• Barb Lownsbury

What Matters Most

It’s been a different sort of month, the kind that makes you reflective, that forces you to stop and re-evaluate life. There have been some deaths, a birth, cancer battles and personal battles raging all around me. When life’s seas get that choppy, it’s easy to get swallowed under by the waves and the winds threatening to engulf me.

I’ve had my share of tears. If God has taught me nothing else, it has been to understand the importance of not keeping the hurt, the anger and the ugly locked deep inside. Getting it out allows my heart to be cleansed, healed and ultimately refreshed, even though the scars, and the empty places that used to be filled by loved ones, remain. Still, through it all I have also felt calm, at peace, surrendered. I have felt God’s presence walking right beside me, holding my hand through it all.

There’s a scripture I discovered this week that really stood out to me. It said, “Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of the mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure,” (Ecclesiastes 7:3-4). At first, like so much of God’s teachings, it felt counter-intuitive. How can a sad face and mourning be good and bring wisdom? It didn’t take long to realize it’s because the hard times make us stop and think. It’s our challenges that remind us time is short, and we have but one go around here on this planet. What will we do with the time we are given?

I’ve never once heard a story about anyone wishing they’d had more possessions, more money and stuff, or worked longer hours as they lay on their deathbed. My friends battling cancer aren’t concerned about how nice the car is they are driving, either. What I have heard, time and time again, is the importance of fearlessly pursuing your dreams, grabbing a hold of the people you love and keeping them close, and giving back to the world in ways big and small. It’s been about making a positive difference in the lives others.

For me, understanding what makes life valuable and important, and then living in such a way as to make those things my priorities, and the drivers behind my decisions and choices, is a gift. It is the good God seeks for my heart, the wisdom that it born from times of adversity. It’s what makes my today richer, and my tomorrow free of fear. I am more grateful, more aware, more humble, and more giving. I reflect on the many blessings I have, which propels me to keep walking forward in God’s strength until I am called home.

For Further Thought: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you,” (1 Peter 1:22-25). This week, look for ways to express your love for others. Take some time to make sure you are really walking in God’s dreams for your life, and adjust your course if necessary.

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