Lessons Learned 7 – Dealing With It All

As most of you know, I love winter.

I hate summer with it’s heat and insects and creepy crawlies. I have an aversion to bees and bats, mostly because they insist on coming after me. I won’t go out after dark unless I have a hat on, and even then I tend to crouch down or hide behind my husband so the bats can’t aim for my head.

That is not an exaggeration, but it is another story not involved in this lesson.

With winter, I am happy. I love the colder temperatures and the beauty of fresh white snow. I look forward to that first snow in the fall, and am hard-pressed to keep from praying for a white Christmas.

I say hard-pressed because I know that snow is not what makes Christmas and should not be the measuring stick of what defines a blessed Christmas.

But there is always a small part deep inside that can’t help but wish for a snow the day before Christmas so that everything is clean and sparkling when I get up Christmas morning.

And when others are ready for spring by the end of January, I am still enthralled with each new snowfall and am thrilled when we get a good old-fashioned snowstorm.

Now, having said all that, this past winter was another story entirely and it took me a while to figure out why.

As I went through this past winter, I struggled with a sense of being buried alive; of being closed in and closed off from everything but my problems.

I had no place to go; no quiet, private place to hide in. With a small house, a toddler to watch, and a crib set up in my office, my private places and my time for myself were gone.

With a mild winter, I can go walk around outside, breathing in the cold air and listening to the silence that can only come in the middle of winter. Into that silence, I can talk to the Lord, praising Him for the beauty of the winter landscape, and get myself settled into His peace.

But this year it was impossible to do that.

Quite often we were in the sub-zero zone with dangerous wind-chills and warnings to not spend more than a few minutes outside. With near Arctic temperatures for most of the winter, going outside to settle myself was out of the question.

Yet, I did not see that this was part of the problem.

Judi over at It’s Not About Me reminded me in her article Mind Over Matter of the need to just walk away from whatever was happening and spend some time just with God.

By that time, the weather was a little warmer, so when things began to go wrong and I began to feel overwhelmed, I put on my coat and went outside into the cold and snow. With one deep breath, and my mind turned toward God, peace began to seep into my soul.

It was then that I realized that part of my problem was the fact that I had been hardly able to leave the house for weeks due to weather and other factors, and had spent very little time renewing myself.

Thank you Judi, for sharing your story for me to learn from.

LESSON LEARNED –

Seek after God throughout the day to turn heart and mind away from the day-to-day problems; to draw on His strength and let His peace fill the soul.

As my Pastor said, “Keep the mind on the Bible and the eyes on God.”

© Drusilla Mott and http://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2014

 

*** This is the last of this series.  If you have missed any of the previous ones, and would like to read them, click on the Lessons Learned link in the header above.

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Lessons Learned 6 – It Is Worth It

As I struggled with each of the problems that I was facing, I began to feel like God had gone on vacation and was leaving me here to fend for myself.

I asked for guidance, direction, some kind of acknowledgment that He was here fighting for me.

I began wondering if I was doing everything wrong, and this was His way of bringing me back into line.

I felt abandoned, forsaken and alone.

And that feeling only added to my unhappiness.

I was in pain almost continuously, leaving me unable to do the most mundane things.

I could not lose weight no matter what I did. And every time I reset my resolve to exercise and eat right, something happened to knock me off track.

Everything that I tried to do or touch went wrong.

And I could not get away from any of it.

In the back of my mind I could hear all those TV preachers promising that if God wanted you to do something, he would supply everything you needed to do it.

But, He wasn’t. Not that I could see.

And then I read Ephesians chapter 3, and He opened my eyes to the message that was there for me.

“3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.” (KJV)
LESSON LEARNED

Sitting on this side of that awful winter, I can look at myself and recognize that I want my life to be easy. I do not want the constant struggles, the pain and inability to accomplish mundane tasks on my own.

I want to be able to breeze through my tasks with no stumbling blocks thrown in my way. I want to set out to lose weight and be able to get it done yesterday with no impediments.

But I also acknowledge the fact that if it was that easy, it would be taken for granted and the accomplishment would not be fully appreciated. I need the struggles to keep me humble and to make me appreciate the good times more.

If everything was as easy as I would like it to be, I would not feel the need to draw on the Lord’s strength.  I would not feel the need to pull closer to Him and turn to Him for help.  I would go through my days focusing on the task at hand and rely on myself for the abilities and power to accomplish it all.

I need to be able to see that in my weakness, God is the One that makes me strong; and know that it is not through my own power that I have accomplished what He asked me to do.

I know this in my heart, but am honest enough to admit that I can be rather stiff-necked and unyielding when it comes to wanting things my way, and I need a reminder every now and then that I have to humble myself and yield to God’s direction and will.

God does not promise us that doing what He wants us to do will be easy. This life is difficult. What He does promise is that He will be with us through it all and will give us the strength to overcome the hurdles and accomplish what is His will.

Because He loves us with a love that is unfathomable.

No. It may not be easy. But it will be worth it in the end.

© Drusilla Mott and http://drusillamott.wordpress.com, 2014

 

I will be posting the final lesson next week.  If you have missed any of this series and want to read those articles, you can click on the LESSONS LEARNED menu in the header above.

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