Weekend Walk: Shifting Shadows

I can’t quite explain it or rationalize it, but I love Groundhog Day.  I love the fun of it and the silliness and the groundhog himself and the mock seriousness of the traditions.  Maybe I love it even more than my kids do.

So today my family gathered on the outskirts of the crowd and pressed in closer until we 011could see the podium and the table holding a small pet carrier.  The speakers introduced the groundhog while we shivered and rubbed our hands together, hoping for news of an early spring.

This adorable creature gnawed away on his corn cob, caring not a bit for the flashing cameras and rolling video.  And those officials who eyed the groundhog watchfully finally announced that, unlike the more famous groundhog Phil, our particular prognosticating creature predicted six more weeks of winter.

Instead of booing over the news that we’re stuck with the cold longer than we’d like, we accepted it with good-natured whimsy.  It is, perhaps, the cutest way to deliver bad news.  Send in the groundhog to tell it.

Then we toured the museum and colored groundhog pages and played games with shadows.  It struck me that this is what we watch the groundhog for, to see his response to the shifting of shadows.

Shadows shift.  They change.  The direction of the light, the time of the day, the traveling of the clouds across the face of the sun all make the shadows dance or lengthen or shorten or perhaps even disappear.

Life shifts, too.  It changes.  Groundhogs are right and sometimes they are wrong.  Experts are right and sometimes they are wrong.  Circumstances alter unexpectedly.  You make a plan and then God interrupts you with the unexpected.

But here’s what we know: God is our constant, our reliable, ever-faithful, un-shifting Light in a world of uncertain shadows.

And it’s nice to know that we aren’t in the hands of whimsy or relying on the predictions of unreliable sources.  He knows us.  He knows what we need.  He knows where we’ve been, where we are, where we’re going.  He knows what tomorrow holds.  He knows how to take us through.

He knows.

This week, I’ll be meditating on a verse that reminds me of God’s constant character and His trustworthy love, and I’ll be using this as my third memory verse for the year with Beth Moore’s SSMT plan.

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17 NIV

What’s your verse for the week?

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013!  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2013 Heather King

Sandals in the Grass: Time for a Change

“It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows.” ~ Charles Spurgeon

The weather changed in the night.

I mistakenly threw on sandals in our mad rush out the door on Sunday morning, not expecting frigid droplets to seep over onto my feet from the damp grass.  Climbing into the mini-van, I tucked my feet under me and pulled my arms through my “sanctuary sweater.”

My heart has always done cartwheels at the first signs of fall.  As a school girl walking home from the bus stop, I’d pass neighborhood porch displays of scare crows, pumpkins and bales of straw.  The lawns would be dotted and then covered with leaves turned gold and red.  The breeze carried the scent of fireplaces lit, perhaps for the first time of the season.

It’s the oddest thing about fall.  Even as everything moves inevitably toward the frozen death of winter, it feels like all is alive and fresh and new and wildly open to possibilities.

Maybe it’s the student in me, who still sees fall as a time of beginnings rather than of harvest.  Maybe it’s just that I hibernate in the summer when the heat of the day is suffocating.  In the fall, it feels like you can breathe in deep for the first time in months.

And that’s not the only oddity about the season.  How can I, someone who resists all change and dreads it as much as a boogeyman in the closet, revel in a season that is all about change?

It just doesn’t make sense.

Yet, there it is.  I love fall.  But I’ve also tossed and turned these past few weeks over my kids getting new teachers (I liked the old ones); about their new lunch schedule (I liked the old one); about my new weekly calendar with kids’ activities, and church meetings, and the like (the old one seemed to work so well.)

Maybe if I had sought these changes out, if I had felt stuck and needed rescue, if I had been languishing and needed new life, then I’d be celebrating instead of whining.

But as it is, I’m feeling like I was kinda happy back there and this change, well I just wasn’t ready for it:  No more ready than I was on Sunday morning when my feet froze in my sandals.

Life forces change on us, though.  God’s goal of transforming us into His Son’s likeness, of making us new and new again, requires constant life-revolutions and world adjustments.

In his book, The Seasons of God, Richard Blackaby wrote:

“Newness is God’s specialty, a trademark of the abundant gifts He gives us—and as we traverse the unique succession of seasons He’s designed for us, we’ll find our way marked by fresh adventures, surprising encounters, and unprecedented fulfillment.”

So, it should be no more surprising than the cooling of the weather in September that God shakes things up in my life.  Yes, change is one thing in our lives that’s constant.

Unlike Blackaby, though, I’m less inclined to call that an “adventure” or look forward to “unprecedented fulfillment.”  I’m more likely to worry all along the way about what’s new and different and therefore out of my control.

Why is that?

I was reading this morning in 1 Corinthians 13 and noticing perhaps for the first time that love “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:7).

Always.

I may adore my daughters and love my husband, but I can’t say my love for them always does anything.  Sometimes I lose my temper or forget or say the wrong thing or see the negative instead of the beauty.

But God’s love, that agape, holy and pure, tried-and-true, never-changing love of His is an Always kind of love.

Even the rays of the sun filter through my window in different ways on different days at different times, but God “does not change like shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

So all this fearful anxiety over the newness of it all is foolishness really, because even when every tiny thing in my life changes:

God does not. 

His love does not.

So, I pulled on one of my favorite sweaters this morning and opened the windows of the house to enjoy the breeze.  I’ve lit my pumpkin spice candle and readied my recipe file of Crock-pot soups and stews.  I’ve taken down the marriage prayer plaque and replaced it with my sign: “Bless This Harvest.”

I’ve settled in to enjoy the fall and maybe, just maybe, the change it brings.

What do you love about the fall?  How do you feel about change? 

You can read more devotionals about this here:

Christian Writers Blog ChainToday’s post is part of the September topic ‘Change’ by the ChristianWriters.com Blog Chain. You can click on the links on the right side of this page to read more articles in this series.

Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer for www.myfrienddebbie.com and worship leader.  Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness.  To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.

Copyright © 2012 Heather King