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Archive for the ‘WONDER’ Category

I am not a father. I do not know what it is like to be a father. That said, I think it must be tough to be a dad.

The biological part is, of course, the easiest.

The role of father has many expectations … spoken and presumed of, wordlessly.

Dads are expected to do everything a mom does, from earning a living, to changing diapers, to snuggles at bedtime, to helping with homework, to fixing the car, the meals and the owies. In all of that (and more), dads and moms are expected to do all that is needed to raise a little human into an independent and contributing member of society. This is good, as it is only right that both parties should invest equal effort to do such an important task as raising a real live human.

But, equality is not often reality. Sure there are some tasks (feeding, helping with homework, bandaging cuts and making a nut-free lactose-free gluten-free sandwich that either parent can manage, but not all parenting tasks are for both parents.

Our kids know that I am most definitely NOT the one to call if they have questions about phone plans, car insurance or their tire pressure. Sure I could Google it, but I just do not know, and do not care to know … because their dad has more interest, more knowledge and more experience in those areas of parenting.

They also know that their dad is the one who is most likely to order pizza, take them for Chinese or buy them a burger.

Both of us can offer a hug or sit and chat for hours, but I am more likely to initiate these … because that is how I am inclined to speak love to our kids. Whereas their dad is more likely to drop whatever he is doing to help them with whatever they request … because that is how he is inclined to speak love.

It is tough for dads, because, often, their love language is often not one of nurture (though it can be for some, as there are always exceptions). We, humanly, see love in a very narrow way … as affection … but love can be expressed in so many other ways, in so many other languages … we just need to tune our ears to the language that is being spoken.

In our world today there is so much negativity spoken about men, about the failures and weaknesses of men. Yet, there are also the good men, who have lived their lives as a service to others, to their kids.

The ones who take the place of one who only contributed biologically.

The ones who toss their kids in the air for the joyful giggles that follow.

The ones who race into the packed auditorium just to catch their child’s school performance.

The ones who tell dad jokes or the when I was a child stories.

The ones who take their kids to swimming, to football, to their friends houses, or pick them up late at night.

The ones who drop whatever they are doing to help their kids figure out their phone plan, their car insurance, to sell their vehicle, to figure out their bank account,

to order pizza …

To all those dads who do so much more for us than we often acknowledge … simply because we see love through a definition that does not include your unique expressions of love and commitment …

Thank-you … don’t give up!

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I sat across a table listened to her share her horrific, childhood-stealing moments of her life. Her words, spoken clearly, as though recounting every detail in her mind’s eye … as though walking through each and every event, as though a part of her was that awkward adolescent, hurting all over again.

After she recounted her story, for over two of the fastest moving hours of my life, she looked into my eyes and said, “thank-you for listening to my story. Next time, I want to hear yours, because I think you have a story to tell too.

I smiled, for she was right and because she knew what I know …

the pain in our own lives awakens our subconscious to the pain that others try to hide.

Recently I was watching a clip from the BBC’s A Royal Team Talk, and a statement by Prince William caught my full attention:

“It (bereavement) also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved. So instantly, when you talk to someone else … You can almost see it in their eyes sometimes.”

As I digested his words, I realized that ‘bereavement’ could be replaced by the word ‘pain’ or ‘trauma’ … words that signify an injury, a mental or emotional bruising that can only be seen by eyes, by souls who recognize it … mirrored through their own lives and experiences.

Psalm 56:8 gives us insight into the understanding God has of our pain, trauma and grief:

“You number my wanderings.
You put my tears into your bottle.
Aren’t they in your book?”

Ellicott’s Commentary speaks of this verse:

wandering, which, from the parallelism with “tears,” must mean “mental restlessness,” the “tossings to and fro of the mind,” “my inmost things.”

The pain a person carries is a most mentally restless scar … one that is worn, quite often, under a broad smile. It takes an understanding, a knowledge that such pain can, that it does exist for it to be seen beneath the bandage of a cosmetic smile.

It is quite amazing when another crosses our path, who really sees, who clearly sees what lies beneath the joy on our faces.

God sees … he sees the pain and grief because he knows pain and grief, because he has collected our tears, even the ones that never left our eyes.

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It is said that if you want to know what you value, look at how you spend your money. I think that is probably a good indicator, but I also think that what (if) we pray indicates what we value.

I was motivated recently to pray about something I had not prayed about before.

Before this motivation, I had thought it was a good idea, but somehow I had never gotten my act together to find a way to remind me, daily, to pray in this direction.

In the image, above, you will see two bowties and a necklace contained in a framed shadowbox. It is and onto a wall inside our bedroom door, as a reminder to pray … for the future spouses, future marriages or future as a single (because marriage isn’t for everyone) for each of our (adult) children.

Marriage, the representation of how God loves his church (his people), is not for the faint of heart. It can make or break a person, it can make us better, or bitter. It is as much about how we respond to what another does to us (good and bad) as what they do. It is an exercise in working to achieve 100:100 (50:50 is only just surviving).

It is the story of God (the bridegroom) loving his own, and of us (the bride) choosing to receive the love and redemption that he offers.

Within the image (above) you will see the words of Ruth (1:16):

where you go,
I will go

Interestingly enough those are not Ruth’s words to a lover, but to the mother of her deceased husband (Naomi). She was vowing that she would entrust her future alongside this mother in law. She chose to stay with this woman, despite how bleak a future it might be for two widows of that time.

The story enfolds that they find a kin, a relative who could be their redeemer, their saviour. He chooses to take Ruth as his wife. Then, as culture would expect, their first born is given to Naomi, to raise as her son, her redeemer.

Those words of Ruth, where you go I will go, were her chosen commitment to be Naomi’s redeemer … at whatever cost to her.

This is marriage, sans rose-colored glasses. We are to love that much, love that selflessly.

That is why choosing who to marry is of such importance. The choosing of who to marry is the threshing floor practise of separating the wheat (the edible, nutrient-rich part) from the chaff (the inedible hulls of the wheat). It is this choosing, left to our adult children, that I now vow to lift up to God, each day.

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people and your God my God. 
Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
Ruth 1:16-17

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irish blessing

Today is Pentecost Sunday, the day that we celebrate the arrival of the promised advocate, the Spirit of God.

While the resurrected Jesus was walking and talking with his disciples for the forty days, he told them that they had a job to do … to go and make disciples of everyone (all nations) (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:47, Acts 1:8). He said that once he was gone, he would send the Spirit to them and then they would need to go throughout the world and share what he had taught them.

So, Pentecost arrived, the Holy Spirit entered them and an odd thing happened … they (mostly Jews) started to speak something other than their own languages. As a matter of fact, they were speaking languages that they had no previous knowledge or training.

Why would they have the ability to speak a new language once the spirit had come to ‘lite’ on them?

Recently, I saw a young man who is the son of a someone I know. I introduced myself, and he remembered my hubby and I. We chatted a bit, then went our separate ways.

A few minutes later he returned and told me a story of his experience with an individual from a Christian organization I was once a part of. It was a sad, shameful story of how this mutual acquaintance reduced the work of God to a very small group of believers (of which he was a part, but this young man was not). I, guiltily, apologized for this other believer’s attitude and words.

I spent the rest of the day vacillating between sorrow for how this young man had been hurt by the arrogance of a follower of God, and anger that one, who knows of the love of God for all people, could be so wrong in his assertions that his (any) particular group of Christians were superior.

This recent story actually relates to Pentecost. You see, Jesus said to go and make disciples of all nations. To ensure that they could fulfill this calling, the holy spirit enabled them to speak the languages, or tongues, of other people … not just the Jews, but the Gentiles.

This was day one of the Christian church.

We, as Christians, have never been called to stay in our churches, our cultural communities. We have received the Great Commission to go and share this love that has been shared with us … with all people.

” … as high priest (Caiaphas) prophesied
that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation, 
and not only for that nation
but also for the scattered children of God,
to bring them together and make them one.”

John 11:51-52

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Sometime a word can change your day …

The other day our daughter messaged to share with us the news her doctor had delivered … the Crohn’s disease that she was diagnosed with would appear to be in remission.

This is the ultimate goal of the extremely expensive (thank-you to her work health care plan, but especially to our province’s Fair Pharmacare Plan) medication she has been taking. This does not mean that the Crohn’s is gone, but that the inflammation in the intestines and colon is gone, resulting in healing, absence of pain and a reduction in fear if she is out where there are not bathrooms. Remission has been achieved … now to pray it can be maintained!

Since the disease will not ever be gone (unless medicine advances change that reality) remission means that the effects of her disease are suspended.

As that word has been sinking into my mind I couldn’t help but think of remission in regards to sin.

This remission is a bit different, for, with regard to sin, remission means both forgiveness as well as passing over. With God our sins are forgiven, because, at the cross, Jesus took our sins (past, present and future) and covered them with his blood, as a magic eraser.

Acts 10:43 says:

“through His name whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.”

Acts 2:28 says:

“through His name whosoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins. Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

The effects, the pain of our disease of sin are gone … we are no longer condemned, no longer have our heads hanging in shame when we stand before God.

Sometimes a word can change your day … sometimes it can change your eternity.

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It’s been happening again … the stalking.

Every once in a while it will seem as though a word, or phrase of meaning will be in my face, sung on the radio, preached from the pulpit, whispered in my ear … over and over and over again. I refer to such occurrences as God’s way of stalking me with a message he wants me to know.

Sometimes I am alert and catch on right away, other times it seems to take quite a few attempts until my eyes and ears are open to what I need to know.

I just realized the other morning that he’s doing it again, that he’s been whispering this message in my ear for many, many weeks … months even. How could I have been so deaf, so unaware that he was speaking to me?

Proverbs 3:6-7 seems to speak to this stalking of God:

“Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track. Don’t assume that you know it all. Run to God! Run from evil!”

I know I have been guilty of assuming that I know it all … or at least relying on my own abilities and knowledge. I know I have been guilty of not running from evil … sometimes it is evident in how I apathetically just let the stuff of life happen, rather than living purposely, walking closely with God.

I also know that I can keep myself quite busy, quite preoccupied with running my race, that I start running in the wrong direction and I easily get off track.

So, now I am on a mission. I need to uncover and understand the whole message that has been shared with me. I need to be still, just breathe and and listen for his voice, his leading.

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June has arrived with it’s lengthening days and starry nights. Our dark and wintery cocooning patterns altered by the warmth and beauty outdoors. Whether we prepare for summer vacations or days of work with time off spent out of doors, June is a reprieve from the usual, mundane patterns of the everyday.

There seems to be rest, recreation and rediscovery in the very air we breath, in the beauty of the sunsets, in the freshness of new growth all around us.

More frequently as I drive to work I yearn to be driving off into the horizon to somewhere, anywhere … just to be going. Going means moving forward, into new places and sights and adventures that rekindle what the French so beautifully call, joie de vivre … joy of living.

There is anticipation in this lighter, warmer month. There is hope in it’s brightness, in it’s turning the corner from one way of living to another, from one outlook on the days, on life.

I love what Ephesians 5:14 says of the light:

“the light makes everything visible.
This is why it is said,
“Awake, O sleeper,
 rise up from the dead,
 and Christ will give you light.”

Ephesians 5:14

As I read this verse I found it interesting that the arising comes before the light is given …

It is as though we need to first do our part … awake, then Christ will provide the light. We arise in faith that the light, that makes all things visible, will be given to us.

I feel that June (and all the summer months) are that gift of light, that we have been arising in anticipation of, throughout the winter months … and now everything is visible.

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