Monday, October 8, 2012

A Walk In The Park

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Matthew 7:3-5

New International Version (NIV)
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Yesterday my husband and I went for a walk in a near by park. I saw a sign in the park that said the park had been established in 1904. Its a lovely park with many beautiful areas where one can walk or sit and reflect. There is a Japanese garden, a rose garden, a conservatory garden, there is a duck pond, lilac garden, children's play areas and picknick grounds. One can walk through the park in a big circle and pass through all the various park areas. It was a beautiful afternoon here in Spokane that seemed to cry out not to miss it but to take the time to experience it in some way.  

A late bloomer
I had suggested a bike ride but my husband said his back was hurting and that he would be more interested in going for a walk in the park.  We filled our water bottles and headed to the park. I have been to the park many times but it was my husband Marco's first time to experience the park.  I was surprised to still find so many flowers in bloom.

The Geese are fun to watch
I realize that marriage is not always like a easy walk in the park on a beautiful day. There are seasons that are difficult. Some that seem dry and barrin and others that are lush and full of life. There are joys and disappointments. Wonderful acts of love and kindness and sometimes selfishness, pain and sorrow.  I saw this quote posted on someones face book wall.
The Conservatory Garden
It is easy to see the highlights of everyone else's marriage or relationships and think you are the only one who struggles. Its easy to feel like you have lost your way. You might feel your screw ups are too big to overcome, or the screw ups of others to great to forgive.  Ask the Lord to help you. Maybe make a point to not grumble and complain to others but do your venting with the Lord. Allow him to help you see the things you are facing from his prospective. All too often we allow stuff from the past to influence and color the present. Allow the Lord to strip that stuff away. Today is a new day and you don't have to be miserable. A little kindness goes a long way and forgiveness further still. We need to be careful to not de-value the people around us because they have hurt or disappointed us or because of our own feelings of guilt for letting them down. It does take time to work through some things and there will aways be new things to work through. Relationships are a journey and traveling through life together has its benefits and each has its own stress points and places where each person needs to grow to be more Christ like.
It might be time to stop waiting for others to make changes and get on with you, yourself deciding to be a better, more loving, more forgiving person. You may be surprised what the seeds of kindess planted today my later bloom and grow into.  We live in a fast food, disposable society. We want everything now in an instant. If things don't work we throw them away and don't take the time or effort to try to repair them. We need to be careful not to do that with the people around us. Each one is a unique gift to you from the Lord. Yes... even the difficult ones are there to help you to learn patience, tolerance, long suffering or some other character quality that the Lord desires to grow in you. I also realize that it is easy to point out the faults and to be critical of others and to lay the blame upon them for why things are difficult or broken. I can tell you from first hand experience of being very open and honest with the Lord about my struggles that when I vent to him - he is gracious to help me see all the balls that I have dropped and to help me be responsible for the part I have played. He will help you remove the log from your own eye and help you then with humility, compassion, and love to help you remove the speck from the blind spot in the eye of another.

Even fading flowers are still beautiful
Prayer: Lord help us to look at where we are in our journey with you and our journey through life with others. Forgive us for de-valuing some of the people in our lives. Help us to see them as gifts from you. Help us to be courageous enough to vent to you and not to others. Help us to pray more than we complain. Make us more and more like you to see the good and the unique and wonderful value in each person.

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