I like things neatly wrapped in concise little packages. I prefer most foods stay apart. I eat cake or ice cream, but seldom both. If I have both, I prefer them in separate dishes. I can multitask, but I’d rather not. I am often an either/or type of person.
That is probably why this beauty bothered me. It contained Autumn and Spring. Both/and mixed together in the same frame.
It had come about by indecisive weather. The temperature had turned decidedly toward Fall, with cooler air and cloudy days. The leaves began to turn, and all was well. But then we got some warm rain followed by several sunny days. It was as if nature thought Spring had sprung. As a result, we have both blooming bushes and Autumn leaves. I wanted either/or, until I realized my folly and looked again.
Both fall and spring is a beautiful phenomenon. And what a fool I’d be not to take it in with appreciation! In fact, as I chose to be open and notice, I saw it happening all around me.
Our rosemary bushes were not alone in their confusion. We had all sorts of flowers blooming when they should be resting. My beautiful gardenia against the backdrop of fallen leaves is just another of many examples I found.
Lord, you are far more creative than to be boxed into an either/or corner. You are both a consuming fire and a still, small voice. You are both the great “I Am” and my All in All. You are both wrath and mercy. Your glory is full of both/and. Thank you for this visible reminder of how beautiful it is.
“Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all the trees of the forest sing for joy. Let all creation rejoice before the Lord…”
Psalm 96:12, 13a
I don’t need things to be either/or. Autumn and spring are spectacular together. When you frame it like that, both/and is a beautiful thing!
This sign stopped me dead in my tracks. I stood still and gawked like it was Big Foot himself. I whipped out my camera so I could prove its existence later, when I told the story. It’s true! I experienced a rare sighting of open hospitality.
I was in a quaint little beach town. It was October 2021. I had visited this place before and freely browsed shop after hospitable shop. This time was different. Most of the stores were locked up tight. The doors were closed, even to the ones which displayed their open signs. The knobbed barricades ensured my encounter with the stern warnings posted upon them. I was not welcome without a facemask. Stop, put up a barrier, or do not enter.
That was why this rare sighting was so unexpected. I looked up, and it was just there. A natural and beautiful gesture of open hospitality in its natural habitat. It shone, bidding me to stop and stare. And it was alone. No negatives, no restrictions, just welcome.
This storekeeper! This one got it right. You see, the official mask mandate had been lifted in this town. This store owner took the requirement down. And they didn’t stop there. This little sign meant YOU are welcome here. No stipulations. No changes necessary. You can be you and you may enter as you are. This kind of open hospitality is extremely rare these days. And oh, what a relief!
Lord, You see me. You require nothing of me when You beckon. You bid me come just as I am. You are the epitome of open hospitality. You are relief. And You want me to extend that rare acceptance to others.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had… Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.”
1 Corinthians 5, 7
When you frame it like that, I realize open hospitality is a rare offering from me, but never from You. Thank You, Jesus, for erasing all requirements and simply inviting me in. Help me make others feel welcome in that same manner, in Your name.
The rainclouds had all but cleared away. I walked over the bridge and caught the sound of trickling water. Had I ever heard that tranquil patter in this spot before? I wasn’t certain, but it sure was beautiful – to my ears and to my eyes. It begged my attention and compelled me to stop and experience it. I stood taking it in for quite a while before I noticed, with a start, the face in the rocks.
I had to snap a photo so I would remember. Isn’t that such a picture of life? That which sparkles and makes noise catches our attention and it’s the quiet ones which get overlooked. When you frame it like that, it is easy to wonder what interesting people and worthwhile things have been missed in the fray.
Lord, I want to live with eyes wide open to notice all that you give me to see. Your Word says that while people focus on the outside, you look deeper.
“The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’”
1 Samuel 16:7b
When you frame it like that, I realize I often overlook the quiet ones, but You never do. Thank you, Jesus, for never overlooking me.
Have you ever set out to “quickly” clean a closet only to get completely distracted by all the forgotten treasures you find? That happened to me, in essence, when I went looking through my phone’s camera roll for a particular photo.
When I see things that evoke thoughts and emotions to remember, my habit is to snap a quick photo. But then I forget about the photo until I go scrolling through for whatever reason. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I thought we could help each other out in this regard. “When you frame it like that…” seems like a good prompt which will lead into an explanation of what we were thinking and what emotions we were trying to preserve when we snapped the photos we have.
Do you have photos to share? Will you participate? 1.Use the title “When You Frame It Like That…” and then insert your own caption. 2. Share your photo and tell its story. 3. Link back to this prompt. I will keep all the pingback and trackback links below and we can create an album of sorts. What do you think? Please join me!
Hi everyone, I’m Shelly from Growing With Spawn! It’s such an honour to be here, writing a post that stretches very far out of my comfort zone on such a special occasion. Mama Lava and I have bonded over our shared passion for blogging both offline and online. However, what I truly love about her is her passion to share her faith with the world. As a Christian, it is such a beautiful thing to witness, and I admit, it’s something I have been too shy to do. But here we are, stepping away from the typical mental health and lifestyle posts to share something with more value.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
But what does this really mean?
As Christians, we know that verse through and through. It’s the very first scripture that we are taught, and one we can recite in our sleep. God gave up his son Jesus to create a path to heaven. And all we have to do is believe in him, be baptised in his name and declare that we accept him as the Christ. This is the essence of Easter.
From a very early age, I knew about Jesus. My mother was a devout Christian who made sure that we were well-versed in the scriptures. Prayer was a part of our daily routines, and we often prayed in the middle of the night. Church was not just every Sunday, but also in our homes, in the streets and with our loved ones. If you had asked me as a child if I was a Christian, I would tell you with conviction that I was a child of God.
But the interesting thing about faith is that it is useless without works. Just because you do something out of routine, God can look at that and say that you are not doing anything in his name.
Growing up, I was a Christian because it was easy – until it wasn’t.
I lost my (single) mother at the age of 14 to a very difficult health battle. Of course, losing her was the most painful thing that ever happened to me, but what hurt even more was to see her suffer. To see someone who lived the Word transition from this world in such agony. And to top it off, she left two young daughters behind, with no contingency plan. Being a Christian was convenient, until God called my mother, then it was something I ran from out of anger.
As an angry teen, then in my early twenties, just the thought of God made me angry. What started off as losing my mother, became the most traumatising decade of my life. And through it all, I just wondered how God could be so cruel. How could he spite us after all we did for him?
It was during this period of my life that I learnt about Job. Such a faithful servant of God who had all of his riches, his family and his health taken from him. And for what reason? Simply because God allowed Satan to test him, knowing that he was a true servant. Why then was a man like Job who lost far more than I ever did still able to serve a God that would allow the devil to test him?
The answer is simple…
Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
So what does Easter mean to you?
As Christians, we remember Easter as the day that Jesus rose from the grave. I’m sure a lot of us have even watched movies resembling Christ’s life where he was scorned, flogged and crucified. But has the true meaning of the sacrifice that God made really sunk in?
I lost my mother to a health condition, not as a sacrifice for someone who showed little interest in her life. And I’m a mother now, but doubt I could ever sacrifice my daughter as Abraham once did with Isaac. So how then can someone like me say with conviction that I am a servant of the Lord?
We eat Easter eggs during this time of the year, because society has convinced us that we should teach our children about the Easter bunny. During Christmas – which isn’t actually Jesus’ birthday, but has been so-named – we sing carols, have a feast and invite Santa and his elves into our homes. And let’s not forget how great it is to be able to say “thank God” or “God forbid” and all of the other sayings that we Christians love to use. Some even use the name Jesus Christ as a swear word when angry or surprised. Is that what Christianity has become?
My faith has faltered over the years, but our God is a loving, faithful God. He is always there with his arms wide open, waiting for his prodigal children to return. And the reward in him is far greater than you can imagine!
No one ever said that being a Christian was meant to be easy, so if there is one lesson I would like to share with you all after the heartbreaking year called 2020, it is that God loves you so much and is inviting you into his kingdom.
“He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit…”
Happy Easter everyone! Thanks again for allowing me to share my personal story with you. Mama Lava has also written a beautiful piece over on my blog, so please join me in supporting her!