Friday, January 18, 2013

A Missing Piece

I've been working on this piece for a couple of months now. It's the first artistic piece I've designed since my broken elbow; it took a slow path to completion for several reasons: I got pneumonia; it was very cold in my shop; I had several repairs that were "ahead" of it in the schedule; and it was hard.

It's not an easy design in the first place--lots of little pieces and intricate welds. But I made it infinitely harder on myself when I put it together because I left out a piece.

I actually had the piece placed in the tail, but when I continued to build, the piece broke. I pulled it out, traced around it, and glued the pattern to another piece of glass. I put that glass on my cutting table, figuring I would cut and replace it the next time I came into my shop.

And then I got pneumonia...

And by the time I returned to my shop, I'd forgotten that I was supposed to cut out and insert the tail feather piece before finishing the rest of the building process. I had the toughest time getting the glass to fit together! It was frustrating!  (Of course it was...I had left out a piece!)

I finally soldered it together the best I could, which looks pretty good in the picture above, but when you look closely...

You can see a pretty good gap. The picture to the left shows it, sort of. In real life, it's quite obvious! There's a 2mm gap between the beak piece and the sky piece. There are a couple of other small gaps, too, but those could be dealt with in the glazing process.

Not this one. I will have to add this panel to the small pile of  "so bad nobody wants them" pieces I have. And I will start over on this panel. I like the design, although I may simplify it a bit because I broke several small pieces in the process of building it.

Live and Learn, Right?

And Oh Boy, did that concept hit home while reading my devotional yesterday. I am still reading Alec Motyer's Isaiah by the Day: A New Devotional Translation. I am finding all kinds of good things in his book. I like Motyer's explanations of his translation choices. I am deepening my understanding of Isaiah's beautiful words.

But yesterday, I realized that I had been missing something in all my reading in Isaiah! I have read Isaiah in many translations and multiple times, but I never realized something about Cyrus.

Cyrus?  Who's Cyrus?!  That's what I would've said until yesterday. He seemed to me a bit part, a ruler in the Persian Empire who took over all of Mesopotamia in 500-something BC. He ended up being a bit of a "good guy" for the Hebrews, as he allowed them to rebuild the temple and return home. Even that doesn't seem so outstanding, though.

The part that literally brought me to my knees was in Alec Motyer's "Thought for the Day: Isaiah 44:24-45:7." He tells us that Isaiah's words about Cyrus coming were given 150 years before Cyrus conquered the Babylonians. Now, fortune-telling isn't what the prophets were about, I know that. But isn't that amazing????  Isaiah spoke God's word and named this man. Then God brought it to fruition 150 years later. For me, this was a "missing piece" in my understanding of God's word. In my understanding of the power of the Word.

GOD is the power here. I know that. I feel that. I believe that. But I found a new way today to comprehend our GOD's power to create, sustain, and direct everything for His plan!  I am so amazed that He gave us Isaiah and his words 150 years earlier for such a clear example of His sovereignty!

Isaiah's words in 45:6-7 declare: "It is in order that from where the sun rises to where it sets they may know that there is nothing besides me--I, Yahweh, and no other! Shaping light and creating darkness, making prosperity, and creating calamity-- I, Yahweh, doing all these things!"

Sometimes those "little" missing pieces can impact our "whole" mightily! I am grateful for God's claim on my thoughts today:

"I, Yahweh, and no other!"


Thursday, January 3, 2013


 We all make plans, all the time. If we don't have some plans, our lives go nowhere, or at least not where we would like. Without plans, my glass work would be chaos!

But, as Christians, we deeply know what Proverbs 16:9 says: "The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps." When we lean into the Lord with our entire lives, our plans are in accordance with His will, and He brings our plans to fruition.

But what about a (seemingly) good plan, a prayed-about plan, a plan to serve... Isn't that what God calls us to???

Yes. But God doesn't promise to fulfill all of our plans, even our good ones. He promises to fulfill all of His plans; and He promises that all of His plans are perfect! And God knows every one of our days, before we're even born (Psalm 139:16)... the good ones, the bad ones, and all the rest.

Sometimes, we work toward something that seems worthy and good... But God's plans don't included this particular thing. I have glass pieces like that: I've started (or even finished) them, and they just don't look good. Not worth framing for some reason.

Our family has worked toward moving one grandparent to our home. We prayed and felt peace with our decision to share our home. Expanding our family seemed good and right.

But it's not in God's plan. We received a call yesterday that this grandparent was going into a different care situation. We had all preparations made in our home. We had support services in place. It all seemed so right...

Our first reaction to the change was disappointment. A grief of not being able to share this beloved grandparent's remaining time. But slowly, as we talked and explored our newly-changed future, we realized that there were many positives in this new situation. That God's plan was, indeed, better than ours.

We look forward to walking the days that God has provided for us. His plans are perfect, and it's exciting to move forward into more days, leaning into God for all our needs.

Happy New Year.