Friday, October 6, 2017

Carved Cleaned Transformed

A list of what I like about summer: flip flops, flowers.  The end.  My favorite season arrived, and the list of what I love about fall is much longer: boots and football, cool weather and denim, changing leaves and scarecrows, chili and bonfires, apple cake and coffee, fall colors and sweaters, and pumpkins, which I've loved long before they were trendy.  

Having no baking ovens, early New England settlers filled a hollowed out pumpkin with milk, honey, and spices, then cooked it over hot ashes. Luckily, the pumpkin pie followed, and now we've transformed this versatile squash into cheesecake, latte, dip, pancakes, fudge, bread pudding, and ravioli.  So, I kick off my favorite season by meeting my friend, Cindy, for coffee, drooling when another friend, Mary, posts pictures of homemade pumpkin muffins, and finding an excuse to make pumpkin crisp. Although no one agrees, I've declared it the best pumpkin dessert ever made.  

The more pumpkins the merrier and the more creative the better. They've come a long way from sitting on the front porch with triangle eyes, nose and jagged smiles, then rotting shortly thereafter.  If carving is your talent, there are plenty of options. Or, you can transform without the knife. My best creation, Pumpkahontas, made her debut at Anderson Memorial Hospital's 1987 fall festival decorating contest.  I'll never understand why she didn't win: a Native American pumpkin with braided black yarn pigtails and feathers.  What could be more creative? If I had a picture of her, you'd agree.

My pumpkin transformations improved drastically each year: carved initials, designs using a drill. But they never compared to my cousin Amy's perfectly monogramed pumpkins or the  unbelievable Pinterest pumpkins transformed into flower pots or ice buckets, stacked as snowmen, painted as Cookie Monster, carved as a Volkswagon Van, or wrapped like a mummy.

Pumpkins don't have to exist as rotting, front portch Jack-O-Lanterns. Neither do we.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Transformation isn't about UNbecoming us.I remain Katy when I (usually kicking and screaming) allow God to change my thoughts, words, and actions. He expects me to be me but wants so much more for my life, like freedom and an opportunity to be new.

Blogger Zack Hunt writes, "Jesus is about transformation, about finding us just the way we are, but not leaving us that way. When the sick come to Jesus, they leave healed. After the lame meet Jesus, they walk home. The blind can see after he touches them. Even the dead come back to life when Jesus calls them out of their tomb."

Just when I think I've arrived and doing exactly what I need to do, God shows me areas that need transformation: attitudes that hurt others, habits that become addictions, desires that leave me empty, and words that don't reflect Him.  

Transformation isn't instant.. A new nature is a lifelong process of digging out seeds of bitterness, pulling out thick tangles of deception, cutting out dark spots of jealousy, scrubbing away pride, adding self-control, goodness, and peace, as He carves, blends, and paints a new person with a new mind and a greater purpose. 

Why rot on the porch when you can be transformed?