August 10, 2021

Finding Hope - guest post by Martina Keast

In this little red cabin,  you could easily spend time with God in prayerful, silent solitude to experience His rest. 

In 2002, I made drastic lifestyle changes. I travelled in a motor home to Ontario to visit with friends. The idea was to stay in Ontario for eight months. I hoped to meet God, really meet God during this time away from business and family. I felt Him drawing me to come and spend time with Him. 

At first, I camped for several weeks with my parents, and later with my sister Sabine who lived in Manitoba. I was extremely comfortable staying in the campground close to her restaurant. I helped out as much as I could, even though I was slow. Trained as an exceptional short-order cook in my youth, I was fast and often promoted to supervisor. Trauma, PTSD, panic and anxiety, divorce, bankruptcy, and the closure of my cleaning businesses left me spiritually, mentally, and emotionally broken. My mind could not cope. I could not follow through on a simple order. 

Physically, a freak car accident changed my life as I knew it. I am thankful a police officer and another person saw the entire event. The person who ran the red light was charged and held responsible. 

I put off travelling further because fear tortured me. The thoughts and images that lived in my mind prevented me from moving toward my God rendezvous. It felt safer to stay and be comfortable. I thank my sister Sabine for giving me the push to "Go." She wanted God's best for me and gave me good advice. I listened to my inner sense, "knowing" her direction was correct. 

That same night, I packed up my motor home and readied it for travel. I left early the following day. Once I decided to listen to her and continue, the darkness left my mind. On my journey, I sang with the tapes playing on the tape player. I talked with God – a lot. My heart felt free, except for the hidden yet unaddressed idols, sins, and unbelief. I also did not believe in God's unfailing love for me. There was no room in my heart for that yet. 

 I parked at Rushing River, Manitoba, and stayed overnight. I felt the presence of God very strongly while I stood on the park's bridge, looking into the river. The tears came and would not stop. I missed my girls. More than missing them, I missed myself. I did not know who I was and what had become of me. In all the years of crazy living, I did not rest. In the end, I worked 22-hour days, only sleeping in my vehicle or on couches while employees did the work. It wasn't easy to get reliable help during those days. 

Then it was on to Ontario. The closer I got to my destination, the more I felt the power and torment fear had over me leave. I was thrilled to overcome the voices which hindered me from following God. I was alone – a lot. My mind rested in His peace. 

Looking back now, I believe this seclusion was the beginning stage of building a more profound relationship with God. He called me to a unique dwelling place, this little red cabin. He wanted then and continues to enjoy a relationship with me. This relationship invites me to rest from people-pleasing, unrealistic expectations, and unattainable perfectionism. 

My Journal Entries September 2002

This must be a dream; me, sitting here in my full-length nylon camping chair on the deck of my rental cabin. The sun is partially peeking through the spruce tree at the end of the deck. The lake is peaceful. The odd bug hits the water and leaves a streak of moving water as it swims on. Two dogs, Buddy and Susie, are racing along the beach around the cabin into the water and then stopping at my chair on the deck. 

Buddy gives himself a good shake. “Go away,” I laugh. And off both dogs go.

A dream! Heaven must be peaceful and restful like this. There is only the noise of the dogs running, then splashing in the water, then coughing and running again. The occasional fly buzzes by and then peace.

In the distance, I hear a squirrel and a magpie—the water ripples toward the middle of the lake.  Buddy once again runs into the water, laps up a few drops, and off he goes. After blowing a bug off my arm and taking a sip of spring water, I again ask myself the question of how I ended up here in this paradise.

It is the most fantastic feeling to be stress-free, breathing in and out, actually feeling alive. A dragonfly whizzes past my ear, as I remember. Another day less than seven months ago, a time of profound sadness, where I was willing to give up my life to find peace and tranquillity.  I remember it well. The pain and the absolute hopelessness. 

Surrounded by both dogs circling the chair, teasing each other, ready to run again, I take another sip of water. I cannot help but notice the warmth of the sun on my left leg. The sun has moved a little past the tree trunk now. It is still covered a bit by branches.

The chirping of birds takes my attention for a few seconds before taking a deep breath to continue reminiscing. Oh, there is a squirrel.

Buddy lines up but decides it is more fun to find Susie and chase her around. Meanwhile, the squirrel runs across the roof behind me and continues in the trees. 

A couple of loons have landed on the lake, close to the other shore. Bobbing for their supper, they occasionally disappear. Oops, there is one back while the other disappears. 

Twisting the pen in my hand, I sit here quietly, listening to the flies, birds, dragonflies, and one dog.  He circles my chair and lies down. Susie must have gone home.


  These excerpts are taken from The Dwelling Place: Reflection on my Journey toward Spiritual Wholeness (unpublished) and Ties That Bind: A Collection of letters, poems and stories: tributes to family, especially mothers. Edmonton: PageMaster Publishing. 2016. Available with accompanying CD: Refuge in Praise, by A New Name. Prophetic Art by Lori Anne Youngman.  Martina Keast. Rivers of Grace. 2015 


  1. Thank you, dear Martina, for sharing the little red cabin with us. Your lovely journal excerpt reminds me that we all need to have times of reflection and rest to recharge our body and mind.
    Blessings - Wendy Mac 🕊️

    1. Thank you, Wendy. Despite facing deep inner pain, I will always treasure these times.

  2. Your story is so deeply personal and moving. Thank you for making yourself vulnerable and I wish you the best in finding ways to share your story so that you may encourage others. God bless.

  3. Thank you, Tracy. I was stuck in the depths of my despair for a long time. Jesus is the healer and I’ve many a crying session with Him. There has been much joy as well. Thank you for the encouragement.

  4. What a blessing solitude is. I wish every writer lived in a situation like mine. Finding this little house on the prairie where I live now taught me that God really does care. I've been here since 2000 and I hope I can stay as long as possible.

    1. Thank you, Bruce for sharing. At first it was very difficult for me to be there, all alone, and far away from my family. I did a lot of grieving. Life had been very difficult. There were many beautiful moments like the one I describe. My heart feels full just thinking back to those days.

  5. This is so beautiful, sad, and relatable. Thank you for sharing this part of your journey. ❤

  6. Thank you, Kate. It all part of the journey to the here and now. The skills you are teaching me will also help me tell my stories. I remember some of our conversations and I know you can relate.

  7. Even though I've read some of these lines before, I was still taken to the water's edge with if enjoying the release & solitude with you. As the saying goes, "You've come a long way, baby!".

    1. Thank you, unknown. I appreciate your response. You are a great friend. :)


Thank you for taking the time to join in the conversation. Our writers appreciate receiving your feedback on posts you have found helpful or meaningful in some way.