a positive message.

Don’t let the positive messengers out there fool you.

You can’t make yourself feel better by simply telling yourself this is “your best life now”, and all that goes with that message. It may suffice for some people whose challenges are minimal. It can give you a temporary high. It can even lie to you by making you think that your positive outlook, your performance, caused the positive outcome.

But for the grandfather who is doubled over with pain from stomach cancer or the young mother who is now paralyzed with a stroke, the positive message is a mockery to human angst.

I understand the importance of choosing to be optimistic. And yes, we can and should talk ourselves into at least considering there is another side to whatever we’re facing. But so often, the positive message comes from people who had a positive outcome to what they prayed or believed for.

Where does that leave people who didn’t get a positive outcome?

If you look closely, those hurting people have a positive message, too. It was despite their outcome that they found the true positive message. They had to dig deep to find it. Deeper than any popular book, teaching, or sermon. Deeper than anything the human spirit or intellect can contrive.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me;

your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

isolation

Your positive message will be that you’ve seen the light of God’s face in the darkness. And don’t be surprised if people don’t listen. Because humans have always been good at finding another way.

God may not change your situation. But He will wipe away your tears.

~~~

Photo credit: atzu / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

anticipation.

I’ve walked a 2 mile trail almost daily since mid-June.

In the summer, the woods were carpeted with leafy ferns that resembled a faceted emerald reflecting the sunlight.

In the fall, it was alive with colors of copper, gold, and ruby against a sparkling river.

And now, the frost has shriveled the undergrowth and the tree branches are gray and bare.

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But I still brought my camera. Because there is beauty even in barrenness, if you will see it.

Through the leafless trees, I saw my first bald eagle flying above the river.

I discovered tiny oak tree saplings under the frost bitten, shriveled ferns.

And the faded, fallen leaves still laid out a carpet for hikers like me.

But most of all, I saw hope. This path through the woods will lie dormant with bitter winds and a blanket of snow. But it will not die. It will just be sleeping.

Because in the spring, it will come to life with wildflowers and frogs and fresh, new leaves. How exciting to have this anticipation of what will be coming!

Your life may feel dead. It’s not. If nature has cycles, don’t we?

What is hope? Seeing beyond today.

There is anticipation for a new day with new experiences which will unfold as gently and slowly as a flower bud.

Can you see it? It’s a choice you have to make.

Be patient.

 

scripture friday.

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Photo credit: Iqbal Osman1 / Foter / CC BY

expect.

I just finished planting more tulip and daffodil bulbs.

I love how the ground feels this time of year. I don’t even wear gloves because I want to feel the earth.

bulb

As I dropped each bulb in, I smiled to think of each flower’s appearance in the spring. Here in the Northeast, the winter will feel very long some days. But the expectation of new flowers breaking through the melted snow is a simple, yet profound, lesson of life.

What is it that you expect?

Does your mind immediately wander to despair?

Don’t let it. Choose to remember and expect good things.

 

unique.

Today,  provide the words for your own life through this picture.

different leaves

~~~

friday’s quote.

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.

It empties today of its strength.

-Corrie Ten Boom

worry

Photo credit: johnb/Derbys/UK. / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

anticipation.

The smells of autumn are unmistakable. The clean smell of Macintosh apples in a nearby bushel, the carpet of golden maple leaves soaking in the warm sun, and the damp earth preparing a resting place for frost-bitten hostas, salvia, and phlox.

And then one leaf…and another…gracefully floated to the ground to take its place among the others.

Seasons end, but another is waiting. Do we hang on to the old? Or do we anticipate the new?

Even in the midst of the cold and bitter winter, there is life. The wind plays with the snow, creating ripples of purple shadowed dunes while grand, lacy snowflakes rock gently to the earth – breathing life into our weariness.

The pain will end. But in its cold and bitterness, there is still life. Can you find it?