Since the beginning of the summer I had been growing this wonderful pink gerbera plant. With complete joy, I bought myself this plant at my local flower shop to welcome myself into my new home. During my first two months living at this new place, I watched my plant “Dorothy” (named after Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz- there’s no place like home) grow into this beautiful healthy plant. Every day I made sure to give it just the right amount of water, and made sure that it had enough sunlight throughout the day. Dorothy was beautiful, and I took complete pride in my flower. However, some days with Dorothy were not as great as I had hoped they’d be.
I was living in this house with my absolutely wonderful roommate who liked to close the curtains during the day; I had no problem with that. However, while she was closing the curtains she never noticed that she had knocked over Dorothy onto the ground and left her to lie there all day long. Poor Dorothy was neglected and was quickly dying due to this sudden fall to the carpet. When I had returned home from work, I would check to see how my flower was doing, and there she would be, squished to the ground with some of her soil scattered throughout the carpet. Quickly I would pick Dorothy up, place her back in her appropriate spot, and tend to her- flowers need love too.
One thing I noticed was that I was always upset when I saw my flower fall to the ground. It was as if she felt like I didn’t love her and that I had just wanted her to wilt and die like all of the rest of my previous plants. I never intended on her falling, and I never and STILL DON’T intend on her dying. I believe that my relationship with Dorothy is much like God’s relationship with us.
In this case, God is me, and I am Dorothy. Throughout the years, God has given me just the right amount of nourishment that I need to grow strong. He has given me His light to shine through me, and to brighten my paths that seem ever so dark. God looks at me as His beautiful flower, and He takes complete pride in His flower. But, there are days when His flower falls, and it is not His fault. As a result to sin, I fall. Parts of me become scattered and I feel as if God has abandoned me and has stopped loving me. Why would I fall when I thought someone loves me SO much? Here’s the answer: God doesn’t intend on us falling. By the works of Satan, he lets us fall (not saying my roommate is Satan). Satan wants us to wilt, and he wants us to feel unloved by our wonderful Creator. Satan is the one who closes our curtains, removes us from the light, and leaves us to die. But the wonderful part to this all though is God will ALWAYS save the day. God sees our falls, and He acknowledges them. Carefully, God picks us back up, puts us back into our rightful place, and tends to our wounds. Much like Dorothy, God shows us His love. He lets us know that things will all be okay. And if we trust Him, they will.
Once Dorothy has been picked back up and given the nourishment she needs, I then watch her become healthy again. She begins to grow into something even more beautiful and she amazes me by her beauty. Just like Dorothy, God watches us grow into something even more beautiful than what we were before. Through our falls, we become stronger, more resistant to falling, and turn ourselves to God for rescue.
Falling is just a part of life. It is not God’s intentions for us to fall, but Satan’s. But thankfully through the grace and love that we have through Him, God will ALWAYS pick us up and give us the tender loving care we need.
“So do not fear, for I am with you;do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
“Dorothy the Gerbera”
God is like the sun.
He is big. He is bright and He is full of love.
On sunny days, He warms the skins of those who stand underneath His light.
On rainy days, He is never gone. The sun still remains there; you just cannot see Him so clearly anymore.
God is ALWAYS there. He will ALWAYS be big. He will ALWAYS be bright; and He will ALWAYS warm you up even when you cannot see Him.
God is my sun.
“God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
For the past month I have been living in Québec City working for a family as an English-speaking nanny for the summer. I have been once again given this great opportunity to immerse myself in the Québécois culture; eating French cuisine (poutine, wine, fine cheese with fresh baked bread) and speaking the Québécois French “là,là, mais c’est là bas là”. I honestly feel so blessed to be out here because it is giving me the opportunity to become more like a Francophone (since having been born and raised an Anglophone).
Before my departure, I made myself a promise that while I was out in Québec I would become more in touch with God through reading my Bible and daily devotional every day, praying more, and by attending (a Baptist) church who’s sermon was done in French. So far, two out of the three have been fulfilled. Daily I read and meditate on God’s Word. Unfortunately though, I have not been able to find any churches in my area that are not Catholic- it’s a shame really.
As a result of this, my stay out here had made me feel distant from God. I felt that because I am not able to have fellowship with any Christians, it had caused me to feel lonely and sad out here. I had and still do not have anyone to talk to God about. See, back at home, I have many friends that I have a Christian fellowship with. My friends and I help each other on our journeys to becoming strong Christian soldiers. Unfortunately though, due to work, holidays and just the fact of being busy, we are not able to talk as often as we would like. As a result of this, I feel like a lonely sheep travelling with a herd of goats- I am the odd one out.
For a long time I would actually just sit around wallowing in my sadness. I was alone, afraid, and I was missing my friends and family. I had felt as if God had abandoned me. He led me to this city and left me to figure things out for myself, much like if a parent told their child to move out of the house at the age of 14. I had absolutely no guidance- no friends, and no understanding of my surroundings. I was a lost sheep feeling as if my Shepard had abandoned me.
It wasn’t until recently though when I started to view my Québec experience in a different way.
Once I had begun site seeing, I began to feel this presence that I was searching for all this time.
In my travels through the beautiful city of Québec, I began to feel God’s presence. Instead of sitting around wallowing in my loneliness, I opened my eyes to God’s creation. For those who have been to Québec City can completely agree with me that every corner you turn there is this inexplicable beauty. The cobblestone roads, the historic buildings, the large cargo ships travelling down the Saint Lawrence River towards the rolling hills in the distance; Québec City is just filled with jaw-dropping beauty. This is how I felt God.
The sunrises, sunsets, waterfalls, and historic sites are all just proof of His perfect and wonderful creation. Wherever I look, I see God.
I can’t believe that it had taken me this long to realize that God had never abandoned me. Though I believed that He would never leave me, I still felt like the lost sheep in a herd of goats. I was searching for my Shepard, and praise God that I found Him!
Though I am not able to have fellowship with my fellow brothers and sister, I am still able to take in all of God’s creation. I am looking outside of the box- seeing the love God has poured out for us on the earth. I am experiencing His creation.
No longer do I feel sad and lonely, I feel blessed to see God’s hand at work.
I get to take in all of the beauty of God’s hand, and that is what has comforted me. My Shepard led me here to take rest and to see just how truly amazing of a God I serve.
So, for those who feel this kind of sadness and loneliness, take some time to look at the wonderful world that we live in. In a world full of evil, we still see God at work. There is beauty found everywhere, not just here in Québec City! The grass, the trees, even the air we breathe are all signs of God’s perfect and wonderful creation.
Take some time to look at God’s artwork.
IT’S A MASTERPIECE!
Train Bridge in Cap-Rouge
Sunset over looking Saint-Foy
Chateau Frontenac early in the morning
Sun Rise over looking the Saint Lawrence River- 5:25am
"O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom has thou made them all: the earth is full of your riches." Psalm 104:24
As I was reminiscing through my Hotmail tonight, sorting through all of my e-mails (FINALLY), I came across one particular e-mail that had reminded me of how amazing some people are. In this case, Bob Goff the author of “Love Does” is the amazing person whom I am talking about.
Bob Goff is just like any other author. He writes words onto a page and makes money through the sales of his books (His book is actually one of the New York Times Best Sellers list, hurray!!). But unlike some authors, Bob is still human. He responds to his fan’s e-mails. Not many well know authors do this because they are busy writing another book, or just busy with time in general. Bob is different though. He responded to me, and within 12 hours of me sending out an e-mail to him I got a response. Here is what the e-mail looked like:
About 2 months ago I had decided to pick up Love Does because all of my Christian friends were praising this book telling me stories of how amazing and life-changing it really is. So I decided to give Love Does a try and honestly I couldn’t put it down. Everywhere I went, Love Does went with me. Instead of reading my school text books, I was reading about your amazing stories (but I really should have been reading my text books).
Once I finished your book, I fell into this little depression mode; the book was over, what was I going to do with my free time (read my text books? Nah). But at the end of the book you wrote down your phone number so that people ALL OVER THE WORLD could contact you. My friend, you have some courage, and I feel sympathy for your sweet Maria…all those phone calls must drive her crazy!
Bob, I was at first very hesitant to writing you this e-mail because first, I’d be like all of those other Love Does fans who wants to hear back from their beloved author, but second I would be that creep that searched up your e-mail on Google. However, I feel the need of praising and thanking you.
Your book honestly sent goosebumps up my back, and it kept me laughing and crying the whole way through. My favorite story of yours was the car crash, amazing that you are alive from it! But I loved the story and the true meaning behind your message. There has been so many times that I have asked God for forgiveness, and I feel like I need to ask Him every day for this forgiveness. It is as if there is this person inside of me that tells me to plead with God for mercy and make promises with Him that are most impossible to keep. Your story helped me see clearly though that I do not need to ask God for forgiveness all the time. He forgives us, because He is all-loving. Another one I liked was you getting into Law School. When you want something so badly, and you KNOW that is what you want, some times, you just need to break down that door that God hasn’t opened for you and do the things you KNOW you are destined to do. Yet, God hasn’t purposely not opened the door, he’s just put a bit of glue along the edges making the door slightly harder to open, but in the end, He’ll open it for us.
Alright, well anyways Bob. I just want to thank you for the amazing book. I have recommended it to all of my friends, both Christian and non-believers. I highly adored it and it truly opened my eyes to what Love really is. Since the finishing of your book, I have been making sure that Love is an action and not just a saying.
Thanks again Bob.
And if you ever need a place to stay in Canada, you are always welcome, Eh!
And here is his response:
Thanks for your terrific note. I hope I didn’t cost you a test or two in school, but I’m so glad you enjoyed the book. That means a lot to me.
You’re on a terrific adventure. Take lots of notes and let me know what you’re learning along the way. I have a long way to go in understanding who Jesus is and you’re someone who can help me.
I’m in London right now with Sweet Maria on the way back from Uganda and catching a plane. So nice of you to write. I can tell that you just leak encouragement. The world needs plenty so we’re fortunate to have you!
We’ll find each other in Canada some time I bet!
I find it completely amazing to see how some people in the world are born motivators, and obviously Bob Goff is one of them. He is truly an amazing author, and his book is absolutely fantastic (if you haven’t read it…YOU SHOULD!!) His book has helped me on my journey, and Bob has taught me that Love is an action, not just something we say. Love is thrown around in the air all the time but it is rarely ever shown. Our job as Christians is to show the love that Christ has for us. The love He showed the world.
So instead of just saying you love someone/something (hopefully someone), show you that you love them/it. Make love an action.
PS. Bob Goff is TOTALLY awesome :)
Christians travel down a dusty dirty back-road filled with many trials and temptations. Unlike the smooth paved road everyone else is travelling down where everything is “perfect”, we are caught getting dirty, getting frustrated and angry, and hitting the many potholes found scattered along the way. We find it unfair that we are caught driving along this road because unlike those who are driving on the paved surface do not have to worry about their car getting damaged or themselves getting bruised from the tossing and turning coming from inside the car. However, there is always the benefit of driving down the back-road; the sights are always beautiful, there are many shortcuts, and the feeling of reaching the paved road at the end makes the drive so much more worth it.
With this back road, I would like to think that the smooth surface is God’s path and the potholes found in the road are Satan’s. As we drive along this road we find ourselves trying to avoid the potholes and aiming for the smooth surface. We try with all our might to avoid these holes because we know that if we hit them they will damage our car and make us regret ever going down this road to begin with.
In the distance, we then see that the whole road is covered with large potholes that look to be a foot-deep. Because of these upcoming holes we slow down and brace ourselves for the coming troubles we will soon face. We are then caught driving slowly over these holes and driving with extra caution trying not to let these holes destroy the undercarriage of the car. Slowly we make our way through this pothole infested road getting thrown around in your car, swerving around the massive holes and occasionally hitting them which then throw off your car’s tires’ alignment. “Crap!” is all that comes out of your mouth.
This I like to think is the way us Christians go along our paths. We aim towards God’s beautiful smooth surface but occasionally we get thrown off and hit a hole which leaves us bruised and damaged. So instead of accelerating further down the road, we slow down and try to avoid the bumps and holes that are placed in our way by Satan. We try with all our might to not fall into these large holes but because of the way we are travelling, we still manage to fall. Our alignment is then thrown off and it has made our turning that much more difficult. However, though we have fallen and our travels have become much more difficult, the ending is still in our sight and we strive towards the smooth surface which in toll is God’s perfect path.
Most of my life I have found myself travelling down this same road, and more than I would like, I have hit these large holes which have damaged my relationship with God and Christ. These holes have thrown off my alignment with Christ, but it has made me strive to work harder at achieving my future destination, the destination I will one day call home. Though I have made many foolish and regretful mistakes it has made me turn to God and ask Him to guide me down this dirty road that I travel down. Never am I alone and never do I feel alone in my vehicle for I know that Christ is with me 100% of the way. In my travels, Christ is showing me what lies at the end; and even though I am battered and bruised, I know that these will all be worth it one day.
So though there are bumps and holes in my road, and many large potholes that I regret not avoiding, I do not dwell on my past for I know that God forgives me, and He wants to see me reach my future destination- the paved, smooth road which will drive me into eternity with Him.
“But this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:13-14.
When you put God first, when you obey His commands, you open the door for His favor—you have the advantage for success! Even if someone has wronged you and it looks like they have the upper hand, even if it looks like things are never going to change, you need to keep reminding yourself, “I have an advantage. God is in control of my destiny. He’s fighting my battles for me. He is my vindicator, and it’s just a matter of time before things change in my favor.
Fear always presents itself much bigger than it really is. It’s always the worst-case scenario. It always tries to get you worried, anxious, uptight and panicked. Fear’s goal is to separate you from God by trying to get you to doubt His Word. But when the spirit of fear comes, recognize that it has no power unless you give it power. Don’t give it power by speaking what fear speaks. Don’t give it power by meditating on it. Instead, let the power of the Word of God rise up within you. Declare what God says; declare that God has given you all authority in heaven and earth. Declare that no weapon formed against you shall prosper.
Remember, no matter how big fear presents itself, it’s no match for the power of Almighty God. When you yield yourself to Him, you tap into His power. Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world. God is bigger than your problems and bigger than fear. Let faith rise up in your heart because faith is the victory that overcomes the world.
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
- Isaiah 41:10
“If God is all you have, then you have all that you need.” John 14:8
As I am lying in my bed, staring at my wall, I came across the verse from John 14:8 and I just can’t seem to stop thinking about it. If God is only what you have, then you have absolutely EVERYTHING, right?
Now I feel that it is easy to say that you have everything when you’re with God, but just for a minute I want to look at the opposite side to this verse. If God is all I have, then I have all that I need…So what John is telling me then is that if I am hungry, God will provide and fill me up. If I am thirsty, God will provide and quench my thirst. If I am short on cash and I am poor, God will provide. See the similarities? If there is something bad, it will always become good, if you have God with you. Yet, I still find this verse difficult to fully understand, and here is my reason why.
Back in November, I was undergoing a lot of stress caused from school, volunteer work, and relationships in particular. Due to this stress, it caused my monthly menstrual cycle to go completely out of whack, so I got myself checked out. A month later, I found out my results. I have an inverted uterus which leaves my chances of having children slimmed, and pregnancy to be a lot more risqué.
Now, just some context here. Ever since I was a young girl, I had ALWAYS dreamed of one day having my own family and becoming a mother (Mother-hood is my God-given talent). I dreamed of the day that I would be able to cradle MY own child in MY arms, and be able to love and raise that child with all of my heart. However, to know that God took away some of my chances of ever being able to grow my own child inside me one day sucks. How am I supposed to be happy when the ONE thing I knew that I needed in my life to make me happy and complete has been taken away right beneath my feet? It was the ONLY thing I wanted and NEEDED. When I found out these results I felt like my life came crashing down on me. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about this because it brought so much hurt and anger to me. I didn’t want to share my anger and hurt towards God because I felt like it showed my weakness. I am NOT weak; I am STRONG (so I let myself out to be).
So bringing this story back to John 14:8, it makes me upset to know that the ONE thing I needed in my life isn’t really the thing I truly need. What I actually need is God, and it is hard for me to wrap my mind around that. God is all that I need. He is what I desire, and only in Him will my life be complete.
After then thinking about this verse, I decided to flip through my Bible. I came across Philippians (a good book in the Bible). In Philippians 4:10-20, Paul writes about being content in God’s plans. If God only gives you one slice of bread instead of two, be content in that one slice for He will give you many loaves of bread and fill you up, all according to His time. “It is HE who will supply all your needs from His riches in glory, because of what Christ Jesus has done for us,” Philippians 4:19-20. Because of the debt Christ paid for our sins, God WILL provide for us and He WILL tend to those who have Him, for it is ONLY GOD who we need.
Therefore in John, if God is all I have, then I have absolutely all that I need. If I have God with me and Him in my heart always, I will have the only thing that I truly ever need eternal life. For with God all things will be given, but He only supplies our needs and not our greeds. My need for a child is actually a greed, though if God is willing to provide for me a healthy child of my own, he has supplied my need.
If God does not respond out to our cries (like I cried to Him), it is not because He is ignoring us or that He has forgotten us. No. He does all things in His time. So, if I am in “need” of a child, God may never provide me with it. However, that is only my life on earth. In the life to come, God will give me my own family to love and cherish; the family of God.
Henceforth, Rejoice always, even in sadness, for God is good and His is our want, our desire, and all that we NEED.