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Firmness of character.
Harmony of practice.

Those are the two most common definitions of the word, consistency that I found while looking through numerous dictionaries.

The word can refer to a practice (harmony of practise), such as how my father-in-law (and another family member in my house) sets the table for his breakfast … at night, before going to bed. People can also have physical rituals that they become obsessive about completing. This can essentially imprison such individuals in their own behaviour.

It can also refer to the regular and predictable character traits in a person’s everyday life, such as my friend who always greets me with a smile and warm welcome (even when I am late, haven’t returned her emails, or missed her birthday). As well, individuals may be consistent in that they are mean, lie or take advantage of others.

If I were to be totally honest, to me, the word consistent is synonymous with boring.

I, typically, love variety, flexibility and the opportunity to change things up … often.

Whenever I have things that I do regularly (such as getting ready for bed, cleaning the house, shopping at the grocery store), I, intentionally, do not do those tasks the same way, every time. I am so resistant to being consistent in my practice that I actually kind of fear that I will get myself ‘locked in’ to doing things only one way.

Yet, whenever I go to a good funeral (and we all know what those are like), the things that catch my ear are the characteristics and practices of the deceased that were … you guessed it … consistent.

The mom or dad who would always stop what they were doing when someone walked in the room.

The parent who read their Bible every morning.

The grandparent who came to every school, sport or arts event.

The neighbour who always made a meal for others when there was a crises, death or birth in the household.

These consistent behaviours and traits are not necessarily what can earn one the most money, fame or worldly forms of success. A life lived without these behaviours and traits (and others), though, can be quite unsuccessful in terms of those who share life with us in our homes, workplaces and communities.

Consistency is not about boring regularity, but persistent steadfastness that is focused on making life, and our world better for others, through the stability that our behaviours and character traits produce.

We give thanks to God always for all of you,
constantly mentioning you in our prayers,
remembering before our God and Father
your work of faith and labor of love
and steadfastness (consistent practice) of hope
in our Lord Jesus
Christ.”
1 Thessalonians 1:2-3

 

 

 

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There is much hesitancy in our world today to identify as … anything.

Gender is, obviously, much discussed, but it is not the only issue with great debate.

Interestingly, there are many people who go to church, attend youth or small groups, pray, participate in communion and practise many other activities related to Christianity … yet they struggle to identify as a Christian or Christ-follower.

The most common reasons I have heard for this lack of ability or willingness (or is it a lack of faith?) to identify as a Christian is:

  • they do not yet ‘have it all together’
  • they so not want to identify as a Christian because there are so many ways that Christians have messed up

In the early days of Christendom, identifying with Christ was very public.

Baptism was the initial identifier of those (Jews) who were identifying as followers of Jesus, their Messiah. It was John the Baptist (the cousin of Jesus) who was inviting them to confess their sins, then come to the Jordan River, where they would be symbolically, publicly cleansed or redeemed of their sins.

The Jewish people could relate somewhat to this practise, as the Jewish custom of Tvilah was common. In this ancient practise, people of the Jewish faith went to be cleansed, purified, restored after having encountered something or someone (ie. a corpse) unclean, according to Levitical law.

The baptism that John was inviting the Jews, the early Christians, to was a once-for-all cleansing. It was symbolic of the forgiveness and redemption that Jesus had come to offer …

Forgiveness and redemption for our sins
yesterday, today and tomorrow.

John the Baptist did not invite people who were already purified to participate in the baptism that he was performing, but those who were dirty and who desired to be clean … those who acknowledged their sin-dirty condition, and who were choosing to be identified with the only one who could make them clean for all eternity.

For those waiting to identify with Christ until they ‘have it all together, the identifying comes before the purification … and the having it all together is a goal, not a destination.

For those not wanting to identify with Christ, because of the many Christians who have, are and will mess up … see above. They are not perfect, as you and I are not perfect “not a single person on earth is always good and never sins” (Ecclesiastes 7:2).

Paul said,
“John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance.
He told the people
to believe in the one coming after him,
that is, in Jesus.”
Acts 19:4

 

 

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person-waiting_1048-1707

This week seemed to just fly by, filled with work, creating, play family and friends.

It was so full, I simply forgot to write a post yesterday.

So, in lieu of a more typical post here on itsawonderfilledlife, I am going to share a song that I discovered this week, while working on furniture in my garage.

I discovered it, after listening to a song on YouTube, and songs kept playing. As this one played, names of people were laid upon my heart … the woman receiving stem cells, the new teacher with so much to learn in order to teach it, the young woman hoping that she will get the job she interviewed for, the couple hoping to adopt a child, the woman whose dad had suffered a health decline with no indicators as to what is happening, the couple whose adult daughter wants nothing to do with them, the woman who is caring for her dying mother and child with special needs …

SO many people are waiting …

So, if you are waiting, or if someone you love is, I pray that the message of the lyrics of this song, might bring encouragement. You are not alone in the waiting.

Take Courage
(click link above for video)
(Kristene DiMarco)

Slow down, take time
Breath in He said
He’d reveal what’s to come
The thoughts in His mind
Always higher than mine
He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

Sing praise my soul
Find strength in joy
Let His Words lead you on
Do not forget
His great faithfulness
He’ll finish all He’s begun

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

And You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep, Your promise to me
That I will rise, in Your victory
And You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep, Your promise to me
That I will rise, in Your victory!

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
And hold onto your hope
Watch your triumph unfold
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
And hold onto your hope
Watch your triumph unfold
He’s never failing
He’s never failing!

He’s in the waiting…

 

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person-waiting_1048-1707

This week seemed to just fly by, filled with work, creating, play family and friends.

It was so full, I simply forgot to write a post yesterday.

So, in lieu of a more typical post here on itsawonderfilledlife, I am going to share a song that I discovered this week, while working on furniture in my garage.

I discovered it, after listening to a song on YouTube, and songs kept playing. As this one played, names of people were laid upon my heart … the woman receiving stem cells, the new teacher with so much to learn in order to teach it, the young woman hoping that she will get the job she interviewed for, the couple hoping to adopt a child, the woman whose dad had suffered a health decline with no indicators as to what is happening, the couple whose adult daughter wants nothing to do with them, the woman who is caring for her dying mother and child with special needs …

SO many people are waiting …

So, if you are waiting, or if someone you love is, I pray that the message of the lyrics of this song, might bring encouragement. You are not alone in the waiting.

Take Courage
(click link above for video)
(Kristene DiMarco)

Slow down, take time
Breath in He said
He’d reveal what’s to come
The thoughts in His mind
Always higher than mine
He’ll reveal all to come

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

Sing praise my soul
Find strength in joy
Let His Words lead you on
Do not forget
His great faithfulness
He’ll finish all He’s begun

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

Take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

And You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep, Your promise to me
That I will rise, in Your victory
And You who hold the stars
Who call them each by name
Will surely keep, Your promise to me
That I will rise, in Your victory!

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
And hold onto your hope
Watch your triumph unfold
He’s never failing
He’s never failing

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He’s in the waiting
He’s in the waiting
And hold onto your hope
Watch your triumph unfold
He’s never failing
He’s never failing!

He’s in the waiting…

 

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cast out fear

 

Every parent alive knows of the experience of being the security and safety that a scared child needs.

When they are scared, children will usually go to an adult, often a parent, who will hold their hand, offer reassuring words or pick them up and wrap their arms of protection and assurance around their little bodies.

It is so easy to be that stronghold, that place of safety, for a child.

We, as parents, are big, and they are small. We are their protectors, their defenders. The security that we provide casts out the fears of childhood.

It is our job, as parents, to ensure that our children are safe, that they are comforted. But it is also our job to ensure that our children know that we are not their only stronghold, even that we are not their best, or most reliable stronghold.

Even if my father and mother abandoned me,
the Lord would take me in.”

Psalm 27:10

In Psalm 27 David writes of his trust in the Lord. The trust of a child in his father, the trust for a God who has saved him, held him, kept him from danger in the past.

David understood, what we too must acknowledge, that it is the God of all creation who is our ultimate stronghold, the most protected place in the kingdom of this world.

 

 

 

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Screen Shot 2017-08-28 at 11.27.12 AM

We have all had that experience of being the new girl/guy. Whether in kindergarten class or tenth grade, we have all been the new kid at school.

Tomorrow is the day when I get to be the new girl.

My colleagues of eleven of the past fourteen years all returned to work yesterday, but I stayed home and watered my flowers in my pjs (in my VERY private back yard).

Tomorrow I will drive in the opposite direction, to a different high school to meet my my new colleagues, at my new job.

The final decision happened very quickly … yet it was in the works for much longer. I guess you could say my work life is Recalculating.

I have spent much of the summer reminiscing and reflecting over how much I learned, grew and care for the staff and students who I will miss.

Now I have turned one hundred and eighty degrees, face forward, ready for what may await.

I have gone from mourning to dreaming. Though it is more difficult to dream before I see where I will work, meet the staff and students who will fill my days and know the place and plan that God has cooked up for my year.

My tummy is a butterfly haven, yet I trust that they are all very energetic, graceful and not without direction.

I guess that is what I am hoping and trusting for myself as I walk new hallways …

that I am energetic, in my body but also in my mind.

that I am graceful, grace-filled, in my work with staff and students.

that I am walking with direction, which means holding tightly to the One who led me through those new doors.

Starting to get excited!

“… every single day Your grace reminds me
That my best days are not behind me …
here I come
the future has begun
Day one”
Matthew West (from the song “Day One”)

 

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FullSizeRender 2Another summer day, another sunset.

It is guaranteed that every day the sun will rise and the sun will set. Though some days we cannot see the occurrences each day, they have been happening since the Creator first said, “Let there be light” (and there was, evening and morning).

There was evening … then there was morning …

Evening first, because before morning light “the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep” (Genesis 1:2). So it was that evening was followed by morning.

And “God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness” (Genesis 1:4). The light is good, and after prolonged times of darkness it is life-giving to once again see the light. Somehow, when we have been deprived of the light, it is so much sweeter than before.

“God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night” (Genesis 1:5a). They were given names, as all of creation has been named. It is as though with their naming they were included in the living creatures whose breath was breathed into into them by the God of all creation.

Then the story of evening and morning, darkness and light is identified with it’s place in the timeline of life, “and there was evening, and there was morning—the first day” (Genesis 1:5b). This was day one, which was started in utter darkness and ended with light.

All of our days end with the darkness that follows a sunset, sometimes it is not just the sky but also within us that contains shadows. But each sunset is followed by the light of the sun, rising in the dawn.

“Sunrise sunset, sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly flow the days,
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers,
Blossoming even as they gaze…”
Fiddler on the Roof

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