Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Taming Turtles

If you've been around here for a while, you might remember this photo, taken about half an hour from our home.

This little turtle was in the middle of a dirt road, with his head stuck right out. He wasnt very happy at all when we stopped to help him off the road and was looking like he might bite me if I picked him up.

So I took this photo as a momento and we drove around him, hoping that not too many other cars would come along the dirt road before he decided to move off.

But I've always wondered what would have happened if I had have picked him up. What did I miss out on because of my fear? It would have required a lot of courage, as he looked pretty scary, but what exhiliration and accomplishment to master the evil turtle. Ok it might not have been that amazing, but I always wondered. And I made a little pact with my son. Next time we see a turtle, I'm picking it up.

What's the worst that could happen - it would be a great story in the ER as I got my stitches ;) I want to be ready.

In Paul's letter to Titus he encourages him to "Remind the people to respect the government and be law-abiding, always ready to lend a helping hand. No insults, no fights. God's people should be bighearted and courteous." I want to be ready to do good. I want to be big-hearted, prepared to go out of my way to help others (not just turtles).

Occasionally in the car Josh will remember the turtle and we will chat about it. And I always say - next time we see a turtle, I'm going to pick it up! We need to be having chats about those other things in the car too - respecting the government, obeying the law, helping others, not insulting or fighting, and being ready to help others. Then when those opportunities come up, we are ready in mind and body to take up that opportunity and make a difference in the world.

Last week, I had one of those opportunities. I grabbed the turtle by the shell and changed his little world.

My kids were amazed when I stopped on the busy road, ran out and picked this little fellow up. We drove him to a nearby waterway and watched as he scooted off into the water. It felt so good to finally make up for not being big-hearted that first time.

I hope to have more of those conversations from now on. And with those things in the back of our minds, I pray that next time an opportunity pops up to do good, that my kids will jump at the chance.

We made the world of difference to this turtle, and God might have some world-changing assignments in store for you soon. If you have missed some of those in the past, dont let it discourage you, be even more determined to take up the next opportunity.

This turtle sure appreciated it, and I think this time he really is smiling for the camera!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Fob Off

(this post was written a couple of years ago and has been hiding in my drafts folder
so it is safe to assume that I am not talking about you,
or if I was, we are friends now so its all good ;)

I walked out to my car after having a nice chat to a friend of a friend.

You know how there are some people you meet and you think "Wow, they are really lovely!". I have met a lot of those ladies, and most of you I have managed to snavel as friends. But one lady recently has declined my kind offers of cappucino and cake. She is a very busy lady so I can understand it being hard to schedule in coffee with a new friend. Sort of. I'm sure she has tonnes of friends so probably isnt really needing another social engagement in her week. But... well... ooh I wish she would! :)

I had been second guessing myself because I was thinking "Surely you can't be THAT busy".

Until today.

I'm so sorry.
It totally wasn't intentional.
I really was flat out and had lots on my to-do-list.
Today I realised that last week... I fobbed someone off. They asked me to have coffee with them, and I declined, saying I had too much on at the moment.

The Collins English dictionary describes to 'fob off' as "to appease or trick (a person) with lies or excuses". That sounds a bit nasty - I'd like to say, it wasnt intentional, I was feeling overwhelmed with all that I have to fit into my weeks now that I am studying full time and working just a bit and keeping the house and health of my family in order. But, I'm sorry.

I ran into the said fobbee today (If that were a word it might be defined as "the person who is appeased or tricked with lies or excuses"). I had a lovely time chatting and she gave me a warm hug at the end. I said goodbye and walked to my car and right at that moment it dawned on me. I had fobbed someone off after being fobbed off myself!

It is definitely OK to say No when you have other things on. It is even OK to say No just so you can have margin in your life, or if something is not the right timing. But if Im honest, I was saying No because I didnt want to invest the energy into it. And if I'm really honest, I was showing favouritism.

If a good friend had have come and asked me to have coffee, would I have fitted it in? If someone important invited me to a meeting would I have accepted?

Like Christians through the centuries, we need to heed the words of James in the New Testament;

"My friends, if you have faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, you won't treat some people better than others. Suppose a rich person wearing fancy clothes and a gold ring comes to one of your meetings. And suppose a poor person dressed in worn-out clothes also comes. You must not give the best seat to the one in fancy clothes and tell the one who is poor to stand at the side or sit on the floor. That is the same as saying that some people are better than others, and you would be acting like a crooked judge."

James 2:1-4 (CEV)

Its not about saying yes or no to invitations to catch up. It was about my heart. Its always about our heart!

So next time you do the fob-off just remember the verse (and maybe even the story). You could be missing out on coffee with me!

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

You Can't Judge An Umbrella By It's Cover

A friend of mine received an umbrella from her husband for her birthday. She had asked him for a nice girly umbrella and so while she very much appreciated that the present was just as she asked, she was slightly disappointed when she opened the wrapping to see this black umbrella as her treasured gift. He earned serious husband points however, when she opened it to find this...

We all know people who seem to be carrying big black umbrellas. Bad things happen to good people, and our heart aches for the grief they have to go through. But how amazing is it, when we get a glimpse under their umbrellas to see THIS! Blue Skies!

What do you see when you look at what you have in life? Are you consumed by blackness or can you see the blue sky placed there just for you? How do people still have a smile on their faces and joy in their hearts when they are in the midst of dark clouds?

A little snippet from the Old Testament gives me a glimpse...

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;

Lamentations 3:21-25

Even in the midst of trouble, God is there. And if you ask anyone who knows Him, they will tell you that He has been there for them, ESPECIALLY in the midst of trouble.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD,

“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

So if you feel like you are surrounded by darkness, reach out to Him. He has great things in store for you, and if you look up, you might see He has already provided a glimmer of hope, or better yet, blue skies on the horizon.

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