My husband and I enjoy visiting farmer’s markets and speaking to the vendors. We always find it interesting to learn about why they are producing and selling their products.
During our travels, we heard several stories that inspired us with their passion. These were the people we wanted to support with our purchases.
One woman had moved far from home to take a high paying job. She worked hard, saved her money and after several years was able to move back to her small hometown with the funds needed to start her own business. The dairy-free cheese and dips she made were delicious. She told us of many trials before the recipes were perfected. Now she was producing a product that was filling a need. She was passionate about what she did and it showed.
Another woman had a small vintage trailer in a market parking lot. We commented on her trailer and were treated to a little of her life story. Michele had a mother fighting cancer. She realized life is too short to be unhappy so took early retirement. Her retirement fund was spent purchasing and fixing up the trailer and doing some bucket list travelling. Now she was doing what she loved, making crafts and selling them at markets. She had a passion for life and living it to the fullest.
These were only two of the stories we heard. Both women had to make sacrifices to follow their dreams. Both told us how much happier they were now they were living with passion and purpose.
When I live with passion, I am better able to support and encourage others wanting to do the same.
Do you have a dream you’d like to follow? What would it take for you to live a life of passion? How can I encourage you?
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
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
The ever changing conditions during our ten hours on the road seemed to me like a metaphor for life.
The morning started out misty, with low clouds hugging the hillsides. Splashes of colour visible between the clouds provided a welcome contrast to the greyness surrounding us.
Soon we encountered pouring rain and poor visibility. The view around us became obscured.
In the distance I could make out the faint outline of rolling hills. Then, muted colours appeared. As we neared, I saw the vibrant hues of fall foliage. The beauty was a reprieve amid the overcast skies.
I was aware that the colour had been there all along. It had just been hidden from view by the storm we were passing through.
In early afternoon the sun broke through. We thought our drive would now be more pleasant. Instead, we were faced with a new challenge as strong headwinds seemed determined to hold us back. We fought through them and kept going.
The highway turned and the wind attacked from another direction. It became a cross wind that tried to blow us off course. Strength and determination helped us hold onto our bearings.
We persevered and after a long day of driving, reached our destination. Our journey would continue the next day.
We had no idea what would be in store for us the following day but two things were clear. The challenges we faced today not only made us stronger but have also given us a deeper appreciation for the smoother days when they come.
Where in the last week did you see God at work? This is an interesting and thought provoking question.
Was it in your life or that of another? Maybe an unexpected contact with someone gave you a much needed boost. What if this wasn’t a chance encounter, but one orchestrated by God? I have received several blessings like this in recent days.
I have also seen God at work in the beauty of His creation. The greatest artist of all time has painted the trees with spectacular colours. Judging by the number of other leaf chasers with cameras busy capturing the images, many appreciate His handiwork. I wonder how many stopped to thank God for this colourful display.
A more personal example of God at work in my life happened yesterday. Our van started acting up and the check engine light came on. This is not welcome at any time but much worse in an unfamiliar area on the Sunday of a long weekend.
We prayed about what we should do and the Lord led us to a location just off the highway where a mechanic was on duty. Soon we had the diagnosis of a faulty sensor and were able to be on the road again with peace of mind. Our immediate reaction was to thank God for taking care of us.
There are many more stories I could tell you about God at work in my life. When I look back, I see His fingerprints everywhere. They will be in your life, too. Often they are spoken of as good luck or happy coincidences. They are much more than that.
I ask you to reflect on the past week and give thanks for what God has done in your life. I’d love to hear some of your stories.
“Now, our God, we give you thanks and praise your glorious name.” 1 Chronicles 29:13 NIV
We didn’t have to see the dead skunk on the side of the road to know it was there. The stench remained with us even after we’d passed by.
Another day we were walking along a sidewalk in an unfamiliar town when the mouth watering aroma of freshly baked bread drew us closer. Before we knew it our noses led us right to the bakery. Of course we had to go in and discover for ourselves if the taste was as good as the smell. It was!
These are two extreme examples, it I’m sure you get the message. Smells matter. Some, like the skunk make me want to get as far away as possible. Others, like fresh baking invite me closer.
This reminds me that I need to be aware that my attitude and the words I speak also have a distinctive smell.
When I display love and understanding, my life has a pleasing aroma to others. If, on the other hand, I exhibit anger, resentment, complaining and gossip, my stinky attitude will cause people to stay as far away from me as possible.
Even when faced with life’s challenges, I need to be aware of this and stop to ask myself, “How do I smell today.”
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)
My husband and I were driving on the busiest highway in Canada, the 401 in the Greater Toronto Area. Our GPS kept saying things like, “Seven minutes of delay have been added to your route” or “Twelve minutes of delay have been added to your route.”
We already knew it was busy, with six to nine lanes of traffic headed in the same direction! After an hour of this, stop and go was becoming commonplace. We joked that at this rate we might still be sitting there the next day.
Flo (as in ‘go with the flow’), our GPS was being very generous with the delays she kept giving us. We chose not to let these messages bother us. As long as we were moving forward, no matter how slowly, we knew we would eventually reach our destination. The timing may not be what we had hoped for, but we would get there.
Isn’t that the way of life? I encounter unexpected delays and am frustrated at my lack of progress. What I fail to appreciate is that I am still moving forward. Unlike the GPS, I have no idea how much time is being added to my journey. A delay doesn’t mean the end of the road. My goal may be just around the next corner, so one step at a time, I will keep moving.
Do you ever doubt where your GPS is taking you? My husband and I were in that situation recently. An incident on our route caused us to change direction. We wondered where it was taking us as we encountered twists and turns and seemed to be going in the wrong direction. It was so easy to get turned around and lose our way.
This was only one of several times we doubted where we were being taken. Sometimes the route took us off of the major highways and along bumpy side roads. We complained bitterly that this couldn’t be right. Where were the smooth roads we thought we’d be taking?
Farther on, we may discover why this was the case, while other times we were left wondering. What I do know is that we discovered some beautiful scenery on these roads less travelled. Things we would not have seen or experienced otherwise. Maybe that was reason enough.
Life is like that. Everything seems to be going along smoothly and then I have an unexpected detour. I find myself on a bumpy road and lose my sense of direction. Confused, I cry out to God, “Why is this happening? Where are you taking me?”
These are not the right questions. I know from experience the Lord is faithful. Everything I go through has a purpose. So, when I find myself thrown off course, the better question to ask is, “How can this be used to bring God glory?”
In this age of social media it is not uncommon to have many ‘friends’ we’ve never met. We know of each other but don’t really know each other. Some of these could be called acquaintances.
An acquaintance is someone I know on a casual level. We may go to church together, have volunteered together or have mutual friends. With some I say a casual hello as I pass by. With others, conversation is enjoyed when we are together but no further contact is initiated.
With friends, however, I have a deeper relationship. Time spent together is precious and we make sure to carve time for it from our busy lives. I can talk to a good friend about anything and know there will be no judgments.
Advice may be given or just a listening ear, but I know without a doubt how valuable our time together is. I can call on a true friend at any time and always come away feeling better.
My friend feels the same way about me. The importance of this relationship is beyond measure.
God wants that kind of relationship with me; one where we spend time together and know each other well.
The question is, am I satisfied to be an acquaintance and give Him minimal time and attention or will I put in the effort required to know Him as a true friend?