Hilda’s Joy Journals – Part 2 of 2

Choose the Best Instead of the Good

In Hilda’s Prayer Journals, she would compose more lengthy handwritten prayers in which she poured out her heart to God. They were written as she found the time, sometimes with gaps of several months. She got alone and spent time writing out these prayers when she felt the need to express her cares to the Lord. I’ll share a lesson I learned a couple of days ago, when I read from her Prayer Journal.

One prayer of Hilda’s went back to 2011. It surprised me after reading it, and I felt tears trickle down my cheek. I realized much too late that I lacked God’s discernment for her feelings on that occasion (and probably others).

Hilda, Daniel and I had just decided to attend a different church, Calvary in Cambridge. My time as a Kids Pastor at The Life Centre had recently ended and things were changing there. It was our first Sunday at Calvary Church. During the church service, there was an appeal made for more volunteers to help with kids ministry. I approached the Children’s Pastor after the service and volunteered to help with Sunday School. That seemed like a “Good” thing to do, since I love kids and enjoy teaching them about Jesus.

There was something, however, that I blindly overlooked. That was to ask Hilda how she felt about this first. You see, the past several weeks at TLC were very tough for Hilda, Daniel and me. Things happened, and all of us needed some time to heal. It was the end of a chapter in our lives. Daniel told me yesterday that both he and Hilda were happy to see me step away from kids ministry. It was a huge time commitment, often occupying my mind even while I was at home with them. I was also very busy as a full-time student commuting to and from Sheridan College in Oakville. Hilda just wanted to see more of me, have me more “present” with her and Daniel, and not involved in kids ministry again so soon.

Lack of Discernment, But Still Loved

So, what I read in Hilda’s prayer journal this morning, made me realize my lack of discernment towards Hilda and Daniel on this occasion. Hilda wrote in her Prayer Journal that she felt like a nail had stabbed her in the heart when I told her about volunteering for kids ministry again, especially without even talking about it with her. I don’t remember that she ever complained about it me at the time. She just wrote out her pain in her prayer journal, and spoke with Daniel about it.

As a devoted and loving husband, I should have definitely discussed this with Hilda before making such a commitment. I often act impulsively. This as an area where I need the Lord’s help to change. You see, I did not ask the Holy Spirit for discernment first, to know what was “Best” for our family. I never wanted to hurt Hilda. Happily I have often heard her tell me, and also have read in dozens of other journal entries and cards, where she thanked the Lord for me being such a kind, loving husband to her.

The “Best” choice would have been one which we both believed God wanted for us as a family. This decision, although “Good” in itself, wanting to serve in kids ministry again, was definitely not “Best.” I should have prayed first and asked the Holy Spirit to help me know what Jesus would want me to do. I’m sure He would have directed me to discuss it with Hilda and Daniel first.

Hilda and I have a deep, intimate relationship and try to put each other first. It’s one of the multitude of reasons I love her so much. I acted on the spur of the moment, rather that putting her needs and desires first, as I should have. It’s not that helping with kids Sunday School was not “Good,” but it wasn’t the “Best” for our family at that time. Turns out that I only helped for one Sunday School class at Calvary Church. We didn’t stay longer than a few weeks, before settling in at Cornerstone Community Church, where we attended happily for many years. Hilda and I were both quite involved in kids ministry there, she also sang on the worship team while I played keyboard, and she was involved in a ladies’ Bible study, led by a godly older lady.

Good and Best Are Not Nessarily the Same

Reading this episode in Hilda’s Prayer Journal, and the sadness it brought her, made me realize that “Good” and “Best” are not necessarily the same. I was reading this morning of Jesus’ first encounter with Peter, Andrew, James and John, the fishermen, who became His first disciples. It struck me that Peter in particular, left his boats (career and belongings) to follow Jesus. He discerned that there was something very special about Jesus, so when he was invited to follow Jesus, it says he did so immediately. Peter recognized that this was “Best,” not merely “Good.” It was God’s Spirit talking to him through Jesus, to follow Him.

Jesus, God in the flesh, had just preached to a large crowd from Peter’s boat with Words of Life, Words from His Heavenly Father God. After the crowd left, Jesus encouraged Peter to cast out his fishing nets again. It was only a short while after fishing without success all night and then meticulously cleaning the empty nets of debris. The amazing thing Peter learned from taking Jesus’ advice, was that Jesus knew “Best.” He demonstrated it to Peter and his friends. When Peter did as Jesus asked, he was not expecting to catch any fish. All night had yielded nothing, so what would be different this time, he must have wondered.

Following Jesus’ Instructions Results in the Best Outcome

However, following Jesus’ instructions resulted in such an enormous catch of fish, that Peter, his brother Andrew, along with their fishing partners, James and John, in second boat, were all needed to take in the multitude the fish they caught within a few minutes.

At this point Peter recognized Jesus was no ordinary man. So, when Jesus invited Peter and the other three fishermen to follow Him, they immediately left their boats, their huge, lucrative catch of fish, and their nets behind and did followed Jesus.

As it turns out, Peter was actually married and caring for his mother-in-law in their home. Can you imagine the reaction of his wife, when she discovered her husband was abandoning his fishing career to follow a teacher around the country? Must have been an interesting conversation. I’ll let your imagination take over here.

Using the Best Watercolour Painting Paper Matters A Lot

Yesterday I began another painting, after trying a different technique this past week. It’s a very messy style of watercolour painting, requiring a lot more tube paint. I was pleased with the “Couple Admiring the Milky Way” painting that I tried first. But, on my next attempt, I tried to use “Good” watercolour paper. It is actually a lot less expensive, and works quite well when little paint and water are required. But for this type of painting it was a disaster. I was really disappointed. After waiting a day to think about it, I decided to try again, with the “Best” cotton watercolour paper I have. It costs more, but the results of using “Best” in place of “Good” were amazing. The colours had a chance to spread across the paper with the extra water in a beautiful way. This paper, “Arches” brand, is the best I have used. I learned a lesson about the difference between “Best” and “Good” watercolour paper.

Well, this blog topic is really about “discerning” the will of God, by being led by the Holy Spirit. He helps us choose “Best” over “Good” when we ask Him. As sons and daughters of God, we need to stop and pray, to ask God to guide us by His Holy Spirit in our decisions. I’m not talking about whether to have toast or waffles for breakfast, although you could do so. I’m talking about decisions that could affect you and your loved ones. For me that means asking the Holy Spirit to guide me through my day, first thing in the morning as I wake up.

Learning From Hilda Still Continues

Thank you, Hilda, for being patient and loving with your impulsive Puppyman. I love you, my sweetheart, praying Hilda. I have and will continue to learn so much from you. And thank you God. You are the God of many chances, who is patient, loving and kind to each of us. You forgive our sins and change us to become more like Jesus when we ask You. Help me and my reader friends to allow Your Holy Spirit to guide us to choose “Best” instead of just “Good,” and certainly never to choose to do “Evil” or anything the Bible would not want us to choose. Let us look at Jesus as the example of what is “Best.”


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