Friday, November 8, 2013

Words to Inspire, Challenge, and Encourage Me

As I participate in WEGO Health's blogging challenge for the month of November, I am especially excited about Favorite Fridays.  Today I am asked to write about my three favorite quotations.  Since I have so many people who have inspired me along my journey, and so many words of encouragement as my family and I have been thrust into the world of rare disease with our daughter's diagnosis of WAGR/11p Deletion Syndrome, it is QUITE difficult to narrow my favorite quotations down to three!  But I will try...

First I'll identify my most INSPIRING quotation.  They are the words spoken by Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night of his betrayal, shortly before he was arrested and taken away to his death sentence.  "Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine." Luke 22:42

How many times have I cried out the same thing?  It gives me inspiration to know that the King of Kings, the Rock, the Firm Foundation, that even HE had a moment of fear in what was being asked for him to do.  That is why I named my blog what I did!  My Cup Lifted.  God has given each of us a unique life, a one of a kind journey for us here on earth.  When I think about what God has asked Jeff and I to do, what he has asked Evie to do, what he has asked all of our friends and family to do as we learn and live with WAGR/11p Deletion Syndrome...sometimes it becomes overwhelming.  But Christ, in his final hours took his cup, lifted it to God and said, "Not my will, but yours..." and I do the same now.  Whatever your will, God, give me the strength, peace, and faith to endure and finish this race.

My second quote I chose is one that CHALLENGES me.  John F. Kennedy quoted it, but the phrase actually originated from a man named Phillip Brooks.  He said, " Do not pray for easy lives. Pray to be stronger men! Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for power equal to your tasks." I'm not supposed to want things to be easier, I'm supposed to want to grow stronger? 

Yes, that is exactly it-And on those days when I wish I could just run away from all my obligations and start anew, I should be praying to be stronger, not for my load to be lighter.  And when I feel overwhelmed by the all the "plates that I spin", I need to realize that "God does not call the equipped, he equips the called." (I would love to cite this, but as Barbara Brooks wrote about this quote:  I once googled that to find the original quote and it is attributed to everyone from Aristotle to Oprah!).  In essence, my challenge is to remember that I'm not on this journey alone, and that God gives us everything we need while we're here on earth. 

My final "favorite" quote is one that provides ENCOURAGEMENT to me.  It comes straight from a missionary known throughout the world.  Billy Graham wrote, "My beloved suffering saint, everything is under control. His will for you is being wrought in the whirlwind and in the storm, and His blessed presence is in every cloud of distress that crosses your pathway. The Master Gardener is purging your life so that you might bring forth more fruit and more glory to Christ in this world and in the world to come."  (Accessed 11/8/13  In our fear, we are not alone; in our doubt, we are not alone; in our loneliness, we are not alone.  Not only are we not alone, but we have a Master Gardener who is pruning off the dead parts of our lives and giving new energy and nourishment to the parts that are able to bear fruit!  I can rejoice in pain and suffering because it means that I will be the bearer of greater gifts in the end.

I love that we have so many wonderful philosophers, leaders, teachers and preachers from whom we can draw inspiration for today, and hope for tomorrow.  In the end, however, it is plain to see that all I have leads me back to the One who has me, my Father in Heaven.  He is patient with me in my doubt, and loving to me in my fear, and strict with me when I fall out from under His grace-and every night He gives me slumber so I can awake to His new mercies in the morning.


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