Friday, September 21, 2007

My Journey

I'm on a journey which I believe will last for a very long time, perhaps the rest of my life. It's called "growth".

It will take me to places I've never been before. There will be people that I will meet for the first time ever that will influence me in ways that may change my life. There will be experiences that will shape my opinions, thoughts about life and what I do next.

This journey is mainly spiritual, although I am actually journeying to countries that I have never visited before and I am looking forward to this experience.

Part of this journey involves God gently calling me out of my safe place. It's where I usually hide when I feel insecure. It's a place where people won't notice if I make a mistake, say the wrong thing, do the "stupid" thing!

I don't very often seek the spotlight. I rather prefer to be in places where I am somewhat unnoticed. Again, a comfortable place to hide. God actually lives in this safe place with me. He is just asking me to "relocate" - to find a "bigger" place that we can live in together. I'm ok with that.

I feel this invitation to join His hand and go on an adventure with Him. And He knows just how to call me out of course - He knows what I will respond to, because He created me and it will be different from the way He calls others.

I think God wants others to see my heart, to see the giftings he has placed within me. A bit frightening sometimes and yet freeing at other times.

A quite confidence comes from being vulnerable. I'm more willing to trust that He has an eternal purpose in all of this. This is growth for me.

This fall will be a huge transition for me and my family. I am going to Mozambique in less than two weeks, my husband is presently in England with a great friend at a worship conference, and my daughter is leaving next weekend for a YWAM course for six months in Germany.

Besides all of that, I am studying at St. Stephen's University this semester, taking two courses in the ministry program.

Also, I am on this intense weight loss and work out program, mainly to be in good physical shape when I go to Mozambique.

In every area of my life I am being stretched.

Spiritually, I am coming into more freedom in Christ and at the same time, He is calling me to trust Him in a way I've never had to before. Physically, I am disciplining the body beyond its comfort, mentally I am trying to study again after 32 years out of school and emotionally, I am saying goodbye to my daughter Sandy, which may be hardest thing of all.

I am reminded of a white water rafting trip I took this summer with my family and a few other friends. My friend and I were hurled out of the raft in class five rapids, at the most dangerous part of the entire trip. This came immediately after I agreed to staying in the raft with the team (despite my fears).

The rapids swirled around me and submerged me several times. I tried as hard as I could to swim across them to the shore. At one point I realized I was not going to be able to make it to shore because the force of the river was pushing me down stream faster than I could swim across the rapids. I was in a crisis.

Fear did at one point consume me and I hollered out for help. As I turned my head, I realized another raft had anchored themselves in the middle of the river to rescue me as I was recklessly being pushed downstream.

Those in the second raft grabbed me and hauled me over the side of their raft. I was breathless for several moments my heart was pounding so fast. Surprisingly, there was no emotion on my part (probably because I was in shock!).

Obviously, I survived, my friend survived and I probably will never do white water rafting again, even though that was the second time I have gone.

But the picture has come back to my mind many times and I believe God will use it to speak to me about this journey I am on. There will be times that I will feel I am barely keeping my head above the water, my heart is racing and my strength is gone, yet I will be ok....God is there positioning himself in the midst of the crisis and has his arms outstretched ready to receive me and save me. I know that for sure.

He is my strength and my deliverer. My God in whom I trust.

My shoes are laced up, my bags are packed. I'm on my way travelling with an amazing companion and friend. He has much to teach me.

I'll let you know how the journey is going. I am sure I will never be the same!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


We are heading into my favourite season of the year - fall.

It excites me so much when I step outside and the crisp air brushes against my face - I think of it as God "kissing" me!

My husband Paul would often remind me that God made the windly fall days especially for me, out of His love for me. I love movement in nature, the branches of trees bending in the wind and the whirlwind of leaves rustling around my feet.

I love the smells of the this season too. There is a "woodsy" smell as the leaves and small branches begin to decay and disappear under foot. And the smell of wood burning in stoves as we walk past our neighbours home makes me wish for a few moments we heated our home that way again.

When I check the temperature every morning and notice that it's starting to get in the lower numbers, I actually get excited because it means "sweater season" is almost here. I love to wear sweaters, cardigans, hoodies, anything warm and cozy. The "bundling up" of extra clothing gives me a sense of being hugged.

Sitting beside a warm fire with a hot cup of coffee and reading a book or visiting with a friend, are some of my favourite things that I enjoy most.

The most obvious reason I love this season is because of the splendor of colour that bursts forth mid October covering the countryside like a patchwork quilt of random hues of oranges, reds and yellows. The last explosion of life before the cold takes the leaves away. God's design for beauty is evident everywhere I look.

I have wonderful memories of this season too.All three of my children were born in the fall, my birthday is in the fall and I was married in mid November.

The routine of the fall is something I also enjoy. When we lived in Halifax in the southend of the city, we were close to the universities and the first of of September there would be a "buzz" happening as the students desended on the campus grounds, ready to begin a new year of study.

The fervour of activity and "starting" of something new excites me. I become energized and spontaneous and take on a multitude of tasks.

The "nesting" is what I love about the fall. It's all about creating and preparing that safe place inside where friends and family can gather and be warmed and loved. The season creates intimacy in a way - a gathering together to be close, a form of community within our homes.

Welcome this fall with a sense of awe and wonder and celebrate the gift of relationship with those you love and care for.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Letting Go

Today I sat with a woman that I had never met before and within a few minutes she let me hear her heart speak.

She shared with me the difficulty in saying goodbye to her youngest daughter who was staying in the community to attend university. As her deepfelt emotions exposed themselves by tears falling down her cheeks, I felt moved within my own heart.

I have gone through a similar experience with all three of my children, saying good-bye to them as they go off to university, head out west to a land of great opportunity or to head to New Zealand to attend a YWAM mission team.

Nothing quite prepares you for those moments. As a mom, and strong nurturing type, the apron strings were tied tightly to my kids. After so many years of caring and watching out for them, how could I ever live my life not having them around?

Yet it's an essential part of growing up for them and for those of us as parents too.

It's like watching them cross the street by themselves and choose not to use the crosswalk, but dart in and out of cars speeding by to make it to the other side. For a few years, kids really do think they are invincible.

The sadness I felt from my new friend was like precious ointment being spilled out. It spoke of the extravagent love a mother and daughter had for each other. The tears seemed to spill out of a reservoir very deep within.

There were obvious hurts and pain in the past. This "departing" seemed to be so painful.

It made me think of good friends that move away from each other.

Someone new would have to come along and try to fill the gap. How does a mom "fill the gap"? I don't know.

All I could do is reassure this mom that I would look out for her daughter, keep an eye on her, like she would herself. That promise seemed to stop the tears momentarily.

I find myself in a similar place this month as I say goodbye to my middle child, my second daughter, who is heading off to YWAM in Germany for six months. She will be gone over Christmas which will be very difficult for us all.

We have never been apart from each other for that length of time before. The longest was 2 months. I know that I have pushed the event deep down in my subconscious in order not to deal with it until the time comes. But I am fearful of saying goodbye to her.

I'm afraid of the pain that I will feel. It will be intense. It will render me emotionally bankrupt for several days. I will have trouble sleeping at nights and my mind will be conjuring up scenarios that will never happen.

I will forget the God of my youth, the One I trusted in so solidly. I may in fact react with anger towards Him for "taking her away". My thoughts will be scattered and inaccurate. I will find no solace in scripture. My husbands consoling words will mean nothing when he speaks them.

Yet, in time, I will yield to the patient bidding of his spirit and will trust in Him again. I will believe the words He spoke to me in the wee hours of the morning as I was coming out of a deep sleep, "she is MINE, and I WILL CARE FOR HER".

The message was clear as a bell, there was no denying that God had spoken clearly to me. So I will trust this God whom I've committed my life to and I will believe that He will protect and care for her.

How could I ever hold her back from experiencing all God has for her? She has chosen a path that will deepen and strengthen her walk with the Lord.

Letting go is life giving.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Unique identities

Each of us has a unique signature of the soul. A fingerprint identity like no one else on earth.

Sadly though, we try so hard to be like someone other than who God created and fashioned us to be.

There is peace when we "settle" into our specific element and do the thing God has called us to do. It is ever evolving, changing, growing, and alive. It need not suffer from the criticisms of others or the intimidation of our thoughts.

Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to believe in us, challenge us or move us.

Our impossible expectatons come from within, not from God. They are born out of insecurity. When we can fully grasp his love for us, we become secure, difficult to offend, less quick to react in defense of our position.

The pace he expects us to move at is far slower than we would ever set to "get things done, to change". There are lessons we need to learn along the way that will develop our character and challenge our belief in God.

Confidence comes when we have courage to take the first step, and then it comes faster each step after that. We begin to believe in ourselves and that what we do does in fact matter. It is significant.

As I have reached the middle years of my life, I am more aware of time passing by. If I intend to be effective and influential in any way at all, I must be more intentional about doing the "thing" God has called me to do. Realizing that could be many different things, I still desire to push ahead, feeling my way around, while at the same time, asking God for confirmation.

It may not be anything "big" or "monumental". It may in fact be making myself more available to others who are hurting, extending my ear, listening with the heart. It may be that I walk into more relationships with an attitude of "giving" more than I think I have to give.

Perhaps it's pursuing my design giftings in a more deliberate way to my community. Whatever it is that God dreams that I would do, I am on my way.

Imagine God dreaming about us!