Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Blessed Year 2008

This morning in church we were asked to remember back on the year and think about the good things that had happened in our lives, the difficult and painful times and the memories attached to all of those events.

I must say it's been quite a year for me.

It's been a year of gifts. Most of them I have really enjoyed and with overwhelming thanksgiving and gratitude, I have used them to propel me forward in my journeying with God.

Many of them have been a first for me.

I participated in a two week intensive course in worship in the Spring. This opened my heart and soul to the incredible world of knowledge and understanding pertaining to the worship artisan and creative leader. Then I ventured out on a two week tour and biblical/historical study in Italy with 40 other students and faculty from our local university and absolutely fell in love with the beauty and history of that country. It brought visual understanding to so many of the history books I had previously read. Finally, I was able to touch the stones put in place by Francis of Assisi, and I was able to walk down the streets like so many before that had given their lives for their faith in Christ.

Then I spoke in church. A first all around for me. I also had a moment of courage and confidence and applied for the masters ministry module program (after being out of school for 33 years) and began reading every spare moment for the course which was held in October. What an amazing time those two weeks were. I met people from all walks of life, all ages, different continents throughout the world and we all came together with one purpose in mind - to know more and to grow in our understanding and knowledge of who this God is that is calling us forth.

Later that summer I decided to apply for a position at our local university and surprisingly ended up with the job of student life director.

Throughout all of the past year, I have found myself more than a few times on my face before the Lord, begging him for direction, wisdom, courage, strength, discernment ... I could not go forward one step without knowing that he was there beside me, with me, arm in arm, saying (ever so kindly, ever so gently,...) "this is the way, walk here..."

Everything this year has been so much bigger than how I see myself or what I see within me. It still is. I feel stretched in every possible way - emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. Sometimes I don't know why I made the decisions I did. I have moments of such insecurity and fear and intimidation that I want to run and hide in my safe place again. The world does not need what I have to give. Let me just live within my small box, my small world where I am safe.

But I can't go back. I've tasted and experienced such life, such knowledge, such insight, such love ... that I can never go back to being small again. Unless, of course, he wants me there.

I also received a gift this past fall that was painful to receive. It knocked me for a "loop" , left me reeling for a bit and I lost ground. But God is so good and I know that this struggle is a gift because it makes me more desperate to reach out to my God to help me.

I look forward to the New Year with some fear and trembling - still uncertain of the future and my commitment to all that I have taken on. I can only go forward a step at a time, relying on his strength, his grace and his mercy to get me through.

I have so much to be thankful for. God is amazing and I love him more deeply, more honestly, more devotedly than ever before.

The most special gift of all that I received this year was the birth of my beautiful little granddaughter, Noella Robyn Ana, on September 14th. She indeed is a treasured gift and I'm honoured that she is named after me. I look in her eyes and see the Creator. I whisper in her ears that she is a gift from God and for as long as I am able, I will remind her of that.

My heartfelt prayer, my deepest desire for this New Year that is upon me is that I would have a pure heart before God. I long to worship him in a pure and more holy way. I long for more holiness in my life. I long for more of Christ to be evident in me. I long to know him better, to love him more - to be used more for his purposes....

This is my most sincere wish -my most longed for dream for 2009.

Colossians 1:15-17

"Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can't see--kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together."

As I meditated on "he holds all creation together", I thought that when I really think that this world may crumble and fall apart because of the chaos globally, and the uncertainty in the future, God is still in charge. He has his best man on the job - Christ. It will be kept intact, this world will be restored, redeemed, renewed, rebuilt.

Then I thought if he can hold all of creation together and keep it intact, then he must be able to hold our lives together and keep them from shattering, and our hearts from breaking.

How often have we felt like everything was being uprooted, and torn apart...yet Christ kept us together. We are intact in him, because we are part of his body and he is the head. He is the firstborn and supreme over all creation. He is the visible image of the invisible God and we are created in that same image.

Christ holds creation together, Christ holds us together.

Believe this deep within your heart.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some Beautiful Thoughts from Henri Nouwen

I love these beautiful thoughts from Henri Nouwen's book, The Way of the Heart.

"Compassion can never coexist with judgment because judgement creates the distance, the distinction, which prevents us from really being with the other."

"Solitude molds self-righteous people into gentle, caring, forgiving persons who are so deeply convinced of their own great sinfulness and so fully aware of God's even greater mercy that their life itself becomes ministry. In such a ministry there is hardly any difference left between doing and being. When we are filled with God's merciful presence, we can do nothing other than minister because our whole being witnesses to the light that has come into the darkness."

"Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken."

"Only in the context of grace can we face our sin; only in the place of healing do we dare to show our wounds; only with a single-minded attention to Christ can we give up our clinging fears and face our own true nature."

Rescue, Restore and Rebuild

A few days ago I was spending some time in prayer over a particular concern and before the time was finished, I clearly heard these three words from the Lord. Rescue, restore and rebuild.

They gave a sense of direction and answer to my specific prayers.

Rescue. A deliberate action taken to go after someone in dire need of help. Their feet have stumbled, and they are headed down the road to destruction. They need someone to save them.

Restore. A plan set in place to give back what has been taken from them without their permission.

Rebuild. A reconstruction to set in place solid foundational truths that can withstand the tough blows that life brings its way.

As I have pondered these three words, they in a sense have articulated my mission statement for this season of my life and particularly for what I am doing now in my new job.

God has set the example. He sent his son Jesus to rescue us, restore and rebuild us. And now, it's our directive to go and do the same to those that need to be saved.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Past, present and future

After spending two weeks at a beautiful retreat center delving into the riches of studying the Ancient Christians and their story, I have come to realize their story is all part of the bigger story that I too have a part to play in, participate in, walk out.

It is in this recognition of the "bigger picture" that I seek to know God in a deeper and more intimate way.

I am closer acquainted to my christian history and its roots than ever before and I do not take lightly now some of the traditions and/or ways of worship that I choose to participate in.

God seems more relevant to me now. I see him more clearly in the past, embrace him more fully in the present and look forward to his work in the future.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Spent and emptied out

Is there anything more I can give to you Lord?

Show me if there is. Tell me if there is.

I want you to have my all. I want you to take this treasure in this earthen jar and spill it all out on you.

I want to be spent on serving you.

Yes, spent, all used up, completely wasted, totally emptied out, wholeheartedly given over to you.

That's it. That's all. That's everything. That's me.

Friday, August 8, 2008

A most amazing girl - my Sandy

I found out that yesterday, my middle daughter who is visually impaired since birth, had a "blind day".

One of those days that coping with limited sight is just too much. The struggle is too great. There's no more energy to give to "trying to figure out" what it is that you see, or what it is that you can't see.

No more patience when you try to order something from a menu board that you can't even read and the person behind the counter thinks you must be mentally incompetent, because after all, the items are listed on the board above one's head. So they also assume, that you must be illiterate.

There's no more courage to go to a new and completely strange place, attempt to find the door, then attempt to locate and somehow recognize the person you were supposed to meet, let alone asking directions to a particular office, when the sign is just there to your left, three feet away.

No more courage to put yourself out there and engage conversation only to realize all the time you have been talking to the wrong person and furthermore, you've misread cues that they are not remotely interested in what you are saying.

No more self restraint to hold back the tsunami of frustration and tears, that comes with being visually impaired, described by four letter words.

No more hope that maybe someday it will be different. Or, why do I always have to depend on someone? Or, if only I could drive, I could get so much more accomplished. Or, why is it I miss the obvious?

She's almost 25 years old, this amazing daughter of mine. In those 25 years, as her mom, I bet she's had less than 100 "blind days". This in itself, is remarkable and speaks to the amazing and incredible intestinal fortitude that makes up her constitution.

She's my HERO.

I've said that to her over and over again. My hat is off to her. I salute her for her courage and determination to continually overcome and rise above her limitations. I'm the crazy mom in the bleachers yelling and screaming at the top of my lungs as if I were the only one in her cheering section - "You go girl!!...You can do it!!"

So many times I wished it were different for her. So many times I begged and pleaded for God to heal her, right from the time she was an infant. It was hard as a mother to see her struggle. Yet, of my three children, she has always been the first of them to attempt "the daring", "take risks", be involved in activities that pushed her to her visual limitations and beyond.

She's a joy to be around. My "party girl" I call her. She loves people, she loves entertainment, she really loves to dance, she loves learning, she loves close relationships, she loves to laugh and have fun, she loves her family, and she loves her God.

She's a dreamer, an idealist, a positive thinker, an artist. Her tenacious spirit is without doubt, her greatest strength.

She has taught me so much as I've watched her grow up. I've learned life lessons from her that I could not have learned elsewhere. I've mostly learned that I cannot meet her every need and neither am I supposed to. And in those times that she pushed me away for her own self perservation, ... that was the right thing to do. (Thank God she had the strength to do that. ) I sit back now and watch as God shows me how he brings others around to care for her and then he shows me just how strong she is to handle things on her own.

Tomorrow, she will rise again and live as if she has no limitations at all. Way to go my dear.

I bless you Sandy for who you are and who you are becoming through all that you have to overcome. I thank God for making you just the way he did. You are a gift from him and truly the most courageous and amazing individual I know. (Your dad is right up there too!)

(guess I had a bit of a "blind day" myself)

"Deeply Spiritual"

The other day I was with a dear friend who in conversation referred to another woman as a "deeply spiritual woman". It caught my attention and for a moment I was off on a thought about what "deeply spiritual' meant.

Something about it resonated within my soul. Someday, I would love to be known in this way.

And I then thought, well, what does it look like when one is "deeply spiritual"? So here is what immediately came to mind.

One who is described this way would have a relationship with the Lord that would always be growing, whether through circumstances of pain and suffering or joy and celebration. There would be evidence that a deep work is going on within the soul.

They would have peace about them that passes all understanding. A humbleness that speaks of relinquishing the demands of self, allowing others to go before them. A kindness and love that can always "go one more mile for a friend", a reserve of patience and tolerance that could only be given by God himself.

They would have a sense of God's presence in all that they do - forever aware that he is in all and through all.

They would have an accurate understanding of who they are. An acceptance of their weaknesses and vulnerabilities in a way that God can be glorified in them. They would see the beauty and potential in others and encourage it to come forth.

I'm seeking to be a "deeply spiritual" woman.

I long to know my Lord in such a way that I can hear and feel his heart beat because he is so close. I long to hear him whisper in my ear that he loves me. I long to feel his embrace holding and protecting me. I long to laugh at the things that bring him joy and experience his delight. I long to have his thoughts be mine. I long to have his heart, even a portion of it, find its home in mine.

I long to give my life to him.

Deeply spiritual.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

This burning passion

God, you know me.
Every part. Every cell.
Every hope. Every dream.
Every weakness. Every struggle.

I take great confidence in the fact that you know
me so well.
There's no need to hide anything from you.
You see it all anyway. You know it all
before I even know it.

So I am laid bare before you.
Naked. Exposed. Vulnerable
And yet, I'm not embarrassed.
I'm not ashamed.

Because your love finds me.
Embraces me. Covers me.
Holds me. Warms me.
Changes me. Moves me.
Protects me. Blesses me.
Saves me.

I so want You.

I passionately want you.

Sometimes my heart just aches to know you better.
This desire, this burning desire, I can barely control.
You have become the Lover I pursue. I want to find you.
I want to love you. I want to give my life, everything I am,
Everything I have, everything I will be.
To you.

I want to serve you.

Help me to be patient. To learn the lessons I need to learn.
Surround me with others who are like minded.
Teach me to love those that are difficult to love.
Make me kind. Make me gentle. Make me humble.
Fill me with your grace. Fill me with your mercy.

God, let this fire never be extinguished within me.
Fuel it.
Flame it till it consumes me.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Psalm 86

"Teach me your ways, O Lord,
that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
that I may honor you.
With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord
my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
for your love for me is very great." verses 11-13

Monday, July 7, 2008

The ground beneath my feet

Let the ground beneath my feet be holy.

Let your presence and your love be the fragrance that I wear.

Let your kindness be evident in my eyes.

Let your words of mercy and grace shape my smile.

Pursue Me Lord

Lord, pursue me.

Call my name. Find me when I am lost and I am not even aware of it. Track me down when I've wandered off, thinking I know the right way.

Take my hand in yours and lead me.

Hold my head in your hands and turn my gaze heavenwards. For too long it has hung down in shame.

Embrace the part of me that is wounded, bruised, sore, raw and gently nurse it back to health.

Make my heart tender. Let it pulse with compassion and mercy.

Let me rejoice in my womanhood. Let me teach those younger than me to see their femininity as a gift.

Continue to reveal to me what it is you have for me to do.

Give me an obedient heart.

Pursue me, chase me, like a lover who must find the one he loves.

Fight for my heart.

Whisper in my ear that you love me.

I will respond... I will turn and follow you...I will serve you...I will give you my heart...

I will love you.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Meet me halfway

In light of who you are God,

In light of who I am, ...

Come, meet me halfway and carry me the other half

to where you dwell.

My Wish List

What do I wish for?

I am sure my list would change every day,...maybe every week, at least...
Right now, at this moment in time and space, without giving it too much thought, this is what I would wish for this night.

I wish for my daughter Jodi who is pregnant, to have a healthy baby and an easy delivery.

I wish for my daughter Sandy to have her dreams fulfilled.

I wish for my son Bill to walk into the calling God has for him.

I wish for my husband Paul to know God's counsel more and more.

I wish for my friend Mandy, complete and perfect health.

I wish for my friend Jane, God's peace.

I wish for my mom and dad, relief from pain.

I wish for my church to experience more of God's power.

I wish for my town to know God.

I wish for my friends to know more joy.

I wish for the university in town, more students.

I wish for my business friends, more prosperity.

I wish for my eyes to see beauty in ugly things.

I wish for my hands to touch more.

I wish for my arms to embrace more.

I wish for my mind to understand more.

I wish for my feet to stumble less.

I wish to be more thankful.

I wish for my heart to love more.

I wish to know my God more every day that I live, every day that I have breath.

I wish to give my life without reservation, without hesitation in submission to Him.

I wish I was more Christlike.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Creative Struggle

Sometimes I want to get everything out that is inside of me
and it just doesn't come out right
I carry around such fullness of emotion, thoughts, dreams,
and I just need to release the pressure
Sometimes it just pours out in colourful, beautiful words
other times, it just spits out in ideas and thoughts that are "chunky" and "ugly"
there is no flow
today is one of those days
I wish I had hours to work on it, try to get it going, get it out, - it's half in and half out this semi-created cluster of randomness
it's awkward, uncomfortable - there's so much to process, -
I'm resigned to letting it go for now
there's so many interruptions at the moment,
endless phone calls, visits at the door, pressures of time, "to do" lists
the artist in me wants to shatter all this and just create
and it's just not working right - nothing is coming together well
so the mumble jumble, eclectic ramblings and painful expressions are all that
I can bring out at this point
what a struggle - what a fight
and yet it has to be released so there is room to create more
so the cycle continues

Peaceable Shoes

Today Lord, I wish to acknowledge you as my creator, Saviour, Lord and friend

Please direct my feet to walk in paths that are holy

Please keep my feet from stumbling

Order my steps

Let peace be my shoes that never wear out

Monday, June 23, 2008

Remember my friend today

Lord, I pray for my dear friend today.

Give her strength to reach out and touch the hem of your garment so she may be made whole.

Restore to her the hope that she gives away so freely to others when they are in need. Today, she needs that hope for herself. She cannot give it away. Let it not slowly dwindle away with the pain and agony she is experiencing.

Renew your spirit within her. Grant her a sound mind. Fill her with your peace. Let waves of joy come and wash over her and take away the sadness in her heart.

Remind her of how BIG you really are. Give her a new lens with which to see you through.

Embrace her and never let her go until she is healed and able to embrace others in their pain.

Remember my dear friend today, dear Lord and answer my prayers for her.

How Big is Your God?

We limit our God because of our small and limited thinking of him.

Either he is who he says he is and can handle all our pain and heartache or our faith is merely an exercise in positive thinking to help us cope with our crisises.

I choose to believe that my God is bigger than my struggles, bigger than my pain, bigger than my problems, bigger than my answers, bigger than my sin.

I choose to believe that he loves me more than I could ever know and my journey on this planet earth is to discover each day, just how "big" that love really is.

It's a wonderful journey.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

A new gift day

I rejoice in the gift of this new day.

As I open the gift, smell it, taste it, touch it, let me forever keep in mind that it is a gift, given to me in love. I didn't ask for it. You gave it to me out of your great storehouse of blessings.

I desire in turn, to give it back to you with my heart attached to it, for you to use me and do with me, what ever your desire is this day.

May you be pleased with the gift of my life given to you.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Loving my God

Lord bless my feeble attempts at trying to "get it right"
There are just some things I do not do so well.

I desire to become the best I could possibly be
in only one thing that matters most to me -
and that is in loving you.

Let me love you more deeply every day you give me breath to live
Let me love you more passionately when I embrace the ones dearest to me
Let me love you more sacrificially when I remember your sacrifice on the cross
Let me love you more profoundly when I get a glimpse of how big you really are
Let me love you forever without hesitancy.

Bless my every attempt at loving you.
Let it be the best that I can offer you.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Wash Day

Sounds of water splashing and turning, gurgling and spitting
suds forming and disappearing
fabric soaked, squeezed, twisted, spun
dirt removed...
smells of clean, fresh clothes.

Such a rigorous process to make what's filthy become clean
and required on such a regular basis.

Makes me realize how important the necessary and routine
cleaning of my soul is day after day.

It gets dirty too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A Mother's Day Gift to My Children

I was blessed today to spend the day with my husband, my three children and my son-in-law.

Knowing that our paths are again taking different directions, and we may not be together again as a complete family for several months, I treasure these times and hide them away as memorable events.

Even though it is Mother's Day, a day set apart to honour and respect the mothers in this world, I wish to focus my attention on my children and give them a gift this day.

In so many ways they have been the "teacher" and I the "student". It has been their unique personalities and creative giftings that have shaped my journey as their "mom". They have taught me about unconditional love, they have shown me what perseverance looks like, they have given me joy and sheer delight when I didn't think I could laugh again.

So today, I salute my children for their continued belief in me - their expressions of love towards me when it wasn't deserved, their patience with me in struggling to understand them - their forgiveness extended to me when I embarrassed them in front of their friends, and mostly when I made the wrong call about a situation - I just happened to get it "all wrong".

I am blessed to have them - to know them - to watch them grow and develop and become their own person - and to see that change year after year. I thank them for making me able to laugh at myself and not take myself too seriously.

I thank Sandy particularly for pulling me out on the dance floor the very first time and then discovering I loved to dance! I thank Bill for bursting out of the box to make his own way, when I kept trying to put him in all the time - over time Bill, I finally figured out who you were and let you be that. I thank Jodi for the times she played the piano and ushered me in the "holy of holies" and there I met God in worship.

So many wonderful memories to recall - and they are all because of my children - so today, this Mother's Day, I honour Jodi, Sandy and Billy. It's been a tremendous privilege to be their "mom". They are everything to me and I love them with all my heart.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Small Prayer

OPEN my understanding to these newly birthed thoughts

HIDE them in the recesses of my heart

RECALL them when they need to be shared, given away, used to influence

Give me PATIENCE to wait for all this --

Your TIMING is everything, your PROCESS


Friday, May 9, 2008

Take me and make me new again

Take my feeble efforts - my weak offerings - my heavy heart,
and make it a worthy gift that honours you.

Take my empty heart, my wounded heart, my lost heart,
and let it pulse again with your renewed strength, love and power.

Take all of me - just as I am - sinful and dying
and bring life.

Bless this little life

Bless the little life that is being fashioned within my daughter's womb.
Bless the heart that will one day understand love.
Bless the mind that will one day understand who God is.
Bless the hands that will one day be raised to worship him.
Bless the feet that will one day take steps towards righteousness.
Bless the mouth that will one day praise his name.

Breathe, oh God, your divine presence into this little wonder of yours.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Big God I serve

Recently, I watched a video entitled "Indescribable". It blew me away! (as they say)

I saw actual photos of one of the thousands of galaxies in our universe; gazed upon millions of tiny dots that represent stars; tried to grasp the enormous size of the sun .... my whole understanding of how big space actually is, how big the God who created it all is, and how small our little planet earth seems in the corporate picture.

I was speechless, moved to tears. I had no "container" with which to hold this new information of the God who loves me. I was overwhelmed and humbled at his majesty, his power, his beauty, his creativity, his size. My "god-view" exploded and expanded that night...all previous notions of how big he was shattered into a million pieces. Something changed inside me about how I now "see" him and I will never be the same.

Then God dropped a "nugget" into my soul which still makes my head dizzy.

"Robyn, my Love matches my size."

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Dwell with me

Lord, in this small part of the big world that you created;
in this small town that I live,
I rejoice and thank you because you live at the same address as me.
Dwell within me and beside me.
Dwell near me and all around me.
Stay long enough to change who I am ... until you smile at the work of your hands.
Let me smile back at you dear Creator.
Make yourself at home in my heart.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


She found me today

and crept into my heart when I wasn't looking

she didn't stay long

only long enough to touch my emotions

then made her way out again

in a tear streaking down my cheek

Resurrection power

Resurrection power invade this mere frame
launch me into a space and time where I know no limits
transform me from who I was yesterday
never to retrace my steps to that holding place again

Break the grasp of sin that enslaves me
let it master me no more
let me understand like never before that your ways are not mine
but they are better than mine
for you know what is best for me
settle my restlessness with contentment
and thanksgiving for what I already have and know

Resurrection power come and infuse my heart with passion that moves heaven and earth
respond to this aching soul that longs more than ever to be filled with you
completely inhabitited and controlled by you

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Psalm 19:14

"May the words of my mouth, and the
thoughts of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

A prayer for grace

Give me grace oh Lord
to scoop up the broken shards of a heart
that's been wounded by a friend
and gently fit them together to keep it beating
enough for life to flow through it again.

Give me words shaped to fit the pain to make it love again.

Poems of the heart

I am overwhelmed by your extravagant love for me
it makes me giggle
it makes me cry
it makes me feel honoured
it makes me feel "why me?"

Why this blessing on my life
when I know of others so near and dear to me
struggling to feel "loved?"

Why me Lord?"
What is it that you intend to do with me?
For me?
Through me?
Beyond me?

I Want To Explode

Sometimes your presence within
makes me want to explode into a million pieces
each one of them burying themselves
into the hearts of those who are hurting
I can't give enough of you away
fast enough
it's more than I can contain
stretch my soul to fit you
but seep through.

Forgive and forget

I saw an image of myself today
that caused me to shudder

As I peered into your word
I realized how selfish I've been

So I asked you to forgive me
again, and again, and again and again

A poem to grow by

How can I escape your love for me?
more than ever before, you call me,
capture me,
like the tugging on my sleeve
you beckon me to turn around
to acknowledge your presence.

You cause my heart to be in constant motion
up and down, down and up,
tears and sorrow,
smiles and joy,
all the time I am seeking balance,
a level place
where I can maintain normal.

The journey exhiliarates me
and causes me to grieve
the growing, the pruning,
the growing, the pruning
someday a beautiful flower will bloom
but for today, there's still more that the Gardener wants to prune

My soul has been stretched

Recently, I was feeling overwhelmed by a personal struggle. It had to do with visiting a place of pain in my past. I didn't go there intentionally, - circumstances just developed that took me there. I experienced guilt and shame and brokenness again as I lingered in this place of desolation. Regrets started to swell up again with my soul.

I believe there will always be areas of our lives, that need to be yielded to God's will, over and over again, ...emotions of the heart, thoughts of the mind, actions of the flesh, that will follow closely behind us like dark shadows tempting us as we press into a deeper walk with the Lord. The enemy will become more skilled at tripping us up. His strategy has to keep evolving, because we are forever changing into the likeness of Christ.

Without the struggle and spiritual wrestling, I cannot discover God's wisdom, grace, or peace. It is in the storms of the sea that I look around and discover that He is with me in the boat.

It is in my complete act of submission to his will for my life that I let go of regrets which have hung around my ankles like weights. The haunting cries that I could have done things differently. The regrets which keep me locked into memories and shame of the past, and keep me from living life to the fullest in the present.

I have moved beyond the stagnant place of regret in my life. I have grown beyond it's grip. I am embracing with whole heart the opportunities that lie before me to give my life entirely to allow my soul to be stretched to contain more of his presence within me.

Today, I find myself thanking God for that particular struggle because I know the memory of the past has shown me that I am an overcomer in Christ and I can move beyond what was meant to destroy me. God's grace is forever surrounding me. His mercy is a friend to me.

"My soul has grown because it has been awakened to the goodness and love of God." (Jerry Sittser, "A Grace Disguised")

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I carry in my pocket ...

My children are scattered all over the world at this moment. My son is in Nicaragua, my oldest daughter is in New Zealand, and my second daughter is in Germany.

The "mother" in me is struggling a little with this, although I am delighted they are experiencing new cultures, new people, new adventures. Yet, I can't help but long for the time when they are in this very room with me retelling all the adventures and stories and I can look into their eyes and smile with them, and reach out and hug them and hold them tight.

It may be some time before we are all together again at home in our little town. So I thought of a way in which I can remember them more often, pray for them and have a sense of them "being with me".

Since last week I have carried around in my jeans pocket, three little items which I selected specifically for each one of my children.

They are a skeleton key, a polished gem stone, and a gold apple charm.

When I reach in my pocket and fondle the key, I remember to say a prayer for my son. He is in Nicaragua for a month. The image of a key came to me in three distinct ways last Sunday and I just know that this image is significant to his life while he is down there.

The smooth polished gem stone is for my middle daughter who at the moment has completed her mission trip to Tibet and is now back in Germany for her last two weeks and then will return home. It reminds me of how precious she is to me, a treasure from God.

The gold apple charm represents my oldest daughter. She is the "apple of my eye". She has a heart of gold and clothes herself in kindness and love.

Sometimes my hand just slips into my pocket unknowingly and I touch the key, the stone and the gold charm and immediately, I think of my children and whisper a silent prayer to God to watch over and protect them.

There is nothing in this world that I hold more close to my heart than my children. And these small representations of them, in a strange and wonderful sense, make me feel more close to them. Like I am touching and embracing them.

Oh, how I love them.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Enduring the Hard Times

"Vocation, temptation, and formation are life-long challenges. We are called not once, but day in and day out, and we will never know precisely where our demons will appear. This lifelong tension between vocation and temptation opens up for us the difficult but promising task of listening to the church, the Book, and our heart, thus discovering the real presence of God's Spirit within and among us."

"We will never be without struggle. But when we persevere with hope, courage, and confidence, we will come to fully realize in our innermost being that through the downward road of Christ we will enter with him into his glory. So let us be grateful for our vocation, resist our temptation, and be ever committed to a life of ongoing formation."

The above passages are from Henri Nouwens' book, The Selfless Way of Christ.

I keep asking God to fix in me what is broken; mend the holes; repair the worn-out. And I believe He will to some extent, but the work will never be finished here on earth but in Heaven, therefore the struggles still remain. Temptations of all sorts will still trip us up; we will hurt the ones we love the most; we will lose ground momentarily until we press forward again.

Is it worth all the struggles?

Yes, I believe it is.

Through the tough and lonely times we have the option to grow. We can choose to be changed and transformed by our circumstances or allow them to weigh us down in despair. Each victory over temptation equips us to conquer the next. Each heartache can bring us closer to a comforting God who understands the pain and weeps with us.

The formation that happens to us can be amazing if we allow it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Another Early Morning

I awoke early this morning experiencing a moment of anxiety with regards to my middle daughter who is away on a mission experience and soon to travel home. These moments bring me out of a deep sleep and I am startled as I come to my senses. I immediately felt the need to get up and spend some time in prayer.

I wish I could say that these early morning events were precipitated by a deep passion to draw closer to my God, and sometimes they really are, but other times they are mostly an awareness of my great need for him to continue to do his work in me, and for his strength to carry me through some difficult and anxious times.

It seems the closer I walk with him, the more he reveals to me what I still need to surrender to him. And it is this tremendous need that keeps the pursuit of him, alive and fervent.

As I began to walk downstairs, I suddenly stopped at the top step because I thought I heard a noise from the living room. Within moments I sensed fear and didn't continue down. I stood there in the pitch black and imagined someone in the house. Now, just so you understand where all of this fear comes from, it is indeed somewhat legitimate. Paul and I have had in the past few years since we have lived here, "unannounced guests" who have made their way either up to our attic or to catch a snooze on our livingroom couch.( This has something to do with friends of our son.) So I was unsure for the moment whether to continue down the steps or go back to my warm bed.

Well, I headed back to my warm bed, snuggled under the arms of my husband and sheepishly told him I thought I heard something and became fearful and couldn't go downstairs. Then I said to him that my "good" intentions were short lived and I succumbed to a silly notion of fear. Feeling somewhat humiliated, I asked him if God was disappointed in me for my lack of discipline and he wisely said, "Robyn, that is not the kind of God you serve, nor the kind of God who loves you."

I laid there in that warm, safe place with him, and began to pour my heart out to my God. Within seconds tears were streaming down my face as I experienced once again, God's amazing love for me. I acknowledged his love for me by repeating over and over "I receive your love for me, I receive your love for me, oh Lord".

As his love entered my heart, my fear and sense of inadequacy disappeared and I threw back the covers and headed downstairs to spend some quiet time with Him. I made myself some coffee, grabbed my laptop, turned on the propane fireplace and snuggled up with a blanket in the corner chair. His perfect love had cast out fear.

If I have discovered any secret at all to living my Christian life, it is that God's love, when appropriated and received deep down in my heart, fully believing he loves me, changes and transforms me. Nothing else has had such dramatic results for me.

A pastor friend of mine has often said, "you cannot grow until you know how much God loves you." So I am becoming more and more aware of his limitless compassion for me and it is indeed changing me.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

My Search for Compassion

It's been such a long time since I last blogged and it's not because there hasn't been changes going on in my life. There is still a growing passion to know my Lord in a deeper way. I've just been hesitant in putting it into print, out there on the world wide web for the few who visit my blog to see.

But I've felt the "nudge" to get at it again, so I will hopefully be more faithful in my posts.

I'm seeking to know more about compassion. So I am reading a book from my favourite author, Henri Nouwen entitled "Compassion" and have recently finished another by him entitled " The Way of the Heart", which I absolutely loved.

I must confess that when I read a book, I am a compulsive highlighter and underliner and a reckless reader that "dog-ears" pages that I want to find easily again. I have a friend that considers this an absolute torture to a beautifully perfect piece of print. For me, I want to be able to find the phrases and words that so powerfully spoke to me and so my books really become like friends to me - I use them well, in the good sense of the word. (Pity the poor person who asks to borrow them to read!! They may be shocked at my abuse and creative license with "highlighters and pen".)

Here is a quote that I love.

"Compassion is the fruit of solitude and the basis of all ministry. The purification and transformation that take place in solitude manifest themselves in compassion. Compassion is hard because it requires the inner disposition to go with others to the place where they are weak, vulnerable, lonely, and broken."

And another ...

"Compassion can never coexist with judgment because judgment creates the distance, the distinction, which prevents us from really being with the other. Compassion means full immersion in the condition of being human."

My study so far, leads me to believe it is not an easy gift to acquire and perhaps more difficult to live out once one receives it. But oh so important to long for if we really want to embrace and comfort our hurting fellow humans.

And I wonder why at times it is so easy for me to "love" some, and yet very difficult to "love" others. Over the years, and more than once, I can recall asking God specifically to give me a measure of love for an individual that I just knew in my heart I struggled in loving. He was faithful to my requests and indeed, filled me with "His" love.

So as I continue my reading and studying, I will share further insights in hopes that whoever reads my blog may find that my times of reflection and contemplation are encouraging and comforting as they journey along the path to discovering who this God is that calls them forth to serve and know him.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

A movement towards grace

Often times when we feel insecure or we've been wounded, our natural tendency is to recoil, retreat, put up our arms to protect ourselves and then hide away until we feel it's safe to venture out again.

As natural an impulse as this is, I believe that as Christians, we are to actually take a step closer - move towards the pain - seek to reconcile and forgive. Seek to embrace a new way to relate to the individual, finding a new way to love them.

Sometimes in our vulnerable and weak state we have more grace than we are aware of. This grace can be offered to the one who has hurt us and this simple act of humility can prevent walls from going up and separating us from our Christian brothers and sisters.

Where to find Peace

Here is another passage from Henri J. M. Nouwen's Book, "Finding My Way Home, from the chapter The Path of Peace.

"Where is his peace to be found? The answer is surprising but it is clear. In weakness. Few people are telling us this truth, but there is peace to be found in our own weakness, in those places of our hearts where we feel most broken, most insecure, most in agony, most afraid. Why there? Because in our weakness our familiar ways of controlling and manipulating our world are being stripped away and we are forced to let go from doing much, thinking much, and relying on our self-sufficiency. Right there where we are most vulnerable, the peace that is not of this world is mysteriously hidden."

"Peace is a gift of God, often hidden from the wise and the wealthy, and revealed to those who feel empty, inarticulate, and poor."

An Africa Meditation

When I was in Africa I read several books that were life giving to me. One such book was a devotional by Henri J. M. Nouwen, "Finding My Way Home". It so moved me and challenged me in my spiritual journey. Following is one of several passages that was of particular benefit to me.

"In this world when you are chosen, you know that somebody else is not chosen. When you are the best, you know that somebody is not the best. When you win and receive a prize, you know there is somebody who lost. But this is not so in the heart of God. If you are chosen in the heart of God, you have eyes to see the chosenness of others. If the love of God blesses you, you have eyes to see the blessedness of others."

My prayer Lord is that my eyes may catch a glimpse of how you see others, how you look beyond the exterior, the personality, the facades, to the very heart of the individual. You see the pain and you see the promise. Help me to see like you.

My New Years Thoughts

I love the beginning of a new year. I love starting fresh with new projects, goals, and dreams.

This year my new years aspirations have to do with developing relationships, passionate relationships.

The first desire of my heart is to "fall deeply" in love with my Saviour, pursuing a relationship with my Creator and Friend that will change me and make me more like him.

Secondly, I desire to fall more in love with my husband, my best friend. To discover more ways about him that make me love him in a new way.

And thirdly, I want to love myself more. There is healing for me when I love who God made me to be and accept his "design" for me. It is in loving myself that I can love others more purely and sincerely.