Friday, August 24, 2007

No Excuses

During a long drive home from a city about 5 hours away, I was feeling quite exhausted and noticed myself getting a bit impatient with my husband. I can tell when my "emotional bank" has been depleted and I'm running on "empty".

The night before had not been restful for me. My mind was racing ahead to events scheduled to happen in the next month and I was overwhelmed by what needed to be accomplished. Plenty of reasons to justify my actions.

But I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit among the clamour of my thoughts. "There are no excuses to respond in an unloving way."

I thought of toddlers who are irritable when they are tired. They get out of control. They do not have the maturity to control their physical responses. They are without boundaries.

Even in the most exhausting of situations we must respond with grace and love. We cannot tear people apart and put them down just because WE are tired.

It might be the most difficult task of all. To reach deep down inside for that last remaining bit of mercy and then extend it toward our fellow brother or sister. This is what God expects us to do. Being tired and exhausted, having a bad day - these are not excuses. We must be accountable for every word we say , every deliberate and hurtful action.

More than ever, during these "low times", our words need to be encouraging and inspiring. We must fight for the "good" within us. Our thoughts must be more focused on those around us than ourselves.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Parent's Blessing

I am at a wonderful stage of life. My children are all in their 20's, independent and charting their own course.

The parenting is over. The suggestion of advice is sometimes welcome, sometimes not, which is perfectly fine. Decisions are made that you find out about later. This is all good. All natural. All the way it should be.

The relationship of parent and child shifts and if you're lucky, you enter a relationship with them as adults and even friends.

What I have come to realize recently is how different a person I am when I am with my kids. Particularly, when I am with my girls on an "outing".

I "morph" into this carefree, hilarious person that few people see. The walls come down, the motherly role is forgotten. We laugh at each other, but they mostly laugh at me - the silly things I do, the silly things I say! I laugh at Me! We are like three best friends having the time of our lives.

My kids keep me young. Sandy was the first one to pull me out on the dance floor several years ago and I'm glad she did. We had so much fun dancing. I experienced a joy with her that I will forever remember.

We've checked out the makeup counters, hit the clothing sales, tried on dozens of shoes (it's a female thing!) shared nachos and sometimes, we've caught the latest "chick flick." But mostly, we've shopped.

I become a less serious person and forget the rules for a short time. I've connected with their friends who remind me what goes on inside the heads of 18-20 year olds. It's good to be reminded. It makes me less judgmental - I was 18 once.

Our conversation can span the entire globe. It can be ridiculous - particularly when we complain about the few pounds we've gained; how we look in this piece of clothing -"does this make me look fat?" or should I get my hair coloured (again...Sandy??!!) Or we can find ourselves in tears because we've had a TM (tender moment... I'm the one with the record for the most TM's) and our hearts become connected.

There are times when I've been able to tell them what God is doing in my life, where He seems to be leading me, how He has spoken to me lately and I know they are moved by what I'm sharing.

There is absolutely nothing else in this world that brings me as much joy and deep happiness, than to hear my kids tell me over and over again that they love me. And, they always do. My son will end the conversation by telling me he loves me. It means so much to me.

This relationship is rich that I have with my children. I am truly blessed. I am satisfied. I am content. I am full. I am so grateful to God .

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Love moves me to Serve

I awoke early this morning and heard God encourage me to get up out of bed and spend some time with Him. Gladly, I can say, I responded to the call this morning. Most mornings I just roll over and try to get some extra sleep before the day begins. (I am not a morning person).

So I snuck downstairs as quietly as I could and put some coffee on. I brought a cup up to my husband, woke him with a kiss on the forehead and began my day with him.

What I am learning lately is that the more we love, the more we are called to serve. The more denying of ourselves, prefering one another, and caring for their needs before our own, is in fact, the life we are called to.

It is usually easier for mothers to do this because of our nurturing instinct. Our whole focus is on the care and training of our children. Seeking their good, before our own.

At this stage of empty nest in my life, my primary care and serving goes to my husband. Then to my family spread across the country and then to my friends and community.

What I have yet to learn is to serve under difficult circumstances. I'm sure the trip I am taking to Africa this fall will teach me that.

Psalm 139

This is one of my favourite psalms.

It helps me to realize that there are no secret thoughts that God does not already know and somehow, this gives me a sense of security and well-being.

If He knows every thought and nothing is hidden from Him, then I have no choice but to believe that He still loves me. He is quite well aware of the "intentions of the heart".

I am learning to relax and say, "Lord, you know everything I am thinking and everything I will think in the next moment and I trust you to help me to honour you in all I do. So Lord, reveal to me what is offensive and grant me the strength and wisdom to know how to change and give you control of every aspect of my life."

"Together, we will work on it."

2 Cups of Coffee

For those of you who happen to look at the time that I am writing this post, yes, it is 1:31 am.

I was at a friends house for a party earlier tonight and had two cups of coffee, knowing full well that it would keep me up for a good part of the night. (I made my husband have one too so we would be up together...but alas, he has fallen asleep and my second cup is still working on me, so I thought I would make good use of the time and post a blog entry.)

I am heading off to Mozambique, Africa, this October for two weeks on a mission trip to visit and help out in the orphanages established there. It seems to be the next best step for me on this journey of knowing God better.

My only other mission experience was a two month short term trip to Mexico when I was 22 years old - a year before I was married.

Interestingly enough, I just now recalled it being a time when I wrote long letters to family and friends back home and journaled alot about my spiritual experiences there.

I expect God will stretch me in many ways while I am there. The physical journey to even set foot on African soil, will be exhausting and trying to say the least. Let alone the living and eating conditions when we arrive.

The comforts and luxuries of home that I have become so accustomed to and enjoy, will be absent from me for two weeks.

I will miss my warm showers, the idea of being clean and the daily routine of making myself presentable.

Instead, I may find myself appalled at the stench of body odour, food cooking over an open fire and probably other new smells that I didn't even know existed.

But there is so much I'm looking forward to with great expectation.

I know I will be moved by the intensity of worship among people who are wholeheartedly submitted to him, sincerely loving and praising His name.

I know I will see beauty and dispair in the faces of the children who are orphaned and living with so many others in impoverished conditions.

I wonder if I will be able to contain the overwhelming emotions when I come to terms with how much I have, how thankful I should be and how little they have and how thankful and grateful they are for even that.

I know I will be humbled. I know my heart will break many times. I know this experience will have a long lasting effect on the rest of my life.

I know I will be challenged to trust the One in whom I believe more than I've ever trusted Him before.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Unspoken Messages of Love

Our family has a secret "gesture" which we use from time to time when words cannot be spoken, which means "I love you".

I can't remember how it started, but we've been doing it for years now. It's so special and endearing to us all, that when we give the signal, we smile not only with our lips, but our eyes too.

Because two of our family members are visually impaired, we don't use the gesture at a great distance. Instead, we do it when we are actually very near to each other, which gives it a more intimate and close feel.

I love language that is not spoken with words (although I do love affirmation of love with words too), but there is something so beautifully spoken in the silence of words and in the expression of our physical bodies.

A smile that sneaks across our face, or a tear that finds its way out, marking it's path down our cheeks. A hand that reaches out to grasp another. An arm that seeks to hold someone tight. A nod that acknowledges one's presence.

We have been fearfully and wonderfully designed by a loving Creator. I love to sit in His silence and without any words spoken from Him, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is telling me He loves me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Rain on me, Lord

I love the rain. Especially a warm rain.

My oldest daughter Jodi also loves the rain. When she was little, she used to put her raincoat on and go and play and splash in it. I used to tell the kids that the rain was God's way of washing the world and giving the earth a drink, like he had a huge shower hose up in heaven and turned it on.

Wash me Lord. Rain on me with loving kindness and mercy. Cleanse my soul. Purify my thoughts. Cause me to drink from your well that never runs dry. Let your glory be my garment.

Rain on me Lord.

Monday, August 6, 2007

God's Amazing Love

Something happens inside us when we fully understand and accept the unconditional love of our Saviour. When we receive this truth deep with our being and begin to take hold of its significance, there is nothing we cannot do.

Suddenly, we are not inhibited by our lack of courage, by our fear of failure. Our confidence comes in knowing that God is with us, beside us, and for us. He is cheering us on from the sidelines. It is in this place that we can begin to change and heal, because we know we are loved, just the way we are.

This is where the journey begins. Then slowly, lovingly, He takes us further. We deal with painful memories, recurring sins, lack of loving kindness towards our loved ones and mostly towards ourselves. We stop the enemy from the onslaught of destructive thoughts.

We focus less on ourselves and more on others. Grace becomes easier to give in situations that once made us angry or irritable. We desire to serve, rather than being served.

We become open to the possibility of change. And this makes us willing to improve ourselves in many areas of life. The lure of being a "better, whole person" is attractive to us.

We fully understand our limitations and weaknessess and yet know that when we accept his love , all things are possible.

Understanding God's love for me, is perhaps the most powerful, life changing event I've ever experienced.

Friday, August 3, 2007


I came across this scripture earlier tonight in the Message Bible (Matthew 5:14) and absolutely love the way it expresses who we are to be.

"You are here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world."

What a wonderful job description to have!

Change Me Lord

I just spent two hours with an amazing person that I have only meant once before in my life and she has spoken into my life in a very beautiful way.

Why is it God that you allow others to speak into my life things that I cannot see in myself and sometimes struggle to believe even exist in my being?

In the past, I would normally discount their opinion and say they really don't know who I am. I'm not capable of that.

However, today and from here on in, I receive the word as if you have uttered it yourself (and you actually have through your servant) and can hardly wait for its manifestation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Seize Life!

This morning I happened to be reading scripture from Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 (Message Bible) and it reminded me of the need to embrace each day with an intensity of "attack" - "Seize Life"- get out there and capture it! Take hold of the beauty that awaits you and the opportunity given you to encourage, share, teach, love and change your life and the lives of those around you. Make this day count for eternity. Create memories that will make you smile months from now and invest in relationships that will stand the test of time.
Go deeper in your faith, test your God, He can handle it. Work harder at your health, push more at the gym, love without inhibition. Dress with colour and youthfulness. Laugh harder, cry more often, allow your emotions to surface without reservation. Today may be your last to express all you have within your heart. Eat like a banquet has been spread before you. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. GRAB THIS DAY!

Here I go!

Today I start blogging for the first time - here goes!