I Can’t Reach

#inspiration, Father, heavenly,A friend told me a story about an outing with her family. At the end of a busy day, she was walking back to the vehicles with her son and young granddaughter. It was a clear night and the sky was filled with twinkling stars.

The little girl looked up in awe and then stretched her arms up high to touch them. They weren’t as close as she thought so she reached even higher. When she couldn’t come close to grasping one, she looked at her daddy and said, “Can’t reach.” The loving father picked up his little girl and placed her on his shoulders so she could be closer.

The image of a child being lifted by her daddy to reach for the stars was a powerful one for me. I can think of many times in my life when I have reached for the stars and fallen short. It was unrealistic to think I could achieve something so unattainable.

There came a time when I knew I couldn’t reach high enough and gave up trying. My dreams became more down to earth. They were no longer big dreams but now I had a chance of reaching them.

Then came the day I was asked to reach for something far beyond my limited abilities. Tearfully I replied, “I can’t – it’s too big and too far.” My heavenly father smiled and lifted me on his shoulders. He lovingly held my arms up and told me that together we could reach anything.

Entrust your efforts to the Lord and your plans will succeed. (Proverbs 16:3 GWT)

Planting the Garden

#inspiration, God, Heavenly Father, nurtureWe have an area set aside in our backyard for a vegetable garden. Every year we look forward to the harvest of fresh produce to come.

Before seeds can be sown, the soil must be prepared. If the dirt is hard and compact, it needs to be broken up and turned over. The soil also needs to be fertile enough to sustain the growth we hope to achieve. The task of a gardener is ongoing throughout the season and I’m grateful my husband has taken this on.

He knows that hard, unyielding soil will not allow roots to push through and grow. Stones and undesirable roots left in the soil can hamper the growth of seeds planted.

If we are not careful weeds will quickly grow and choke the life from the seedlings. One of the roles of a gardener is to tend the plants, removing anything that will impede their growth. Without proper care, they will be unable to reach their full potential.

I think of myself as one of these seeds. Sometimes I put myself in situations that hamper my growth. God wants me to have deep roots so I can reach my full potential. When I am hard and unyielding He may need to do some digging into my life and break up the clumps of stubbornness and rebellion. The weeds of my wrong attitudes need to be removed.

This process can be quite uncomfortable but the results are worth it. The thought of being a seed, planted by the loving hands of my Heavenly Father is reassuring. There is no better gardener to nourish and care for me. His love and protection will help me reach my full potential.

Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. (John 15:1 ERV)

How to Get Rid of Your Mistakes

#inspiration, #God, forgiveness, sinsFor many, the handwritten note or letter is a thing of the past. Why would we take the time to sit down with pen and paper when it’s much quicker to log onto the computer?

However, I enjoy giving handwritten notes of encouragement and support. The feedback I receive tells me the personal touch is appreciated.

Mistakes made with ink on paper are not easily erased and corrections made on the page can look messy. In these cases, I turn to a solution made popular in the last century!

It is called whiteout. The fluid comes in a small bottle with a brush and all I have to do is cover over the error with the liquid and wait for a few seconds for it to dry. Then I can carry on as if the mistake never happened.

That might be the idea but often I either apply either too little, leaving the mistake to show through, or too much, leaving a bumpy surface that’s difficult to write on. This magic eraser also comes in a tape form which I have never been able to master. The result is my mistakes don’t always disappear as I’d like them to.

I know of something that completely blots out the big mistakes in my life. It leaves me fresh and clean and able to start over again. What is this magic formula? It is called forgiveness of my sins. I don’t have to shop for this in the store or wonder how to apply it properly. All I need is to sincerely come to God in prayer, confess my sins, and repent. God promises to forgive and give me a fresh start. I can think of no better way to get rid of my mistakes.

God is faithful and reliable. If we confess our sins, he forgives them and cleanses us from everything we’ve done wrong, (1 John 1:9 GWT)

Mother’s Day Musings

Mother's Day, children, grandchildren, mothers, treasuresMother’s Day has come and gone for another year. How did you celebrate it? It is about so much more than flowers, meals out or extravagant gifts. As a mother, these were not my focus.

Instead, I spent time remembering and appreciating my mom. She went to be with Jesus nineteen years ago and I still miss her. I am aware not everyone had a mother who loved them unconditionally and was their biggest supporter. I am grateful for mine and thank the Lord on a regular basis for my upbringing.

I also celebrated the privilege of being a mother. Among other things, my children have taught me patience and how fierce and protective love can be. They are an incredible gift and have helped mould me into the woman I am today. Again, I thank the Lord daily for my family.

Being a grandmother is another reason to rejoice. The only way I can describe the relationship with my grandchildren is to say it is a whole new level of love. I willingly accept the challenge to support each of their unique personalities in the way they need. My grandchildren are the treasures who make my life rich.

Mothers play an important role but so do many other nurturing women who are not called mom. I see many women loving and supporting children who are not their own. They also deserve to be celebrated on an ongoing basis.

To all the mothers, step-mothers, foster mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers and loving friends, may God bless you richly for the role you play in building up the next generation. Who you are and what you do makes a difference.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. (Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

Doing the Impossible

#God, #inspiration, trust, possible, perfectionCharles 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)

Safety Zone

#inspiration, #God, #prayer,rest, renewal As a child, I loved to play outside with my friends. One of our favourite games was tag.

I would run and dodge, doing my best not to get caught. If tagged, I would become ‘it’ and have to chase the others until I got close enough to ‘catch’ someone.

It’s been a long time but I can still remember getting tired and needing a quick break to catch my breath. The only way to do this was to run to the willow tree in the front yard and have one hand touching the trunk. This was the designated safety zone.

The rules said I could only stop here for a few seconds, but that was enough to take some deep breaths in preparation for more running.

All these years later, I no longer play tag, but can still find myself running around and in need of a safe place to pause and regain my strength. Where can I find the renewal so badly needed?

My safety zone is found in the quiet time I spend with God. Rules of time don’t apply here. He provides me with what I need whether I ask a quick prayer for wisdom or spend extended time basking in his presence. However, the more time I spend with him, the more I find the rest, guidance and encouragement needed to step back into the race of life.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 NLT)

Fruit Tree Teachings

#inspiraton, life, experience, #GodI was excited. We were staying in an RV park in Arizona and every lot had a fruit tree in front. There was an assortment of orange, lemon and grapefruit trees.

I had never picked and eaten fresh citrus fruit before and could hardly wait.

Under one tree we saw a box labelled Help Yourself and chose a large lemon. That evening I placed a slice of lemon in a mug filled with hot water. One sip was all I needed before gagging. It was terrible.

Maybe I’d have better luck with an orange. The one I could easily reach #inspiration, #God, #prayerlooked good but didn’t feel quite ripe so I stretched my arm deeper into the tree. The jagged interior branches scratched me and drew blood. I thought my prize would be worth the sacrifice but was mistaken. This fruit was dry and tasteless.

#inspiration, #God, wisdomSometimes life is like this experience. I reach for something that looks appealing only to end up injured and disappointed. Things are not always what they appear on the surface.

For the fruit, I asked a neighbour what trees I should pick from. Seeking and following that advice made all the difference in being able to enjoy juicy oranges and grapefruit.

A myriad of choices are before me daily. Picking the right one can be a challenge. Outside appearance does not give me enough information. I can’t see into the heart of the situation but know someone who can. My best option is always to pray and ask God for wisdom. When I do, my life transforms from dry and bitter to one that is fresh and sweet.

If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. (James 1:5 NLT)

Expect the Unexpected

#God, #inspiration, prayer, trustWhen 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)

Good Medicine

cheerful heart, good medicineA dull grey sky and a cool breeze greeted me when I looked outside. The weather forecast for the next few days didn’t appear any more promising.

However, the view from my window did nothing to dispel the joy in my heart.

My husband and I were nearing the end of our vacation. We had experienced the diversity of God’s creation. From the colourful rocks of windswept canyons to more variety of cacti than I knew existed, we saw beauty displayed.vacation, beauty, creation

Friends just met, offered conversation and companionship.

Time spent with distant family staying only an hour away rekindled shared memories.

The bonus of friends from home visiting the same area gave us adventure and laughter that caused tears to run down our cheeks.

An added blessing was the hospitality of a fellow writer who welcomed us into her home for a meal.

Deep contentment as Brian and I walked down the street, hand in hand.

fresh fruit, picked it myselfI was able to pick oranges and grapefruit from neighbouring trees and enjoy the fresh, juicy taste.

Challenges presented by new pastors in a much larger church than we were used to gave me a new perspective.

Quiet moments with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ restored my soul.
Scripture says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine” and I have received life-restoring, energizing medicine.

#inspiration, #Jesus, scripture, good medicine,cheerful heart

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22 NIV)

“For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast. (Proverbs 15:15 NLT)

Barking Dog

#God, #inspiration, SatanWe planned to stop for gas in a more populated area. However, when the gas light came on, we knew this wasn’t going to be an option and took the exit for the next small town.

The first thing we saw as we entered the quiet street were two dogs were running down the middle of the road.

When we drew nearer, one of the dogs moved to the left shoulder. The other stayed on the centre line. We slowed down to pass this animal but it had other ideas. The dog stayed close to the front wheel, barking as if it were chasing us out of town.

This dog was fearless and kept up with us for several blocks. We didn’t want to risk hitting it and it quickly became clear the animal and not the vehicle was setting the pace.

The dog did not give up until it was satisfied we had been chased far enough away. Only then did it stop.

I wondered about the times I have been on my way to a calling the Lord has given me, only to encounter a version of this barking dog. The obstacle could be disguised in many forms. The only certainty was the desire to change my direction. How did I react?

Did I slow down, unsure if I should keep going? Perhaps I turned around, thinking I might be on the wrong road. Or, maybe I prayed for guidance and kept moving forward.

My friends, we face an enemy who doesn’t want to see us succeed in the name of the Lord. He has already been defeated but does his best to convince us he is in control. This is only the case if we believe the lie.

He would not be nipping at my heels if I weren’t a threat to his plans. When I remember this I am not easily chased away. Instead I increase my focus on the Lord, knowing I am definitely on the right road.

“Resist the Devil and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 NLT)