It is about fifteen degrees colder than normal in FL right now. This has been the case off and on for several weeks. And while it is NOTHING compared with the many feet of snow, the ice storms and outrageous heating bills that our friends farther north are encountering, the cold weather here is a problem in its own way.
All the plants around the perimeter of my house look like someone has hit them with a flame thrower! I try not to get emotionally attached to things but planting and cultivating shrubs, trees and a little flower garden are good therapy for me. (Frank wishes my therapy involved the joys of vacuuming, mopping and dusting instead. Smile. But that's another post.) Many of our plants will be lost to this unseasonable weather.
AND there is the problem for us Floridians about how to dress. You must understand that when I first moved to NC in 1981, I did not own one single pair of closed-toe shoes. No, not one!! (You'll be happy to know that I've since remedied that and now keep a much better selection of needed footwear.) Also, our wardrobe of sweaters, even of long sleeved tops, is sorely lacking. Two nice warm sweaters can last the careful owner for years as there are typically only about three days in a FL winter that they can be worn.
Enter - LAYERING! This simple solution was unknown to me growing up in FL but I learned quickly while living in the snowy mountains of NC all those years ago. Now, it is important that you also know this: I am fashion-challenged! So, some of the pieces I choose for layering are often vetoed by my wise family. (It's part of the family creed. I will not allow you to embarrass yourself publicly if it is in my power to help you avoid said embarrassment!)
I've chosen some pretty unusual combinations before. I tend to think function before fashion and if I think it will keep me warm, I pile it on. (You may be hoping that my layered outfits are not as bad as you are imagining. Trust me they are worse!)
As I was snuggled under the covers on this cold FL morning, I was pondering the issue of layering - trying desperately to come up with a potentially acceptable outfit. And as usual, my mind began to wander.
Isn't it funny how we ALL layer in our lives. I'm not talking about clothing anymore; I'm talking about concepts and view points and chosen memories and such. We wrap ourselves in layers that we hope will protect us from hurt or vulnerability. And very often we discover that what we have chosen as protection is really detrimental instead. If I wrap my heart in bitterness or unforgiveness or even in self-pity, the outcome is not at all attractive!
It's important that we keep faithful friends around who challenge us to instead choose "garments of praise and joy and trust". These are not the natural choice of the human heart in most cases. Trusting God and choosing to wrap our minds in praise may seem uncomfortable at first. But we can learn to reach for these first when looking into our emotional closets. And as dear friends of
Godly character cheer us on, we end up with a MUCH better look!
HHMMMM! I guess that's why the Lord urges me to look into the mirror of His Word each morning before I head out in public. It's just part of the family creed, you know.