The Dimming Of Creation, The Dimming Of The Stars

The Dimming Of Creation, The Dimming Of The Stars

We yet have things to learn from wanderings, things to learn in nature and in the calming quiet.

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I chuckled to my friend about a silly little wren the other day. Turns out, they did not even know that a wren was a bird. I wouldn't have known either, only I was blessed to have a mom who knows that sort of thing and to live by some woods. Now we know how to play dozens of different app games... but usually we don't know the birds, don't care.

Stars! The stars have dimmed in our imaginations! We used to be guided by them; they were a part of culture and conversation, a constant source of wonder. Stars were both legends and directions. What used to be an incredible spread of imagination, a living canvas of light, is to most people just little pinpricks in the night sky. People in cities cannot even see dancing constellations. I feel lost when I look up to a starless sky.

Let me tell you, one of my favorite things in this world to do is to flip off all the lights back at my house and to take a walk down the long driveway. The stars are bright and clear in the crisp air of winter, and I can lay down spread-eagled in the grass during the summer. Often, even the Milky Way is visible. And I stare and stare, and draw it all in, and I think of all the people before me who have looked upon them, all the stories they have seen from their perches.

The Bible tells us that God named the stars, every one of the billions. Glorious. He had no need to make this universe of enormity, but He did... just like an incredible gift, a testament to His power and beauty.

What a great quote in C. S. Lewis' "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader":

"In our world," said Eustace, "a star is a huge ball of flaming gas."
Even in your world, my son, that is not what a star is, but only what it is made of."

Can we trade entertainment for imagination? Think of things not only in scientific terms, but with meaning, imbued with God-given meaning, with creativity and color and story.

A thing is not defined by laws and principles and substance alone. Humans are not defined by laws and principles and substance alone. We are much more.

No longer are we people of the land, of loam and crops and seasons passing. No longer providing for ourselves, not feeling the weight of eating crops and animals that we raised ourselves. And never, never silence. Never stillness and solitude in which to think and to worship. In which "to give glory back."

"Be still and know that I am God." [1]

Silence is crucial for worship. When we are noisy, we are often distracted with our own affairs, all about making much of ourselves. But in the silence, we can realize the sickness of self and hearken to what is outside self, to beautiful, soul-calming things, to God and His glory.

Thought and reflection are essential to praise.

It is important to pray in the quiet, to meet God in the secret place.

This is a poem about the healing nature of creation, of God's seen revelation.

The Peace of Wild Things
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." [2]

Do not rob yourself of the gifts of Creation, know Him and wander into His natural gifts in awe. He exalts himself in all the earth.

You could spend your empty hours of today looking at a screen or scrolling through your phone, or you could meander out into knowledge and adventure, into thick woods and curving deer trails, breathing the fresh, clean air. We lose something when disconnect ourselves from the rolling land, from the earth and its revelation about God.

We yet have things to learn from wanderings, things to learn in nature and in the calming quiet.

These learnings in the fields and the woods can't be measured, can't always be boasted about or slapped onto a resume, but they are gold to the soul.

From the twinkling Orion to rustling grasses to fiery crimson sunrises to the chirp of a chickadee... The miracle of life from a lowing cow to a screaming hawk:

Marvelous.

Thank you, God.

[1] Psalm 46:10

[2] Wendell Berry

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17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.
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We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

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It's Okay To Be A Shattered Temple, God Doesn't Need You To Be A Perfect House

God wants to restore you because the scariest place for the enemy is the transformation from broken to healed.

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So right now it's 6:09 a.m., the house is so quiet I can hear it breathing. The wind slightly knocking against the walls like an unwelcome guest. The heat running through the pipes bringing warmth to each section of the house. The rain from the skies kissing the roofs and windows. I just thought how intricate and specific each role plays. How on its own it must feel inconsequential, but together completes its purpose.

In the Bible, a house/temple is referred to as a body often. We sing songs, "Lord, make me a house of prayer." But in some seasons, we doubt the very thing we asked God for as if it wasn't already designed for us.

Sometimes in our walks, we question our purpose. We don't see the grand scheme. On why we went through what we did, or why we currently are. We want explanations for everything because if our human minds can't comprehend it that means it was in vain. I have wrestled with this concept, the "Why me?" the "I didn't/don't deserve this" and lastly, "I just want the pain to end."

See, what they don't tell you when you sign up for this is that salvation is free but sanctification costs your life. They don't tell you that you have to change your words from "Why me?" to "Count it all joy." They don't put a disclaimer saying that the walk is free but the path is narrow. They don't tell you that you are a house.

A house can have broken parts but still be used. You can be broken and still be used by God. Because God isn't looking for perfect he's looking for posture. He's looking for an open house not foreclosed one. When something is broken within your house, you call someone with that specific training in that area. The very thing that you think qualifies you as broken can be the same that qualifies you as a healer! You looked at your situation as a test but God is trying to use you as a tool.

You don't call a plumber to fix a light. You don't call a perfect person to help an addict. You want someone who doesn't look down on you but says, "I can help, I know because I've been there and I know the pain, I know how you feel. Let's tackle this together." It's okay to be a broken house, a shattered temple — I have some creaks and leaks, too. God wants to restore you because the scariest place for the enemy is the transformation from broken to healed. Why? Because then you'll start setting others free. People don't care what you say, they care about what you do.

What you thought counted you out, God is counting on to help someone for their breakthrough.

They overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Let your house be open for not only God, but others. You may see yourself as a broken mirror, but others see a reflection. Your life is a testimony of not shame or embarrassment but of strength and grace. Your house may be missing things — a father, joy gone, love absent, peace may be missing — but God doesn't intend to keep you in lack, he is all-sufficient.

But he needed to withhold things from your house because one, you needed to know who really supplied it, and two, so you can show others how you overcame. But he is faithful He will fill those broken places and mend the broken hearts. He will be the light in your house. So that you may project your light to the world.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill can not be hidden. Neither a man lights a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on the stand — and it shines unto all that are in the house. Even so, let your light shine before men; they may see your good works and Glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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