Good morning, Ladies. Y'know what I love? I love that the moment I say, "Let's imagine," you are right there. I don't sense the reaction that such a request is decidedly uncool, or that this is going to be a complete waste of time because how is it actually going to help? If you're thinking that, I'm not hearing it. What I'm hearing are amazing imaginings, like this one from ALISHA:
"When we went to Louisiana/Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, there was this one tree. It had survived two hurricanes, and still it stood there, unmoveable. I've been shaken by a lot of unseen events lately, with my sickness and losing all these people I thought would stay in my life. That's shaken me a whole lot."
That's Alisha's tree you're seeing in the picture above. I see what she means. And has it not proven to be so true as she's been invited to share her continuing story in what sounds like an incredible group blog? Congratulations, Alisha. You will help so many, many people who suffer as you have.
BETHAN also envisions a tree, but it's beside a river and SHE is the tree, God being the river. He's quenching her thirst so she can remain strong through things like a recent breakup with a boyfriend. Adults sometimes try to minimize the pain of that, but it's a very hard growing up thing to endure.
AMY's vision is of an anchor, holding her to God's word and what is right; even though storms come it stands firm.
THERESE thinks of the 9/11 memorial in her town, with a flame that remains lit on top of a fountain, no matter what the weather. She wants her relationship with God to be like that blaze -- an unrelenting, consuming fire. Even in storms like her parents' separation.
KATE S tentatively sees God's presence as a gift-giver. Sometimes those gifts are hard to recognize, especially when you're living in one room with your entire family and your dad is sick and it feels like the worst ever. Actualy, Kate, it really was bad. You were brave to get through it.
MELODY says her latest unexpected dismount was not getting into the dance company she so longed for. And she's so busy right now, it's hard to even think about God's presence. I get that, Melody. I really do. I think we all do. And yet here you are, coming up with a gorgeous image of a bright sun that gives life and hope and is always, always there and outshines anything (as soon as she stops trying to do it all herself; that's the ticket, isn't it, Melody?). I love what she says: "Even if the sun seems to be setting, it's really just rising on something else."
Now, for LAURA JANE, God at her core is like a big stainless steel heart. That's so different it really made me stop and think, and I like it. She was especially aware of that heart in a turn-for-the-better last week when she did so well in zone competitions for IEA horse competition, she gets to go to Nationals. Sweet, Laura Jane!
RACHEL's metaphor is "for sure a fire.These are her own words: "The spark was planted in me at birth during my Baptism, and the flames were fanned when I was Confirmed. Some days, it feels hot and bright and burning with leaping tongues of fire that just can't be ignored, and other days it's more like low and slow-burning coals. But no matter what, even though I may feel numbed by the outside cold or have just grown too used to its company to notice it much, the fire still burns on within me, a steady presence of heat and light that cannot be quenched and refuses to fully fizzle out." Beautiful, beautiful stuff. Her belief in the fire was tested last year when she ended up on a soccer team full of girls who not only didn't know her but had known each other for five years. That's like the social kiss of death, right? While the team has done great, she's gotten very little playing time. That means a lot of sitting by the fire, wondering whether this is a "knock-down-course-changer or a welcome surprise."
SARAH ELIZABETH asked if it was weird that she thought of one of Shakespeare's sonnets as her God-metaphor. Uh, as a former English teacher and continued lover of the bard, no, I would not say that was weird at all (or maybe we are both weird SE!) Here it is:
"Love is not love, which alters when it alteration finds, or bends with the remover to remove. No, it is an ever-fixed mark which looks on tempests and is never shaken."
When Sarah reads that, she thinks of a cliff next to water. "Waves have hit that cliff probably millions of times and yet it still stands strong. Pieces of it may have broken off but I don't think anyone will disagree that its current state is beautiful. " Yeah, Sarah E., you're even more beautiful in your new home than you were in your old, despite the storm that took you there.
ASHLEY has in mind those old shepherd's towers, like the ones made of huge thick heavy stones. That mental image kept her going last spring when she lost half the vision in her left eye. Lots of people prayed for her but she hasn't gotten her sight back. And yet she's learned so much about prayer and about trusting in the strength of God's towers.
JYLLENNA is simply "seeing God move", even in the midst of her grandfather's serious health issues. We know od will continue to "move" as you relocate with your family and get away from the girl drama, Jyllenna. Sometimes, as SE pointed out, a new perspective can completely change things for the better.
MIMI shared a vivid dream of falling into God's safe hands -- and from the end of the proverbial rope we all often find ourselves clinging to. So Mimi I guess it's like, "When you find yourself at the end of your rope, let go!" Sounds like you'll pay attention to that as you make your decision about going to public school.
KAMILAH sees herself honoring God. So is there perhaps a metaphor there of feeling God like a medal close to your heart, always reminding you of what it is you're supposed to be about?
CAMI sees God's presence as that of a great Orchestrator -- and God has certainly created a new movement in HER symphony. Yikes, she's graduating in July when she thought she had another whole year to go! We'll be here for you as you discover the new notes you're now going to play, Cami. On the track and off.
Those metaphors are all beautiful, and I hope more of you will share yours as God gives them to you --MARLEE and KINDALL, who we welcome -- and AVERY and LEXI and CAITLIN and BETHANY who have all been reading and chiming in with prayers. The more ways we can see God, the more likely it is that we'll keep believing, keep obeying, keep counting on God when we take those unexpected dismounts.
I think we need to take this one step further (as if this post wasn't long enough already -- yikes!) If you'd like to post, share with us where YOU are right now in relation to that image of God's presence within you. Here's an example:
My metaphor is a pillar -- white and pure and immovable, right at the center of my soul. Right now, I'm sort of dancing around that pillar, getting ready to go on yet another trip, making all the preparations. I'm trying to stay connected to the pillar with all the colorful ribbons of my present life, so I don't stray and start trying to choreegraph the whole dance someplace far from my soul.
So where are you in relation to the Sun, the Fire, the Tree, the River, the Anchor, the Memorial Flame, the Gift-Giver, the Stainless Steel Heart, the Movement, the Shepherd's Tower, the Cliff, or whatever your image may be. Where you are changes from time to time, depending on whether you're experiencing an unexpected dismount or sailing free. It's always good to know where we are with God -- so let's look at the right-now and find out. I can't wait to hear. I'll be right here by the pillar, praying.