Shadow or sky?

As I was driving the kids all over after school this week, my eyes locked onto our dirt road. The dust clouds were billowing behind us, and suddenly a shadow darted out in front of me. I did a double take while slowing down quickly. It passed by again, and I realized it wasn’t what ran across the road, but what had soared above us.

Right there in that moment, God unfolded a parable to illustrate what keeps me from seeing Him. I am staring at the shadows instead of lifting my gaze to the sky.

For most of us, life seems to hurdle forward, and we barely hang on. There are places to be, people to see and responsibilities to complete. So, we focus on what’s right in front of us, hoping that we can handle it all. We drive fast with our eyes glued to the road, and sometimes miss all the beauty around us. We are committed to the task and get frustrated with the detours. If God is at work, we don’t see it because we are too busy balancing, managing and surviving.

All we see are the shadows of what could be as we speed by, late for the next appointment.

We catch the vestiges of grace, instead of basking in it. We strain to hold onto peace rather than savoring what Christ has freely extended.

We work hard for God and rarely just enjoy Him without agenda.

What would we rather have: the shadow or the sky?

I want to experience God as fully as I possibly can in this life. Why should I be content chasing shadows when I can thrive in the vibrancy of knowing my Jesus?

A morning walk with my kiddos

A morning walk with my kiddos

Instead of rushing to our lists of chores on Saturday, the kids and I decided to take a long walk. We enjoyed talking, absorbing the scenery and feeling the breeze swirl around us as we pretended to be airplanes taking flight. Every step we took, Jesus was there with us, prompting our conversation and directing our eyes. We swished the clouds with our hands and collected red leaves and pine cones. We marveled about how amazing God is, and how much we can look forward to by His side.

I know not every day will be like that. But if I’m going too fast and my schedule is so full that I don’t spend time with Jesus and treasure the family He has given me, I am missing what’s most important. I don’t want to just catch the shadows!

Consider your line of sight this week, and how fast you are traveling. Don’t let the goodness of God blur on the side of the road. Stop pushing the speed limit. Slow down and really see Him.

Enjoy the sunshine

Last week, our family was able to go out, without coats, and enjoy the beautiful weather.

Our family is squeezing every moment of fun that we can out of these sunny “winter” days here in Missouri. Instead of snow or ice, we have been blessed with above average temperatures these last few weeks, to the point where jackets have even been optional.

So, after lunch, I’ve been shuttling the kids outside to explore in the woods, to hide and go seek, to play on the swing set and to simply enjoy the sunshine.

I’ve noticed recently that so much of what we as Christians talk about is our struggles and the trials that we’ve had to or we are currently facing. Even I catch myself dwelling in this type of discussion, because God has taught me so much through the “valley of the shadow of death.” A common and oft-quoted saying in Christian circles is that we are either in a storm, heading out of a storm or heading toward a storm. Though I can understand the truth of that statement, I’m growing weary of focusing on the storm.

I don’t think we stop enough and bask in the pure blessing of being a child of God. We are so busy suiting up for the very real spiritual battle around us, that we shield ourselves from delighting in our victorious King. For many, Christianity is all work and no play, and it’s no wonder many faith communities are known more for their “no” rather than their “yes.”

Where is the joy? Where is the dancing? Where is the adoration bursting from our hearts onto our lips?

This week, I want to focus on the praise. I want my life to exude gratefulness to my Savior, who considers me to be His treasure. My life should sparkle before Him, cleaned by His everlasting love that defeated death itself to provide a way for me to be with Him.

I understand that life is often very difficult, and unanswered questions and hurts abound. I have lingered in those dark corners during different times in my life, and all it brought me was pain. Only when God reached down and helped me step into the Light and see the glory of His love,  was I able to leap into His arms of grace.

There is a time for everything, and as Solomon said in Ecclesiastes, a time for weeping and for mourning. But, let’s not gloss over and miss our times of laughter and of peace.

Get out of the cage you have built around your heart, and breathe the fresh air of God’s mercy. Embrace the joy and freedom available to you in Jesus.

Enjoy the sunshine.

This picture makes me laugh because the kids are pretending they are actually riding this tiger like a horse.