My sentimental journey

An ordinary girl's walk with an extraordinary God.


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Door Closed ?… Paint It !

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A refreshing breeze brushed my cheeks as I lounged on our back porch in a comfy camping chair. Birds chirping joyously encircled around and about our property, harmoniously singing their cheerful praises amidst the dull hum of freeway noise in the distance.

Journal in hand I was ready to pour out my heart to God and listen to what He had to say to me. What do you want me to do Lord I asked Him? This seems to be a frequent question I ask Him a lot lately. Kids are grown, mom is gone, brother’s dementia increasing and unresolved extended family conflict… my world has drastically changed as I once knew it.

A few reoccurring questions bounce around, do I go back to work after 22 years of not being part of the work force?; do I need to spend more time writing? What should I do with the extra time I have. Wanting to hear some answers from God to my perplexing questions while my eyes soaked up the garden sites. The end of May never fails to unveil its’ fullness and beauty after winter’s bleak hibernation. Purple and white Irises bloom profusely around the glistening pond while gold fish darted within, pink roses climbing vigorously around our black rod iron abhor leading to our shed; perfectly framing our freshly painted door observed from my relaxing vantage point.

Rather pleased with the new color and eager to see how this “Surf Spray Blue” would one day compliment the “Woodlawn Sterling Blue” house color, of which my husband and I agreed upon. Gazing at the door, thoughts floated into my mind like drifting clouds. One being, how amazing it is that one little jar of paint can make such a difference. My next  thought wandered to this quote:

“When God closes a door He opens a window”. Experiencing mixed feelings twenty-six years ago when I first read it on a wall plaque while working in the gift dept. at Christian Supply. How invigorating the thought of an open window where light and fresh air transforms a space. On the flip side, a closed door can feel claustrophobic and confining.

My immature faith hinged on my limited perceptions of God. Now years later and many “Closed Doors” in between I see the blessing is in, not crossing thresholds I was never meant to. God’s protective boundary lines drawn in pleasant places, revealing His exceedingly great and precious promises. So… what do we do with a door that God closed? I say let’s paint it! Changing the image and how we view it. With a brush stroke of thankfulness that it did not open, covering it with a new coat of fresh perspective, producing a dynamic makeover for one’s soul. Consoled by the truth that God always closes doors for a reason, sometimes we are privy to the reasons, why other times it remains a mystery. While knowing there is one door that God wants to always remain open… and that is the door to our hearts. Rev.3:20 says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock, if anyone opens the door I will enter and dine with him and he will dine with me .” Being by far the the best “open door” you will ever know …

Psalm 24:9 Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter.

 

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Redemption from Perfection

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The other day, while slowly packing the last remnant of Christmas decorations, I found myself reflecting on  this past Christmas of 2013.  Pondering comes second nature to me, so as my thoughts drifted  into a bay of  comparing it with years gone by was familiar waters.  Asking  myself this rather weighty and significant question, “In the last year had  I witnessed any  areas of spiritual or personal growth ?”  Indeed, this past Christmas was a paradigm shift, driven robustly by agents of change, as they were ushering in hints of  transformation. Touching on deep recesses of my heart that need greater redemption, perfections  futile pursuit  being one of them.  To the outside observer these appear as gentle whispers of change, holding merely the slightest of nuances.  However, these  subtle shifts have become glorious music to my ears, a symphony composed of clanging  keys, as Christ eagerly longs to free me from  such cumbersome and binding shackles. A liberating sound available to all who request it… the prophet Isaiah wrote of  this very truth…

“He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound.” *

Liberty  shows up in the strangest places recalling His freshly acquired freedom, as I  surrendered laying on the altar the  “Perfect” family Christmas card photo.  Christmas 2007 heralds as the  epitome for this unveiled revelation.  Remembering that year  as I gathered  the reluctant  family for a  DYI  portrait session and recollecting how it played out. For starters, we accidentally positioned the  tripod smack dab under the bird feeder causing birds to swoop  wildly for seed,  while on the porch steps  the boys taunting each other mercilessly.  Even after the bird feeder was repositioned to accommodate the hungry birds, our photo ops were fleeting faster then bird seed. We were rapidly growing weary of saying cheese and  my  sneaking suspicion told me there might not be a “Perfect”  Christmas photo to send that year.  The small window to get a family  photo had closed, and the shades pulled down tight.  Fortunately, all hope was not lost, as  our computer savvy son Derek offered to Photoshop the picture.  Like magic he replaced a smile on his brother’s face, painted his dad’s white socks black, and made it all cohesive changing the color to  black and white.  This photo still holds a special place in my heart knowing all the  behind the scene truth to get it that way.

In 2013 grief knocked the stuffing out of perfectionism and  detailed planning clean out of me, so came the birth of the   impromptu  Family Christmas photo on Thanksgiving  day.  A new season without my mom and  recent family divisions,  fueled  a desire to  connect with my husband and children like never before.  It did it matter if we had color coordinating outfits, nor  a winning Kodak smile, kneeling in front of our 6 ft. Charlie Brown Christmas tree  we had each other.  Sharing a common ground of loss and our own imperfections, by the grace of God choosing to rejoice in the midst of it all.  The  camera capturing our real life, authentic and raw images never to see the stroke of Photoshop tweaking.  Somehow becoming  perfect in all it’s imperfections.

Yes, 2013 had brought growth and new found freedom, timeless truths  propelling me to even grander heights in the days ahead; excited deeper, more profound healing is headed my way . Now, that is truly something to smile about.

Thank you Father for your promised redemption from unhealthy perfection. Helping us to see ourselves as beautiful diamonds fully faceted by your love. Hearing you speak boldly of who we are in You… already perfect in your eyes!

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor.”
Anne Lamott

“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

* Isaiah 61

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