Canterbury Bells

A couple of years ago a cousin and I heard of a local art event where they were giving away free seeds. Joys! We were told the seeds may or may not grow and to only take what e’d actually plant. I chose a few new-to-me flowers, including Canterbury Bells.

Even though I was told by a family member how difficult people find it to grow these flowers, I still planted the seeds. The first year a few little sprouts came up. I was sad, but knew even before the naysayer that perhaps none of the seeds would grow.

Imagine my surprise this spring when I went out and saw two VERY healthy and large plants heavy with these purple bells!! It was so fun to enjoy them this year. It was even sweeter since they hadn’t really come the first year!

It made me think about how God grows things in HIS timing and that I need to be patient with myself -and others- to see what glorious beauty will come from his creativity and love.

Who God Created Me To Be

Discovering freedom is a life-time journey. It can encompass a wild range of things that are as unique to each person as are our likes and dislikes. Discovering freedom can change from season to season of a person’s life.

Right now, I am discovering freedom in Who God Created Me To Be and learning contentment in that. Growing up, I learned well the lesson of comparison. I did not act sweet and peaceful like my cousin, didn’t sit up straight like that boy, wasn’t loud and funny like them… The list goes on!

Along with the lesson of comparison, I was introduced to discontentment. I bet none of my teachers would have been able to tell me about her, perhaps because they are too well acquainted with her themselves.

As an adult, I am unlearning comparison (say it with me: “HARD!”) and discovering freedom in contentment (also hard). To learn contentment, I am having to learn Who God Created Me To Be. One facet at a time.

Recently, I had a conversation with a friend about some humorous videos that other people find hilarious but I do not. The conversation naturally moved into talking about how serious I am. I said, “I hate being serious! I shouldn’t be serious! I need to be fun and funny and not so quiet and …blah blah blah.”

I WAS NOT HAPPY WITH HOW GOD CREATED ME!

But if I believe what the Bible says, then:

These verses point me to Truth and are each a key to unlock the many padlocks holding my heart hostage.

Yes, I am serious. I am actually OK with that now and I *can* be serious and quite funny at times. Both are true of me and they are balanced just the way God knew I would need them to do His will.

Someday soon, I will have another step to take, another lock to match to another key — but let’s not skip ahead, shall we?

Today has enough worries of its own and I know who holds tomorrow. He’s got this all under control.

But today? Today, another key has been used to release another chain, and I can taste freedom. The journey won’t be easy, but I feel the trees which have been hemming me in as a prisoner are slowly being chopped down and I can see the Son through the dark canopy above.

I am Discovering Freedom with my Lord, one step at a time.

I am a loved Child of God in the frozen state of Minnesota. I think in pictures and have a quirky sense of humor. Good luck finding a photo of me, since I’m always behind the camera. Curling up in the sun with a good book or wandering the closest nature walk with my camera is how I unwind and processes what Jesus is doing in and around me.

This was originally found on Discovering Freedom back in March 2017.

Perfection vs. Imperfection

Who says stinging nettle isn’t perfect and doesn’t do exactly what God created it to do? Just because it’s uncomfortable doesn’t make it bad.

(Although…I will always avoid it!) So what makes something perfect?

the PERFECT day
the PERFECT spouse/relationship
the PERFECT job

Perfect – having all required and desirable elements, qualities, characteristics; as good as it’s possible to be. Absolute; complete.
Perfection – condition, state, quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects.
Webster’s Dictionary

Why do we care so much about being perfect, having perfection?
So much so that the word no longer is used the way it was defined by Aristotle (384-322), and also the English dictionary!

Perfect is that which is complete; so good it cannot be improved; it has attained its purpose. – Aristotle

Centuries later, Lucilio Vanini (1585 – 1619) believed that perfection depends on being incomplete and possessing the potential for development. Perfection in a work of art consists in its forcing the recipient to be active – to complete the work of art by an effort of mind and imagination. Hello, paradox.

Perfect comes from the Latin word perficio (to bring to an end), and before that came the Greek word teleos.

So, we are left trying to fit into this modern mold of PERFECT which leaves us worn out, depressed, and embittered by running a rat race that can never be won. We will never measure up to anyone’s idea of ‘perfection’ – so will always be on a sinking ship.

Who gets to define what is and what is not perfect, anyway?

Imperfections are seen as flaws, cracks that mar a perfect life making a person feel less than – or too much even. A perceived lack in ‘I should be’ versus the wholeness of ‘I was created by the Ultimate Creator’.

But what if?

Imperfection is a life apart from God – and a separation from others. Imperfection is hiding our cracks, thus leaving others in bondage to perfection. Let there be hope! Even with all of our flaws, when we have faith in Christ we are seen as perfect in God’s eyes. Like kintsugi, we need to show those cracks and imperfections as part of our story, which will in turn give others freedom to show their own cracks and imperfections.

kintsugi is a philosophy which treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

Perhaps the beauty of nature is that it isn’t perfect. God created and called everything ‘good’ – it was complete and met God’s approval*. When Adam and Eve ate that apple, sin entered life and the need for improvement also entered. The world was no longer perfect.

And so, as the paradox goes, imperfect becomes perfect because it draws us in to a relationship that allows us to create along with God as he redeems the imperfect and makes it perfect by HIS perfectness.

There are imperfections in each perfect day, and perfect moments in each in perfect day. How we choose to look at each will determine how our day ends.

What does the Bible say about perfection? Here are a few of my favorite verses!

How foolish can you be? After starting your new lives in the Spirit, why are you now trying to become perfect by your own human effort?
Galatians 3:3

Is it any advantage to the Almighty if you are righteous? Would it be any gain to him if you were perfect?
Job 22:3

God’s way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection. God is my strong fortress, and he makes my way perfect.
2 Samuel 22:31, 33

Even perfection has its limits, but your commands have no limit.
Psalm 119:96

As we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
1 John 4:17-18

For the law never made anything perfect. But now we have confidence in a better hope, through which we draw near to God.
Hebrews 7:19

What are your thoughts on perfect vs. imperfect? Is there a Bible verse or two not listed that you like?

* Nate Pruitt, Creative in God’s Image

Being Courageous

Once upon a time, an author started a group for people to come together and encourage and dream and work and grow. The group evolved and people chased dreams and changed lives and accomplished things. We became cheerleaders and friends to people across the globe who we never would have met otherwise.

One man in the group, Chris, makes these Courageous Turtles. Aren’t they cute?! And they pack such great meaning! Don’t know the story? Check out the video at the end of this post.

The blue became a gift for my mother; the middle one, Hope, is my best friend’s. She LOVES green and pink and the HOPE is a reminder.

The green one with the anchor is for me to remember three things. #1 – the sea rocks are each unique, like me. They also allow light to shine through -#2- and my life is better when I allow Jesus to be that light. #3 – Christ is my anchor and my refuge. When I focus on Him, I can be content no matter my circumstances.

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
Hebrews 6:18-20

They are confident and fearless
and can face their foes triumphantly.
They share freely and give generously to those in need.
Their good deeds will be remembered forever.
They will have influence and honor.
Psalm 112:8-9

Want your own Courageous Turtle? Chris sells them at his website here or follow him on Facebook!

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In Season

“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8

Moana

I think a strong message of Moana is knowing who you are brings life to you and everyone around you. Your family defines you, but doesn’t MAKE you. But at some point you must leave them behind or you will be stifled and not ‘yourself.’

There will be danger, you will be scared, but you must do some things by yourself. Even if you leave your family for a time, they are an important part of who you are, and you will return to them in way way or other.

Don’t settle for what others say you are. You define yourself. Don’t play along with what your society role is, follow the song inside (which we know is sent by Jesus).
And one day they’ll know, and you’ll know how far you can go.

The music is catchy, fun, and beautiful – which never hurts!

So…there is my review of Moana.

As Larry says, “I laughed; I cried. I was moved, Bob.” It’s funny and entertaining, but I’m crying by the end each time. Maybe because it’s speaking to me so deeply right now.

But I have a better guide than Moana. She had a demigod. I have the God of gods. And HE doesn’t refuse to help us or leave us or abandon us or try to eat our friends.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
So we can confidently say,
“The Lord is my helper; I will not fear;
what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:5-6

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Calm My Anxious Heart

Today is a long one, so buckle up!

I have been going through a book, Calm My Anxious Heart (Linda Dillow), with a couple friends from church. WOW. It is incredible! Each week speaks to learning more about who God made us each to be and living in that knowledge.

When my friend April asked me to guest post on her blog, Discover Freedom Project, I wasn’t sure WHAT to write about. The only guideline I had was to write about a way I was discovering freedom. Cue panic attack!

As I prayed about what to write about, my thoughts kept coming back to chapter three of Calm My Anxious Heart, which I’d just read. My heart and head got together to process the chapter and this is what came out of 30 minutes of mad typing. And then more just spilled out.

I thought maybe it would be nice to share a few of the quotes that inspired what I wrote on Discover Freedom Project.

Job 10:8-11
You formed me with your hands; you made me,
yet now you completely destroy me.
Remember that you made me from dust—
will you turn me back to dust so soon?
You guided my conception
and formed me in the womb.
You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and you knit my bones and sinews together.

Job 14:5
You have decided the length of our lives.
You know how many months we will live,
and we are not given a minute longer.

I would rather be what God chose to make me than the most glorious creature that I could think of; for to have been thought about, born in God’s thought, and then made by God, is the dearest, grandest, and most precious thing in all thinking. – George MacDonald

God acted with definite purpose when He created you because He had a plan for you to fulfill. How loved and unique your are! All of your abilities -and your disabilities- were created to fit the unique plan God has for you. No one can fulfill your purpose but you. – Linda Dillow

Psalm 139:13-16
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.

God created our inmost being and fashioned us in our mother’s womb so that we might be equipped to fulfill the plan that He has set out for us even before we were born.
Who you are is not a biological accident.
What you are is not a circumstantial accident.
God planned both for you.
– Jerry Bridges

…and of course, music. Always!

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Looking Forward to a New Year

Every year, many people I know pick a Word of the Year to define the upcoming year. I’ve only started this in the past few years, and have noticed my Word of the Year doesn’t really follow the calendar year.

Two years ago, I chose Trust as my Word. I struggled with trusting God for all that life was throwing at me, and it seemed like a good first Word. When 2016 came around, I was praying about a new Word, and felt like I needed to keep Trust. So I did not change it.Wall of Trust

I have the word Trust on my wall, along with some other words that point me to trust. As 2015 and 2016 progressed, I wrote Bible verses and quotes from authors and friends which spoke of trusting in God and pinned them to my wall, forming a Wall of Trust.

A few months ago, I go the inkling that my Word was changing. It started with a verse:060716_mg_4278

This is at the end of the Valley of Dry Bones and I have always loved these verses.

This verse started a shift in my heart, and I knew my Word would be changing soon. And not waiting for 2017 to blow in like a frozen blizzard! A land has been promised me – a refuge, a home, a place to hide away and to invite others into peace. In this land I will be firmly planted by the Lord and there I will flourish.Firmly Planted

So my Word (more like a phrase!) is Firmly Planted and Flourishing. Living in this tension of the now and not yet has been interesting so far, but I am learning well that Jesus can be trusted, He has a plan filled with hope and a good future for me, He has not left me behind even when it fells like so many others have, I am a daughter of the Most High King of kings and He has lavished me with so many amazing gifts it will make my head spin as I start accepting them and opening them to share with those in my life.Flourish

Given my circumstances, my own land seems like a folly to hope for. But I know and trust that God has a plan for my life, and what He has promised me, He will fulfill. Just as Abraham received a seemingly impossible promise from God and kept hoping, so shall I.Keep Hoping

I am looking forward to 2017 with great expectation in my Lord. I can’t wait to see what He is working out in me! I am going to look for joy instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I carry this reminder with me everywhere I drive, thanks to the creativity and expertise of Revka at Fabled Treasures!Firmy Planted and Flourishing

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