Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Portable feast

When I was eleven years old, I got my very own pocket-sized transistor radio. From my tiny Kansas town, I could hear broadcasts from Omaha, Nebraska over 100 miles away. It was amazing to me!

What 1970s preteen joy: a starry summer night and American Top 40 with Casey Kasem!

Tuning into the desired station with the analog control knob was tricky. You had to listen very carefully as you dialed, almost crept, into the correct, narrow bandwidth. Oftentimes, you could hear the cacophony of several stations at once! An incremental twist revealed static, another tiny turn brought more overlaid confusion. Then, by turning yourself slightly and finding just the right position, the airwaves became suddenly, startlingly crystalline clear. Then you had to stay still. Very still. But, oh, the happiness of a personal, portable auditory feast!

That prized transistor radio is long forgotten and I’ve long since lost the art of being still. Come to think of it, I have not recently partaken of an auditory feast. Oh wait… what is that I hear? I struggle to tune in, to get past the static in my ears… or is that my heart?

“Be still!”

God reminds me of a little transistor radio and a narrow bandwidth, of positioning myself until the sound was crystalline. He gently instructs my heart to dial, to find the correct position to tune into His voice, His own narrow bandwidth.

My friends, it is time for a feast! Pardon me while I go get ready!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I have a mission for the year. It’s a one-word command: Illuminate.

Years ago, I had a powerful dream. I was standing in a room with two attendants who pulled back a curtain to reveal the most beautiful tapestry I have ever seen. The background was rich, almost-midnight-blue. Intricate, exquisite embroidery in vivid jewel tones wove in and out and around unfamiliar silver and gold letters. I asked one of the attendants what it said.

“It is God’s name for you: it is His vision for your life,” was the reply.

Stunned, I asked, “Well, what does it say?”

The answer has stayed with me to this day.

“It says, ‘One Who Shines’.”

Fast forward to Wednesday night, February 4. I sit in service with dear friends as we soak in the last evening our beloved Worship Leader will spend with us before beginning his new assignment from God. My heart is full and open. I am still. It is the perfect opportunity for God to zap me, to sneak up on me and plant my own new assignment.

The minister has preached about being the light of the world. He uses the word “illuminate”. Suddenly the light goes on in my spirit as God whispers, “Illuminate the text, ‘One Who Shines’! Onward!"

In Art History class, we learned about “Illuminated Text”. It refers to the beautiful, intricate illustrations of the monks who copied scripture. They crafted borders and vignettes on pages of text to not only beautify but also present the scripture to the illiterate, to those who could not read the unfamiliar letters.

Like the tapestry in my dream.

Like the children’s books I am writing and illustrating. Those two unfinished books have been sitting on my desk, collecting dust because I have not given them priority. One God gave me to do last spring. The other came at New Year’s. They have been roughly sketched out, waiting for inspiration. Now, I am literally called back to the drawing board!

Ponder this example of God, the Master Planner: what style of illustration do you think I have used in those books? I have woven intricate borders and illustrations on pages of text to present scripture to the illiterate, to those who can not read. I am dumbstruck with wonder and awe at how God has been guiding as I have been unaware.

Then, just as I think it is only about the children’s books, He reminds me that I am to also illuminate through my online journaling, to illustrate with word pictures.

And for one glorious moment, He pulled back the curtain again.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Accurate Fit

Did you ever play dress up? I remember my son as a toddler, trying on his daddy’s shoes and hat. He couldn’t see out from under the brim. He couldn’t pick up his feet, but strained just to shuffle along. The photo op lasted only a few minutes, not even long enough to find the camera. It was just too hard for him to move under that burden.

It was a different story when Adam had on his own gear. You couldn’t contain him. He was busy getting things done. I’ve got several pictures of him in those little sneakers and ball cap!

At times I have found myself playing spiritual dress-up. Like David in Saul’s armor, I’ve tried to walk around in somebody else’s suit, with pathetic results. Like David, I’ve found Saul’s tunic and accoutrements to be not just ill-fitting but also burdensome. God equipped David with a staff and a sling and five smooth stones to do the job He had set before him. Saul’s armor was not intended for David. Saul’s armor is not mine, either.

I have my own suit, tailored with God’s measurements for my life.

There are spiritual gifts that I simply do not possess. There are missions that are not mine. There are great and wonderful works that are intended for others to do. But God has ordained specific things for me and I need to be about the business of discovering them. I need to stand and be measured, be fitted according to those measurements, not what I wish them to be but what they actually are. I am not a size 6. I am not a size 22.

God has a suit of armor for me and I, according to Ephesians 6:10, am to put it on. (The armor belongs to God, “Government-issued”!) Though we all have the same armor components, He has given me a suit sized especially for me. Let Saul wear his own. Let David wear his own. Let the spiritual leaders in my life wear their own. You wear yours. May God grant me the grace to wear mine.