Saturday, April 24, 2010
I received a photo of a rainbow this week that meant a great deal. Rainbows symbolize all the facets of strengths and gifts in each of us. Some people have stronger reds, and others stronger blues, but we all have many beautiful colors that make up our spectrum. The sender of the rainbow was responding to this metaphor, sending me a thank you for appreciating her rainbow. She had just left my final exam, and the clouds parted to display the lovely sight in a particularly timely way. Melissa viewed Rainbows as gifts from heaven to brighten her day, even writing a poem about them. "So if you're having a day, when its raining only on you, let the little things cheer you up, that's what you must do. You'll find that a little sun, will go a long way; It creates a rainbow in your rain, and will surely brighten your day." I think she actually was having a very bad day when she was given a rainbow encounter, and then wrote this poem. Melissa once reminded me that rainbows also symbolize hope and the promises of God .Genesis 9:12-14 Rainbows are gifts of hope from heaven, for those who are looking upward to see them & recognize the gift! So, keep looking for those little signs, in the sky or in an email or in a hug from a friend. God sends us blessings every day. We just need to stay tuned with the eyes of faith to see them. Blessings on your day today!
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I received some amazing gifts this week, all unexpectedly. My students surprised me with with flowers, my adopted "daughter" showered me with thoughtful gifts, and an old friend treated me to lunch. A priceless treasure was hidden in each of these gestures: affirmation of my worth and value, recognition for impacting the lives of others, and affection for just who I am. Each instance brought touching words that feed my self-esteem. I live on such precious messages like oxygen, breathing them in to continue moving. Such sweet, priceless thoughts say more about the giver than about me, and leave me with the deep warmth of gratitude. - Melissa writes about receiving compliments on her strength and coping with cancer, which leave her feeling unworthy. She writes, "it's not me, it's God." She struggles with how to explain the source of her strength to the giver without sounding ungracious or preachy. Gifts can sometimes be harder to receive than to give, especially the gifts of affirmation or praise. Since God is the giver of all good things, both those strengths inside us and those gifts we receive from others, maybe we can turn it all back into praise to Him. Maybe they are all God's gifts after all. May this week bring you affirmation of your worth and value, and more blessings from Our Loving God.
Monday, April 12, 2010
I spent a few hours this past week creating a booklet from a personal journal found at the bedside of a close relative who recently entered heaven. One of her journals had a section titled: "The Purpose of My Life", and lists four purposes, structured around the Bible verse, Galatians 5:22-23. I made this booklet to honor this dear woman on her birthday. I couldn't help but wonder if she had been inspired by Melissa's Prayer Journal, almost hoping that we might find this section and share it with others after she had left the earth..... What a wonderful gift Melissa gave us, what an amazing piece of inspiration to teach so many others how to pray and how to journal. I now routinely recommend gratitude journals or life journals to my students and colleagues as a therapeutic source of comfort. Melissa started us all off, with her personal pilgrimage of writing, never intended to be shared, but all the more powerful for its unveiled honesty. As a result, I have been given this unintended occupation of reproducing power statements from those who go ahead of us to heaven, and sharing with all who God intends. So, I encourage you to journal. Write down the little miracles that happen in life: those things that are more than coincidence, but can only be seen through the eyes of faith! Write down the blessings of each day, focusing on the positive and savoring the goodness in our moments. And write down your prayers, noting their answers, and giving thanks. Enjoy the journey.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Easter Sunday: our home is filled with the laughter and affection of dear friends. I would have felt lonely without them, but with their lovely gifts, bright smiles and fun jokes, I was happy to be so blessed! Melissa knew that friends and family are what really count. Although Melissa was very responsible with her work, her life revolved around people important to her -- making them laugh or showing them love. I am such a driven task-master to myself, as if my life depended on finishing my to-do list, that I sometimes neglect important relationships. Some people live life as though "the one with the most toys wins." I often live life as if "the one with the most finished projects wins." But really, all that counts is showing others we care, doing things for others to provide for them, to honor them, to nurture them, or to love them. We can focus on others in a million different ways, but the focus is the same. Loving other is what Jesus did- coming for us, dying for us, rising for us. So I will continue to stay connected with Jesus, and allow His mind to focus me more on Him, more on others, and more secure in His provision for me. Maybe a few minutes each day with the Risen Lord to reflect on the blessings of all the precious folks in my life will help me be a little less task-driven, and a little more like Christ. Happy Easter!