Watt's Well

Room to Be, Space to Create

Tag: faith (page 1 of 2)

Candles upon cake

He does not manage us, to-do list us, or bullet-point us. He loves us. Is with us. And believing him feels impossible, until we do, like a miracle, like lukewarm water turning merlot red right there in the cup. And hope sprouts new, because God doesn’t give us a list. He invites us into the story.

-Emily P. Freeman, A Million Little Ways

This one has felt unusual, like a comma connecting two different ideas.  It doesn’t feel monumental nor extravagant.  But it feels like a pause, a gearing up for another long stride.

It is my birthday.  My personal New Year’s day.

This morning I sat cozily under my nap blanket with a piping hot mug fitting just right in my hands.  I read the quote above by my favorite blogger.  It grabbed me and pulled me in to listen closer.

I tend to look back over my life and compartmentalize seasons.  I shove 2-3 years in a cubby, as those years threaten to come bursting out onto the floor.  Labels hang above each square, generalizing its contents.

Its a system that fails me often, as pieces do not always stay in their proper place.

In a moment of silence this morning, with coffee as my witness.  Thankfulness sprang out of my heart and washed over my head and down to my feet.  Not the kind of washing that comes from emotional hormones or warm fuzzies, yet a washing that comes from the Spirit.

And in a brief moment all of my personal history was strung together in one note.  In one sentence. And this here, this day, feels like one glorious small comma leaving room for what is yet to be written.

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Oils blend, smearing into one another, causing art to appeal to the senses.

Last year I wondered and I desired for what was to come.  All I knew was that change was coming. But this? Different job, pursuing another degree, and regaining old ground in a new way.

Yea, you can’t make this stuff up.

I hadn’t a clue. But He had laid the colors. He took his thumb rubbed it across the canvas and smeared the scene into place.

We live one continuous journey.  All our stories worth telling.

What is He creating in your life?  And are you willing to let Him blend the pieces together in His perfect way?

He is

Me?

I am not self made.  I am uniquely designed, one of a kind.

I am who I am.

Moving from glory to glory.  Oh please, Amen! Amen!

I want to smell of Love and for that there is a cost.

I will gladly take the purging by fire.  Bring it on!  For I was built to withstand!

I will emerge even brighter, ever purer.

I am who I am because he is the great I am.

I am not self made, he brought me forth as his.

Breathed life into these working limbs.  Dreams knitted in this beating heart.

I am because he is I AM.

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Days 23-25:: Prayer from the table

Traveling sometimes makes writing a bigger challenge.  I find that I do more thinking and less writing.  The writing comes after the journey.

The traveling is more about the experience.  But it is good to get sweet small moments to write in the midst of the travels.

The first part of my journey had a few of these small moments.  These were rich moments but simple.  I truly believe we need those moments to refresh our souls from the hustle.

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Here is a prayer I jotted down one morning.  I modified it just for you in case it would be a place in which you may let out a sigh and take a small moment to reflect and refresh.

Maybe you feel like there is not enough to go around.  You are worn and feel like your basket is empty.  Or maybe you are scared, scared you have nothing to give. Possibly your hungry, starving even, for more than just crumbs.

He is not a frugal God. May your heart be pleasantly surprised this weekend.

Bring me up, Lord, to where you are calling.  Put a song in me to sing.  A harmony so sweet, where you and I can meet.

Grant me today my daily bread.  Let me not forget to feed the hungry and those in need. You will supply me for the day for my needs, and the needs of others.  Help me to give away what you have entrusted to me.  Show me the truly hungry. And teach me to give how you gave.  When you gave and all was said and done there was more than enough.

May it still be true of you through me.

Amen

Day 15-16:: A mirror like no other

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.

-Albus Dumbledore

One of my favorite quotes of all Harry Potter history.  And yet, not one of my favorite realities.

If you are unfamiliar with the story, let me fill you in on this golden bit of it.  I believe we can learn something from the encounter that unfolds.

In the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, roaming around school at night, Harry comes across a mirror like no other.

The Mirror of Erised curiously startles him at first as figures are shown in the mirror that in real life are not standing beside him.  He becomes enamored by the mirror as he recognizes the other figures to be his deceased family who he never got to meet.  In the reflection he sees his mother and father, of whom he has always longed for their affection.

On night, Harry plops on the floor in front of the mirror with all intent of remaining there for the night staring at the reflection of his parents. Dumbledore appears interrupting these plans.  He comes to sit with Harry to explain the mirror’s mystery.

Dumbledore explains that it is a mirror that shows the deepest desires of the beholder’s heart.  And he warns that many have wasted away before the mirror staring into the reflection, not knowing if what it reflects is real or possible.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that.”

Somedays all I would like more is to sit on that floor in front of my own Mirror of Erised, staring at dreams and desires.

I am a dreamer.  A creative.  A thinker.  My imagination has color.

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But then there is the nitty-gritty of the process in fulfilling dreams.  And sometimes I just frown at the process.  But the process is where the living happens.

I heard someone say that God is not so caught up in our destination as much as he is concerned about our journey.

There is a tension between dreaming and walking towards those dreams.  Walking towards the dreams requires tenacity, hard work, support, and feeling uncomfortable.

We get nowhere by sitting in front of our mirrors.  It may feel like the safest place, but we will surely waste away there.

It takes bravery and sometimes risk to walk towards our dreams.  It’s scary at times.  It seems impossible, especially when insecurity comes creeping.

But it is living.

It is worth it.

There in the journey of working out our dreams and desires, is where we experience life.  The good news is we do not have to journey alone. Holy Spirit joins us every step of the way, and we can lean into that reality.IMG_1289.JPG

May we bravely step forward trusting He is for us, and that the desires of our hearts will be realized as we walk day by day.

Day 12-13:: Dimly

Its been a battle to keep my head above the stinkin’ thinkin’ water line the past couple of days.

Did you see what I just wrote there?  That has a lot to do with the issue at hand.  Maybe you did not catch the subtle implied meaning.  It’s been my battle to keep my head above…

A sinking person trying to save themselves…hmm…something just does not add up.

The Lord extends his hand willingly to pull me up out of the water, I just must recognize that he does so.

We can get so wrapped up in making things happening, taking control, putting out fires, planning.  Before we know it we are in over our heads, desperately needing a break from the hustle, the anxiety, the competing, the demands.

See his hand?

He sees it all.

He sees beyond our current situation.  We feel like it is the biggest deal in the world.  But to Him it is a pinpoint in our story.  A moment he desires to be present with us.

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He sees it all.  But we see dimly.

We cannot make out the future, we cannot control it neither.  Our present we only speculate about.

I love how in the book of John, the author says that the disciples did not understand what Jesus was speaking about until after his resurrection.  The disciples could not even grasp what was going on in the current moment.  It was not until much later that they understood the significance of Jesus’ words.

I’ve been there.  I’ve not understood why things look a certain way only to see later how God was moving in me and around me.

He sees it all.  And there He is reaching out his hand.

This weekend, may we find His hand being extended to us as one that is trustworthy, stable, and strong.

Day 11:: The middle, man!

“The middle is messy”, Brené Brown speaks of the grit of our processes, “but it’s also where the magic happens.”

Honestly for me the middle is often times frustrating.

As I sat on the dock tonight, drinking a beer, and brain dumping on to my journal pages, I noticed the dock needed some work.  My mind wandered over thoughts of pressure washing it, building a new bench table, staining the dock.  Of course, I realistically reeled my thoughts in.  I am just a renter.  Then I recalled shamelessly, the countless other projects I have yet to finish.

Once upon a time, that dock was not there.  All there was in that space was marsh and open water.  No rusty worn out bench, no place to tie off a crab pot, no lights, no piles to hammock from.  The dock did not appear out of nowhere.  One day nonexistent, then next inviting to be ventured out on.

There was a middle.

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Building a dock is quite the undertaking.  You are placing piles into ewwy gooey pluff mud.  This alone takes the right machinery and for most people, the right skilled technician. Then there is the carpentry behind each and every board, the electrical behind the switches and the lights, and the list goes on.  Even before any of this, there has to be approval from the “gods of the local tidal ways”.

Sounds perfectly straight forward.  Easy. One days planning, one days work. Absolutely not!

Sounds a lot like most of my seasons.  There is work.  There are zigzag patterns I walk.  I hit obstacles.  I want to give up, but the vision keeps pushing me forward.

As you and I wrestle in this season, may we remember the middle is messy. May we take a step outside our situation for just long enough to see that there were other seasons.  We entered and left those seasons, but between the beginning and the end there was an emotionally charged middle.

If we can get that perspective the frustration, the negativity, or whatever else we may be experiencing is transformed into forward moving hope.

May we have the strength and courage to walk out the middle with confidence, faith, and security.

He is good.  He is for us.  He will deliver us.  He is waiting for us to ask: “God what are you doing right here in this moment”.

Day 4-7:: Aftermath

Mother Nature is unmistakably gorgeous, mysterious, and powerful.  I am hoping she has a bit more calm in store for my city for the duration of the season.

In the midst of uncertainty of evacuation and blaring “urgent” news alerts, I pushed through this week.  I found a hide-away room in my parents house where I drowned out other noise to the sound of Ben Howard and Kelanie Glockler while trying to meet school work deadlines.

It was a battle to push back worry every morning and every evening.  And at moments, I felt I was defeated only to be revived by a glimmer of perspective.

So with no explanation needed…Day 4, 5, 6, and 7 meet me here.  Its a rich feeling really. Why?

Hurricane Matthew blew through the night here in Charleston.  I hunkered down in the center living room with the pup and my youngest brother; falling asleep once anticipation had worn me out.  IMG_2162.JPG

We had no visibility until the morning hours.  With the light we saw Matthew shaking the trees violently, but all the good parts of his show came in the hours of yawns and snores.

The damage reflected his temper.  And the camaraderie to clean up the mess reflected everyone’s relief.

 

Upon my return home today, I saw the reflection of my soul as if it were visibly before me.  What appeared to me in the mirror was anxiety and stress feeding negativity.

My focus was misplaced, some storm had come in my soul when I was not looking.  Why was I jumping into negativity? I was tired and there was much still left undone.

Ever feel like that?  Maybe I’m the only one, but it is a story I know well enough.  Now I pay attention when I see the reel start to play.  So I paused, rewound, and did some editing.

First stop: gratitude.  Lets just put that in bold shall we: Gratitude.

Second stop: grace giving.  I began asking for grace to be applied to the areas in my life and soul were I was seeing the cracks.  No need for me to try to shove the pieces back together in an anxious fit.

Just smother the cracks in grace.

Peaceful work, soul care, and rest followed.  Its not a formula though.  Its just what my reflection showed me in the moment and my desire to emanate something different.

Where is it that your heart or mind needs to be smothered in grace today?  May you invite Him in to do just that.

Peace.

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Sail boats existing the creek, headed back to the harbor.

 

Day 2: On Fire

 

Everything inside you knows there’s more than what you’ve heard.  So much more than empty conversations filled with empty words

– Switchfoot “On Fire”

This song is stuck there in my head and in my heart.  So I pay attention.

Picture this with me: You walk up to a long knotted wooden counter, bartender says, “Well? What will it be?”.  Your eyes scan shelf after shelf of the thousands of labels on bottles, some reading: Shoes and More, Booze and Xanex, Busy and Distracted, Netflix and ChillAnxious and OverworkedComparison and Hustle.  An ache, an angst, a nagging that  will not let you be.  What bottle will drown it out for the time being?

For mercy sake, no bar actually exists. But our aches are real.  Our attempts to fill the voids are played out.

I’m here to whisper to you, to me: There is more.

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There is One who satisfies every longing.  One who looks at the hungry and feeds them.

Even if you know the One, and you think you’ve explore all there is to explore about him.  There is more.

For those who hear the simple whispers, be encouraged in all you face.  May you turn towards the fire and enter in.

For it is in the fire that overtime all else falls away.  Gold is put in the fire, but will not be consumed.  It will be made pure.  In all its purity, we can watch it gloriously reflect the fire from which it came.

You and I too will reflect the fires from which we came.  There will be stories told because we, hungry for more, stepped into the flames.  Others may see their reflection in our stories.  Enough bravery will rise up for them to step into their fires.

And you’re on fire when He’s near you
You’re on fire when He speaks
You’re on fire, burning at these mysteries

-Switchfoot “On Fire”

May you and I lean into the fire as we look to the One who invites. Come see, there is more!

 

“Fearless in Love”

These waters are unstable, roughly unpredictable.
A keen eye should be kept to the bow.
Hand clenched on the side of the wooden vessel,
for a moment i take in its grain, its make.

Been in such waters before.
Her sail let loose in a slap,
took more than one pair to wrestle that white.
Even now something unexpected begins to stir.

Out in the distance a figure,
a man. My heart least expects,
Kind eyes I see, in the midst of violent waves.
Smiling soft lips move to his calm words.

I’m drawn, compelled.
Calm down oh soul, what if
its not him. Yet he waits.
Welcoming me to join him among the shifting waters.

Tides and waves, boats and sails;
what are you compared to this love.
No mind do I give you,
for you are nothing compared to.

Rise I do. Hand free of wooden barricade.
Look these feet walk over too. It is He I see.
Yet what if these eyes deceive me.
The wet I feel all around me.

Rough hands to which I do cling.
Oh yes it is surely he.
Lovingly he raises me,
and together we dry in the hull.

Spontaneous Presence

So the past two nights I have spent with two different individuals.  These moments have not been planned but they have been rich in different ways.  I have a friend who says all the time that communion is common union.  Community like wise is what we have in common is what unites us.  So I’ve been partaking in communion the past few nights with beautiful souls.  Therefore no lengthy posts and one missed night of blogging.  However I would challenge you to see the one in front of you rather than being driven by the list of things pulling for your attention.  Souls are eternal, and many things are material.

Take a listen to what has been feeding my heart lately. And may it meet you in your present moment.

Chris Mcclarney-“Thirsty”:

https://youtu.be/ZCs6Jztq08g 

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