Saturday, June 20, 2009

Why Worry?

I have had a very rough two weeks. My husband became ill, which he never does, and I began to worry. I did a very unhealthy thing. Instead of turning to God in my fear, I turned to the internet for answers. All I got was confusion and more fear! The information I found led me to such a state of mind. Wow! I even made my husband fearful and unable to function for days. Why do we do this? I was led to share something I wrote eight years ago for a support group I was in. I'll tell you how the situation with my husband turned out afterwards.

Why Worry?

What do you worry about? Do you only worry about major things or do you find yourself all stressed out by everyday things? We worry about our jobs, having enough money, enough food, what kind of house we live in, health, death, and the list goes on. Are we giving these worries to God or do we just keep them for ourselves? If we are not giving them to the Lord, then we are trusting ourselves to provide all these things and to take care of all situations. That is a big load to carry! "Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." (Psalm 55:22 NIV)

We can be concerned about something without being worried. When we worry our mind is troubled or bothered. If we are merely concerned, we care about the outcome of a particular situation. We should concern ourselves about one another. This means that we become involved-we care, we love, etc. The Lord said that the second greatest command is to love each other. (Matthew 22:39 NIV) We cannot truly love each other without being concerned. Concern is caring. Worry, on the other hand, is not trusting God to provide all of our needs. If worry is not trusting God, then when we are worried by something, in effect, are we not calling Him a liar?

In our humanness, we sometimes cannot help but worry, especially when there is an emergency of some type. God says that He will provide for us, help us, teach us, guide us and protect us. We have to believe, by faith, that He will do what He has promised. "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, 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 minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7 NIV) God does the worrying for us so we don't have to!

Worry takes our focus off of the really important things of life. When we allow ourselves to become so troubled that we become known as the neighborhood "worry wart", we will miss out on the joys of living. Why do you think worry is called a "wart"? A wart is an unsightly, if not ugly, thing; no one wants one! And worry is just as unsightly, and it can become ugly if left unattended. Worry is negative and anything negative is not from God. Worry is useless! "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?" (Matthew 6:27 NIV) If it does not add to our life in some way, it is not worth the effort.

Seek God's promises about our provision. Start with Matthew 6:25-34. If we belong to the Lord, then we do not have to worry about anything ever again; our life is secure and our future is sealed! Concern yourselves with each other-care for each other, love each other, involve yourselves in each other's lives-but do not worry! Have faith, friends, God is in control and we are His priority!!

It's too bad I didn't remember this when my husband got sick. He went to the doctor and found out he had nothing more than an infection. But, we also found out that he has pre-diabetes. If he hadn't had the infection, we wouldn't have gone to the doctor and this thing could have progressed to full-blown diabetes. I say this all the time but, God is taking care of us even before we know we need it!! I lost two whole weeks because of worry. I will remember to seek the Lord in all things---FIRST!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Hill

The following is a poem that I wrote many years ago. My youngest daughter chose it for a poetry study for her english final in college. I was honored that she would choose something of mine instead of all the poets she had to choose from. The introduction to her paper said that this poem is one of hope. I guess she is right about that. If you know where you're going, then there is no real need for fear of death. I loved her words and thought I'd share the poem here. (I hadn't read it in such a long time and was surprised by the "Native American" tone that it has. I am not Native American.) Enjoy!

The Hill

When I'm sad and lonely
I go to the hill
and gaze down upon the land.
I see the meadow below the trees
and listen to the words of the wind.

"Cherish your childhood
by young and gay.
Enjoy the moment
live for today.
Look to your brother
when you need a hand.
Be kind to each other
and you will understand."

When I'm tired and helpless
I go to the hill
and lift up my eyes to the warmth I find there.
I see the sunshine reaching to me
with its rays.
And listen to the song of the whipporwill.

"Be thankful for yesterday
the memories you will keep.
Time will heal the sorrow
no need to weep.
Look to your sister
when you need a friend.
With love in your heart
you will begin again."

When I'm rich and joyful
I go to the hill
and sit there upon my knees.
I see the twinkling stars at night
and listen to whispers of the breeze.

"If you are humble and grateful
and giving of your wealth
Forever happy you will be
no longer cold or hungry or of ill health.
Look to the Father
when your soul needs a lift.
Take the love that He offers
for this is His gift."

When I'm old and wrinkled
I will go to the hill
and lie down in the warm brown earth.
I will see the heavens open and wait for me
and listen to the echoes of my past.

"Be proud and peaceful
for you've lived a good life.
With hard work and patience
you've overcome the pain and strife.
Lay down your troubles
and rest your weary head.
You may lie here forever
and sleep upon My hill."

Tralyn Kidder-Hughes
October, 1997

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A Perfect Moment in Time

I'm sitting here straight across from the open window. The fan is on high so I feel the breeze from the rainy day beyond. It is a good, heavy, soaking late-spring rain. The way my building is positioned I face the end of another building causing an echo effect between the two. The sounds of the raindrops hitting the pavement two floors below is amplified. I have soft, soothing music playing. Every now and then a bird will sing from the tree. The mood is very tranquil and serene. My soul takes a deep breath and as it exhales I can feel all the stress and tension leave my body. At this moment in time I am totally at peace. No thoughts to cloud up the mind. In fact, I am so at peace right now, it's hard to write because I really have to force my mind on the words instead of allowing it to float away on the music drifting out my window into the rain. What a perfect moment in time! Except now my kitty wants attention so slowly the demands of the day will start creeping back in.

That's the way life is, isn't it? We have all these little snippets of time that are strung together like rare pearls around the perfectly shaped neck. Each pearl looks the same, uniform, from a distance but on closer inspection each pearl is a little different than the next. The difference might only be the color that reflects off of one small place, but it's there; the one thing that makes each pearl unique.

People have a way of overlooking the uniqueness of each new day. We get so caught up in our everyday schedules and routines that we miss the one thing that makes today different from yesterday and tomorrow from today. When we look at our week all strung together, the days all look the same. A popular response to the question "How was your day?" is, "You know, same old stuff, different day." We miss it. Every day isn't going to be some great, exciting, remember-it-for-life kind of day. Those kinds of days are special treats we get every now and then. But there is something special and unique about every single day of our lives. We have to watch for it. It may be nothing more than a smile from a new neighbor or stranger on the street. It might be a parking space that opened up right in front just as you turned the corner. Or it might be the way the breeze through the window and the music on that breeze and the rain beyond it all meld together to give you a moment of perfect peace in the middle of your day.

I have so much waiting for me on my desk, in the sink and in the laundry basket, just like every other day. But for right now in this moment of this day, I have the kind of perfect peace that can't be duplicated. It will never be the same again. It is mine just for today, the one small niche that makes this rare pearl unique. My soul takes another deep breath and it floats away with the music on the breeze to the rain beyond. A perfect moment in time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Fix Your Eyes

"He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light." (Job 33:28 NIV)

Upon first reading this passage you may think that it is only talking about our salvation from the pit of hell and our eternal life in heaven surounded by the light of God. While this is true, we do not have to wait until our body dies to enjoy the light of God. He has given us His light to enjoy while we still live here on this earth. His light is everywhere. It is even in the darkest of the dark corners in our lives. All you have to do is open your eyes; your spiritual eyes. "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." (2Corinthians 4:18 NIV) Focus on the eternal. Focus on the Lord.

God cares for us. He gave us His word, the bible, for instruction and comfort. It is filled with His promises to us. We need not be distressed about anything. Our Father in Heaven will supply all of our needs. Have you become accustomed to the darkness that you are in? Or are you just being drawn into the pit of depression? Take heart, the Lord will refresh your soul so that you can again enjoy the light of living!

Have you ever watched how a plant grows? It will always turn its "face" toward the direction that gives the best light. A good illustration of this is a commercial of a popular glass cleaner. In the ad, there is a plant hanging in the window. Half of the window is cleaned with one cleaner that leaves streaks and looks cloudy. The other half of the window is cleaned with the advertised product which leaves the window streak-free and nearly invisible. The plant, then, wraps one of its vines around the curtain rod and pulls itself toward the cleanest window, therefore receiving the best light. Has a particular situation left you behind a cloudy window streaked with doubt and despair? Then reach out your hand and let the Lord pull you into the best light; His light!

We do not have to stay in our darkness. We do not have to go into the pit. God is there for you, even when you cannot feel his presence. He is reaching for you. All you have to do is grab ahold of his hand. When you feel like you have nothing left to hold on to, hold onto the Creator, the Comforter, the Healer, the Maker of Light!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Lesson Learned

Stress has a way of ruining a perfectly good day. If you let it. I did just that Sunday. We had a great day planned to celebrate our oldest daughter's birthday. Everything was in place. I thought that I had too much to do so I decided not to go to church. Then it all started to unravel. My husband was called in to work for Sunday and since he works evenings that meant he would miss the party. My stres level had risen and I went to bed early only to wake up with an asthma attack--brought on by the stress.

I felt much better in the morning and went ahead prepping the food for the evening's meal. After washing up the dishes, I got a knock at the door. It was my downstairs neighbor. He said that both his sinks in the kitchen filled up and overflowed onto the floor. He called the landlord but thought it best for us not to use our water until we found the problem. Being Sunday we had no way of knowing how soon the landlord would get here to fix the problem. It was already after 1:00 pm and I had so much left to do. I began pacing and basically having a meltdown. At 3:00, I decided to call my daughter and cancel the party and reschedule for Monday evening. She started calling guests and I started calling guests. By the time we had called everyone, the problem downstairs had been fixed and I had one of the worst migraines I've ever experienced. When I looked at the clock, it was only 3:30! We could have had the party that evening after all. But in my stressed out, freaked out state, I couldn't think past everything going on.

When the day was coming to a close, I realized something. I never once stopped and prayed. In fact, I had put all the busyness of the preparations first and didn't go to church. I had defeated myself before I even started. Oh, all my plans would have worked out as far as time goes but I didn't ask God to bless my plans or the day. The same situations may have still happened anyway but I would have been better able to handle the stress. I would have been filled with peace and would have known that God would work everything out in the end. He knows how important it is for us to celebrate our family and I believe that that blesses him also. But I chose not to include him.

Why do we do these things to ourselves? Why do we forget to ask God's blessing on things? We just go on and make our own plans without remembering Proverbs 16:3, which says:

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed."

"For God is not a God of disorder but of peace." 1Corinthians 14:33.

And especially,
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

I am absolutely positive that if I had remembered my Lord from the very beginning of the day, I would have had a beautiful, peaceful day--even with all that went wrong! Lesson learned, Lord!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day. There are mixed emotions about this day in our home. I’ve always enjoyed this day, especially when my children were little. They would plan all week long what special thing they were going to do for “Mommy”. My oldest daughter is an artist and was from the beginning. So, her special gifts to me have usually been handmade. My son and youngest daughter always followed suit. If big sister gave me a coloring book page for the fridge, I got 3. If I got a flower pot, hand painted with a single marigold in it, I got 3…and so it went. I’ve been served breakfast in bed; given coupon books for extra chores around the house; jewelry; and always, always, always a card with a pastoral scene drawn by fat little fingers and the words, “I love you, Mom” across the whole page, folded down the middle. I still have every one of those cards.

Now my kids are grown and living away from home. I still see them all the time. We get together for Sunday Supper every week. They’ve all grown into beautiful, caring people. I know this is the natural order of things ~ babies are born, kids go to school, they grow up, and young adults walk out the front door to their new lives. And, I’m good with it all the rest of the year. It’s Mother’s Day that’s hard for me. It’s a bittersweet day. I love the grown up people that my children have become. I just miss my babies. I miss the mess at the front door where the kids dropped all their stuff after school, practices, or just being out. “If I have to pick up these shoes once more!” still echoes in my mind, but what I’d give to walk in the door and trip over 3 pairs of shoes, 3 book bags, football pads, soccer cleats, soccer balls, a clarinet, a bag of library books, track gear, softball gear, 2 purses and 2 big dogs who are sure this is their new bed!

I don’t get coloring book pages colored with fat little fingers anymore. I seem only to get one gift now, with one card signed by all three. But it always, always, always says, “I love you, Mom”, across the whole page, folded down the middle.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back to Basics

I just got off the phone with my aunt. She and my husband used to work together. That was about two years ago. Their company was the first one in our area to close its doors when this present economic crisis started. She found another job and felt secure. She was making decent money and things were finally getting back to normal. Six months ago the new company she was working for closed its doors! She was unemployed again. Now I believe she has every reason to be depressed and angry. She has only had one interview in six months, then found out that the best they can offer is part-time hours. She had to turn it down because there's no way they can make it on that salary. I would be so discouraged.

But, do you know what she said to me? She said that maybe this is God's way of getting us back to the basics. Instead of going out two or three times a week, they only go out on Friday nights. And, most of the time, one of the three couples cooks and they have game or movie night at their home. She said they are spending more time with their kids, doing things like playing games or just having good conversation. She said, "I know things (meaning the economy and job situations) will get better eventually. But for now we are making a bad situation better. We are making good use of all this time we have on our hands."

What an attitude! I was reminded of a time in history when spending time with friends meant going to their home or they came to yours. You played games, talked and just enjoyed each other's company. Neighbors got together and had backyard cookouts on weekends. People actually sat on their front porches and invited others to come "sit a spell". And people went to church on Sunday and then went to Grandma's or Mom's home for Sunday supper. It was like our evening meals when we were kids only instead of talking about your day, you talked about your week. People kept in touch with each other. It truly was a kinder, gentler time.

With the things the way they are we can no longer afford to do all the things we're used to. Parents can't put their kids in three or four different activities. They might be able to afford one. Now we have all this extra time on our hands. We are forced to slow down and spend time with each other. We are forced to cook at home and gather at the dining table once again. We are forced to find free things that we can do together. We drag out the movies, dust off the games, and actually make popcorn! I think there might be a lot of truth to what my aunt said. Maybe God is trying to get us back to the basics. He's trying to bring us home. We've been gone too long.

About Me

I have been writing since I was a child. Now that circumstances have changed in my life, I have begun to take my passion for writing to a new level. First and foremost, I am a child of God. I am a wife of 26 years. We have 3 wonderful children who have all begun lives on their own. I love all my pets, they really are like little children!
"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."~Toni Morrison