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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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Photo credit: winjohn

 

Computers. Sometimes you love them, and sometimes you want to smash them with a hammer.

The girls were finishing their Biology course and were supposed to do a presentation via the internet at 7:00pm on Monday night. At 2:00 I thought I’d log onto the v-class to see how to go about presenting slides.

We’d logged onto the class several times before without incident, but this time an innocent little screen popped up: “How do you want to open this type of file (.jnlp)?” It seemed polite enough. I had no idea how loathsome those words would become after 5 hours.

There was a list of apps that I could choose, so I picked Adobe. It didn’t work, so I tried internet explorer. That just took me to a page of gibberish. And worse, I couldn’t change it. Finally I tried a system restore. It took most of an hour, and when my computer came back on, I couldn’t use google chrome at all, and the school website doesn’t support internet explorer.

My computer is a laptop, and at this point I was considering closing it and flinging it like a Frisbee. I might have asked for help in the first place, but here it was 2 hours later, and I was even worse off than when I started. There was no point in asking for help on how to open a “.jnlp file”, when I couldn’t even access the website anymore.

I redid all my updates. Nothing. I re-downloaded Chrome, and it worked, but another 30 minutes had passed.

I downloaded an app suggested by my very helpful computer, but it did nothing. I would have just given up and gone to the library, but the library is closed on Monday. I fretted and stomped and finally hung my head on my arms and shed a few tears.

I’d like to think that being a mom of six kids, I’ve learned some patience along the way—but apparently not. I was completely undone by a computer. I did finally ask for help, but I was too frustrated to think straight, and nothing worked.

Five hours. I vainly fiddled and fussed over this inanimate object for five hours.

I’d sent of dozens of little, “Please help me to get this stupid thing to work” prayers. But I finally asked Kevin and the kids to pray with me, and I gave the situation to God.

It all comes down to surrender. Do I trust God with the outcome? Even if things don’t work out the way I planned? These were the questions I felt probing my heart.

We never did get logged onto that v-class. It was disappointing, but God had a lesson to teach me about computers, faith, and surrender.

By 7:00, my heart was restful. Thankfully, there wasn’t a hammer handy at 5:00. 😉

“ Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

                                                                                                                                     ~Philippians 4:6-7

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Eclipse

Photo credit: Havard

Photo credit: Havard

Seventeen years ago–half my life away–I wrote poetry in an effort to cope with the anguish in my soul. Today, my life is very, very different and I no longer write to survive. There have been times since then, though, that I desired to delve into poetry again. But I was afraid to go back there. The poems that I wrote were raw and full of angst. What would it be like to bare my soul again?

I have only written three or four poems since I was a hurting teenager, but it is something that I am ready to explore. I am eager to paint with vivid word pictures once again.

Here is one of my first attempts at free verse after a very long hiatus.

 


Eclipse

 

I was raised to be strong

Never give up

Never give in

Or cry

Strength was independence

Fierce, unyielding

A mask for the soul

 

We—the unbending—

Despised weakness

Where tears reveal pain

The open heart ready to surrender

It is easy to mock the uninitiated

 

Eclipse

Night and day momentarily combined

Strength made beautiful in frailty

Man of sorrows; King of kings

Damascus Light

Brings blindness—for a time—

 

In cocoon of darkness

The metamorphosis

Scales fall away to reveal

I am weak

But also strong—in Another—

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made
perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~1 Corinthians 12:9-10

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I’m excited to be sharing a guest post from my long-time friend Miriam, who has been encouraging and blessing me for years. I hope to have more posts from her over the coming months. Enjoy!

❤ Rachel

Photo credit: Balabusta

Photo credit: Balabusta

I phoned my friend up the evening before. It was one of those last-minute, short-notice kind of calls, where I realized I had a day off and thought I might utilize it to visit some friends in a neighbouring town—provided it worked on their end.”There is one problem,” Rachel said, “The kids and I are actually going to a homeschool craft day at the Fort, so we won’t be home tomorrow.”

“Well, would you mind if I tagged along?” I asked, undaunted: I knew there would be one empty seat in their van. “We could talk as we drive.” And so it was settled!

To make a long story short, I am glad that I went! Not only did I have fun and get to observe a variety of crafts as well as meet some interesting people and catch up with my friends, I was especially fascinated by the pottery-glazing process, which on later reflection occurred to me to be a kind of parable of God’s work in the lives of His children. Let me explain.

Pottery glaze comes in individual cans, each labelled according to colour. But though the can clearly states its colour, the actual appearance of the glaze inside it is very different to the shade it claims to be! In fact, most of the tones are very dull and dreary-looking and must be painted by faith in the label onto the items of clay, which action in itself does nothing to enhance their appearance. It is only when the pottery is fired in the kiln that the true colours come to light. And such colours they are. Rich crimsons and azure blues, glowing yellows and warm greens.

I was impressed. It afterwards occurred to me that this is oftentimes how God works in us, when He allows into our lives those dreary days of waiting for a longing to be fulfilled, perhaps, or those seasons of sameness when nothing in our lives seems to be making much forward-progress; or yet again those dark days when we suffer the loss of a loved one or even the death of a dream we hold dear.

The Bible tells us that God is sovereign and that nothing happens by accident – everything has a purpose, and that purpose is God’s for our ultimate good and His glory (Psalm 115:3, Romans 8:28). It also tells us that God is good, He is faithful, and He is love (1John 4:8, Psalm 86:5, Psalm 145:13).

Therefore we can know that not one of His brush strokes lands amiss; each dull stroke He paints will turn into a thing of beauty and brilliance through the fires He sends into our lives. He knows what He is doing; we can trust Him absolutely!

The glazes He chooses and the trials He allows will be different for each one of us, for no two of His pottery pieces look the same when He’s finished with them. Yet one day we will make a glorious collection, each designed for a specific destiny, together bringing glory to the Lord our God!

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our Potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” ~ Isaiah 64:8

iStock

iStock

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Plink

Photo credit: Ilco

Photo credit: Ilco

A stone drops. It plinks in the water and leaves tiny ripples that are swallowed by the next wave. Steadily sinking, the stone enters the darkness of the abyss. The water is frigid here—the pressure suffocating.

Creatures blind and grotesque guard these forgotten waters. In blackness inconceivable, the stone silently hits bottom, and an invisible cloud of silt rises. The stone—small, round, and indistinguishable save for its smoothness—remains forever lost.

~

When did I begin to sink? As a little girl shattered by a family divided? Yes, that’s when I let the bitterness stretch its arms around my soul.

Still sinking, the light faded from view as I realized God and evolution cannot coexist. There is no God, I lied to myself. In that vacuum where God was figment, sin ceased to be. I plunged through bitter cold into the darkness of drugs and promiscuity.

I sought to fill the void where God had reigned by embracing the occult. Candles burning, I chanted incantations that joined me to witches throughout time. I couldn’t see the gnashing creatures that swam circles around me.

Choosing to deny my God did nothing to deliver me from the wretched chains of guilt. Self-inflicted wound oozing, I wrote in my diary, “She punishes herself and bleeds.” Striking bottom, I sought death.

How could light reach through fathoms of water darker than blindness? And yet the light of hope pierced through the waters and made me want to live. I should have been that stone lost forever—save for love so powerful it conquered death.

~

I am on a boat, the Fisherman with me. A stone falls into the water—plinking. “Go after her,” says the Master.

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What If?

I cannot prove God to you, no one can. You cannot see Him. Does that mean that He does not exist? You cannot see the wind either. Perhaps, the wind does not exist. Perhaps you just want it to exist; it might just be a crutch to you. You tell me that you see what the wind does. You experience it kiss your cheek with a warm breeze, or furiously try to snatch your hat up to the heavens. Yes, and I see God’s hand at work as he upholds the sun and the moon and the stars. I experience Him in countless ways every single day.

I once heard of a man who travelled over seas and across deserts deep into the heart of Africa. The king of that area invited the traveller into his presence and asked him many questions about where he had come from. The man told the king of many wonders difficult to comprehend, but there was one thing the king refused to believe, that water could turn hard like stone! What an absurdity that a man could walk upon water. I believe that the traveller almost lost his life because of his incredulous lying!

What if? What if you really could walk on water? What if water really could fall from the sky, not like wet drops, but like feathers born on the wind? What if you could roll it up into a ball or shape it into the form of a man?

What if God really does exist? What if He created you for a purpose? What if He sent His Son to die for you to set you free from sin and death? What if?

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