Lord, You Are The Sunshine In My Life!

Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of samarttiw at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Have you ever watched people while they’re driving?  I love to watch people no matter what they’re doing.  When people are in their cars, I don’t think they think anyone can see them most of the time.  I remember as a child sitting on the porch with my great uncle having a race to see who could count the most cars of a certain color.  Then one day, I graduated to eating lunch with my friend at a restaurant on a busy street and we began counting how many people were picking their nose as they drove by.  I would have to say, I am no mathematician, but the statistics were high for my hometown that at least 3 out of every 5 cars had a nose-picker!

Lately I’ve been traveling a lot up and down the highway and have observed several different behaviors.  Of course, there are still the nose-pickers, but I’ve also seen others engaging in conversations on their cell phones, (it’s legal here in Ohio), others who are texting (it’s not legal in Ohio), and some who are singing to what appears to be at the top of their lungs (that would be me when I am alone in a car).  Others hold their steering wheels tightly all hunched over it with their eyes glaring at the road and at anyone who gets in their way.  I pray for them…what a miserable way to be.

The other day after driving for 45 minutes with a worshipful CD playing and me singing my heart out to God all the way, I arrived at my destination.  I walked in on top of the world and announced very loudly, “Isn’t it a GREAT day?  The sunshine is out and I just LOVE it!”

I saw expressions that quickly said to me… “Perhaps you’re a little extra excited today, Lori?  Maybe you should take it down a few notches so you don’t scare everyone with your enthusiasm?”

Later that day, one person came to me to see how I was doing.  He said, “The sun went down and I thought I should check on you to make sure you were doing OK!”  Funny as it might be, he didn’t understand where my joy was coming from that I was experiencing.  It wasn’t really about the sun at all.

Isn’t this how our walk with the Lord is from day-to-day?  Sometimes we can be seen (even when we think no one is watching), pretty indifferent, just picking our noses so to speak.  Then other days we’re all talk and no action…blah, blah, blah…what a waste of time.  Other times we’re pushing the edge of the envelope to see how far we can push the rules before someone notices our behavior and calls us on it.  Other days we are just downright angry with God for our misfortunes as though it was His fault.  Really?

But the important lesson I’ve learned in all of this, is this.  I’ve been having a struggle of my life for the last month getting through all of my radiation treatments and all that goes along with it.  There were days I just wanted to lay around and pick my nose and not care besides being angry as all get out at times.  If I had a horn to blow at anyone getting in my way, it would’ve been going off there for a while! However, as a Christian for many years, I intellectually knew I had to put God first and praise Him even through the rough times.  The scriptures tell us we should, but it is easier said than done.  A few weeks ago, I included a song at the end of my blog by Chris McClarney, “My Defender”.   God knows praise through the storms isn’t always easy.  However, I felt He gave me that song to encourage me, so I purchased the CD and it is what has been playing every day when I commute.  The whole CD has prayerful and praiseful messages that touch my core as I belt out the words to God.

Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of nuttakit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

At the moment I found myself over-the-top enthusiastic about a day that I had nothing visible to be enthusiastic about, God spoke to my heart.  I realized then that the attitude I choose to embrace each day ends with a result of my choices.  Should I choose to be indifferent, speak without actions, or push the envelope because I have problems and maybe God will forgive me, or simply remain angry; I get what I get.  However, on the days I put God first even when I don’t feel like it or don’t really think anything will take me above my anger such as the uptight drivers I’ve witnessed, God takes me to the mountain-top.  He makes me high on life no matter what my circumstances might be.

Even when the world doesn’t understand my enthusiasm, God does.  I know this for sure…He blesses us with Sunshine in our hearts when we obey…even when we don’t feel like it.  Thank you, Lord, for meeting us where we are on our days of darkness.  You are the Sunshine of our lives!  May you continue to Shine brightly and bring joy when we choose to follow Your way!  Have a great Sunshiny week and don’t forget…go out and be a blessing!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)  Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.


Did You Miss Me?

Image courtesy of prozac1 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I apologize if you’ve missed my writings the last couple of weeks.  I needed to take a break and rest amidst the storm.  Cancer has a way of coming in and taking over your life with doctor visits, tests, treatments and all that goes along with it. I have had my days of utter despair and felt I wanted to walk away from it all.  I have had times of great anger and fear to the point I didn’t even recognize myself.   But through it all, I can now say, “Thank You, Lord, for putting this obstacle in my path to allow me to once again experience You.”

Through it all, I’ve developed a new respect for those I used to cheer on from the sidelines as they fought their cancer battles.  Now I truly understand the depth of life change that is brought on by something totally out of your control.  Speaking of control, God has been teaching me a new lesson.  I’m not really a control freak like many I know.  However, through this simple experience, God showed me that I tend to hang on more than I should.  I think what I really learned is that I hold a lot of pride in being able to handle tough times and perhaps that pride is something I need to deal with within myself.  Perhaps I have learned to be so strong that I forgot how God has carried me in the past.  Frankly, I didn’t think there was anything that could come my way that could shake my world or cause me to fear anymore.  That is…until cancer arrived at my doorstep.

I’m not saying it shook my world in a bad way like you might think though.  It caused me to stop and re-evaluate my life–where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and even the big question, “What now?”  This experience in my life reminded me that I am not the one calling the shots or controlling the outcome.  I learned again, I am only strong with God in my life.  If He’s not front and center in everything I do, I become weak.  Some might say I’m just human.  I agree.

I am having problems finding the words.  Let’s do it this way.  Let’s make it my top 10 list of things I’ve learned since my journey with this latest trial began.

  1. God has a plan for my life.  My plan for myself is not always His.
  2. God is faithful to be there with me every step of the way when I invite Him along.
  3. God knows that when I struggle, I will learn to depend on Him more.
  4. God teaches those who are willing to learn, to praise Him even when life circumstances don’t seem worthy.
  5. The power that Jesus called on when He walked this earth is the same power that lives within you and I as believers and followers of Christ today.
  6. God knows that when I finally get to the end of me, He can then mold and form me into something more like Him.
  7. God understands our pain and fears and lovingly meets us where we are when we call on Him.
  8. God can heal disease miraculously, but doesn’t always choose to do it that way.
  9. God allows only that which He knows I can handle to come into my life…and when it does, He always provides a way out.
  10. There is nothing on this earth that I would trade for my relationship with Jesus.

Thank you so much for the prayers and encouragement each one of you has given me along this path.  I am forever grateful for you all.  God is Good–there is no doubt in my mind!

Psalm 145:17-21  (NIV)

The Lord is righteous in all his ways
and faithful in all he does.
The Lord is near to all who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.

My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord.
Let every creature praise his holy name
for ever and ever.