Celebrate the Maker

A glimpse of restoration conceived in tiny dreams,

A promise of salvation may not be what it seems.

A prophecy fulfilled, a miracle to be;

A tiny babe was born to save the likes of me.

With an infant cry, the Maker came to earth,

And what was there to be said of this amazing birth?

The angels dance, the heavens sing

To the music of His Glory.

The stars collide, they beam with pride

As they tell the world His Story.

The world stares on so silently

Immortalizing this sacred dream.

Tears stream from the virgin’s eyes.

In heartfelt gratitude she cries…

Celebrating the birth of the Maker.

Miracles are happening – water into wine.

This girl was once deathly ill, but suddenly she’s fine.

He’s here for a purpose; you can see it in His eyes –

So full of love, so knowing, as expansive as the skies.

No one ever spoke with such authority.

The very words that shaped the stars

Caused the blind to see.

The angels glow, the heavens roar

As He sets the plan in motion.

The stars still gleam, and each moonbeam

Is dancing on the ocean.

The world spins in turn with joyful shouts

For the Lord came to walk about.

The people flood to His side.

For a moment they are gratified…

Celebrating the life of the Maker.

A kiss that would betray Him, planted on His face.

So intimate a gesture from one who fell from grace.

A prophecy fulfilled – a Lamb led to the slaughter.

He would die for all mankind, for every son and daughter.

They nailed Him to a wooden tree

Where His wounds would find the lost

And cause the blind to see.

The angels weep, the heavens sob

As the Maker becomes sin.

The stars they hide, as though they’ve died;

The earth trembles from within.

The sun goes out, the sky turns red

As the created declares the Creator dead.

The world is silent once again,

Still and formless as it began…

As it’s mourning the death of the Maker.

For a whole three days the darkness reigns

Then He rose again breaking all my chains,

Because the day that curtain tore in two

He was declaring that nothing could separate Him

From me and you…

So celebrate the birth of the Maker –

The day He came to die.

Celebrate the life of the Maker –

The form of Glory Divine.

Celebrate the death of the Maker –

Who came down from heaven above.

Celebrate for death is not strong

Enough to conquer His love.


The Best Christmas “Tradition”

My coworkers keep asking me what my Christmas traditions are. I don’t want to say that we don’t have any traditions because I guess that we do. We’ve celebrated Christmas with my dad’s side of the family as long as I’ve lived. My mom’s side of the family always has their celebration on a different day so they don’t have to compete with the other sides of the family. That’s the one constant that has never changed, but other “traditions” are affected by different circumstances in life.

The earliest tradition I can remember is coming home after our Christmas Eve service and opening one gift in my grandparents’ presence. But that tradition ended the year my grandma died. Three years after that, we left the church in which I was raised, changing the Christmas Eve service tradition as well. I know some people have managed to hold onto their traditions, but I wonder how the same things that entertained them when they were five can still capture their attention when they are twenty-five.

There’s only one “tradition” that will hold my heart for as long as it continues to last. I love the moment on Christmas Day when everyone is called into my grandma’s living room in order to open presents. It’s not the gifts that matter to me anymore, but the joyous anticipation that lights the eyes of my younger cousins when their gifts are set in front of them. It’s the way that all 30+ Snyders fill into one small area in representation of the tight-knit family we truly are. When I’m packed shoulder to shoulder like a sardine with the people who were born to be my best friends, I’m reminded of how blessed I am to be a Snyder. Though presents are nice, I don’t need anything but the smiling faces surrounding me and the baby on my lap. That’s what I find myself counting down for every Christmas.

Three more days. Only three more days…

A Beautiful Viewpoint

I had a comment from a reader saying that she loved others, but hated herself. I found her remark to be quite painful. I wish that I knew this woman. I wish that I knew exactly what she hated about herself so I could set her straight. But since I’m so far removed from her individual situation, I’m going to take a stab at what I believe causes the most self-hatred in a woman. Body image.

The perfect body is something no woman will ever achieve because there’s no definite end. Perfection is a matter of opinion, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, just this morning, a coworker commented that my hair looks pretty pulled back. I personally think it looks better framed around my face. The only reason I pulled it back today was because it was driving me crazy.

See the girl in this picture? Most people probably wouldn’t notice these small details, but sometimes when she looks in the mirror, all she can see is the scar on her forehead from where she tripped and fell as a three-year-old, the bags under her eyes which are not from a lack of sleep but from her father’s genetics, the pimples on her face, and her imperfect smile caused by the teeth she never grew. Most people don’t notice those things about me, but sometimes these “flaws” rush to the forefront of my mind. Every woman sees flaws in herself that she’s willing to overlook in others. In reality, most people don’t look at you with the same critical eye you use to view yourself.

I think there’s a certain wonder in the fact that no one snowflake is the same. Even leaves take on different shapes and sizes. Each one uniquely beautiful, but no two quite the same. There has never been, and never will be, someone exactly like you. I think that’s a cause for celebration. Beauty is not something to be achieved because God is not capable of creating something ugly. From where I stand, you, my friend, are breathtakingly beautiful because beauty is not a goal to reach, but a point of view.

Take a look at yourself with new eyes. I think you’ll be surprised by what you find.

Want a little more information on beauty? Check out what one of my favorite wordpress authors has to say about the subject.

Who’s Mentoring Who?

Towards the beginning of this year, a friend of mine approached me and asked if I would be willing to step out with her and start a Bible study for some of the high school girls at our church. Since that age group had been on my heart for quite some time, I was eager to accept her challenge. Since that moment, I’ve grown rather attached to this small group of girls. Today I’ve been watching the development of a debate on one of their facebook pages. One girl posted a note that was apparently controversial – at least to this person who didn’t believe that Jesus actually belongs in Christmas as her note suggested. I found her scriptural responses stirring feelings of pride in my chest that somewhat resembled a mother watching her baby learn to walk.

I wanted to let her know how insanely proud of her I was in that moment, so I sent her a message that told her what I felt. She wrote back thanking me for the encouragement, and shared the verse that had encouraged her in the midst of this debate. She then quoted Matthew 10:16-22 where Jesus talks about sending His disciples out as sheep among wolves and how He will give them the words to say when they are brought before governors and kings.

Yep. Mother watching her baby learn to walk. Except my precious little one just sprouted wings. One day, I’m going to lose this mentality that I’m the one who’s doing the teaching, because I’m often floored by those I think I’m ministering to. Children have taught me more than I’ve ever taught them, and now I have this teenager who is suddenly wise beyond her years. I guess it’s because Jesus did what He promised in Matthew 10. He gave her the words she needed to say, and she allowed the Father to speak through her lips. (Or, in this case, her fingers.)

Sometimes I simply have to wonder… Who’s mentoring who?

I Just Want to be a Mirror

“Herein lies the essential difference between fiction and nonfiction: Nonfiction tells us what is wrong and how to fix it; fiction holds a mirror up to our lives and allows us to apply the truth in an infinite number of individual ways.”

That quote by Penelope Stokes entered my mind as I sat before God in prayer one day. “God, I just want to be a mirror,” I insisted. It was never in my plan to have God turn my dreams upside-down. Had I known where God would be directing this whole Beyond Waiting journey, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog today. From the very beginning, I begged Him. “But God, I can’t do this. I write fiction.”

“No,” God corrected, “you write truth wrapped in the guise of a story.”

He was right, of course. He’s always right.

But there’s just something about a good story that brings the whole world into perspective for me. While I hear people say that they find the Old Testament to be culturally irrelevant, I discover some of my greatest life lessons in the history of these flawed human beings. Tell me a story, and I will find where God is hiding in the background. Every story ever told is all about Him. And for that reason, I long to tell His stories.

But of course, God wouldn’t simply have me telling stories- He’d have me stepping outside the box I had formed around my dreams. He would have me expanding the bounds of my imagination. He would still have me telling stories, but they would not always need to consist of the fictional characters that so easily become my reality.

So, writing this blog is me living my dream in a way I never dreamed possible, because only God could make me aware of the dreams I never knew I was dreaming. Only God could knock out the walls I had formed around my full potential. And only God could hold up His mirror and show me what He sees when He looks at my life.

So I’ve changed my tune (or at least my prayer.) I just want to be a mirror that reflects God’s glory.

Hugging Baby Jesus

Last night, my two-year-old neighbor came over to visit. Tessa has always inspired me with her childlike wonder, but last night, her innocence was sweeter than ever. She found herself captivated by the nativity’s Baby Jesus and asked if she could hold it. After playing with the naked baby for a moment, she decided that the baby must be cold and asked for a blanket to cover him. We dug through my sewing box and pulled out a scrap of old fabric Tessa could use as a blanket.

When she finally tired of playing with the figurine, she insisted that he couldn’t be laid to rest until everyone in the room hugged and kissed him goodnight. This seemingly silly gesture struck my heart. How long had it been since I had consciously hugged Jesus? I know one can’t literally wrap her arms around a God who is bigger than the universe, but I believe that some of our actions are carried to heaven in the form of a hug. Remember that verse that says, “Whatever you do for the least of these…”? I think hugs are included in the “whatever” category.

Lately I’ve been so caught up in everything I have to get done, that I’ve forgotten the reason I exist – to glorify my Savior. To do everything I do in a way that is so full of love for Him that it would seem like I’m literally hugging the King of kings. I haven’t been hugging Him like I should, but today I’m resolving to change that. Today, I am going to intentionally try to put a smile on God’s face.

So. . .

Have you hugged Jesus today?

Tangled Dreams

The other night, I watched one of my favorite fairytales come to life. I have to admit that I was a little skeptical. There are, after all, thousands of ways to mess up a fairytale. How would the big screen convey this classic tale that is so dear to my heart? In a world that vies for true love’s kiss, what will they do with the tears that restore sight to a blind man? But Disney, much to my delight, pulled off the retelling of Rapunzel quite masterfully. While she was much different than I always imagined, I found her Disney persona to be just as endearing as the storybook heroine I fell in love with many years ago. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the entire movie, I find that one scene keeps replaying in my mind…

Rapunzel and Flynn have reached the Festival of Lights. Our heroine leans against the edge of the rowboat, stares into the sky, and confesses that she’s nervous. This moment is all she’s dreamed of for sixteen years. What if it isn’t everything she’s imagined it to be?

“It will be,” a confident Flynn replies.

This makes Rapunzel think of an even worse fate. What if it is everything she’s dreamed it to be? After tonight, her lifelong dream is over. What will she do then?

According to Flynn, the best part of the dream is the end, because you get to choose a new one.

Wise words coming from a man who claims he doesn’t have a dream, much less ever fulfilled one. But there it is. Straight from the mouth of Flynn Rider. The end of one dream is the beginning of another.

I don’t know about you, but that’s something I needed to hear lately. I’m in the same boat as Rapunzel. As I’m on the verge of completing my first novel, I’m nervous about what the end of the dream holds. On one hand, I can’t wait to see this vision fully come to life, but at the same time, the thought of closing the final cover on these characters who have been a part of my reality for the past three years almost makes me want to cry.

I feel like God has laid before my eyes thousands of possibilities. “Pick a dream,” He says. How do I choose just one? How do I determine which is worthy of the next three years of my life?

I think that, just as it was with Flynn and Rapunzel, the answer will be quite clear. When the time comes, I’ll know which one is worth the sacrifice. And so will you.

Look at the dreams God weaves between His fingertips much like He weaved the stars in the sky. Pick one out and carry it close to your heart until the time comes for it to finally be released in all of its splendor.

Don’t dread the end of one dream; embrace the start of another.