Spots and Smudges

"Don't you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize?  So run to win!" (NLT) 1 Co 9:24

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!” (NLT) 1 Co 9:24

The other day I decided that it was well past the time for me to wash the outside of my windows and glass panels on my balcony.  As soon as I washed them there was a noticeable difference.  I could clearly see through the glass now without the familiar filter of a years worth of  green gunk and grime, oh and spider deification (yes spiders poop).  I was feeling pretty good about the progress I was making.  As I continued down the length of glass panels I looked back at the ones that were drying and noticed that there were spots and smudges that I had inadvertently missed during my first go.  So I went back to the first and started again. At almost the same spot down the line of glass panels I noticed that once again I could see spots and smudges on some of the panels that I had just done for the second time. So I decided that this time I would get a heavy-duty cleaning cloth, you know, the ones with the mesh on one side and really give the glass a good scrubbing and a good rinse with the garden hose set on jet (there is no better setting than jet on a nozzle).  As I sat inside my house after doing them all that third time I noticed that there were still spots and smudges that I could see on the glass panels.  At this point I decided to try to ignore the imperfections of my well intended cleaning endeavour (’cause I was exhausted) and made a note to self to hire someone to do this job the next time around.

"My focus remains short of its goal..."

“My focus remains short of its goal…”

Tell me, is there ever a time when one can truly remove each spot and smudge and have glass so pure that it shines without one blemish?  I have in the past had professionals clean my windows for me and even they leave streaks and miss places. I look out at the job that I did on my glass panels and outside windows and think that it isn’t good enough. Wow, where did that thought come from?  Didn’t I just work myself to the bone (slight exaggeration) trying to remove all the spots and smudges?  Why am I so focused on a few spots left over?  Why can’t I be satisfied with the job that I did and think job well done instead of “not good enough”?   Never mind that I have managed to remove a years worth of green gunk and grime, never mind that I have a clearer view…all I can focus on is the few spots and smudges. Yet still I look out at these panels of glass and think, it’s not good enough.  I can’t seem to focus on the whole and look beyond the spots and smudges to the beauty of the golf course.  My focus remains short of its goal. Instead it remains stuck on the foreground viewing the spots and smudges.

"God doesn't want our focus to be on the spots and smudges..."

“God doesn’t want our focus to be on the spots and smudges…”

I can’t help but wonder how often I do this in other parts of my life, focus on the foreground and miss the beauty beyond the spots and smudges.  Do I remain stuck in the foreground and miss opportunities that God would want to bless me with?  Do I have a shorten sight line because I am so focused on the foreground and believing that “it” what ever “it” is, isn’t good enough?  Does this inability or difficulty to look beyond the imperfection of things hinder me in viewing myself as God views me?  Do I somehow equate this belief of “it” as being not good enough to mean that I am not good enough?  How many times have I, have we accepted less than what was intended for us?  God doesn’t want our focus to be on the spots and smudges but on the goal which is to run the race of life to win. To be all that He created us to be and to stop focusing on our spots and smudges.  He doesn’t see these imperfections so why should we?

Here’s to running the Race to win and not trying to prove our worth by how perfect we do our jobs or live our lives.

Lupins, Lobsters and Lilacs

Christie and Jenn's B Day 2014 004

Lupins remind me of being back home in New Brunswick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“And these are a few of my favourite things”…can you hear Mary Poppins singing?…No? Oh well, and so you get yet another glimpse of what it is like to be living in the head of Lindy.  Lupins are what’s got my attention today, so the lobsters and lilacs are going to have to wait for another time.

I was downloading (look at me using a technical term) pictures that were taken yesterday at my girls birthday party. (For clarity sake my “girls” are 30 and 26. Ouch! Did I really just type those two numbers?)  Where does the time fly?  Oops got side tracked… when I downloaded the pictures there were some images of lupins that I took from my Mom’s back yard while I was visiting in June. These pictures lead me to think about the things I like when I go back “home” for a visit.

Back “home” for me is New Brunswick.  I currently live out West and when I talk about being born out East people here automatically think that I come from Central Canada…Ontario.  East being Ontario…PLEASE! That IS NOT EAST!  So now when I get into a conversation I make a point of stating that I’m from DOWN EAST and PROUD to be a MARITIMER! 🙂 Something happens to people’s geography once they fly West and pass over the Rockies…something magical…and yet very…interesting.  Something magical being that there is no possible way that God has made a more beautiful place to live where you can look out each and every day and witness His majesty in the mountains and temporal rainforest that He created on the lands of British Columbia. Where in the winter you can ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon or vice versa. And something interesting is the fact that it seems that the buck begins and stops West of the Rockies.  Hence the reference to East being Central Canada. Guess it’s rather difficult to see over the Rockies to the rest of Canada. 🙂  (Now just in case I have offended anyone that has not been my intent.  I truly love my new home, but it has been a bit comical at times being a transplant from another province and viewing things from that perspective.) 🙂

Christie and Jenn's B Day 2014 008

I would peel away the petals until their hidden treasure was revealed.

Lupins remind me of New Brunswick, yes I know that these beautiful wild flowers bloom in other places, but they don’t bloom more beautifully than in New Brunswick.  There are literally seas of these flowers along the highways, fields and yards of local residents. Their colours so vibrant that they can’t help but capture the attention of driver and passenger alike as they drive through these landscapes painted along the highways of New Brunswick. As a child I would capture as many as I could hold in my hands then run to the side of my house where the sun was always just right and sit and peel away the petals until my hidden treasure of this flower’s seeds could be discovered.  These seeds were my own personal, secret piggy bank and these little round discs became my currency when I played my childhood games with my imaginary and real friends.

Christie and Jenn's B Day 2014 001

These flowers lull the child inside of us to dance the dance that they dance. One of true abandonment.

Mmmm I can just picture myself lying in a field of lupins, hidden from view and watching as these magnificent flowers dance and sway to their own tune above me, lulling the child in me to dare to dance their dance and once again feel that freedom that only a child has.  You know that child that each of us has still stuffed somewhere deep down inside, that child that comes out as a giggle, wiggle or jiggle that we do when we think no one else is looking.

Here’s to allowing ourselves to giggle, wiggle and jiggle like we used to do.

 

Finding What Was Lost

 

"Great is his faithfulness, his mercies begin afresh each morning." Lam. 3:23 (NLT)

“Great is his faithfulness, his mercies begin afresh each morning.” Lam. 3:23 (NLT)

Don’t you just love it when you find things that you thought were lost to you forever.  A few years ago I put away a wallet that I wasn’t using and left in it things like: library card, care card, birth certificate, etc.  You know, things that you don’t need every day but someday you will.  I can remember thinking that I will clean it out and organize it at a later date. Hmmm right, I can hear my Dad’s voice from days gone by telling me not to put off for tomorrow what I can do today. How right he was and is. 🙂

I have a memory of cleaning out my purse but beyond that I come up blank as to where I put my wallet and all its precious treasures.  I have looked these past couple of years for it but to no avail.  In fact just recently I conducted a thorough search for it because I needed my birth certificate for something.  I ended up ordering a new birth certificate…one which when it arrived did not in no way shape or form resemble my nice little laminated one that I had from way back when.  This monstrosity and yes it is enormous will never fit in my wallet and is really good for nothing but to file away in a safe place.  I only hope that I don’t forget that I actually put it away in a properly labeled file and not in my sock drawer.

Now in all fairness to me we did go through a pretty big upstairs renovation where everything and I mean everything was boxed up and moved around.  So this makes me feel a bit better that I forgot where I placed my precious cargo…but not by much.  I still have no recollection of what I did with my wallet.  Not something one wants to have happen once you pass a certain “milestone” birthday. 🙂

I started out this post by stating that what was lost was found.  Yes indeed I found my wallet and all its precious cargo.  In fact, I wasn’t looking for it at all and then just like magic it appeared on the floor of my office closet.  It was “safely” inside a white plastic grocery bag, the bag was nicely tied up and inside my wallet was nestled among all sorts of other “treasures” that one finds in a purse that is being cleaned out.  Just to clarify I don’t believe in magic but this white bag wasn’t there and then it was.  Remember I said we had renovations done…well…Umm…my closet isn’t quite unpacked…I still have a few bits and pieces piled up on shelves in my closet waiting for me to organize and I’m guessing that when I was looking for something the other day this hidden treasure nudged free from its hiding place and fell to the floor in my closet.

Today I finally opened my treasure and began to sort through its contents.  Not only do I have my beloved birth certificate once again, I found gift certificates that my children had given me.  Now not only do I have my identity back but I have the means to go out to celebrate.

The ability to have restored back to you what you thought was lost forever is such a gift and meant to be treasured.  Jesus has given us this gift.  He has bought back our debt which gives us the ability to be restored to who God meant us to be before sin entered into our lives.  God’s mercies are renewed each and every day for us all.

Here’s to thanking Jesus for the gift of our new identity and the ability to celebrate.

 

Waving The White Flag

Whale Watching 2010 540

“…and therefore I have hope…” Lam 3:21

Have you ever woken up to a day where you really didn’t want to get out of bed?  This is me today.  I woke up and all I could picture was someone on a battle ground frantically waving a white flag so that their enemy could see that they had given up, their last reserve had been exhausted and the only thing left for them to do was to wave the white flag and hope for some form of mercy.

So here I am waving my white flag and saying that I “feel” like I’ve had enough and want to give up.  However in my heart of hearts I know this is not an option that I can take. Psalms 55:22 tells me to give my burdens (cares, concerns, needs) to the Lord, and he will take care of me.  Mat 11:28 says for me to come to Jesus and give him my burdens and he will give me rest.  Psalms 121:2 reminds me that my help comes from the Lord.

OK this is all well and good but it doesn’t take away the fact that I “feel” like I want to crawl in a hole and not come out again.  That what I have on my plate today is too much for me to bear.  And there you have it…what is on my heart today is indeed too much for ME to bear.  On my own I certainly will continue to think and feel this way.  However what I need to do…no, what I MUST choose to do is to give my concerns to Jesus.  I need to trust that God will provide what I need to get through this day.  I must not hold onto my worries.  I must release them to the only One who can give me the rest from my thoughts today and that is Jesus.

Does this mean that I am going to feel instantaneously happy.  Let me check….nope…my spirit is still troubled.  But I am believing that as this day progresses and as I continue to lay my concerns at Jesus’ feet then I will be able to handle what ever this day brings.

Have you ever read Lamentations 3?  Man this guy had a lot on his plate and still he was able to pen Lam 3:21-23 “Yet, this I call to mind and therefore I have hope.  Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”  In Exodus 16 we are told the story of when God provided food the Israelites needed each and every day of their 40 years of wandering in the desert.  Everyone had exactly what they needed for that day, no more and no less, and then in the morning God provided for them again.

Here’s the thing…God gives each of us what we need every morning.  What this is telling us is that we are given what we need to get through each and every day.  This means that I don’t really have to be worrying about what tomorrow brings because God will provide for me everything I need again tomorrow morning and the next day and the next day. What I have to do is trust that what God has already given me for today will get me through today.

This is not the first time that God has had to get my attention in regards to trusting Him with my burdens…nor unfortunately will it be the last.  I am only thankful that He used my love for writing as a vehicle to capture my attention and get me to this place at this moment where I can say…This is the day that the Lord has made and I will [choose] to be glad in it.

Here’s to choosing hope [with expectation] that God’s compassions never fail.

 

Bigger Than Your Britches

 

"God did not tell us to follow Him because He needed our help, but because He knew that loving Him would make us whole." Irenaeus

“God did not tell us to follow Him because He needed our help, but because He knew that loving Him would make us whole.” Irenaeus

“You are getting too big for your britches.”  I grew up hearing this phrase a lot, not to me mind you…to others around me…never about me! Just because the voice I hear in my memory is my Gram and I just happen to be there doesn’t necessarily mean she was speaking to me. 🙂 For you younger folk or perhaps those who didn’t grow up on the East Coast, this saying is a kind way of reminding someone that they are thinking more of themselves than they ought to be.

A few years ago God began to get my attention around the fact that everything is about Him and not necessarily about me.  At first this was a bit (to put it mildly) difficult to swallow.  What do you mean that the earth, sun, moon, the (what ever) doesn’t evolve around what I think, believe or feel like?  How could that possibly be true.  I am after all vitally important to the grand scheme of things…aren’t I?  I mean, everyone is entitled to my opinion…aren’t they?

I’ve heard a few opinions over the years that God is this huge egomaniac who created us just so that He could get all the focus and the accolades.  Well I guess to those who don’t know God this could look like what He is all about.  But to those who do know God it is definitely not who He is.  I mean, seriously…He’s God he doesn’t need the focus or accolades because…well…He’s God!  Life is actually all about Him and His plan for us.  It’s not something to be afraid of because God only wants what is best for us. This does not mean that we all have to become like little cookie cutter types of people.  God created us with our unique, quirky, loud, exuberant personalities.  We just have to check to see if our britches are getting too tight every now and again.

Then who is God?  The Holy Bible tells us that He is Elohim – The Strong, Faithful, and Only True God (Gen. 1:1); El-Elyon – The Most High God (Psa. 47:2); El-Olam – The Eternal God (Gen. 1:33); El-Roi – The God Who Sees (Gen. 16:13); El-Shaddai – The Almighty, All-Sufficient God (Gen 17:1,2); Adonai – Lord and Master; Jehovah – I AM (Exo. 6:2,3); Jehovah-Jireh – I AM the Lord who provides (Gen 22:14); Jehovah-M’kaddesh – I AM the Lord who sanctifies (Lev. 20:7,8); Jehovah-Nissi – I AM the Lord your banner (Exo. 17:15); Jehovah- Rohi – I AM the Lord your shepherd (Psa. 23:1); Jehovah-Rapha – I AM the Lord who heals (Exo. 15:26); Jehovah- Sabaoth – I AM the Lord of hosts (1 Sam. 17:45); Jehovah-Shalom – I AM the Lord your peace (Judg. 6:24); Jehovah-Shammah – I AM the Lord Who is there (Eze. 48:35); Jehovah-Tsidkenu – I AM the Lord your righteousness (Jer. 23:5,6).

So what does this tell us?  God is the only true god; He is the highest authority to go to; He lives forever; He sees everything; and He is sufficient all by himself...hmmm maybe then he doesn’t really need me.  Here’s the thing, God doesn’t “need” me (us) in the sense that He has to have my cooperation to get the things done that He wants to accomplish.  My opinion really has no place here (ouch).  However He does love me.  In fact He loves me (us) so much that He sent His son, Jesus to pay the ultimate price for us.  Read the Bible and it will show you just how much we are loved and what God did to make sure that we could once again have a relationship with Him.  It’s quite amazing actually.

Let’s get back to our britches. I think that too many times we, those who believe in Christ, let our “flesh” get in the way of what God is wanting to do.  What I mean here is how often do we enter into our home church expecting to be “fed” but come out “hungry” muttering to those around us about things that would be best muttered between you and God? (I just have to interject here and give my “opinion”, seriously if we go into a church service “hungry”, needing to be fed, I would have to ask us to examine our “cupboards” at home and ask when was the last time we were in the Word for ourselves?  Sometimes the preaching that day isn’t for us but for someone else who is just beginning to walk with Jesus.  Now go figure that…it isn’t about us all the time. Hmmm guess I have to check to see if my britches are too tight.)  How many times do we leave a church service “offended” about what was said from the pulpit, by the music that was sung, or by a “look” that you “think” that someone gave you from a few rows over? (That person that “looked” at you perhaps he/she didn’t even see you but was thinking about a problem that they are concerned about which produced the frown on his/her face.)  Then instead of bringing these offences to God we talk about them with others. Here’s a good one, how many of us get upset with something that has changed in our churches, either with the way a service is being run or a personnel change? (Here I would think the issue would be that we weren’t “told” that this change was happening…really do we think we should be kept in the loop for all things?)  Again I would have to ask how tight are our britches getting? Do we really think that everything and everyone should cater to us and our personal preferences?

Is it easy to get our “britches” to fit again.  No, but it is not impossible.  We just need to acknowledge that it’s not all about us and allow the Holy Spirit to change our hearts.  We need to understand there are other things happening around us for a reason, for a purpose that sometimes only God knows the answer to.  We have to learn to trust Him and to let go of our own selfish desires which are contrary to what God would have for us.  There is nothing to be afraid of in acknowledging that we are not #1. Psalms 9:10 tells us that, “Those who know Your name trust in You, for You, O Lord, have never abandoned anyone who searches for You.”  We can give up the fight clawing our way to the top because we are already there.  In God’s eyes we are His children and he loves us all the same he will never leave us.

Here’s to making sure that our britches remain loose.

 

You Are My Witness

"You are my witness declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed nor will there be one after me."  Isaiah 43:10

“You are my witness declares the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed nor will there be one after me.” Isaiah 43:10 (NIV)

While I was cleaning up my office, (for those of you who know me this is an ongoing process and I’m happy to announce that I can once again see some patches of wood in between the piles of paper) I found this file that had notes from a personal study I did one day of Isaiah 43:10.  So I thought I would share my thought process with you today.

When I do a study of a verse in the Bible, (now before I make myself sound all pious and perfect let me state that one of my many struggles is getting into the Word on a frequent basis, so please don’t think that I am something that I’m not.  When I do take the time to really study God’s Word I find it so exciting…I just don’t know why I don’t make this a priority) so when I do a study of a verse or book in the Bible I like to take it apart and look up the words in the Greek and Hebrew dictionary and then I will look up the meanings of the words in and English dictionary.  I find that this opens up a deeper line of thought for me and helps me “own” what is said in that verse or book.  The following paragraph is how for this particular verse I broke it down.

You are my witness (wit- to know, to make known, reveal) Hebrew/Greek Dictionary.  Wit – power to perceive quickly and express cleverly, ideas that are unusual and amusing.  Ness – quality, state or condition of being. Collins Gage Canadian Dictionary.  declares (to say, utter, an affirmation, speak) (A word from God, usage of this word throughout the old testament, with exception  of Prov 30:1, means a word from God.) the Lord, and my servant (mark of those called by God) (Manservant, bondsman, bought with money, hired, mark of humility and courtesy). whom I have chosen (select, choose, choice acceptable, appoint) so that you may know (to know by observing and reflecting (thinking), to know by experience. and believe (to be firm, endure, be faithful, be true, stand fast, trust) A firm place where a peg can be driven so that it’s immovable.  Abram was full of trust and confidence in God…He believed in God himself…He had a personal relationship to God rather than an impersonal relationship with his promises.  me and understand (to understand, be able, deal wisely, consider, pay attention to, regard, notice, discern, perceive, inquire). that I am he.  Before me not god (general designation of deity in the ancient Near East).  was formed (to form, mould, fashion) nor will there be one after me.

I also looked at my Life Application Study Bible (NLT) and found the following thought:

Israel’s task was to be a witness (44:8), telling the world who God is and what he had done.  Believers today share the responsibility of being God’s witnesses.  Do people know what God is like through your words and example?  They cannot see God directly, but they can see him reflected in you.

This then brought me to pray the following:

Lord you are telling me that I am your witness.  I am to make known, to reveal who you are to others around me.  I can do this by openly sharing who you are to people and also by my actions, by how I live my life, trying to do what it is you have called me to do or to be.  You have declared this for me: you have given me this affirmation that I can do this.  This is a word directly from you to me because I am a believer in you.  Help me have the courage to live this out Lord.  You have declared me to be your servant, that I am marked and called by you.  I am also choosing to be your servant.  I do this willingly as a mark of humility and courtesy.  Lord you know my heart, help me humble myself before you and others.  You have appointed me to get to know you.  I can only do this by knowing you in a personal way, by observing, reflecting on your Word and in my life through my experiences with you.  Lord help me have the quiet time that I need in order to be reflective, to sit and ponder over what your Word says and who you are in my life.  Help me have this intimate personal relationship with you.  Lord you not only want me to know, but you want me to believe.  What an image I have in my mind of having such a belief that it is like that firm place where a peg is driven in so firmly that it cannot be moved except by being snapped off.  Lord let my belief be that strong.  Let me be as immovable as that peg.  And to think that Abraham had such a personal belief in you that he actually believed you, not just your word but in you personally.  He first and foremost had a belief in YOU.  He had a personal relationship with you.  Help me have this kind of belief Lord. You desire me to deal wisely with others, to understand them and myself.  To pay attention to those around me and to discern what it is you want me to say, do or be to others.  Lord help me get out of my own way in times like these.  Help me hear you clearly and then help me OBEY you.  Thank you for the firm statement that you are the only true God, that none have come before you and none will go after you.  Lord open all of our eyes so we can see and our ears so we can hear.  Help us know truth from  lies.  Help us be the witnesses you have appointed us to be.  Thank you for your mercy Lord.  Amen

 

Here’s to being His witness…

 

 

Little Old School-House

This is a picture of the two room school house where I attended during grade one. Located on Grand Manan Island back then referred to as Castalia School House, currently called Harvest House. (Picture taken by Angela Jones)

This is a picture of the two room school-house where I attended during grade one. Located on Grand Manan Island back then referred to as Castalia School House, currently called Harvest House.
(Picture taken by Angela Jones)

I have no idea why I started to remember this little old school-house ( I’m not going to share the date that I attended, but let’s just say it was more than a few years ago).  The above photograph is current and was shot by a friend of mine. The School-House has still retained its dignity despite the need of a fresh coat of paint and some minor repairs.

As I look at this picture I can hear the excited voices of children and see them run around the school-house and in and out of the woods.  There was a little brook that ran down the side of the property.  A lot of battles were won and lost in these woods.  Tears, laughter, shouts of joy and fear were the music of the school recess time.  The difference then is that we were allowed to play in the woods and didn’t have a lot of “things” to occupy our time outside except for our imaginations and it was…glorious.

I remember that there were two classrooms which housed a grade one class and a grade two class.  I can’t remember if we shared the cloak room but there was at least one of these where we would store our outside wear, our lunches and it was cold.  The classroom I was in had those old wooden and cast iron desks with the inkwell in them which were in rows bolted to the floor.  (For those of you who are wondering, no it wasn’t so long ago that I actually used the ink well, but our Reader did consist of stories about Dick, Jane and Spot.)

A couple of memories stand out for me. One was standing in line to receive our Cod Liver Oil pills.  Who ever invented these pills must have really hated children.  I learned the hard way not to put the pill in my mouth until I was at the water fountain and had the water running.  What an awful experience…I can still feel the texture of the capsule on my tongue and the taste in my mouth when the capsule broke before I could swallow it.

Another memory is about show and tell.  This one time a friend of the family, who was well known in the community for his colourful flare and interesting view of life thought it would be a great idea for me to take a beaver tail as my item to share about. What a lot of people didn’t realize is that this person, although rough on the outside had a heart of gold on the inside.  He really did think that this would be a great thing to give a child to bring to school to show off.  Well, he may have thought it was great, but my teacher had another opinion and marched me right back out to the cloak room to keep my show and tell item “safe” until it was time to share.  Remember that I said the cloak room was cold, I think my teacher thought it best for this particular item to remain in the cold rather than in its bag in my desk.  I can still remember the pride I felt as I took this tail out of its bag and stroked its texture.  But more importantly I remember the looks of awe from my classmates as I shared my treasure with them.  To put this in better perspective for those of you reading who can’t wrap their heads around taking a beaver tail to school.  This family friend lived off the land, truly.  He trapped and hunted to live, not as a sport.  So for him this gift to me was one that was hard-won and meant something.

I can’t help but think of the times when we are given gifts and just put them aside because they have no significant meaning to us.  When in fact perhaps we should take a minute to admire the gift, ask about it and get the story behind about why the gift was given in the first place.

In regards to the old school-house.  To some looking from the outside at this old building it may look like the school-house is past its prime, when in fact it is currently being used by an organization called Harvest House where people who are addicted to substances and need help have a place to meet, share and learn about their addictions and how to recover from them.  This little old school-house has quite the history and looks like its going to continue to be able to make memories for a few more years to come.

Grand Manan Island is a magical place to experience.  I feel lucky to have lived there for a few years in my childhood and even though I am a CFA (comes from away) I felt and still feel like I truly belong.  Maybe at another time I will share some of my other memories of this wonderful Island.  What do they say…it’s the Bermuda of the Maritime’s.

Here’s to happy childhood memories and gifts from the heart.

 

It’s Only Stuff

This is what is important in life...my family...not stuff.

This is what is important in life…my family…not stuff.

I couldn’t decide on what to write about this week, so I decided that I’m going to rant a bit. 🙂 This morning we awoke from a knock on our door at 5:30 from a neighbour.  He told us that our garage door was open and that our community mail boxes were broken into…again!  I went into the garage to check to see if anything was missing and it looked like it had just been searched, nothing taken. (But I’m worried that they were just looking to see what they could take the next time).  Then I thought I should check our cars and sure enough one had been gone through and this was how they gained access to our garage, they used the garage door opener that we keep inside the car.  Lately break ins have happened quite frequently where we live.  I don’t know why we are being targeted…maybe because of the location, maybe because a lot of residents here are older….who knows?

I try to understand the point of view of the person or people who go through our stuff or steal from us. In the past I have been able to say to myself, “If they go to lengths like these to take something from me then they must need it more than I do”.  But today I’m really struggling with this.  I’m feeling mad that someone has gone through our stuff and has entered our home (well our garage) with the intent to take something that is ours.  For some reason I’m having difficulty getting my thoughts to the point where I can “see” the point of view of the person who did this to us.  I think part of the reason is that this is not the first time this has happened now and secondly my neighbour told me she used to work with people who did this as a vocation, on purpose, to make money.  I know this sounds naïve and maybe it is, but for me it seems harder to “understand” people who steal from other people just to make a living.  For some reason I can “get it” that people who are hungry; addicted to substances; who have nothing, steal.  It’s another thing for me to wrap my head around the concept that some people do this just to make a living, like a regular job. This morning’s incident was not a random act, but one that had been planned a head of time.  Maybe that’s the difference?  I don’t know.

I just know that I’m sitting here writing this and am uncomfortable with how I’m feeling. What would Jesus want me to do about this?  During the second paragraph of this rant a story came to my mind that someone told me just the other day.  It went something like this: There was this young missionary couple who moved to a country, sold all that they had and brought with them possessions that they thought they would need while they stayed in this new country. They arrived and their belongings were unloaded outside the home that they would be staying in.  They went inside to talk with the current missionary who was leaving after having spent almost all of her life ministering to the people in this country.  When the couple went back outside it was to discover that all their belongings, all that they owned was gone.  The people who they were there to help took all that they had.  The older missionary spoke to them and said, “It’s only stuff”.

Three little words, “It’s only stuff”.  But what power they hold.  Puts things into perspective when we think this way doesn’t it?  It’s only stuff – I still have my life; It’s only stuff – I still have the ability to _____ (you fill in the blank).

Thanks for “listening”.

 

Only Sometimes?

 

"I'm still in your presence, but you've taken my hand.  You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me." Psalm 73:21 MSG

“I’m still in your presence, but you’ve taken my hand. You wisely and tenderly lead me, and then you bless me.” Psalm 73:21 MSG

I wonder if you have ever found yourself in this place?  I ask Jesus to help me, to guide me and protect me.  I ask Him to hold my hand, especially in my times of need, the darkest times.  (I could ask myself why especially in these kinds of circumstances, but this thought will be examined another day.)  I cry out for His help, expecting rescue. However I find that sometimes I’m rescued and other times I feel like I’ve been left hung out to dry.  That I’ve been left alone being blown around by the whim of the wind. So what is this telling me?  Should I believe that Jesus only helps me sometimes?  Does this mean that He arbitrarily chooses who He will help and who He won’t?  Does He sit on His throne and say, yes today I will hold her hand but tomorrow I’m going to let her go it alone?

It is at times like these that I have to go into the Word of God and see what it says.  For I know that Truth is found here and that if I were to rely solely on my understanding then I would definitely be led astray.  So what does the Holy Word tell me about God holding my hand?  Psalm 37:2-24 (New Living Translation) tells me that the Lord directs the steps of the godly.  This means that God is the one who is guiding me. (However to be guided one needs to be willing to go where they are being directed to go.  Again, a thought to pursue another day.)

God delights in every detail of my life. Interesting, this tells me that God takes pleasure in every detail, not just some details but every detail of my life.  In order for Him to be delighted in something He would have to be there to experience it.  Therefore He is present.

Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.  So here I am told that God does indeed hold my hand.  However it also makes reference to stumbling, but never falling.  Think for a moment what it means to stumble. Sometimes when we stumble we get a little hurt but not to the point that we are incapacitated.  Have you ever been out walking while holding a child’s hand and they trip or stumble over something on the ground.  They begin to fall and perhaps scrape their knee a bit but you instinctively pull up and save them from a bigger mishap?  I think that this is what this verse is talking about.  We may scrape our knees or stub our toes in a stumble but we won’t take an out right fall because God has a hold of our hands and will stop us from taking the full impact of the fall.

OK this is all well and good, but there have been times when it has felt like I have taken a hard, devastating fall.  I could ask, did Jesus really hold my hand then?  Well, the Bible tells me that God will never let me fall and I have chosen to believe that His Word is Truth.  So that means that something else must have gone on.  I need to ask myself then, was I reaching out to Jesus in this time of need?  Really?  With my hand and arms fully outstretched and grasping tightly to His hand? Or was I holding out my hand but holding back just a bit because I didn’t quite trust that He could deal with the situation? Have you ever tried to hold someone’s hand who didn’t want it held?  It’s pretty difficult to keep a tight grip on that person.  I believe that Jesus will not force Himself on us.  He loves us too much for that.  What I needed to do in this situation was to fully reach out to Him.  I needed and need to hold nothing back from Him.

Mother Teresa said that, “What is important about holding on, [is] that you have to [have] a grip on Christ and He will not let go of your hand.”  I loved this quote.  It gave me the picture of someone holding Jesus with all the might they could muster.  They didn’t hold Jesus’ hand with a light clasp of the fingers or a flick of the wrist.  They had a strong grip on the hand of the One who intercedes for us before God the Father.

Several years ago I was sitting in a bible study and God brought to my mind an incident that I was very angry with God about.  I felt that He didn’t follow through on a promise that He gave me.  I heard God’s voice saying to me, “Lindy, remember when you thought I’d let you down…I never promised you that…you told me what you wanted me to do and then believed that it came from me.”  In our times of need I wonder how often we tell God what we want to happen instead of asking Him what He wants for us and holding out our hands for Him to hold?  How many times do we blame God for things, but the onus is ours due solely to the fact that we are not giving God every part of us, that we continue to hold something back?  God holds our hands but sometimes it is us who aren’t holding on tightly to Him.

Here’s to taking ownership on what is our’s to own.

 

 

Another thought on Mother’s Day….someone else’s thought

Today as I was scrolling through Facebook…and yes I was still in bed doing it. 🙂  I came upon this post that a friend of mine reposted…and yes she is really a friend and not just a Facebook friend.  I began to read it and couldn’t believe that it was almost verbatim what my post on motherhood was about. (The idea only, this author expanded on the topic as only someone who is actually walking in the shoes of being childless could understand). This article is written from the perspective of the woman left seated.  I read it and thought that it was an excellent article.  Then I read some of the responses and was surprised that some people thought that this author was somehow trying to detract from Mother’s Day and trying to take away the honour of being a mother.

Here’s the link, read it for yourselves and see if what she was saying is taking away from Mother’s Day or adding to it.   An open letter to pastors (A non-mom speaks about Mother’s Day) – See more at: http://timewarpwife.com/?p=3120#sthash.jhLikgeO.dpuf

I for one applaud her for stepping up and allowing herself to be vulnerable so that others could hear her story.

Here’s to allowing ourselves to become vulnerable.