333. The sun setting on the lake and illuminating the tall grass.
334. The heavenly smell of gardenias.
335. The funny-sunny faces of Black-Eyed Susans, petals weathered from last year’s drought.
336. Thankful for the warning bark of my West Highland Terrier.
337. Thankful my Westie wasn’t bit when she discovered a snake coiled in the gardenia bush.
338. Thankful I was out of range when the snake struck towards me, the enemy.
339. My mother’s Christmas decorations inside a closet bringing a happy remembrance of family gatherings.
340. Five years of a boy’s life inside a closet ,thankful the seed has been planted and he is away from the peer pressure that was destroying him.
341. Empty space inside a closet waiting for our imminent return to care for Papaw.
The night following the snake strike brought with it a great fear of the dark. I did not want to turn off the light and postponed it as long as possible. The image of that serpent’s head as it struck towards me was seared in my brain and I knew that the minute my eyelids closed I would see it vividly.
Through the years, as trials have come my way and as I have matured in my faith, the fears in my life have diminished proportionally because the Lord has always carried me through. But one fear has remained – the fear of SNAKES, that adrenaline pumping, heart stopping fear . This fear has been with me from childhood and has caused me all sorts of embarrassment in social settings. Trust me, you don’t want to be with me if I have a snake encounter!
But on the night of this last snake encounter and before I turned off the light for the night thoughts about the Garden of Eden, the Fall of Man and the subsequent consequences of that fall were mingled in with images of the snake from earlier that day.
I remembered what the Lord God said to the serpent,
Because you have done this,
Cursed are you more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you will go,
And dust you will eat all the days of your life;
After cursing the physical serpent, God turned to the spiritual serpent, the lying seducer Satan and cursed him.
And I will put entity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
I’ve read the passage so many times that its words were seared on my brain, too….just like the snakes image. A message of hope shone forth in the midst of this curse passage. The woman’s offspring being Christ will one day defeat that serpent of old . Satan can only “bruise” Christ’s heel, surely not a fatal blow which he did when he caused Christ to suffer. But on the other hand Christ will bruise Satan’s head by destroying him with a fatal blow on the head.
So as I pondered these verses in those moments when I feared turning out the light, I realized that just as the victory has already been won in the finished work of the cross, I could also have victory in my immediate life with this phobia. Recalling the events -that five foot snake in the gardenia bush was curled up tight but it was with very little effort that my husband was able to pull it out of that bush and deliver a fatal blow to its head. A new image replaced the old in my mind and I turned off the lights. Darkness enveloped me and I discovered gifts in the dark …..and looking at the moon outside my window I practiced memory verses until my eyelids grew heavy with sleep…….
342. Christ’s victory over Satan by the finished work of the cross.
343. The hidden Word of God in my heart can crowd out fearful images as I review those verses until my eyes are too heavy to remain open.
344. Perfect love casts out fear and He will take this phobia from me, and did.
345. The steady breathing of my husband sleeping beside me and a warm Westie curled at my feet, reminders of God’s protection.
GIFTS IN MY PARENTS
346. Integrity and faith in God.
347. A love that bears all things, hopes all things, believes all things and never seeks its own.
348. Warmth and security.
THREE GIFTS HELD IN MY HAND
349. Wool and Addi Lace Needles – thankful for the many hours in the car that I was able to knit on the Haruni shawl as we drove home.
350. My new “berry” colored Bible that the husband claims is really, really “pink” – a perfect size for my hands.
351. My first card from my first grandbaby girl waiting in the mailbox for me along with a card from my daughter and a very special photo book she made just for ‘Gran’.
THREE GIFTS FOUND IN MY MOM
352. My cheerleader for fifty-six years, always my encourager.
353. A friend who always listens to my joys, my woes and my deepest of ponderings.
354. The sacrificial life of a mother always lived out before me, always an example to me.
Following the many who are on this Joy Dare 2012 and discovering the gifts surrounding us, the wonderful gifts given to us by the One who loves us beyond measure.