Tag Archive: encouragement

You’re Free

I was driving down the Grapevine between Los Angeles and San Jose. It was late, dark out, and I was alone. We didn’t have cell phones at that time. With little traffic on the highway, I was making good time. Without warning, a car on the side of the road burst into flames. Not just the engine–the whole car!

flame digital wallpaper
Photo by Little Visuals on Pexels.com

Stunned, I didn’t know what to do–and by now I had passed the car, which was still burning. Were there people inside? Could I do anything to help in the middle of a fireball?

There was nowhere nearby to stop and call for help. I prayed and kept driving. That was about thirty-five years ago, and while it hasn’t consciously been on my mind since, the scene and the horror I felt have stayed in my book of memories.

So the last four weeks I’ve taken a Community Emergency Response Team training course–“CERT”. Two hours on zoom, Tuesday and Thursday nights for three weeks, then an all-day hands-on training Saturday. I have learned so much about very basic triage, getting under rubble to release trapped people, and checking vital signs before the professionals arrive. Don and I volunteered to be part of The Villages Emergency Preparedness Committee, which led to this further training for me. While my knowledge base is still small, I know a bit more about what to do as “first steps,” in the event of a major earthquake or fire. CERT is nationwide, and the link to the San Jose program is https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments/emergency-management/be-trained/community-emergency-response-team-training. The training was well worth the time invested, both for responding personally (i.e. family and home) and within a local community.

ethnic man fastening boxing gloves on woman
Photo by Julia Larson on Pexels.com

We had several work stations yesterday–triage, building checks, fire safety, immobilizing broken limbs, and removing debris to do light rescue. At the fire station we learned to aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. I’ve never actually used an extinguisher and it felt good to feel the pressure and feel confident using one. After we practiced putting out our “garbage can fire”, I said I’d always wondered what happened with that car fire I saw years ago. The instructor said there was nothing I could have done as a person alone, except become a victim myself.

I thanked him, and a young woman near me put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re free.”

I teared up at her sweet gesture, and thought, isn’t that just what Jesus does for us? When we confess the ways we’ve pushed him away, the times we’ve walked away from him, and ask his forgiveness, he is right there to say, “You’re free. Your sins are gone. The past is wiped clean.”

But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

James 1:25

What a gift! “You’re free!” I’m thankful for the young woman who expressed that to me, and reminded me of even greater freedom in Christ Jesus.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

II Cor 3:17

I pray you and I will live in freedom this week!

post by carolnl | | Closed

SYMPHONY, IN WHOLE AND IN PART

french hornThe brass instruments were polished to a mirror gloss. The soothing notes of Handel’s “Allegro” from Concerto Grosso #10 flowed out from the five horns, sweeping over my spirit like water flows swiftly down a canal. The two trumpets, trombone, French horn, and tuba blended–perfection in sound.

Transitioning to “The Queen of the Night’s Aria” from Mozart’s Magic Flute, the first trumpeter changed to a piccolo trumpet. Half the size of a regular trumpet, this small instrument played a much higher range, echoing the shrill, high-pitched sound of an angry woman. It was easy to hear her rage.

Next, the two trumpeters switched to flugelhorns, each with a large cone and wide brass wraparound. Mellow tones streamed out of the horns like liquid gold. The trombone, french horn and tuba filled out the sound and provided bass support. None tried to take the spotlight, but rather played the right notes, enriching and deepening the sound. Trumpet

I thought of the Apostle Paul’s description of the spiritual gifts given to the Church. No gift is for the gratification of its owner; rather, it is given for the good of, and service to, others. Just as the different instruments contribute their own tones to an Aria, each of us adds a unique service to the world.

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” I Corinthians 12:4-6

I am no more and no less than any other believer. Is the piccolo trumpet better than the flugelhorn? Or the regular trumpet than the piccolo? No. Each is uniquely prepared for a specific contribution. Where my gifts may not be appropriate in certain situations, God will ‘pick up’ another individual who better fits that need.

Recently, I spoke with a young friend I made in Florida six years ago. We met in the hospital when both our husbands were facing organ transplants. Periodically I would invite Natasha and her five-year-old son, Isaiah, to join me for dinner or to play a game. We shared our faith and prayed for each other. Mike was in and out of the hospital while Jerry was hospitalized until he passed away. In this call Natasha told me her Mike passed away in June of this year. We had a meaningful visit and promised to keep in touch.

As I turned off my cell phone, I thanked God that He has gifted me to develop and maintain relationships for the purpose of encouraging others. I am not envious of anyone else’s gifts, nor do I need to denigrate my own. I am humbly grateful that God has given me gifts which are specific to meeting certain kinds of needs.

Who has God created you to be? Have you sometimes struggled with envy or do you recognize that God has created you for the good of others and will use you specifically through your unique giftedness?

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” I Corinthians 12:7, 11