In the wake of yesterday's post and disturbing world news, I must turn my mind away from the things out of my control and think upon the parts of my life that need to be brought into clearer focus. I am sitting here staring at the mounds of fresh tomatoes that I will be canning later today. I swear, they are bigger, plumper and juicier than they have been in seasons past. Nothing else in my garden has flourished like these tomatoes, and it dawns on me that I am blessed that we have had enough rain to bring in this bountiful harvest.
My thoughts turn to how my feet and back will hurt after I've finished canning the dozens of quarts of spaghetti sauce, stewed tomatoes and salsa; and then just as quickly I turn to how grateful I am that I have them --- that the drought didn't claim them, or bugs, or critters crawling under the garden fence. I could just as easily have nothing to can for next winter's larder. I vow not to take these "fruit of the vine" for granted again.
We also had the privilege of spending a couple of days with a young woman whom we have known since she was born, and with whom we are extremely close. Bailey is about to embark on her college career and came for one last visit and a few days of R & R. What a joy to talk to her about her plans and her views about her teenage culture. She has amazing parents and a good, strong moral foundation to guide her. She shared with us her doubts and her hopes and her dreams. She asked our advice and listened when we offered it. We explained that we knew this was a new stage of her life, and there would most likely be a period of separation from us for awhile as she explores new avenues and determines her life's path. She assured us that she would remain in touch and come see us, but you see, she doesn't have the advantage of looking back, as we do. We know how it will be because we've been there. We told her she would gravitate back to us, but we wanted her to always know we were there for her and that we loved her.
I thought about all the times during her childhood that I didn't take into consideration that this day would come. I made a point to relish each moment we spent together and to thank God that we had the opportunity to have her in our life. All of our relationships should never be taken for granted!
Then as I crawled into bed last night, I was eager to continue the brand new historical fiction novel I had bought ... the thicker the book, the better. I allowed my mind to escape the view of this world that I face every day, and to enjoy the saga of Welsh and Russian and American families during World War 1. History is one of my favorite things to study and I was conscious of the stress flowing out of my body, and the comfort of my own bed. For one small moment, I could forget all the worries of the day and relish the simple pleasure of reading a book. And then the thought popped into my head .... how these simple things were blessings that so many in the world did not have. I have a bed and a home to call my own. Books are a luxury to many in the world, as is the ability to read. I have electricity by which to read far into the night, if I so desire. And my mind is still strong and eager to learn... a scenario that I know will fade with time. Right then and there, I vowed to never take the simple things in my life for granted, and to take notice of them and give thanks.
Finally, I cannot finish this assessment without speaking about our little "home church" group's celebration of Pentecost last Sunday. As we studied what Scripture reveals to us about this Holy Day, each person contemplated the significance of our gathering. It is a time when we celebrate the Power of the Holy Spirit and God's institution of the Church Age. We all marveled that this supernatural Power indwells each of us, just as we lamented how little we recognize it and implement it. We have been given power to tread on serpents and scorpions, to heal, and to witness to all the world. In fact, Jesus tells us in John 14, that we will be able to do greater works than He did, because when He went to the Father, He sent us the Power of the Holy Spirit. Wow! I am ashamed that I do not honor this heavenly power within me; that I take it for granted and do not call upon it to help me glorify my Lord.
This week has been a humbling period in my life. I can see that the world is tumbling towards the fulfillment of God's Plan for all mankind. But for the moment, I am focused on the tremendous blessings I have. They are not spectacular by the world's standards, but they have made me rich in the benefits I have received from each of them ... nourishment, deep love for my husband, the joy of watching a precious child grow, the simple pleasure of holding a book in my hand, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to proclaim the Good News to all mankind. Who could ask for more?
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 "But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God."