Archive | March 2012

april.

Beginning Sunday, April 1st, please join me for the Blogging A to Z April Challenge.

Currently, there are over 1,400 participants!

Each day (except Sundays, excluding April 1st) each entry topic will coincide with the letter of the alphabet, starting with “A”.

Be sure to visit and leave a comment if you wish!

consider.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.

Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.

They do not labor. God clothes them.

How much more does He

care for you?

Matthew 6

goodness.

If you’ve been told that your pain is because God is trying to teach you a lesson, think about this:

…the goodness of God leads you to repentance. Romans 2:4

Yup, it’s true. If God is trying to get your attention, He uses the good stuff to do it. I suppose it’s something like  “you catch more bees with honey than vinegar”.

Do you think the Creator of the Universe is confined to a lesson?  That He sits in Heaven just waiting for you to slip up so He can whack you? Or lecture you? Never!  He is going to reveal His powerful love in the brilliance of the clear night sky, the delicate petals of purple tulips, or one of those really, really big snowflakes that seems to fall in slow motion.

All around us the earth points to a God who loves variety, color, texture, and fragrance!  His desire is for you to be mesmerized by his world and see Him in it. And if that isn’t enough, He knows how to bring goodness to your life. No matter where you are in the world, there is some kind of goodness that He bestows upon people.  The child in a war-torn country chases a butterfly. He has little and may surely be hurting, but manages a smile . The tired soldier, far away from home, smiles as he watches an army of ants carry crumbs three times their size to the nest.

Even in the midst of hardship, a smile can happen.

God is bigger than anyone’s opinion. His love is unconditional.

care.

Sometimes we think the pain is our fault.

Sometimes people tell us it’s our fault.

Then we have more pain.

Let me tell you what God says.

You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. Psalm 56:8

God calls Himself the Heavenly Father.

Father.

That may bring more pain if you didn’t have a father, your father was cruel, or your father was absent. Nevertheless, God is a good father.

There is pain in life. It’s just the way it is. God never promised there wouldn’t be pain. He promised that He would be with us in the pain.

God knows every awkward moment, embarrassment, and frustration.

When you were abandoned, rejected, mocked, and hated.

And when you were afraid, sick, neglected, and abused.

Each time your heart was broken … he counted your tears.

That, is a good Father.

assurance.

He’s got the whole world ..

                                                                                                                                                                                        .. in His hands.

rest.

When we have physical pain, we rest.

When we have emotional pain, we don’t rest.

The world is busy, busy, busy. It used to be said,  New York City is “the city that never sleeps”. Today, the whole world never sleeps and is awake with television all night (I remember when stations went off the air!), the internet, and being able to communicate all hours of the night with social networking. We push through too much and will suffer for it.

The only one who will get you off the treadmill is you.

Other cultures deal with pain quite differently than Americans. Given that we are all human, perhaps we should take note of it and learn. I realize we still have to live in our 24/7 world and cannot take a siesta in the middle of the day! (although power naps, if they can be fit in, work wonders).

Emotional pain is not visible. You may make some people in your life unhappy but you have to take care of yourself. That doesn’t mean becoming a recluse, either. Yet, you must find balance. Only you know how you feel and managing your time is essential in order to heal.

We live in a society that is full of hope and encouragement – ready to take on anything. This is good, but don’t be someone you’re not just to please others.

Rest when you need it.

treasures.

Memories ebb and flow, washing upon the shore of our mind. Sometimes the tide comes in uninvited, carrying debris with it. If we allow the debris to lodge in our minds, we can become laden down with self-pity, discouragement, and depression.

The tide will go out. And with it, the debris.

But look! There are some surprising treasures that the tide brought with it. If you look carefully, you will find them.

Pain does not have to drown us.  God knows we do not have the strength to tread water for long. He brings reprieve in the form of little joys that will make us smile in the midst of even deep sorrow.

The cheery song of a robin brings an end to cold winter days.

The summer breeze is welcomed on a hot, humid day.

The rich autumn colors warm our hearts even when the sky is gray.

The gentle falling snowflakes quiet our troubled hearts.

All will be well.

children.

I wanted to create a protected world for my children. Don’t most mothers? It goes with the territory.

I did for awhile. The church we were attending had strong family values. It was a wonderful world that was truly sheltered in many ways. This isn’t a bad thing, when you are raising a family with a community rich in relationships. But ultimately, life hits.

And it did.

One lovely summer evening, my husband and 6 children were situated around the table, waiting for a steamy plate of home-made spaghetti. It was a scene I had always cherished – providing a meal and seeing the happy faces. A knock came at the door interrupting our dinner and ultimately, interrupting our lives for several years.  We were being sued regarding a business decision and the months ensuing brought a cloud of discouragement upon my family.  We didn’t have a clue such a thing would ever happen.

The months ahead placed me in unknown territory. I had to become strong for my children. I had to lead them by example. My faith would be put to the test of what it meant to turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, and pray for those who treated you unjustly.

Kids are resilient. Just as they get skinned knees when learning to ride a bike, they will get skinned hearts. Fixing a knee is quick and easy. Fixing a broken heart isn’t. But a kiss on that “boo boo” works for both.

Typically, moms are equipped to administer comfort to their children. There are times to seek professional help, depending on the circumstances. But it’s pretty amazing, the God-given ability moms (and dads) have with their children.

As my children watched my response, they followed my example. How we speak about our painful situations is everything. I am not suggesting we should hide our feelings of anger, sadness, disappointment, or frustration. Those feelings should be shared if appropriate, but where you go from there can make or break a situation. Even though it would be 10 years before resolution came with the family members involved, our home learned to endure the pain with integrity.

Don’t second-guess yourself in what you are capable of doing in helping your children through pain. Take heart in knowing you have what it takes to help them find their way.

spring.

Spring in the Northeast unfolds slowly. There’s always a teaser a few days in late February with temperatures reaching into the 40’s. But just as you get your hopes up, the frigid cold returns.

Pain is like that. Whether you’re grieving the loss of someone you love, or your marriage ended in divorce, or struggling with painful memories … there is an ebb and flow that may occur for the rest of your life. It lessens, as it should. But it can always be there.

Learning to live with pain isn’t a wrong way to think. There’s lots of chronic conditions we live with. We don’t embrace pain to the point of some kind of self-mutilation. It is practically facing the truth: it is what it is. That is not a hopeless statement. It is facing the facts with courage and learning to live with the pain, but not allowing it to rule you.

I’ve got a scar above my eye from a see-saw accident over 45 years ago. Every once and awhile I notice the scar and remember the pain. Accidents happen all the time and this was a minor one, yet, the memory of it is still there.

But I also carry scars in my heart. Two are still tender. The wounds were so deep that I am certain that even though the pain has lessened, it will be a scar that will always hurt when touched. That doesn’t mean I don’t have faith. It means I have faith to live with it.

Pain makes us human. It makes us reach out to others in pain and remember to love our neighbor.

Ultimately, spring will come. Isn’t that wonderful?  The gray clouds must give way to the warmth of a new season that promises cheery colors, sweet fragrances, and lush meadows. Spring expresses the promise of new life for nature, but how much more for you whom God says He loves?