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Archive for April, 2014

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I love order!

I love cleanliness!

I love for everything to have a place, and be in it!

(not that one could always know that by entering my home).

I also know that, often, progress happens by making a mess.

That plate of homemade brownies can cost a flour-dusted kitchen.

That visit from friends with little ones or grandchildren can cost a messy living room.

That hoard of teen girls preparing for the school dance can leave the bathroom looking like the ‘samples’ counter of Cover Girl.

That group of students over for a swim party can leave the pool deck looking like Free Willy had landed in your pool.

Years ago, while planning an event for women it was suggested having popcorn to nibble on, while watching the movie in the sanctuary. To which another woman replied, “in the sanctuary? We can’t have that mess in the sanctuary.”

This was not a comment from a fuddy duddy, or an older lady, or even the church custodian … this was a comment from a mom of young kids!

Over the years, as that scene from the past has played out in my head, I have realized that I was not shocked that a young woman would struggle so much with the idea of popcorn, as

mess

in the church sanctuary.

You see, there are times when we enter the sanctuary of church, and we are a mess.

We bring our doubts, our fears, our heartaches, our losses

and we top those off with a drizzling of sin

every time we enter into the church sanctuary.

And it is the responsibility of the believers around us, to help lead us to the one who can clean up our mess.

The Bible is full of people who were a mess. The Psalms are full of David’s cries out to God for help. Job sat on a dung pile trying to scrape the scabs from his skin. Jonah ran away from God’s will and ended up in a whale. Mary was an unwed teen. Paul spent time in prison. And Jesus … well, His cross would not be acceptable in very many (any?) sanctuaries that I know of … too messy!

Life isn’t clean, and neat and tidy …

life is a mess,

and we need to be prepared that either we will be cleaning up the mess of others,

or our own.

Charles Colton said so well,

“Life isn’t like a book.
Life isn’t logical or sensible or orderly.
Life is a mess most of the time.
And theology must be lived in the midst of that mess.”

For progress to take place, we need to be prepared for the mess in the process of life … even in the sanctuary.

 

 

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When I was first pregnant, over two decades ago, I read every book I could find on pregnancy and parenting. I was certain that I could read how to do it, and that if I followed whatever these books prescribed, my child bearing and rearing would be perfectly flawless.

Though there are many great books at the local bookstores and online, it didn’t take too long to realize that raising a child is not something that you can learn from a book, nor is there a prescribed parenting style that can properly raise every child, by every parent.

It seems thatcwe simply need to acknowledge that we will do much of our ‘how to parent’ education on our feet.

As I look back over the parenting years, I am also forced to look forward.

In one year, our eldest daughter will complete her undergrad program in university.

In one year, our youngest daughter will complete high school.

In three years, our son and youngest child, will also graduate high school.

The ‘active’ parenting season is coming to a close.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not wish them babies again as I love the novelties and adventures that the teen and young adult stages of life bring to them, and then to us.

It’s just that …

as I look back three years …

  • our faux son (and his sister) from China, came to live with us as an International Student, and he will graduate, and move on to university in the months to come.
  • I made the change from part time work to full time.
  • my youngest daughter was entering high school.
  • only one child in the house was taller than me, and now I am the shortest.

Three years goes fast!

And the living and life of today, with our kids, will not return again.

And so, as I look back, and look ahead, I am learning a new lesson (one the parenting books failed to mention).

My choices and decisions for the next three years will be considered through a new lens …

one that reminds me of the time I have left with my kids under my roof.

Each question, each opportunity to do something with them (even when I am so very busy with my ‘important’ life), each invitation from them to join them in their desired activities, will be first viewed through the question of :

there are only about ___ days, months, weeks with this child …

will I regret having said “no” when they are gone?

“So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.”

Psalm 90:12

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“Where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?”

The other night I was repeatedly listening to a song, when I noticed a friend who lives not too far away, posted that she had just felt what she was certain must have been an earthquake.

Indeed it was an earthquake on the Northwest Coast. Another physical reminder that ‘the big one’ is anticipated … some day …

I thought it ironic that I was hearing about an earthquake, while listening to the song called Pompeii, by the English band, Bastille. Pompeii, of course, being the Roman city which, in 79AD, was covered by up to over twenty feet of volcanic ash, when Mount Vesuvius erupted, decimating the community. Although the name of the song, and even it’s ‘story’ is a reminder of death and destruction, the song has a fantastic beat that beckons the listeners feet to tap (at a minimum).

When the city of Pompeii was re-discovered, almost two hundred years after it’s burial, people were found entombed by solidified ash, in the very positions they were when they died.

According to lead singer Dan Smith, the song’s lyrics are his imaginings of a conversation between two individuals as they were living and breathing their last in that city of great tragedy.

One line in the song is :

“Where do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?”

Those lines seem so fitting to be contemplating as one is potentially facing eternity (and aren’t we all?).

Genesis 2:7 tells us,

“ … the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul”

Clearly, our beginning comes when God breaths life into us … we are not a body, we are a soul.

Then Ecclesiastes 12:7 tells us of our Earthly ending,

 “The dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it”

Our dusty human bodies will, like the people of Pompeii, return to their earthly beginnings, and our spirit back to the hands of the one who gave it.

The end.

NOT!

John 11:25 provides something

beyond death …

“I am the resurrection and the life.
He who believes in Me,
though he may die,
he shall live.”

Beyond the rubble, beyond the sin we begin with believing in our Creator.

 

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Yours, Lord, is the greatness and the power
    and the glory and the majesty and the splendor,
    for everything in heaven and earth is yours.

1 Corinthians 29:11

I love wonder!
(like you didn’t know that!)

Yesterday morning I was introduced with the guest post of today, and it is FULL of wonder!

A few years back the band Starfield produced a song called Filled with Your Glory (written by Tim and Jon Neufeld), which expresses the realization of how great the Creator of the heavens and the Earth is, in a manner similar to David in Psalm 8. The wonder of God’s ordered creation is expressed in the following lyrics :

“From the ends of the earth
To the heights of Heaven
Your glory, Lord, is far and wide
Through history You reign on high

From the depths of the sea
To the mountain’s summit
Your power, Lord, it knows no bounds
A higher love cannot be found

So let the universe proclaim
Your great power and Your great name
The whole earth
Is filled with Your glory, Lord
Angels and men adore
(Mountains bow and oceans roar)
Creation longs for what’s in store
May You be
Honored and glorified
Exalted and lifted high
Here at Your feet I lay my life”

In a similar way, the extreme photographic skills shared in the following TED talk, by Louie Schwartzberg, depict the power, the majesty, the glory and the intricacy of detail and order that our world holds.

How GREAT the Father’s love for us … that He would provide wonders anew every morning!

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The week after a holiday can sometimes be one of being revived, or it can be one of let down.

Whichever week you have had, it is now the weekend, and whether the sun shines it’s face upon us or not, we have this time to renew, rest and enjoy recreation that the Monday to Friday routine might not avail to us.

The most viewed post of this past week was The First Week After Lent.

Also this week were :

A Good Teacher
(a teacher who motivates me to be better)

Mother Heart Thankfulness
(some days the sun shines so brightly upon our children through the people in their lives)

How to Parent from our Knees
(is there any other way to parent? really?)

A Day of Blessing
(a good reminder that we are loved)

Blessings to you this day,
Carole

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Good morning!

We have made it to the end of the week, having accomplished, messed up, rested or lay awake and saw each hour on the clock at night.

Today, I just want to leave a message that I read on the blog of Susie Larson. Check out her blog … you will leave it feeling as though she has encouraged, supported and affirmed you!

May this be a day of blessing!
Carole

Start a Day Blessing:

May you begin to see your disappointments
as divine appointments.

May your spirit-eyes
open up to God’s invitation to something better,
something deeper,
something profoundly fitted for you.

May you lift your eyes
and see how your whole story
fits in the bigger story God is writing
for His Namesake.

When you’re tempted to look down in angst,
may you instead look up and pray,
not only for yourself,
but for the many who struggle
in ways similar to you,
but who don’t know how to pray like you do!

God intends to solve some of the world’s problems
through you.

Trust Him
and let Him
use you in ways that are beyond you!

Have a great day.

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One of our kids was maxed out! You know, more assignments than time, more bills than money, more work than hours to rest. This child was down, discouraged and dreading the next day to come.

I was left feeling powerless. There was nothing I could do to change the circumstances. There was nothing I could do to tangibly assist with all that was needing to be done, without acting as a rescuer … and we all know that, that does not help long-term. There was nothing I could remember from all of those parenting books. I was feeling powerless, and yet I felt such a desire to lessen the load for this child.

So I did all that I could do.

I prayed.

I prayed that this child would sense God’s presence.

I prayed that this child would put all trust and faith in Him (because we all tend to grab the steering wheel of life at times).

I prayed that this child would find a way in the busyness of life to take a Sabbath rest (don’t we all need that reminder?).

And I prayed more specific things for this child.

And I prayed every day, multiple times a day. It seemed that the more I prayed, the more this child was in my consciousness to remember to pray.

And just a few days later, this child came home telling me stories … stories of answered prayers.

This child did not know that these stories were ones of answered prayer, until I shared that. But, this child did not know the weight of that reality like I did.

You see, I pray for my kids each and every day. Most days, I admit, I do so out of robotic habit. And most days it seems the answer is

“wait”

But, this time I prayed differently, I prayed out of the desperation of a mother’s heart. There was simply nothing I had any earthly power to do to change the circumstances, and so I bowed to the One who I knew was the ONLY one who loved this child more than I do. I humbled myself, and offered my child up to God, in desperation.

God’s answers do not always come this quickly, or this joyfully, but we do need to remember that, on our knees (physically, or mentally) is the best way to parent.

And the prayer offered in faith
will make the sick person well;
the Lord will raise them up.
If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.

James 5:15

 

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