Many years ago, my husband and I walked through a Japanese Tea Garden. It was a lovely, peaceful place. The land had been landscaped and the trees trimmed. It had been transformed.
So with my life. As I go through rough times, I am prone to dwell in fear or anger. It doesn’t help the situation, but it is hard not to react that way when I don’t the pain and grief.
But like the gardener who does beautiful things with the land, God is a gardener who does beautiful things with my life. He can give me peace in the midst of His trimmings and diggings. He has given me a promise that has become dear to my heart: Proverbs 3:5-8. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your way straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes. Fear the Lord and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.”
Recently a friend told me her mother had died of brain cancer about four years ago. She had quoted those verses to her daughter many times. It was her life verse. Now, during this difficult time, she clung to it. It gave her peace and strength.
As I have experienced trials, God has used them to minister and strengthen others. I am grateful. I often think how God gave His Son so we may have life. Can I do less than suffer graciously so I can give comfort to others–maybe even life?
God alone knows where the trials lead and how they will end. I’m glad He does. Someday I can ask Him about those things. Meanwhile, I ask for grace to trust Him and experience His peace through all the stormy skies and rough roads.
Not just the story of one day but revelation of God’s ways. To save men from eternal death, God Himself came to the earth. Born a baby long ago, His love and grace now to bestow on men that they may reign with Him, no longer slaves to death and sin. Darlene Estlow 2014
I ask myself, am I continuing to be thankful? Scripture tells me to be thankful at all times! One of my favorite verses is 1 Thessalonians 5:18: “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What? In all circumstances? When I tear my meniscus and have pain no matter what I do? When I get strep throat and then a cold? When my finances don’t seem to be what they should?
But then I am reminded that God’s will is that I be thankful. And for that, He gives me peace and joy. Oh, things don’t automatically become better (though they may), but I know that He is listening to me and I can trust Him. He is in charge. After all, He is not my personal servant boy, waiting on hand to give me whatever I ask, or my Aladdan with a magic lamp. He is the Creator of the Universe who showed His love and care about 2000 years ago when He came to earth to die for me! Through that, He has opened heaven’s door to me. This life is so short (though in suffering it doesn’t seem so!) and ahead of me lies heaven since I have embraced Jesus as God eternal and my Savior.
So I ask myself, am I continuing to be thankful? I must admit, too often I am not. But when I come back to God’s will for me and express thanks for the marvelous gift of coming as man to earth (an event we are soon to celebrate), plus the gifts He has given me, He gives joy and peace. This life with all its sorrows and pain will soon come to an end and then the decision I have made about Jesus will bring joy and peace forever.
The results of our election for the President have left some feeling hopeless. They fail to realize that government isn’t the answer. Hope came to earth 2000 years ago when God Himself came to earth and with His life, death, and resurrection showed us there is more to life than what we see here. This life is not all there is. I am so glad.
For those who have lost hope, regardless of the situation:
In the middle of bitter days,
God gave me a seed of hope.
I buried it deep in the soil
of my heart, far from the
probing eyes of the Spirit of God.
I feared the Light that He Is
would cause it to live and thrive
and bring pain. But God plowed
my heart with His Word and watered
the soil with His love. My heart
surrendered to the growing
seed and yielded a garden
of joy and trust in the living God.
Someone swept into my life the other day. She is a talented sister in Christ whom I love and appreciate. She is a whirlwind who can bring order out of chaos, makes rooms look pretty with her decorating skills, and loves yardwork and landscaping. She is tireless. I love her for it and I am thankful for her.
And I realized I was jealous of her. She is all the things I am not.
The other day she said to me, “You are so patient with your grandchildren. I could never homeschool the 12-year-old like you do.” I smiled and said, “Thank you. I really enjoy homeschooling him.”
I thought about that. How foolish I was to be jealous. God gave her certain talents; he has given me certain talents. If everyone had her talents (or mine), there would be things left undone. And I thought about a young man I knew years ago who had Down’s Syndrome. His life was more of a glory to God than mine could ever be!
So who am I to judge whether my friend’s talents are more important than mine. Humans with their different talents are like a color wheel. Each primary color has a complementary color. Together, they make beauty. Together, differently talented people make beauty as they use their giftings to God’s glory.
l am no longer jealous of her; she is a delight and I marvel at her talents while I enjoy mine.
The needles of time
knit the yarn of our hearts
together into a sublime cover
in hues of sunshine,
streaked with storm clouds.
we are better together
(from my book: The Lords Battle, 2010)
A Momma’s view asked that her readers share something good that happened to them. The good thing that happened to me this morning was going to church and getting to join with others in praising our great Creator God. I blessed Him, but in turn I was greatly blessed with the talk of heaven and what it will be like. I have much to do here, but this morning will go with me as I face the trials that come along!
My mama passed away May 14, 2014. I’ve been thinking about that for a few days now; that date is coming fast. It hardly seems possible it has been almost two years! I am so thankful that I got to repay her in her last days in a small way for her care and love for me throughout my life.
We had an impromptu party for her 90th birthday and many friends came to the donut shop, her favorite place, to wish her happy birthday. She loved it. She didn’t have the energy to do this the next year when she turned 91. I’m glad we did it when she could enjoy it! Here is a poem to honor this special lady in those last few months.
MAMA’S LAST MONTHS
She walks slower now,
unsteady unless she has her walker.
She forgets to use it;
I watch carefully so she won’t fall;
She talks more quietly,
so it is hard to follow her thoughts.
She doesn’t understand when I ask her
to clarify what she is telling me.
Her attention wanders more easily;
The Waltons doesn’t hold it as well.
Her favorite place to go is the donut shop.
She wants to order two donuts,
even though she doesn’t even finish one,
and only drinks a couple sips of her coffee,
even though they are favorite foods.
Arthritis pain assaults her neck;
it is her constant companion.
Time seems a blur to her–
who came and when, it puzzles her.
It seems it is time for her to go home,
but God hasn’t called her yet.
She feels her life has no purpose now,
I must admit I don’t understand either,
but God has His mysteries, dealt in wisdom.
And in His wisdom, He has me here,
caring for her, teaching me through the pain of love
that He does indeed care for her.
As I look forward to the celebration of Easter, I remember that without the cross, there would be no Resurrection. The cross is about forgiveness, for through it, I am forgiven and I celebrate new life.
Come walk with me in fields of white, in heaven’s place of glorious light, where dark clouds part and souls wash clean in Jesus’ blood. Come–see the scene when He was killed and took my place. Look close and see His pain-pierced face. Hear his words, “Forgive their deeds.”
Those words for them beneath the tree, are meant for us, yes, for all men– the word of grace men’s hearts to mend. The stain of sin is washed away, the darkness gone. Come walk in day.
Come walk with me on paths of light, cleansed with His blood, our souls washed white.