Saturday, September 26, 2015

Embraced By God

On Wednesday afternoon while sitting outside enjoying the first day of Fall, I was awed by all the beauty. Clouds varied and changing, sun brightly shining, blue sky, wind chimes making lovely music-  all of it made me want to stay out there taking in the goodness.

Our prompt for #wholemama this week is the word embrace. When I was out there relaxing and thinking and taking pictures, I thought of our wonderful God and how He takes care of me. With all that beauty and energy of nature surrounding me I got a sense of being held in His embrace. If He can create the world, hold it all it place, control the wind and storms, then surely He is able to meet my needs.

I'm good at embracing others, making them feel welcome, comforting and encouraging them when they are down, but sometimes forget that I need someone to do the same for me. Lately I feel like my emotions have been all over the place. I've felt intense joy, contentment, expectancy, hope and love, but also hurt, sorrow, uncertainty, anger, and negative thoughts trying to pull me down. 

God notices and provides exactly what I need through the embraces of those who love me. 

I think of the little arms of my grandchildren reaching up to hug my neck, their sometimes slobbery kisses, their welcoming smiles and their happy shouts when we visit. Even though my children are grown and most aren't living with me, they can be counted on to love and encourage. I also have great friends who cheer me on. Most importantly, God has given me a wonderful husband who knows how to support and encourage no matter what I may be going through. 

(from an earlier trip to Gatlinburg, TN)

On Thursday, he wanted me to go with him to beautiful Chattooga Belle Farm in Long Creek, South Carolina, to get some apples and have lunch. I almost didn't go because I was so tired, but it turned out to be refreshing and just what I needed to lift my spirits. During the hour long drive, he listened while I shared with him some things that had been bothering me. He was very patient, and together we talked about ways to address some of the issues. 

I think I've discovered anew what a gem I have in this husband of mine. 

We had a lovely lunch with food mostly grown right there on the farm. Our table was outside and we enjoyed a panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Some people may think being a Christian takes away all your fun and stifles creativity, but I've not found that to be true. Far from being restrictive and dull, my relationship with God gives me confidence and freedom to branch out and discover new interests. I know I will make mistakes, but I also know I can learn from them. 

My mistakes don't define me. 

In years passed I've often been afraid to try something new, because I didn't want to fail. I only wanted to do what I thought I could do well. Now I am learning not to worry so much and to embrace new challenges. For instance, just this week I made a short video sharing a small part of what I was feeling outside that first day of Autumn. It's not professional by any means but gave me a sense of accomplishment, because I was willing to try. Here it is, in case you missed it:

Normally I would have been nervous about putting it out there for anyone to see, but I actually felt a bit of excitement. I wasn't worried about what others might think.  A year ago it would have terrified me to do something like that. My participation in groups on and offline has shown me that I do have a voice and there is a place for me to use it. God has given each of us unique desires and talents in order to share them right where we are.

We all have a story to tell that can encourage and help to empower others.

Maybe our words are just the embrace someone needs to help them realize they are not alone, that others struggle the same as they. Many people are feeling hurt, depressed, or generally out of sorts and need someone to give a smile, sit with them or be a good listener when they need to talk. If it's a close friend, maybe what they need is a good hug to make them feel better able to go out and meet their day. I'm thankful for people who are willing to be vulnerable and to share their lives with me. 

It's almost like a warm embrace knowing that we are in this life together.

I'm linking up with these lovely blogs:
#wholemama hosted by Erika Shirk 
Weekend Whispers hosted by Barbie Swihart
Lisha Epperson's #GiveMeGrace
Janis Cox with Sunday Stillness
Spiritual Sundays

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