We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Back Seat Driver

Saturday became a big day at our house. Our youngest daughter came home with a drivers' license in her hand and a smile on her face. She passed the test after 65 plus hours of practice. Tears came to my eyes as I gave her a congratulatory hug. Her license represented not only a victory for her but also for me.

A 2003 car crash has colored my view of traveling. Getting in the car isn't easy for me, especially for a road trip of any length. And I'll admit, the prospect of teaching an inexperienced new driver caused me a bit of apprehension. Not that she drove differently than any other learner. She actually has done quite well. But for me, I made a conscience choice to accept my responsibility to help her reach this milestone.

This past summer on family outings, I spent many hours in the back seat with our sixteen-year-old at the wheel and my husband coaching from the front passenger seat. There's something unnerving about the back seat. I couldn't see much, but sometimes what I could see resulted in my giving my two cents--not such a great idea . . .

One night, as Elisabeth cruised along the freeway at 65 mph, I felt a little on edge in my back-seat position. As darkness fell, I prayed for peace and safety, but couldn't shake the feeling. Finally, I turned on my kindle and found my place in Grace Fabian's book, Outrageous Grace: A Story of Tragedy and Forgiveness. A couple pages in, I read:
". . . I knew whatever happened, it was God who had the final say. Prayers ascended. It's okay to be in the dark with God. His presence makes all the difference" (page 76).
These words relayed Grace's trust when she didn't know if she would live or die due to medical complications. She lay stretched out in the back of a van while the driver navigated 75 miles of dark, foggy, pot-holed, winding New Guinea roads to get to the nearest hospital.

Sometimes a story gives us perspective. It quiets fears that hover in the shadows. I will always remember God's reassurance in the back seat that night.

Now we're on a new journey. On the very day the shiny new license came home, I read these words by Sarah Young. "Entrust your loved ones to me; release them into My protective care. They are much safer with Me than in your clinging hands. . . . My presence will go with them wherever they go . . ." (Jesus Calling, page 246).

Congratulations, Elisabeth. You've worked hard. And I've learned a few things, too.

So, what stories have encouraged you along the way? 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

God's Perspective When Life Hurts

Fall is coming. There's something appealing about having a predictable routine again. In many ways, fall represents a new beginning. If you're like me, you may be looking for a new Bible study. I'd like to recommend God's Perspective When Life Hurts.

Last spring I had the privilege of hearing Darlene Kordic speak. She shared her story and spoke about her Bible study, God's Perspective When Life Hurts. Several others gave testimonies of how this study changed their lives in the midst of hardship and suffering. Tears slipped down my cheeks as I listened to their stories. God and His Word, through Darlene's study, made a difference in the way they lived out their faith in the worst of times.

Whether you plan to do this study in the comfort of your home or in a group setting, join Darlene Kordic in the 12-lesson DVD Bible study exploring God's plan and purposes for suffering. Learn what it means to trust in Him with all of your heart because you've come to understand from the study that an all-loving, all-wise, and all-sovereign God has ordered the moments of your life with intricate care and precision. Learn how to resist the temptation to rely on your ever-changing feelings and perceptions when life hurts. Instead learn what it means to rest in His promises and find shelter in the shadow of His wings. 

For more information about the study and how to order, Darlene has a helpful website: www.wordofgodspeakministries.org

Darlene Kordic and her husband, Craig, have been career missionaries for over 25 years. During that time, Darlene has had the privilege of teaching God’s Word in many venues and places around the world. The Kordics currently reside in Colorado Springs where they continue to take ministry trips into restricted countries to train church leaders. They have two adult children, Amber and Seth, and one teenager, Paul.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Faces of Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls. Every second, 3,160 tons of water thunder over and down into the swirling whirlpools below. Mist rises high and rains on umbrella'd and camera'd visitors, all awed by the power of the mighty Niagara, a natural wonder that draws visitors from all over the world.
Mist Rising from the Canadian Falls

As part of our vacation this year, we crossed the Peace Bridge from Buffalo to Fort Erie and meandered up the Niagara Parkway. Everything about our trip brought back childhood memories: meatloaf-potato salad-blueberry pie family picnics along the river, youth group banquets at the Victoria Park Restaurant, daring Maid-of-the-Mist voyages, and quiet strolls amidst a plethora of colorful blooms at the Niagara Parks School of Horticulture.

I grew up less than fifteen minutes from the Peace Bridge. Although respectful at the border, we came and went without a thought of terrorists or bombings. Life seemed simpler back then.

Something else connects me to this place. My grandfather, an artist and musician born in 1895, painted souvenirs for the shops in Niagara Falls: mugs, ashtrays, lighters, bread trays, knives, and other memorabilia--all with his signature painting of the falls. 

As young girls, my sister and I traipsed behind him to the barn to watch his steady hand at work. The barn always smelled the same: oil paint, turpentine, natural gas, and old dusty beams all together. First, he lit the small gas heater. He always put on a tinted green visor. Then he sat down at his table, mixed just the right shades of paint, arranged his brushes carefully, and set to work, mug after mug, ashtray after ashtray, large boxes of them. He had an assembly line of sorts. One part of each small painting must dry before the next could be applied.

I've often wondered where all those souvenirs ended up. Attics? Basements? Estate and antique sales? Out of the thousands of souvenirs Grandpa painted, our family now has only a few. Perhaps just old souvenirs to many but to me, priceless treasures, telling a bit of the story of the man behind the paintings. The gentle man with snowy white hair who we knew as "Grandpa Ewert."

For me, Niagara Falls means much more than its mighty, thunderous presence. It reminds me of home and family, both gifts from a God who is faithful to every generation.

Lord, you have been our dwelling place in all generations.
Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God (Psalm 90:1,2).
So, what landmark means more to you because of a special memory or unique connection?

An Old Barge Stuck in the Rapids