Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Soul's Kalidescope::identity & season::

This morning I dropped my three kiddos of at school, trailing each one in for the annual desk photo, rushing back out before anyone saw my tears. This was the first 1st day of school that I drove home with an empty car. 

I settled in at our life-scratched table and read the latest email update on friends who are on day 12 of their 15 yr old's fight against Leukemia. 
Checking up on a sweet family praying for healing of their hubby/daddy's brain cancer, I saw their strong faith in smiling faces. 
Facebook shows radiant images of a sweet couple that covenanted marriage love yesterday.
Another happy shot, this one of a beautiful sweet momma whose body stretches tight over waiting and readiness and anticipation. 
A poster with running feet and information about our upcoming community service project, and I'm reminded to stop and pray for this community we're seeking to love. 

All of these snapshots of real life moving, pulsing, and converging in with where my heart has been pondering and praying lately. 

There was this time when I took a decorated cardboard cylinder in my hand, holding it to my right eye and shutting the other so that the only light I see was channeled through the tube that I was twisting slowly.
The bits of colored glass inside shifted and fell into new arrangements with each turn, reflecting off mirrors within to create different arrangements of pretty design, one after another. 
We were standing in a Children's gift shop nestled into a shopping mall.  It was a simple kaleidoscope I held in my hands, a simplicity that fascinated my soul with a visual image that God used to show me His love and tender leading. 

Identity and Season:
Two parts of my soul; separate in their essence, but nested together inseparablely in their presence. 
Where I engage with one, I engage with the other, yet they are not the same. 
The one always changing, the other unchanging; both always connected, and if engaged with in truth, together they equal glory and big joy!
I know this because Abba has been tenderly teaching me; lifting the cylinders to my soul's eye and teaching me to see the turn....

Like the twisting and turning of a kaleidoscope, my seasons shift with ebb and flow, and are frequently affected by circumstances very much outside of my control. 
As God does His perfect ordaining thing over my life, He turns the cylinder of circumstance, people, situations, needs, and things are constantly shifting, falling, and resorting into a new season. 

Little pieces of colored glass, emptying, but never falling out; creating new spaces and molding themselves into new patterns but always remaining present within the view; the truths of my identity. This stuff of who and what I am; 
who and what I am always becoming. 
These are not hindered, removed or destroyed by the turning changes in circumstance, emotion, or knowledge. They are truths dictated by One beyond myself, untouchable, going with me wherever I go, and in whatever I do. 

To enjoy a kaleidoscope fully, I must twist the nested tubes and watch the pieces fall into a new beauty, and then twist again.

My healthy, peaceful, and hope-filled soul; my gospel-charged soul, must know my identity, and I must know my season. 
I must allow these two to nest and turn with the unfolding of life. 
I must give myself the freedom to acknowledge a season's hard, fruitfulness, struggle, or success without fear because I knows that while the pieces shift together in new ways, 
my identity stays secure. 

Two mornings ago, I sat in an early quiet before the house woke, and scratched out a list. 
Ephesians was open in front of me, the first 14 verses piling into my heart and out through my pen in a long gathering of truths about who I am in Christ.  
I had limped to this place seeking and asking for help. 
I felt dry and tired and so very much not enough for what seemed to be before me. 
I still wasn't sure I had processed all that has already come and gone, not to mention what is right under my feet, as my life kaleidoscope feels to be turning at break-neck speeds. 

A church change, ministry change, revival of focus... wonderful and so very vulnerable. 

An unexpected personal grieving as my momma status moved {overnight} from the little years to the family years...so much to miss and treasure up. 

The process of positioning ourselves to simplify in housing investment/location... uprooting, waiting, and just plain old hard work. 

Our oldest man-child's move into new struggles as his little self takes on the whirling roller-coaster of growing up... embracing a new dependence in parenting with it's death to self.

Leaning into this particular school year with it's changes for me as a SAHM.... alone and feeling out new boundaries.

All of these little pieces of my unchanging identity falling into new places, leaving new spaces and the old familiar behind. 
It can all be such a scary mess...

Abba drew me to bring all of my reshaping discomfort to Him and ask one simple question:
"Remind me of who I am in You?" 

As my scribbles began to fill up a journal page, my heart grabbed with reminder of that moment in the children's gift shop nestled into a shopping mall....cheap cardboard and plastic in my hand, head upturned to the light over the checkout counter....twisting with my hands, watching the patterns merge, fall and empty into new beauty. 

I realized that my weariness came from an exchange that was happening in my soul; the clinging to season for identity. 

Trying to reach and to grab at aspects of old passing away seasons as though they were part of my identity; fearing that to see them empty out into something new, I would see myself empty out into nothing. 

Isn't this how it so often goes with us?

We take the callings we're given, and so pour ourselves into them that we begin to believe that they are the measure of who we are. 
We grab at season, rather than identity, for a validation-flag to wave, and oh the big freak-out when we're asked to lay it down. 

Reaching into a kaleidoscope and trying to hold a few colored beads in place as it turns will only cause the new pattern to break and eventually jam. 
All beauty stunted and lost. 

Refusing to let the nested cylinders and mirrors turn at all might leave me comfortable, but I would be spiritually stunted and anemic. 

I will not fear new empty spaces, 
or the resorting of my life's pieces.  
The new pattern promises to be more beautiful than the last, and the next even more so, as He moves me from one degree of glory to the next. 
My seasons turn, twist, and resort into new views...
sometimes surprisingly complex, 
sometimes breathtakingly beautiful, always -every single one- 
defined by His grace and love.

I might have to squint and let Him readjust my perspective.
I might fight and balk against the turn until He gently releases my grip,
but when He does, 
{and Praise Jesus HE DOES}
all the pieces, the anchors of my soul, 
are always there:

fully known, 
rich in grace, 
forever and ever...

I put down my pen on that quiet morning.
My soul-kaleidoscope was back in play with a renewed excitement and courage to embrace the whirling colors...

And I knew then it's about the light....
always The Light; 
shining down through the twisting cylinders causing the colors of His love over me to dance in the beautiful whirl of this life, and after that, there will be Jesus forever!!! 

I can just hold it all up to The Light and watch His Glory cascade! 

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