The Prodigal Turtle

Most Saturday mornings find me looking out of my breakfast nook window, but this morning I found a pleasant surprise–an Eastern box turtle diligently crawling through our backyard toward our house. It wasn’t the first one I have seen in the neighborhood.  I’ve seen some alive and unfortunately, a couple crushed in the street.

I took a few moments to watch where he was going and see what he would do.  I got closer to him, tickling him with some weeds to watch him retract his head. After a long while, he protruded his head and restarted his journey.  He reached the back of the house and stood frozen, looking at the huge brick wall that was before him.  What would he do?

“I guess he lost his way,” I thought. There is a huge wooded area behind our yard, so I supposed that he came from there.  All I could think of was him reaching the street and getting crushed like the others.  I thought I would return him to the creek that I had heard was in the back of the woods.  Observing the seemingly lost turtle,  I thought about a parable I could tell my daughter about spiritual bumpers, which, according to my spiritual father, are those events that God puts in our lives to block us from going the wrong way and get us on the right path.  It’s one of the many ways He speaks to us.  While it would be ideal for us to have crystal clear hearing and be able to discern the perfect will of God at all times, it is just not so.  I’ve learned that the Lord usually uses spiritual bumpers in situations where we are sincerely misguided or wrong about a direction we are going.

The first biblical example that comes to mind when I think of spiritual bumpers is that of Balaam and his donkey.  God was not pleased with Balaam traveling with a messenger of a foreign king that meant to do harm to the people of Israel (although He previously gave him permission to do so) so he sent an angel to prevent the donkey from going further. Balaam grew frustrated with the donkey and beat him in order to get him to proceed. After three beatings, the donkey talked to Balaam, and an angel of the Lord said to him, “Why have you beaten your donkey these three times? I have come here to oppose you because your path is a reckless one before me” (Numbers 22:32).  Here we see that God was trying to spare Balaam from going a way that was contrary to God’s perfect will.

I can recall a situation where God used a spiritual bumper to get my attention and direct me to the right path.  I had joined a network marketing company and despite my best efforts, could not seem to attain the first level of leadership.  It was extremely frustrating.  While talking to a leader in the company, she told me of how another leader switched organizations so as to be situated where he could obtain optimal success. Having joined the company through a magazine ad, I had not personally met my sponsor, and thought that would be the best thing for me to do as well.  I moved to her organization (she also attended my church) and reached the first level of leadership in three months! I believe that I just had to be in the right place in order to experience success.  Whether God sent an angel to frustrate my efforts or not, it certainly was a “bumper” to get me in the right organization!

It was very interesting for me to “play God” with this turtle as I perceived that he  was on the wrong path and that I needed to direct him back toward home.  I was running late for a church picnic, so I decided to do it later ( if I could find him) and left him buried in some leaves.  As I expected, I did not find him when I returned home, but I did later learn that turtles have an instinctive homing ability that directs them back home when lost. Unfortunately, it some times requires them to cross dangerous roads–not good (!  I sincerely hope he made it home safely.

It’s been a while since I have written so I’m glad to be back.  Thank you for reading.



That Salsa Jar Smell

As I reached up to the cabinet to obtain an empty jar in which to pour my newly boiled  bone broth, I opened it and took a whiff. “Yep, still smells like salsa.” I tried again with the sauerkraut jar, same thing.

However, when I smelled another jar with no lid, nothing. No smell whatsoever.  Wow, what happened?

Science teaches us that when molecules move from a high concentration area to an area with low concentration of those molecules that process is diffusion. In open space, molecules move randomly at very high speed. They collide with each other, move in other directions and after sometime they reach the state of equilibrium. At this stage the diffusion stops. The molecules get distributed equally everywhere in the space (room). But even at this stage they do not stop colliding with each other. They are moving and colliding even at equilibrium. They are just spread uniformly now. (

In the salsa and sauerkraut jars, the concentration of the salsa and sauerkraut molecules was high since the molecules were not allowed to escape, consequently causing the jars to still be fragrant.  Not so with the lidless jar. Whatever molecules that were once there had escaped and become diffused with the air around it.  Therefore, the jar had no smell.

I often think about the things that dilute or diffuse our fragrance of the Lord.  Truly, residing in the presence of the Holy Spirit will make us more like Him.  And, its important to keep the aroma strong by not diffusing it with ways, words and influences that are not of Him.   They weaken you and make it hard for you to “…spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere,” (2 Corinthians 2:14). Surely we don’t want to be without the fragrance of Jesus.

In Mark Batterson’s book,  “The Circle Maker,” he says, “Our minds are subconsciously primed by everything that is happening all the time.” That’s why I believe we should watch out for those “spirit diffusers.”

Spending time in the presence of God–praying, singing, reading the scriptures–leaves behind the “presence of God” fragrance. Similar to the capped salsa jar, when prayer, worship, and heartfelt repentance is consistently practiced, I believe that the fruit of the spirit of love, joy,  peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control remain in high concentration.  When they are not, diffusion easily takes place.

The salsa jar I used to store my chicken bone broth still smelled like salsa long after the contents were removed.  The scriptures tell us that when the rulers and elders of Jerusalem “…saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus,” (Acts 4:13).

Do you believe they could sense the aroma of the Lord?  Many say presence, but whatever it is, it is almost tangible.  The miracle the disciples performed indicated with whom they had been. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful testimony to carry? If those who don’t know Jesus could tell that we had been with and belonged to Jesus simply by our fragrance? I think one’s eternal life is well worth it.

One of my Facebook friends wrote, “You ever get that feeling where you just want to be in God’s presence, just to sit there and not say a word, just sit there?” That, my friend, is one of the keys to getting and keeping that salsa jar, Jesus kind of smell.