Tuesday, May 10, 2022

One Day at a Time


We said goodbye to a dear one recently—one that had suffered greatly in her lifetime, but somehow always managed to hold on to joy.

We never asked her how she was doing that she didn’t quote the title of the 1970’s Kris Kristofferson, Marijohn Wilkin song.

“One Day at a Time,” she’d respond.

When the song came out decades ago, the phrase, “One day at a time,” became cliché in the culture, but as the years went on, its usage began to fade.

But for our friend, it was never a cliché’—it’s how she lived. And I mean lived. Family explained that as an infant she faced life-threatening challenges, but by the grace of God, she survived. But her developmental process did not follow any expected path, so the stage was set for lifelong issues.

She responded to those issues by seizing each moment for joy and proclaiming Jesus at every opportunity.

She was adored by family and friends and left in her passing at close to ninety a legacy of perseverance amid great difficulties and the memory of a smile that would light up a room.

I was reading this week the Exodus story of the feeding of the Israelites after they had been delivered from Egypt. When the bread from heaven came down, they were instructed to only gather enough for one day except for the sixth day when they would gather enough for that day and the Sabbath.

The Israelites had trouble trusting God with this direction. It was quite a learning curve and not without derailments on their part. The reason for that is it takes a great faith to believe God for the duration of even one trip of the earth around the sun.

But our friend had that kind of faith. She believed through suffering that God would never let her down no matter what day it was.

I’ll never hear the song, “One Day at a Time” or hear the phrase, that I don’t think of her. I’ll remember that these are words God intended for us to live by and that you can live an entire lifetime on them.

When troubles threaten to overwhelm, let’s whisper this phrase in prayer, “One day at a time,” and have the faith that God will grant us the grace to live them.

"Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6:34).

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit bev-oneringingbell.blogspot.com

Beverly Varnado copyright 2022


Tuesday, May 3, 2022

When you're still looking for a breakthrough

It was during an oboe solo at the Pops Concert last week that an idea came to me for a creative project—a concept I've not thought of before.

That’s how it works. One person’s creativity sparks the imagination of another. And it just goes on in ripples from there. The whole experience made me think of this post from a few years back. Happy creating, friends!!



Dear friend,


I know. You’ve worked a long time and you’ve tried to put in those 10,000 hours this man says you need in order to perfect your craft. You’ve lived on hope, and following a dream, and yet, up ahead, you only see more of the overgrown, and hard to navigate road that you’ve traveled so far. And you’re thinking, what difference does it make if I quit? What difference do I make?

Here, it’s important to remember those first few words in Genesis, “In the beginning, God created . . . “ You were created in the image of God, and you were created to create. Those gifts and talents are part of your DNA and by using them, you continue His artistry in the world. By the beauty of what you do, you make pliable the hard surfaces of life for others, you give people a place for their own emotions and feelings to resonate. “I’m not alone,” they think because of what you do, because of your honesty, and they find encouragement in the heartfelt renderings of your life.

God could have given us a soundless, black and white world, but He chose to give us one teaming with sensory beauty. In the same way, you spin delight with your offerings.



 
 



When we heard about the butterfly effect, we wondered, but he says it’s true Those butterfly wings flapping on the other side of the world can affect what happens on this side of the planet. The same is true for you. What you do not only affects you, and the people you touch, but the people they touch and on, and on in ripples ad infinitum. Your work matters in this generation, and the next, and the next, and the next. Truly, a “people yet unborn” may praise him because of your efforts today. And it’s not just the big things that matter, but the small things, too. Even those works unseen by others right now have import in ways we cannot imagine. Perhaps, tomorrow, in a dark recess half a world away, another finds hope because you persevered. 
When you are tempted to minimize the value of your efforts, remember, the God of the universe leans forward to take in your painting, your singing, your writing, and all your other talents and gifts. These were his idea, and He has chosen you. Sift critiques for what can make your work stronger and use them for transformation, but don’t allow rejections or negative comments to summarize the worth of your work. 
Do not confuse what you do with who you are. You belong to God, and you are highly esteemed. Your value is not wrapped up in what you do. And if you seemingly fail in your efforts, it does not mean you are a failure. Just use those detours as a segue for what comes next.

No matter the means of expression, whether you tool belts, fashion jewelry, design greeting cards, paint landscapes, write screenplays, novels, or devotions, pen lyrics, sculpt clay, construct tables, draw cartoons, play an instrument, develop lessons for adults or children, etch woodblocks, create culinary delights, or anything else where creativity is involved, "Let every detail in your lives, words, actions, whatever, be done in the name of the Master, Jesus . . . " (Colossians 3:17 The Message).

Let Him make His mark through you.

In a week or so, I start a new Bible study on Gideon. In preparation for that, a friend also in the study, sent me this scripture from Judges 6. "But God faced him (Gideon) directly: 'Go in this strength that is yours. Save Israel from Midian. Haven’t I just sent you?'” In the face of overwhelming odds, long lines of closed doors, and feelings of inadequacy, we go in the strength we have, even if it seems little, because God has called us. God has sent us. And God only knows how He will capitalize on our weaknesses as well as our strengths to fulfill His purpose.
Friends, be encouraged to continue. You are not alone. We are on this journey together. Don’t let discouragement shut up your heart.
Please know, in this dimly lit world, the shimmering jewel of your creativity shines forth and brings glory to Him, and He smiles.

Many blessings,

 
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