Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Courage to Dream

I awoke this morning with a sense of your presence nearer to me than usual.

I asked you to help me walk out the dream you have for me.

More than that, I asked You to give me dreams, and expand my mind with possibilities that are limitless.

Help me Lord to be satisfied and content with the present moment, understanding that there is much I need to learn at this point in time, yet reaching and dreaming for it to be different. Let me take small steps of risk that require faith and complete trust in you.

Make me passionate about knowing you in a deeper and more intimate way. Inform my mind, inflame my heart.

Make more space in my heart to receive your love for me and help me to fully understand what it means to be loved by you.

Give me more insight to know how to fight back the voices within me that want to silence the dream you have for me, the voices that remind me that I am not qualified.

Let me find my own voice and give volume to it.

Surround me with friends that will encourage and strengthen me. Friends that I can trust with my dreams. Friends that will graciously move me forward.

On the days when I am weak and feel the whole world is crushing in on me and I can't even raise my eyes to look in your face, be my glory and the "lifter of my head".

Let my dreams keep me pursuing you.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Sleepless in St. Stephen"

I wasn't able to sleep much last night. This often happens to me, and more regularly of late. Mid-life, menopause, anxiety, too much caffiene, who knows. So in my restless moments, I try to take advantage of the hours and begin praying for my friends.

God gave me some pictures right away and then over time, it became more clear and I believe more accurate. At one point in the wee hours I was able to say, "yes, Lord, this is your heart for my friends...this is what you would have me share with them".

Then after dozing off for what seemed to be a short space of time, (how can one measure time and sleep - you can sleep for hours and feel like it's minutes or sleep for minutes and feel like it's been hours) God shared a beautiful picture with me about our relationship. I nudged my husband and told him I had to get up and blog, to get it written down.

He decided to get up with me, put on some coffee and join me on the second floor landing of our home to watch the sun come up. Our view is even more awesome now since we tore down the dilapitated house of ours next door.

I am discovering a relationship with my Lord in such a new and different way. My paradigm is changing on how I see and know God and how he relates to me. Let me share it with you.

I have discovered him as a friend.

In the picture he put in my thoughts, I am walking down the road beside my Lord. His arm is in mine. We are comfortable. Obviously, enjoying each others company. He turns to me and in a quizzical look, says to me, "Robyn, why are you carrying that heavy basket of items?" I respond, shrugging my shoulders and like a teenager who never seems to know why they are doing anything, say to him, "I don't know...I just want to, I guess."

He offers to take some of my load. He grabs "jealously", "lust", "unforgiveness", and "shame". The load is somewhat lighter and I notice that he doesn't even comment on what is in my basket. This is amazing to me. I want to almost remind him of what I was carrying. Did he not see how sinful the items were that I had? Was he not embarrassed by these things? I at least, expected some chastisement or correction, but it never happened.

We continue walking again for a bit, and then he stops all of a sudden - so naturally, I stop too. Now, I thought, I will get his rebuke. ( Why is this our pattern of default thinking? ) He looks at me again, and shakes his head and says, "Robyn, you are still carrying too much-it's weighing you down for our walk together. Here, give me some more."

So I do. This time I hand over to him, "anger", "hate", "fear", "self-pity". I'm again, embarrassed by what I'm carrying and for how long they've been in my basket. Then all of a sudden, like a good friend would do...he reaches over to me and says, "here, let me just take it all from you, then you will have no burdens at all".

(On a side note ...the sun just burst through the darkness and is a blaze of fire sending shock waves across the shadows of the night. Its' light is streaming out like arms of an octupus giving definition to trees and landscapes and buildings. It's glorious! Another new day to live and laugh and love and experience the new mercies of God. Wow!)

As the basket leaves my arms and settles into his, I feel lighter than I've ever felt before. The strain of the load I was carrying all these years had taken its' toll on me and I bore the injuries and scars of its' burdens. But life and strength was returning to my wounded parts. Energy was flowing through me. And being free, I was now able to use my arms to reach down and pull flowers towards me to smell their life giving fragrance. I could extend my arms in waves of motion and embrace the heat of the sun.

I could hardly believe my friend did this all for me. What good friend would not help the other? And do it without commentary on what that person was carrying? Why have I not trusted him as a friend before?...because... I never saw him as my friend before.

His friendship is such that he would lay down his life for me - and he did just that. Why do I think he cannot handle my sins? Is it pride that keeps me from sharing them with him? After all, he knows my thoughts before I even know them. He is not afraid of what I am carrying and frankly, I don't think he even cares. He just wants to get them out of my hands, take them over, relieve me of the burden, set me free, give me life, partner with me and do it all over again if I manage (and I will) to carry them again!

This concept of Christ as my friend,- my Saviour as my dearest friend, changes how I commune with him. It's much more relational, casual, honest and real. I'm not afraid to tell him anything. My life is laid bare before him. He knows everything there is to know about me. No secrets.

I've been blessed to have good friends and I love them dearly. I would sacrifice and give my life for them, because they mean so much to me. They deposit gifts, treasures and life within me. They call me forth when I want to stay in my safe place too long. And, it's all done in such a gentle and caring way.

Why would I expect anything less from my heavenly father as my friend?

I encourage you to imagine Christ as your dearest and most loving and intimate friend. Explore this new relationship with him and embrace new ways of journeying with him.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Parents

I just returned home from a visit with my parents who live several hours away.

The visit was good. I was reminded again of God's hand upon my life in giving me the parents he did.

I grew up in a home that practised Christianity. My parents did the very best they could to teach us godly ways and instruct us in the way of Christ. For that I am forever grateful.

There were very few arguments between my parents. As children we enjoyed a "happy home", a stable home.

My father was the breadwinner of the family, very traditional, and my mother was a hairdresser until the day she delivered twins of which I am one. Her hands were full after that, especially because she had two other children before us, and then she had two more after us. One big happy family!

My dad was a hard worker all his life and my mother also and alot of value was placed on the virtue of "working hard".

Our friends growing up were our cousins who lived just a few houses away. We'd spend many days playing all sorts of outdoor games and during the winter, the pond would freeze over and we would ice skate. I learned to skate on that pond pushing a chair in front of me.

As a child, I was always drawing pictures of horses and someday dreamed about having a horse of my own. One day, dad surprised me and gave me a pony! I could hardly believe my dream had come true!

Dad would hitch "Lady" to a small buggy and take us for rides up and down the road. Other times we would ride her bareback. But sad to say, over time, this wonderful pony became ordinary and easily forgotten.

I can remember the large family picnics we would have and the worry and bother my mother would go to make sure there was enough food for everyone. All in all, it was a great time as we headed for the beaches of the St. Lawrence River to spend the whole day and early evening in the sun, swimming and visiting with relatives.

My father bought a snowmobile one year and for several years after, we enjoyed the cold outdoors as we drove all over the countryside. He bought a huge sled to pull behind the ski-doo and I can remember going out on evening rides, all bundled up in the cold crisp air.

My mom and dad love to look at new houses. Even this past weekend, we drove around to new subdivisions near where they live and commented on all the new homes being built. We all had our opinion on what looked good and what didn't.

I get my gift for interior design from my mom. She always had the house looking comfortable and "homey". She has an eye for "nice things".

Generousity came easy to my parents. They both gave generously to their children, church and community.

My dad loves to tease. He gives waitresses a hard time at restaurants with his teasing - all in good fun. He has a great sense of humour.

I have wonderful memories as a child of going in to kiss my mom good night and smelling the perfume she had just put on before going to bed. My mom always presented herself beautifully and her makeup and perfume were a part of that.

This past weekend, I was privileged again to hear my dad read his bible before he went to sleep and see him kneel down and pray for his children and family - a memory that will always remain with me.

In some ways, I am like my dad and in other ways, I am very similar to my mom. I love the parts of me that are like them.

My parents have given me essential building blocks to build a foundation centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, for my marriage and for my family. I have a godly heritage. What I do with what has been entrusted to me is up to me. Where I go, who I become, is all because of their influence and guidance on my life growing up.

My prayer and hope is that I can pass on to my children this desire to serve God in whatever way he has created each of them and that they would seek his counsel, guidance and will for their lives.

And I will petition my heavenly father on their behalf as they seek to do this.

Look beyond

I look out the windows on the second floor landing in my home and I can see clearly, the first street across the river which just so happens to be in another country because I live in a border town.

The view wasn't always so clear and so vast. The reason for the change is that we made the decision to tear down the dilapitated house on the property next to us that we purchased two years ago.

My husband and I imagined the view without the house there many times but we never really expected the clear site line across the river to the first street and beyond.

We never imagined the feeling of spaciousness as we look out across our lot which draws your eye beyond the horizon. Even the two large trees which before were on the edge of the one property are now centered in the bigger lot.

From the third floor, the attic room, you can see above the house tops and view the winding river. At nighttime the view is even more beautiful because the street and house lights are now visible.

It has made me think how much our perspective changes when something that is blocking our vision is removed or taken away. Its hard to imagine what might be on the "other side" or "behind" it.

Too often we become satisfied to just leave things the way they are and settle for "limited sight". Our world becomes small, restricted by what we allow to grow up around us, or by walls built up over time to protect us from being vulnerable or hurt.

It takes courage to change. It takes hope to imagine life being different. It takes faith to believe that it's worth reaching for, worth the risk, worth the struggle.

My husband and I have discussions on why we waited so long ... we could have enjoyed the beautiful scenery long ago.

I encourage you to imagine life beyond whatever may be holding you back from experiencing the fullness of God's presence. And I encourage you to take the steps to remove it, slowly if need be, but fervently.

You will be amazed at the vista before your eyes.