Monday, November 21, 2011


I often wake to my husband chopping kindling in the basement--a welcome sound since I know a cozy fire is soon to come.  But last week my husband was on the far side of the Mississippi hunting a college with my oldest daughter.

And I had to make the fire.

A Pacific Northwest girl, I am no stranger to logging country.  I know trees and I know a thing or two about starting fires.  But one morning I ended up with a smoldering mess.  I was sure the authorities would soon be at my door complaining of air pollution.

Elm is dense, burns hot, but is hard to ignite.  "Stubborn wood,"  I call it. I had prepared a hot bed of coals, sufficient air flow, and even put a lighter to a discarded cereal box, but it simply refused to burn.  My husband warned me of elm and recommended I use aspen for starting the fire.  But the wood box was empty of aspen. I didn't want to venture out into the cold to haul more in. Surely the elm would suffice.

Smoke drifted to my eyes, as thoughts meandered to my heart.

How often has God sought to ignite His Holy Spirit in my life and I've resisted? Choosing only to smolder, stinging the lives of others . . . becoming irritating smoke in their eyes.  But blows of the hatchet peel away the surface, laying bare the heart.

"Seriously," thought Naaman of the Bible, "must I really dip in the mucky Jordan seven times to be healed?  What's wrong with the clear waters back home?  And I traveled all this way only to be greeted by Elisha's servant? Really?"  (See 2 Kings 5)

The hatchet splits the wood exposing raw insides . . . broken humility.  And each time Naaman dips in the river he sinks lower and lower into splinters of wood.  "He, [God], must become greater; I must become less." (John 3:30)

The kindling ignites, oh so readily, stripped pride responding to Holy Spirit coals bursting into flame. And words that flow from my mouth, now warm the heart of others, a contented glow.  My life no longer stings, but blesses.

Lord, prepare me to be a sacred dwelling place of Your Spirit, 
submitting to the chipping away of pride . . . where embers ignite into love.     

1 comment:

  1. Love the power of your words combined with the photographs ... hard not to feel the truth of this. Even if it's hard accept. :) I'm quick to guard my tough bark.