Sun-kissed Day

I kick off my high heels after a day of substitute teaching and head for the couch. Heavy eyelids beg for a catnap, but weary muscles suggest a walk.

Catnap wins. I lean into the cushioned armrest, listening to the wall clock’s advancing second hand. But instead of it lulling me to sleep, I hear conviction: “You should walk before it gets dark, you should walk before it gets dark.”

My stiff joints squeak like the Tin Man in Oz as I push myself up from the couch.

“Sorry,” I respond to defiant limbs. “It’s the New Year. Either we lose weight or we buy a bigger pair of jeans.”  Lose weight wins. I shove my AARP feet into tennis shoes and head outdoors.

The calendar says it’s January, but the sun-kissed day makes it feel like April. My heart leaps knowing the cold ground will soon give birth to Daffodil bulbs. Pine trees and leafless Oaks line the asphalt street cheering me onward as an “acclivity” looms before me.

       FYI: “the definition of acclivity: an ascending slope (as of a hill).” That was one of the vocabulary words in our Literature class today.  I don’t know about the students, but I learned something.

      Heart pounding, chest heaving, I take baby steps until the road flattens ____________

When I’m halfway around our three mile loop, I peel off my scarf and vest. I’d quicken my pace, but it feels as though my legs are dragging an anchor through lake water. Voices in my head drown the music on my IPOD: Out of shape! Use it or lose it!  

My breath catches as a jackrabbit darts across my path and disappears into the wooded landscape……

Dare I behave like Alice in Wonderland and chase that silly rabbit? A smile stretches across my face as my thoughts turn outward, and then upward,

                Where a three-quarter moon, upstaged by the western sun’s golden glow, peeks through a powder blue curtain. My stride increases, matching the rhythm of Casting Crown’s praise album dancing in my ear.

Eyes fixed heavenward, I raise my hand to honor HIM who made the day, “This is the day which the Lord has made; Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24),

and dwell on the ONE who “made the moon for the season; The sun knows the place of its setting.” (Psalm 104:19)

After my walk, I kick off my tennis shoes. And bright-eyed, look out my kitchen window as heaven’s blue canvas melts into a rosy hue.

A Spoonful of Sugar

Do you like swallowing pills?

When my two grown kids were children, they found it difficult to swallow pills regardless of the size. We’d try dissolving the pill in a spoonful of orange juice. We’d wrap the pill in a piece of deli turkey meat to disguise the taste. But more often than not, my child would gag and spit out the pill. Or the pill’s bitter taste would eventually dissolve in their mouth, contorting their faces like some horrific gargoyle.

Some days, life feels like a bitter pill we’re forced to swallow.  Unlike medicine which is intended to heal our bodies and ease our pain, we can’t see anything good resulting from our bitter circumstances.

But is that true?

Perhaps you’ve heard that song from the movie, Mary Poppins: “A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down…in the most delightful way.”

That’s how I feel about life. With Jesus, I can handle life’s bitter pills when I choose to view life from a Biblical perspective and trust in His Word. Psalm 119:103 says, “How sweet are Thy words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth.” 

If we believe God’s Word, then we can swallow life’s bitter pills because “we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Roman 8:28)

And what is our purpose according to Romans 8:29?

“to become conformed to the image of His Son”

That being the case, every circumstance … even the bitter ones in life … is an opportunity to be “conformed to the image of His Son.”

And that’s a pill I gladly will swallow.

Joy in the Journey

Based on last year, I am confident there will be joy in my journey in 2012. Why? Because I’m not in the driver’s seat. God was faithful in the details of 2011, and He amazed me on more than one occasion. Why should this year be any different? I’ve learned gratitude, an eternal perspective, and being aware of God’s presence throughout my day is like a spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down. Life is sweeter with Jesus. Image