A thrill of hope
caught me by surprise.
I didn’t recognize it at first.
It was a beautiful sunset, yes,
but I’ve seen them before.
But this one was
in shades of
It cycled through colors
in time with breath.
A new shade.
I couldn’t look away.
And then at one point,
I wouldn’t look away.
I took a detour to get
more time with the colors.
When I arrived home
I told the kids to run upstairs
to see the show in the sky.
It’s then I remember that
my day started with
a gorgeous sunrise.
And now the perfect bookend:
a sunset painted
in the sky,
with liquid color.
but also a cacophony
Color ushers in
You never let me forget.
Please unpack your lunch.
Put your shoes away.
I love you.
Please put your clothes in the dirty clothes hamper.
Use kind words.
Your family matters most.
Please tie your shoes.
Don’t mess with your sister!
Leave your brother alone!
Jesus loves you more than I do.
These are a sampling of the
reminders I say to my kids
a few times a day,
okay, well, maybe more than a few –
just depends on the day!
Can I be honest?
It can be frustrating
to have to repeat
myself over and over
and I can’t help but think –
If they would just listen….
And yet – I am like them.
I need daily reminders.
Your words matter.
You have a purpose.
God loves you.
You are enough –
but you can’t do it all.
You can rest in God’s provision.
You can let that go.
I get distracted.
I get overwhelmed.
I get focused on what
I wish would change.
I need the reminders
that come through
I’m working hard to be
a better listener but
keep the reminders coming.
Show and tell me
what I forget,
what doubt taints,
and lies discolor.
I need the reminders
of what is true.
She holds hope in her hand –
feels the smooth, comforting weight of it.
She carries it with her wherever she goes.
It is a gift that was given to her
and it is her greatest treasure.
She does her best to guard it,
to protect it, and keep
doubt from tarnishing its glow.
Every now and then –
when circumstances make her
want to put down hope so
that she has both hands
free to fight –
she loses sight of it.
lets go of hope and
moments, days, years later
realizes her hand
no longer clings to hope.
Where did hope go?
Her heart’s been on a journey
full of twisted, torturous turns
and she wonders
where hope went.
At the mere thought of hope
she looks to her hands
and understands she’s left
no room for hope.
Her hands hold
doubt, fear, blame, regret –
she’s at her maximum capacity.
Her passions, possibilities, and purpose
have no agency when her
hands are empty of hope –
for hope is what fuels them.
She shifts her heart’s posture,
because she longs for what
she is made for,
and so she chooses hope.
She empties her hands of her burdens
and finds hope was there all along –
it was just buried under all she held so tightly.
Hope had never left her,
she just couldn’t see it
because her heart
focused on other things.
And now she gazes at it.
in her hand,
in her heart –
the smooth, comforting weight of it.
Here’s another post I did on hope.
You see me here.
In this place that I would rather not be.
You see me.
And yet here I am.
Still in a place I would rather not be.
I guess I hoped you would pick me up and
move me like the iron on a monopoly board.
Move me to a place of
I’d like to pass go and collect my money, please
and move on from this space in time.
I am reminded as I fuss and fume
that you are all seeing and all knowing.
There’s so much I don’t know.
And so though I would like to not be here
in this spot that is costing me so much
it is where I am at today and perhaps will be
for an unknown amount of time.
I am here where I don’t want to be
but I am missing the obvious.
That you are with me.
I am not alone in my circumstances
but seen and loved in the midst of them.
You call to me in the places
that I don’t want to be.
You see me.
My desire for
is a desire that is fulfilled
by your presence
and not my circumstances.
And this is my greatest treasure.
“Hey buddy. What are you doing? Are you putting snow in the freezer?!”
“Yes”, he said, “I am saving it for summer!”
I laughed and called him Olaf and wondered how I was going to make room for long-term snow storage.
In the midst of frozen meat, ice cubes, veggies, bananas, a random popsicle and the frozen containers full of mystery, there’s just not a lot of room for snow. I told him I wasn’t sure how long it was going to be able to be in the freezer. He seemed to understand.
It’s still in there. Looking just like snow. I was a little surprised to see it had not changed. I mean it makes sense, cold snow in the cold freezer probably keeps pretty well, but every time I open the freezer I check the snow. It’s been a cool experiment but at some point I will have to make room in the freezer for things that will actually fill our bellies.
I have snow in storage. It may not look like snow and its not in plastic containers in the freezer but I have it saved and its kept just fine. It looks the same as when I gathered it and put it in a cold place.
I gather up the unkind reply, the perceived shun, the unmet expectations and I store them so they will keep. As I pick up each snowball I have the same feelings as when I put the snowball in storage; I feel sad, mad and discarded. I keep these balls of white snow for another day I guess? I bring them out in summer and as long as I don’t keep them out too long and put them right back in my cold heart they will keep forever.
Doubt likes to keep my freezer stocked, he says it keeps me from being disappointed. Which is true, I guess, but it also keeps me from hope and warmth. The snow ends up being some sort of defense, a wall of cold to keep hurt (and hope) out.
I am tired of being cold. If the truth about how I am loved completely and wholly can just get an edge into my heart and begin to melt the snow, then maybe just maybe, there’s room for hope. Maybe if I unload the snow my heart will begin to feel warmth again. If there’s room for truth, hope and grace – the things that will actually sustain my heart, instead of flash freeze it, I can do more than hoard snow; I can actually live a life-giving life instead of a frigid existence.
Are your fingers cold from gathering snowballs? What is in your heart? There will be unmet expectations in the coming days. There will be unkind replies and moments when we feel shunned. What will you do with those snowballs? Will you store them? Will I pick them up, pat them to make sure the snowball stays together and then put them in a cold place and bring them out again next Christmas to lob at friends and family? Or will we allow hope to kick doubt out and melt our defenses?
These two intertwined,
reading as one.
Their leaves betray their unity.
One with golden yellow and
one with verdant green.
There are two trees here but it is hard to see
where one begins and one ends.
The yellow leaves make the green leaves more vibrant and
the green leaves make the yellow leaves more vibrant.
Juxtaposed against each other their colors are sharper, stronger.
I appreciate them more individually because they are so close together.
Their leaves betray their unity…
Or rather, do they speak to it?
Unity doesn’t imply sameness.
What is the point if we are the same?
These trees are both reaching for the sky, growing strong,
cleaning the air and drawing nourishment from the soil they are planted in.
They are each doing what they are supposed to do but
they are each doing it in their own way.
These two are unique, with innate differences that can’t be ignored, but
together they are better.
Together, they display who they truly are better than they could apart.
Together, they put on quite a show.
This isn’t how you and I always pursue unity.
Sometimes we forget we are about the same thing
and decide that our way of doing things is better…
when really our end goals are the same.
We try to out-do, come up with a better argument
to help the other know who is the strongest.
There’s no winning in this, and no one feels appreciated, capable or strong.
Its an entirely different kind of show –
and not one that reflects well on the one who made us.
May we pursue unity the same way as the trees –
content to do what we are each meant to do
in a way that lends more vibrancy to the one we stand next to.