Something From Nothing

Late last night I prepared to wrap a birthday present for my son, today is his 12th birthday.  The box was fairly large and I quickly realized I didn’t have enough paper to adequately cover it.  I also knew that I was out of options.

I wanted this gift to look inviting and speak the truth of my great love for him.  A plain old cardboard box was not going to convey what was in my heart.  I started talking to God about my problem. I realized that my life often feels like this—in a million ways I don’t think I have enough to conquer what lies in front of me.  Time, resources, wisdom; I often struggle to see the abundance, but I have no trouble feeling the lack.

As I sat on my bedroom floor, Jesus began speaking to my heart.  He reminded me of the day he fed thousands with just 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish.  One young boy came to him and offered everything he had.  To many, it wouldn’t have looked like the substance of a gift, but it was more than an ordinary offering.  The contents of a simple basket met the extraordinary abundance of One who came to fill hearts, not just stomachs.  I felt Jesus whisper that he would do the same for me.  My mind started to process the promise- “I will make something out of your nothing.”  My heart felt lighter immediately.  A smile spread across my face and excitement pulsed through my veins.  Ok, show me how I can wrap this gift.  The answer was simple—I took the scraps of collected paper and wove them over the box like a patchwork quilt.  Then I found a “Happy Birthday” banner and wrapped it around the box, finishing it off with some smiley-face stickers and ribbon.

This was something out of nothing.  It happened, and I thought it looked fun, albeit a bit unusual.  I’ve never wrapped a gift this way before.  I prefer perfectly creased edges, coordinating ribbon and precisely placed strips of tape.  This was different; it was spontaneous creativity where I felt empty and frustrated.

My heart felt hope in new ways as I looked at my son’s gift.  Jesus will help me do this over and over again, but I need to allow him access to my life.  I must surrender myself to a quiet place where I patiently wait on his wisdom.  He specializes in pulling something from nothing.  I don’t doubt that it may look unusual, even a bit messy to my systematical eye.  My perspective has shifted though; this is a promise, not just a challenge, and I welcome him.

Do you have places of “nothingness” in your life?   Are there areas where you’re empty but life demands you have something to give?  Join with me in asking Jesus to show you how he intends to make something from nothing.  I know he won’t let you down.  Instead, he will lift you up, change your perspective and fill you with great hope!  I promise, he is not finished with this situation, or you, yet.

Rainy days and blue sky!

I told you that I would work backwards, here’s a post I started several weeks ago, before I even had a blog…

Inspiration comes in the most surprising places.  This afternoon (thanks to rain, for which I shall be forever grateful) my children indulged in a movie before dinner; once they had their homework completed of course!  My youngest picked “Meet the Robinsons”- which tells the story of orphaned boy’s journey to find a family, and follow his dreams.  There’s something about this particular movie that “gets” me every time.  Perhaps it’s seeing a child, who had no one to love him and cheer him on, find a family that becomes the perfect fit…so perfect that they indeed drive him forward in his desire to invent and follow his dreams.  Perhaps it’s the sheer fact that he doesn’t allow failure to kill his enthusiasm; but rather those around him actually celebrate failure- knowing that through it you grow.   I guess it’s really the whole package and how striking it is at every stage in my life.  Ordinarily I’m not great at goal setting; simply by defining a goal all further actions and outcomes should be influenced…and having things work out the way they are “supposed to” doesn’t seem to be the way it has gone for me. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about- discouragement from unrealized dreams that becomes the forecast over your life.  Well, it’s time to break through these clouds hanging over me, and probably time for you too!  One of the most beautiful things about flying (in an airplane) is that even when it’s raining at ground level, it doesn’t take much for the plane to soar through the clouds and into the bright blue sky above!  And once you’re “up there”, knowing what you’ve just come through from “down there”, it’s even more inspiring!  Just think- that blue sky exists no matter what it looks like from the ground; we just have to soar high enough to get beyond it.  I know it’s a bumpy ride on the way through those clouds, but it’s only for a short bit of time and then you emerge into the vastness of serene sky knowing that truly anything is possible!   Now all of this would be inspiring enough on it’s own, but when I add into the mix that the Creator of the universe is cheering me on and pushing me forward into the destiny he has solely prepared for me it’s truly breathtaking!  Just think- God has purposefully crafted and designed a beautiful destiny for each one of us.  He is equipping us to walk out his call on our lives, and he is placing before us the opportunity to walk with him in it everyday.   He is a father that walks with us celebrating our successes and failures, knowing that we grow in each one.  His heart is towards us, his banner over us is love.   What he asks from each one is that we surrender our hearts to him, and lift our eyes…I want to be the plane that soars through the clouds and above the rain…I want to see things from his vantage point…I want to hear his dreams for me…choose to believe and walk them out.  This time I’m not going to be sidelined by every little thing that doesn’t go my way.   Here’s the lyrics for the song that plays at the end of that movie- Little Wonders by Rob Thomas.  May the whispers God spoke into my heart encourage yours; to reach a little further, dream a little higher and believe that it truly is possible!  Each dream becomes reality one small moment at a time…

Let it go

Let it roll right off your shoulder

Don’t you know?

The hardest part is over

Let it in

Let your clarity define you in the end

We will only just remember how it feels

[Chorus]:

All lives are made in these small hours

These little wonders

These twists and turns of fate

Time folds away

But these small hours

These small hours

Still remain

Let it slide

Let your troubles fall behind you

Let it shine

‘Till your feel it all around you

And I don’t mind

If it’s me you need to turn to

We’ll get by

It’s the heart that really matters in the end

[Chorus]

All of my regret

Will wash away somehow

But I cannot forget

The way I feel right now

In these small hours

These little wonders

These twists and turns of fate

Yeah these twists and turns of fate

[End]:

Time falls away

Yeah but these small hours

These small hours

Still remain

Yeah, ah, ah

Oh they still remain

These little wonders

Oh, these twists and turns of fate

Time falls away

But these small hours

These little wonders

Still remain…

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