It Only Takes One Word

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  When the bible talks about a lady in the Bible who had an issue of blood I think of myself.  I don’t really know what her medical issue was.  The bible doesn’t really say.   But I know that I have had  issues for about four years now.  And when I have lost so much blood that my iron reaches the depths of danger,   I find it hard to move.  I find that walking feels like I am walking through molasses.   Blowing away the cobwebs in my mind to think clearly, to act succinctly seems like a monumental task.   I can sympathize with her deeply as she struggles through the crowd to get to that one who can change everything for her.

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Mary dried her eyes and walked slowly to the grave with flowers and perfume in hand.   Her heart was so heavy as she reminisced about all the happenings in the last few days.   Jesus had been cruelly crucified.

As she got there,  she gasped.  What had happened?   The stone to the tomb had been rolled away.  Anger welled up in her.  Fear consumed her.  Who would do such a terrible thing?  Did someone play a cruel joke?

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Be Still And Know

“God is our protection and our strength. He always helps in times of trouble. So we will not be afraid even if the earth shakes, or the mountains fall into the sea, even if the oceans roar and foam, or if the mountains shake at the raging sea…God says, ‘Be still and know that I am God. I will be supreme over all the nations. I will be supreme in the earth.’” Ps. 46:1,10

My biggest question as a follower of Christ my whole life is how can it be okay when it’s not okay? As a person who has dealt with anxiety and several crazy illnesses in her lifetime, the little platitudes:

“it will be okay.”

“ God’s got this.”

“ He won’t give you anything more than you can handle.”

“ He is going to heal you, turn the tide, bring breakthrough.”

They don’t always help. Don’t get me wrong - they do sometimes. I have said them myself. But I use a lot of caution when I throw out the Sunday school answers. I have to truly believe what I am saying. They have to be right for the occasion.

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Powerful Stories

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Up to this point I had only known miracles when it came to my children’s births.

My pregnancy with my son was relatively smooth until the end.  I got very ill with toxaemia and then with pre-eclampsia.  They had to take him a month early.  But here he was a bouncing beautiful baby boy and I recovered stronger than before.  I saw God’s hand through it all. Miraculously even.

Then there was my daughter.   All of the doctors who were involved in my journey with Tiffany’s pregnancy told me she wouldn’t make it. My family doctor, who didn’t want to be negative  told me over and over, he just didn’t know.  He knew that we had many people praying all over the world for her and he knew that that was important.

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What Do You See?

 

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It lies in all of us.

Some more than others.

That desire to please. The desire to be better, work harder run stronger.  But not in the way that motivates and spurs us on - but in that soul crushing, defeating way.

That craving to be as good as our friends. Found as worthy. As valuable and as precious. But often we are found wanting. Maybe not by anyone else but our own cruel selves.

I think it’s called shame. There is always something; always more we could be or more we should have been. We feel marred. We feel second class. We feel that no matter what we do or what we say or how we act, we can never make the cut - the cut of life.

Whatever it is, there is that deep missing component in our lives aching for fulfillment; aching to  lessen the grip of unworthiness.

When I go through those dark caverns of life, I reach for my Bible. What does He say about me?

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Who Am I?

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It was ten crazy months ago. 

I sat there and stared at it blankly for a long time.  I wasn't sure how to answer it - the silly question on my piece of paper.   "Has anything unusual happened to you today? "  I picked up my pen and started to answer, "Yes - the church we pastored for ten years is closing. "

I erased it.  It was too fresh.  There would be too many questions that I wouldn't feel comfortable answering. It had only happened that day.

I started again,  "Yes,  I have to let something go that was very dear to my heart.”

Again,  too personal for a stranger. 

But I had to write something.  They were doing a sleep study on me and needed to know if anything was going to impede my sleep.  I settled for a lie. 

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 Why Did I Really Publish a Colouring

Book?

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Do you want to know why I really published a colouring book?

I got tired.  Achingly weary right to my bones.   I got tired of all the debates; of all the arguing.  Of all the loud talking but the not doing.

I look at facebook and there are so many debates   and vaguebooking and complaining and I wondered what I was really doing for the world.  Everyone has opinions - even strong opinions. I do as well.  But are we going to ever convince the next person to change their strong opinions?  I doubt that I will ever convince you to think the way I think and I sure know that you won't convince me.  

Facebook and social media seemed to be boiled down to attacking one another and smearing people groups and ideas in the mud.  What good does this do?  What does it accomplish? Is this who we have become?  Have we become people who don't accept the people that we don't agree with?  Have we become people who just want to be right no matter what it costs? 

Sometimes we think that if we are saying something loud on facebook or in social media we are living life loud.  Which in fact is not true.  Loving your neighbor is living your life loud.  Yelling on face book is just that - it's yelling.

I have opinions on gun control and health plans and transgender bathrooms and presidents and refugees.  But I feel like stating my opinion is not changing the world. I wish it were that easy.

I want to change the world.  I got tired of sitting in my beautiful small church wanting to do something great but really just having a hard time getting up on Sunday and getting there in time to set up all the stuff.  I wanted my life to mean something.  I wanted  to impact something or someone. If we have stopped doing that as a church, as a family, or as an individual,  we have stopped living life boldly and beautifully. 

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My New Word

 

2017NewYearI always choose a new word for my life in the coming year.  I have thought about this as the year has approached and I am going to do something that I have never done since that first year that I started doing this.  I am not choosing a new word.  I am staying with the word that I had last year.

In times past,  at Christmastime,  my month has looked like this: 

We hosted a Church banquet with our church and then hosted a Christmas party at our house for our home group. 

I hosted Muppet Christmas Carol for family and friends and had tons of goodies and appetizers and had a GREAT time.

I hosted a pyjama party for the ladies (watching a chick flick and exchanging gift pyjamas.).

I hosted an elegant ladies tea serving specialty tea in real china cups and offering yummy goodies on my beautifully landscaped Christmas table. 

I hosted our family Christmas - every other year it’s on Christmas.  On the other year, we choose a different day to celebrate Christmas.

I co-host an Empty Arms group and in this group,  every year we went to the grave and lit candles and sang carols for our angel babies.  Often we went back to our place for hot chocolate.    Then during that season,  many of us would all go out and have a nice dinner together because we have formed a tight group of friendships bonded by hard times. 

On the 28th of December is my son’s birthday and because December is the hardest month to be born in,  I always wanted to make sure that his birthday got recognized and wasn’t just glossed over because of the busy month.  I have always had elaborate birthday parties with elaborate goody bags at my house for all of his friends.  Then as his friends trickle out and go home, I clean up so that I can have the family birthday party. 

On New Years Eve,  I would (with the help of Tiffany - she was a big help in this) clear out everything Christmas and decorate the entire house with the theme of the murder mystery we were doing that night.    This was a HUGE event and we invited tons of people and at that time,  our church was primarily a young adult church.  This would be a party not just for the midnight partiers but it would go way past midnight, into the wee hours of the morning. 

This was all in between Christmas shopping, an evening set aside to look at the lights  and Christmas bake exchanges and all of the other normal things one does for Christmas.  

Are you tired yet? 

This year,  my December looked quite different. 

You see, this is hard for me because I am a party girl at heart and I love to do everything.   But one year,  I had meningitis on the New Year’s Eve.  We didn’t know what I had but we knew that I was sick so I just kind of propped up on the couch and as people came for the party (because goodness,  we CAN’T cancel)  I stayed there on the couch the entire evening in quite a bit of pain.  I did manage to have fun though because I AM a social person.  

The next year, found us in the ER with Jeremy’s blood pressure through the roof.  At this time,  Jeremy and I looked at each other and said “We are putting too much on our plate at Christmastime.  Something has got to give.”

Over the last years,  I have intentionally learned the rhythm of a slower life.  I have listened to my body more - I have stopped pushing and pulling it into submission to my big plans and goals and listened to when it said I had had enough.

I have decided that if I felt stressed and my stomach was tied up in knots,  I am to sit and reassess as to whether I am doing too much or not.  I don’t want to live in stress anymore.  I don’t want to be driven by programs and obligations or even parties.  I don’t want to drill my body into the ground  thinking that I have to do it all to enjoy the season.

This year was perfect.  I chose only the things that were my priority this year.  I chose family.  I had Christmas.  I had muppet Christmas Carol.  

I had a beautiful tea with fabulous work friends and went to the sweet candle light service at Victory. 

I am learning about myself.  I am learning about what I really want - what really makes me tick; what really fulfills me and makes my heart full.   I loved doing all the things that I did in the past but there was a season for it and the season has definitely passed.  Sometimes we aren’t aware when our seasons have passed.  Sometimes it ceases to be a party and begins to be an obligation that you are stressed over.  Often we forget to listen to us.

Last year,  was a crazy year.   So much learning about myself; about what was really important; about what I really want to do and where I want to make a difference.

Last year,  we had to let our Church of 10 years go.  It was a painful time in our lives - one that still invokes questions and will for some time be a soft splintery spot in our heart.

Last year,  I had a cardio version to help stop the palpitations that were plaguing me almost every day.  I am much healthier for it.   I am very grateful for that.  

In August,  I got to watch my brand new baby grand daughter enter this world.  She is adorable!

Finally this last year,  I published,  not ONE but TWO beautiful colouring books with inspirational prose.  Wow,  something that I have wanted to do for years and something that has opened up a new way of thinking and living.

There were a myriad of other things that happened this last year - my almost 16 year old dog was laid to rest.   My son moved out on his own this year also.   Both of those things make for very very quiet evenings when my husband is out of the country.

When 2015 came to a close,  I wrote a blogpost about my word.  It was ME.  (Check it out here)  This year,  it’s the same.  There are still things that I need to concentrate on here.  There are still things that I need to discover about myself.  There are still things that I know the Lord is tugging on my heart to work on. 

So I camp here a little longer at this word. 

Me. 

Not because I am not creative or I am mildly selfish, but because I am still discovering who I am - even more now than ever.  I am discovering what I want, who I am.  I have come so far, but not fully ready to move on, in a good way.  NO need to move from this spot so quickly.  NO need to run away.  I am here. It’s important here.  It’s sacred here and I will stay here until it’s time to look to other goals, other words, other focus. 

I am here.  Just here.  And it’s beautiful.

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Hope

 

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"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure..." Hebrews 6:19

When I was pregnant with my daughter, 28 years ago, there was a moment in time when no one thought that she would survive.  Doctors shook their head sadly as they relayed the heartbreaking news that I would probably lose this baby.  One doctor tried unsuccessfully to make an appointment for an abortion.

As I sat there in the silent hospital room with only the breeze from a nearby vent blowing on my face I looked out of the window at the snow covered mountains in Vancouver.  Suddenly in the midst of this heart crushing news I got a picture.  It was as clear as if someone showed me a photograph,  I saw a picture of me standing in front of my church with my husband, my son and my little baby - the baby I carried  inside of me.  I shook my head.  I felt like I was going crazy that right then at that time when I needed all my wits about me,  my mind was failing.

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