When I was young I used to lay on my back, my hands behind my head, staring at the clouds in the early autumn. The sun was warm on my face and the grass behind me was just beginning to cool off. Lying there was the best way to make out their shapes and to watch their slow dance across the sky.
Over the years I haven’t stopped to notice the clouds much. I don’t look up as often.
But lately I have been watching the clouds.
I have paused at the top of my driveway and studied their shapes looming over the tall pines in my backyard.
I’ve taken a mental note of the shadow they cast over the field of sunflowers on a long drive.
I’ve sat on my front porch swing as the rain falls all around, searching the gray skies for patterns.
I’ve studied how they gather and spread, how the morning light filters through them, and how their forms shape and shift as afternoon shadows grow long.
Sometimes the clouds gather in fronts. They disappear and move and loom and some days they threaten. They hold rain and let it fall. They divert the light and capture rainbows.
Often the clouds disappear altogether and there is nothing but clear blue heaven as far as I can see.
I’ve begun to notice how clouds tell a story …A story of what was yesterday and what tomorrow may bring.
Maybe I have studied the clouds this autumn because they reflect scripture that has found its way to my core. Words about clouds that have halted me and made me lean in. A verse has begged me to listen more and talk less, to notice patterns of faith and the shifting of hope from generation to generation:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~Hebrews 12:1
Today, as the storm clouds form in the autumn sky, I start again to study not only their shape, but to note the cloud of witnesses that have come before me.
Those who believed through every type of season:
I think about Abraham and Isaac, Ruth and Naomi. Esther, Mary, Moses and Noah.
But mostly I think of those that have hugged me. My modern-day cloud of witnesses. The ones who text me and ask about my day. Those who gather once a week or show up randomly and pray. The girlfriends and brothers, children and students, coworkers and mentors. The ones who love me. Always.
I need clouds of witnesses in all shapes and sizes. Desperately.
I need those who have come before and those who stand next to me now.
I need those God called in the pages of my bible, and those who have held my hand. I need those close to me who have wandered off the path.
I need those who see the light in me when it feels extinguished. Those who speak truth loudly in words and whisper love and encouragement quietly into my soul. I need the card that waits on a Tuesday in my mailbox and the smile that welcomes me to share my pain.
I need you.
Thank you for being clouds of witnesses because most days I forget. I forget the history I have with God. The history of Him pulling me out of pits and setting my feet back toward the race that is mapped out for me. I forget that he named me Beloved and that He meant it.
He knew He couldn’t walk this earth every day, so He asked you to walk with me.
Thank you for being my clouds. Thank you for the way your shapes differ and your gifts vary.
Thank you for sharing your seasons with me. For casting a shadow of bravery and courage over me when I feel small. Thank you for sharing about how your faith began and how it wavered. And maybe how it still is wavering. Thank you for allowing me to fan the flame of hope with you. I need to know that I’m not the only one that life has challenged and that I’m not the only one who feels like I hang on just by my fingertips sometimes.
Thank you for being my clouds. You help me to run my race.
Amy Breitmann is the VP of Marketing for Vi Bella Jewelry, a job-creation ministry that employs artisans in Haiti, Mexico, and right here in the United States. Amy is a writer and speaker who also blogs at Beloved in Blue Jeans. Amy recently launched a jewelry line with Vi Bella that uses recycled blue jeans and words that remind us that we are BELOVED. You can find these pieces and all the handmade accessories that are bring hope and redemption to entire communities here.
We’d like to giveaway a piece from the Beloved Line. Visit Amy Breitmann, Vibella Jewelry & Jolene Underwood on Instagram to enter to win the Galilee Bracelet, which is hand-stamped by Haitian artisans with the word “Beloved.”
Instagram entry: Follow each profile, then comment on any account & say ENTERED! Must not be a false or giveaway only account. Extra entries for each friend tagged under the Galilee Instagram photo.
Not on Instagram? Twitter users can enter too. Just share this post, or include ViBella in some way, in any tweet & tag @faith_eyes for an entry.
Thank you for joining me in #31DaystoBelieve as we pursue what we believe and how it impacts our lives.
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May we learn to #livewell.
with love, Jolene
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“Let us be surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses!”
I love love and love this!! I especially needed to see the line about how I need those who have wandered off the path…..Heavenly smack upside the head about some people who need my forgiveness.