Thursday, March 31, 2011

"Don't Wish Your Life Away"

Have you ever heard this quote?  I heard it, well, several months ago now, and it's made a difference in my life... every day since.

How often do we find ourselves just wishing?  "I just wish..." or "I can't wait until..."  There are so many ways we could fill in the blanks.  I wished away some of my life's most precious moments without a second thought.  I was wishing, and didn't even realize it.

My revelation since hearing this quote: Life has only so many moments.  The celebration of life is found in the moments; in the journey.  Every single day is filled with gifts.  As a nurse I am reminded of this every time I walk in to my patients' rooms.  Some of their stories are coming to a close, while others are getting a second chance. 

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish. -Psalm 146:4  

The good news is that the Author of our story isn't finished just yet.  We still have time to stop wishing and just enjoy the present.  As a child I loved singing "This is the Day" in Sunday school.  It's based on Psalm 118:24... This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.   

I'm so thankful to have heard that life-changing quote.  This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice and be glad in it.  Every moment.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Father's Love

Ever since I was a little girl I've loved flowers... lilac and lavender, to name a few.  Maybe this love stems from the love I have for my daddy.  There's just a special place in a girl's heart for her father.  In my father's heart there's a special place for his gardens.  So there is in mine as well.  Much of my time spent truly talking with him has been in a garden.  It's our common ground, you might say.

When I was a child our relationship was so easy and carefree.  I'd ramble on, speaking about whatever popped in to my head. He would mostly just listen; putting his two cents in here or there.  Years passed, and our once close relationship grew ever more distant.  Instead of taking long walks with him through the garden, I was walking through the mall with friends, or going out somewhere with my boyfriend.  I missed our time together, but for whatever reason, in my teenage years we drifted further and further apart.  Coincidentally, during those years I lost almost all interest in the garden. 

Teenage years gave way to young adulthood, and life got busy in a hurry.  I was attending college, making plans to be married, then planning for a baby.  As I settled in to my new home with my new family, I felt a nudge to be outdoors again.  I remembered some things about gardening from when I was younger, but I needed more.  I needed my daddy's words of advice and encouragement.  So began the path of me drawing closer to my father through many, many questions and walks through the garden. 

The day has returned where I can talk with my dad about whatever pops in to my head.  He gives straightforward advice, and still helps guide me in many challenges of life.  He's a true example of The Father in my everyday existence.  You know, my experiences with my earthly father coincide pretty closely with my Heavenly Father.  Going to Sunday school, singing 'Jesus Loves Me,' there was never a doubt in my mind.  I loved Him and He loved me.  He still does today.  No matter what I've done, or will do, I'm forgiven and unconditionally loved.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. -John 3:16

There's just a special place in a girl's heart for her Father... and a special place in His for me.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A Pan of Unfortunate Brownies

I should start by saying I've got two young children.  I was asked to bake either pies or brownies for our church's Baked Steak Supper.  Naturally all I could visualize was my children digging in to 4 pies when I wasn't looking, so I opted to do a pan of brownies.  

One pan of chocolate brownies
could be easily managed...

Well, as it turns out, there are 2 nice-sized holes on one side of my brownie pan, where each child took their sample.  As I looked upon this for the first moment, I felt anger boil up inside.  "I needed those for today!" I blurted out.  I stopped to think.  Always a good idea.

Good sense makes one slow to anger,
and it is his glory to overlook an offense.

~ Proverbs 19:11 ~

How silly to get so upset over a pan of brownies.  Anger is a healthy emotion and needs to be expressed, but not at the expense of my children.  So, I apologized to them, and we cleaned up the crumbs together.  They looked up at me like two sad little puppy dogs and said, "We're sorry, mom."  After hugs and a few kisses they both jumped up to play, as if nothing ever happened.

Be kind to one another,
tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
as God in Christ forgave you.

~ Ephesians 4:32 ~

I'm thankful for life's little lessons, whether they be learned through a time out, a meaningful verse... or even a pan of unfortunate brownies.

A Season of New Beginnings

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven...-Ecclesiastes 3:1

Spring.  A season of renewed hope and strength.  That time of year when we shed winter coats in favor of light jackets... or more commonly, rain jackets paired with umbrellas.  Everyday the landscape grows a little greener.  There's a pop of yellow daffodils here and there along the road, and it catches your eye.  Yes, this is a season of new beginnings... in many different ways.

About this time of year I like to start my daily trips among the flowerbeds.  It's still a little too cold to clear away last year's clutter of leaves and twigs, so it's a great opportunity to just observe what's happening.  It always amazes me how the small changes add up.  Buds swell on trees and bushes, tips of leaves shoot up unexpectedly and unfurl to reveal their treasure.  There is a special place in my heart for the hardy flowers that can withstand snow.  Beautiful, yet tough, or maybe just stubborn.

The garden is not the only place undergoing change.  My home, inside and out, is getting special attention.  On the warmer days, the windows and doors are cleaned and opened to 'air out the house.'  The walls are getting a wash-down, as is pretty much everything in-between.  Winter coats and accessories are stored away, save a few; just in case.  Any remaining reminders of Winter are tucked away, and nods to the new season happily take their place.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. -Jeremiah 29:11

It's amazing how warmer days and more sunshine can help clarify your perspective.  In this season of 'out with the old, in with the new,' I pray to be refined as one refines silver, and tested as gold is tested (Zechariah 13:9).  It's good to know God's in charge... and that there's always opportunity for a fresh start, whether it be in your garden, your home, or in your heart. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. -2 Corinthians 12:9