Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

Good Days…Bad Days With Maureen Pratt

It doesn’t matter when you bloom!

posted by mpratt

Christmas Cactus 3 6 2014Feeling like life is passing you by because you’re limited by illness and pain? Do you believe you’re too old to try something new, achieve a dream, or simply shine brightly as a beloved child of God because your health is bringing you down? I offer this little plant as inspiration: It’s a Christmas cactus in March, perched on a small bottom shelf out of any direct sunlight – and it’s full of buds!

Yes, my Christmas cactus is preparing to bloom – in Spring!

No matter if its timing is off, and apparently it doesn’t care if it’s not getting all the right sun and placement in order to bloom. In a couple of weeks, it will be full of beautiful, red blossoms anyway. And isn’t that encouraging for each of us?

No matter our age, what we suffer from, or how low we feel. No matter if we don’t have all the right conditions to feel like we can bloom. All of this cannot stand up to what God wants for us and how he wants us to shine anyway, bloom anyway – and show the world how wonderful He is all the time.

I wouldn’t think of moving my Christmas cactus or changing how I care for it. It’s doing just fine, even more than fine.

So, it doesn’t matter when you bloom, so long as you let God work and bring those blossoms out!

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Happiness from the Outside, In

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author Pic“Happiness is a by-product. You cannot pursue it by itself.”  Samuel Levenson, American humorist (1911-80)

My page-a-day Old Farmer’s Almanac calendar often has pithy quotes that stir my thinking. The one above, on Thursday’s page, struck me as tremendously appropriate for those of us living with chronic illnesses. How often have you said, “I just want to be happy,” while feeling the weight of pain, meds, and restrictions imposed by health challenges?  How often have you winced at someone saying, “Just have a positive attitude – that’ll make you feel better,” knowing that the energy it takes to muster up that ‘positive attitude’ isn’t in your proverbial emotional reservoir?

The quote above offers a clue to a more realistic look at happiness in our lives. Happiness, to the author, is not something isolated or attainable “as is.” Rather, it’s something we achieve by doing something else, by going after something else. That ‘something,’ if positive and productive, yields a sense of self-worth, accomplishment, satisfaction, and, yes, happiness.

But what to achieve? What to pursue? How can we possibly do something so monumental that it stirs happiness up from the ‘swamp’ of sadness, frustration, pain and other negative feelings swirling in our souls?

I don’t think it has to be anything huge or newsworthy. Nor does it have to be long-term. Those positive actions and pursuits can be as simple as doing one, small thing a day toward better health or seeking to do one, anonymous act of kindness. We can remember to celebrate the good things that happen in our world, however truncated, and we can look upon our prayer time as an oasis of calm and peace with God that then brings a warm glow – yes, happiness – to our fragile spirits.

Happiness from the inside, out? That’s a tough proposition. But happiness from the outside, in – that’s infinitely doable!
Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Up to the test

posted by mpratt

Maureen Pratt Author PicThe crucible for silver, and the furnace for gold,

but the tester of hearts is the Lord

Proverbs 17: 3

 

Living with illness and pain can seem like one, long, test. And, in many ways, it is. These challenges test patience, pain threshold, and, in the more concrete sense of the word, they subject us to medical tests that can be ordeals of their own – and painful, too!

As we journey on with our health burdens, it can be easy to say, “Lord, I can’t take any more. I really can’t.” But this is where faith – and wisdom come in like the lifelines that they are to reel us in and bring us back to what’s truly the center of our lives.

For all of the discomfort (I know, this is an understatement many times!) we experience, our souls are in fine shape. Our spirits are resilient. God, nestled in our hearts, is with us and carrying us along. And when we turn to Him, even in our deepest pain, He will bring us peace of spirit and comfort.

Many’s the time when meds and treatments did not take away my physical pain, but as I turned my life and health over to the Lord, the grace that I felt made all the physical much easier to deal with. And as it became easier, a peace beyond all other wrapped around me like a security blanket.

Could we endure our illnesses without faith? Without God?

Maybe we could withstand the physical pain. But with faith, with God, we are up to the test and more – we are able to reach beyond it and make our lives more meaningful, more purposeful, and more whole. And in that whole-ness, healing happens, healing that brings us close to God.

Blessings for the day,

Maureen

Lent’s Call

posted by mpratt
Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Happy the people who know you, Lord,

who walk in the radiance of your face.

    Psalm 89:16

 

Happy Lent to you!

Happy?  Lent? You might ask.

Yes, a very happy Lent. Because we can feel a bit freer, a bit more focused on getting closer to the Lord.

We do this at other times of the year, of course. But Lent is special because it marks a certain time before we will once again sing, “Hallelujah! He is risen!” Lent calls us to be more mindful of how we deepen our faith and how we live it out. How we pray, and how we preach (in the best sense of the word).

Some people deprive themselves of something for Lent. Chocolate. Movies. Sugar. Something “fun.”

Others add something on. Works of charity. Outreach to a neighbor or stranger.

Whatever the personal sense of obligation, I especially like the Ash Wednesday Gospel reading from Matthew 6:17-18) where Jesus instructs us, “When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.” This reinforces the idea that Lent is a wonderfully personal, private time, and one where we can deepen our relationship with the Lord more than ever before. How? By going to that private room and diving into Scripture, praying and listening longer, letting quiet wash away our stress and fill us with the goodness from God.

And as we do this, we will be as the Psalmist describes, “Happy” as we walk in the radiance of the Lord’s face.

Blessings for the day – and Lent,

Maureen

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