Being Made into Wine

“God can never make us into wine if we object to the fingers He chooses to use to crush us…If we are ever going to be made into wine, we will have to be crushed – you cannot drink grapes. Grapes become wine only when they have been squeezed.” Oswald Chambers

What or who has God been using to squeeze you?

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Image courtesy of satit_srihin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Finding Beauty in the Ashes

We had a beautiful summer here in the Pacific Northwest.  Lots of sun and high temperatures made for the perfect summer in our neck of the woods.

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I had so many things I wanted to accomplish this summer.  My lists were made and noted on my calendar.  I had goals to meet!

As often happens in life, God’s plans were quite different from my own.

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My sisters and I spent most of our summer caring for our sweet mother who became very ill and could not be alone.  We each set our plans and goals aside as we concentrated on helping mom.  Thankfully, I have five awesome sisters (Shazam!) and we divided up the week so we each spent a night (or two) and a day (or two) at mom’s house each week.  It was no sacrifice to serve and care for this woman who has done so much for each of us.  We truly felt blessed to have this time with her, and there was no doubt that we were the ones who were going to care for her during this time.

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But, it was tough.  Oh, not physically, though it was hard work, and with little sleep at night it became harder still.  The most difficult part was the emotional stress and strain of seeing one you love so dearly suffering and in such pain.  It was heartbreaking.   Through the days and then weeks that I spent at mom’s, I began sneaking outside while she slept and snapping some pictures of her garden.

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 I would find a lovely flower that I couldn’t resist.  Each week it seemed some new variety beckoned me.

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I didn’t realize it at first, but my soul was searching for beauty where I witnessed so much pain and suffering.  The beauty of each image covered the latest bit of ugliness that illness and suffering entail.

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Isn’t that just like God?  Where I first saw only the ashes of pain and suffering, He gave me daily doses of beauty to lift my spirit and remind me of His loving presence.

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God taught me many things during the last ten weeks.  One of those things was to find a bit of beauty every day,

to refresh my soul and remind me of God’s love and grace.

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(My mom is recovered now and doing well.  I am so thankful for each moment spent with her this summer.)