Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hope does not disappoint...

‘Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Roman 5:1-5

I was thinking this morning about how faithful God has been to me. Sometimes it is so easy to get sidetracked by a myriad of things, some simple…some quite serious. But when you take the time to really think about how you have arrived to the place you are now…there has bound to be some fascinating stories of your journey. And even though some things may not have turned out like you dreamed they would be…you’re still here. And those very things that you thought would have surely done you in, instead they have molded and made you to the person you are right now...hopefully stronger and wiser.

The scripture says that “Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit…” hmmm, hope does not disappoint, so that means when we are going through a trial, we have to trust and believe that when we get through it, we will not be disappointed that we went through it, because God will some how turn it around for our good.

It is this “hope’ that allowed Corrie ten Boom to physically extend her hand and to forgive on the spot, the former Nazi that was not only instrumental in killing thousands of innocent Jews, but who also tortured her sister that led to her death. I am sure that when Corrie watched her sister die in that concentration camp, the last thing on her mind was forgiving the ones that caused their suffering. But her tribulation produced perseverance and that gave her strength of character and that gave her hope, hope to forgive, thus changing many lives for the better. And there are many true stories of people that had many trials, but having trusted God to bring them through, they have a special place in history. We can even look as close as our own parents, my Dad and Mom had many strikes against them, but with God’s help they allowed the very things that tried to defeat them, instead mold and make them into a man and woman of perseverance and character…I am eternally indebted to them for their example.

As I looked back over my own personal journey, memories of the painful hurdles, misunderstandings, rejections and losses came to mind. But then I look at myself today and KNOW that I would not be who I am today if these things had not happened. And even though it was painful, it has developed my perseverance, my character and given me hope. I’ll admit though, when things happen I still have the tendency to first whine, cower and even self pity may arise; but I am quickly reminded that because I have given my life to Christ, He has poured His love in my heart by His Holy Spirit, so I have the tools I need to get through..

This hope has helped me through some very devastating times. When I was a teenager, so idealistic and full of dreams and fantasy about life, there were things I said I would never survive if they would happen to me…and yet God has kept me and continued to give me hope that will never disappoint. He is a faithful God, and He will never leave or forsake you…and you can have peace with God.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Art of Relaxation...

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor and Philosopher once said “When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive - to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love." But I think the Prophet Jeremiah says it best in Lamentations 3:22-23 “Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

Every day that we arise we should be thankful for another day and act accordingly. It is with this mindset that I set out this morning...a planned vacation day. I went to a scheduled appointment and was out of that office by 8:45 AM. With the rest of the day before me I automatically started to plan all the things I wanted to get done with all this free time And as I did I began to feel anxiety kicking in but made myself stop and remember what a co-worker said the other day. While talking to her about how I feel myself rushing even when I’m suppose to be doing the recreational things I really like doing on my days off. She said a simple statement “You should not plan so many things for your free time”. So simple and yet so true. I have a habit of mapping out my day, even the route I want to take to make sure I get oodles of things done during my free time, when really I should let it be just what it is, a free time to relax and enjoy!

So back to 8:45 AM and I’m saying “Wait a minute! It’s my day off and I’m going to enjoy it!” Too early to shop so I head to one of my favorite places for breakfast, Panera Bread, where I know I can get a great cup of coffee and something yummy to eat. On the way in I see the tables and umbrellas set up outside and know that is where I want to park myself for the next hour. As I walk in and smell the aromas of fresh baked goods and cinnamon, I begin to relax. I choose a miniature Spinach Bacon SoufflĂ© and a medium coffee. A young man at the coffee bar looks back at me while I’m waiting in line to apologize for taking so long to prep his coffee and warm his cinnamon roll. Normally if I’m in a rush, my response would be a quick obligatory smile and maybe a nod of my head. But this fine relaxing morning, out of my mouth comes "Take your time…please…that is what is wrong with the world today…everyone is rushing.” Did I just say that? The Anxiety Queen? What can I say but relaxation has kicked in and I’m riding high! (And I didn’t even have my coffee yet). The young man looks at me first with caution as if to say “Who is this crazy lady” and then he smiles and as he’s taking his Cinnamon roll out of the microwave he says real thoughtful, “ You know…you’re right…we rush too darn much! Thank you and have a great day.”

After prepping my coffee, I head outside to sit at one of the umbrella tables to enjoy the sunshine, mild breeze and classical music being piped through the speakers. As I’m enjoying my food and setting, birds begin to chirp, sing and draw closer. I feel like Disney’s Snow White in the forest and is so relaxed I want to sing a response to their chirping. I KNOW the birds are begging for crumbs (I’ve seen that look before in my dog Bruno) but for now I’m relaxed, chillin’ and can pretend that the sweet little birdies are serenading just for me and I breathe deeply and relax.

As I kept that same attitude of making the most of the day and enjoying it without rushing, I had a great time. I shopped and got some great bargains. My black sweater I bought in Colorado from Dillard’s that was destroyed in my basement flood of December 2010 was replaced today with a fine black knit Jones of New York gorgeous sweater and a beautiful jacket (same brand name) for a fraction of the cost! And I just had a great relaxing time…no plans, just enjoying the free time.

I am on a quest to really learn how to enjoy the time God has given me. Years of being caregiver for a loved one can take its toll on mind, body and spirit; much sorrow, sadness, anxiety and depression. And though I would do it all over again for my precious late husband, I strive now to “press on towards the mark of the high calling”. When I arise I thank God for another day, a day He has blessed me with…and He whispers to me “Relax…enjoy…”

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

"... Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.
 Psalms 30:5b

Whew! is it ever hot today! Where are the people that said all winter "I'll be so glad when the warmer weather gets here!" I would just LOVE to say to them now, ""Don't EVEN complain to me right now!"  :)

The hot weather just  kind of snuck up on day it's nice and Spring-y and BAM! Who took the lid off the boiling cauldron!

I promised myself that I would not complain though. I mean, it is what it is, so might as well relax and enjoy what you can. Besides the weather man says that after today it will start to cool off some.  All day I've been saying "If we can just get through today, it WILL be better tomorrow."

As I'm aging, I'm finally learning how to enjoy each day as it comes and hold on to the promise that things "come to pass".  Tomorrow WILL come and you go from there. God is faithful and we must hold on to that.

So as for today, bring on more iced water and tea and hold on to my seat for a cooler tomorrow!