I must admit to sipping a strong cup of coffee with Splenda and cream at the moment. The extreme weather changes of the past few days brought about the need for caffeine... filling my Pooh mug twice (vintage Pooh, of course).
I wish I could say all the Christmas decorations are put away (and yes, it is hard for me to put them away each year as they offer so much beauty to the house). However, I pulled most of them into the living room and dining area and there they sit... a huge mess waiting to be carefully packed away.
I have learned from many late November days that the ease of Christmas decorating has a lot to do with how carefully the items had been packed the year before.
Although I am much better, I'm still easily fatigued so I turned my back (literally) on those rooms and got ready for bed early last night. There was a heavy rain pounding against the window which enhanced the coziness of being inside.
I had printed the last e-mail from Laine's Letters and I'd picked up the Elizabeth George book I had been re-reading (for what seems the hundredth time). After fluffing the pillows, crawling between flannel sheets, and pulling the quilt up to my neck (that was a cold rain)... I finally felt relaxed.
I should have been beginning the book I need to review soon but my soul needed this particular Elizabeth George book. She wrote about beauty... beauty in our souls that will be manifested in beauty of relationships and beauty in our homes. I had been pondering beauty lately (Christmas does that to me), which is why I pulled this particular book off the shelf. Laine's most recent "Letter" (e-mail) spoke to where I am living right now, too... peace in times of turmoil.
Rain has always relaxed me and caused sleep to come quickly. Would you believe I fell asleep around 9:00 and didn't have my first cup of coffee until 9:00 this morning? I guess I was tired! There comes a time with a cold or flu when one is feeling better and forgets they still need extra rest. So, I'm sitting here in front of my computer instead of at church!
Not only have I been pondering beauty but also hope... for some reason, the word "Hope" has been coming to my mind all week. Perhaps it is because we are nearing a new year surrounded by more outer turmoil than we have known in generations.
Instead of fear, He Who Created Me is already whispering... Hope. Fear... and Faith... and Hope cannot dwell together, Fear will trump the others if allowed to take root and grow.
Oh, I do admit to fleeting fits of fear. Hmmm...try saying that quickly three times. Anyway, it is not the kind of fear that quickly comes upon us, say when we hear the siren in the distance and a loved one is one the way home, or a bill arrives which is more than expected. Those fears are common to man.
No, I'm talking about the fear that takes root within us and sets up a home in our soul. When fear becomes a nagging shadow in everyday life. I used to deal with that kind of fear quite often. One of the blessings of having gone through long and deep trials is having taken the axe to the root of that fear.
I know it could easily become a part of me again if I did not spend at least a little time each morning in His presence (even on those days when I don't feel Him there). I cannot conquer fear on my own, no matter how hard I try or how many verses are memorized... or prayers of "HELP" shouted to Heaven.
That root of fear can only be taken out by Relationship... knowing Him. For it is Perfect Love that casts out fear... not my imperfect actions but His Perfect Love. Knowing I may not understand what is happening in my life, not trusting in my own abilities... but trusting in the very Character of God.
I have mentioned before that my mother was turned off to Christianity due to legalism in her early years. Although she later came to know Christ as Saviour, she never was able to find the peace He offers. Years of letting the actions of others get in the way of knowing Him personally brought about a callousness which Peace was not able to break through.
My prayer for everyone reading is the ability to look past relationships with people, past hurtful trials in your life, past circumstances which scream out impossible odds... and to ask Him to become real in your life. Ask that He who was born in a stable, whose birth we have just celebrated, who offered himself as the Lamb of God to pay a ransom for us... make Himself real in your circumstances. Fear will be trumped by His presence.
I love the part of the movie, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe where Aslan tells the girls the White Witch knew only part of the law, she didn't understand that the sacrifice given in the place of another would break her powers... and where it was Winter and never Christmas... Spring would return... a true Resurrection of Life and... Hope.