Thursday, February 26, 2015

Necessary Seasons

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Necessary Seasons by Stephanie Connor
Cold. Bleak. Winter. A time to sit by the fire (or to long for a fire to sit by!) For some, this is a time of hibernation and rest. For others, it's a time of scarcity and struggle. Either way, it's just a necessary season in the cycle of life. 
This is the most colorless of the seasons. During its duration, most flowers hide thier faces and most trees give up thier leaves, leaving a world of barren, blah landscapes. Then there are the evergreen trees. They stand as splashes of green amidst the grays and browns as our reminders that brighter color DOES still exisit, and in a few short months it will come back in full bloom! 
Yes, the oak tree lost last year's foliage. But, the embyos of its new leaves are snuggled somewhere deep inside of its branches, awaiting thier queue that it's finally time to bud and adorn those branches with greenery and life again. Spring is coming! In times that seem dormant, we're always left with some kind of promise of renewal to come. The Lord never leaves us without hope, does He? Definitely not, when our hope is in Him! 
During the frostier, more barren months of the year, based on what our eyes can see, there's not much growing is going on. But growth is indeed still happening in places that our eyes cannot see.  While not much is going on up top in the branches, the roots of healthy trees are growing deeper and stronger underneath. As they deepen, they're hard at work seeking out nourishment from the soil to feed to their hosts. This kind of growth is necessary in order to support the more visible, outward growth that will occur later, during warmer, sunnier days. Trees must grow stronger before they can grow taller and spread their branches out wider and higher. Same thing with people, I think. 
In these ways and more, the physical world around us mimics what goes on in the cycle of our own lives. Or maybe our lives mimic it. I've never been sure which mirrors which, but it seems that God in His wisdom certainly gave us, and the world we currently live in, necessary seasons. People, like the trees and plants around us, need various climates to truly grow. Cold and heat. Warmth and chill. Sushine and rain. Too much of the same might actually stunt our growth or even be fatal. Only the Good Lord knows how much of what each one of us needs
God's word tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1 "There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens "....Just like the weather, some seasons of life are sunny and bright others are a bit less inviting....laughter, tears, mourning, dancing, scattering, gathering, birth...and yes, even death. But to the believer, while to live is Christ....even to die is gain.  
Through the dreary winters of life we learn to depend on God's strength, and not our own. He's keeping us, even in the sunnier times, we're just less aware of it then. When we are rooted deep in God's word, we're sustained and strengthened by Him through the leaner times.  We realize He is always at work even in the parts of things that we can't see.         
Through the times of seemingly unbearable heat, we learn to stay hydrated on God's living waters. Those deep roots we grew last winter enable us to draw water from unseen sources, even during times of drought.   
When we FINALLY find ourselves in those rare, more temperate seasons, we can take a few moments and enjoy the weather. Why not? We all need times of refreshment. These times, when we're under less pressure ourselves, we're more free to help others in need. These are also times when we can fill up our reserves so that we might draw from them later. 
The only thing certain in this life is that seasons change. Good times or bad times, "this too shall pass". The good news is, as believers, we're not passing away, we're passing onward to glory. We're being transformed as we go, through all types of weather. And as we pass through, whatever we pass through, we're not walking alone, He is with us always, "even unto the end of the age".       
"But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwhose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water,  that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” ~ Jeremiah 17:7-8

Monday, February 16, 2015

No Greater Love

Life on this planet can easily render us cold at heart, insensitive to outside stimuli, disconnected, disinterested and downright nasty. Many times I have heard women referred to in such terms, "nasty".

That was my attitude as a young woman.  Life had dealt me a curve ball and I didn't like it.  My mom dies when I'm only 7, my brother and I left to live with people who could care less about us, my dad wouldn't come save us, forced to marry a man I didn't love for the sake of someone else's supposed honor, abused, beaten and battered beyond description I developed a very "nasty" attitude about life.  I hated it! I wanted out! Tried to check out three times!  I did nothing to deserve the cards that had been dealt to me. And God? Where was He in all this?  How could there be a God who would allow young children to suffer through life without the love of a mother. Nope, there could not be a God and if there was, He most assuredly didn't want any part of me.

How easy would it have been to check out!  Yes, my 3 children needed me but I had been convinced by that dark voice that always spoke to me, I was absolutely no good for them anyway.  I was unloved, unpopular, ugly and just downright stupid.  I had heard it enought coming up.  I was even dubbed by my aunt as "a crazy heffer".  What was there to live for?

As far as I was concerned there was no hope for me.  The day came when I completely lost it and stepped out into oncoming traffic.  Did I get hit? No.  Then, I took an overdose of pain killers.  Did it kill me? No, the just pumped my stomach and put me away.  The final attempt I took a knife to me wrist.  Not even then would the Lord allow the enemy to take my life.  

I now know today, that at every attempt I made to end it all, God was saying, "Not So".  He wouldn'e allow me to die because He not only did He love me, He had a plan for my life.  

I always wanted to blame my life's issues and hard times on God.  I was wrong.  The one who comes to steal, kill and destroy all ways gets away with blaming God for His workings.  It was him all along, trying to destroy my life. But God's love for me was greater than Satan and on one Sunday Morning, God spoke to me and said, Nadine, I am not angry with you, I love you.  Those words resounded throughout my very being.  I knew I had heard the voice of God and it brought me to my knees in a cleansing heap of tears.  Tears that I believe served to cleanse my soul because when I was done crying, I felt as light as a feather.  Joy flooded my heart and I knew I was different.

If you are struggling with low self-esteem, the rantings of an angry boss, mate or family member putting you down and making you feel like you are nothing, it's a lie.  It's a lie from the pit of hell designed to make you miss out on a wonderful life The Father has planned for you.

I was 29 years old that day the Lord spoke to me.  I am now 65 years old.  There has been a long track record of God's mighty hand upon my life and I am happy to say He has never let me down! Never! Jesus has proven His love for me and desire to do the same for you.  He did not allow Satan to destroy me and today I am blessed with 11 precious gems that I would never had known if my Heavenly Father did not send His son to lay down His life for mine.

We as women are at war with a diabolical enemy.  He desires to not only destroy us but our offspring as well. Especially our sons.  He has been after us every since the Garden and the war rages on.  However, he will not win, if we will only believe that The Father loves us so much, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever will believe upon Him will have eternal life.  Your Heavenly Father has a plan for your life and will not allow the enemy to triumph over you.  He loves you.

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends, Jesus said, if you do as I command you. John 15:13-14