Reflecting on Rain….

It’s been raining for almost two weeks, with thunderstorms rolling through our area. We badly need the rain since last winter was so warm. Yet it’s easy to allow the rain get you down. So I was drawn to this beautiful photo by my friend Lynda. I love how she captured the raindrop bouncing back off of the deck, with a hint of her lovely garden in the background. The few flower petals scattered across the deck remain steadfast, defying the rain. It’s easy to lose sight of the beauty beyond the pain, to focus on the negative at the expense of the positive. How often have you heard someone saying, ‘How could you spoil such a perfect day’? Yet it’s the person asking the question that is spoiling the day. As a young executive, I soon learned each day would be a mixed bag, some good, some bad. The only way to remain motivated was to focus on the positive. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s easier said than done. So I began to pray for an image, or a Bible verse, to hang onto to. I began to see the frightened disciples in the boat, in the midst of a storm. At first, I was disappointed. Really, God, really, things are not as bad as all that! Yet I stuck with it and claimed that image. So much of bad behavior results from fear, or our reactions to another’s fear. We were all stuck in the same boat, yet we were all safe in that same boat, with Christ asleep in the stern. Even when the heavens open and our boat may be tossed about, our Lord and God is with us, knowing that all we fear can be quelled in an instant. Take time today to embrace God’s love, without beginning or end, a love that drives out all fear. Pray for an image or word to encourage you, for a love letter from God. Allow the Holy Spirit to shine through you, to shine for those that travel with you in this life. Respond in love to their fears, rather than reacting with your own fear. And remember, even the worst storm is but a little thing to the same God that conquered sin and death on the cross. Text by Connie Chintall ©2012, Photo entitled ‘Water, Water Everywhere’ by Lynda Jeffers ©2012, used with her permission.

Reflecting on the Day After….

Thunderstorms rolled through the area last night, moving on and leaving us with a picture perfect September day. Many churches, including ours, offered special services in remembrance of September 11th. So I was drawn to this photo of the twin towers taken by my husband Mark over twenty years ago. On a day trip to New York City, we went to the top of one of the towers. The view of the city skyline was amazing. As we left, Mark lay down on the ground and took this photo looking up. He said it was the only way to take it all in. So today, the day after the anniversary, I wonder if looking up is the only way to take it all in. There is no human answer to what happened, or why it happened. We were living in the north of England on September 11, 2001. It was surreal to be so far away when something so frightening was happening here at home. Yet perhaps God provided us another view of what it means to live beyond terrorism. The English have long dealt with this fact of life. Our family was surrounded by love, with folks we barely knew asking after us and making sure we were comforted so far from home. Flowers were left at the gate of the post, or tucked into the fencing. What I heard most, or perhaps remember most, was the firm resolve that only love could conquer such fear. I used to think that hate was the opposite of love. Now I believe that fear is the opposite, or perhaps the absence of love. Love is like a light that blots out the darkness of fear. Yet such love is only possible through faith in God. Take time today to choose love over fear, to shine light on someone in darkness. Open your heart to their story and allow yourself to be vulnerable. And remember to look up, it’s the only way to take it all in. Photo by Mark Lindsey

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