Inspiration Sunday

Thanks to Lee Duigon for sharing this post–very inspirational, and a much needed reminder for so many of us!

Daughter, Rest.

1 minute read.

I don’t want to write about rest. I’ve been putting it off because I haven’t had time. Ironic.

Rest sounds weak, selfish. The sabbath is an outdated tradition and I’m a 21st century Christian. If I rest, I am doing this Jesus thing wrong.

Actually, if I rest, I realize I am doing this Jesus thing wrong. If I pause for five minutes, I learn how exhausted I am, how hungry I am for these words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you…

Rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NIV)

Rest. If I do it, I dare to discover my great need for Jesus. I learn the victory of the Gospel is not up to me, but up to Him. Yikes. Say hello to my ugly pride.

Get this: when I refuse to rest, I lose sight of the entire purpose of my work. When I am too distracted by my to do list, I miss what, or rather, who is sitting right in front of me: my Savior, calling out to me, “Julia, Julia, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed, only one.”*

What am I working for? For my glory or His?

…Keep reading Daughter, Rest.

 

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Inspiration Sunday

“Simple” Stories, Deep Wisdom

I had to take a long drive by myself yesterday, and to pass the time I listened to my favorite set of CDs–the dramatized Focus on the Family version of the Narnia Chronicles, with introductions by Lewis’ son. I got through The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, and Prince Caspian before the trip was done, and was amazed (as I often am) by the many nuggets of spiritual wisdom Lewis throws into these “simple” children’s stories. If you haven’t read the Chronicles of Narnia, or haven’t read them recently enough to remember them, pick them up sometime. You won’t be disappointed! (And no, the recent Disney movie versions are NOT an adequate substitute. Don’t get me started on those…)

In one particular scene from Prince Caspian, Lucy woke from sleep feeling that the voice she liked best in the world had been calling her name. She gets up to search for the voice, finally coming upon Aslan, who is shining white in the moonlight. He is huge, and beautiful, and she rushes to him without a thought, as though her heart would burst if she lost a moment.

“Aslan,” said Lucy, “you’re bigger.”

“That is because you are older, little one,” answered he.

“Not because you are?”

“I am not. But every year you grow, you will find me bigger.”

I’m quite sure that when I read these books as kid, I didn’t really comprehend what that meant. My understanding of God and faith was pretty simple. I knew a bit from my Christian grandparents, but I was being raised in an atheist household–there was no going to church, no Sunday School, no praying, or reading the Bible, and any talk about God was likely to be negative.

I’m not even sure how long it took me to realize that Aslan was supposed to represent Jesus. At first, it didn’t matter. What I understood, and responded to, was the wonder in scenes like these–the way in which the trees came to life and danced in Aslan’s presence (they couldn’t help themselves), and most importantly, the protective, restorative love Aslan poured out on Lucy without pause or condition.

It was a unique kind of love that I didn’t find between the other characters, or in other books. Even when Aslan was instructing, or scolding, it was with a firm gentleness that prompted a willing respect and obedience. Somehow I recognized that Aslan’s love was different than any other. I longed for it, and I was seeking it, just as Lucy had been. When I felt God’s love for the first time, in the real world, I knew I’d felt it before…through Lucy.

Aslan doesn’t just shower Lucy with his love in this short scene then send her away, however. Lucy and Aslan have a real relationship. He growls at her when she begins to blame the others for getting them lost, and he allows her to see that she is just as much at fault. When fear causes her to express her anger and frustration, Aslan doesn’t rebuke her, but gives her strength to deal with it instead. There is something important he needs her to do–something that will be hard–because she’s the youngest, and because her faith allows her to see what the others can’t yet. Ultimately, it is Aslan’s love for her, and the strength of their relationship, that gives Lucy the courage to tell the others, “I’ll have to go with him (Aslan) whether anyone else does or not.”

Reading these passages now, with adult eyes, adult knowledge, and a fair share of life’s scars to boot, I have a much deeper understanding of what Lewis was really saying. (And believe me, this is only one spiritual nugget of MANY from this part of the book). I do indeed find “Aslan” bigger, and more amazing, every year I grow as a Christian. Our relationship is a constant work-in-progress. Sometimes I have Lucy’s child-like faith. Sometimes I’m Edmund who cannot see, but moves forward anyway out of trust. At other times I’m Susan, who doesn’t see because she is trapped listening to her own fears instead of Aslan’s voice.

Maybe part of why Prince Caspian spoke to me so clearly yesterday is because in the section of book 3 that I’m working on now, my characters are facing some of the same issues. They are also “lost” in the spiritual woods so to speak, and I am working through their struggles alongside of my own.

For Morganne and Elowyn things are changing again, too quickly for them to stop and catch their breaths. They’re desperately seeking Aviad’s guidance, but are unsure if that golden shadow moving between the trees ahead is really Him, wanting them to follow, or just a trick of the moonlight. The answers don’t come easy. Aviad is asking them to do something important–something hard–because they can see what others can’t yet.

Will they wrap themselves in Aviad’s strength and accept His will as Lucy did? Or will they close their eyes and resist like Susan, only finally seeing Him in hindsight? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for book 3 to find out.


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Aslan and Why I Love This Lion by Jamie Lapeyrolerie

Well y’all, another year and another Inklings Week comes to a close. I’ve had so much fun and I hope y’all have enjoyed the posts, learned something new and maybe even convinced a person or two to join the Inklings Club. I thought I’d finish out this week talking about one of my favorite characters in all of literature. Outside of the Bible, this character has helped me learn more about God’s character than any other work. Through each of the Narnia stories, Lewis shows the world one of the greatest stories ever told, all through a lion.

I started this week with a love letter of sorts and it’s only right I finish with one. Here are bits I loved from each book about Aslan. My hope is that whether or not you’ve read the books, you’ll be encouraged in these and ultimately the Greater Story…

Read the rest at Books and Beverages: Aslan and Why I Love This Lion | Inklings Week

 

Inspiration Sunday! Happy Mother’s Day :)

I haven’t posted one of these in a while, but there’s been a lot of stress around here lately and I need a quick laugh to get my Mother’s Day started.

Here are a few funnies for all to enjoy, whether you are a mother, or you happen to have one. 🙂


“There are three ways to get something done: hire someone to do it, do it yourself, or forbid your kids to do it!” ~Unknown

“My mother’s menu consisted of two choices: Take it or leave it.” – Buddy Hackett

“Working mothers are guinea pigs in a scientific experiment to show that sleep is not necessary to human life. – Unknown

“Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young.” – Unknown

“A suburban mother’s role is to deliver her children obstetrically once, and by car for ever after.” – Peter De Vries

“The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found.” – Calvin Trillin 

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

Inspiration Sunday!

Another worthy quote inspired by the season! Have you done this yet? If not, there’s no time like now, and the blessings you’ll receive in turn will outshine any gift under the tree.

“You can never truly enjoy Christmas until you can look up into the Father’s face and tell him you have received his Christmas gift.” ~John R. Rice 

Inspiration Sunday!

A little late today, but no less inspiring. I’m continuing on the theme of Christmas this week…

The Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the Incarnation. ~J.I. Packer 

Turn the volume up on this one…by the end you really will be ready to fall on your knees in awe of our amazing God!

Inspiration Sunday!

Christmas is coming! I love this season…not just the tree, decorations, giving, and social aspects, but the real meaning behind it. I write Christian fantasy for a reason–because my deepest, truest love is for Christ. His entrance into this world is miraculous; our perfect, just, all powerful God becoming one of us for a time. Jesus is the ultimate hero, that all our imagined fantasy heroes are but poor reflections of; selfless, valiant, self-sacrificing, and completely sinless. We have every reason to celebrate. This quote from Augustine really says a lot in just a few sentences–I hope it inspires you to reflect. I’m adding in a little Christmas music for good measure.

He was created of a mother whom He created. He was carried by hands that He formed. He cried in the manger in wordless infancy. He, the Word, without whom all human eloquence is mute.
– St. Augustine