Counter-clockwise View

Changing of Perspective

At work (unless its raining) I love to walk a small circular path next to the lake outside my building. It is a pleasant and beautiful scene, accompanied by birds singing melodies,  frogs bellowing messages, and the geese gliding effortlessly across the water. And, on most days there is a warm breeze blowing to make the walk even more wonderful.  It truly is a peaceful, and lovely place to get in a little exercise. A couple of weeks ago, I was taking a fast-paced jaunt around this little circle when I decided to switch it up a bit and take 3 counter-clockwise loops. It was on my first  time around when the view made me pause and take in the beauty. You see, the scene traveling clockwise, while lovely, was very different from the one which arrested me mid-walk. I could hear Holy Spirit’s whisper in my soul – “Sometimes, you need to see things from a different angle Tonya, to get the better view.”

The presence of Jesus captured me in those moments.

The past month has been one sprinkled with uncertainty, fear and grief, yet  mixed with joy, and excitement. To say it has been a little odd would be an understatement. I have heard before, every new beginning starts with an ending.

Goodbyes are simply a part of moving into something new. I have felt those goodbyes down deep in a place only Jesus has access to. I am forever grateful His scars know how to heal.

The simplicity of choosing to switch up my routine walk led to a powerful moment of healing. God lovingly cupped my face in His hands, and turned my eyes to see things a bit differently. Instead of being disappointed in me for grieving the goodbyes I had said, He allowed me to see loving freely makes you vulnerable and open to making life-long connections. Those kind of goodbyes are hard.

Just ask the disciples.

Just ask anyone who has ever loved deeply.

It is ok to grieve forlorn farewells and greet happy hellos at the same time.

The change in view led me to see how life is full of sorrow and beauty – often at the same time. It is what makes life the journey it is. Jesus took a different approach to culture and religion, and He often took a route the disciples did not understand. After taking my counter-clockwise walk, I have thought about this a lot. I believe Christ wanted them to see things from a different perspective, to see life from His point of view.

The Craftsman who built with His hands was the Chief Cornerstone the builders rejected . The King born in stable, without an earthly throne, is the King of all Kings. The Healer who could raise the dead to life is the Physician who heals with nail-scarred hands. Yes, His truth is the wildly wonderful lens I want to view my life through.

It would be a tragedy to believe our lives could never be a mix of good and bad, ugly and beautiful, confidence and uncertainty or sorrow and rejoicing – often in concert with each other.

To try and not experience it fully because it feels odd, or seems way too hard, is to slight ourselves of the gorgeous blessings of a counter-clockwise view.

 

A Mother’s Day Song

The enemy loves to keep us burdened. He is constantly reminding us of all that we don’t have.

Ahhh, but God.

God strives against the enemy of our souls, and as Jesus makes intercession for us, we can trust the plans of a good God to bring us through – and adjust our focus.

Last year, the Lord graciously placed a few words in my heart as I thought about Mother’s Day. It had always been a tough Holiday for me, and even still, a slight twinge of sadness snuck up on me. So, I know He gave me those words last Mother’s Day to “adjust my focus” – for a reminder to rejoice in those things that are true!

This year, in His perfect grace, He went a little farther to remind me (because I’m often forgetful) I was not given a Mother’s heart in vain.

On Friday an early Mother’s Day gift arrived. I received a text from a student’s Mom thanking me for pouring love into her daughter’s life, and for showing her the love of Jesus. Mrs. Sweet Parent shared with me that in January her little girl sought her out to come talk with her. This precious student of mine laid on her bed, and with tears flowing, told her mother she wanted to always have Jesus in her heart and live for him.

I read the rest of the text through tears.

My gift had not been wrapped in a box, or been delicately arranged in a pretty bag filled with confetti. But, oh my happy soul, it had been divinely wrapped in the love of a Father who adores me. It was perfectly timed and purposefully given. You see, this precious mom could have told me in January – but God.

He knew the plans He had for me.

He knew I was going to be leaving my teaching career this summer. He knew this would be an emotional time. He also knows around Mother’s Day the enemy taunts me with lonesomeness.

My sweet Father is such a precious friend.

When I read Isaiah 54 over ten years ago, I could have never imagined the reason it would grow to be such a precious exhortation from the Lord. He has caused my barren womb to no longer be a place of sadness but of joy. He has filled my childless arms with a quiver full of children.

I love them with love from the mother’s heart my Creator has given me.

My heart could not be anymore full than it is this Mother’s Day. I will sing – for my Father has truly blessed me with children – more than I could have ever expected!

Kaleidoscope of Faith

Sometimes I forget just because I have not literally seen His face, audibly heard His laughter or physically sat at His dusty, divine feet, does not  mean I have not truly experienced His goodness.


If I would only be still, and look at my life through the kaleidescope of faith, I would see Him more clearly.

The little hands that work so hard to write their letters perfectly just to hear their teacher say, “Wow, great job!,” is His voice whispering, “I have called you to do an important work.” 

My Savior’s sweetness can be felt when a precious little one takes a break from her lunch just to come give her teacher a hug.

The Holy Spirit’s grace abounds as this writer’s pen flows with words of wisdom and encouragement that can only come from the heavenly place where living water flows endlessly.

My Father’s loving arms embrace me when my friend sends me a text to say, “Hey, I just wanted you to know I miss you and I’m thinking of you, always,”

And, how about the calls and texts from my baby brothers that make me smile and laugh with such sincere joy? That is a taste of what it must have felt like to walk next to Jesus as a friend and brother.

My list could go on and on.


The myriad of ways God shows Himself present and active in our lives is beautifully variegated.  Oh that I would be more open to see the subtle, yet profound, truth – ordinary moments become extraordinary in the presence of the King.





Sidenote 😁
Lisa Harper is an amazing Bible teacher and a Spirit-filled speaker. Her book, Believing Jesus, is what the Lord has used to stir my heart tonite. The book of Acts is going to be an incredibly moving study, I’m sure.

Join us and share all that the Lord does in your life too!!

I look forward to hearing from you!!

Simple Sunrises – Perfect Vision

Perfect Vision

Have you ever wondered why some days seem extra-ordinary and some just seem a little less? I have. Yet, the more I age, the more I seem to long for those days which are, to others, a little less grand. I don’t think I realized my need for ordinary until I watched a sunrise that was not colored with hues of majestic proportions. I had never noticed how wonderfully comforting it could be to experience a sky filled with the simplicity of basic colors – and fewer strokes from the Master’s paintbrush.

So often I stumble when I allow my heart to tread the waters of “less than” because the world tells me to be special means we must live a life filled with only majestic sunrises and sunsets. To take the most beautiful snapshots and display them for everyone to “ooh” and “ahh” over seems to be the #goal. And, I am not only speaking of the physical photographs, but I am also talking about our lives and how we live them out before one another. It is our natural desire to be noticed, to be validated by others.

But what about the subtle colors we may quietly illustrate with? The lovely strokes of kindness, meekness, gentleness, self-control, joy, love, peace – all painting the way we react, the way we move. These are the simple, yet glorious, pigments that color our lives into the beauty God longs to see.

I believe we have things a little mixed up. Most definitely, God is grand, and His beauty is most assuredly more wonderful than our human eyes or hearts can comprehend. Nevertheless, we do not have to be living lives of extraordinary proportions for Him to view us as beautiful, for He already sees us that way – from the moment we begin to grow in the womb.

It is when we reach the place in our lives where Jesus is our portion, our Redeemer, that God sees us as Holy, for then when He looks upon us, He sees His Son’s righteousness shed over our humanity. Now, that is spectacular!

Our Creator’s eyes roam all over this earth, seeking to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose lives are painting even the most elementary of portraits for Him. (2 Chronicles 16:9) So, the next time I see the subtlest of sunrises or simplest of sunsets, I pray He reminds me the beauty of the ordinary is glorious to Him. What a gift it is to trust He sees me with perfect vision and knows my heart.