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As a young girl, I spent time watching my dad putter around cars. From his youth, he was fascinated with vehicles of every kind, so it’s not surprising that he became a mechanic. Over the years he spent hours fixing, cleaning, and maintaining our cars. Sometimes I merely watched his efforts, and other times I helped; the two of us cleaning side by side.

Due to his fastidious ways, our cars never broke down and always looked shiny and new. Most Sunday mornings, he would be up early hand washing the car in preparation for an outing later that day. He’d drive for ice-cream, a hike, or just the pleasure of enjoying the vehicles he cherished.

I wish I could say I adopted my dad’s car care methods, that I learned from him how to change a tire, do an oil change, or at least keep my own car clean. But most days my car looks more like it recently competed in the mud bowl. Yet my dad has never given up helping me. To this day, he’ll come over with his car vacuum, wash bucket, sponges and scrubbers, and a myriad of sprays and polishes, and proceed to detail my vehicle. No matter how disastrous its condition, my dad goes about the tidy up with the same scrupulous care as if it were his own. When he’s finished, it looks brand new.

It’s not just his love of cars that motivates my dad to help make my car look new again—it’s that he loves me.

Just as my dad helps clean up my messy car time and time again, so my heavenly father helps clean up the messes of my life over and over. I can bring any number of messes to him—both the ones I’ve created and the ones others dump on me—and he’ll help me clean them up.

He never leaves me to struggle alone in this clean up effort. No matter how disastrous the condition I find myself in, or whether he’s already helped me untold times before, God goes about the tidy up with patient, meticulous care. I don’t have to struggle to clean up the rotten bits that hide in the dark crevices of my life, or try to polish myself up before he arrives. Like my dad, he’s fully equipped to handle any kind—or amount—of mess.

And he does it because he loves me.

With God’s help, the clean up isn’t nearly as daunting or unwieldy. He willingly arrives and begins a cleansing work that renders me changed, inside and out. His loving-kindness and tender touch on every facet of my life, clean off all the dirt and soul soils making me like new. He never discontinues the clean up effort because I’m too messy, or because I can’t seem to remain clean. He shows up time and time again because I’m precious to him. And when he’s finished, I’m like new.

Nothing is beyond his reach, no clean up effort too great.

May you be blessed to feel God’s loving touch on your life, gently cleansing and restoring you to full beauty. 

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  1. What mess are you dealing with that seems too big for you to handle alone?
  2. Bring it to God and ask him to help you with the clean up effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is my encouragement to you today:

Whatever you are facing, it’s easier than you think.

It’s our thinking that gets us into trouble. We build things up in our minds to be much larger than they are. With our vast imagination, we form small things into big. Tasks loom large—both the time we imagine they will take and the amount of energy we think they will consume. The sheer thought of some things can be immobilizing.

But the battle is won in our thought life.

My mum used to tell me, “Don’t make mountains out of mole hills.” Hearing this used to annoy me, but it was her way of admonishing me not to make a circumstance bigger than it actually was—a gentle reality check. We need this same check throughout our day. Borrowing trouble from tomorrow, inflating something out of proportion, or living in dread, is a sure way to stifle joy, hinder creativity, and heap refuse into your mind.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:34

We expend a lot of energy worrying about a plethora of outcomes that never come to fruition. How often have you dreaded a task, a confrontation, a meeting—delaying or avoiding it—only to later reflect that it wasn’t nearly as difficult or time-consuming as you had built it up to be? Once you jumped in, it flowed much smoother than you imagined, and you wonder why you expended all that energy stressing over it.

It’s human nature to avoid pain. We all prefer comfort, so if we view a task as hard or uncomfortable, we falter. If we look at a situation and deem it impossible, we give up before even starting. But what if we could rejig our mindset? What if instead of engaging in defeatist thoughts, procrastinating, or projecting difficulty, we purposed to shift our thinking? And what if we had help to do so?

We can start by acknowledging our cares and fears instead of ignoring them. Once we do that, we can:

cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. ~ 1 Peter 5:7

Once we recognize then unload our cares, celebrating that we don’t have to carry one ounce of the weight of them, we can shift our thinking to a place of thankfulness. We can be grateful that we have the opportunity to face fears, knowing that in doing so, the circumstance won’t remain the same, and neither will we. We can then ask for strength and courage to move forward, one small step at a time, to exact change or tackle a task.

Even a simple attitude adjustment can make a vast difference. As we begin to positively alter our perspective towards hard or uncomfortable things—and ask God for help to release fear—we can secure a mindset of faith, and our thoughts toward what lies ahead become lighter and more manageable. We no longer feel frozen but free.

God not only offers help in the form of carrying cares and helping us conquer our challenges and fears, he offers peace and protection.

 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Phil 4:6-7

God invites us to hand over our anxieties to him. We can ask for his help in any circumstance. In place of fear, he offers inexplicable peace that guards our hearts and minds against fearful meanderings.

The next time you are facing a mountain, do a double take. It just might be a molehill in disguise.

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  1. List three things that have been consuming your thought life.
  2. Bring each to God and release them, asking for help to face them.
  3. Move forward and prayerfully tackle them with God’s help.

 

 

 

 

 

Waves, like fluid erasers, remove our imprints from the sand, dissolving them into the sea, and dismissing we ever stepped upon its granular shore. 

53532476_362438387694967_8287644696239407104_nWe just returned from a vacation in the Bahamas. One of my favourite parts of a mid-winter vacation to a warm location is taking walks along the beach. I soak in the sound of the waves unfolding onto the shore, absorb the sun’s warmth on my shoulders, enjoy the feel of the sand between my toes, and glimpse back at our footprints in the sand.

I found myself comparing the impressions we leave in the sand—so quickly swallowed by sea—to the impressions we will leave behind in the places we travel in this life. What kind of mark will we leave on this earth, particularly on other’s lives? Will it be quickly dissolved, or will our actions and words leave a lasting impression? If lasting, will they be impressions of bold beauty or petrified ugliness?

With a limited number of steps, we travel here and there making many deliberate choices that form a lifetime. As sojourners, will we leave people better than we found them, or will we be as litter strewn on the shores of their lives? How will we use what we’ve been given to make a lasting difference? Will we impress upon the lives of others beauty, truth, dignity, and love, or will we scatter indents of useless or destructive debris.

With God’s help and guidance, we can walk across neighbouring shores in humility, with gentleness, kindness, and patience, while offering mercy, comfort, and generous quantities of compassion. In this way, we leave imprints of peace, joy and love, by any means that we’ve been given, upon other’s lives.

We set aside our own wounding and bitterness—from others thoughtless impressions—and receive the healing waters that dissolve those unsightly marks. The watery waves of God’s love soften our sandy shores and prepare them to collect prints of beauty once again. And afterwards, we bravely step out to do the same for others.

Our lives are lived on purpose and with a purpose. No act of kindness or gentle encouragement, however small, is wasted. With each step, we can press beauty into all we touch and leave this place, and others, positively altered. Make no mistake, you will leave an impact. Choose well the nature of its composition.

It’s my hope that you and I would be ever-aware of the brevity of our lives, and spend each day wisely and purposely, creating beauty wherever we tread.

Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. ~Psalm 90:12

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