Monthly Archives: February 2018

Polishing the Mirror, by Lydia Floren

A silver tray with a polishing sponge.  A daisy reflected in it.Have you ever been chugging along on your road of life, and suddenly find yourself flat on your back?  I certainly have. One minute I can be tooling along, life seems to be going well, and the next, I am in an emotional tailspin. My self-confidence (and God-confidence) plummets.  I then land in a pit of yuck. My wheels spin. My windshield is splashed with mud. All I see, all I feel is the negative – failure, hurt, loneliness, regret. What happened?  I don’t usually know right away.

It is funny what brings it on, this pain, this darkening of the glass. It can be pretty random. Once, it was when I discovered I wasn’t invited to a wedding. (I know, right?) The funny thing is, I didn’t even want to go. But some friends were going, talking about it, making plans. And we were not included.

In a flash, my emotions were highjacked. My heart lurched off the road of contentment into a pit of despair.  We have been excluded from other events, I remember.  And then the scab from earlier wounds is ripped off … sitting by myself in the lunchroom…. alone waiting for the bus…. the only one in science class without a lab partner. My heart again feels that raw pain, rejection, loneliness. And then, Satan hisses these words, in a voice remarkably like my own “I don’t belong anywhere. I am not wanted. Or known. Or loved.”

Later that day, we went to church, but being in a big group where I knew almost no one, just reinforced that sense of detachment, of not belonging.  I didn’t even know what was wrong.  I just knew I couldn’t stay. So I left. And the rest of the evening, I withdrew into my woundedness, feeding it with chocolate and chips and Facebook and meaningless television.

Polishing 

The next morning, as I was praying, I was reminded:  Yes, now I see through a mirror dimly…but I can see something – a good bit, actually.

And I begin polishing the mirror.

Thanks

I start with giving thanks.

Not for this dark pain, deep within, that surfaces from time to time.  But, thanking God that it surfaces, so that He can shine the light of His truth on it, and heal it a little more, or even altogether.

Truth

I recite the truth I know:

  • About myself:  I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Cherished. Unique and precious. A chosen and adopted child of the God of the Universe.  I belong to Him. And He lives in me. I am never alone. Always beloved.
  • About God:  He is 100% good.  Strong.  He knows me better than I know myself, and loves me more than I can imagine. And His love never, ever fails. He knows my needs before I ask Him, and meets my needs for identity, value, belonging, focus, and safety.  I have nothing to fear.
  • About the journey, and the plans He and I have prayerfully made. And what I have learned so far.

Meditation

I meditate on some favorite verses.

  • This is the day that the Lord has made. Let’s celebrate! Psalm 118:24
  • Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
  • The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-3
  • And yet, I am always with you. you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel. And afterward, You will take me into glory.  Psalm 73:23-24

On the Road Again

Before long, God “pulls me out of the miry pit, and places my feet upon a rock.”

I pause for a little while, letting my emotions settle, reorienting to the path I am committed to travel.  I take a deep breath, turning my face again to the future.  And then I grab His hand, and take a step. And another one.

And I am on my way again.

Now, a little more whole.  Now, seeing a little clearer, or a lot.

Sailboat on a calm sea.  "Yet I am always with You; You hold me by my right hand.  You guide me with Your counsel, and afterward, You will take me into glory."  Psalm 73: 23-24

Mirrors and Wisdom by Lydia Floren

sunflowers reflected in a silver trayFor now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.  1 Cor 13:12

Two thousand years ago, a mirror was a highly polished piece of metal, maybe bronze or silver.  Because it was hand-hammered and buffed, a person’s reflection in it would be imperfect – there would be distortions, and probably some dark spots. (Not that most of us really want total accuracy, when we look at a mirror, but that’s beside the point.)  In those days, if you wanted a more accurate idea of what you actually looked like, you would need to step into the brightest light you could find and view your reflection from several different angles.

When Paul said “now we see through a mirror dimly” he was comparing our limited understanding of life/the world/our situation with the distorted reflection that one saw when looking at piece of polished metal.

Here’s the Amplified version of 1 Corinthians 13:12:

For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection of reality as in a riddle or enigma, but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly); but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God]. 

None of us have a clear picture of what is going on in the world – or even in our own lives. Our reflection is incomplete. There are blank spots and distortions.  In order to get the best possible understanding, we need to inspect our situations from a variety of viewpoints, and in the brightest light we can find – the light of God’s truth.

Even in the best of circumstances, our vision is limited.

But the great news is, God’s is not. He sees everything and, even better, He understands what it all means. He knows how it all connects. From His perspective, He can guide us along the wisest path forward.  All we have to do is ask.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5 NIV

pink dogwood tree with "Christ is wisdom and He is our deepest need.  -Margaret Botlome

Opening Doors

Old doors,  Topic is Time with God

Opening Doors

by Lydia Floren

It is easy to drift away from spending quality time with God.  Some mornings, it seems I  just go through the motions of spending time with God – present in body, but not always in spirit. We all do that sometimes, don’t we, especially when caffeine is in short supply or the baby has an ear infection?   But when that time with Him get shortchanged, day after day, it isn’t long before we just stop meeting with Him altogether.  From there, at least for me, things go downhill pretty quickly.  Peace, hope, patience gradually diminish. Hurry and worry claim front and center. And joy? Well joy becomes a distant memory.

Open up, ancient gates! Open up, ancient doors, and let the King of glory enter. Psalm 24:7

Psalm 24:7-8 reminds me that nothing is more important – or more strategic – than letting the God of the universe into my heart, and truly connecting with Him.

Who is the King of glory? The LORD, strong and mighty; the LORD, invincible in battle. Psalm 24:8

Think about it:  we have the most powerful being, the VIP of the universe waiting for us, wanting to connect with us every day. To give us insight and wisdom and encouragement before we head out into the field of battle. And, to fill our hearts with peace and joy.

Wouldn’t we do well to make that time with Him our highest priority?

May we always throw open the door of our hearts to the living God.

Hands with the words, "God's peace has nothing to do with our circumstances & everything to do with His presence.