Reflecting Back, Treasuring Forward

Hello! I have not forgotten you! I wrote a long post in January, and then set it aside to think on it. Do I really want to share this? I see I never posted it and haven’t posted anything since before Christmas! If I were to treat my blog like Facebook, I would post lots of pictures of our three week trip to the Midwest in December and January to visit family and friends in Chicago, Indiana, and Ohio. ‘Twas grand. 

But I always develop a topic or thought. So, the following includes the first part of what I wrote last month. Reflecting on the last few years, I observe in my rear view mirror some rays refracting toward the future, encouraging me that some changes I’ve made have improved my life and hopefully, my future. I hope the same for you. 

I have really good reports to give from this past year, but maybe this past year brought more pain than sweetness to you, so I want to balance this teeter-totter with a broader perspective. No matter how difficult life may be, we still have choices that can be good and can promote goodness. (Of course, when in sorrow, we may not want to hear this.)

From my experience, when life offers mostly “No’s,” there is still a “Yes.” (“No’s” can make it easier to find or choose the “Yes’s”.) I remember some of my most serious sick days over a decade ago when I had spells where I was in so much pain and was so depleted that opening my eyes took significant and conscious effort. Even then, with my greatly impaired thinking, I was aware of some control over my spirit. I could hear people around me. I remember choosing to acquiesce attitudinally to my small box. You may ask, “What else could you do?” While I didn’t have energy to be assertively angry, I could have chosen resentment, hardness, or despair. I never did. Via acquiescence, I felt the comforting nearness of God.

While I did not despair or turn hard, I know at times I was self-absorbed. I also had some spells of crazy, wide spread pain that did not totally unplug my energy source, and I remember crying hysterically. I remember the confusion I felt, wanting to live my life, but no, thinking I was going to die (I could not image living long like this), but no, I wanted to live  — loving my family, serving my Lord and others, being creative. . . . Even in these overwhelming times, I could make some good choices: to love and not pity myself, to stay alive, to trust the Lord and those who loved me, to do what I could and accept not doing what I longed to do, to hope. . . .

I’ve come a long way since then. You’ve had crisis periods too, or maybe you are in one now. I decided then, back in 2001 or 2002, to fight for my life. Prayerfully, I developed a ten point fight for my life plan. I have that plan filed away somewhere. A few years ago, my daughter, Amanda, reminded me of it. This encouraged me. My journey is a model for her as she journeys through life.

The above is the first part of the post I wrote in January. You see why I was hesitant to post this. Should I expose more of my story? Your knowing a bit more of my story may help you to see the progress I’ve made and may give you (or someone you would want to share this with) some hope and some practical ideas.

You’ve heard the rhetorical cliche, “Without your health, what do you have?” The reason it’s a cliche is because there is so much truth to it!  So, as I have fought for my life (i.e. health to live life). There is much I would have liked to have done and couldn’t, but by fighting for my life, I’ve done more than I would have if I would have given up. (What a sentence. Sorry.) I am disappointed that I could not do more, but then, I’m encouraged that as my character has grown, I’ve been sending something ahead.

I’m talking about sending treasures ahead to heaven. Crazy idea. I got it from Jesus. In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus explains,

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust        destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Jesus is not asking us to be “so heavenly minded that we are of no earthly good,” as some say religious folk are. He is claiming the opposite. The more we do good, unselfishly, the more we lay up treasures in heaven. That is, our Christ-like character is what we send to heaven. It is core to the eternal part of us — the shaping of our spirit-soul to reflect God as His image bearers as we were meant to be/do. The context of what Jesus said (Matthew 6:16-24) is fasting and what people do in secret that God sees. Jesus said God repays us according to what we do in secret!

This is so encouraging, because when we are very sick, even immobilized, we can be growing in what God treasures most about us — our inner person being transformed. II Corinthians 3:18 says,

“But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” 

When we are very sick, we can grow and glorify our Lord. When we have health to serve others, we can grow and glorify our Lord. Either way, we are laying up treasures. God sees to it that His work is done.

So, I’ve been growing in health and want to use what health I have to bless others through the simple contributions I am blessed to give.  One way I want to do that is to share what I’ve learned about growing in physical health, as well as spiritual health, with you!

Sending treasures to Heaven is satisfying, but first, God has sent His treasure to us, empowering us to send treasures to Heaven. Ahh! Beautiful!

As II Corinthians 4: 6-7,

“For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.”

To be continued. . . . Selah.

Categories: Being Like Jesus, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth | Leave a comment

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