Stones of Help

Whether you’re saying “farewell” or “good riddance” we have one more day to make memories in 2022.

Like many of you, I’ve spent some time this week looking back over the last year. This Charles Dickens quote seems more apt than cliche:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

This is often the great tension of the Christian life. The juxtaposition of joy and grief. Trials and blessings.

Learning to hold these things side by side is part of this life’s journey.

I have learned to believe something very great this year. It is very personal. But I want to share it here in case it resonates with anyone who may ever read this.

God is for me.

This truth is so much bigger than God loves me. It is that. But it is so much more. It is about Him delighting in me. Championing me. Working things for my good and His glory.

The enemy will try hard to convince you otherwise. Don’t believe his lies!

That bad things happen doesn’t change this truth about how God feels about you. They are not mutually exclusive. God’s love can and does exist amidst the bad things of this world.

Here is a quote from James Bryan Smith I wrote in my journal earlier this year:

“I’m one in whom Christ dwells and delights.

I live in the strong and unshakable kingdom of God.

The kingdom is not in trouble and neither am I.”

The enemy will try hard to convince you otherwise. Don’t believe his lies!

One thing that helps me see the “best of things” in the “worst of times” is keeping a gratitude list. I write down (at least) one thing each day that I’m thankful for. Here are a few from 2022:

  1. The way the morning sun catches the crest of the cardinal and makes it glow.
  2. Keeping everyone and everything safe from the fire.
  3. Joy that overrides our grief.
  4. Eden & Vine – spiritual refreshment
  5. The marvel of a lunar eclipse.
  6. Sunlight in the forest.
  7. High Tea with old and new friends.
  8. Friends that pray for and check in on me.
  9. An encouraging card from a dear friend.
  10. Hugs from my grandson.
  11. Raindrops glittering in the morning sun.
  12. A text from my brother.

Each one of these and the many, many more that I did not share, are like cairns. Stacks of stones, my Ebenezers (stones of help), that keep me on track and remind me of the goodness of God.

We must continue chasing Beauty, Beloved. We must not allow the things of this world to entrap us in Doubting Castle with the Giant of Despair.

No matter what the new year brings, my prayer for you amid your everyday life is beauty for ashes, gladness for mourning, and praise for despair.

Shalom.

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