Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Natural: Focus on where you want to go

Fear can be our worst enemy, whether it has a real foundation or it has been invented by our mind. Fear can be disabling, leaving us motionless and unable to function. It can be a devastating force in our life. Our fears are very real to us, and if we do not get control of them, they will control us. Fear can cause much pain and can keep us from doing what we want to do or need to do in a particular situation. Fear is something that we must conquer, and until we do, we will be vulnerable to its attacks, which often come when we least expect them.

            There are many sources of fear. People can inflict fear on us regarding a particular thing we want to accomplish, such as getting a job, getting married, having a baby or trying something new. Fear can also be created in our heads about particular situations, such as our relationships, our job or our health. Fear can also be more abstract, such as fear of one day getting hurt in an accident or fear of having our home invaded by an intruder or even fear of the unseen.

            Regardless of their cause, all fears should be treated the same. The best way to beat our fears is by facing whatever is scaring us and by having faith faith in God, faith in our capabilities and faith in the people we love. Faith is the opposite of fear, and when we have faith, we can break free from fears.

            It is only when our eyes are kept on Jesus that we can face and overcome any kind of obstacle. Remember that when Peter was walking on the water toward Jesus, he was safe as long as he was looking at Jesus; but when his eyes focused on the storm instead, he began to sink. Immediately, Jesus grabbed him by the arm, rescued him and said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” (Matthew 14:31)

             The Bible says that “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18) Sometimes fearful situations can be an opportunity to make us understand that our relationship with God is not where it should be. If we loved Him as we should, we would not be afraid; we would trust Him completely and absolutely in every situation.

            Let us keep our eyes on Jesus. Let’s cast any and every doubt out of our heads. We must know in our hearts that, no matter what the situation, God will see us through! Maybe fear is wake-up call for us to eagerly desire to come closer to our God. The Bible reminds us of Christ’s saving power: “He rescued us from such great danger of death, and he will continue to rescue us; in him we have put our hope (that) he will also rescue us again.” (2 Corinthians 1:10) If we remember these words when fear overtakes us, then we can set our eyes on Him and not on the situation or our circumstances. We can confidently call upon His name and know He will answer us and He will protect us.

Wisdom to contemplate:

 “The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.” (Mathew 6:22)

“Even when I walk through a dark valley, I fear no harm for you are at my side; your rod and staff give me courage.” (Psalm 23:4)

“I sought the LORD, who answered me, delivered me from all my fears.”
(Psalm 34:5)

“God is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress. Thus we do not fear, though earth be shaken and mountains quake to the depths of the sea.” (Psalm 46:2-3)

Friday, March 13, 2015

Love: A child’s dream

Time spent together between a parent and a child is precious. The bond that is formed between mother and daughter or father and son in the early years is everlasting. By talking, a parent and a child learn to feel comfortable with each other, to open up and share.

A child can be therapeutic for a parent. Getting in touch with long forgotten memories stirs up emotions we have sometimes become unaware of. To see our children smile, to hear them laughing and to be there for the special moments in their lives is priceless.

Similarly, a parent can be the compass and the anchor in a child’s life. A mom or dad can be a child’s best friend without ever having to compromise discipline or authority. Being there for our children on a consistent, regular basis is very important, especially in their younger years when there are so many questions and so many fears. To share time together is healthy for both, and when the importance of spending time together is overlooked, this can become a parent’s greatest regret.

Is there anything more important than for parents to spend time with their “little ones”? I find it hard to imagine. A mother, who spends time with her “little one” as Anna did with Ellie, will give her child self-confidence and a wisdom the child could hardly get anywhere else. Experiencing happy moments from the time we are small is very important. And no moments are more precious or happy to children than those spent with their parents. A parent who is there to listen is more valuable than any material thing parents could possibly buy for their children. Parents who are aware of and care about what their “little ones” think important will diminish the risk of disappointing them. Parents who are sensitive to their children’s desires and dreams will be much more likely to make their children happy.

For a child, there are things that are of terrible importance, but a grown-up might not understand that unless the adult spends a lot of time with that child. The problem is not that the adult is indifferent to the child’s feelings, but that the adult is simply not in tune with what is going on in the child’s life. And parents might be so involved in their adult world that they have forgotten what was important when they were children themselves. It is just too easy for us to forget how important some things are when we are little. Children are very keen observers, and when children see that their parents are paying attention, they learn to rely on their parents for the rest of their lives.

It is true that many parents are working very hard trying to provide as much as they can for their children. This is admirable. But it would be a wonderful thing if every couple could try to have at least one parent at home, even if this means sacrificing some material comforts. There is nothing that is impossible for a heart that is determined. If we are determined to change our schedules, to change our lives, we will be able to do it.

            True, in today’s world, there are many single parents, and sometimes it is just not possible for a parent to be home. All we can do is do the best we can. But many parents do have a choice. Many could change things, but don’t. Maybe in their minds they want to provide more for their children. But think about this: There is nothing more valuable or more important to give your children than to give them the gift of YOU!


Wisdom to contemplate:

“With your whole heart honor your father;
your mother’s birth pangs forget not.
Remember, of these parents you were born;
what can you give them for all they gave you?”
(Sirach 7:27)

“Let your father and mother have joy; let her who bore you exult.”(Proverbs 23:25)