To Ponder

To me, pondering is like a rolling tide, swirling in loads and loads of seashells and sand. It’s like falling back into the deep, fresh fallen snow, sinking lower and lower till you almost have to dig yourself out. It’s the billowing clouds above shifting and turning with the wind, the jet streams drawing one near while sending another away. It’s the swirling of autumn leaves as they gently fall off the oak tree and spin and twirl toward the dirt in a waltzing dancelike motion.

You see, I ponder things. I wonder. I analyze. I muse. I imagine. I postulate and theorize until all facts and thoughts are gathered and brought to conclusion, and resolution, yet, attempting to not assume, surmise or conjecture. I meditate on scriptures, contemplating their meanings for my life and the course I might take. I cherish memories and reminisce of days gone by, how things were, how they might have been, and, sometimes, even how they should have been if the outcome was less than desirable.

It makes me think of the scripture spoken of the mother of Jesus, “But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19) I am by no means aligning myself with Mary, as she was much more meek, humble and chosen. Yet, I think of how she might have pondered all the wonderful things about Christ, even from his birth, and I aspire to be like that. She seems to be a woman who pondered and mused the things that happened to her, to her family and to her children. She seemed to be a woman of deep thought, possibly even, a woman of few words. Taking things as they come, adjusting as she must, and living life with faith and strength through the good and the bad.

Yeah, I think I’d like to be like that, a person of that same character. And so, I ponder. I treasure. I cherish. I reflect. I nurture and cultivate the thoughts and happenings around me. I study, deliberate and reason why His Word tells me what it does. I pray these wonderings lead me deeper and deeper in my walk with Him.

So, I will ponder.

Will you?

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Do You Ever Wonder?

Do you ever wonder why we’re really here? Why were we created here on the planet called Earth? For what were were we made…or for Whom?

I do. 

Do you ever wonder why we have feelings, emotions that grip us like fire or make us cold as ice? Why do we smile? Why do we cry and why are we even confused sometimes?

I do. 

Have you ever wondered what it was really like before you came? …Not just a century ago or even two. I’m talking before the beginning of time. Before any human was in existence. 

Christians believe there is a God, a Supreme Being who cast the stars and planets into orbit, who formed the mountains with His hands, who breathes life into man and caused him to walk and have his being. 

Atheists believe there was and is nothing, that we just are and will one day be no more…no beginning. No end. No purpose. No reason. 

Scientists believe there was nothing and then all is a sudden, “Bang!” There was a tiny life form, and all things were created from it. Some believe there is something controlling the times; others believe it just is what it is. 

What about you? Have you ever wondered? Have you ever searched with your heart to find? What if there is nothing? What if there is something? What if there is Someone? 

Out of all the theories, estimations and stories, I have but one thing I can believe. I have only one source from which I can find wisdom. 

There is a God in heaven. He is Supreme. He is Mighty. He was, and is and is to come. He is the Master Artist, the Master Creator, and He gave me breath in my lungs and a heart to keep beating. 

It is easier for me to believe there is Someone higher, mightier and much smarter than me than to believe there is simply nothing and will never be. It is easier for me to believe there is Someone above to can see all, do all and be all. It is easier for me to believe He loves me, died for me and is, one day soon, coming back to take me to His Heavenly home. 

“Why,?” You might ask. I believe, because He lives within me, and I can’t live a day without Him. He give me joy, peace and strength. He covers me with His grace that is sufficient in my times of need. 

“How do (I) know?” You might ask. I know, because I just know. I know, because I’ve met Him. I’ve met Him there in the quiet place of my soul. I know, because I’ve been away from Him, at times, and I’ve felt the void of not being near Him. I know, because, sometimes, you just know that you know, and no one can ever convince you otherwise. 

Do you? 

If you don’t, just give Him a chance. I challenge you, “Just tey (Him) on for size.” I promise you, He will not disappoint. He will be beyond your wildest dreams. 

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

“I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” Proverbs 8:17

Heart Questions

Why do babies die too soon?Questions-of-the-Heart-300x259

Why do mothers get cancer?

Why do fathers die tragically?

Why do friends hate and kill?

Why do the innocent suffer?

Sometimes, my heart asks the hard questions, the kind of questions that don’t have easy answers to find. Sometimes, my mind scrambles to understand why evil can be so prevalent in a world in which God made and in people whom God created. Sometimes, life just seems unfair, unruly and undesirable.

Often, I wonder why innocent children are taught to carry guns and strap bombs on themselves to kill people of another religion and race. Often, I wonder why this one is healed of sickness and disease and another says goodbye. Often, I wonder why one family can be so blessed and another can be left so desolate.

In all of this questioning, I have found some answers to be true…

We live in a fallen world, and we’re not home (in heaven) yet. This life we live is not perfect, and we become fools when we believe it should be. There are evil men (and women) in our culture today, and their only intent is to wreak havoc wherever they can.

Sometimes, people are in the wrong places at the wrong times. Sometimes, people are doing something they shouldn’t be doing. Sometimes, people aren’t doing what they should.

There are laws of the land which, just simply, must be followed, like “Gravity is real, and if you think you’ll jump from that building and remain unharmed, you’re just wrong.” There are, also, spiritual laws which, again, if you desire a better life, must be followed. Even if you’re not a believer, you can see that ‘reaping what you sow’ comes to pass. As in, “If you think you can spend all that money and not go into debt, and not owe many people in return, you are just fooling yourself!”

There are some things that just “are what they are,” and there’s nothing we can do about it. There’s some things that are just sin, and sin will never bring about good things in the long run. There’s some things from which we must learn lessons in order to grow and mature beyond where we are, and there are some accidents and “freakish happenings” which just happen for no apparent rhyme or reason.

I don’t have answers to all the why’s, how’s, and when’s, and I would never try to presume that I do; however, I can tell you this: I know a God who does know all answers and so much more. I know He is faithful and true. I know He loves us, and I know He cares about every little or big thing we face. I know He is there when we need Him, and He can carry us through the storm when we can’t carry ourselves.

How do I know this, you might ask? I know this, because I believe. I know this, because I believe His Word to be true. I know this because of my personal relationship with Him. I know this because of the changes I have seen, not only in my own life but, also, in the lives of so many with whom I’ve come into contact.  I know this because of the miracles He has done in my life, and not only in my life, but in the lives of my family, my friends and, even, in people I barely know.

I know He is God. He is faithful. He is true, and He loves me and you. Does this mean, somehow, that my life is never, or will never, be touched by pain, grief or aguish. NO! Just because I believe in a loving God does not mean I will never experience something bad. I’ve seen and experienced plenty of things I wished I hadn’t, and I’m sure that I will experience more in my lifetime. That’s just life, living in an imperfect world with imperfect people. Even Jesus, the Son of God, experienced heartache, pain, suffering and, also, death. By no means, am I better than He! Sometimes, life is just not going to be what we expected it to be, but that doesn’t make Him any less of a perfect God, any less of a living God! It just makes us human and living in a human world.

So, will I always have more questions than I have answers, well, I hope so. Questions make us search our hearts, search down in our souls. Questions make us seek for deeper meaning. Questions make us seek for a higher purpose, an understanding beyond our own.

The Bible says…

Luke 11:9-10, “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”

Jeremiah 29:11-13 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

Matthew 5:8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, For they shall see God.”

*Note: I do not own nor do I possess this picture. Found it by simple Google search. Directed to http://achurchofchrist.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Questions-of-the-Heart-300×259.jpg

Their Destiny

When you look at your child, do you ever wonder about his or her destiny? Do you wonder whom he will follow? Who he will become? Or maybe, whom he will encounter along the way? What path will she choose? Will she fight hard against conformity, or will she bend and sway to whomever screams the loudest at the moment?

How do we ensure their safety in this big, dangerous world? How do we protect them and guide them, while also, giving them the freedom to grow and develop their thoughts, their dreams and, even their faith, on their own?

We can only accomplish this, successfully, when we look to the Creator of their souls. He can and will help us, if we will but ask and follow His lead. The Word tells us God has a plan for their lives, good plans, prosperous plans…We find this, specifically, in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” So, we must entrust them to Him at an early age. We must submit our own lives to Him and follow His lead. Our children not only learn from what we say, but they learn most by what we do. If we follow Him, they learn, by example, what and how to do it. If we’re resistant to Him, they will, also, learn how to resist and fight against Him.

I saw this come to fruition the other day, as we came upon a beautiful waterfall on one of our hikes. You see, my husband and I absolutely love waterfalls. We will purposefully go on a hike to find those which we haven’t yet seen. We will revisit many, and even though we’ve seen them countless times, we will remain at them for limitless amounts of time just gazing and listening. It’s as if our souls settle as we stand in front of the gushing streams of water. Our thoughts are purified, our hearts are untangled from the cares of this world.

Twice, in the last week,  we took our boys to a couple of waterfalls. Last week, we went to a very well known waterfall in North Georgia, Amicalola Falls.

We stayed there, admiring the falls, for probably close to 30 minutes, just simply lost in its beauty. As we stood there on the walkway, gazing up at the falls, people were constantly moving in front of us. Some would remark on the heights, on the beauty; many would turn their backs to the falls, take their little selfies, and then walk on pass. Others would simply walk by, glance at the falls and keep on walking, as if the 600+ steps of the hike was their one and only goal, or maybe just being able to say, “I was there,” was their purpose for coming.

We stood in amazement at their lack of amazement, as if this was simply some mound of dirt on the side of the path to whatever was more important in their journey right then. Even as I didn’t say a word to our oldest, I watched as my oldest son became livid with these people he didn’t even know. He couldn’t believe their disdain for God’s creation. He said nothing to those around him, but I heard about it for quite awhile as we made it back to our truck.

This past Friday, we went to Horse Trough Falls, again, in the North Georgia Mountains. It is set off the beaten path, and it is simply gorgeous! Joey and JMan stayed for a bit, but JMan wanted to get to the creek to build a dam and cool off from the heat; so, JGrizz and I remained at the waterfall while dad and youngest went back to the creek bed.

JGrizz sat at the man-made platform for a bit, then, ventured past where he could get closer to the falls. He took a few pics; then, he just found a comfortable spot on an old tree that had fallen across the creek, took off his shoes and just enjoyed the sights, smells and feel of the waterfall for a good long while.

As I watched him, I realized, he has become his Daddy’s son. This may sound silly, because, of course, this is obvious to anyone who knows the two of them. Yet, sometimes, I think, as our children grow into adulthood, there are definitive moments, those moments when we actually see the handprint of God on their lives and the tiny part we played in their development. This was one of those moments for me.

I could see his Daddy in his awe of God’s beauty. I could see the settling of his soul as he sat there lost in his surroundings. I could hear his Dad’s blunt (not-meaning-to-be-harsh-only-truthful) voice as he told me he didn’t want me to talk if I sat beside him on that log. I could feel his Dad’s love as he later hugged me, as if to say,” I really wasn’t trying to be rude. Sorry it came out that way.” I could even see his Heavenly Father’s courage, confidence and strength as he walked boldly among those slippery rocks just to get a closer glimpse of its beauty.  My heart was full as I gazed at the man he was becoming.

Then, he said the words that sealed the moment within my heart. We were talking about the little streams of water which break off from the main portion of the waterfall, yet, still find their way to the bottom. JGrizz said, “Those streams are like me, and the rest are like society. I find my own way.” It was as if God was showing me in that moment, he has what it takes to make it. He will reach his destiny.

When we made our way back to the creek bed, I could see the sparkle in JMan’s eyes as he built his dam in the creek, it was the same sparkle his Daddy has. It’s the spark of wonder, adventure and just plain fun! Oh, the wonder of a child. We should never lose it, no matter how old or busy we become.

I saw my husband’s love for life within the lives of our sons, and I saw the love of our Heavenly Father wrapped up in their wonder for His creation. These things come to be as our children follow in our footsteps. They not only hear what we say; they see as we see and act as we act. If we will but submit them until God and allow Him to guide their lives, they will follow Him, and He will help them to reach their destiny.

 ““For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Wednesday’s Ode #30

I love little things of nature. Sometimes, as I’m walking through the woods, the smallest things might catch my attention…like tiny mushrooms, a little salamander or even a miniature blossom. Often, I will deliberately look for them, and sometimes, I’m even surprised by what I find…   Today, it was a caterpillar hanging from a leafy branch by a tiny silk. He was very hard to photograph with my phone, but I think I finally captured him in the right light…even in obscurity, our beauty can be found…

  Then, I found these two white mushrooms standing as tall towers side by side…reminded me of the mighty two which once stood proud at Ground Zero. I paused for a moment of reflection and prayer…   
 As I walked along, these itty bitty blossoms of blood orange and yellow seemed to scream to me amongst the green. They reminded me that a burst of color (and light) can break up the monotony and the mundane. 

Then, there was this hole in the center of a stump where a tiny mushroom had decided to show its humble face… It confirmed for me, you can make it, even when life seems to only be a chasm over which your hopes hang…  
Finally, this guy wagged his tiny tail at me as he slithered into his home. His journey from unknown lands, slowly, but surely, brought him to his shaded place of safety…

 As you travel through this life, don’t forget to notice the small things, for often, those are the things that can bring the most beauty, the most intrigue and the most wonder… 

Wednesday’s Ode #18

  I love unique doorways…

  or maybe I should say entryways…   Either way, I love openings that make me wonder what is beyond…    Who has stepped beyond the door?   Who has entered there?

  Who might be coming back?

 

Watching Airplanes

IMG_9574 As I watch the plans fly over, I wonder who might be on it, where they might be from, where they are going, where they’ve been?

Is it a mother, a father, a friend?
Is it brother, sister, next of kin?
Are they going north, south, east or west?
Are they returning home or leaving less?

Is it their first time or last time?
Do they want to be there or is it more a crime?
Is it a business man just making his sum?
Is it a young soldier returning from the war for freedom?

I do wonder who they are and what is their stories. I wonder what kind of person they’ve become. What kind of person they long to be. All the airplanes going to and fro. So many people, so many lives never knowing this one girl watching them from below.

IMG_9575

I Wonder

People come and go.
They walk here. They walk there.
They ride. They run. They jump.
They stop.

Who are these beings?
Where are they going?
What are they thinking?
What have their eyes seen?

These things, I wonder as I walked by.

Will I wonder beyond?

Will I question?

Will I care?

Will I dare to make a bond?

Will I cry when they scream?
What are they doing?
Where are they going?
What does it all mean?

Will I confront their blues?
Will I smile at them?
Will I weep?
Will I share the good news?

Will I ponder better times?
What are they saying?
Why are they lost?
Will I give to them He who is Mine?

Penned – MG – 12/3/14

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'”
John 14:6