Five Minute Friday: when

when

When your back and shoulders ache for no good reason.

When weariness puts question marks at the ends of all your answers.

When the bag is too heavy and the air too cold.

When the faces facing yours are barely awake in spite of everything.

Then you remember that His love will never let you go.

And when you remember that, you rest.

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Posting for Kate Motaung’s Five Minute Friday prompt, when. The purple button above will take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday (on Saturday): keep

keep

He’s the One who keeps,
and He never sleeps,
and nothing and no one can snatch or sweep
us from His hand.

He’s the One who keeps
our tears when we weep,
and I know that whether I fall or leap
I’m caught in His hand.

He’s the One who keeps,
and He also reaps
a harvest of souls He snatched from the deeps
of sin with His nail-marked hand.

For His keeping, praise Him.

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When you’re stumped on a Five Minute Friday, you just make a list of rhyming words, and then you string them together and end up taking too long writing something in a style not usual to you. And then you link with Kate Motaung and her crew and call it a “Friday” on Saturday. The button above will take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

further up

grow

In the yard, the daffodils are blooming, and in the basket on top of the refrigerator, an onion reached up its own slender greenery. onion

I marvel at this universal urge to grow: how bulbs and seeds and roots gather and force themselves upward, compelled to fruitfulness by a command dating from the fifth day of history, a magic which all the scientific method in the world cannot explain away.

Science describes, to some degree, the how. But never the why.

Science gives us the chemical processes by which we change, the things that happen in our minds when we feel sudden fear or sorrow or gladness. But it cannot explain why creatures of chemistry should feel at all.

Yet we do feel, governed by the same magic that makes the onion sprout and coaxes the daffodils into blossom, we mourn and yearn and thrill with life. We’re more than any scientific analysis can describe, impelled toward a glory which the universe was made to shadow forth.

Finding in ourselves, as C. S. Lewis puts it “a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy,” we are drawn to posit that we were “made for another world.”

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O LORD of Hosts.
My soul longs, yes, faints,
for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh
sing for joy to the living God.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

January: learnings

It’s almost February, and Emily P. Freeman invites us to share things we’ve learned in January. So that’s what I’m doing. There were more learnings, but I consider 15 enough for sharing. (The button at the bottom will take you to Emily’s blog.)

1. I learned about what it’s like to be a bridesmaid in your youngest brother’s wedding. Because I was one. And I enjoyed it. bouquet 2. I learned a bit about the Saudi Arabian monarchy when I learned that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had died. I learned that the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was established in 1932 by King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, and that, since that king’s death in 1953, various of his sons have ruled. So that King Abdullah has been succeeded by his brother, King Salman.

3. I learned a bit about how hungry for hope the people of North Korea are: they risk their lives to see South Korean soap operas, in a land where news of advanced technology and rice at every meal may be the best news they ever hear. Because

4. On this list of the 50 countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian, North Korea is #1.

5. I learned that when you find an uncapped fountain pen in your bed in the middle of the night, you may be grateful that this is all the ink that ends up on your hand: ink 6. I learned some of the things that happen in season 5 of Downton Abbey because I’ve been watching it. Much of the magic left with Matthew back in season 3, but in spite of Mary’s stupidity, I still — silly me — care about her. (And it’s also making me excited for season 4 of Call the Midwife, because I like that show better.)

7. I learned about what it’s like to be teaching twelve hours of college courses. More eventful than only six or nine, but manageable. listing 8. I learned that there’s a contemporary worship song that includes the phrase “a sloppy wet kiss.” I also read a bit about the author’s reasoning for that line, but I still can’t bring myself to believe that it would be anything but distracting to stand in church and sing it.

9. I learned that something called a Lisfranc injury exists, because my middlest brother has one. It’s not optimal for active males in their mid-twenties to be confined to crutches. But sometimes it is necessary.

10. I learned about some of the ways that God has been answering prayers lately. And that was — and is — exciting.

11. I learned that Indian food is tasty — at least Kadhai Goat, Lamb Biryani, and Onion Pakora are tasty.

12. I learned that I’m about as bad a putt-putt golfer as I ever was.

13. I learned about things growing: roots 14. And about things dying: left-over-from-fall 15. And about how God makes beautiful and makes glad.

And behold, it was very good. What-We-Learned-in-January-2015 ©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: wait

daffodil green

In the front yard, daffodils prepare to bloom. It feels like a long preparation, though it’s only weeks, really, since they first started appearing, the green pushing up through matted leaves and around fallen twigs, pushing up through frosted ground which seems much too hard for the tender stalks.

But now the stems stand above the greenery, lifting slender green-yellow buds, ready to burst open, lovely and soon.

I read an article that said we’re more creative when we’re sad, and it’s true that I haven’t felt much like writing lately. Rather than feeling inspired, I’m just feeling glad.

Yet I’m convinced that God’s creation was not born out of sorrow: His joy reverberates through each “Let there be in Genesis 1.” For His pleasure He created all things, and He declared them “very good.”

For now, watching and waiting on His workings, I am content to be simply glad. Soon enough fresh creations will burst forth to make this waiting glorious.

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Today I link up with Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew. The button above will take you to her site, our gathering place.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: share

share

One of my favorite childhood books — The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear — comes to an impasse at the end: the big hungry bear is coming for the red ripe strawberry, and none of the little mouse’s strategies to hide, guard, or disguise the strawberry will do any good. No, the author says, “There’s only one way to save a red ripe strawberry from the big hungry bear.” The solution? “Cut it in two, share half with me, and we’ll both eat it all up! Yum!”

Share. There are gifts that are meant to be spent, things which we must give away in order to keep. Cling too tightly to gifts and they may be snatched away. The best gifts are never just for the one recipient.

In a much-quoted passage from his book The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis insists that “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” That the only way to secure against heartbreak is to love nothing. But a heart that does not love becomes no heart at all. Our hearts — like the mouse’s strawberry — are meant to be shared, and if shared, broken.

Do you doubt me? Look at Christ. This best gift of all, given because God so loved the world. It involved a breaking: the Godhead divided from Himself, forsaking and punishing His beloved Son on the cross. His body was broken for us, that we might share in His death, and, through that, share in His resurrection, life everlasting, as well.

God Himself suffered the pain of sharing, and He calls us, for love of Him to love the world as He loves it, to share the hope He offers, even at great cost. Christ did it for the joy set before Him, and He sets that same joy before us: “Enter into the joy of your master.”

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Today I join Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew to write on her prompt, “share.” To see more posts on this prompt, click the button above.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: send

send

“Send out your light and your truth;” the Psalmist prays,
“let them lead me;
let them bring me to your holy hill
and to your dwelling!
Then I will go to the altar of God,
to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
O God, my God.”
Psalm 43:3

After a week of cold gray mornings, we have a cold bright morning. My car windshield was coated in literal frost over which I had to pour warm water before I could see to go anywhere.

The horizon of the road headed east was rosy with anticipation, and suddenly, above the trees, there was the sun in all the orange intensity of seven o’clock.

My heart sang, and birds flew eagerly eastward over the road, and the fields wore soft winter-white frost, and the trees were silver against the pink and blue sky.

And in the God whose glory the heavens declare I had exceeding joy.

Christ himself is light and truth. His word is light and truth. But also, sometimes, He sends out his literal earthly light to lead me to worship Him.

Singing hymns all down the highway, I thanked Him for this grace.

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Today I join Kate Motaung to write on her Five Minute Friday prompt “send.” The “Send” button above will send you to her blog where you can join in the fun and read what others have written.

©2015 by Stacy Nott