About Sandy Quandt

www.sandykirbyquandt.com

Walking Circuitous Paths

stairway

Every adventure begins with a first step, or so it is said. We must take a step, whether in the right direction or wrong before progress can be made. Though we may not realize it at the time, even our circuitous paths are able to bring us home, when we allow God to lead the way.

When you were younger, were you positive you knew exactly where you were going in life, and exactly how you would get there?

I remember sitting around my room with girlfriends in elementary school telling each other the type of house we would live in, the number of children we would have, what our husbands would look like.

I can’t speak for the others, but I know I didn’t end up in the house with the white picket fence I imagined. And to be truthful, I’m glad I didn’t.

My elementary school plans were so limited. I didn’t have vision beyond what I saw on the covers of magazines, in television shows, or what I read in books.

I definitely didn’t give thought to the fact God was the one who should direct my path.

As adults, sometimes we might play the same game. We know for a fact what job we will have, who our friends will be, how much money we will retire with. But we haven’t given much thought to the fact God is the one who should direct our path.

When Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, it took them eleven days to reach the Promised Land. (Deuteronomy 1:2) Yet, due to their unbelief, God refused to let them enter. (Numbers 13 & 14) As a result, they wandered through the Sinai desert for 40 years.

They took a circuitous route because they grumbled, complained, rebelled, and didn’t believe God would keep his promises. Their vision was limited. They couldn’t see beyond their next campground.

In fact, they spent most of their time looking backwards at where they’d been and wishing they were still there. They didn’t take hold of the vision God had for them even though his presence led them.

God had a plan from before the beginning of time for what he would accomplish through his people. He has a plan for what he wants to accomplish through us.

Sometimes the way seems clear and we’re right on track to living in the house with the white picket fence, then boom! Something happens that knocks us sideways and we end up wandering in the desert.

Sometimes God takes us on circuitous paths through the desert to bring us back to him. He won’t leave us in the desert as long as we continue to trust him.

Though we may take a circuitous route to get there, our home in heaven is so much better than any white picket fence we could imagine. Wouldn’t you agree?

Did your dreams end up as you planned, or did they take a circuitous route?

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Show me the right path, O Lord;  point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you. Psalm 25:4-5 (NLT)

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Photo by Jeanson Wong on Unsplash

Along a Storied Trail Book Review

Along a Storied Trail is another fine tale of Appalachian history by Ann Gabhart. I love Ann’s books and the way she weaves historical details into her stories.

Set in 1937, Along a Storied Trail is fast-paced and filled with lovable characters. It tells the story of Tansy Calhoun, a Kentucky packhorse librarian. Her job is to deliver books to the folks living near her home from the library in town.

When Damien Felding arrives in town to write about the area, Tansy is tasked with introducing him to the locals to get their stories. At the same time, Caleb Barton, Tansy’s old friend, returns home from Tennessee where he worked with the Civilian Conservation Corps. Complications arise as Tansy searches for the ideal man with aplomb.

If you enjoy Christian historical fiction set in the Appalachians, then Along a Storied Trail is the book for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

No Missing Pieces In Jesus

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Sometimes life can seem like a jigsaw puzzle with several pieces missing. Can it not? Fortunately, when we belong to Jesus, there are no missing pieces.

When Pie was in elementary school, he was majorly interested in the original G.I. Joe television series, toys, and comic books. Who knew, many years later, Duke, Scarlet, and Snake Eyes would be featured in several major movies? Certainly not me.

During one trip to my mother’s house in Georgia, Pie contentedly put a brand new, unopened, G.I. Joe puzzle together. Halfway through, however, no matter how hard he tried to complete the puzzle, there was a problem. Some pieces were missing.

We went to the local five and dime in Homerville to look for another puzzle, but they did not sell any G.I. Joe toys. Not to be deterred, Pie decided to write Hasbro a letter. He explained the problem of the missing puzzle pieces. And you know what? Hasbro came through. Not only did they send a new replacement of the puzzle Pie wrote them about, they sent others as well. Good on you, Hasbro.

Just like trying to make sense of a jigsaw puzzle, we try to make sense of the jigsaw puzzle of life, don’t we? We work hard to get all the pieces to fit properly to create a pleasing picture. We bought the brand new unopened puzzle, expecting all the pieces to be there. But halfway through, we just can’t make it fit. Our perfect picture of what we expected our life to look like is missing several pieces.

That’s when we get in touch with the Creator of the puzzle, the Great I Am. We tell Jesus the problem and wait on his reply. There are no missing pieces in Jesus. He has everything we need to complete the puzzle of our life. He knows what the picture will look like when it’s finished. On the day we stand before the Father’s throne, there will be nothing missing.

The way I see it, our job is to keep the box cover, our Bible, in view and make sure we’re putting the puzzle together correctly. Then put the pieces together day by day, piece by piece, and step by step.

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The whole Bible was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (TLB)

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Others Don’t Define Us

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

One summer semester in college I took Archery. After we finished the classroom instruction, we headed outside for target practice. The male instructor informed us once we hit a bull’s eye, we would receive an A and be finished with the course. Yay!

He added. No girl ever managed that feat in the shortened number of weeks left in our semester.

Gauntlet down. I determined to show him I was not just a girl.

Mind you, at the time I took that Archery class I was a non-traditional student. Not fresh out of high school. I couldn’t even technically be called a girl any more. Those days were long gone. Regardless, I was determined to do everything in my power to show that instructor females could hit a bull’s eye, no matter how short the time frame.

It didn’t happen on the first try. And not the second. But I’ll never forget the day I stood up to the line, took my stance, faced the target, pulled back the string, and let that arrow fly. Maid Marion had nothing on me.

Not only was I the first girl to hit the bull’s eye, I whacked the skin off my arm in the process. If you’ve ever had the bow string thwack across your forearm, you know the pain. And the swelling. And bruising. (Arm guards don’t help me. I need two of them on the same arm because my arm juts out at a funny angle.)

After my arrow sank into the target, my archery partner said something like “Way to go!” as he and I high-fived. YES!

We were stationed at the far end of the line of targets away from the instructor. When the instructor noticed my bull’s eye, he called down the line, “Which one of you boys hit that?”

Boys?

I stepped out of the line and faced him. My male partner, who had not yet scored a bull’s eye, shouted back, “She did!”

The instructor’s stunned silence was priceless. When he gave us the all clear, I stepped forward, tugged my arrow from the hay target, walked back to my partner, and told him so long.

Of course, archery isn’t the only area where others try to define us, our worth, or our ability. It happens all the time in all arenas. It happens in our parenting skills. Our financial resources. Our jobs. Our relationship status. Our skill set. Our education. Our biblical knowledge. Pick an area, and someone will have something to say about it.

Sure, there are areas where we are not able to perform as well as others. You all should know by now I am NOT the chef extraordinaire Pilot is. But I can whip up rather decent desserts. And if you were to ask Pilot, I believe he’d tell you I do a better job with the laundry than he does.

Our abilities do not limit us from being used by God. What limits us is our availability and desire to be used. God can use each of us if we’re willing to let him. Our worth is in the fact we belong to Jesus. And because we belong to him, our desire is to be the best at whatever he wants us to be.

Others do not define us. God does. And he thinks we’re pretty special. Special enough to allow his son to die a horrid death so we would never be separated from him. I’d say that’s pretty special.

Any other toxophilites out there with archery stories to share?

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Yet, my brothers, I do not consider myself to have “arrived”, spiritually, nor do I consider myself already perfect. But I keep going on, grasping ever more firmly that purpose for which Christ grasped me. My brothers, I do not consider myself to have fully grasped it even now. But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honour of being called by God in Christ. Philippians 3:12-14 (Phillips)

You can find my June Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

Sandy

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Don’t Miss Out Book Review

If, like me, your understanding of how the Holy Spirit works in your life is a little fuzzy, no matter how long you’ve been a Christ-follower, then Don’t Miss Out: Daring to Believe Life Is Better with the Holy Spirit by Jeannie Cunnion may just be the book for you. Written in thirty relatively short chapters, Don’t Miss Out can be read one chapter a day for a month, or multiple chapters at one sitting.

Written in a personal, conversational style, Jeannie backs up her insights of the person of the Holy Spirit with Scripture. I found myself taking notes as I read to be sure I didn’t forget some important point she mentioned.

Here is a sample of what I wrote:

  • There are no circumstances that can cause the Holy Spirit to leave you behind. He doesn’t give up on you when you give up on yourself.
  • The Holy spirit is a skilled communicator. He knows what to say when we are at a loss for words or need words to speak into a difficult situation.
  • Knowing the Spirit has a personality matters because we can’t have a relationship with a symbol. We can only have a relationship with a person, and that is precisely what we can have with the person of the Holy Spirit.

There is much more in the pages of Don’t Miss Out that speaks of the incredible benefits of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our life. I highly recommend it. This is one of those books which I will keep on my shelf and read often.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks.

Victory Over the Marauders

Photo by Serge Krasnov on Unsplash

Victory over the marauders does not have to be complete for it to be a win.

During the time David and his men ran for their lives from King Saul, they moved to the Philistine town of Ziklag, where they lived for over a year. Near the end of David’s time on the run, some Amalekite marauders came into Ziklag while he and all his men were on a mission for the Philistine king, Achish.

After being sent home from the battle, David and his men returned to find Ziklag completely destroyed. The Amalekites looted the town, then burned it to the ground. They took captive all the men, women, and children.

In their utter distress over the loss of their families, David’s men threatened to kill him. He was their leader. They believed the responsibility for what happened fell on him.

David was distressed over the loss of his family as well, but to have the men turn on him?

What to do?

David turned to the Lord and received strength. He asked God if he should pursue the raiding party. Would he overtake them?

The Lord told David to pursue them. God told David he and his men would surely overtake the Amalekites and succeed in the rescue.

David took four hundred men in pursuit of the Amalekite marauders. They found the raiding party and attacked. Although God promised victory, it was not an easy win. David and his men fought from dusk until the evening of the next day.

It was not a complete victory, either. Some of the Amalekites escaped. Still, David did not lament over the ones who got away. Instead, he celebrated and was grateful for what was rescued. None of the people or possessions were missing.

As this story from David’s life shows us, just because victory over the marauders is assured, that doesn’t mean it will be easily fought. Also, David didn’t have to experience complete victory for this battle to be a win.

There are times in our lives we will face marauders of all kinds that threaten, attack, and steal. Some days we will have victory. Some of those victories will be complete. Some will be partial.

In each of the battles we face, one key, I believe, is to do what David did. Go to God first. Seek his direction. Enter the battle in the Lord’s strength. Fight for as long as it takes. And praise God for the victory. No matter its size.

Are you able to celebrate and be grateful for incomplete victories?

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At dawn the next day David attacked them and fought until evening. Except for four hundred young men who mounted camels and got away, none of them escaped. David rescued everyone and everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives; 1 Samuel 30:17-18 (GNT)

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Hand It Over To Jesus

courtesy pixabayDuring one particularly stressful year of teaching, I developed an unhealthy habit of eating Tootsie Roll Midgees. Not just one or two pieces at a time, one or two HANDFULS.

It was mindless munching in a failed attempt to ease the never-ending pressure of too many demands and too little time.

As was my habit, I sat in my classroom long after the students, and everyone except the janitorial staff, left the school, trying to find ways to help my students grasp essential math concepts.

One of my sweet co-teachers stepped into my room and spied the pile of discarded candy wrappers next to the pile of uneaten candy on my desk.

I offered Paula several Tootsie Rolls as I continued to unwrap and pop the remainder into my mouth with record speed.

“What are you doing?”

“Going over these math scores again. Susan’s not happy with the results,” I said between bites.

“No. What are you doing eating all this candy?”

“Stress.”

Paula held out her hands. I gave her another piece of candy. She shook her head.

“I’m here to save you from yourself. Give me all the candy.”

I looked at my friend, then back to my desk. I willingly scooped up the Tootsie Rolls and handed them to her. She must have been suspicious regarding my lack of resistance.

“Any more?”

After a moment, I opened my desk drawer and pulled out a sandwich sized baggie full of candy.

Paula smiled.

I sat for a moment. Then walked to the closet. From there I pulled out a half-full bag of that chocolatey delight. It wasn’t just a small sized bag. Nope. This was one of the mega sized bags you need two arms to carry.

Paula’s eyes grew big as I sheepishly handed over my stash.

“Do you have any more?” I doubt she really believed I did.

When I walked to the front of the classroom and opened up the file cabinet, we both started laughing.

Paula wiped tears from her eyes as I handed over another 720 piece bag.

After all these years that moment in time is as fresh as if it just happened. But I’d like to explore the concept of surrendering all my Tootsie Rolls to what Jesus asks us to do.

Jesus asks us to surrender everything to him. Not just the candy on our desk that people see, but also the candy we’ve hidden away hoping no one will discover.

We are asked to surrender our time. Our resources. Our talent.

We are asked to surrender our families. Our health. Our jobs. Our hurts, scars, unhealthy habits.

We are asked to surrender our hopes, dreams, ambitions, wants, desires, all so we can become the person God created us to be.

It is my belief that as Paula stood in my classroom with her hand outstretched to receive all the Tootsie Rolls I’d stashed away to save me from myself, Jesus holds out his hand to save us, as well.

Jesus wants us to lay it all down. Hand it all over to him, and pick up only what he wants us to pick up in his perfect timing.

Even though Paula promised she’d hold onto my candy and dole it out a little at a time if I needed it, I realized those Midgees really weren’t what was going to get me through the stress of that year.

Jesus was.

And he did.

Dealing with stressful situations? Surrender them to Jesus.

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So give yourselves completely to God. Stand against the devil, and the devil will run from you. James 4:7 (NCV)

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well,

Sandy

Pause for Poetry-Thy Hidden Ones

Thy Hidden Ones

L. B. Cowman

Thick green leaves from the soft brown earth,

Happy springtime hath called them forth;

First faint promise of summer bloom

Breathes from the fragrant, sweet perfume,

Under the leaves.

 

Lift them! what marvelous beauty lies

Hidden beneath, from our thoughtless eyes!

Mayflowers, rosy or purest white,

Lift their cups to the sudden light,

Under the leaves.

 

Are there no lives whose holy deeds—

Seen by no eye save His who reads

Motive and action—in silence grow

Into rare beauty, and bud and blow

Under the leaves?

 

Fair white flowers of faith and trust,

Springing from spirits bruised and crushed;

Blossoms of love, rose-tinted and bright,

Touched and painted with Heaven’s own light

Under the leaves.

 

Full fresh clusters of duty borne,

Fairest of all in that shadow grown;

Wondrous the fragrance that sweet and rare

Comes from the flower-cups hidden there

Under the leaves.

 

Though unseen by our vision dim,

Bud and blossom are known to Him;

Wait we content for His heavenly ray—

Wait till our Master Himself one day

Lifteth the leaves.

L. B. Cowman

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think
others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media
buttons.

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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A Love That Refuses To Let Go

Photo by Kelli McClintock on Unsplash

Years ago when I visited my cousin’s church, my attention focused on a small boy and his father in front of me. For whatever reason, the boy was not happy. Not in the least little bit. Even so, his father exhibited a love that refuses to let go.

Because the boy was not happy, he began throwing things. His father told him to pick each projectile off the floor. With reluctance, and no small amount of displeasure, the boy obeyed. Only to throw something else moments later.

At one point, the father picked up the child. He sat him in his lap and wrapped both arms around his son. The more the boy squirmed, the tighter the father’s grip.

The boy kicked, stretched, whined, and fused, but could not break free from his father’s bear hug. After awhile, the father released his grip. He lifted his son from his lap, and set him in the space on the church pew beside him.

No sooner did the boy’s bottom hit the pew, but he scooted away. The interesting thing to me in all of this was, it didn’t take long at all until the boy scootched his way back to his father, placed his head in his lap, and fell asleep.

As I consider this, I think more times than not, we behave like that little boy. We’re not happy with the way our life is going. We start throwing things around. We might pick them up for a moment, only to throw them down again.

Sometimes in the middle of our disobedience, God sets us in his lap, wraps his arms tightly around us, and expresses a love that refuses to let go.

We squirm. We kick. We whine and fuss because we aren’t getting our way. Things are not going according to our plan or agenda. We’re mad, and we don’t care who knows it.

Still, God holds us. And when the time is right, he loosens his grip, places us on the bench beside him, only to watch us scoot away. We aren’t finished being mad. We aren’t giving in that easy.

But there comes the moment of realization, whether we admit it or not, when we know we were wrong. We know we behaved badly and acted like a tantrum-throwing two-year-old. When that happens, we sidle back next to God and he allows us to place our head in his lap once more.

When we fall back on God’s grace, mercy, and love that refuses to let go no matter how horrid we act, we are safe and can rest. We know beyond any doubt God cares enough about us to want what’s best for us. Even when we strain against his grip.

How have you felt God’s love that refuses to let go wrap its arms around you?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Once I was bitter and brokenhearted. I was stupid and ignorant, and I treated you as a wild animal would. But I never really left you, and you hold my right hand. Your advice has been my guide, and later you will welcome me in glory. In heaven I have only you, and on this earth you are all I want. My body and mind may fail, but you are my strength and my choice forever. Psalm 73:21-26 (CEV)

You can find my May Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well,

Sandy

Please enter your email address on the form located on the right sidebar to sign up to receive posts every Tuesday and Thursday. Thanks!