Menu Close

Eden's Mirror

Looking into the mirror of God's story

A Poem

When is the last time you visited the ocean? Have you ever tried to put into words the sound of its waves crashing on the sand? This poem uses a particular description that might catch you off guard if you’ve never really paid attention to the sound of the ocean. See if it helps you recollect your experience of the seaside:

Immensity.

The cacophony of a thousand human voices cannot overpower its song.

Shhhhhh, it thunders, a beckon to all

To Be Still and Know that He Is.

A thousand people submerge beneath its waves

And rise again above the shifting foam.

The straightest line composed of perplexing ripples of motion.

Its power, man cannot tame.

Yet it bestows pleasure and happiness upon us.

And so we return to its immensity again and again, and to those with ears to hear, we find peace in the safety of its might.

Baby Bird

When I first started this blog, it was in part because I was negotiating with my longing to be surrounded by nature and being bound to a city life, at times against my natural desires. It is a longing with which I still sometimes wrestle. I chose to be here in this ugly concrete jungle with my family because I live for the priorities of Gods Kingdom not my own. Those priorities mean living where we have found life-giving community that we regularly give back to; those priorities mean God continuing to open doors to serve Him here in this church community; those priorities mean this is for now, where God sees is best for our family, our spiritual growth, and our serving to grow His kingdom. “Seek first His kingdom,” He says. So we do. But that doesn’t mean my heart doesn’t long for my Sabbath resting place in the countryside.

However, for as long as I have been here, I continue to be amazed at how He gently reminds me that He knows my longings.

Today that was through a little baby bird.

I was sitting outside with my breakfast soaking up the cool of the morning before the summer heat baked our city, and I noticed a mocking bird swoop down to the grass with a bug in its mouth.

That’s odd, I thought.

I kept watching.

After a few moments, I noticed a tiny feathery head and beak pointing up to the sky, with two black beady eyes blinking in the hot sun. A baby bird, stranded on the ground.

I got up to take a closer look. Yes, it’s still alive, I observed as it’s tiny eyes blinked up again at me.

I immediately jetted inside to get my girls. One of its parents squawked a warning from on the roof of our apartment as I walked by.

The girls were in awe. We watched the bird from a distance for a while. It hardly moved, it’s little head still raised upward.

Eventually, at my bidding, our neighbor came out, glove fisted, to rescue the bird and place it back in the safe shade of the tree, in hopes that at least there, mostly hidden from sight, it would reconnect with its parents and stay cool enough to survive.

As I reflect on this little incident, small and insignificant as it may be in the grand scheme of things, I realize the fragility of life. That baby bird is still sitting in the tree even as I write, it’s beak and head pointed upward, waiting patiently for its parent to come care for its needs. It’s almost as if it’s head is permanently fixed upward, as it waits.

Oh that my own heart would be postured in such a way of dependence on God: trusting; waiting; expecting the help I so desperately need.

That bird is not afraid, even as it finds itself outside of the safety of its nest, and stranded in an unexpected situation of danger. It just rests in the knowledge of its vulnerability and the reliability of its parents to provide for it.

For me, I am humbled by the realization that my lack of dependence on God stems not from His unreliability but from my pride which lies about my vulnerability. If only I could see myself the way the baby bird does: helpless in the best of ways and ultimately dependent upon my Father for all my needs.

And this is why I am grateful for these moments of nature. They are simple illustrations to me of my relationship with God, and point me ever upwards to His loving care for me.

Every time God allows a little nature to breakthrough into our city-clogged day, I am humbled with gratitude by these little tastes of “home”, because it tells me He cares about me, and my heart’s longings matter to Him. It tells me He hasn’t forgotten me. And that reminds me that some day, my Sabbath place of rest will come in full abundance and never be taken from me again.

So in the meantime, I enjoy my tastes of Eden – not the Eden in the past but the better Eden yet to come.

Pardon My Silence

Oh, hi there! Pardon me while I finish sweeping off the cobwebs that have inched over my blog in these last six months. Its been a soul-searching season.

You see, I had forgotten the why behind my writing for a spell, and grown discouraged by the relatively silent yet seemingly vocal public space to which I opened up my personal encounters with God’s Truth.

Until now.

Writing for Whom?

A dear friend invited me to be her plus-one to a church event featuring one of her favorite Christian artists and Bible teachers, Ruth Chou Simons, creator of Grace Laced.

As we parked in the last available space near the bottom of a steep hill, we ventured into the uncharted territory of an unfamiliar church property up to a room full of unfamiliar faces where we met with our most Familiar Father.

There, He whispered grace, love, forgiveness, and most importantly, truth into my soul. There, He gave me the gift of perspective: “We artists create for the audience of One,” she said. “We steward our gifts for Him, not for the popular responses we receive and the number of followers we gain.”

Yes. This is why I began Eden’s Mirror. To steward the gifts He endowed me with, if only for Him, my greatest and most significant Audience of One (well, one in three, but I still can’t quite wrap my mind around Him as the Trinity).

I write for you, yes, my readers. Don’t get me wrong. For even us introverted writers must have a relational direction for our work. And you are always in mind when I write. For I long for each person I encounter, whether on the evasive digital world, or in real time, to come closer to Jesus as a result of what I have to say. It is part of the gift I long to steward – to teach, to help others to see God more clearly, and as a result, to love Him and His ways more deeply.

But first and foremost, I needed that reminder to write for Him, not for the responses I receive from His people.

But there is even more to my writing than stewarding my gifts.

A Lost Art

In these last six months, I have asked the question: is blogging outdated? Does anyone, including myself, even read these anymore? In some sense, there is a growing trend toward the shorter Instagram and Twitter bites; for who has time for reading anything at length anymore? I must admit even I do more online perusing than reading with any measure of thought.

So is it worth it to blog? To take the time to pour out sentence after sentence, paragraph after paragraph, heart-bearing reflection upon reflection?

Perhaps not. But perhaps so. Perhaps we need the continual reminder to slow down, to chew on ideas and to thoughtfully reflect. We need to be confronted with the opportunity to allow the process of reading to relax us, like the 1950’s father coming home from work to read his newspaper with his feet up on his recliner. Reading anything beyond one paragraph requires time and attention, and if we writers give up on providing material for that experience, we will not only have failed to steward our gifts to the glory of God, but we will have failed you, our readers, in encouraging and hopefully inspiring you to step out of the instant-gratification world we live in, and allow yourself the time and space necessary for good reading.

This is also why I don’t just share my personal thoughts and experiences all the time. Because I believe you, readers, deserve better than just one person’s opinions. In fact, I think perhaps we have all tired in some way of the millions of opinions floating around in our digital world.

No, I want to write what is worthy of you taking the time out of your already overcrowded days to actually read and reflect. And from all accounts, the only subject deserving of that is God Himself.

Hold Me Accountable

Finally, this is why I invite you to hold me accountable to accurately representing God’s Truth.

I have struggled with my blogging because of the incredible lack of accountability that accompanies digital self-publishing. For little to no money, I can literally present my words in a format that carries a similar but false suggestion as a published book: a book has been edited and published only upon the approval of severe critics and the hard-won affirmation of a large body of credentialed editors and publishers who spend a life-time building up their careers to be in such a position of authority. But visually, how does the printed word online in a blog really appear any different? If half the time, we are reading actual published books online, how is it any different to read a blog? If its online, and accessible by Google, it must carry some weight of truth, right?

That is the dangerous myth of blogging: if I have some followers, and my blog looks professional enough, what I say must be true, right?

How often am I guilty of that same assumption when I am googling medical symptoms or researching a product I want to purchase? For a good majority of us, it is easier to assume that the printed word in the digital world is as good as any published book on the market.

For this reason alone, I almost abandoned my blog all together. I tremble at the thought of the sheer lack of accountability for my words. As a result, I intend to have an accountability partner for my writing.

But even with that in mind, I invite, no I beg you, for those of you who read my words, please don’t let me get away with misrepresenting God and His Word and His people. I don’t trust myself not to make those mistakes and I acknowledge that I will inevitably do so. I am not perfect nor are my words, though I pray they nevertheless draw you to Him who is so incredibly gracious to us in our weakness.

To Be or Not To Be

So why should you keep reading here at Eden’s Mirror, you may be asking. Good question, I’m glad you asked.

Read my blog in order to slow your life down for ten minutes every once in a while. Read it to be reminded how to be and not just do.

Read my blog in order to get to know me personally for those times I share about myself. (I see you, Mom!)

But, please, if nothing else, read my blog in order to get to know God more. Because I trust that despite my failings and misrepresentations, He will inevitably meet you here in this quiet space if you invite Him. He excels at showing up through broken vessels, the way the sun shines through the cracks of a battered old pot. I trust His light will come through these pages, and when it does, He will reflect His goodness in and through you too. To God be the glory.

 

The Virtue of Love At First Sight

“The prince walked deeper into the castle. In the hall, he found the pages and courtiers sleeping where they stood, and the king and queen asleep in the doorway. He went farther, until the silence of the palace grew so great that he could hear the pounding of his own heart and the blood rushing through his veins. At last, he came to the tower and climbed the long, dusty spiral staircase to the room where Sleeping Beauty lay. Then he saw her. She looked so beautiful that the prince could not take his eyes from her. He bent down and kissed her. At his touch, Sleeping Beauty opened her eyes and looked at him with great tenderness. Then he took her hand, and together they descended the stairs and went into the castle.”

gray bridge and trees

Such beautiful words pen a tale that hardly any of us feel is promoting a virtuous principle of love. Deep within us, our hearts cry “how dare he only love her because she is beautiful? He doesn’t even know her name!”

Love at first sight is not a virtue we encourage among our children anymore. And understandably. We don’t want to our little girls to think that their value is only in their physical beauty and we don’t want to teach our young boys that love ought to be driven solely by physical attraction. Not to mention, love at first sight doesn’t really happen in real life – so we don’t want to pass along that disappointed expectation to our children.

And yet these are classic stories that have been passed down through the ages of time. And while our post-modern society may encourage us to relinquish history as meaningless and outdated, we ought instead to pause before so quickly dismissing such timeless enduring tales.

So is there virtue in the idea of love at first sight? I would venture to say yes, a resounding yes. For I believe it reflects the greatest and truest love story of all time: the story of God’s love for mankind.

It is a story I am constantly wrapping my mind around and yet a story I so easily and quickly take for granted. God loves you, we say. Yet deep down, do we really believe it, believe it in such a way that it changes the course of our lives? I conjecture that those that feel His love that deeply would say it is not an easy love to grasp. In fact, even the Apostle Paul himself suggests that to grasp God’s love takes a miraculous work of the Spirit in a person’s heart. Listen to his prayer for the Ephesians found in Ephesians 3:14-19:

For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of His glory, He may grant you to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith – that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

Twice, Paul says it takes a certain spiritual strength derived by the power of the Holy Spirit to comprehend the fullness of God’s love for us in Christ. Certainly, this is not an easy love to grasp.

Why is that? One reason, for me at least, is because my experience of love on earth is so counterintuitive to the kind of love God has for me. I experience human love primarily when I am loveable – when I am kind, kindness is most often returned to me; when I move towards others, more often then not, they easily return the care. But when I am in the throws of my sin, when I am ugliest of all, that is when I feel I am least loveable. It takes the greatest kind of virtue to love someone who is self-centered, or intemperate, and especially evil in nature and behavior. How much more than for us to believe that the perfect sinless Creator-God would feel any kind of affection for His creatures who have scorned Him to His face time and again with the very breath they breathe from their self-centered ungrateful hearts?

No. God’s love is not easy to believe in. In fact, apart from the Holy Spirit, I don’t think any of us can really feel it and experience it and know it.

That’s because God’s love is a love-at-first-sight kind of love. When He sees us in Christ, He sees reflected back to Him His beautiful image. It is a beauty, although tarred by sin, that remains. It is the beauty that He put in us the moment we were created. Like Sleeping Beauty, whose virtues were gifts from magical fairies, our merit comes not from ourselves, but rather lies in the gift of being made in God’s glorious image. We are loved at first sight by our Creator because He made us worthy of love.

This is why I read classic fairy-tales to my children. Stories like Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Snow White give a framework to our children for God’s kind of love. It teaches our children that love can be given to someone simply because they exist not because they have to earn it first. This is the virtue of the stories of love at first sight.

 

Revelation at Advent

Our church has been reading through the New Testament together as a congregation this year. How fitting to end the year reading through the last book of the Bible, Revelation. It is as other-worldly as it gets, and yet full of vivid descriptions of God’s power, wrath, judgment, and mercy. It has changed my outlook on what it means to hope for the return of Christ. But before I get to that, I wanted to share with you the reflections of a friend as she has read through Revelation during this Advent season.

So, today, guest writer Kaelyn Timmins shares her consideration of Revelation’s picture of the return of Christ. Kaelyn is an LA-based poet & writer with a heart for racial reconciliation and God’s multi-ethnic Church. Follow her on Instagram: @kaelyncove.

Revelation at Advent
Who can stand?
before this Savior King
who once could only crawl
How much protection will the caves offer
when the last seal is opened
and the earth shatters
Why at the end?
when the beginning was
a breath and an offering
a star and a child
an invitation to shepherds
hollow hands and breakfast
on the hazy shore
a parting and a cloud
and a promise —
Why at the end do we still not believe?
Who can stand
when there are no longer walks in the garden
dreams and wonders
young women and faithful men
We are faced only with a bleeding Lamb
and the stains on our hands
from the sins of the father
we did not warn
O that we could lie lower to the ground
than prostrate
Will He see us as children
vulnerable as He
Will we have only stars wandering in darkness
to herald our arrival
Did we keep the love that was given in uncast stones
Did we show mercy with fear
Was this child born for us?
Older Posts