Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year End Closing Thoughts

With 2012 rapidly approaching, I find myself torn between somewhat dreamy reflections over the year that is now ending and expectant contemplations regarding the year that is to come.  I've heard a number of people express immeasurable gratitude over the current year's end, but I'm not so sure I'm among the many ecstatic future goers.  I'm happy to be starting a new year and chapter in life, but I'm not in some zealous hurry to jump across the line into 2012.  I guess 2011 just hasn't been so bad that I'm in a mad dash to leave it all behind.  On the other hand, it has had moments that were so painful I didn't think I could cope unless God Himself would come down and scoop me up - in person.  I may even have asked Him once if I could light a bush on fire and pretend it was Him. My pain and inner pyromaniac aside, however, 2011 was actually a blessed year, one that contained more good than bad, greater love than pain, and increased hope and trust in God.  I'm okay that it's coming to a close, but I guess I'm thankful for what it brought, so these are my closing thoughts...

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Alternate Path

As 2011 comes to a close, I find myself reflecting back over my life, not only throughout this last year, but also throughout the last 13 years.  There's a significance to that number, but before I go into that I wonder how many of you are where you thought you would be at this juncture of your life?  If you turn behind you and look back into your past, did everything go according to how you planned to get you to where you are? Did you do all the things you thought you would leading up to this day?  Did you do things in such a way that finds you happy today with where you are? Who, from your past, has made it into your present? Now, if you turn and face forward, do you see a future that is built from where you stand today or from where you stood yesterday? Are you doing everything you can today to take you into a brighter tomorrow? Who, from your today, will be with you in your tomorrow? What does your future's path look like?  Is it surrounded by green meadows and clear streams? Or, is it covered in immovable boulders and barren trees? Do you even see your future at all? 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Dare to Hope

Not too long ago, I went through one of my most trying tests of faith yet, and as I reflect over the year that is now rapidly coming to a close I find myself humbled and grateful for the pain that was, is, and is to come. It's not that I enjoyed suffering or look forward to it's future arrival, but I have discovered that the pain I recently endured subsided, and through it, because of it, I'm closer to God than I ever was before.  In a nutshell this most recently trying test of faith arrived in the form of misplaced hopes and desires that gave birth to a tragic misconception of reality.  I allowed myself to become immersed in a heart vision that was never God's vision, at least not for today.  I put my hope into my own idea of what was and should be.  I was wrong - and when I found out, it hurt like what we imagine the pain of hell to feel.  Have you ever become so convinced and so certain that God was doing something in your life only to find out that you missed the mark?  Well, I missed the mark in a situation recently and it caused me agonizing pain, heavy doubts, and troubled thought patterns. Life turned very dark for a number of days, but He led me through it and now again, I dare to hope...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Life As You Know It

I met a man a couple of weeks ago by the name of Robert.  He was skilled in electrical work, plumbing, and even something he called "laser guided missile repair." Though I have no idea what the latter is, I found myself impressed just by the fancy and highly skilled sound of it. "What a smart guy!" I thought to myself as I tried to picture him in the line of duty.  When we met, it was cold and rainy and Robert sat bundled up on a bench outside of my local Albertson's grocery store.  I didn't see him as I walked out because he was off to my left and not even my peripheral vision picked up his presence.  Plus, I was in a hurry to get home so I could kick back with the family to have popcorn and watch movies. On cold, rainy days there's nothing I like better than snuggling up under the plush blanket that my mom gave me for Christmas three years ago.  The picture you see doesn't do it justice because this thing is velvety soft and oh so warm.  I like it so much that it took me two years before I would even allow my son (who is now almost 7) to touch or use it. It was just a generally accepted rule in our home that no one, under any circumstances, was to touch "mommy's blanket," and this rule extended to my husband, friends, family, and anyone else who happened to stop by. "Don't touch it now, don't touch it ever," was the unspoken message anytime it was sitting out. I could be in another room of the house and still know if someone ran their unworthy finger along it to cop a feel of it's satiny soft lining.  I love this blanket, but... today's entry isn't about my blanket, though you no doubt see now why I love it.  Back to Robert.  As I walked to my car, popcorn and seasonings in hand, and hood over head, I shivered under the falling rain. I couldn't wait to get back home, so as I turned on the car and began backing out I had only blanket, popcorn, and movie in mind. And then I saw him.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Change of Heart

I read a story recently about a young Christian girl who went out of her way to close the door on a love she shared with someone to whom God denied a union. It simply wasn't their time to be together and as far as she knew it may never be, so to consecrate her relationship with the Lord in this modern day love story, she installed dead bolts on every door that opened into this man's life.  From creating social networking blocks to the vow of closing email accounts, she covered every step and shut every door - except the one in her heart.  Love stories today take on an entirely different form from those of days passed. While lovers from 30 years ago wrote letters and sealed them with a kiss, those of today send emails and chat on Facebook. It just isn't as easy to shut doors today, and in this story's case particularly, no doors were ever really shut. For every social networking connection she had blocked, all she had to do was create another, and for every email account she vowed to close all she had to do was never close it.  Nothing was final, nothing was over, and nothing had changed.  Bolting doors and drawing the curtains wont cause the heart to stop beating for another person if love is pumping the blood. What she soon realized is that she didn't need closed doors; she needed a change of heart.