Seeking small graces

My health finally stabilized. And after a long recovery from hip repair surgery in November, I was walking further with my dog and playing with my grand-kids. Then something painful “popped” in my hip, and I’ve spent the last months in varying degrees of pain — walking, sitting or standing. For weeks I’ve battled an infection that made me a semi-invalid last year. My body clearly wasn’t up to the fight and I’ve had to start antibiotics. (Not simple, since I’m allergic to way too many, as well as still trying to heal my gut from last year’s antibiotic siege.) I’ve worked hard to get healthy and whole, free to engage with others, join in the lives of my family, return to teaching Bible classes, finish editing my books and complete another, to live a vibrant, meaningful life. As things seemed to be spinning out again, I’ve wondered, even prayed, “What am I doing wrong?”

If God would just tell me, I’d do it!

There must be a key.

Is there something important I’m not doing? Leaving out?

Every time this song, Thy Will by Hillary Scott, comes on the radio, my mind and emotions downshift.

When I’m working so hard to do it right, am I actually exhibiting lack of faith? After all, it’s not all about me, and I’m not God.

It’s hard to find a balance between accepting life as it comes from the hand of God, and fighting the good fight as we are called to do.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I Timothy 6:12

The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest. Exodus 14:14 AMPC

How do you thread that needle?

All I can do is recall what I know is true.

photo by Jack H Thompson, Jr
https://www.bible.com/bible/97/psa.56

photo by Jack H Thompson, Jrhttps://www.bible.com/bible/97/jas.1

Now that we know what we have—Jesus, this great High Priest with ready access to God—let’s not let it slip through our fingers. We don’t have a priest who is out of touch with our reality. He’s been through weakness and testing, experienced it all—all but the sin. So let’s walk right up to him and get what he is so ready to give. Take the mercy, accept the help.                                               Hebrews 4:14-16 MSG

photo by Jack H Thompson Jr

photo by Jack H Thompson Jr https://www.bible.com/bible/97/pro.19

In place of the questions, I begin a new search.

Seeking small graces.

Focusing.

Naming what comes into my life today as a gift.

Trusting the giver.

Trusting the hands that gave them.

And, in the end, remembering this life is brief.

And there’s more to each day than we can ever see or understand.

So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 2 Cor 4:16-18 MSG

That is enough.

You may be facing far greater challenges now, or will in the future.
Do you struggle with chronic pain or illness or disappointment? How do you handle it, react to it?

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Where are you heading?

Have you listed your goals for this year? Ways you want to improve? For many of us, this past year was tough. Challenges. Trials. Pain. Grief. And some of you are struggling right now. I always told my children when hard or frustrating things happened that trials build character. One of my daughters, who has had a particularly rough couple of years, asked, “Don’t I have enough character yet?” I know how she feels. For years, I struggled to try harder, live better, do more. My efforts mostly took me down a lot of dead ends. I’ve found the key to really living is not in how hard I work, but in who I am walking with. What I trust. How I am willing to open my heart.

Is 40 27-28 Santa Cruz by Jack H Thompson
Galapagos Islands

I can’t explain the hard stuff, but I think God wants far more for us than we seek. Our eyes looking way higher than our glances take us.

Is 40 25-26 Miami at night by Jack H Thompson
by Jack H Thompson

There is so much more life available with God than we ever reach out for. How do we go from trying hard to trusting much and receiving more?

My path changed when I began to listen to — really hear — the voice telling me I am loved.

Then I learned what we tirelessly teach our little ones – to say thank you.  Giving thanks for what I have, seeing the blessing, however tiny, puts a new lens on my day.

Maui beauty by Jack H Thompson
Maui beauty
Cloud forest fern, Ecuador,  Jack H Thompson
Cloud forest fern, Ecuador
bee in flower, Isabella, Galapagos
bee in flower, Isabella, Galapagos

And the gratitude heart leads me to trust. My hard edges melt when I find the thanksgiving places.

Is 40 29 w bird in flight by Jack H Thompson
Soaring by Jack H Thompson

Then I can relax into hands far stronger than mine, and more loving than any earthly hands could ever be.

Is40 30 Dolphins Jack H Thompson
Dolphin pair by Jack H Thompson

What are you aiming for this year?