“All of the answers on your math homework are wrong. You’ll need to do them over again," my fourth-grade teacher admonished.
I slumped in my chair. Unfortunately, staying after school to work on math had become a daily occurrence. To say I disliked math was an understatement.
Eventually, my stay-after-school days ceased, but one thing didn't cease. I still got problems wrong--life problems. You know how it is? Struggle to keep up with it all, do you best not to err and get it right. But sometimes, what we think is right, is wrong. Then we're frustrated when we have to go back and do things over again.
But, alas, let us look at another perspective to this dilemma. We may balk at the number of do-over's it takes to make something right. But, imagine Thomas Edison's frustration at the 10,000 attempts it took to make the light bulb work. Where would we be if he had given up, succumbed to failure? But he persevered and his “again and again” attempts paid off.
Now, here's a twist. If we pull apart the word, "again," and make it into two words, it becomes “a gain.”
So, if we don't give up and learn from our failures, we will have gained and not lost.
I wished I’d realized this as a youngster. But, years later I faced my fear of math when I applied to nursing school. "You'll have to pass a math entry exam," the nursing advisor said. Determined to succeed, I spent weeks studying, but happily passed the exam and was accepted into the program.
Life poses different struggles for each of us. What is an “again” struggle for you, and how have you—or will you—work toward a “gain” because of it?
May you tackle your “again” moments and discover the “gain” therein!
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” – Galatians 6:9
Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.com
When I was young, I rarely gave any thought to getting old. Like many youths my age, I thought I was invincible.
A recent visit to a cemetery was a sobering reminder that my timeline on this earth (nearly seven decades) is now shorter rather than longer.
Meandering through the burial grounds and visiting the sites of those who had preceded us, I thought of my ancestors' lives and also wondered about the stories that could be told of the hundreds of others buried there.
The oldest cemetery headstones and markers were from a time in history when smallpox and other diseases often resulted in early mortality. It was sad to see the headstones of children and infants, lives lost much too soon. Many graves were of veterans who lost their lives fighting for our country. Some were lucky to have lived many years.
I thought of my own mortality. What will my story be? What will it sound like when I am gone? Will what I have done in my life make a difference?
I hope I will have been an encouragement to others through my faith in God and that I might lead others to hope and joy, despite life's trials and tribulations.
In the big scheme of things, we’re only here for a little while. So, I hope to accomplish what I had set out to do, to make the best use of every twenty-four hours I have, and for my family and friends to know I love them unconditionally. I hope my story will be a good one.
So, what’s your story? What will it sound like? What would you like to accomplish in the time that you have?
My prayer is that you find goodness in each day, and that your story will be extraordinary and beautiful!
"The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God shall stand forever." - Isaiah 40:8
"Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away." - James 4:14
We pulled out of the driveway for our road trip. "Look at the sky," I remarked to my husband. "Not one cloud. It almost doesn't look real." My husband nodded in agreement. Indeed, residing in the Southwest, we enjoy many sunny days.
But, as we headed from the desert terrain into the mountains, little by little, clouds began to appear. I was mesmerized at the way they seemed to congregate. Starting with a mere white puff, one after another, they expanded into a handful. Within the hour, it seemed as if they had called upon others to join the throng.
"The clouds are congregating," I chuckled. "I think they're having a party. How do they know where to go or what to do?" I marveled. "Odd. There appears to be a balance between their beginning and their end."
My husband, who had been a weatherman in the military, smiled. I knew he was resisting the temptation to go into a lengthy explanation about the science behind their formation. Instead, he kindly went along with my dry sense of cloud humor and silliness--a film-like glaze which often hangs over my reflective nature.
But as we ascended to a higher elevation, those same white, fluffy clouds began to transform to a misty gray color, then to pencil-gray, with numerous cloud "bottoms" turning to a dark charcoal. Weighted down with precipitation, they threatened to burst.
The darkness put a damper on the view--and on my mood. Why did clouds have to get in the way? Within moments, heavy rain pelted the windshield. Even with the wipers turned to high, it was futile for my husband to navigate due to the poor visibility.
Fortunately, he was able to pull off the road and we waited until the deluge subsided. But, this wouldn't be the last of the congregating clouds. Our destination would be a high-altitude mountainous region where daily thunderstorms and showers are common.
My husband would have gladly explained the science behind the rainstorms, but we both knew there is more to science behind those congregating clouds. Only the God of Creation could design their form and pattern to provide the water needed to nourish the earth.
Sometimes we complain when the weather doesn't cooperate with our plans. But our plans--and our ways--are not God's way. If the clouds need to congregate to "have a party," that's the way it has to be.
Then, after the storm, we rejoice as blue skies re-emerge and the sun comes out. May we be thankful to God for His Creation, and for all He has given to us, for days of sun--and days of cloud.
"Do you know the balancing of the clouds, the wondrous works of him who is perfect in knowledge." - Job 37:16
I cringed when I turned on my reading lamp. No way. I could tolerate spiders on occasion—but not this one. Its beady eyes seemed to look down at me as it hung from the ceiling above our bed.
Grabbing a flyswatter, I summoned my sleepy husband to take care of the intruding arachnid. With one solid whack, the spider was no more. Relieved, I went to sleep.
The next day, I discovered the spider wasn’t poisonous or dangerous. It was a common Wolf Spider—completely harmless.
Ironically, that evening as the sun began to set, I was surprised to see a spider web that stretched between two branches of the tree in our yard. But, it didn't look like any ordinary web. It glowed.
I stared in awe, as each strand of the web radiated with iridescent colors (imagine the the clarity and brilliance of a prism). I was taken aback by its beauty.
I thought of the lowly spider, how there was one less in the world because of my fear, the wonder of the web, and God’s design for every living thing. It was a lesson I'd never forget.
Photo courtesy of Vecteezy.
When you use a credit card or other electronic payment, you might see a “transaction approved” notification appear as your payment goes through. Or, if you’re like me, you might not pay much attention to it unless the card reader malfunctions.
We’re so accustomed to being surrounded by advanced technology that we don’t always realize the extent to which we must be “approved.” Every transaction requires verification of our identity and account information (imagine the complexity of the computer system to carry out such transactions.
But in our lives there is another type of approval we need, too--personal approval. (But it’s not as easy to access as the card reader at the grocery store checkout). At a youthful age, we often question ourselves, asking: Am I worthy of acceptance? Am I good enough? Do I measure up?
For a long time I sought approval from others to validate my self-worth. Then, finally, I realized I no longer needed that kind of approval. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I was accepted—“approved”—just the way I was.
Yet, if there was anyone who was not accepted or approved of, it was Jesus. He did no wrong and had no sin, but was condemned, arrested, and sentenced to death. He paid the price for my Salvation—and yours—on the cross.
Thankfully, Salvation is much simpler than electronic technology! God doesn’t require an affidavit to prove who you are, and you don't need to verify an account.
Salvation comes by accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior—and believing He died on the cross to save you from the sin of the world.
Jesus accepts you just as you are—His “stamp of approval” is written across your heart.
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.