Tag Archives: the Light of Christ

White Space

A salesman once told me that an established maxim in advertising is White Space Sells. He explained that “less is more” in print ads. Keeping titles, information, and slogans short and punchy have a lot more impact than a flyer or ad crammed full of detailed text.

And aren’t we also like that? I tend to shut down when I feel overwhelmed with detail, endless to-do’s, and swirling emotions, just as I throw away flyers with too much to take in at a glance.

For a long time, I’ve used December to reflect on the year past and the one coming up. I form goals, clarify values, and edit out unnecessary involvements. Once my kids were grown, Christmas decorating, baking, and gift-giving (except to charity) lost its charm and freed up even more white space in my schedule and in my head as I streamlined my celebration of Christ’s birth.

This year, I come out of three years of focus on moving, settling into my new home, plus establishing a large garden, and I see an expanding horizon in front of me. It’s both enticing and a little daunting. Increased opportunities also present an increased challenge to carefully discern what should and shouldn’t be tackled, as well as how and when. So I’m not as far along in this process as I normally am after New Year’s. Plus I’m feeling the limits of my own abilities, energy, and drive, both personally and professionally.

Coincidentally, a broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir recorded a year ago for Human Rights/Martin Luther King Day showed up in my queue on Direct TV last Sunday. The Spoken Word message really spoke to me. Fittingly, Dr. King was quoted as follows:

When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair,
and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights,
let us remember that…[God] is able to make a way out of no way,
and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows.
(Source listed in link above)

There was the light I needed. I was absolutely right to see that by my own powers alone, there really was NO WAY to achieve all my goals and dreams. But as I’ve seen repeatedly, God can open a way where there was no way before. He has provided employment, housing, creative opportunities, and friends. He has led me to insights and wisdom far beyond my own. I don’t quite know where this year is headed yet, although I see glimmers through the trees:
* Continuing to work with home buyers and sellers on a selective basis,
* Defending the faith in writing and orally,
* Looking for a publisher for my phonics readers,
* Expanding my social life.
All are twinkling at me. Stay tuned for updates….

If you’re looking for a good movie that brilliantly illuminates how God opens a way when there is no way, go see Darkest Hour, a film about a couple of weeks in Winston Churchill’s early tenure as Prime Minister in 1940. The entire British Army of 300,000 soldiers was trapped on the French beaches of Dunkirk, with the far more powerful German army and air force poised to annihilate them. Churchill had to weigh the loud voices of powerful British leaders pushing for a “negotiated peace” with Hitler versus his own belief that Hitler is a Bengal Tiger and you don’t negotiate when your head is in his mouth! (paraphrased). Go see it to find out what happened.

I am reaffirming my belief in God’s miracles today and reminding myself to call for them, expect them, and then be grateful for them when they show up. I invite you to do the same, and then let’s share those stories with each other and whoever needs a message of hope.

The Light of Miracles
Courtesy Pixabay.com

The Heart of Darkness

We’ve all heard of “the ugly cry,” right?  When some deeply repressed pain finally floats up, it usually takes us by complete surprise, and we blubber, bawl and wail!

I remember an obscure movie, The Pumpkin Eater, in which Ann Bancroft plays a 1950’s style housewife, self-sacrificing and taken for granted in the extreme by her husband and children. All looks good on the surface until one day she melts down in a department store, sinking to the floor in uncontrollable sobbing. While I think we’re usually much better now at recognizing our feelings, these moments come at one time or another.

I was horrified when my marriage of six years fell apart, mostly at the six years spent building a relationship and lifestyle that came to an abrupt and irrevocable end. I vowed not to take such a big life detour again, especially since it affected two adorable children even more than myself. While I’ve always wanted to remarry, psychological patterns from my childhood stood in the way of creating a healthy relationship, one with less chance of sudden implosion. All these years, the Lord has promised me the blessing of an eternal companion, so I’ve trudged my way through personal transformation while raising my darlings and navigating the work world. It was a slow process, requiring “sucking up” my feelings most of the time, but while I am getting closer, a lot of years have passed!

This last month I hit the wall, the dam broke, and I decided to just let those repressed, raw feelings flow and see where they took me. My two rules: I couldn’t sink into self-pity and I couldn’t take out my frustration on others.

As I wondered why I seemed to be stuck in spiritual and relationship limbo, I thought of a woman I worked with long ago. She was single and nearing age 40, but bitter and angry at life. In spite of our shared Christian beliefs, I failed to lift her faith. Sitting on the bus in downtown Salt Lake after work one December night, I saw her staring wistfully at a store window displaying a child’s doll house. I knew she was imagining the daughter she didn’t have playing with it, and I felt so bad for her. She’s never married and I’ve wondered why not. After all, she was worthy in every way to receive God’s blessing.

Years later, I found a possible answer in the LDS Bible Dictionary under Prayer:

As soon as we learn the true relationship in which we stand toward God (namely, God is our Father, and we are His children), then at once prayer becomes natural and instinctive on our part (Matt. 7:7–11). Many of the so-called difficulties about prayer arise from forgetting this relationship. Prayer is the act by which the will of the Father and the will of the child are brought into correspondence with each other. The object of prayer is not to change the will of God but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant but that are made conditional on our asking for them. Blessings require some work or effort on our part before we can obtain them. Prayer is a form of work and is an appointed means for obtaining the highest of all blessings. [emphasis added]

I realized that I could be too self-sacrificing and fail to more actively ask for my promised blessings. I saw that part of what held me back was an unwillingness to fully feel my own pain. Stuffing it isn’t faith, and it certainly isn’t courage. Perhaps it was better to face it, feel it, and then actively pray for greater inspiration and blessings.

No great revelation or change has yet appeared, but as I stay open and sometimes on the edge of tears, I also feel an unexplained increase in hope. There is a light glimmering in my dark place, I feel I’m on the right track, and how appropriate for the season in which we celebrate the light Christ brings to the world.

I hope that light richly blesses each of you this Christmastime!

A Candle in the Darkness Courtesy Pixabay.com

A Candle in the Darkness
Courtesy Pixabay.com