~~ Philippians 4:13 (NKJV) ~~ I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
by Carley Cooper
|Aunt Sadie & Carla (early 1990's)|
Candid Photo Shot by Marj Cooper
I have a plaque that is about 7.5” x 5”, and it has one of those little flaps on the back, like a picture frame, that allows you to stand it on a table top or shelf. The front of it is a sliver plate, with the bible verse from Philippians 4:13 written on it “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” This little treasure belonged to my Aunt Sadie once. She has gone to be with the Lord now. Cancer took her away from us in 2005. When she passed, this little keepsake was one of a couple things that I asked for that was hers. The other item is a marble collection that she had; that was made into a sun catcher for the window. I keep both of these things in my living room and I think of her every day when I see them. The reason I chose this particular plaque was because Philippians 4:13 was her favorite bible verse.
Aunt Sadie was one of those super special women. I think all of us cousins, in my family; felt she was a favorite Aunt. There are a lot of cousins and a lot of Aunts and Uncles in our bunch. Aunt Sadie, though, didn’t live in Newfoundland where most of the rest of us lived. Aunt Sadie lived in Albany, New York. We only ever got to see her every 5 years or so when they came for a visit. Oh, how we enjoyed those visits! It was the highlight of our summer. Actually, it was more like the highlight of our year! What I remember most about her was that Aunt Sadie always talked to me like I was a real person. What I mean by that is she never talked down to me like other adults tend to do with kids. She talked to me like I counted for something; like what I had to say, no matter what it was, was important and interesting. Then she would always give me advice. Never once did she tell me to stop being so silly, or so childish, or to get over it.
Little did I know how special Philippians 4:13 would come to mean to me as well since then. In the past few years I’ve been through some of the most difficult times of my life. Knowing that Christ brings me more than enough strength to carry me through any trial has come to be of incredible comfort to me when I felt like I was otherwise alone in the world. Well, I am about to embark on an adventure, of sorts, that requires I need every bit of God’s strength and guidance that He is willing to give me. See, starting tomorrow, I will begin serious writing on my book. Remember the book I mentioned, in my last blog post, that I want to write about my story?! Well, I have been making notes and coming up with ideas about this project for quite a while now. I didn’t think I was ready to start doing any serious writing yet. My thoughts were that sometime next year I would be ready to begin.
Then, a few days ago I got an email from my beautiful friend, Brenda Wood. She told me that she and a couple of her friends have entered a writing challenge on a website called “National Novel Writing Month”. The challenge is to write 50,000 words... a novel.... in November! Yep... the whole thing is to be written in only a month; or the first draft of it anyway. As is Brenda’s usual way with encouragement, I was convinced. I need to start this book now. It’s time to stop delaying, puttering around, and coming up with excuses. I am tempted to say that she talked me into it. However, she only made the suggestion. It was God that talked me into it. I am excited and looking forward to this chapter of my life. I am also scared half to death. See this project means going through a lot of emotion to remember the most painful things; as well as the best parts, of my life. When I am done, my whole life will literally be an open book for all to read. The good, the bad, and the ugly will all be in print, with my name on the cover.
I can’t help but look at this little plaque on my bookshelf in front of me and think “Thank You, Lord for that strength. I need it now more than ever”. It will be the leading of the Holy Spirit that will get me through this time; and the days, weeks and months to follow. There are things that will upset a few people. I know that; but I cannot show the glory of God, or grow closer to Him, by hiding things. Showing the miracles that He has worked in my life; and inside my heart is one of my goals. I have to be willing to lay it all out in the open or Jesus cannot carry it for me. Hebrews 4:13 tells us that nothing is hidden from His sight, and that we must give account for everything. “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account”. Unless I open my life and leave nothing in the dark, I will be useless to Him. The strength of Jesus will carry me when my energy is gone because I am feeling beaten, battered, exposed, judged, and possibly even hated; by others. In the end, the only opinion that should / will alter my life in any significant way is that of Jesus.
I hear God’s gentle voice talking to me. I feel the tug of the strings of my heart about this project. It is the right thing to do at this time. I can also hear Aunt Sadie’s encouragement telling me that I can do it; and that He will be with me every step of the way.
~~ Dear God ~~ Please guide my every word as I write. Make my story one that will help others, help me to grow closer to You; and show Your awesome glory. Thank You for using me to do these things. In Jesus name, AMEN.