Joy 360 continues with a guest post from the wonderfully talented Margaret Philbrick, an encouraging Redbud writing sister and incredible leader. Today Margaret delicately touches the tender parts of our hearts offering hope and reassurance that God is always creating. This demeanor seems to come naturally for her noted in her most recent book, A Minor: A Novel of Love, Music and Memory, which takes readers on a journey of love, creativity and struggles dementia presents. But it’s not just a book (because Margaret’s creativity and talent have no bounds) the this gem comes with a compilation of songs to accompany you through the story!
I’m confident you’ll enjoy her joy-filled words today and when you’re finished, you’ll probably want to check our her newest book and insightful articles on her site Margaretphilbrick.com.
“In the beginning God created…” (Genesis 1:1) Reflecting on the “leaping delight that quickens my senses in our waking time*”, I find it in the beginning. No matter how exhausted I fall into bed the night before and wake up with fuzzy sweaters on my teeth because I crashed without brushing them, the new day holds promise. My arm stretches out of the comforter, my eyes drift over the ice feather etching on the storm window and peachy gold light glides across the wood floor. The pattern of the new day begins. Before my Kefir smoothie and oatmeal in the cold kitchen, I pray. “Good morning Lord, this is your day, I am your child please show me your way.” A Sunday school prayer invites joy in the beginning.
When we bought our little French country cottage every room in the house was painted baby blue, except our bedroom which was monkey vomit brown. For the entire month of March we armed ourselves with Glidden color and undertook transformation. The house creaked of emptiness, but smelled like hope. Fresh paint, new car smell, Johnson’s baby lotion tantalize our senses with the hope of what’s to come. After another Domino’s pizza, we jammed our paint brushes into the water glass and sat on the stairs with our Book of Common Prayer. Searching for the right blessing we joined hands and asked the Lord to come and use this tiny house to build his kingdom, to fill it with children, laughter, authentic community and abundant life. Joy, in the beginning. Almost 25 years later every one of those requests is full.
“And he who sat upon the throne said, behold I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5) Over the years I’ve learned to lean into the one who makes all things new. We can’t because we are unable to make something out of nothing. God’s creative genius lies there. His ability to make something out of nothing is holy creativity and if we are to walk in newness of life, we must ask him for a part in his creative process. When the feeling of old and stale bread is settling into your soul, ask the Lord to come and make all things new. I usually do this while walking the dog. Watching her fluffy bottom zig-zag across the ice, causes me to laugh at his creative brilliance in giving me this ball of fur who starts everyday down the same path of certainty that the new will be revealed through every sniff and yellowing of snow. Breathe in, breathe out the icy wind and head toward the quiet streets, inviting God to meet you in his creative birthing of the day. “In the beginning God created.” Create something today.
When our youngest son was a baby I decided to pray every time he sucked down his infilling of milk. His perfect mouth dripped with urgency as I thanked God for each thought held captive in that fleeting moment – for the teddy bear wallpaper, our free county, the invention of Desitin, a sturdy rocking chair, milk, sustenance. God met me in this collaborative, creative moment. With our older children off at school, in the rocking silence of suckling, joy spoke. My heart filled. Gratitude enlivened his presence. “In the beginning God created” a child.
One of the joys of living life in an Anglican liturgical church is the seasonal renewing of our hearts and minds. The rhythm is consistent. Long ordinary days of Pentecost, the new year comes early with Advent, Christmas red and evergreen, Epiphany white descending into the bright sadness of Lent and then glory in Holy Week. It’s coming. Within this sacred rhythm is Holy Saturday, the day of the Easter Vigil. In dusky darkness, curtains drawn, a single Pascal candle enters the sanctuary and joy begins…
“…let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” Book of Common Prayer
*A Dedication to My Wife, T.S.Eliot, Collected Poems 1909-1962
Margaret Philbrick is an author, gardener and teacher who desires to plant seeds in hearts. She is allergic to caffeine, a writer’s bane, which renders her an herbal tea addict. Her novel, A Minor – A Novel of Love, Music and Memory released to critical acclaim in 2014. You can connect with her via her website at Margaret Philbrick – Author. Gardener. Teacher. Planting seeds in hearts.