Our time in Mexico was coming to an end and this was one of our last beach walks. The wind at my back was refreshing. It also caused a problem I hadn’t anticipated as sand and shell fragments blew into my sandals from behind.
When this became uncomfortable I would stop, remove the sandal and shake out the offending debris. The frustration at being slowed down was tempered by the knowledge my foot wasn’t getting sore.
A piece of dry sea grass blew in and got trapped under my arch. This wasn’t as irritating as the sand or shells but I didn’t like the feeling of it flapping around. I started to lift my foot from the sandal bed and the grass blew right through and disappeared. There was no need to remove the footwear; I just had to get out of the way.
The life analogy struck me immediately. Sometimes troubles and inconveniences hit, slowing me down or making me uncomfortable. I often hold onto these longer than necessary, causing prolonged frustration and annoyance.
Other times, the problem was never supposed to be mine. I simply got in the way and didn’t allow it to pass by. Instead of moving aside to let it go, I trapped it and held on. This was not how it was supposed to be.
I remember a picture I once had on my fridge. One character said, “I’ve come to realize the only thing holding me back is me.” The other replied, “And a mighty fine job you’re doing of it.”
I don’t want to be the one holding me back from the life I desire. Maybe the next time trouble hits I will do something different and step out of the way to let it blow right on by.
A bright flash of colour was seen when the bird flew overhead. It landed in a nearby tree and quite effectively disappeared from sight.
Although I knew the bird was there, it now blended into the drab brown of the leafless branches.
The bright plumage was hidden. Only when wings were spread in flight could colour be seen.
I thought of the times I have also caused myself to disappear in plain sight. When I deny the unique attributes that make me who I am; my drab exterior blends in with my surroundings. No distinguishing characteristics are visible to set me apart.
God has gifted each of us with our own combination of talents and abilities. These are not to be hidden, but to be gratefully acknowledged and used for His glory.
I know this but it still seems risky to leave my safe perch and attempt to fly. I am more like a frightened baby bird than an exotic tropical one. Who am I to think I could possibly soar? It’s probably better to blend in than to draw attention to myself.
I remember hearing there are two things that can happen if I step out in faith to test my wings. One is that God will catch me if I fall. The other is that He will teach me to fly.
Either way, trusting God and following His leading will not be a mistake. Where I can only see my uninspiring, drab plumage, God sees the beauty He has instilled in me.
When, in faith, I embrace the opportunity to spread my wings and fly, the bright colours of His love will be visible to others and point them upwards to the glory of God.
“The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display His marvelous craftsmanship.” (Psalm 19:1 NLT)
Two months into my painting classes I was feeling quite proud of myself. I could see the improvement with each lesson. My last project was hanging on the wall and made me smile each time I looked at it.
Fresh from this success I decided I was ready to take on a more difficult picture. I tackled it with confidence but by the end of my lesson was feeling disappointed. It wasn’t going well and I hoped it was just at an awkward stage and would look better once finished.
The next time I saw my instructor she told me to paint over my picture and start again. I felt like a failure. My work must be terrible if I couldn’t salvage what I’d started.
She showed me where I’d gone wrong and what needed to change. I had done things my own way and they hadn’t worked. Now I needed to consider the hours already invested as a lesson learned and not wasted time. It would be far more productive to start again than to try to fix my mistakes.
Originally I had started with the focal point. This time I filled in the background first. Step by step I built up to the area to be featured. The result was much better than the first attempt.
Instead of being passable, it was now something I could be proud of. I had no idea the background details were so important.
This experience taught me that past success doesn’t guarantee the same in the future. I hope I have learned not to be so sure of myself that I fail to listen to advice. The work I’ve done and the hours put in are not worth a thing if I’m not getting the desired results.
No matter how much I think I know, sometimes starting over from a new perspective is just what is needed.
I am happy to announce my new book, Another Perspective has now been published. It is available on Amazon or directly from me.
Isn’t that interesting?” I said to my husband. We were on a beach walk when I saw the primitive looking shelter.
It was set back a good distance from the water to protect it from being washed away with the tides. The construction materials were those found readily at hand. Poles supporting the structure appeared to be long, thin pieces of wood such as we’ve often seen on the beach. A few more of these were crosswise on the top, forming a base for the roof. Dried palm fronds on the top ensured a shaded area inside the structure.
The shelter was simple but would provide refuge from the heat of the intense Mexican sun. Other properties had more elaborate structures but this simple one was all that was really needed.
I pondered this thought as our walk continued. Before long I realized snippets of an old song were providing background music my mind. The lyrics told of a mansion that is waiting for us in heaven.
Now, I understood the draw the shelter held for me. It represents my life. My needs may be taken care of but that doesn’t stop the desire for more. No matter how much I have my longing will never be satisfied this side of heaven.
God is my shelter today. He watches over me, guides and protects and has made my life rich with more than material things.
I have the assurance that one day Jesus will take me to a home He has prepared for me and I will spend eternity with Him. Nothing in this life can compare to what is in store for me then.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” (John 13:2-3 NIV)
Twenty-five of us were out for dinner. A woman from Mexico was on my left and one from Florida on my right. The conversations were multiple and varied. The noise level made it difficult to hear more than snippets of what was being said across the table.
Suddenly, three words caught my attention. From opposite me I heard, “I’m sufficiently suffonsified.” A few others also heard the words and were confused. I, on the other hand, was totally delighted
You see, this was something my mother said. I don’t remember ever hearing anyone else say it and always assumed it was something made up by her family.
Mom passed away twenty years ago and I hadn’t heard the saying since. What had been temporarily forgotten now returned along with a flood of memories. I was mentally transported to my younger years and could see her smile and hear her voice.
After a large meal, mom would say, “I’m sufficiently suffonsified and any more would be an overindulgence of my already exasperated appetite.” In other words, she was full and couldn’t eat another bite!
It’s funny what can trigger memories. Sometimes, like this night, it was a few words. Other times it is the sight of a humming bird or aroma of freshly baked bread.
The everyday moments form the legacy I will be remembered by. The hugs, the laughter, the time spent together are more important than I realize. Since I don’t know what may trigger memories for my children and grandchildren in future years, I will do my best to leave a positive impression. My goal is to ensure they will be sufficiently suffonsified with the love I have shared.
The English speaking church we attend in Mexico had an interesting beginning. We have met the Canadian couple who were instrumental in the formation of the church. I enjoyed hearing the story both from their perspective and that of the pastor.
After wintering in the area for several years, this couple could see the need for a church service in English. They learned of a pastor in the area who was bilingual and approached him with their idea.
He could see the merit in this but didn’t feel his language skill were good enough. After more conversation he thought it might be possible. “We can start next year” he said.
The immediate response of, “How about next week?” took him by surprise. Sensing this was God’s will, he agreed. The next Sunday fourteen people were in attendance for the first service in English. That was over ten years ago.
We appreciate the ministry of our Mexican church home. I have been privileged to be in attendance for both multicultural and outreach events with the English and Spanish congregations working side by side.
I am grateful for the pastor who didn’t feel equipped but accepted the challenge. He did not give in to the natural tendency to say, “No” or put off what seems too much to handle. Instead, he stepped out in faith and trusted God to lead the way.
This story has inspired me. I know that God has big plans for each of us. He doesn’t always call those of us who feel equipped. Instead, He calls those who are willing and equips them. When I step out in faith and trust the Lord, there is no limit to what He may enable me to do.
My friend and I had just completed an interesting few hours. We had been on a home tour and seen some extensive renovations and many decorating styles.
As we walked away from the last home she said, “I didn’t care for the decorating in that one. Some of the others were beautiful but that was not my taste at all.” She went on to explain why she felt that way.
I agreed with her opinion but put my own twist on it. “At least that one helped me know what I don’t want,” I said. “We certainly saw a variety of styles today and not all were my taste.”
The styles I liked and those I didn’t all contributed to defining my personal design preferences. The differences are what make us unique.
Some of the homes we saw were built for casual entertaining. Others were more sophisticated. We saw subdued colours and expensive artwork in one and colourful walls and bright ceramic accents in the next. One home had inflatable pink flamingo cup holders floating in the pool!
Different taste applies to more than homes and decorating. Your choice of movies, books, clothing and hobbies will not be identical to mine. We might agree on some but it’s rare to agree on everything. That doesn’t make one of us right and one wrong.
I used to be afraid to express my opinion. It wasn’t easy for me to learn I could disagree with someone and still be accepted. Now I know that life is richer when we welcome our differences and learn from one another.
“You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.” John Mason
My new book Another Perspective is available at a special preorder price for ebook format. Click here Paperback will be available the end of March
The piece of yellow nylon rope was partially buried in the sand. A section about thirty centimeters in length was visible.
Each time the water reached the rope the exposed portion twisted and floated with the tide. I watched as it was tossed around while still firmly anchored. The rope was not going to be washed out to sea any time soon.
The image in my mind was that of a lifeline, the type of rope or line thrown to rescue someone having difficulties in the water. I pondered this thought as I continued my walk.
Another meaning for lifeline is a way of help that you depend on to lead your life in a satisfactory way. It is also a line used to keep in contact with a person in a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation.
All of these definitions describe my relationship with Jesus. He is the lifeline that keeps me secure. My life is easily thrown off balance and I am grateful to have Him to hold onto. Each day I come before Him in prayer, asking for strength and guidance for my life.
There are times I am rushed or preoccupied and don’t take the necessary time to seek His wisdom. Those are the days I am likely to be swept off course. Unknowingly I place myself, and sometimes those close to me, in potentially dangerous situations.
When I call out for help, I see Jesus has never left my side. I, in my haste, have let go of Him. I reach out and take hold of Him and am safe and secure once again. My Lord and Saviour is the only lifeline I need.
“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28 NIV)