Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Hope Chest




The Hope Chest
Carol Condon

The hope chest that once stood empty was now lovingly packed full of memories, dreams, and hope for the future. For years all types of “favorite things” had been collected and placed in the chest in expectation for when hope became reality. Each item had been lovingly folded for that special day when the “hopeful” items could be retrieved and put into use.

In one corner so many memories had gathered throughout the years. There were the love notes scribbled and barely legible with “do you like me? yes or no” along with yearbooks, the first Barbie, dried flowers from that special occasion, many cards and letters that held countless memories along with hundreds of photographs representing years of special moments. As I picked up the pictures I was quickly taken back in time to relive the events that were bringing on so many nostalgic feelings.

Adjacent to the stack of memories were the folded hopeful items lovingly placed in waiting for the future. There was the quilt that Grandmother made along with vintage clothes that were now heirlooms from generations past. The teacup and saucer lovingly wrapped to preserve its appearance and future use was stacked next to the oblong package that was a mystery to me.

As the layers of tightly bound cloth were removed the valuable item was revealed, The Family Bible. The births and deaths had been entered with a shaky hand. As the pages were turned toward the Inspired Words I saw that verse after verse had been underlined with an arrow pointing toward a small note lovingly written in the margins where interpretations and personal experiences were documented.

This Priceless Book holds so much hope within its pages. Can you imagine how enriched our lives would be if we visited this Hope daily with an eagerness to use each “item” stored there? Our Lord placed His Words throughout the pages to help us set up our home and family. Tucked within its pages are promises along with examples to live by. Experiences have been documented to guide us through similar circumstances that we all find ourselves facing from time to time.

This “Hope Chest” will do us no good if it stays packed away in some corner of our room. We need to lift the cover and go for a treasure hunt of all the many hidden goodies that have been placed there so lovingly to enrich our daily lives. Let us take out His Word daily and rejoice in the hope that He has given to us all.
Romans 15:4 (KJV)
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Restrictions Apply

 Restrictions Apply
Carol Condon

The discharge papers were stacking up as I patiently waited for the final dismissal granting me permission to bring Mark back to our home. The instructions were being repeated for his prescriptions, level of activity, nutritional diet guidelines, scheduling of doctor’s visits and so much more. Our minds were slightly overwhelmed. Just 4 four days earlier life seemed so much more carefree. Once dismissed we headed home on a mission to become “heart smart.”

The questions kept coming at me. Why Mark? He was always busy, on the go and when he did have a few minutes he would be biking, running, or walking our neighborhood. Mark was too young and active for this. However, it had happened and now there was this invisible sign following him stating, “restrictions apply.” How much was too much? How much was too little? Where were the answers?

I began taking his restrictions and started substituting them into our family’s lifestyle. Vegetable oil replaced olive oil, Mrs. Dash replaced salt, whole-wheat flour replaced the all-purpose flour and so the substitution process continued throughout our pantry and refrigerator. We didn’t just claim it as Dad’s/Mark’s new restrictions but ours as well.

So many are willing to accept restrictions leading to a healthier lifestyle. Gym memberships are purchased. Soda cans are discarded for the water bottle. Stairs are chosen over the elevator. The menu has grilled instead of fried as the only available option.

All this concentration on the heart brought me to my own spiritual heart and the restrictions that apply in order for me to live a long and prosperous spiritual life. I began to think of the substitutions that are needed in order to have a spiritual healthy lifestyle. Why does it seem that so many heart smart pursuers of a healthy lifestyle are trying to ignore the restrictions that apply to be spiritually heart smart?

As a family we have joined with Mark to conform to this new lifestyle and we eagerly await his doctor’s appointments to eventually hear the doctor tell us that he is winning this race on heart disease. It is not a race that we can afford to give up on. We must continue on each and every day.

We are all in a spiritual race. It is one we cannot afford to give up on. We are waiting for that appointment when we hear Him say that we have fought the fight and finished our race.

2 Timothy 4:7-8 (NLT)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing.