Sunday, May 5, 2013

Letters, Jam and Love

I received a letter the other day.  I recognized the handwriting as soon as I opened the mailbox.  Those words were written by the hand of somebody who poured time and love and warm cookies into me.  She taught me how to bake a cake and plant flowers and how to can pickles.

She is a rancher's wife and my childhood best friend's mom.  She raised five kids and cows and I recall a goat and a goose somewhere in there too!  My fondest memories are of days spent on the ranch with scavenger hunts and smores in the fireplace; waking up to the sound of cows and the smell of fresh baked bread; of swimming in water tanks and walks through fields.

I haven't seen her in over 8 years, but her handwriting is all over my life.  Every flower I plant, every time I make jam or bake a loaf of bread, I think of her.  I think of how proud she would be to see that I did something with my hands.

We leave our signature wherever we go,

in whatever we do,

on whomever we love.

Even more so, God's handwriting is everywhere:

It is in the miracle of watching a man who clung to life in a hospital bed for four months, standing with arms raised in worship. It is in the joy of seeing a heart given to Christ. And it is in the answered prayer of a cancer-free diagnosis when all indications said otherwise.
His handwriting is all over my life. It is in the grace of turning my hurt, disappointment and anger into healing and forgiveness. It is in the beauty of watching my daughter dance across a stage.  It will be in the pride of watching my son walk across a platform to receive his diploma later this month.

 But the basic reality of God is plain enough.  Open your eyes and there it is!  By taking a long and thoughtful look at what God has created, people have always been able to see what their eyes as such can't see:...the mystery of his divine being."                                    - Romans 1:19-20 (The Message) 
Do you recoginze the handwriting of the One who has poured His love and grace and His very life into yours?  Do you see His Name, Love sprawled across the landscape of every moment?  It is right there in the middle of the dirty diapers and perpetual laundry piles!  It's there in the midst of sickness and disaster.  Can you find His signature through the pain and the joy; the frustration and the victories? 

"...Open your eyes and there it is...!" 
I want to WAKE UP to see the everyday graces in the middle of the mess; to stop letting life speed by without SEEING.  When I opened the mailbox the other day, there were also a few bills and some junk mail.  Unfortunately I will still have to pay the bills, but that letter totally made the rest seem insignificant!  Wouldn't it be great if God's handwriting was the FIRST thing we recognized, making the rest seem insignificant?  The hard things are do-able when we know we are loved.  And oh, how He loves!

Ann Voskamp says it so beautifully in her book trailer for One Thousand Gifts - a book I totally recommend!

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