I had just drifted off to sleep when I heard a noise that startled me. “What was that?” I said. My husband thought it must be something outside. He wasn’t worried so I went back to sleep without giving it another thought.
The next morning when my husband opened the pantry door he knew what had made the noise. Somehow items on a wire rack on the top shelf of the pantry had shifted, causing a domino effect. A few items were on the floor. Among them was a jar of olives with the lid popped off. Liquid from the jar was pooled on the floor.
The cleanup could have been much worse as a large glass bottle of maple syrup had also fallen but remained intact.
I wondered if this situation could hold a lesson for me. If I was alone in the house and heard a strange sound in the night I may have worried about it. Knowing my husband was beside me and not concerned gave me peace that everything was alright.
What I sometimes don’t think about is that God is beside me at all times. The Bible tells me that when I pray I will experience God’s peace. No matter the situation, he is available to get me through it. When he is watching over me I don’t need to worry about things that go bump in the night.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)
“If you have some ready I’ll come by in a couple of hours and pick it up.” my friend said. Turning to someone nearby she announced, “Tandy is my supplier!”
Let me backtrack so you don’t get the wrong idea. Two weeks earlier I had told my friend about my bountiful rhubarb harvest and the squares, muffins and pies I’d baked. She had been anticipating the day there would be enough regrowth for me to share.
God supplies this produce for me and I am happy to pass some along to others. When I stop to think about it, everything I have is due to the provision of my loving Heavenly Father. This is much more than the food I eat, the clothing I wear or the home I live in.
When I asked God what to write about for this blog post, he supplied me with the conversation that prompted these thoughts. I am inspired through the reading of his word and the beauty of nature. The people in my life are precious gifts that he has given. Every opportunity to serve comes about because of his provision.
I know that I’m not an exception. What he does for one, he will do for others. My Heavenly Father supplies me with much more than I need or deserve. The best way to thank him is by sharing his love with those I come in contact with.
And this same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19 NLT)
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. (2 Corinthians 9:12 NIV)
It was an unusual gift. The family was given a caterpillar in a small container. They were told how to care for it and that in a few weeks the larva would become a monarch butterfly.
The children were fascinated to watch as the caterpillar attached to a stem and encased itself in a silky chrysalis. Most of the time this chrysalis or pupa, appeared dormant. Once or twice they saw it shake. This movement let the family know something was happening inside.
When the timing was right, the butterfly fought to emerge. It had to push the fluid into its wings in order to make them strong. Drops of red fluid that looked like blood appeared on the bottom of the enclosure. Any attempts to intervene and minimize the struggle could prove fatal.
This process had a correlation to my life. Even when nothing seems to be happening, my life is not dormant. God is constantly working within. He is preparing me for what lies ahead.
The struggles I face are not pleasant but I know that each one helps me to grow stronger as I rely on God to complete the transformation he has started. When the timing is right, he will enable me to soar, as the butterfly did when it was set free.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)
For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT)
Whoever is a believer in Christ is a new creation. The old way of living has disappeared. A new way of living has come into existence. (2 Corinthians 5:17 GWT)
The water aerobics class was nearing completion. The exercise we were doing involved jumping. As one of the participants prepared to slip out of the class early, the teacher good-naturedly joked to her that she wasn’t jumping. My friend smiled and said that she was jumping in her mind!
I laughed and said that my mind jumped around a lot, too! This is especially true when I have many things to accomplish. My thoughts don’t seem to hold still on one particular thing for any length of time. In fact, sometimes they change so rapidly that I don’t know what I’m thinking until I hear the words come out of my mouth!
When this happens, life becomes frustrating not only for myself, but for those close to me. I need to slow down, take a deep breath and refocus. The peace and serenity I long for can be found if I know where to look for it.
Fortunately I realize that this peace of mind is found when my focus is on Jesus. The distractions that keep my mind jumping are no longer noticed when my eyes are on him.
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! (Isaiah 26:3 NLT)
“I want to see those abs tucked in and your bellies flat,” yelled the exercise instructor. “I’d like to see that too,” I thought.
Then the realization dawned. Wanting something is not enough to make it happen. It’s only when I work towards my goal that I start to see results.
This is true for more than exercise. My goals and dreams will not magically be reached just because that’s what I want. It takes commitment and hard work to achieve them. The sense of satisfaction is sweet when I experience the fruits of my labours.
I have found that since I’ve committed my life to God he has improved it beyond measure. If my plans are not in line with his, no amount of work will bring the achievement I hope for. When I am in his will for my life, he guides me every step of the way. I trust him enough to step out in confidence and do the work necessary. Then I watch in amazement to see what he accomplishes through my obedience.
The LORD’s eyes scan the whole world to find those whose hearts are committed to him and to strengthen them. (2 Chronicles 16:9 GWT)
Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for GOD’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. (Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message)
There it was; a lesson in tenacity right in front of me and I almost missed it.
I was walking along a paved path when my husband pointed out a slight eruption in the pavement. A few steps ahead we saw another bulge in the walkway, this time with a plant pushing through. After a few more steps we saw a plant that had fully broken through and appeared to be flourishing.
My husband commented on the incredible effort it took for this vegetation to push upwards and break through the solid paved pathway in order to reach the sunshine.
If a tiny seed can have the strength and perseverance to overcome such a huge obstacle, why do I give up so easily?
Challenges do not mean that I need to stop trying to reach my goals. The song Through it All by Andrae Crouch, has lyrics that remind me to trust in God no matter what I’m going through. One of my favourite lines is “For if I never had a problem I wouldn’t know that he could solve them.”
These are words I take to heart. There are lessons to be learned in every situation. When I remain open and teachable God will use my reliance on him to enable me to break free from my circumstances and flourish in the love and light his Son Jesus shines on each of us. The Bible says all I need is faith the size of a mustard seed.
Again he said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.” Mark 4:30-32 NIV
“Lead with your heart,” the fitness instructor called out. Her words were meant to encourage us to stand up straight, with our shoulders back. This would make our exercise more effective.
I followed her instructions but found my mind immediately went in another direction. For me this was a reminder to trust the emotional, caring part of my personality. There are times I need to let it overrule the practical, needing to have all the facts before making a decision, part of me.
This can be a challenge when the feelings and practicality engage in a tug-of-war. The winner is not always the one it should be.
If I’m being led by Jesus, it’s easier to step out in faith and let him take care of the details. After all, he is the one that fed more than 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. His disciples wanted to send the people away to find food. Jesus had a better way. He took the small offering, blessed it and God multiplied it to supply the need.
He still performs miracles today.
When I have concerns about how something can be accomplished, I need to turn it over to Jesus and watch as he performs miracles with my little offering. All I need to do is trust him enough to lead with my heart.
“Bring them here,” he said. Then he told the people to sit down on the grass. Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, looked up toward heaven, and blessed them. Then, breaking the loaves into pieces, he gave the bread to the disciples, who distributed it to the people. They all ate as much as they wanted, and afterward, the disciples picked up twelve baskets of leftovers. About 5,000 men were fed that day, in addition to all the women and children! (Matthew 14:18-21 NLT)
“Congratulations,” the email began. It went on to say that my book Dragonflies, Snowdrifts & Spice Cake had been short listed for a national award. The press release said The Word Awards honour the best of Canadian Christian writing. I was in awe to learn my book is a finalist in the Inspirational/Devotional category.
Immediately tears sprang to my eyes as I thanked Jesus for what he has done in my life. You see, it was only a few short years ago that I was persuaded not only to start writing but to share that writing with others.
Looking back I can see the gentle nudges Jesus had given me for many years. I resisted because I didn’t feel I had the ability to be a writer. When I realized that I just had to be willing to let him work through me, things changed.
I took my little gift of obedience to him and he has magnified it in ways I never could have imagined. Inspiration and the words to express it do not come naturally for me. Jesus has given me the desire to write and placed me with those who have mentored and encouraged. When I share the words he gives me, I honour him.
Finding my name on this short list has confirmed that I am being obedient to the calling that he has for my life. It is an amazing feeling to know I’m running the race that he has set before me. When my race is completed I will receive the joy of spending eternity with Jesus. There is no greater award.
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. (Philippians 3:13-14 NLT)
“Look at all the little fish,” my husband said. The long narrow tide pool was teaming with streaks of silver about the length of my little finger.
As we walked farther we could see the water get shallower until it dried up completely. Now we understood why all of these fish were heading in the opposite direction. They needed to find their way back to the safety of deeper water.
On our return we discovered that most of the fish had stopped in the middle of the tide pool where the water was deepest. Only a few seemed to be determined to get back to the sea.
I thought of the times I have only done enough to get out of immediate danger. No thought was given to the future if everything was comfortable at the present moment.
I watched fish turn back as the depth of water decreased slightly. It was still deep enough to continue but the level had changed. I wanted to cheer them on and let them know how close they were to the spot where the tide pool joined with the sea.
When left to my own devices I wonder how often I have turned back just before I reached my goal. I am unable to see what is in store for me ahead. That is why I trust Jesus to guide me. He is the one who sees the beginning from the end.
You have shown me the way of life, and you will fill me with the joy of your presence. (Acts 2:28 NLT)