This week I was reminded of these words from Corrie ten Boom.

“I’ve learned that we must hold everything loosely, because when I grip it tightly, it hurts when the Father pries my fingers loose and takes it from me!”

 

September Sunset over Lake Michigan - Learning to Hang on Loosely - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

Tuesday evening we were leaving our apartment around 5:30 to get a quick bite to eat and go on to small group.  As I stepped out into the hallway, the top landing between two apartments, I noticed that Tim’s brand new bike was gone.

Immediately I stepped back in and asked him if his bike was there when he came home around 1:30.  He said it was.  I then said, “It’s not here, now!”

We then checked with our first-floor neighbor to see if he had seen anyone different coming into our building.  He hadn’t and couldn’t believe it.

Tim went downstairs and outside and he saw no sign of his new bike.

What was interesting is that I had parked my bike on the second landing… half-way up to our floor and it was still there… chained to a 35-pound kettle ball.  (Tim’s was not chained to anything.)

Other than calling the sheriff, there wasn’t anything to do besides driving around the neighborhood, which we did and then went on our way, stopping at a pawn shop to see if it happened to go there.

After small group, we arrived home a little after 9 o’clock… planning to call the sheriff to report Tim’s missing bike.

The thing is, we now had to report two missing bikes and a kettlebell.

Yes, both our bikes were stolen.

 

Seagull at sunset on the lakeshore - Devotional on loss of things - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

That very bold thief actually came back between 6:30 and 9 and took my new bike along with the kettlebell it was chained to.

The sheriff’s deputy came later and took the report and seemed surprised by this theft.  He promised to put the word out and I also shared our loss on our town’s informational Facebook page.  But we haven’t heard anything.  I’m guessing the bikes are long gone.

The sad thing is that we haven’t had bikes for several years and shortly after getting these, neither of us felt that great to brave the heat of the summer to do much riding after our anniversary bike ride.  Fall was on its way and we were planning on logging many miles in the cooler weather.

Bikes have always been a part of our “coupleness.” You see Tim and I first met on a long bike ride and camping trip.  We both had orange bikes then and that was what started our first conversation.

Later that summer, Tim asked me out… for a bike ride.  And that was the beginning of our love for each other and riding together.

Tim became a much more serious rider than me.  He easily clocked a hundred miles or more each week and rode in century (100 mile) rides with his friends.  I rode in half-century rides with my girlfriends.

Still, we often rode together.  It was our thing.

I guess that’s what makes losing our bikes hard.

 

Lake Michigan Sunset - Sitting on the beach and letting go of things we should hang on to loosely - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

The other evening we went down to the beach to ground ourselves and watch the sunset.

As we sat there we talked about the loss.

And then Tim started talking to God about it.

He prayed for the person who took our bikes, for the people who would end up riding them, and then for us.

Even though the pain of losing them was still fresh… we let them go.

They’re just bikes.

 

Kayakers at sunset on Lake Michigan's shore - Devotional on overcoming loss - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

Spending money on bikes seemed like an extravagance to us.  However, getting them was like getting a bit of ourselves back after these very hard years.  They represented a hopeful future on so many levels.

But, on Thursday evening, we let them go.

Trusting in a God who knows what we need.

Trusting in a God who sees the whole picture and is always at work on our behalf.

Trusting in a God who allows tests and challenges to come at us.

Trusting in a God who chose not to rescue us (or our bikes) from disappointment.

Trusting in a God who wants us to see for ourselves the true colors of our faith.

 

Bible verse from James 1 - Under pressure (trials & tribulations) - Devotional for holding loosely to things - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.  

James 1:2-4

We have a few more pressures that have caused us an inordinate amount of stress.  Tim especially feels it.  So, the bikes weren’t just one more thing to deal with.

I’m not sure that we feel that these challenges and disappointments have been gifts.  But, we do recognize that it puts our faith front and center.

All of us want to squirm out of unpleasant circumstances.  It’s difficult to see how anything good will come from them.

That’s where our faith comes in.  It’s imperative that we keep our eyes on Jesus and trust that he is using these experiences to make us into the people he created us to become.

 

Evening on the Lake Michigan Shoreline - Devotional to help us when we hang on to things tightly - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

One thing I’ve learned to do when experiencing anxiety is to praise God.

Usually, I do that by singing out loud.  Funny thing, I might feel like I can hardly breathe or swallow… but I can sing God’s praises.  It gets me through the panic.

God’s word shows us that especially when we’re going through difficulties it’s important for us to shout our praise to him.

There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience, in turn, forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit! 

Romans 5:3-5

When we do praise God we become more expectant to see him work on our behalf.  Our senses really do get that “alert expectancy.” And if we stay the course we will experience God’s “grace upon grace” drenching us, holding us, and filling us.

God promises to be everything we need in every situation.

So… we trust.

And in trusting… God gets the glory and we get more of him.

 

Over the years we’ve had many items stolen from us in various homes and states, from gas grills to bikes to silverware to limited edition artwork to heirlooms and family treasures and even my parents’ house and my inheritance.  We have had to learn to hold on to things loosely.

We may be holding things more loosely these days… but it still hurts… and we’re still learning and growing through the process.  I just trust that God is doing something more amazing in our lives because of it which we have yet to see.

Pin It to remember for Later because it's so good - AnExtraordinaryDay.netStruggling with Loss Sunset over the lake. Devotional on releasing loss and gaining more - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

I know that many have experienced loss on a grand scale through the recent hurricane.

When we have things “stolen” from us… big or small, it’s still hard.

Learning to not hold things tightly is huge.

But with God’s help, we can do it.  And live joyfully with alert expectancy.

 

  • What have you lost or had taken from you?
  • How did you handle it?
  • Where was God in the aftermath?

 

JoyDay! - Devotional on How to Hold things Loosely - AnExtraordinaryDay.net

 

It’s JoyDay!

I’m so glad you could join me for JoyDay! There isn’t anything better than each of us sharing the good things God has done in our lives this week.  Both in the happy and in the challenges.

Will you join with me in counting ‘seven’ from the past week?

I’ll start!

Thank you, God for…

  1. Your Word… to encourage us through every bump and valley.
  2. a most amazing sunset.  How does the sun look SO HUGE?
  3. being able to spend some time with Tim at the beach.
  4. some new clothes (and a smaller size!!!).
  5. Fall (the season of impending doom) and the cooler temperatures.
  6. the healing you are working in me.
  7. reminding us that you are good, good God and loving father, even when you allow a thief to steal from us.

Now it’s your turn!  

Please join me by tapping in your ‘seven’ in the ‘share your extraordinary thoughts’ section below. I dare you!

Thank you for stopping by and taking time to leave your sweet thoughts.

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Comments

  1. Happy Joy Day!
    Oh Diane, I’m so sorry about your bikes! My heart broke for you when I read this post because I know it wasn’t easy to get them due to money. I know all about saving and pinching to get something you want. I remember years ago I saved and was finally able to buy a very old and used truck. Oh how I loved my beat up truck. It meant I would never go to a garage sale and have to leave something to big to get home. I was even able to pick up my dads Christmas tree for him because he wanted a huge tree that year since it would be the last Christmas here before he moved to Florida. Anyway one day my truck was parked in front of our house and a teenager came racing up the street, lost control and destroyed my truck. Yes insurance paid but did no good because I never found such a deal again and my truck was gone. And 2 days later that kid was in a new car. Sure did knot my knickers!
    Anyway I am so sorry!
    Lord I thank you for,
    1. Diane and Tim have lost something meaningful to them and yet they both come to you in gratitude. Simply knowing this blesses my soul.
    2. C. is feeling better.
    3. The huge project I was able to do all on my own.
    4. Our kids and grandkids in Texas are starting to settle in to their new life.
    5. The little purchase I was able to make.
    6. The nice visit we have been having with our to-be daughter in law.
    7. The phone calls my dad and I are able to have.
    Well my darling I am praying you have a better week full of blessings and joy.
    Look hard on Craigslist and in second hand shops. Also put the word out to everyone you can think of, maybe a couple of unused bikes are somewhere waiting for you.
    Blessings to you!
    Minnie

    • Thanks for your concern Minnie… it means so much to me!
      I’m thankful with you for all the positives in your life and even more seeing that you find the positives. You are an inspiration, my friend! Have a blessed week and keep spreading your JOY!

  2. Lucy Beliveau says:

    I know you don’t want me to be angry but I am! How dare someone take from you all things that represent so much love to you and Tim? It really infuriates me when people are so ugly and selfish and when their sick behavior affects my dear friends, I have a very difficult time with forgiveness. I know it’s a weakness on my part and God will not be proud of me and the way I feel but you mean so much to me and I don’t want you to be sad. You’ve lost so much, Diane. Why must it be the bikes as well? I’m just so sorry.

    Joy Day…considering how I feel right now, this is difficult.

    Thank you Lord for…

    1. fall. My favorite season is finally upon us.🍁
    2. Guy’s part time job.
    3. my sweet Marcel who is such good company for me.
    4. the fine example my dear friend, Diane, sets for me. I may not always be able to follow her thoughtful ways but one knows when I might be able to.
    5. the blessings bestowed upon my family in Texas.
    6. the time you have given me to read, write and study scriptures in the Bible.
    7. my Brother’s visit on Thursday.

  3. I felt deep loss for you too. Who hasn’t known the loss of something new? A bike stolen? As I read you said,”God knows the big picture.” I thought of that and decided I’d have to leave all of this story in God’s hands. You two spent time together and it did not drive you apart. It solidified your relationship even more. The other thing I’ve been thinking about is that it’s okay to be human and be sad and disappointed over this. My hubby reminds me I’m human. I can be one!! But do you know what I’m talking about? It’s all right to have emotions. And to respond with great feelings.
    Joy Day
    1. Surgery approved and we are once again praying for relief for my husband. His great pain is recognized by the specialist who is getting him scheduled as soon as possible.
    2. We have beautiful sunshine
    3. I was able to make a meal
    4. Many many trials this past week. In every direction. God shows us each verses.
    5. My friend stayed with me while hubby was gone for a procedure overnight in a major city. I’m thankful because she does not live here
    6. I hear birds. Giggle. Now a dog barking. That’s not common. I think I prefer birds.
    7. Just when I feel alone a friend from far away writes a letter. I am blessed.

    • Yes, Gwen, I agree. God created us to feel with the emotions he gave us. I think it’s okay… as long as we retain self-control. 😉

      Please let me know when Curt has surgery so we can pray that day. I’m so grateful that God is lovingly caring for both of you. How much easier it must have been for Curt to know you had a friend with you while he had his procedure.

      Take care, my friend, and rest in God’s amazing love! <3

  4. Diane, your story causes something to rise up in me. I too understand the work of The Thief.
    But God!
    God is into the restoration business, from what I read in His Word.
    So today, I pray that He restore all that He intended for your good life on this earth. Amen.
    Psalm 27: 13-14 is comfort and encouragement to me.
    Blessings to you and Tim.
    Thank you for the gifts of beauty, creativity and encouragement you share.

    • Thank you, Elaine, that means a lot to me. And thank you for your prayers. We’ve been asking God to restore so much in our lives. I believe that HE IS our Restorer, so we will continue to trust HIM.
      Thank you always for being such a wonderful encourager… you are such a blessing. xo

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