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          Not long ago, people across the globe watched the strongest and the fittest compete for the gold in Vancouver. Among many different sports was the bobsledders. We watched in awe as many different teams raced down the track at 90 miles an hour with merely a sled to cover them. Some did not make it to their destination how they intended to, but they all raced well. Imagine,though, if a team had gotten half way down the hill, when suddenly, they began to argue. The results would be very dangerous, and could have a disastrous effect.

 The love story is simple… variated, but simple. Boy and girl meet. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy purposes to girl. Boy and girl get married… Now what?

The 1950’s told us that “behind every good man is a great woman.” Today we are told that, rather, she is at his side. Wherever her place of standing, however, she is his partner.  Just like those bobsledders, the boy and girl are racing toward a destination… the destination is a good mariage. There may be turns and unexpected bumps, but they must be able to take these things together. If they begin to argue half-way down, the results would be very dangerous and could have a disastrous effect.

But what does that mean for a woman and a wife? It is easy for a woman to often feel overwhelmed and uncomfortably vulnerable as she speeds down her sybolic track at 90 miles an hour in a sled. This is why God gives her the brakes to stop, breath, and then go on. Bumps will come. No track is perfect. She, however, does not need to be afraid. Her coach, God, will allways be there to help move her and her partner toward the finish line.

” An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life.”

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It is windy… cold and windy. I pull my coat tight against me and continue down the dusty path. I look to my left and see the lonely meandering river. It giggles as it rushes past me, for it knows so many of my secrets. In its deep depths, I learned how to trust. On its sandy beach, I learned how to love.

I look to the hill in front of me. It seems smaller than I remember. We used to pull our sleds up its steep sides, and play all day long. When we tired of that, we would build various sorts of snow creatures. Then, as the sun would slip from the sky, we would race back home for hot chocolate and popcorn.

I walk a little farther, until I spot the tree. This is where we would enter into our magical world of make-believe. One day, we would be tigers fighting for survival. The next, we would be orphans lost in the jungle. Another, we would be the characters from Little Women. We could be anyone, anywhere.

As I continue down this road, I see many different things… some good, some bad, but all on my road none-the less. My dusty, dirt road has taken many unexpected turns since I started on it. I’m sure I will find more, but that’s not really the point of this road is it? The point of a road is the destination.

The Music started. I stood… glad to be out of the horridly uncomfortable seat for just a moment. Teenagers proudly dressed in caps and gowns filed into the front of an overheated auditorium.  For the next hour, we listened to speeches of success, journeys, and the future. Then, to reward a 4-year journey,the graduates each received a diploma. Tossing their caps to the sky, this nervous young group of “grown-ups” left friends and family to begin their brand-new paths. This was the class of 2009.

When in highschool, we feel as though we are flying toward a wonderful destination…the destination of adulthood. We can feel the wind in our hair, as we race toward our goals with arms opened wide. But, then, our senior year comes and rips us out of the clouds and kicks our butts back into reality. A reality with finances, family, and an immediate future. We have to make choices… now. So we do… at least we thnk we do, but how can anyone plan out there lives from the back of a classroom?In the town they grew up in? Alone…?

There is a sinking feeling, when one assumes the responsibilities of an adult. The same feeling that one will get later in life, when he realizes there is more money owed than had. The same feeling that will be felt after that first fight with a spouse. That feeling…. 

It reminds me of a boy who believed that he was drowning. He thrashed in the water gasping for air until he had used up every last bit of energy. It wasn’t until he took one last breath of air and let his body relax, that he realized he was only standing in knee-deep water. God has a perfect plan for each one’s life. We can worry about the journey, the funds, or the logic. We can thrash around wondering which way to turn to next, but once we relax and trust God, we can see that we were ok all along. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt.6:34)

A few days ago, I awoke to a world covered in snow. It’s amazing how quaintly magical a snowfall can be. My yard, which had once been a sign of true chaos, had been transformed into a calm and peaceful white blanket. Where chewed up sticks, and other such things, had once been scattered about, only snow layed. Frost stretched its delicate self across tree branches and fence posts. One could not see the flaws of my house, but only what God, Himself, had put there.

It is very often easy to get caught up in the chaos of life. Tragedies, shortcomings, busy schedules, personal failures or dilemmas…. These things surprise us, frustrate us, or just bring stress. It can be very hard to see how any good can come from these situations. However, “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,…” (Rom.8:28). When times of chaos come, ask God to cover it with His white blanket of righteousness, and enjoy the calm, for tomorrow will bring its own chaos anew.

It was early…  too early, but that didn’t bother me. I was a ten-year-old girl, about to embark on a road trip to the great potato state of Idaho. My mom and I were leaving our home in Southern Oregon to visit family and attend my cousin’s wedding.We were both very excited about our trip and had mapped out exactly how we were to get there. So off we went, before the crack of dawn even chanced a peak at our horizon.

Road trips were always fun with my mom. We sang, listened to books on tape, just talked… we had barely reached morning by the time we passed Bend.

“There’s Bend!” we had both exclaimed, but we kept on driving. It wasn’t long, though, before we hit some road construction. The flagger strolled up to our window and asked,

“Are you goin’ right or straight?”

“I don’t think we turn yet,” my mom looked at me, ” we’ll just go straight.”

So straight we went. I don’t know how long we drove, but as a ten-year-old stuck in a car, it seemed like FOREVER. It was reaching afternoon, when we saw something we did not expect to see. The road we were on was supposed to go straight,taking us straight to Idaho, but this road just dead-ended into another road. As we approached, the little white letters on the sign seemed to jump into our stomachs and turn to lead. A sinking feeling spread through us, as we read the words, “BEND  RIGHT 20 miles.” We had spent all day driving to Idaho, but instead did a complete and huge circle.

It is very frustrating thinking that you are going in the right direction, cruizing towards progress, only to find out you are just spinning circles. Like when you wake up, resolved to keep a positive attitude, but the car won’t start, and the toddlers took off all of his clothes, and breakfast burns, and your husband is rushing you. Like when you’ve decided to lose weight, but that certain girlfriend comes over, and you both end up eating far too much. Like when you’ve purposed to read your Bible every day, but it’s a good day if you even look at your Bible. That same sinking feeling spreads through you, as you realize that the road that was supposed to bring you to success, really just led you in a complete circle.

Though it took two days rather than one, my mom and I did reach Idaho. It turned out that we were supposed to turn at the road construction instead of going straight. This is often the prolem we face on our road towards success. Success may seem impossible if we are on the wrong road, but all we must do, is, simply, get on the right road. The Bible says to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not onto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” God holds the map to the road of your success. He desires to lead you, but you must trust Him. Before you set out on your trip alone, remember, roadtrips are allways more enjoyable with a companion… especially if your companion has the map.

a brush of paint on a piece of paper
an idea scribbled on a napkin
a notebbook with one short sentence
today

It would be a major oversight to see these things just as they are. That brush of paint may very well lead to a masterpiece. That idea, simply scribbled on a napkin, may create the next hit song. That one short sentence might be the thesis of an epic novel. Today may set the stage for eternity.

A painting is made up of many different strokes and colors. Some strokes are delicate, where others are bold. Some colors are beautiful, but others, by themselves, could be considered very ugly. If one were to focus on the individual colors and strokes in a painting, he would miss out on the masterpiece being created directly in front of him.

Our lives are like a painting, slowly being created into something beautiful. It is easy to view today as it’s own individual color. All of us have our black and grey days where nothing willl go right – nothing is clear. But then, there are the days, where beautiful blues and greens are to be seen everywhere. We are happy, and the world around seems to sing a song into our very steps.

Our life-pictures are being painted. God holds the easel in his hand. He has plans, but we have the choices. As this new year begins to unfold, try to look past the colors of today, look forward to the strokes of tomorrow, and make a painting that you and God can both be proud of.

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