I love sparkling things. When I was a child I remember going through a phase where I collected pretty stones. I scoured my backyard in search of the shiniest, most interesting stones I could find. From glittering white quartz to smooth igneous rocks, I was on a quest to add the most stunning stones to my collection.
We all have one. From the moment we took our first breath and were swaddled in our mother’s arms, we were given a name. An identity. Our name captures the uniqueness and individuality of who we are as people created in the image of an amazing God. Names in the Bible have always had powerful and significant meanings. We greatly admire the heroes of our faith who lived up to their extraordinary names.
When I was in the fifth grade, I went to my first birthday slumber party. I was so excited to be invited, because that meant I was part of the “cool” group of kids in my class. Although my parents did not know the birthday girl’s family very well, they still allowed me to go.
In one of the malls near our house, there used to be a set of play cars and trucks that children could sit on and “ride”. If you put a few coins in each machine, the cars would slowly move back and forth, complete with the sounds of honking horns and engines revving. My kids used to love riding these cars. It was always humorous for me to watch my son turn the steering wheel with such delight.
This summer for the 4th of July, my family and I watched the fireworks in the heart of our city. We laid out a blanket near the riverbank of the downtown area, surrounded by tall buildings and sparkling streetlights. As darkness settled over the horizon, we saw spectators in fishing boats and excited passersby in brightly colored glow sticks. In front of our view was a large bridge filled with people waiting with eager anticipation for the fireworks show we all were gathered to view. Then suddenly…BOOM!
I recently learned a valuable lesson in the power of prayer from a toad. Have you ever discovered that God sometimes speaks to us in the most unlikely ways? If we look around, He uses our everyday experiences to reveal His profound truths. I was reading the book Frog and Toad Together with my kids, I had one of those spiritual “aha!” moments.
Last summer my kids and I planted a small garden for the very first time. We planted small lettuce and tomato plants, and were very excited when a couple of weeks later the lettuce plants began flourishing. The lettuce grew so quickly that we were eating salads from our new home-grown lettuce in a few short weeks. But after about a month or so, we noticed something strange.
I didn’t know what to expect when I walked through the doors of the Great Hall. I grasped my conference binder in one hand and lugged a heavy tote bag in the other. The large conference room was filled with round tables and smiling faces. A friend warmly greeted me and invited me to her table. I breathed a sigh of relief and began to relax. “This is going to be good.” I thought to myself.
I remember singing the song “I’ve got the joy down in my heart” as a child. Singing about joy is one thing. But how do we truly live lives filled with a deep, unshakable joy in the midst of difficult trials? Join me on Alisa’s blog Flourishing Today for a guest post I had the privilege to write for her ministry!
Do you remember playing the game “telephone” in elementary school? Everyone sits in a circle and a special “secret” is whispered into a child’s ear. The secret is passed around the circle, one whisper at a time, until everyone has heard the message. By the time the message has made it around the circle, usually the secret has been so distorted that it is hardly recognized by the one who began the game.