Wednesday, April 28, 2010

confessions and color strokes

[ok, first let me say, my big face is plastered in my header. i'm aware, and i'm sure it's just a phase. so just go with it.]

i was thinking today about blogging, and immediately had the urge to change my background, bloggy-accessories, etc., and then i started thinking about this pattern i have. i have been a bad blogger. i am the first to admit it. it wasn't always this way, but at least for the last year (ahem, 2 years) i have shamelessly worn the banner of "oh yeah that's abby, she is a blogger, well, sort of". no "awww honey" 's necessary...i know it, and i claim it. grin. (and it's totally fine and in reality i have no bad feelings about not blogging, but it goes with my post so just hush. mmm hmm.)

every time i try to come back, repent of my horrible non-blogging tendencies, recommit myself to the blogging community, and promise to write more often than i wash my hair (which if you know me shouldn't be a hard thing because you know it is not often), i feel the need to re-vamp and give my blog a background makeover. why is that? when most of the time the one i have will suffice for a blogger with mediocrity at the forefront of my online attendance patterns. (wow i worked so hard to used "mediocrity" right in that sentence.)

**i also feel the need to add that i am typing this while listening to Taio Cruz/Ludacris-Break Your Heart. "i'm only gonna break break your break break your heart." how fitting. cracking self up.**

while pondering this tendency of having to make everything new and start over, i realized this same pattern in another area of my life-journaling. again, if you know me, you know i'm a huge journal keeper with a large addiction to buying new ones--a habit that my wallet contents mourn over almost weekly. i am thrilled by the prospect of the thoughts and musings i will one day record on the pages of every new rectangle journey-keeper (that made me think of trapper-keepers, holla). and for the sake of creativity, i will gladly remain poor for the opportunity to discover something new about myself when my pen hits the pages of a freshly cracked paper spine. rarely do i actually finish an entire journal cover to cover because i can't stand the thought of the blankness calling to me from the (at least) 5 blank-ones i have stocked on my shelf in any given moment or season.

so the point. i have this need to "fix" things. i've always been a fixer. i'd call it a curse for the guilt it causes me when i can't fix the highlighted task in front of me (be it mine or for someone else), but it is also often the trait in me that spurs me on to help others when i see something that i know i can help with. so i'll claim it and pray for peace when it's not mine to fix. whenever i start over with a new season, or just a new out-look on something in general, i tend to feel like i have to erase or cover-up the past by re-writing the present. revamping the current, to make up for inconsistencies in my previous stride. i feel like if i completely start over (new journal, new blog page) it's as if the former never existed. the problem with that?

every bit of who i am is a direct correlation of where i've been. the step i was just on. the issue i just dealt with, (or am currently dealing with). it is ALL a part of me. and the fact that the bumps are allowed, helps me perceive that they can be intentional points of learning, possibly moments of changing direction, but mainly exist to strengthen and grow me from my present point into a future purpose or position, hopefully with more depth and meaning than the last.

to erase everything that was, is to discredit the work it took to get you there. and by george, life is hard enough not to give credit where credit is due for the things that we walk through and overcome with God's help. and this is where i insert a quote of awesomeness sent my way by this girl on a day whose timing could not have been more perfectly orchestrated.

[If your life was like a painting,the strokes that are being added to the canvas today may not make much sense when viewed alone. However, God doesn't waste any strokes...for He sees the final picture...You may think the color being used today is too gray...[but] the time will come when you will see that the meaning of the painting would be weakened if the gray strokes were not included in the exact places they appear.] ~anonymous

(and i hope she won't mind that i'm about to steal her words of encouragement to me to also share with you.) gray in one spot on a painting could look like a blob, whereas in a carefully placed spot, it adds depth and sets off something vitally important to the point of the painting. this "gray" is being carefully stroked into the exact place it needs to be, so that it brings your future - the very masterpiece of your life - to light.
(and yes, she is brilliant)

because i'm a nerd and like to say things like "in conclusion" this is where i'll end.
in conclusion, i'm in a gray spot.
and yes i started a new journal.
and yes i changed my blog. again.
but i'm learning to embrace this gray spot for all it's worth, and see the beauty in every tiny curve and bend in it's stroke.

Monday, April 26, 2010

trees and anonymity

there is so much going on in my heart and mind that were i to start typing, i fear you would be sucked into "TMI" oblivion and never return. so i'll refrain, and just talk about trees.

[A century ago, a few fragile seeds fell upon rocky soil. Through drought and flood, they clung tightly to earth, stubbornly stretching toward the heavens. Today, silver maple, post oak, and black walnut trees surround our home like tall, loyal sentinels. Their intricate, mingled root systems support the round below...

...Bursting with shades of green, the leaves dance in the breeze. Winter's reduction is coming, but that does not halt the dance. Trees celebrate the moment, temporary though it is. In the spring, their new growth sings of hope. Their lush green offers peace in the summer. In the fall, their colorful collages inspire creativity. And in their emptiness, trees grace the winter with silent elegance...

...What the plenty of summer hides, the nakedness of winter reveals: infrastructure. Fullness often distracts from foundations. But in the stillness of winter, the trees' true strength is unveiled...A tree's posture is all-open, like arms ready for an embrace. So very vulnerable, yet so very strong. I find the display quieting and full of grace.

In winter, are the trees bare? yes.
In winter, are the trees barren? no.
Life still is.

...In spiritual winters, our fullness is thinned so that, undistracted by our giftings, we can focus upon our character. In the absence of anything to measure, we are left with nothing to stare at except for our foundation. Risking inspection, we begin to examine the motivations that support our deeds, the attitudes that influence our words, the ded wood otherwise hidden beneath our busyness. Then a life-changing transition occurs as we move from resistance through repentance to the place of rest. With gratitude, we simply abide...

In winter are we bare? yes.
In winter are we barren? no.
True life still is.

The Father's work in us does not sleep--though in spiritual winters he retracts all advertisement. And when he does so, he is purifying our faith, strengthening our character, conserving our energy, and preparing us for the future.
The sleep days of winter hide us so that the seductive days of summer will not ruin us.

...Hidden hopes. Hidden dreams. Hidden gifts. All of us are acquainted with chapters in life when our visible fruitfulness is pruned back, our previously praiseworthy strengths become dormant, and our abilities are unnoticed by the watching world. Like a flower whose budding glory is covered up by we leaves, we sense the weight of hiddenness in our hearts and whisper, "I have so much more to give and be."

But there is One who can see the beauty of that covered, smothered flower. And, mysteriously, His delight in that beauty is not diminished by its leafy camouflage. Neither would his pleasure be amplified by the flower's visibility...Obedience to this God who appreciates the visible and invisible equally has led many truly great souls into long seasons of anonymity. Some emerged from obscurity into eminence. Others remained relatively unknown. All agreed that God never wastes anyone's time.

Whether we enter hiddenness deliberately (as in pursuing as education or relocating with a new job) or unwillingly (as in an extended illness or in grief following the loss of a loved one), we can spend years feeling that the greatest part of us is submerged in the unseen, as though others can only see the tip of the ice-berg of who we really are.

Through chattering teeth, arctic scientists inform us that only one-eighth to one-tenth of an iceberg is visible. As much as 90% is submerged in the unseen. Because of their enormous mass, with that proportion, icebergs are virtually indestructible.

The most influential life in all of history reflected the iceberg equation. Ninety percent of his life on earth was spent in obscurity. Ten percent of his earthly life was spent in the public eye. And all of his life was, and still is. absolutely indestructible.]

taken from "Anonymous" by Alicia Britt Chole