Friday, February 29, 2008

Delay? Denial? DON'T KNOW!!!!

As some of my friends and family know, I have been waiting on the Lord for direction concerning attending the "She Speaks" Conference in North Carolina in June of this year. I sort of gave God the deadline of TODAY to speak to my heart. Not because I'm impatient (although...that could be questioned at this very moment), but because the registration fee increases as of tomorrow and I wanted to be a good steward of our finances.

Yesterday was a tough day. For some reason I was positive God was going to somehow reveal His will for me in some miraculous way during the 24 hour span that just passed. I was anticipating every phone call, every person who passed me on the street, every piece of mail, every clerk in the store to be God's special messenger who would suddenly produce a scroll and begin recitation of a direct response from God. That didn't happen, although for the record, let me just say I believe God could have spoken through any of those ways if He had chosen to do so.

I came home from work around 9:30pm feeling tired. Work hadn't been that exhausting, but the emotional roller coaster I'd been riding on all day had depleted all energy. My husband had a cup of tea waiting for me when I walked in the door and after sharing some of my day with him, I went upstairs to our office to check e-mails.

Nothing personal had arrived, but one of the daily devotionals I subscribe to was waiting to be opened and read. I clicked into it and was immediately held captive by the title, "The Waiting Is The Hardest Part". The devotional was based on Genesis 16. This is the story of how Sarai, longing to have a child of her own, and even after God promised her husband Arbram that one day he would have more descendants than there are stars in the sky, took it upon herself to solve God's problem. In the beginning, Sarai had waited for God to provide, but the baby didn't come. With every passing day her tension and frustration mounted. Where was the answer? Had God forgotten about her?

The author writes, "It appears Sarai's thoughts walked as far as her faith would carry her, and then she stood looking at the mountains of her fear. Did God understand how important this was for her? How could God deny her the greatest desire of her heart? Was God even on her side?"

These questions bring us face to face with God's sovereignty. Will I trust God to provide according to His plans and purposes and in His way?

Sarai decided to take matters into her own hands. She felt God had abandoned her. This entire prophecy was a cruel joke. I think she believed God could do this, but would He do it for her? She felt she needed to assist God in finding a solution to fulfill His promise to her. Her faith faltered.

My faith was on the verge of collapsing yesterday, but reading this account of God's fulfillment of this dream for Sarai began to stretch my faith again. Delay is not denial. I can't manipulate an answer and I must hold onto God's promises that EVERYONE (that includes me) who seeks Him will find Him. Am I looking FOR Him as much as I am seeking an answer FROM Him?

God is strengthening my faith in Him. As I headed to bed last night I breathed the prayer, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!"

I awoke this morning with a new vision. As I talked with my 15 year old son before driving him to school, I shared that I really felt God wanting me to come to the place where I could honestly say, "Lord, if Your answer is 'go', I will love You. If Your answer is 'stay', I will love You. Even if I hear nothing at all, I will still love You." My love for God cannot be based on what He does for me, but on Who He is. I surrendered my dream afresh to God.

This morning while checking e-mails again, another devotional appeared - from the same sender. It was about the fulfillment of God's promises. The writer shared that God is on the other side of our wait. I can't push open the door and make things happen, but must remain dependent on God. I can't force my timetable and agenda on Him. The devotional ended by quoting from Daniel 3:17-18, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego's reaction to being thrown into the fiery furnace, "If the God we serve exists, then he can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he can resuce us from the power of you, the king. But even if he does not resuce us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up."

The author questioned, "Could God be steering you toward a 'Meshach moment,' bringing you to a place where you are wholly dependent upon God and faithful even if the answer does not come?" Isn't this exactly what I had shared with my son earlier today?

There's a song we've been singing in our church a lot lately. The chorus calls for a commitment: "Today I choose to follow You. Today I choose to give my 'yes' to You. Today I choose to hear Your voice and live, Today I choose to follow You."

Lord, today I choose to follow You.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Editing NOT needed

Last week I received an e-mail from a lady at my church asking if I would consider editing a speech that she was preparing to give at an upcoming event with her family. I was blown away by this request. Why did she ask me? I'm not an editor. What did I know about revising anyone's writing? Did I even want the responsibility of looking over her carefully crafted preparation and correcting grammatical errors and sentence structure? What if I happened to offend her by correcting her work? I am far from a genius in the literary field, but I do have a passion for writing and a willingness to be available, so I agreed to at least look over her writing and gently 'tweak' it if necessary.

It's a daunting job playing 'Editor', and I do mean 'playing', as I've had absolutely no training. Meshing together someone else's words without inserting my own opinion or disturbing the authors perspective and personality. It was so tempting to insert my own thoughts and delete sentences based solely on individual preference. By the time I finished, I truly believe I kept her ideas intact. The message remained the same, just packaged with some new expression.

I wonder if I sometimes take on the role of "Editor" when it comes to God's Word. Do I believe that every sentence in the Bible is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, training and correcting? (2 Timothy 3:16) Do I believe that every sentence, every word, every thought in the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit? Do I sometimes desire to add or delete certain phrases, words and even complete passages based on my obedience quotient? God's directives that fit neatly into my life with relative ease I'll embrace and follow, but those that require effort, surrender and change I'll omit or re-write to suit my schedule and agenda. After all, God certainly didn't mean we had to follow ALL of His Word did He? It's not really commandments, but simply suggestions....right?

WRONG!! God doesn't want me to change one 'jot' or 'tittle'. I must leave every 'i' dotted and every 't' crossed, for "not even the smallest detail of God's law will disappear until its purpose is achieved." (Matt 5:18). So, although I had freedom to edit this ladies paper, I do not, DO NOT have permission to edit God's Word. I must read it and apply all of it to all of my life.

May I not look to God's Word to make editorial corrections, but instead may I allow the Divine Editor to use it to refine my life and change my character to match my calling.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Look what my husband just bought me!!!!!

They say a picture is worth a thousand'll keep this brief...or at least try!

Yesterday during my devotional time I was really, earnestly seeking the Lord's direction in regards to my writing. Was this something that HE desired for me to pursue further? While I was reading His Word, He took me to Habakkuk 1:5, "...I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told." I read that and such great anticipation filled my heart. I asked the Lord to somehow confirm if He desired me to devote more time to my passsion for writing.

Well....this husband bought me a HUGE SURPRISE!!!! My very own laptop!!!...and it's not even my birthday or anything! I feel like a little kid who just entered a candy shop and was told that she could enjoy all the treats set out before her. My stomach still has this excited flip-flop thing going on...and I keep squealing with delight. Yes...squealing! My husband saw my need for a computer so that I could spend more time writing - and - WOW - I still can't believe this incredible gift!!!

Do you know what I find so amazing? Yesterday when I surrendered, through tears, my dream of writing/speaking to the Lord and left it in His hands, totally prepared to accept and embrace however He led, He didn't just give me back a portion - He poured out more than I could ask or imagine.

It's so incredible to me that when we submit to God's plans...when we open our hands from clutching our dreams....He then has room to fill our lives with His purposes. Think of Christ's last words on the cross. "It is finished". Those words really ushered in just the beginning of all that lay ahead. out world...I've only just begun!

The many shades of Christian Camouflage

I just received a new Spring/Summer catalogue from a major department store. As I browse through the new clothing fashion trends, I can't help but notice that the camouflage print is still prevalent. There was a time when it only came in 'army green', but now it's available in a wide range of colours. You can blend in and hide just about anywhere. I was wondering what colours I have worn to disguise myself.

Are there days when you just wish you could disappear and fade into your surroundings? What about develop a new identity? Maybe join a witness protection program and just start all over again with a different name and fresh start? Yesterday that was how I was feeling. I was joking with my husband that he needs to take a new job in the States (I'm and I could leave behind all the situations and people that are suffocating the life out of me.

When circumstances overwhelm, there are times I search my closet for some "Christian camouflage" so that outwardly my life will appear like everyone else, while inwardly a battle rages. Visibly I look the part, but my attire conceals a hurting heart that is unresponsive and wasting away.

This religious apparel comes in many shades, shapes and sizes. It's a hypocritical covering that needs to be addressed and undressed. It's so easy for others to assume my spiritual depth, and therefore have my heart go unnoticed, when I carry the right Bible, lead two Women's Bible studies, hold a diploma from a Bible school, write for a Women's newsletter and speak at different Ladies events.

For me, writing has been my colour of camouflage choice and my place of safety. Growing up in a Christian home, I learned very early the 'right' answers and had no problem articulating the expected words and responses, but they came from an empty heart. My ritual religiosity kept me from searching the depth of my being to discover the girl inside. I'm tired of the war within, yet I've lived like this for so long, that at times it just seems like it would be so much easier to just sever all ties here and move to some remote place where I could be free to begin again.

Lately God has been awaking this atrophied adventurer from her comfort-fit, camouflage Christianity and calling me to be all He created me to be. New colours and shades are going to be part of my wardrobe as He dresses me in all He has planned for me.

If you don't believe me...check out the daring purchase He encouraged me to buy just a couple of days ago (see "My Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat" post last week). Look out I come!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Hillbillies WERE spotted in Canada

Lysa and Holly, I just want to thank you for the most amazing weekend! This really was a God-story day from beginning to end. God did more than we could ask or imagine. The ripple effect over the past 2 and a half weeks has continued to flow from the live's of women who attended this event to touch the hearts of so many others as ladies are responding and saying 'yes' to God. My heart is so full. I am speechless. Sometimes silences speak louder than words. Love to you both.

(For Lysa's description of "Hillbillies" go to Lysa's blog and view the Feb 3, 2008 post entitled, "WARNING - Hillbillies spotted in Canada". Thank you.)

Mammogram memories

This morning I accompanied my sister as she went for her yearly mammogram. There's just a few things I want to say.

First, why do they do these exams in the lowest, basement level of the hospital? You're already dreading what lies ahead, and it feels like they are sending you to the dungeon. Not only that, but the elevators you have to use squeak and clang - I feel like I'm plunging to my death BEFORE we even arrive in the examination room.

Then, the elevator doors open, thankfully, and what else are we faced with? The morgue! We walk past empty stetchers used for transporting the deceased. It's a lovely feeling.

We finally make it to the mammogram department, and take our seats in the waiting room. When we arrived we were the only ones in the reception area, but in just a few short moments all the chairs are filled. Why? Because EVERYONE has brought a buddy, confirming that having a mammogram requires extra support.

My sister gets called in quite quickly, so those of us remaining begin the usual small talk. All conversation seems to be inspired by the anticipation of what lies ahead for those whose names are waiting to be called. Ladies are looking nervous. I seem to be the only one relaxed and smiling, but hey, my name won't be least not today.

Suddenly, the door opens, and in walks a husband and wife. OK...a guy has entered our private world. Does conversation change? NO! Talk continues as before. Ladies are comparing procedures, results, describing new methods and technology. It's at this moment that this one guy decides to interject his two cents worth. He begins to describe how HE thinks mammograms should be done. As he begins to describe the method he has in mind, trying to demonstrate visually a process that sounds worse than what we already endure, and one that he really knows nothing about, I think he begins to feel the tension that is rising in the room. He could feel the love. As quickly as he began to offer his advice, he wisely decides he's outnumbered with this audience and mumbles something about thinking he should withdrawn himself from this conversation.

My sister reappears in minutes and now she's smiling too. Her exam is over for another year. We grab our coats and leave. We escape through the stairs this time, not wanting to endure another trip through the labyrinth. question....why can't these mammography rooms be on the main floor - painted pink - with a free "Tim's" coffee as a reward for enduring the unimaginable?

My Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat

Yesterday I was commissioned as a "special agent" for my friend Moira. My mission, if I chose to accept it, was to travel to a little country store about 15 minutes north of my home to pick up some items she was having held for her there. She had travelled from out of town on the weekend to visit, "White Feather Country Store", and upon returning home had decided she HAD to have two articles she had left behind. In fact, she wanted them soooo badly, they were her first thought when she awoke the following morning. Thus, the e-mail that sent me on this specific duty.

When I arrived at the store, I decided to browse around quickly first before inquiring about the items Moira had on lay-away. This quaint little country store had expanded since my last visit and I was enjoying all the sights, sounds and smells. Beauty surrounded me. The aroma from the bakery tempted my tastebuds. Newborn little chicks were cheeping in an incubated home. I delighted in just strolling through the store, lost in a world of simplicity and pleasure.

Then...I saw it...the most amazing coat I had ever seen. There was only one. It was my size. I just had to try it on. A floor-length mirror revealed what I already knew - I felt great in that coat. I immediately understood what Joseph must have felt when his dad presented him with his coat of many colours. To be wrapped in a symphony of shades makes your heart sing. Thrilled with this purchase, I made my way to the check-out counter and to inquire about my friends items on hold.

The store clerk went to retrieve Moira's articles while I waited at the cashier. Suddenly a voice behind me said, "You and your friend have similar tastes". As I turned to look, the store clerk was approaching, holding the exact same coat in her hands! I couldn't believe it. Moira had chosen the very same jacket. Unbelievable! Now, the dilemma. Do I put my coat back or keep it? My thoughts went on a fast-track do I, don't I roller coaster. I finally rationalized that Moira lives a good hour and a half away from me, and we only see each other about once a year, so as long as I don't wear it when we are together, I concluded we'd be OK.

I hope all my sisters won't be jealous of my find and throw me in pit. I know I can guarantee they won't be bowing down to me!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

We have this moment

As I think about how precious each moment is that God grants to us, just want to share a reading that I have saved for years, that puts life in perspective. Enjoy!

Value Every Minute
By: Author Unknown

To realize the value of one year: Ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realize the value of one month: Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of one week: Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of one hour: Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of one minute: Ask the person who has missed the train, bus or plane.
To realize the value of one second: Ask a person who has survived an accident.
To realize the value of one millisecond: Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Tme waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have. You will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Has anybody seen my Dad?

My Dad's body sits hunched in a chair a visual reflection of his broken spirit. His hands lay listless in his lap, but I watch them shaking. His eyes, though open, see nothing. They no longer act as windows to his soul. He stares off into space, seemingly oblivious to the conversation surrounding him. He has withdrawn into his own private world of silence, letting no-one in. His cup of tea remains untouched on the table beside him. Even laughter doesn't invite him to join us. Words swirl and dance around the room, but they fall on deaf ears. What has happened to my Dad?

Dad has always been my Knight in shining armour. He was the first man I ever fell madly in love with and therefore I had very high expectations for all other suitors. My Dad's been the solid rock and provider for his family for over 60 years.

He captured my little girl heart and he never...never let me down or disappointed me. In his arms I felt safe. Hearing his voice brought comfort and security. He used to love playing Board Games and was a master storyteller. Dad had a natural ability to imitate others and he'd have me rolling on the floor in laughter as he would retell one story after another, fascinating and enrapturing his audience. All would listen spellbound as he travelled back to days past, adventures taken, tales of love, and my personal favourite - the story of the 'Dale Twins'. Dad would then recount the events surrounding the miraculous birth of my sister and I - the rush to the hospital - our birth at 25 weeks - no hope for our survival and then how God spared the life of two little 1-pound babies. Dad would hug me and all seemed right with the world.

He's been a faithful man of prayer. Early every morning I would see him go to his 'Prayer Chair', Bible in hand, and spend time with his Lord. His Bible is a treasure - dog-eared corners, scribbled margins - words that tell a lifetime of heartache and joy - a life lived before and for his King.

He adored my Mom - still at the age of 82 remarks on how beautiful she is to him. They used to hold hands. They would dance in the kitchen. Eat suppers by candlelight. He's been a romantic through and through. At times Dad goes through these motions still - they seem familiar - but the feeling is missing.

Dad's famous line has been, "Leave it with me". He never said 'no'. He has reached in and become involved in the lives of friends and strangers. He was never afraid or ashamed to speak of his Lord and he's led people to Christ in his home, his office, his car, on the street, in a restaurant, over the phone - God's love had no boundaries in my Dad's life. God was his life. God is his life. God sustains his life. Dad's life has been held in God's grip of grace. Now, I am the one reaching out - reaching in - wanting desperately to be included in Dad's life, but at times he doesn't even know who I am.

His daughters stole his heart. My sisters and I never for a moment have doubted that we are loved. We are his princesses. Whenever we've been damsels in distress, Dad would be there in seconds in response to a child's scream because an intruder - often a spider - had invaded their kingdom; a piece of living room furniture was lodged in a doorway and a royal daughter needed rescuing; a precious daughter was standing abandoned on the curbside as her car had failed her - but her Daddy never did; or something broke and needed to be repaired. My sisters and I always believed that Daddy could fix anything.

Now, Daddy needs fixing and I am helpless. I see him withdrawing into himself. He speaks seldom and his words carry no emotion. They are sad and raw. His world is changing. He has been stripped of his driving privileges. He feels stripped of his worth. He talks of people invisible. He has become fearful. My once strong, brave, dependable Daddy can no longer carry me and my concerns. I'm not prepared for the changes I'm seeing and I don't welcome them. Dad has gone downhill quickly. Too fast. I want to build moguls on the slope to slow down the aging process. I need the respite of a few speed bumps.

Although he sits with me now - still my parent - our roles have changed. The man who once provided for my every need has lost all energy. He speaks of being a sorry excuse for a Dad. Tears stream down my face. That's not true. He's a great Dad. The Best Dad. I hug him, but his arms that once held me so tight now attempt to respond, but fall away.

A feeling of being all alone envelopes me. I want more than the memories of who my Dad used to be. I want my Daddy back.

(Note to those of you who read this who know my parents. I ask that you would use this post as a source of prayer not gossip. My parents live very private lives and, although I felt the need to express my thoughts right now, I would appreciate your confidentiality concerning my Dad's health. Please continue in prayer. Thank you.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008


"My Daddy doesn't believe in Jesus"

My breath caught in my throat as I heard this statement coming from the lips of a precious little four year old girl. In the rotation of volunteers for our children's program at the church the other morning, I found myself helping with the 4 and 5 year olds while their mom's attended a weekly Bible study. Upon hearing this confession, suddenly all the other children began to suggest ways that their little friend could show Jesus to her Daddy. She could love her Daddy. She could obey her Daddy. She could pray for her Daddy. Everyone wanted her Daddy to know Jesus.

We probably all have someone in our life who doesn't believe in Jesus. Maybe it's a parent...a friend...a neighbour...a co-worker...a child...a spouse. Do we have the same longing to see them come to a saving knowledge of the Lord? Are our lives reflecting Christ so that others desire to know Him? Do we make Christ attractive by our behavior and speech? Are we willing to share our faith with others?

These questions began confronting me and not letting me go just over two years ago when I lost a really dear friend who took her own life. (See posts written December 2005 - "A Quote Good Friend" and "Horseshoes and Hand Grenades") She did not believe in Jesus. Had I done all I could to speak truth to her in love and guide her to the One who brought hope when all of life seemed to be suffocating? The circumstances in her life seemed too overwhelming and in the end they demanded every last breath from her. The feeling of failing her, crushed me. Visions of her sweet face crying out from eternal fire plagued me night and day. She was always screaming the same question - Why didn't you make me believe? Oh if only I could.

I think of other friends and family right now that I am storming heaven for in regards to their salvation. Like the old cliche says, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink". God calls us to be His witnesses, but we have to leave each heart response to Him. The Holy Spirit alone is the only one who can open up the eyes of those in darkness and remove spiritual blinders.

I carried the weight and responsibility of my friends death for a long time. One day another dear friend of mine reminded me that nothing I said, or didn't say, would keep someone from giving their life to the Lord. I was carrying a needless burden. God doesn't need me to bring anyone to a saving knowledge of Himself. He doesn't need me, but He could use me. He could have also used someone else. He could have spoken to her in a quiet whisper. He could have revealed Himself to her through creation. And maybe He did all those things, but she chose to reject Him each time. Just as I can't take the glory for any ladies who have responded to an invitation of salvation that I have had the privilege of praying with and introducing to the Lord, I did not need to take the blame for the choice my friend made. She refused and rejected God on her own.

The blame may be gone, but the hurt is still there. I think of the fun times we had. The visits over coffee. Craft sales. Taking our children to swimming lessons. Sharing decorating ideas. Fixing up our gardens together. I miss her greatly. Oh may the Lord use her life and death to encourage me to share my love for Him with even more passion to those who don't know Him. I don't want to live with any more reqrets. I don't want her life to have been lived in vain.

And Lord, for this Daddy who doesn't believe in You, would You be so gracious to spare his life until this precious little child can rejoice that her Daddy on earth will be with her someday when she meets her Father in heaven.

Friday, February 15, 2008


100 Reasons Why I Love My Husband...

(I was inspired to do this after reading a post by Ashley. I need to take time to focus on all the great things about my husband. I actually had this list compiled very quickly and more ideas kept coming.)

1. His generosity
2. His loving hands
3. The way he barbecues my steak just perfectly
4. Taking our son downhill skiing
5. Surprising me with a trip to Florida
6. Taking school holidays off work so he can do things with his family
7. Sending me flowers to work
8. He makes the most delicious waffles
9. He's such an amazing water-skiier
10. Golfing together as a family
11. Encouraging me as I learn to play the violin
12. Supporting our son in his passion for music
13. Always sitting beside me in church
14. Shovelling my parents driveway
15. Bringing home "chick flicks" every now and again
16. Taking me to "Tim's" for coffee
17. Buying the most romantic cards
18. Taking out the garbage faithfully
19. Never telling me I over-spend
20. Eating my cooking
21. His quick sense of humour
22. Fixing our central-vac
23. Always having time for sports with our son - even right after work when he's tired
24. Not going too fast when we're out biking
25. Treating our teenage son like a man, not a child
26. Suggesting we go out for breakfast - then waiting patiently while I get ready
27. He's the most talented craftsman
28. His integrity
29. The way his co-workers respect him
30. Listening to him pray
31. Seeing him sitting reading his Bible
32. His gorgeous eyes
33. The strength in his arms
34. His love for reading
35. His passion for God
36. His faithfulness in attending men's events at the church
37. Taking me to "Williams" on a date night
38. Helping our son with his math and science - he's a genius
39. Going as a chaperone on school camping trips
40. Taking our son on father/son overnight adventures
41. His patience with me
42. Sitting on the beach together
43. Thinking of me and bringing home a chocolate surprise
44. Suggesting we go out for dinner
45. Sauteeing vegetables for supper
46. Sharing domestic duties - like loading and emptying the dishwasher
47. Sitting and reading together
48. All the lawn and garden work he does
49. Washing my car
50. Watching him play sports - he's so athletic
51. Accepting the fact he has to go to a restaurant to get liver and onions - YUCK
52. Taking me to the movies
53. Being such a wonderful financial provider for our family
54. Encouraging me to go back to work after 15 years of being a stay-at-home Mom
55. Picking up the slack around the house because I did (see #54)
56. Quickly responding to the needs at my parents home
57. Loving my family
58. Making church on Sunday a priority
59. When he reaches for my hand
60. Giving up his dream home and moving so our son could attend a better school
61. Watching him walk to the front of the church in a response to God's call
62. His financial generosity when he sees a need
63. Having a cup of tea ready for me when I get home from work at 9:30pm
64. He's an amazing artist
65. His fun in playing games together as a family on rainy days at the trailer
66. Bringing home the "Clipper Clup" golf trophy - He makes me proud of him
67. Feeling our shoulders touch while sitting in church
68. When he suggests we go shopping
69. The fun he has on "Kijiji" browsing for sale items
70. His thoughtfulness in writing a birthday and Christmas wishlist to help my family with gift ideas in their budget range
71. Encouraging me to have time with girlfriends
72. Patiently listening to me tell the same story...AGAIN
73. Enjoying my enthusiasm for Women's Ministry
74. Vacumming because he knows I'm feeling overwhelmed
75. Preparing Christmas dinner for our family gathering each year
76. Being home every night for dinner
77. Calling me every night if he's away on a business trip
78. Not complaining about our often messy laundry room
79. Understanding my need to spend quiet time writing
80. His laughter
81. When he laughs at his own jokes
82. His ability with tools
83. Being my calm as we host Christmas dinner every year
84. He's not afraid to change diapers
85. Taking time off work to attend school assemblies
86. Eating frozen, store-bought pizza without complaining when I forget about dinner
87. Tolerating the "Princess" and "Dance" themes around our home
88. Listening....and listening some more
89. The effort he takes to go out of town to shop for me so that he will not run into anyone he knows and my gift will be a complete surprise
90. Driving days to Florida because he knows I'm nervous flying
91. Calling his Dad constantly and keeping in touch with his family
92. Teaching me to eat slower
93. Patiently and lovingly is a one-man clean-up crew when our son is sick
94. He can repair ANYTHING
95. He is the most wonderful father
96. He makes me feel safe
97. He is so intelligent
98. Self-sacrificing - giving up his favourite radio station and listening to some of my favourite speaker CD's when we're driving for hours in the car
99. His dedication to keeping fit physically
100 Committing to love me for life.

I love you, honey.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I have been really challenged today while reading three other blog posts to be more open in my writing. I usually only share the safe stuff. Some lovely little thought or devotional writing based on a truth I've just encountered as I've experienced God's Hand in my life. But, what about all those silent days? The days I question, wonder, and search to find myself. They make up the majority of my journey and I need to admit I'm so far from perfect.

Thought I'd begin by sharing my most recent quest. It all began in November after attending a Women's event out of town. Instead of being encouraged by the speakers testimony, this ladies walk with the Lord only magnified the fact that my life was so far from where it should be. As I compared myself with her, I saw only failure and I fell into a pit of discouragement. My days became full of doubt and confusion. All my faults were highlighted and Satan began to heap condemnation on my heart. Unfortunately, I listened to him. I withdrew into a very dark place. I began questioning my salvation. Did I understand true repentance? Was I, like Oswald Chambers describes, just simply sorry for having made foolish mistakes - a reflex action caused by self-disgust - or had I really experienced God's saving forgiveness? If a life of faith was characterized by freedom - why wasn't I free? Why was I living with tremendous fear? Where was my "joy of the Lord"? I saw my life as a "sounding gong and a tinkling cymbal" - a song played on a cheap instrument - a cheap, fake copy that wasn't real.

I fell prey to some very dark days. I lost sight of the Lord. My life felt so hypicritical. Here I was leading 2 Bible studies - teaching truths I was struggling to believe. So much of my life has been set on performance mode and I was living a life of evangelical overload. I thought if I could just push all the right buttons, then God would be happy with me. Everything I was doing was because I was trying to maintain this image of who everyone perceived me to be. I felt like one of those actors who gets cast for a certain role over and over again because the public see them as that character they portray, when all along it's been a performance - it's not who they are inside. I felt like a carbonated beverage that had been all shaken up. The pressure and foaming inside had reached capacity. There was no room to breathe. Because of time, the lid on the bottle had fused and shifted in such a way that I was left trapped inside. I was desparately wanting to be 'found'. As I listened to the song, "Where are you Christmas?" on the radio, my heart was crying out, "Where are you Joy?"

An unplayed song was writing itself across my heart. I began to journal all the thoughts that I didn't have courage to voice. Unspoken cries. Silent pleadings in dark, lonely places that I was too afraid to share. Whispers of my heart that resonated and echoed in secret hideaways. Looking in the window of my soul would have revealed a stranger to many. It was winter there. The cold had wrapped me, confined me. I was frozen and numb. My heart needed thawing. My life had become a shell - a pretty shell to some, but when you put me to your ear, there was nothing - no symphony of waves - only silence. My life had been battered on the shores of time.

What I longed for was love. To experience a fresh romance with God. FINALLY, I cried out to Him in my anguish - but this time I listened and waited for His response. I faintly heard God shouting the childhood call from afar, "Olly-Olly-Oxen-Free, Come out, Come out, wherever you are". I realized that God had not lost sight of me, but just like when He called to Adam in the Garden of Eden, "Where are you Adam?", God wanted me to admit that I was hiding and needed to be found. I prayed, "Lord, I want to come running back to You."


I read that and instantly knew - JOY WILL BE FOUND! The following verse from Jeremiah 31:4 continued to speak healing to my lost heart - "You will build me up again and I will be rebuilt. I will take up my tambourine and go out to dance with the joyful!" I immediately wanted to go tambourine shopping!

Life didn't suddenly, magically do an about face, but I began to fix my gaze on the Author and Finisher of my faith. God's love began to fall fresh on me and as I uncovered my life and became real, He covered me with His mercy, grace and love.

I'm still on a journey. The darkness at times calls me to retreat again, but I'm holding on to the Light.

It's frightening posting this. I'll probably waver over that "Publish Post" button for awhile. So many friends and family have no idea of the inner battles I have fought. The costumes I've worn have fit perfectly and fooled many. I'm unpacking my "tickle trunk" (remember "Mr. Dressup"?). In fact - thinking I'll destroy that chest completely. Will you join me?

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

The Eye of the Beholder

For Christmas my son gave me a silver charm link for my bracelet. On the little square are the words, "Eat Sleep DANCE". This is special to me for two reasons. One, it is a visual reminder of my theme verse from Ecclesiasties for 2007 - "There is...a time to dance". But, what makes it even more meaningful is the fact that my 15 year old son would think of the message it speaks to my heart and purchase it for me. Dancing to me has come to represent embracing the unknown and stepping out on the dance-floor of life. It's willingly taking God's Hand as the music begins to play and trusting the Lord of the dance.

As much as I love this gift, there's one small problem. I think it had been previously owned and returned because it was upside down in the container and the package had been opened and retaped. That in itself isn't an issue, but the fact that the charm had already discoloured and turned green spoke of its quality. Now, I am in no way insinuating that my son is cheap. For the record, he also purchased me the "August Rush" soundtrack, (something I myself had been searching for right up until Dec. 23rd - Where he found it I'll never know), and he also gave me a DVD on "Beginner's Ballroom Dancing" (move over Hannah Montana! - see - Feb 6/08 entry). So finances didn't seem to be the issue. I decided I wouldn't say anything about this defect, but thought that maybe one day while at the Mall I would secretly replace it and my son would never know the difference.

However, the other night I removed my jewellery before washing the dinner dishes (yes - a job I still often do by hand - only because I don't run our dishwasher often enough and it was full to overflowing!), I had set this bracelet on the counter. My son was walking by and noticed it laying there and exclaimed, "Hey...Cool, one of your little charms is green!"

I said, "It's the one you gave me for Christmas."

He responded - "WOW - That's so neat! It makes it extra special!"

What's that expression? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder? What I was viewing as cheap and inferior, my son saw as special and unique.

I often look at myself and see all that's discoloured in my life - all my faults, failures and inadequacies, but God looks down and says, "You are precious and honoured in My sight...I love you." Is.43:4 What if He was as quick to pick me up and cast me aside because of my flaws or exchange me based on my appearance? So thankful that God sees past this outer shell and loves and accepts me just the way I am and at the same time sees me as who I can be in Him. He doesn't place value on perfectionism, but on surrender.

This little charm now not only speaks to me of my son's love for me, but also my Heavenly Father's love for me too.

As Kermit the Frog sings, it may not always be easy being 'green', but God is colouring my life with a rainbow of shades and I need to enjoy the hues that are uniquely mine because I'm uniquely His!!!