Tag Archives: appreciation

Seeing the Beauty

So. It’s a gloomy 8:13am in middle Georgia. The sky is spewing rain yet the air is warm. The trees are drenched and the puddles in the driveway expand. Grumbles of thunder loom in the distance. The rain stops and the birds start to sing. A couple of them zoom in on a puddle and start to bathe themselves. Spring flowers dot the landscape, just beginning to emerge with their bright and bold colors; an amazing fragrance fills the air. The green of the trees is enhanced as drips of water hit the moist ground. Then, the rain returns. Life is great. That’s pretty much it.

I guess that’s all I really want to share today: life is great, even though to some it may not appear to be. I am amazed at how great my life has turned out. I’ve had some pretty rough patches. I’ve been knocked down so many times in so many ways, but all that, all that has brought me here, to this amazing time in my life – and I am so incredibly thankful you cannot imagine. No. Things aren’t perfect, but, that’s the beauty of it. Nothing is horribly wrong, nothing is even remotely wrong. There is nothing in my life right now that I fear, and for that I am grateful.

You’ve all heard that life is what we make of it. True, but it goes much deeper than that. If you want something, you have to believe. If you want something, you have to work for it. Ok. Some people don’t work for it, which I think is a shame, because without working for it, you don’t gain the appreciation of having it. This world has become too ‘gimme’. We are a society who feels indebted, as if we somehow earned happiness as a birth right. Well, we haven’t. Some don’t have it as hard, some have it worse. While it may seem unfair, life has this natural balance. It’s hard to ascertain a person’s level of happiness just by looking at them or reviewing their bank statements. We all do it, but stereotyping someone is the biggest fail. Some emotions do not have a face. They are felt so deep inside that they are hard to judge. Just because someone has money doesn’t mean they are happy. Just because someone smiles, doesn’t mean they are happy. Just because someone has ‘things’ doesn’t mean they are enjoying life. Some of the wealthiest people are having the worst time of their lives. Wealth isn’t in ‘things’, it’s inside. That’s what makes us unique. Some people do not look deep inside, the expect happiness to follow them, to come to them in the form of another person. I’m learning that ‘happy’ is a state of mind that starts inside. Peace isn’t the absence of pain or trials, it’s knowing who you are in the midst of it. It’s working for what we want and appreciating who it makes us in the process. For all I have inside, and out, I extend my deepest appreciation.

Thank you, Lord, for watching over me. I ask that you watch over my children and help them to succeed in this life. Show them true happiness that does not fade. Shower them with your unfailing love like You do the flowers and the trees. Thank you for the nuturing you provide my soul. Thank you for helping me become the person I am today, for the realization of what greatness lies within me. Thank you Lord, for the beauty that surrounds me, even if at times I cannot see it as clearly as I do now. Help me to continue to grow and be this person I always knew was here. Thank you for forgiving me and loving me through my faults. And thank you Lord, for the rain, and the sunshine.

~Amen

Seasons of the Heart: Never Stop Believing…NEVER

So, I’m driving down the road seatbelt snug around my big coat clutching my steering wheel with gloved hands, anticipating the increasing warmth of the heater as it rises with each mile. Just the other day it was in the 70s and now it below freezing again. Argh! So ready for Spring…before leaving the house this morning I heard that the temps weren’t going to rise anytime soon and we had at least 1-2 inches of rain on the way. While some might have gasped in dispair, I actually got a little happy: THANK GOD IT’S NOT SNOW!! Woo-hoo! Guess it’s all in how you look at it. I know Spring is close. We’ve been blessed with a few glimpses; the bigger blessings are yet to come. Just hold on. It’s worth the wait.

I’ve been thinking lately, the seasons of earth so match the seasons of our hearts. We have times of planting (Spring), times of tending/nurturing (Summer) and times of harvest (Fall), then times of hibernation/rest (Winter). No wonder I hate winter so much…no wonder some people move to areas where there is none. While some thrive in winter, I don’t. I just get by. That’s it. I hate the bland, dead appearance of the landscape: a boring, lifeless palette of every shade of brown, grey and white. The ground hardeneds like stone and all but the pine trees are barren, practically stripped of their beauty while life bubbles in the other seasons. Winter must be like when Jesus was in the tomb. Cold, dreary, heavy….but look what happened as a result of that time of hibernation…that time of reflection…that time of rest…

So what’s my point? Well, in life sometimes we have to go through these seasons. Even the bible tells us that in Ecclesiastes 3 – there is a time for everything. Just as a farmer knows he must rotate his crops to maximize the fertility of the soil, so we must experience times of rest, times of reflection, in order to maximize our times of growth. It’s just like having a cold or the flu. We feel like crap, take lots of medicine and get lots of rest; when we start feeling better it’s like being reborn – we get a new appreciation for what it’s like to not have the flu, to just feel ‘normal’ again. If we had no idea what it felt like to not feel good, how could we measure it? If we always settle for convenient love, how can we ever experience real love? How could we ever truly appreciate it? If nothing is ever special, if we never place a value on love, then what is it? Ordinary. Plain. Lifeless. Just getting us by as we clutch onto the season we don’t want to leave…

It just hit me…so many question God as to why they are being put through the pain, the turmoil…the winter. God knows we must experience it to appreciate what He has in store for us. Our winters develop our perseverance. They should drive us to make it to the next season. James 1:2-4. Life must take its’ course if it’s going to amount to anything worthy. What has a runner accomplished if he cheats to win? Nothing. Maybe a temporary high but that soon disapates into nothing because nothing was scarificed in the process. Nothing learned, nothing gained. And neither will we if we do not stay the course. If we settle for what feels good at the moment, we could be sacrificing what feels good for a lifetime.

Don’t allow your heart to reside in a state of winter. Accept the fact that our hearts must experience some kind of winter, yet refuse to allow it to take up permanent residency. Each small blessing leads to a bigger one. If it’s one thing I’ve learned through all the pain: I’ve survived, and I will never stop believing. Believe in something special, accept no substitutes, and eventually it will come to you…you just may have to experience a few seasons first, but I assure you, it’s worth the wait.

Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything

 1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

 2 a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
 3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
 4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
 5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
 6 a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
 7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
 8 a time to love and a time to hate,
   a time for war and a time for peace.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” ~ James 1:2-4