Reflecting on Storms….

Yurt - Girl Faces the Storm by Jeanne Mischo

It’s a beautiful summer morning, yet I am drawn to this amazing drawing by y friend Jeanne. Her art is often featured in this blog, art that challenges me and enhances my personal devotions. It’s difficult to say if the drawing is set in the distant past or distant future, if the storm is made of snow or sand, if the scene is a remote village or a planet from another galaxy.  It may seem odd to focus on storms when the weather is just the opposite.  Yet how often do we carry around a storm inside, despite the apparent calm that surrounds us? Inner turmoil has a timeless quality, persistent beyond all reason. You aren’t sure if it’s day or night, or even what is going on around you. The gloom can blot out everything, leading to self absorption and social isolation.  We may turtle in, hoping to wait out the storm, not realizing we take the storm into the shell with us. Others may choose to place themselves in difficult situations, to mirror their souls in their surroundings. Some even convince themselves they deserve to suffer. Yet all the while, the answer lies within, a healing has been prepared, abundant life awaits.  We must simply open our hearts and souls to the Holy of Holies, to lay down our burdens at the foot of the cross, to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Most High. Make time today to look beyond the storm within.  Allow yourself to rest in God’s love, to accept the peace of God that passes all understanding. Let go of what you have come to expect and allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and ears.  And always remember, the path to healing is never what we expect, yet we must trust in healing for that path to be revealed. Text by Connie Chintall ©2015 Art entitled ‘Yurt – Girl Faces the Storm’ by Jeanne Mischo ©2011

Reflecting on Defeat….

Hurricane Sandy has left terrible devastation in its wake. I hardly feel right complaining about what we have experienced in Virginia. Lack of power and downed trees pale in comparison to the flooding and fires in New Jersey and New York. The Jersey shore of my childhood has literally washed away. So I was drawn to this beautiful photo by my cousin Patty in New Jersey. At first glance, the sky seems ominous, then you notice the sun peeking through. The storm is giving way to blue skies. There is hope in the midst of despair. Perhaps defeat feels like this storm, a storm within. Instead of looming clouds and howling winds, thoughts and feelings swirl within. We strive to do well, then stumble, perhaps even take a big fall. Yet that misstep is not what defeats us. Success means continuing on past failure, learning from what we did wrong. Thomas Edison is revered for inventing the incandescent light bulb, yet he was one of over twenty inventors working on this same quest. He recognized the need for an efficient and affordable device, inventing multiple components we now take for granted. Thomas Edison was not the first to ‘discover’ the light bulb, yet he succeeded because he was the most persistent, most flexible, and possibly most cunning of all. He saw the sun peeking through when everyone else focused on the storm. He kept trying when others gave up. Make time today to realize your dreams. Accept disappointments and setbacks as part of the journey of this life, as a way for you to learn. Understand that each attempt is another step toward your goal. Trust the Holy of Holies to illuminate the path ahead, to guide you through the storm, to give you hope when it is all too easy to despair. And always remember to look for the Son, shining through even the bleakest of storms. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo by Patty Steiner

Reflecting on the Calm After the Storm….

It’s a cold, clear morning, with temperatures expected to hover around freezing throughout the day. We’re expecting sleet and snow by nightfall, the sort of wintery mix that wreaks havoc with the traffic. So I was drawn to this beautiful photo of bamboo and bells at sunset by my new friend Sloop. I love how the sky is filled with a warm glow, silhouetting the hills and oriental feel of his garden. It’s hard to say if you are in the Caribbean or someplace even more exotic. I doubt Sloop has to worry about sleet, or traffic for that matter. Although St John’s doesn’t experience our winters, a single hurricane can devastate whole communities. This peaceful, serene setting can be easily transformed by a howling, raging storm. In years gone by, I frequently traveled to the panhandle of Florida for work. I experienced more than one hurricane, and was surprised by the force of the storms. Rain worked its way through the seams around the windows, leaving standing water on the floors. Picnic tables were blown over, bending umbrella stands like toothpicks. Newly planted landscaping simply vanished in the wind. Yet the next morning all was calm and peaceful, as if the entire world had been washed clean. Take time today to give thanks for all that life brings you, the storms and the calm. Pray for the storms to wash away the old bark and dead wood, to make room for new growth. Allow the rain to wash your heart and soul, let go of old hurts, make room for new love. When your own words fail you, say the prayer of St Julian of Norwich, ‘All shall be well, all shall be well, all manner of things shall be well’. And remember, even after the worst hurricane, there is always the calm after the storm. Photo by Sloop Jones, http://sloopjones.com/

Reflecting on Storms….

It’s a beautiful December morning, yet I am drawn to this amazing drawing by my friend Jeanne. It’s difficult to say if the drawing is set in the distant past or distant future, if the storm is made of snow or sand, if the scene is a remote village or a planet from another galaxy. It seems odd to focus on storms when the weather is just the opposite. Yet how often do we carry around a storm inside, despite the apparent calm that surrounds us? Inner turmoil has a timeless quality, persistent beyond all reason. You aren’t sure if it’s day or night, or even what is going on around you. The gloom can blot out everything, leading to self absorption and social isolation. We may turtle in, hoping to wait out the storm, not realizing we take the storm into the shell with us. Others may choose to place themselves in difficult situations, to mirror their souls in their surroundings. Some even convince themselves they deserve to suffer. Yet all the while, the answer lies within, a healing has been prepared, abundant life awaits. We must simply open our hearts and souls to the Holy of Holies, to lay down our burdens at the foot of the cross, to acknowledge the sovereignty of the Most High. Take time today to look beyond the storm within. Allow yourself to rest in God’s love, to accept the peace of God that passes all understanding. Let go of what you have come to expect and allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and ears. And remember, the path to healing is never what we expect, yet we must trust in healing for that path to be revealed. Art entitled ‘Yurt – Girl Faces the Storm’ by Jeanne Mischo

Reflecting on Calm….

Last night the cooler weather sent storms blowing through our area. As the rain subsided, the heavy clouds reflected the beautiful autumn sunset. So I was drawn to this photo of the early evening sky taken by my friend Ginnie. The clouds seem to go on forever, with the colors so bright that even the trees in the foreground can’t obscure our vision. Sometimes life seems to consist of nothing but storms. We get so caught up in one crisis after another that it can become a bad habit. There can even be days when we’ll manufacture a crisis if life doesn’t conveniently provide one. Yet in the midst of even the most discouraging predicaments, we can carve out time to be calm, to enjoy the beauty between the storms. Last night, as the rain turned the evening commute into a quagmire, my daughter Tori and I waited out the storm in one of our favorite restaurants, eating comfort food. By the time we made our way home, the traffic had cleared out and the skies were ablaze with color. Perhaps the commuters did not have the luxury of stopping. Being stuck in traffic must feel a lot like the disciples caught in the storm while Christ slept. Yet when the disciples called out, Christ calmed not only the storm, but their fears as well. Take time today to look for the beauty that surrounds you, to listen to your favorite music, or read a book. Give yourself permission to pause and enjoy a favorite pastime. Call out to Christ, and allow the healing power of God to conquer your fears and calm your storm. Photo by Virginia Hendrix

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 697 other followers