Monday, May 31, 2010

Unscripted

Have you seen the Nicolas Cage movie Next? He plays an eccentric "magician" who can see the future. But just his own future, and just the next two minutes of it. Until he meets this girl, Jessica Biel. In one scene, they're riding down the highway, talking about destiny. She says she doesn't believe in it. Basically, everything's not mapped out. Not a coincidence. And she doesn't want to know what's ahead. He's thinking wouldn't that be nice.

Wonder if we knew what would happen before it did? Would that be scary? Or a relief? For a while, I thought it would be a relief. Now I'm not so sure. From our point of view, life is mostly unscripted. We don't exactly know what's ahead. But God does. The unexpected in the hands of God can be quite exciting. Whenever "scary" starts to take over our hearts, He quiets us with His Word and with His love. He reassures us He'll be with us every step of the way.

Do you think God gives us small glimpses of what's to come? Would this be a relief? Or is the suspense worth the not knowing?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Moving Forward

After the Ridgecrest conference, my parents and I had a little adventure. Besides going to the Biltmore (which was an adventure in itself), we went to Grandfather Mountain. I saw my first bald eagle there. We drove to the top of the mountain, and parked. Before we got out of the car, Mom read the little brochure that we got at the gate. "Don't open your doors if there is a strong wind." As if on cue, a headwind rushed passed the car. "Don't walk on top of the mountain if there is rain or lightning." The clouds were gray and slightly threatening.

So we got out of the car, right side passengers first. Then the driver's side, not to open all the doors at once. We walked up the stairs to the top of the mountain. The view was amazing. I've seen the Alps, I've seen the Rockies, now I've seen Blue Ridge. We walked a little ways to the swinging bridge, 80 feet long, suspended 1 mile above sea level. I looked at it and thought, "You want me to do what?" And, "Why does it have to be a swinging bridge?"

Mom walked across with no problem. My fear got the best of me. The scratching of metal and the swinging of wire ropes made me want to go back. But we moved forward. My dad being behind me helped. The middle of the bridge had a green plank. I call them "planks," but they're made out of metal and all silver but one. This one's painted green with the words, "1 mile." At that moment, I knew we were as close to God as humanly possible with our feet on planet earth. We were walking in the clouds.

God has great things for each of us. We may not always see what's ahead, but He does. He knows how to prepare us for the journey that's ahead. Even when the metal clangs and the ropes are swinging, He reassures us that He is with us, holding our hand. He helps us to move forward in spite of our fears.

Are there any swinging bridges you need to cross? What encouragements has God given you to keep moving forward? What has helped you to overcome fear? Please share your thoughts. You never know when we're going to meet another swinging bridge.

Friday, May 21, 2010

It's Time

What a week! Mountains and classes. New friends and new ideas. Expanded dreams and fresh time with God. That's what this year's Blue Ridge Christian writer's conference was for me. A time to discover what God has in store, and there are fewer places as beautiful as the Blue Ridge mountains to discover it. Know what I mean?

Every day had its classes and keynote speakers, workshops and hang out times. And its beauty. Sitting under a tree in the front "courtyard," I got an idea for a devotion. I found the perfect bench, and got out my pad to take notes. Nature was speaking.

Nature is beautiful, a lot like life. But it's also dirty. (I had to get the pollen and twigs off that bench before I sat down. I've never been one to hike. Yet.) But nature is also cleansing. As I sat on that bench, the tree rained on me. Not the sky, only the tree. Earlier that morning, the leaves must have collected the rain and saved it. Just for that moment.

We can get dirty in life. Things happen, heartache comes, disappointments threaten our joy. But it doesn't have to scar us. God sends us the rain to clean us off. Sometimes the water comes as a gentle rain, sometimes it comes as a storm. But it can still cleanse us, if we're willing to get wet, learn what we can, and wait for God to send the sunshine again.

If you were at the conference this year, I hope you saw some sunshine, and endured any rain. I had many up's and down's myself. How about you? Tell me your story, tell me your dream. What did God do this week? I want to hear about your adventure.