Category Archives: Faith

Pray!

Please pray for Haiti and those whose lives have been drastically changed due to the earthquake.  Mike’s family spent seven years there when he was young and so this really hits close to home.  No word on whether his parents know anyone personally who was injured or killed but seeing the photos and hearing the stories is enough to move me to tears, regardless of whether anyone is familiar.  The photos here are graphic at times but eye opening – this earthquake has completely devastated Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas!  I’m sure it will be weeks, maybe even months before there is any sort of knowledge about how bad this really was – thousands are trapped in collapsed buildings and may not be rescued before time runs out.

I am often not moved enough by national disasters when they don’t touch us in North America, but Haiti always catches my eye or ear in news stories because of the family connection.  I hardly know how to pray, but I’m trying and hope anyone reading this will, too.

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“Insert clever title here”

Yes, folks, it’s that bad.  I have plenty to write about but don’t even know what to call it.  I’m not even sure how to write about it. 

I have come to the conclusion that I am under some sort of attack.  I feel depressed, out of place, friendless and utterly without motivation.  I looked forward to today for weeks – my second craft and hobby day, hopefully starting a tradition of craft days every other month (the first one was in May).  I couldn’t think of what to work on and then when I went ten minutes early to set up, it was pointless.  I was alone for an hour and fifteen minutes.  My sister-in-law showed up at that point, and the wife and daughter of our children’s pastor came another hour later.  My mother-in-law came shortly after them to visit for awhile, but not to work on anything.   She left and my sister-in-law left shortly after that.  I went for lunch and came back and still there were only three of us there.  A friend of mine came in the afternoon to see what we were doing and then left five minutes after she got there.  I was then left alone at three-fifteen until it ended at four.  At that point, I knew that I could have left, but I was actually being productive, so I stayed until four and then packed everything up and put things back.  I threw out two pots of coffee and have now just remembered that I forgot to wash the carafes out, which is a big deal at our church.

I’m stressed.  I wish I could give up every responsibility outside of my home.  Mike and I are now in charge of a weekly ministry that we are tiring of in our fourth year.  We are not passionate about it and it interferes with our family all too often.  If our kids were older I imagine it wouldn’t be so bad, but as it is, we either have to bring them all with us or one of us stays home with them and the other goes alone. 

I want out.  I want a break.  I’m tired of saying yes because I know that no one else will do it.  I’m tired of putting my efforts into a church that has practices I totally disagree with.  I’m tired of going to a church where I just wish the service would end because it’s so lifeless.  I hate the feeling that I have to stay, that we have to stay.  I suspect that if we left it would cause a rift in our family and I just don’t feel willing to do that right now.

I’m tired.  No, I’m exhausted.

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Living Faith

One of my greatest role models of mothering is my dear friends’ mother.  Her daughters were my closest friends before marriage and the only thing that has changed that is distance.  They were both in our wedding and I love them like sisters.  I spent a good deal of time with them and their family and had the chance to observe what a great mom they have and what a great influence she has had on them.  One thing that she did at every turn was talk to God.  She talked to Him and about Him all the time.  I have found both of these areas lacking in my life lately and have been making an effort to live faith in front of my children.

I think it really started with the crisis my sister-in-law was in a few weeks back.  Thinking she may lose the baby or that she might not make it through having him was terrifying to me and I totally broke down.  I talked to God and one of the things I kept feeling is that I don’t want to do this again.  I’m tired of losing it whenever something unexpected or frightening happens in my life.  I want to be able to calmly approach the throne and ask for help.  I want to thank Him in advance for what He will do, rather than beg Him to do my will.  It seems that one way I will be able to avoid breaking down in crisis is by including God in more of my daily life. 

I want my kids to grow up seeing God all around them – not just in the Bible or on Sunday mornings in church.  I want them to thank Him for the fact that He makes the sun come up each morning, not just when He blesses us with something surprising.  Yesterday I noticed how green everything was around us when I was driving out of town to a friends house.  I mentioned this to Jenny and Elias by saying how great it was that God made it green.  They seem to understand at least a little now, and I know that if I make this way of life normal to them, they will understand more all the time.

How do you make faith real in your life or the lives of those around you (especially your children)?

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Decisions..

Yesterday I made a painful decision, but one that I feel will be honouring God and my husband.  It came to me so randomly that I think it must have been straight from God.  I hesitated to commit myself to it, but felt that to keep it to myself would be sinning.  Anyway, I’ll explain myself now.

I have been a vegetarian for twelve years now.  When I was pregnant with Jenny, I read a book about vegetarian babies and children that reinforced my decision to keep my children from eating meat.  Mike went along with it and didn’t complain much except about one issue – the issue of whenour kids could choose to eat meat.  When Jenny was about eighteen months, Mike was eating chicken noodle soup and she was practically begging him to have some, so I decided then that she could have chicken – and felt like a total failure.  Since then, I’ve sort of kept the kids from eating meat until they were two, and then only poutry (and fish, but I eat fish, too).  I certainly got plenty of griping from other people about how silly it was that I wouldn’t let my kids eat meat, but I’ve always tried not to let it bother me.  I finally decided a few weeks ago that I would let Jenny eat meat when she turns five – in another year.  Yesterday morning when Mike was eating some bacon, he said that we would probably have to let Elias eat it at the same time – which was a very good point.  He always wants to do everything his sister does and I know that if we kept him from eating it and let Jenny eat it, he just wouldn’t understand.  The thought that came to my mind last night was that maybe it was not very submissive to be making this decision on my own.  Some of it is for health reasons, but most of it is honestly because I find meat so gross – so I almost want my kids to feel the same way about it.  So I told Mike during supper last night that from now on, it will be up to him when they eat meat for the first time.  He agreed with me that they should at least be weaned before they eat it (big sigh of relief there), so Erik won’t be getting any very soon.  I will almost certainly face some not very nice comments from people now that I’ve made this decision, but I’m willing to be honest and tell them the reason for it.  Maybe it will open other hearts to changes in attitudes between husband and wife.  I’m guessing that not many people have our particular situation happening, but I’m sure that there are other things that people clash about and that one should be submitting to the other on.  After all, we are told to “submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21) and although we as wives are told specifically to submit to our husband, sometimes it is husbands who are not God-honouring on one issue or another.  Regardless of who it is that needs to submit, we will live with so much more peace when we do submit to each other and refuse to live clashing against one another.

Perhaps part of the decision came about because Mike did something yesterday that he usually doesn’t like to do at all.  His parents have a boat and were heading out to the lake after church.  I felt like it might be nice for the kids to get to go on the tubes and have a boat ride.  Mike isn’t big on boating, but he went with us, drove the boat when needed, and went with both of the kids twice on the tubes.  Meanwhile, I was able to relax, take pictures and have a nice time watching my kids have a blast.  We were out for three hours, which is a lot longer than we had originally planned for, and in the end the kids didn’t have a nap other than on the drive home, but it was such a great day.  Mike’s part in that day made me feel like giving him a gift of sorts, and I think that is what this decision is.

As for my recuperation, I have been in quite a lot of pain the last few days.  My pain meds are not working as well as they were, and I suspect that the scabbing in the back of my throat (yeah, I know – gross) is coming off and reforming, so I’m a bit raw because of it.  I’ve lost at least eight pounds in the last week and people have even noticed that I look thinner.  My face seems to thin out fast when I lose weight, so it’s quite obvious even when it’s not a large amount of weight.  I’m basically living on scrambled eggs and tofu, water, the occasional smoothie, and popsicles.  I did have half of a veggie chicken sandwich and four or five pieces of asparagus for supper last night – every bite hurt, but my stomach was so happy afterward.  If my drugs are working, I have more options for food, but the more solid it is, the more it hurts to swallow.  I’m just hoping that I’m able to eat normally by the end of this week, but there’s no telling whether I’ll be able to or not.

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And then the walls came down

After feeling pity for myself and shedding a few tears over my bad day, I got a phone call to put it all in perspective.  My sister-in-law, who is due July 7th with her second baby, was taken out of town in an ambulance to be induced after being in the hospital here overnight with high blood pressure.  The baby is small, the placenta looks bad and I am terrified that something is going to happen to her or the baby.  I have such love for her and that baby and her thirteen month old son.  Our nephew was small – 5 lb 8 oz – and only two days early, so it seems this baby could be even smaller.

At the heart of my fears, right next to my worst one, which would be something happening to her or the baby, is another one – that regardless of what happens, things are going to get worse for me.  That my situation will be ignored by everyone who knows her, and especially by Mike’s family.  It is terribly selfish and an awful thing to feel, I’m sure, but I can’t help it.  I am desperate for my own family right now.  For parents or siblings who love me.  For aunts or uncles or cousins who would offer help.  But they are all so far away and can’t do a thing for me right now except pray.  I guess the best I can do is to ask them to do that much, for me and especially for Mike’s sister.

So I’ll ask you as well (whoever you may be) to pray for our family – for Mike’s sister and her unborn baby, for her husband and their son and for Mike, Jenny, Elias, Erik and me.  And pray that this would all serve to prove God’s power and purpose in our lives.

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Day 30: Colossians 3:1-3

For a reminder of what I’m doing this month, read this post.

Colossians 3:1-3

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.

Breaking these verses down, the first is essentially saying, “If you are really believers, you should look for things that are of a heavenly nature, things that are near to Christ.”  If we claim to be Christians, but continue to seek out worldly things to fill our time with, we are not really living as followers of Jesus. 

The second and third verses then, are encouraging us to not only seek out eternal things, but to think on these things as well.  We may outwardly appear to live right, but if our thoughts are worldly, it is no different than if we were living sinfully.  If we have really died to the old man, our real life is with Christ, not here on Earth.  If our real life is with Him, our thoughts certainly should be as well.

For me, this means looking past the mess I see here – both literal and figurative – to eternal things.  A verse that goes hand in hand with this one is Philippians 4:8:

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

So then, this verse does not direct us to think all of our thoughts outside of earth, but to restrict our earthly thinking to things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy.  The love of a child is pure, the helping hand of a neighbour to someone in need is noble, the sun rising each morning is lovely.  There are many examples of things we can think on that may dwell on earth but have their origins in Heaven and will only benefit us to think about.

Today is day thirty and is the last day in my month of verse-a-day writing.  It’s been a stretching time for me writing each day and especially writing about scripture each day.  I believe that it has been a time of growth for me as well, as I’ve learned to take a verse or two and really think about their meaning.  I hope that these entries have been an encouragement to all who have been reading and that they will continue to be in the future.  I am looking forward to going back to the old way of things, but hope to keep up with the verse a day on my own as a devotional.  I feel like I have all sorts of things I haven’ t written about in the last month and I’m looking forward to sharing soon. 

Happy Thursday!

This verse comes from VOTD.

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Day 29: James 1:23-25

For a reminder of what I’m doing this month, read this post.

James 1:23-25

For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

Today’s verses are a continuation from yesterday, so if you haven’t read yesterdays post, read it first.

I’ve always liked this explanation of what it means to be a “hearer of the Word, but not a doer”.  Another similar situation is when I tell my kids to do something and they promptly go off to do something else.  I know that they hear me – I usually get confirmation of that by asking them if they understand – but they choose to let my words go in one ear and out the other so that they can do other things.  When they do this, they get in trouble.  It is the same with us and God’s Word.

When we read the Bible without really processing it and putting it into practice, we both miss and ignore important instructions within it.  I’ve been guilty of doing this many times in my life.  I often read the Bible just to get through it – skimming through chapter after chapter and then realizing afterward that I could hardly even remember what I had read.  This type of reading does me no good (unless I’m just trying to fill time). 

If we take the time to read and process God’s Word, we will be blessed.  Sometimes this means focusing only on one or two verses, much as I’ve been doing for the last month here.  At other times, it means taking courses or going through Bible studies that help us to process and put things into action.  It is wonderful to have the promise of blessing when we are doers of the Word, and we should make every effort to dig into the Bible and really learn from it and live it.

This verse of the day comes from VOTD.

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Day 28: James 1:21-22

For a reminder of what I’m doing this month, read this post.

James 1: 21-22

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

I feel like these verses speak for themselves, but will try to add my two cents anyway.  I have my fifth case of tonsillitis for the year (yep, once a month) and I’m starting to really feel the effects of the infection.  At the moment, all I want to do is crawl onto the couch and not get up again. 

The first verse gives us instructions on right living – put off wickedness and accept the Word of the Lord, which has the power to save our souls.  It has this power because it directs us to Jesus, not because it has any saving power of its own.  If we worshipped the Bible, it would not get us anywhere.  However, it is very important to take these words that God spoke into the Bible and put them into practice in our own lives.  We can preach out of the Bible all we want about all the sins everyone else is committing, but if we do not pay attention to our own sins, it does us no good.  We can talk about the importance of giving to the poor, widows and orphans, but if we neglect the poor around us, we are only hearing and not doing. 

Today, try to put into practice something you have learned from God’s word.  Give a word of encouragement to someone in need, treat a homeless person to lunch, sign up to sponsor a child through World Vision or another similar plan, or simply show your family the love that God has shown you.

This verse comes from VOTD.

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Day 27: Psalm 31:23-24

For a reminder of what I’m doing this month, read this post.

Psalm 31:23-24

Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints!

For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person.

Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD.

I was at first a bit confused about the “repaying the proud” part, but when I looked this verse up in another translation, it says “but” will repay the proud.  This tells me that this repayment is not a reward, but a discipline.

I like the thought of being preserved and having my heart strengthened.  It is comforting thinking of God doing these things for me, because it’s not an easy thing to do on my own.  So many people spend money on preservation of their physical bodies and spend no time on preservation of their souls.  What a great blessing it is that God will preserve us and protect us.  As for the final verse, if we are courageous, he will strengthen our hearts.  I believe that this means we are to have courage as we follow Him where He leads us and as we share His love with others.  I have seen people leave everything to go into the mission field, at times to dangerous locations, and have watched their courage with envy.  What would I do and how would I feel if I was called in this way?  Would I have courage?  It is good to know then that God is with me always, strengthening my heart, whether I am home sharing Christ with my next door neighbour or if I am in a foreign land. 

It probably seems that I haven’t said a word about real life for some time, so I’ll give you quick update.  I hosted a craft day at our church on Saturday and was amazed at all that I got done!  I painted and made cards and envelopes and did some decoupage.  We had about sixteen people come and do a number of different crafts/hobbies.  One older lady brought a puzzle and she worked on it with a few other women for a few hours.  I was so pleased with the outcome of the day that I think we’ll do it more often.  I’m not sure if it will be a good idea to do one over the summer, but I’d like to see it happen every other month starting in September. 

As for my health, I’m healthy at the moment, but we’ve all had colds.  As far as I know, swine flu (ahem, influenza A (h1n1) :)) hasn’t come up as far as Fort St. John, yet, but if it does, I’m not feeling incredibly worried.  My kids are all having lots of fun with the weather being warm – they would probably spend every day outside if they could.  It’s still a bit chilly in the mornings, but by afternoon, it’s been warming up very nicely.  Spring is here at last!!

I’ll be  finishing the verse-a-day posts on Thursday and then will return to the regular scheduled program of yammering on about my life. 🙂

This verse comes from VOTD.

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Day 26: John 3:17

For a reminder of what I’m doing this month, read this post.

John 3:17

God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.

Many people equate Jesus and Christianity with judgement – they avoid accepting Christ because they know they will have to change or because they feel unworthy of his love. But this verse reminds us that He came first and foremost to save us, not to judge us. Judgement will come eventually, but in this life, He simply offers us salvation and eternal life with Him.

This is important for us to remember and apply to our own lives – as Christians, we should be accepting of people regardless of their lifestyles. This does not mean that we are to condone their actions or encourage them to continue living sinful lives after they have accepted Christ, but that we should first and foremost love them and introduce them to Jesus.

God’s love is of course the key to all this – John 3:16 reminds us of that: “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (NLT)  It is because of this love that He gives us our whole lives to accept His offer of salvation and does not condemn us while we still walk this earth.  Jesus accomplished His purpose as it was laid out for Him by His father – to come and save us so that we would not spend eternity apart from Him.  If we are to emulate Jesus, we ought to lean on the Father’s love to guide us to loving others.

This verse comes from Air1.

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