Tuesday, September 24, 2013

{ " Give thanks. " }

Do you ever just thank the Lord for waking you up every morning, for giving you a brand new day? Are you ever thankful that the grass is green, and the sky is blue? Do you ever look up at the sky and think about what an awesome, and powerful God we have? Do you ever just tell your kids you love them, just because you can? Do you ever thank your parents for loving you despite the fact that there were probably many times they may have wanted to just give up on you? Do you ever look around and wonder how people are struggling through this life without the hope you have?

As I was sitting in the waiting room at the hospital, whilst dad has yet another clinic appointment, I was thankful. Sometimes it is hard to be thankful in the midst of trial. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be anything to be thankful for.  But, as Christians we always have something to be thankful for. Some of the people passing through that hospital may think they have nothing to be thankful. They may just go through life, because they have to. Some of them might be alone, and have no one to turn to in the midst of pain, and sadness. Others have family, friends, and people to support them. But, how many have what we have? We have a hope that only people who know and love Jesus Christ can have. We have security in the fact that He will always be there for us. We always have something to be thankful for.

There are even small things we can be thankful for each day. Like a pair of slippers (which is something I am very thankful for!). Or perhaps the way the sun shines, or the way the rain glistens on the green grass. I have always been someone who enjoys the little things in life. Try every day for the next month to write down one thing you're thankful for. Something different every day. It could vary from the roof over your head, to a passage of scripture you read that day. 

Life might seem like a mess sometimes, but it sure is a beautiful one. And, there are countless things to be thankful for. Don't you think? 

Remember to enjoy the little things, and be thankful every day. 

In Christian love, 

Thursday, September 12, 2013

{ " mission accomplished " }

The last seven months have been a roller coaster, for many reasons. One of them was the fact that I got my permit in early February. It was a decision I had made mostly on my own. I had not even thought seriously about getting my permit until dad was in the hospital. I then realized how much easier things would be if I had already had my license. Or rather, how helpful it would be if I had had my license. So I read the driver's manual in two weeks, and when I finished I went to get my permit. After I passed the test, the "training" began. Suzy, who has always been like the-big-sister-I-never-had, offered to teach me how to drive. This was a huge blessing! So over the last seven months she has spent time, and money on teaching me how to drive. I am so thankful to her. I was not a good driver in the beginning. But, how many people can say they were good at driving the first time they ever drove? Not many. So, my first time driving consisted of me just about hyperventilating, pulling over several times, and Suzy practically having to steer. Yeah, not exactly a fun time. Then again, I had never driven a car before. I was used to the ride-on lawn mower, which you had to practically put your entire body into in order to turn the wheel. So, driving a car was a complete change for me. Suzy told me that if I could ride a horse like I can, that I could most definitely drive a car. I didn't believe that for quite a while. The day I first drove on the highway I panicked. I drove with white knuckles, my eyes fixed on the road, and I was probably grinding my teeth. It was absolutely terrifying. Probably a month after that I drove all the way to Wrentham, that was an accomplishment. They were even doing work on the highway, which meant for a good ten minutes there were no lines on the road. That was a little terrifying at first, but was good practice for staying on my side of the road even without lines. I had a few moments when I wanted to give up, and never wanted to drive again. Normally it was after I made mistakes. I was easily discouraged when driving, and quite nervous after a few minor mistakes. I never hit anything, never killed anyone, and never got pulled over. So, I guess that's pretty good. (*chuckles*) As you may already know, or have already guessed, I did not take a driver's education course. Which is a killer on my insurance, but it was a decision we had made.

I tried to schedule my road test in early August, but the appointments were completely filled up. There were absolutely no appointments until early September. So, I waited. At first I wasn't very happy with the fact that I would have to wait a month longer... but, then I reminded myself that God's timing is perfect. I have to remind myself of that once in a while. I finally was able to schedule an appointment for the second week in September. So I set the date. September 10th at 11:00AM. Leading up to my appointment we had many hours of practice, and many many times attempting to parallel park. The day before my test we drove around Southbridge for quite a while, and I practiced parallel parking until we were both about ready to cry. It was quite a stressful event for some reason.

On Tuesday we arrived early for my test, and I wasn't nervous. I was determined to pass, but prepared to fail. Note the word wasn't. At the time of our arrival I thought I was going to be able to keep my nerves hidden. Well... that didn't last long. As soon the police woman came into the building I felt my heart jump, then beat so rapidly that it was causing my head to feel a little bit light. We went out to the car for the pre-test, and that did not go well. I didn't know where anything was located in the car I was driving, I turned on the wrong turn signal, and then I couldn't get the emergency brake to release. Oh what fun! So, we headed out for the test. It was so nerve wracking. First of all, driving in Southbridge is not ideal in my opinion. I can't even imagine driving in Boston... Anyways, I made it fine, until the parallel parking. I was amazed that she let me try more than once. On the fourth try I made it into the spot, and not on top of the sidewalk. I thought for sure after the pre-test, and that horrible parallel parking, that she would fail me. (All in all, I never want to take another road test, ever again.) So, we got back to the RMV parking lot, and I was shaking like a leaf. I think I may have been holding my breath too. She talked to me kindly, and told me the reason she kept having me parallel park is, because she could tell I knew exactly what I was doing. She said there's a difference between nervousness, and inexperience. She said I clearly had experience, and I was just extremely nervous. I was prepared for her to slap the "Fail" sticker on my forehead. When the words, "But, I'm going to pass you anyways." came out of her mouth, I was in total shock. I actually burst into tears, which most people are going to think is stupid... but, I was so relieved. I was so happy I couldn't hold it in. She left with a smile, and telling me to drive safely. It took me a while to gather myself, as I was laughing and crying at the same time. I realize that if it was not for the Lord's hand upon me, and the situation, I would have failed. I can't imagine having done it without Him.

"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

I give God all of the glory for my success, and for this great accomplishment.
Having my license means I can serve my family in many more ways, which is what it was all about.

In Christian Love,
Jane Ashley