Tuesday, November 23, 2010

God is working behind the scenes

Today I was thinking about the ways in which God intervenes in our lives and how we are completely unaware of it happening.
We go about our usual rhythm of daily life with our agenda handy; pen in hand to tick off all the completed tasks and we marvel at our incredible ability and talent to tackle so much.
We don a big smile at the end of the day thinking it all happened because we made it that way.

What we don't realize and may never ever know, are the prayers spoken on our behalf on bended knee by faithful friends who help to carry our burden.
We don't see the time they set aside to pray for us; we don't hear the words they utter; we don't see the tears they cry as they petition God to deliver and rescue us.
We don't know the sacrifices they have made behind the scenes to encourage us by way of phone calls, letters, emails.
Yet, we reap the rewards and blessing from their faithful prayers.

We are also unaware of the precise arranging of holy moments when we "randomly" bump into someone we haven't seen for a long time on the street corner or, through a coincidental circumstance, we meet someone that changes the course of our lives - forever.
Such incidents are divine interventions.

If I had the ability to see in the spiritual realm, I imagine I could see myriads of angels and Godly beings interspersed among crowds of people in a busy downtown city.
I also imagined angels inhabiting the body of my good friends and ministering to me when I have been in great pain.

God is at work in this world and He is doing it in an invisible realm.

Prayers are being answered, circumstances are being re-arranged, re-ordered, angels are busy ministering and carrying out God's orders and we are the blessed recipients of it all.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Hope Longing

protruding edges
nothing hid

deep emotions
empty emotions

stagnant sorrows

Hope Longing

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Give Me A Dream

Give me a dream God
I've forgotten all the ones I used to have
they've disappeared

Maybe they've run away
Maybe they're covered up with mounds of debris from life
Maybe they've reached their due date
and have expired

Whatever happened to them (or it)
they cease to exist
they are no more

Here I am
pondering life without a dream
without a definitive call,
without a deep sense of purpose
holding my hands out
open and wide
and asking you to fill them
with a dream
(maybe two dreams)

Maybe I'm actually
living the dream

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Weeding, .... again

Today I find myself outside pulling small weeds from our stone and gravel driveway. This mindless task reminds me of another time three years ago doing a similar thing.

Then, it was pulling weeds out of a cracked and broken sidewalk beside a house used by the local university as a classroom. On my hands and knees, and in the hot sun, I wondered how on earth this task accomplished anything for the eternal kingdom. The weeds were overgrown and obviously neglected and they did nothing to enhance the beauty of the landscape around the premises.

I had time on my side and a great love to make places more beautiful, so I tackled the task. I remember thinking then, it would be a means by which I could serve the academics of the university, never dreaming of course that someday I would be one as well.

But there it was that God spoke to me very clearly and told me to lay down my gardening tools, take off my gardening gloves and come sit at his feet and learn from Him. I chased this first thought out of my head like a lion chases prey. But it entered again and what began as a simple, gentle tug on my heart towards the impossible (as far as I was concerned), I stepped forward with small baby steps of faith and tiny pocketfuls of courage to study about God.

It's been an amazing three years. I 've read some great books (more than ever in my life before); I've written academic papers; I've met the most amazing and most dear lifetime friends and I've travelled to Greece and Turkey.

Now I look back and ask "how did it all happen so fast?". I'm delighted at the accomplishment and lessons learned but I also grieve that it is over. I miss all aspects of it greatly.

So, here I am today, down on all fours, weeding - pulling up things that don't belong where they've grown, (ruining a perfect manicure!) and I'm genuinely hoping for You, Father, to speak to me again.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Help Me Father

It feels like I take two steps forward and one step
It's hard to hang on sometimes
I sense You
then I don't
Yet I know you are there
Your life is tangled up inside mine
You formed me
designed me
even planned me
so here I am
and I wonder what I'm supposed to do in life
I'm getting older now
not many years left
who knows
maybe the purpose I've been searching for all along
has been exactly what I've been doing
God only knows
I'm not even sure why I think
I should be thinking I should do anything more
Why this restlessness deep within
why the big questions
I guess it's because I know
I can be more
and I know I can know you more
and I really, really want that
I really want to love you more,
serve you more and I guess
deep down, I just want to
be more holy - more like you
and less of me
and so,
I'm restless
as I figure out how to do it
how to approach you more closely
when you actually live inside me
help me
get closer

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today I thirst for Living Water

I am sitting on the small side of our upper balcony on our house, enjoying a cup of coffee, reading my bible and thankful for such a beautiful place to live and such a beautiful day to to be gifted to me.

I am reading from John 4, the story of Jesus' encounter with the Samaritan woman. Jesus' conversation with this woman captures my heart again. His first words to this stranger come by way of a request. He is asking her for something. It is obvious that this woman draws water from this well frequently and is accustomed to carrying it back to where it is needed. Jesus did not ask her to do something that was out of her realm of ability. This task of drawing water was ordinary. She could do it.

I wondered what God is asking of me that I do regularly. Or, what is it that he might be asking of me that I am gifted at, that I accomplish with little effort but is a core part of who I am. I think God specifically requests of us those elements of our personality that make us unique.

After further discussion regarding protocol between Jews and Samaritans, Jesus speaks to this woman by addressing in a kindly manner her ignorance of whose company she was in. "If you only knew the gift God has for you and who I am, you would ask me, and I would give you living water."

Do I really know the One who is asking me for something? Do I know what He is asking of me? Do I really understand the gift God has for me? Do I know what Living Water means for me?

Further on Jesus says, "... the water I give, takes away thirst altogether and becomes a perpetual spring within, giving eternal life."

Our thirst is quenched. We are satisfied. We are perpetually filled. An ongoing source of Living Water flowing within us, strengthening us for the impossible tasks we face. A well of resource that gives us new courage and new hope when we feel we have reached bottom and our wells have run dry.

It's there for us with a mere asking.

Father, help me first of all, to give to you what you may be asking of me. Then help me to know You... to really know who You are, in a much greater way than I've ever known before. If I can stand but a glimpse of your Glory, let me behold You in a way that changes me, and let me ask without wavering for this gift of Living Water.

There is no other fountain that brings eternal life but You.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Party of One

Sometimes I have a party where I am the only one invited. It's usually called a "pity party". Even though I'm an introvert, this is a little bit ridiculous and a whole lot self centered.

It's easy to get lost in my own problems and concerns and think I've just been handed the short end of the stick and no one even cares or notices.

This self-induced wallowing and whining is dangerous and harmful - to me and to those whose lives I interact with. It comes from legitimate pain that is experienced only through the filter of my circumstances.

My short-sightedness needs adjustment and only when I raise my head and glance around does it come. Amazingly I see people in a different perspective. I notice something I didn't see before and it becomes immediately clear they are carrying a heavy load of personal suffering. Looking more closely, I see deep pain and brokenness and I forget the cross I am carrying. My sorrows are minimized when I step into the despair of others.

When suffering as a Christian we often think we do not have the strength to endure but Christ comes alongside and reveals a hidden strength we never knew was there or believe existed.

Our journey through suffering can be used to undergird and bring comfort to others when we allow Christ to be our Comforter and strength. As God was and is there for us, we can be there for others also.

Trust in the Father's care for us and provision in our lives comes when we invite his presence into our difficult circumstances.

He enters the place of pain as Comforter, Friend and Helper.

We are never alone.

His grace is sufficient.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Prayer for those who have lived long...

Father in your lovingkindness,
come and be close to those who have lived long

Be strength to those who are weary
from caring for their spouses, siblings, friends

Light again the flame that is almost out
Let hope surface in the midst of despair

Increase the vision, sharpen the focus
and grant a sparkle to once again settle
in their eyes

Bring relief to aching bones and muscles,
disfigured hands and curved backs and
crooked legs

Surround them with golden memories
and smiles from the past

Keep their hearts beating,
their minds alert, their spirits soaring
for another hour,
another day
another year

Help them to share their
abundant wisdom and insight,
life lessons and triumphs
before they leave us

And when it's time for them
to step through the veil that
thinly separates Heaven and Earth -
wrap them tightly in your love,
hold them close,
breathe on them with Holy breath
and pass through with them
to their new place of rest

And for those of us left behind,
let us wave them on with
thunderous applause and
deep gratitude for how their lives
became a part of ours

Their footprints have left a
sacred mark where they
have trod

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I Just Wish....

There are times that I wish I could take away the pain that my friends experience.

I have several close friends that are experiencing difficult health problems, some financial problems, some relational problems, some "God" problems.

There's a part in me that weeps for them all.

I just wish I could fix their problems and make the pain go away.

I wish I could say the right things to them that would make everything better.

I wish I could hold them.

But here I am, unable to do any of these.

The only thing I am capable of is getting down on my knees, bowing my head and coming before the Heavenly Father
on their behalf.

It seems so small, this gift that I offer them, but it is all I have, all I can do.

And so, I will do it, faithfully, diligently, lovingly,...
Until the One to whom I pray, grants my request.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


This evening was a beautiful evening to sit out on the front porch. A bit cool, but I wrapped myself in the warmth of a blanket and my husband grabbed his fleece prayer gown (the long hooded garment I made for him 15 years ago) and then we were all set. A wonderful way to end a late supper. Just the two of us and the night sky.

The darkness had not quite covered the sky - there were still remnants of dim light and silhouettes of buildings and people walking by.

We laughed out loud - at a phone conversation that was happening. Oh to be so free to laugh carelessly ...and reminisce - what a gift.

I recalled a moment about 40 years ago when I still lived at home with my parents. Oddly enough, it was looking out at the same sky from my upstairs bedroom window in Ontario, wondering who I would fall in love with, where I would end up, what I would do, praying and asking God to please let it happen quickly...I seemed so much in a hurry to live life back then.

And 40 years later, here I am. Sitting on my front porch with a man I deeply love...looking out at that same night sky and the street lights wondering what life will be like 10 years from now, maybe 15 years... maybe just 5 years from now. Realizing as I sit wrapped up tightly in my blanket, how fast life actually goes by. Now, I want life to slow down,... last longer...I don't want it to end or move so fast.

Realizing also, ... there is not much time left. Who knows? Well, of course, God does. I don't for sure. Yet, I must live as if life goes on and on. And it does. This life as we know it on earth, is only a small portion of what God has in store for us. There is so much more. Life eternal. Beyond "here". Beyond what we now feel, know, enjoy, participate in and treasure.

Yes, there is more. And that is Heaven. Heaven goes on and on. Heaven is what we experience that is "more" than "here". Heaven is complete. Ultimate. Extreme. Delightful. Engaging. Full. Forever.

I long for Heaven. But not now. Not for awhile. I want to live life to the fullest - experience more joy than ever before, laugh till it hurts with friends, cry when necessary, embrace tightly and say "I love you" so much that it becomes my signature phrase... I want to encourage, build up and launch others into their destiny, and support them in prayer and love along the way. I want to live generously - give generously, love generously .... spare nothing when it comes to expressing my love - I want to deepen my knowledge and understanding of this God that will not let me go... I need to know Him more fully and follow Him more carefully.

Big dreams. Big hopes. Deep prayers. Much to think about. But for tonight, I think only of the moment I have, right now, on my front porch, with laughter and love accompanying me.

This is all that matters.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Gift

Silently, quietly
she carried the gift
deep within
tucked away in a safe place
few would find it there
few would even notice
but there it would remain
until such a time
and in such a place,
it's presence would be needed.
Until then
it remained guarded
and safe,
kept and treasured

The gift came to her
by way of The Creator
few were handed out
few were selected
to hold and keep such
a gift
She often wondered
why she was one of
those selected
but over time
the wondering subsided
and she just knew
things were as they
were meant to be
So she waited
and nurtured the gift

Time passed
and the day came
when she was
to release and
expose the gift
that had been
hidden and kept
safe for such
a long time

The gift,
was a precious parcel,
a pearl of hope,
meant to be shared
with those who had more
need of it than her
So she gave it away
and soon found that
in its place, another
pearl appeared
so she gave it away also
and again, in the giving of the gift,
she continued to receive another
in its place
A pearl of hope always filled
the vacant place.
In the giving,
she received the very
gift she kept safe
the very gift she needed
the very gift she offered
to do without -
kept returning
to her

The Wise Creator
knew from the very beginning
this gift would bless the bearer
and bless those to whom it
was given.
His promise to supply
all her needs
was fulfilled every time
she gave the gift away.


I managed to somehow put my back out several days ago, the second injury of this sort in the last few months. The first day it happened, I could barely walk; bending down was out of the question and if I were to lay down, then getting up required the aid of a loved one to carefully and slowly pull me into positions because of the pinching pain I was experiencing.

One would think the second time around one would be used to the necessity of enlisting help. No. Not me. In fact, this time my injury occurred on a busy Easter weekend with the expectations of a big dinner and outings and everything else that goes with the celebration.

I am not very good at delegating. I confess. I am so used to doing it all and quite quickly, I may add, on my own. Is this a hint of "pride" raising it's ugly head?? Perhaps, and most likely. I've seen it modeled over and over again in my family of origin. I come from a strong family line of hard working folk that physically pushed themselves to the limit to "get things done" and I am no different. Hard work for me has always been my default. I'm good at it. I'm organized and I can get the job done. I'm also strong. Well, I used to be.... I am middle aged now - 53 years old and I just don't bounce back like I used to. And, honestly,... I really do not want to abuse my body like that anymore. I'm trying to pace myself now. I'm finding freedom in sitting and visiting and going for walks and meditating and leaving the chores and the things that need to be done for other times. The urgency of tasks in the moment has lost it's impact. Age has naturally seen to that.

So, the physical restraint on my body is in a way, a good thing. I need to ask others to do things for me. I need to ask for their help in the simple tasks of just getting up and sitting down, moving here and going there. I need to be patient with the way they do things.... it will not be as I would do them, of course, but even that does not matter. I'm being forced to "rest". A good thing, I think.

The gift of the "moment". The life, love, joy, pain, - all of it in the moment, is part of the gift. How we embrace the moments placed before us is the true act of becoming wise.

My back will get better. I'll soon forget I had any limitations at all. Let's hope the lessons of the last few days remain forever a part of the "wiser me".

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ramblings and musings from Turkey and Greece

I just returned from an amazing trip to Turkey and Greece, part of the required course curriculum that I have been studying the past two years at a local Christian university.

The sites were astonishing, breathtaking and moving. To think that life existed some 2000 thousand years ago and folk went about their business and common everyday life as normal as we go about ours, is to say at the least,... mind-boggling.

Life was full of business, sadness, fear, hope, expectation and passion. Innovations, systems, problem solving, and philosophical thoughts consumed the minds of those seeking to improve their way of life and question the purpose of their existence and relationship to the gods that dominated the society.

Beautiful palaces, temples, ornate sculptures and colourful frescoes spoke to me of a creative people that pursued beauty and form to adorn their environment.

Skill and craftsmanship, talent and ability that lasted hundreds and thousands of years, still impressed the onlooker.

Ruin upon ruin became a resting place for the many pieces of stone and marble that now lay in obscure disarray. It spoke to me of places that once were strong and impressive, seemingly meant to last forever, but did not.

I was impressed by the pieces that did remain - the pieces that managed to keep standing without being tipped or knocked down by earthquakes, invasions, .... other devastating occurrences.

These pieces spoke to me of strength, longevity, steadfastness, courage, ... as I looked at them, particularly the pillars, they towered high above me and I found myself drawn to them as signposts, monuments of a civilization long gone by, another world that could never imagine the one I am from, a time when life as they knew it, exisited in the present - full of emotion and purpose.

I often wonder how I will stand when the earthquakes come in my life. What will remain in me - if anything at all, that will last for centuries to come.... what will be my legacy that will be passed on .... what will my signpost indicate... what will my monument say about how I lived, conquered, and died...

Ramblings, musings from Turkey and Greece.... much to process...much to consider.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sink holes

I found myself in a sink hole today. Didn't expect it,
Didn't see it coming. Didn't really know I was in it, till
I looked down and saw that I was covered in mud.
I managed to pull myself out of it, somewhat through
sheer discipline of the mind. But it's effects have lingered.

The struggle I find to continually go forward, to continually
trust, to continually seek after God ... takes a lot of energy.
Spiritual, mental, physical and emotional. I honestly find it a battle.

It means constantly making choices. Will I allow my thoughts to
go down this road? or will I stop them up short and reroute them to
this road?

Will I waste my time doing this pointless bit of "nothing"? or will
I use the time to do the task I've been procrastinating? or will I consider
spending time with someone who needs encouragement? or will I take
the time to pray about someone's situation, like I promised?

Yet, I know that embracing the "better thing" in the long run, helps me, heals me
and makes me stronger. Kind of like going to the gym. After awhile you begin to see
results of working your muscles, burning calories, increasing your aerobic
fitness. It does make a difference. It is worth the discipline.

So, I will continue to wipe myself off, tie up my shoe laces,
set my eyes ahead of me and take the first step.

It's worth the prize at the end.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Voice of Love

Whose voice is it that calls me from the distance
and makes me abandon my present thoughts
I'm pulled immediately to respond,
to find it's source

Why am I so moved
what is it that has captured my heart,
my soul?

I am drawn by it's power, it's hold over me
I am compelled to find it

It's the voice of Love beckoning me
to a place where my heart can be cared for,
loved and felt safe.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti's Cries

Lost in contemplation
I'm distracted by recent events
far away, yet near in my heart
helpless I am, hopeless I am
as images of devastation pass by my eyes

swirls of questions cloud by mind
too big to ask, too big to answer
unable to hear
unable to discern
your voice

somewhere, you are there
this I know for sure
it's just that I can't see you
through all the pain
the fog of sorrows
the din of screams
the heaviness of death

God be God
God be great
God be gracious and merciful
God be quick to heal and save

So many brothers and sisters
lost beneath the rubble in your
beautiful country of Haiti

God come quickly
to the suffering ones, the poor ones, in Haiti
God,... come and cry

Monday, January 4, 2010

Inhaling God's Goodness

A thought that has been mulling around in my mind lately is the idea of "inhaling" God's goodness and "exhaling" my sinfulness.

It just sort of popped into my head one morning as I uttered a prayer before my eye lids even opened. And so, I've been thinking about the natural process of "breathing" in God.

There is so much goodness around me. Yes, I am aware there also is death and destruction. But I choose to believe and choose to see the handiwork of God in creation, and in the lives of those nearest me, that I focus on this positive aspect of life.

God within me, is greater than the force of evil in the world. Acknowledging his fingerprint in nature causes me to thank Him for his creativity. Recognizing the "divine" in the faces of those that flash across my mind, makes me rejoice and thank Him for such wonderful "human" gifts.

Breathing in his goodness - actually taking a deep breath with my eyes still closed - holding it for a minute till my lungs fill up with the volume of his presence - transforms me. I am filled with a heavenly peace - a heavenly presence - a holy longing for more ...

And with this breathing comes an exchange. I inhale his goodness then exhale my sinfulness - push out with force, the sins that have consumed me and tainted my soul.

Oh, that a mere breath,... a single breath,.. would be all that I need to experience to be transformed and made more like Christ, but alas, "breathing" must be perpetual in order for life to be sustained.

So, I "breathe in and out" endlessly.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The Gift of My Children

I just stood in the kitchen window watching my daughter Sandy load her luggage in a friend's vehicle and prepare for the long trip back to the city where she lives and starts another semester of university. She was home for two weeks over the Christmas holidays and the time together was wonderful. My son Bill lives in town and we enjoy his company tremendously every time he drops in. My other daughter, husband and granddaughter are visiting his family in South Africa and their presence was greatly missed this year and I can hardly wait till they get back home safely and I can visit them.

I found myself suddenly overwhelmed with a wave of emotion as I watched the vehicle leave the driveway. Moments ago I hugged her and told her I loved her - whispered in her ear that she brings me great joy. And now I am full of sadness because she is leaving and also full of deep love for her and my other two grownup children.

Gosh,...the love one has for their children is indescribable. You think it reaches a plateau and it can never become deeper,especially when they become adults, but that is not the case, as I am finding out. It deepens with every year of their life, every experience, every circumstance, every season they go through.

I spent New Years Eve at a local establishment surrounded by so many friends, neighbours and family. My husband played in a band and I danced the old year out and the new year in to tunes of the 60's, 70's and 80's. What fun! What absolute joy! It's hard to get me off the dance floor once I get going....it's a freedom I never experienced until my mid 40's and I love every moment. There I am moving to the rhythm and beat of the music on the dance floor, opposite my daughter and my son who are just several feet away... we're laughing our heads off - they're not embarrassed by their mom out dancing with them - actually the range of ages covers a huge span of early 20's to over 60...the generation gap disappears on the dance floor.

It's a wonderful feeling of community being there together. My son takes my hand and begins to twirl me - and I'm just so darn bad at it (not enough experience I think!) and he laughs at me - I laugh at me - and it's all in such great humor that we attempt it again...

So,... it's with these fresh memories of last night that my emotions get stirred up as I see Sandy leave and head back to her home. I am so blessed. I love my children so much.

They are the greatest and the most loved gifts I have ever received from my Heavenly Father and nothing in this world is more important than my relationship with them. Like precious jewels, I tuck them carefully away in my heart, protecting them, nurturing them, loving them with a love that deepens and becomes more rich with every phone call, every conversation over coffee, every embrace, every tear, every prayer.

I could never thank you enough Father for who they are, who they will become and the gift they are to me.

Thank you.

A Simple Prayer for 2010

Dear Father,

I come before you with a simple request for this New Year

May your grace sustain me

and your guidance be clear

and may you create in me

more of what is necessary to become like You.

I love you.