“Tell us about your skydiving experience,” they said. “I can’t believe you did that. I’d never be brave enough.”
My new book has a skydiving picture of me on the cover, which prompted the request. The story is in Another Perspective, so I won’t ruin it by giving you too many details here!
I did share that it was a tandem jump. I was harnessed to an experienced instructor. Knowing someone ‘had my back’ increased my confidence level.
As I related the story recently, a couple of comments from one man stayed with me. He said “That’s what it’s like when Jesus is in your life. You can have confidence because you know He is there taking care of you.”
How true that is. Jesus knows where He is taking me and the safest way to get there. Fears are relieved when He is in control. He knows when freefalls are needed and when to employ the parachute to give me a soft landing. I am able to enjoy the adventure knowing Jesus has my back.
“You jumped with family members. Could you see them as you descended?” Actually, I could. They jumped after me and my tandem buddy pointed up to show them floating slightly above. After landing, we joined together in rejoicing for our shared experience.
“I picture the rapture and watching for our loved ones to join us,” he said. I’d never thought of it that way but he could be right. When Jesus returns for us there will be great rejoicing as we join those who have gone before us. Today I praise him for what He continues to do in and through me. On that day I can praise my Lord for eternity.
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10 NLT)
Earlier this week I made a visit to a store that carries my books and something on the wall caught my attention. There, pinned on a corkboard above the manager’s desk was a sketch. It was a small ink drawing of an old van and the detail and shading were exceptional.
I asked about this unassuming piece of art and was told a little about its history and creator. The man who gifted this to the manager did so as a token of appreciation for her kindness. His life had been one of struggle. Things are turning around but the road he travels is not an easy one.
She was impressed with his drawing and asked him to paint seasonal designs on the window of the store. He refused. She offered to provide the materials and pay him for his work. “I’m not good enough to paint pictures people will see,” he said.
“If you don’t do it, I’ll have to print designs on coloured paper, cut them out and tape them to the window,” she replied. Reassurance of his talent was futile. This man had no belief in himself or his abilities. The store ended up with coloured paper designs in their window.
As I listened to the story, I saw a universal problem. Most of us don’t believe in ourselves. No matter what we may hear to the contrary, we just don’t believe we are good enough to follow our dreams.
Until my desire to succeed became stronger than my fear of rejection I was the same. To some extent, I still am. The risk of failure is real. So is the opportunity for success. There are plenty of lessons on the road to achieving my dreams.
I will be forever grateful for the moment I decided to step out of my comfort zone and go for it! Now I know for certain, I am good enough – and so are you.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” Henry Ford
We held our annual Easter Egg Hunt for the family yesterday. The grandkids were excited and couldn’t wait to get started. Once everyone arrived, instructions were given and at the signal, all ran in different directions.
Due to popular demand, the adults are also included in this hunt. While the children get to keep anything they find, the adults can only keep what is above shoulder level.
During this hectic time, the noise level escalates and fun and laughter abound. The result is the creation of fond family memories.
The grandkids know there are always treats in our pantry. So do the adults. It would be easier to gather goodies from there than to search through the house for the unknown. There is something exciting about the hunt, though.
This reminded me of my life. Many times I have set out searching for something even though I didn’t know what it was I was searching for. When I saw others finding what they wanted, I grew frustrated. Where was the treasure I was looking for? The one that would fulfill my hopes and dreams.
What I discovered was that it was there within my reach all along. I had been so focused on my search that I’d missed the treasure in front of me.
Jesus provided the answer to all of my needs. Once I put my life in His hands and trusted Him for the outcome, I could stop searching. He has led me on bigger adventures than I could have planned for myself. My life is sweeter and more fulfilling. His faithfulness is so great that I am excited to see what treasures each day will bring.
“Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22,23)
The aquafit instructor told us to kick our legs to the side, alternating right to left. I am left-handed, which means I often do things the opposite way to most people.
We had a full class and the participants were crowded close together. When I started off on the wrong foot it was a challenge not to make contact with the person next to me. My kicks caused problems on both sides.
The only way to avoid this was to stop, pay attention to what those beside me were doing and coordinate my steps with theirs. Once I was on the right foot things went smoothly.
The phrase, ‘start on the right foot’ means to make a good beginning; to start off well. Despite my best efforts, this is not always easy to do.
Earlier this week my day started off on the wrong foot. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to fight or withdraw from the world. I was kicking myself and it would have been easy to inflict my self-destructive behaviour on others.
What I was doing wasn’t working so I needed to do something different. Once I acknowledged I was tired and overwhelmed it was easier to accept my limitations that day and move on. My attitude improved.
I started my day over, on the right foot this time. Once I was back in step with the world around me my day became positive and productive. And even better – no one around me was injured!
The statement took me by surprise. “Deep love is always accompanied by deep suffering,” our pastor said. My thoughts of love were of joy not suffering, but in that moment I could see how true these words were.
I have wept with friends over a serious illness of a loved one. I have sat with friends as they poured out the anguish in their hearts over situations with spouses, children or grandchildren.
Although I can empathize with my friends, I don’t know and love these people on the deep level they do, so will not experience the same pain.
Countless prayers are requested by those who are suffering. The majority of these revolve around someone deeply loved.
I think of my husband, my children (and their spouses, who are children of my heart) and my grandchildren. I love them deeply and would do anything in my power to keep them from harm. I suffer along with them when they are hurting. If one of them was in grave danger and the only way to save him or her was to sacrifice my life, I wouldn’t hesitate. That is how deep my love for my family is.
This helps me understand why Jesus would die for me. The sinless Son of God took on the sins of mankind because of his deep love for you and for me. Jesus suffered an agonizing death in order to save us.
I think back to the pastor’s words, “Deep love is accompanied by deep suffering.” If there is anyone who fully understands this, it is Jesus.
As we approach Easter and focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus I want to stop and think about the magnitude of this gift I didn’t deserve. He saved me before I even knew I was in danger. I praise his name for this amazing love.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.” (1 John 3:16 NIV)
Our normally efficient high-speed internet was not working. We had been away from home for two months and counted on this means of communication to stay in touch with family. It was also necessary for keeping up-to-date with other commitments in our lives.
Our apartment in Mexico had a landline so we hadn’t bothered to get a Mexican cell phone. Unfortunately, the landline was connected to the internet. The result was a breakdown in all but face-to-face communication.
Our service was down for over a week, back up for a few days and then down again. No one else in the building had this problem. To say we were frustrated would be a gross understatement.
On the plus side, in the evening my husband and I talked or played cards instead of surfing the internet or watching Netflix. We hadn’t realized how much time was spent online until we were forced offline.
I know checking my email and social media can be addictive and have been working hard at curtailing this habit. It is easy to get caught up in the virtual world, with ‘friends’ I don’t even know. This comes at the expense of those I want close relationships with. There is something drastically wrong with this picture.
Emails and texting are convenient and often necessary. Spending hours online scrolling through Pinterest or Facebook leave me with little to show for my time. In order to create more of what I want in my life, I need to focus on personal interaction.
I find it ironic that it took an online communication breakdown to help prevent a breakdown in personal communication.
We spoke to our friend the day before he had cataract surgery. His concern about having his vision tampered with was understandable. What if something went wrong?
Several hours after the procedure we spoke with him again. Although wearing sunglasses to protect his eye while it healed, he was amazed at how much more vivid colours were.
The cataract had slowly obscured the view of his environment. The change had been so gradual it wasn’t noticed. The haziness of his surroundings had become normal.
Once the film on his lens was removed, vibrant hues long forgotten appeared all around him. Instead of looking through a fog, he could see clearly for the first time in years.
The miracle of clear vision was cause for celebration.
As I reflected on this, the memory of situations that had clouded my vision, played across my mind. Emotional struggles, betrayals, disappointments, illness, loss and a myriad of other less than pleasant events had gradually obscured my view of life. The haze surrounding me had become normal. Splashes of colour and promise became a distant memory. My joy slowly faded.
My life changed drastically the day I met Jesus. I had known of him for most of my life but that wasn’t enough. When I asked him to forgive me and take control of my life everything changed. The film of discouragement was replaced with the vision of a bright future. My faith in Jesus healed me.
I praise The Lord I can now clearly see the hope and promise he brings to everyone who calls on him.
“What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God. (Luke 18:41-43)
I had always thought of a teacher as someone who imparted knowledge to a class of students. This could either be an academic program or some other creative endeavor. I pictured someone doing research, creating a lesson plan and presenting the knowledge in a way the learners could understand.
As a teenager, my career goal was to be a kindergarten teacher. Life had other plans and I didn’t get the education necessary for this. The closest I came to fulfilling this desire was to spend several years as a Brownie leader. My opportunity to be a teacher has long passed.
Recently I read a book that changed my thinking. The author explained how all of us are teachers.
I teach by my attitude and behaviour. You may be observing and learning from me even when I am not aware. If that is the case, what am I teaching?
When I lose my temper, am tense, unforgiving and judgmental I’m teaching negative emotions. You will either learn to do the same or to stay away from me. Neither is acceptable.
If, on the other hand, I am peaceful, respectful, encouraging and empathetic I am teaching a lifestyle you will want to know more about. My example will draw you closer.
I learn best from someone who is open and honest. Your challenges and how you deal with them teach me I don’t have to appear to have it all together. I learn there is freedom in being authentic and want to pass this lesson on to others.
My teaching comes from life experience and lessons learned along the way. It is not only formal education that has the power to impact lives. I don’t have to spend time in study and preparation in order to teach. Instead, I need to be aware you are learning from me before I even open my mouth.
In that case, I pray my attitude and behaviour are teaching the right things.
“On Christ the solid rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” The words of this well-known praise song started going through my mind as we did our morning beach walk.
There was a good reason for this. Moments earlier, I’d been walking on firm sand. Then, my next step sunk deep into soft sand. I stumbled but didn’t fall.
Nothing about the appearance of the sand gave any indication it wasn’t as solid as where my previous step fell. I could not tell the difference between firm beneath my feet and sinking sand until it was too late. My runners and socks were now wet and uncomfortable.
This is a good picture of how easily I can step into undesirable situations in my life. I may think everything is under control and my steps are secure. The trouble is, looks can be deceiving, as I found out on my walk. Suddenly, the ground beneath my feet shifts and I find myself on sinking sand.
Sometimes my foot only slips a little. I recover quickly and carry on. I adjust to the less stable footing and soon it becomes normal for me.
This process is repeated until I stop one day and wonder how I got so far off track from where I’d begun.
Scripture tells us, “He lifted me from the miry clay and set my feet upon the solid rock.” The miry clay is where I tend to wind up when I rely on my own judgment and ignore the voice telling me this isn’t where I’m supposed to be. Still, I like to think I know what’s best for me. Past experience tells me that my judgment is not always accurate.
The solid rock I need to stand on is Jesus. He is the firm foundation I need. When I rely on him to guide me, he will direct my steps and keep me safe.