Simon and I started a new tradition last year – a lunch date at our beloved Big Shucks discussing the past year and framing up the new year. Thank you, Ann Voskamp, for your excellent freebies to help us focus our goals in such a measurable way! (If you’ve never done this before, we highly recommend it.)
This lunch date was an integral part of living life purposefully this past year and I’m looking forward with eager anticipation to what 2017 will bring because of it. I do plan to continue blogging here, but during the course of “framing” 2017, I decided that I needed to spend more time writing offline than online this year. Blogging takes a lot of time and while I enjoyed blogging last year immensely, my focus has shifted for 2017.
The days leading up to our date I felt the Lord prompting me to go deeper with Him this year, to take a topic I am woefully unlearned in and saturate myself with what His Word says about it during the course of the entire year. In 2017, I’m going to sink my teeth into the reality of WHO I AM IN CHRIST and I look forward to sharing what the Lord shows me from time-to-time by blogging about it. My blogging will look sporadic compared to last year’s more regularly shared devotionals & Summer Bible Study, but I hope each post will help you to see just who YOU are in Christ in a clearer, sharper way, too.
I came across a great idea at the end of summer while looking ahead to the Thanksgiving holiday season – a Thanksgiving Tree!
Perhaps the phrase “Thanksgiving Tree” heralds the nostalgia of school days with images like these…
Or perhaps the phrase “Thanksgiving Tree” brings to mind Pinterest-worthy creations like these?
Now put a pin in both of those preconceived ideas because when I say “Thanksgiving Tree,” this little beauty is what I’m talking about:
I first discovered the whole idea of having a “Thanksgiving Tree” here and I love this site’s vision for a few different reasons. First, I scarcely decorate for Fall, much less Thanksgiving specifically. Second, I appreciate the focus on handmade decorations for our first “Thanksgiving Tree” because I have always have resident artists in my home. Third, it uses something I already own (the tree) in a new, creative way. Fourth, it cuts down on the workload that is December 1 in our home (the day we decorate for Christmas) by one tree.
So…this year we’re going to test drive this new tradition of a Thanksgiving Tree and see how she handles for our family. What about you? What new traditions are you going to test drive this November in your home? Feel free to share your great ideas (or links) in the comments section.
Because of what I shared here on Monday, I wanted to follow up with some encouragement for those who are currently experiencing brokenness and are “feeling the feels” today. Know this – God loves you and there is help to be found in Him.
The butterfly emerged as the symbol of the Women’s Retreat I helped plan last year. Our theme was brokenness and the butterfly’s life cycle beautifully illustrated that.
Some types of brokenness are like the caterpillar who molts, or sheds its skin and grows from the experience into a larger caterpillar who will at some point be broken again and grow from the experience into yet a larger caterpillar who will at some point be broken again…and again…and again. For a caterpillar, this is called molting. For all of us, this is called life. Experiencing this kind of brokenness is as universal to human beings as it is to that growing little caterpillar – a failed test in school; not getting that promotion at work; hurtful gossip whispered behind your back; feeling excluded from a group that you desperately want to fit into; unreturned romantic feelings…
There comes a point in every caterpillar’s life when it will go through something it has never gone through before! Instead of the brokenness it is used to experiencing in its life, it won’t be able to struggle through it and come out on the other side a bigger, better version of itself. Instead, it will become completely enveloped; it will be penned in, immobilized by something beyond his control, entombed. If you asked the fat little caterpillar if it would choose to be entombed in the chrysalis, it would undoubtedly say ‘No!’ It would prefer to keep to its cycle of manageable brokenness. It was used to it. While it caused it pain, it could handle it and it was bigger and stronger on the other side of it. This new thing, this new brokenness, is confining, painful, scary. Unknown and unsearched for, it is woefully beyond the butterfly’s management and personal control. It feels alone, unable to see outside its own pain.
Many of us have experienced these immobilizing types of brokenness – widowhood; divorce; miscarriage; cancer; long-term unemployment; depression; wayward children. Like the caterpillar inside its chrysalis, we were morphed and changed into something new altogether. We were transformed through that painful process and finally broke free, becoming unshackled from the constraints of life as a mere caterpillar to soar on the heights as a new creation, a beautiful butterfly.
Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory.
They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.
(1 Corinthians 15:43 NLT)
Perhaps you have felt that type of brokenness, but haven’t yet emerged from your confining chrysalis. You haven’t experienced a breaking free moment and the pain is all you can focus upon right now.
Research verses that speak to your brokenness. Compile a list like the one here. Highlight them in your Bible. Use them as prayer prompts until you are raised in strength like that broken butterfly.
You are loved, beautifully broken friend, and there is hope to be found in Jesus.