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Wooing

Shelby Forsythia sent me an email this week saying she shared a bonus feature with content from our podcast conversation back in December. Parts of our conversation now fill an “in the meantime” slot for Coming Back and when I clicked play in the email, the words caused my brain to pause.

She asked me what was beautiful on that day back in December. December! Wasn’t I staring at Christmas lights just yesterday? Three months ago it was dark and cold and we were wrapping up one year in anticipation of the next. I was trying to live and plan ahead while hoping to cut off the pulsing blood supply to my grief wound. March was looming and with it came the promise of big birthdays and hard anniversaries.

Taking action, I thought, could help me resist the need to stay burrowed under dirt and hurt.

Ruth Chou Simons, painter of beautiful words and the owner of GraceLaced, said earlier this week on her Instagram,

“I won’t regale you with all the reasons and circumstances, but this has been a long winter for me. You, too? 

But suddenly, branches are brimming with flowering buds and green shoots break through the cold, hard earth. Turns out, Spring arrived while I was busy thinking I’d never make it through the winter.

In reality, despite the way it feels to our feeble minds, God has not been hibernating or taking time off in our winter season …

While we’re wondering if He’s still at work in the circumstances that feel so impossible, He has been holding all things together for the unfurling of His plan.

Friend: what if your winter is His wooing?”

Wooing.

A gentle pursuit rather than a braggy ‘check out what I can do for you.’ I’m imagining a God whose wooing persists through desperation. Who woos while accepting angry blows to the chest from my flailing fists.  The wooing from a loving spirit invites rest, waiting, and hope. Wooing requires trust, intimacy, and vulnerability. And wooing requires a willing recipient of all that attention.

I’ve been praying while doubting the wooing for quite some time. Asking and failing to trust all the same.

March submerged me in a pile of small grief bubbles, triggers popping like soap suds as days rolled off the calendar, moving us closer to the three year anniversary. I noticed today, though, my gosh, the days have suddenly passed.

So much has shifted since December and that interview.

When I stop to listen and sit at the feet of God’s mountains, his foothills, his rustling bare trees I see all that God has done for me and my family in our dark winter season. I’ve been angry and weeping and moving and still he kept saying, “I’m here.”

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It’s light out longer now. The sun dances through my kitchen window long passed 7 pm. The things we had been praying for for two years just burst themselves beautifully into our lives like brave tulips poking their little heads out of hibernation and into our garden plot. The same patch of dry dirt that has been waiting. The place where we plan to cultivate beautiful things in this new season ahead.

Wooing.

God’s still at it – whispering to please slow down – for it is time to till the dirt and the hurt into beautifully rich earth instead.

Think about These Things

You’ve heard of the Instagram Weekly Round Up haven’t you? It’s usually a post on Sunday from the Instagram team that fills a space in your usual feed of friend’s photos. Sometimes the pictures are intriguing, artistic, or overly creative. Sometimes, I skip right over them. However, one a few weeks ago caught my eye. There is a woman named Taylor Tippet who uses the Instagram handle @taylortippet. This girl is onto something. Taylor is a flight attendant who chooses to use her job for good. Each day, or maybe every flight, she posts an anonymous note on a window seat of the plane. The words range from “you’re golden” to “do what matters” and beyond. All the little notes are subtle reminders that we have a responsibility to love ourselves, and to take care of one another. What a beautiful message and a simple delivery of an absolutely necessary reminder that life matters. Now, Taylor now has over 70 thousand followers on Instagram, so that tells you what kind of promotion the Weekly Round Up gets you. Mega-Exposure. I don’t want to steal her photos and put them on here; rather I strongly recommend her photos on Instagram, or check her out on Twitter @taylortippet as well. What an amazing reflection of beauty.

In light of disheartening news this week in Missouri, which I admit I am privileged enough to just send my heart and my prayers to, I find it an extremely important practice to seek out hope, community, and connection. Answer what that means for you, and start from there. In an effort to build more connection for me to this space here, I started a Pinterest account for the blog. Of course I would love for you to follow along. In doing so, I was so excited to find that others, many others, have vision boards and virtual collections of beautiful things. It was an exercise in connection to others and to that ache in your heart to remember the things that are good. No, of course I am not naive enough to think that I am the only one on a journey such as this. Too, I know making a self indulgent board on Pinterest will never compare to trying to solve hurt and issues of racism, power, or politics. However, this small step was so encouraging to me to find that people find solace, peace, or maybe just enjoyment in the collection of beautiful images, words, creativity, experiences.

Social media is really a fascinating thing these days. Pressure to create an ideal image of you, or a highlight reel of the grand and glamorous things going on in your life at times feels insurmountable. I spend quite a few moments thinking about what I want to post on each of the different modes of communication, and who do I share what information with (that can’t be grammatically correct, can it?). What is the goal of these different outlets and should we critically analyze these ways we spend our time connecting with others? It is easy to be overly selective in creating the “Katie” represented on my social media accounts. Too, many people choose the opposite path and selectively complain, argue, and pull others down into the depths of darkness that is tempting in this world.

I suppose I was just blown away by these two examples of how social media can extend positive energy and ooze the loving light of inspiring others to take time to appreciate themselves, and appreciate the world.  All I can think of is this scripture verse that keeps running through my head. Take or leave religion, I don’t care either way, but this verse to me, holds immense truth.

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New Living Translation – Phillipians 4:8
And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

Tonight, for me, that includes the simplicity of a delightfully smelling candle, a cold glass of white wine (don’t judge the ice cubes) and catching up on Real Simple Magazine.

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Do you use social media for good? Is it a challenge to manage yourself here? What brings you peace, solace, and enjoyment?