One of the greatest struggles that we experience as Christians is discerning what the Lord’s will is for our lives. Oh, if He only left a personalized note, an audible message, or wrote His words using a skywriter or a billboard – how much easier it would be. But alas, God does not communicate with us via those avenues, but thankfully, He does indeed speak to us, and rest assured, if we are willing to wait, follow, and listen, He will show us His will.
I am an early riser. My alarm clock first sounds at 4:45am. After a few not so gentle smacks of the snooze button, my eyes begin to open to the new day at around 5:00am. But during those in between moments of waking, my ears are fully alive and busy taking in the sounds of the morning. Those early morning hours are void of the chaotic sounds of the day. There is peace and stillness in the air as the uninterrupted sound of a gentle breeze ushers in a new day.
I remember the details like it was yesterday. They are ingrained in my memory, stamped and etched in a place of perpetual recall. While I do not remember my exact age, I estimate I was either in fifth or sixth grade. It was a weekend visit to my father’s house that first exposed me to the world of pornography.
Thanksgiving. The time of the year to reflect on all that we are thankful for. Yet, for some reason, this year my heart is quite burdened. While I truly am grateful for so much in my life, my heart can’t seem to break free of bearing the burden of so many close to us that are traversing through challenging times. Cancer, illness, wayward children, suicide, financial hardships, addiction, bitter relationships…and all of that is just within the walls of my circle of friends. Mingle in the sinful, divisive climate that bathes our society, and you have cause to feel the weight of the world.
It was the summer before my son’s freshman year in high school, and he had one request of me: “Mom, can I join the football team?”
Waiting patiently has never been one of my best attributes. My trouble started early on. As a child, I always knew where my mother kept our Christmas gifts hidden, and I made it a point, with great regularity, to spy and peek at the stash. I simply could not wait until Christmas.
For the past several days I have been contemplating the time that Jesus spent in the Garden of Gethsemane praying. I’ve been struck by the words that scripture uses to tell us about the emotions of that evening. I’ve combed through various Bible translations noting these words.
I am prone to negativity. When my tongue is unrestrained it lends itself to complaining, biting sarcasm, and criticism. How’s that for a dose of honesty? Similarly, my thoughts can easily meander down the same pessimistic path. I’ve needed to fess up to this less-than-Christlike attitude and confess it for what it is: sin. I am prayerfully working on changing my perspective. Decades of pessimistic practice have made this a hard habit to kick. But I am thankful that the Lord has opened my eyes to it and given me the opportunity to change.
Life has been busy and complicated of late. Seasons like this sprinkle the timeline of our lives like snow (sometimes like a blizzard). Busy doing what needs to be done…what has to be done. Running to and fro. Dealing with the challenges life has. Aging parents. Health concerns. The future. It seems as though everything else gets pushed aside. Our good intentions become just that, intentions; things dreamed of or planned, but never coming to fruition. The out-of-control elements of the day dictate its course. Sometimes we simply feel like we are bobbing on the waves, being pushed to and fro, struggling to keep our heads above, at the mercy of the tide.
Our family has always enjoyed having a real Christmas tree in our home. There is just something about the fresh smell of pine that draws each of us in. We typically frequent a local garden center to select our tree. But one year we ventured out to a tree farm to cut down our own. Unfortunately, I was unable to go because of a commitment at church, but my husband and boys joined my brother-in-law and his children on a tree-cutting adventure.