Cat Antics

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Today I enjoy the antics of our youngest cat. She is my daily reminder that God has a playful side. A Creator who lacked a humorous bent could never have created this cat. She is charmingly devilish, full of affection one moment and mischief the next.

Honey’s favorite trick is to pick up her toys with her teeth, and carry them around the house. She’s worse than a toddler, leaving a trail of discarded items exactly where she lost interest in them. (Can you train a cat to pick up its toys?) To make matters worse, her toys are not really her toys. She snatches things… strange things, from bedrooms, countertops, or dressers… things like scarves, packs of gum, necklaces and fabric scraps.

This morning’s toy of choice is a one-gallon Ziploc bag she pulled out of the drawer (thankfully it is clean and empty). She’s a small cat. Her toy de jour is a bit big. I chuckle affectionately as I watch her struggle to drag it down the basement stairs. She holds her chin high and walks wide-legged, the bag between her front paws, trying not to step on it. To her credit, she’s determined. But once the bag is halfway downstairs the game is over. Honey drops it and moves on to new mischief. As usual, I pick up the clutter.

A Creator who lacked a humorous, playful bent could never have created me either. There are times God must look down and affectionately chuckle at my antics. He knows how silly I can be! I struggle clumsily along trying to carry a burden that isn’t really even mine and is obviously beyond me. But I’m determined. I have something to prove about my own strength and independence. When I finally get tired, I drop the burden and it falls on God to pick up the cluttered mess I’ve left behind.

The only burden I’m called to carry is the yoke of service to Christ, a paradoxical yoke of freedom. It’s such a sweet call, “Come to Me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)   All the other burdens I pick up along the way; cares, worries, anxieties, striving, busyness, conflicts, expectations, hurts, disappointments, sorrows… wear me out. They steal away my joy and freedom in serving Christ. I am called to cast these onto Jesus because He cares for me. (I Peter 5:7)

In a few years Honey will mature into a very contented lap cat. She’ll still play from time to time, but will have learned her own limitations. She’ll rest more. She’ll struggle less. A few years down the road, let’s hope I’m as wise!

God Unchanging

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Today the unbroken snow field sparkles with brilliant sunlight. It looks like the angels were making Christmas cards and accidently spilled the white glitter. Along the tree line, the sun casts long steel-blue shadows across the white field. I sit for a while, sipping my hot chocolate and admiring the view from our patio doors. As the sun climbs higher, the shadows slink slowly and quietly away. I can’t sit here all day, but I know they will only venture out again when the sun begins to sink. The changing shadows have a certain beauty. Though they are fleeting, they add depth and character to the monochromatic landscape.

Usually, my life ticks along uneventfully, my hours filled with the mundane duties of daily living. We aren’t world travelers. Our children aren’t prodigies. We have done nothing to merit notoriety. In short, we’re sort of monochromatic (some might even say “boring”). But fleeting circumstances do, from time to time, cast shadows over our lives. This year has had its share of shadows.

Some of those shadows were intriguing; for instance, trying to unfold the mysteries in my family tree. A few were a little scary — our teenage daughters (19 and 17 years old) road-tripping from Wisconsin alone to meet us in Nashville. Others were beautiful — making some new friends and being reunited with some old ones. And a handful were dark and ominous — discovering the enemy we’re supposed to love isn’t always outside the four walls of the church. God has used all these shifting shadows, good and bad, to add depth and character to my soul.

There were days the shadows nearly overwhelmed me. Things looked bleak and distorted, like a moonlit cemetery in an old black and white horror flick. One truth kept me grounded. The shadows would change, but God would not. James 1:17 says, “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. God is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:6).

As the shifting shadows come and go, God remains constant. I know He is good, even when my circumstances are not. I know He is with me, even when I do not sense His nearness. I know He is faithful, even when I am unfaithful. I know He will never fail me, even when people do. I know He is always truthful, even when the world is full of lies. I know He is gracious, even when I fail. I know He is just, even when life seems unfair. I know He is eternal, when all else is passing swiftly by. I know He is all-sufficient, when the stuff of life fails to satisfy.

“Great is Thy faithfulness, O God, my Father. There is no shadow of turning with Thee. All I have needed, Thy hand hath provided. Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”                  -Thomas Obadiah Chisholm

Beauty through Adversity

 

Today we climb in the car while Orion keeps watch over the wee morning hours. The girls and I doze while my husband drives west into the first hints of daybreak, then north into a sapphire sky. The roads are quiet and the miles between home and Cornucopia quickly fly by. We park near the snow-covered beach, don our ice cleats, grab our walking sticks, and begin the mile-long hike over Lake Superior’s frozen swells to the first of many ice caves.

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The Lord will See it. He will Provide.

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Today I watch the chickadees flit from tree to tree. They fluff their feathers against the bitter cold and go about their search for food, apparently carefree and confident their maker will provide their needs.

There are may names for God in scripture. The one this scene brings to mind is Jehovah-Jireh: “The Lord will see it… He will provide.” It was first introduced when Abraham took Isaac to Mt. Moriah to make sacrifices to Yahweh. Unbeknownst to Isaac, he was supposed to be the sacrifice. When Isaac asked his father where the sacrificial lamb was, Abraham simply answered, “God will provide.” And he did. He provided a ram for Abraham so Isaac would be spared.

Continue reading The Lord will See it. He will Provide.