Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Strength For The Fragile Spirit

"Worry Doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow:  it empties today of its strength."  Corrie ten Boom

"I'd like to say that Christians are immune to the wear-and-tear of living in this troubled world.  I'd like to say that our spirits aren't fragile but it's not so.  Yet, we have a chance to make this wear-and-tear a source of strength, a layering of spiritual toughness that belies the tender spirit that dwells and flourishes within us. Eight principles help to make this possible-principles that need to be practiced over and over again, exercised if you will, as an athlete works on techniques to perfect his performance on the playing field."
                                                                       Robert A. Schuller

My husband wrote the book with this title in 1989 yet the words and inspiration found in Isaiah 40 are more needed today than ever before.   The eight powerful principles we need to practice are as follows:

1)  Speak Tenderly-to yourself and others. 
2)  Forgive and Forget-give pardon to those who have hurt us.  This might be a daily process!
3)  Search For Peace-be intentional about surrounding yourself with people who share your intentions, values, and principles.   Those who will bring out the best in you instead of those who "ruffle your feathers"more often than not.
4)  Hear Good News-don't let painful or difficult situations drown out the many blessings in your life.  There is always something to be thankful for.
5)  Trust in God-accept that anything you go through provides a lesson in growth.
6)  Feel Secure Among Giants-even though there can be huge trials trust that with God they can all be reduced to something manageable.
7)  Reason With Yourself-balance your life with healthy living in body, mind, and soul.
8)  Wait On The Lord-positive waiting is active not passive.

I was recently teaching my two and a half year old grand daughter Haven how to catch a soft, medium sized ball. As she attempted to do so the ball kept hitting various parts of her body as it bounced off to the ground.  After about 4 tosses to her I said, "Haven, keep your eye on the ball." The next time the ball came to her it once again bounded off as she quickly picked it up and firmly pressed it over her left eye!!   She did not wait for me to demonstrate but took me at my word!  She immediately went into action!  She was not at all passive in trying to learn the right way to catch a ball!  (and what a funny English language we have!)

Sometimes life can feel like a dodge ball game.  One after another, balls keep on being propelled at us, seemingly hitting us out of nowhere.  It seems we have to run, duck,  or dive on the floor to avoid being taken out!  Here's the great news: we have an amazing coach who teaches us to keep our eyes on the "ball" while keeping our eyes on him.  Not as Haven did,  but as we watch challenges come our way we know how to catch them before they hit us as we use them for good.  We can find strength for our fragile spirits if we know who and what to keep focused on.

"Do you not know?  Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Isaiah 40:28-31

Where do you find strength when you stumble or fall?
God is blessing you.   Donna


  1. In my everyday "stumbles or falls", I immediately KNOW I will "get back up, dust myself off and start all over again" as went the song my Dad sung. And I know my Dad lived that way! I believe it got me thinking the same way.

    I many times have related to others how my Dad had taken our family to Canada, from England after the war years and his job, as BBC Big Band leader with a program called "Whistle While You Work", ended.

    He thought getting a playing gig in Canada would be easy but soon found out that he had to wait 6 months to join the Musician's Union in Montreal, Canada. If he worked non-union he would never get into the union and musician's here were treated poorly, which was the reason the union was in it's early days. My Dad believed in himself and the union goals, so he walked the streets of Montreal looking for any way to get a job and happened on a chicken processor!!! From BBC 30 piece orchestra to plucking chickens?

    Now, I must add my Dad's youth was spent working for a butcher and thus he got the job plucking chickens all these years later. But then worries over the move he had taken us on led him to develop an ulcer and that put him in hospital with a perforated ulcer. So our family life at the beginning of the 1950's was rough!

    But once my Dad got into the union and got a job playing the piano, his 2 week contract was renewed every 2 weeks, for 7 years! My Dad was never out of work for more than a few days as he was always "networking" before that phrase was coined. He worked weddings, took a job in summers on boats putting a band together for Cunard lines and that went on for 10 summers.

    Life and Faith can take us from adversity to the top of whatever. My Dad had started as a musician only after he had suddenly lost sight in one eye and in 1920 that was not diagnosed and also made getting a butcher job hard! So he took up music seriously and it fulfilled his passion.

    So, to bring this story forward, though I had some tough times with my Dad, as is often the case; a young lad (me) had not learned enough lessons yet. In the trials I have or do encounter, I reflect how my Dad had faith in the Lord, faith in himself and knew that one must "work like it all is up to us, but pray like it is all up to God".

    And so, I find my strength in our Father and through my Dad who showed me that "when you are down, get up" or as Robert once taught in a sermon "When you are down, look up"

    God is Blessing all, always

    Footnote... My Dad always regreted that he never had a popular record published but after 50 years, in 1998, the old BBC files were released from copyright and guess who is on The Golden Greats CD series along with Glenn Miller and others but Jan Wildeman and His Quintet with a song called "Heaven in Your Smile"! Yes, Donna, patience, and all will be fulfilled well! Thank you also for a question that led my heart to pour out this story. And thanks to all who patiently read to this point

    1. what a great example of faith when times get tough thank you so much for this I really needed it tonight as I sit here with tears running down my cheeks, I know now that the Lord led me to this blog for encouragment thank you again J M and Donna God Bless I have been tonight as I dry my tears and smile ;)

  2. Hello J.M.! What a wonderful example of strength and encouragement. Your dad not only had talent but he surely owned lots of perseverance, hope and patience! What a great legacy he passed along to you. No wonder you have such great character, wisdom, and strength.
    Thank you for sharing this fantastic recollection of your dad and your earlier memories. It is very special and I know you will bless and encourage others when they read it too!
    God is blessing you. Donna

  3. I remember my dad's favourite verse, "Be still and know that I am God". I take time to pray about a problem. My father was a minister and when I had a problem or needed some understanding about a situation in my life, I would talk to him about it. He has passed away. I know that he would want me to have faith in God during a difficult time. I also find peace from your prayers, Donna, and the members of this blog.
    God bless you all.

  4. Thank you for the above message. I really need it at the moment
    as I am going through a difficult time including a problem with
    my blood pressure being too high. I haven't been to church for
    about a month but when Len came home from church this morning
    He surprised me. He asked me what the opening song for H of P
    is. When I told him "Joyful Joyful" he said that our church had
    sung that this morning. Go bless Barbie

  5. Hi Barbie and Meli,
    I always love to hear from people like Barbie that I haven't seen a post from in a while. I also enjoy it when new people find this blog!
    Life is not always easy, we all have many challenges but it's never boring either! I really enjoy the encouragement I get when I read your comments. I pray for you daily.
    God is blessing you. Donna


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Please try to stay on the topic and remember also that there are many who are struggling through all kinds of challenges. Let's all be kind and thoughtful with our comments please! :D