There’s Hope To Be Found Because Our Story Is Bigger
If I close my eyes and try hard, I can almost smell her homemade chocolate chip cookies. The cookie jar never lacked for them. If ever it went empty, there was a backup of cookies in the freezer. I wonder why? Had there ever been a cookie crisis in our home? Were my Sis and I brats? Did Mom have to have a steady stream of cookies to keep her two little “monsters” in check?
I doubt either of those things were true. I think there’s a different reason Mom did the work of making so many cookies. She wanted to make sure that the people she loved had above and beyond what they needed.
Above and beyond.
Wow. What a gift. Not only were our basic needs met, Mom always went above and beyond.
It’s been over a year since I’ve written in this space. I’ve felt shy and insecure about returning. Kind of like the nervousness you have when the bi-annual family reunion rolls around and you haven’t seen distant cousins in forever. Will they still like you? Will you like them? Have they changed? You know you have. How on earth will the re-introduction go?
It’s been a year. But it’s been so much more, hasn’t it? It’s been THE year. The year none of us will forget in our lifetime.
THE YEAR OF FEAR. Disease and death. A pandemic gave good reason to be afraid.
THE YEAR OF GRIEF. Big things (loved ones, jobs, income) and little things (milestones, family gatherings, dream vacations) were lost.
THE YEAR OF ANGER. Justice. Inequality. Freedom. So. Much. Anger. Such a great divide.
In December of 2019, God more than whispered that I was to take a long social media fast. More than a month. Soon it was clear that it was to be more than three months. The seventh year–the year of jubilee kept jumping from the pages of Scripture. The end of 2019 marked my seventh year immersed in Social Ministry. All I could think was, “Seriously, Lord? After seven years, you’re telling me to quit?”
“Yes, for now.”
When January of 2020 rolled around, I believed that my questions (What the heck is the “year of jubilee anyway?”), doubts (“Did I really hear God right?”) and just plum lack of direction (“Now what?!) were going to be my greatest challenges. However, many of us reassessed what the word “challenge” looked like in 2020. It’s humbling when queries regarding life direction are exchanged for questions like “Does anybody have extra toilet paper?”
It is now 2021. I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit that I still have questions and doubts. But I’d also be a liar if I didn’t share the glorious and encouraging truths 2020 gave birth to.
Our God is a God of “above and beyond.”
- He loves above and beyond.
- He provides above and beyond.
- His wisdom is above and beyond.
- His faithfulness is above and beyond.
- His plan is above and beyond.
The year 2020 taught me how much I had placed my joy, hope, and plans in my very temporary life.
God is So. Much. Bigger.
If you had crept into my private prayer bubbles, you would have noticed a shift:
- Less worry over formidable challenges exchanged for a deep sense of trust in the One who was in our midst.
- Less reliance on others (and myself) exchanged for the belief that God would guide our daily steps and lead where He saw fit.
- Less concern over here and now exchanged for a deep sense of the joy yet to come when we are truly home.
My Mom would have turned seventy-seven this month. Remembering her warm cookies makes me smile. So does remembering God’s many instances of “above and beyond” in 2020. But even more, I smile at what is literally above, and for now, certainly beyond what I can see, touch or smell.
This world is not our home. It can be beautiful. It can be glorious. But when the world is challenging, when it disappoints, when there are times that we don’t know if we can bear it, we don’t need to hang our heads. Instead, we can hang our hats on this truth:
“Don’t get lost in despair; believe in God, and keep on believing in Me. My Father’s home is designed to accommodate all of you. If there were not room for everyone, I would have told you that. I am going to make arrangements for your arrival. I will be there to greet you personally and welcome you home, where we will be together.” John 14:1-3 The Voice
Because God loves warm cookies (at least I’m quite certain of it) He gives us another above and beyond. God knows we’re made of dust and that our temporal condition can feel oh so permanent. So, He grants us something that will sustain us until we’ve reached our ultimate home:
“I leave the gift of peace with you—my peace. Not the kind of fragile peace given by the world, but my perfect peace. Don’t yield to fear or be troubled in your hearts—instead, be courageous!” John 14:27 TPT
This world has no hold on us friends. Life is about so much more than this moment, this day, this country, this place in history. The picture is bigger. His story is our story and it is bigger and better than we can even imagine. Dare I say, above and beyond.
This wasn’t as hard as I imagined. I was nervous about “meeting the cousins” for no good reason. It’s good to be here. I’ve missed you.
Kelly O Stanley
I love your heart, sweet friend. Nice to have you back here :-).
I love YOU! And it’s good to be back. 😊
I’m so glad you’re back. I missed you and your humour and refreshing take on life.
Welcome back at whatever pace you are choosing. It’s all good ❤️
Thank you so much Lorie… you are one of my favorite “cousins”. Love you!
Love you, Cindy, and I have missed you. My mom made awesome Chocolate Chip Cookies too and always had a tin full (you know those tins cookies or popcorn or some other goodie came in). She would have been 90 this March 15th but God called her home on 2/4/21. One thing Covid and isolation has taught me is God is my strength and peace. When the music fails, when all has faded away-there is Jesus. I truly needed to read your words today!! xxoo
Oh Nancy, I love thinking about your Mother’s cookies in a tin. It’s the little things that make us realize how much we’re loved! I know that losing her has to have been so difficult. I love and admire you. Your faith is a beacon to many Nancy!
Maggie I Russell
I had wondered how you were Fairing ((( hugs)))
Hugs and more hugs to you Miss Maggie! I trust that you and the fam are well. I need to get connected with you… I’m feeling “spring fever” for some fun jewelry!
Cindy, this cousin is thrilled you are back. Your words ring true and point to Jesus…to focus on the Truth. Love you.
Thanks “cuz”! Oh how I hope these words point to Jesus. Truth, peace, and direction always and only because of Him.
You know that I am so excited to have an email from you this morning! And of course, I am blessed by your words of wisdom that point me Home. Love you, so very much.
Home always seems to be what calls me. Can’t stop thinking about it even if I wanted to! Love you right back friend.
Oh. My. Word. I wish you could see me jumping for joy! I’m so very happy to find your words in my inbox and of course, they touched my heart!!! So, so thankful to be back in touch!
I wish there were an award to give for that person who is hands-down the greatest cheerleader you have ever known… my friend, it would go to YOU! Thank you for always having such a kind word.Love you!
Great message Cindy! Good to have you back.
Thanks, Michelle. It’s been quite a year, hasn’t it? But I have a feeling we could all say He’s given us some kind of gift throughout it all. I hope you and yours are well!
So good to have you back in the blogging world! What a year it’s been. Thanks for sharing your heart friend. Look forward to reading more from you in the year ahead. Love & blessings 💙
It’s good to be back Brandy. I saw that you recently went through a social media fast as well! Isn’t it funny… we never had to consider such things “back in the day” (Boy oh boy does that sound old!) Love you friend… I can’t tell you how grateful I am to see you in this space. ❤️
Oh, Cindy, what a blessing to my heart this morning through your writing and sharing. I still struggle some with 2020’s problems coming over into 2021. But I too, am learning our God does go above and beyond! Maybe that’s where your mom and my mom learned it, and they taught us well to do just the same. Love you!