Wrappings

Last March, I began communicating with a man I had met on-line. He was a handsome business owner and a dedicated father who was involved in his church and community.  After a month of text messages and phone calls we agreed to meet in person. To say that I was excited would have been an understatement. Since he was coming from another city and I hadn’t agreed to date anyone for the past three years, I had already begun to lightly sketch him into my life’s painting as my possible Boaz.

As I was getting ready for my date, my hopes were high. Putting on my makeup I felt like a schoolgirl preparing for the prom. Even though it was just a lunch date, I wore a nice dress and high heels. “This might be it,” I said to myself, “After 17 years of singleness, I might be meeting the One God has been preparing for me.”

Ten minutes into our date my high hopes turned into hope deferred. Not only was there a lack of chemistry, I found him to be incredibly boring and materialistic.

I don’t cry often, but after I got home I bawled like a baby. That night I asked for prayer and my pastors prayed for me.

When I awoke the following morning, past scenarios in my life were running through my head like movie clips. Anytime I had trusted God and obeyed Him, even in the midst of difficult seasons, I was thankful because I could now see the blessings. It was the times when I had disobeyed God or made decisions based upon what looked good to me that had caused me grief and filled me with regret.

I had recited the phrase “God is good!” many times, but that morning I understood God’s goodness at a whole new level. God is not only is good, He always knows what is good for me. Even when the packaging of my circumstances didn’t look or feel good, He was always good.

I wrote the following poem during a discouraging season. At that time it was difficult for me to see God’s goodness; but I can clearly see it now. I pray it will bless you.

Wrappings

Two packages lay before me,

One elegant; one plain.

The one in finest wrapping.

The other brown with string.

With delight I grabbed the first one;

Gently removed the bows

And folded down the paper

While anticipation rose.

But disappointment surfaced

Almost immediately

As I opened up the box

And it contents I did see.

For instead of finest treasures

Of diamonds or of gold,

It was filled with thorns and thistles

And miseries untold.

So reluctantly I reached out

And placed the second on the floor.

With its drab and plain appearance

What horrors were in store?

Then cautiously I cut

The fraying well-worn string,

Removed the plain brown paper

And opened up the awful thing.

All disappointment left

As delight filled up my soul

For in that plain and simple package

Were treasures to behold.

Sometimes God’s greatest gifts

Are hidden for a season.

It’s often later down the road

We understand the reason.

Jeannie Boatright

I have learned that sometimes the most incredible gifts come in the most unusual packages.

 May you be abundantly blessed!

Jeannie

photo from Pixabay

Not Just Chocolate

The other day I read an encouraging article about chocolate. According to womenshealthmag.com the savoring of one to two servings of dark chocolate per week can enhance health. Yay! Who said healthy food couldn’t taste delicious? As I read about the health benefits of dark chocolate, I thought about benefits of spending time with the Lord. The following came to mind:

Chocolate is a comfort food. The Holy Spirit is the comforter. “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” John 14:26 (KJV).

Chocolate is heart-healthy.  The Lord heals broken hearts. “He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds” Psalm 147:3 (KJV).

Chocolate can calm anxietyGod’s presence reveals the lies behind anxious thoughts and transforms them with His truth.  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” John 8:32 (KJV).

Chocolate can reduce cravings for unhealthy foodsSpending time with God reduces our cravings for harmful or non-beneficial behaviors.For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth),  finding out what is acceptable to the Lord” Ephesians 5:-10 (NKJV).

Chocolate can drop insulin levels.  Being in God’s presence drops our high emotional responses from past failures and traumatic experiences. “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” John 14:27 (NKJV).

Chocolate can help prevent sunburns. Soaking in the presence of God will prevent our souls from being burned by rays of hatred, animosity, and condemnation.  “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly placesEphesians 6:10-12(NKJV)).

Chocolate quiets coughs.  God quiets us with His love. For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs” Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT).

Chocolate can help stop diarrhea. Being in the presence of God will stop verbal diarrhea. (I know this sounds gross, but there is nothing pretty about spewing hatred, bitterness, gossip, perversity, and condemnation.) “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” James 3:6 (NIV).

Chocolate can improve performance.  Learning about our identity in the Lord helps improve all of our endeavors and relationships. “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” Philippians 2:1-4(NKJV).

Chocolate can enhance mental alertness.  Spending time with the Lord and in His Word gives us clarity and renews our minds.Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” Romans 12:2 (NLT).

Now I am aware of the health benefits of dark chocolate, I don’t have to feel guilty if I eat a few squares a week. But, even better, since I am aware of the sweetness of the Lord’s presence, I can partake of His guilt-free goodness without limits!

May the Lord abundantly Bless You!

Jeannie

http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/benefits-of-chocolate/slide/3