The clouds rolled in as the rumbles of thunder in the distance penetrated the quiet. The light of day was trying to usher the darkness away but the darkness stubbornly held its place.  Perhaps the thunderous roar in the far off distance was light battling dark.  It came ever closer even though there was seemingly no reason for another storm….there had been so many already.  Storms around us,storms within us, all the same.  Whether spoken or silent there is always another decision to be made.   What do we do when we hear the thunderous rumbles coming ever closer?  How do we face that tug of war between darkness and light?  Do we assume it’s inevitable that darkness will win? Or do we know with certainty light will always find a way?

An impenetrable black void covered the sky with a thickness so heavy there was a question if light could ever find its way through.  The battle raged on as blackness became a blanket …..the roar deafening.   This would be the perfect moment to assume light had given up the battle.  But somewhere behind those clouds there will always be a spark of whiteness.  It may only be the tiny glow of a candle but the illumination becomes brilliant against the dark.  Raging thunder and deafening darkness will never keep light from finding its place.  The power is mine to find the candle.  The power is mine to hold on, to wait.  There is an absolute certainty the clouds will move away exposing the brightest, most comforting, all encompassing warmth.  And once again I am reminded we are to hold on to an unbending faith in God, to determination and strength.  It is with emphatic confidence we are assured right and good will prevail.  There will always be light.   (John 16:13)

“God has orchestrated it all for good.”  As I read those words I thought of all of the things that have occurred over the years.  I thought of the wonderful things as well as the unhappy, sad, hurtful things.  The belief that God allows bad things to happen to good people is a hard concept but knowing He only wants the best for us and that He will take the worst and use it for good gives a sense of comfort.  Even though it’s very difficult when we’re in the midst of ‘bad’, I believe if we hold on to that unconditional promise, we will have shelter and peace.  It’s a trust issue, a faith issue.  We aren’t bad people if we question.  We aren’t unchristian because we don’t want to experience bad things. We’re just human.  God chose us…He loves us…He will protect us.  So how easy is it for us to believe all the circumstances of our life are from God?  When we believe that, we also believe out of the worst will come more than we are capable of dreaming. We are comforted by His promise to hear our prayers and answer.   We always get God’s best if we wait. He holds our past, present, and future.

Change…a noun to denote ‘difference’, a verb to denote action.  Easy or difficult? Whether we know the outcome or not, change can create excited anticipation or dark dread.   It opens and closes doors.  Both seen as  a  positive action simply because there is action.  If we stop moving forward, if we stop changing or taking chances that bring change, we risk losing the total beauty of what life has waiting for us.  Standing still, refusing to let go of yesterday, locks the doors in our world and we become paralyzed, afraid to open our arms and hearts to the beauty that is waiting just outside the next door.   So when sadness or fear grip our souls, make us think we cannot or do not want ‘change’, turn, face it, become bigger than it is.  Because no matter the initial outcome, the fact is, the next change will be wonderfully perfect as we can smile to ourselves and remember we are free.  We embraced change….it made not only our life better, but another’s as well.  It reminds us there could not be a today if yesterday hadn’t changed.

I struggled to remember where I had put it, not wanting to believe it could be lost. Not wanting to think I would no longer be able to see it when I wanted.  At some point maybe I assumed it would always be there.  Perhaps I had forgotten the importance, forgotten to be extra careful, forgotten to keep it safe, protected and cherished.  So now I had to face the fact it could really be gone. Sadness surrounded me.  I could see it so clearly in my mind’s eye, could feel the comfort of knowing it would always be exactly where I kept it. Yet now, somehow in one unthinking minute I had lost it.  One tiny smiley face always reminding me of another time but more importantly reminding me to hold on to those most important in my life. One tiny smiley face symbolically saying…I love you. My careless disregard took away something important just as careless disregard can take away those we love.  Only significant to me, it is with positive determination I’ll search until I find it. :)

As we go about our day how many times do we forget what is truly important? How many times do we forget what we value the most above everything else?  Is it a job, a house, a car, random activities? 

When we look to our hearts what do we find there?  Do we find desire for more ‘stuff’ ?  Or do we see the need to draw those we love closer, to say you are important to me?

As I finished writing a letter to my youngest child telling her what she means to me, telling her what it has meant for me to watch her grow into the young lady she has become, I prayed I hadn’t let ‘life’ get in the way of the people  I value, of relationships that deserved to be nurtured. Even as I prayed I knew there had been times when I lost moments to say I love you.  My girls, others who have passed through my life….people who have been an integral part of molding me, or inspiring me, don’t they deserve to know their importance?  God, in His infinite wisdom knew that I needed the blessings of friends, of relationships that took hold of my heart and made my life a 3D world.  He knew I wanted color and vibrancy, gentleness and respect. Every day, no matter who it is, someone changes me.  I choose to make that change positive. I choose to hold on to every minute of the most valuable things I have….faith, family, and relationships.  I understand I only get one chance at making this right…..that doesn’t mean perfection…it means realization and acknowledgement that loving someone isn’t about ‘stuff’.  Sometimes it just means having the courage to say you matter to me.

Change is inevitable, some innocuous, some extreme. Most of us prefer to feel ‘safe’ as life revolves around us. We assume because choices in the past have yielded a certain result that all similar choices will have the same outcome, especially if we were happy in that role.  The idea that we would  make a conscious decision to   disrupt the flow makes our heart race wildly and our mind conjure up various scenarios  which in turn create a sense of panic akin to fight or flight syndrome.  No one wants to consciously put themselves into arenas of risk.  Fear of the unknown keeps us from proceeding, from opening our hands and hearts to the possibility there would be something greater.  We lose untold opportunities to grow as a person, to see ourselves differently and to discover capabilities we didn’t know existed.

 Real or imagined fear is a most compelling deterrent.  Some decisions are made for us albeit usually as a result of our previous decisions. If we find ourselves in the midst of situations we would prefer didn’t exist, we have two choices….continue or change.  Continuity is the easiest, change the most difficult.  However, if we don’t change what will our life be in 5 years, 10 years, a lifetime?  Do we forego knowing the depth and fullness waiting for us out of fear of stepping away from our ‘safe’ place?   What will the choice be?   Will we open our eyes at the end of time and realize we never used our hearts to the fullest, never grabbed the potential to live at 100% capacity?  We never allowed our life be filled with beauty, caring, or intense love.  How do we become our whole self?  

To be good to ourselves we must seize the opportunity to touch every velvet petal, breathe in every crisp breeze, see azure when others only see blue, and seek the deepest part of our soul.  If we can do this, then our life will be full and we will have lived to all our potential.  Fear did not win.

Every day is begun with a new determination.   Understanding there is no simplicity if we open our lives to unlimited possibilities.  Understanding we may refuse to see, refuse to hear, or reject completely the path as it lays out before us.  What a loss when we pretend we know best.  What sadness to know we would let our own fears interrupt the perfection and the loveliness of other lives touching us.  A child’s tiny fingers wrapping around ours, a hug for a friend whose smile is a disguise, or comforting words for someone who doesn’t know how to ask……what a blessing when we take the time to acknowledge.   

Things aren’t always what they seem.  Sometimes we smile but inside there are silent tears.  Sometimes the words we speak are not the words of our heart.  Sometimes pretense is easier than reality.   But at the end of it all, the resulting deprivation keeps us from becoming a hundred percent of who we can be.  I would choose to take the time, take a chance, insist on being 100%. 

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