If happiness were measured by how much the sun was shining, in my world today it would be blindingly bright.
The last several months have been a bit of a trial for us here at Mama’s Empty Nest, not unbearable just a time of uncertainty. We’ve considered much, reflected more, and have diligently sought God’s guidance as we faced a period of insecurity. Through it all, hubby and I have tried to seek God’s will, petitioned Him in prayer and waited….and waited.
We’ve praised and thanked God the Father for the provisions He provided for us and how He continued to supply our needs during our bit of a trial. We’ve held tightly to our faith and scripture from 1 Peter 5:7 has been especially comforting to me: “Cast all your anxiety on him because He cares for you.”
And just like that first beaming ray of sunshine thrust downward from the sky piercing its way through the dark and ominous clouds of a rainstorm, our long-awaited answers to prayer arrived this week, not just one answer but two!
American writer Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, “Just as there comes a warm sunbeam into every cottage window, so comes a love-beam of God’s care for every separate need.”
Today, on this 10th page of my book of Opportunity in Chapter 7, there’s not just a warm sunbeam shining in our country home cottage window. Instead I feel like my entire home is ablaze with sunshine – a beacon of light – as God, maker of heaven and earth, has poured blessings upon our heads.
For most of this year, my husband has been unemployed. There have been ups and downs, highs and lows, encouragements and disappointments as he sought another position. In a period of time that can be devastating and demoralizing, I can honestly say – in our 33 years of marriage – I have never seen my husband stronger.
Instead of embracing defeat, he embraced our Savior Jesus Christ more than ever through reading the Word and devout prayer, through servanthood to others, and his willingness to help those in more dire need than ourselves.
I believe God has blessed my husband for his steadfastness and faith, for his total reliance on Him, and for his thorough self-examination identifying attitudes and thoughts he needed to change. Just this week, my husband was offered a job. Not just any job, but a job that he is excited about, an emotion he hasn’t experienced when it comes to work for a very long time.
On the heels of that sunbeam of joy that radiated down over us, our oldest daughter flew in for a job interview in our nearby city. She truly loves her current job and employer in the Deep South, but after four years of living in that area, her heart tells her she doesn’t want to stay there any longer. She recently expressed her desire to live closer to our family, a prayer desire Mama and Papa have lifted to the Father for quite some time.
After a promising phone interview, a prospective employer asked her to fly in for a face-to-face. Again joy permeated through me like the warmth of a sunbeam when our daughter was offered a new job right here in our city! Celebration reigned at our house this weekend!
This morning at o’dark thirty, Papa and I drove our beloved eldest to the airport for her early morning flight back south, where she won’t reside much longer. This time, the farewells at the terminal weren’t melancholy, they were jubilant as we look forward to the future.
The sun started rising as we headed home afterward. As dawn began to break, the old Sunday School song, “I’ll Be a Sunbeam,” came to my mind.
“Jesus wants me for a sunbeam to shine for Him each day,
In every way try to please Him, at home, at school, at play.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam, Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam, I’ll be a sunbeam for Him.
I will ask Jesus to help me to keep my heart from sin,
Ever reflecting His goodness, and always shine for Him.
I’ll be a sunbeam for Jesus; I can if I but try;
Serving Him moment by moment, then live with Him on high.”
That song echoed through my mind while I tried to stay awake as we entered a tunnel on our way from the airport into the city. As you exit this particular passageway, you are treated to a full view of our beautiful city. The sight of it never ceases to inspire awe in me.
This morning, upon exiting the tunnel, another awe-inspiring sight revealed itself – the gorgeous morning sun, rising up like a gargantuan round orb of luminous orange-red. Its light blinded me as it perched perfectly between two sentinel skyscrapers, slowly ascending into the morning sky, and I chastised myself again for not grabbing my camera before I left the house. It truly was a breath-taking, beautiful sight and I gasped, then said to hubby, “Wow! Look at that!”
A scripture in Judges 5:31 came to my mind: “So may all your enemies perish, Lord! But may all who love you be like the sun when it rises in its strength.”
As I squinted into the sun’s radiance, I thought, “How could we ever appreciate the sun if we never had night?”
Likewise, how could we ever appreciate the blessings if we never endured trials? How could we appreciate life’s happiness if we never experienced life’s storms?
Jane Porter, a Scottish novelist in the 1800’s, once wrote: “Happiness is a sunbeam which may pass through a thousand bosoms without losing a particle of its original ray. When it strikes a kindred heart, like the converged light upon a mirror, it reflects itself with the redoubled brightness. It is not perfected until it is shared.”
Happiness, like sunbeams, are not perfected unless they are shared, and I think that’s true about faith as well. That’s why I must share my faith in Jesus Christ with you in hopes that you too might want to be a sunbeam for Him.
Sunrise, sunset. Sunrise, sunset. They happen each and every day, yet I think most of us take those events for granted.
My middle daughter is a wonderfully devoted and caring nurse at a fairly large hospital in the city and she’s been working the night shift steadily for a few weeks now. She posted a photo of a recent sunrise from a hospital window on her Facebook and added this comment: “God is smiling down on us today.”
I commented back that God smiles down on us every day, we just don’t always pay attention, and that set my contemplation wheels spinning.
I have to admit I’m not much of a sunrise person, not because I don’t appreciate sunrises, on the contrary I think they are magnificent and simply amazing. Viewing one is an inspiring way to start your day. My problem is wanting to get up early to greet the sun as it makes its way into the eastern horizon.
Sunsets are equally as exquisite and awe-inspiring and I enjoy them regularly from our backyard deck. I’ve even managed to capture a few of them with my digital camera. The colors spreading across the western sky vary as the seasons change and a sunset never disappoints me.
I’ve been fortunate enough to witness the sun rise on the Atlantic Ocean and set on the Pacific Ocean (of course not on the same day!). Having lived in the Pacific Northwest, we made many trips to the coast and I have sensational photos of the sunsets on the Pacific to prove it.
Since we moved back to the homeland, my family has taken several vacations to the beach on the Atlantic Ocean. One time we all specifically arose early enough to see the sun edge its way up from the ocean’s horizon. Spectacular!
And to think that this technicolor scenic event happens every single day, whether we witness it or not. I think we miss so many stunning sights daily because we don’t take the time to look for them or wait for them either, for that matter.
I was pondering this on my drive home from work today. In typical November fashion, the day proved dreary, chilly, and rainy and dark clouds laced their wispy fingers over the gray skies every way I turned. But coming home, suddenly, and only for a few moments, the sun emanated beaming rays of light down through the clouds. Sunbeams! What a picture! I wished I had my camera along so I could share this sight with you. (Note to self: carry camera in purse at all times.)
You know, I could have missed this brief but beautiful sight had I been preoccupied with thoughts of dinner preparation or why the driver in front of me was not going the speed limit on the highway or how I couldn’t wait to get home and unwind from my busy day.
Since Thanksgiving is coming, I’ve been attempting to take notice of those things I usually don’t take time to think about and express my gratitude for them. Sunrises, sunsets, and rays of sunshine are just some of my favorite things.
May I invite you to join me in an attitude of gratitude? Let’s block off a little time in our day, wait for a sight to behold, and reflect on a blessing we usually miss because of our busy-ness. Perhaps you will notice something for which you hadn’t thought to be thankful. I sure have.
“In certain moments our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.” ~ Unknown