Thunderstorms

#God, #inspiration, blessings, restoration, healing
photo compliments of pixabay

I was raised in close proximity of Vancouver, British Columbia. We had occasional thunderstorms but nothing like I’ve experienced since moving to southern Alberta.

Now, those are impressive! The echo of thunder can be heard in the distance as the storm approaches. The air feels heavy and oppressive. Ominous looking clouds fill the sky and the natural light becomes dim.

A few raindrops appear and become more insistent when the thunder booms overhead and lightning flashes in the sky. At night I have seen incredible displays when both sheet and fork lightning have appeared during the same storm.

Sometimes there are hailstones, bouncing after striking the sky with incredible force.

Other times we are pounded with buckets of rain. I stand at the window and watch in awe as our street becomes a rushing torrent of water. It is exhilarating to be witness to this powerful display of nature.

When the storm subsides I step outside and breathe deeply of the air which has been refreshed by the cleansing flood. It is no longer heavy and oppressive.

The formerly dry, parched ground has been filled by the downpour that flooded the cracks with much-needed moisture.

This is the kind of restoration God brings into our lives. When I am desperate for an end to my dry and thirsty life, I need more than a little hope. A gentle shower will not be enough to quench my needs.

God is there; ready to flood my life with the healing power of his love. In the Bible, there is a story of God turning the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs. What He has done for others, I know He will also do for me.

He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; (Psalm 107:35 NIV)

Storm Damage

#God, #inspiration, #prayer, #BibleA change in weather during our tropical vacation forced us indoors.

The wind lashed the rain against our windows. It didn’t take long for the deluge to fill the tracks and overflow, forming pools on the tile floor. The water was noticed before it spread far enough to do damage. We mopped up and kept an eye on the offending area.

After the storm subsided, no evidence of the excess moisture remained. We were lucky this time.

It would have been easy to put this behind us and forget it ever happened. However, someone will need to take care of the necessary maintenance to the window track. If not, the problem will reoccur. Maybe not this week, or even this month, but the consequences could be worse next time.

Regular maintenance is also necessary for our lives. Storms lie ahead for each of us. We don’t know when, or how hard they may hit. The better I prepare myself in the good times, the less damage there will when the tempests of life strike.

The ability to survive the tough times is gained through my relationship with God. Spending time in prayer and reading the Bible enables me to build a shelter I can trust. God has promised to keep me safe in the trials of life. When I walk closely with Him, I know any storm damage will be lessened.

When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you. (Isaiah 43:2 LT)

You Can’t Be Serious!

#inspiration, seriious, humour,lifeI was standing in chest deep water holding a pool noodle. We were instructed to hold the noodle with one hand on either side and skip forward and back over it. As you can imagine, this was a bit of a challenge!

Just as I was feeling quite proud of myself for accomplishing this, everything changed. One heel caught on the noodle and the tug caused me to release my grip. The noodle shot up into the air, causing much laughter from those around me.

There was a time when the embarrassment from an incident like this would have had me wanting to disappear. In this case, I made fun of myself and joined in the laughter. Then I was able to carry on and enjoy the rest of the class.

What caused the change in my reaction? I have learned to believe five simple words that have the power to change my outlook. They are, “Don’t take yourself so seriously.”

When I practice this behaviour I am happier. Actually, so are those around me. Life is a lot more fun when I can laugh at myself. I figure as long as I can laugh at my mistakes I’ll never run out of things to laugh about!

What about you? Do you take life too seriously or can find humour in situations?

“Celebrate your success and find humour in your failures. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Loosen up and everyone around you will loosen up. Have fun and always show enthusiasm. When all else fails, put on a costume and sing a silly song.” Sam Walton

Attitude Adjustment

inspiration, Jesus, comfort, choicesAfter attending an aquafit class for several years I know where to stand in the pool to get maximum benefit from the workout.

In the past few months the class has grown significantly and I’ve been arriving earlier to ensure I get my chosen spot in the crowded pool.

One of the new attendees has claimed a spot slightly in front of me. This would be fine if she didn’t splash so much while exercising. I don’t like water splashed in my face and this has now become a regular occurrence.

One day I was getting frustrated with the amount of water flying at me when I had a thought that forced me to re-evaluate my attitude. I was the one responsible for my own experience.

There was a clear choice to be made. I could move to another location which would then force others to adjust their position. This didn’t seem right. I could ask the splasher to be more careful. This would impact her experience and I didn’t want to do that. Or, I could stay where I was and do my best to disregard the splashing. I chose to adjust my attitude rather than my physical location. After all, the goal of exercise was not to keep me comfortable!

In the scheme of things, this was a small price to pay. I gave up a little of my comfort for the greater good of several others.

Jesus gave up not only his comfort but his very life for the benefit of all who would follow him. He knew what torture lay ahead of him, yet said he would do God’s will and not his own. His attitude was one of loving sacrifice.

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Luke 22:42 NLT)

I Was Drifting

God, Jesus, Inspiration, rescueLet me start by saying that I am not a swimmer. I enjoy being in the water as long as my feet can touch a firm surface and my face doesn’t get wet.

Our vacation was nearing an end. I had walked along the shore daily but had not ventured into the sea. The conditions were perfect with sunshine, hot temperature and calm water and I knew I needed to make the most of the opportunity.

I waded into the refreshing water. Soon I felt adventurous enough to take hold of a small boogie board that was handed to me. My intention was not to ride it but to lie across it and float.

Balancing my body across this board without tipping was a much bigger challenge than I anticipated. When I achieved my goal I was filled with satisfaction.

I relaxed, laid my head on the board and closed my eyes. What a wonderful feeling! It seemed like only moments before I looked around and realized I had drifted quite a distance from my husband. The water was now deeper than I was comfortable with. My feet could no longer touch the bottom.

I hung on tightly to the board as I kicked my feet and fought back the panic. The tide seemed to be working against me and the shore was not getting any closer.

Then I saw my husband making his way towards me. He took hold of the cord attached to the board and towed me to safety. I was so relieved that I didn’t mind his admonishment that I should have been more attentive to my surroundings.

This was an example of what happens in my life when I drift along without paying attention. Soon I’m in over my head. The Lord is always there to rescue me. Sometimes he waits for me to call for help. Other times he sends someone to help me even before I realize I’m in trouble.

Drifting aimlessly is never going to get me where I want or need to be. The prudent thing for me to do is to be attuned to the wisdom only he can give. Then I will have clear direction and not drift off course.

The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice. (Proverbs 12:15 NIV)

It is the Lord who gives wisdom; from him come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6 GWT)

A Kayaker’s Guide to Writing

craft, writing, inspirationMy husband and I are novice kayakers. We’ve been out a few times on a local lake. While learning to maneuver my water craft I realized that much of what I needed to know could also be applied to the craft of writing.

For me one of the most difficult things about kayaking is actually getting into the boat. My fear is that I will tip and end up in the water. Because of this I approach it in a hesitant, awkward manner instead of with confidence.

When I sit to write, the first few words can be the most difficult. Instead of agonizing over them I need to just start. The more I worry about them the better the chance I will become immobilized.

We saw other kayakers on the water. They it made it look so easy with their fluid movements. Mine are nothing like that and I get frustrated. The key is to realize that it takes practice to have control over my boat. It’s unrealistic to expect to master it on the first try.

The craft of writing is the same. Although my writing style may not be as smooth as I’d like, I need to remember that I may not have the same level of experience as writers I admire. The more I practice my craft, the more natural the flow will become.

My husband gave me advice to some of the problems I was having in steering the kayak. Although his intention was to help me, there were times I looked at it as criticism.

Critique in writing is similar. Helpful feedback can make me a better writer. I need to be able to put my ego aside and learn from what others have to tell me.

Another difficult thing for me was the waves created by a passing power boat or jet ski. In order to navigate these safely I needed to turn my kayak to face them head on. If they hit me broadside there was a chance of capsizing. When I turned my back to them I was swept too close to shore.

In writing, rejection is like those waves. I have the option to face it head on and continue. The wave might rock me, but won’t cause permanent damage. If I choose to let it hit me from another direction the effect could either push me backwards or throw me into the waters of despair and defeat.

I was ready to end my paddling adventure for the day but that brought another challenge. Now I had to figure out how to safely get out of the kayak.

Again, this reminded me of writing. My thoughts are all down on paper and I need to find a satisfying conclusion. It must be something that ties everything together without undue repetition.

Maybe what I need to do is go back out on the water and see what inspiration washes over me.

I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 GWT)

Overcoming Fear

trust, calm, Jesus, inspirationI am a non-swimmer and don’t like to be in water if my feet can’t touch solid ground. In the interest of full disclosure I admit that a big part of this is because I won’t put my face in the water. I can splash water on my face to wash it, but other than that, forget it!

My daughter and I were recently on a tropical vacation when the opportunity to snorkel was presented as an optional part of our excursion. Others quickly found flippers, masks and snorkels and entered the water. There was no thought in my mind of doing the same.

My daughter gently encouraged me to give it a try. There was no pressure from her, just a genuine concern that I may regret not having the experience. She promised to be right there with me.

I didn’t have the courage to jump from the side of the boat, but there was a ladder at the back I could use. My mind and body were screaming, “You can’t do this” as I donned the gear. The thudding of my heart was deafening as I slowly descended into the sparkling turquoise water.

My daughter was right behind me, helping me to calm down and breathe properly. As she held my hand and swam beside me I put my trust in her. Soon I was admiring tropical fish and my fear faded. I even managed to let go of her hand and paddle around a bit on my own. It was an incredible experience and one I am grateful for.  fish up close

The memory of my daughter holding my hand, calming me and guiding me safely through this challenge brought another image to mind. Jesus has done this for me many times in my life. When I’m anxious or frightened all I need to do is call on him. His calm assurance gives me courage. I know that he is always there to take my hand and lead me safely to my destination.

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)