I think God graced us with four seasons for a reason. We may not think we like change, but I think everyone needs change in their life once in awhile. So one thing that always changes is the seasons. You never have to worry in Manitoba about the weather staying the same. Weather is basically different every single day of every single month of every single year. These next four blog posts will be titled after seasons and my thoughts on them - a few stories included possibly!
This past week I had an amazing experience that only God could have orchestrated, oh boy do I love when He has His own plans in my life!
This particular day started with a ice skating adventure with my little sister on a pond out back in a field that was about a half mile hike all together. It was lots of fun lacing up our skates and feeling so incredibly Canadian as we glided around the reeds on the rink God had created!
I then hung up my skates and went to the city on a date with my man and the adventure continued! We took a few cute pictures by a railroad bridge and then hit up Starbucks for some rejuvenation!
Jeffrey’s grandma has been sick of late but is now in a rehabilitation centre. We continued our little gallivant and went to visit her! That visit would have been encouraging enough just as it was planned in our carnal minds, but Jesus Christ had a much better plan that would leave me forever changed!
We entered the room where grandma was staying. Making some small talk with grandma and grandpa I noticed a book that seemed to be mainly photographs from 1939-1945… World War 2! I would never claim to be an expert on the world wars but those two particular wars tend to fascinate me (in a completely un-ghoulish sense of the word, trust me).
I went and picked up the book and started flipping through it asking grandpa what year he was born. When I discovered that he was born the year 1932 I was intrigued! I inquired if he had any memories of the war from Canada! He responded that the grandma’s roommate was born 1930 and I heard a affirming grunt from across the room. I turned to look at the lady. She looked small in her wheelchair but strong in spirit. Her eyes were so soft, I felt as though she was looking straight through me. Grandma then said “Dear me I’ve forgotten your name all ready! What was it again?!” The lady spoke in accent thick enough to tell she wasn’t originally from here but her English was fairly good; “Maria.”. “Oh right!”, Grandma exclaimed, “Maria is from Poland. Maria never wastes food, ever.” Maria seemed to awaken at that statement and proclaimed “Yes, I never waste food and it hurts me when people do waste food. Canada wastes so much food! I always eat everything on my plate because I know what if feels like to be hungry.”
I could barely contain my excitement! I didn’t know though if the war was a sensitive subject or not, but as soon as I started asking questions she seemed very open to talking with me.
Maria was the oldest of six children, born in Poland. The war broke out when she was around nine years old. Maria knows what it is like to be cold, hungry and afraid. As I was talking to her though I noticed one thing, Maria didn’t seem bitter. She had every right to be angry and bitter at the world or what it turned her childhood into; a struggle for survival. She was forced to work in a German factory at the age of 14. She lived in a camp with 30,000 people after the war and would stand in line for hours just to get a bowl of soup. Her family was dislocated from the country they had called home, to Germany. In my mind I would think you’d be angry at what Hitler had done to your life. At how war turned your life around and gave you memories you’d rather not have. Maria was soft. She didn’t seem to hold contempt against the world.
I don’t know if she had Jesus Christ as her savior but if I ever get the honor of seeing dear Maria again I want to learn more from her and maybe I can have the lasting impact on her life that she made on mine.
Having that God ordained meeting was one that actually really convicted me. Its honestly not worth it to hold bitterness, it kills you on the inside. If Maria had held bitterness in her heart to what happened to her and other children like her then it would’ve been hard for her to ever move on in life. She hates war. She made that clear. But she chooses to use her experience for good not evil.
“Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.”
II Thessalonians 3:5
Just reading that verse is so calming! It feels as though it is a verse meant to encourage, humble and comfort.
Its interesting how it says “the Lord direct your hearts..”, it is pretty symbolic of how little control we really have over anything in life.
The amount us as humans want control over every detail in life is understandable for someone who rejects the existence of a God. Everything then is pure chance and coincidence or could’ve been avoided or handled. You aren’t accountable to anyone or anything. Do what you want, live life to the fullest and make yourself happy! It seems like a pretty freeing life all in all.
For the Christian however your life is no longer your own. The concept of letting someone rule your life and control your every move is greatest form of submission to the world… honestly they probably think you’re crazy to give up your life like that. But once you surrender your life to Jesus Christ there is nothing you want more then to let Him rule your life! You know that He does a much better job of living life then you ever could yourself! A life that is completely against our sinful natures though isn’t always so ease.
Fighting the flesh is a daily thing. Surrendering to Jesus is a daily thing. Repenting will always be apart of life. You don’t give your life to God and then get a easy path, you’ll have to work to die to yourself and really want that life. When you realize that a life given to Jesus is so much better than living for yourself it helps to strengthen you in the fight against your flesh.
“With him is an arm of flesh; but with us is the LORD our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.”
II Chronicles 32:8 NKJV
Over all you need to let the Lord fight your battle. The battle is not ours. [All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.” (1 Samuel 17:47)] Jesus wins so let Him direct your heart! He’s very good at what He does!
I was driving with one of my uncles the other day and he mentioned how he reads my posts once in awhile (hi to you because you know exactly who you are ;) hehe), I was surprised at what a good conversation piece it made! I didn’t realize that my vulnerability could be an opening to a deep conversation. Honestly I was a little caught off guard with the whole thing, but inwardly I was pleased.
Vulnerability is something I’m actually a little bit scared of. Having been told off enough times by the adult world that I had to much energy, was to daring and was disrespectful from things I'd do, write and post on social media, that it pretty much made me want to crawl into a hole and hide from life, which is no exaggeration. Very honestly I felt like no one liked me for who I was sometimes. The only person that would listen to me and respect my ideas and encourage me it seemed at times, was my dad. Sometimes knowing that him and Jesus loved me for me was the only thing that got me through a day.
Now that the whole world can know this I feel especially vulnerable.
I am constantly reminded that there is nothing that we can go through, nothing that we can feel that Jesus hasn’t already felt or gone through. Knowing that He is a gentle father to His children is a heartwarming thought to me. He has had to give me the wisdom and knowledge that my mother would’ve given me. He has had to hold me when I cry because my mother isn’t there to know what’s going on in my head. So when I’m feeling beaten down by comments from people or things people have done to me I am comforted by the thought that it’s nothing that Jesus doesn’t know.
It’s no secret that my life isn’t… um….. normal; by whatever standards your normal life would look like, I don’t live it. I inherited my Mom’s reputation for being a bit of a rebel and tomboy; if I want to be a tomboy. Which reminds me of a story about my Mom:
[Keep in mind this happened many years ago and I have changed names for obvious reasons.]
I was going through an old desk of my Mom’s when I found a note. It actually looked fairly new and was folded in half. I opened it and read a full and expressive letter of hate and spite all geared towards my Mom! I was inwardly shaken at what I read! As my eyes darted back and forth over the obviously hastily scrawled words I’m sure my eyes got bigger and bigger. I put the letter on the desk and stared straight ahead. How could someone say such things to my Mom! Gripping the letter in my hands and walked upstairs to the kitchen debating whether or not to let Mom know I had found the letter. She was alone making supper so I decided to bring it up. “Mom do you remember this letter from Sue?” Mom looked at it and her face visibly saddened as she scanned the letter. “Yes I remember this. Where did you find it?” “In a drawer in your old desk.” “I see. Regan never let any kind of hate from man stop you from doing what you know is a calling from God.” I nodded looking at her but then inquired “How could you take that and still be nice to her?! Weren’t you two best friends at one point in time?!” “Yes we were really close. I choose to forgive first because God has commanded that we forgive those who persecute us, but second I forgive and don’t hold offence because Sue phoned me a few days after this arrived in the mail in tears asking me to forgive her.”
From that childhood memory I understand a few things.
Don’t expect people to be vulnerable with you if you aren’t vulnerable with them.