A New Leaf

Ponderings in Changing Seasons


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come as you are

An Invitation:  to a Celebration!

A Come As You Are Party

No need to purchase an outfit:  what you have on right now will do just fine.

No need to check your calendar for conflicts: come right now.

No need to find out who else is invited:  YOU ARE and that is all that matters.

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A week ago Wednesday was Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lenten Season for 2016.  It will go on for 40 days.  Many who believe Jesus was and is the Son of God will spend this time in humble gratitude for what Jesus did for them.  They will fast some food or some activity that is significant to them.  Or, they will, as in my case, decide to stop a bad habit and acquire a better habit in its place.  They will allow this “Season” to be one of transformation.  Just as the humble caterpillar enters its cocoon and emerges a graceful butterfly, those honoring this Season hope to emerge a better, more grace-filled version of themselves.

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In many of my former years, I have elected to fast sugar .. or coffee .. or, not just sugar, but  sweet pastries .. or some other exercise in self-denial.  I emerged grateful for the aforementioned, embracing the delectable tastes once more. But, if I am honest, I cannot say I was changed, let alone transformed by the exercise in any discernible way.  Over the years, though, I have to believe that there has been a gradual transformation.  I now am fascinated by the WORD  and the Words of God!  I carry HOPE eternal in my heart that this world of woe belies.  I believe in the Power of Prayer to effect change.  ALL these things ~ and MORE ~ are due in part to my commitment to honor this Lenten Season which leads to the Via Delorosa which leads to Calvary which leads to the Tomb which leads to RESURRECTION MORNING!!!

What Lent requires of us is to Stand before Jesus, then to bow low.  I don’t easily bow low; my natural self prefers to STAND TALL!  But it is only in the laying low of self that the Journey to Truth occurs.  Only the Journey to Truth leads to Redemption.  And who doesn’t want Redemption?

“Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him!”*

There’s a Party goin’ on .. non-stop!  And YOU – Me – We ALL are invited, “just as we are”!  We don’t have to get cleaned up or prepped in any way.  All that we need do is say, “YES!”  The saying is true that the ground is level at the foot of the Cross.

That means ALL are welcome.

Why not enter into Lent this year, if this is not your pattern?  Even though we are just a bit more than a week into Lent, if you commit the remaining time to draw apart from the usual, to draw in to taste His Living Water,** you will never thirst again!  You will find strength and peace for the day.  Not a placid, no troubles place is this peace.  Rather, it is a peace that looks beyond what sight sees and trusts that there is far more in the Invisible than all that is in the visible.*** It is a peace that endures EVEN in the tumult!

Jesus is the one who invites and His Holy Spirit says, “Come!  See!  Receive!” He was the First to show us LIFE Everlasting.  We, too, can have not only Strength for the day, but LIFE abundant and Life Everlasting.

Jesus says simply, “Just come!”

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*Psalm 34:8     **John 4:13-15; 7:38     ***Colossians 1:15-20


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Dangling Threads and Knotty Spots

We had been there for awhile.  I hadn’t noticed it at first.  The room was cluttered with all manner of things: books, music, a piano, of course, papers ~ oh, all those papers ~ and dust.  A lifetime of memories were there.  The picture of her husband as a young soldier in World War II hung over the piano she so loved.  She told me how he’d been stationed in Paris, how he’d been gone three whole years ~ and they just married one year before he left.  She talked about the plants scattered on the various surfaces along with everything else, how she loved them, though they’d grown long and gangly and they, too, were covered with dust.

She excused herself a moment as she walked to the back of her tiny dwelling.

It was then that I spied the piece of needlepoint, a tapestry of sorts, dropped casually on the arm of the chair in the corner.  I couldn’t resist.  I went over for a closer look.  It was a mishmash of colors and strings both long and short; knots were scattered here and there among the threads.  It wasn’t finished, I could see, as there were still a full five inches of the bare mesh exposed.  What was also showing captivated me:  it was the part that was the actual scene, the actual picture she was creating.  The hues and shadings were entrancing.  I couldn’t refrain.  I picked it up, needle still woven where she had stopped.

As she re-entered the room, she stopped mid-sentence.  “I .. I hold onto that because it was my creation at the time my dear husband died.  I could never pick it up again.  It’s just too hard,” she sighed.

“What will the picture be?” I asked.   Awkwardly, I twisted the words, “I mean, what was it to have been?”

Without a pause in her step she turned and walked out of the room again.  I knew I had offended her; maybe even wounded her.  “Why don’t I just let things be,” I chastised myself.

When she returned this time, she was carrying a slip of paper; on it were penned words in handwriting that looked to have been scratched upon the paper long time ago.

“Here,” she spoke softly.  “This is for you.  And with it will come a story for you to carry forward.”

I looked at the handwriting; I looked at the title:  The Weaver, it said.

“So tell me this story.”  I looked at her gently, not knowing what she would tell me of such import that I would carry it forward.  She looked toward the page in my hand and suggested that I read it aloud.


My life is but a weaving
Between my LORD and me.                                                    
I cannot choose the colors;
He weaveth steadily.                                                  
Oft’times He weaveth sorrow; 
And I in foolish pride                                              
Forget He sees the upper
And I the underside.


Not ’til the loom is silent
And the shuttles cease to fly                                            
Will God unroll the canvas 
And reveal the reason why.                                              
The dark threads are as needful 
In the weaver’s skillful hand                                        
As the threads of gold and silver
In the pattern He has planned.
                                               
(Author Unknown)

Expectant, I sat down as she began to speak once more.

“You see,” she said intently, “there is design and definition in creation.  It doesn’t matter whether you are creating an artistic piece or a child.  You may be taking pen to paper, or fingers on a keyboard.  You might be growing flowers to arrange in a vase or preparing a flavorful, colorful meal. You may be folding laundry and creating order and function.  We are all weavers of a sort.  We are made in God’s image, so we are all endowed with the capacity to create.

This needlepoint reminds me each time my eye falls upon it and my heart aches with longing that God is not finished with me.  It reminds me that I am delayed in seeing the full picture, the design completed, the purpose defined from my underside perspective.  And it reminds me that though I am limited in my vision, HE is NOT!  He knows the reason why.  He knows each and every dangling thread and knotty spot in my life’s design.  And, my sweet friend, He knows the beautiful tapestry that He alone is weaving of your life intertwined with all the others with whom you have intercourse.  God sees and He knows and He cares when we cry for want, when we’re discontented and when we are fully satisfied.”

We sat together long in silence as I reflected on her careful words.  Then as I made movement to finish our visit, I thanked her.  I thanked her for teaching me a life lesson that, yes, I would carry forward ~ outward and upward ~ as I continued on my life’s journey.  “My life is but a weaving between my LORD and me ….”