Isaiah 43:18 - Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.
I often think about how I would’ve done things differently. My eyes are colored with regret if I allow this thought to continue. It can take me down rabbit holes that I have no business going down into. Rabbit holes distract us from the work in hand that we have to finish before the end of the day. Rabbit holes can cause frustration to sweep in as we rehash what could’ve been. But I have a friend who told me, “Don’t should on yourself.” In other words, don’t think back to every situation you “should’ve” done differently. Because the more we “should” on ourselves, the deeper we go down the rabbit hole of disillusionment and depression. Call upon the one who knows you and has been with you through your past filled with regret. God knows. God cares. God understands. God can move his hand inside our rabbit holes and pull us out. God is great at remodeling lives. He can take a shovel and fill up our rabbit holes giving us light to shine on our paths where regret no longer has a pull on us.
Luke 2:19 - But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
The “day after” can often refer to something bad that has happened and how you’re managing to cope. But sometimes, “the day after” can refer to something wonderful that happens. When it does, take a deep breath and feel the joy filling up your whole being. Let it get into the cracks of where your heart has been broken in the past due to heartache and sorrow. Your heart will be able to beat strongly again, as you inhale joy. Hang onto those moments. Store them up inside your heart as Mary, Jesus’ mother did. Not everyone will understand you and how you can go from such deep aches inside to blessed peace. But you will. God knows the very moment when we’re in need of something uplifting in our lives. He can open our eyes to see that though right now things are tough, the sun will break through again. Let the joy begin!
Job 11:18 – You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
Knowing you have to endure a painful sickness the rest of your life is difficult to cope with. You try to stay closed up in denial, but it doesn’t change anything. It still hurts. It still can destroy our happiness. It still follows us where ever we go. There’s no use in trying to escape it, because you can’t. Denial is not only fruitless, but can cause our illness to increase in velocity and strip away our inner strength. When you accept even negative things in your life, hope begins to bloom. Sometimes that hope miraculously heals us. Sometimes it doesn’t heal us physically, but it gives us the strength to not just endure our sickness, but to bloom a rose garden of beauty in our lives. God loves roses. He’s ready to plant them in our lives if we let him.
Isaiah 58:11 – The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
My mom used to tell me to dress up each day even if you’re just staying home. The clothes I used to wear for every day were a bit worn or the shirt and pants didn’t match. Why save the good clothes? They aren’t impressing anyone by hanging in your closet. Not that I’m looking to impress anyone with my choice in clothing, but what we wear, even if it’s just at home will lift our spirits and help us think more of ourselves. So don’t save that pretty outfit just to go out in. Put it on and feel the difference. Compare it to a field of flowers that are weeds. Even though they don’t really serve any use, they provide beauty in undiscovered places. God can provide for us clothing that outshines the flowers in the field. I like that thought, “I’m a flower in God’s garden of possibilities and beauty.” No, you’re not a weed, but you are beautiful to God whether it’s a day to shine out in the world, or just to shine for yourself at home. He sees the inside and how dressing up for the day can cause your beauty to shine in unexpected places.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.