Everyday Awe

Love pursues. Love Hears. Love Answers.

God answered my prayer.

Saying that makes me feel both grateful and awkward.

Awkward because, honestly, doesn’t it feel weird to claim that? It can’t help but raise questions. Like, why did God answer your prayer for this, and not her prayer for that? And, how do you know that this really isn’t just a coincidence or the natural working of the world?

Those are good and hard questions.

And in the Bible, I see affirmation that these kinds of uncertainties are okay. It is safe to talk to God about them.

Yet, I also see something else in the biblical witness: unabashed declarations of what God has done. We are told to bring good news to our communities and remind one another of God’s faithfulness. This is an act of worship and praise.

Too often, I have let questions be a hindrance to my worship. I have worried about how my happiness may be perceived by those who are hurting. I have hesitated to claim answered prayer in case it came off as haughty.

I am not going to waver today. Today I claim my answered prayer. Because, really? I can’t help it. My gratitude is overflowing. I am overwhelmed by the faithful love of an ever-present God.

Can I indulge and tell you the story?

Several months ago, I felt God give me a strong nudge. When we settled in our new city, it would be time to go back into vocational ministry. This time, in a different direction. With adults, not with kids. My heart longed to engage people to not just attend church, but connect. To each other and to God. This meant a position in something like small groups or discipleship.

But this nudge came with oh so many questions.

What would a job hunt look like when we were moving because of my husband’s career, not mine? Would we find a church within a realistic driving distance from our house? That would be a good fit for our family? And have a job opening in that specific area? And would hire me? And (ideally) hire me part time?

I prepared for a long period of waiting. I prayed specifically for the dreams of my heart. I asked others to pray for me too. But, I also prayed that God would help me find contentment in whatever path He had for me.

We moved here two months ago. We moved into our house one month ago. And on Sunday, I started my new job.

We are part of a church that is a 6 minute drive from our house. That is a good fit for our family. That hired me as Director of Community. Part time.

Seriously. This really happened. Every detail of my prayer, answered yes.

I stand in amazement.

And it came together for me on Sunday in a beautiful lesson on God’s character.

The church service focused on the story of the Prodigal son. It is a story that demonstrates the depths of God’s love. It is a story I have heard a million times. But yet, it is a story from which I still have so much to learn.

If God is willing to hike up his garments to run and welcome back one who has wronged Him, won’t He continue to show love to that one once he or she is home?

Love pursues. Love hears. Love answers. God is love. We should not shy away from sharing any story that reveals this character to those around us.

God answered my prayer. I feel His love for me today. And I am grateful.

Have you seen answered prayer in your life? I’d love to hear your story in the comments. Let’s celebrate God’s faithfulness.

Want to think more about how God is love? Check out this video that was shown at the church service. (Make sure your sound is up. It’s mostly audio.)

What is God Like? from Motion 117 Productions on Vimeo.

I lift up my soul in trust and hope

When you read the Bible, do you look at more than one translation?

Sometimes, side by side, verses don’t read very differently. But other times, the difference can smack you between the eyes.

It’s a good little trick when you don’t know the original languages. All English translations have a bit of interpretation built into them, as the teams of scholars decided how to translate words and phrases. Especially in the case of idioms that might not carry the same meaning across cultures.

Psalm 25:1 in the NIV reads

In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.

Psalm 25:1 in the ESV reads

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.

I love the way each of these versions deepens the meaning of the other.

We often think of our “soul” as being synonymous with our spirit. But in biblical times, people thought of the soul as synonymous with our personhood. It is not one of our characteristics, but the union of our characteristics.

“Your soul is what integrates your will (your intentions), your mind (your thoughts and feelings, your values, your conscience), and your body (your face, body language, actions) into a single life.” – John Ortberg

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. That is an act of trust.

My soul easily drifts towards fragmentation. Being overwhelmed leads to trying to do too many things at once. Feeling self-doubt leads to seeking validation in too many places. Experiencing loneliness leads to spending too much time on too many social media sites.

Suddenly my beautifully knit soul is unraveled into a heap of tangled yarn.

As I sit with verse one, Psalm 25 becomes my prayer. I take my soul, and lift it up as a meager offering, an act of trust in God’s character.

My soul is disintegrated. Daddy, can you fix it for me? Please?

 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.

Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.

 Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.

May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope, Lord, is in you.  – Psalm 25:4-7, 16-18, 21 (NIV)

When life is disjointed and splintered. When I am spreading myself thin. When stress has broken me apart. When I am scouring every corner for validation. When sin has crumpled me.

To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul. Heal me. Forgive me. Redeem me. Save me. Knit me back together. My hope is in You. In You, Lord my God, I put my trust.

Do you ever feel like your soul is splintered? What does it look like to trust God to knit it back together?

Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could meditate on it, whether that takes us through inspiring or frustrating territory.

Permission to Have Ordinary Days

Source: overcoming-obstacles.tumblr.com via Stephanie on Pinterest

“What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it.” –Author Unknown

I ran across that quote on Pinterest yesterday and immediately repinned it. I love words that push me to seize the day. To not take any moments for granted. To live life to the fullest.

These words challenge and inspire me. Usually.

But something different happened yesterday. After I read this quote, the words planted an unwanted seed in my thoughts: discontent.

I tend to think of great days as ones on either end of a spectrum. I adore days that are gloriously wasted in fun and relaxation. I also feel satisfaction when days have been strategically used up for work and accomplishments.

I have a tendency to loathe the days in between. The days of television watching and errand running and dish doing and game playing. Days filled up with time slipping away and me wondering how I wasn’t able to do that other thing.

Yesterday was that kind of day. It actually had a few extraordinary moments, as I sent my oldest off for his first day of kindergarten. Before he left, we took pictures. When he got back, we went out for ice cream. Smiles brimmed wide as we forged memories. But besides those moments? I don’t know what happened. My day slipped away.

I went to bed feeling restless. Streams of discontentment meandered around my thoughts as I wondered for what I had just exchanged a day of my life.

That is not a faith-filled perspective on daily living.

It seems to me that belief in God is meant to bring a sort of balance in how we see time.

Life is brief. We are dust. Like chaff blown in the wind.

But we are also eternal. We have a never-ending future in front of us as this life flows into the forever God has prepared.

An emphasis too strongly on either side seems to miss the abundant life we are meant to have in Jesus.

The key element of keeping our perspective in balance, I think, is trust. We need to trust that God is who He says He is and will do what He says He will do.

That means trusting that there is in fact a heaven waiting for us. We don’t need to suck the marrow from the bones of each day because this life is not all that there is. We can be content in good days and bad, extraordinary days and ordinary ones, knowing that our future is a long winding road of everlasting life.

But it also means trusting that God is moving in and through us each and every day. That our lives are an act of worship, and God cares how we spend them. That we should walk with open eyes and a sensitive spirit. That no moments should be taken for granted.

I love to dream and accomplish and experience and squeeze the potential out of everything. It’s no surprise, then, that I struggle with the former more than the latter.

So today, I am giving myself permission to have more ordinary days. I need to learn to seek contentment in God, not in my experiences. This is my act of trust.

Do you need permission to have more ordinary days? Or do you need to be pushed to seek more extraordinary ones? How do you keep a balanced perspective on time?

I Sometimes Make God Too Small

Sometimes my God is small.

He’s not actually small, of course. I just treat Him that way.

I lean into certain aspects of God’s character more than others. His love and grace are my favorites. I can lie on my bed and chat with Him about the deepest aspects of my heart. And when I do? I don’t have to be formal, I can call Him Daddy and I can stumble over words and I can fall into His arms.

I adore that He has opened Himself up to have this kind of relationship with people.

But sometimes I forget that this is not ALL of who God is. I forget about God’s Majesty. His Authority. His I-Can’t-Even-Fathom-Vastness.

I forget that if I were actually in the same room with the fullness of God’s presence I would stop breathing. My knees would buckle, my eyes would stream tears, and my face would hit the ground as I bowed in adoration.

I forget about the amazing time Moses got so bold that he asked to see God’s glory. And that God only granted that request in part. Only with Moses hiding in the cleft of a rock. Only with the Lord covering Moses with His Hand. Only with this interaction showing Moses only God’s back.

Because God’s face? The fullness of His glory? It is so overwhelmingly beautiful and amazing and holy and magnificent that we cannot see it and live.

And though I fight this truth sometimes, though I can remember the times God has seemed to hold me as if He was small and in the room, and though I have this relationship with Him as if He is my friend, the truth of God’s tangible closeness does not override the truth of His overwhelming greatness.

The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.

Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
The one who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not trust in an idol
or swear by a false god.

They will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God their Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, God of Jacob.

Lift up your heads, you gates;
be lifted up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory?
The Lord Almighty—
he is the King of glory. – Psalm 24

The Lord is the King of Glory. Everything magnificent and brilliant and amazing and glorious and wonderful and grand that is in this world is under His authority. They were created from His imagination. They are glimpses into His breathtaking splendor.

The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. He is the King of Glory.

And really, doesn’t the truth of this glory make His closeness even more amazing? To know that the Creator of all this, the Source of all things that stop us in our tracks and bring tears to our eyes… this is the God who wraps us in His arms of love.

What could be more glorious than that?

Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could meditate on it, whether that takes us through inspiring or frustrating territory.

The Hazardous Call of an Integrated Life

I have never been to Disneyland. Or the Hollywood sign. Or the Griffith Observatory.

When I got on the plane to spend the summer in Los Angeles, those were all places I assumed I would see. Yet, I left never having visited them.

That summer I spent serving in inner city neighborhoods of L.A. was different than I expected in many ways.

When I applied for the team, I figured it would require a lot of me. I knew that I would encounter hurting people and assumed God would move me to help.

But, I also anticipated it would be fun.

I was excited to meet other college students from around the country. I assumed the daytimes would be draining, but the evenings and weekends would be spent refilling my tank.

In short, I expected to segregate ministry from the rest of my life.

This is how many of us approach ministry opportunities, I think. We hope to go and do our good deed, then come home and kick up our feet, feeling pleased about what we accomplished. We long for ministry and service to have the clarity of tasks we check off our list.

But that summer, I learned something about the life-altering nature of the ministry Jesus calls us to.

Service is not something we do. It is something we live.

Because that summer, I encountered a surprising amount of hurt. Not in the people I was ministering to, but among the people I was ministering with.

One girl had an abusive childhood. She questioned her worth every day. Another girl grew up cycling through the foster care system in L.A. She moved to another state when she was a teenager, and this was her first time back in the place that reminded her of her abandonment. Another girl spent the beginning of her college days doing drugs and living hard. God had rescued her in numerous ways, but she bore a heavy burden of guilt on her shoulders.

That’s not everything. By any means. Everyone on the team carried hurts.

And so, I tried to help. Not because I wanted to. No. I was frustrated and tired. I just wanted to join the others going out to the movies. But I could not ignore the Holy Spirit telling me to walk alongside those in pain.

So when one group went to the Observatory, I went with the girl aimlessly wandering her old neighborhood looking for her former foster home and maybe some sort of redemption of her past. When another group went to Disneyland, I hung out with the girl who couldn’t spend the money, and even if she could, needed to spend time talking instead. When one group was playing card games I met with two team members and helped mediate a dispute between them.

I spent a large portion of the summer frustrated that I couldn’t do what I wanted to do.

And, I left without good stories. God hadn’t used me to rescue someone from poverty. Or release someone from prison. Or feed someone who was hungry.

It seems my role was more about meeting the needs of my team members. The problems without clear resolution. The struggles that interfered with my life. The everyday pain of those around me.

This is why discipleship is so hazardous. Jesus asks us to do something difficult: live an integrated life. A life where ministry and kindness and service and sharing are not things we do, but things we live.

Even when it means being inconvenienced.

I’m sharing My Hazardous Faith Story as part of a synchroblog connected with the release of Ed Cyzewski and Derek Cooper’s new book Hazardous: Committing to the Cost of Following Jesus. Learn more here.

How much do I lack?

My mind swirls with thoughts about all that I do not have. I am overtaken.

The mirror. The scale. The magazines. They all shout about the deficiency of my body. I wish, I wish, I wish I lost weight as easily as I gained it. Or maybe even didn’t gain it at all. Some people are like that, right? Oh, if I could be one of those people, those beautiful people, those skinny people. Life must be so much better for them.

I lack.

My calendar. My routine. My days swirl in circles for want of purpose. I grapple with the emptiness of not having a job. Oh, wouldn’t it be better if I was doing more? If I was contributing. If I was an essential piece someplace. If I could achieve things. If I could have someone telling me I was doing good work.

I lack.

My kids. Oh, my kids. I look at my kids and know I could be doing so much better at this parenting thing. If only I had more creativity. More spontaneity. I dream of being a fun mom. A mom who is more present in the moment. A mom who sets up a tent in the living room and reads to her kids by light of a lantern. Oh, If I could be more like that.

I lack.

And what about my eyelids heavy for lack of sleep? My living room empty for lack of furniture? My phone not ringing for lack of friends?

Life would be better if…. I wish I could have… I am missing…. Feelings of lack consume.

And along comes a Psalm. Arguably the most common and celebrated Psalm in the Bible. I am amazed that a Psalm I have read so many, so many times can still smack hard against me. It convicts and settles and challenges and brings peace.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. – Psalm 23:1

Nothing.

I lack nothing.

The Lord provides me with everything I need.

He makes me lie down in green pastures. – Psalm 23:2a

Peace. Rest. I lack nothing.

he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. – Psalm 23:2b-3a

Nourishment. Renewing. I lack nothing.

He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake. – Psalm 23:3b

Direction. Guidance. I lack nothing.

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me. –Psalm 23:4

Hope. Comfort. I lack nothing.

 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies. – Psalm 23:5a

Nourishment. Security. I lack nothing.

You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows. – Psalm 23:5b

Purpose. Blessing. I lack nothing.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
forever. – Psalm 23:6

Grace. Love. Devotion. I lack nothing.

Nothing.

This does not mean, practically speaking, that I have everything. I still have wants and needs that have not gone away.

But my soul? It can be satisfied. I lack nothing. My soul can be fulfilled.

I can find rest for aimless wandering and answers for endless wishing in the arms of a God who provides.

The Lord is my Shepherd. I lack nothing.

Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could meditate on it, whether that takes us through inspiring or frustrating territory.

Evaluations, Decision-Making, and Answered Prayer

My son starts kindergarten in a few weeks. {Insert big gulp here.}

I can’t believe I’m old enough to have a kindergartner. The passage of time seriously freaks me out. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was braiding my friend’s hair on the bus as we rode to a cross-country meet? Now, suddenly, I’ve been married 12 years and have two kids, one of whom is about to be in elementary school. This is full-fledged adulthood people.

As we embark on this big transition, there have been several steps to get him, and us, ready for his first day of school.

He had a kindergarten camp where he spent a week of mornings at his new school. He created art projects and made friends and got used to hearing Spanish from his teacher. (He will be going to a Spanish immersion school.)

He had a school bus safety event, where we around a few blocks in a school bus. He heard the bus driver talk about choosing where to sit and keeping voices low and getting off at his stop and telling the driver if he had a tummy ache.

He had an early childhood screening, where I took him to a community center. I answered questions about how he learns and someone checked his height and a teacher asked him questions about what word rhymes with cat.

After each of these preparations, I was told something important: my son is ready for kindergarten.

It’s comforting to hear. To know that other people think my son is ready affirms our decision to send him. To know more about what is coming strengthens his confidence to go.

Don’t you wish more of life was like this?

What if, before we took a new job, we had this kind of preparation? A week-long camp where we did the job at 1/3 time and got an introduction to what it would be like. A driver who took us around and talked about what to expect at each corner. An evaluation that gave us a non-biased opinion on whether our brains and bodies were ready for the new things we would learn and experience.

It would make decision-making a whole lot easier.

Our longing for the kind of confirmation and guidance we got as children sometimes paralyzes us as adults.

When we face big decisions, it’s often how we pray. We ask God to show us the way to go. To prove to us that the next step we are going to take is the right one. To confirm that we aren’t going to screw things up by trying this new thing. To let us know whether our we are ready for what will come our way.

And then we sit. Stuck. Halted until God tells us exactly what to do.

The problem is, God is usually not that specific. God doesn’t treat us like kindergartners, He treats us like adults.

Because really, what would our lives look like if answered prayers for guidance looked like kindergarten evaluations? Wouldn’t we slowly loose our abilities to make decisions, even over simple things? Wouldn’t we begin to question whether God was stifling us by not showing us multiple options? Wouldn’t we begin to think of God more as an Administrator than a Creator or a Lover?

God loves us too much to take the adventure out of the life He created for us.

I think of the adventure God gave the Israelites as He led them out of Egypt and into the desert. He didn’t evaluate their readiness or show them how everything would work out. He didn’t even give them a map.

God gave the Israelites a pillar. By day, a cloud that shielded them from the harsh heat of the desert sun. By night, a fire that protected them from the cold and frightening darkness. Day and night, a beacon that showed them God’s direction. A comfort that showed them God’s presence.

When we pray for God to guide our life decisions, I think this picture is in line with how He often answers. He doesn’t tell us each step, but He leads us in a direction. He doesn’t protect us from everything, but He shields us from some of the harshest realities. And in the midst of the decision and wherever life takes us afterwards, God shows us His presence.

God is our pillar.

How have you seen God answer prayers for guidance in your life?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

It is a question that hangs heavy. Even when I read the words, I feel their depth of despair. If I heard them uttered out loud, I might break under the weight of their emotion.

Forsaken is not a word uttered with regularity in day-to-day life. It is thick and empty all at the same time.

This substantial question is uttered several times in the Bible. First by David, as recorded in Psalm 22. Later, by Jesus, as recorded in the Gospels.

Although, Jesus did not just utter this question, he shouted it. In a loud voice.

He could have whispered, but it was not a secret. This was not a private prayer between He and His Father. These were words Jesus wanted us to hear. This was private desperation and public hope crashing together in a gloriously agonizing moment.

The cross.

On the cross, Jesus fulfills His divine destiny. He quotes Psalm 22, and lets us know that He is satisfying its words in all their fullness.

We can see that in the unfolding of events. He is surrounded by people who mock His faith, His identity, and His God (v. 7-8). His strength runs out and his mouth runs dry (v. 15), His hands and feet are pierced (v. 16). He watches as his clothes are divided by casting lots before He even dies (v. 18).

Jesus’ crucifixion calls us back to Psalm 22 as it meets the criteria for historical accuracy. But its fulfillment runs much deeper than that.

Because Psalm 22 is not a piece of historical prose. It is a lament. A deep cry of anguish. The words of Psalm 22 are desperately heart-breaking and achingly beautiful.

Roaring lions that tear their prey
open their mouths wide against me.
I am poured out like water,
and all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
it has melted within me. – Psalm 22:13-14

My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?

Forsaken. Abandoned. Separated.

As Jesus took our sin upon Himself, He took the separation that comes with it. Because at its core, this is what sin does. It divides. Sin severs us from righteousness. From relationship. From wholeness. From peace. From good.

What was it like for the Son of God, who had never known anything but perfect unity with His Father to suddenly become separated?

As the Jesus Storybook Bible puts it, “for the first time, and the last, God turned His back on His boy.”

To a lesser degree, this is a feeling familiar to us. We have felt ignored and thirsty and separated and tired and abandoned.. We have wondered where God could be found in the midst of all this pain.

When Jesus cries out words of forsakenness, He shows us where God can be found. Right in the middle of the anguish.

And as Jesus points us to Psalm 22, He points us to a perspective we can have in the midst of the despair. Psalm 22 ends with declarations of God’s goodness and salvation.

future generations will be told about the Lord.
They will proclaim his righteousness,
declaring to a people yet unborn:
He has done it! – Psalm 22:30b-31

Hope.

Not a false kind of hope that overlooks the pain or pretends it can be undone, but the real kind of hope that comes alongside to bear with those who grieve.

Faith in a God who will come through to rescue and who hears our cries as we wait for that moment. Trust in a God who loves us enough to send His Son to anguish on a cross on our behalf. Confidence that this sacrifice satisfied what was needed for atonement= at-one-ment. No longer separated, but together. With God. His grace, love, joy, and peace made available.

So we can cry with Jesus, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” knowing that He is there, listening, bearing with us, bringing us grace. We are not forgotten.

Walk through the Psalms is a series reflecting on the beautiful and timeless poetry found in the middle of the Bible. It is an intentional study of God’s Word, grounded in the belief that God gave us the Bible so we could meditate on it, whether that takes us through inspiring or frustrating territory.

How do you define failure?

I am afraid of failure.

I love dreaming and goal setting, but sometimes I hesitate to do it. Because if I set goals, I might not reach those goals. And then? Then I know I’ll have that sinking feeling in the pit of my gut. I hate that feeling.

I am posting about a childhood that I never achieved over at Prodigal Magazine today. Will you join me there? Here’s a little teaser.

I knew I could do it.

When I was little, I just knew. Every time I was in my yard or at a playground, I would try, sure that this time would be different. Certain that this time, I would accomplish my goal.

I would kick hard at the air in front of me while arching my back so far that my hair would kiss the ground as I sailed by. Then, at just the right moment, I would lean forward and bend my knees into a tight tuck. Back and forth I moved, swinging higher and faster each time.

Some days I would swing so high and so hard and so fast that the structure would shake. Yes, I would think. This is it!

Yet, try as I might, I never looped around.

I failed.

Head on over to Prodigal Magazine to read the rest of my article, Redefining Failure.

What if someone paints over our work?

We just moved into a new house. Like, on Friday.

If you’ve followed this blog for awhile, you’ve seen all my up and down emotions about our transition to Minnesota. Transitions, even if they’re really good ones, are difficult.

After more than a month of living with family, it feels amazing to be back in our own place. It feels especially amazing because we snagged such an awesome house.

One of the rooms that grabbed our attention right away was a kid’s room. The bright yellow walls could be off-putting if not for what was on them: beautifully painted murals of Curious George. On one wall, he is riding on the back of an elephant. On another, he is hanging from a tree. On the back of the door, he is walking away, ready to have more adventures in other places.

Most of the rooms in the house are in flux, half-unpacked as we decide what to do with the space. The Curious George room is the only exception. It is done. The decision was easy.

Curious George beckons my boys to adventures in their new playroom.

One day, my boys will grow older, and we will paint the walls. But right now, in our stage of life, this room is a gift. Curious George will weave his way into my boy’s memories of their childhoods, inviting them to hang on trees and look for adventure.

At the closing for the house, we found out one of the sellers was an art teacher. We complimented her on her work, and told her how excited we were to use the room as a play space.

Her relief and excitement lit up the room. She said she assumed whoever bought the house would paint over the murals. When she learned that her work would last even a little while after she left, her joy was tangible.

It makes sense that she would feel this way. Isn’t this our desire too?

We all want our work to extend beyond ourselves.

That’s part of what draws us to creating. We invite others to see what has only existed before inside our imaginations. We make a dream into tangible art that others can experience with us.

This dream made material comes with a fear.

Now that it exists, how long until it disappears? What if it is rejected? What if something happens to it? What if someone else paints over our work?

Ultimately, like the art teacher who painted Curious George on the walls of my child’s room, we don’t have control over how our work will be received. But, also like her, that should not stop us from creating.

We can lose ourselves in the wonder of making our imaginations come to life. We can create works that impact those within our sphere of influence. And if we find out our work will reach beyond what we hoped, we can let that bring us an extra dose of joy.

There are no Bible verses that I know of about controlling what happens to our work. We are not God. That is outside of our power and control.

What there are verses about is being good stewards of what God has given us. I believe that includes our imaginations. Each of us has the gift of creativity. Though we may do different things with it according to our other gifts, it is there. It is part of how we bear the image of the Creator.

Let’s let go of a little more of the fear, and hold on to a little more of the wonder. Create something today.