Euonia

I ran across this word several months ago and jotted it and its meaning down. Since then I have come back to it many times because I believe it is a delightful sounding word with an even more delightful meaning. Pronounced: you on’ ya
It’s origin is most likely Spanish and is a medical term for someone with a healthy mind. Literally translated it means a “well mind” or “beautiful thinking”.

I am quite certain you have never heard a doctor use this word, nor have I. …AND, as much as it would be a good word to hear from a doctor about my physical mind, especially as I get older – I would far rather hear that about my mind spiritually.

God’s word talks quite a bit about what leads to a healthy mind.

Colossians 3:2 “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” – ESV

Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – ESV

Isaiah 26:3 ” You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” – ESV

This last verse promises us that if our mind is focused/meditating on God, and the things of God, it will be a healthy mind spiritually. Trusting God is a side-effect of spending time thinking on Him and thus it produces peace …peace despite the storms of life that may be swirling all around us.

Colorado has moved into the top five states that have the ominous title for the most damaging hail storms. Living in the suburbs of Denver I have seen some unbelievable storms the past few years along with incredible lightning shows and roars of thunder. We also get blizzards during the winter with wind whipping snow-ladened trees around in frantic rhythms. I think we can compare these weather conditions to “things on the earth” spoken of in Colossians 3:2.

In contrast Philippians 4:8 points to the things that we should think on… things that bring solace, things that make our minds spiritually healthy.

I have spent a few sessions with our church’s counselling pastor, Ken Kelly, when the storms in my life are tumultuous and I need to talk with someone with clear thoughts and encouraging words. Much of what he has said has stuck with me, but one thought in particular I believe is the prescription for euonia.
Whatever you Think on… will lead to your
Emotions… will lead to your
Feelings… will lead to your
Actions

Thinking on God and the things of God will give you peace and joy. Feelings of satisfaction, contentment will follow resulting in the ability to see other perspectives than our own and thus act perceptively.

My mind doesn’t naturally go down this path. It wants to go down a self-serving path thinking about how I have been mistreated or put-upon… and that does NOT produce euonia. However, as I spend more time with God and in His word it becomes less about me, more about Him and my emotions, feelings and actions take the healthy mind path.

Praise God.. it is HIS work in me!


I Haven’t Been Practicing What I Preach

Practice what you Preach

I have been struggling the last couple of months with the circle of life.

Within just 36 hours of my mother’s death we were overjoyed with the announcement that our first grandchild was on its way.  But somewhere
in the midst of the emotional roller coaster of life, during those days, I found myself dealing with feelings that I didn’t even know were there. Feelings of discouragement and disappointment and disenchantment.  Brutally honest rantings with God regarding MY choices for the end of my own life.  I want to leave this earth for my heavenly home while I am still a vital part of society and my family.  I don’t want to be a burden and overstay my welcome here below.  …sound familiar?

This week while struggling to pray, in this emotional state, the Holy Spirit whispered “you are thinking too much of the creation and not enough of the Creator”.  What a hard pill to swallow – not just because it was true…but because I have admonished and encouraged women I mentor and teach to not think more of themselves, as the created, than they do of their Creator!   …yet I was doing exactly that…and it somehow felt justified.  After all, with all that has transpired in my life these last several months; wasn’t what I was feeling just part of being human? Yes! But it really was nothing more than a “righteous” pity-party.  I say “righteous” because I really did desire to be “morally right” and focus on God and not on myself – but in the midst of real-life events and human emotions and feelings….I lost sight of my Creator.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that I am over all these feelings now and thinking only of God.  What I am saying is that I am choosing to place my focus in a different place than I have been.  I do not know what life will look like for me in the next moment, hours, days, month and years.  AND, even if I saw it all I wouldn’t understand or comprehend what my Creator was doing in, and through, my life.  That is what we grasp for.  But for all our grasping, we come away empty-handed with bleeding fingertips.  God says “the peace of God which passes all understanding will keep my heart and mind through Christ Jesus”. Phil 4:7   There is only one way to have that peace.  It is not focusing on me, myself and I!

If you have followed my blog much you know that I love the words to old hymns.  I found myself quietly singing the words to the last verse of “My Jesus I Love Thee” while lying in bed last night.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

The only way I will “love my Creator God in life and in death” is by thinking more of Him and less of myself.  This is my constant prayer and HOPE.

A New Prospective

I know it has been several weeks since I last posted…and I have a good reason for that.  My elderly mother’s health began aggressively declining about 5 weeks ago and she slipped into eternity with her savior, Jesus, late in the evening of Oct 8th.  My life the weeks prior to and since have been crowded with more things than I can possibly recount…and that is not the purpose of this post.  I just wanted to give you some insight into where I have been, am and am going so that you can understand – and possibly identify – with me.

My husband and I have been very fortunate that, until two weeks ago, neither of us had lost a parent.  In fact, due to the longevity of not only our parents, but also our grandparents, we have joked over the years that we are stuck with each other forever.

Now that I have experienced both the end of my mother’s days, her succumbing to death and the days since her death…I have a new prospective.  I saw her agitation at unresolved issues during her last few days and the contrasting peace and rest that brought all of us in her presence, peace and rest.  As a believer in Jesus, I am ready to join heaven’s ranks, and have often be so blessed at funerals that I can hardly stay in my seat because I want to see my savior’s face.  “Take me, take me too…” I have thought.

But, in my naivety I have not contemplated the fact that although I know the outcome of my dying…I have never travelled the path that is called “death”.  It is unknown and it is unfamiliar…and it can be daunting even to the strongest of saints.  I believe it is partly not knowing how much more will have to be endured prior to God’s call home and the rest is simply our inability as humans to know what death itself is.  How is it that a person is alive one moment and dead the next?  We can’t see the heart stop beating and we can’t hear as the last breath is breathed.  Mother was simply there one moment and in the presence of Jesus the next…but, for us left behind it was quite unexplainable. As I approached mother’s still, lifeless body I knew in my heart of hearts that her soul and spirit had flown to Jesus and her body had finally come to a complete rest.  But there was no true understanding of what had taken place in our world governed by our five senses.

stairway-to-heavenThe best way I can explain Mother’s departure from this earth into the heavenly realms is with a verbal description of this picture.    She walked each step …up…up, over the last several days until she was in her savior’s arms – safe and secure forever.  Sometimes those steps came in quick succession and we saw her earthly body grow tired more quickly.  Other times the steps seemed to stall…for a little too long, from our prospective, as we looked on her suffering.  At times she seemed to look over the edge and pull back in fear “seeing” the hard times and relationships in her life as a precipice that might make her fall off the steps.  But then a few more steps and her face would ease into a smile or a calm and unafraid demeanor.   During the entire journey from earth to heaven that spanned mother’s last days she often seemed suspended somewhere between earth and heaven; sometimes whispering single words that made us know she was seeing a new dimension.  Words that made us smile and sometimes cry and nearly always startle just a bit – for this is place none of us have been ourselves.  Her last full day she seemed to be travelling further away from our reality.  She was, as it were, getting so far up the steps that she was no longer focusing on things here on earth like we are forced to do.  Of course, each step was completely ordered and orchestrated by God until He finally said “Come on home, I have been waiting for you” and she stepped from this world to “an eternal dwelling in the heavens, not made with hands.” II Corinthians 5:1

“What Cancer Cannot Do” – a poem

I want to share a poem with you that I have repeated many times over the last twenty years.  The author is unknown, but you can tell he/she deeply understood the subject matter.  Before sharing the poem with you, I want to share how I came to first read it.

In January of 1995, just five months following my cancer diagnosis, my husband’s paternal grandparents sent this poem to me in a get-well card.  At the time they were in their late eighties.  Grandma lost both her mother and father to cancer when she was just thirteen!  They had watched their friends and family struggle with cancer over the years.  However, my battle seemed to hit them both very hard.  They had given money faithfully to a well-known cancer organization from the time they were married in 1920 in hope of seeing a cure for cancer.  Having their grandson’s wife diagnosed with cancer seventy-five years later was almost more than they could bear.  I believe the list of what cancer can’t do brought much hope to them and they wanted to share that hope with me.

Now, it is my turn to share that hope with each of you!

“What Cancer Cannot Do”
Cancer is so limited…
It cannot cripple love,
It cannot shatter hope,
It cannot corrode faith,
It cannot destroy peace,
It cannot kill friendship,
It cannot suppress memories,
It cannot silence courage,
It cannot invade the soul,
It cannot steal eternal life,
It cannot conquer the Spirit.

If that doesn’t give you cause to shout for joy and cry tears of gladness – nothing will.

I am so thankful that ever one of these things is true – but, the one that I like more than all the rest is the fact that cancer CANNOT steal my eternal LIFE.  I have been cancer free for nearly 20 years now, but if I had died then…or, if I were to recur and still die of it eventually – my eternal life is not in jeopardy.

John 3:16 says it all.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everylasting life.” – NKJV

We are born and we die.  Those are the only two things we all experience!  If you are dealing with cancer right now, or have someone you love who is…share this poem with them.  I feel confident it will make the journey easier.  But if you need the confidence to know that you have a future in heaven spending eternity with God, I invite you to read the entire book of John.  You can also go to my website: http://www.bridges2beauty.net and fill out a contact form to chat with me and/or pray with me.