Dust

Sitting with tears in my eyes, head hung low amongst remnants of a toddler spaghetti fight that broke out during lunch leaving crimson stains across my walls and eat space cushions. It was one of those days. One of those hard days where you can’t see past the ugly to find the beautiful. God brought my eyes up, off the mess, calling my gaze to His Creation. It was here I peered into the beauty, the sea of lush green flowing through my wooded yard. Birds flitting amongst the trees, squirrels running free, all in search of something to nourish the hunger in their bellies. And I was there, too. Empty, needing filled. I thanked God for the beauty; the way I am learning to enter his presence—“with thanksgiving in my heart…with praise.” psalm 100:4. Just then, a piece of dust glided past that large picture window falling slowly with the day’s gentle breeze. The Lord whispered to my heart, reminding me that all of life was born out of dust. The Lord breathes into the dust and it rises and it lives. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust—so many of our days feel void of life. So much of this world so broken. But God promises to make beauty out of ashes and breathe life into dust, He is the author and sustainer of every moment of our days. I simply need to have a heart that is willing to be still, look up, and see. I have to partake of His Word and remain in His presence. It is in this surrendered place that he breathes into my day, shows me the beauty in the ashes, the life in the dust.

These lyrics were inspired from that brief moment on that beautiful, dusty day.

Dust & Ashes

We cry ashes to ashes
We cry dust to dust
From dust we were born, to dust we will returndust

But You make beauty out of ashes
You breathe life into dust
You are the author and sustainer of my days

When I am broken into pieces
It is your holy arms that pick me up
You heal the open wounds of sorrow with your Word
When I am overwhelmed with the silence
Or overcome by the noise
You whisper sweetly to my soul…

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
From dust we were born, to dust we will return
But You make beauty out of ashes
You breathe life into dust
You are the author and sustainer of my days

We are surrounded by the ashes, surrounded by the dust
So many days lived void of life
Dying, hurting, weeping, crying
But from the dust we rise
From the dust we live eternal
From the dust we cry…

Ashes to ashes
Dust to dust
From dust we were born and to dust we will return
But you make beauty out of ashes
You breathe life into dust
You are the author and sustainer of my days

You give gladness for sorrow
You turn weeping into joy
You are the author and sustainer of my days

So I thank you for the ashes
I thank you for the dust
Without them I would never know Your greatness
I would never know Your grace
© Tamara Gurley 2014

xo,
Tamara

       
Reflection
Worship
I love music & I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Listen & Enjoy! Wasteland- Need to Breathe

GratitudeGive thanks—  “I will enter his gates with thanksgiving; I will enter his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless his name”. Psalm 100:4. 

Grow: And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soulGenesis 2:7. “And out of the ground, God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky” Genesis 2:19a. How does the knowledge that God initially brought up all of creation out of the dust, breathed life into your being and promises to continue to do so, affect the way you face the hard, dark, and weary days? 

Give: Jesus came “to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3 Who can you share this message of hope with today?

Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.

 

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Father

He didn’t have to do it…

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But he did.

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It didn’t start with long chats about one day bringing home a baby girl, or a choice to do our part to try and make that happen.

It didn’t start with I wonder if she’ll look like me or you, or what colors would look best on her nursery walls.

It didn’t start with big parties decorated in pink balloons and cupcakes with toppers that said “congrats to you!”

It didn’t start with inordinate amounts of planning and preparing, all in the hopes that we’d somehow be ready to properly care for her.

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It started with I will and I do.

He said I do love you and will cherish you from this day forward, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad.

It was one of those times our vows were put to the test.  It was a dark time in my family. My little sister Grace was in harm’s way, she needed a place to call home, a family to call her own, a father to claim her as his and his alone. Overnight we became “parents” with no toys, spare beds or size 4t clothes, just our love and commitment to never let her go.

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He didn’t have to do it, but he did.

He didn’t have to say yes to the unspoken requests of please sacrifice your newlywed lifestyle, just a year and a half in, to give life to a little girl who may have none. Please give of your heart to a child that is not your own, be the father-figure to her that she has never known. Please empty your pockets, to clothe, feed and shelter her. Please give of your time to teach her and coach her. Please cover her in your prayers and in your strong arms.  Please always be the one she can turn to, no matter how hard.

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Please stand beside her when she feels her first heartbreak, teach her what it means to have a man who  always puts God first. Please walk her down the aisle, and be ‘Papa’ to first baby girl, help her redeem what was lost in her world. Tell her I love you as much as you can and let her say the words, most of us can—“Daddy.” So simple, yet for some, an unknown. But for Grace because of Joel it is a profound known.

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What words of gratitude could ever encompass how thankful my heart is that she has this man for a father?  What a gift from God that he did not have to give. For he is our heavenly father and will always be enough. His very life  fills the empty places in our wounded, beat up hearts.  He loves us so much, that he gave his one and only son, so that we may have life and have it to the full. So that we could be his adopted daughters and sons, crying out, “Abba Father”–we are children of God!

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He didn’t have to do it…but I am so glad that He did.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5-6

xo,
Tamara

       
Reflection
GratitudeGive thanks—  “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son. He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:4-7

Grow: “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” 1 John 1:12-13
Have you received the gift of salvation by believing in and giving your heart and life to God? If so, what does it mean to you to be a child of God, not birthed out of passion or plan, but by the love of the Father?

Give: “And if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” Romans 8:17
What wounded, beat up place in your heart can you allow God to fill with his very life? As you do this, what gratitude can you offer the Father or forgiveness, grace or mercy to someone involved?  Can you trust that while we may suffer on earth, as children of God our eternal inheritance is with him and in his glory!

WorshipI love music & I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Listen and Enjoy! Lamb of God

Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.

© Tamara Gurley 2014

Sidelines

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Having two children 10 ½ months apart presents as many challenges as you are currently imagining. Especially in regards to my two curious, adventurous, and nearly fearless toddlers. However, for a great deal of time there has been a certain challenge that I have allowed myself to begin to resent. I like to have fun with my family and allow my kids to enjoy a wide-array of experiences. So most days we gear up for what I always pray will be a seamless, stress-free outing (please note: it never is;). We arrive to said destination all body parts intact, and make it successfully from the car to the location of choice (this can be harder than you think;). I plop down my bags and then the fun begins.

gj5g3Let’s take the pool for example— We arrive, I hop into the pool and get shot with water by the somewhat annoying spray guns, chase my little one underneath those unpredictable buckets that fill with water and bring a chilly splash crashing down on my head, run after my daughter who is halfway up the waterslide steps before she becomes the next drowning victim, give in to my son’s demands to hold his hand and “jump in, mommy, jump in” and my daughter’s desire to fill up watering cans and slowly dump them down my back…and that is just in the first five minutes. I then take a breath, look around and see all of the moms and dads who are sitting on the sidelines, relaxing in the sunshine, chatting with friends, reading a good book or playing on their phone, simply shouting out “be carefuls” and “good jobs”.IMG_0080IMG_0076 Hmm…must be nice.

Then we venture to gymnastics lessons where I am the only parent required to join my kiddos on the bouncy mat-covered floors. Here they are supposed to sit in a circle and patiently wait in line for things like swinging and flipping on bars with cute stuffed animals dangling from them, or jumping on a trampoline or into a pit full of foam squares. It never happens. I work up a REAL sweat chasing my babies all over the room as they seek to experience all of the fun this place has to offer. I look through the glass windows and see parents whose kids are older or more experienced able to just sit and watch from the sidelines.

These stories ring true for nearly everywhere we go or everything we do- whether typical day-to-day things like grocery shopping, nap time, bath time, Grace’s soccer games or more adventurous fun-filled outings– that I do realize are a privilege. It’s just that I am in a truly hands-on stage of life and I am being called to be right next to my kids as they take part in all of these experiences. But what I am realizing, is that someday I won’t be able to. There were 27 years before they were born and as many God-granted years after they grow up that I will be able to indulge in simple pleasures, like sitting, sleeping, uninterrupted potty breaks, adult conversations etc.

Truly though, there will soon come a day when I will no longer be able to take them by the hand and plunge with them into whatever waters they are facing—whether calm and beautiful or stormy and ridden by fear. I won’t always be able to hold them when they are scared, keep them safe from harm, and see up-close the laughter and joy on their faces as they soak in this life. I will go from instructing to hoping, from holding to watching, from seeing it all to just hearing about it. Someday, I’ll be on the sidelines of their lives, only able to cheer them on and pray God’s absolute best for them. Someday, I won’t be holding their hands, I’ll be forced to let go.

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So for now, I’ll be covered in sand at the sandbox and drenched at the lake. I’ll linger a little longer to sing just one more song or tell just one more story. I’ll be holding hands and chasing my dreams–two little gifts, I never want to take for granted. Until the day comes when the sidelines is where I rest, I’ll be jumping and running and soaking in all the beauty of their lives.

Hmm…it must be nice. Well, yes, it really, really is.

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xo,
Tamara

        
Reflection
GratitudeGive thanks—  “Every good and perfect gift is  from above…” James 1:17

Grow:   “For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1. What season are you currently in and how can you fully embrace it? How can you thrive instead of just survive?

Give: As you fully embrace your current season of life or the circumstances you are currently facing, how can you use them to bless someone around you?  If you have children, how will changing your perspective to embracing each season allow you to give more and enjoy more in parenting?

Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.

© Tamara Gurley 2014