Ok, Lessons from a Turtle?

IMG_6818I’m not sure why, but this last weekend when I was down at the ocean, I saw a little decor turtle and felt I was supposed to get it and bring it home with me.  I am a very visual person and so I have many things that I keep around me on my desk and in my office that are reminders to me of how I should live and think regarding my daily life.  Here are a few thoughts that came to mind as I wondered about the reasoning behind making that purchase.  You can google many ideas about lessons from a turtle, and some of them will be a part of why God may have laid that on my heart.

  • 1.  Turtles may be slow but they will get where they are going.

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare.  We know that lesson!  We may know it by heart.  But, we sure forget it quickly when it is something we want.  All living things have a time of growth.  A tree doesn’t just become a tree.  It takes a long time to get tall and sturdy.  So it is with us. We are and should be constantly growing.  How fast is not as important as taking a steady pace, and we keep at it.

  • 2.  They are very determined.

When baby turtles are born, they go by instinct to the nearest water.  They face all kind of challenges to get there, but they are determined to go through the scary trials to make it.  Sand may be hard for them to get over because even the smallest hill of sand presents a challenge to them as tiny creatures.  They may be eagle food, but they instinctively have that determination and drive to get where they are going.  They don’t give up at the first sign of challenge; even at that young age.

  • 3.  They have been called a symbol of peace.

I would guess this reasoning has to do with the quiet, but sure way of living.  If you watch a turtle, they are very observant.  They watch you carefully and they are aware of what is around them  This reminds us to slow down our pace in life and look around.  Enjoy what we see as we go.  Hurry is not peaceful but slowing down is, or can be.

  • 4.  If there is something they are having difficulty with, they will focus on that issue until they can figure out what to do.

As a child, my cousin had a turtle and that turtle was older than me by several  years at that time, and they still had him long after I became an adult, married and had children.  Amazing!  One time I watched that turtle struggle with a stick that had been put in the wrong way, and now was in its way and messing with his environment.  Oh how he would struggle to right that stick so it would be in the correct place.  He didn’t give up until it was moved correctly to his liking.

  • 5.  They must stick their neck out if they want to get somewhere.

That’s right!  If we want to grow, we have to stick our neck out and try something new or different.  We have to put ourselves out there!  But many times, we may be like the turtle in fear, and pull our necks back in,  and in our case, tuck and curl in defeat.  However, if we want growth in our life, and a better relationship with those around us, we have to stick our neck out there!

  • 6.  If you were to pick a turtle up that is going on one direction, and you turned it around to the opposite direction, they will turn around in their shell so they can keep going in the same direction they were headed.

What does that tell us?  That turtle knows its direction; it has an inner sense of direction.  No matter which way it is turned, it knows the path it needs to take.  We need to have our compass to true north; that is, to the direction of God and His promises.  We want to “know” in our hearts and mind what direction that is.  And if we are truly in tune with God, just the like the turtle, we can always know which way is the right way to go.  U-turns are awesome, aren’t they?!?

So, I brought that little turtle home with me to have on my desk, so that I too, can remember the message of the turtle and the reasons why God may have put that on my heart.  I hope you will remember the lessons of a turtle and let it be a life lesson for you as it was for me!  God is good to teach us in big and small ways if we are tune, and listen to Him, and respond.

To life at a turtle pace…slow and sure…walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn

“Don’t Let Go” Can Be A Good Thing!

I took this photo about a year ago, and it has quite a story to tell. When I moved to Lynden over three years ago, there was a wonderful place that I could walk each day.  One day on my walk, I saw this leaf stuck on the barbed wire fence. It was green at the time, and held there by the barb in the wire. I just stopped and looked at how it was hooked, and then went on with my walk. However, the picture, for some reason, just stuck with me. I would walk by there each day and it was still hanging on. Each day it would get a bit drier, a bit more crispy and began to turn the color of fall. But over and above that… it was STILL there. As I thought about that leaf, two ideas came to mind and I thought this is something I need to write about, but it never got down on paper.

So, in the last several weeks, as circumstances in my life made me think again of that leaf that wouldn’t let go, I thought I need to write it down. The interesting part about this leaf? It stayed through the Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer seasons for well over 2 years! Curled now, but secured by the barb. So what were the thoughts that came to mind?

  • Number one, Satan loves to get his digs deep into our hearts and minds, and he doesn’t easily let go of us. In fact, he can have such a hold on us that even the high winds of winter and the snow won’t loosen the grip. Just like this leaf made it through all those high winds of one particular winter season, it still remained entangled. As the leaf curled up, so can our lives wither if we don’t have a grip on the hand of the Lord. We will let the struggles of everyday life engulf us, and we can no longer feel the Son. Others may even try to help us loosen the grip of the struggles, and yet we don’t let go.
  • Number two, God is also One who never let’s go of us. The storms may hit, winds may blow, the chilly winters come but He never let’s go of us. He will put His arms around us and protect us and help us hold on. And when I am ready, He will help me let go. I never saw when that leaf finally gave in and let itself be taken where it needed to go, but I know it did because it is gone. God will keep us where He wants us to be, and when the time is right, He will let the wind of the Holy Spirit carry us to the place He wants us to be. We may have a scar or two from the barb, but it doesn’t keep us from going where we need to go, and because of that scar, we may be able extend a hand of understand, to another.

I need the determination of that leaf in this season, whether it is to not be caught in satan’s snare, or to remind me not to let go of God’s hand. You see, if I had tried to help that leaf to let go, it would have broken to pieces. That is what satan wants; to break us. But God… God wants to encourage us to hold on and never let go of His hand and He will gently help us let go of what we need to let go of in order to travel where He wants us to go.

Isn’t it interesting that God uses the simplest of things to lead us if we are just aware of what is around us, and we listen to His voice. That leaf stayed right there for over two years! So… your season may not be a short one. Hang on! If you do that, you won’t fall to pieces, and He will give you what you need to hold on to Him.  Are you watching? Are you listening? Let go of what you need to let go of, but never let go of His hand! God help you to that end.

Walking the journey with you…