Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Under a Canopy of Grace

February can be a tease. Rainy and cold with whispers of snow and ice one day, then hammocks in sunshine two days later. I don't mind. The professor arranged everything on the new shelves in the hall. I love this little alcove; it makes me happy. If I could add an extra window and a cozy chair I would. And, Sister did some decorating of her own one afternoon; an endeavor that kept her busy for hours. It seems she prefers a washi tape and watercolor theme, quite colorful and fun. As for the washi tape... we found strips of it plastered on every surface in her room with several rolls hanging on the wall.

Little moments are quickly filling our February days. Big Brother provides the music {always the clarinet!} while Little Brother adds plenty of commentary. Sister contributes the flair... hello, green fingernails and pink tutu adventures. Despite the chaos I try to see and savor the beautiful, ordinary moments... my orchid in bloom, chocolate cake, sweet sibling companionship, sunlight in windows, good books, the kitty always around, and winter sunsets.

Most days, the sunset hour is the hardest. Between homework, home-keeping, attitudes, and tired, hungry, noisy people it's the time of day when I need the most grace. Oh, how I fail. I often catch a glimpse of our winter sunsets when I climb the stairs as the day turns to evening. Sometimes I step out on the deck. From the top of our house that sits on top of a hill I watch the painted sky, the Artist's canopy at the end of the day. I'm keenly aware of my failures, my shortcomings, and my need for grace. This daily task of tending my own heart and lovingly, faithfully shepherding little hearts adds an intensity to life that only God's promise of sufficient grace can soothe.

I've been thinking about the Israelites in the wilderness and how the presence of the Lord went with them... a cloud of cooling shade by day, a pillar of warming fire by night... always a visible reminder that He was there. The circumstances weren't easy but there was comfort because He dwelled among them. His presence was literally a canopy of grace. I've pondered this a lot lately and in the pondering He's reminded me that He still dwells among us... intimately in the hearts of His children, hearts that are covered with mercy and grace. A canopy. In the day-to-day grace-needing moments {and I have so many!} there's comfort in knowing that, like His people wandering in the wilderness, I dwell under a canopy of grace, and His grace is sufficient for my failures and my trials.

Then the Lord will create over the whole area of Mount Zion and over her assemblies a cloud by day, even smoke, and the brightness of a flaming fire by night; for over all the glory will be a canopy. There will be a shelter to give shade from the heat by day, and refuge and protection from the storm and the rain. Isaiah 4:5-6