Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Hidden Treasures by Cindy Hester

by Cindy Hester

I have been spending time over the past few months tracing family trees in an attempt to know more about my family history. I have also been going through boxes of old photographs which belonged to my grandmother. Some date back to the 1800's, and I find them beyond fascinating, especially once scanned onto the computer. I could spend hours enlarging pictures looking at the details not easily picked up at first glance. There are so many hidden treasures within even the simplest of images.

As I sat closely examining photos, God began impressing on my heart the hidden treasures I often miss on a daily, sometimes hourly basis. My mind began rewinding, scrolling through past events in record speed. Every so often God hit the pause button to reveal seemingly commonplace events that ultimately led to exciting journeys or cherished blessings. Amazingly, it was during some of the most painful and difficult circumstances that I discovered the rarest of treasures. Little did I know I was about to receive yet another jewel to place in my treasure chest of memories.

A few days ago I received a text from a dear cousin who I had not seen in several years. She was flying into Houston for the day on business, and she contacted me on the chance we could meet for an early dinner before her flight home. Needless to say I was thrilled at the prospect of catching up, but I had no idea just how much of a blessing her visit would be.



The time lapsed much too quickly as we caught up on spouses, children, parents, and life in general. We recounted stories from the heart that evoked memories of precious loved ones with whom we share a deep common bond. We laughed, cried, and vented over the joys and frustrations of womanhood at this phase of our lives. We discussed the brevity of life. We pondered the challenge of balancing spiritual, family, and leisure time with the hours consumed by career and financial responsibilities. We delved into the topic of how emotionally, mentally, and physically draining life in this imperfect world can be. How comforting and uplifting it was to simply share common struggles with a woman in whom I found reflections of myself.



As we hugged and said our goodbyes I was overwhelmed by the realization of how my soul had been refreshed by her visit. Hearing how the trip had transpired, it was easy to see the hand of God bringing us together in His perfect timing. I would like to think that Daddy, Poppa Chris, and two beautiful sisters who also happened to be our grandmothers were smiling up above, watching as Lori and I revived a bond that mere time and distance could not destroy.

 
Lori's grandmother, Dorothy Wright Chrisman & my grandmother, Winnie Wright Hood (sisters)

 
Lori's Dad, Oswin Chrisman & my Dad, Frank Hood


Dear Heavenly Father,

I come thanking You for knowing what I have need of even more than I do. I thank You for the treasures You supply...treasures that give only a glimpse of what You have waiting for us in heaven. Thank You for clearly showing me these are not mere coincidence, but divine appointments. May I always be aware of Your gifts holding them thankfully close in my heart. Thank You for family, and for the most valuable treasure of all, Your Son Jesus.

In Christ's precious name I pray,
Amen



 

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Touch of the Master's Hand


I dragged myself into work this morning. I like my job. I work with great people My boss is kind and encouraging. Regardless, I fight a weekly battle with this dark, ominous cloud that rolls in on Sunday night and stalls, ushering in the Monday morning blues. I struggle with switching gears from work to home life, then back to work again. It seems by the time I wind down from the pressures of the week before, it is time to rev up once again to face yet another challenging week.  

I have been earnestly praying about this issue. It truly bothers me to feel discouraged about something God's hand has so graciously provided. I simply have this tugging in my heart that this is not all I am supposed to accomplish in this life. Let me insert a disclaimer right here. Without question the most important legacy I leave behind will be revealed in how I lived my life and impacted my most immediate world, my family. That being said, I feel a deep calling on my life to write. A calling to encourage and inspire others who may have lost their hope. A calling to record the human experiences God has used to bring me to a new place in life. A place with enough miles traveled to look back and see the enlightenment God has brought out of the desolation I created. A place highlighted by the colors of joy and purpose where I stepped outside of myself and placed the paintbrush in the hands of the Master Artist.

I am not exactly sure why I am sharing this with you, dear friends, except He told me to. Perhaps He is coaxing me to drop my walls of pride and fear long enough to ask for your prayers. Maybe He is simply asking me to be vulnerable enough to share my dream with you. Or perhaps it is even to encourage someone out there who is to fulfill this calling in my place. Most likely it is a mixture of  these things.

My pastor brought a sermon yesterday on opportunity. In this sermon, he spoke of a time in his life where someone saw something in him that he could not see in himself. At the time of this particular instance he was a young teenager, not yet a Christian, nor could he have ever envisioned any type leadership role in his future. His point was that God, the Divine Creator, our Heavenly Father sees something in each of us we do not see in ourselves. God sees our potential, and He knows the calling He has placed on our lives. I sat with tears streaming wanting to strive to find God's view of me. More important, I felt a yearning to point others to a path of discovering the potential God sees in them.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt God brought me to this place and time for a purpose. I also know it was His hand that provided my current job. I ask for your prayers as to what God has in store, and for His path and timing to be revealed. I do not want to miss this opportunity of learning and growth in the time of waiting, nor do I wish to overlook the calling I have in my current position at work. I am excited, however, to see what great and mighty things He has in store.

In the meantime let me challenge you to find one of your happiest baby pictures. Take a moment to look at yourself through new eyes. See yourself through the eyes of a loving Heavenly Father, the divine artist who created you as His masterpiece. See the hope, the innocence, the joy on the face of that sweet child. This, my friend is how God, through grace sees you today. No matter your age, no matter how far you may have wandered, your untapped potential is waiting to be released on a world in desperate need of what you have to offer. All that is required is that you submit to the touch of the Master's hand.


 
 
 
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand
when I awake, I am still with you. Psalms 139:13-18

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