enelsonblog

not a clue, as usual


Leave a comment

Dancing in the Waves

beach-2A storm had blown up the coast a few days before and the ocean was still reeling from the power of that wind. The surf was rough and the waves could knock a grown man down. From my sand chair, I watched a little girl of about 5 or 6 as she jumped in delight as the water came close to her toes. Her mom was keeping a close watch on her as she danced at the water’s edge. She reminded me of the sandpipers who scratch about as the tail end of a wave thins out on the sand. They follow the wave as it retreats. Then, just as the water p1020687regroups and slams another wave upon the sand, the little birds scatter before the water only to follow the waves retreat in an endless cycle. I find myself chasing down memories of my own children playing in the surf. I can reach back even further to my own childhood spent on a New Jersey beach. It was a little game of “You Can’t Catch Me!” that we played with the waves, running in just enough to get our toes wet and then scampering back to the safety of dry sand. What we really wanted was to ride those waves but we were too small to risk it, especially if the waves were rougher than normal. So this little girl flung her arms above her head and spun her feet into the sand and jumped high just as the edge of the wave crept close.

beachAs we get older and learn the art of keeping our balance and diving through the waves, we forget about that childhood dance that had kept us entertained for hours. But I was watching this child and remembering how it felt, a curious thought struck me. We still love to tempt fate. We still get a thrill out of leaning into risky behavior just enough to get our feet wet and pull out just in time. Why else would we gather round to watch a schoolyard fight before stepping in to stop it? Even something as innocent as window shopping takes us dangerously close to coveting. Most of us consider speed limits to be suggestions rather than a law and have no trouble driving just fast enough to still be under the radar.

Why, O Lord, do you put up with us? Why do you continue to love us when we are so reckless? You offer shelter and we turn our back, wanting to feel the exhilaration of the storm right up to the moment that the lighting gets too close and we are forced to run for cover. And still you will hold your arms out to gather your wayward children in. As we dance before the waves, You love us. As we grow into other, more dangerous thrills, You still love us. You provided us with questioning minds that always wonder, “What if I do that? What would happen?” And in this way scientists have invented, artists have dreamed and explorers have crashed forth into adventures that expanded the boundaries of our knowledge. Guide us, O Lord, as we continue to dance at the water’s edge and never let a wave go by unchallenged.

Dance on, little one! Your time will come.

p1020712

Advertisements


Leave a comment

That Day

windy-day-dog

Windy Days

 

Yesterday the weather was dangerously hot. One of those late summer days that make you long for a cool fall breeze. The weather report was forecasting a change overnight. We could expect the temperatures to drop nearly 20 degrees with a brisk wind. Sure enough, when I awoke this morning, I could feel the difference. We quickly opened the windows to let the coolness inside. I stood in my backyard buffeted by a wind that sent leaves and small branches skittering across the grass and blew my hair all over my face.

Today is September 11th. A day of sadness for the loss our country endured fifteen years ago. A day to remember the courage of those who rushed in to help. A day to pray for those who have carried on without loved ones. The images and emotions of 9/11/2001 are permanently etched in my mind. Our nation pauses on this day each year to remember, to reflect and to look forward. But, this morning, because of that crazy weather front and its wind coming on the heels of such a hot day, I found myself remembering not 15 years ago but 14 years ago on the one year anniversary of the worst terror attack in our nation’s history. Here’s a bit of what I wrote that day:

I’m not a meteorologist, but if I understand it correctly, it was a combination of a hurricane named pooh-windy-dayGustav and a high-pressure front that set up an unusual weather pattern over the New York area that day. It had been oppressively hot and humid for two days prior, like something was coming, something big. On the third day the wind started to pick up. I wondered if God, who like to show His glory on third days, was up to something. My daughter commented that it seemed a little chilly that morning with the slight wind playing around her ankles as we waited for her 8am school bus. By noontime, as my son and I waited for his afternoon kindergarten bus, the wind was so strong that windy-day-snoopywe had to move from the open driveway to the protective cover of the east side of the house. By this time, the wind was whipping in from the west and knocking over anything and everything in its path, there would be stories the next day of trees and power line down, even a tragic fatality caused by a falling branch. That day the wind was the fiercest and strongest wind that I had ever seen come howling out of a clear, bright, blue sky. That day there was no rain or even a dark cloud on the horizon. That day the sky was an incredible turquoise color with puffy white clouds racing across it.

The powerful wind reminded me of God’s power and I imagined that He was protectively wrappingwindy-day-leaves Himself around the entire tristate area, letting His children know that He was still there. From the beginning, when God breathed life into Adam, He has used the illustration of either wind or breath to describe life in the Holy Spirit. Job talked of the breath of God as not only life-giving, but as life sustaining (Job 34:14-15). The resurrected Christ breathed His spirit into his apostles as He sent them out (John 20:22). Paul describes the very breath of Jesus as defeating enemies (2 Thessalonians2:8). The word used in these verses is either “neshamah” or “ruwach” in Hebrew and “pneuma” in the Greek. All three words mean literally a breath or wind, sometimes even a “violent exhalation or wind”. Jesus, Himself, used the term translated as wind in the third chapter of John.

blue-sky-w-rainbowPerhaps God was making a visible show of his constant presence that day fourteen years ago. Perhaps he was doing that again this morning. Maybe God just wanted us to know that He was with us then and He is still here now. We need only to look up to His impossibly blue skies to feel the breath of His Spirit in the wind and know that our God is with us – always and forever.


Leave a comment

All Things (and a little guy named Troy)

 

IMG_20140822_0001I remember this day well. Our son, Troy, had an extreme form of Marfan’s syndrome. One way that it manifested was in hypotonia, in other words, extreme weakness in all soft tissue including muscles. But this day, he was able to lift his head up while lying on my husband’s chest. We were so happy and excited to finally be seeing some progress. Sadly, that excitement would give way to sorrow a few short weeks later as his little heart was not strong enough to keep him going. It’s been 20 years since that summer when we lost our little Troy-boy. I’ll always hold his memory in my heart and long to be reunited with him.

bbf8b7e73279f6eb29072f6012a28070“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”

Romans 8:28

Let’s be honest, don’t you just hate this verse? Doesn’t it make you clench your teeth when someone throws this one out in an effort to comfort you (and someone always will).  I’ve had to listen to this verse so many times over the years. I smile and say “Thanks” because at the core, I know the person is truly sincere in wanting to help me. I can’t possible expect them to understand what that verse means to me.

But at some point through the long years, things happen. The pain starts to shift around in your brain and a softness creeps in. Edges aren’t quite so sharp after a while and memories become more like favorite dog-eared photographs that you can pull out and linger over. And now the darkness inside is more grays than deep blacks and light peeks through the cracks that He has gently set in place.

I have learned a thing or two over the past 20 years. I have learned the meaning of this verse. God puts all things into our lives. The good, the bad and the ugly things. He places events in our lives for His purposes and then He holds our hands, carries our limp grieving bodies, and pushes us to the next level. When we look back, we can see not only His footprints (as that great old poem goes), but we can see our drag marks gradually return to solid footprints again. We can see how we have changed – hardened in some ways and stripped bare in others ways. And always, always God has been there for me.

Have you ever read that romantic classic, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte? Yes, I am a hopeless romantic and that book will always be my favorite. But my favorite quote from that book is not the one you might think. It was something that struck me when I first read it as a teen and so many years later I still resonate to its truth.

wuthering heights

Yes, the things that we go through, the dreams we live through “alter the color of our mind” and we will never be the same again. I have thought of that line at each time of crises in my life. But what I can say, from the bottom of my heart, is that each crises did two things to me. It made me stronger and helped me to believe in myself. But, most importantly, each crises played an important role in forging my relationship with God. I’ve been repeatedly forced to redefine my feelings towards God which have ranged from turning my back on Him in anger, full rejection of Him and finally, to full acceptance of His sovereignty and grace.

In the words of Jerry Garcia, “What a long, strange trip it’s been”. Though I haven’t been too thrilled with a lot of the things that have happened to me, I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. Now, that is not an easy statement to make. Let me assure you that my fingers hovered over the keyboard for a while before typing that. Maybe, I can clarify it. There are things that I wish hadn’t happened, decisions that I wish I hadn’t made, babies I wish I hadn’t fallen in love with. I swear, sometimes I think that it is nothing more than bandaids that images (2)hold my broken heart together. But then I realize that there aren’t enough bandaids in the world for that. And that is the start of acknowledging that there is something much stronger in this world and His name is Wonderful, Everlasting, Holy One. He is my Savior and He saves me from myself.

He has worked all things together for good. I don’t always see it at the time but I have hit that age where I can appreciate what a blessing hindsight is. And I can see what some of those “good” things are.

He has made words like “trust” and “follow Me” come alive.

He has allowed me to experience joy that is so much sweeter because of sorrow.

He has taught me love in all things.

justice

Walk in love, as Christ loved us…

Ephesians 5:2


Leave a comment

Soar the Heavens

Even though You give us wings to soar the Heavens,

there is still a part of us bound to the rock of earth

P1010581

just as a butterfly sips at nectar

and a bird cracks open the seedP1010354

like a hawk searching for his prey

we, too, feed on the beauty around usP1020515

until we have sufficiently grown on any measure to appreciate the beauty of Heaven.

P1020483

Even though our souls have wings to soar the Heavens

our bodies belong to the solidity of Earth.

Let my soul sing with the joy of Heaven while my heart struggles with the pain of earth.

Teach me, Lord, to soar the Heavens while walking the earth.P1020470

My soul clings to you

Your right hands upholds me.

Psalm 63:8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Rainbow Promises

P1020409

Summer – hot humid days that break up in the hours before dusk and dissolve into wild thunder storms. Then in that last hours of sunset a rainbow will stretch itself across the sky, arms flung wide to the horizon. A promise from God that He would never again destroy the earth. But it’s not the only promise. Scattered throughout Scripture are many other promises that God has given to us.

I asked my husband which of God’s promises meant the most to him. He laughed and said, “That’s easy – the big one! The one about spending all eternity with Him.”

“Sure”, I thought, “the easy answer”. I pressed him to think of the here and now things that God also promised. “Which of those promises helps you today?”

He thought for a moment and answered, “I guess the one about how He will continue a good work in me and carry it on to completion (Philippian 1:6). I need a lot of work”, he half-joked. I like that one too. God promises to continue to shape us. He will not give up on us. Not when we are too stubborn to know better. Not even when we are rebellious. I know this one first hand.

Fair is fair and now it was my turn. I really didn’t even think about it – the one where HeMatthew verse promised to never leave me (Matthew 28:20). I need that promise. Even though I like to be alone, I don’t like to be lonely. I want to know that I can count on Him. I need to know that in the midst of depression or anger or selfishness, He will still be there. In Sunday School classes we teach little kids that Jesus is our “forever friend” and that’s what I want.

I need to know that even when the darkness of my own thoughts threatens to overwhelm me, God still offers me the shelter of His wing. Even when I have convinced myself that no one could possibly understand my pain, God holds me close and whispers in my ear. Even when I refuse to listen to His voice, He waits for me to realize that alone need not be lonely and forever friends are for real.

That’s a promise.

 


1 Comment

An Alabaster Jar

 

Alabaster vases KR showroom

Did she tilt the jar

And gently pour

Ah, no, broken

Given to the Lord

 

There at His feetdownload (2)

Perfume was splashed

As freely as

A child’s laugh

 

The jar I have

Is cracked and worn

It’s stood the test

Of many storms

 

But, comes a timedownload (1)

We benefit

from all these cracks

A fire’s been lit

 

It shines through

All the broken places

Its light spills intoheart leaves

Darkened spaces

 

Only now can the Potter

Repair, restore

My fragile heart

To refill me once more.

 

An alabaster jar

We live within

Split wide open

To You given.download

 

 

“where ever the Gospel is preached …

what she has done will be told”

for the Gospel is more than the words

it’s in her eyes, hands, feet and soul.

 


Leave a comment

Waterfalls

 

 

13319715_10209866861127389_6162260163033324150_nA short easy hike brought us to the top of this beautiful waterfall. The steep descent to the bottom, aided by trees to hold onto and roots to secure our steps, was fun. And then this magnificent view. It’s a pretty small waterfall as such things go, but for us –it was wonderful to find and enjoy. My husband climbed up the rock and sat down to watch the water cascading over well- worn stones. “Strange”, he mused. “It’s the same water going over the same stones, yet it looks different all the time.” I thought about that for a moment. The water is always the same yet seems to change depending on how the sun glints upon it or what color is the sky that is being reflected. The words “living water” came to mind.

 

 

 

 

Jesus Answered her, ” If you know the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water”. Jesus answered, ” Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:10 and 13-14

 

Christ is always the same and yet as our awareness of need for Him grows, He seems to change to fit whatever stage of life we are in. Of course, the whole illusion is that He never changes, only our perception of Him does. As we lean into Him more and more, we drink of that living water He offers us. The drink that will quench all thirst. Later in the same passage, Jesus also talks of “food” as “to do the will of him who sent me”. All of my basic needs (and oh, so much more) are fulfilled in Christ. What He offers us is beyond our comprehension and yet we are in such desperate need of. He offers life. He offers freedom from pain, fears, hurts, guilt and worries. He offers true security. He offers eternity.

P1020293

I am always reminded of this when I spend some time outdoors. When I can wander under his trees, or rest beside a stream, or feel his sun on my face, then I remember who gives me each day.  I remember who makes the sun rise and the stars shine and living water to tumble down from heights to tranquil pools below so I can dip my toes in the cool water– living water.

 

hebrews