By Carol Round, Special to ASSIST News Service
CLAREMORE, OK (ANS – May 4, 2015) “Now your attitudes and thoughts must all be constantly changing for the better. Yes, you must be a new and different person, holy and good. Clothe yourself with this new nature”— Ephesians 4:23-24 (TLB).
“Your Encouragement for the Week email moved me this afternoon.” This opening line in an email I recently received from a reader of my column brought affirmation when I needed it the most. I was humbled after reading the email from a reader in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
I’m amazed how God uses what He has laid on my heart to reach others in countries where I’ve never been. In this instance, my reader had written about a previous column titled, “Do You Know the Most Dangerous Prayer?”
The column’s focus was about being used by God. While I don’t have the space to go into the contents of her entire email, I know God used this woman to encourage me, just as He had used my writing to reach her in her time of need.
I’d been struggling for several months about a decision concerning my freelance writing for other publications. I was “burned out,” but concerned about giving up the additional income. I also wanted to focus exclusively on my Christian writing. Just a week prior to receiving the above email, God had heard my pleas for guidance and I’d taken that big step, giving up my other writing jobs. When the decision was made, I was filled with peace. This reader’s email affirmed what I already knew. God would take care of my finances if I obeyed Him to focus on what He has called me to do.
Before that decision, however, I’d slipped into a period of “the blahs.” When I shared my feelings with a close friend, she responded later with an encouraging email. She wrote, “What if we could approach each day with the anticipation and excitement of knowing we are going to discover something new, different or even rediscover something or someone. We become immune to the thrill of engaging with one another, of meeting new people, of seeing the intricate and glorious works of God all around us.”
She continued with a story of pruning some overgrown juniper bushes, originally planted in 1979. Although she’d only planned to lop off a few branches to clear the walkway to her front door, as she continued, she noticed dead tree parts on the underside of the tree. She began clipping those as well. When she finished, she was excited as she suddenly saw, “the beauty of the twisted and aging wood, the curling layers of grayed strips of bark against new healthy black growth, strategically capped by green clusters of intricately designed cedar needles.”
Her encouraging words ended with, “Regardless of our age or the years of neglect, our twisted trunks, peeled bark and heavy overgrowth, we can still experience the excitement that comes with seeing, feeling and experiencing the ‘newness of life’ on a daily basis.”
She added, “Walking in newness and being renewed is a daily process and a life choice.” I needed that reminder. Don’t you?
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