The book of Acts opens at a really interesting point in the lives of the apostles. Jesus has been crucified, he’s been resurrected and has been moving among them again – as a resurrected body – for many days. To think what their minds have had to stretch to accommodate is beyond me. And then they then see Him raised up and ascended to Heaven. At this point they are so dumbstruck it takes two angels to rouse them. Days later they are all in a room together and tongues of fire come and sit on them and they are filled with the Holy Spirit. Each part of this story amazes me, but the part that I love the most is Peter.
Peter, who is so confident from the beginning when he is initially walking with the alive Jesus, declares boldly and yet Jesus knows all along that these things Peter declares will be his downfall. His boldness will lead him into a valley that he has to find bravery to move out of. The words he so confidently declares, that he would never deny Jesus, actually do happen. In the midst of Jesus’ arrest Peter finds himself doing the one thing he swore he would never do and instead of following Jesus, he follows his fear.
Days later, after the resurrection, Peter finds himself sitting with Jesus and that boldness returns…almost as exasperation. He now knows what it’s like to follow fear versus following Jesus and he finds forgiveness and grace in the words of Jesus.
Then Pentacost comes. He’s followed Jesus on both sides of the resurrection and he knows what it is to walk away from Him. He knows what it is to walk towards fear instead of grace. And he stands in front of a crowd, armed now with the Holy Spirit and a new kind of boldness enters. He stands with courage, but also with humbleness, as one who has walked through the valleys and also the peaks. He’s touched the scars, heard the words of love and now speaks them with confidence.
In Tennessee we tend to enjoy the seasons and while we do have four distinct seasons they aren’t always long and aren’t always clear. Monday was the Autumnal Equinox, but today it is still going to been the 90s. We can feel in the mornings the touch of chill coming in the air, but the afternoon reminds us that Autumn really hasn’t arrived. We will celebrate the leaves turning and run into the mountains to catch the views and then blink and see our lawns littered with their remains. As much as I hate the cold, I love the crispness of it. I love opening the door to the bite and sting of that chill. I love bundling up in layers and quilts with a warm cup cradled in my hands. There is something in the coldness that settles my anxiousness. Perhaps it is the reality that life slows down in the winter. There is a hibernation that happens with all life; even the life of those with busy teenagers. Maybe it is the promise that even in the slumber of winter; the deadness of the world around us, there is life living under there. The trees and the plants are merely slumbering and building up their strength for the show they will display in the spring. A reminder that even in the desert places of my life, in the places where life seems frozen that there is work happening there. Aslan is always on the move.
As a former math teacher, the one lesson I always loved to teach was about the different types of angles. Angles are simple. They are exact and they follow certain rules. They are easily defined and categorized. Follow the rules and the unknowns can be known.
Angles are completely opposite of real life. We can have all sorts of missing answers in our lives and there is rarely a simple formula to solve them.
I’m a control freak and I like nothing more than taking on a problem and figuring out the solution. Ask me to wait and not respond and I’m in a place that I do not find comfortable. We often find ourselves in situations where we can see some of the measurements and we just need to know this one other number and we can solve the problem. But oftentimes that number doesn’t make itself known.
In Acts the apostles had to wait. They waited 10 days between the ascension of Jesus and the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. Jesus had ordered them to wait; they were waiting for that missing measure so they could solve the equation. In this waiting, in this period of the missing angle, what did they do? Did the panic like I tend to do? Did the run through all the different scenarios? Did they wake up in the depths of the night freaking out?
They prayed. They were obedient to the command of Jesus to stay put.
Angles are interesting shapes. They have tiny spaces where you can crawl into and hide, but they also have wide open spaces where you have to be seen. I like to think the apostles crawled into that little space while they prayed and waited, but then when Pentacost came they walked out into the open parts of the angle and their mission started. The equation was solved.
I’m attempting to join in on this 10 day challenge to write every day based on a prompt from hopewriters on instagram.
I have a folder on my computer that is labeled “writing”. It is filled with a few journal files that I’ve contributed to off and on over the past few years, finished articles that have actually been submitted and published online in other places than this place and so many half starts. It is the half starts that are so interesting to read; like prayers that are lifted up and then forgotten I’d even prayed. Writing for me was always a way to respond to the thoughts and emotions spilling and mixing around in my head and heart. But then for a long block of time I couldn’t write at all. A season of life entered and I found that the thoughts and emotions were so confusing that I couldn’t make sense of them in any way. It’s taken years and so many half starts, so many half written lines even, to find my way back to the world of words. I feel this awakening starting to happen. I feel this fog starting to lift. I think I’ve been under a veil that I could only partially see through. I couldn’t make sense of what was happening even though I kept trying so hard to see through it. Finally, I’m brave enough to lift it and start looking out from under it again. Here’s to new starts.
I’ve got an article in February’s Craft Industry Alliance Journal. The article was a Trend Report on the art of hand lettering. It is something I wish I had the time and energy to pursue; I love handwriting and I love pens and papers so it seems fitting. But alas, the quilting bug has bit me badly so I’m thinking the hand lettering thing is going to have a sit on the side for a while.
It was the first time I had written an article that involved some research and interviewing and I’m super pleased with how it turned out. I really loved the experience and hope for many more!