Stories that Shine on an Awesome God

Posts tagged ‘fellowship’

Old Fashioned Sanity

In Cades Cove, a white clapboard church stands protected by the Park Service of the United States of America and by the mountains of East Tennessee. Dedicated to worship for all ‘time and eternity,’ it has been sandwiched between a single lane road and a collection of gravestones for one hundred and seventy-seven years.

CadesCove Church

A few days ago, my family opened the doors of this church, sat on its wooden pews, and began to sing. Voices from the past seemed to join us in praise. I couldn’t tell from their ethereal voices how they eked out a meager living, but I could imagine. I could also wonder, with times so hard, how they kept their sanity.

The early cove folks were a tight bunch. Their survival depended on it. Community barn raising and corn husking were common. Midwives made frequent visits. Undoubtedly, their two Revolutionary War veterans showed the others how to live on nothing more than determination.

While we sang, other tourists stepped into the church and many of them joined us. A community of strangers soon requested Amazing Grace and Sweet By and By. Music, sometimes a snitch off key, flowed over walls bare enough to belie superior acoustics. For those few sacred moments, I entwined my heart with the past and  sang against isolationism that threatens our present.

I left that church knowing, like that long ago mountain fellowship, our impromptu community had helped to keep each other sane.

“If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another.” I John 1:7


Creative Healer

Pulling folders out of the metal cabinet, I glanced at their tabs before tossing them into the trash bag. “Church Communications, Youth Ministry, Sermon Topic Ideas . . . .”

“I won’t need these anymore, ever,” I gritted as the mound on the floor grew. “After what I’ve done, the shame and dishonesty, God can never use me again. Never.”

My eyes fell on a manuscript draft that had launched a creative flourish nearly a decade before.

“This I’m keeping, but not much else.”

The emotional pain constricting my heart blocked any thought of creativity.

I tied the ends of the trash bag and set it outside the room that had once been my daughter’s. Before she married and left home. Before I had turned it into my own private space to write and study. The file cabinet was empty just like my side of the walk-in closet down the hall.

It was time to leave. Time to make a new home. Time to live out the consequences of my choices in an arena devoid of church fellowship or ministry.

Four years later:Image of Corn plants against the sky

I bent over a hoe, scratching dirt around tender corn stalks. Creativity did not enter my mind. Surrendering to the hoe, to the whole, huge garden that my new husband loved, filled every crevice of my thoughts. Straightening my back, I gave in and breathed an agreement to learn the lessons that garden had to teach.

“And I will write! I will write those lessons.

Creative musings stirred as if roused from the grave. New life seemed to surge from deep within.

“Perhaps, just perhaps God will use me again.”

Thank you, heavenly Father. Thank You for being a God who creates and recreates. Always. Constantly. You never stop creating. Creativity is how You mend a tattered heart. Thank You for the creativity You place in me. Thank You for its healing power.

How has God revealed Himself through your creativity?  Care to share?

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”  Psalms 51:10

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