*So, honestly, LIFE IS DOWNRIGHT HARD SOMETIMES. This has been brewing in my head for a bit, but right now it seems to break down like this:
I just happened upon this...I'm sorry, I don't know who wrote it, but it was too relevant not to share:
To laugh is to risk appearing a fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental.
To reach out to another is to risk involvement,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self.
To place your ideas and dreams before a crowd is to risk their loss.
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure.
But risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing.
He may avoid suffering and sorrow,
But he cannot learn, feel, change, grow or live.
Chained by his servitude he is a slave who has forfeited all freedom.
Only a person who risks is free.
By playing it safe, by not taking risks, maybe we can avoid suffering or sorrow (the rain)...for a time. But at what cost?
Blessings come in all shapes, sizes & forms. I have come to understand that blessing does NOT equal piece of cake with whip cream & a cherry on top. My interpretation has evolved over time, & will probably continue to evolve, but for now I believe that blessings come with different degrees of responsibility and moments of sheer joy & pain mixed in.
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him. ~James 1:2-4, 12
Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, HOPE. ~Romans 5:3-4
I praise God because He gives us the opportunity to live out loud for HIM...not this world's idea of "living" (the "me" thing), but, as our associate pastor so eloquently put it last Sunday, He has commissioned us to live differently so that we can "liberate the imaginations of others that there is a different way". Our lives seem to have stepped completely out of the box into territory that we could not have imagined years ago: Our hearts have been broken for the fatherless, and we are in the process of adopting our 2nd child, which means we will have 7 children--not exactly "normal"; Joe is beginning work on his 2nd book and continues to be invited to speak, teach & encourage others on how to work with wounded children. We are flying above the radar like a big ol' jumbo jet, and while we are thankful, it also gets hard sometimes. When you put yourself out there with your convictions, which don't seem to look like the "American Dream", you are left open to criticism, judgment & spiritual attack. But for us, the blessing of this life that we have been called to far outweighs the risk & the rain...we choose to live...
Lord, we want to live for Your kingdom, not the kingdom of this world. Help us to confidently & courageously take risks, knowing that life gets hard, that the rain will come, but also KNOWING that we have been called & that You are bigger than any of the "tough stuff". We ask for encouragement so that we may continue to walk in the blessings You desire for us. We claim this day the freedom that comes with taking risks ~ In Jesus' Name, Amen