I was able to go to Arizona with my husband over the weekend and had an awesome reminder of just how uniquely God shows His love to us. I've made this drive to Phoenix only three times in my life - once a few months ago when I brought the Refuge for Women ladies down to the Joyce Meyer conference, once about 20 years ago when my family was camping up in Flagstaff and I wanted to see just how hot Phoenix really was so we drove down for the day, and once when I drove a group of college students from Michigan to Mexico on a missions trip.
This time, as we approached the point of the drive where all the cactus shoot up to the sky (I know they have a technical name, but I can't recall what it is...I call them the Praise Jesus Cactus - you'll see why in a minute) I was reminded how very clever God was and is as He knit us each together and wired us with our unique skills, passions, and abilities. I was also challenged to think about how this uniqueness is an expression of God’s love for us.
On that trip with the college students, I remember our reaction as we came across these strange cacti. I pointed to one of the cacti and said to the team - look at him, he's a Pentecostal because all of his arms are raised toward heaven. (If you know me well, you know I refer to everything as a "him") And look at him, he's a Methodist - his arms are firmly planted at his side. Oh, there's a Nazarene - one arm up and one arm down. We proceeded to identify all the different preferences for worship through the "body language" of the cacti. From that point on, I've called them the Praise Jesus Cacti’s. I love them. They immediately bring a smile to my face. I know, I'm crazy, but this is how God wired my brain.
Yesterday as we were driving down to Phoenix, we hit the section of the road where the Praise Jesus Cacti start popping up and it brought such a lift to my spirit as we drove through the area. I was seeing the cacti as people, seeing all the diversity that God has blessed the world with, all the different personalities, the different ways we worship, and yet each cacti was praising. (in my mind). Side note: When you look at these strange cacti as people, you start to see eyeballs, eyebrows, big guts, skinny arms. I highly recommend you try this sometime. It's very entertaining. I started reflecting on just how amazing God is, in how he wired us, out of His love for us. He gifted us uniquely. He gave us each our own personality. He gave me strengths, gave you strengths, and wired us to fit together and complement each other. How boring life would be if we all praised in the same way, if we all thought the same thing about the seasons and if we all loved the Colts. How dull life would be if everyone loved vanilla ice cream, only liked hamburgers and never put butter on their popcorn. How very boring. God, out of His incredible love, chooses to love us intimately, wire us uniquely and walk with us as individual people. And yet, out of our individuality, we make up one body.
These funny little and not so little cacti reminded me of just how much God loves me, how invested He is in my life, how intimately involved He wants to be in my day to day.
This week, let's all praise God for His amazing love for each of us, arms raised, one hand or two, arms at your side, leaning forward or dancing around - however God wired you, praise Him with it, for He loves you and you are an expression of His love to the people you have been gifted with doing life with.
Robin Smith has a passion for equipping people to see their strengths and to lead with their unique God given gifts. She has spent the last 15 years in higher education, focusing on developing student leaders and equipping students with the skills they need to be successful in the pursuit of their education and careers.
Robin has recently transitioned out of higher education to pursue her heart’s passion to help equip women coming out of trafficking as the Program Director at Refuge for Women Las Vegas. Robin serves on the Ignite Life board, volunteers with Refresher for Women and Refresher Girls and teaches the evening class of Speaker's Workshop. She loves to teach the word of God and empower people to live victoriously on their journey with Jesus.
Robin and her husband Homer have been married for 31 years. They enjoy God’s creation by hiking, walking, or simply enjoying the sun with a good book. They have two children, Jenna and Ryne, three grandchildren, Alex, Dylan and Vincent and 1 cat - Cedar.