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
As a self-published author, the majority of my book sales have been ones I have generated. Recently my first royalty cheque arrived from the publisher. Receiving royalties meant that some people had found my book and purchased it through traditional sources. Although the cheque was not large, it was very exciting for me to receive it and I couldn’t help but share the news.
A few friends joked about the word royalty, insinuating that I was referring to myself as royalty. Responding to one, I said, “The crown is too uncomfortable. I’m happier being a commoner.”
Although this was all done in a light-hearted manner, it did give me something to think about. If I value my own thoughts, opinions and needs more highly than those of others, I am putting myself above them. Life is much more enjoyable when I treat everyone as equals. Doing what I can to help others is what makes my life most meaningful.
This was demonstrated clearly by Jesus. As the Son of God, Jesus could have expected to be served. Instead, he came to serve. If I want to follow his example, I need to do the same.
Then they began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves. Luke 22:24-27 NLT
One of the major roads in our city was undergoing road works. This caused a portion of the road to be closed. Instead of traveling their normal routes, drivers were faced with a detour that took them through residential neighbourhoods. This caused an unwelcome delay for countless motorists.
I looked at the large flashing arrow pointing to the detour. The road beyond was torn up and there was heavy equipment working. Several ‘Road Closed’ signs had been set up. All of the warnings were there to tell me that I couldn’t take this route.
There have been times in my life when I thought I knew where I was going, only to be met by an unexpected detour. The route I intended to travel was closed to me. This led to confusion. The detour would take me through unfamiliar territory which would slow me down. Not only was this inconvenient, it was also disorienting.
The direction my life was to go had been planned. Now everything changed. My initial response was to worry. What if I got lost and couldn’t find my way? Then I learned to trust in Jesus. I soon found that His direction for my life was far better than any route I had planned. Sometimes the detour would show me new things I needed to know. Other times it would lead me in an entirely new direction. Instead of focusing on what I thought I needed, I learned to pray to Jesus for guidance. If I was on the right route, I would ask that the way be clear. I would also ask him to close the road ahead if it wasn’t where He wanted me to be going. He is the one that knows my final destination and know the best way to get me there.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
Our seven-year old grandson was spending a couple of days with us. Two adults to spoil him and no siblings to share the attention with made for one very happy boy.
As I played Snakes and Ladders with him he said things like, “What if I gone one more and got to go up the ladder?” or “What if you got three instead of five and had to go down the snake?”
This line of thinking continued after the game. I’d hear, “What if …” and he would talk about a fantastic make-believe experience. I soon realized that our time together was filled with “What ifs?” In his imagination there were no boundaries. He was free to dream, limited by nothing more than the power of his mind.
I marveled at this and wondered how different my life would be if I adopted this attitude. Instead of limiting myself, based on fears of failure, I would say, “What if” and follow my dreams.
Someone once told me that it was far better to say, “What if” and then work to make it happen, than to look back and say, “If only.” I may not always succeed, but will not suffer the regrets of having never tried.
What I need to remember is that none of my “What ifs” are too big for God to bring to fruition. In fact, many of these may be dreams that he has planted deep in my heart. When I was struggling with self-doubts, a good friend changed the course of my life by saying, “What if God wants to bless you with this?”
If it is truly a dream that God has given me, he is more than able to make it happen. I just need to trust and go along for the adventure.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in good time. 1 Peter 5:6 NIV
The area in which we live has been rocked by several severe thunder storms in recent weeks. The storms were much more than thunder and lightning. They were ones with large hailstones crashing violently into everything in their path. These storms have caused tremendous damage.
Until the last storm, we had never suffered enough damage to make an insurance claim. Although our house only had minor damage, our vehicles did not fare as well. Both of them were covered with dents after being pelted with golf ball sized hailstones. Hours after the storm had passed, many of these large chunks of ice remained on our property.
My husband and I were both indoors when the storm hit so suffered no injuries. The things that were damaged would be covered by our insurance. Our only cost would be the deductibles.
Thinking about insurance coverage reminded me of the insurance that Jesus provides for me. After one of life’s storms, He is always there to help me pick up the shattered pieces of my life. He does so tenderly, while guiding me to safety. There is no deductible here. I am fully covered by his grace and love. All I need to do is reach out and trust in him.
The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my Savior, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the strength of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 18:2 GWT
In my distress I prayed to the Lord, and the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is for me, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me? Psalm 118:5-6 NLT
Recently my husband and I purchased a 5th Wheel trailer. When searching for the perfect one, we had more than our own immediate needs in mind. Having room to comfortably entertain family and friends was high on our priority list.
The one we chose has the name Legacy on it. While the name was not a factor, it is perfect for our purposes. Our goal is to create many precious memories while spending time at our Legacy with those near and dear to us.
In our first few weeks with the RV, we hosted two family birthday dinners and had our seven year old grandson there for a sleep over. He was thrilled to have that special time with us and kept commenting that he was our first overnight guest.
When I saw him standing close to the logo on the trailer as he “helped” by hosing off chairs, I couldn’t help but smile. This Legacy was already fulfilling its purpose by being the gathering place where new memories of loving times together are formed.
Every time I see the name on our RV I am reminded that the legacy my life leaves, is up to me. By thinking about how I want to be remembered, I will be more likely to act in a way to create that. Everything I do pales in comparison to the legacy that God has provided for me. He has given me the right to be one of his children. By my belief in Christ Jesus this gift was given. There is no greater legacy than that.
You are all God’s children by believing in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:25 GWT
My husband and I pulled our chairs close to the campfire. We laughed about the fact that it didn’t matter which side of it we were on, the smoke soon changed direction and blew in our faces.
There is something mesmerizing about a campfire. It seems to be an integral part of the camping experience. Roasting marshmallows over a campfire is practically a tradition. The fire can also be enjoyed on its own as it crackles and sends sparks into the air.
The flames eventually died down and there were only a few embers left smoldering. When we took a stick and stirred them up a bit a new flame was created.
This happens in life, too. I have had many experiences where the spark or flame of passion for a project has died down. All it took was for someone to come along and point something out from a different angle and the spark was stirred up, rekindling the flame.
When an ember is removed from the fire it soon becomes cold. If left with the other embers, it will retain its heat for a much longer time.
In my life I need to surround myself with positive, encouraging people. Together we can fan the flames of potential each of us carries. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be the spark that points others to his love and light.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20 NIV
It was a beautiful summer day and many boaters were out enjoying the lake. Some were towing water skiers or wake boarders. Others were more relaxed as they slowly explored the lake.
There were also a few empty boats bobbing close to shore, patiently waiting for their next adventure. These were anchored to keep them from drifting away. There is slack in the line so some movement is possible, just not enough to cause danger for the boats.
Watching the boats, I see a fitting metaphor for my life. It is easy for me to drift along with the current of life, content with where it takes me. I may not see the dangers or a sticker in my way until it is too late. If I don’t have anything secure to hold onto there is no telling where I may end up.
My relationship with Jesus is the anchor that keeps me secure. Without him I am tossed to and fro like a wave on the sea. He has promised never to leave or forsake me. I know that I will be safe and secure in his loving care.
We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. Hebrews 6:19