I've been deep in thought for a couple of weeks now.Inside my head a lot.I know part of it is due to my God-given personality.I'm a pondering soul.A deep thinker.Have been since I was a small child growing up in hot Sacramento.I knew it may get"worse"upon entering counseling,which I did a few months back(she's a wonderful Christian who is tremendously helpful).But this is a worsening condition that has been good for me.:)I've dug deep into the darker corners of my mind where I placed all the unpleasantness of a traumatic childhood marred by chaos,abuse and neglect.But leaving it in a seldom visited corner of my mind did not promote healing.Instead it began to fester.It took on a life of it's own.Stray tendrils of negative happenings began to send out shoots much like the ivy that will over run a garden's beauty if neglected and allowed to run amok.And the enemy of my soul rejoiced.He relished with glee all the ways this childhood marred who God made to me to be.He laughed with abandon at the ways it's trauma produced anxiety within me and caused me to fear.To get stressed easily.But all the while God was still watching.From before the beginning of my life God was watching.He knew what would happen to me and chose to allow others in my life to also exercise their free will and choice,a double edged sword granted to us all.And when the time was right and I had reached a crisis point in my life God stepped in and led me to just the right counselor.This was after following Him for 31 years.31 long years of stops and starts.Of trial and error.31 years of blessing and and hardship.And He began to unearth those deeper things I thought I had dealt with.Deep pockets of pain and inferiority still needing a touch from the Master's hand.His words,via the counselor,became like a perfect blending of oil and perfume to heal,soothe and then fragrance my trauma filled soul.Tears flow as deep thoughts and memories are brought to the surface and into the light of my Savior's presence.And with those tears come healing and renewed hope for my future.A renewed sense of purpose brought about by going deep and allowing Him to heal all those places darkened by trauma.For me it has been good to get inside my head.To ponder deep things.Painful things.To think long and deeply about what I have endured.For it has been to me the beginning of healing.And I know that by His grace and in His timing it will be completed.
"...being confident of this,that he who began a good work in you will carry it onto completion until the day of Christ Jesus." ~Philippians 1:6~NIV
For me,it always happens about this time every year.At least since moving to Oregon in 1991.My birthday,anniversary and Thanksgiving are over.These all happen about the last week of November.The hustle and bustle,the beauty and joy of Christmas and New Year's are past.And I'm left with,what feels often like dull,drippy and often dreary January.Gray skies for days and often weeks on end are the norm.Same with the rain.Storm after storm rolls in off the Pacific.I am not a meteorologist so I do not know why we get so much rain here in the winter.I just know that we do and it's this time of year that I begin to look forward to signs of spring.Winter may have only arrived less than a month ago on the calendar but I often begin to look forward for signs of spring.Any little sign will do.Any bit of hope of it's impending arrival.A bit of bright green poking it's head from under brown,winter weary earth.Will it be a crocus,a daffodil or a tulip?I wonder and my eyes continue to look about for signs of life.I begin to scan the trees for little bits of yellow-green fuzzy caterpillars.New growth that will eventually turn to flower and then leaf!My winter weary eyes and soul long for some color.Although the winter landscape has it's own monotone beauty I long for color,real color,brightness in otherwise dreary days.My life has often been like that when it's cavalcade of storms have rolled in.And there have been many at times and in different seasons as well.Unfortunately they could not be planned for often times.They hit without warning(like my husband's heart attacks in the past,or my bout with cancer).There was no way to prepare.Life became one long winter it seemed.A years long January.The past was a memory,the winter had settled in upon our lives,and I was longing for spring to once again reign down it's warmth and beauty upon our lives.But for awhile it was not to be.And at times I doubted.Doubted spring would return.Doubted even my Heavenly Father's love for us.And in some ways I am still waiting for spring.Life is not the same it was before.It's changed.Long winters cleanse the earth with it's sometimes torrential downpours.Heavy winds can often cause massive damage.The landscape of our yards and our lives changes.Leaves things looking different.I know that the view outside our windows have changed based on the storms that have come through off the Pacific.And the storms that have assaulted our lives personally have changed me.On both the inside as well as outside.I still continue to look for signs of life and spring in both our lives as well as the trees and soil outside our windows.And I know they will both come for I know that we have a God who can be trusted.And as spring follows winter in the natural world I know spring will arrive in our lives once again.And always on time.:) Blessings~Sharon
Last week(on Friday I think)Steve and I had a few errands to run.One of those was a stop by the Salem Public Library.As I climbed back in the van with my"treasures"(3 books for me and a movie Steve wanted me to see with him)I began to tell Steve just how much this all meant to me.How could something so simple as a trip to the library mean so much to this 48 year old woman?It all began in my childhood,a childhood marked by poverty.Mom was a single parent left to raise us kids on a very restricted"welfare"income.Granted we had food and shelter and clothes so in that respect we were most likely richer than much of the world's population.But by American standards we were quite poor.There was no car so summers were always spent at home for the most part.But that also meant no trips to the city library where my most favorite things in the world could be found!Books!Glorious books!When many kids took trips with their folks to such places I had to stay at home as the oldest and care for my younger sisters(and sometimes mom as well as she was physically disabled and mentally ill too I later found out).So after school and on weekends I was for the most part at home.I had a love of reading and learning that I could only get during school hours.For me that was tragic.I can see that now.For me it was a deprivation of the worst kind.I don't know if I saw it so clearly then for much of my childhood is a blank page that I have few memories of.But I do remember the longing for books and the sorrow I felt when I was not even able to purchase books from those Scholastic papers that were sent home with us weekly(or was it monthly?).It was a sadness that went deep.I had such a desire, a longing to smell that new book smell.To gingerly open that new(or even old/used) cover and enter the world I found within it's pages.To learn about this huge world God created or get lost in a story.But at that time,sadly, it was not to be.Which is why,now, at age 48,I find myself so thankful for trips to our local library.I find myself thankful for this computer to peruse the library's online catalog and request as much reading material as I have time for.I am filled with gratitude for a 16 year old vehicle that still runs very well so we may drive to that library and pick up that reading material or movie.I am thankful for legs that carry me into that library and back out to that van,arms carrying those word filled gifts.And this past Friday found me in just that state of mind.And body.Arms filled with treasures and heart full of joy.Full of gratitude.Full of life.The Bible says that"Hope deferred makes the heart sick but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life."My longing for books was fulfilled and I am so thankful to God for this simple but so lovely gift! Blessings~Sharon
Please keep my brother Chuck in your prayers.He's 62 years old and in hospital in California.They have done a colonoscopy and are running other tests.There is a bleed in his stomach and blood in his stool.They think the prostate cancer may have spread.:( I do not know for sure where he stands with the Lord and it is hard to speak with him as he is on so many medications.They make his speech slurred and it is hard to understand him.:(Thank you for your prayers on his behalf and his wife Faith's as well.
This is our sweet male cat"Shadow."We have had him since he was about 6 months old.He is just a few months over age 3 now.We found him at a cat and kitten rescue in Silverton,Oregon.And you cannot imagine how this ball of fur has blessed and enriched our lives here.When we went to look at the cats available he seemed to have the most personality of all of them.He was purring up a storm as we looked at him and he was reaching through the cage at us.It is as if he chose us rather than the other way around.:)He still purrs up a storm 2 and a half years later.And today he has to get caught up on his shots and treated for worms.I hope he continues to exhibit his usual charm with the vet like he does with us.When we feed and water him he looks up at us as if to say thank you.It's almost a look of cat-love and gratitude I see in those green eyes of his.And it melts me.:)He loves to chase Steve down and slap the backs of his ankles,calves or thighs in the hopes of Steve chasing after him.:)If I happen past he will reach out and slap my heel.I call it a love tap.When we nap or sleep at night Shadow will often jump on the bed and begin to purr.He will then settle down on one of our bellies and we will pet him till he's nearly asleep.With me he will often put out the"paw of possession"over my left hand,lay his head down upon my hand and go to sleep for awhile.This makes me smile in the night with contentment.His purring often sends me off into a deep slumber for which I am grateful.He's a smart cat and I am nearly certain he can tell time.He knows I am generally up at 6AM.If I am not he will bat the hose on my sleep apnea machine as if to say"GET UP!"LOL Or he will push open the bedroom door with such a flourish that it bangs rather loudly against the filing cabinet nearby!At first we thought it was due to him needing food or water.But we now know it is often his way of saying it's time for the changing of the guards.Time for me to take over so he can go to bed.:)He's such an incredible gift of joy to us.I would love to hear about your cats,readers of my blog,if you have cats.:)Have a great day everyone.
I was up early as usual this morning to write in my journal.I have discovered,over the years,that for me,I am better able to focus if I write out my prayers to God.That is not to say that I do not pray verbally for I do.But I primarily write Him"letters."As I was speaking to Him about the year,the week,the day ahead I asked that He would bless them with His favor and goodness no matter what may come.As I wrote that I pondered how ominous that sounded.:) But then I quickly remembered that each new season has both the potential for good and bad to happen.That's how life is for us all,in one form or another, on planet earth.Times of hardship and times of His obvious favor.As I thought on all this I told God that I,in all honesty,could not have complete confidence or faith that this next year would contain only good things and nothing bad.Walking through the things husband Steve and I have faced changes you.It definitely polishes away much of the confidence in self and makes one realize that apart from Him we can do nothing(John 15:5).I shared these feelings very freely with God and as I poured out my heart to Him in my journal I began to hear Him speak His word to me over and over again in my spirit"You crown the year with a bountiful harvest..."I knew it was in the Psalms so I looked it up and found this..."You crown the year with a bountiful harvest,even the hard pathways overflow with abundance."(Psalm 65:11).Oh how that encouraged me to know even if life gets hard we can know His abundant provision in the midst of the hardships!That His presence,His power and all that God is,will be available to us as His children to see us through the good times and the bad.That His bounty is a crown upon the year ahead and that even in the hard places His provision will overflow in abundance.Be encouraged child of God.He is for you and will be there with you whatever may come.