Aged Cheese

A week ago, my dad brought home some sharp cheddar cheese, one of his favorites…this particular cheese though was a bit more special than normal because it was 12 year-old aged cheddar….that’s pretty old cheese I thought.  And cool too, just because I think stuff like that is cool, for no reason.

Okay, now I’m 26 years old, and that cheese is 12 years old, that means that when I was 14, someone decided to put this cheese away & wait 12 years to serve it.  For 12 years that cheese sat there, wherever that may be, waiting for just the right moment to come out & be served.  Had it only sat for a few years, it probably still would have been good, but have you ever eaten 12 year-old aged cheddar? It’s amazing…it’s good, it has a unique taste, etc. etc. Ha. I’m not really THAT crazy about cheese, but you gotta think about this in this other way…think about us as cheese.  Laughing yet? Just hold on….

Psalm 139:13 & 16 says “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb….Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”  This is amazing if you think about it, because God knew us, knew our every step & all about us before we even existed.  Wow. That tells me that over 26 years ago, God knew that I would be typing this blog, where I’d be & that there must be a purpose to my life…to each of our lives!

Like a fine wine or a fine cheese, as we enter into the family of God, even before we entered the family of God, we were set aside for a purpose, we have been given a story, we have reason to live.  Isn’t that interesting though? To think of ourselves as in this waiting position, waiting to be taken off the shelf for God to use us?  I don’t think He is completely passive though, at some point this analogy breaks down because I think we’re used here & there throughout our lives, but as it says in Ecclesiastes 3:1, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”  I wonder if that means that we won’t die until God has fulfilled in us the purpose He has created us for.  It is not until that point that we will finally see the Glory of God fulfilled & complete.

Just thoughts.  It makes me appreciate the cheese a lot more though…:) Hope you can see it differently too.  You are special, you’re made with a purpose, you are loved, you are meant for something and no one can take away that meaning from you. You are God’s child, designed intentionally to be who God purposed, to bring Glory to Him & reconcile you to Him in due time. Amen!!

Anticipation

Standing on the precipice of something extraordinary….or maybe just new, I cannot help but feel anticipation and eagerness to move forward, to feel whatever this is that the Lord is moving around in my life. Big pieces are moving, and slowly things are taking shape.  I’ve been praying much the past few months of what does God have for me next.  I am “content” where I am, yet some of the situations that surround me make me uncomfortable, and yes I do realize that uncomfortableness can grow you….however this type of uncomfortable is the kind that can kill you. So. What is it God, what will it be? Where will it be? When will it be?

Looking forward, I cannot help but look back as well…I recently saw this verse at one of the 5 funerals I’ve attended in the last few weeks…”The memory of the righteous will be a blessing….” (Proverbs 10:7a).  What a blessing that I have been given through all of the people in my life & now who have passed on to the next.  One of my favorite kids books, tells the story of an old woman who refuses to name things that she knows she will outlive.  So the puppy that starts to visit her daily goes without a name until at one point he stops coming & she believes she has lost him forever. Through his visits, she has grown to love him…and when the dog pound guy asks what the lost puppy’s name is, she thinks back over all her friends that she had outlived, and realized just how lucky she was, and decided then to name the dog “lucky”.  As I look for what this new thing is that God is stirring, I want to bring the memories of the righteous people in my life with me…they will be in me and their memories will live through me, in whatever place I land.

Eleanor Roosevelt, in my mind one of the greatest inspirational women to ever live, said this…”The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”  That’s what I’m trying to do…..reaching out to find whatever is out there, whatever God has that holds a rich newness to it. His redeeming & loving character will provide that, in his way.  Hm. How are we, am I, living that is tasting His will to the utmost, am I reaching out eagerly & without fear?  Will I remember the past with a blessed feeling?  I will, and I will try to take steps in faith to be one of those women who live without fear of the future, to be confident in the hope I have in Christ, and the boldness to follow wherever He may lead…seeing how He worked so vibrantly in the lives of my loved ones past, and fully trusting that He will do the same in me.

Total Restoration in Progress

This is my new life statement. Total restoration in progress. Think about this with me.  As I walked down the old & classic looking streets of downtown St. Paul, there’s a place called the Coney Island Cafe. It says it opened in 1923, and now there is plastic sheets over the windows & dirt in the doorway. But a tiny little sign tells you that there is a “total restoration in progress”.  When you peek into the windows, you can see the old bar stools, the juke box in the middle of the dining room, old booths made from dark wood…signs of a past that has been lived and worn down.  Signs that at one time this little shop was something…it was made to be something, but has gotten dirty, old, been shut off from the outside & has lost life inside the walls.

As I walked away from the cloudy window, I pictured my own life like that little cafe.  Parts of my life have been dusty, abandoned, been shut off from the outside & lost life.  I thought about how many of us when going through difficult things will grow tired of visiting those places inside of us, and pretty soon they’re closed for business, not something we easily remember, and not something any one would want to go back to.

But Christ, in his ever visioning perspective & will, sees that old place and sees the potential that is still held within.  He comes inside of that place, and puts up a sign “total restoration in progress”.  Total….not one spot untouched, taking everything into the process.  Restoration…..taking all those parts, every single spec & restoring it to the original design, the original intent & vibrant life.  In Progress……an ongoing process, active & not sedentary, forward moving towards a goal, a developing of sorts.

Isn’t our life in Christ a “total restoration in progress”?  Will we ever reach a finished state until Christ says come home?  And how would we be totally restored if we do not allow him into every little nook & cranny of our being?

When you see a place that has been totally restored to it’s original state, is it not a beautiful sight? Something you want to behold, take in, soak up, relish, applaud, appreciate & marvel at?  Are we not usually wanting to give recognition to the hard work that the restorer has accomplished? Do we not look at all the tiny details that the crafter took time to meticulously finish?  Why then would we not recognize the work that Christ would like to do in us, a more than fully capable master who knows the ins & outs of us better than we know ourselves.  Should we not then give him the keys to every part of us and especially the dark & dusty parts so that we can be fully restored to the life that Christ meant for us to live out?

Something beautiful

On the last day in Kauai, we took our little car and drove a long, winding and “hole-y” road to the summit.  While the length of the road was only about twenty miles, it took nearly an hour to reach the destination.  As we neared the end, mist filled our windows & clouded the glass.  We took a short detour to a lookout further inland, which was suggested as a better view than the summit.  Pulling into a small lot there were only a few other cars, mostly other hikers because we were the only people at the spot. 

We walked to the edge of the overlook, to the fence that was the only thing that held us from the depths of a mile-high canyon drop.  It didn’t take until the fence to see the view before us….it captured us as soon as we stepped foot out of the car.  There was a complete covering of fog.  Past the fence was nothing but white. And as the sky was so bright, the air before us and above us melded into one perfectly spotless canvas.  We sat on a table, submitting ourselves to the fact that we would see nothing of the canyon from there.  This canyon we had seen from the air & from the sea, the canyon green with life, vivid with color, proud with height, this canyon we knew was merely feet from where we stood, was hidden fully from our view.

Sitting still on the table, for a few moments neither of us spoke, nor did any cars approach the lot or hikers exclaim.  The only sounds that could be heard were birds echoing their praises & distant calls of the ocean shore, clapping with delight against the cliff walls.  We sat there silent, feeling as though we were just out of reach of heaven….a perfect place of light, just beyond sight.

As I recalled this moment to a friend, she made a comparison to this “non-sight” to that of the lives Christ has for us….how we can be right on the edge of something beautiful, spectacular & breathtaking….and yet sometimes He hides it from us. It’s not the right time for us to see what is there, what is coming next, what colors he’s using, what form he’s making, or where he’ll bring us into. The beauty that he is forming is there…it’s within reach, yet until He blows the clouds away, we cannot see. We can have faith in His will for our future, and that our future is with Him…yet faith is what it takes to grasp that there IS something beyond the fog, behind the clouds, lying still & silent in his hands.  It is waiting to be revealed, but until then, we are to sit, silently and in awe of the beauty of where we are…take in the smell of the flowers, the sounds of the birds & waves, the feel of the wind on our faces, the warmth of the sun beating down through the thickness of clouds. Rest & relax in the quiet knowing that while it is unseen, we know that something beautiful is before us.

Questions to ponder

I just spoke with a pastor, and thought I would pass on the questions the pastor gave me. (I’m rephrasing some of these just a bit)

1. How much does God care about what you do versus who you are while doing it?
2. Could a team of people be more burdensome than a gift of money or background support?
3. While we continually ask God to fulfill OUR list, do we ever ask what is HIS list for us? What does HE desire for me or from me?

…..wonder about these with me.