Swords and fox holes
Today is the day between Good Friday and Easter. When holidays come around that are about Jesus for Christians like Christmas and Easter, I know that we are often encouraged to focus on and reflect on what the holiday REALLY means to us. I have found there is one word that seems to resound in my mind each time. Hope. But today I started to think about what that really means. Hope from what? Hope for what? I could give you the Christian lingo of what that means. I could do that in my sleep. Hope for forgiveness, hope for salvation, which essentially is true. But what does that ACTUALLY MEAN? Maybe it’s the counselor mind in me that wants to pick it apart, not allow it to be vague and find out the REAL meaning of those words. So I started to think more… and this is what I came up with.
Me. I have hope that someday I will be rescued from myself. See I am a thinker. I am my own worst critic. Almost on a daily basis I am evaluating… what should I think about this situation, or that situation? Should I feel sad about this or that? Do I have a right to feel this or that? How should I respond? What did that person REALLY mean when they said to me whatever they said to me? I am able to over think just about anything. Sometimes my thoughts lead me to self-pity, sadness, sometimes I feel hopeless about the things I wanted in life, and sometimes I feel very alone, often misunderstood. I often feel like I am in a spiritual battle. Sometimes I feel like I need to battle for other people. I see their hurt and pain, and I want to do something about it for them. There are days, moments when think I need to pray more, do more, strive to be more like Christ in that person’s life. Sometimes I feel strength, determination, courage. Sometimes I feel the inner warrior in me come out. I can see myself as a fighter, swords drawn, ready to run into the battle. Fight for justice; fight my own tendency towards things that do NOT work for me. Like the end of an action movie… the ultimate battle, guns blazing, swords drawn, engaged in the fight. Ready to fight til the end! Yes! This is it! Victory!
But then…. There are the days. The energy, and/or desire to fight completely elude me. I find my internal fox hole, hide away from the fight, and decide I’m going to just stay there for a while. I am defeated. Down for the count. There is absolutely no fight in me. I find some mud to sit in, and actually just wallow in it for a while. In those moments, it seems like I will never be able to get back up and fight again. Defeat has become my friend. I do know, in the back of my mind that I can’t stay in this place. But at that time I know how to do nothing else, at least on my own.
This struggle, this is where Hope comes in for me. Hope that I don’t have to live in the mud that’s in the fox hole. That I may be there for a moment, but that Jesus loves me too much to leave me there. Hope that someday I won’t have this internal battle. I will be free from myself someday. Hope that there is JOY in the Lord that can be found. Hope that someday I will experience Joy forever. Whatever it is that you’re going through, you are NOT alone, and it is NOT forever. The Lord is with you. He won’t let you stay where you are. And someday we won’t be on this earth any more. We will be with Him forever. I hope this Easter you find true Hope!!!
II Corinthians 1:7, 11 “Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.”
Romans 5:5 “Now this hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”
- An age I never really wanted to be. 40 meant middle age. 40 meant a time for reflection. What has it all meant so far? What else do I want to do in life, and what in the world am I waiting for? To REALLY live the life that I want would take stepping out. Out of the world that others think is wise, out of the “norms” of what a 40 year old woman should be doing, at least according to society as a whole. 40 meant a time for new adventure.
I had been told several times that my plan to quit my job, take my six year old son, and board a plane to Panama to live for 6 months, where we knew no one, was a brave one. I didn’t think anything of it, at the time. But as the day came, I found myself lying on the floor of the Newark airport sick with anxiety. I was heading in to the great unknown, not just by myself but with my son. Not just for a ten day vacation but for 6 months! ‘What in the world have I done?’ crossed my mind more times than I could count. One of the things that I had always wanted to do was go on a mission trip. Now here it was. And I had to be brave, very brave. And I took that first step. Then the second step. And what started out as a terrifying adventure turned into the experience of a life time. Panama became a place where I left part of my heart. It was a place where I met people who I will never forget. It was an incredible journey of ups and downs that I would do again in a heartbeat (and that I will share more about in the coming days).
It’s been just over 3 years since my son and I boarded that plane. Life in Erie isn’t the same type of an adventure as living in Panama, but adventures lie here, even in this small town. But I ask myself, am I missing out on more because I’m fearful and not being brave? Am I missing out on opportunities, relationships, experiences because I lack the courage that it takes? Days… months… years fly by so quickly. It’s gone in the blink of an eye. Time passed that cannot be regained. One of my favorite sayings is Carpe Diem. Seize the day. I want to live that. I want to be courageous. I don’t want to miss out on a thing that God has for me, whether it be here in Erie, on the township where I live, or across the world.
What stops you from being brave? Are you missing out on anything because of fear? One of my favorite verses has been “For God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind.” II Timothy 1:7 If we shed our fear, how much easier will it be for us to embrace courage? The best experiences of my life are when I have been the most courageous. Shed fear…embrace courage.. I want to encourage you to live life to the fullest. Who knows what adventures may be lying right outside your door.
Welcome to Enchanting Eats! I hope that you are willing to come experience a journey with me. This journey will include some great eats, that are unique and originally written by myself. But also, it will include some encouragement that I want to pass onto you, as I face different challenges in life. I hope that we get a chance to get to know each other along the way. Thanks for stopping by. Please come back again soon!