Monday, April 30, 2007

Hang in There, Baby!

This little beauty is Atlanta's panda cub, Mei Lan. (My family knew I would have to work Mei Lan into this blog somehow.) We're very proud to have one of the few zoos in the country where a panda cub was born. Watching her on the panda cam has been so much fun, and I took this picture when I went to visit her in person in March. The photo quality isn't great because I was shooting through a glass partition. Also, it was the first day with my digital camera--and that baby moves fast! But I still love having this record of her antics. She had barely learned to walk but decided she was perfectly capable of climbing all over everything. She refused to sleep on the ground any longer but wanted to perch on this log.

Her poses reminded me of that old "Hang in there, baby" poster from my youth, which showed an orange cat dangling from a rope or limb. I can't remember the exact details. (My youth was quite awhile ago.) Anyway, all that seemed to tie in with today's guest blog from Tara Mixon. I love this message because she wrote it to her writer sister, Brenda Medlin, when she was discouraged. It cheered Brenda, and I hope it does the same for you. Here's Tara:

"Hang in there!" It is more often said than done. Going through battles is very tough and sometimes there does not seem to be an end. We all have them and sometimes we have a very difficult time facing our giants. It is in these times, when we can't see God's hand that we have to trust His heart and know that He will lead us in the way that is best. We cannot let our fears stall our life. I read something about that subject just this morning. When we are fearful of what lies ahead it is very difficult to see a solution and to feel that we can move beyond it, but we have to remember that God is still in control - no matter how bad the situation may seem.

The article I read this morning was from Dr. Arthur Caliandro's Sermon Volume 0500, "Don't Let Fear Stall Your Life." In the article, he talked about an interview he had once had with a 99-year-old woman. She was asked to what she accredited her long life. She answered that she had found out how to not be afraid. She quoted some scripture - Psalm 3, "Oh Lord, You are a shield around me." It said that she saw God's supporting presence all around her, like a shield that kept her from harm and freed her from worry. She also quoted Philippians 4:13 - "I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheth me," which happens to be one of my favorite verses. The article also quoted from Romans, "If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Believe me, I am talking to myself here. I have a fear of failure and I worry about things that may never even happen. If they do, they will probably not be as bad as I envision them. I have to remind myself of these very verses and continue to picture God taking control of the situation. I have found that when I wake up in the middle of the night in a panic about an issue, when I start praying and stop worrying, the fear subsides and I fall back asleep. When the fear comes back during the day, I have to stop and pray some more. Sometimes it gets to the point that I feel I can't pray for others because my prayers seems to be focused on me, but He always seems to calm me down and help me work through it. One day I will be able to quit worrying and quit being afraid. Until then God is just going to be stuck hearing my prayers - sometimes the same prayer over and over. I have been called a "rock," but the people who have called me that have never seen me feel like a marshmallow! But...I will continue to persevere!

So, back to my original statement. Hang in there - God is not finished with this scene, yet!