“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Proverbs 31:25
I’ve been thinking a lot about this Bible verse this past week. This past week, I have been surviving. Temperatures have been in the twenties with wind chill near the teens. The port turned off the water and pump out stations before the freeze hit last week. We’ve been rationing our 150 gallons of water and 50 gallon black water tank, praying we didn’t run out or run over until the temperature rises. Meal planning decisions have been based on how many dishes I’ll need to wash. Sparing bathroom usage, I’ve been bundling our four children and escorting them to the restrooms more frequently than I’d cheerfully prefer.
Grumble, grumble, grumble….and I was the only one grumbling. Why couldn’t I embrace this cold front and have fun with it, skipping down the frozen dock alongside my kids choosing to make this into a humorous, memorable adventure? Instead, I wanted to have a pity party, because the wind was blowing and it was so darn cold. First world problems, I sulked to myself. Missing the luxuries and comforts of the house we had last year didn’t help my motherly mood, I’m sorry to admit.
I WANT to thrive on this adventure, not just survive. I know in my head I need to choose a positive attitude and perspective when facing each challenge. My struggle is genuinely embracing each challenge with a cheerful attitude. A paradox…if I didn’t grumble or complain through the hard times, wouldn’t I give the impression this is easy and convenient, and not a difficult struggle? It dawned on me, being pessimistic or reserved is a form of self-protection. I put my head down just to accomplish and survive the task at hand, not really thriving through the journey, as a way to protect my heart when uncontrollable circumstances get really tough. Consider it all joy…is difficult…when I’m weary and tired. Matters of the heart is what Jesus is most concerned about, right?
“She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future.” Being clothed with strength and dignity, I can wrap my head around. Beauty ultimately shines forth from the heart. What would it be like to laugh without fear of the future?
I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts from Beth Moore’s Living Proof Ministries app. One of my favorites so far is her powerful four part series called WaterMarked (https://subsplash.com/livingproofwithbethmoore/messages/li/+rrgpg4h). Living on the water, Bible stories I know so well which involve boats, wind, or waves, have an intimate connection to my soul. I’m learning to keep my eyes on Him to be our provider, protector, our ever-present help when we’re in need. When fear grips my heart and accuses God has forgotten us, I pray and tell him what I’m feeling. Soon my fear is replaced with peace, and my grumbling and complaining subside. I give the situation into His hands, over and over again when necessary. He wouldn’t bring us this far in this incredible adventure to let us drown from cold and lack of water.
Another wonderful series from Beth Moore that has challenged my perspective between barely surviving or successfully thriving, is called The Blessing (https://subsplash.com/livingproofwithbethmoore/messages/li/+p33qxgd). Her key verses are Ephesians 1:3-14. I know all too well the pain of not receiving sincerely spoken Blessing from people I longed to receive Blessing from. I cried as Beth Moore summed up her series by speaking a blessing over her viewers.
“The God of all creation has known me by name since the foundation of the earth. He has spoken blessing over me. My life, and every season in it, are redeemed from the pit. I don’t have to be in bondage to my past any longer. In Christ, I am justified, sanctified and purified. I am blessed from the crown of my head to the tip of my toes. I have been empowered by God to be profoundly effective in my generation. No devil can have me. My eternity is sealed in heaven. God has spoken His name over me. I am Bountifully Loved, Extravagantly Saved, Supplied, Empowered, Delivered. I am BLESSED.”
~Beth Moore from The Blessing TV series https://subsplash.com/livingproofwithbethmoore/messages/li/+p33qxgd
Finding purpose and meaning through winter struggles, I have to keep my eyes on Jesus. He is how I can be “clothed with strength and dignity, and laugh without fear of the future.” I hope my life and story is a blessing to others, just as reading other women’s blogs are a blessing and inspiration to me! Hearing how God has been faithful to another is so encouraging, and that’s what I hope to be. 🙂
Today, the sun warmed our boat enough to open doors and windows and let the chilly fresh breeze come in. The port turned the water on. Giddily I refilled our tank. I was stretched a lot this week, but I survived it and grew some muscle in how I can thrive next time.
A captivating quote from an Adventures in Odyssey episode (https://www.oaclub.org) captions up my week accurately: “It’s not where you live that makes life exciting, but what you do when you live there that makes life exciting.”
Survive, or thrive?