Prayer for You: Promise

Promise

Hallelujah! It’s a good thing to sing praise to our God; praise is beautiful, praise is fitting . . .

He launches his promises earthward—how swift and sure they come! He spreads snow like a white fleece, he scatters frost like ashes, He broadcasts hail like birdseed—who can survive his winter?

Then he gives the command and it all melts; he breathes on winter—suddenly it’s spring!

Psalm 147:1;15-18 MSG

Hallelujah for spring!

Lord, we praise you today for your promise of the coming of spring after the cold, dark days of winter. At times, the darkness we experience in life feels like it will never end, never change. But you have promised, you give the command to melt the cold of our sorrows and breathe the breath of new life into us . . . new life that comes from the transformation you have wrought in the dark.

May those who have experienced dark and sunless days break free today.

Linda CrawfordMay we all turn our gaze heavenward and behold . . . the beauty we long to see, and the beauty we are meant to be!

Linda Crawford

 

 

The piece of art above was created for me as a birthday gift by my dear friend Becky Schultea.

See more of her inspiring art at:

Becky Schultea

 

Writing in the White Space: Playing Until My Name Looks Like Me

Writing in the White Space

White space is where creativity can breathe and come to life within us.

I wrote this piece a year ago as I was emerging from a long, dark winter of pain into the spring of new beauty and life . . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have a new journal.

I fill it with words that flow lazily from a high mountain stream. It’s a trickling of water really, looking for a path to forge as it wanders along cracks in the hardened soil and around the strewn pebbles of my abandoned creative self.

I write in

new journal handwriting

hoping the flowing curves and hidden joy of simulating swoopy “a’s” and “g’s” on the screen will help the words find their own curves and rhythm.

Fearfully, timidly, clutching my tattered memory of a yellow Easter bonnet with long flowing white ribbons that danced and fluttered joyfully in the spring breeze, I open the latched and rusted iron gate of my creativity.

old rusty metal padlocks on chains

Opened to the infinite, vulnerable in the newness of this life, I am young again, and I struggle to breathe the air here.

I no longer know who I am. I don’t know where the words come from, how they will shape themselves, or where they will go.

I’m too old for this nonsense, a distant school teacher voice scolds me for trading “serious work” for play.

The little girl with the bonnet turns away in shame . . . ribbons drag in the mud.

Turn back and play. This is right, this is life, the voice of the yellow bonnet whispers.

But my bonnet’s dirty now, I protest.

Turn back and look again.

I obey . . . not with faith, still in fear.

The ribbons dance again. Joy can breathe again.

I write my name with a stick in the dust:

names

girl hat 2I gently snap the elastic thread around my chin and secure the bonnet to my head so I can sit down and practice some more.

This is where I must start.

I’ll learn to breathe here drawing curvy lines in the sand until the rhythm is just right.

new journal me

Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

Writing in the White Space: Margins

God is magnificent; he can never be praised enough. There are no boundaries to his greatnessPsalm 145:3 MSG

Margins.

The outside limits. The white space beyond the words. The boundary lines of life, the edges of the impossible.margins

I live here. In the margins, between the margins, and sometimes beyond them.

I write notes in the margins of my Bible. Scribble comments in the margins of a favorite book. Doodle in the margins when I’m bored.

There’s room to play here, in the white space of life, yet I’m constrained by the boundaries of the margins.

I know if I stray off the page, go over the edge, color outside the frame–I’ll mess up the furniture…and perhaps my life.

There are a lot of words inside the margins in my life.

“Friends” share many (too many?) words inside the margins of the white and blue “book.” They make me laugh, sigh, grit my teeth, and occasionally cry. But even the white space inside the margins feels full and noisy. I occasionally jump into the frenetic jump-rope game long enough to recite a few words, then jump out again to spectate…and wonder if anybody even noticed I played the game.

It’s too crowded there to play…or breathe.

But the margins of my writing pad are all mine. The margins in my Bible are all mine. And it’s here, exploring, studying and playing in the margins of His words and mine, I discover the healing joy, the love, and the life of the white spaces of my life.

Bible marginsI see the beautiful in the margins of life here, for beauty is God’s handwriting.

I am hemmed in by His presence, and freed to live beyond the margins of my human circumstances and emotions.

His words are illuminated by a light from within. The margins become a place to digest them, to breathe, rest, play, and become.

I ‘m safe here, living within and beyond the margins with Christ…and

I no longer fear the emptiness…or the edge.

LindaLinda Crawford

This devotion was shared at Internet Cafe Devotions and Coloring Life Beautiful, and was inspired by Ruminate Magazine

 


More writings in the white space:

The Colors of Faith

Vytvoreni

Vytvoreni

Joy Floats

Resurrection

Cold

©2013 Linda Crawford

Six Minute Sabbath: LOVE is…

Six minutes meditating on the beauty of LOVE today…

So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Cor 13:3-7 MSG

LOVE is…

More Six Minute Sabbath videos:

Beauty from Despair

Beauty from Despair

Need You Now

Need You Now

A Friendship Story

A Friendship Story

Photos: The Tree

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28 NLT

I was walking alone among these giants…

A Walk

In a rare, fluid moment of breath, heart, and time…
a single tree spoke.

a tree speaks

The tree a sittree breath

I returned the embrace of the arms that held me.

I rested.

a tree's delight

Feathery light moments passed…then…ever so gently…
a breeze interrupted with a prickly gray mist,
and the tree whispered a nudge.

remember

Heaven retreated.
The tree was voiceless.
My breath breathed of earth, yet…I felt whole, happy, and free.

I’d rested in the arms of home.

And there’s no other place I’d rather be.

© Linda CrawfordLinda Crawford

 

The Face of Beauty: Embracing the Gift of Our Days

Today’s Beauty Minute is from Reverend Verlee A. Copeland from First Parish Church in York, Maine,  excerpted from a weekly devotion written for her parishioners. Her words inspire us to embrace the aging beauty of our own faces and the gift of each and every day.

woman in window

There’s something sobering about living in a cemetery.

Every day when I stumble to the kitchen for a cup of steaming courage, the tombstones out back are the first things I see out the window. Though I haven’t paced it off, there are maybe 50 yards between me and these saints that have gone on to glory.

CemeteryThe stones stand up straight and look me in the eye everyday as if to say, “You’re next.”

But not yet. There stretches a pleasant space between me and the grave, a long, lovely slope of yard that ends in a tangle of bittersweet and trees as if to prolong the passing over to the other side. As my mother-in-law once said, “I’m not afraid to die. When that day comes, I’ll be ready to go home to Jesus. But I’m not homesick.”

You may think that your pastor is a bit morose this morning. On the contrary, it’s both sobering and energizing to acknowledge that these beautiful bodies we inhabit were created with a limited warranty. We do not know the day nor the hour when the gig will be up. Therefore, we have the great privilege of making the most of our days.

We rise every morning with deep and abiding gratitude for the precious and oh so fleeting gift of days. We ask ourselves, “What is it that God wants me to do with this sweet, short life?” Then, having asked that question as a prayer, we look for ways to be useful to God. God will reveal them to us when we pay attention.

There’s no sense living with regret over a past we cannot change. It’s gone to us. In like manner, wringing our hands over how we shall live tomorrow will just make us anxious and afraid.

Rather, receive this day as the gift from God that it is, for you. There will be no other like it.cemetery stone

It’s time to stop gazing at the cemetery, put on my shoes and quit the house.

Whatever you and I do with this sweet short day, let’s give it our all.

To God be the glory.

Rev. Dr. Verlee A. CopelandPastor Verlee Copeland

 

 

Past Face of Beauty posts:

Amanda

Amanda

Lygon Stevens

Lygon Stevens

Six Minute Sabbath: A Friendship Story

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

It’s Six Minute Sabbath. . . well, actually, it’s a seven minutes and fifty-two seconds sabbath.

That’s how long it takes to share this story.

The story of two friends sharing the light on a very dark morning:

Share the light.

Somebody you know needs it today.

Linda Crawford

Linda

Cheryl

Cheryl

© Linda Crawford 2013

 

 

 

Past Six Minute Sabbath videos:

Beauty from Despair

Beauty from Despair

To Create

To Create

Need You Now

Need You Now

Friends Photo: Focus

Today’s photo theme is “Focus” and comes from a new blogger friend, Jim, who shares beauty and wisdom that inspires me each day at his blog: jimfields.wordpress.com

What does “Focus” mean to you?

Sometimes focusing on the details can be rather abstract, confusing, or maybe details just don’t let us see the true beauty.  Details can be choppy, crude or even obscure.

When that happens, when the big picture gets lost in the details, we have to step back and look from a different vantage point to see with more clarity.

In other words sometimes the greater beauty is seen in the big picture where the details combine and fit together.

The details of life are the moments, the efforts, the work, the play, the things that happen to us or for us.  The larger picture is our goals, where we’re headed in life, what we look forward to…And sometimes life distracts us from the larger picture – usually because we are so intent looking at how to make the best of the moment, or because things don’t always go the way we plan.

The same is true in our religious life.  The detail is the life we live day-to-day and the effort we make at helping God’s kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven.  The larger picture is people, mission is people…It is helping people see the beauty in the life of Jesus Christ, the mind of God.

A balanced Christian life is living the details all the while keeping an eye to Jesus.  Sometimes we can see clearly up close…other times to see clearly we have to back off and broaden our vision.

Peace,

Jim FieldsJim

 

Popular Past Friends Posts:

Winter Beauty

Winter Beauty

Love Redeemed

Love Redeemed

Anything Can Happen: It’s Not the End of the World…

Transformed

Some days are darker and harder than others.

But there’s a transformation that happens in the hiding place, where the struggle is solitary and at times seems endless. And though I sometimes despair of being constrained so long by life’s troubles, I know God will be  faithful to His promise to transform my pain to beauty.

May we embrace the beauty the Master is creating in us today.

Linda Crawford

The Face of Beauty: Lygon Stevens

I am a work of art, signed by God.

But He’s not done; in fact, He has just begun…I have on me the fingerprint of God. Never will there ever be another person like me. In all the world I have a job to do in this life that no other can do.

Can you see the fingerprint of God on me?

Lygon climbling

Lygon Stevens once carried my eight-year-old daughter. After a few bumps on her knees from tripping over shoes that were too big, a teen-age Lygon scooped her up and transformed her frustrated tears into joy.

She became a hero to me right then.

Lygon was a gentle, quiet girl who was amazingly strong in her devotion to the Lord and in her physical and mental ability to climb high–very high–mountains. Tragically lost in an avalanche in January of 2008, she would not be found until late June when the snows melted. Only her camera and journal were recovered by her climbing partner, her brother, who miraculously survived.  In Lygon’s journal, in addition to being able to read her last thoughts on earth, her family discovered the astounding beauty of her written words and her intimate relationship with the Lord.

It is my hope that whoever might read the pages in this small book would not see a victory won by greatness, or determination of self, or a uniqueness in a person that brings them to high heights…I can only Lygon journal hope that the reality of human frailty and the inability to do anything outside the will of the Lord God would be evident. This is not the account of the journeys of a young girl, no, it’s the message that that girl is allowed to write of the glory of the Lord God Almighty…He is the reason for living and for whom I will someday die. There is nothing without Him, no god beside Him, and only by Him was I chosen as a witness to tell the world of His great deeds.

I remember hearing her parents say at her funeral that they realized, through reading her writings, that Lygon was always more His than she was theirs. I personally cannot thank them enough for their generosity in sharing her words with us. Lygon was, and always will be, a Hero with a capital H.

She is the face of beauty in a life well-loved. A life well lived.

A legacy of a life well written, left for those of us to read who, as her mother Sarah said, “still have a peak to summit.”

The Time to Live is Now

The time to run and wake up every morning excited about what the world might throw your way is Lygon on mountainnow. The time to lay low in turmoil and humility before God is now. The time to seek and find, the time to change and learn is now…

Now is the time to live. Not tomorrow, not in ten minutes, not in twenty, not when you are good and ready. But don’t think you have to do this and become this — your full duty is to love the Lord so much you would lay down your life and value His will above the richest gain of earth…Be a desperate searcher. Yes, the time to live, and live truly, is now.

♥ In loving memory of Lygon and Sarah Stevens ♥

To order the book Cairns for the Climb from the journals of Lygon Stevens and to read more of her story click here to go to the Lygon Stevens Time to Live is NOW website.

Day of Discovery has produced a full-length documentary The Time to Live is NOW on Lygon’s life story. The links below are to the preview and the full 90 minute video.

Linda Crawford