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A friend told me she had injured her right arm. Many movements were painful, making it difficult to use. She had attempted to use her opposite arm but found it awkward for even simple tasks.
Someone else commented that using the other arm would force her brain to create new pathways. Joking about this, we said that new pathways for our brains could be a good thing.
The thought that stayed with me was the new pathways. God has many things planned for me which I will never discover if I’m not willing to forge new paths. Like anything new, it will feel awkward and uncertain in the beginning. When I pray to God for guidance and trust in him, those unknown paths will be able to lead me in a life full of exciting adventures.
I have commanded you, “Be strong and courageous! Don’t tremble or be terrified, because the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 GWT
My father built a toy box as a gift for my son’s first Christmas. It was shaped like a truck and painted red. He had planned on building a little seat in it but was very ill and not able to complete it before he passed away a few weeks later.
It has held toys for children and grandchildren for many years now. It is no longer needed in my house but it is a reminder of my father so I felt it needed to stay in the family. My son has girls so didn’t want it. It was offered to my daughter’s son and he was thrilled to have it.
When we delivered the toy box to our daughter’s house my six-year-old granddaughter was upset that it was for her brother and not her. I explained that my father had built it for her uncle and it was to go to boys in the family. He didn’t have any boys which was why it now was passed on to her brother. I thought I had satisfied her with this answer until she looked at me with a worried expression and asked if her brother was now going to be part of her uncle’s family!
The thought of belonging to family and family legacies being passed on made me realize again how blessed I am to be a part of the family of God. The legacy that he has passed on is available to everyone. Gender has no bearing on the gifts that he bestows. The family I was born into has no impact on how he feels. God loves me unconditionally and calls me his child.
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:1 NIV
My almost six-year-old granddaughter had just lost her first tooth. She was very excited and pictures were taken of her with her mouth open so those not present could know of this momentous event.
It’s not easy for a child to give the final tug on a tooth that is ready to come out. For this reason, her mom held her while her dad pulled the tooth out. She cried because she was scared and thought it would hurt. Seconds later she was laughing with excitement. Soon she was dancing around the house, stopping in front of family members with a huge smile to show them where the tooth used to be.
As my daughter was telling me this story, I felt God pointing out that I have acted in a similar way with him. There have been times that I have been so close to a goal but stopped short. Fear was holding me back. The fears have been that I don’t have the ability needed; it could cause me discomfort or a myriad of other things.
Like the loving parents that held my granddaughter, God is always there to gently but firmly give me what I need to get through the fear. After I fully trust and surrender to him, any discomfort is momentary and soon forgotten. My trust is rewarded by what he has accomplished in and through me. I want to dance around letting everyone know what I have done. On my own I could not do anything of significance. When I let him work through me there is no limit to what we can do.
I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 GWT
Today, on Canadian Thanksgiving, I am sharing a story from my book “Inspirations From The Everyday” on what Thanksgiving and being thankful mean to me.
Thanksgiving is a day set aside for us to give thanks, so important that it is a statutory holiday in Canada and the United States. Many of us gather with loved ones to enjoy a turkey dinner, Some may share what they are thankful for.
I know that when I sit down to Thanksgiving dinner with family, the bounty of food before us will only be a small part of what I am thankful for. I am thankful for a wonderful husband who is a gift not only to me and to our family, but also to those fortunate enough to know him. I am also thankful for our children and their spouses and the time we enjoy spending together. The joyful sounds of our grandchildren remind me how blessed we are to live close enough to be able to play a significant role in their lives.
All of us have so much to be thankful for. Taking time to stop and do this on a daily basis can change your life. It did mine. For over ten years now I have been keeping a gratitude journal. Every night I write down five things that I was grateful for that day. Some days it is basic things like a roof over my head and food to eat. Others it is a smile from a stranger, a phone call from a friend or the beauty of nature. One of my favourites is the excited squeal of grandchildren as they run and throw themselves into my arms. There is much to be thankful for, and now I look for these things every day. This allows me to focus on all the good things that God continuously provides. No matter what my day may bring, I am confident that God is watching over me.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:4-5 (NIV)
My car had just been dropped off at the body shop to have hail damage repaired. As I stood in line at the car renter counter I wondered what kind of vehicle I’d be driving for the next couple of weeks.
When it was my turn, the person at the counter seemed to have difficulty locating a car for me. I could see her frustration growing. More than once she sent someone out to the lot, looking for the right car. Each time he came back shaking his head. Studying her computer monitor, she said, “Oh, I know; I’ll give you a small SUV.” After a quick inspection of the vehicle I was on my way.
Later I was thinking about this and realized that although I didn’t end up with the original vehicle the rental company planned for me, what I had was perfect. We had been contemplating trading our truck in for a small SUV and now I had the opportunity to try one out.
Not for a minute did I think this was an accident or just a happy coincidence. Instead I saw this as a small example of the way that God orchestrates things in my life. What may seem like an inconvenience or a stumbling block may actually be his way of bringing me something better than I had planned. It was also a reminder that in all things, I should come before him and seek his will for my life. Instead of getting frustrated when things don’t go the way I planned I need to stop, take a step back, and let God move.
But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and merciful God. You are patient, always faithful and ready to forgive. Psalm 86:15 GWT
Our kids and grandkids were coming for dinner to celebrate my husband’s birthday. My plan was to make one of his favourite cakes for dessert, but he had a different idea. I was still allowed to make a simple cake but it was to take a back seat to the dessert he planned. Thinking of the grandchildren and what they would like, he wanted us to have an ice cream sundae dessert bar.
We had two types of regular ice cream plus a dairy-free option. There was fresh fruit, assorted bowls of candy, sprinkles, chocolate sauce and whipped cream they got to spray from a can. The look on their faces as we set this up was priceless. Our oldest granddaughter looked Brian and said, “You’re a super hero!” To say this dessert was a hit would be a gross understatement.
Even though it was his birthday, my husband wanted to do something special for our grandchildren. Seeing the joy this unexpected birthday dessert brought to them was a gift to my husband. His smile was a big as theirs. When I saw the impact of this I couldn’t help but think of my Heavenly Father and the gifts he gives.
In the Bible we are told that although we are imperfect beings, we know how to give good gifts to our children. God’s love is perfect, so the gifts he gives are much better than anything we could possibly give. He always knows what’s best for me. When I live in close relationship with God, he delights me with the gifts he has chosen just for me.
So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him. Matthew 7:11 NLT
My husband and I have just started a beginner Spanish language course. The first class started out with simple phrases such as, “Good morning, how are you?” We could handle this without too much difficulty.
Next we were introduced to the way to say this in the formal manner, for someone you don’t know well, or in the familiar manner for family and friends. The words to both the question and answer change depending on your relationship to the person you’re speaking to. Things were starting to get more complicated.
The next thing to know was the masculine and feminine. I hadn’t realized before that morning was masculine while afternoon and evening were feminine! When the teacher showed us how to conjugate a verb, I started to panic, fearing that I was in over my head.
My goal is to be able to converse with the locals when we vacation in Mexico. I will persevere, but am aware that this will be no easy task.
This made me realize that I need no lessons to be able to communicate with God. The maker of the universe doesn’t require me to speak to him in the formal tense. In fact, he prefers that I be familiar with him. I don’t need to struggle with the correct words as the Bible tells me that the Holy Spirit intercedes for me when I don’t have the necessary words. He knows my heart and that is the truest language there is.
At the same time the Spirit also helps us in our weakness, because we don’t know how to pray for what we need. But the Spirit intercedes along with our groans that cannot be expressed in words. The one who searches our hearts knows what the Spirit has in mind. The Spirit intercedes for God’s people the way God wants him to. Romans 8:26-27 GWT
I’ve just returned from a conference in another city. This is a city I don’t normally drive in so didn’t know my way around. While there I had to find my way to three destinations, all in different parts of the city. This was accomplished with the help of a navigation system.
I had gone online and printed out directions, but since I was traveling alone it was difficult to read them while driving. The navigation system took much of the stress out of driving in an unfamiliar area. In a calm, clear voice, it would let me know when my turn was coming up and which way I would be turning. All I had to do was enter my destination into the system and it took care of the rest for me.
On my drive home I reflected on this navigation system and realized that I have a constant one in my life. Jesus not only guides me, he knows the destination before I do. My role in this is to stay tuned into him and to follow the directions he gives me. By coming to him frequently in prayer he will lead me in the best route from my life. He constantly watches over me so I know that even if I make a wrong turn, he will navigate me safely back to where I need to be.
The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you. Psalm 32:8 NLT
My husband and I love the fresh fruit available at this time of year and had both peaches and plums in fruit bowls on the kitchen counter. Within days our kitchen was teeming with fruit flies. “Where did they come from,” we asked? It seems they had appeared out of nowhere.
I decided to learn a little about these insects and found out that they can detect the smell of ripe produce from quite a distance away. They are so tiny that they can get into the house through window screens or crevices around windows or doors. When they want in, they’ll find a way. Once inside they start to reproduce and before we know it we have an infestation of fruit flies.
This reminds me of things that I have let into my life that aren’t good for me. They enter when my defenses are down. Since they start out as little things they can sneak in without me even realizing it. Then they multiply and soon my life is teeming with attitudes and actions that are not pleasant. Once they get a hold of me it isn’t easy to get rid of them.
On my own I can’t keep the negative things out of my life or eliminate them once they have become an infestation. I’m thankful that when I bring everything to God, he forgives me and rids me of the wrong I’ve done. The closer I stay to him, the less chance there is of these things becoming problematic again.
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