Saturday, April 30, 2011

I am Blessed....I Will Bless...aint that the Truth !

I lived this last week of my life from a reclined position on a foamy on my living-room floor. I was standing in my kitchen a week ago and suddenly my lower back gave out. I was hit with excruciating pain seconds after my knees crumpled and my body headed for the floor. One of my sons grabbed me and held me upright until my husband arrived to carry me to a place where I could lie down. I have given birth four times but never have I had pain so horrendous that I almost passed out, or screamed. Tears were instantaneous and rivers flowed down my cheeks. My world was suddenly defined by pain. Everything I did for the next couple of days was directly related to preventing further pain. My whole body and mind recoiled and went into defense mode.
A month previous I had ended up in Urgent Care with severe shoulder pain and numbness and shooting pains down my arm. I was diagnosed with a rotator cuff injury and tendonitis and also booked for a neurology appointment in June.  I had had a business trip booked to BC with a ten day visit planned on the end of it. This trip is one I look forward to every year. It includes my favorite places with some of my favorite people on the planet. It is my sanity at the end of a long, hard winter.
In one visit with a doctor and a regime of rest and inactivity, the trip became an impossibility.
Our budget would not cover the air fare ( travel expenses were covered through my work), and my body prevented travel.
That's always the question isn't it?
I needed that trip.
I wanted the relief at the end of winter.
I hungered for the contact with my girls.
My friends.
My family.
The landscape.
The solitude.
That's how I felt.
Tears flooded my eyes this morning as I called my niece in whom I would be seeing the first of this week if all had gone according to plan. Even now my throat burns and I swallow painfully. I know the feeling of her hugs around my neck. I can see her beautiful freckles and hear her laugh..I remember drawing swirly pictures with her last year..the drawing is still magnetized to my fridge..a silent testimony of hours spent in joyful creativity... my chest hurts worse than my back today.
...but truth comes...because I want it...I long for it...I live for it... and God knows I need it...
Truth blazes through...seeps in...inhabits...even the disappointment...the sense of loss..
Truth doesn't remove it... the surpasses it.
It becomes more important...than the pain.
Truth is....Truth.
It bends to no man.
This is Truth:
God is good.
He is what I need.
He provides.
I need that perspective.
I want it.
His eyes. His view.
...Or accepting my inability to see clearly, blind trust in His perfect nature.
Attributing to Him all glory, honor, dominion and power.
Sometimes I want to understand more than I want Him.
Sometimes I want to know...more than I trust His knowledge.
I want.
I want??
Today....I will trust...more than ever.
...the Truth is..that's all there is.
I will surrender my limited reasoning to His unlimited perspective...and proclaim:
I am blessed.
I know I am.
His hands are full when He reaches out to me.
His gifts are perfectly suited, perfectly ordained.
I want to see and accept what He is offering..instead of looking at what isn't...

   I will bless the Lord at all times;
his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
  My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
let the humble hear and be glad.
  Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
and let us exalt his name together!
  I sought the Lord, and he answered me
and delivered me from all my fears.
  Those who look to him are radiant,
and their faces shall never be ashamed.
  This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
and saved him out of all his troubles.
  The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him, and delivers them.
  Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good!
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
  Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him have no lack!
  The young lions suffer want and hunger;
but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing.
  Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
  What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
  Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
  Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.
 The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous
and his ears toward their cry.
  The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
to cut off the memory of them from the earth.
  When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but the Lord delivers him out of them all.
  He keeps all his bones;
not one of them is broken.
  Affliction will slay the wicked,
and those who hate the righteous will be condemned.
  The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.
~~ Psalm 34 (ESV)

Today, amidst the tears, and the pain..and disappointment...
I can say: It is WELL with my soul.
I am Blessed. I will Bless.
Bless His Holy Name.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Born to Die

"We're going to die. Some people are scared of dying. 
Never be afraid to die. Because you're born to die," 

~Walter Breuning ( died at age 114, April 14,2011) ~

It's the hardest lesson to learn according to Breuning.
A lesson he learned from his grandfather: 
Accept death. 
I guess at 114 years of age, you have earned the right to speak...
to be heard...
to be right...
I feel young today.
Ever so much younger than yesterday: at a measly 43 years of age.
Maybe by the time I reach 114  I will really learn something.
Can I learn the hardest lesson?
In the interview I read online, I never heard Walter once talk about success.
This was a man who bought some land early on for $10.00.
Sold it later for $25.
Rented the rest of his life.
I ask you....
Is this a success story?
I to 114 years might be considered a success.
But what do I know..I am only 43 !
I have also faced some serious health issues over the years.
Ones that made me stand face to face with my mortality and come to realize the gift of a day.
Ones that I lost sleep over.
Wondering if, as my eyes closed....they would ever open again.
Heart palpitating.
Breath shortening.
Fear clenching.
I have lost friends to cancer..
heart attacks...
I have lost family members too.
I have friends and family who have had full term miscarriages...
Death is everywhere.
We draw our first breaths and don't know the number we will draw until our last.

I have an approaching appointment with a neurologist.
There is so much unknown..happening in my body.
I am say the least.
But my days have already been numbered by the One who knows.
I have an aunt who while having x-rays of her ribs has discovered a shadow in one of her lungs...
One of my friends gave birth at 22 weeks..her daughter fights and grows in neonatal care.
Another mom is in final stages of kidney cancer...
C'est la vie.
This is life.
And death.

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints."
~ Psalm 116:15 NIV ~
By whose standards?
Not by Webster's definition.
I am approaching middle age at a speed that is somewhat and sometimes uncomfortable. spite of the speed at which my days are passing...I love this age..
And I love that I can colour my hair.
I feel younger than the greys that are taking over.
(If that makes me shallow.....oh well, there are worse things!)
And that things that used to bother me...simply..don't...
Improbable as it seems..time feels like it is speeding up.
Minutes and seconds are more precious than ever.
People are more precious. Everything is more precious.
Life is precious. and out...has become very significant...
Waking up...has become..very meaningful...wonderful...treasured!
It takes years to realize this.
Why is it that death feels like such a thief?
When life itself...Self awareness..self expression...... a gift ???
All I have...all my days..
Nothing to fear.
Just live.
Fear not.
You were born to die.
The grave has been breached.
 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"
~ 1Corinthians 15:55 NIV ~
I was born to die...and knowing that...
Now I can truly live.
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain."
~ Phillipians 1:21 NIV ~
Fearing not.
Walter had it right.
God Bless him.

Friday, April 8, 2011

All is Grace

" What in all this world is grace?
I can say it certain now: All is grace.
I see through the woods of the world:
God is always good and I am always loved.
God is always good and I am always loved.

~~ 1000 Gifts, Ann Voskamp ~~

This week has been a week of announcements and notices.
One friend pregnant: eight years between first and second born
One family member pregnant with #7.
One about to give birth to #6.
Another friend approaches her due date...a first born, a  daughter eagerly anticipated.

This week I received notification of the death of a friend.
The terminal illness of the mother of another friend.
A premature precious baby Sarah struggles to fight another infection in the neonatal ICU.

This week I struggled with chronic pain, sinus and cough and fever.
I have wrestled with insomnia...
It seems as if all my shortcomings and weaknesses have battered me all week....
Blessed or cursed?

My car needs a new...ummm ..everything...from a windshield wiper motor to new gear box and a belt is squealing somewhere...loudly and painfully.
 Gas prices soared.
Grocery prices have increased substantially.
A lady I never met..but who was cared for by my mother died at 85 years of age this week after a long drawn out battle with cancer.
Japan was hit by another quake.
Bow Island, Alberta is flooding.

"...give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV
Can I take the pain...the sorrow..the bewilderment... give thanks for it...and find it transformed?
Into Joy?
Is there a peace to be found in the midst of the horror, the struggle...the loss, the failure?
Peace that surpasses understanding ?
Cause I really don't understand.

Can I give thanks at all all things: because HE is ALWAYS good?

Gratitude.Today. Now.

He makes all things new.


Grief is always transformed.
Suffering transmuted.
The ugly transfigured.

The Word of God..which sustains.. which holds all things the surgeons knife..
d i v i d i n g
between flesh and spirit.
joints and marrow.

God speaks.
It is as he says.
It is written...
"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect
in weakness."
2 Cor 12:9
Sufficient. Grace.

For everything...

Eyes washed.
Sight to the blind.
To me.
I must see.
He is in ALL.
He is ALL good.

Yesterday, today and forever...amen and amen.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A Vapour...a Breath....a Life....

When you speak a name that hasn't crossed your lips for years...
...followed by the words... "has passed away"...
the universe is irrevocably changed....
For an instant today time slowed...I took a breath...and exhaled...
My heart beat loud..thrumming slow...steady...and skipped.
My mind skipped with it..back 19 years...
When I was so much younger...
So much more younger than now... and so was she.
There were husbands.
And more babies growing in swelling wombs...
Sunny meals shared round the table...popscicles...rhododendrons blooming... 
long dark hair flying and dark eyes flashing...
Laughter...loud..long and lingering....
Grubby hands ..sweaty ..chubby bodies lifted high and swung round...
Wives and moms we were...friends too, by the grace of God.
And time rolls on relentless....unstoppable...
Changes...seasons...inevitable...moves...and more changes...Borders crossed...dreams pursued...
distance and life intervenes...
paths diverge...
Long without news...snippets here and this?
Such a small word.
Weighted heavy.
press pause.
my fists clench.
crescents form.
How is there to be a knowing?
A preparing?
My mind stretches..reaches hard for memories..
concrete...impact..lives intersecting..bouncing off each other...
fingerprints indelibly imprinted on each other.
We see.
We meet.
We touch.
We share.
We change.
Who knew?
How long the sharp the corner...
How limited the time...

Precious in the sight of the Lord.
Days numbered...before one came to be.
Hairs counted.
Carefully wrought.
Fearfully. Wonderfully.Made.

Where can I go from your presence?
Neither life...NOR death...
No separation.
From your love.
That's what it says.
For you are GOOD.
Author and finisher.
Keep her.
My friend.

I Want To See

Without God's Word as a lens..the world warps.
~ ~ ~Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts ~ ~ ~

I have heard it said that :Perspective is Truth... and I believe it.
Not that it is true..but that we live what we believe...
Our seeing...makes believers of us all.
We believe ..therefore we act...we speak...we live....
The bible talks about our eyes being the lamp of the body....
The Word cautions us to consider if the light is really darkness...
What are we really looking at?
What do we see?
Is our sight failing?
How do we define?
How do we KNOW?

Man does not live by bread alone...but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
Matthew 4:4

Can we see the lie?
Hath God said?
Is God really good if he....
Is the light...dark?

All new life labours out of the very bowels of darkness.
Ann Voskamp
Seeds from dark soil.
Dawn from dark night.
Babies from dark wombs.
Saviors from dark tombs.

What do I see when I gaze into my life moments?
Into a world of injustice..screaming.
Into a barren womb...rejecting implantation?
Into war.
Into famine.
Into calamity.
What lens sharpens my focus?
Reveals the true picture?

What do you want me to do for you?
(Jesus asks the blind man in Luke 18:41)
 I read these words as Ann of One Thousand Gifts drives me to the Lens of scripture.
 I am warped without the Lens of His Word.
I am blind.
The lamp within darkened with pain.
Shadowed with suffering.
Opaque,dimmed with loss.
Starved...tempted by stones in the desert.
Death..offering sustenance?
Lies purporting to be truth?
Emptiness promising fulfillment?

What do I want him to do for me?

Lord, I want to see.
Blind Man

Sunday, April 3, 2011

I am My Beloved's and He is Mine

Have you ever wondered what it was like to be Eve?
The first woman?
Crown of God's creation?
What it must have been like to walk in unbroken communion with God?
To know you were deliberately formed and fashioned for his pleasure?
To be intimately aware of his joy in you?
To be the object of his attention.
To see and be seen..nothing marring your sight.
No barriers.
Completely satisfied in the One who created you.
Aware of His pleasure in you.
You are His completely.

What must it have been like...
To embrace the enemy?
To taste the lie?
To feel that chord snap?
To sense separation for the first time?
To be naked?

Where is your beauty now?
Swallowed in death?

What must it have been like to crave the attention, the affirmation...the glory of what was once all you knew?

I can hear her cry...
See me...
Notice me....
Accept me...

What was now empty.

The silence must have been excruciating
 And then she covered herself.

And thus the world is infected.
We crave...
We fear...
We long..
For significance...
We fear...insufficiency
We desire attention...
Hunger for meaning....
 ....communion, connection..intimacy.... Love...


What makes us worthy?

Beauty? Intelligence?Success? Strength?


The curve of the hips?
The length of the leg?

There is a silent...yet not so silent scream filling the earth today.
It  proceeds from the lips of young girls...teens...women. of all ages.

Can you hear it?
 It is the cry that has echoed down through the ages...

What must Eve have felt..when she went from un-knowing?
Sure to unsure.
Confident to insecure.
Eve's knowledge and experience of being seen and known was gone.
She was blind and deaf.

The cry of women all through the ages.
Manifested in our dress..cosmetics..scents..lotions....
Our potions...elixirs...silks and satins...

See me.
Attend to me.
Hear me.
Celebrate me.
Know me.
Love me.

We long to distinguish ourselves from the others.
We compete for attention.
For value.
For worth.
We trade ourselves..our attributes...our bodies... like commerce.
We offer.
We hunger.
We starve.

We fear invisibility.
We will do everything in our power to stand out.
The one pair of eyes that was so satisfying to feel upon us..
We no longer sense...
That intimacy shattered in the garden ...
Has set us adrift...
Who sees me?
Who knows me?
Who wants me?

The bible is full of the wanderings of Israel.
She...wandering through the desert...
Portrayed as a woman.
Selling herself.
Sleeping with the enemy...
Laying herself out...
The imagery is startling.
The Lord....God...Holy...Righteous..
Portrayed as her husband.
Sees her.
Knows her.
Dwells with her.
Yet she craves the attention of others...
And she prostitutes herself.

Take Gomer as your wife.

And he found her, ragged, torn, sick, dirty, disheveled, destitute, chained to an auction block in a filthy slave market, a repulsive shadow of the woman she once was.Hosea bought her from her slavery for fifteen shekels of silver and thirteen bushels of barley.
(Hos. 3:2)

My God.You love me that much?

I ..who long for eyes to see me.
To be captivated by my beauty.
To extol my virtues.
To esteem.
Pay homage.
To Worship?

  But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 
1Sam 16:7

I know God was speaking about the sons of Jesse and Samuel was choosing a King, but the truth is...this has struck such a knife in my heart as a woman.

Do not consider his appearance.

Us women can be all about the outside.
If we are honest.
We spend more time shopping for clothes, make-up, shoes...accessories.
We spend more time grooming.
We spend more time admiring.
We spend more time taking photos of oursleves.
Posing...and posting for all to see.

Catalog the hours.The countless minutes.
Look back over the years.
It is astonishing.
My heart is sick.
I am Gomer.
I am Eve.
I am Israel.

Today.... I have given myself a challenge.
The challenge of a lifetime.
It is tough...a dying of sorts.
I am determined.
I am motivated by a love that is deeper.
An acceptance that has nothing to do with my physical beauty.
An intimacy that is mine for the asking.
A knowing that is sure and true.
I am ransacking my closet.
Going through my make-up drawer.
My time is better spent with him..loving, serving, worshiping...
I am living out the words of scripture today as I sing:

We bow our hearts
We bend our knees
Oh Spirit come make us humble
We turn our eyes
From evil things
Oh Lord we cast down our idols

So give us clean hands
and give us pure hearts
Let us not lift our souls to another..
Oh God let us be
A generation that seeks
Your face Oh God of Jacob.
~~Chris Tomlin ~~

The true reflection of myself is found in the face of the One who made me...
Not in the mirror.
My heart is his most cherished treasure.
He has bought me back.
Paid the ransom.
Covered my nakedness.
Taken away my shame.
It's his gaze that matters.
He doesn't stop at the surface.
The fine lines and wrinkles.
The stretch marks.
Age spots.
The belly.
The breasts.
He sees me.
He knows me.
And still loves me.
He gives me meaning. Defines my existence.Gives me worth...value.
His love is set like a precious jewel over me.

See my beloved....she is mine...
…clothed in my beauty…
…My Glory...
I am the keeper of her heart.

I am his.
He is my Glory and the Lifter of my head.

I challenge you today....crave his gaze...revel in his attention...find satisfaction in your reflection in his eyes...
Be out of the shelter of his affection.
Do not lift your soul to another.
Come up out of the desert...on the arm of your beloved....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Not Done Yet

The faster the years go by the more I realize how much time I have wasted trying to fix others...cause..sheesh..don't most people need a good fixing!
If I have to state that I am humble...
You can almost guarantee that I am not.
Today I marvel at my arrogance.
I shudder to think at how many hours I have spent voicing opinions...
challenging choices...

My God.
Oh my GOD!
How can you stand me?

What is a life?
70-ish years if we're lucky...
Who am I to say...this is or is not the way?
To declare what a person needs to do in a moment of time according to "me"
We are all so unique.
Our approaches to life sooooo different.
Sometimes I forget to see the beauty of the life being lived out in front of me.
The processes by which an individual is being transformed...
They are not my ways.
"If it was me..."
"If I were you.."

But the scriptures say...

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways," declares the LORD."  
Isaiah 55:8

When did I start esteeming my own opinion more than trusting the One who knows the whole story?
When did I start talking more and offering my viewpoint...rather than listening more and praying even more?

For every soul that I come in contact with..there is a story unfinished..a life in process.
A life overshadowed by an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent creator.
He sees things radically different than I.
Things like:

If anyone who reads this blog today...has endured conversations with me the fixer..the talker..the opinionated self imposed life coach...I humbly apologize!

I used to say to people that it seemed as if it was much easier to trust others to ourselves rather than to God.
As if God needed an assistant.
I look back now and I see so much vanity....

Life is a unique path for everyone who breathes.
There are those who live in mansions.
Others in hovels.
Some have all the gadgets.
Others live off the grid.
Some watch TV.
Others abhor it.
Some love fashion.
Others...are poster children for the show "What Not to Wear"
Some worship in church...
Others at the shore or atop a  mountain.
Some eat vegetarian..
Others hunt and fish.
Some have many children..
Others none...
Some get over things quickly and move on..
Others take years.
Some divorce.
Others endure.
The list is infinity and beyond...

Where is the constant?
The common thread?
The connection with another living, breathing, soul?
It is the source of our lives.
The meaning...the holding-all-things-together part...

"He is before all things, and in him all things hold together."
Colossians 1:17

At the ripe old age of 43, I stand corrected today.
By a loving, perfect, patient God.
Who is all about process.
His way.

"...because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."
Hebrews 12:6

For all you
I offer an apology.
For the past mistakes of a girl in process.
His ways are far better than mine.
Kevin Prosch penned the words in his song: His Banner Over Me:

"He does all things well...just look at our lives.."

I am just so thankful..for today..the gift of today..mercies new...
...and the knowledge that for all of us still breathing...

He's not done yet.

Blessings on your unique're in good hands...