Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Paula's thoughts on life and Proverbs


Just Life
A devotional by Paula Moldenhauer


"Hope that is put off makes one sick at heart. 
But a desire that is met is like a tree of life." 
~Proverbs 13:12 (NIV)

The birth of a child. I’ll never forget the first time. Even after seventeen hours of hard labor, little sleep, and an aching, postpartum body, I was alive (excited, strong, and full of joy) because I held in my arms the fulfillment of my dreams. I couldn’t wait to show off my little girl and couldn’t sleep for looking at her. I clutched her to my heart, singing to her. I held her when she nursed, when she slept, and when she awoke.

Perhaps the joy was more pronounced because of the months the dream was deferred. I’ll never forget the fear, disappointment, and even anger I felt each time I realized I wasn’t pregnant during the struggle to conceive that first baby.

Life is full of both the devastation of unrelenting disappointment and the wild joy of dreams coming true. Part of really living means allowing emotions on both ends of the spectrum.

One thing I love about hanging out with the elderly is their perspective on life. When my neighbor Bernice was almost eighty, we talked about life’s struggles. She pronounced in her no-nonsense Jewish, New-Yorker momma voice, “That’s just life, kid. We all have those times. Then they’re over.”

Bernice’s philosophy was based upon experience, but in it are echoes of the scripture which reminds us that weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

My daughter, now a married woman, takes this concept a step further. She calls it living “in the and.” She’s learning not to stuff down the pain of life’s disappointments but at the same time to refuse to allow life’s struggles to steal the joy of living. Her words remind me of my own journey to cultivate joy. Today I had a beautiful lunch with a dear friend. She awaits test results on a serious health issue. It has her afraid and off-kilter. There were some teary moments. Yet in the midst of that pain and fear we savored a homemade meal and good conversation. We teased and joked, our laughter ringing from the kitchen. We nursed warm cups of blueberry green tea, pausing to breathe deeply of its sweet aroma.

We embraced the and, cultivating joy by acknowledging the beauty of life and entering into the glory of good food and fellowship without denying the struggle.

So, my friend, embrace life. Allow the seasons to ebb and flow. Cry when you need to. Laugh often. Dance in the rain when you can.

Live in the "and". 


And in the daily experience of real life, remember the One who loves you in all seasons. Cling to Love when it hurts. Welcome Him into the joy. God’s love is the one thing that we can always count on. As the Brad Paisley song says, love is never-ending.

My Prayer: Father, please help me to trust you in seasons of disappointment. When it feels overwhelming, I need your comfort and hope. Sometimes I need help believing joy comes in the morning, so hold me close and whisper this truth. When the crazy wonderful happens, help me believe it is real. Open my heart to enjoy every bit of the experience, and fill me with gratitude and praise. And while seasons come and seasons go, there is always the and. I want to be real in my struggles without allowing pain to steal away the beautiful moments that life offers. I want to always remember You and Your love no matter what is happening. Your love is never-ending.

~*~
Author Bio:

Author, speaker, and mom of four, Paula Moldenhauer encourages others to live free to flourish. She shares this message when speaking at women’s events, and it permeates her written work. 

Paula has published over 300 times in non-fiction markets and has a devotional book series, Soul Scents. Her first published novella, You’re a Charmer Mr. Grinch, was a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards, and she now has six published works of fiction. Her most recent release is included in A Bouquet of Brides

Paula and her husband, Jerry, are adjusting to a sometimes-empty nest in Colorado. They treasure time with their growing family of adult children, spouses, and spouses-to-be. Paula loves peppermint ice cream, going barefoot, and adventuring with friends. 

Today’s devotion was adapted from her devotional book, Soul Scents: Rooted. Visit her at www.paulamoldenhauer.com

2 comments:

  1. Excellent devotional! I want to "live in the and".

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    1. You and me both, my friend! Thank you for reading and commenting. Much love!

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