Don’t Be Despondent

Strangford Lough waters were like a mirror early today.  The boats, newly parked in the bay below, are still. This morning I read these words from the Bible.
Proverbs 15 v 15
For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

These words shook me out of feeling heavy laden and down. I looked up the meaning of despondent in the dictionary.  Dejected, sad, depressed, disheartened, lacking hope or courage.
One can be despondent because of unhappiness due to difficulties that you think will not be able to overcome.
I was prone to despondency and despair before I had cancer. I definitely got depressed and it deepened. Situations in my life seemed insurmountable. But God saw me and had mercy on me. He healed me from cancer.
I can’t afford to let myself get down or despondent. This word this morning shook me. I want to have a merry heart and a feast instead. I have so much to be thankful for.
Another scripture says ,
“Do not be downcast. Hope in God for I will yet praise him.”  I began to thank God for all his blessings.  I got washed and dressed. I decided to go out in the beautiful morning and let the cobwebs blow away. The warmth of spring is here. I praise God for life.

Your Garden can be a Little Bit of Heaven.

I loved watching the gardening programme on TV, Gardeners World, with Alan Titchmarsh.   He introduced us to the beauty and peace of gardening even if one didn’t have a garden of their own or were too busy with other work at hand, which for me was raising children.

Last summer after we moved house I was up early and out into the sunshine.  It was the beginning of a new season for my husband and myself.  We had left behind a big house and a big garden with mature trees.  We didn’t need the big house any more.  Our children had left home.   It was goodbye to my herb garden and Magnolia tree we had planted years before.

We brought all our potted plants with us, plants that Brendan and I had collected over many years.  It was always a surprise to see each spring what would erupt from each pot.  We had forgotten what was in each one.  Those early morning, quiet moments inspired me to give some attention to the life springing up in the pots. There was need for some care.   I watered, weeded, uprooted, divided, replanted and pruned as necessary.   I got my hands dirty repotting some that were pot bound.

Those early mornings in the sunshine was doing me good.  I was experiencing healing in my mind after all the trauma of suffering from cancer.  As Psalm 23 says, “My soul was being restored.”   I was not lying awake worrying, or nursing some grudge, or feeling depressed and not wanting to get out of bed.  When I awoke I got up.  The dawn chorus greeted me.  I looked up and saw aeroplanes on their way from North America to some destination in the east, perhaps London.  I marvelled  how God looks after all of creation.  He does not slumber.  I was up early to meet him in my garden.

I was not surprised when I came across this article on the internet about “How dirt makes you happy,” by Bonnie L Grant.  I quote,

“Prozac may not be the only way to get rid of your serious blues. Soil microbes have been found to have similar effects on the brain and are without side effects and chemical dependency potential. Learn how to harness the natural antidepressant in soil and make yourself happier and healthier. Read on to see how dirt makes you happy.

Did you know that there’s a natural antidepressant in soil? It’s true. Mycobacterium vaccae is the substance under study and has indeed been found to mirror the effect on neurons that drugs like Prozac provide. The bacterium is found in soil and may stimulate serotonin production, which makes you relaxed and happier. Studies were conducted on cancer patients and they reported a better quality of life and less stress.”

I agree.  I have found that working in my garden has brought me healing.

Our ancestors Adam and Eve’s home was a garden.  All the work they had to do was tend the garden and eat its fruit.

This year I am working in my garden.  I am getting the healing benefits of breathing in the fresh air and other good things released from the earth to help my immune system and calm my nervous system.  I get to enjoy the gentle wet rain on my face, or the warm sunshine on my back.   I enjoy the exercise of watering and weeding.  I am tired at the end of the day and I am ready for sleep.  I get the benefits as well of fresh lettuce and herbs to brighten up my meals.  In the spring I planted all kinds of lettuce, celery, cabbage and many herbs in my raised beds.  I am using bio friendly sea weed that I collect from the beach as a fertiliser.  My vegetables are flourishing.

I was reading a book recently.  The author was recounting how her parents had a stormy relationship.  Her mother died at fifty three of cancer and never lived to see the author’s success in life.  The writer had a dream about her mother.  In the dream her mother was happy tending her garden that was filled with all kinds of beautiful flowers and plants.  The dream was showing her that her mother is in happy place where there is beauty and peace, heaven.

I know there is a heaven, but God doesn’t want me to go there yet.  He wants me to enjoy heaven on earth and tell others they can have heaven on earth too.  Every believer says the Lord’s Prayer, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Bring heaven on earth.  There is no sickness in heaven, no strife, no war, no crying or evil.  As the scientists have discovered get out in your garden and your mood will change.  You can have a heaven on earth in your garden, where you will experience peace, joy, healing and restoration.

Kiss of the sun for pardon,

Song of birds for mirth,

You’re closer to God’s heart in a garden,

Than any place on earth.

Author, Dorothy Frances Gurney

I attended a funeral service in my local Church.  The pastor was telling us about the man who had just died.  He had lived to the ripe old age of ninety two.  “In retirement he and his wife enjoyed gardening” the celebrant recounted.  “He grew vegetables and his wife grew flowers.”  They both loved gardening.  I hope my husband and I enjoy a long life like this couple did.

Thy Kingdom come on earth.

Hope in British Columbia, Canada is a Special Place for Me. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/places/

I was in Vancouver recently.  As we drove along the highways in Vancouver I saw the sign for Hope on every overhead signpost.  I thought it must be a large city up country.  But it is a small town in the Fraser Valley, but if one wants to drive east in BC you will pass through Hope.  As you drive towards Hope there are magnificent views of the mountains and the river Fraser.

In October 2008 Brendan and I were speaking at a conference in BC. imageCanada.  On the Sunday afternoon we were driving back to Vancouver along the Fraser Valley.  We stopped for a coffee break in this town called Hope.  The cafe was known for home cooked pies.  Our host said you can get mile high pie here!  I wondered what he meant.  In the display cabinet was a variety of home baked pies, blueberry, chocolate, banana, summer fruits, apple, lemon meringue and rhubarb.

I chose the biggest, the lemon meringue with a good helping of cream.  It was the biggest lemon meringue I have ever seen.  Lemon meringue is my favourite.  In Canada the vans  and the trucks, the rivers, the mountains, the highways and the bridges are big.

Seven years ago I would have been bleeding from my colon and hoping it would go away.  Over the next few years I got hopeless for my future.  I was slowly dying.  Until in 2010 I could not hide the bleeding any longer.  I was getting weaker.  I was in despair.  I was unhappy, in distress, lost hope, lost heart, discouraged, I threw in the towel.   I resigned myself that things would not get any better.  I felt lonely and rejected, even though I had my family around me.  I was depressed and felt misunderstood.

Life was going on around me.  I felt left behind.  My children were doing well and leaving home.  My home was getting empty and so was my heart.  My husband was busy with his work.  I didn’t feel I was needed any longer.   Everyone seemed to think mum will be around forever.  I had been strong for everyone one else, but now my strength was failing.  What was there for me to do when all the children had left?   I was hopeless.

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭13‬:‭12‬ NIV)

Over the next four months I went through treatment the doctors ordered and my family and many people in the body of Christ prayed for me.   God healed me of 4th stage cancer.  I am alive to tell others that God heals today.  He is not a God far away who does not care.  He is near to help us when we cry to him.  My hope was gone but God in his faithfulness helped me.

Today, nearly seven years later we were back in Hope.  I asked the driver, “Did you know where the cafe is where I can get coffee and “Mile High Pie?”  Hope is a small town.  We found the cafe easily enough, off the main highway.  I checked it out, and yes it was the same place.  The cabinet was full of fresh sweet pies.  I looked them over and found the lemon meringue!  I enjoyed a coffee and pie at ten o’clock in the morning!  Other customers were looking at me.  In Canada people don’t eat sweet pie till the afternoon.

In the seven years since I was in the town of Hope I have gone through the valley of death.  God has brought me through the other side because I grabbed hold of hope in the goodness of God to heal me.  I celebrated my hope being restored as I ate the Mile High Pie in the town of Hope.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/places/