Wednesday, April 24, 2019

All. Over. Again.~

What started out as
"a little something for the birds"
has now morphed into
a whole lot of something for me.

"I think I'll pick up a little something for the birds,"
my husband had said one day.
"With the winter months here,
let's be God's way of feeding them."
With a wink and a smile,
he was out the door.

His little something turned out to be bird seed.

And while his choice of seed
must have been delicious,
we all know,
besides being a tasty menu item for birds,
seeds are also amazing encapsulations
of potential new life.

Spring has proven this to be true,
as now,
smack dab in the center of our yard,
a not-my-kind-of-grass
has started to make its presence known.

Here, there, and even over there,
this unwanted, unwelcome grass is sprouting up.

Not wanting this grass
to take over the entire yard,
I found myself
wrestling back and forth with myself
about what to do.

"Just look at it.
It's everywhere!
What good is pulling it out going to do?"

"Yes, that's true.
But, are you content
to live with this grass,
day in and day out?
Is this what you want
in your backyard?"

"But, Self -
take a good hard look!
Do you know how hard
it's going to be
to pull out each clump
of this new grass?
C'mon! It's going to be
nearly impossible.
And besides,
for each one you pull,
who knows how many new shoots
are just waiting
for the opportunity
to pop up!"

"I know. I know.
It's not going to be easy.
But, honestly, I
don't think living with it
is an option.
I don't want this grass in my yard."

Finally, (and thankfully)
the strong-willed side of me
outweighed the lazy side of me,
and the decision was made
to remove this grass immediately.

My plan of action -
soak this area of the yard,
and then the following morning,
one clump at a time,
pull these babies up by their roots.

Today was the following morning.

As I sat on the patio,
drinking my morning coffee,
e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y comfortable and content,
I gazed out at the unsightly grass awaiting me.

And, I realized again
what we often fail to remember
and what we often tend to forget:
Sometimes a decision will need to be made
over and over and over again,
if we are to reap the desired results.

In order to get myself
up out of my chair
and out into the yard,
I had to decide
to tackle this project
all. over. again.

And, because I only made a small dent
in this ever-increasing grass population,
I will need to make this same decision
again
tomorrow morning,
and the morning after that,
and many, many mornings after that,
all summer long.

It is this need to re-decide
and re-commit each day
that has me pondering anew
these words of Jesus:

But don't begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say,  "There's the person who started that building and couldn't afford to finish it!"

Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him?"
~Luke 14:28-31

Before we start,
we have to count the cost.
Before we start
we have to decide if we are willing
to start again tomorrow,
and the day after that,
and the day after that.

Do we have what it takes to finish?

Starting is only profitable 
if we follow through to finishing.

And, starting isn't just
a one time deal.
The kind of starting
that leads to the finish line
is a kind of starting
that starts again each day.

It's the kind of starting
needed not only for
ridding my yard of unwanted grass,
but also for
completing a degree,
paying off a loan,
losing the extra weight,
breaking free from the addiction,
reaching retirement,
raising a child,
making it to "til death do us part".

It's also the kind of starting needed
to be a disciple of Christ.

And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, 
you cannot be my disciple. 
But don't begin until you count the cost.
~Luke 14:26-28

Every moment,
of every day,
we have to decide
all. over. again.
to follow our Savior.

It's the kind of starting needed
(with the precious, ever-present help of His Spirit)
to walk away from temptation,
to overcome evil with good,
to do unto others as we would have them do unto us,
to be salt and light,
to face persecution,
to take up our cross and follow Him,
to run the race before us, finish, and finish well.

Relying on God has to begin 
all over again every day 
as if nothing had yet been done.
~C. S. Lewis

It's not enough to decide to start.
We have to keep deciding
all. over. again.
until we finish.


(This same grass showing up in my yard again this Spring 😩
has me remembering this post from April 2017.
I hope you don't mind me sharing it again.)

~Stacy


Monday, April 22, 2019

Take Them to The Throne Room~

We all have someone -
or quite possibly,
a heart overflowing
with someones,
who seem completely
out of our reach,
out of our control,
out of our ability
to do anything for.

We see them
bouncing through life
like a tiny ball
held prisoner
in a pinball machine.

And, try as we may,
and, try as we might,
we feel helpless
to reach through the glass
and rescue them.

Maybe ears all too
familiar with our voice
have turned away, -
turned deaf to
our counsel,
our advice,
our heartfelt
words of love.

Maybe ears
that need to hear
aren't quite close enough
to hear, -
they are
just outside our sphere of influence,
just beyond our boundaries.
Close,
but not quite
close enough.

Whatever the situation,
whatever the circumstance,
take heart, my friend.

They may be out
of your reach,
but they are never
out of God's reach.

When thoughts of them
consume your heart,
overtake your mind,
flow through your every
day in and day out,
lift your head upward
and let the cry
of your heart
flow straight
to the throne room
of Heaven.

He sees.
He knows.

Better than you or me,
He knows.

Fight for these precious souls
with the most
powerful weapon you have -
prayer.

Our God is mighty to save,
and it's up to
you and me
to place those in need
before our God.

Right here.
Right now.
Go to His throne.

Lift up these hearts
and place them
in His hands,
in His care,
in His presence.

Let us therefore come boldly
unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy
and find grace to help
in time of need.
~Hebrews 4:16

The effective,
fervent prayer
of a righteous man
avails much.
~James 5:16



~Stacy



Thursday, April 18, 2019

And Then, What?

And then, what?

Sitting in a room,
surrounded by ladies,
young and old,
all yearning to draw closer
to our God,
I found myself
face to face with this question,
and totally and completely
alone with my thoughts.

We were seated around tables
watching the screen.
As Beth Moore opened
the Word of God,
God opened my mind
to a brand new way of thinking.

What is your worst fear?

The question came from Beth
and was followed up
with this invitation.  

I want you to think 
of the worst possible thing 
you could envision 
happening in your life.

Really?

The absolute worse scenario?

The most frightening thing I can think of?

The nightmare of all nightmares that could possibly happen in my life?

The thing I fear most?

Cancer?

Becoming a widow?

Homelessness?

Violence?

Ok.

Beth was ready to move on.
My mind was still reeling
with all the images
that had flashed wildly
before my eyes. 

So, let's say the thing 
you most fear, 
happened.  

Then, what?

As Beth took our hearts
and led us through this exercise,
we soon discovered,
as children of God,
all roads lead to Him.

If the worst possible thing happened,
then what?

Then, God.

All around the room,
no matter what
the scenario envisioned might be,
the answer to the question -
then, what? -
could be answered with
Then, God.

No matter what,
God would be there.

The worst possible thing
we can conjure up
in our fearful mind
is no match for our God.

Not even death.

Nothing we face in this life,
no matter how tragic
or how horrific it may be,
can keep us from God.

We may be
without our health,
without our spouse,
without our home,
without our very life,
but,
we. are. never. without. our. God.

And, ultimately -
isn't this the worst thing
you can possibly envision?

Being without God?

For the Christian,
the battle is already won,
the victory already sure,
the mansion already built,
the doors of Heaven already swung wide open.

And then, what?

Then, God!

No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love.
Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—
not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
No power in the sky above or in the earth below—
indeed, nothing in all creation
will ever be able to separate us from the love of God 
that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.
~Romans 8:37-39, NLT


***********************************************

I wrote the above post
on December 1, 2012.

On February 4, 2016
one of the worst possible things
I could envision
happening in my life,
happened.

In less time
than it takes to say
"Don't worry, Handsome, I'm here",
my man was gone.

In less time
than it takes to take
your very next breath,
I became a widow.

And, you know what?

Beth was right.

In that moment,
and in every moment that followed,
then, God.

Through every tear,
through every decision,
through every fear,
through every sleepless night,
then, God.

Through every blessing,
through every provision,
through every listening ear,
through every understanding heart,
then, God.

God has been here,
and more than that,
He has been more than enough.

I no longer have my husband,
but praise God,
I have never. for. a. second.
been without my God.

And, I've come to realize now -
more than my heart
could ever have truly understood
the day I wrote these words
for the very first time:

We may be
without our health,
without our spouse,
without our home,
without our very life,
but,
we. are. never. without. our. God.

And, ultimately -
isn't this the worst thing 
you can possibly envision?  

Being without God?


Yes.

But, praise God.

Then, God!



~Stacy



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Someday You Will~

It's a funny thing about words.

Sometimes,
we don't truly grasp
the meaning of all they imply
or are intended to convey
until a time further down the road.

Often,
at a time when we least expect it,
but need a revelation the most,
words spoken long before,
speak to our heart.

This was the case for the disciples.

They had followed Christ,
only to desert Him
in His time of greatest need.

They had witnessed the suffering
He had endured,
and they had beheld
His lifeless body
on the cross of Calvary.

They had also been given
the awesome privilege
of being eyewitnesses
to His resurrected body.

It was His resurrection
that took them back in memory
to another time and another place
when Jesus' words had been spoken,
but not truly understood.

Not until this very moment,
that is.

The scene of remembrance was the temple.

Merchants,
with only dollar signs in mind,
were selling their goods.
Instead of a house of worship,
the temple was now
a place of
theft, corruption, and human greed.

Jesus raised His voice
and His hands
and put a stop
to this mockery.

As tables were turned over,
and the business in the temple
was turned up side down,
tempers flared.

The Jewish leaders demanded, 
“What are you doing? 
If God gave you authority to do this, 
show us a miraculous sign to prove it.”

“All right,” Jesus replied. 
“Destroy this temple, 
and in three days 
I will raise it up.”

“What!” they exclaimed. 
“It has taken forty-six years 
to build this Temple, 
and you can rebuild it 
in three days?” 

But when Jesus said “this temple,” 
he meant his own body.

After he was raised from the dead, 
his disciples remembered 
he had said this, 
and they believed 
both the Scriptures 
and what Jesus had said. 
~ John 2:18-22 (NLT)

Sometimes,
it takes a
journey,
desertion,
persecution,
suffering,
death,
or in this case,
a resurrection,
to open our eyes 
to the truth 
God has already placed 
in our heart 
days, months, or even years before.

As we daily walk with God
and dig deep
into the riches of His Word,
we uncover spiritual truth
and heavenly treasures.

Some are realized
the moment we discover them.

Some, however,
are not completely unwrapped
or truly appreciated and understood
until a future moment in time.

Some scriptures are just
words on a page
that have yet
to illuminate our heart and mind.

But, rest assured.

There will come a time
when the very Words of Life
we have heard before
will come back
to fill our heart with hope
and deepen our faith in our Lord.

In a moment when
we least expect it,
but when we need
HIS revelation the most,
words spoken long before,
scriptures we have read,
verses we have memorized,
holy words resting on the page
of God's Holy Word,
will speak
deep,
wonderful,
encouraging truth
to our heart.




~Stacy



Saturday, April 13, 2019

More Precious Than Gold (Or a Debit Card)

An unprecedented number of children
attending an 8:30 am Children's Church Worship Service
found me racing through a store on Easter Sunday.

What a glorious morning!

As I maneuvered my way through the aisles,
I almost couldn't contain
the joy I felt inside.
Now, with the 11:00 am worship service
only an hour away,
I hurried to the garden section.

I had ordered what I thought
would be more than enough flower pots
for the children who would attend our Easter services. 

We were celebrating Jesus bringing new life
and planting seeds seemed like the perfect way
for these children to carry this truth
home in their heart.

Surprisingly, though,
when the first service began
and the children kept filing in,
I knew I wouldn't have enough
for the children at the 11:00 am service.

So, here I stood,
in my Easter best,
waiting in line at the check-out counter.

Finally, it was my turn.

"That will be $15.64," the clerk announced.

I opened my wallet and reached in
to pull out my debit card
only to discover my debit card
wasn't there. 

I peeked behind my driver's license. 
I searched through the few measly dollar bills
stuffed in the back. 
No debit card. 

Frantic as to where it might be,
and more than aware
of the long line forming behind me,
I silently prayed, "Help me, Jesus."

"Ma'am.  Is there a problem?  $15.64, please."

I don't carry my checkbook with me,
so I reached for the few dollar bills
I had tucked in the back. 
One ten. One five. One one.
$16.00.
Amazing.

I finished my transaction,
gathered my flower pots,
and headed to the car.
As I unlocked the car door
and climbed inside,
I thanked God for answering my prayer.

As I drove back to church, though,
all I could think about
was my missing debit card.

"Lord, why today?  On Resurrection Day?  On the day I have been looking forward to this entire year? Lord, as I worshipped You at the Sunrise Service, just a few hours ago, my heart was filled to overflowing with tears of joy.  As the children decorated their flower pots during the 8:30 am service, their laughter and comments brought one smile after another. My heart was so full of joy, Lord. Why did this have to happen now?  Today?"

And, then it hit me.

Nothing is too big or too hard for my God.
He is ruler over all things and above all things.
Not even death could hold him back.

"Lord, I'm so sorry.  Please forgive me for allowing something as insignificant as money to steal my joy and diminish my faith.  Lord, I place this in Your hands and I praise You.  You are more than awesome, more than amazing, more than enough.  Thank you for the precious gift of the cross.  Thank you for taking the sting out of death.  Thank you for the oh, so very blessed hope we have in and through You. Thank you for the joy of the resurrection.  Thank you for the joy of knowing You.  I love you, Lord, and I can't wait to worship with the children at the next service."

Arriving back at church,
I shared my story of the missing card,
the $16.00 miracle,
the worry that almost hijacked my joy, 
and the God who is worthy
of our praise in all things.

Once home,
I looked through my wallet again. 
There, safely tucked inside
the zipper coin compartment,
was my bank card. 

It had been there all along. 

Evidently,
the only thing
that had been in jeopardy
of being stolen
on this day of unsurpassed joy
was my joy.

Thank God, even this,
my more-precious-than-silver-or-gold joy,
was safe and secure
when I kept the eyes of my heart
placed firmly on my God.



~Stacy

(Re-posting from April, 2013)



Saturday, March 30, 2019

The Way of the Cross~

Awkward and uncomfortable,
a fellow believer and I
stand in the hallway at church;
our words guarded,
our conversation stiff.

Words spoken in the past
have now formed a dam,
causing the normal flow of communication
to seek alternate routes.

As we sputter and stammer
and search for the right words,
we are interrupted
by a five year old boy
on the way to his classroom.

"Look, Ms. Stacy!
I have something to show you!"

With one hand,
he tugs on my pant leg.
With the other,
he tries balancing his open Bible,
while flipping pages with his chin.

"WOW. Did you get a new Bible?" I ask.

"No. It's my same old Bible,
but what I want to show you is new."

As he searches for the new treasure
he longs to share,
we "adults" attempt
picking up our awkward conversation
right where we left off.

It is obvious our hearts
are on different sides
of this issue.
It is also obvious
this is a chasm
that will not easily be crossed.

"Oh, look! Here it is, Ms. Stacy.
Here's what I want to show you!
LOOK!"

He points to a picture of Jesus,
bent low,
under the weight of the cross.

"Oh, honey.
It's a picture of Jesus carrying the cross."

"Yeah. It's sad. Don't you think?"

My eyes meet the eyes
of the man standing beside me.
We both nod in agreement.

"Yes, sweetheart.
It is very sad.
But, that's how much
Jesus loves us.
Jesus loves us so much
He was willing
to carry that heavy cross
and He was willing to die on it."

"Yeah," he shakes his head up and down.
"And He died for all of us, didn't He?
For me, and you, and you."

Now he's using his free hand
to point at me
and my brother-in-Christ.

"Well......want to hear the new part?" he asks excitedly.

"Yes, I'd love to hear it."

Again,
eyes of two different viewpoints meet
and we wonder together
what this little heart
has discovered.

"The new part is from when
I looked at that picture.
I prayed and told Jesus
I would carry it for Him.
It's new because this story is old,
BUT, if it was a new story,
this time,
I would carry the cross for Him."

With that,
he snaps the Bible shut,
and heads down the hall
to his class,
skipping and smiling
all the way.

Standing alone once again,
all we can do is smile,
lower our heads and walk,
each to our own destination.

Strife.

Division.

All too familiar roadblocks
in the body of Christ.

One person sees it this way.
One person sees it that way.

Neither can see past
their own way
to see The Way.

The same old story -
time and time again.

But,
what if?

What if this time,
we chose to make the story new?

What if this time,
one of us was willing to bend low?

What if this time,
one of us was willing to sacrifice,
to trade our want for the want of the other?

What if this time,
one of us was willing
to walk the road of love?

What if this time,
one of us was willing

     to carry the cross of the other,

          to walk in a different pair of shoes,

               to see this issue from a different point of view,

                    to give up our all that all might be gained?

I peek in the window of the classroom
where this sweet little boy
now sits at a table with his friends.

As he points to the picture
and excitedly shares his revelation,
I lift my eyes to heaven and smile.

Thank you, Jesus.
Thank you for loving us, 
all of us, 
enough to carry the cross;
the cross You would give 
Your very life on.

Thank you for this precious little boy 
who has opened my eyes 
to see a new way,
a death to self, 
life-giving way.

May, I too, 
be willing to carry Your cross, 
to die to self,
that Your body, 
the church, 
might live.

As I head down
the same old hallway,
I carry a brand new truth
in my heart:

The only way to cross a chasm
is by way of the cross.~




~Stacy

(Re-posting from April, 2012)




Monday, March 25, 2019

The Message in the Heart~

God can speak anywhere.

Even
(and for me,
quite frequently it seems)
in a Facebook feed.

This morning as I was scrolling
through Facebook,
I came across a comment
that God used to
speak to my heart
in a precious,
yet extremely powerful way.

Someone had shared a meme
that simply said,
"Leave a 💛
and I will tell you
what I like most about you."

The "friend" who posted this
is a distant friend at best -
a son of a friend from years ago -
neither of whom I live close to,
neither of whom I have seen
or interacted with in years.

And yet, curiosity, -
or maybe just
flat out nosiness -
got the better of me.
Even though
I didn't know any of the people
who had commented,
I found myself extremely interested
to see the comments
this friend had left behind
for all who had chosen to leave a 💛.

Most were simple,
yet sincere replies:
You're funny.
You share my love of ____.
You're a hard worker.

But then,
there was this -
a comment that left me wishing
I knew the person
the comment had been written about:

You're a highly intelligent person who
uses their experiences to relate to others
instead of shutting down.

And I wondered . . .
how many of us
(highly intelligent or not)
are willing to take the experiences of life -
the good, the bad,
the happy, the sad,
the beautiful, and the ugly
and use them as unique ways
through which
we can relate to others?

I think if we are all honest,
we would have to admit,
our natural response,
especially to experiences of life
that seem anything but positive,
is either shutting down,
or unfortunately, lashing out.

Relating to others -
no,
we don't always stop to
consider this possibility.

And yet, we should.

One of the most valuable lessons
God has taught me
over the last several years of my life
is this:
Our experiences matter.

They matter
simply and profoundly
for the purpose
of us relating to
and connecting with
our Heavenly Father in ways
we can't even imagine possible.

And they matter
simply and profoundly
for the purpose
of us relating to
and connecting with
others in ways
we can't even imagine possible.

But, as I sit here typing this,
I want you to know
I feel the same conviction
or uneasiness that you might be feeling.

Yes, I have taken my experiences
and I have written about them
and I have shared them with the world -
but,
when it comes to relating face to face,
when it comes to opening the door of my home,
or opening the door of my heart -
one on one,
up close and personal,
I tend to shut down,
to shut the door (and bolt it tight)
and hide.

It's not easy to put ourselves out there -
especially for the sake of someone else,
when we ourselves feel
vulnerable and broken,
hurt and abandoned,
lost and confused,
overwhelmed and undone.

And yet,
you sharing your story
and me sharing mine -
each of us using our experiences
to relate to and connect with each other,
each of us discovering something
so familiar and so comforting
in our different experiences that are
so amazingly similar -
there is nothing quite like it.

This is community.
This is humanity
lived out at its best.

And as Christians,
who are called to live out our faith
and be a living expression of
the love,
the hope,
the healing,
the comfort,
the wisdom,
the strength,
the peace,
the power,
the forgiveness,
the joy,
(and so much more)
that is ours in and through
Christ Jesus, our Lord,
we cannot afford to miss this opportunity.

This is Christianity
lived out at its best.

All praise to the God and Father 
of our Master, Jesus the Messiah!
Father of all mercy!
God of all healing counsel!
He comes alongside us
when we go through hard times,
and before you know it,
he brings us alongside someone else
who is going through hard times
so that we can be there
for that person
just as God was there for us.
~2 Corinthians 1:4 (MSG)

And, let's not forget.
It's not just the "bad" experiences
that beckon for us to share them,
it is also the good.

Every experience has value.
Every experience can be used by God
to help or encourage another,
all the while helping and encouraging us
in the process of sharing them.

It's simply (and amazingly)
the way God made it.

When I take the time to relate to you
and you take the time to relate to me -
relationship happens.
True relationship.

It's not always easy.
It's not always neat and tidy.
It's not always without
its awkward moments or messiness -
but it is almost always worth it.

And,
just in case you're wondering,
no -
I didn't leave a 💛 behind.
The reason:
(visualize me with my head hung low)
I haven't taken the time
to "relate" to this person.
He would be clueless
as to what to reply.

And, I can't help wondering-
who else do I supposedly know
who would also be clueless?

How many people have I kept at bay?

How many times have I turned my heart away
instead of turning my heart toward?

How many times have I chosen
to shut down
instead of choosing
to use my experience
to help me better relate and connect
with God,
or to better relate and connect
with someone else?

It was just
a simple Facebook post,
a simple meme,
a simple 💛,
but in the comment
that was left behind,
God was faithful
to leave a precious,
yet extremely powerful
heartprint of His own.

And me,
I am so thankful He did.
It was a message
my own heart
so desperately needed
to be reminded of.




~Stacy

Saturday, March 23, 2019

The Bottom Line~

"Oh, I am sooooo sorry."

I have to admit,
this was a first for me.

Not apologizing,
(I've had way too many
apologizing moments
over the course of my life),
but apologizing
out loud
to a plant.
(Ever done that before?)

Oddly enough,
the events that led me here, -
apologizing to a plant -
were set in motion
several weeks earlier
when I had been the one
on the receiving end
of an apology.

A pilot light on my furnace
that refused to stay lit,
resulted in a service call
and a repairman
giving me a diagnosis
that started with this apology:

"Oh, I am sooooo sorry, Mrs, Sanchez,
but see this?
And, this?
These cracks in the ________________
(insert a furnacy sounding word here)?
And this white powdery build up?

These cracks can allow carbon monoxide
to leak into your home,
and this powder tells me
your heater isn't burning efficiently.

Bottom line:
You need a new furnace.
And unfortunately,
I am not comfortable
lighting this one for you."

Since warmer weather
was still three or four weeks away,
and since purchasing a new furnace
was not in my budget,
I decided to set up a makeshift bed
in the smallest room in my home,
and in the company of
a small space heater,
ride out the rest of winter
in this one room,
all cozy and warm.

Only,
in order for my new "bed" on the floor
to fit in this small space,
I had to re-locate a
rather large hibiscus plant
(which I had brought indoors
for the colder months)
from a sunny corner
to a dark hallway.

As I picked up the plant
to carry it to its new location,
I was surprised to see -
this precious gift from my husband
that had been flowerless all winter -
now had several blooms
starting to develop.

Fast forward to today.

With Spring finally starting
to make an appearance,
I decided to move back into my bedroom
and move the hibiscus
back into its previous sunny location.

Only,
when I went to get the plant
from the dark hallway,
I couldn't help but notice
the blooms were no bigger today
than they were
when I had moved the plant
several weeks ago.

"Oh, I am sooooo sorry."

The words of apology
came out of my mouth
before I even had time
to stop and realize
I was apologizing to a plant.

And yet,
the words seemed appropriate.
Even when spoken to a plant.

Especially when
gently lifting the plant
to move it,
the two tiny blossoms
fell to the floor.

(I know. 😔)

"If only I had kept you
in the light."

Yes, it was me again,
still talking to this precious plant.
And, as God is always faithful to do,
He took this opportunity
to talk to my heart, too.
(And now, maybe to yours, as well.)

Sometimes,
events in our life,
completely out of our control,
pick us up
from our "sunny place"
and set us down
in a new place that seems
cramped, cold, and void of light.

Grief.
Illness.
Divorce.
Unemployment.
Depression.

And yet,
even in these places,
even in the midst of
these dark circumstances and situations,
what you and I
have to remember,
and what you and I
can never afford to forget
is this:
If we have Jesus,
the Light is still there.

"I am the light of the world.
He who follows Me
shall not walk in darkness,
but have the light of life."
~John 8:12

Unlike my hibiscus plant,
which was powerless to seek out
a source of light on its own,
you and I
have all the power we need,
in and through His Spirit
to seek out,
to remain in,
to survive and thrive
in His light,
even and especially in
the darkest times of our life.

If we have Jesus,
if we continue to follow Him,
if we are faithful to keep
the eyes of our heart focused on Him,
we can still have
the Light of life.

Why?
Because He is our light.

The Lord is my light
and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
of whom shall I be afraid?
~Psalm 27:1 (NKJV)

The people who sat in darkness
have seen a great light.
And for those who lived
in the land where death
casts its shadow,
a light has shined.
~Matthew 4:16 (NLT)

But you are a chosen generation,
a royal priesthood,
a holy nation,
His own special people,
that you may proclaim
the praise of Him
who called you out of darkness
into His marvelous light.
~1 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness 
doesn't extinguish the light.
~John 1:5 (CEB)

Because of Jesus,
no matter where we may find our self -
in the grip of sin,
in the grip of fear,
in the grip of death,
in the grip of sorrow,
in the grip of uncertainty,
His light is still there.

All we have to do
is keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

All we have to do
is allow His light
to infuse us,
to illuminate us,
to encourage us,
to nourish us,
to comfort us,
to sustain us.

But . . .
if we don't -
if we don't
purposefully and intentionally
choose
to stay in His light -
just like my poor plant,
we will fail to grow,
and worse yet,
we may even wither up,
and die.

The bottom line:
We need Jesus.

And as hard
as it is
to admit this to ourselves sometimes,
this is also the bottom line:
It's not the situation or circumstance
that keeps us in the dark,
it's our response to it.

Now that my plant
is back in its sunny place
right by the corner window,
I'm hopeful new blooms will come.

And I have no doubt,
if you and I
will keep walking in His light,
over time,
even in the darkest of places,
we will bloom again, too.




~Stacy