Monday, July 26, 2010

Nature's Symphony

Hello Dear Readers,

Life has been blissful this summer and between camping trips, beach days, and weekend get aways to beautiful places I haven't had a shred of time to post here. Being out in nature has been amazing this summer and has brought healing and restoration I hadn't ever imagined. I've also been enjoying being "unplugged" from technology for days at a time. There is a special simplicity to life without e-mail, facebook, blogging, etc. I do a lot of driving normally; to and from school every day, ballet lessons almost every day, and the typical busy mom schedule. The lack of driving time has been so wonderful. When I'm home I've tried to spend at least a half hour outside every day just to soak in the sun, the garden, the breeze, and life itself.

A few weeks ago we went on a family camping trip to get a little mini weekend vacation. We were disappointed to find that the campground was full, but there were some environmental camp sights open. This means basically that our camp was off the beaten path and we had to hike in quite a ways to get to our camping spot. By the time we got all of the gear packed in we were exhausted. It was hot, and it had taken us about an hour to get everything out of the car and to the site. After we were done the kids went down to the creek and Ron took a nap. It turns out we were camping in the midst of an old apple orchard and there were beautiful apple and cherry trees right above us! I closed my eyes and just listened to the quiet lull of the creek trickling by. Then I heard crickets all around me and they sounded like a small orchestra singing in unison. The wind blew through the trees and the leaves rustled, softly at first, then with a crescendo like an orchestra. I sat there listening to this incredible nature symphony, entranced by the beauty, surrounded by peace. A bird started singing the most beautiful song which fit in perfectly to the symphony and I heard God say to me, "This is you. Some people are made to be like others, to be part of the symphony or the choir, but you are a soloist." All of a sudden I realized that I've seen myself as being different, not fitting into organized religion. That "being different" has been lonely, challenging, and has tested and stretched my faith beyond where I thought I could go. It has made me feel like an outcast and a freak at times. But I'm seeing that I wasn't made to fit into a mold. I think this is the beginning of healing for me and I'm seeing my perspective shifting.

The IC tells us who we're supposed to be and it discourages individuality. How can a bird be a cricket, or a leaf a bird? So who are you; the quiet lull of the creek, the loud rustle of the leaves, the sharp chirping of the cricket, the soloist bird, the graceful deer....or maybe you're like Buster the alpaca in the picture above...who wouldn't love that face?!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Thoughts on Freedom

This new journey has brought me into freedom in Christ I could have never imagined possible. The freedom I thought I had before was a far cry from what He's been showing me this year and I find that I finally am beginning to understand what freedom truly means. This morning my husband was reading the Declaration of Independence out loud to the family and with every sentence I was amazed that I could apply the words accurately to my spiritual freedom as well. The phrase "All men are created equal" rang loud and clear for the first time. In the IC I didn't ever really feel equal as I saw those around me being treated differently, some exonerated while others were put down, and the rules and regulations bearing down more for some than others. The freedom our forefathers spoke of is I believe closer to the freedom God gives us in some ways than the church has prognosticated it to be. We've been missing out on a freedom so grand, so all encompassing and full of love, seasoned with grace and mercy.

So what exactly does freedom in Christ mean? Where is the line drawn between freedom and sin - grace and punishment? It's a fine line, but not one that should be taken with fear and confinement. I believe it is a freedom that is void of rules and religion, but full of love and power. It is in true freedom that power in Christ can be found. The rules hold us back from experiencing Him fully and knowing how to find Him in every circumstance. This freedom doesn't come with guilt, the what if's, and the notion that if we blow it punishment will follow. This freedom bends the rules, makes the religious in people squirm, and reaches out to the broken in love.

Today I worshipped God as I created a mosaic. I thought about how the grout comes from thousands of pieces of rock ground up into a tiny powder like sand on the beach. I used my hands to fill in tiny crevices in glass and with every motion I worshipped my creator. I celebrated my independence from the Sunday ritual I felt obligated to do every week my whole life. I can worship Him every day with all of my being because He is so great, and I'm created to worship. Not because it's time for us to stand and sing, raise our hands and face the same direction in a building. I have freedom to be who I am because He made me that way. My mold was made to be broken, and I will explore my freedom with every ounce of my being because I can! Lack of freedom confines and creates rules while freedom supports creativity in spirit.

I still have a long way to go on this journey. I find myself falling into the old patterns of guilt and religiosity. Every time I do I remind myself that Jesus came for freedom. He who the son sets free is free indeed. What does this mean for me? What is holding me back? I want people to look at me and want that freedom. It should ooze from every pore of my being. That freedom is God, it's His essence. He didn't make the stupid rules we come up with - they were never His idea. I'm trying to open my mind up to the freedom in Him. I'm seeing it appear more every day and I'm finding the guilt is falling off as I embrace it.