April 30, 2012

Today...


To tell you the truth... this ^ is why I blog. I want to remember each season in its particular joys, triumphs or struggles, to look back in gratitude on this amazing adventure of life, and to keep account of God's love and faithfulness in all things.

In that spirit, here is a taste of my current season - words which best describe now...

this season (in my work life) is:
* full of variety
* carefree 
* balanced

this season (in my home life) is:
* relaxed
* quiet
* fairly free from responsibilities

this season (in my spiritual life) is:
* growth
* stretching
* a time of closeness, challenge and learning

this season (in my married life) is:
* teamwork
* fun
* faith-building
* supportive

I want to remember. I am enjoying substitute teaching, carefree townhouse-renting, afternoon and evening walks by the river, Sunday suppers out at the farm, watching the Amazing Race & playing cards with my grandparents,  helping Neal mark grade 6 assignments, evening coffee with dear friends, show-home scouting, having my brother-in-law stop by for supper & Settlers of Catan (or to try out Mensa tests to see if we are geniuses *snicker*), having time for reading & creating. These days are calm, and sweet.

We will not always be in this amazing rental (with a cleaning lady every other week *cough* don't hate - its part of the rental package!). Life may bring more responsibilities our way and we will learn to cope in a new season. Our work/life balance may not always be this perfect. So today I embrace it all, and give thanks for my current season.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1~

April 25, 2012

good words

Sharing a bit of music this week, from a home-grown Canadian boy, Dan Bremnes. Good words. And I needed them.

"Now I find myself, longing for you more 
You unveil my eyes, and bring me deeper still
Your glory all around, ringing is the sound of praise
I can barely breathe now

You are the Holy One, the Lord of all the earth
You are the first and the final Word
You are the Lamb of God, The Father's only son 
You came and bled for a fallen world 

You are the King of love
The ruler of my heart
You set the sun and the moon above 

You are the risen one 
The Lord Emmanuel
No one compares to all you are
"



You can find the album version over here,
 "Your Strength" by Dan Bremnes,
and a little more about Dan and his music on his website: www.danbremnes.com
Enjoy!



April 6, 2012

The Good Shepherd


“I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” John 10: 14-18

Jesus is in control. Always.

"No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord" (v18)

Although, from our human perspective, it may appear that His life was taken by a mob of angry Pharisees, it was instead already laid down in a garden called Gethsemane. God in human form dying, and with a will that he chose to submit to His Father's. Jesus' prayer in the garden is the ultimate example of laying down your life to submit to the will of the Father.

In the critical moment between choosing a different way, and choosing the way God had planned, Jesus said 'yes'. 

"I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again" (v18)

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18)

The truth of Jesus' authority is a truth I find hard to remember sometimes, living in a society and culture which believes "I work hard, therefore I have earned and I deserve the fruits of my labor".  Deuteronomy 8: 17-18 cautions: "beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day." It is easy to be fooled into thinking that somehow the provisions, employment, and even the family and husband I have are somehow mine. I am learning though, (however slowly) that these are treasured gifts from a loving God, and I must recognize the authority from which they come. The gifts are His to give and His to take.

How this truth has brought comfort recently as I have struggled hard, again and again with massive guilt over not getting my little fur baby out of our burning home. For months I would wake up playing some alternate ending scene to those moments before we were saved from the fire, desperate to change the circumstances, desperate to have done something differently, desperate to not live this nightmare. Yet as I recognize that the little fur ball who was so unexpectedly placed into my life, was also taken from it under God's ultimate authority, I find relief from crushing guilt. I was responsible for the gift given, yet ultimately her life (and mine) was in His hands. I miss her still so deeply, and though it is nothing like losing a human we loved, it is certainly felt in a deep place just the same. She was His to give, and His to take. 

This has not been an easy season for my heart. There is great pain in losing your life on a daily basis, in holding all things with an open hand. Yet there are pockets of joy, and a true sense of freedom in this practice of losing my life to find it.

God is in authority over all things. Jesus submitted to the will of the Father, for the glory set before Him and the saving of us all. There is power in knowing that Jesus had the authority to both lay down, and then take up His Life. He is a loving, good shepherd, so I trust Him with my life - which is really His - isn't it funny how that works?


The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
     He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
     He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name's sake.

 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;

    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

 You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.
 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
     forever.

Psalm 23 (ESV)

Thank you Jesus for laying down your life, for taking it back up again,  and for being a loving, Good Shepherd.


April 4, 2012

Along the River

It is spring.

On days when the weather makes up it's mind to charm us, we find ourselves at the river;



spending all afternoon wandering the icy ridge which will soon be no more.
(don't worry mom! we stayed right along the thickest edge...)

As our feet crunch along, we listen to the sound of smooth rushing water and geese calling to each other,



Hundreds of geese lined the ice, until something spooked them and they all lifted off - it was amazing!


I'm looking forward to all that brown turning green...


Here's a little taste of what it is like to be there,
(a little shaky as I was balancing on a rock - I apologize in advance for any sea-sickness!)

It's pretty windy but if you listen carefully you can hear the rushing water...

video

"Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush."  
~Doug Larson~