A Season for Everything

Written by: Christianne Williams

My kids have always wanted to have pets. This began at an early age when our two oldest boys, then 2 and 4, received Beta fish for a Christmas gift. They would talk to their fish, read to them, stare at them, one day I even caught one of them right before he took the fish out of the tank to pet him. It didn’t matter that these slippery little creatures had no fur or paws, they were tiny friends to our boys. Now, at that young age our boys weren’t the best at following the proper feeding guidelines, so it was either a feast or famine if they were left to accomplish this task on their own.

I would always check on Gordie and Spike, to make sure there had been food added or to ‘fish out’ some if too much had been dumped. One morning while I was checking on them I noticed that Gordie was swimming close to the top, a little too close, and upon further inspection I noticed that he was belly up. I knew our son would be so disappointed by this, I didn’t know how to break the news to him, and I really wanted to avoid this conversation about loss. So, after I knew my husband would have arrived in his office, I snuck into the bathroom and called.

When I had him on the line, I whispered, “We have a problem, Gordie’s dead. You have to stop at the new one before he notices.” There was a huge gasp from the other end of the phone and a very loud and concerned, “WHAT??” followed. My husband sounded so upset, more that I think my son would’ve been. It baffled me. And then I knew….his uncle was also named Gordie and I hadn’t distinguished between which one I was speaking of.

He stopped listening after the first part of my declaration and was now panicking thinking something had happened to a family member.

Once we got the whole matter cleared up, he agreed to my plan to do the whole switcheroo to save our son the disappointment of loss. I left the dead fish in the tank all day, just hoping that neither boy would ask why Gordie was looking like that, and we made it through. When my husband came through the door, I occupied the boys while he made the exchange, and then we went on with our week. Our son never knew the difference, and we actually had three different Gordie’s and a couple of Spike’s.

Looking back on that event, as well as a few others, I feel we let our little ones down. The bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

“There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, at time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.”

As parents, we wanted to shield them from the hurt but we missed the opportunity to teach them a valuable lesson about life. These verses in Ecclesiastes show us that there truly is a season for everything and that all of these things are in God’s control. We will experience most, or most likely all, of these things in our lives, and we will have opportunities to teach our children that they are normal processes and God is with us through them all. It important to seek God’s council in all things so that we can gain wisdom in how to respond to the situations we face so that we can exhibit Godly character, one that our kids will inherit. My prayer is that in the future I will be aware of the eyes watching me and the messages I’m sending, so that my kids will be able to fully trust God with their lives.

A Father Who Loves The Lord

Written by: Christianne Williams

I watched this morning as my husband got up early and readied himself to take our oldest boys paintballing for the day. I think he was as excited as they were. It really wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary though, he loves to do things with his children. Days off he heads outside to play ball hockey with them or he takes them all to the skate park so the boys can ride bikes and our daughter can scoot around on her scooter. He invests in them with his time, he easily gives of this important commodity. He understands that there is no substitute for it.

I remember his face, not long after we were married, when I revealed that I wanted a large family. Six children, that’s what I was aiming for. I will also never forget his response. No way. Two. That was all. I was desperately disappointed, being an only child I was sure I wanted lots of kids. We had two and then I was convinced that he was indeed right and our family was complete. Until four years later. And then again two years after that. Surely that was it and we ended as a family of six.

My husband has had a busy life since day one of becoming a father. He’s been a student the entire 15, almost 16, years fatherhood. At one point, he was also working two jobs to make ends meet. He’s now a pastor, and as well, is studying for a master’s degree. He always has things on his to do list, and yet knows that they need to feel they are loved by their dad, so he makes the effort to show them.

I’ve watched him pull late nights to get assignments done, after working a long day, only to get up early to look after our wee ones so I could sleep. He quickly agrees to spend time with them so that I can go out and have ‘me’ time. I’ve watched him change diapers, wipe noses, clean scraped knees, sing restless hearts to sleep, and administer medications through a feeding tube when our daughter was recover form open heart surgery. He’s teaching them that love isn’t selfish.

I’ve listened as he instilled knowledge and his love for God into their hearts. I’ve been told that I’m high strung, but he patiently listens to the questions they have and openly answers them with great wisdom that comes from a faith deeply rooted in the Father.

I feel that my children are in good hands. Our sons will grow up knowing how to be loving and compassionate husbands and fathers. Our daughter will grow up knowing what to look for in a husband and father. All of them will grow up knowing that they are loved unconditionally by their earthly father, making it much easier for them to understand and accept the love of their Heavenly Father. He’s teaching them to be strong and courageous and not to be afraid or discouraged because the Lord is with them wherever they go (Joshua 1:9). He’s teaching them that love is not permissiveness but sometimes involves correction as Proverbs 3:11-12 shows us.

I have not married the perfect man, nor is he a perfect father, but the love he has for the Lord is evident in the way he loves his children, and for this I am truly thankful.

His Future For You

Written by: Christianne Williams

Gasping for air. Sweating profusely. Trying with all I had to not die. Thinking in my mind, “How in the world did I get to this place?”

It had all started innocently enough. A donut with my coffee. A burger through the drive-thru because I hadn’t had enough foresight to prepare for supper. Some chips on our family movie nights – which ended up being every night, which resulted in no time to burn off those carbs. All those things led me to this dark place! When trying the workout that I had previously been able to breeze through, I found myself dying! I had a partner in crime though, my husband was in just as bad shape standing beside me. We decided that perhaps we needed to start with a beginner program, once again, and build up our endurance, again, to try to achieve the level of fitness we had once attained.

We chose a dance type workout. This was clearly my choice as my husband relates his dancing skills to that of a board, and I felt we were killin’ it until I heard giggling that turned into all out belly laughing coming from the steps.

“What in the world are you doing mommy?” asked my inquisitive six- year old, who, by the way, can find the rhythm in any song. She found it hilarious that her mother and father were trying to hip hop their way to health and well being. It’s a really good thing that we both have developed a tolerance for the unmeaning insults we receive from our small children, we just invited her to join us, which she happily did. She also learned the moves before we did.

The thing about this that is hard for me to take is that this situation is the direct result of making bad choices. We were once in a place where we were strong and fit, having reduced blood sugar levels, cholesterol, and blood pressure. We felt fabulous, with renewed youth and vigour, and yet, here we were again, at the beginning of another quest for health. Why did we allow this to happen? How did we really allow ourselves to get back into this place once again?

Truth be told, faith is like this. It’s like a muscle, a healthy lifestyle. It takes work to develop it, intention to maintain it, and some stress to grow it. The Apostle Paul knew the importance of physical fitness, its relationship to successfully winning a race and often used athletics as a comparison to the Christian life. One instance is found in Hebrews 12 where before this, in chapter 11, he gives is examples of people who had great faith. Paul writes, “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.

Greek athletes spent ten months in training for a contest. They had to do the prescribed exercises and was placed on a strict diet. What an incredible parallel!

Just like we need to train our bodies to be healthy (which also means putting down the donuts, chips, and burgers), If we are to grow in deep in our faith we need to lay aside things that will hinder its growth and train it! The athlete had to do the prescribed exercises. We too need to exercise; our minds by reading the Word, our wills by submitting to and obeying, and our faith by trusting God’s promises to us in the Word. The athlete was on a strict diet: our diet must be the Bread of Life and the Living Water!

God’s Word tells us not to live by our feelings, they change so quickly, but to live by the Truth that He speaks to us. If He asks you to do something that will exercise your faith, to stretch it and cause it to grow, then whether you feel like it or not, do it! Trust in the process and allow His peace to guard your heart and mind, look only to His direction, and stand amazed at the outcome. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. I trust the process on my journey to better physical health, I trust that healthy habits will change my sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure numbers. I can’t see the changes right away, but eventually I reap the reward of that. I have faith in what I can’t see happening.

God wants to use you to do amazing things, and each situation you face that requires you to step forward in faith brings you closer to realizing His future for you!

No Word From God Void of Power

Written by: Christianne Williams

My son loves a good deal. He decides that he needs something and then he religiously searches Kijiji ads and local buy and sell sites looking for whatever it is at a good price. His persistence has paid off for him as he’s been able to acquire two guitars, an amp, iPhones, and most recently a Go-Pro, so he can capture the moment he flies off of his BMX. During these transactions, he’s also learned some good life lessons, like people aren’t always honest about the condition of what they’re selling. These finds usually require me to taxi him wherever he needs to go, and I really don’t mind as it gives me the opportunity to spend time with him.

Today we left early to go get the go-pro camera in a city an hour away, armed with a link that was sent to us that gave us to the door directions to the meeting spot. There was an area I specifically requested we meet, on the outskirts of the city, because being new to the area, I’m not familiar with the inner-city area. I was a bit upset when we received the link to the map because the place the seller wanted to meet was actually further for us to drive, almost to the city center, with all of the traffic. I put on a new perspective and looked at it as an opportunity to improve my driving skills and face my fears, and also to prove to everyone I could do it.

We arrived safely, about five minutes early, which was good because my son forgot his money and had to find an ATM to get some. We waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, we received a text asking us where we were. I was puzzled. We were right where we were supposed to be, parked in front of a Safeway in an unfamiliar city, waiting for a stranger to show up with a Go-Pro. The seller was getting pretty angry with us because he had things to do on this bright and sunny Saturday and one of them was not waiting for us to find out where we actually were supposed to be. He had decided to change the meeting spot and didn’t think it was necessary to inform of that.

After an hour, the Go-Pro arrived, and I choked back my anger while my son happily made his purchase, and then we were on our way home. Today was yet another life lesson for he and I. We received a “word” from the seller via text message and did just what he told us to do! But despite following his directions, we ended up in the wrong place leaving us waiting and confused, wondering why they didn’t stick to the original plan.

My husband set me wise to something a retired professor of systematic theology wrote concerning what the angel told Mary in Luke 1 were verse 37 reads, “For nothing is impossible with God!” (NIV) How often have we quoted that Scripture to emphasize God’s ability to do anything? The impossible! But the original Greek is less about God’s ability to do the impossible and the reliability of God’s spoken word! The ASV is closer to the original: “For no word from God shall be void of power”! The point: what God says (directly to our hearts or minds), God shall do!

Unlike our adventure today, God’s word never fails! He never speaks something only to change His mind. His written word tells us that he’s not a man that he should lie, nor the son of man that he would change his mind. So, when God tells you something, He won’t give you directions somewhere and then decide that He wants you to meet Him somewhere else. He doesn’t desire to lead you astray, or leave you feeling lost and alone in a place that’s foreign to you. He gives you directions and they won’t fail to lead you where He wants you to go! What He says He will do!

The Great Gardener

Written by: Christianne Williams

John 15:1-8 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

I have decided that this year, I’m going to be a gardener. I went to the store, I bought many different kind of seeds, a garden hose because my last attempt at gardening ended dismally with plants that died of heatstroke, and a few other things that will give my venture a fighting chance. So far, in my 38 years, the only thing I’ve managed to keep alive are children, which is a win in my books, so I guess I understand why my mother laughed uncontrollably when she heard that her daughter was going to grow vegetable, from scratch.

As a trial run, I purchased some ready-for-the-ground flowers, and this seemed like the perfect day to put them in. My daughter and I got out our tiny spade, a little claw like thingy (not entirely sure what the actual name is), and headed out to make the front yard beautiful. We loosened the soil, took out the weeds, and dug holes, my daughter using her hands until she met with a worm. It was fun to work together and then step back to see what a difference our efforts had made.

I’m positive that the work in the backyard won’t be nearly as immediately gratifying. There will be need for bigger garden tools, more planting, more weeding, more watering, more row marking, and a much longer waiting period for results. I’m prepared for the harvest but I know it won’t happen until later in the summer and, for some things, early fall. It will be a lot of work, time consuming, and perhaps disheartening if some things don’t grow as I’d hoped, but in the end, it will be worth it.

The same can be said for our Christian walk, it has a lot of similarities to gardening. Seasons of planting, weeding, pruning, and harvest. Times when we see beautiful growth almost immediately and times when it seems the fruit are a long time coming. Days when we feel the discomfort of pruning and weeding. I know, I’ve been there, many times. In order to have growth, we must submit to the hands of the gardener. He knows just what to do to yield a beautiful harvest, in His perfect time. He knows when it’s time to cut back a branch or two, to pull up some shallow weeds or perhaps some deeply rooted ones that are choking out the long awaited new growth. He skillfully and lovingly tends to His garden, ensuring its beauty in the right season.

Sometimes we get side tracked by what’s coming up in someone else’s garden when in fact, they have an early summer harvest but what God’s producing in ours is a late fall crop. Only He knows what our lives are perfect soil for and He will cultivate good things in proper season! He wants us to bear much fruit, that’s His desire for us, so we must remain close to Him. Time spent with Holy Spirit and reading His Word will draw us in and out of the different seasons of growth and help us to flourish in the process.

Servanthood and Dirty Feet

Written by: Christianne Williams

John 13:4-5 “so He (Jesus) got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around His waist. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash His disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around His waist.

Think about the dirty feet. I have kids and in the warm weather they love bare feet or sandals. When they come in at night, their feet are so filthy, it’s bath night every night in July and August otherwise their bed sheets would be ruined. They don’t smell the best either after a day of sweating in the dirt. If we don’t change sandals or wash them frequently they begin to stink also. They step in the clean tub with clean water and clean bar of soap. It doesn’t take long for the color of the water to go dark and murky. The bar of soap ends up the same color as the feet and I usually tell them to get out not long after they get in or the point of the bath would disappear. And despise washing those little puppies, I couldn’t wait until each of them were old enough to do it for themselves so I wouldn’t have to anymore.

But Jesus? He willingly knelt down and washed the feet of grown men who were fully capable of doing it themselves, to show how we should humble ourselves, how we must willing serve each other. It’s not about us, about our security or status, about comfort or superficial happiness. It’s about other people, looking after the down and out, comforting the hurting and experiencing true joy that comes from serving sacrificially.

Servanthood. That the Master is willing to wash the feet the feet of his followers sets a high bar for us in our daily endeavors to be like Him. For the Saviour of the world to kneel before ordinary men, and then begin to wash the feet that were exposed to the elements, dirty from the dust and who knows what else they had walked in along the road, is an amazing picture.

He wanted His disciples to do what he did, they were His apprentices, they were living their lives with Him to gain all of the knowledge they could, in the short time they had. Just as He wanted them to learn from Him, He desires for us to as well. I can’t help but picture those dirty, tired feet and think that as He washed them, they became clean again. As He works in our hearts they become clean again, our spirits become charged with His spirit, this act of foot washing is a sign of servanthood but also of how the works of the Son have brought us salvation and restoration.

Jesus didn’t just come to save those high on the ladder of social standing, He extended grace to those who were considered the least in society. To be like Him means we do the same. Matthew 20:28 says, “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus understood that His mission was about others. It wasn’t about His comfort, it wasn’t about His happiness, it wasn’t about His will. It was about doing the will of His Father, by laying down His life for all of us. He served others, and He did it with all that He had.

Let us look for ways in the days ahead for ways that we can serve; ways that we can show Jesus’ humble spirit and willingness to get his hands dirty to love others through service.

Motherhood: The Guilt That Keeps On Giving

Written: Christianne Williams

Motherhood: The Guilt that Keeps on Giving. That’s the title of a book I have peering at me from my shelf. I haven’t read it yet so I have no idea what truth it actually holds on the pages between the two covers, but I feel like after almost 16 years of motherhood, I can relate to whatever it is. Becoming a mother is one of the hardest, and these days, least respected jobs of all. I remember wanting to be a mother while others around me were aspiring for great careers, the kind in which you’re actually contributing to society. I remember feeling like I was failing the entire female population by wanting to be a mom and not a career woman.

I had my first baby the day before I turned 23, we lovingly refer to him as our practice child because I clearly had no idea what it would be like to have a baby. Very quickly my romantic notions of being a mom were squashed. I had envisioned bathing and dressing my tiny one in sweet little outfits, easily and efficiently feeding him, taking him for walks, and for groceries, with no problems. I knew he would sleep through church and visits with friends, and date nights along with us at restaurants. He would sleep soundly, all night, after being rocked to sleep, and I would fall into bed with a spotless house and get my full eight hours. How terribly wrong I was!

After nine months of sleepless nights, refusal to be fed, acid reflux, for both him and I, mountains of laundry (baby diapers don’t really do their job well, another of my ideals down the toilet), many different types of formula, every before bed ritual I could come up with, we finally got a full five hours of sleep. How your hopes and dreams change! It felt like I had emerged from a fog. The only thing was, my house was a mess – all the time, and I was not happy about it. I felt like I was doing everything wrong. My baby wasn’t happy, my husband and I were unhappy, even the cats were coming unglued. Even though I was giving it my all, it didn’t feel like it was enough.

And then we added another baby….I was fully prepared for another stint of no sleep. I was happily surprised when this youngster came out loving the nap time. But the happiness quickly abated when I realized that a new problem was emerging. He wouldn’t stay awake long enough for me to feed him so getting him to gain weight was challenging. Here I was feeling guilty again. Four years later, just when I was finding that homeschooling could bring about a whole new depth to that guilty state (try teaching an unwilling child to read and count while most of the world tells you you’re ruining their social skills) we found out we were expecting bundle number three! And he was colicky. And then number four was found to have a serious heart defect, which we had no idea of the cause.

I could go on for a few more pages but I think I’ve painted the picture: motherhood is tough! And you know what? While I was feeling guilty for ‘only wanting to be a mom’ I failed to realize that it’s a pretty important job. Raising the next generation of leaders, instilling values and morals, encouraging them to go farther than we ever could, that’s as legitimate as any other career. Now I know many moms who are awesome who are also career women, they’ve learned how to balance both, although I’m willing to bet that they also feel incredibly ill equipped at times to nurture these younglings. But if you choose to be a stay at home mom, or domestic engineer, don’t feel bad about that either.

Motherhood looks very different from family to family but one thing is static, the inadequacies we feel, the insecurities we have, the guilt that comes from the opinions of others or the ideals we feel we can’t live up to. I want to challenge each of us to be the mom God created us to be. Allow yourself time each day to sit in His presence as He speaks words of affirmation and encouragement to our hearts, He gifted us this amazing opportunity to mentor and disciple these lives He created with incredible purpose!

I feel now, as I watch my oldest go off to his first job, that while I didn’t do everything perfectly, he’s still a pretty awesome kid. Perfection is impossible but perseverance will get you far.

A Whistle Warning

Written by: Christianne Williams

Spring seems to have finally found its way to Alberta! We are enjoying some beautiful sunny, warm days after a few weeks of winters return. This wonderful weather has allowed us to get out and explore our new town and enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons. Yesterday I ventured out with my daughter and mother for a walk to the egg park. Our town has a giant Pysanka, the world’s largest Easter egg, that serves as a weather vane, and it’s situated on the edge of town in a park that has a pond inhabited by ducks, a playground, and during warm weather, a food truck.

Yesterday the park had a good number of people mulling about, taking pictures by the egg and walking the trails around the pond. While we were sitting on a bench watching the ducks, who had just flapped off to the middle of the pond on our arrival, I heard the train whistle off in the distance. I thought that it would soon be making its way through town on the tracks that run just along the edge of the park. I admit, there’s something about seeing a train that makes me feel like a kid, who cares that its loaded with supplies and not people?

We wandered over to where we could see the tracks more clearly, and waited. We didn’t get too close, however, as I’ve warned the kids endlessly not to get too close to the tracks. In fact, I’ve told them not to ever even walk on them. That last warning led to my daughter getting quite upset when we stepped over them while walking up the road. I heard the whistle again, it seemed just as far away as it had the first time I heard it. I know that’s not possible but it really didn’t seem to be getting any closer at all.

After what seemed like forever, the train came rattling around the corner and thundered by us. My kids were mesmerized for a while; they’ve never seen one up close and personal. I think that may have been a highlight for the day. As I watched the train fly by, it crossed my mind that the warning that it was coming came a long time ahead of it. In fact, several warnings announced its arrival and you could never say that you were unaware of it’s approach.

The same is true of God. He gives us warnings and signals of His coming return. He’s let us know the signs to look for. Just like the train seemed to take forever to finally arrive, it can seem like God is slow in returning. He’s giving us lots of warning, lots of time to take care of business before He shows up.

We can sometimes grow weary waiting for Him, and sometimes question if He really is going to return like He said, but, as 2 Peter 3:9 assures us, ‘the Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ This gives us a reason to focus on being the light in the dark places, bringing hope to the people around us, teaching the world about unconditional love that comes through relationship with Christ. Your life is not for nothing, it’s a testimony that will lead people to Him, and prepare them for what’s to come.

Matthew 24 gives us a list of many things that will precede the coming of the Lord, and they can seem very overwhelming and scary. Just as the train whistle sounds while the train is still a distance away, and keeps going at intervals until the train comes through, the biblical signs that precede His coming remind us that His return is near: it’s imminent. 2 Peter 3:13 goes on to say, ‘but in keeping with His promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of the righteous.’ Every life turned to Christ, every healing, every answered prayer is like a train whistle, reminding us that though we experience His Kingdom in the here and now, they also serve as a reminder of the glorious hope we have in Him when His Kingdom comes in all its fullness!

There Will Be An Answer

Written by: Christianne Williams

I had just planted myself in my favorite living room chair when I heard it. “MOM!! MOM!!”. I thought if I sat there quietly and pretended I didn’t hear the pleas coming from my child’s room whichever one it was would eventually stop. “MOM!!! MOM!!!”. My attempts at a quiet evening with a book and coffee wasn’t going to happen. It was one of those nights when bedtime and wake up time were only separated by a seeming few hours, one where the need for drinks and trips to the bathroom and deep discussions about why bumblebees have huge bodies and tiny wings overshadowed most of the sleep that was supposed to happen. I resigned myself to the fact and went to attend to whatever it was, no matter how small, because that’s what a parent does.

My children are perfect examples of asking for what you need, or what you think you need. Sometimes it can seem greedy, like when we’re walking through the store and they ‘need’ breakfast cereal with little marshmallows, nacho cheese Doritos, or ice cream with animal tracks in mini peanut butter cups all through it. But sometimes it’s the need for interaction, for comfort, or for encouragement, it doesn’t matter to them, they just ask. Freely. No matter the time. I may be ‘indisposed’, but you what? That’s ok! There’s a crack big enough under the bathroom door for them to ask me to get them a drink even if there are five other people in the house who are not locked in the bathroom who are capable of getting it for them.

Some days I can feel for the judge in Jesus’ parable in Luke 16 who was repeatedly visited by the widow. She was persistent, and it wore him out. He gave her what she wanted because he wanted some peace, I can relate. Some days my kids actually walk out of Walmart with their Doritos and marshmallow cereal, maybe even some cookies thrown in on top, so I can just have a few minutes with my coffee and book. We can discuss my parenting habits in a different blog, but you know what? Sometimes you do what works.

Joking aside, I realize that I can learn a lot from these children I’ve been blessed with. They have no problem asking and being persistent. Most of the time, my list of needs becomes my list of wishes and I don’t wish to bother God with such ‘unimportant’ things as wisdom with how to deal with an overwhelming situation, or an insecurity that I may be trying to overcome. I see these as things that are too small to interest God, I mean after all, He has soooooo many children all vying for His attention and what if the thing that I need at the time isn’t as important as what someone else needs? And then I have three of my kids all run at me at the same time, persistently yelling my name, Mom, and I realize that if I, as a human parent, want to help each of my children equally even if their needs don’t all look the same, the God of the universe, who loves each of us uniquely, will surely help me. And you. No matter the need.

I love it when my kids ‘need’ me. When they recognize that they can’t always do it on their own and that my help or wisdom is required. God wants us to recognize our need for Him, He wants us to call out to Him no matter how small our need seems to us. He wants us to ask. To seek. To knock. I’m not suggesting that He’s a heavenly vending machine, I’m saying that He said He would supply all of our needs according to His riches. That means we talk to him about our needs, or our perceived needs, and allow Him to work it out. Even if the answer is no, like it sometimes is for our kids, there will be an answer.

Heading into this new week, can we all try and make our requests known to God, allowing Him to meet each need we have? Allowing Him to work miracles in our lives and the lives of others through our connection with Him?

Holy Week — They Faced Saturday

Written by: Christianne Williams

As we approach Easter, lots of things will come to mind. Walk through a store and you’ll see chocolate and candy, which is temptation for people like me, and stuffed bunnies or chickens. Racks of spring fashions emerge, and my absolute favorite, flip flops peek their way out again. You’ll likely encounter areas that have been staged to remind you that barbeque season is just around the corner, with barbeques, solar lights, seeds, and outdoor furniture on display.

I love to wander and look at all of these things because they remind of the freshness that comes with Spring. I drive by garden centers and toy with the idea of buy some plants and trying my hand at gardening, you know, dive right in to the excitement that is in the air. I’m quickly reminded, either by my own memories or my husband, that I have neither a green thumb nor the attention span to usher in new life that is not of the human variety. If it doesn’t cry, I likely won’t remember to water it.

Above all else, Easter is a high point for Christ followers because it reminds us of the events that bought our freedom and brought us into restored relationship with our God. A time that we look on with both sadness and joy. Easter signifies new life, restoration, eternal hope, unmerited favor. But it also has sadness and mourning mixed in, with the uncertainty that must have hung in the air that Saturday.

If we transport ourselves back in time for a moment and allow the full weight of the events of that weekend to sink in, we will quickly see that it all took a great amount of emotion and faith. It’s easy to read it, take it for granted, and go on with our lives because we know the outcome, but what did it feel like for Jesus’ mother? His disciples? His friends? How much pain and suffering did they endure during the crucifixtion? Remember, they weren’t deity; they were normal, everyday people like you and I. They were close to Jesus but they didn’t have the open line to God that He had. They relied on what was communicated to them through their beloved Rabbi. Now they were watching Him take on the sin of the world.

And after that Friday’s events, they had to go home, to figure out what was next. They had to endure Saturday. With scenes from the day before very fresh in their minds, they were likely mourning their friend, the one who had taught them, the one who had gotten them out of some tight spaces, the one who had loved them. Now they had to call on the faith that He had instilled in them to get them through those dark hours. It’s so easy to read the account and not put ourselves in their shoes, to allow ourselves, for a moment in time, to actually imagine how it must have been for them.

We focus on Friday and Sunday, but they faced Saturday.

What is your Saturday? The day after the worst day of your life, the day that you have to call on every ounce of faith you have because the events are just not making any sense. On your Saturday, remember that as you process life, there will be a Sunday. There will be a resurrection of your hope for the future, for the plans that God has for you that seem to be completely off the table for now. Learn from the Saturday experience, grow in it, and then look with expectation toward the Sunday God had waiting for you!