We’ve had the pleasure of reading some wonderful submissions from our readers and friends and we’re so pleased to be able to share them with you. If you too would like to submit something to Grafted Magazine, please go to the Submissions tab at the banner under our header and follow the instructions. January is filled but February is fresh and open. News about next months theme will be coming soon! – Editor in Chief, Johanna Schnakenberg
A new year, morning, and I stand at my window watching a dark-eyed junco on the ground. He ruffles his smoky feathers and pecks at the snow under my rosebush, searching for breakfast. The thorny branches, black like his feathers, provide him with mean shelter as they reach through layers of white and down into the blackhearted earth.
Bleakness. Cold. The death of beautiful things. Such are northeastern winters. As a lover of warmer weather and entire days spent with my bare toes in beach sand, this harshness never ceases to shock me when it comes ‘round. Even with the glittering excitement and wonder of seeing January on the calendar and the straight lines of determined resolutions, my heart shakes a little in the dark midwinter. The idea of starting afresh feels far away, as if it’s beckoning from a place higher than the starry night sky, and the pressure to do better crushes my perfectionist mind to dust. Passion says that if I don’t make something grand out of this newness within a day or two, all will be lost, my chances will be wasted. At the same time I find it easy to get stuck in a lazy rut, contently wallowing in a muddy hole of fear and pity instead of reaching for something, anything. Maybe it is out of habit? I can’t quite tell.
But you know, the amazing thing about following Christ, is that His character beautifully contradicts all the silly emotions and worries we, His children, will ever face as we begin new chapters in life. He is perfect grace in our inadequacy. He is our hope and stay, our island lighthouse in the middle of stormy seas, ever faithful to guide us Home. We need not be afraid of failure or smallness, because He has promised victory. In His arms is unconditional forgiveness; He cleanses us from our past lives and steeps our weary souls in assurance and rest like no other. Life will still hurt; it will still rub us raw with all its pain and unknowns, but He heals, loves, and trains His body in godliness.
And the most lovely, strengthening part of it all: His mercies are new every morning. Every morning He wipes our slate clean with a rag of our repentance, no questions asked. Not just on the first of the month or a new year, or when we cross off each item on a checklist, but every, single day, every moment we choose Him over sin, from now until eternity. How unbelievable! Yet here it is in His Word: “The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ‘The LORD is my portion,’ says my soul, ‘therefore I will hope in him.’” (Lamentations 3:22-24, ESV). This is the great and mighty God we serve. He cares for us and tenderly controls our lives, even the bittersweet endings that carry us onward and upward into His glorious New Beginning. Hallelujah and amen!
Hello there! Laura here. I’m just a small town artist with 20-some-odd years practice of being awkward. Daily life for me is stringing words together, Jesus, and falling in love with the little things. I am happiest when I’m at the ocean, and sometimes I get tangled up inside. But if nothing else, my Mary Poppins bag can always be counted on for books, paper, pens, and unfinished ideas by the dozens. Just don’t touch that pen.