Socks, socks, and more socks! It looked like my dryer contained more men’s socks than the Gold Toe sock display at Macy’s.
The sight of so many socks now piled on top of the dryer made me exasperated. My best estimate told me there must be at least 50 socks that I needed to match, fold, and put away. I definitely was not pleased with this menial, time-consuming chore.
“It’s all in a person’s perspective. You can either find the blessing and be grateful or find the fault and feel awful.” I could hear my friend Miss Caroline explain the value of perspective as clearly as if she stood next to me. It made me take a second look at the sock pile.
I suddenly realized several important things:
- These socks belong to my husband.
- I have a precious husband.
- If my husband owns 50 socks, then it’s because he has a job and can afford to buy socks.
- And if my husband has a job, it’s because God provided it for him – for us!
My disdain at having to fold so many socks turned to joy when I adjusted my perspective. A chore that could be viewed as drudgery was actually a blessing.
What things in your life need a change in perspective?
Be thankful in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
TO GOD BE THE GLORY!
Photograph by Cynthia Howerter © 2013Read More
Do you ever find yourself thinking that it’s just too late in your life for certain things to happen? I didn’t even realize that I do this. That is, until I took a lovely walk through the French Quarters in Charleston, South Carolina on Monday with my daughter Megan.
We stopped at an art gallery and admired numerous paintings by highly skilled artists. One piece in particular caught my eye, but the hefty price tag prohibited me from purchasing it.
Taking into account my age and my lack of income, I bemoaned my circumstances to Megan as she walked slightly ahead of me on a narrow sidewalk. “I love oil paintings, but I’ve never had the money to purchase any.”
Megan murmured something.
“What?” I called out to her. “I didn’t hear you.”
She continued walking but turned her head toward me as she repeated her comment. “Yet.”
“You haven’t had the money to purchase works of art. Yet.”
“Yet,” I repeated.
“Yet,” Megan affirmed.
In the window of another shop were photographs of England, the one place I’ve wanted to visit since I was eleven years old. “I still haven’t been to Europe.”
My daughter, diagonally in front of me on the threadlike sidewalk, muttered something.
She turned sideways, still walking. “Yet.”
“You haven’t been to Europe. Yet.”
Yet. I pondered the word, my foot twisting on a raised cobblestone. “Yet,” I said out loud.
“That’s right, Mom. Yet.”
“So what’s your point? I don’t have the money to buy art and I don’t have the money to travel to Europe.”
“Yet. You talk as though you’ve given up on your dreams. If you give up on your dreams, they definitely won’t happen.”
“I’m being realistic, Megan. I’m an unknown Christian writer who just started their career and hasn’t earned a penny.”
“Yet. You never thought you’d write a book, but you just signed a book contract.”
Yet. I stopped and let her words sink in. Yet! This child is right! I’ve given up on my dreams. Dreams can’t happen if we give up on them, if we allow them to die, if we stop pursuing them.
I hurried to catch up. “Yes, Megan. Yet! Buying fine art and traveling to England have not happened yet!”
She glanced at me and smiled, the teacher and student trading roles. “Yet.”
What about you? Yes, you. What dreams have you given up on? Maybe you should tell me while we’re having this conversation. I’ll start the sentence, and then you fill in the blank: “I have never…….”
This is where you need Megan: “Yet.”
Isn’t that three-letter word unbelievably empowering?
What’s your biggest dream? The one you’ve never told anyone, the one you are most afraid will never happen? I know you have one. This time, say your big dream out loud. Speak life into it. Revive it. I’ll help you begin: “I have never……”
And Megan says: “Yet.”
You see, what you are saying, in essence, is this: I have had this dream for a long time, but it hasn’t materialized. Yet. I thought my dream was dead because I thought it was impossible for it to actually happen. But if I remain hopeful and focused and keep my dream alive and continue to work, it could happen. Yet.
I’ll take the last turn: “I have never written a best-seller.”
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me such an incredible daughter, and for the opportunity to share her wisdom with my friends.
“Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” Proverbs 23:18.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Photograph: Cynthia Howerter © 2012
NOTE: Double-click on each photo to enlarge it. Then click on the back arrow to return to the article.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills - From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2. TO GOD BE THE GLORY All photographs taken by Cynthia Howerter © 2012
At the end of January, my husband was temporarily re-assigned to a corporate facility five hours away. Tim’s company initially believed he would be there for 6 to 8 weeks. Now it’s looking like the assignment will last months.
With God, there’s a purpose to everything. Perhaps someone at the facility needs my husband to witness to them. Maybe my husband will benefit from the testimony of someone else. One thing’s certain: God has a need for Tim to be there.
My husband is a gift to me from the Lord, and I miss him terribly. But I’ve learned to be grateful in all situations. Truly, there is something good in everything that is bad, albeit we sometimes have to really look for it.
How can you say that? you ask. Because adversity has taught me to look beyond the difficulty that I face, to seek what God would have me learn through the situation. God is teaching me to allow my trials, great and small, to deepen my relationship with Him.
I know, without question, that no matter what situation I’m in, God is right alongside me and He wants me to draw closer to Him, not to the TV, not to the computer.
Although it would always our first choice, God won’t take us around trouble. No, He escorts us right through the middle of it, staying by our side all the way to the exit door.
As much as I miss my husband, I know that no difficult situation lasts forever. The Scriptures and my experiences have taught me that. When Tim’s assignment is complete, the Lord will bring him home to me.
But I’m not waiting until then to rejoice. I have reasons to celebrate now: God has given Tim a job. Thanks to Him, we have a steady income, we have a house, we can buy food. God is seeing to it that all of our needs are being met no matter where one of us is assigned or where the other lives. The Lord is crossing every “t” and dotting every ”i.”
No matter where my husband might be, I know he loves me and is counting the minutes until he can come home.
And I am here waiting patiently, keeping my focus on the One who placed every star in the sky and the love in our hearts.
Delight yourself also in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him. Psalm 37:4, 7a. NKJV.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More
What is the most important thing you spend on someone? If you answered “money,” keep reading.
The answer is time. Most people do not understand the value of time. Once you spend time, you can never get it back. Think about that. You can spend money, but you can earn more. Time is a gift from God. You cannot earn it. Once you spend it, it is gone forever.
Think of the people in your life. Start with those who are closest to you, such as your spouse, your children, other family members or friends. Would they prefer receiving a tangible gift from you or would they rather receive your time – your time spent focusing on them, not things?
Looking at this conversely, what happens to our relationships when we do not spend our time with those who are most important to us? Think divorce, kids who behave badly, relationships that lose their closeness, friendships that end.
God made each of us to crave relationships with others, but a person cannot have a true relationship with someone unless they spend time with that person. I’m not talking about sitting in the same room with another person while you watch TV. No, that’s a relationship you are having with the TV. Turn off the TV and talk with the people who are in that room with you!
Take an honest look at the people in your life. Are you content with your relationship with them? Are you spending your time with them, focusing on them, treating them the way you want to be treated?
What about your relationship with your Maker? God made you because He wants you to have a daily, intimate relationship with Him. Not once in awhile when you’ve got trouble. Daily. Throughout the day.
If you spend time every single day with God and those who are important to you, you will see distance replaced with a loving closeness.
The time you are given today will be permanently gone tomorrow. How are you spending it?
“Your heart will be where your treasure is.” Matthew 6:21. (God’s Word Translation 1995).
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012Read More
Do you ever feel insignificant, that what you say or do never really matters? Do you sometimes wonder if you’ve ever made a difference in another person’s life? Me, too.
Several weeks ago, I was at a writers meeting. The gentleman sitting to my right was a stranger. After introductions, for some odd reason, I spoke about something that had happened to me during my husband’s unemployment. An acquaintance had told me, very bluntly, that my husband would never get another good job due to his age and his high level of achievement. Upon hearing this negative statement, I told the person that they had no idea how powerful my God is or they would know that God is not restrained by a person’s age or achievements.
The gentleman to my right looked stunned. “Cynthia, you have no idea how much your words just helped me. I needed to hear what you just said in the worst kind of way.”
I couldn’t have been more surprised. “Why?” I asked.
“Because I’ve been unemployed for a long time now, and I needed to hear that God is powerful enough to help me, too.”
I then told the gentleman that God did give my husband another good job, albeit months later, his new employer not concerned with my husband’s age but appreciative of his experience. The man cried. And I knew from my husband’s unemployment experiences that I was seeing tears of renewed hope.
I had just met this man minutes before and had no knowledge of his personal circumstances. But God knew this man’s situation and He also knew that my reaction 18 months earlier to hurtful and discouraging words was exactly what this man needed to hear.
Just like Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that in all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose,” God took my experience from a difficult situation and used it to strengthen another person in need.
The truth is, you and I will never know how many lives we’ve touched when we live for Christ.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY
Cynthia Howerter © 2012