We are living in difficult times. Whether you follow CNN, Fox News, or your local station; regardless of who your favorite news correspondent or talk-show host is, the news is disturbing. Our country is so divided; there is so much anger about so many divisive issues. It is easy to get swept up into the negative mindset of the day – to allow yourself to walk around feeling surrounded by a dark cloud of hopelessness.
I’m coming into blogging during a period of transition. I resigned last year from teaching at a small Christian school, a career I loved that gave me the chance to teach and lead a variety of events side by side with my own children.
One of the reasons I resigned was to spend more time with my aging mother. What I didn’t know at the time was that before the end of the summer, my mother would be diagnosed with meningeal carcinomatosis (cancer of the lining of the brain), a result of metastasized breast cancer.
With an incredible attitude and will to remain independent (and through the prayers of many), my mother made it through the next six months with amazing strength and fortitude. (If you google her diagnosis, you’ll understand how remarkable this is.)
Then, four days after we celebrated the six-month anniversary of her diagnosis, she was in severe pain. A day later she developed a rash, and a few days later was diagnosed with shingles. What cancer hadn’t been able to do, shingles did – totally wipe her out. Overnight she was in need of total care.
I was thrown into crisis mode. I hired personal care aides to take care of her at night (9 pm to 9 am) and drove the half-hour back and forth from my home every day to cover the days. Two weeks later the World Health Organization declared covid-19 a pandemic, and the whole country was thrown into crisis mode. I felt like I had good company.
When you’re going through a trial such as this pandemic, it is so easy to fall into a negative mindset and let fear and hopelessness take over your thought life.
The Apostle Paul, in his parting words to the Philippians, gives timeless advice that is relevant to us today. Advice that may help us combat the negativity and chaos around us. Paul wrote these words while he himself was facing tremendous struggles. He was under house arrest in Rome for preaching the Gospel.
After penning an intimate personal letter to his fellow believers in the church in Philippi and offering them encouragement in many areas, he shifts in verse 4:8 to his conclusion.
“Finally, brothers,” he writes, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
This is not some “Polly-Anna” type of advice given by someone who is simply overly optimistic. This was written by Paul. The same Paul who was imprisoned, whipped, and shipwrecked on several occasions. (2 Corinthians 11:24 – 25)
I am on a personal journey to change my daily thought life to reflect these eight characteristics – to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy. On this website, I will feature true, inspiring stories of people who are living out these principles in their daily lives. Please join me, and together we will be inspired.