Tag Archives: provision

Time to Cuddle

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Have you ever wished you could crawl up into God’s lap and cuddle with Him?  While weeding my garden at twilight last night, I observed a curious sight.  Eleven bumblebees seemed to be sleeping under my oregano blossoms.  I’d never seen anything like it, so I grabbed my camera, took some photos, and googled “sleeping bumblebees”.  Apparently, bumblebees don’t have hives like honey bees, and since they are cold-blooded and need to be warm in order for their flight muscles to work, they can’t fly when temperatures fall, so they must find a place to rest.  Because flowers provide shelter and a certain level of heat, as well as breakfast when they awaken in the morning, they choose to sleep inside or under flowers.

IMG_8839 bee.bum_smwThis morning I went out and found a sleeping bumblebee with its ‘bum’ sticking out of a hosta flower.  The sun had not yet reached it, so while other bees were buzzing around hostas just a few yards away in the sunshine, this little bee remained safe and cozy.  It reminded me of a nursing baby cuddled by the one providing it with nourishment.

I couldn’t help but think of how we can learn from the bee.  It works hard during the day, gathering its food and benefiting others at the same time, and it takes the time to find shelter and rest.  We were created to work and provide for ourselves and to benefit others, as well as to rest 8-10 hours a day and one day a week.

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”  —Exodus 20:8–11

Let us take the time to take shelter in the Lord, our Provider, and rest in Him.

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.   —Psalm 4:8

(To see more photos, click here.)

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Don’t Panic

ImageDo you ever feel like you’re losing control and things are slipping through your fingers?  Sometimes when things start becoming a bit chaotic or scary, we panic and grasp for control.  But like holding sand and trying to grasp it more tightly, we find it slipping through our fingers even faster.  And instead of maintaining control, like King Saul, who was jealous of David’s success and popularity, he eventually lost his kingdom, his son, and his very life.

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Or maybe you’re more like Eli, the priest, who was passive and failed to properly train and rein in his sons.  He held them too loosely, not realizing things were slowly slipping through his fingers, and he, too, eventually lost his sons, the Ark of the Covenant and his life.

Finding the balance between panic and passivity can be difficult.  You may have heard the phrase “Let go and let God”.  When we are passive, we use it as an excuse to continue holding things too loosely, and we actually shirk our responsibility.  Then we wonder why things are slipping through our fingers, and we blame God for not coming through.  When we panic, we have a difficult time letting go and letting God and trusting Him to come to our aid.  When things continue to fall apart, in our pride, we tend to blame others rather than asking if we ourselves are somehow to blame.

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When we hold things properly— not too loosely and not grasping for control, acting responsibly and trusting God— not only will things not slip through our fingers, but with our hands firmly cupped and looking to God for direction and strength, He is able to help us and even bless us with more.  So don’t panic.


God and Mr. Miyagi

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Sometimes I just have to think about God like Mr. Miyagi,” my daughter softly stated after finding out part of her next day’s flight had been canceled.  (For those who don’t know, Mr. Miyagi is a fictional character in the first Karate Kid movie series.) Once again she was facing a snag in her travel plans, but I was very curious about her statement.  What did she mean?  Did she mean she has to think about God in the same way Mr. Miyagi thinks about God?  No, she meant Mr. Miyagi didn’t always explain his methods in teaching his protégés what they needed and ultimately wanted to learn and the goals they wanted to reach, but as unorthodox as those methods were at times, his wisdom far exceeded what appeared to be the immediate need.  He helped each one become more than they ever thought possible.

Knowing my daughter always faces some sort of snag during major travel, we had both prayed beforehand, so it was a bit confusing when her flight was canceled, especially since she has hypoadrenia and needs to avoid stress as much as possible.  And after all, she would be traveling to attend a Christian conference and celebrate the New Year with godly, supportive friends.  As we tried to find alternate flights, we wondered, “What was God’s purpose in the canceled flight?”  While we may not know the answer, we both trust Him to bring about the best possible outcome, by the best possible means, and not just for her, but for the most possible people as well.  So far, not only was she able to get an alternate flight, but she was upgraded to first class!  Not only that, but since her departure city had to change from 45 minutes away to 2 hours away, and since I’d been battling a fever for the past three days until this morning, she was surprised to find that her father was willing to get up in the middle of the night and make the drive.  She also ran into a friend and flew on the same flight, although not seated together.  I can’t wait to hear the details upon her return and what she has learned from this experience.

Mr. Miyagi said to Daniel-san, “We make sacred pact. I promise teach karate to you, you promise learn. I say.  You do.  No questions.”  Like Mr. Miyagi, God has made promises, too.  Just as Mr. Miyagi not only taught his students karate techniques, but also helped transform them and build their character, one of the promises God has made to those who are His is to conform us to the image of His Son (Romans 8:29).  Sometimes we don’t understand His methods, but His wisdom and knowledge surpass ours.  Unlike Mr. Miyagi, God gives us the freedom to ask genuine questions.  We may not always see the answers, but “Sometimes all we have to hold on to is what we know is true of who [God is]…”  –Kutless

Wax on, wax off…


Beauty Out of Painful Times

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A Christmas ornament made years ago by my sweet friend, Judy Soules.  She made several one year for gifts to her extended family when she and her husband had no money for Christmas presents.  She went out in the yard and picked up pine cones, spent $1-something on a can of spray paint, and used fishing line and random craft supplies around the house.  She was more shocked than anyone at how they turned out, and they remind her each year that God makes beautiful things out of the most painful parts of our lives.  Thank you, Judy, for both your creative and spiritual inspiration!


Pleas for Mercy

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I don’t always fully understand why God answers some prayers and not others with the outcome for which we are praying and hoping, but it really is cool when He does.  My daughter and I did more short hikes this summer than we have in the past.  She wanted to get conditioned for a backpacking trip in California with a small gathering of a larger homeschool alumni group that consists of people from all over the country.  Although one person did have to be evac’d due to altitude sickness, there were no serious injuries.  That was definitely an answer to prayer, and while my daughter could share several from her trip, I want to share the ones in which I personally saw  God’s mercy and favor revealed.

It started when I drove my daughter to the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, NH, and we discovered that she had actually booked her departing flight through Boston Logan Airport in Boston!  Even though we had arrived two hours early, the travel agents were late, and by the time we discovered the mistake, we had only one hour before her flight was scheduled to leave, and Boston is about an hour from Manchester.  She had the choice of buying another ticket or trying to catch another flight in Boston.  We decided to drive to Boston.

When we arrived, I dropped her off and went to park the car.  Inside the airport, I found her sitting on a bench with tears in her eyes.  Apparently, she was given a standby ticket, but since neither of us had ever flown standby, I wasn’t sure what to do, and she said the agent was impatient and not very helpful.  I suggested we go back to inquire and possibly purchase another ticket to ensure her flight.  We were able to speak with a different agent, who was very compassionate and helpful.  She informed us that the airline’s policy for missed flights was to issue a standby ticket, even if seats are available.  She then suggested my daughter not waste her money buying another ticket, because the flight had one open seat as well as two passengers who had not yet checked in.  She said, “You stand a really good chance of getting on.”  She even gave me a gate pass so I could go through security and accompany her to the gate.

After waiting at the gate, her name was finally called, and she was given a ticket to her first destination.  Hmm… we wondered why she wasn’t given a second ticket for the rest of her flight.  The agent informed us that since my daughter had missed her original flight, she would again have to go on standby in Denver.  Our hearts dropped.  We were under the impression that if she got on the first flight, she was home free.  We both silently prayed.  Passengers began to board, and as she waited in line, the agent called her over again.  Even though it was against policy, the agent had noticed the flight from Denver to LA had several empty seats, so she just went ahead and booked a seat for her.  Tears ran down our cheeks.  Praise God!

But that’s not all or even the best part.

My daughter is usually really good with planning and scheduling her own trips, but because of the confusion with her flight there and knowing she didn’t have a printout of her return flight, I sent her a text with the confirmation code.  I also looked over her itinerary and noted she had only a 35 minute layover in Chicago, so I advised her to go straight to her gate upon landing.  Unfortunately, her flight out of LA was late in departing such that it was due to arrive at the same time her connection was due to leave.  Because the airport is two hours away from our home, even though I didn’t know if she would make it to Manchester that night, I had to head out anyway.  And because her flight was due in at midnight, she had booked a hotel room for us.  As I drove down the dark interstate, I prayed, I begged, I pleaded that the Lord would not make her stay in Chicago alone.  I asked him to increase the speed of her present flight and delay her connecting one.  I pleaded for His mercy.

All of a sudden I received a text, so I pulled over.  Her flight had touched down in Chicago, the flight crew was aware of everyone’s situation to make their connections and would try to accommodate everyone’s needs.  I thanked God as I started to drive again, and I continued to plead.  I pulled over again when my phone signaled an incoming call.  Yes, the plane had arrived, and the crew was aware, but there were no gates at which to dock!  Really?  She asked if I would mind picking her up in Boston if she missed her flight and could get one there.  “Of course!” I said, even though I dreaded the thought of going to Boston at night.  She later sent me a text letting me know she got on her original flight and would be flying into Manchester. Woo hoo!  Apparently, when she’d gotten off the plane, she ran to the gate, but it was dark, and a woman informed her the door had already been closed.  She sought out an agent to see if she could get to Boston, but she heard her name being called over the intercom.  She left the counter and went to the gate, and the woman said, “I’m gonna get you on that flight!”  She grabbed my daughter’s hand and took her down the ramp .  Now, I don’t want to get anyone in trouble and give away the details, but the woman was able to get her on the flight.  When my daughter found an empty seat in the front of the plane next to an elderly couple, she apologized for holding things up.  The lady said something like, “Sweetie, I don’t know what you’re talking about.  We were told they were having trouble with the baggage.”  With a sigh of relief, tears in my eyes, and thanksgiving on my lips, knowing I had time before her arrival, I checked into our hotel and then waited for her at the airport.

But that’s still not all.

We had a nice time of catching up that night, and in the morning when I opened the Bible app on my phone, the reading for the day was Psalm 116.  And this is what verses 1 and 2 say, “I love the LORD because he heard my plea for mercy, and listened to me.  As long as I live, I will call to him when I need help.”

Thank you, Lord…


Love Sometimes Comes in Waves

My Father's LoveDo you ever wonder if God really loves you?  Or have you ever felt unworthy of His love?

I attended my 30th class reunion last month and was also able to spend some time with my mom, as well as a week on the beach by myself.  A business associate owns a condo right on the beach, so I took the opportunity to stay there and use the time to reflect on things.

One day while strolling down the nearby pier, I noticed the beach seemed to end in the distance, so I decided to check it out the next day.  It was cloudy when I started, so I didn’t think I’d need sunglasses.  But by the time I was nearing the inlet where a few fisherman had driven their four-wheel trucks to take advantage of the location, the sun was peeking through the clouds and creating some glare.  I wished I’d brought my sunglasses.  As I reached the inlet, I spotted a pair of sunglasses in the waves!  They were women’s sunglasses!  While I hadn’t offered up a prayer for them, I thanked my Father all the same.  What a pleasant and unexpected surprise!

The next day I decided to walk in the opposite direction to check out the boardwalk.  I wanted to feel the sand between my toes, so, with a little red plastic child’s bucket in hand for shells, I started off with my flip flops in the bucket not knowing if I’d need shoes in one of the shops.  A short way into the walk, the bucket handle developed a crack which eventually turned into a break.  I attempted to hold the handles together and carry the bucket normally, but the broken ends kept sliding apart.  How inconvenient.  Remembering God’s provision of the sunglasses, this time I prayed and asked if He would send something to hold the handles together.  I kept watching for some twine or seaweed or something similar as I continued to walk.  Suddenly something red in the waves caught my attention – a small deflated red balloon matching my little red bucket!  I chased it down and tied it to the broken handles; the stretchy rubber was the perfect material to hold the handle halves together and keep them from slipping.  Thank you, Father, for expressing Your love to me during a time of physical, emotional, and spiritual need.

If you wonder why similar things have never happened to you, or maybe think I make far too much of ‘coincidental’ provision from God, perhaps it might be good to consider the Person of the God of the Bible.   The song You Love Me Anyway by Sidewalk Prophets comes to mind… “With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace, And then alone in the night, I still called out for You, So ashamed of my life, my life, my life, But you love me anyway…”  And like Casting Crowns wrote in Who Am I?, “Not because of who I am.  But because of what You’ve done.  Not because of what I’ve done.  But because of who You are…”

God loves you, too, and He’s waiting to express His love to you.  It probably won’t be in the same way or even a way you expect, but maybe you should go for a walk or take some alone time to reflect on things, and keep your eyes… and ears open.  “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”  (Psalm 34:18)


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