I’ve been on a learning curve this year.

Actually, I think this learning is a regular thing, and I’m grateful, for I’m learning when I’m NOT learning I become stagnant!  Kind of like the stinky mess I found in my pail of weeds this morning… I should have emptied that out earlier.  But I digress… :-)

Sometimes the learning is difficult, and as a preacher we listened to recently often said:  “We are all enrolled in pain university…”.  From the moment we are born until we exit… into a world without pain!

But life can also be full of joy, and I’ve thought long and hard about this word freedom… a word I felt God was wanting me to dwell on this year.

It would be so nice to have freedom from the hard things in life… and we all have them. 

But I realized soon that freedom would not give me reprieve… for life happens.  I have my list of difficulties, and I’m sure you could name your own.  Sometimes we live with pain, with grief, with challenges that make us weep.

Every week I send a prayer list to a dear friend who prays for me and the work I do.  She is an important and valued part of my ministry.  This week, after I sent her my list, I added a couple of prayer requests that were weighing me down.

And I was struck by her answer…she told me not to become distracted by these things but to stay on course.

I needed those words… because so often I do lose my focus. 

The verse that sits on my desk is so precious to me; it is from Exodus 10:4.  It says “I carried you on eagle’s wings and brought you to myself.”

Yes, that is freedom.  It is rising above our problems and pain, and trusting in the One who created us, who loves us.  There is an old chorus I sang as a child and it comes to mind now:  “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face… and the things of earth will be strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace.” 

Ah yes… living in the light of the One who sees the bigger picture, in the larger scope of eternity.  “In this world you will have trouble”, Jesus said… “but take heart!  I have overcome the world.”

This takes faith to believe.  And trust.  But there is freedom in that.  A letting go from what tethers me, and trusting that the God I love is watching over me.  This lesson is a daily one, I think.  Letting go, trusting, and soaring to new heights… this is freedom!

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