A New Thing…

Autumn is here! It’s my favorite season of the year — cooler evenings, autumn breezes, the change of colors, apple pickin’, hot cider, fall festivals and the fair, Yankee Candles’ Autumn Harvest, evenings by the fire, and of course everything and anything pumpkin! Happy Fall Y’all! Things just feel fresh and new to me in autumn. Autumn inspires and energizes me. This year I’m reading through The Voice translation of the Bible. I love reading Scripture in a translation other than my normal, “go to” preference. It makes familiar passages come to life in a new way.

Finally, brothers and sisters, fill your minds with beauty and truth. Meditate on whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is good, whatever is virtuous and praiseworthy. —Philippians 4:8 (The Voice)

There is a particular phrase in this verse that resonates with me —Beauty and Truth.

Yes! Beauty and Truth should occupy my thoughts. There is much that is ugly and false. Our world is full of brokenness and pain. Authenticity, transparency and disclosure are not popular words in our culture. But God’s Word brings hope, healing and light in a dark world. When I fill my mind with the beauty of who He is and the truths of His Word, my mind is renewed and my life transformed. Jesus makes all things new. Jesus brings hope and healing to the brokenness and pain. He brings light where there is darkness. He is beauty. He is truth.

Therefore, if anyone is united with the Anointed One, that person is a new creation. The old life is gone—and see—a new life has begun! All of this is a gift from our Creator God, who has pursued us and brought us into a restored and healthy relationship with Him through the Anointed. —2 Corinthians 5:17 (The Voice)

God is always making things new. But, am I noticing the beauty in the broken? Am I aware of what is being made new?

Or am I so consumed with the things of the world and the brokenness and disappointment that surrounds me, that I fail to see it?

I want my life to be characterized by Beauty and Truth. Seeking to be aware of the beauty that surrounds me in God’s creation. Seeking to know more of the beauty of who God is. Seeking to know Truth. Live Truth. Share Truth.

New Thing Is 43_19Seek to uncover the beauty and truth that surrounds you even when its hard to see beauty in the broken. Let’s encourage one another to fill our hearts and minds with Beauty and Truth that will not just inspire, but also transform our attitudes and our perspectives.

What new thing is God showing you this season?

Rejoicing in Him signature

©2015 Susan Cady, susancady.com

A Story of Beauty & Truth

A Story of Beauty & Truth

Fill your minds with beauty and truth. Philippians 4:8 (The Voice)

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable — if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise — dwell on these things. Philippians 4:8 (HCSB)

beauty and truth1

{This lovely watercolor print was done by Emily at Jones Design Company and is available on her website.}

What does a life characterized by beauty and truth look like? What does it mean to fill our minds with beauty and truth?  What does this look like on a daily basis in the midst of doing ordinary life with our ordinary tasks and daily to-do lists? What does it look like when life throws us a curve ball we weren’t expecting?

So often as women, we measure our worth and the substance of our lives by our accomplishments, perfections, performances and a constant striving to be accepted and approved by others. I don’t know about you but for me that is e.x.h.a.u.s.t.i.n.g!  If this is the basis for our identity then, what happens when one season of life that has so defined us, ends? What happens when circumstances take a turn and we find ourselves in a place we did not expect nor want to be?  I have shared many times before that the true measure of who we are is based solely on who we are in Christ Jesus.

But how do we learn to live out that identity on a daily basis in the midst of our busy lives and unexpected circumstances?  So much of how view our worth and our attitudes, reactions and responses are based on what is going on inside our heads.  I don’t know about you, but for me that is a battlefield and the “off” switch never seems to work!  Philippians 4:6-8 offers us some answers but first I want to share a friend’s story with you and the inspiration for this study.

Lori is my precious and long-time, dear friend.  We first met when our children were young (and we are now empty nesters). Chris and I had just purchased our dream home right next to Lori and Blair. We were their “unchurched” neighbors and they loved on us and invited us into their lives without judgment.  We became fast friends. That year Chris and I both surrendered our lives to Christ.  They poured into us and showed us what it meant to be the hands and feet of Christ.  Although we ended up losing our house (consequence of my shopaholic days), we remained friends and they continued to minister love and grace to us.  When we both began homeschooling our children, we’d take field trips together, do projects together, and just hang out.  Later Lori and Blair gave up suburban life and Blair’s engineering job to move back to their home state of Pennsylvania and become organic farmers.  They settled into life on the farm.  We missed them terribly, but we each took turns making visits to one another.

Fink Cady banner pic

Then in 2005, Lori and Blair’s lives changed in an instant and dramatically!  Blair stood to teach on a Wednesday evening at their church and suffered a cerebral hemorrhage caused by an arterial venous malformation. Life changed drastically that day for Blair, Lori and their girls. Life as they knew it would never be the same.  Long story short, Blair was told he would never fully recover. At one point Lori was told he would probably spend the rest of his days in a full-time care facility.  But God had other plans!  Blair came home.  He was granted permanent disability by the state.  They began to try to find the new normal with Lori taking on most of the responsibilities for which she used to rely on Blair.  But God had other plans.  In 2011, they began considering a move back to Georgia where their girls wanted to attend college. Unbeknownst to Lori, Blair had begun applying for engineering jobs. He was offered a job in Atlanta. After seven years of being on total and permanent Social Security Disability, Blair is now working again as an electrical engineer. It is amazing how God works!  The portion of Blair’s brain that contained all that engineering knowledge and skill remained intact. But, in the years immediately following Blair’s episode, Lori began to feel lost.  Listen to her words:

 “It was at a time when I was starting to rebuild my faith.  Blair’s illness and our church experience at the time had left me floundering around and feeling unsure of what I really believed and what was really true. I saw how quickly life can change and I didn’t want to continue living the same old way. So I asked God what it meant for me to really live. His answer was 1) walk without fear, 2) love unconditionally, and 3) embrace beauty, which I think means in others, in ourselves, in nature, in our homes, everywhere!” —Lori Fink

When Lori shared this with me across my kitchen table last year, it resonated powerfully with my heart and soul.  All weekend, I could not get those three statements out of my mind.  God brought reminders from His Word as I contemplated Lori’s statements.  After several months, her words continued to ring true in my head and heart as I thought about what it meant to really live for the Lord and to find my identity completely in Him!  So I asked Lori if she would grant me permission to use her three statements, and the truths I had began to uncover in the Word, to write a study to encourage others in living the abundant life in Christ.  She agreed!  So pull up a chair at the kitchen table with Lori and me.  We’ll be having a cup of hot tea and maybe some tea cookies or scones.  You grab a cup of tea, coffee or whatever you’d like and join us!

Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing more of Lori’s story and unpack what it means to:

1.   Embrace Beauty

2.  Love Unconditionally

3.  Walk without Fear

4 Know Truth

Philippians 4:8 will be our guiding verse as we seek to live out these powerful statements by  filling our minds with beauty and truth!  We hope you’ll make plans to join us!

Susan & Lori Signature