Tag Archives: Faith

Grief

Grief is a funny thing. It hits you at the strangest times. There’s the obvious initial response to the death of a parent that is emotional and jarring and raw, but then that gives way to daily life needing to move on and that’s when grief creeps up, bubbles up, bursts forth at the oddest of moments. Seemingly odd at first, but very fitting upon further observation.

James’ dad died in the middle of February. It was sudden and unexpected. He wasn’t the healthiest of people and seemed to be aging rapidly, but no one would have guessed he was going to pass at 62 years of age, not yet two months into his retirement. I’d never experienced anything like that before. My husband hadn’t experienced anything like that before. We’ve lost grandparents and a few people on the outskirts of our lives, but never someone so close and dear and…there. Having to tell the kids their beloved Grandpa, the man who would pick them up and take them for pancakes and read to them was gone was one of the hardest things to do.

I found that because James is the eldest child and his dad was alone and we had children going through their own grieving process I shelved a lot of my emotion. After Pat died, after the room cleared out, I sat there and just thought about the mountain of things that this meant. What this meant to everyone, all of the things that had to be done and taken care of. Maybe it’s because I’m a mom and have been for a long time now, but the list grew instantly and I went into ‘care’ mode.

But now I find it creeping out or bursting forth at bizarre moments like when I walked into Safeway the other day. It was the first time since he died. Pat had called James from Safeway because he felt dizzy and short of breath. It was the last time they talked. The manager had called Pat an ambulance and by the time James got to him he was unconscious. I put Eli in the buggy and walked through the doors and an instant flood of emotion came over me. “He’s gone” I just kept repeating in my head.

It also caught me off guard when I put a dish of rice pudding in the oven to bake. The last time that I had made it was the day he died. The connection to a time when he was here was too profound. The absence of the person is felt so deeply. Too deeply. But it’s good. I need to feel it. I need to care for the people around me during a time like this, but I also need to wade through my own emotions and let them break the surface so that I can work through them.

I imagine it will be a long road of these sorts of things. We will never fully recover from a parent dying, they are linked too closely to our lives. They mean too much to us. Especially if they have been the type of parent, like Pat, who, despite his flaws and our flaws, has loved us greatly and unconditionally.

 

feather1

 

‘Farewell’

 

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Beauty

We are constantly bombarded these days with ideas of beauty and what beautiful is; our own inner voices, our family and friends, the media, the world around us. Girls seem to be more obsessed than ever to fit into the societal views of beauty, trying to acquire flawless skin, perfectly applied eye make-up and the ever illusive “thigh-gap” (I read an article about this new obsession…kinda crazy). Older women rush to the spa to get skin treatments and injections, paying thousands and thousands of dollars so they can keep-up with their daughters. Every things seems to be competing for some of our head space (because if it gets in our head then we’ll obsess and spend money on trying to ‘fix it’, right?). It’s loud and it’s hard to shut it off.

Beauty is a touchy subject for me. I say touchy because I find that I am far too frequently in sync with the cravings our society has for beauty. I want the youthful look and slender build and Banana Republic’s 2013 fall wardrobe (I think I actually had heart palpitations when I went into the new store). I enjoy Vouge and often peruse The Sartorialist. It’s not that I think these things are wrong in and of themselves, it’s that I know I get carried away and allow them to take up too much time. I often put too much stock in a materialistic definition of beauty and I become shaped by all of those voices that begin to chat away in my brain. I begin to compare myself to those definitions and I fall short, because they are unattainable. Seriously, I’ve had three kids, my body will not look like a 16 year olds.

But the funny thing is that when I think about the woman that I want to be and become, these definitions of beauty don’t hold a lead role. Sure, I hope that I look as good as my mom does when I’m 58, but I long for a different beauty as well. A lasting beauty. I’ve been giving this a lot of thought lately and it’s probably because I’m nearing my 30th birthday.

We are told to take care of our future. We put money away and make plans upon plans upon plans to ensure our comfort and our childrens safety. We are told to eat healthy and be active so as to ward off heart disease and strokes…which are all important. But I’ve been wondering why more of us (and maybe this takes place but it’s not talked about as much) don’t plan for how we want to age in character and faith and personality. I’ve been thinking about how I would like to age in many areas.

I came across a quote that I wrote down quite a long time ago. Unfortunatly I didn’t write down the author, but it goes like this:

” This is what beauty says, All shall be well. And this is what it’s like to be with a woman at rest,

a woman comfortable in her feminine beauty. She is enjoyabe to be with. She is lovely.

In her presence your heart stops holding its breath. You relax and believe once again

that all will be well.”

This quote resonates with me, but I feel so far off. Mentors seem as though they are a thing of the past, but I bet this is where they would come in to play. I’d love to have a mentor, a Ruth or an Ester type, a godly woman to look-up to and ask questions to and  see how she walked through all of the long rough years.

When I look at my peers and at older women around me that I know and admire, they don’t fit into these silly cookie cutters that the world has made for us. They come in all shapes and sizes. I find that what makes these women beautiful are their lives and their stories, their love and their passion, their flaws and their humour. They have something that a cosmetic stand or Botox add cant sell.

“A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.

She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
She speaks with wisdom…

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”

Proverbs 31: 10, 26,

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Shifting

Lately, I’ve been quite surprised with myself over how toxic I’d let my thought patterns become. Over the years I’ve created this process of self-sabotaging that I continually allow myself to go through. I’ll have a wonderful thought or idea or a compliment from someone and within seconds I’ll have handfuls of reasons why it wasn’t a superb idea or how I’ll fail at it or this, that, and the other thing. It’s disheartening to live like that.

There are a few problems that I’ve run into with living like this. One is that you won’t ever make any progress or be successful (in whatever you choose) if that’s how you view yourself. The other is that if that’s what you’re made-up of, it will eventually bubble-up and spill over into your view of other people and the world around you.

I’ve been very pointedly trying to replace my negative self talk with positive, uplifting thoughts. It sounds so cheesy, but I do think that there is power in positive thinking for people like me. But it’s hard!

A light went on a few days ago shortly after a friend posted a picture on Facebook. It was a list of 10 things that people spend time thinking about too often. I read through the list and it’s safe to say that a large majority of my thoughts are taken-up by these things (number 3 & 7 especially).

603734_527078254006418_170315304_n

 After I read through the list I chuckled to myself. “Yup!” I said to mysef, “That’s me.” Later in the day when I had a bit of peace and quiet to do some soul-searching I was stopped in my tracks by a thought. I looked down at my body. I looked at my legs and my hands. I looked at my squishy post-baby tummy. One day this body will be rotting away and could be next week for all I know. Every day, every breath is unknown. We don’t have a right to the next day…it’s a gift, it’s a blessing. Yet I’m spending this gift and blessing on all the wrong things. I’m spending it worrying about everything and what people think. I’m spending it in fear of failing so I don’t even take steps to try. I’m spending it feeling overwhelmed by so many things that are inconsequential. How many days, months, years have I wasted with thinking this way!? I was sad for a little while after I thought about all of this.

I’m learning a lot about myself these days. I feel like God is pealing back all these layers and slowly revealing a vision of how He wants me to be. I need to set aside my fears and disappointments and follow Him. Life is too short to spend it absorbed in such silly things.

 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

Psalm 139:14

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

And My Soul Thirsts – Part 2.

So how does one learn how to follow God during the ‘good’ times? The ‘boring’ times? The straight and only slightly bumpy times? I’m not entirely sure but I was frustrated with feeling distant and dry, longing for some spiritual rejuvination. I always expect to have this big breakthrough or a burning bush telling me exactly what I need to hear. I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced either of those. More often than not my heart is stirred and then it’s left up to me to pursue. I also felt like I shouldn’t be operating with a dried-up cup anymore, for a number of reasons:

  1.  James’ new career is a very damanding and stressful one (for him and for our family) and I need to go into this change with a healthy heart & mind.
  2. I’ve been snapping at the kids more often and it’s getting old real fast.
  3. I’ve taken on a position on our church council (for Family Ministries) and I had the strong sense that I should probably ‘be fed’ before I start actually filling the role.

So with all of those in the forefront of my mind, I picked-up my bible on that Monday morning. I didn’t feel lead to any specific area so I decided to start reading from Psalm 1. I also picked-up my dusty devotion (A Prayer Journey with the Apostle Paul) and started where I left off. Even though it was great to finally sit down and do something I would be lying if I didn’t say that it was difficult at first. To be honest, I wanted to be infront of my laptop and not my bible. But after a little while it has become more routine…routine that I look forward to. To sit and be still and be fed is what my soul was thirsting for, not the lastest news or e-mails.

I was allowing things to get in my way of reading my bible and spending time in prayer because I didn’t really want to do either. I realized (which is obvious, it just took a little while to sink in) that being a disciple is not just for one difficult year here and there, I need to sit and pray and read even when I’d rather be doing something else. I need to focus on God and give Him my attention even when there are phone calls to make and kids to take care of.

I know it seems like all of this is so obvious but it’s taken a while for me to actually want to acknowledge it. I was desiring all of the things that only time spent being close to God can bring but unwilling to put in the time or work to get them.

Hopefully I’ve learnt a lesson here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

And My Soul Thirsts – Part One.

I sat down in the morning sun with a cup of steaming coffee in my hand and I opened-up my bible.

I felt so much better after doing a lectio divina with a passage from Psalms. Amazing. Refreshing. Calming. Convicting. Comforting. Clarifying. Life-giving.

I opened-up my devotional. The same devotional that I’ve had from before Ammie was born, A Prayer Journey with the Apostle Paul. I still hadn’t made it even a quarter of the way through the book. I picked-up from where I’d left off…right at the beginning of Paul’s conversion. Amazing. Refreshing. Calming. Convicting. Comforting. Clarifying. Life-giving.

I pushed my books aside and bowed my head. There were a number of people who had been on my heart so I brought them, one-by-one, before the Lord. I thought about the passage I’d read and the devotion I did. I thought about Saul’s conversion to Paul. I thought about God’s grace and love and His wonderful hand of providence. I thanked Him for these. Amazing. Refreshing. Calming. Convicting. Comforting. Clarifying. Life-giving.

That was Monday morning.

I sat in church on Sunday and wondered what had happened. Why did I feel so dry and distant? I was a touch on the angry side. I’d been fighting a conviction for a few months and I didn’t want to admit it. He was trying to speak and I knew it, but I didn’t want to change. “I’ve changed enough” I reasoned, “I’ve come so far”. It had been months since I’d sat and spent time with Him. Months since I’d given Him my quieted attention. Months since I’d given him room to speak and to guide me. Sure I’d shoot Him a prayer here and there. Sure I’d spend time kind-of thinking about my spiritual walk. A prayer here and there and a random thought aren’t enough to feed me. My cup was drying-up.

The reason? Things were fine.

I find it so easy to draw close to God when I’m in crisis or when I’m stressed. It’s logical. He is a savior and I’m in need of saving. It makes sense. What I find extremely difficult is to draw close to him when life is truckin’ along; kids are good, marriage is great, life is (for the most part) grand. Certain things here and there could use some improvement but in the overall grand scheme of things life is humming along, just peachy.

After years of living in crisis and not knowing what was going on and why things were happening the way that there were I think that my spiritual walk was almost a survival tactic for me. I needed it to stay afloat. Which is fine. When you’re in the midst of a storm you need to cling to what will cover you and give you guidance. You keep your eyes fixed on the light from the lighthouse. I got used to this. I got used to seeking God in the midst of chaos.

Now that our lives have calmed down it’s as though I’m re-learning how to follow God on a straight, sometimes bumpy, road instead of the switchback that I had grown so accustom to.

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Calming My Nerves.

I had a bit of a nerve wracking afternoon. It was good, but I was anxious.

I had a hard time settling myself when everything was all said and done, my mind was racing a million miles a minute.

I sat myself down on the couch (after putting a show on for the kids so that I could have a bit of quiet) and brought my worries before the Lord. I knew that it wasn’t within my own power to calm myself so I opened up my bible to find some much needed encouragement.

I did the whole ‘let the spirit lead’ thing and just let my bible open to wherever it would (which, for the record, rarely works). My book opened to Psalm 38 and, believe it or not, I found exactly what I needed.

“All my longings lie open before you, O Lord; my sighing is not hidden from you. My heart pounds, my strength fails me…

O Lord, do not forsake me; be not far from me, O my God. Come quickly to help me, O Lord my Savior.”

(Psalm 38: 10, 21 & 22)

I found such a peace in these words. To be honest, my mind is still going a million miles a minute but I know that my longings and sighs are heard. I know that my heavenly Father cares and that he is not far from me.

1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Early Morning Reflections – ‘Tis so sweet.

James and I have been going through a bit of a battle for a few months. We haven’t been battling each other but it’s more that we’ve been battling life, going through some more trials and trudging through some difficult things. It’s tiring. There are weeks where you just want a break, you want the sliver platter and the easy way and I know that we all feel like from time to time. But God calls us to be persistent and to trust in Him.

There was one day last week where it felt like this whole ordeal was a losing battle and it was crushing me. I felt God tell me to spend time in prayer. So I went up to my room, sat on my bed and prayed like I haven’t prayed in a loooong time. A few days later we had a HUGE breakthrough  and it is so evident that God answered our prayers directly. Praise the Lord!

The song ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus’ comes to mind when I think of my faith today and so I’ve decided to share the words with you this morning. What a beautiful thing it is to trust in the Lord and rest upon His promises.

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word;
Just to rest upon His promise,
And to know, “Thus says the Lord!”

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
O for grace to trust Him more!

O how sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me
’Neath the healing, cleansing flood!

Yes, ’tis sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus simply taking
Life and rest, and joy and peace.

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

2 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized