Monday, October 29, 2007

My return from Africa

I have safely returned to Canada after being in 4 different African countries in the last 3 weeks.

So much of what I have felt, experienced, and touched will at some time be written in this blog, but it may be awhile in order for it to sift through my thought processes and find words to fit the emotions.

As I push through the jet lag weariness I am still humbled at the measure of grace bestowed to me throughout the entire trip. My God, my friend, my protector, my teacher, has never left my side. He can't leave me, ever, I'm the one that moves away.

Our friendship and journeying together has deepened. We've had many good chats, heart to hearts, tears and moments of intense pain that are secrets we will have until eternity.

I am becoming more and more comfortable and honest with my companion. After all, he created me, knows my thoughts even before I do and still loves me - there is nothing I can hide from him, nothing he doesn't know already, so I can relax and confidently ask him to help me through each and every situation.

I am no longer immobilized by guilt. I am breaking through its grip on me. I am pushing back insecurities and self-doubt and reaching out for his purposes and plan for me.

In time I will be able to share glimpses of this revelation.

For now, it will need to settle, take root and then bring forth fruit.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My Loved Ones

My husband came home yesterday after being in England two weeks with a dear friend who lead a worship conference.

We sat in the dining room across the table from each other while my oldest daughter Jodi was playing the piano softly in the background.

As often happens when she plays, I am suddenly ushered into this place that my soul remembers. A place of connecting with the spirit residing in me and I am moved emotionally.

She is not aware of this. My husband is not aware of this. He is visually impaired and can't see the tears slowly slip out from my eyes. I look at him and listen carefully, asking questions to keep the conversation going. Still he has no idea I am crying.

There are times I do not want him to know and I cry silently, hiding any other signs that may give my emotional state away.

Then there are times I want him to know, like tonight. So I reach across the table, take his hand and bring his finger to the wet mark on my cheek and he realizes then what's going on.

Other times, I will take the tear from my cheek and touch his lips with it so he can taste my emotions.

Tonight, it was important for me to let him know how I felt. I missed him when he was away. And I was glad he was home. I wanted him to know that.

My husband Paul, is like bookends for me which hold and support me and everything I do. He is my best friend, my lover, my greatest supporter, my provider while I live on this earth. He encourages me to step out and try new things and helps me when I feel I've made the wrong decision.

He is there through every emotional upset I go through...and there have been many. And he never complains...he knows this is just who I am.

He is the father to my three amazing children and I love to see the ways they are simliar in personality to him as they grow older. Each of them has a unique piece of his identity which has already in some ways, determined a path they may choose.

He is the one of the few people I know who has an amazing friendship with God. They enjoy each others company. Laugh together, cry together.

My husband loves to pray.

About 20 years ago, I made him a prayer gown out of heavy polar fleece with a hood to keep his head warm. So many nights, he would put it on and turn the lights off in the living room after the kids had gone to bed and walk back and forth across the floor praying about something on his heart.

When Bill was very young he would go fetch his father's prayer gown and curl up in it on the couch and go off to sleep. We would often place it over him when he was ill. It has become and will always be, a garment with so much meaning and attachment to the children.

Paul often times would tell Bill that he was "his son in whom he was well pleased". Bill grew up knowing he had a blessing from his dad. And he would speak into the girls lives in ways that specifically spoke life into them also.

I'm fondly remembering the "good times" we have had. The difficult times were there too, but somehow, we managed to survive them, grow in understanding from them and focused on the positive.

When I said goodbye to my daughter Sandy at the airport the other day in Halifax, God gave me a gift. He is so gracious to me and knows just what I need to trust Him.

I stepped back from rushing in to "rescue" Sandy and look after her and what I saw was Jodi rising to the occasion, caring for every last detail and preparation to go off to Germany. Jodi is actually the one who encouraged her to venture on this YWAM mission. And then I noticed Bill coming along side her, running at the last minute to get something she forgot, seeing to it that she was all set to go. And I just watched and marveled at God's provision for Sandy.

God seemed to be saying to me that my time of caring for her is really over in a lot of ways. Jodi and Bill are there to make sure she will be ok and she will connect with new friends in Germany that will in their own way, care for her.

I needed to see this. It's all part of God calling me out for himself. He has been telling me to put down the gardening gloves, set the dust cloth aside and come sit at His feet and learn from Him.

"I want you Robyn. I want you to extend your influence beyond your family, into the community and into the world.Come on an adventure with me. Take my hand and I will show you things that will break your heart, enlarge your heart and increase your faith. There is much I wish to show you. Trust me. And in the same way I care for Sandy, I will care for Paul. Trust me."

How can I refuse such an invitation? He, after all, has created this desire within me to follow Him. It only seems natural that I would wholeheartedly respond.

This journey for a short time, means leaving behind those I love and care about the most and going it "on my own". A hard thing to do for someone like me.

But I know it will change me and deepen my relationship with God. It's time to follow Him.

I'm ready to follow Him.

The Risk in Being Real

I sometimes struggle as to what I should write in my blog.

There's a certain risk and vulnerability in sharing your heart publicly. Often times, the feelings and emotions pass and I wonder why I shared what I did.

Then there is the pressure of accountability. Once you bear your soul and it's desires, someone can hold you to what you've said you'd like to do or be. Perhaps thats not so bad after all, a part of growth it seems.

However, as I am open to being transformed bit by bit by God's gentle way with me, I am less judgemental on myself. Too often I have said something or done something only to be sabotaged by own thoughts passing harsh criticism on me.

How silly it seems that the most wounding comes from within our selves.

God never meant us to be like that. His plan for us was to reflect His image and His glory.

I am gaining ground on this battlefield and changing my thought patterns and walking away from second guessing everything I do. I never win at that game. It's destructive and sinful. What I am experiencing instead, is freedom, real freedom to be who God created me to be.

I'm all through with wishing I were "this" or "that" . I will seek to improve myself in every area I possibly can, but there are some things that are "just me" and I've come to terms with "me".

Saying all of that, I still have my moments when I slip into puddles of insecurity and self-condemnation, but rather than stay there and become stagnant, I choose to pull myself out, to keep on keeping on.

There is a call on my life as there is for every creature on the face of this earth and more than ever I want to live out this call passionately.

This includes becoming a better wife to my husband. Learning to know him better, seeking to understand him more, caring and loving him more deeply. As good as it is (and it's pretty good!) I believe it can get better and richer and that's what I want to be passionate about.

I also want to be passionate about investing in others.

The image that comes to my mind is that of a child on a tricycle unable to manoevre the pedals to move forward. Just a gentle shove from behind is all that is needed to give enough momentum for them to take off and then look at them go! Sometimes, they are not even aware that anyone has pushed them, they really believe they've done it themselves. I would love to be the one that pushes people forward.

Perhaps I am being naive about what it takes to become this child of God. I am probably not aware of the cost, the risk, the sacrifice, not only for me, but my close loved ones. But I may never have this window of opportunity again and with all my heart I want to serve my Lord.

My prayer is that I may be fit for the task, worthy of the calling, a vessel of honour, an image bearer of His glory. A child of His that brings Him delight.

Lord, let it be so.