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I have always been a "free spirit" - an artist at heart, and maybe some people would say I am slightly eccentric (although, I don't think I am!). I think differently than other people - in a more circular fashion (rather than linear), and, when I was younger, I didn't ever feel like I completely "fit" anywhere.
As I've gotten older, I've learned to appreciate these traits that God has given me, I have begun to see how He is using these traits in me to serve others. For awhile, I just considered myself a "late bloomer" - with my beauty intensifying over time (and, no, I'm not talking about society's definition of beauty). But, I understand that wasn't completely correct either - as I began blooming when it was God's time - not society's time, not my time, but HIS time.
Now, I don't know how long this series of commercials have been running, but, I recently saw a Dove commercial where they touted their "campaign for real beauty". I couldn't help but wonder what that was about. Is society finally realizing that beauty is more than model looks and a personality that conforms?
What is real beauty?
You know, I've never really thought much of my natural hair. When I was younger, I was constantly wishing it was thinner or had less body or lighter or darker or straighter, or easier to perm. I was always thinking that this or that person's hair was nicer/better/more lovely than mine. From the time I was 14 or 15, I was coloring my hair - usually a different color every time. It was never exactly what I wanted, so I just kept longing for something different.
Actually, up until a few years ago, my hair was usually blonde most of the time - although I'm a natural brunette. I had it quite short for several years - it was just so much easier to manage - and I also regularly went it for my hair dresser to "thin" it - so that I could "do something with it".
All that changed last summer. When I found out I was going to have chemo, I went to my hair dresser and asked her to shave it - just in case I went crazy and had a problem with it falling out. I didn't expect that I would - I figured I would be just fine - since I usually didn't do more than run a brush through it and throw it into a pony tail (I started growing it out about six months before that).
In our backyard, we have an apple tree. Every spring the apple tree blooms, and every fall, it produces wonderful red apples.
While I was working in the yard recently, I noticed something that I had not seen before. The "trusty" apple tree was blooming. But, this year it was different.
You see, the apple tree is only blooming on once side of the tree. The other side is almost completely bare of blooms (there are a few, as you can see in the picture, but, the south side of the tree is "bloom heavy") I looked at the apple tree in the yard next to ours, and that apple tree is exactly the same - blooms on the south side, almost no blooms on the north side.
Recently, I had a conversation with a sister about stress. I had just finished reading "In Pursuit of Peace" by Joyce Meyer, and one of the chapters in the book was about stress - and how your stress (and my stress) come from within ourselves. God didn't ever intend for us to live under the stress we labor under. That is our doing.
This was such an interesting thought for me. Since I was diagnosed with lupus, the doctors have continually warned me about stress. I was to avoid stress [essentially] at all costs. At the time, I would just laugh (alright, I tried to not laugh out loud at this thought, although, I'm sure I was smiling).
But, after reading that chapter in the book, I realized that she was right. Stress is not a necessary part of our lives. (now, this isn't normal stress - that is healthy - but, 99.5% of the population is under far greater stress than what is "normal").
Have you ever had a time in your life when everyone told you that you couldn't do what you were planning to do? Did they remind you of your previous failures, your inadequacies? Did people tell you that you were crazy for considering whatever it was? At the same time, could you hear God's voice, feel the Spirit moving you - propelling you towards whatever it was?
Did you give up and listen to those around you?
Did you persevere and listen to God's voice?
Friends, no matter what happened then - there is always hope *now*. Do you feel something deep within you calling you to do something that is impossible in every one else's mind? Something that you could never do (according to them)? The bible is full of example of ordinary people defying reason and doing what couldn't be done. There is a "key" - a "secret" - to their success in those impossible endeavors.
we had quite a bit of excitement. My son and my niece were playing basketball
on the back patio, and my border collie, Te, was patrolling the yard. Then,
a commotion arose, the teens looked to see what was going on, only to find a
full grown, adult deer leaping the fence *into* our backyard, with Te quickly
turning to give chase. She chased the deer across the yard, within a foot of
the deer's back legs, and herded that deer right over the fence on the other
side of the yard.
I was working late, so my son came in, out of breath, and related the entire
story, along with his revelation that he didn't realize how big a deer really
was. We went out to look (the deer clipped the fence when she was exiting the
yard), and sure enough, that deer had dented our chain link fence. As we walked
over to examine the fence, Te got up from her position in the center of the
yard, and followed us over. She was wagging her tail, and I reached down and
told her what a good dog she was. Once she got that affirmation, she wandered
back to the center of the yard, wagging as she went, and quietly laid down in
such a way that she could keep her eye on everything happening in her territory.
As my son and I walked inside, a warm feeling entered my heart, a feeling that
I'm sure my border collie was experiencing as well. She had done what she was
*meant* to do. She had done what many years of careful breeding had refined
her to do. She was serving her purpose. And, she was confident that she had
done it well.
|Friday, February 25, 2005|
"Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O Lord, Renew them in our day. In our time make them known, in wrath remember mercy."
~ Habakkuk 3: 2
Throughout the Bible, even in some of the darkest times, and under the darkest circumstances, we can see one thing, over and over again...HOPE. Hope is important, and, as Christians, we are blessed to have the Holy Scripture beaconing us and reminding us each day that there is *always* reason to hope, no matter the season we are in!
Let''s take a closer look at this short verse....