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)
Last week we had to drive through blowing snow. The line of cars was travelling at a reduced speed due to poor visibility.
A truck sped by, the snow swirling behind it creating a temporary white out. We were unable to see anything in front of us and no longer knew how close we were to the car directly in front.
To make matters worse, none of the vehicles ahead of us had their headlights on. They may have thought running lights were enough but because these don’t connect to the tail lights it made it difficult for those following to see where they were. For safety, we needed a visual of the car in front before they slammed on their brakes.
The main purpose of tail lights is to shine a light for others. I can’t see the effect mine are having but know their benefit is for more than me.
Maybe my life is like this. What if shining my light has a bigger effect than I’m aware of? I may never know who altered their course or saw their way more clearly due to my living on purpose.
When I shine the light of my talents and abilities, it is possible to make a difference in the lives of those around me. The gifts of teaching, encouragement and love may help someone find their way out of a dark situation. For this reason, it makes sense in snow storms and life to keep my light burning brightly.
“Make today amazing and let your light shine.” Stacia Pierce
A favourite song of mine has the words, “There is a candle in every soul; some brightly burning, some dark and cold.” It goes on to tell us to take our candles and go light the world.
A recent experience illustrated this in a simple but powerful way.
I arrived for a scheduled a book reading at a senior’s residence to find only two people in attendance. The low number was unusual but the reason behind it soon became clear.
After I read a couple of short stories, one woman tentatively told me that she was a writer. She’d taken courses and written short stories but didn’t have the confidence to share them. The other person drifted out of the room and I had the privilege of giving my full attention to the one remaining.
She told me about the depression she suffered and that some days she couldn’t bring herself to get out of bed. Medical issues were part of this, but deeper were the feelings that she was not making a meaningful contribution to life.
I gave her the gifts of listening and encouragement. By the time I left she was excited about returning to the stories she’d started several years ago and promised to share some with me on my next visit. I gave her a hug and she told me it felt like she had a new friend.
My time had the effect of using my candle to ignite hers. Now she is able to shine. It wasn’t a momentous event and didn’t take much time. My candle is burning brighter as a result. Together our light will brighten the world.
How will you take your candle and go light the world? I’d love to hear your stories.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5:14-16 NIV)
Stained glass shades adorn a couple of lamps in my home. When the light hits them from the outside, the colours are refracted onto the wall or ceiling. When the lamp is on, the light from the inside casts a warm inviting glow. In both cases they are quite lovely.
To create stained glass, small coloured pieces of glass are arranged to form patterns or pictures. These are held together by strips of lead and supported by a rigid frame.
If the glass was one solid piece, the effect would not be the same. It’s when smaller broken pieces are joined together with other broken pieces, that the true beauty is shown.
It is the same in my life. The trials of life have caused me to become broken. By keeping to myself, I remain that way. When I bring the broken pieces to Jesus, he is able to join them with those of other lives to create something beautiful. He arranges them to form intricate patterns, and he himself is the frame that holds the pieces together. The vulnerability that I show by allowing my brokenness to be used is also an encouragement to others facing trials.
As the light of Jesus shines through me, my brokenness becomes part of the masterpiece that draws people to him.
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:5-6 NIV
My husband and I enjoy classic cars. We’ve spent many hours going to previews and auctions of these vehicles. When my son was young, he and I attended an auction, got caught up in the excitement and started bidding. My husband was very surprised when I called him at work to say we’d just bought a 1957 Cadillac!
The car was very large compared to the more modern ones we owned. Enormous chrome bumpers made it even more so. Our carport was not quite deep enough for a vehicle of this size and the back bumper was exposed to the elements. The chrome started to rust. Our plans to restore it to its former glory didn’t materialize and we hated to see it deteriorate. Eventually we sold the car to someone who wanted to do the restoration.
Thinking of that car has brought back many memories. It also has reminded me that although things many start out shiny and new, they don’t stay that way. When chrome is not maintained, it needs to be stripped down and re-chromed.
The same is true in my life. When I don’t treat my life with the care and attention it deserves, rust spots start to appear. If not dealt with, they will spread and take over what was once shiny and bright. Restoration can happen, but the process may not be easy or pleasant.
Jesus can take this blemished life and restore it. He will not just paint over my rough spots, but will do what is necessary to remove them so there’s a better chance of the restoration being permanent. He cares enough to want the very best for me. When I pray and stay in close contact with Jesus, my life will be bright enough to reflect him to others.
Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Matthew 6:20 NLT
According to Wikipedia, a glow stick is a self-contained, short-term light-source. I also found more technical information but nothing that describes the enjoyment that they bring.
The children in my life love to get glow sticks. They have fun wearing them as bracelets or just waving them around in the dark. When first taken out of the package, a glow stick is nothing special to look at. The light does not appear until after you crack it. Then it changes and brightens up the area around it.
My daughter sent me a quote that said, “It’s okay to be a glow stick; sometimes we need to break before we shine.”
This made me think how much my life has been like a glow stick. I have found that I can live with no risk and be nondescript, like a glow stick fresh out of the package. When I step out of my comfort zone, there is the chance that I might get hurt, or broken. By taking that brokenness to Jesus, I allow him to turn it into a light that attracts others. Like a glow stick, that light is not only used for recreation, but can also be relied upon for many other things. The main difference, though, is that a glow stick can be used only once. After I allow Jesus to light up my life, I can be used continually to bring light into other lives.
In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 NIV
Be inspired today!