October 21, 2013
“Man looks at the outward appearance,
but God looks at the heart”
(1 Samuel 16:7).
We’re passing through the department store, just the two of us. The glass countertops sparkle under the bright lights, while the perfectly-coiffed ladies standing beside them offer us samples from their manicured hands. Noticing my lack of interest in the huge array of expensive cosmetics, my companion, never one to be shy, asks bluntly, “Have you always been bland?” Hmm. Is there really a correct way to answer that question?
Have I always been bland? Did I always rush through my mornings, showering quickly, slapping on face cream, running a quick brush through my hair, choosing my clothes based on comfort rather than style?
I’m sure that I was interested in my looks once upon a time. When I was the only person I needed to worry about. I distinctly remember staying up late at night to wait for my freshly painted nails to dry, flipping through magazines while trying to envision how the various hairstyles would look on me. When I had time to flip through magazines.
Many years and 46 foster children later, those days of being preoccupied with my appearance are long gone! I have completely different priorities now. So where did that young lady go? When did I lose the interest in those vain pursuits?
October 8, 2013
Before the eyes even open, it’s there. Lingering, menacing, its approaching darkness threateningly close. It’s a storm cloud that descends without warning, casting a dark gloominess across the day ahead. Hope’s radiance may be struggling to shine through, but it is completely hidden in the shadows.
This ominous cloud may be Regret. It is heavy with the tremendous weight of guilt, taunting its reminders of past decisions. Roads that seemed innocuous and safe in the beginning, but with every step, every twist and turn, have long since led to a place of unintended consequences. There is no going back. That time can never be redeemed, and Regret is ever present, mocking and ridiculing the foolishness of yesterday.
Perhaps the foreboding cloud is Fear. Facing an unknown future, feeling thoroughly unprepared and ill equipped. This frightening cloud warns of impending storms, a deluge that threatens to consume, causing horrendous damage and destruction. What if the imagination’s worst nightmare indeed happens? What about that possible scenario? How will the heart be able to bear it? The anxiety of such thoughts can be paralyzing.
Sometimes the cloud is simply Weariness. The difficult circumstances of yesterday remain here today. The battles that were fought so valiantly at the beginning have now become overwhelming and futile. What’s the use of continuing the fight when nothing ever seems to change? Not the slightest sign of victory is in sight.
The thoughts, the thoughts, the thoughts. Like frightened rabbits, they bound across the meadow of the mind, first darting one way before turning suddenly and dashing in a completely different direction. They continue to scurry, frantically racing and whirling. Never resting. Will peace, that elusive tranquility and contentment so earnestly sought, ever be found?