Where We Live (is all just temporary)

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Oprah Winfrey’s current tour includes our provincial capital city. That is surprising to me. Canadian-American actor Seth Rogen’s character in the movie Like Father demonstrated perfectly how us Edmontonians tend to introduce ourselves to our American neighbours: “I’m from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,”  he tells actress Kristen Bell’s character. Not just “I’m from Edmonton.” Or from, “Edmonton, Canada.” Rogen’s comment when interviewed regarding that line:

“Yes, Canadians do that 100 percent. City, province, country. Canadians are always afraid, and rightfully so, that Americans won’t know where Edmonton, Alberta is. That’s a legitimate concern (laughs).”

I must admit when watching the movie, I laughed out loud at that line. It’s so true! Sometimes when I’ve found myself travelling and answering where I’m from,  I’ll add “It’s close to Calgary. You know, where the Olympics were in 1988.”

The hockey fans I’m chatting with will generally  know of Edmonton with our NHL team and Wayne Gretzky history. And the city and surrounding areas have been homes to Olympic medalists in skiing and figure skating, hockey and curling–all sports so-very Canadian.  Oh, and then there is the West Edmonton Mall, the largest mall in North America and 14th overall in the word. So, thinking this further through, I’d say Edmonton, Alberta, Canada is more than Oprah tour worthy. (Disclosure: I’m not interested in going to Oprah’s talk but would have gladly gone to see Michelle Obama, however the tickets were too high for my budget. So I’m waiting in line for her book from my library–I think I’ve moved up to 98th spot).

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All in all, we may be able to boast about world wonders in our home cities, or not. Where we live may be recognizable on a worldly scale, or just known by those within a 100 km radius or less. We may have to point on a map or show an Instagram post for others to understand where we call home. Or just say the city name like those from New York or Dubai and receive wide-eyed responses of wonder and questions.

Although our countries and cities, attractions and landscapes can shape our likes, dislikes, choices of career and hobbies, our identity is rooted in the One who created all. We need not ever be afraid we are unknown, or that we need to lean on a neighbouring place to be seen. We can be rest assured that in Christ we always know where we come from and where we are going.

For all this is temporary, until we are called home.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. Matthew 24:35

Let’s get to know each other better! Tell me where you live and something you like about it.

I’ll start:

I’m from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada which is just east of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that is a four hour drive north from Calgary where the 1988 Olympics were held! 🙂 I love the wide-open spaces of the wheat fields, watching CFL football on a summer day, and skating in the winter. On cloudy days and my birthday, I like browsing Williams & Sonoma, Anthropology and Pottery Barn all at the West Edmonton Mall!

Now your turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Unexpected Way

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With my faithful blue back pack that carried my camera within, I walked the familiar path. My plan was to reach the pond on the western side of this provincial park I had visited many times before. At the pond, I’d hear and see the life of spring with whistling frogs and blooming cattails. However, it’s been a cool spring. Rounding a lower and shaded corner where ice capped snow covered the pathway, my hikers slipped instead of keeping me upright. Stubbornly I crouched, hoping I could somehow crawl myself to my wanted destination. Soon I resigned my plans and turned back, discouraged and saddened that I wouldn’t be able to complete the journey I’d set out for myself.

But then when I reached my starting point, I kept on, walking an easterly route I had never taken before. Soon I found myself at the edge of a boardwalk much longer than the familiar westerly one. I unzipped my jacket and removed my gloves noticing how the mid-morning sun shined the wooden slats of the boardwalk and lit the tips of the surrounding cattails. I easily navigated the bends and curves of this newly discovered pathway. I rested on one of it’s benches watching a pair of Canada geese, surefooted even on the frozen pond.

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If I hadn’t had to turn away from that westerly, familiar path, I would never have discovered the place on the other side of this park. Often, I can get so caught up in the familiar, that I don’t see that there just might be another way, even a better way, to navigate my places and situations. Sometimes it may take a complete roadblock or impassable path before I turn to look another way. And then discover something so much better than ever expected.

It reminds me too, how the disciples had thought Jesus’ life and power was the path for them to conquer the Romans. But the path was in the opposite direction, wasn’t it? It was through Jesus’s death that conquered something so much greater than just the Romans-the bondage of sin. The disciples familiar path to conquer with power and war was gone with Jesus’ death on the cross. And, in it’s place became an unexpected but much more better way.

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 1 Peter 2:18-19

Is there a pathway you are turning to go His Way?  Or a familiar one you are being asked to turn away from? May you rest in knowing the unexpected path can lead to the unexpected and a better Way….

Happy Easter, my readers! I will be back here again after our Easter celebrations.

 

What I learned this week

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When reaching the end of  Mary Geisen’s Blog post this week, I found my eyes drawing upward to find her following words:

“Your journey is richer when you accept the breathtaking views as well as the limited perspective…” Mary Geisen – Mountaintop Vistas or Valley Floors

I paralleled her words with the art of photography. For, although a landscape photo gives a breathtaking view, a limited focal point of a macro (close-up) photo reveals a richness in the fine details.

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As a Type Seven on The Ennegram I’m apt to be scattered and miss the details, my mind  wandering out of the present. It’s constant work for me to stay focused, so I use tools such as lists in my day timer to help complete tasks, and leaving my phone at home or in the car when socializing.

Just moments ago a work colleague pointed out I wrote the wrong first name on an order.

And the brain chatter starts. “What is wrong with me?”

This week my eldest sister corrected me on my pronunciation of “pseudonym” and reminded me I tend to mispronounce other words as well.

What is wrong with me?

And on the same day I mixed up Edgar Allen Poe and Alfred Hitchcock.

What is wrong with me? Not smart enough…well-read enough…out-going enough…

However, being on the other side of 50 years, I have learned how to zoom out of the chatter quicker and into the larger perspective that all of us have our strengths, weaknesses, and all of us have places to grow, learn.

I may always be better at the spelling of words than a speaker, although I will keep working on learning the fine, rich details of pronunciation.

I may always have to look deeper into the details before commenting on literary authors and classic movies. Or take the chance to comment, and learn from my mistakes.

Regardless, that mind chatter–what is wrong with me–is like a cloud appearing in a breathtaking landscape. It will evaporate and disappear.

For the truth is, there is absolutely nothing wrong with you.

“We begin to find and become ourselves when we notice how we are already found, already truly, entirely, wildly, messily, marvellously who we were born to be.”
― Anne Lamott

(And just in-case you may not know, Edgar Allen Poe wrote Tell Tale Heart, and Alfred Hitchcock directed the 1960’s film, Psycho)

Recommended reading-Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick

Discover the marvellous you through daily journaling prompts in Breathing Spaces-a 21 day journal of rest, reflection, and renewal

Linking up with Soaring With Him

 

A Word Teaching

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Just prior to the Christmas season, I was blessed to be taught a bible study method by Bonnie Gray, author of Whispers of Rest and Finding Spiritual Whitespace. As a thank you, Bonnie offered a live online bible study course for the women that had contributed to her publication platform. I first discovered Bonnie through her blog and always appreciated her kind, encouraging comments regarding my own writing and photography.

Over those few evenings when Bonnie Zoomed with us from her living room in California, I learned she attended bible college, taught bible study methods for many years, and once even led a singles ministry.  I also learned how to deeply seek the meanings of scripture and what God is saying to me through His words. And it’s changed me, in a very good way, on how I now approach my bible reading.

During our time together, she had us in Mark 6:45-52 as we observed, interpreted, and applied His word. She guided us in the understanding why it is in the interpretation of God’s word where most of our time is to be spent. She showed us how use the tools within https://www.biblestudytools.com/ and https://biblehub.com/

I was sad to see it end, and hope that one day Bonnie will offer a ‘train the trainer’ course so I can dive deeper into this bible study method and teach others!

But I digress…

What I really want to share is what I began to see when I read the following lines. And how just two lines in scripture rerouted my course, taking me ‘home.’

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Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. Mark 6:52

Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! Don’t be afraid.” Then he climbed in the boat with them, and the wind died down. Mark 6:51

In the passage, it struck me how “immediately” is repeated, and that word ‘made’?–well it shouted out at me. Jesus made his disciples get into the boat, made them leave the party early so to speak. See, Jesus had just done the impossible. He fed 5,000 people with five loafs of bread and two fish. Five thousand people had just witnessed the miracle of Jesus! I can imagine the excitement of the disciples. Now….now…surely there were enough believers to make Jesus their king, right there and then!

But Jesus led the disciples away and made them get into the boat. I wonder if they objected? I can imagine Peter trailing behind Jesus as they walked away from the crowd, muttering to himself, and then standing in the boat as it sailed away from shore, shaking his head in wonderment as Jesus dismissed the crowd on land. The circumstances seemed to be exactly right for what he wanted to achieve, however Jesus was calling him back to the boat to travel to Bethsaida, where he, and the disciples Andrew, Philip and John had called home.

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Jesus knew it wasn’t His time yet to be crowned. And He knew His crown was not ever to be a crown made of gold and silver. Instead it was to be a crown of thorns He’d bear as He hung on a cross, fulfilling His Father’s purpose for eternal salvation.

As I studied this scripture, I began to see myself at the boat, defiant and resisting Jesus. “But I know what is best! Yes, I’m tired, hungry, and overwhelmed by the crowd, but I can’t step away from the party. Look what I’ve started! How can I just walk away?”

And Jesus’ gaze is gentle as he tells me, “I’m making you go across the waters, to a place you’ll know as home.”

“Trust Me.”

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I can imagine my body swaying slightly as the boat sails me away, over the waves, as I watch Jesus on land take care of the crowd, dismissing them.

Jesus is taking care of the details as I sail where He wants me to go.

So, as January 2019 comes to a close, my ‘goal’ book still stays closed, as I make my way to shore not sure what will come next. And whenever the wind feels against me, and the waves rough underneath me, He’s shown me through His word that I am “to take courage”, and “don’t be afraid.”

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All I need to do is let Him in, let Him teach me, and still me with His presence.

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What has God’s word taught you lately?

Linking up today with Soaring With Him Ministries

 

Leaving behind behind

I sit here, at this desk in the library, my university course books to my left, my day timer to my right, and my current devotional laid flat and open and and upside down in a corner.

But my eyes too, wander up from the screen, to the street view through this second story location from this place I sit at the library.

There’s a pair walking, a mother and daughter possibly, the elder one’s gait hobbles as if one shoe is multiple soles rather than one. Her arm is linked with the other one, tall, slim, in dark pants and a white sweater.

The temperature has cooled over these last two July days, from t-shirts to light jackets, from outside patio to indoor dining. And in these last two days, the weather pressure has also built a pressure in my face, behind my eyes I cannot shake, leaving me tired. And behind.

It’s not a migraine and my heart goes out to those that do suffer from those splitting head, nauseating symptoms when the barometer fluctuates not in their favour. I believe my symptoms are allergies, from what I’m not sure, as the air is full of many components. And I’ve never been tested.

It’s these possible allergies, the pressure, the irritation of being oh-so tired, that has brought me to this library desk at this moment in the hope the change of place will get me from being behind to on schedule again. An essay is undone, due last week.

Yet, inward focus is still foggy at best, and know my work may not be any good in this time. But I’m trying, trying hard to push through, yet…

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My eyes lift up to the window, a barrier that holds the air outside from my place.

There’s a pair walking, a mother and daughter possibly. The daughter steadies her mother though the linking of their arms. And I wonder too, about another time when the mother held her arms out to her daughter to come to her. Her daughters steps slow, and unsteady, with a wobbling gait that looked like she walked in a pair of shoes with uneven soles.

A passing of time….

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:… Ecclesiastes 3:1

And a ponder, is there really such a thing as a time of being behind? Or is it only a judgement, a label?

What if we left the word behind, behind?

I wonder if we left the word behind behind, if we’d also leave behind the scurrying to just get done so we’re not feeling behind, sacrificing quality and presence in the present.

And then see His presence in the present and be present in His presence when Jesus shows up.

We see in the story of Mary and Martha, (Luke 10:38-42) Mary was in His presence when Jesus showed up at their home. Martha called out to Jesus in complaint that Mary wasn’t helping in the preparations. I’m guessing she called out, too, as she was feeling behind and wanted to finish up as soon as possible too, so she could enjoy the presence of Jesus.

But Jesus? He wasn’t worried about the preparations, or if Martha would be finished on-time. Present in her home, He just wanted to Martha to be in His presence at that moment, the story teaches.

And teaches too, that we cannot ever spend too much time with Him.

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They are gone, the pair, the mother and daughter possibly, maybe into one of the residences in the seniors apartments I see from my place where I sit in the library. And I feel blessed to have witnessed that moment of kindness, of love, of caring, and a leaning in to hold up–all that Jesus is.

There’s still the presence of pressure in my face, my eyes, my head. Yet the pressure of needing to perform to the level to write a university third year essay at this moment has vaporized.

Because Jesus showed up. And I’m on His schedule.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus” Philippians 4:19

2 Peter 3:8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day

How do you stop yourself from doing, from feeling behind, to get on God’s schedule?

Lynn J Simpson, Certified Professional Life Coach at Inspiring Hope in You

Linking up with #TellHisStory

And Tune in Thursdays

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The unexpected gift

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16

“Where are the bears?” the young man asks, his stride matching mine. His vowels rounded that only someone from a land across the ocean could perfect.

“Oh I’m not sure you really want to see a wild bear,” I replied in typical Canadian polite and honest manner. “You can really get hurt by bears. My sister was a nurse in Jasper and she’s seen enough bear mauling injuries she won’t even tent anymore.”

“Really huh? Well, where can we see them?” I glanced over at the young man, a helmet of some kind (rock climbing maybe?) set upon his head, his quiet companion walking beside him. A backdrop of rocky mountain glory  and the chatter of others, some languages unrecognizable, surrounded us in this popular tourism spot in Banff, Alberta.

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How could I deny them any information to see something new in this place they travelled too, maybe even planned for many years?

I gave them what giving I had.

“If you head to Lake Louise and do the hike up to the Tea House, you may see the grizzlies running in the gullies below. And the black bears hang out up there but usually at night when the tourists aren’t there. But the staff can tell you stories about those bears. You may even see some bear tracks.”

“Great mate. Thanks!”

As they picked up their pace I called after them as had to do my due diligence after all. “Make sure to have bear spray and bells!”

He turned, gave a quick wave of acknowledgment and the two paraded on to their next adventure. And I could feel myself being glad for them. Their excitement, their fresh eyes in this Rocky Mountain town I’d been to many times, gave me joy that only a giving can do.

It was just a little giving, a connection I allowed in when matching their stride on the path we both travelled.

And maybe, just maybe it was also a giving forward, a result from another giving that happened soon before.

A giving from an unexpected conversation due to a kindness thought needed. A need seen, an opportunity seized.

I’d spent the morning hours walking the loop of Minnewanka Lake, in solitude. At times I paused, knelt and took pictures and video of a beauty that my camera cannot fully express. Intentionally I tried not to fill my mind with words, with thoughts, and analysis as I often due on my walks. A smile or said ‘hi’ would occur from time to time between passer-byes. But overall, even with the lake’s rippling, the tour boats motoring, and the tourists conversing, it was an alone silence I heard within.

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I’m one who can be alone when travelling. I have never hesitated, either, to sign up for a course alone or a weekend retreat not knowing anyone going. Or buy a concert or a theatre ticket for one. An old friend of mine recently called me fiercely independent, elaborating on how I just go and ‘do stuff.’  And, yes that’s true.

But doing this ‘stuff’ on my own doesn’t necessarily mean I want to always be alone. It’s just that if I didn’t go “do stuff” on my own, I may never “do stuff” at all.

The alone silence I heard within, on the rocky mountain lake path, was a familiar alone silence, one I have navigated through before. When the thoughts came in that I wouldn’t mind to be sharing this time with another, I’d accept them with patience and grace. I’ve learned how to be content in the alone silence. But the need for connection is a known fact and never withdrawn.

Because God made us for community.

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone.
Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps,
But if there’s no one to help, tough! Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

So later, when I stopped at the snack shack and sat down comfortably on a stool, placing my water, purchase and backpack on a high counter, the magical view of Lake Minnewanka ahead of me, I welcomed in the question, the connecting, from the man devouring a vanilla ice cream cone beside me.

“Are you from here?”

Just a few hours north, I told him. And over the next half hour I learned about northern England, about a son moving across the sea to begin a prosperous farming career in prairie Canada, and a grand daughter who showed off her welsh words over Skype. I laughed along with this gentle man and his wife perched beside him as he told me the response of his doctor when he complained of his foot giving him so much trouble even after a life-style of healthy eating and exercise. ” “Mr. Reed, she said, “things just wear out.” ”

But it was, unexpectedly,  the story he shared of his neighbour back home in England that most gave. And later gave forward. “He lives alone, you see. And I knocked on his door one day to say hi. He told me he hadn’t talked to anyone in two days! Now I try to talk to anyone I see alone, you see.”

I do see.

I see a man who seized an opportunity of a needed kindness learned unexpectedly from a giving act of loving on his neighbour. And then loved on me, this neighbour who sat in a snack shack at a busy place of roaming tourists, alone.

Giving isn’t about what you have in your hands; it’s what you have in your heart. Never doubt it: an act of kindness…. can be more powerful than a sword in starting needed revolutions. Ann Voskamp, The Way of Abundance

I wonder now, if those two young men ever did see a wild bear during their time here in my home province of Alberta, Canada.

What I do know though, our connection when transversing the same path, gave them an unexpected gift that what they hope to see just might be possible.

Lynn J Simpson, Certified Professional Life Coach at INSPIRING HOPE IN YOU

Linking up with # TellHisStory

                          Recharge Wednesday

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Soaring with Him Ministries

The Helper of Truth

TEXT: Is passion a direct result of contentment & or happiness?

My response: I wonder if passion can be derived from discontentment (what breaks your heart) and then contentment is a result from working out to help make a difference to what breaks your heart?

TEXT: Haha. You looked at passion totally different than I did. 

(Blush)–on the other side of the screen so unseen thankfully!

An incorrect interpretation. I hadn’t heard the word ‘passion’ in it’s romantic context as intended by the questioner. At least I think that is the intent behind my friend’s words via the text on my phone. We actually haven’t connected through ‘real’ voice to clarify, yet.

I’m sure by now you’ve read and/or experienced the dangers of misinterpreted text messages. Without the fillers of expanded conversation, voice inflection, and physical gestures, intentions of the words can be flipped to taste as different as lemon and sugar–bitter instead of sweet.

They can also stir up unintended reactions.

For example, my instant reaction to a text message ending in ‘take care’ is a stomach lurch of good-bye. Having given and received those words at endings of past relationships, my instant thought process is to interpret the words as ‘good-bye’ which is especially disconcerting when from a friend I’ve grown fond of! It takes me a moment, an intake of a breath, to allow my thoughts to re-evaluate the words in the present and see the truth of the moment.

It only takes a glance of headlines in world news to see how God’s words can also be misinterpreted. Or evaluated and construed to push an agenda of personal interest. Unlike our human encounters, we don’t have physical fillers to decipher the intention of the message of the bible. But we do have the truth that the bible is the Word of God–as claimed not by us, but by the bible itself.

Joshua said to the Israelites, “Come here and listen to the words of the LORD your God” Joshua 3:91

(K)nowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you; for our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake. Thessalonians1:4-5

And we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit to teach us and bring us understanding of His word.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. John 14:26

But it is a spirit in man, And the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding. Job 32:81

So, take a breath my friend and be so thankful that we have the Helper to teach and bring understanding to His words as written in the bible! We can breathe in the understanding of God’s word when we direct our attention to the spirit within us. We can lessen and eliminate misinterpreting and evaluating for our own personal agenda’s when we welcome in the Holy Spirit to examine our heart.

 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting. Psalms 139:23-24

And know His promises that He loves and cares for you and me are never ones that will stop in a ‘take care’ message of good-bye.

How about you? How do you allow the spirit within you guide you to interpreting His written word?

 Linking up Wednesday at

Soaring with Him Ministries
 

 

 

 

 

 

And It’s All So Beautiful

Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these. Luke 12:27

There’s a greenhouse just a five minute drive from my home. Not a greenhouse in a traditional sense as it is open year around with a restaurant serving organic greens and gluten-free treats, and gifts galleries that change with the calendar celebrations.

Christmas time fills the floor with decorative trees and already overflowing shelves with ornaments, wreaths, and garland.

Approaching Valentine’s Day more red and white candles, silk and real roses rest on bursting shelves of trinkets, jewels, and framed mottos.

Now, drawing near Easter, pops of pastel colours adorn the interior design with baby blue vases, soft pink stuffed bunnies, and sun set orange ribboned baskets.

I walk past all this splendour into another room unseen from the entry. All my senses refeshen in the humidity that seems to steam from the hundreds of cacti plants that rest on shelves against the walls, stand in tall pots in the corners, and more aesthetically arranged on round tables creating a centre aisle.

And I breathe.

I breathe in this place where not a ribbon or jewel or ornament occupies.

I step slowly scanning the various cactus plants, some barely two inches in length, some warped in their roundness, others gangly in their tallness. Some bodies plentiful with spines, others edged with scattered thorns.

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And it’s all so beautiful, in it’s rawness, it’s unadorned form.

What is it that draws me to this place where beauty and refreshment comes from the misshapen, the undressed? Where symmetry isn’t and where thorns are exposed?

Maybe it is stirring in me that restlessness for that perfect place of ancestry, in a Garden where all was perfect, nothing hidden until tampered by temptation.

Maybe it is stirring in me to remember, to be, to come exposed, scars, wounds, prickles, and thorns, no adornments that mask.

Because we are all so most beautiful, my darling, in our raw, unadorned form.

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You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you. Song of Songs 4:7

Come surrender your hidden scars
Leave your weapons where they are
You’ve been hiding, but I know your wounded heart
And you don’t know how beautiful you are

I’m tired of hiding who I really am
Underneath these alibis
I want to know who you really are
I want to meet you here tonight
We’re not born with these defenses
We’re not destined for this pain
We hide ourselves and put the fig leaves on
But a mask can never cover up this shame

                                                                                                             Jon Foreman

 

Army of Trust

“I feel bad for it. It’s got enemies in there and I’m sending in the best army I have!”

My friend giggled. “I’ve never heard someone describe their body parts in third person context before.”

I’ve been a bit under the weather lately, so to speak.

I’ve had to send in armies for these uncomplicated conditions. Armies of antibiotics, vitamins, herbs, and ‘google’ remedies to fight the battles against these viral and bacterial critters. It’s taken a few tries though, to find out which armies are going to win that battle, and bring peace once again!

I used these medicine armies to battle something I could only feel in the flesh, but I could not see. The pain I experienced a warning to something that needed attending to, needed help in the fight to become healthy again.

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Our pain experiences in life are so often derived from our challenges, felt not in the flesh, but emotionally in our mind and in our heart too. We might find ourselves wrestling with forces that ask us to compromise our integrity, our values, our morals for the sake of a corporation’s definition of success, or for the sake of wanting to belong, or for the sake to avoid conflict with that relationship we feel we could not live without.

God’s word says:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Ephesians 6:12

We may fear feeling the pain of being alone, rejected, judged, so carefully navigate away from possible battles by hiding in timidity, or not using our gifts for God’s glory.

Thankfully, in God’s goodness He gives us the medicine we need, fights for us to become restored through Him, provides the remedies to withstand the attacks that can snare us.

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trust in the Lord will be kept safe. Proverbs 29:25

Instead of fearing man, relying on man to build-us up, we can be free by trusting in God promises to renew us, strengthen us, and carry us, always.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

We can rely on His promises that He will fight for us.

“This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” 2 Chronicles 20:15

 Do not fear them, for the Lord your God is the one fighting for you.” Deuteronomy 3:22

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And God, in His goodness, has provided His power within us!

“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20

“For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.” Colossians 2: 12 

Whatever battle you may find yourself in today, my friend, may you place your hope in the One who can fill you with the joy and peace His goodness wants for you.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Thank You for just BEING You

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“I’m just so grateful for how great my God is, for my room that I have here. I just pray someone doesn’t pull the fire alarm again tonight,” she says, wrapping her pink-flowered terry robe around her tighter.

There’s a murmur of agreement that comes from the other ladies at the table. Someone else begins to speak, to share what they are thankful for, but I am still fixed on the one who just spoke. With long fingers she gathers her dark hair, threaded with silver, and tucks it into the collar of her robe. Her eyes are deep brown, and seen many things I have never seen, and most likely will never see.

Earlier she spoke of a trial she’d endured this week, a temptation she’d overcome, a judgement placed against her, a struggle she’d been dealing with most of her life, and a child-hood memory on the reserve with her father.

Tears formed in the corner of her eyes when she spoke of her son who lives many miles away, on the west coast.

She misses him very much.

Yet, this woman, who’s in the last quarter century of her life, with few clothes and little resources that only allow her to live in an accommodation centre that houses other women, is ever so grateful for God.  For God just being God.

And I’m humbled.

My gratitude list can be long of things like coffee, my car, my healthy kids, my vacations, my money in the bank, my working mind and body, an answered prayer…

But when have I just been thankful to God for just being God?

In the book of James, James tells us, “Listen, my dear brothers and sisters, Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?” 2:5

This woman, this woman who wraps herself in a terry robe to stay warm understands what faith is. There is no barrier of things, of world riches that block her with pride or idolatry. She is rich in faith, grateful for her wonderful God for just being God–her strength and her redeemer; her rock and her salvation.

The God that even though the steps she takes are without many comforts of worldly goods and may even have disaster or ruin, she is confident is by her side and protecting her.

Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtake the wicked, for the Lord will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Prov. 3:35

Later as I slip on my thermal winter coat, step into my car, start the engine and feel heat on my bare hands, I thank God for heated steering wheels. And pause, then find myself whispering this simple prayer.

I do thank you for all my comforts and blessings Lord, but more than anything I just want to thank you for being here with me, for being in my life, and loving me. The best thing about my life is you….

Tandy 4 copy