Tag Archive | peace

forgiveness pt. 2

I know the situations and people in my life I had to forgive. Some of them have been deeply difficult.

There is no one-size-fits-all. Because once you point the way to someone, there is always a yes, but you don’t know what I’ve been through.

You’re right. I don’t. But God does.

I am so sure of God and his promises, there is nothing anyone can go through that cannot be forgiven.

Forgiveness isn’t a feeling. There is some real struggling in our emotions and that is okay.

Forgiveness is a choice. The feelings fall into place.

It’s like a wound that has to be cleaned before it will heal. We all know what that feels like.  It’s uncomfortable but we grimace and trust the process.

Trust has to be part of forgiveness. Just like there is only one way to clean a wound so it will not get infected, there is only one way to trust when you forgive. Self-help books, positive thinking, and anything else that promises good energy are temporary.

When we put our complete trust in what God says we will stop replaying the injustice in our mind.

He wants us our minds to be at peace no matter what is happening around us. The only way is to know there are situations way beyond our control or understanding. We can either throw our hands up in defeat or we can lift them to God for help.

It doesn’t stop there. God created us to see beyond today. When you know all that God tells us about eternity, we are comforted knowing there is more. A day when he promises to wipe away every tear; no more sorrow or death.

There is so much I do not understand. I’ve asked all the whys.

But there is much I do understand. Life can be painful and God gives us a way to live with it.

The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.

Summer is fading...

Photo by solar.empire on Trend Hype / CC BY-NC-ND

 

 

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days like this.

Sometimes, when I think about my life, it has felt like a roller coaster of unpredictability, guided by an unseen force which doesn’t compliment my orderly mind, always looking for bottom lines.

But then, there are days like today – humid, still, and with a light rain (the kind you don’t mind getting sprinkled with). The kind of moment when we allow ourselves some meandering because we are not in demand. I don’t wear gloves pulling weeds. I want to feel the damp dirt and don’t mind it getting under my fingernails. And all the while I think, it doesn’t get old – the earth gives us food. This is amazing. How can someone not believe in God when his presence is everywhere?

Since working in a garden is slow, quiet work, it made me think about meditating on the scripture. We are accustomed to the quick read or sound bytes of information. That’s like a quick rain storm that doesn’t penetrate to the roots.

God wants us to be deliberate in meditating on how he sees things (which almost always contradicts how we see things), allowing truth to penetrate our easily distracted, misdirected, and confused thinking.

I don’t think it matters where we live or what challenges we have. God says his word guides us and lights the way for every single human being. It is the daily bread, feeding our mind, will and emotions. Without allowing it to settle in and take hold, how do we perceive things? God’s perfect way? Or our imperfect way?

One leads to peace and contentment despite circumstances. The other is unrest, fear, and worry.

Even the really bad stuff will have an answer when we meditate on trusting the Lord with all our heart, believing what he tells us about the day when he makes everything right.

God is in the power of the universe and in the tiniest seed.

If God can do that, how much more can we patiently wait and trust him with our lives and all of the sorrow?

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memorial day.

I haven’t lost anyone close to me who gave their life for our country.

But I know many of you have.

What a noble act for your loved one to protect all of us.

When I am feeling annoyed over something small – even sorrowful over something big – I think of the 15 and 16 year old young men who fought in the Civil War and beyond.

They never got to experience life.

These are difficult things to grasp, no matter what your story is.

Christians have hope; a certainty and assurance of knowing there is life beyond here on earth – where God says he will wipe away every tear and there will be no more sorrow or death.

My prayer is comfort and peace for you today as you remember the loss of your loved one for our nation.

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limping along.

We all know what it’s like to have a bad day.

But how about a bad month? Or months? Or year?

There are difficult times in life I like to call seasons. Because just like seasons, they go on for awhile. The good part is a new season is always coming, and with it, hope for brighter days.

And eventually, everyone gets brighter days.

I’ve been feeling like I’m limping along for awhile now with many situations beyond my control.

How we feel (emotions) are real. But they are unpredictable, not always accurate, and can consume us if we don’t have something to anchor ourselves to. Beyond the days of heavy, dark clouds, the sun is shining. What you are feeling is real, just like the clouds are real. But you don’t always see beyond them.

If you’ve been reading here for awhile, you know my anchor is God and the Bible.

Now before you start getting riled up with the oh-so-common opposition you feel welling up inside, let me ask you this: what anchors you? What keeps you from being overwhelmed? You are turning to something in order to cope. What is it?

Even though I am limping, I am steady.

I cry, I am angry, I am discouraged, I am weary.

But just like the small, unseen pilot light that keeps the pot on your stove constant without burning or boiling over, just like the steady glow of the lighthouse guiding ships to safety, God provides us with something to steady us through difficulty and even tragedy.

It’s called grace.

And God says grace helps in time of need.

And God says it is sufficient no matter what we’re facing.

It’s called peace.

And God says it’s not the kind of peace the world gives.

And God says it protects your heart and mind.

And it’s called joy.

And God says this joy is our strength.

And God says when we believe we will have joy.

I didn’t get here overnight. No one does. It has been a series of situations leaving me floundering in a sea of doubt, discouragement, and despair. I navigated through life not turning to other things, but believing and trusting God meant what he said. Through it, I became stronger and stronger.

God has “hard wired” us to depend on him. The fact anyone would resist is proof enough. We are pretty independent and God does not want us to be independent from him. He wants to help us and he outlines the way he will help us – if we want it.

I’m not saying if you haven’t developed a lifetime of building your life the way I did that you can’t do it now. He tells us he hears and answers … anyone at anytime.

So, great news! You can start your “lifetime” today.

Am I happy? Not really. I’ve had better days of happiness.

But I have discovered the real deal is when so much is wrong, you feel the grace, peace, and joy only God can give.

Doesn’t make sense, does it?

All the more reason to know it’s from God.

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anxious.

letterAI don’t know about you, but I think there are plenty of reasons these days to be anxious.

On the global scene, terrorism and dictators with their nuclear interests/intentions is a daily concern. Nothing is new under the sun but access to 24 hour news channels and the internet bring us face to face with real-time events.

Personally, we may be dealing with relational issues in our family or workplace, financial struggles, illness, divorce, and the death of a loved one.

The list of seemingly lesser anxieties which are often hidden in our heart may be about the future. Will I pass the exam? Am I a good parent? Who will take care of me when I’m old? The “what-ifs”.

When we feel like we’re drowning in circumstances that make us anxious, we need guidance and an anchor to hold us securely.

Consider this scripture:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Peace.

Isn’t that what we really want when we’re anxious? Because we can’t always change our situations.

You begin with trusting. We all trust in something and primarily, we rely on ourselves. But some things in life are way beyond what we can handle.

When you trust God with difficult situations, you will have peace – the remedy for anxiousness.

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Photo credit: kudumomo / Foter / CC BY

at just the right time.

While snowshoeing on our property about 2 weeks ago, I caught a glimpse of a bald eagle flying out of the woods.

I have always wanted to see one! And it came at the perfect time.

I watched it fly effortlessly, like no other bird. It rode the air currents in a way the hawks do not.  I was certain if a strong gust of wind came, the eagle would handle it with grace.

Then I remembered this scripture:

… those who wait for the LORD will renew their strength.

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

eagle

Immediately, I felt something that I hadn’t felt in a long time. My heart was warmed. You know that feeling? When peace radiates from deep inside and throughout your body? And the promise of hope is real?

There are moments when you don’t think you can take one more thing.

And at just the right time, God speaks, reminding us of his presence in our lives.

~~~

Photo credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region / Foter / CC BY

all is well.

The Northeast is vibrant with copper, gold, and scarlet sun-soaked colors glistening against a sapphire sky.

On the horizon, winter is the next act to follow. But let it suffice for now that God will leave us with a prelude of splendor before the bitter cold sets in.

While walking this morning on a country road, I soaked in the restful scenery.  Falling leaves whispered as they floated to the ground. Is it sorrowful? These dying leaves? No. They play their part of creating rich soil for the trees they fell from.

A cricket chirps its gladness in the warm sun. A woodpecker chips away for his meal. The crunch of branches told me a deer was keeping a safe distance. And then a chipmunk stops and looks at me since I interrupted his busy schedule of winter preparation.

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The earth is a symphony if you are listening. It is a story that unfolds if you’re looking.

Are you at peace? Why not? The earth is.

Even with all the atrocities, heartache, and pain, there is beauty and rest to be found. And when you find it, it becomes part of you until you find that peace within yourself, even when you cannot see clearly.

The dying leaves are not complaining.

The insects and birds and animals are content.

God provides for them.

And God provides for us, too.

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Trust.

Nature does.

All is well.

~~~

Photo credits:

join the dots / Foter / CC BY

howzey / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND