“But She Doesn’t Know You!”

Today I went to see my maternal Grandma. She has Alzheimer’s and lives in a nursing home. I try to stop in as often as I can when I am in the area. Today I thought about why I even bother.

Someone asked me why I even bother going if she doesn’t know me and this is my answer.

My grandma usually doesn’t know me. Sometimes she doesn’t even know my mom. Today I told her several times that I was getting married, but she doesn’t remember. After I’d been there almost an hour, she remembered my name; but next time I go, she likely won’t. She doesn’t remember what she had for lunch or if she’s having a good day. She forgets that I don’t speak Pennsylvania Dutch and so returns to her mother tongue when talking to me. So we sit together. I ask her questions and she answers. She asks me questions repeatedly, and I answer them. I tell her about my day and what I’m doing. I tease her about keeping the nurses busy, and she tells me that she keeps an eye on everyone. 

The nurses stop by and tell me the latest shenanigans that she’s up too. How she tries to walk or tells them that they need to get busy and do their work. She says she put on her ankle monitor  and the nurses laugh. Even if she doesn’t know them or me, she’s friendly and happy. At times she can be feisty.

So why do I stop in and spend time with her? Because she’s my grandma, my one remaining grandparent. I lost one grandparent to Alzheimer’s already, and I want to experience as many good things as I can with my grandma before it gets worse. I love my grandma and I know her even when she doesn’t know me. She’s my family and always will be. Most of my life I lived 3000 miles away from her, but now I get the chance to be with her more often, and I love it!

Today she told me that she hopes if I have babies that I will tell her about them. I assured her that I will. She also complimented my skirt choice. She appeared restless and a little upset when I arrived, but within a few minutes of my being there, she relaxed and cheered up. 

My grandma is spunky, even at 89 years old with Alzheimer’s. She is an amazing woman who raised 8 children. She can tell me stories about her growing up years. She is determined. And I love seeing where I inherited certain traits from. I inherited her spunkiness, determination, the way she doesn’t let anything stop her, and even the way she sleeps with one hand tucked under her face. 

I love her a lot and want to spend as much time as I can with her. That is why I bother.

Mosaic Masterpiece

This is something I wrote back in 2013 when I was going thru one of the toughest spots of my life. I recently rediscovered it and decided to share it with you all!

The girl stood looking in dismay at the remains of her shattered vase. 
Once again her bouquet had been tossed on the ground and stomped on. Her vase had been hurled to the ground and smashed into a thousand pieces.

Once again she’d tried to show forth her value, her beauty, and once again it had been smashed into unrecognizable bits.

She sighed. She’d long ago given up shedding tears over it. What did they help? Nothing. No one cared. Why should she care? 

And yet…deep in her heart, she did care. She longed to feel value, to be needed, appreciated.

She turned away, determined this time to never pick it up again. She’d tried so many times before and it never lasted. She’d pick up the pieces, glue them back together, and five minutes later it would be laying in pieces on the ground again, shattered in even more pieces.

It had been patched and glued and put back together and broken so many times it was a most impossible task to put them together the way they were meant to be.

She turned away. She’d given up.

*ahem* She heard someone clear their throat.

Startled, she turned to face this new person. Who dared to intrude on her private burial of her vase, her value?

“Would you give the broken pieces to Me?”

What?! Was this Man crazy?! He wanted the broken pieces?! Why? So He could pick them up and throw them away? “Why?”

“I like broken things. I like to use the pieces in mosaics.”

“Mosaics?!” The girl’s voice was hard and critical, guarding herself. “I HATE mosaics!”

“Why? I love mosaics.”

“Cuz every time I see a mosaic, I see all the broken pieces and think about how painful it must have been to get broken like that!”

“Ah, but I see the whole beautiful picture and joy in the skill that it must have taken to put all those little pieces together into one beautiful masterpiece.”

“You do?” The girl was puzzled.

“Yes, I do. Would you let Me do that for you? With your broken vase?”

“Um…weeelll, I guess You could have them if you really wanted. If that is what would bring honor to You.”

“Yes. I will put the pieces together into a beautiful mosaic masterpiece. It will be done with such skill that people will look at it and wonder who it is that has such skill to make such a beautiful thing out so many ugly, broken, scarred pieces. Then you will be able to answer them and point them to the Artist. Because everyone will know that there was no way YOU could do such a thing. They will be drawn to look to Someone else. That will be how you will be able to point others to Me, and how You will bring me glory.”

The girl bowed her head. “Yes, Abba. I will do that. I am willing to be Your mosaic masterpiece in order to bring glory to You.”

And in that moment, she was given value beyond anything she’d ever imagined.

#Abba.Father’s.mosaic.masterpiece

Respect

Respect. This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, because I’ve been attempting to get it across to my school students that if they respect each other, there is little need for other rules. Today I went a little deeper and looked at what the Bible has to say about this subject. Here’s some of what I found and my current thoughts on the subject.

First let’s define respect. According to the dictionary, it means “due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others; politeness, courtesy, civility, deference; honor, esteem, feel or show honour or esteem for, care, consideration, to care for, show consideration for.” Basically, be nice to others even if they aren’t exactly like you in every area. Is that so hard?

Now, the Bible doesn’t say much about “respect” but it does talk a lot about honour. Honor according to the dictionary, means “nobleness of mind, a nice sense of what is right or proper; great respect, high regard; respect highly, think highly of; show respect to; be an honor too.” In this blog post, I am using the Bible word honour in place of the more familiar word respect. I believe they have a lot of the same connotations. 

According to the Bible dictionary, honour means “of the price paid or received for a person or thing bought or sold; of the honour which belongs or is shown to one, of the honour which one has by reason of rank and state of office which he holds.” Think about this for a bit, “the price paid or received for a person bought.” What was the price paid for us? Jesus died on the cross for every single one of us!! How valuable does that make us? And if we view every other person as having that same value how could we do anything else but show them respect?

Matthew 7:12 “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” The Golden Rule. This is a basic rule of human rights and expectations. Everyone wishes to be treated with respect and kindness. If everyone treated everyone around them as they themselves wish to be treated, our world would be a much better place.

Romans 12:10 “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour.” This is how we as Christians should act. Outdo in this verse carries the idea of being a leader. It means “to go before and show the way; to go before as a leader.” We should attempt to be the leaders in showing value to others, everyone. Every human being has the same value as the next one, from the worst criminal in prison to the most influential king. All humans were paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. That price gives them value. When they accept Jesus as their personal Saviour, they become sons of God. This puts them in an honourable position, which is just another reason to show them honour.

Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” 

Titus 2:7 “Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show, integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” Wow! That is a high standard! In ALL respects we are too be a model of good conduct. Part of this good conduct is to show honour. If you always show honour and respect, who could condemn you for that?

I Peter 2:17 “Honour everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the emperor.” Honour in this verse carries the additional meaning of “to fix the value of something belonging to one’s self.” If something belongs to you, you are more likely to treat it with respect. Christians are a family, your family. Treat them with respect due to family members! 

John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” Love is part of honour as well. We cannot honor others if we have no love for them. Like the song says “They will know we are Christians by our love.” I think sometimes we don’t do such a good job at demonstrating our love for each other.

Romans 13:10 “Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the Law.” 

I Thessalonians 5:12-13 “We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labour among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” Honor those in positions with authority.

I Corinthians 12:24b-26 “But God has composed the body, giving greater honour to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all members rejoice together.” I believe these verses hold some very valuable keys for us as we learn to always honor others. We might be tempted to look down on someone because they are different from us or less honorable in our estimation. But who are we to say who is less? All humans are created equal; therefore all equally worthy of our honor and respect. 

This is something we’ve been working on in my classroom. Currently, if they are all respectful and do not earn any consequences for a whole week as a class, they will all be honored. If, however, one person is disrespectful, the whole class will suffer with them by not being able to attain to the honor in store for them. This way they learn that their disrespect does not only negatively affect them but it also affects the whole team. This builds an atmosphere of positive peer pressure to do the right thing. 

Girls side of my classroom

Boys and younger grades side

Respect others and they will be more likely to respect you. Annoyed with rules and guidelines that seem unnecessary? If everyone walked in respect to each other, most rules and guidelines would become moot points. If a first grader can understand and know what is respectful and what isn’t, so can you as an adult. 

When you are respectful of others opinions and beliefs, they are more willing to respect yours. You do not have to agree with someone to be respectful to them. Example: I am a Mennonite who tends to the more liberal side of the spectrum, but most of the students in my school are Amish. Their parents are Amish. We dress differently and probably believe differently on some things, but that does not stop us from working together just fine. We have mutual respect for each other. And our outward appearances have never been an issue. We worship the same Jesus and side by side we work together towards the same goal of advancing the kingdom of God. Respect works! (And baffles those who receive it from the unexpected places like someone completely different from them.)

Go out and be respectful!!

*All verses taken from ESV Bible.

Honour Thy Father and Mother

Today I was sitting in a teaching session and the speaker was talking on honouring our parents. Talking about the things that we inherit from our parents, both good and bad, and it got my brain to thinking what are the good things, the blessings that I have received from my parents? So right now I would like to introduce you all to my parents and tell everyone about what I have learned and the ways I have received love from them in my short life time. 

Me with my parents

Let’s start with my dad. My dad’s name is Maurice but to me he was dad, daddy, or papa bear. Here are some of the ways he showed me and my siblings love and some things I learned from him…

…read books to us in the evenings after supper and before bed. He read mostly true books from what I can remember and a lot of missionary stories. Some of the books I can remember are Cry of the Northland, Where the Wind Blows Wild, Flying the North, Bruchko, Peace Child, Lords of the Earth, a book about Jim Elliott, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.

…we sing together a lot. He even had got a book and taught us some music basics. Now we sing and play instruments together as a family for other people. It’s a lot of fun! 

…my dad always did his best to keep his promises to us. And he tried to not make a promise unless he was sure he could actually keep it.

…taking us out for breakfast on our birthdays. Just us and him, one on one. It still means a lot to me, and I’m almost 25.

…when we were little, he would play “Shark” in the pool with us. My brother would be the shark coming after me and I would quickly go to my dad and get him to protect me. 

…we would go with him to the fire department where he volunteered and spent a lot of time there with him.

…when he worked at Gremco, we would go with him to work on Saturdays or sometimes evenings if he had to go to a customers house and work on a well or something.

…we went on road trips and made many memories that way. We drove to Minnesota, Ontario, Canada; Sonora, Mexico; and Pennsylvania with many adventures along the way.

…even tho my dad was not big into hunting, when we children began expressing our interest and desire to go hunting, he brought out his Winchester .30-30 lever action rifle, took us to Hunter’s safety courses, and took the time to take us out hunting. He was with me when I shot my first deer! 

…he always provided for us. We may not have had the best or most of everything, but we had enough and were content. We always had clean clothes to wear, plenty of food to eat, a roof over our heads, and even fun extras. Even though it was with great shock that we learned when we were teenagers that according to national standards we had been raised far below the poverty level. 😂 

…my dad also encouraged and welcomed our questions. Any and all questions were welcomed by him. I specifically remember one instance where we had gone as a family to the coast for one day and on the way home we had quite the discussion about the book to Revelation in the Bible. My dad did not shy away from our questions no matter how hard or ridiculous they were.

…it’s important to be involved in and serve the community where you find yourself living. My dad showed us this by example. He was a volunteer firefighter and EMT for 26 years or so. And when there was a community event such as a National Night Out or potluck or sing along, we were there.

…obedience to God is the most important thing in life. If we remembered nothing else from what he taught that is what he wanted us to remember.

…differences do not mean division. You can believe different, live different, look different, and it doesn’t matter. We can still get along. 

…family is important and family is family no matter how distant the relation. You support and love family even if you don’t always agree.

…have the courage to pursue your dream Even if they don’t fit into the “normal” Mennonite box and it’s ok for a conservative Mennonite to go to college.

…think for yourself and have your own beliefs and be able to defend them if questioned or challenged.

Now some things about my mom.

My mom’s name is Jane but to me she was always mom or mama. Here are some ways she showed me love and some things I learned from her…

…how to be a homemaker with homemaking skills like cooking, baking, canning, freezing, butchering, gardening, and sewing.

…listen to other’s hearts when they speak and hear the things they aren’t saying. 

…be a welcoming hostess and always have room for visitors or one more person.

…have practical every day faith that God will provide for our needs, especially when dad went back to school to get his nurse’s degree and wasn’t able to work.

…show interest and excitement in the passions and interests of others even if they don’t interest me.

…occasionally my mom would let out her crazy side with us children and we would all spend hours laughing and laughing so much. (My mom is hilarious!)

…my mom is not afraid to being Jesus into any conversation. Even conversations in town with random strangers. I have not yet gotten that courage, but I admire it greatly.

…always be willing and engaging when people want to ask about our headcovering or dresses.

I know I’ve learned a lot more than just these few things from my parents, but I wanted to just take time to bless them and thank them in this very public manner. 

Thank you mom and dad for all that you’ve taught me and the many good memories that you’ve given me.

Love your oldest child, Elizabeth

“Wherever You Are, Be All There.”

“Wherever you are, be all there.” -Jim Elliott. This is one of my all time favorite quotes and it’s how I try to live my life. Live in the moment with your whole heart. (Yes, this post is a result of being posted for hours at work.) 😂 So I thought, “Why not share some of my adventures over the last few years?” I’ve certainly had a lot of them.

I’ve lived in two countries, three states, and visited two provinces. I’ve been on bus trips, road trips, and had many interactions with lots of awesome people. Here’s a glimpse, in no particular order of happening.

Playing with children on Kingfisher Lake First Nation in northern Ontario. I lived there six weeks

Loved these kids! Eddie and Rain

Saturlene and Yolanda. Sisters with Tikinagan that we spent hours with during evacuations for forest fires

Me and my school students from Canada

Birchwood Christian School in Dryden, Ontario. I taught first and second grade

BCS students in costume for their Christmas musical

Joys of teaching in northwestern Ontario. Bundling up in layers and layers of clothes in order to play outside in below zero temps

My co-teacher Michelle and I were best of friends

Before I left BCS we did a bff winter photo shoot

Family time is super fun!

Swimming at the river with the littles

Youth dress up night

Redoing our kitchen floor

Siblings at Fort Stevens in 2011

Camo face paint…best kind of makeup 😂

With my dad while he was still a volunteer firefighter

Work and volunteer times

Nancy and I doing medical standby in tactical kilts on July 4

Fire Academy live burn

Ropes training for search and rescue

Chayne and I. Went to EMT class together and then were co-workers for awhile

Mock search mission for training

Wearing a TB mask for a very long transport

Throwback to when I still worked as a nurse’s aide

Work Christmas party 2015

Lab Assisting at the college with my creepy manikin

EMT class!!

And other various happenings and adventures…

Playing coed softball with Accident Prone

Holding a cow heart in Manitoba

Helping chore at the neighbor’s

Snowmobile riding in Manitoba!!

Jumping at the beach

With my unofficial niece Eliana

Rowboat on Beaver Lake in Dryden, Ontario

Yes I’m a hunter and a country girl at heart.

Playing games at LBS with my student Knaqweyza in 2013

Yes, I love life! And today I’ve been thinking about how blessed I am to have had all these wonderful adventures and times with friends and family. Go out and live in the moment!! 

God bless!!

My Uniform

skirtTonight I walked through the security room at a local emergency department. No one questioned my right to be there or challenged me. On the contrary, several security fellows looked up, smiled, and said hello.

Why was this you ask? It was because of my uniform. My uniform identifies me as a first responder. The patches on my sleeves show the company I work for and the level of training I have. The name badge on my collar contains my EMT number and employee ID.

Tonight I’ve been thinking a lot about my uniform and what it represents, even how it makes me act.

When I am in uniform, I tend to walk and act more confidently. I make an effort to look people in the faces. I walk with my head up. I try harder to act with courtesy and respect. And at all times in uniform I feel a pressure to be professional and at all times represent my uniform well. People stop me to ask directions. Little children are intrigued and want to say hi and talk to me. There’s a camaraderie between other first responders in the crew room. I’m allowed to go places and walk thru doors that are normally off-limits.

In emergencies, people immediately look to me because of my uniform. They recognize it as someone who should know what they’re doing. When people call us in an emergency,  they trust us to come into their homes and they trust us with the most private details of their lives. Because of our uniforms. They look at us to come in and bring order when their lives are upside down.

When I’ve been in uniform,  I have been handed free coffee. I’ve had people come up to me and ask if I knew their friend/family member who also works as an EMT. I’ve had people say thank you. I’ve also had people ask if I was a police officer. (I politely explained to them that I carry neither handcuffs or a gun nor do I have any interest in arresting someone.) People automatically lean toward trusting me when I’m in uniform. My word carries more weight.

All these thoughts got me to thinking. What if I acted this way as a believer in Christ? As a believer in Christ, I am in a sense wearing a uniform. My Christian uniform consists of the armor of God that’s in Ephesians 6:10-18 (AMP).

“10 In conclusion, be strong in the Lord [draw your strength from Him and be empowered through your union with Him] and in the power of His [boundless] might. 11 Put on the full armor of God [for His precepts are like the splendid armor of a heavily armed soldier], so that you may be able to [successfully] stand up against all the schemes and the strategies and the deceits of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places. 13 Therefore, put on the complete armor of God, so that you will be able to [successfully] resist and stand your ground in the evil day [of danger], and having done everything [that the crisis demands], to stand firm [in your place, fully prepared, immovable, victorious]. 14 So stand firm and hold your ground, having [b]tightened the wide band of truth (personal integrity, moral courage) around your waistband having put on the breastplate of righteousness (an upright heart), 15 and having [c]strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation [to face the enemy with firm-footed stability and the readiness produced by the good news]. 16 Above all, lift up the [protective] [d]shield of faith with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. 18 With all prayer and petition pray [with specific requests] at all times [on every occasion and in every season in the Spirit, and with this in view, stay alert with all perseverance and petition [interceding in prayer] for all [e]God’s people.”

These verses give us pretty specific commands on how to wear our uniform and how we are to act in the kingdom of God. Let’s look at it.

vs. 11. “Put on the FULL armor of God”. When I get ready to go to work, I have a mental checklist to make sure I have all the pieces. Pressed shirt? Washed skirt? Name tag? Trauma shears? Pager? Boots? Belt? Watch with a second-hand? Phone? Phone charger? Small notebook? Pens? Having all these things insures that I will be ready for whatever kinds of things may come up during the day. It’s the same way with our Christian lives. Do we run through our checklist at the beginning of the day? Helmet of salvation? Shield of faith? Sword of the Spirit? Belt of truth? Breastplate of righteousness? Shoes of the gospel of peace? Is it all in working order? Do we know how to use it? Do we take care of it?

vs. 14 “wide band of truth around your waistband”. My uniform belt is a sturdy duty belt. It’s wide, made of thick leather, and secure. It holds my trauma shears and pager. It provides a hand hold for my spotter when we’re carrying a patient up or down stairs. It gives fearful patients something to hold on to while we’re moving them from one place to another. And it provides a polished look to the uniform. These verses say that we should have a belt of truth. Since we’re wearing armor I imagine the belt should be sturdy and is important. It keeps everything together. It provides a place to hang all our tools on. It provides a handhold for those who are weaker and for our comrades to help us along. Truth is the centerpiece of our uniform.

vs. 14 “breastplate of righteousness”. I would liken this to my uniform shirt. It provides identifying marks that show my rank and company. It protects me against dirt and bodily fluids. My badges on my arms show that I have the training and authority necessary to step into crazy chaotic situations and attempt to bring help, hope, and healing. They identify what my role is and where I fall in the paramilitary ranking of first responders. So as a Christian, my breastplate, which is protection of my heart and vital organs. It should show that I have the training necessary to step into spiritual chaos and bring order, hope and healing to the wounded and hurting. By being willing to wear this, I am also showing that I am willing to step up to my training and use it in the way it was intended.

vs. 15 “strapped on your feet the gospel of peace in preparation”. These are my boots. My boots are all leather, non-slip, rugged sole boots that give me protection on my feet and provide me stability and grip in all types of terrain and places. I’ve walked in hoarder’s homes with filthy floors. I’ve hiked up hills and walked in squeaky clean hospitals. I’ve stepped in blood, urine, ants, dirt, mud, gravel, carpet, hardwood, and pretty much everything else; and yet my feet have stayed safe, protected and clean. I take care of my boots almost more than any other part of my uniform. I clean them, polish them, and use protecting wax. I have not once lost my footing. By staying on my feet I have kept the rest of my uniform from being dirtied by the environment I found myself in. This is how we should be as Christians as well. Our shoes, the gospel of peace, provide our stability in the middle of the battle. It provides us grip and protection. With the proper shoes, we are able to walk in the midst of filth without getting it on ourselves at all. We can pull people out of the filth of their lives without getting it all over us.

vs. 16 “shield of faith”. I don’t carry a shield with me at work, but on certain calls I do work very closely with police officers who wear bullet resistant vests. So at the risk of stretching this analogy to far, I will liken the police officers’ body armor to our shield of faith. Their vests are often made out of materials which resist the impact of bullets and are often stab proof as well to protect from knives. These officers will risk their lives to protect us and others from people who want to harm or kill us. When police officers are on scene, I know that the scene is likely to be more dangerous than other scenes, but I’m also more confident because we have more protection. Our faith as Christians should be like this. We can walk confidently into situations that may be considered dangerous knowing that our shields will protect us and thwart the enemies attack. With our shields up, we will still have to be on guard, but we won’t have to fear any attacks.

vs. 17 “helmet of salvation”. Head protection. Depends where I am working as an EMT whether on a search mission or on the shipyards, I wear a helmet. On search missions I wear a climbing helmet and at the shipyards I wear a hard hat. The purpose of this is to protect my head, obviously. But protect it from what? Things falling down, me bumping my head into things as I walk through narrow places or under trees,  rocks sliding down from the climbers above me, all kinds of things that could cause my head injury. It also provides protection from weather such as sun and rain. With our helmet of salvation on, we can walk through crazy places, dangerous places and have nothing to fear for any type of head injuries. Make sure your helmet stays on and in place and you’re good to go!

vs. 17 “sword of the Spirit”. Now obviously as an EMT I do not carry any type of weapon with me on any scene. But I would like to liken the sword to my tools I carry, my gear. A sword is a tool of a soldier, so I have tools as well. My tools enable me to carry out my job. I have my various bags of gear, and all of the tools in them are at my disposal. However, it is up to me to be familiar with their locations and how they work. I need to train to know how to utilize them and which ones work best for which jobs. So as a Christian I need to train to learn how to best use my sword and how to wield it. It is my responsibility to learn this and keep up with my training. Just like as an EMT I have to keep up on my skills and continue training. I can’t ever assume that just because I learned it once I am done learning forever. Training continues forever.

vs. 18 “stay alert with all perseverance and petition”. Stay alert. This gets drilled into my head more and more as the situation surrounding all first responders becomes more and more sketchy in our current world. Threats against my coworkers. Firefighters off-duty being attacked. Many police officers being killed. Fake 911 calls being placed in order to attack the first responders. Normally safe scenes quickly becoming unsafe. More and more of our training centers around situational awareness and being constantly on guard even on “routine” calls. The more this is being trained into me the more I realize how much this is necessary on a spiritual level as well. Be alert. Watch out for subtle signs that not everything is as it appears. Don’t take things at face value. Be ready to deescalate any situation as needed. Learn HOW to deescalate a situation before it becomes more dangerous. Learn to control your reactions to things like anger and fear. Be able to remain calm in the face of high levels of stress. Always watch your back. Be alert for your partner’s safety as well. Be ready to vacate premises for your own safety as needed. And always remember your own safety comes first, then your partner’s, and then your patient’s. If you get injured, you’re no good to anyone. Stay safe! Not only physically but also spiritually!

Pay attention to your Christian uniform. Do I take as much care of it as I do my EMT uniform? Do I realize the significance of it? Do I walk out the confidence that I should have? My physical uniform makes me think of my spiritual uniform. Is yours in working order?

The Prince and His Bride, Part 1 & 2

Imagine with me for a moment, that you are on your way to the throne room of the King with an important-to-you request. You know that since it’s important to you, it will be important to Him. You heart is thrilled to know that you can enter His throne room at any time no matter what, and you will be welcomed with open arms and given the King’s full attention.

As you near the door to the throne room, you spot a pitiful figure crouched to one side of the door. When you get closer, you can see that it’s a girl. Her clothes are ragged. Her hair is unkempt, hanging loosely in her face. She’s crouching there, rocking back and forth slightly, sobbing.

Your heart fills with compassion, but just when you start over to her, the door to the throne room opens and a figure steps out. You gasp in surprise when you recognize the figure as that of the Prince! It’s the Prince who always sits on the right hand of the King!

He walks over to the girl and crouches down to look into her dirty, tear-stained face. As you watch, He reaches out and smooths her hair back from her face. She recoils instantly in terror from His touch. She cries out, “Don’t hurt me! Don’t hurt me!”

You wonder if she realizes who she’s talking to. The Prince is gentle, especially to those who are scared and scarred. You know from experience; you used to be the same way.

Then the girl starts talking, weeping, “What if the King hates me? What if the Prince kicks me out? I’m not good enough! My troubles are too small to bother the King with! Just look at all those other people entering the throne room. None of them have noticed me, so surely the King wouldn’t notice me either. I should just leave.” She starts to stand, but the Prince stops her.

“Child, the King loves you just as you are. He loves to transform those who think they are no good into beautiful princesses of His. It would thrill our hearts to have you enter the throne room, just as you are.”

The girl seems to take not notice of the Prince’s words. You decide to walk over and ask her if she heard Him. “Yes,” she says, “but I thought that He was talking to someone else. You mean to say He was actually talking to me?” Her surprise is so great that she actually lifts her head and stares at you in amazement. Then she turns to the prince, “Sir, do You think that maybe the King would allow me to be the most invisible servant in Your palace?”

The prince smiles gently. “No,” He replies, “I think that would not satisfy Him.”

The girl’s face falls. “You mean, I’m not even good enough to do that?”

“No,” replies the Prince, “I mean, that I want you to be My bride! My Father, the King, would love that!”

“But…but…I’m not good enough to do that! Look at me! I could never be a suitable bride in this outfit!”

The Prince’s face breaks into a broad smile. “That’s my specialty! I will prepare you and then present you to My Father!”

“Oh! Well…okay, but I’m scared to enter that door by myself. Will You come with me?” She reaches up both hands towards Him.

“Of course, My love, I’ll carry you through that door.” With that, the Prince stoops down, picks up the girl, and enters the throne room.

***********

You decide to follow the Prince and the girl into the throne room. As you enter, you see the girl be suddenly transformed! Her clothes change from rags to the beautiful gown of a bride. Her face is clean and beautiful. Her hair is beautifully done.

You expect the girl to notice her dramatic transformation and sit up in awe or something. You’re amazed when she seems to take no notice of what has just happened. Instead, she just keeps her face hidden against the Prince. She still seems to be terrified and ashamed. She’s trembling in fear.

You expect the Prince to do something, say something to wake the girl to her new reality. Instead, the Prince just quietly holds her, gently stroking her back. He walks forward and sits next to His Father, the King. You want to walk forward and shake the girl to her senses! You don’t understand why the Prince doesn’t say anything! His gift, the beautiful transformation, has gone completely unnoticed! You’ve never known Him to be wrong before, but surely this time…

After just quietly holding the girl for awhile, the Prince hands her to the King. The King continues to quietly hold the girl, while the Prince gets up and begins to dance!

For the first time since entering the throne room, you take a good look around you and realize that everyone around you is dancing in worship to the King. Some are dancing slowly, methodically, with measured steps. Others are dancing, whirling wildly, with reckless abandonment.

The Prince seems to be dancing especially for the girl. He keeps watching her. When you turn to look at her, you notice that she seems to be watching the Prince out of the corner of her eye. Her face still mostly hidden, though, against the King. After a little, she shifts her position to watch the Prince more closely.

The Prince approaches her and asks her to join Him. Instantly, she shakes her head “no” and says quietly, “I’d just make us look like fools.” With that she hides her face again. The Prince and the King just smile.

The Prince does not seem to be at all worried by her first rejection. In fact, He keeps coming back to her, keeps asking her to join Him. You start wondering why the Prince even bothers. Can’t He see that the girl seems to be scared and uninterested?

When the Prince asks her for the fourth time, however, the girl says shyly, quietly, “I’d really, really love to! Honest! But I don’t know how, and I’m kind of scared.”

The Prince smiles broadly. “I have transformed you, and I can teach you to dance. Come! Join me!” He holds out His arms towards the girl. When the girl hesitantly reaches out to Him, He swoops her up and whirls her around.

For the first time since you’ve been observing them, the girl’s face breaks into a wide smile. She throws back her head and laughs joyously.

For a little while, the Prince just dances while holding her. Her arms are wrapped around His neck. She’s laughing and enjoying it to the fullest. Then He sets the girl down and lets her take a few hesitant steps on her own, before swooping her back up into His arms. He does this several times, and the girl gains confidence.

You’re amazed at the complete transformation of the girl! She no longer looks anything like the street waif outside, plus, she’s starting to act completely different. Her head is up. She’s laughing. She has confidence.

The Prince sets the girl down again, and they begin to dance together. The girl is smiling, head thrown back, eyes closed. She’s perfectly content to be dancing with the Prince.

Their joy is so contagious that you catch yourself smiling, nodding your head in time to the music. The King is smiling, reveling in His son’s glory and the transformation of His Son’s chosen bride. The Prince and the girl are smiling, joyous to be together, reveling in their new found relationship.

You are content, happy to have been allowed once again, to watch the transformation from pauper to royalty, from street waif to Prince’s bride. It is enough. You smile and join in the worship.