Words for Wednesday: Stepping stone to better things

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The Grand Canyon was out there…somewhere

Whoever said “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” was right on the money.

Our first day on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park back in the early part of March began as a huge disappointment and I wrote about that in yesterday’s post. If you missed it, click here.

That amazing wonder of nature was socked in under thick pea soup-like fog. Fog so dense we couldn’t see one tiny bit of the canyon. This huge, mile-deep, 277 mile-long wonder of the world was out there covered in fog and we absolutely couldn’t get one glimpse of it.

Disappointing? Very. Discouraging. For certain. 

In addition to foggy conditions, the day was dreary, rainy, damp, and chilly, so we discussed what we should do. We took some time to eat a late lunch in the Market Plaza area of the park at the Yavapai Cafeteria, sitting well away from other folks there. We opted for a window view but all we could see was rain hitting the windows. 

Since the weather was definitely not improving, we decided not to try any hikes but instead continue on in our rental car, hoping for some break in the rain.  Driving down Desert View Drive,  a scenic road which leads from Grand Canyon Village to one end of the national park, we planned to stop at several overlook points along the way.

At each overlook,  we hopped out of our car, hoping to catch a glimpse of what we came to see. And at each point, we were dismayed by more misty weather and fog.  A few hardy souls were doing the same and as we reached the lookout, it was almost like you could hear a collective sigh and an inward groan. 

After greeting us hello, one gentleman shook his head and exclaimed, “My wife and I came all the way from San Antonio to see this and we can’t see anything!” I gave him a sympathy nod but decided not to one-up him with “Well, we came all the way from Pennsylvania!”  I surmised it wouldn’t make either one of us feel any better about the situation.

After the third or fourth still foggy stop, Papa walked in one direction and I ambled along in another. My path crossed with a long-haired woman about my age dressed in a bright red sweater. We nodded and said hello to one another and then she spoke, “Not much to see here I guess.”

“No,” I replied, “and unfortunately, it’s been that way all day for us.”

She asked which direction we came from and I answered. Then she advised me to not give up but keep on going. She had come from the other direction and for one brief moment, she said the fog lifted and the sun shone so that she could see the colors of the gargantuan gorge, but then it descended once again.

But she looked me in the eye and stated, “I know you are going to get a break. You (said with emphasis) will see the canyon today. The sun will come out just for you (again said with emphasis).”

A little bit startled by her announcement, I think I just mumbled, “I hope you’re right.” Was she clairvoyant or something? Why did she declare what she said with such conviction? We said goodbye and Papa and I climbed back in our rental car. 

And you know what happened? When we stopped at the next spot, a number of folks were congregated. The fog was edging its way up out of the canyon!

blogIMG_09512Papa and I ran to the edge to see and for me to grab some photos. A gentleman asked me to take photos of his wife and him with his cell phone posed in front of what we could see of the canyon. In turn, he graciously took a picture for us.

blogIMG_09542Driving on, we got an even more pleasant surprise at the next overlook. The fog completely dissipated and the sun showed its warming, illuminating rays.  What a display!

blogIMG_1007We stayed for quite some time and I just kept snapping photos with my DSLR camera until we noticed we were practically the only people still there. We just didn’t want to leave that glorious sight.

A father and son duo joined us and again we exchanged cameras to take photos of one another. As the four of us stood in absolute silence just gazing at the beautiful and amazing sight before us, the older man spoke with a sense of awe and wonder.

“How can anyone see this and believe there is no God?” he wondered out loud. I said, “I so agree.”

blogIMG_1008It was a moment I will remember for a lifetime because it reminded me of the awesome power of our Creator God and also of His perfect timing.

Just when we start to feel discouraged and are tempted to throw in the towel and give up, God delivers exactly what we need exactly when we need it.

“What do you do when disappointment comes? When it weighs on you like a rock, you can either let it press you down until you become discouraged, even devastated, or you can use it as a stepping-stone to better things.” ~ Joyce Meyer

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

 

Throwback Thursday: breaking out of fear prison

blog233Almost 10 years ago, I started this Mama’s Empty Nest blog. Since then some aspects of life have changed and some have not. I’ve decided to share throw-back posts from the earlier years of this blog every now and then. Sort of a walk down memory lane.

I wrote this Thursday throwback nine years ago in January 2011 when our family was facing some uncertain times.  My hope today is that these words offer encouragement to my readers as we go through this difficult and uncertain time now.   

Fear snaked its way through my mind, wrapped itself around my subconscious and then seized my dreams like a boa constrictor squeezing the life out of its prey.

If that sounds ugly, it was.   Last night, in the middle of the night, I awakened from nightmares that gripped me with such fear that I found myself sweat-drenched and panic-stricken, my heart pounding wildly.

Three times I rose from my bed and tried to calm my overly stimulated and anxiety-stricken mind, but each time I tried to lie back down again and go back to sleep, panic would overwhelm me.  Only fervent prayer proved to eradicate the foreboding feeling that gripped me.

The late President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it all when he said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear can be such an overwhelming emotion, one that paralyzes you and imprisons you as surely as being placed behind iron bars.

When I was a child, I was frightened of the dark, especially if I had to walk somewhere alone in it, but I eventually overcame that fear.  As an adult, I can recall a few times when trepidation seized me with such sharpness, it physically hurt.

When we lived in the Midwest, news circulated about a stalker of sorts who telephoned women when their husbands were away, telling them details of their personal life that he knew.   My husband traveled a lot for business and also at the time served in the National Guard.  One weekend he was away on Guard maneuvers and I attended a friend’s bridal shower.

My teenage babysitter called me there, fear dripping from her shaking voice, as she claimed an unidentified man had just called our home, thinking she was me and telling her he knew my husband was out-of-town.  Terrified, she observed a man walking through the wooded area directly behind our house.

I called the police and hurried home.  By then, the man was gone, but the officers took info from the babysitter and told me if he phoned again to be sure to call them.

That night felt like the longest night of my life.  My three young children knew little about what had transpired that day and I wanted to keep it that way.  After I bathed them and got them settled into bed, I was alone and that’s when terror crept its way into my thoughts.

I didn’t sleep that night, I cringed in my bed with a wooden ball bat gripped in my hands and every little creak or snap that I heard startled me and sent my heart racing.  And I prayed for God to protect my children and myself.

My cancer diagnosis five years ago (15 years ago now) caused the same kind of dread to well up within me.  Someone once said, “Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death.” 

I have found that statement to be true because when I devoted myself to prayer and allowed other believers in Christ to pray over me, that overwhelming fear was dispelled.  I literally experienced that feeling physically leave my body and I was able to rationally face the ordeal ahead of me.

Currently, my family is facing some uncertainties.  I’m sure that’s why my sleep was disturbed by nightmares and my concerns turned to great apprehension last night.

The 12th page of Chapter One (January 12th) in my book of Opportunity finds me refusing to allow fear and consternation cage me in a terror-filled prison.  So I will hand over my worries and concerns to God, who is big enough, powerful enough, and almighty enough to handle them for me. 

Faith breaks open the prison bars that try to keep us locked in a state of panic.

“There is much in the world to make us afraid.  There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid.” ~Frederick W. Cropp

©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

So many people across the world are experiencing fear and near panic right now. In times that induce fear, I’m reminded of passages in the Bible where God implores us to fear not.

Passages like Psalm 46:1–3:  “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” encourage me.

Even the most terrifying events like the one facing us right now cannot shake us from hanging on to our firm foundation in God. It is in a sovereign God I place my trust. And I pray you can do the same.

“The only known antidote to fear is faith.” ~ Woodrow Kroll

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Throwback Thursday: stop fishing

blogIMG_3009Almost 10 years ago, I started this Mama’s Empty Nest blog. Since then some aspects of life have changed and some have not. I’ve decided to share throw-back posts from the earlier years of this blog every now and then. Sort of a walk down memory lane.

Today’s post is a Thursday throwback to the year 2011. Back in January of that year, I wrote this post and today, I think it can still offer encouragement to my readers as we “shelter in place and flatten the curve.” 

Patience is not always my strong suit. It’s a virtue that I’ve tried hard to develop over the years and I think I’ve succeeded somewhat.

When that overwhelming urge wells up in me to complain over the slowness of the checkout line, or the traffic ahead of me, I’ve learned to squelch it. I silently ask myself what’s my big hurry? Is waiting five more minutes going to make that much of a difference? The answer is usually no.

But when I’m forced to wait for answers to the big deals in my life, I admit it isn’t so easy. Currently, I’m in waiting mode. My jet plane is flying in a holding pattern, just circling the landing strip, waiting for the signal that all is well, proceed to land. And it’s not easy.

I heard a snippet of information today that made an impact on my way of thinking.   Corrie ten Boom survived the heinous Nazi concentration camps during World War II, and wrote the book, The Hiding Place.  She once commented that God cast our sins into the depths of the ocean and then posted a sign that read “No Fishing Allowed.”

I liked the visual picture her words painted for me. And it prompted me to take this picture and apply it to my current holding pattern. I think we can cast our anxieties into the depths of the ocean just like God throws our sin into the deep.

If God is majestic enough to take care of the tiniest piece of plankton or the smallest sea creature in that ocean, He can handle any problem I encounter. He has the power to control the tides of the vast seas and if He is mighty enough to do that, He is powerful enough to wash my worries and concerns out to sea with the waves He commands.

But here’s where I must do my part. Once I cast my cares on Him, into the ocean of His love and sovereignty, I need to stop fishing them back out. Today on this 18th page of Chapter One in my new book of Opportunity, I need to put down my fishing pole, pick up my Bible and wait for God’s perfect timing.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~ 1 Peter 5:6-8 (New International Version)  ©2011 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com

Be encouraged, dear readers, and cast your anxieties on God. He cares for each one of us.

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strength.”  ~ Charles Spurgeon

©2020 mamasemptynest.wordpress.com