Thursday, December 03, 2009

Day 3 - Never Give Up Hope

On Day 3 of my 12 Days of Christmas and 31 Days of Art series I find myself feeling a little down. Okay, more then a little down, one of those days that you wake up and everything seems to go wrong before you even step foot out of bed.
Ever have one of those days? The kind that you say things like "must have got up on the wrong side of bed" and "I knew this was going to be a bad day before it even started"? I recognize the negative mindset that goes along with this kind of thinking and try to correct it when I catch myself. It isn't a bad day just because I have to deal with something challenging as soon as I get up. There is no wrong side of the bed (unless you have a lumpy mattress) its just about ordinary life. Good, bad, and everything in between. Life.

Today, though it seemed to set off a pattern of self-doubt about the course I am on. One where I spiraled, try as I might, into self-defeating patterns and crazy hopeless thoughts like "I'm all the way back to square one." "all my hard work has been for nothing."

Thankfully I had an appointment with a very dear and wise counselor who helped me to get some much needed perspective. All my hard work over this past year or so has not been "for nothing". I've seen many positive changes in myself and my life. Some visible to others, some known only to a few close friends, and some are just between me and God. I've changed the way I react to difficult situations and people. Not perfect, but very good progress. I've set goals and achieved them. I've taken risks and addressed my fears head on. Well sometimes I've addressed my fears while cowering in a corner, but believe me, I've addressed them!

But now, it is time to start peeling away the next layer. I can hang onto the good of what I have learned already and begin to work on another area. It will be a challenge and many of the feelings will be similar to where I was when I first started this journey. But now I can hang onto the progress I've made and find hope in it.

Kind of like my faith walk with God.

At 33 I had more doubts then faith, but in the midst of it I came to Him. Took a leap of faith in spite of my doubts, fears, anger, and tendency toward self reliance. From that day 11 years ago until now God has been faithfully answering my questions and bringing me into a deeper relationship with him. One step. One day. One question at a time. I can look back to where I was with Him then and in spite of still having bad days my faith is night and day different. When I struggle with my faith I can look back at those questions, those answers he brought and see and know and trust even more deeply and continue to walk.

As I sat down today to write about my Art for Day 3 I could hear a song by a band called The Sidewalk Prophets playing in my head. Something I felt God was wanting me to listen to. It is something for you too:

If we were face to face,
I'd tell you just what you mean to me,
I'd tell you these simple truths,


Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got His hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say,

And of course there is another song that continues to play:
♪ ♫ on the 3rd day of Christmas Jackie gave to me ♫ ♪

A beautiful doll ornament to hang from my tree! It is a dreary day outside today and my lighting was not good. I was hoping to get a good shot of this ornament while it was dangling because it is so pretty. It has a glass crystal dangle on an antique chain with tiny little stars hanging from the bottom and right away I knew she was not going to be just another tree ornament. I've been needing to find a pull for the light above my work table in my studio and she is just perfect for that purpose! But the silly girl would just not hold still and let me get a good picture. I don't think Jackie has a blog to send you too (Jackie let me know if I'm wrong), but you can head over to Deryn's blog for better pictures and read each day her story of the 12 Disciples of Jesus.

My Day Two art has now been posted at OPF Studio on Etsy where everything is still 50% off through tomorrow!

4 comments:

  1. No matter what you were....I believe you are now a woman of more faith than doubt. That's a good place to be and exactly the right kind of progress! If I could pass out blessings for today, you would be first on my list. I bet if you think about it, there was one in there somewhere!

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  2. You are always such an encourager Deryn and I so appreciate it. You do pass out blessings with your kind words and I don't even have to think about it very hard to know that God had his hand of blessing all over this day.
    Take care my friend and thanks for stopping by tonight!
    Crystal

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  3. Anonymous9:40 PM

    Your blog post is beautiful. I can see the difference in you, the work that you've been doing, your heart to continue to work and to become the woman that God wants you to be. And the woman you want to become. Sometimes it feels like God just used a butcher knife to open us up instead of peeling back the layers! But like onions the different layers are of different thickness and sometimes it takes more effort to peel back a thick layer because it is more firmly attached. That in itself doesn't bring peace to my mind knowing how hard it has been and He has only peeled back the onion skin on me! But the relief that comes after that peeling, is paradise.

    Here is a lyric from another song by the Sidewalk Prophets:
    Lay Down My Life:

    Give me all your pride
    Give me all your fears
    Give me all your secrets
    Give me all your tears
    Give me all you doubt
    Give me all your shame
    Watch them wash away
    Watch them wash away
    Give me all your pride
    Give me all your fears
    Give me all your secrets
    Give me all your tears
    Give me all you doubt
    Give me all your shame
    Watch them wash away
    In Jesus’ name

    I love you with all my heart & soul. This new layer might seem like it hurts even more than the last but the relief that comes from the healing will be like paradise.

    I love you.
    Larry

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  4. I appreciate your honesty and allowing yourself to be vulnerable on this forum. It is a blessing to those who read your blog that you are sharing such a personal life experience. I know, in the future, when I have one of those days, and I am sure I will, I will remember your words and story about how you had this day and how you rose above it.

    Often, it is the small changes that make the biggest differences. You are doing beautifully, my friend. xoxoxoxo

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