Hi there! It has been over a month since I last updated and for that I apologise. It has been a very busy few weeks. I have moved back to Plymouth and have re-started my studies. It has been so wonderful to be with all my uni friends again but also back in Devon. We have been blessed with some fantastic weather and I have felt so happy recently. Well, mostly. Overall I couldn’t be happier. The last week on the other hand has been challenging for me. I have felt blue, but not entirely sure why. I believe I have seen the end of that now and I am back to my normal chirpy self. However, I have learnt that two people close to the family have been diagnosed with cancer – which has really hit home as the ‘Big C’ has once again been put to the forefront of my mind.
I spend a lot of time thinking about the lives of those affected by disease, disability, illness etc and how their ‘normal’ is different from our ‘normal’. When I had to have chemotherapy every 2 weeks, especially at the beginning of my diagnosis, my life had a new ‘normal’ for me. I got into a routine that I would be in hospital for that day, then feel rough a few days after it and then finally spend the next week with my friends before repeating the cycle again. That was normal for me. I got used to it. I adapted. However, I would think about all of my friends who didn’t have to plan their lives around treatment. They could carry on day to day activities without a care in the world. They weren’t thinking about illness because they didn’t need to. I never did until it happened to me.
However, I think the key to all of this is the word ‘adapt’. When suffering strikes somehow we find the strength to go from one day to the next. We take each minute of the day as it comes. We have enough grace that is sufficient for the day. I find myself now trying to be deliberately thankful. This is something we can all do. Whether you have superhuman strength, blue tights and a red cape or you are battling a serious illness, struggling with family problems, feeling very alone or unhappy or any other circumstance you find yourself in. Whether being in a wheelchair is normal for you, eating a special diet due to intolerances is normal for you, fighting cancer is normal for you, having your mind as the battlefield or you think ‘I am the average Joe Bloggs’ (he is pretty average, I met him once…) – listen to me when I say YOU ARE NOT ALONE. No one should define normal because we all are wonderfully and uniquely made!
Listen to me again when I say – GET A SPIRIT TO BE THANKFUL! Whoever you are. I am sure things may seem bad from time to time but there is always someone you can call upon at any time of day or night. GOD! Pray for those that are hurting. Pray for yourself if you are hurting. Pray. Pray. Pray. However, don’t forget to thank, thank, thank! If you start making a list of things you are thankful for I can guarantee you will smile and realise ‘phew – I am blessed!’
Some things I am thanking God for today: the gift of life, sense of humour, hearing laughter, food and water, the ability to walk, a chance to further my education, wonderful friends and family, compassion for others, a roof over my head, my cat, cuddly toys, music, medicine, medical knowledge, chocolate, resting, sunrise and sunset… the list goes on. Please think and thank!
Here is a daily devotional from Joni’s website which is relevant to today’s blog post:
It Could Be Worse
The eternal God is your refuge, underneath are the everlasting arms. — Deuteronomy 33:37
You’ve heard that old cliché, “It could be worse!” It’s not a phrase we like to hear. The words can sound rather trite and empty at times. But it’s true. Things truly could be much worse for all of us. Picture God holding up his hands like the flood-control locks on a canal, holding back a dark tidal wave of suffering and harm. His everlasting arms shield us. He is our refuge and protector. Were it not for the influence of the Spirit of Christ in this world, we would see much more calamity, violence, natural catastrophes, war, and crime. Most of all, thank God we don’t get the sentence of death we deserve for our sins, but rather the rescue and salvation he so freely offered to us in his Son!
Are you experiencing hardship today? God promises that absolutely nothing will penetrate his sheltering hands to touch us except that which has been weighed and measured, so as to not ultimately harm us. And when troubles do encroach on our lives, God promises to flood us with his sustaining grace.
And though our world can be a dark and sorrowful place at times, we can still experience our Father’s goodness in the simple pleasures of a rainbow burning against a dark sky, a honeybee exploring a daffodil, the soft morning sunlight, a cup of cocoa by a cherry wood fire on a stormy night, the whisper of a summer wind in the pines, the companionship of a loved one, and the hope of a wondrous new dawn in our heavenly home, just around the corner.
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Take a moment to think through the good in your life—the things and the people you love and value. Then spend some time thanking the one who sends us “every good and perfect gift” (James 1:17).
Bless You, my Father, for Your guarding and shielding me from so much evil, so much harm and grief. Grant me a grateful, thankful heart through the hours of this day.
God Bless and love to all of you – Ruthie x x x x x x x x x