Wow. So, it's been a while since I last posted. It seems I have broken a promise and need to apologize to those who once followed my posts, or received them by email. My only reason for not writing is that other things in life took my attention, and I simply lost the motivation to research and blog. Nevertheless, I ultimately left a job unfinished and may have let some down for my abrupt departure. For that, I'm sorry. Recently, God reminded me of my blog and how I had left things undone, so I decided to make one final blog post about how God speaks to us through His creation.
I start this blog by recounting some changes that have occurred since my last post. For starters, Jeremy and I both obtained new jobs that prepared us for more new jobs. Jeremy gathered more carpentry and building skills, while I grew my experience in social work and management. Jeremy now designs, builds, and sells closet and other organization systems for families. I, on the other hand, teach individuals about health, insurance coverage, and ultimately protect families with supplemental insurance plans. I literally feel like a missionary most days, as sometimes beyond protecting a family from bankruptcy, I discover another need they may have and with which I can help. In addition to new employment opportunities, Jeremy and I finally felt the timing was right five years ago to purchase our first house...so we did! When we aren't renovating, decorating, and turning our house into a home, we still enjoy spending time with family, friends, and most importantly, each other. I'm happy to report that the cats are still well. Their silly personalities bring much joy to our lives. Finally, after many years and much prayer, Jeremy and I believe the time to grow our family is drawing near. Jeremy's parents even moved closer to us last year in anticipation of this life event. We recently made the decision to foster children in need of a home over having our own pregnancy, though we haven't ruled out the latter, altogether. Our hearts are so excited about this decision, and we are scheduled to take our first foster care class mid-December.
While we are appreciative of all the good things life has brought our way, we have unfortunately experienced our share of sad seasons, as well. This month, marks the three-year anniversary of my father's passing. He died in a sudden car accident that shocked and grieved his family and friends. About one year after receiving the devastating news and viewing the aftermath on the local news channel, I was still wrestling with God about the accident and the way in which my father died. I knew evil occurred every day but still could not fully grasp how a tragedy could come upon my family in such an unannounced and horrific way. While I still do not have all the answers, I can tell you God continues to provide me with signs of his presence and light amidst a dark situation.
One such way that I have noticed God likes to speak to me is through rainbows. Whenever I am missing a loved one, or perhaps am entering a new season in life, God tends to send me a rainbow. Yes, yes, I know that rainbows are a phenomena that occur after rain showers and that I am not the only one who sees them. Some may argue that my belief in God sending me rainbows is wishful thinking. Nevertheless, from my own experience, I have noticed that when a person has a relationship with God and begins to view Him as a father figure, love messages start showing up. These notes of love seem to be quite reminiscent of ones that an encouraging mother creates and hides inside her child's lunch box with utmost thought and care. I once knew of a woman who saw hummingbirds whenever she was missing her late mother. Still another friend spoke of geese being sent her way when good fortune was soon to come upon her. My husband and God have a special bond. It never fails that Jeremy sees a very rare and expensive sports car on days that are not going that great for him. Since he appreciates rare cars, these messages mean more to him than they would ever mean to me. No, for me, it's rainbows. I am rather certain that rainbows are my love letters, or perhaps kisses, from God.
|Photo by Jeremy Conrad|
I wonder what happens when we all stop the comparisons and start coming together to embrace and confirm each of our family, friends, and strangers' uniqueness? Their individual hairstyles, their individual skin colors, their original personalities, stories, dreams, and goals...With actions like that, would it be possible to love the world into a better place? By embracing our differences, couldn't we make a big difference in an individual's life, and our world, for that matter?
I further think it is so inspiring that if we were to see a rainbow from above the rain, such as while in an aircraft- and perhaps from the vantage point of God- we would see a complete circle of color. This is due to a combination of things- from the water droplets being below us, to the angle at which light enters the droplets, to how the light disperses through the water droplets from all directions around a person. A circle is a wonderful expression all by itself, for it says, "I am complete–not fractured or broken." As I silently muse and take a bite of chocolate and honey, I think how sweet it would be to join with one another and always find original ways to uplift instead of discovering new methods to judge, rate, and rank. As John 5:44 reminds us, we don't have time for that, for "How do you expect to get anywhere with God when you spend all of your time jockeying for position with each other, ranking your rivals and ignoring God?" (The Message Bible)
The Love Letter
Early last year, I was driving to a friend's house, who I had not visited in a while. One reason I had not visited was due to having to cross over a reminder of pain each time I saw her. That reminder was the bridge on which my father passed away so suddenly. Each time that I drove over it, I felt my stomach clench tightly and the feeling of not being able to breathe threatened to consume me. Because of this, I often drove a much more lengthy way to her house. On this day, I was running short on time and opted to brave the quickest route. I recall driving through a light blanket of rain. However, by the time I neared the turn and saw the bridge approaching in the distance, I became aware that the rain had stopped. I turned the radio off as a sign of respect and began to grip the wheel tighter as I asked God to help me stay focused on my lane. As I continued to rise higher and higher up the bridge, I realized the sky in front of me was filled with big billowy puffs of clouds. Some had silver linings. The splendor was evident, and I simply stared in wonder. Though I didn't know it yet, the wonder was about to turn to elation. Just before reaching the top of the bridge, I felt a nudge to look to my left. "But I don't want to!" my insides screamed. For, to look left meant glancing in the exact location where my father's life ended. Seeing that the nudge was now turning into a push, I finally gave in and looked toward my left. A double-take occurred since much to my amazement, there, encompassing the entirety of the bridge loomed the largest and most beautiful rainbow that I had ever seen up close. A feeling of warmth and love swept over my being, as I felt God gently and safely guide me the rest of the way over the bridge. How encouraging to know that God cares about each one of his unique little "raindrops" that He routinely reaches down from heaven to remind them of His love for them. All that is required on our part is to simply draw near to God, listen, and watch for what our love letter looks like.
|Image by Jeremy Conrad|
As for my earthly father, I know he is in a better place. As I focus on meeting personal and business goals, I will be sure to remember the lessons of perseverance and hard work that he imparted to me during his time on earth. I may not have liked the lessons at the time, such as how I wasn't allowed to sleep past 8am on weekends, like most of my friends. However, I realize now that a level of perseverance, determination, and grit were being sown into my heart during those years. I have decided that one of the best ways to honor my father and carry on his legacy is to work hard in this life no matter what. I believe that taking lessons from both my earthly father and heavenly Father are important for me to reach my destiny and shine my individual light into the world.
Though I am closing this blog and one season of my life, I look forward to starting a new one. While this blog was all about exploring a topic and developing a written voice, I realize the content is rather lengthy. My next writing project will likely be delivered on a shortened spectrum.
To conclude my entry, I find that I continue to be thankful for the creation God has made for all of us to enjoy. Staring out at the backyard, I am drawn to the once cascading leaves of the mystical weeping willow, which usually reminds me of something taken from a children's novel during the warmer months. Now, its barren branches loudly proclaim the ending of one season and the start of another. If I stood outside during the spring and summer months and listened closely, I no doubt would hear birds chirping in the trees, singing their secret songs. Now, I stand outside and breathe in the crisp November air that whips against my clothing. What is nature saying? Could everything God made be helping to spell out the mysteries that seem so far reaching for us to comprehend as we hustle and bustle about, content with being distracted by the busyness of life? It is my hope that you have enjoyed my little Christian teaching blog and have read something that encouraged you at some point along the way. If I can impart anything to you as I close this blog, it would be this: I hope you grow into the person you were created to be so that your God-given unique light can be seen by all. I hope you work diligently and uncompromisingly toward your goals in life. Each person has unique gifts to contribute. Let's encourage each other to share them! And finally, my friend, as you live, and discover, and move closer to each of your dreams in this life, I hope you remember to slow down. Yes, sometimes slowing down is necessary. We forget that like nature, people also require seasons of rest to renew themselves. Try setting aside some time for yourself to be alone in nature and meditate on this bold world that God made for us all to enjoy. While you're at it, maybe ask God what He wants to show you in all of it. Who knows? You may just find yourself on another field trip with God...