It’s been a minute hasn’t it…
I have the privilege to take a long walk many mornings after taking the babies to school. A little over 3 miles through 2 parks. There are woods, meadows, little bridges, water views, sunlight through trees, expanses of blue sky – a little of everything. I also pass playgrounds where I’ve lost count the hours of watching my kids play there – I feel a twinge each time I look over. I am glad they still like playgrounds and we still make memories there. I digress…
Passing the water this morning, I felt that familiar tug. God whispering, ‘speak.’ He didn’t mean aloud, but in this space…spill a little, especially now.
Got recognized at the ABC store earlier checking out. I laughed at the clerk saying I didn’t know if that was a good thing. But he smiled and said kindly, ‘I just remember you – how are you doing?’ I said I was great – so glad to be where I am this year. He smiled back so big at that. He knows my story, I guess we’re kind of friends like that. It’s nice to be remembered though – even at the ABC store.
Went to church on Sunday, 1st time back since before our October beach hiatus. It was good to be back. Part of the sermon was the familiar theme of the road to Bethlehem. The older I get and as years and life go by, I take this story more to heart each time. It’s simple, it’s familiar, it’s ingrained…Mary, Joseph, a donkey, a long journey. Scared, tired, cold, nervous, apprehensive, lonely – I imagine along with hope and divine duty, these were all felt too.
Another big part of the story is the star. Following the star, the wise men came. I think of how singular and simple that sounds. It makes me think about the stars in my own sky. What’s hanging there that I follow, which stars shine the most? Is it the one that leads me to the manger, the miracle, the promise?
Some stars fall, don’t they? A big, big star fell for me last year. But truthfully, stars are always falling, even now – some I barely notice, some all but darken my sky. Sometimes new and better stars get hung in their place. Sometimes their light shines immediately and sometimes I have to wait for them to brighten. Just waiting. That waiting place is hard. It’s scared, tired, cold, nervous, apprehensive, lonely – it’s a long journey.
I’ve realized so much of the value is in the journey. That God will use the hard places, the fallen stars, all the things that we don’t understand – they’re part of the story too, a big part. They are often what makes the stars so bright when they shine. The contrast of darkness to light, only deepened, illuminating in a way we can’t imagine and couldn’t have come up with on our own.
So, Kanye – yeah, I know…what screams Christmas more than him. When God is urging me to ‘speak’, He resounds in everything. In thinking about stars, and hearing Kanye tell me to ‘testify…you gonna touch the sky babygirl,’ I knew on mile 2, He was urging even in that.
I think the really hard places let us touch the sky. Seemingly the lower we are, the more He can lift us up and we can feel sky, even touching those stars. Much like the ‘footprints in the sand’ story – it’s only when He carries you and you trust Him to do so, that’s when the reach is the greatest. I’m testifying to that ♥
I still stand by my previous assertion, ‘life is beautiful and life is hard, always and all the time, for everyone.’ I think Christmas shines a special light into this. It doesn’t mean hurts won’t hurt or disappointments won’t disappoint. It does bring us forward though. If we follow that brightest star – it brings us manger-side. Simple and humble, but in contrast the greatest miracle ever born into this dark world – that baby lying there. The hope of humanity in the form of an infant. Born to die a sinner’s death so that I don’t have to.
There’s a ‘new redemption song’ this year. There’s thankfulness and glory to be miles from where I was last year. Specifically today, I was 4 days out from a chemo treatment, likely sitting here on this same spot on the couch. Probably looking out this same window. To be sure, likely not feeling well. I didn’t have all this hair, I hadn’t walked miles earlier and I couldn’t fully see how God would use that fallen star. I hope next year I will look in this space and see yet another new redemption, more stars, even brighter skies. I rest assured the morning star will remain the brightest, never changing, and always guiding faithfully this side of heaven. As other stars come and go, they will only illuminate the constancy of the one that matters most. Again, I’m testifying to this ♥
This made me laugh only because of earlier reference of God’s ‘urging’ – sometimes I think He can be tongue & cheek, especially for those who appreciate that sort of nuance. I let Amos roam a bit after my walk. In typical dog fashion, he had to sniff every tree until he found the ‘right one’ to relieve himself on. Had to take a picture – you’re welcome…
The lesson (yes, even in this is) is fervor and discernment. Be passionate, seek beauty and enjoy all that’s around you. If it’s not the ‘right’ thing, don’t be afraid to move on or let it go. Hold out for what’s good, let it lead you on to what’s best. Enjoy the walk, the journey – follow the brightest star but enjoy the others alongside. Have hope that when they fall (and sometimes they will), new ones will get hung – often better and brighter. Still testifying…touching sky, hanging stars as I go, singin’ my new redemption song. I hope you’re singin’ one too…
Merry Christmas ♥