This year is quickly drawing to a close ~~ that being said, it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness and hurriedness of celebrating the holidays. If your kids are young, there are classrooms to decorate and parties to volunteer for; performances to attend and costumes to sew up. If your kids are adult and grown, there are meals to prepare and rooms to fill; decorations to spread and gatherings to attend. Amidst all this, you may have your husband’s annual events to participate in and your own workplace festivities to join in.
Run here. Run there. Exhaaaaale, Girlfriend!
Take a minute ~~ take a breather ~~ reflect with me for just this captive moment in time …
If you took an inventory of the Life Lessons and changes (especially the unexpected ones) that you experienced this year, what three words would describe those changes that God has brought about in your life? I mean really ponder this in your heart and mind ~~ as our Scripture verse above encourages us to allow God to transform us by changing the way we think, “how” has He done that through you this year?
As I sat down to think this through, I must admit that I wrestled with even allowing myself to process this. Because in order to thoroughly appreciate “what” God has done, I had to admit that He knew BEST all along ~~ even while I was kicking and screaming. Note: I didn’t literally kick and scream ~~ at least, not out loud. “Wink!”
My three words to answer this question are: grace, love, and compassion.
The grace of God has been poured out upon me this year through the kindness and immeasurable generosity of those who have helped me during the recovery from these major surgeries and after. So many times I was frustrated with the painstakingly sloooow progress that my body experienced ~~ I’m not accustomed to having my body not respond upon demand. But God placed the right people to give me the right words to remember His grace was and is sufficient for me.
2 Corinthians 12:9 (Amplified) but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation; for My power is being perfected and is completed and shows itself most effectively in your weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may completely enfold me and may dwell in me.
I also learned “how” to be gracious ~~ truly thankful and full of gratitude ~~ for the good works of others on my behalf. To receive the gift of goodness from others causes me to want to do more for those who need it during their “moment of need.” Because my own heart has been filled, I desire to fill others to overflowing.
So I get it ~~ this river of life flowing out of me ~~ is the grace of God that has been lovingly shared by others and has tapped in on my own supply to share with “those coming up behind me.”
The love of God demonstrated towards me through the skillful hands of the surgeons and medical personnel that cared for me before during and after my procedures can never be overlooked or taken for granted. He provided for me the very BEST of care ~~ not merely from an external perspective, but from an emotional angle as well.
When I thought I could perform or do physical things that I “shouldn’t” expect to do, they loved me enough to be honest and set me straight on my crazy expectations. This is “humbling,” so say the least. But when I often came to terms with the fact that God in His Wisdom was “protecting” me from myself, I had to step back and receive this love.
Now when I experience someone’s rude behavior, I actually try to love on them ~~ they’re dealing with issues that are unseen. And if my gesture of love can contribute to their restoration and wholeness, I’d prefer to build up than tear down. For it is in “fear” that we forget to love the unloveable, and it is in “fear” that we forget “how” to love.
1 John 4:18-19 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.
Compassion is sincere and authentic and genuine. I’ve experienced “pity,” and so I know that is NOT the same as compassion. Compassion runs deep down in the soul of an individual and overflows with an authenticity and sometimes at the risk of being transparent. I’ve had the opportunity to be the recipient of compassion from Sisters-in-Christ who embraced me to calm my fears before my surgeries. They wiped away my tears that flowed from by fears. They prayed with me and for me ~~ visited me and fed me. They watched me progress from walker to cane then finally to independence. Even now as I scribble these words, I tear up to think of how compassionate their acts of faith helped me stay together during those difficult times.
Compassion bends down ~~ as the manner of the Good Samaritan.
Luke 10:30-37 Jesus replied with a story: “A Jewish man was traveling from Jerusalem down to Jericho, and he was attacked by bandits. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him up, and left him half dead beside the road. “By chance a priest came along. But when he saw the man lying there, he crossed to the other side of the road and passed him by. A Temple assistant walked over and looked at him lying there, but he also passed by on the other side. “Then a despised Samaritan came along, and when he saw the man, he felt compassion for him. Going over to him, the Samaritan soothed his wounds with olive oil and wine and bandaged them. Then he put the man on his own donkey and took him to an inn, where he took care of him. The next day he handed the innkeeper two silver coins, telling him, ‘Take care of this man. If his bill runs higher than this, I’ll pay you the next time I’m here.’ “Now which of these three would you say was a neighbor to the man who was attacked by bandits?” Jesus asked. The man replied, “The one who showed him mercy.”Then Jesus said, “Yes, now go and do the same.”
This Good Samaritan had deep compassion for a soul that was in need ~~ and he responded. I have learned that you cannot do that without love.
Jesus has compassion for all mankind ~~ He came down ~~ and all in the name of love.
Yes, I can say that I am forever changed ~~ and that God has and continues to do a good work in me. For we are all work in progress, Girlfriend.
2 Corinthians 13:11 Dear brothers and sisters, I close my letter with these last words: Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other. Live in harmony and peace. Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
What three words would you say describe the maturity or changes you have grown into this year, Sister? What changes would you like to see in your life? Ask God for the strength to grow and go there, and be ready for the Assignment that awaits you!
I love you to Heaven and Back, Girlfriend ~~