Saturday, December 31, 2016

Blessed Beyond the Promise

Most of us will take a moment to look back over the year today. You may have already done so, perhaps during a family get together. You'll find good times and bad. Days of extreme happiness or devastating sorrow will come to mind. You notice that, in the course of 365 days, most of us will run the gamut of every emotion. Be thankful.

No matter how horrible your year, how straightened your circumstances, how great your loss, be thankful. There is no greater blessing than life and if you've lived in the desert, wandered the valley, climbed the mountain you have lived. If you survive past midnight tonight, it will have been a great year because you were blessed with 365 days of life, however hard it was or was not.

My view of things has changed much in the last year. Not because I'm well or richer or happier. Because at some point I recognized that I am blessed beyond measure and highly favored. I am a daughter of a king, a child of the most High. In the good times, in the bad times, in the darkest place imaginable, I am blessed and I'm so very thankful for the protection and provision that God has given me in 2016.

If you survive to see 2017, go forward knowing that God is able to provide whatever you need. He did not promise to do more than provide your needs. The truth is you don't need nearly as much as you have and if you have more than you need, you are blessed beyond the promise.

Imagine that... blessed beyond the promise! How can you not be happy with that knowledge! God has provided you with more than he promised!

Happy New Year to you all! May God grant you the grace to see beyond the superficial and recognize the supernatural.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Face in the Mirror

For years I looked in the mirror every morning and wondered who was staring at me. The face was familiar. I thought I knew it. And she had titles: Jerry's wife, Jerry's social security number (Army wife), Mike & Dave's mother, office manager, Housing Specialist, writer, sister, aunt, Jerry's widow. I'm surprised at how many of them I had and that there are more. Maybe that was why I'd always been secure and certain. I'd felt safe. I was safe. Wasn't I?

One night a storm came and the world changed. When the sun came up everything was shaken, turned upside down, and life was frozen into glittering shards tearing me apart. There was no confidence, no courage, and certainly, no thankfulness.

The face in the mirror was tired, strained, and afraid. It was the face of a woman alone and devastated by things she never dreamed could happen to her. I didn't know her. I couldn't begin to understand her.

Sometimes, the things that happen to us seem so pointless. We're inundated by whys to the point we feel we're drowning in them. What purpose did that serve? Why did that happen? Where is God when you need him?

There are books designed to help you find answers to those kinds of questions. I've read a few of them. They don't know either. When you're searching they seem trite and a bit arrogant. What do they know? They haven't looked in my mirror.

This year some things happened to force me to change my perspective. . . and my position. The face in my mirror was beginning to show the stress. I had to make a choice that placed me in a new environment and I wasn't happy with it. This change had been pushing at me for at least 5 years. I always resisted. I knew me. I knew what was best for me. Didn't I?

Life got complicated. I got sicker. I had to make a decision. I cried. I moved.

There is a moment when we've actually done the right thing, made the right decision, or changed our perspective that is unlike any other experience. A clarity and a buoyancy washes over you and everything glows. Colors are vivid. The sun shines brighter, the sky is bluer, and clouds are fluffier. We even feel lighter. I suspect this is what some call a "light bulb moment".

Life has a way of twisting back on itself so that we often end where we began but in a different state. That's how I felt. I was back where I started but this time, all alone. I looked for a term that defined this sensation and the only thing that came close was equilibriumThe condition in which all acting influences are balanced or canceled by equal opposing forces, resulting in a stable system. From:

We refer to this state as balance. Life is constantly seeking balance. We're constantly seeking to shift this balance because we think we know best. We push ahead, seeking our own way. Life pushes back to reestablish true equilibrium. Sometimes it pushes hard. It hurts. Things we don't like happen. We're out of balance. If we stop pushing, life will stop pushing. Balance will reassert itself. You'll feel better, maybe not well, but better. Things may even make sense or you'll feel like they do. Life will still be hard but it will be less confusing, less frustrating, and less disappointing. And you might find peace. Not happiness, peace. They're not the same.

The face in my mirror now is older. There are these lines that were not there 7 years ago. The emotional chaos of my life has left an impact but then, so has the weather. I never used sunblock. However, the strain has lessened. The effects of the storm are swept away and new construction replaced the destruction. It is a smaller existence. I'm still tired but I take naps. I'm still sick but I'm feeling better in many ways. I'm still alone but there are worse things. Slowly, balance is reasserting itself. I'm not exactly happy but I'm satisfied.

I don't know how those darn mirrors survived the devastation but they polish up well. The face that looks back at me is acceptable. Finally, I'm content with who I am and where He is leading me. I'm confident that He knows the way. And I am more than thankful.