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Posts Tagged ‘God’

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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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Photo credit: Eastop

Photo credit: Eastop

I know that you don’t often see the words obedience and exciting in the same sentence. Many would assume that a life devoted to serving God would be terribly dull. But I’m convinced that there is no greater adventure.

Like a faithful knight in times of old, when we surrender our will to the King of kings, we enter a life of purpose. Thoughts, words, deeds—all become significant. Suddenly, every challenge is a stepping stone to greater faith and usefulness.

Learning to see challenges—even pain—as God’s way of stretching me and making me grow, has changed my life. I used to run from discomfort until fear consumed me, but now I see a world of opportunity in my trials. If I’m not facing opposition or experiencing discomfort then I’m not growing or meeting my God-given potential.

It’s purpose that turns difficulties into adventures. Think of any great adventure story. If you took out the purpose—conquering a mountain, discovering new lands, saving the world—all you would have left is the pain. But when the purpose is great enough, then no trial is too difficult.

What is our purpose? To shine like lights in the dark universe. We are to show God to the world around us, to our children, spouses, parents, bosses, colleagues, even enemies. We are to use our gifts to bless others. We are to make the most of our time here.

What we do in this lifetime counts for all eternity…the ultimate adventure.

 

 

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

 

~Philippians 2:12-15

Photo credit: Marie

Photo credit: Marie

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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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Majestic

Taken by Melanie

Photo by Melanie

Mountains! The second part of our vacation was a stop at Fernie, B.C. for a long overdue visit with one of Kevin’s sons and daughter-in-law. Fernie is completely surrounded by mountains and is one of the most beautiful places that I have been to.

Taken by Owen

Photo by Owen

We hiked around a stunning little lake with glacier blue water and stood transfixed at the top of a waterfall. Driving back along the Icefields Highway, I discovered that I have a rapt love for
the mountains. For some it is the ocean, or rivers, or Scotland, but for me, it’s mountains. They
are great and rugged, unpredictable and majestic.

Our admiration of the wonders of creation should draw us back to the Creator. We serve an awesome God!

“Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgements are a great deep; O lord, You preserve man and beast.” ~ Psalm 36:6

Fernie, B.C.

Fernie, B.C.

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I shared my testimony at a ladies study recently and I decided to share it here too. I have one concern in telling my story though: I in no way want to glorify the darkness that I came out of. I hope that my story will rather glorify God, whose power is infinitely greater than that of the devil, whose love can soften the hardest heart, and in whose light darkness flees.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our family attended church when I was young and I had an immense set of Bible drama tapes that I listened to each night before I fell asleep. I could easily answer all the Sunday school teacher’s questions. I also was quick to memorize the verses assigned, and this led to spiritual pride early on in my life.

I remember listening to the story of the good Shepherd and the lost lamb. In this parable the Shepherd goes out to find his lost lamb, leaving the 99 behind. When he finds the lost lamb there is more rejoicing over the lost lamb that was found, than over the 99 safe sheep. The teacher explained that the Shepherd represents Jesus, seeking and saving the lost.

This story haunted me and left me feeling hurt and betrayed. Why would God rejoice more over the lost, found and saved, than over me? I knew that I would never stray from God. What is worse then being lost, is being lost while thinking that you are safe. I needed to learn that my own righteousness was as filthy rags, and that I was as in need of a saviour as much as the lost lamb. That lesson would turn out to be a very painful lesson to learn.

My parents separated shortly after, and I felt as though my world had been torn apart. I had been very close to my Dad and not understanding the complexity of the issue, I was very angry at my mother for leaving. And so, my relationship with both parents was severed. I was set adrift in the world. At first I questioned God’s love, and then his existence, before denying him altogether.

A world without God is a world without morals, and the consequences of that ideology became clear as I entered the teenage years and began a life of promiscuity as well as drug and alcohol abuse. I was at this time very troubled that without God there was no meaning to life. It meant that all the pain and suffering here was meaningless. I began searching for answers to the meaning of life in other religions and the occult. I started out by using a Ouija board and was soon delving into Wicca (witchcraft.)

Those were the two most terrible years of my life. Though I denied God and thought that I was free to do as I pleased, my conscience tormented me. Life held no joy and my soul had no rest. I became afflicted with terrible anxiety and depression. The frantic anxiety attacks left me feeling so out of control that I turned to cutting my arms to bring me back to some sort of calmness.

This was a time of secrecy as I tried to hide the scars on my arms and the wounds in my soul. I felt desperate to escape the turmoil of my life and suicide seemed the only answer left to me. At first the idea terrified me, but I dwelt on these thoughts more and more and felt strangely comforted while fantasizing about dying and what I imagined to be freedom from the chaos in my mind.

I cannot look back to those days of darkness without being eternally grateful that I didn’t take my life at that time. Oh precious Saviour, thank You for saving me from myself!

While in my darkest hour I began spending time with the man who would later become my husband. I was 16 at that time and had made a tornado out of my life. I knew that Kevin was a Christian and I started asking him questions about God. One day he said to me, “God loves you Rachel, and He wants you back.” The words stunned me. How could God love me after I had turned my back on Him? And yet I knew that it was true. God did love me! I wept before my Lord. His love was so great, so beautiful that I felt absolutely broken by it. I was the lost lamb and Jesus had found me!

The battle had just begun though, and the next few months would try the genuiness of my new faith. I had gone so far as to covenant myself to being a witch before coming to God, and Satan would not let me go without a fight. I had previously been comforted by demons and I now saw them for what they were, and I was terrified by the reality of the darkness I had been walking in.

I was tormented by day by thoughts of condemnation and by night with reoccurring dreams. In one dream I was picked up out of my bed and swung wildly around the room by a creature I could not see. This dream came back night after night, but over time things began to change. I began to pray in my dreams and I would wake up still praying. My fear began to wash away as I learned to put my trust in God. Though I was absolutely powerless to stand before Satan and his demons on my own, I was more than a conqueror through Christ who loved me. I learned that nothing, nothing could separate me from God’s love! (Rom 8:31-39)

It has been 15 years since I became a Christian, and though there have been many trials and sorrows, I have known through it all that Jesus was with me, leading me through. I have hope and peace and joy that can never be taken from me and I know that there is an eternal purpose to my life. I know also that I have value, not because I am a great person, but because Christ’s blood was shed for me.

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Do you ever feel like your life is an incredible journey, an adventure laid out for you alone? I do. Danger abounds and courage is needed, for life lessons are to be learned along the winding path. (Maybe I’ve read Pilgrim’s Progress one too many times!)

I can remember one of the first lessons I learned on my journey as a new christian. It’s kind of a silly story, nothing exciting or dangerous (sorry, no dragons), but the lesson stays with me all these years later.

We were very, very short on money and there were many things that I was learning to do without. But, there was one thing that I really wanted, sandals with velcro (I told you this was silly!) These sandals had just come out and everyone had them; a perfect fit, snug, comfortable, just right for crossing a rocky beach or even climbing a small mountain. 😉 “Lord,” I prayed wistfully, “if it’s Your will, could I please have a pair of sandals with velcro.”

Only a couple of days later I was visiting a friend. “Can you use these?” she asked me while holding a pair of the coveted sandals. “My mother’s always leaving stuff for us that we have no use of.” Her tone was exasperated, but I barely heard her words. I felt so humbled and blessed by God’s love that He would care about a pair of sandals for silly little me.

Did they fit? You already know the answer, don’t you? They were a perfect fit. Did they turn me into a beautiful princess? Not quite, but every time I think about my sandals I am reminded that I am a princess, a daughter of the King of kings.

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I Am Thankful

It is one thing to be blessed, but it is quite another thing to know that you are blessed. I am thankful that I can look around me and see, not just the work and hardship, but the precious gifts that fill my life. My life is very busy with 5 small children, and a house and garden to tend to, but it is my prayer that I will not just rush through the days. I want to savour the moments.

My children love baking and I am trying to include them more. It is tempting to just do it myself. After all, it is easier and probably quicker too, but I am reminded that children grow quickly. It won’t be long until I will be able to bake in peace, I think I’ll be wishing though, that I had little helpers.

Yesterday I made bread. I gave a lump of dough to each child, and they set out to make pieces of art with it. Myra spent almost an hour crafting a family. The mother had tiny, intricate braids. There were beds for everyone and even a highchair and bib for the baby. Melanie also made a family and Ethan made wonderful monkeys. Owen made bug faces. 🙂

The girls are wanting to bake more on their own now. They positively glow when someone says that the cake is good, and I can tell them that Myra or Melanie made it. Of course the eggs are still a bit tricky. I get them to crack the eggs into a cup, and the cat gets the ones that end up on the counter.

I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for the moments that make up my life. I am thankful to know that I am blessed. Each of these gifts are from the hand of God.

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