To Begin Again

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Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where
nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.  ~John Muir

Mammograms and thoughts of cancer can send you spiraling down so fast that the truth and any sign of hope has no fighting chance. And for the last few weeks, that is where I have been – down.

And I did not fight it. I just let it run its course.

This past weekend my friend and I escaped reality and headed to the Smoky Mountains. God truly blessed us with perfect weather. It was 70, sunny, and gorgeous. Sandy had previously dropped two feet of snow high up in the mountains so remnants remained. It made for the perfect backdrop.

Our first stop was Clingman’s Dome.  The highest point in TN at 6,643 feet.  Clingman’s Dome was a place of refuge for the Cherokee Indians. During the Trail of Tears movement, the mountains offered a place of safety from pursuing soldiers. The great spirit also told them that if they lived in harmony and loved each other, the “magic lake” would make them well.

Although my beliefs and reasons may differ, I certainly understand needing a place to escape and find balance.

My friend and I made the 1/2 mile walk to the obervation deck. The views were stifling as it was hard to digest.

On our way down, we planted our feet on the Applachian Trail and made a mini snowman.

And we wrapped up the day with a 2.3 mile hike to Laurel Falls.

For so many of us, we are heavily burdened with aspects of our daily lives, that I think we fail to realize that maybe all we need is a change of scenery. A chance to unplug and escape the woes of life, take in the crisp autumn air, and to feel the leaves crunching under our feet. Through that time, we find the balance and perspective that has been missing and we are ready to begin again.

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings.  Nature’s peace will flow into
you as sunshine flows into trees.  The winds will blow their own freshness into
you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves. 
~John Muir

When Broken is all You Know

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Even though we are healed, at times it is hard to lay down the crutches. – Nichole Cornelius

The Church I attend is made up with different levels of believers and probably some non-believers. You have your baby Christians which just started walking with the Lord and then you have your seasoned Titus-like believers that know the Bible like the back of their hand.

I think I fall in the middle of the road. I know the Lord, but now I am truly getting a real revelation of Him. The hand is finally making the connection to the hot burner on the stove.

I’ve walked a lot of hardships out (too many I think) with the Lord. To put it plainly, broken is all I know and have known. In the current territory I find myself in, I again feel like the baby Christian who is teetering and tottering in the land of freedom/healing and I don’t know what to do. A great deal of healing has transpired in the last year and a half and for once, I am not broken.

Wait a minute! You mean there is nothing to fix? I’ve been healed of that problem? What am I to do now?

I immediately want to run back to my crutches, because they are safe; they keep me steady and from falling. Being broken is all I know and now I feel completely lost without them.

My Pastor preached a sermon on Sunday titled On Behalf of Others. He summed it up by saying life is not always about us. We are so quick to focus on our own problems and what we can get out of the situation and fail to realize that maybe just once, the situation is about someone else.

I am guilty of this way of thinking. Wait, what about me and my problems? That message did nothing for me. I wish he would preach on this or I wish he would preach on that…

But what I fail to realize is the ultimate goal was never about me and always about Him and how I can make a difference in the lives of others.

If I’m truly going to get a real grasp of my purpose, then I am going to have to lay my crutches down for good. They no longer have a purpose. True, they have aided my walk to the place I find myself now, but now I am strong enough to stand on my own two feet.

I was never meant to live my life entirely with those crutches, they were just a means to an end…

and neither are you.