Friday, May 24, 2013

Guilty as Charged!

A couple of weeks ago I got a letter that I looked at casually, then as my brain focused on the words,  I was frozen into shock!
An accident ??   I hadn't been in an accident!  I called my husband, showed him the letter and we wracked our brains trying to think of what it could be referring to and finally came to the only conclusion we could -- it was obviously a case of mistaken identity !
So I called ICBC (insurance company)  to sort it out.
After the endless time space of being put on hold, I finally had a 'person' on the other end of the line and I  explained that the charge had to be a mistake because we had not been in any accident at all and had no clue what the letter could be referring to !
The voice calmly replied, "Well, let me get the claim and I'll see what it says."    He then informed me that the claimant stated that someone had thrown something out of my car that had shattered on the road in front of them and had damaged the undercarriage of their car.

THE LIGHT WENT ON !!!   "OHHHH ! "  I said ... "I know what happened !"   and I told the following story !

It was April 15th and Mennonite Girls Can Cook were gathering to witness the shipment arrival of our new cookbook Celebrations.   We gathered at Lovella's and I had brought a little plate of gluten free squares to add to the lovely 'tea time'  table Lovella had prepared for us !
Later, back at my car, I placed my plate on top of the car roof to free my hands to dig for the keys in my purse  so I could  unlock the doors for Judy to  load my box of books into the back seat
It was drizzling and I kept my head down to keep my glasses from getting spotted !   I closed the back car door,  turned to say good-by and slipped into the driver's seat setting off for home -- no thought about the plate still nicely sitting on top of the car.
I was eager to get home to show my husband our new book, then. just a short distance before my last turn off, I heard something hit the back of my car !   Puzzled as to what it could have been, I quickly looked up into my rear view mirror.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.. The cars behind me didn't honk, didn't seem to be concerned - I could not see anything on the road.   I thought about pulling over to check closer but the road  shoulder did not have much room and there were cars behind me so I kept going.  
A few minutes later , still puzzling over the 'bang' , I suddenly wondered... "where is my plate?"   Oh no,   I then had the flash back memory of putting it on top of the car roof.  I thought about going back but realized it would be both dangerous and futile to look for the pieces on the road. So I lamented the loss of my plate and put it out of my mind as a  thoughtless oversight  on my part.  There was no damage on my car .. not even a nick or a scratch so I thought no serious harm done.

Until the letter came ......

An appointment was made for me to come in to ICBC to resolve the details of the charge, but I received a call from the person with whom the appointment was made and she suggested we  could just resolve it over the phone.
She asked me to tell my side of the story over again and listened with empathy and understanding.  She filled me in on a few more details.  The claim had been filed, not by the one driving the car behind me- but by a car rental company.   Two women with a baby had been driving a rental car behind me when the dish fell and understandably it frightened them and they reported it to the rental company when the car was returned. The rental car company  did not list any known damage in their claim  and had not yet brought the vehicle into ICBC to be examined for any damage consistent with flying pieces of glass.  
She thanked me for being honest, said it was an accident that just happened and that I did not have to worry - I would not lose my safe driving record - I was at the highest level of good standing and would not lose that.  Then before she ended the call, she said that I would be receiving a letter in the mail citing me responsible for the accident and any monetary claims for repair but she said for me to ignore this letter, not to let it bother me or take it seriously!
I was relieved, but the whole experience shook me ..
In thinking about it, I realized that there was a spiritual parallel to my experience.

'Sin' happens so easily to everyone, a selfish act, an angry word, bitterness, things we do and 'forget' thinking no harm has been done ..    -- and yet they can cause hurt to others and, worse, leave us guilty before God, even if we did not intentionally choose to sin against  Him --   in fact often we are not even conscious of the fact that we are guilty! We excuse it and put it out of our mind.
We see no immediate resulting harm in our own life... so we go thoughtlessly on our way.  
But there comes a day when we must answer --   when God speaks into our life - calls our attention to the things that are wrong.
We now have a choice -- cover up , shift blame, deny --   but only one way leads to 'peace' --   Honest confession.   God hears, God understands, and God so willingly forgives - just over the 'prayer' line.   And we do not lose our highest standing with Him --   we keep our 'safe driving record'  -- because Jesus has paid the price , we stay in the perfect righteousness that is ours IN Him ... We are perfectly forgiven !  
But God warns... "the enemy will send a 'letter' accusing you! Ignore that letter, don't let it upset you !"
  But the enemy does send his 'letters' and because we know we are 'Guilty as Charged'  , we hear him with trepidation and fear and it is only with faith in God's word 'don't take him seriously' that we are able to ignore him instead of letting his 'threats' pull us down into doubt and worry.

I am so thankful that God's heart toward us is always one of 'understanding' and mercy even though we must acknowledge and learn from our mistakes to grow in wisdom and maturity!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mother's Day Surprise

Earlier in the week I got a call from my daughter, Romay, "Are you busy Friday afternoon?"
I replied, "I don't think so , why?"
"Its a surprise, I'll pick you up at 3:00 pm. Dress casual!"
Friday afternoon at exactly 3:00 pm my daughter and granddaughter came to pick me up.
Romay handed me a stem of orchids and a 'fitting' card, considering our new cook book!

Buckled in and on our way,  I tried to coax out some hints as to where we were going but all I got was tight lipped smiles.
We drove for a good half hour or more and finally my daughter checked some directions on a piece of paper on her lap.
She said... "This is going to be a weird Mother's Day..."  
I said , "OHH !   I'm going to hold a lamb?"
I saw by her expression that I had guessed correctly !
Sure enough a  minute later we pull into the driveway of a beautiful  farm.
She asked, "What made you guess ?"
"Well, " I said with a smile, " you said weird, that made me think of 'bucket list' and I recently told you on my bucket list was that I wanted to hold and pet a lamb!"
It seems strange that I grew up on a farm, have been around farms all my life but for some reason never held a lamb.  And yes, an unusual bucket list desire ...   but one that has been tucked into my heart since childhood.
But the surprises were not yet over.
We drove up to a lovely colonial farm house.   I asked, "Do you know these people?"
She answered vaguely... "Oh, she's someone I know on Facebook... I bribed her with a copy of the cookbook.  The copy you gave me today wasn't for whom I said it was, its actually for this lady."
"Hmm..." I thought,... "why would Romay give a cookbook to someone who she didn't really know.."
Romay went to the front door, then. following instructions, we drove up the driveway connecting the house and the barn.  We stepped out of the car, and a minute later,  a lady rode up on a bicycle.
I politely said, "Hi" then looked harder as she dismounted the bike! It couldn't be .. but it was !  It was Romay's best friend through high school, Deanna, whom I had not seen in many years !
It was her  delightful daughter who the sheep belonged to.  She came and told us about each ewe and ram, their personalities and their names.  Then, she brought  me the lambs.  There was a little black one born premature that had a very nervous mother , so we did not disturb that one.    There was another black one that was a little older that I held and then the adorable twins pictured in the photos.


Later, we enjoyed a visit and delicious gluten-free muffins in Deanna's amazing kitchen, designed and built by her husband.

In our chatting, Deanna, mentioned one of my favourite books, "A Shepherd looks at the 23rd Psalm". 
 If you haven't read it, do!  It is a very beautiful book that reveals the heart of God and why He calls us His sheep. The author is Phillip Keller - I recommend all the books he wrote, they are all on my fav list !

The little twin named Marble was my favourite (lowest right photo).  He was the last one I held and as soon as I took him into my arms I could feel something different about him from the others.   He cuddled down into my arms. He did not  just tolerate being held.  He loved it!
My heart melted, and I thought , "Oh Lord, I want to be this kind of lamb in Your arms."

The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want! 
Psalm 23:1

Mother's Day, 2013 --  one I will remember  --   Thank you so much, Romay  for planning it and   Deanna  for making it possible !

Happy Mother's Day to you !  
 I pray that the love of God, so evident in Mothers' love, 
 fills your hearts, 
not just on Mother's Day but every day !