Monday, March 21, 2011

A Glimmer of Hope After the Long Winter

Today, I decided to walk outside for some fresh air after cooking our dinner. I only had a few minutes as my daughter, Rachel was setting the table and dishing up the food. Not so many weeks ago, I only went outdoors if I had to. Helping fill the wood furnace, collecting the mail, or getting into our truck when we had to go somewhere. It was just too cold and most of the time, too icy and snowy to warrant a nice little stroll on the property. Not only that, but our family has experienced weeks of sickness. First, it was a nasty cold virus that swept through the family and then, there was last week. All but one of us suffered a terrible stomach virus. One by one, we came down with it. We had to put off our studies again. My husband had to cancel a brief business trip. I have had morning sickness for weeks in addition, so this new virus was not a welcome guest.

As I walked to the front of the house, I noticed that my spring bulbs were up, but that was not all. Under the dead weeds and brush from last year was one daffodil in full bloom. One beautiful, yellow and unassuming flower that seemed to be smiling at me. Unexpectedly, I began to cry. I thanked the Lord for this little gift, this glimmer of hope. "Lord, it's been a very long winter. Thank You that it's over."

I began to ponder how our lives are very much like this long winter that we just came through. Life is full of hardship, sickness and sorrow. God is always with us, providing for us, giving us His strength each day, but there are many times that seem to be filled with despair and uncertainty. It's at those times, we need to look under the dead weeds and the brush to find that there's a yellow flower, reminding us of the hope that is yet to come. I am thankful that we are just strangers here. There is something far better awaiting us. We have a hope in Christ that is brighter and more glorious than that little flower I saw today. As we go through our days, learning to love Jesus, loving our families, teaching our children, and serving our neighbors, let us not forget this hope. One day, that little yellow flower will not be alone. We will find that we are surrounded by a garden of color. Oh, how I long for that day.

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly, we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." II Corinthians 4:16-18

Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Give Thanks in All Circumstances"

I'm sitting here, drinking peppermint tea, eating little protein snacks, but nothing seems to help this morning sickness. Of course, it's more like "all day" sickness. I'll start to feel a little better, but when I eat, I'm back to feeling poorly. This is definitely not new to me. I've been through this more than a couple of times in my life. I know what to do. I'm taking vitamin B6. I try not to wait too long to eat. My midwife encourages protein every two hours. I avoid certain smells and delegate the diaper changing to my oldest daughter,(She's been a dear, taking over with the little ones and helping with meal preparations). I rest. I complain. I pray. I get a little grumpy. I repent for complaining and grumbling. But, am I "giving thanks in all circumstances?" I tend to do the easy thing and focus on the temporal. Praising the Lord in all things isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind. Thinking in that way takes work. It takes a commitment to lay aside my worries, my pain, my discomfort and look to the One who loves me. The One who knows about all that is bothering me. And, the One who has blessed us once again with a new life. I have the glorious privilege of carrying a baby, welcoming that baby into the world, caring for him or her and best of all, telling this baby about the Creator. What a wonderful way to give thanks to God! Sharing with my little one about the immense love that God has for us. Another way to give thanks is to choose to focus on Him even when I don't feel like it. Like right now. I find that when I'm praising the Lord, I'm able to cope with the discomfort just a little better.

The other night, we had an old-fashioned hymn sing at our church. My husband had just arrived home from a business trip and needed to rest from all of the traveling. He encouraged me to go without him. I have to admit, even though I had looked forward to it all week, I really didn't want to go that night. I was tired, on the tail end of a cold, nauseous and besides, it was pouring down rain. Well, I went anyway and was so glad that I did. What a blessing that night turned out to be. Singing the great hymns of faith beside my children and our dear sisters and brothers in the Lord. And, you know what? My flesh still felt lousy, but my spirit was uplifted. My focus turned upward and I saw once again, my precious Savior.

Oh, how much I owe to Him! I can never repay the One who gave His all for me, but I can give Him the glory. I can praise Him even when I'm feeling low. I can "give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus". I Thessalonians 5:18