Masterpiece

I like to have a word for the year. Some sweet thing dropped into my heart that ripples through the year and holds me like an anchor when the tide comes in and the waves begin to crash around my little boat.

The word, my word, for this year is masterpiece.

masterpiece

I’m not much one for making masterpieces – my hems are seldom straight when I sew, and I never quite measure properly when I bake, and for the love of literacy I ought to conquer the common comma… but I don’t.

Masterpiece seems a little pretentious; self-absorbed, prideful even. It’s not that I think I am capable of creating masterpieces… far from that.

This word has grown in me though, swelled and enlarged, since I read this sentence:

Creation then, is not the aftermath of a battle but the plan of a craftsman. God made the world not as a warrior digs a trench but as an artist makes a masterpiece.

Timothy Keller – Every Good Endeavour.

Too often my world, my ‘work’, my doing and being is treated like a warrior digging a trench.

I feed myself a narrative that is filled with the sighing of the small niggles, the mundane requirements, the hard, the tiring, the small. Yet, here I am encountered by a different invitation.

The invitation to work, live, endeavour, strive as an artist who is working on a masterpiece.

I have but one opportunity to pass through this year. One chance at today – at its mundane and its extraordinary – and I can treat them as a trench to dig or a masterpiece to create.

This is my word.

This is my invitation – to partner with the one who makes a masterpiece from dust and words. Who gives honour and beauty to the small and to the great.

This is my challenge – to shift the way I think about the everyday, the painful, the boring.

When I look at the masterpiece makers of the world I am sure that the creation of those masterpieces required a great deal of boring, a great deal of perseverance, a great deal of belief that the masterpiece would come from the application, discipline and doing of the daily work.

Masterpiece is my word for the year. May it skip like a skimmed rock across the waters of my life and ripple out and out and out until I see, and realise, and commit, to being an artist not a trench digger.

Do you have a word for this year? Do you see yourself as an artist in the day-to-day? Do you glory in your ‘work’ as an opportunity to make beauty?

May we all be artists, and may the work and living of 2016 be truly a masterpiece in your life and the life of others. xxx

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When Today Isn’t Going to be Awesome

Aren’t those days great when you rise to sunshine and hope in the air and the promise of something new and special right around the corner?

Isn’t it wonderful when the season is a promising one and we can see everywhere the signs of spring?

But there are days when we wake knowing today isn’t going to be awesome.

The days we face a conflict that must be resolved,

the days we know there are apologies we must give and forgiveness to be asked for,

the days of sickness and tiredness rolled into one,

the days of disappointments and rejections….

The days that feel like a every breath is a fight, and the pit of your stomach weighs heavy in your body.

The days that only promise a long winter ahead.

These are the days I come to remember again how much I need the One, the source, the place of eternal rest.

The invitation calls more strongly in the place of distress – come to me you who are burdened and weary and I will give you rest.

The bible is not a collection of promises that today will be awesome.
It is a promise, written in the blood of my Saviour, that I AM will be with me in non-awesome, in the desperation, in the carnage of the mess of my own bad decisions.

The bible is a promise of never being alone in triumph or disaster.

Jesus… the one who walked in distress, who wept, who raged, who offended, who comforted, who understood, who reached out to the rejected, who was himself rejected, who suffered the physical pain of death… this is the Voice who said…

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

Maybe you face a day, or a week, or a season that feels like even the whisper of wonderful is impossible – in the midst of all of that may you know what it is to rest right next to the heartbeat of God.

May you find yourself safely in the arms that never grow tired or weak or restless.

Because the fact that today isn’t going to be awesome doesn’t mean you are abandoned.

You dear one, beloved, are not alone.

May you cast yourself bone-weary and broken, fearful and needing forgiveness at the place where all of it is swallowed up into the broken body of Jesus as he wins your peace, as he wins your rest, as he wins Hope beyond the borders of our mess, and forever.

Be loved today xxx

A Word for Now

I love that when I am at my most feral, full of my own ambition and pride

when I am hurt and slighted

when I disappointed and angry

that He will still speak

like a gentle breeze that calms a raging hurricane of emotion

simply a word from Him and I can be undone

and as that word is spoken into my heart from the pages of His Word I am taken with the weight of my own wretchedness and I am given hope at the same time. Sometimes it is like walking in the centre of a contradiction this journey

 – ever more aware of how far I am fallen

— ever more reminded that I am precious and loved beyond measure

loved by a God who will not let me stay in this state – a true parent that is committed more to the final state of my character than the current state of my comfort

… but in it all remembering I am dust and treating my raging with gentleness so that this bruised reed will not be broken

Today I was given this

Be here – the king is wild for you. 
Since he is your lord, adore him.
ps 45v11

Wild for me – that is where I want to be today right in the centre of his wild love where no arrow can do more than graze away a little more of my self-centredness. Here is where I long to be where my wounded-ness is so painfully obvious and yet I can express it without fear.
Does it blow your mind that the King is wild for you?
Wild about you?
this king, this is the one I want to adore with all my ability.

Why We Ache for Spring

Before Winter starts I imagine the snuggling under blankets, the gathering in near the fire, the slow and homely pace.

and then Winter sets in

and there are still school runs to do, and kindy runs, and waiting in the bone chilling wind…. and it goes on and on and all of me starts to fantasise about Spring.

We ache (sometimes literally to the bone) for the Spring to come, for lightness in the skies, for the heads of daffodils to herald the way.

We long to be rid of the Winter. To throw it off and shake our fist at it – you tried to break my will but you didn’t succeed.

…. and I think this is how we feel about life seasons of Winter too….

when the leaves drop and we are defenceless and vulnerable,

exposed and found lacking,

the shallowness of our roots becomes obvious as the surface of the ground ices up and begins to crack,

and we long for the easiness of Spring, how impressive our blossom, how hopeful and filled with potential and promise we look.

Currently I feel challenged not to try and race so quickly through the winter – there are good things to be learnt in the winter season.

humility – when you are full of bloom and potential humbleness is harder to learn. When you have nothing to cover your inadequacies, when you feel out of your depth, when you feel alone, this is when humility comes more easily. And I know humility will serve me well in the Spring and Summer and especially in the losses of Autumn.

interdependency – when the winter wind howls and lashes I learn the importance of having other trees close by, of having my roots tangled in the roots of others so we lean into each others strengths. I learn the value of the strong, compassionate, clever, thoughtful people around me in a way I forget to acknowledge in easy seasons.

faith – when all around is storm and there is no one to hang on to, the roots snap off or they go deep. In the calm of Spring and the gentle rain who’s to know if there are deep roots that cling to the side of a slippery cliff, in winter faith is what holds me there.

hope – when all is easy what need for Hope? In winter I throw myself into the arms of Hope because Hope will sustain when there is nothing but empty, nothing but cold and the sound of questions being whipped into the wind.

Hope will sustain. He will sustain.

and when you find yourself in Winter may you come out the other side deeper, stronger, humbler, more connected, with Faith and Hope that are based on knowing He is there xxx