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Posts Tagged ‘lent’

 

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Being sick is never enjoyable, but we can find ourselves with unexpected blessings during those times and Good Friday was one of those for me.

The week before Easter I developed a bit of a cough that eventually wound up developing in to a bad case of bronchitis. Not sleeping, coughing and feeling basically rotten isn’t something I wanted for this special time of year. I had hoped to attend the Good Friday service at our church. Unfortunately, I was exhausted from not sleeping and was still coughing a fair amount so I wound up sitting on my couch feeling disappointed—then I saw IT.

I was looking out our back windows at an absolutely gorgeous sunset. The sky was turning vibrant shades of pinks, blues & purples– it was truly breathtaking. My eyes fell on a clump of trees that are off in the distance and all of a sudden I saw an image in those trees that I’d never seen before….an unmistakeable shape of a cross. The longer I looked at it, the more meaningful it became. I saw it as God’s way of reminding me of the true meaning of Good Friday.

 

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I had my husband take this picture and yes, I posted it to facebook. One comment made by a friend stated my feelings perfecty – “Way, way more meaningful than a church service”. It seems that sometimes we think that the only way we can have a spiritual experience is to sit in a church sanctuary, but we need to be reminded that God can meet us wherever we are—even being sick on a couch.

God gave us the MOST incredible gift on the cross that day, but we continue to be given loving gifts . We just need eyes and a heart that can ‘see’ them.

 

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My Good Friday Cross

 

 

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As I have been focusing on spiritual things during this season of Lent, a trip to the National Cathedral in Washington did just that – it drew my eyes and heart heavenward.  If you’ve never had the opportunity to visit, I would highly recommend it.  This Cathedral is the 6th largest in the world and has 231 stained glass windows.  You can look at pictures, but there is something that can only be experienced by walking through the doors.

Rowan LeCompte, the cathedral’s foremost stained glass artist, compares stained glass to music.  ” Both are emotional and instinctively perceived. Like music, stained glass can stimulate the imagination, it can lift the heart, it can enchant.”  I found this to be true.  Music has the ability to touch my soul and I discovered that stained glass also moves me in indescribable ways.   The beauty of these windows as well as the architecture were awe inspiring and as I walked around I found myself in tears several times from the feelings that overwhelmed me.

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The amazing beauty of the stained glass, as well as the of the incredible architecture of building itself, caused me to have the distinct feeling that I was in the presence of something Holy.  The windows all have unique and specific meanings, some Biblical and some historical.  Seeing Jesus, Mary, other well-known Biblical figures depicted in these scenes reached out and grabbed my heart, causing me to simply stop and stare  with tears running down my cheeks .

The only thing I would do differently if I were to go again (and will be sure to do as I tour other cathedrals) is to have my ear buds with me to be able to listen to the music that ‘goes with’ the experience.  Unfortunately others were touring the building and even though my heart ‘heard’ music, my ears were distracted by the noises around me.  I can only imagine what would happen if/when I am in a Holy place like this and am listening to music that touches my soul in that same deeply moving way.

To get a sense of what I ‘felt’, click on the link below and  listen to the music as you look at the images of the cathedrals in the video.  It can’t do justice to actually being there, but if this is the kind of thing that can touch your soul, it will be a wonderful experience.  I have been fortunate to have a facebook friend who has posted various Youtube videos during this Lenten season and they have been special gifts to me.  This video is one that he posted.

Click HERE to listen to Allegri Miserere

If this isn’t what moves your soul, I would encourage you to look until you find what does—-it can be an amazing and overwhelming experience.

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MY VALENTINE “GIFT”

It is Valentine’s Day and I was given a VERY ‘cool’ gift—a beautiful snowy morning.

 

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As I stepped out the back door I was greeted with a view that literally made me stop in my tracks.   Everything was covered with a layer of beautiful, white snow.  Something about the snow clinging to the branches made me feel like I had stepped in to a winter wonderland.  Being in the season of Lent and purposefully focusing on the gifts God has given me, I couldn’t help but see this as a Valentine gift from the only One who can create such beauty.  

I could not resist the urge to bundle up and head out for a walk with my dog, Denver.  I took my camera along in order to capture some of this beauty while it lasted.  With the sun beginning to shine on the trees, I knew the snow wouldn’t last long.

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As I walked through the beautiful, white carpet of snow, it felt so invigorating and cleansing.  Seeing all of nature covered in white reminded me of a scripture that was read last night at the Ash Wednesday service.  Psalm 51:7 :Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.  There is nothing more pure and clean than a fresh snowfall.  

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As I came to the part of the path where the sun had been shining the longest, I could already hear the snow beginning to melt and fall to the ground.  I knew that it was only a matter of time before all of the trees, bushes and grass would lose their snowy covering.  Being aware of this, I savored each moment and tried to appreciate every bit of the natural beauty as I walked.

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Denver, my Golden Retriever also appreciated this special gift.  When he first realized that we were going for a walk in the snowy field he began to frantically run around in large circles.  It’s like he was so delighted that he just couldn’t contain himself any longer.  It almost made me wish I was a dog so that I could find that much joy and excitement from something as simple as the snow.

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As I headed back to the house to begin the work of the day, I stopped and took a few deep breaths and enjoyed the sounds of morning.  I silently said my ‘thank you’ for the gift and took one last look into the field.  Even now, looking out the window as I write these words, the trees are already bare.  I am still thankful for my beautiful Valentine gift, no matter how short-lived.  I want to carry that over in to the rest of my life—being thankful for ‘gifts’, even if they are only in my life for a short time.

HAPPY VALENTINE”S DAY!!!

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As I enter this season of Lent, I go in to it with a different perspective than at any other time in my life — much more aware of my need for God.  In years past I made half-hearted attempts at giving something up for Lent, but I never truly opened my soul for God to fill the empty place.  It is my hope that this year will be different.

I’ve been on a journey for the last several years and have had my soul opened up in ways I didn’t know were possible.  There have been times of extreme joy as well as overwhelming sorrow.  I’ve felt intense love, but also deep loneliness.  I’ve found areas of strength inside of myself, but have also discovered places of weakness that have literally brought me to my knees. I wish I could say that I listened to the voice of the Holy Spirit during this time, but I often chose to shut my ears to those quiet whispers.

With the greater awareness of my need, it is my desire to do all that I am able over the next 40 days in order to begin to hear AND listen to those whispers.  The Bible says that God works through our weaknesses. Being more aware of my weak areas,  I hope and pray that is true and that God can use those things that have been made so evident to me.  

The symbol of the butterfly is very special to me.  As I listen to the song “His Hands” by JJ Heller, I truly feel like a fragile butterfly and long to feel the peace of knowing that I’m being held gently in the hands of the one who created the universe.  It is my prayer that as you listen to the words of this song, that you too will feel a sense of being gently held by our Heavenly Mother during this Lenten season.

 Click HERE to listen to “His Hands”

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