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encouragement

Be A Lamp

I just sat down at my desk.  It’s an antique secretary desk in a heavy, dark wood with a hinged, fold down writing surface covered in black leather.  It’s a real treasure, one I found while doing display design for my friend’s store, Imagine, many, many moons ago.  Several of the pieces Laura (beloved friend, sister and store owner) used to display her fabulous inventory was purchased from the same antique store just a couple blocks west of her boutique in Terrell, Texas.  I bought the desk and a beautiful wood keepsake frame from there.  It’s made out of comparable heavy, dark wood and sits open for me to place my inspired finds in.  But, the desk sits empty and the keepsake frame does, too.  

One of my goals this year was to reimagine the space it was in.  I wanted it to be set apart from my actual office, peaceful and free of anything that could take my attention.  No mail to open, no orders to fulfill and no clutter to procrastinate decluttering.  But, as I type these very words, I sit at the desk and under the keepsake frame that have yet to be filled with things that inspire me.  There’s a bag of River’s hand-me-downs that I need to deliver to his friend sitting in the chair behind me, and, laying over it are six coats I wore to brave the winter here in Texas that I’ve been trying to get into the downstairs coat closet for more than a week now.  

Generally, I’d not dare sit down and get to work until I’d gotten things in perfect order.  But, here I sit at and among three unfinished projects, with my son singing “Jesus Loves Me” from his bedroom just one door down and my husband preparing for a video conference call downstairs.  On top of my desk burns a fragrant honeysuckle and davana candle and the low light pipes through the window to my right as chirping birds and blooming trees boast of spring.  

All seems right in the world yet it’s not.  The global pandemic, COVID-19 has us all reeling.  It’s like something from a movie or bad dream.  How will it end?  What is the reality we’ll wake up to?  Nobody can answer those questions.  The top ranking officials of our great nation are working tirelessly to get on top of what’s already here.  We’re up against the unknown, something that we cannot see or know much about.  We’re urged to do something we’ve never been urged to do before- flatten the curve.  By staying isolated or somewhat isolated, washing our hands and not touching our faces, we’re likely to reduce the rate of infection and not overwhelm our hospitals, thus decreasing deaths caused by this horrendous virus. 

It sounds so simple, but it’s challenging to do.  Isolation is not something most of us do well for long.  So, this will be a test.  But, we do have multiple ways to interface with those we like and love safely.  Thank God for technology.

The last few mornings, I woke up to my alarmed husband who is not at all an alarmist which is extra alarming.  He debriefs me on all things he’s learned about COVID-19 via social media, the news and his favorite radio show, 1310 The Ticket.  Then, he goes to get Riv from his bed and takes him downstairs.  Meanwhile, I get down on my knees beside my bed and pray to God for protection.  And, you know what, in my plea for protection, something stirred my heart.  God is in control.  His resolve is unwavering.  He is the one we must turn to.  As Psalm 46:1 assures us, “God is our refuge and strength; an ever-present help in trouble.”  

In times like these we take refuge in our Creator and find strength in Him.  If you feel weary, go to His book of promises and be reassured by the scriptures.  Then, carry your weary hearts worry to God in prayer and remind Him of His promises.  It’s a powerful combination that withers worry and illuminates hope.

As you all know, I’m not a preacher or teacher.  I’m an ordinary person created by an extraordinary God.  And, I’m in the business of hope.  Our Sparrow Project collection was designed with the intention of fostering hope through infusing beautiful things with scripture and giving back to help domestic violence victims transition out of horrific situations.  My life, though imperfect, is Christ centered.  My business, though small but mighty is Christ centered.  I feel compelled to share more, and I want to be obedient to that calling.  

In the words of Rumi, “be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder.” We could all use that right now, right?  So, if you already subscribe to our Divine By Design blog, get ready to see us a bit more regularly.  And, if you’re not signed up, simply go to jlparish.com and click on the Divine By Design blog and sign up.  It’s easy, I promise.  In addition, we’ll work to keep our social media outlets bright with hope and possibility.  Follow us on Facebook (JL PARISH) Instagram (@jlparish), Twitter (@JLParish) and Tumblr (jlparish).  

Now, chin up buttercups!  God’s got this!

Stay Divine, 

JL PARISH

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