Whidbey News-Times


It is important to remember that challenges are part of life | Faithful Living

By JOAN BAY KLOPE Whidbey News-Times Columnist
March 17, 2013 · Updated 4:03 PM

I cleaned out my refrigerator this week. It’s not that I don’t routinely give it a scrub. I clean my fridge when I have a hard time fitting in one more leftover or I discover I’ve purchased a duplicate ingredient. I also clean each time I feel the need to create order in my world, especially when things change without my permission.

Refrigerator cleaning is not high on my list of enjoyable tasks, but I swung into the task with compulsion. I read expiration labels and cleaned off bottles. I wiped the walls and racks so completely they sparkle. Not a crumb or smudge can be found. And with a nod to completeness, I pulled the beast away from the wall and vacuumed away dust bunnies that had been gathering for who knows how long.

The final task‚ and my absolute favorite I might add‚ involved sorting. May I say that I’ve got one organized fridge. As I stood back to gaze at my idea of perfect order my husband gave voice to my deepest hope: “It’ll do us all a lot of good if we’ll keep this fridge looking like this for awhile.”

I stopped to clean our fridge because we are facing the strong possibility that our income will be considerably downsized, like many others whose careers are connected to the Naval Air Station.

The federal government’s across the board sequestration plan will impact the lives of many here on our island unless compromise legislation is enacted.

Thankfully, I’m married to a financially optimistic man who never loses a moments sleep. He says, “Work harder! Work smarter! Be creative!” I think about staying graceful and positive and orderly.

“Give me a REAL life,” I pray on a regular basis. God not only hears that prayer, but honors my request in dramatic ways. I have experienced the most luscious and beautiful moments life can deliver. I’ve also known shock, frustration, horror, utter sadness, and worry. Just like you.

At 53, I can honestly say I’m truly thankful for it all. Without the difficult moments, I would not be able to fully appreciate and take in the deep joy life can produce. Without experiences that create sadness and demand that I surrender, I would turn a blind eye to people right here who are living in tents in the woods or spending nights in their cars.

There is no such thing as a charmed life. Life on this side of eternity includes a degree of emotional suffering, disappointment, sacrifice, worry, and uncertainty. But we can also choose to apply faith to our real-world experiences. We can stop trying to press our own agendas and be willing, instead, to ask God how He might want us to serve Him. We can stop trying to figure it all out and allow God the chance to lead us, instead.

We can begin by reminding ourselves and our children that we will survive periods of discomfort, as unwelcome as these moments will be. We can resolve to press on and look for signs of growth in ourselves; appreciate the gifts people offer us, and value His peace that surpasses understanding.

We can catch a new vision for God’s plan for our lives.

Joan Bay Klope can be reached at faithfulliving@hotmail.com


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