One Fish At a Time

I started fishing in the early 1980’s around the age of three or four.  My first memory of fishing is riding with my father in a fishing trawler.  (It is just an inner tube with a fancy cover and a small motor.)  With me on his lap, we would slowly cruise around and try to catch fish in the lake.  I am not a big fan of fishing.  It is a little bit boring to me (it was then and it is now).  But I love the image of fishing.  Solitude, simplicity and peaceful fishing.

This week, I was blessed to read Psalm 37:5.  It says, “Commit everything you do to the Lord, TRUST him, and he will help you.”  All week long the word TRUST has been my focus word.  I had to TRUST God that a project would be completed on time.  I had to TRUST that my idea for others was the right decision.  I had to TRUST that my children would be cared for in their new school.  TRUST has always been a challenge for me.  I think this is because I usually don’t TRUST like I fish.

When I fish, I have one pole, one hook and one worm.  I drop the hook under the surfa28477023670_18621f58fbce of the water and wait.  I may or may not catch a fish.  I may or may not catch the fish that I was trying to catch.  But whatever happens, all I can do is show up prepared, bait my hook and TRUST that the fish will eat the hook.  TRUSTing also means I will be at peace with the results because I am giving up control.  When I try to be in control instead of TRUSTing, it is as if I am fishing with a net instead of a hook.  With a net, I can throw it out wide knowing that I will catch at least one fish and probably a whole lot more than I even tried to catch.  But then I have to deal with everything else I catch including somethings that I didn’t want.

Our God is a one hook, one fish kind of God.  God desires us to TRUST God and God will help us. (Who does’t need a little help?)  It’s simple (and yet we make it sooooo complicated).  One minute at a time.  One hour at a time.  One day at a time. One week at a time.  God wants us to TRUST God.  We are called to focus on one hook and one fish at a time instead getting caught up in murky water full of the mistakes of our past or our unknown futures.

As children are going back to school and teachers are heading back into the classrooms.  As college students are packing their cars to start a new semester.  As projects are approaching their deadlines.  As bills are due.  As marriages are trying to grow deeper.  As life changes…let’s ask God to help us and TRUST in each moment that God will.  We serve a God who gives us just enough manna for one day.  We serve a God who is the bread of life and satisfies us each day.  If we deeply believe in our God as our provider, then our lives and actions need to reflect the TRUST that we say we have in our God.

Waiting for Me to work, with your eyes on Me, is evidence that you really do trust Me. Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

I hope you catch some God-filled moments this week!

Meredith Bell

 

Remove the Tire

While in heavy traffic this week, I saw something remarkable.  I was driving behind a truck near a car wreck.  As an eye witness (I was right behind he truck), I watched as the driver of the truck stepped and pulled on a work glove.  He then stepped into the next lane, bent down and picked up a tire sitting all alone in the middle of the lane.  He threw the tire onto the side of the road, got back into his truck and drove away.

The remarkable part of this eye witness report is that the lane, where the tire had been, quickly transformed from a crawl back to normal.  Then my lane did the same thing as the driver of the truck drove away, we all followed him.  Everything was back to normal!  In one simple act and one simple moment, frustration turned to peace. What was stopped, started again.  It just took one person to step out, take care of business and then keep going.

We remove “tires” all the time in this world.  Hearts are restored with stints, toilets are fixed with plungers, and lent is removed from dryers every day.  So why do we let some things stop us from moving forward or slow us down to a crawl?  Why do we let harmful relationships keep us from moving forward?  Why do we let stressful jobs prevent us from living healthy?  Why do we let people define us instead of God?  Why do we live in chaos when we can live in peace?

One reason is because we have been moving around in the chaos caused by the “wreck” so long that we forgot what it feels like to drive the speed limit.  It’s time to remove the “tire” in your life.  That thing that is keeping you from having a full life in Christ (John 10:10).  You can decide if you are going to remove the tire from your lane or if you need help from a fellow driver (call your bravest friend and borrow their courage and faith).  Either way, it’s time to move forward.

28955012_94b21d053c_bHappy Tents is dedicated to helping people imagine more.  Can you imagine what life would be like without that “tire” in your way stopping you from being the person you were created to be? God can.  I’m not suggesting the removal of a “tire” is simple and easy.  My eye witness report comes from Central Expressway in Dallas, Texas!  But if you slow down, turn on your hazards, and put on the right gloves (or the Armor of God), you will experience a successful removal.

And the gift is that life will not only feel normal again…it will feel better than normal.  That is just how God works.

Meredith Bell

 

Pigs

The power of pigs.  Last week, I drove from my home straight to my first appointment each day.  This week, I had to leave early from my house so I would have time to stop by the barn, pull on my pig boots and feed the pigs, Pickle and Donut.  Last week, after a long day of working, my husband would come home and relax a little before working some more. This week, he comes home to pick up the pig owner and he takes her to the barn to feed the pigs, Pickle and Donut. These pigs have changed our lives.  Things are different around our tent.  My car already smells different.  Every conversation we seem to have includes information about the pigs, Pickle and Donut.

IMG_0232There is something else the pigs have done.  They have brought smiles to our faces.  The way my mother pulled them out of the delivery crate and put them in their new pen gave me a great big smile.  The 10-year-old pig owner has had a permeant smile on her face all week.  When one pig ate out of the 7-year-old assistant- pig-owner’s hand…there was a big smile looking up.  These pigs have delivered a lot of smiles this week to our family.

One year ago, if you would have asked me if we would be in the pig business, I would have quickly said, “When pigs fly…no way.”  One hour ago my family was feeding our new pigs.  My “no way”, in one year, has turn into an “OK.”  What does all of this mean??

There are pigs in everyone’s future!  There are so many big and small events in our lives that are just waiting to knock on our door and take up residence in our lives.  We just do not know what they are going to be until they arrive.  For us, it is two pigs, Pickle and Donut.  It may be a new job, another child, a fantastic trip, a new pet, a new friend or a new chance.  Or it may be a broken relationship, financial troubles, unexpected news, grief or poor health.  Some things in our future will bring us smiles and some things will bring us tears.

There is a lot that we do not know about our future.  There is one thing that we do know and it will carry us through all the “pigs” that life can bring us.  Jesus walks with us in our dark times as well as in our times of joy.  Because we know Christ, we will have the light of life.

Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”  John 8:12

This week, make some time to have a date with Jesus.  Grow your relationship, smile and listen.  The same Jesus that you know today is the same Jesus you will need during the days to come.  Your relationship with Jesus is life giving.  Jesus will know exactly how to guide you when your “pigs” show up in your life.

This week, my prayer has been for Jesus to send me people who know more about pigs than the Bell clan.  My prayers are working.  All week, we have met new, wonderful people who have a lot of pig knowledge! I’m thankful!

Meredith Bell

Learning from Ducks

What Not to Forget When Making Plans


We can make our plans, but the Lord directs our steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

I love this passage from Proverbs 16:9. It gives me comfort and peace when life is uncertain – when things are a bit out of control. Right now our family is in the process of moving. We are transitioning out of an area where we have lived for 13 years. My prayer every day is, “Lord, direct our steps.” And I truly believe God is doing just that.

Back in the Fall I was outside raking leaves in our front yard when I felt a presence. Something was walking to2879431360_d4d96e8fea_bwards me – some things! I quickly looked up to from my perfect pile of Southern Red Oak leaves to see the vile villains with whom I was about to engage in battle, but all I saw were three ducks who had taken notice of my labors (it feels good to be noticed). I thought they were coming for a friendly visit, but they had ulterior motives. They were walking up my street in front of my home for only one reason – smushed acorns! You see, a street runs right in front of our home, and as I raked, acorns rolled into the street. Then cars drove by (some way too fast – so slow down!) and smushed the acorns. Then the ducks waddled into action to nibble the deliciously smushed acorn tid-bits. These ducks knew exactly what to do (eat smushed acorns) and when to do it (right after the acorns I’d raked into the street had been smushed by my neighbor’s fast-moving car).

The question is, “Do we?”. Do we know what to do and when to do it? I believe we can, but it’s neither easy nor normal. We all have plans and agendas (and pursuing these plans and agendas is how we spend much of our time and energy), but there is One who directs our steps. Our plans and agendas may or may not come to pass, but can we trust the One who directs our steps? It seems we have a lot to learn from ducks!

Steven Bell

 

Pages: