Reflective Reminders of God’s Goodness | November 13th, 2019
The air was warm and balmy. With the sun shining brightly above us, it felt just like a typical summer day. But it happened to be the end of October.
Michael and I had just landed in Cancún, Mexico. This was a part of the world I had never been to before and I was excited to finally be at the destination I’d been dreaming of for months!
It was a place to relax, unwind, and celebrate my BIG birthday. A new decade was about to begin, marking half of a century for me. I could hardly wrap my mind around it!
After our driver helped us unload our bags, we walked into the entrance of our beautiful resort, Live Aqua. The very first thing we noticed was the floating bright yellow rubber duckies with huge glass windows all around. It made quite a statement!
As we checked in, a woman walked over to us with a tray of refreshing cool cloths that had been sprinkled with lavender oil. Instrumental music softly played throughout the lobby. I immediately felt myself beginning to de-stress.
As if we needed a reminder, the word RELAX was printed all the way around the bands they secured on our wrists. We were to wear them during our stay so we could enjoy all of the lovely amenities they offered.
After checking out our ocean view from our spacious room, we gave ourselves a tour of the entire resort. It was immaculate inside and out and the staff was so kind and attentive to us. I felt incredibly grateful to be there!
We chose this all-inclusive, adults-only resort for their seven swimming pools (I love to swim) and their location which was right on the beach. It could not have been more breathtakingly beautiful!
Over the course of our five fabulous days in paradise, I was continually reminded of God’s goodness and the ways He had shown His love to me over the past five decades.
The Friendly Staff
I have never met so many people in one place filled with so much love and kindness for those they were serving. When the staff greeted us, they would often place their hand on their heart. It felt as if they were saying, “It means so much to me that you are here and that I have the opportunity to serve you!” I felt very loved by so many strangers who made me feel like I had known them all my life.
Through that experience, God reminded me of His goodness in how intimately He KNOWS me and how deeply He LOVES me. I have never been a stranger to Him. He knows everything about me because He is my Creator. He formed me in my mother’s womb! And He loves me deeply despite all of my faults and failures.
O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all. Psalm 139:1-4
For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13
The first morning at breakfast was quite an experience. We were seated at a small table next to the window overlooking a path lined with flowers and palm trees that led to the pools and beach just beyond. It was so relaxing that, after we were served our coffee, we just wanted to sit and take it all in!
When we were finally ready to check out the breakfast buffet and walked around the corner, I was speechless. The variety of foods to choose from was unbelievable! There were several stations with cooks who were ready and waiting to make whatever you had the appetite for that morning.
You could ask them to make you waffles, pancakes, french toast, omelets, eggs over-easy, scrambled, boiled, or fried along with sausage, ham, bacon, and meatballs. There was also a Japanese breakfast station, fresh fruit bar, cheeses of every kind, hot cinnamon rolls simmering in frosting, and every shade of fruit juice imaginable!
I thought I had seen it all. Just then, I turned my head and right there in front of me was the largest spread of the most beautiful pastries I had ever seen! I was truly overwhelmed.
And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8
Marco, the Smoothie-Maker
Every morning, I stood in line to have Marco, the resort’s expert smoothie-maker, blend me a custom smoothie. I usually chose a wonderful detoxing slice of Mexican cactus, a variety of other greens, and tropical fruit to be added to mine. Marco always had a big smile on his face and seemed so full of joy through every step of the smoothie-making process. And it was always so delicious!
When he said goodbye to us for the last time from behind the counter, he wrapped his arms around himself like he was giving us a hug and made the heart sign with his hands. He truly loved his job and the people he served!
Through Marco, I was reminded of God’s goodness in the JOY He has given me over the years through His many blessings in my life.
Joy in precious friendships, both new and old. Joy in the making of many sweet family memories. Joy in adopting and caring for my rescued Pomeranian, Emma. Joy in the blessing of getting to see so many different parts of the world and the people who live there. Joy in getting to do what I love each day with my work. Joy in the opportunities God gives me to serve others. Joy in growing deeper in my relationship with Jesus.
You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. Psalm 16:11
Sun, Sand, and Sea
With the sun on my face and my toes in the sand, I knew I was in my happy place. It was a feeling of freedom with no schedule on my mind and no shoes on my feet.
As I walked barefoot up and down the beach, I was reminded of God’s goodness in His FAITHFULNESS to me. A couple of verses from Psalm 139 came to me while on that walk. These were verses I had memorized as a child, hidden in my heart for such a perfect time as this:
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You. Psalm 139:17-18
God reminded me that He is always faithful to keep me in His care, night and day. Like the grains of sand, His thoughts of me are countless!
Thoughts about shaping me to have all I need to carry out His perfect plan, God’s best for my life. A plan He designed for me even before I took my first breath! Thoughts about the many ways He is providing for me, teaching me, gifting me, protecting me, loving me, rescuing me…the list is endless!
He is also faithful to never leave me. He reminded me of this as I sat on the balcony, watching the sun come up each morning at dawn as it ascended slowly above the sea.
What a perfect place to be as I opened my Bible and read verses 7 through 10 in Psalm 139:
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me.
And the FREEDOM I felt with no schedule and no shoes? That was also a reminder to me of God’s goodness. The freedom I received when I accepted Jesus as my Savior, knowing He took all of my
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36
Our Relaxing Cabana
During our stay, we were given a complimentary full day’s use of a poolside cabana on the “peaceful side” with calming music. (There was also a “party side” with a DJ and dance music.) The cabana was shaded with a huge comfy cushion, complete with several oversized pillows to lean back on, and unlimited XL fluffy towels to use after swimming. There was also a tray for our use to be filled with anything our hearts desired to eat or drink, as often as we’d like, brought to us around the clock by our friendly server.
I laid there for about 30 minutes, staring peacefully at the crystal clear water which filled the infinity pool that stretched out toward the ocean. I didn’t think it could possibly get any more relaxing than this. Then, out of nowhere, a woman dressed in white came up to our cabana to let me know it was time for a foot massage! Perhaps she was an angel…
Through our heavenly, relaxing cabana experience, I was reminded of God’s goodness in the REST He gives me when I really need it. I can rest in Him knowing He is in complete control of all things, even when it seems everything is so chaotic in the world around me. I can rest in Him knowing I do not have to strive to the point of exhaustion to make something work that is already in His will. He has all the power necessary to make it happen. And I can rest in Him knowing I will have perfect peace when I completely trust Him and keep my thoughts focused on Him.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Isaiah 26:3
A Perfect Reminder to Slow Down
On my birthday, we decided to leave the resort and take a 30-minute ferry ride to Isla Mujeres, an island off the coast of Cancún. It was quite touristy with lots of little shops, all selling the same kinds of things including t-shirts, wide-brim hats, colorful tiles, handmade jewelry, and other souvenir-type items.
I noticed the jewelry immediately because I am always looking for inspiration for new designs, especially when I travel. One of the most common findings used there to make bracelets, necklaces, and earrings
Sea snails live inside of them before they are cleaned out and used for jewelry making. I was inspired! I thought, if I were to create a necklace using the cowrie shell it could serve as a perfect reminder to take more time to slow down, like the slow-moving sea snail who used to live inside.
It was when I took the time to slow way down during this much-needed, relaxing vacation, that I was able to reflect on God’s goodness. And oh, how good He has been to me over the past five decades of my life!
And so, I created that necklace I had imagined:
The beads of different colors represent the multitude of ways God demonstrates His goodness. It is different for each one of us but perfect for the way He made us. And, like the cowrie shell, His goodness is always beautifully edged in gold. He gives us His best because we are so valuable to Him.
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1:17
We can trace everything that is good on earth straight to God, and as our Father, the Source from which ALL good things come. May we always remember to give Him the glory for every ounce of goodness in our lives. And may we slow down long enough give Him gratitude as we reflect on the countless ways He demonstrates His goodness. As countless as the sand on the seashore.
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