Spring Has Sprung,

Spring is definitely here. I love watching the progress of the buds on the trees – The greening of the world as it comes back to life after winter. The poplar trees have all popped out their pussy tufts, which have elongated into the long fronds of silvery green and red buds. Just like in the painting, "Is it Spring Yet?" above. My tulips are getting their buds. And my eyes are burning today. Lately I have been ending the day with sore, dry, burning eyes. Today I am beginning it. It does not bode well for the day. Yes, I must have allergies to this season, as I experience it every year about this time. It is funny that I forget about it until after a few days of feeling it, and then it dawns on me – “Oh right! Its spring and this will be the new norm for awhile.”

I read the first paragraph in James this morning… “Consider it nothing but joy” when you face trials of any kind. “…the testing of faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:1-4)

A good set of verses for me today. Now how to consider it nothing but joy? Well, I still love to watch the buds grow, even if it does affect me. I love the steady lengthening of days. And as I take care of my eyes this year, I can look forward to the rest the warm compresses force me to take. Maybe I can start there.

Anyone else feeling the sting of allergies?

Hope Does Not Disappoint

And not only that, but we also boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,
and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us,
because God's love has been poured into our lives through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

We also "boast in our sufferings..." When was the last time you did that? It was certainly not something I had made a practice of, but God is teaching me to reconsider it.

This last fall, I was going through a difficult time with some relationships and in the midst of this I was very hurt and angry. I didn't like what was going on and I didn't know why it was happening. It's easy to fall into the ways of our culture of entitlement. Christian's are not immune to feeling "I deserve", "you deserve", or "we deserve" and feeling that suffering or tragedy of any sort is just plain wrong. Or sometimes we feel guilt when tragedy strikes, as if we've done something wrong and the suffering is our fault. Both of these attitudes are centered around us and what we do. We feel we have worked hard. We are good people. Therefore, we deserve good things to happen.

As all these feelings swirled around inside, I turned, as I often do, to painting to draw close to God and sort my spirit out. But when I got to this painting, what I felt I really need to work on was the rainbow. I didn't paint the hurt, instead I painted the hope I have in Christ. A sign of God's promise that he loves me and walks with me in my pain. He heals and redeems situations beyond what I can imagine. And he does it, not because I deserve it, but because he loves me. For that I will trust God to take me through and work through all that is before me. And hope does not disappoint.