Thursday, October 2, 2014

Things We Need

The first thing you may notice is that the picture on this blog is dog-free.
But shortly after the sun rose on the first day of vacation, barking and dogs were everywhere on the beach.  Okay, not really EVERYwhere, but in enough places that my dog-weary soul reacted as if it was a bad rash.  It was a long summer of dogs and dog problems (and maybe a few dog owner problmes but not you, no, never you, Kind Reader who I am sure is perfect).  Vacation is meant to be dog-free in my mind (though I often take dog or dogs with me).

You know I love dogs.  But sometimes, I don't NEED dogs.  I don't need to see them peeing and pooping on the beach I long to meander along and think dog-free thoughts.  And two mornings, later as i contemplated braving the beach, a cat was using the sand as its litterbox.

Sometimes the things we hope to take refuge in turn out to be imperfect and have repulsive elements.

I love my house but it is currently swarmed with workers doing an impressive amount of home repairs.  Hardly peaceful.  All Summer, I run to see my friends at the Dairy Barn and their cones full of deliciousness, but noting my rather tight Fall clothing reminds me even chocolate peanut butter has its sneaky dark side (and it's not chocolate).  Ditto fruity beach drinks.  They lie, I tell you!  The moment I take pride in my identity as a fitness instructor, my ankle throbs, reminding me of a body that won't endure forever.

"His LOVE endures forever."

The last two weeks Haven Ministries has broadcast programs featuring Corrie Ten Boom's story.  If you have not read her book or seen the movie based on it, the Hiding Place, then DO THAT.  She survivied my personal worst nightmare (and likely yours) and came out of it like a boss.  I mean, her faith, refined by the fire of the Nazis, was fierce and grew brighter.  "There is no pit, that God's love is not deeper still."  See?  And that's just one of her amazing lessons.

She told the story of while in solitary confinement at a concentration camp, she called out to God and told him that her faith was not strong enough.  Through the lesson of a simple ant walking into a crevice in a wall, the Lord spoke to her, "Corrie, your faith ISN'T strong enough, but I AM.  See the ant?  It walks into its hiding place, and that is what you must do."

Mind.  Blown.

This morning I woke up with entirely too much energy and a ready-to-go attitude.  That's not so hard to do on vacation.  But the Real World lurks, and even here it is hard to avoid headlines that remind us that Evil still desires to wipe out good.

In light of that, I don't really care about the dogs and cats doing their business on the beach.  Most of the time, dogs and cats are really fabulous gifts that enrich my life.  And if I could just enjoy ice cream less often, it would only grow my appreciation for its better qualities.  Getting a buzz out of leading a bunch of fabulous women toward their fitness goals isn't bad when I remember that it is only the Lord who is my strength and my sustainer.

There are a lot of things I don't need.  And even though I want them and get sucked into their comfort too much, what I really NEED all the time is Jesus.  Even if I get irritated that life is not just how I think it should be and mean people suck, He knows and controls this world with a plan far beyond my understanding (despite my suggestions and questions).

While I don't need dolphins either, seeing them just over the rim of my laptop while listening to a song about God's grace enriches my life with a gift that proves the message of the song.  Let the People Rejoice.


  1. Once again, I had to "catch up" with your blog. I do NEED Jesus. I seek comfort which is readily given and rejoice in His love. His Plan and understanding of such has me questioning Him far too often. But then again, I am seeking answers from a God far greater than I can even imagine. Just knowing He is watching over us is comfort in itself.
    This summer, started last summer, and continues. My mom's brain cancer has returned, after having it removed last summer. This just after our house fire that insurance "finally" paid after 7 weeks of misery and working ourselves to get in the house. The financial burden was great and we are still living in a charred, decoration free home. BUT, we are living in the comfort of home. Her cancer was found to be back during a 19 day hospital stay with my 25 year old, recovering addict, son's horrible car accident. The 1st three days were touch and go. Many surgeries due to his entire right side, ankle, foot, knee, hip, pelvic, ribs (both sides), elbow and arm being literally shattered. Not to mention his lungs being collapsed, jaw out of alignment and compound fracture to his leg/knee. Simply put, God was with him. An angel got him out of that car, if he would have had to be extracted by jaws of life, he would have not made it. So God not only protected him during the accident, but showed him the way out of this mangled mess.
    Mom got the news during our stay at the hospital. The diagnosis is horrible. She is trying alternative treatment. (on my orders she has to at least try something). So I also don't need dolphins, but I do accept the enrichment of God's grace. I know He is with us as a family. I know we NEED Him. Maybe His plan is for mom to be reunited with her brother and parents sooner than we want her to. It is hard to see the good out of this plan, but I know He has a plan. So we will continue to be still. And of course PRAY.

    1. Melissa, you have had MORE than your share of difficulties and challenges. You endure these blows heartily, even if it doesn't always feel like it. Quite honestly, you really inspire me.