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Archive for June, 2016

 

Walking is an activity that goes beyond movement or exercise.

We walk for many reasons. We might walk for the exercise, or to be in the fresh air, or to reach a destination, or to clear our heads, or to spend time with a friend (fur friends included).

Recently I left the house later in the evening, knowing that the long-stretching daylight would brighten my path … and, I hoped, my mood.

I walked, alongside the WonderDog, who seemed to know that my mood would not be compassionate to his frequent pulling. As I walked, I groaned.

Like tectonic plates under the Earth’s surface, a domino-like catastrophic event seemed to be rocking my world, and I wanted to respond in volcanic fashion. I was holding nothing back, and God was getting an earful of the really real me. I honestly do not even recall anything that I said, heard or smelled, until I reached a beautiful vista of the valley below my neighbourhood. It was then that my heart began to hear the still small voice, through the lyrics of an old hymn.

“This is my Father’s World” started reverberating in my thoughts out of nowhere.

I have had this sort of interruption often enough to know to listen to the message.

“This is my Father’s world …”

Not mine, His.

” … and to my listening ears
all nature sings, and round me rings
the music of the spheres …”

And I listened … to the birds, the insects.

” … I rest me in the thought
of rocks and trees, of skies and seas;
his hand the wonders wrought …”

What an amazing world we have in which to live.

” … the birds their carols raise,
the morning light, the lily white,
declare their maker’s praise …”

All of creation shouting out praises to the Creator.

” … this is my Father’s world:
he shines in all that’s fair;
in the rustling grass I hear him pass;
he speaks to me everywhere …”

Yes he does, for he interrupted my groaning with reminders that his creation is made to praise him.

” … this is my Father’s world.
O let me ne’er forget
that though the wrong seems oft so strong,
God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world:
why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is King; let the heavens ring!
God reigns; let the earth be glad! “

God, our father and the maker of heaven and Earth, is in control.

I looked out over the valley below, looked at the colours of the setting sun painted  across the sky, smelled the scent of flowers on a nearby bush, heard the crickets, the birds, the panting of the WonderDog at my side. All of creation singing their praises to the Creator.

That night I was reminded that he is in control, and that we still need, and are able to praise him, though no Earthly solutions are within our view.

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That common, dreamy, fairy tale ending …

“… and they lived happily ever after.”

As little girls, we were read such stories.

As we grew up, we hoped for our own happily-ever-after futures.

As adults, we sometimes wonder if we will ever get such an ending, or we simply wonder how our life can seem more like existence in the dungeon than living comfortably in the castle.

The thing is, the fairy tales we read are just that, fairy tales. They are not really real, nor do they reveal the rest of the story.

Wouldn’t it be great to find out what Cinderella thought of her mother-in-law? Or how Sleeping Beauty and the Prince survived their colicky babes? Or what Snow White thought of rarely seeing her dwarf friends, because she had royal subjects to tend to first. Or, maybe the prince, from Beauty and the Beast, let his inner beast out making Belle wonder why she ever trusted him?

These dreamy stories last only long enough to whet our romantic appetites, leaving our real lives to sometimes feel like we are thirsting in the desert, rather than drinking from the fountain of love.

“… and they lived happily ever after”

How do we achieve happily ever after in the real world, in real life?

Well … bad news,

as there is no guarantee, there is no formula, and there is no fairy godmother who can wave a wand and create a magical spell to fall upon your reality horror-program-like life.

Marriage is life in the trenches of expectations, dirty diapers, sleepless nights, impossible schedules, difficult times with teens and more bills to pay than pay coming in. Add to that PMS, stress, health issues, and you have a cauldron bubbling with more stank than Shrek ever had in the swamp!

A happily ever after ending does have a common foundation, though. It is that the beginning and the middle anticipate that the ending comes at the end … the end of life as we know it. It is a white knuckled determination to honour, love and stick with your prince/princess no matter what forces attack the drawbridge … even if they come from within!

But it is more than that. It is not enough to simply get to the end together, but is a constant, daily pursuit of a together that goes beyond fulfilling the letter of the law, and into the deep, intimate union of body, mind and soul.

In our real life relationships, we cannot expect this perfect pursuit from our prince/princess every day, but it does need to be the goal … for both parties.

So, lets aim for that happily ever after. We might not make it to the ballroom every night, but at least we will have our gown/tux ever ready in the closet. To aim any lower is to jump for the drawbridge as it’s lifting … never sure if our feet will land safely on the other side.

 

 

 

 

 

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 When I wear heels, I feel as though my life might be in danger. Heck, I don’t even feel particularly capable of walking a straight line in flats!

Grace, as in elegant movement, is something I am lacking greatly.

Then there is the grace offered in the New Testament, which J. I. Packer describes this way:

Grace means God moving heaven and earth to save sinners who could not lift a finger to save themselves. Grace means God sending His only Son to descend into hell on the cross so that we guilty ones might be reconciled to God and received into heaven. ‘God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.’ 2 Corinthians 5:21.

That is a grace I have in abundance! Not because of anything that I have done, for that is impossible, but a grace that is personally for me, for all people cloaked in the sacrifice of God, through his son, Jesus.

That is a grace that is far beyond my own understanding, and it lifts me far higher than the stilettos I nervously might try to walk in.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace” Ephesians 1:7.

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I recently read a line that said,

“Congratulations, high school graduate … on completing the easiest phase of life.”

I laughed heartily in agreement.

Sometimes, as full fledged adults we forget that the level of ‘difficult’ in life has little to do with what we are going through, and more to do with how we feel, how we cope, whether we succeed or fail.

High school graduation is something worth celebrating.

And it is the season for celebrating just that.

I’ve been thinking about some of those who are graduating this season, and thinking about what I want to share with each of them … but, there are so many of them! So, I have decided to narrow my thoughts to what I would would want to wish for all of them.

Last year, while working in a grade 12 Bible class, the teacher shared something that I believe to be both simple and profound.

“I am saved

I am being saved

I will be saved”

To the high school graduate, moving from the more dependent phase of life, into the more independent phase, I believe you need to have the haunting knowledge that you are loved by the creator of your DNA … (the basis of life). I believe you need to know that that creator has not only created you, not only loves you, but that same creator was, and is, and will never stop redeeming you from all that would keep you from your creator.

Romans 8:38-39 gives us assurance of the power of our creator, God:

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 

It is that assurance that allows parents the ability (albeit not always eagerly) to let you go off into your life’s adventures (but don’t forget to come back and share your experiences with ol’ mom and dad). It is that assurance that allows new graduates to know that they do not go off into their futures alone.

So, congratulations, high school graduate!

Know that I will be praying for your future to be haunted … by the knowledge of the pursuit of your creator.

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The planning, preparations and practise began last summer.

My daughter was desiring to have a vegetable garden and a clothesline.

Both desires sounded great, and so we dabbled our toes into the practises of many generations before us.

A rope was tied between our deck post and a tree, and we both utilized the natural drying and whites-bleaching power of the sun.

We made our veggie purchases and planted them in containers and enjoyed harvesting potatoes, veggies and herbs into the fall.

This spring, we have kicked it up a notch.

Pulleys and clotheline were purchased and (this weekend) installed.

A frame was constructed, filled with soil, and vegetables planted.

These ideas, dreamed in my daughter’s imagination, have come to fruition (hopefully literally in regards to the garden), and I stood back, last night, smiled … and thought of one of my grandmothers.

My memories of her were of quilting, baking bread, hanging laundry on the clothesline and gathering food from from the gardens of her generous neighbours … like the gleaners in the Bible.

She was confident and content. She had her opinions, and was not shy in sharing them. She (in her mid 80s) still picked up ‘the old ladies’ on her street so that they could get to church on Sunday mornings. She made the effort to see her kids and grandchildren, never sitting at home, glumly waiting for them to come to her. She loved to sing in her little church choir … even though she sounded like Lucille Ball. She loved to watch Carol Burnett in hysterical laughter. She loved to have her back scratched. She prayed.

After her husband died at a too young age, I remember having sleep-overs with her, in her fresh-air-smelling bedding. Before the light was turned out, she reached for her Bible and her Daily Bread devotional. She would read the verses appointed for that day, followed by the application in the devotional. Then, we would pray, each of us silent. Me, silently waiting for her to give me a good night hug, signifying the end of our silence. She concentrating seriously as her lips moved silently.

Last night I felt her absence, felt the absence of her faithful prayers for my life, for the lives of those I love.

Yet, the fruit of her prayers continue to ripen, in the lives of those who snuggled by her side in her dried-on-the-clothesline sheets, and those who never knew such delights.

May the harvest of those prayers of dedication and trust continue this summer, and may I be as faithful in my silent prayers … that the best dreams come to fruition.

 

 

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