love that shone forth from His eyes as He took the dusty, mud-caked feet in warm hands and gently cleansed them worked through more than just the surface grime. It went to the core of their hearts to the hurt and broken places and drew them ever closer to His healing presence. I don’t want to get caught up in the tasks and lose sight of the One who gave it all for me. May my heart continue to make the necessary shifts from the Martha-mindset to Mary-delight.

In the Revelation 5:10, we are told that as believers He “has made us kings and priests to His God and Father, and we shall reign on the earth.” This is a promise both for now, that we are already made kings and priests for His glory, and for after He returns, as we shall reign over the earth with Him.

I invite you to join me and offer up all that may look good on the surface to expose the dark and hurting places deep within to our capable Savior. He will see that all our works will be translated as a sacrifice of praise. In Him the load is light, for He places us in families and with others, under the proper authority and spiritual covering, and allows us the privilege and honor of serving Him through touching the lives of others. It is me, and us, and Him, and this dynamic makes the task easy and the load light. All done for Him and His glory! This is true beauty, shining brightly from within to the ones around us, a glory-light that is unmistakable and irresistible, and it is ours as we live for Him alone.

focus

Yes, I was that child, the one with the shy smile, teacher’s pet vibe and the white, “cat-framed” glasses. Ever since I can remember I’ve worn glasses, and my school pictures show a blond-haired girl sitting as close to the front of the classroom as possible, because I most likely still couldn’t see all that well even with my glasses.

Over the past five years my vision has gotten blurrier. To drive at night was so precarious that I avoided being away from home in the evening. And at my last eye appointment the ophthalmologist very bluntly said, “It’s time to have those cataracts removed…” I had been through the cataract surgery drill with my husband some years back, who had several eye issues that needed to be corrected by surgery. But it’s a whole other thing when it becomes your diagnosis. I had a tearful meltdown in my car after hearing her prognosis, and immediately began to lament and cry out to God. I wasn’t sure how I was going to pay for the surgery, for insurance doesn’t cover most of the procedure and my deductible is fairly high. All of the expenses were going to be assessed out of pocket, and the pockets felt empty. God quickly answered, and provided everything I needed to cover the surgical costs, so I began to schedule the days off and have the necessary tests done. God is so faithful in His provision, always!

In December I began to pray about my one-word for the new year. It has become my way of simplifying how I want to view life, through a word, taking special note when I see it written or heard or read. God brought me to “focus” for 2018.

ˈfōkəs/ the center of interest or activity; focal point; center of; the state or quality of having or producing clear visual definition; point of convergence; adapt to the prevailing level of light and become able to see clearly; pay particular attention to.

I really am enjoying God’s sense of humor! As my eyes are corrected, one at a time, my vision is becoming clearer. I can see patterns and colors and objects that I haven’t seen without glasses in over 50 years! My home needs a thorough cleaning, which others may have noticed but that I was oblivious to.

During the surgery the cloudy cataract was removed, allowing light and images to now reach the retina and become visible to me. My surgeon also used a laser to correct the imperfections in my eyes. Finally he implanted a permanent corrective lens so that my vision is now almost 20/20. It is remarkable to be able to read words from a distance that were blurred even with my glasses!

All this thinking brings me to a few conclusions:

LIGHT – As a believer it is imperative to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. In the day to day it is so easy to begin to look around me at the darkness, but training my vision to be set on Him brings clarity and a release from fear and the cares of life, making me bold and courageous.

I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. Psalm 34:4-5 (NIV)

LASER – The Word of God brings life and depth to the unseeing areas of our soul! This Sword of the Spirit cuts away the dead and lifeless places that keep us from being all we can be in Christ.

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV)

MIRROR – Oh, to have the ability to see myself through His eyes! He created me exactly the way I am, on purpose, and this perception allows me to move forward in confident trust that I am becoming all that He designed me to be.

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:11-12 (NIV)

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV

So as I adjust to my new range of vision, I’m going forward with renewed focus and vision for this coming season. My eyes are fixed on Him, and my steps will be purposeful, intent on following His lead.