Monday, June 20, 2016

Death

I recently answered one of those quizzes on Facebook about things you have done and experienced.
It was there that I realized, I have never watched any being, be born, nor die. I guess I am going to have the chance sooner than I thought.

Our beloved Havanese dog, Molly, is in stage 3 kidney failure. The poor little thing has no appetite and sleeps most of the day and night. I realize that it is a matter of time before we need to say good bye to her and I cannot bring myself to do so as of yet. I have been told, "You'll know when it's time."
So I guess I will, but, right now I just watch her sleep and remember 15 years of friendship.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Perseverance & Faith


“We have been made right with God because of our faith. Now we have peace with him because of our Lord Jesus Christ. Through faith in Jesus we have received God’s grace. In that grace we stand. We are full of joy because we expect to share in God’s glory. And that’s not all. We are full of joy even when we suffer. We know that our suffering gives us the strength to go on. The strength to go on produces character. Character produces hope. And hope will never bring us shame. That’s because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. This happened through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5

Perseverance or strength to go on. (steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success. persistencetenacitydeterminationstaying power, indefatigability, steadfastness, purposefulness;)

I think I can speak for all of us when I say that each one of us has gone through something in our life that we have had to persevere through and perhaps are still persevering through. Be it relationship, employment, health, financial or spiritual, as long as we are living in this world there will be struggle. But John 16:33 in the Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble. But be encouraged! I have won the battle over the world.”
And this is our hope, that one day, we will dwell with Jesus, our Saviour and Lord and there will be no more struggle of strife, no more crying or sickness. Our Deliverer is coming.
But until that time, we are here on this side of Heaven. So we march on and we endure. We can endure with joy though and not drudgery. But know this, JOY is different that happiness.
So how do we persevere? How do we make it one more day? Well I’m not an expert, but I would like to share with you my journey of perseverance.

It was 1986. I had just finished my career as a dental assistant with the Sask. Government in northern SK. I was headed to Bible college. But before I was to leave, I joined my parents in a trip that August to Ontario to visit family. While we were there, I went horseback riding with my cousin. It didn’t go very well. I got bucked off and ended up in the hospital with 3 fractured vertebrae in my upper back. My plans were forever changed.
But God’s plans kicked into high gear, little did I know. The college I was to go to was out of the question. I needed months of recovery and therapy. I eventually went to a Bible college closer to home, where I grew in leaps and bounds and met my future husband.
From there, we were married the week after grad and I moved away from everything I knew, to a family vastly different from my own. So many adjustments and no career to fall back on. I could no longer be a dental assistant because of my permanently damaged back. My journey got even more complicated a couple of years later. After we had our first daughter, I went into post-partum depression hard. I was practically catatonic and along came the guilt. What I didn’t tell you was that I was a fairly new believer at this point. I was only 4 years old in my faith and the enemy of my soul bore down on me with guilt and shame and fear and I was at his mercy. I had not yet learned how to battle. I persevered at that point by sheer will and the help of my husband. You see we didn’t tell anyone of my condition. Eventually my doctor caught on and got me on medication and I crawled up out of the depths.
Twenty-one months later our second daughter was born and I went back down into the darkness of depression once again. This time I got on to meds right away, but I still had to battle. By now though, I had a weapon I had never had before. I had children Bible verse songs on cassette tapes that my firstborn and I would listen to continually. What I didn’t even realize was that I was learning and memorizing Scripture. God used those Scriptures to help my mind learn truth and those truths eventually helped me battle the enemy.
The other tool I acquired was Godly friends and a weekly meeting of women and mom’s, where we studied God’s word, prayed for one another and encouraged each other. I needed those women and I felt like I had family. Family was something I was sorely lacking. You see my husband’s family were good people but we were different in our ways and thinking. We all loved the Lord but, well, let’s suffice to say, it took time for me to feel like they were actually MY family. So God provided a family and the support and acceptance I needed.
Through these women and our study of the Bible, I learned about prayer and the kind of faith I could stand on and actually battle the enemy. And battle I did! I have had a number of battle fields that I have had to persevere through. I have struggled with many health issues and more bouts with depression. I have worked through anger issues and a number of physical ailments, the most recent of which would be the major car crash I was in 4 years ago that has now damaged my lower back. I lost my ability to work. We have lost my income and for quite a while we, my husband and I lost our intimacy. We no longer communicated. I was unable to participate in most of the activities we had once enjoyed. I was once again in depression and in pain, struggling to feel like I had value.
To this day I battle. I pray through Scripture and stand on truth. I have not completely healed and I still am unable to work, because I cannot stand or sit for any length of time without moving. I cannot lift great amounts and I never know how I will feel day to day. As a result, I have had to find my worth in the Lord and not in my ability to do. I have to rest in the fact that I am His and that He loves me and that I have value. I have been reminded that all I have, He has provided and that there is the hope of eternity with Him. He has allowed me to go through what I have, so that my faith would grow as I persevered and leaned into Him.
And that is not all. We are full of joy in God because of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of him, God has brought us back to himself. Romans 5:11

So did you catch the points I made as I wrote. There were 4 things God equipped me with for battle:
Scripture
Prayer
People
Good Resources

I asked God for his help and these 4 things are what He taught me, as to how to be equipped to persevere and have faith for the future with Him.

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Mother's Day Weekend

I'm finding this new era of life, with grown children and as an empty-nester, to be quite stretching.
I continue to learn life lessons and go back over some lessons I thought I had learned.
I have added insight into my own mother's life and have new empathy.

All-in-all, life rolls on and God is ever faithful. This week, He has taught me again about His provision, my ease to greed and as well, He continues to teach me that I am a sheep in desperate need of a Shepherd. The 23rd Psalm has struck me again this week. I read it in a different version and it was good to be reminded.

**************************************************************************

The Good Shepherd
23 You, Lord, are my shepherd.
    I will never be in need.
    You let me rest in fields
    of green grass.
You lead me to streams
of peaceful water,
    and you refresh my life.
You are true to your name,
    and you lead me
    along the right paths.
I may walk through valleys
as dark as death,
    but I won’t be afraid.
You are with me,
    and your shepherd’s rod[a]
    makes me feel safe.
You treat me to a feast,
    while my enemies watch.
You honor me as your guest,
    and you fill my cup
    until it overflows.
Your kindness and love
will always be with me
    each day of my life,
    and I will live forever
    in your house, Lord.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Starting Again



So just as the title states, I'm starting again. My friend commented on my last blog, the first in 11 months, that it was a recipe, and I started thinking about how much I do like to write down my thoughts, so I'm starting again. Thanks for the nudge Jane.

So, let's see, since my last entry, minus the recipe, quite a bit has happened. I had been working as a receptionist, but my back just couldn't handle all the sitting, so I had to quit. Since my car crash 3 years ago, I have worked hard at trying to get the strength back in my body, but to no avail. It still fails me constantly. I am reminded of a verse in the Bible. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matt. 26:41

The next change came at the beginning of the year. Our oldest moved out and our youngest got engaged and will be married in June. She moved out the beginning of April, to the home they will live in once they are married. So, BOOM. just like that we were empty-nesters. Okay, okay, it wasn't quite boom, but it felt like it. So much change and it's only the beginning of May.

Every day brings something new. I'm trying to have a great attitude, but obviously, some days are harder than others.

One of the most wonderful things to happen is that our church has started a weekly women's morning. Every Wed. we meet and learn and laugh together. It's been great and I got to be involved in the ground floor of it all. I love the ladies at my church. So since, I'm not working right now, I have enjoyed the opportunity to get involved again.

I do need to find a job of some sort. It will need to be part time and I think I'll wait until after the wedding if possible. But it's time to start looking again.

The last change in our house is that our dog has started showing her age, like the rest of us and I think she will need some extra care until she's gone. Oh well, she's worth it and I love being able to help our family however I can.

Well, that's it. My first real thoughts in about a year. One last thought to perhaps encourage anyone reading this:

"Cast your on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous fall." Psalm 55:22

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Yummy

Roasted Green Beans with Mushrooms, Balsamic, and Parmesan


Ingredients:
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced in 1/2 inch slices (I used brown crimini mushrooms, but any mushrooms will work)
1 lb. fresh green beans, preferably thin French style beans
1 1/2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
2 T finely grated parmesan cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 450F/230C. Wash mushrooms and let drain (or spin dry in salad spinner, which is what I did.) While mushrooms are drying, trim ends of beans and cut beans in half so you have bite-sized pieces. (An easy way to trim them is to gather a small handful of beans, stand them up on cutting board, holding loosely so they will fall down and have ends ends aligned, then trim. Repeat with other end.) Cut mushrooms into slices 1/2 inch thick.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Whiner VS. Winner

This morning as I was writing in my journal, it came to me that I was acting like a whiner instead of a winner. I like and need to journal to get my thoughts out of my head. You see I'm a person who needs to talk through things in order to solve them. My husband, bless his heart, is not. I have learned in our 26 years of marriage, that he is a good listener...to a point. Beyond that point, he tunes out and then gets irritated. That's why I took up journalling. I need to write down all my thoughts to get them out of my head. I have found that by doing this, I also can get perspective. If they are on paper, I can go back and read them and see where my thinking may be warped. Actually, when I write, I imagine myself in a conversation with the Lord, I think that it is the Holy Spirit that corrects my warped thoughts.

Anyhow, that was what I was doing this morning. I was writing, to the Lord, in my journal. I have been sick for over a week. I have new job issues. I have parenting issues. I just have issues. So as I listed them and voiced my concerns, I looked back over the page. It looked like whining..."why Lord?", "help Lord", " "this stinks Lord", " I want to run Lord"....blah, blah, blah. Now I'm not saying that it's not okay to ask and state this stuff, but as I looked it over, I could see I was whining. 

Recently, I was reading my devotional, "Come Away My Beloved". The part that I was reading was titled, "Learning to Reign". You can read it here (Old English)    Intriguing right? In case you didn't click on the link and go read it, I'll give you a quick overview.

The premise of this passage is that we can live like victors because Christ has already won the victory. God hears our cries of distress and answers our prayers certainly, but the part that struck my heart is where the book says;

"You are not qualified to be used for my purposes as long as you are being harassed by the enemy and I keep needing to rescue you from a constant parade of distressing predicaments. You are more than conquerors, as the Apostle Paul said and it was by My Spirit was taught this " (Romans 8:37) Rise up then and lay claim to the power that is yours, because I am in you and you are in Me, and as I was in the world, so are you. I was victorious and you too may be victorious."

This comes back to me over and over. So this morning, as I was writing my laments to the Lord I was reminded to turn them to praise and prayer and claim the victories in Christ Jesus - not in a Pollyanna sort of way, but in a faith in the victory of Christ kind of way. 

I encourage you to read this devotional, Come Away My Beloved. I got it in the updated to today's language version, because I have difficulty with thee's and thou's. 


"It is in Him that we live and move and keep on living. Some of your own men have written, 'We are God's children.'"  Acts 17:28 NLV





Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Keeping a Quiet Heart

How do you keep your heart quiet? Why do you keep your heart quiet? What is the opposite of a quiet heart?

With discipline, in order to have your energies and focus on God, the opposite would be a heart full of...worry, fear, mistrust, pride, and basically...sin.

Martin Luther King once said, "God taught us to work and to watch, but never to be worried or anxious, and to commit all to Him and live in His serene tranquility with a quiet heart."
The Bible says, "Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks for all he has done."  

I recently was reading a blog I came across while I was researching this topic and the writer quoted a Scripture that God has used abundantly in my life.
It comes from the passage of Scripture that talks about how women should act towards their husbands and where their beauty comes from. The part that has always affected me is " Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and wearing gold jewelry and fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." 1 Peter 3:3-4.

You see, I grew up never knowing I was beautiful. I did not know our Saviour and I certainly didn't know Scripture. As a young woman, I came to know Jesus and slowly learned my worth in God's sight. But I heard this Scripture a long time ago and it convicted me. I was not this woman. I was loud and boisterous. I needed to be the centre of attention and I needed to look good to be accepted. I know you've heard me say before that I was the new kid at school every year until grade 7. It was awful! I developed some bad habits and many sinful ways in order to cope. So when Jesus got a hold of me, He had a lot of work to do. Well, this Scripture became a prayer of sorts for me. I asked God to show me how to become this kind of woman.."a quiet and gentle spirit". I thought it meant quiet as in, shhhh. I had to learn and am still learning that quietness is a practice. To quiet yourself does mean shhh, but it also means to trust. 

"As Paul says in Phil. 1:5, "He who began the good work in you will be faithful to complete it..." It all leads back to the simple idea of trust. "Let it go and let God is becoming less of a cheesy Christian saying and more of a foundation and guiding principle for my life. It's easy to worry and be fearful. It takes work to quiet our hearts and mind. 
I've had many times of worry and fear and stress in my life. I respond and have responded to the ice-cold fear that grips my heart at times with anything but gentleness and peacefulness. My response if often to control, to manipulate to make a plan. I dislike being out of control where it is a matter of importance to me. But my controlling and manipulating do not solve matters and in fact often make matters worse. 

Letting go of my plan, so that I may be completely available to the Holy Spirit's agenda for me is a far better way. I know that God has always been faithful and as I look back over my life, I see how God has worked out the situations in my life that I felt totally out of control of and most fearful. So keeping a quiet heart seems much more possible. God says a woman who trusts Him, who lets go of her expectations and waits quietly and expectantly on Him to work, reflects a beauty that is of great price to Him. God says that a woman who tempers her strength and responds with graciousness rather than anger and manipulation to situations out of her control is in possession of a beauty that does not fade with age." Wendy - (practical theology for women)


What part of your life is God showing you that you need to be "quiet"?