WE NEEDED A BREAK AND GOT A BLESSING
We Enjoyed a Break in Oahu
For the past week, Don and I had the privilege of relaxing in Oahu, Hawaii. Our lives have been so busy that this gave us some much-needed rest and recuperation—and time to focus on each other.
We delighted in being together without the normal distractions and responsibilities of home. We explored the island’s beauty. Lanikai Beach, reputed to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the world with its white sand, turquoise waters and two small islands nearby, was glorious. https://integrisok.com/resources/on-your-health/2021/april/why-its-important-to-allow-yourself-to-rest#:~:text=Rest%20is%20vital%20for%20better,and%20even%20a%20better%20metabolism.
At the Polynesian Cultural Center, we learned more of the Hawaiian islands’ culture and history. When the musicians sang in deep, beautiful three-part harmony, we couldn’t understand the words. But oh, the music was rich.
Location of our Break
Our hotel was next to the International Marketplace in Waikiki. I remember this from twenty-plus years ago, as a fun, open-air market where you could bargain. Now it is a mall with high-end shops, but still some delicious, reasonably priced food to enjoy indoors or out from their Food Gallery. One afternoon we saw and heard the Royal Hawaiian Band, and watched their elegant hula dancer.
Duke’s Alley, on the other side of our hotel, remains an outdoor marketplace where one can still barter and find bargains.
We walked at least two miles every day but one. That felt good. And we slept like babies. (Babies who sleep, that is!)
We met believers along the way – such fun to connect with others who also love Jesus.
Blessing at the Luau
At a luau at Sea Life Park, we sat next to two sisters from Southern California. The older one mentioned attending a Christian school. “Oh, we’re Christians,” we said. “We are too. We love Jesus,” she responded, and we shared an immediate bond.
When we were invited up front to see the pig unwrapped and carried away from the in-ground oven, the MC said they always play a blessing over our time together.
And what did the musicians play?
Praise God from whom all blessings flow. Praise him all creatures here below. Praise him above, ye heavenly hosts. Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
Don and I looked at each other and smiled. That truly WAS a blessing!
Blessing of a Busser who loves Jesus
We stopped for an appetizer and Tropical Smoothie (highly recommended) at The Cheesecake Factory in Honolulu. A busser cleaned the table next to ours and asked how we were doing.
“Great,” we replied. “How are you?”
“We are too. Blessed by God to be here.”
As he walked away, he said, “God is good,” to which I responded, “All the time.” And he? “Amen.”
Blessing In an Elevator
A man stepped onto the hotel elevator with his daughter. After we greeted each other, I pointed to the cross he wore and asked, “What does that mean to you?” Without hesitation he replied, “I’m a Christian.” And we had a few moments of fellowship before reaching the ground floor.
Blessing In a Restroom
The cleaning woman sang, happy in her work. Then she made a comment about Jesus being good, talking to no one in particular. When I exited the stall, I asked “Are you the woman who talked about Jesus?” “Oh, yes. He is on my mind every day, every moment.” “Wonderful. I love him too.” Another sweet moment.
Blessing On the Airplane
I sat next to Cheryl, who has a husband and four children of her own. She and her husband manage a boy band. They came to California to perform at Maui fundraisers! Cheryl and I shared “God stories” during much of the flight.
“Come Back to Maui”
Two Maui residents said “Please come back to Maui. We need tourism to help our economy after the tragedy of the fires.” Their residents need jobs, income, housing, and compassion. We promised to return.
Our former pastor, Rene Schlaepfer, was in Maui the weekend before we came to Oahu. He preached in place of the pastor of Maui’s Hope Chapel. Twin Lakes Church has sent $226,000 to Hope Chapel to help the many in need, and Rene shared some of the stories of those who have come for help and returned to church as a result, saying “We realize we need this.”
We are so privileged to be part of the family of God that reaches out to help those in need, and to realize his people are everywhere, if we are just open to listening and asking questions of those we meet!
We’ve certainly enjoyed the beauty, relaxation, rest, and people we’ve met this week.
But the biggest joy has been spending focused, quality time together. We’ve talked and laughed and shared hopes and concerns for the future. We’ve loved each other in ways that at home, sometimes get put off because of busy schedules and deadlines.
So my challenge to you, and to myself, is what many others have said, especially after tragedy strikes.Spend intentional time with your loved ones. None of us has a guarantee of tomorrow. Live so you have no regrets when a loved one passes.
Focused time doesn’t have to be a trip to some other place. Whether it’s a walk and talk in the cool of evening, a lunch or dinner out, a drive into the countryside, or a family picnic, make time! https://www.carolloewen.com/the-value-of-rest/
Blessing of a Walk with God
And walk with God, who has promised, not only to walk with us on this earthly journey, but to take his people to his home for all eternity when this life ends.
And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4
The former things will have passed away and we will experience a new reality in a dimension we can’t even comprehend.
They will be like a well-watered garden,
and they will sorrow no more.
Then young women will dance and be glad,
young men and old as well.
I will turn their mourning into gladness;
I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.
I pray you share this hope. If you’d like to know more, I’d love to hear from you.