If I could be permitted to generalise about Winter, I’d say it’s barren. Nothing compared to Spring for sure. Trees bare of leaves, gardens bereft of colour. Or so I thought. Venturing out to my garden between rain showers I discovered in a little corner a burst of colour. Some fiesty toadstools had taken occupation. Bright red and orange defiant of the surrounding bleakness. Winter may be a season when much of the growth is hidden underground, but there’s still colour and beauty to be found.
It’s the same when we face a hard season in life. There’s still colour – blessings to be found. Sometimes we just need to look a little closer, a little harder and we will see them. We can take comfort, rest too, in the knowledge that no matter the season, God is there with us.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
I stood at the door, baby in arms, seeing off my visitors. The closing conversation was of me telling them how blessed I was with my little chap. He’s sleeping through the night, easy to wind and a dream to settle. All in all he’s a little honey that I so love and enjoy. But as I closed the door on the visitors I had to smile at the paradox. You see these were not my usual visitors of friends or family. These were my son’s early intervention team for his development and care. You see my little bundle of joy needs a little extra help and care at the moment and the path is not always easy.
Joel Osteen calls it the blessing and the burden. With blessings comes burdens. The promotion at work comes with it more responsibility. The bigger house with more to clean, the overseas trip comes with the arduous plane trip. It’s part of the contradiction of life, that oft-times a blessing comes with a burden. For me the blessing of my son comes with the weight of extra medical appointments.
When we look in the Bible we find many examples of the same. Mary – blessed with carrying the Son of God also had to carry the burden of the social stigma of being unmarried while pregnant. After the birth of Jesus she then being a refugee in Egypt. David too had the blessing of being anointed King but that meant his life was often put in danger.
The important thing to do is to keep our focus on the blessing and not on the burden. It’s about cultivating a heart of gratitude. Focusing on what there is to be thankful for. When we focus on the blessing the burden becomes less.
In Kristene DiMarco’s song Redemption are the lyrics “The darker the night, The brighter the day, The fiercer the fight, The stronger the faith, So I place my hope in You.”
The burden makes the blessing even more special. Continue reading
Sometimes life is just plan tough, and exhausting and stressful. Even a day off to see a movie became arduous as a migraine pounded (payback for the midday movie perhaps?!). It was easy to feel lost in the mountain of laundry or overwhelmed by the length of the to-do list not to mention the email inbox!
And then something as sweet and precious as your eight year old’s card to the baby to come captivates you. It reminded me of the important things in life. It also had the refreshing encouragement of reminding me that God wants to be part of these hard days, these tough days. My son had used the words “let the Lord be with you baby.” How right he is! That’s it in a nutshell. In these hard days, in the tough days we have a choice to invite, involve and let the Lord be with us. And with us He desires to be.
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion.” (Isaiah 30:18)
No School Gala day is complete without the Candyfloss stand. Beautifully spun sugar on a stick, softly coloured pink and giving you the feeling you are eating a raspberry flavoured cloud. All sweetness and light! Attending the boys’ school fair I diligently queued for the freshly spun cotton candy for my 7 year old. Surprisingly he didn’t like it, and not wanting to let the sugar confection go to waste, I finished it off. It was still everything I remembered from my childhood. Light, sweet, definitely sticky and naughtily delicious.
That I then spent the rest of the day singing the lyrics to the Candy Man was probably a combination of the sugar high and nostalgia! Still, happy days when you’re singing words such as “who can take a sunrise, sprinkle it with dew, cover it with chocolate and a miracle or two…” or “who can take tomorrow and dip it in a dream”
The answer…”The candy man can cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good”
The real answer though, to the question – is God. God who creates the sunrise and the sunset, the rainbow and the rain. It is God who holds tomorrow and gives us dreams. It is God who mixes our days with love and goodness.
“Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)
Our God is a good God – always! And as much as the Candy man in the song delights in making amazing confections, so does God delight in showering us with love and blessings. Sometimes the blessings are obvious, like a sunset that paints the skies and sometimes they are a little more obscure, like the dew that rests softly on a flower or leaf.
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)