Have you ever given up total control of something important to you? Just handed it over to someone else and let them make all the decision on your behalf?
My husband and I had just purchased a two-bedroom apartment. We wanted to replace the flooring and refresh the paint before moving in and invited our son and daughter-in-law to give us their input. They have built, renovated, designed and decorated several spaces and we value their opinions.
Although we didn’t get possession for another two weeks, the unit was vacant and arrangements were made for us to go in and take some measurements. Based on previous conversations, our daughter-in-law brought a few flooring samples and paint colours for us to see.
Then we were asked an interesting question. Our son, Chris, said, “I have a proposal for you. Would you be willing to turn the keys over to us on possession day and let us take care of getting the work done? Jackie and I have some ideas on how to make this space work well for you and you could have some rest time while we do it.”
“This sounds like one of those home makeover shows we watch on TV,” I replied.
The decisions we’d had to make for downsizing had been stressful and I was ready to give up the need for making more. But, how could we have no involvement in what our new home would look like?
Chris and Jackie asked us lots of questions, took room measurements and lots of “before” pictures. We made one final decision and gave total control to our kids. Stay tuned for an update!!
The high winds we had been experiencing were unusual. It’s often breezy where I live, but gusts up to 100 kilometres per hour were definitely out of the ordinary.
One day a north wind blew in cold arctic air. Another, a Chinook wind blew in mild temperatures. Either way, it caused problems and was the topic of many conversations. The roar as it buffeted the house was enough to make me wonder if we’d be blown away.
The wind warnings had finally subsided when I heard someone on the radio talking about an experience from his childhood. I’m not sure where he grew up but he told of wind so powerful that it picked up the trampoline from the backyard and sent it over the top of the house where it came crashing down in the front yard. Needless to say, the trampoline was totally destroyed. From then on, his dad always made sure everything was well anchored.
Although the picture of a trampoline being tossed over a house was vivid, the term well anchored was what stuck in my mind. The storms of life have a way of tossing me around and then causing serious damage when I come crashing down. To stay safe I need to be well anchored in the Lord. Prayer and reading the Bible are the lifelines that keep me firmly connected to God.
There is no need to doubt I will be protected because I fully believe in His promise to care for me.
But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6 NIV)
The pastor started his sermon by telling us the choices we make shape our future and determine our destiny. This was something I already knew. The question remained; how often do I think about it when making my choices?
Life gives plenty of opportunity for making choices. I can face these with faith or with fear. I’ll admit, making choices is not easy for me. When it comes right down to it, I think the fear of making the wrong choice is what causes my inability to be decisive.
What I fail to remember is that the faith I need to move forward isn’t faith in my own judgment or ability. I only see the short-term and what looks like the easiest and most productive path for right now. God is the only one who sees the whole picture, beginning to end, and can guide me to make the right choice.
How strong is my trust in God? I know He can take care of me but do I fully believe that He will? Do I succumb to my fears or wholly trust in the Lord?
The answer to those questions will shape my future and determine my destiny. The decision is mine to make. God will never force himself on me. It’s my choice and I choose to trust in Him.
The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. (Psalm 138:8 NLT)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
The area we stopped in for the night was under a heavy rainfall advisory.
The forecast for the areas we’d be traveling in over the next couple of days didn’t look good so we decided an early start in the morning would be our best option for getting ahead of the weather.
Long before daylight we were on the road again. An hour later, we came to a complete standstill. All we could see in the darkness was a long line of tail lights ahead of us.
We turned the motor off and waited for things to start moving again. The night faded into morning light. A cold wind permiated the van and we got blankets from the back to wrap around us.
When we heard a washout had occurred ahead, we knew we could be there for hours. Since there was nothing we could do but wait, we decided to make ourselves comfortable. We moved to the back of the van, turned the furnace on and relaxed. After playing a couple of games of cribbage we made lunch.
Instead of stressing about the delay, I wondered what God was protecting us from by holding us back. We were safe, warm and had food, water and a bathroom so knew He was taking care of us. Later we learned of jackknifed semis and multiple accidents due to icy roads.
Almost five hours later a police car came by to announce the road was open to one lane traffic and we could proceed. I was surprised to find that the actual washout was 140 km from where we had been stopped.
This situation reminded me how God uses what I think of as delays in my life. He provides what I need to stay safe while He works to clear the road in front of me. Sometimes the work is done much farther ahead than I realize.
My role is to be patient and trust that God has everything under control.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart,and lean not on your own understanding ” Proverbs 3:5 NLT
I experienced one of the most profound moments of my life while on vacation this summer. My husband and I were at the Bay of Fundy and saw the bay full of water at high tide. At low tide we were able to walk amid the rocks and shells on the ocean floor.
This experience moved me to tears. At first I couldn’t understand why it was having such a deep impact on me.
The farther out I walked, the more I thought of the biblical story where God parted the waters of the Red Sea. The Israelites faced certain doom from the Egyptians pursuing them. God intervened and saved them by dividing the sea to enable them to cross on dry land. He then closed the waters, destroying their pursuers. First came trust in God to do the seemingly impossible, then came the miracle that saved them.
Walking on the sand in this bay that was filled with water just a short time earlier, reminded me of the times God has done something miraculous and unexpected in my life. He may have saved me from self-destructive behaviour or other dangers, but I know when I come to Him in complete faith and trust, He will take care of me. He always has and always will.
The visit to the Bay of Fundy was a powerful reminder of my personal Red Sea experiences.
“And as for you, lift up your staff and extend your hand toward the sea and divide it, so that the Israelites may go through the middle of the sea on dry ground.” (Exodus 14:16 NET)
Charles Swindoll, in his book The Finishing Touch, recalled starting his ministry in California.
After many years of pastoring in a small town, he suddenly faced a city teeming with people. As he thought about the enormity of the task ahead, God reminded him that it was impossible to reach everyone. His responsibility was to make a difference in the lives of those he came in contact with.
In his words, “I stopped paying attention to the enormity of the impossible and started pouring my time and energy into the possible.” This made all the difference for him.
I don’t know about you, but I relate to this story. Often I have been faced with seemingly impossible tasks. Something big becomes overwhelming and I don’t know how to cope. That’s when I need to focus on the next possible step. God will direct me to achieve what is needed.
Another quote I like is by Lysa Terkeurst, from her book Embraced. “Even if you don’t know all the details of your calling quite yet, thank God for making you perfectly equipped for your assignment ahead. And when insecurities start to make you doubt, flip it around and say, “God, I may doubt myself, But I will not doubt You. So, I will let Your perfection override my feelings of imperfection and do what You instruct me.”
The lesson for me is to trust God and not to rely on my own strength. Each morning He provides me with what I need in order to accomplish his plan for that day. The perfection of God will always override my imperfection and turn the enormity of the impossible into something possible.
Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. (Lamentations 3:23 NLT)
When I registered for a writer’s conference I also requested someone to share the hotel room with me.
I was relieved to receive a message saying a roommate had been found so my budget didn’t have to stretch to cover the entire hotel cost.
The first day of the conference my roommate didn’t arrive. Later I was informed she wasn’t able to make it at all. My worst fears had been realized. I was solely responsible for the hotel charges.
Instead of worrying, I prayed. God must have a reason for this and I needed to trust in his plan.
When the conference ended someone came up and gave me twenty dollars, saying it wasn’t much but she wanted to help me out with my unexpected expense. My pride wanted to refuse the money. I felt God’s nudge and with tears in my eyes thanked her for her generosity.
That night I went to the home of a friend to do a book reading and discussion. The readings were well received and the discussion deep and satisfying. Several guests asked to buy copies of my books.
Later I counted the money I’d received and saw that it was almost half of my total hotel bill. God reminded of the twenty dollar gift and I realized the unexpected portion of the room had just been covered for me.
This was a reminder of God’s provision. God knows my needs and will take care of me. All I have to do is to pray and trust him. He doesn’t always answer in the way I would imagine but I have learned that when I walk by faith I am always rewarded.
So the LORD must wait for you to come to him so he can show you his love and compassion. For the LORD is a faithful God. Blessed are those who wait for his help. (Isaiah 30:18 NLT)
The young child in the seat behind us was getting bored on the airplane. She wanted to see out of the window but the blind was closed. “Open the window,” she said. When her wish wasn’t granted, she raised her voice and said, “Daddy, open the window. I want the window opened.” The insistent demand grew louder and louder. Her parents tried unsuccessfully to shush her. She knew what she wanted and was going to keep asking until she got it.
We had a few hours between flights and I watched as a child ran from her mother. When the mom called her to come back, the child stopped, looked directly at her parent and said, “No.” She then carried on in the opposite direction. She was heading where she wanted regardless of what her parent said.
After witnessing a few episodes like this, I was reminded of the times I’ve acted like a travel weary child. My heavenly Father does not grant my every request. Usually I accept this but other times I’ve been known to repeat my desires over and over, getting louder and more insistent each time. Maybe he just didn’t hear or realize how important this was to me.
Then there are the times God asks me to wait and not run ahead. For my own safety, he wants me to stay close. Thinking I know what’s best for me, I don’t always listen.
Maybe God allowed me to witness the childish outbursts that day to remind me to rely on and trust in him. Not only when I feel like it, but in all circumstances.
Trust in the LORD and do good. Then you will live safely in the land and prosper. (Psalm 37:3 NLT)
When people don’t want to admit to or confront a problem it’s said they are burying their head in the sand. The idea behind this is that if you don’t see the problem, it doesn’t really exist.
I’m sure this is something most of us have done at least once in our lives. I know I have.
This saying came to mind but in a slightly different context recently. We had grandchildren playing in our yard and when I looked out, one had her head buried. It wasn’t in the sand but in the snow.
For her, it wasn’t an avoidance issue. Curiosity was a major factor. Instead of escaping from an unpleasant situation, she was embracing the unknown.
Oh, for the curiosity of a child! No matter what my first impulse may be, I‘d have thought the situation through before making a decision. The snow is cold and wet. Therefore it would probably be uncomfortable. It may even be difficult to breathe. No thank you, I think I’ll pass on putting my head in the snow.
I wonder how many experiences I’ve missed out on because I chose to hide rather than to trust God enough to move into the unknown. If I had the answers to all of my questions before I took a step forward, there would be no need to trust him. Rather than burying my head, I need to look up to God and let him direct me.
A person’s fear sets a trap for him, but one who trusts the LORD is safe. (Proverbs 29:25 GWT)
“Why would anyone do that?” my friend said. We were at the local swimming pool and she had been watching a scene unfold.
A child was being given a private swimming lesson. The little boy was happy and paying attention to his teacher. Then his mother appeared on the pool deck and the situation changed. She leaned over and made suggestions to the child, effectively taking control away from the instructor.
The result was quite predictable. The more the mother interfered, the more insecure the child became. Soon the boy was upset and wanted out of the water. His mother reached to help him out of the water.
The parallel of this scene to my life was obvious to me. I have put my trust in Jesus. He knows what is best for me and is able to teach me what I need to learn. This is where my focus must remain.
Why then do I get confused when well meaning friends give me contradictory advice? I know they care about me. The information they have to share may be valid to my situation. Should I be listening to them instead?
At times like this I need to remember that Jesus knows me better than I know myself. He is patient and kind even when I question him. He has the answers to questions I haven’t even thought of yet.
At times Jesus uses others to reinforce his message to me but never to contradict it. For me the choice is clear. I will pray to Jesus for guidance and trust him to guide my life.
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 NIV)
Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin? (Romans 2:4 NLT)