Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Letting Go, Goodbye Balloons...

Once upon a time, a little girl held on to a bunch of colorful balloons. She was in control of them. She knew their colors, how many she had, and how many ribbons she had tied around her wrist to keep them from floating away. They belonged to her and no one could take care of them like she could. Every now and then, when one floated away, she'd replace it with another one. This little girl was sure she could handle them all no matter how many she had.

One day, the little girl found herself in the park longing to play with the other children. Who would watch her balloons? What if one escaped? Could she trust anyone else with her balloons? There were so many of them. After sitting a while contemplating, she decided she could not trust anyone. Slowly, she dragged her feet home. When her mother called her into the kitchen for lunch, the little girl hardly touched her food. Her mother asked what was wrong and the little girl replied, "Momma, I have all my balloons tied to my wrist. I cannot give them to anyone to watch because I don't think I can trust them. I wanted to play with the other children in the park today, but I couldn't let go of my balloons." Her mother shook her head and sighed. Lifting her daughter's face up she asked, "Honey, why not let go of those balloons? Wouldn't you rather have fun playing with the other children? Why are those balloons so important to you?" The little girl hadn't thought of why they were so important to her before. Looking up at the bunch of colorful balloons, tears began to stream down her face. She replied, "Momma, I've missed out on so many play dates, so many birthday parties, holidays, and time spent with family and friends having fun. I've spent so many nights awake worrying about losing a balloon. I don't even know why. They really aren't important. If anything, they are holding me back."

Realizing the insignificance of all the balloons the little girl had tied around her wrist, she took a deep breath and ran out the front door. Looking up at the sky, she reached her hand to her wrist where the balloons were tied. One by one, she let them go. She was down to one balloon when she dropped her head and cried, "Lord, please forgive me for holding onto these so long. Give me the strength to trust you and let them all go." As the last tear streamed down her cheek, the little girl watched the last balloon float up and away. Slowly, she turned to walk back into the house. There her mother awaited her. With open arms, she scooped her daughter up wrapping her in a bear hug. Whispering in her ear the little girl's momma said, "I have a surprise. Your friends will be over soon to play. We are going on a picnic at the playground today." The little girl smiled in relief. Now, she could play without worrying.

How many times do you find yourself carrying a wrist full of balloons? In other words, how many times do you find yourself replacing one worry with another? Do you feel that you can trust someone enough to confide in them your worries so that they may be in prayer for you? Once you've conquered one worry, do you find yourself replacing it with another? I believe we all struggle with replacing one worry with another during periods of our life. Doesn't it get tiring after a while?

Every time I think I've conquered that terrible habit, worrying, I find myself struggling again. Satan knows my weakness and it's so hard to give it up... to let all my balloons go. Currently, I'm on vacation with my family in a place I refer to as my second home. I was on the ski slopes the other day and fell pretty hard. Refusing help, I boarded down the mountain. Though once I reached my parents, I was distraught. I thought for sure something was broken or I'd soon fall into unconsciousness. As I tried to calm myself, momma made sure I was able to move. Slowly I walked back to the lodge and upon entering my room fell into a panic attack. Laying there, I realized, the Lord... my heavenly Father is in complete control. I was okay. I was alive. Soon I would feel better and nothing was drastically wrong. Sure, I was in pain... but not as bad as my mind conjured up. It was then that God showed me, it's not that I don't trust Him or that I have a lack of faith. I'm human. We are all stuck in this dieing flesh. What He did show me was that I needed to remember, in all things give Him the glory. Give Him the glory that He saved me.

Friends, there is so much to be thankful for. There is so much to live for. Don't let a wrist full of balloons tie you down. Live and let those balloons go. Cast your worries and fears on the Lord and He will give you peace.

Letting Go Through Scripture:

Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall. Psalm 55:22

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tis the Season

Once upon a time, it was a cold and rainy morning. Sitting in Starbucks where I should have been studying, I couldn't. My heart wasn't in it and all I wanted to do was find myself back in bed under piles of covers wishing I was far more ahead in the future than where I was and currently am. I am more than thankful for where God has me and how far I've come. But for some reason, it's been hard for me to keep optimistic these past several weeks. I once heard a saying,
"A glass of milk is always half full, half full of milk and half full of air. So it's never half empty." -unknown
Why is it so hard to be patient? Why is it so difficult for me to be truly happy? This morning I realized why I have to work so hard to stay up beat this time of year. It's the Christmas season where families come together and couples walk about hand in hand shopping for gifts as Christmas music blares through the department stores, car radios, and coffee shops. I should be thankful because the Lord has blessed my life greatly, but I'm constantly fighting the thoughts of what I don't have. All the Christmas songs played lately are more secular than Christian with lyrics about people in love.. blah blah blah... Sitting in Starbucks this morning, I longed for those Christmases past spent with my Papa, Nanny, aunts, uncles, and cousins... I longed for my other half... and I longed for my future family....

I want to say that I am happy with it being just me and God. I want to say I am happy spending Christmas with my momma, daddy, and brother and no one else. I want to say that I am happy with where I am in my life. There's a lot I "want" to say... but do I mean it? Things are always easier said than done... My prayer is that the Lord fills me up this season and reminds me the reason for the season. It's not about me... it's about our Savior who has come to give me and you eternal life. It's the celebration of His birth and His life on earth. Let us be filled by the Spirit. Let us be happy with who we are, our life, and for those we hold dear to our hearts.

I pray you feel warmth in your hearts. I pray you are overcome with an inner happiness and peace that cannot be explained. I pray you are not alone this Christmas and that even if you are, you feel Jesus in your presence.

I may not have a hand to hold, but Christ holds my heart. I may not have Christmases like those in the past, but I still have Christ's birth to celebrate. I may not have my future family now, but there is always God's promise of having one in the years to come. My motto: the glass is always half full.

The Words of the Lord:
A Psalm of David

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

-Psalm 23:1-6