Heart in the Clouds

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Thoughts and Thanks - August 30, 2011

Throughout this whole time that I've been struggling with the roller coaster emotions that go along with uncertainty, I've had a thought in the back of my mind. How can I best honor God in the middle of my circumstances? I have found the only way to keep myself sane and to keep from going off the deep end every day is to focus myself on him and on being thankful for my many blessings. Because they truly are many.

It's easy to say, "Everything would be better if I only had this" or "I would truly be happy if that one thing was going right." But I know that that's not really true. The grass is always greener, right? 

So a couple of days ago in the middle of one of my self-focused pity parties, I was reading TIME magazine about the famine in Africa. I came upon a photo of a dead seven-year-old child wrapped in a cloth. It brought me to tears because, really, how can I complain about my life? In that moment, I felt stupid. My children are happy and healthy. I have uncertainty about my health in some areas, but I'm healthy. I'm not watching my loved ones die from preventable diseases or starvation. I live in one of the richest countries in the world. I have everything I need and so many opportunities are open to me. Who am I to complain?

Sometimes I need a little slap in the emotions now and then. I really want to choose to focus on how I can honor God in the middle of my roller coaster, rather than focusing on my petty worries. Whenever I focus on him, on his love, on the knowledge that he is with me through everything and that I have nothing to fear, I feel that blanket of peace again.

When trying times come, it's like the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33)--as soon as I take my eyes off of Jesus, I sink. I become fixed on my stormy surroundings and on the things I see as impossible or uncertain, rather than on the fact that HE called me to step out of the boat and walk with him on the water. He doesn't call us to walk with him just to let us drown. In the low moments where I lose vision and I feel like I'm sinking, he ALWAYS reaches down and lifts me back up. I just have to reach up and grab on to his hand. 

So if you're going through a rough time, too, I want to encourage both of us. :) God is calling us to a season of trust. He is calling us to totally lean on him. The best way to honor him in the middle of a trying time is to be thankful for what we DO have, rather than thinking about what we DON'T have. I could do everything on my own if I wanted to. People try to do it every day. But I know that I need God. So I want to encourage you to grab on to his hand, too. There's room enough in his hands for all of us.

Today I'm thankful for...

What my friend Heather calls a cleansing meltdown. I'm having one now and it seems to be working.

Resting in the shadow of the Almighty. (Psalm 91:1)

My children. For all my faults as a mother, they are turning out to be two awesome little men. They are sweet, caring and they love each other fiercely, despite all their fighting.

My husband. He's a hard-working man who lives for God and his family. Can't ask for better than that!

Sunshine and mild weather. Seriously, this is some glorious weather and it's always a mood-booster.

Learning lessons.

My cameras. They can be great therapy. I think I'll go pick them up again.

Friends. I have so many great people in my life. Some are nearby. Many are far away. They have encouraged me in so many ways and I'm so grateful for each one.

So I want to leave you with Psalm 91. It's awesome to read it when I feel like I'm surrounded by craziness, as many of us are from time to time, especially with everything going on in the world. Read it over and over and ponder it in your heart because it's all about how God protects those who trust him. I'm learning to trust more and more, and I hope you are, too.

Psalm 91
 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High 
   will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] 
2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, 
   my God, in whom I trust.”

 3 Surely he will save you 
   from the fowler’s snare 
   and from the deadly pestilence. 
4 He will cover you with his feathers, 
   and under his wings you will find refuge; 
   his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 
5 You will not fear the terror of night, 
   nor the arrow that flies by day, 
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, 
   nor the plague that destroys at midday. 
7 A thousand may fall at your side, 
   ten thousand at your right hand, 
   but it will not come near you. 
8 You will only observe with your eyes 
   and see the punishment of the wicked.

 9 If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” 
   and you make the Most High your dwelling, 
10 no harm will overtake you, 
   no disaster will come near your tent. 
11 For he will command his angels concerning you 
   to guard you in all your ways; 
12 they will lift you up in their hands, 
   so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 
13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; 
   you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

 14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; 
   I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 
15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; 
   I will be with him in trouble, 
   I will deliver him and honor him. 
16 With long life I will satisfy him 
   and show him my salvation.”

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