There was a lot of flexibility in the schedule for our upcoming trip. We only had a few places that were high on the priority list. One of these was HopeStreamRadio. I produce a short weekly program for this online radio station and wanted to visit their studio.
When I let it be known I’d be in the area, this desire turned into something that far exceeded any of my expectations. Not only was a tour of the station offered, I was also given an opportunity to record any programs I’d written during my travels plus record an interview with the president of HopeStreamRadio which would become part of the programming.
Ron, the head honcho, and I have met twice. Both times were at writers’ conferences. Now, this generous man, who hardly knew me, offered to let us park our camper van on his property for a few days. This meant my husband and I had a home base in one of the areas we wanted to explore.
I was being offered so much more than I had even imagined. But wait, there’s still more. A barbeque dinner was arranged so we could meet the HSR office staff. I was overwhelmed by the hospitality and love freely given.
These unexpected blessings brought to mind the extravagant love God demonstrates. Usually, my expectations are far too small. My limited thinking is a mere fraction of what He has in store for me.
I haven’t earned his favour, nor do I deserve what is freely given to me. My hands and heart need to remain fully open because I don’t want to miss any of the gifts God has prepared for me. From past experience, I know they will be beyond my wildest imaginings.
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer. (Ephesians 1:3 GWT)
Our neighbour called my husband and me over to look at something in his garden. He had planted some sunflower seeds and one had sprouted with the shell still on it.
It seemed to me that this plant was not ready to give up the protection the shell had given. Even though there was quite a bit of new growth, the plant was not ready to fully come out of its shell.
My way of looking at this was a reflection of past (and sometimes more recent) behaviours I have struggled with.
New experiences can be very scary. In an unknown environment, I long for safety and familiarity. My protective shell looks tempting and I seriously consider making a retreat back into it.
Before I do, I think of how dark and restrictive the shell had become. Outside I see light and potential. Am I willing to risk the unknown to reach toward my goals and dreams?
Sometimes I still look for a safe place to hide. Then I remember what lies outside of this comfort zone and know I will never grow into my full potential until I am willing to break out of my shell.
“Fear is only temporary. Regret lasts forever.” – Unknown
The worship leader was having a rough morning. First, his microphone didn’t work and a substitute needed to be found. Next, his keyboard started flashing a strange message.
This gentleman doesn’t take himself too seriously, so instead of pretending all was good, he kept up a commentary with us while the problems were being addressed.
He told us he was going to follow the advice younger people have given him regarding technology issues. When his phone or computer aren’t performing like they should, he’s been told to shut them off. It seems they get overloaded and tired and need a break.
The keyboard was turned off for a minute or two. When he turned it on again, everything was fine.
I’ve used the same tactic with electronics. The example in front of me, however, caused me to think how helpful it would be in life situations.
When I am feeling tired and overloaded, my life is not working as well as it should. Before the warning signs start flashing, I need to shut down the activity for a time. In essence, my life needs a reboot.
I have found the best way to do this is to spend quiet time with Jesus. He restores me and helps me figure out my priorities. My mind and body are refreshed and I become more efficient. That, to me, is the optimal reboot.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NLT)
I wondered why the picture I took was not saving to my phone. Then I saw the little red message telling me my storage was full.
In order to add anything new, I’d have to delete something else. I had a plan for that picture so spent the time eliminating others I didn’t need.
I emailed the picture to myself and received a warning. My email storage was almost at capacity. If I didn’t address this and start purging what was no longer needed, I’d soon be in trouble.
This isn’t the first time either of these situations has happened to me. Why do I tend to hold onto stuff I don’t need? I think it may be useful one day but it soon gets buried and forgotten.
Unfortunately, this is not limited to my phone or email. The same thing happens in life. Past hurts are taking up valuable space in my mind, waiting to resurface. The negative words spoken years ago remind me that I am not worthy. A past failure shows me I’m not good enough.
These are a waste of valuable space! When not deleted from my memory bank, they soon combine with other negative thoughts and leave no room for the new positive ones to take up residence.
“There is too much negativity in the world. Do your best to make sure you aren’t contributing to it.”
― Germany Kent
The decision was not easy. Two of our nine-year-old granddaughters wanted to spend the night in our camper van. The dilemma came when they told me they could sleep there without me. I didn’t like this idea at all. Who would protect them or comfort them if they became afraid?
We were in a gated, secure family RV park and my husband and I would be mere steps away in our trailer. Somehow this didn’t make me feel any better.
I turned to the girl’s parents for guidance. Truthfully, I was willing to let them be the bad guys who said no. They had no concerns so reluctantly I agreed.
One of the first things I did was to ensure they could open the door to get out of the van on their own. No problem there. I must have forgotten they are nine and not two!
When the girls were tucked in for the night, we let them know the lights on the outside of the van and the trailer would be left on. That way they could easily find their way to us in the dark of night.
A light in the dark brings comfort. That is why Jesus told his followers to let their lights shine before others. We can do this by walking with God and letting His Spirit shine through us.
In this way we are able to shine a comforting, joyful light to people we come in contact with. And, as I learned with my granddaughter’s camping experience, a little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness.
Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16 NIV)
One morning, the exercise instructor gave us an unusually difficult workout. She then told us she’d be away for the next three weeks and wanted to make sure we got the most out of this class.
One woman close to me said, “Your goals are not necessarily my goals.” In other words, this particular trainer might be taking three weeks off but the majority of us would carry on exercising with another instructor while she was gone. We didn’t need to work harder because she was taking time off.
Later that day, the words, “Your goals are not necessarily my goals” kept coming back to mind.
I thought of all the times I’ve felt the need to be and do the same as someone else. It wasn’t necessarily what I wanted, but what I felt I had to do to fit in. I wasn’t being true to me.
Just as bad are the times I’ve expected others to keep pace with me and become frustrated when that didn’t happen. They might not have even known or cared what my hopes for them were.
We don’t all have the same aspirations and it is unfair to make those types of comparisons. When we know ourselves well enough to follow our own path, comparisons won’t become stumbling blocks. We are each responsible for our own experience. And that is how it should be.
“If pulled in one direction, the world would keel over.” – Yiddish Proverb
A heavy rain had fallen overnight. We woke up to the promise of a brighter day and headed outside to breathe in the fresh, clean air that follows a summer rain.
While the ground was still damp, my husband started pulling weeds that had sprung up in our flower beds. I tackled the ones growing between the paving stones. It didn’t take long to appreciate the difference damp soil makes.
When I gently tugged, the entire root of the weed emerged from the ground. I was happy to know my efforts were eliminating the problem and not just a temporary solution.
Previous weeding experience hadn’t gone as well. When the ground was dry, often only the portion above ground broke off. Things would look better for a short time until the root produced new growth and the weed once again became visible. Hard, unyielding soil gives those kinds of results.
The analogy was not lost on me. When my attitude is hard and unyielding, the root of bitterness and discontent grows. I may be able to hide it for a short time, but it keeps reappearing.
Jesus is the master gardener who is able to get to the root of the problem. His tender loving care softens my heart so the once flourishing roots of my unhealthy behaviour can be eliminated.
When I submit fully to Jesus, there is no risk of one of these roots being left behind. He is the one who can probe to the depths of my heart, remove my sins, and give me a clean start.
“Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sins are put out of sight. Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin.” (Romans 4: 7-8 NLT)
I walked into the eating area of our RV and immediately noticed the blind. My husband had opened it and it was sitting at an angle.
I have to straighten this up, I thought. I reached over to fix it and paused. Was a crooked blind important in the grand scheme of things? Sunlight was entering the room regardless of the angle.
My husband sometimes sets up situations like this as little tests, to see how long it will take me to react and make my correction. This may or may not have been the case, but with this thought in mind, I left the blind as it was – all day!
Rather than being bothered by it not sitting right, I appreciated the open blind allowing light to flood into the space.
Too often in life I have allowed my ideas of how things should be done to impact my day. If something doesn’t sit right with my rules, there must be a problem. In those cases I fail to realize two things.
The first is not everyone has the same rules on basic things such as how towels are folded, the orientation of the toilet paper roll, or the importance of straight blinds.
The second is even more challenging; it’s not all about me! Your ideas are every bit as valid as mine. We can agree to disagree.
After surviving the crooked blind incident, I truly understand the statement Don’t sweat the small stuff!
This is an updated version of my Canada Day post from two years ago.
Yesterday was Canada Day. Thousands gathered in our city to watch the Canada Day parade. Red shirts and maple leaf insignia were worn and flags were waved. This is one way of showing our patriotism.
Festivities in honour of Canada’s birthday took place all across our vast nation. In our city and many others, the celebrations concluded with spectacular fireworks displays. These events enable us to come together and celebrate our citizenship in what we believe is one of the best countries in the world.
Across the world citizens of Canada have a reputation for being polite. Kindness and care for others is also an attribute of those with a heavenly citizenship.
A friend once told me that we often go through life like tourists. We gather souvenirs and mementos from places we’ve been and people we’ve met. What we are called to do as citizens of heaven is to leave little pieces of heaven wherever we go. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?
No matter what country we live in, we are also citizens of heaven. One day we will all be reunited with our Lord, Jesus Christ. No citizenship can be better and that alone is a reason for celebration.
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:20 NIV)