The cold crisp air took my breath away as we climbed higher and higher.
The white caps, blue water, and evergreens made my pictures look as though
I was a professional photographer.
The view from my camera warmed my heart as I thanked my
Creator for the landscape.
As my finger clicked away at the sight,
It was no longer the cold air taking my breath,
But the wonder my eyes beheld.
During a recent writers conference, we were given ten minutes to write several lines about a recent vacation. I wrote part of the above “poem” in those minutes.
My husband and I went to the Canadian Rockies in September with friends. It is a beautiful place to see. The mountains are gorgeous, but my pictures don’t do them justice. The water from lakes, rivers, and streams is blue from the “mountain flour” deposited in the water as it runs down the mountain rock.
We explored a blue glacier, ice fields and saw many fantastic waterfalls, not to mention the MOUNTAINS.
I must have taken over 500 pictures!
God’s creation is something to behold. With every picture,
I thanked Him under my icy breath.
The cold was no distraction to our site-seeing, though. We had warm, comfortable seats waiting for us as we loaded our tour bus after each excursion.
We went into Glacier National Park in Whitefish, Montana and as far north as Jasper, Alberta, Canada, over an eight-day stretch. Banff, Canada was a beautiful (and expensive) ski town surround by mountains. We had some of the best Greek food there and coming from my Greek husband, that says a lot.
Waterton, Canada was a quaint little town with shops and a great view of the mountains. It was where we saw our first waterfall and wildlife. The deer are used to seeing people and had very little fear coming quite close to us.
We met many Aussies on our trip, most in town for the season working at various restaurants and shops. Didn’t even have to go “down under” to get to talk to them and listen to their awesome accent.
Glacier National Park in Whitefish, Montana was amazing! We rode in red jammers to travel up the mountains. These vehicles are from 1936 and were restored by Ford for the use of this park. Their top was a canvas-type material which the driver rolled back so we could “prairie dog” it to take pictures. Believe me when I say it was cold in those jammers. Luckily, they were prepared with wool blankets on each row of seats, but you had to share them with the people next to you unless they “hogged” it, first.
Jasper was another small town surrounded by beautiful mountains. And another Greek restaurant. Lots of shopping, too. I found some great prices on jewelry and other gifts for myself…um, family.
We traveled a lot throughout those eight days and saw incredible scenery while staying at five different hotels. Let’s just say I was tired when I got home. I think it took five days to recover. But, it was worth it!
Life happens. We have all heard that phrase and have probably said it. I don’t believe in coincidences. Most things happen for a reason, like the people we meet, and others occur because we live in a fallen world where Satan has power, for now.
It is hard to understand why difficult or even horrible things transpire in our lives and why we lose those we love dearly. It takes time, the help of the Holy Spirit, and the love of others to get us through the challenges this life throws at us.
Through it all, we have a Father and Savior who stick by our side. Yeshua came to be Hope in our darkest most difficult times.
I have suffered the loss of loved ones like most of you. My father died 25 years ago. It was difficult, even though at that time, I knew it would happen soon. It took years before I could talk about him without tears.
I suffered a miscarriage of our first child too. We had tried for 3 years to get pregnant. Even though I knew it was a baby, it was easier to think of it as a bunch of cells, at first. Once I allowed reality to set in the pain was unbearable.
I was angry at God. I found it impossible to pray. Grief overwhelmed me.
My God was with me. He allowed me to grieve.
Then He started to heal my pain.
He gave me HOPE. He reminded me that I did get pregnant. I was able to have a child. There would be other children.
A loss does not have to just be the death of someone we love but can take on many forms. It can be the end of a friendship, a dream, or the end of a marriage. Maybe you have lost your job or home.
The pain in our hearts can be excruciating, and you may feel like you will never recover. Still, there is hope!
Our family recently lost our beautiful, sweet, German shepherd. She was 7 years-old. We have had to put a couple of dogs down at the ripe old ages of 12 and 13. I still grieved their loss, but this time it was different. Olivia died when she fell through the ice on our pond and drowned. It was awful! We found her after getting home from a funeral of a family member. She was our family too.
Some may say she was just a dog, but she was my friend. While my children are moving out and going to college, that dog was like the child that never grew up.
The Lord was again with me in my grief.
He understands love.
He understands loss.
He never made light of my grief or my love for this dog. He was simply there. After a couple of weeks, I felt the Holy Spirit say, “If you really believe that everything you have is mine then she was mine too.”
I am not sure why that gave me comfort, but it did.
I do believe that everything I have belongs to God. I know I can trust Him with everything I love, including my husband, children, family, friends, pets, and home. He is in control.
I know I will see my dad, my baby and others I have lost again in Heaven. I have hope Olivia will be there too. If not, I’m glad I had her here.
At 24 years old, I was out of school, looking for a full-time job in my field of biology, and getting involved in a new church. I wasn’t really sure who God was, even though I had been brought up in a Christian home.
I was confused.
I was told most of my life I had to be good, wear the right clothes, act godly, and watch my language. None of these helped me have a relationship with Jesus.
God sent the most amazing woman into my life who showed me who He is and how much He loves me. Her name is Marilyn. Although we don’t live close anymore and I don’t get to talk to her like I used to, she has been my spiritual mom and friend.
She has lived, breathed, and walked out the love of Jesus. She was exactly who I needed. She was so patient with me even when I showed up at her house entirely unexpected. She prayed with me and for me. She modeled how to be a follower of Jesus.
This is precisely what our world needs today as well. It’s what our teens, college kids, and young adults need. Like us, they desire to have someone love them for who they are, to come beside them, and walk out life with them.
No judgment, no criticism, just acceptance, and love.
I pray my children meet someone like Marilyn one day. Someone who will be Jesus to them.
I want to be like her to the college-aged and young-married people in our church.
Our children live in such a different world than we did. They need direction, love, and the truth of Jesus and His Word in their lives. In Matthew 28:19, Jesus commands us to go and make disciples of all the nations.
We may not be called to another country in our lifetime, but making disciples in our families and right in our own backyard is a great place to start.