Category Archives: joy

Too much to say – Part 3

I’m going to attempt and put part 1 and part 2 in a final act, of sorts.

Perspective comes in strange ways. Our life has had it’s strangeness…that’s for sure.

Two and a half years ago, we were feeling really good about where our lives were headed, the direction the church was going, confident in relationships and, for the most part, pleased with our decisions in personal life. At the same time, my physical health was going down hill and we didn’t know our way around a stick. Life was good, bad and all sorts of NORMAL…for us. It was a winter I never wanted to repeat. Does that sound confusing? It really was a confusing time of life.

Pivotal moments seemed to line every part of the race of life. Moments like the loss of friendships, the gaining of new ones. God teaching me how to pray more effectively. Showing me that spiritually I had a long way to go. Areas of sin that were blatant and screaming for attention.

God was moving so many parts of the picture our heads spun. He was doing such a deep work of renewal that I felt I would drown at times.

One of the pivotal moments happened on our 20th year anniversary celebration trip to Jamaica. Anxiety was trying to knock on my soul and when I stepped on the plane I chose not to take it with me. I left it, like a bag of dirty clothes outside of the plane. I decided right there that I couldn’t stop anything bad from happening so why take all that baggage with me? If something terrible was going to happen all the worrying in the world would not stop it.

Relief.

Then I went snorkeling.

My brother drowned when I was five. Since then water has had  a certain grip on me. I could swim but didn’t like it. I could put my head under water but it wasn’t fun. Being without breath scared the bejeebers out of me. I had dreams when our oldest was a toddler that he had wandered away from me near water and we couldn’t find him.

When I decided to go snorkeling I knew it would be a test. I looked at everyone else surviving on just a little tube of air. I pumped up my air life vest as fat as it could go and stuck my head under water. It was liberating! I survived! It was a feat of the mind.

Fear. It’s hounded me.

And on that trip I let a lot of it go. It was amazing! I didn’t worry about what to make for supper, whether my kids were ok (because I was 10 hours away and couldn’t do anything anyways) and I didn’t lose any sleep, besides what should be lost on that kind of vacation.

We came back and I set off to train myself to run a 5 km in the fall. I don’t run for any reason. Not even a bear. With a bear you best lay in a ball and stay put. Well, that’s what I’ve heard.

When I started to train I didn’t realize how much of an exercise of the mind it would be. The first time, I jogged for 30 seconds off and on. By the end of the summer I was jogging for 30 min’s straight. Say WHAT? It took a lot of mental grit but God, in his strength, led me through it. So very cool.

I completed the 5 Km and was so excited that I finished that challenge! It changed me forever too. All that time breathing deeply and being in the fresh air. It renewed both my body, my spirit and my mind. It was beautiful!

The winter after that run was when I started the new ladies group. What I didn’t know then was that God had a hand in that too. It created a community I would need through the tough times ahead. It gave me a business that I could be challenged by, in different ways.

You see, what I’m trying to say is that all the threads of my life, of your life are being drawn together in a beautiful pattern. Even now, as we face another monumental challenge, our lives are being woven by the Master Craftsman.

I prayed for God to restore us in many ways. I prayed that he would bring people back…to us… but mostly to Him. He has restored some relationships that I cried over losing. How great is THAT? He is restoring that which has been broken.

He is working in ways that are mysterious and so very amazing. In your life too. You may not see it now. You may not see it in a year. You may never see the beautiful pattern that is being knit together. But have you given it a thought? Have you given HIM a chance? It is a matter of choices. He gives us all that. You get to choose to get better or to get bitter. You make the choice to let anxiety kill you from the inside out. You can let it go. You choose to let him work in the hard places. You get to choose so many things even when things seem out of control.

A lot is out of my control right now. But I get to choose how I react, how I live the rest of my days. He’s given me so much. How about you?

What are the choices you need to make?

You’ve been dealt a lousy hand

some people may think this of my life. In a nutshell, it’s had it’s losses and heartaches…I’ve lost a brother, a son, a brother in law. We have kids with special issues, church challenges…then there is this tumour…

Ok, now tell me who DOESN’T have things in their life that stretch and challenge them and I will show you a person who hasn’t really lived.

Let’s face it we are ALL dying. You, me, my kids, my friends…every human that has ever lived has ceased to live at some point. We are born, we die and in between we live life. It’s in how we live it…now there’s the trick!

I love living! I love facing a challenge head on. Ok, except when I’m in pain and tired. Then I just want to go to bed.

My son asked “Why us?” I said “Why not?” There are people dying every day, dealing with terrible disease and poverty and we live in a country where we get fairly decent medical care. We are safe, warm and loved. Why NOT us? Maybe it’s in a bigger plan, a bigger picture. God has more going on than just me, just us. There is something much bigger at work here.

I haven’t been dealt a lousy hand at all. I had parents that loved me, thought I was beautiful. They gave me love, a stable home and lived in the sunny Shuswap where I grew up loving water and beaches.

Then I got to marry the man of my dreams. He treats me with respect, kindness, love and tenderness. After a lot of hardship and tragedy, I got to be a mom to four amazing little blessings that some days make me crazy and other days build character in me.

I get to live in the best province EVER…Alberta. It rocks. Alberta has mountains, it has rivers, it has oil and it has great people. It has lots and lots of open spaces that look so great in the summer. In the winter, well, in the winter I wish I was born in the tropics…but I got to go to the tropics TWICE in my life. TWICE and that is pretty darn cool.

We have family here. My inlaws have made our lives rich and beautiful in ways I never imagined. We get to spend time with them now and again. I love me my inlaws!!

I have friends. Really, really awesome friends. Friends who make me laugh, friends who listen to me whine about the hard days and friends who come and hang pictures etc for me because I haven’t learned how to drill holes yet. I have friends that let me bunk in their home when I have to drive to the city and they make me feel like I’m at home.

We live in a pretty terrific community. One that rallies around people in distress and fixes things and feeds you things and makes you feel special and loved.

We have a small but loving church family. They shine Jesus to us. They warm us with their special-ness. We live in a warm and tiny home where we are free to make our chaos and let people come in and see it.

We have a far away family that we can skype and love. We travel every single year to Manitoba so we can enjoy the prairies for days without end from a van and then pile out and have fun with the rest of the extended family.

We have the internet in this day and age and I can communicate with people I had long since lost contact with. Now I can text my best bud from high school. How great is that? I sure do miss her though!

I haven’t been dealt a lousy hand. It’s been a fantastic life. And it’s not over yet. I am prepared to enjoy all the moments I can, and medicate the moments that are painful (like actually physically painful). I love my life. Oh, it has it’s challenges…but don’t we all? Every one of us?

If you have no trouble or no challenge then how are you growing as a person?

See it’s in the choices we make. It’s in the paths we choose when the challenges come before us. Do we face it head on or do we skirt around it and avoid it by pretending it’s not there. Do we let God in and make it beautiful, even joyful?Taking joy in the moments that are beautiful and sacred. That’s what I’m hoping I keep doing. It’s what I hope my kids see, on this bumpy road we are on.

We have a terrific life. It’s going to get a little crazy here and there, but that’s life.

James 1:2 ESV

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds,

Romans 12:12 ESV 

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.