The Words

The words that we hear

Influence the people we become.

There is no way around that as a child….

But then there is the process of becoming an adult,

And the moments of awakening you may be fortunate enough to reach.

You are influenced by the words you choose to let in, you influence the world with the words you send forth and share, and you may negate the power of any words aimed at you or nurture them in your heart and soul. Don’t grow and nurture the vitriolic words that bring you down.

Nurture in your heart the words that help you grow as a person, just like a flower grows toward the sunlight.

This thought comes to me on this Holy Week as we head toward Easter weekend, and I feel I’ve been neglecting my faith.

Perhaps a change is coming, or maybe this is just a phase. Hopefully, we are near the end of COVID’s rule over our lives, and I can get back to fellowship with my church friends instead of watching church or talking to heads on a screen when I actually choose to participate in Book Club. The fellowship sometimes feels two- dimensional in this era, but of course, that’s just me being like a stubborn child when my routine is upset and the things that I like change. So, I’ll ask forgiveness for that, but I will not judge myself for the way that I am.

The stories of the love of Jesus fed my childhood imagination. The judgment of my childhood church stifled my growth. Nonetheless, I am past that paradox and I hold the stories of Jesus dear.

On this Easter weekend, I feel it is helpful to think of what Jesus would do. He would live my troubled son no matter what. He’d work to get along with those who seem difficult to take. I don’t always feel up to it, but it’s worth a try.

I started today listening to a positive affirmations recording. It was an awesome start to my day. I don’t feel very churchy lately, but I am seeing the benefits of putting the right words in our mind. So I’m going to try to frame my life with words of gratitude.

That’s where I am this Easter, 2021.

Christmas Memories: No, I’m no Angel, but Sometimes My Prayers are Answered. #advent #faith #christmas memories

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This time of year brings back all kinds of memories. I volunteered to take a Bible verse and write a devotion to go in my church Advent devotional.  The memories were easy; the challenge was training my thoughts around a scripture as well.  Here’s the result.

Christmas Memories

Scripture- Psalm 16:11 “You show me the past of life.  In your presence there is fullness of joy; in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” 

Advent season is a time for many memories.  Opening the door to the past, I think of my first Christmas memory.  Mom gave me a new red, velvety dress and pressed my hair in curls.  I was seven and we lived in Virginia.  Well, she dressed me up all pretty but it seems I caused her some embarrassment, plugging my ears and yawning a lot during the musical service.  Maybe I just wanted to be in the nursery with my little brother.   Despite my lack of decorum, we went home and Mom, Dad, and my little brother spent time listening to the record player together as I fell asleep watching the candles flicker, waiting for morning.  As close as I am to Mom, it’s odd that this is my first Christmas memory!  Yet what matters is that we enjoyed our time together as a family, my immature behavior was forgiven, and the occasion was still joyful.

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Then there is the memory of two years later being allowed to go into the ICU on Christmas Eve to see my dad through the glass.  *He’d had surgery on his esophagus and was in critical condition, but ultimately, lived.  It was a rough Christmas, but friends and neighbors all over shared their Christmas joy and cheer with us for the weeks he was hospitalized.  I was overwhelmed; we’d only known many of them for just one year.  Years later, as an adult, Dad said he saw me look through that window, and it felt as if he was visited by an angel giving him assurance.  Being told this made me feel really special.  I didn’t realize I could be so important to him.

While I recall many who have given over the years to share their joy and Christmas spirit with my family and with me, it is as deeply rewarding to do this for others.  I had a few opportunities to do so when I worked in retail.  I missed church service working late one Christmas Eve, and was anxious to get home to give three-year-old Austen his new tricycle.  Yet, I found joy in making one customer so happy when I found her a sought after TV in the stockroom, that she hugged me, saying, “God bless you.”   This was two minutes before closing time.  I talk about how retail zapped my Christmas spirit year after year, but this woman’s happiness and relief truly warmed me spiritually, and my son was still happy when I got home!

 

Prayer:  Lord, when I look back, please help me to see the good in all that I have endured, the lessons learned, the moments when I was someone else’s light in the dark whether I knew it or not, the many times that I was shown how much I was loved.  Help me to share that love and joy with others, for there is no greater pleasure.  Please help me to see that the goodness you have bestowed on me all my life will continue, for with faith in you, dear Lord, comes the knowledge and assurance that I will always be loved.

*Addendum:  If you were wondering, my father’s esophageal issue was due to a history of binge drinking and alcoholism.  He sought sobriety and finally, it stuck, after he stayed in a 30-day rehab when I was 20.  Almost thirty years later, he is still firm in his recovery.

tunnel-1484554_1280Light at the end of the tunnel.  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.