Tag: plans

HOPE ! for 2021

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I once coined a definition of HOPE to be Hanging Onto Pending Expectations.

With Covid I suspended most of my expectations for the year 2020.  Did you too?

Did things you had expected to achieve, celebrate, and get done during the year get moved to a back burner and then reevaluated or even canceled as the pandemic went on and on?

It seems odd to me then, that now, many of those expectation have returned, upgraded to a “pending” status.

What seems strange, is that we are in a worse place now with Covid cases than we were in the spring and summer – when we thought we were in the middle of the pandemic and close to it being over.

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Is it simply because the calendar page has been turned there is more hope?

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God designed this world and put us in it to learn from it. To learn about Him and to learn about ourselves. And one thing we see here is the cycle of seasons. There is a time and a purpose for different seasons here on the earth and also in our lives.

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We have a time to blossom, a time to grow and be fruitful, time to let go of and harvest, a time to rest and regroup and store energy for the next coming season of blossoming, productiveness and fruitfulness. It’s an ongoing cycle.

So there has been an imposed season of rest during this coronavirus for many of us.

I have lot of respect for and appreciate those Frontline workers who have kept our grocery stores open, our streets safe, our water and electricity running, and our hospitals working to help and heal people. If you are one of those, thank you!

But for many of us it has been a time of sequestering. I’m living within the walls of our home with no immune system, minimizing outside exposure while awaiting a kidney transplant. And although I don’t know when, I’m hopeful there will be an end to the down time.

Not for the sake of getting back to what we used to call normal. But because I trust what I’ve learned by observing this beautiful world that God has given us. That something more is coming.

As I look out the window from my exercise bike every morning I appreciate blue – the blue of the sky that was taken away for many weeks with the gray of smoke and falling ash from wildfires in my state. I appreciate green – although the grass has turned yellow and brown, the pine trees are a deep green and remind me of life.

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Many people have expressed a newfound appreciation for things we used to take for granted.  How about you?

What are you thankful for – even in this time of loss?

When the time comes, I believe we will bring all the stored-up wisdom from the lessons learned in our down time, and move forward into a new productive time – seeing all the blessings God has placed in and around our lives.

Jeremiah spoke these famous words to a people who were going into captivity.  Theirs was to last 70 years.  I believe our time will be over sooner than that.

Here lies our HOPE:  “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11

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God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways

When I woke up, my throat was dry and sore. My head was stuffy and my nose was running. I began reorganizing my day so I could get the kids off to school and then snuggle back into my warm bed for several hours of recuperative rest.

There are not many things that would have thwarted this endeavor. But, when I called out to my youngest son to wake up and he responded with a raspy, croupy voice, that was one of them. I got out of bed and ran a tub full of hot water to make a steam room, and got him in there. Silently, I hoped my plans of sweet slumber would only be slightly delayed.

A trip downstairs to look at the calendar revealed that he was not buying the hot lunch selection offered at school, necessitating making him a lunch. AND that it was Band day, meaning an extra heavy load for him to carry. As I started the lunch, his friend and walking buddy phoned to say he was ready to go early. Since Collin was not ready and the steam would take a little while to work, I told his walking buddy to go on without him. Now the prospect of making him walk to school, late, alone, and carrying his trumpet was too much. The obvious solution: I should drive him.

I made his breakfast and took it on a tray upstairs to the steam room. He was sounding much better. After making his lunch and filling his backpack with various permission slips and homework papers, I resigned myself to get dressed.

In 20 minutes, he was looking, feeling, and sounding fine. With one last glance at my now coiffed covers, we were off.

my-lakeRight by the school is the lake I usually walk around for exercise and inspiration. While it had not been my plan for this morning, (remember my dreams of snugly slumber?) the fact that I was up and dressed and all the way to the school left me no acceptable excuse.

Even though walking the lake is something I really enjoy and something I know is good for me. I can come up with a myriad of excuses to avoid actually doing it. But God seems to know when I need it most. And when he wants to teach me something. Being close to nature makes me look and listen more intently to what He might have to say. So forgetting my sore throat, I began walking.

dahlia-2823975_640Not even a quarter of the way around the lake, I stopped to admire a beautiful dahlia. This tall blossom had grown huge and strong and boldly faced the sun. I remembered how many flowers bend to grow towards the sun; some even track the sun as it moves across the sky each day. I began noticing that other plants had oriented themselves towards the sun too. Not only the flowers, but some bushes had obviously sent more branches out in the direction of the sun.

What a lesson!

How often do we stand tall and face the Son? And how often do we shade ourselves a bit? Are we afraid of what His true light would reveal?

Facing the sun/Son is saying, “I am ready to receive what you will give me.” The flower receives sunlight that helps it live and grow. We receive life and growth and so much more from the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. God is prepared to send down His grace, forgiveness, love, peace, joy, guidance, direction, protection. We need only turn to face Him.

This flower, looking full into the face of the sun, reminded me of the words to a song I love:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of the world will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace

©1922 Helen Lemmel

As I continued around the lake I realized the truth of the statement in Isaiah 55:8-9 “God’s thoughts are not our thoughts, His ways are not our ways…”. My thought had been to stay in bed, hidden from the sun. But God knew I needed the healing power of facing and focusing on the Son. Being up and out had cleared my head and encouraged me for the day. I am so glad I walked around the lake and saw that dahlia.  So glad I can trust that He knows what I need better than I do.  So can you.