Sunday, November 18, 2012

On Thanksgiving and Crowns


I am an emotional bulimic. I either keep everything in or I purge uncontrollably. Years ago, a close friend said I reminded her of Elinor in Sense and Sensibility. She had not read the book, but was referring to the Emma Thompson movie version. Elinor does such a great job maintaining proper distance, dignity, and decorum throughout all her internal heartbreak, but the moment she finds out Edward is not engaged she completely falls apart.

I’m working on finding a balance so I don’t continue to do the same. I’m great through trials, some heart rending and on such a level as to be emotionally crippling.  Throughout I remain steady. Then, something minor will happen and, for some unexplainable reason, I fall completely apart. I think a habit of consistently, yet gently, letting thoughts and emotions out, as if through a sifter I will be less in danger of having occasional waterfalls.

Between my illness and moving to a new home I have had very little time to blog, or to do as much writing as I would like. In fact, I keep receiving emails from lovely people I’ve never met asking me when my next article in Meridian will appear. I have responded soon, but haven’t written soon.  So, if I am going to be a person of my word, I must work in the time. Writing is one of the ways I provide for my family, so you’d think it would be a priority. However, any writing I do for the church is done without financial remuneration. So, generally when I have a moment to write it is geared toward venues where I earn income. Not out of greediness, but wisdom in caring for our obligations and the use of my time. I’m not making an excuse, just an explanation.

Before any article writing however, I wanted to share something on a more personal level.

Thank you for…

I am exceedingly thankful to my Heavenly Father for the manifold blessings He has consistently bestowed upon me. I want to make sure I express it. For, I have a tendency to feel great gratitude in my heart, but it seems to stay there without vocalization, which could come across as unthankful. One of the items I am most grateful for is our new home. It is the nicest place in which I have ever had the privilege to occupy. Most of my homes in the past have been disappointing. In fact, when my husband (at the time) signed the lease on our last home, I cried a little.

It was necessary for us to move. At the time we were living in an 800 square foot home with three children, one of  whom had to sleep in the living room due to lack of space. Plus, our landlord had sold the duplex and the new owners didn’t like how many children we had.  The new lease had a clause in it that we couldn’t have any more children. There was no way we could sign that! Yet, there was something about the new house which didn’t sit right with me. I was uncomfortable with the move and didn’t think I’d feel safe in the area. Hence the tears.

My new home is different. Though many people feel southwest Little Rock is unsafe, we are in a quiet tucked away neighborhood in which I feel completely peaceful. On top of all that we have much more space than we’ve ever had in our lifetimes AND, like a cherry on top, the home is beautiful.  My landlords (who happen also to be friends of mine) went through great trouble and expense to refinish the hardwoods and re-carpet the bedrooms before we moved in. Never have I gotten to call something so lovely, mine. I’m thrilled with my new home.

I’m grateful to my Heavenly Father for being indulgent with me.  I’m also grateful He provided such wonderful friends to my family in the Nance’s, and that they would even consider us as occupants, while making the rent affordable. Every day I wake up and cannot believe such a beautiful place is mine to live in. I feel like I’m in a fairy tale.

The blessings haven’t stopped there. My illness has been difficult. The pain has been a problem, but in the last few months especially I have days where I cannot stop vomiting. You may think it strange that this is being mentioned in my list of gratitude. However, it has made me very grateful for endurance. Many people being treated for this same ailment are not faring as well as I am. I hear horror stories all the time from people I know who are also undergoing these treatments. They cannot work. They need people to come and help them with their children. They’re on disability and have home health nurses to help care for them. Yet for me it has been different.

For the most part, we are living normally. I’ve continued to work. I’ve continued to raise and school the children. I don’t feel well and there are days where normal functioning is a challenge, but even on the vomity days my responsibilities are getting done. I am so grateful for this.  Endurance is a real blessing.


Last night I was reading about endurance in the book of James. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to those that love Him.” James 1:12

The word for endureth is the Greek hupomeno.  It literally means to remain under. In other words it means to remain in place and not flee from the trial. It means not to give up. The word for tried is dokimos. It means accepted, pleasing, acceptable.

When we accept the trials the Lord brings into our lives and get through them righteously, we are pleasing to God. As if that weren’t enough of a reward, we receive  a crown.  In this case the crown of life. There are other crowns mentioned in Scripture. If you want to do a quick study, you might read 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20, 2 Timothy 4:8,  1 Peter 5:4, and Revelation 2:10; 3:11; 4:10-11. This list is by no means exhaustive, just the ones I went through last night.

The last verse is my favorite. The apostles offered their crowns to the Savior by placing them at his feet as He sat at His throne. The idea of earning crowns in order to give them to the Savior is very exciting to me. You might think me strange, but I guess you’d have to see love the same way I do.

I love my Savior because He loves me. I’m so grateful to Him for His love of me. Unconditional, undeserved, unpretended. (Yes, I know that is not a real word). It means He never pretends He loves me just to get something out of me. His love is sincere and without lust. I can trust Him. That is such a rare gift, and one I will not throw away. When I love someone, I desire to give myself to them completely, to serve them wholeheartedly. That is how I feel about my Savior. To be honest, any crown I earn isn’t truly mine anyway. I couldn’t have attained it without His atonement and grace. I am not who I am without Him. The crowns are His. He earned them.

What about you? I’m sure you have much to be thankful for. Have you remembered to share your gratitude with your Heavenly Father? If not (and we’ve all done it), take the time to do so now. Don’t just thank Him privately. Thank Him publicly.  He deserves the praise.