From My Pen...

I'm a journaler. I like to journal about life, love and my Lord. I also love technology but busyness keeps me from being as tech-savvy as I'd like to be. This blog gives me a chance to play computer and learn a few new tricks along the way; all the while serving as my 21st century journal. A journaler is just a writer by another name and writing defines me almost as much as my faith does. I've always had a desire to blend my faith and my writing into a ministry of encouragement. This blog gives birth to that desire. Be blessed as you read these weekly devotions taken from the pages of my old-fashioned journal.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

CREATIVITY IN THE CAST-OFF


It used to drive me nuts! In record time every new toy was reduced to nuts and bolts and bits and pieces. He needed to see what “made it go.” Once he had that figured out he would reassemble those things to store-bought perfection in record time (most generally). A broken vacuum or an obsolete computer was fair game and, as he put it a bigger challenge than his latest remote control “whatever.” We mostly let it go because those chubby little fingers were as nimble as could be in undoing the dismantling. After a while he became quite adept at fixing things; not surprising since he had already figured out how they were supposed to work. I put his well- honed skill to work. It was great! 

Until the day I carried clean laundry into my son's room and found the pricey guitar we had recently purchased in the same type of heap I had often found those dollar store mini skateboard kits we bought him. I had what my mother would have called a conniption. For those of you who don't know what a conniption is, Miriam-Webster describes it as “behavior that shows you are suddenly very angry, upset, etc.” That pretty much sums it up! I can't even remember the “why” of that dismantle - whether the guitar had taken a bump, needed tuning (the other kind), or simply wasn't cool enough in its present state. What I do know is that once I cooled down and agreed he didn't have to put it back the way he found it he began a project that would take an extended amount of time and much painstaking labor and a whole lot of frustration. Eventually that light paneled wooden guitar - call me crazy but I liked it that way - ended up as metallic burnt orange beauty with a “Harley” logo and a few other personal touches. Not how I would have envisioned it given my era but it suited my sixteen year old quite nicely. I had to admire his skill and deem it a job well-done.

That was the first of many such projects. Thank the Lord it was the only one I had paid cold hard cash for. The others were cast-offs from friends, acquaintances and others who had heard about his hobby. They brought him the broken, the scarred, the damaged; what was not in working order. Some were outright write-offs but he seemed to perceive the potential in the ones others had deemed useless. Well, bless my soul if he didn't put those old cast-offs to rights. A good many turned out better than the original. All of his hours of picking stuff apart had paid off in a skill that many envy. I watched the not-so-chubby fingers of my grown son use his creative ability to reclaim what had been cast-off. And, of course, the final test was always to plug it in to his Dad's Peavey and see what that thing sounded like. After all, it wasn't just meant to look good, it had to sound good too. It was an instrument; it was made for a purpose. His Dad and I would cheer when those same creative hands that had rescued and restored a cast-off made beautiful music on the thing.

For those of you following my “Redeemed” series you can write the ending for this one but it's my blog so here goes…
The Creator God formed us from dust, breathed into us the breathe of life. He alone knows how we work. But things happen to people and not just to guitars. Brokenness, scars - soul scars, emotional scars and maybe even physical scars, damaged goods, some are outright write-offs. Some would or already had given up on them but to One who has honed the skill of reclaiming cast-offs one glance reveals the potential. When we turn it over into the hands of the Master Craftsmen He begins the rebuild. It is a process that requires time and painstaking labor. Sometimes there are setbacks because, unlike guitars, people have stubborn wills and refuse to yield to God's will. It can be a frustrating business. When God reclaims and redeems a life not everyone gets it. The results can be unexpected and not what you or I would choose for them to look like. But it suits Him just find. Then he plugs that reclaimed one into His purposes. After all, we weren't just meant to look the part. We are instruments in His hands, instrument for His use. He has a purpose for each cast-off He reclaims and He knows how to make beautiful music with those lives He's restored.

I have watched my son express his creativity in restoring cast-off guitars and then display his God-given talent as he runs his agile hands up and down the strings. Through the years of our ministry I have watched my God express His creativity in restoring cast-off lives and then display the magnitude of His love and grace as He plays out His purposes in amazing ways. There is Creativity in the Cast-Off.

 

Friday, 14 August 2015

SALVATION IN THE SHATTERED

So we see it laying there - shattered pieces of it everywhere. We know the source of most of it and for a moment that almost deters us from collecting it. Brown shards tumbled in amongst sand and stone. Quite possibly the results of target practice on nights when “one too many of” had been indulged in. But it is sea-glass nonetheless and so we decide to add a few pieces to our collection.
 
I'm not quite sure which beach we were on or how many pieces I had collected of those broken brown bottles when the epiphany occurred. It becomes a salvage job and I begin insisting that we collect all we see even the tiniest of pieces. Hubby doesn't get it and I am too embarrassed to tell him why for fear he will think me obsessive. I remain silent about my motive and he humors me by rescuing those he finds. If only he knew that he is partly the reason I'm so driven to obtain these shattered remnants.
 
I read it somewhere once - the definition of salvage. It is the act of saving a ship or its cargo from perils of the seas. I've watched him for two thirds of our life together work a salvage mission. I've watched him pour his life into lives shattered by the many perils on the sea of life; not least of which are addictions and substance abuse such as is the result of the contents of many a brown bottle before it shattered.
 
He tells them about another man who rescues shattered pieces. That man made use of another brown object; this one made of wood. We sing about that Old Rugged Cross. The ultimate Salvage King hung on the cross and He was shattered so that shattered lives could be put together again. I've watched my husband weep, his heart broken for them as he preaches Jesus Christ and him crucified to a shattered world who needs Him so desperately.

I see the finished piece of sea-glass art in my mind's eye long before I sit to my work table and begin to piece it together. I envision it in my husband’s office. It will remind him of his call. There is Salvation for the shattered in the One that was shattered. I know he will preach that message with all the passion of his call. I will strive to emulate this godly man in my own life's call and together we will continue our salvage mission.
 
Even though I've completed my piece of art and it hangs in a place of honor we will continue to collect those shattered brown shards; each one representing the shattered lives God would have us rescue. For as long as the Lord lends us breath we will declare that there is “Salvation in the Shattered.”

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

BEAUTY IN THE BROKEN


So I finally did it; after years of wanting to I finally made my first piece of sea-glass art. It is not a random piece of art. When I saw those first lavender pieces of sea-glass I knew what they would become. In fact, it was those very pieces that motivated me to take the plunge into the world of sea-glass art. I just couldn't leave them stacked in my collection jar. I just knew I could make something beautiful from those broken pieces of glass. I envisioned it before I began the process and the envisioning was a spiritual thing. 
I had a pleasant enough childhood all things considered; not as good as some but better than many. The baby in a large family I was sheltered by an overprotective Momma Bear and spoiled by a bevy of older siblings. Yeah, it was pretty good. I was nurtured in a committed spiritual environment that ensured an early decision for Christ. I met and married a man of like values and we had the millionaire's family - a girl and a boy - minus the million, of course.
Through a series of circumstances; most of which were the result of my own young and foolish choices I ended up broken. Broken inside and feeling unloved and unlovable. Broken emotionally and so very needy that my young husband was at a loss to help. It strained our marriage nearly to breaking. Broken spiritually because I felt unworthy of redemption for my poor choices. I felt my life was broken into shards like sea-glass tossed up on shore no longer of significant value.
Then somewhere along the way someone decided that sea-glass was salvageable and that one could make beautiful things from those discarded shards. The more battered by surf and sand the smoother the glass becomes and the more value sea-glass connoisseurs place upon it. The moment I made the connection was the moment I became fascinated with collecting sea-glass. 
You see, when I was just broken pieces Someone decided that I was salvageable and that something beautiful could be made from the discarded shards that was me. The battering that broke me also smoothed away a lot of rough edges that had been my undoing and it served to increase my value to His Kingdom. 
I figure Jesus for a sea-glass collector of sorts and definitely an artist. My life gives testimony to His creative goodness and mercy. When I felt so washed up all those years ago never would I have imagined my life as it is now - filled to bursting with God and His love, a life of intimate communion with my Lord, a place of call in His work, a loving and expanding family and the most marvellous of marriages (the stuff of fairy tales - only real). “Beauty in the Broken” is my life story. Is it any wonder sea-glass hunting has become a favourite pastime for me?