Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Mysterious Strength of Life in the Darkness

for Doris and Hannah

I am a sentimental gardener. I plant flowers that remind me of people and places, times and memories I love. 

As I tend the rosemary in my herb garden, it reminds me of the first time I ever traveled to North Africa with my husband and firstborn infant son. I stood on a crumbling terrace overlooking a dirty beach wondering if I could actually bear moving to this country and raising my family. 

Looking down, I saw a hedge of rosemary lining the broken tiles, and absently broke off a sprig. Crushing it between my fingers, I inhaled its pungent scent and reflected how it is in our brokenness that the fragrance of Christ is released. Tough times and tough places break us, and release what is inside. Rosemary will always remind me to take courage when God allows me to be crushed in the gentle, strong hands of His will, that the fragrance of Christ may be released to those around me. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Real Rest, Soul Rest

by Danetta Kellar

The yoke hung rough and golden in the evening sunlight. It bore no decorative paint, no soft cushioning. It was fashioned out of necessity and practicality. Hewn from splintery wood by work-weary hands, iron rings hammered out with a farmer’s patience. A yoke much like it had been crafted generations ago by my great-great-grandfather on this very farm. With it his horses trod and cut this mountainside into submission, made the rough and rocky terrain into a fertile place where food could grow to nourish many. We are still being fed by the work of his yoke. I am resting today because he worked so hard long ago.

There is Another whose labor so long ago has brought us rest today. One who trod and cut the mountainside of our sin into submission, making the rough and rocky terrain of our souls into fertile places where love could grow. We are still being fed by the work of that wooden yoke, that rough-hewn object of labor on which Jesus finished the work of redemption. 

Are you at rest today? Deep, soul rest? Are you resting today in the work Jesus did for you long ago? Or are you exhausted, worn, weary deep on the inside? 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Control Freak

by Danetta Kellar

There is a kind of living that is robotic, driven, foolish. It is a breathless pursuit of the idol, the shining golden statue we have built called Control. In that place we cannot seem to stop. We can’t seem to stop doing, stop pushing, stop running, stop working, stop calculating, planning, measuring, sweeping, shopping, racing, racing, racing. Our body silently cries out for cessation of activity, but we cannot seem to halt the marching. 

We cannot rest. If we do, things might fall apart.

Ever-elusive Control races just ahead, the tails of her shirt are a red blur just beyond our grasp. We run harder, determined to catch up. We are dead-set on controlling this life we live, forcing it into the form we have envisioned in our brokenness. 

Somewhere deep in our hearts we believe if we can just control things, THEN we will be able to rest. Later. 

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Secret to Endurance

by Danetta Kellar

The words on the park sign jumped out at me like a happy dance.  

Trail Run Tomorrow, 7am

I had always wanted to do a trail run, it was the beginning of summer, and I was just starting a week’s vacation in one of the most beautiful mountain parks in the country. I was all in.

The next morning I showed up bright and early, ready to take on the mountain. My first clue that I was out of my league was the highly technical gear fellow participants were wearing. As I eyed their special trail shoes, I began to wonder if my expensive road racers were going to hold up. Chatter floated about, discussions about elevation accommodation, thin air, and adjustment. Some talked excitedly about the trail ahead, having spent the past two weeks pre-running it and training on it to be prepared for today’s race. These people were serious.

I was feeling more and more concerned, but I pushed it aside and reminded myself I had just finished a marathon several months earlier. This race was a fraction of the distance. I could do this. Besides, it was a beautiful day and a beautiful place. I was determined. The crisp mountain air and the sunshine seemed to promise success.

We took off, and within five minutes the trail began to climb straight up. Up, up, and up it wound under a canopy of emerald trees, through waving ferns and over the knobby roots of ancient oaks. I had never seen this trail before, and had no idea how long we would climb.