"Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle."
Know thyself. ~~ Socrates
Sometimes I need to pause and reconsider what I know about the world and my place in it. I need to redefine what I believe and what I still need to figure out before I proceed with a choice or a plan. This week I am endeavoring to know what I know, and here is what I’ve figured out so far.
I value true friendship. I recently reconnected with someone I haven’t talked to in 15 years. For hours, we discussed the news about our children, our careers, our address changes, the death of her stepson. Our lives have changed, but much has remained remarkably the same. That conversation reminded me how much I appreciate true connections with people who care about me despite the time and distance between us. Knowing I have true friends encourages me to share my friendship with others who need my support.
I believe God always has a plan. Spring begins a new season, a time of hope and promise for the future. I am ending a long winter of rest and contemplation; but I know I have been constantly growing, exploring, and expanding my interests to new areas. I am eager to embrace new possibilities. This year we began attending a new church where we’ve been warmly welcomed and invited into a large and extended family. I’m excited about the possibilities that lie ahead, because I know God always has a plan laid out for me, and I can’t wait to see where it leads.
I have learned that I am always learning. Last month I celebrated another birthday and spent an evening enjoying pizza and cake with family, the people who mean the most to me. As I grow older, I realize I still have much to learn about life and what is truly important. As I learn more about what I know, I realize there is still much I don’t understand. I am always questioning, wondering, asking for answers; and I am always grateful to find new leads. I look forward to following new directions from God, finding new places to explore, and discovering new horizons.
Thank you to all who read these words, share my friendship, and help me see that we still have much to learn together. Thank you for teaching me and reminding me that we are not alone on our travels through this world. I pray you are richly blessed in faith and friendship today!
What are you learning today? How have your friendships contributed to the lessons you’ve learned?
Someone close to me is struggling this week, so please join me in sharing a prayer for everyone who needs support today.
I pray you feel the peace of knowing God is always near and always cares.
I pray you know the hope that assures you a new day and a promising future.
I pray you are comforted by the awareness of all your blessings and the realization of God’s plan for your life.
Today please know you have the support of family and friends, the attention of a loving God, and the strength to face any challenge. Today I pray you know how much you are loved.
What is your prayer for today? What do you need to give you peace and strength?
It has been a month for staying indoors. Winter storms and freezing rain made driving dangerous. Streets and parking lots became icy pools. I’ve enjoyed the warm and safe confines of my cozy home, but I look forward to spring when the sky grows warm and the world feels welcoming again. I’m excited to greet the new experiences that present themselves with sunny days and balmy nights.
But in truth, every morning of any season presents an opportunity to try something new. Each day is a chance to begin a different journey. We don’t have to wait for a date on a calendar or a change in the weather to begin again. God gives us many occasions to open the door and follow the path he has planned for us, and each morning we are free to step out and explore a promising future.
Why are you waiting to begin something new? This morning, I pray you strike out for a changing horizon. Remember God is always with you on your travels.
I stood in the checkout line of the dollar store, preparing to pay for my small haul of toothpaste and tissues. As the woman in front of me gathered up her bags, she suddenly turned and stuck a $10 bill in my hand. “Pay it forward sometime,” she said, and then she was gone before I could stammer, “Um, thank you.”
Paying it forward means giving to others what someone has given to you. I can’t always pay back the people who have helped me or shown me kindness over the years, but I can pay it forward by helping or showing kindness to someone else. Our gifts don’t have to be financial contributions to shoppers in the checkout line. There are many ways to show our care and concern, and this year, I plan to focus on paying it forward to people I encounter.
I can listen. We learn the most from simply listening to what others have to say. This year I will respect others by listening and paying attention to their words.
I can invest time. We make a difference by spending time in the lives of others. This year I will serve by interacting and spending more time with people I care about.
“When Jesus went out he saw a great multitude; and he was moved with compassion for them” (Matthew 14:14).
I can choose to care. We connect and build relationships by caring about the needs of others. This year I will choose to remember Jesus’ example and offer compassion to the people in my community.
How will you choose to pay it forward this year? How can you show attention and care for the people you meet?
On Monday morning, the snow began, falling all day to cover streets, sidewalks, and the flowerpots on my patio. I watched the rising ripples of snow and wondered how long I would have to stay inside my warm and cozy walls.
Through Monday night, the road crews worked, pushing snow into piles on the corners, cleaning roads, walkways, and parking lots. I heard the crashing blades and grinding gears rumbling out of sight across the dark. In the morning I saw streets smoothed, slick and glittering, in the sun.
God often works that way within our lives. While we rest and wait and wonder, God operates behind the scenes. We hear the distant rumblings of change, trust that God is performing the needed work, then awake in the morning to find new roads cleared, new routes created where none had been before.
God opens the paths he wants us to take, clears some roads, and blocks others we should not travel. He indicates the safest routes available to us and steers us away from dead ends and blind corners. We can know that whatever the storm drops onto the road ahead, God will know how to make the way clear.
Today I pray you trust that God is clearing the road you should travel. Know that wherever you turn, God always sees what lies ahead.
Where is the road taking you today? Where have you seen God’s work opening paths in your life?