But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
This weekend I crossed a parental threshold. Not only has my youngest child completed her high school education in astounding ways, she has now packed her most crucial possessions and moved halfway across the United States to begin her next phase of life. She would appreciate the analogy of "writing her next chapter," with blank pages awaiting the sounds, smells, thoughts, and adventures being composed in the mind and heart of God just for her. There will be times of joy, times of sorrow, challenges and and the easy times like when she is downing her favorite ice cream. New friendships will form that will shape her into a newly discovered self, whether foods, or movies, or writing assignments, or Bible "aha" moments, or games, or occupation, a new breadth and depth will be hers. Even as anxiety-filled daily invitations will coax her in ebbs and flows of forward and retreat, new confidence will grace her developing self. As I dream of the one I will next see when we again meet face to face, I am stunned with God's gift.
Beauty from the ashes sparkle in her. Just as it has in her sister in ways that catch my breath, the beauty reveals miracles. The list of "shoulds" that were aimed from the darkness to describe our lives, those menacing shadows of discouragement and struggle, now has so many shades of light and glory! What was meant for evil was filtered through the hands of God has produced pure treasure!
It is in this reality that I realize that hope has not "been lost," "gone down the drain," or "slipped away," no matter what has happened to my various bracelets and charms. From the beginning of time as we know it, God's goodness has poured out. Father, Son, and Spirit created and built in the drive to restore, to renew, to bring forth beauty from the worst imaginable to the power of glory! From the dust and grave came life and hope. From our pain, hope and joy.
We often use the image of chicks in the nest as they are tenderly cared for in each need, nurtured to growth, and readied for life beyond the boundaries. They are encouraged out bit by bit until, ready or not (it seems) they are forced to flap, free fall, then catch flight. Amazingly, soaring becomes reality. The power, the majesty, the glory of the miracle.
My "chicks" have found their wings. Today I am humbled and exceedingly grateful for those who have prayed them to today, taught them to fly, saw the sparkles in the ash and polished them to beauty. I humbly stand in awe as they soar.
Father, thank you for your tender care.
Jesus, I bless you for all you have done to bring us hope.
That out of chaos comes order,
Out of darkness comes light,
Out of death comes life,
And out of ashes comes
Spirit, lead us to love well
To lead others to the abundance
Of life in you.