Tuesday, February 24

How can I keep on singing your praise? Yet I will Praise You Lord.

Last Sunday, I went with my daughter (in-law) Leah, to the church that she and my son go to. It was the first time I have been in church in a long time...... (I figure in 50 years of going to church every Sunday, sometimes twice a sunday, for the first 20 years of my life) perhaps I have missed MAYBE 4 Sundays a year. Maybe.
Right now, I am thankful for our decision (Alvin and mine) to step right out of the church that I am on pastoral staff at, to just take time away, with no expectations or demands, or anything. I need that right now. Perhaps some may see it as selfish, but I see it as part of my healing process. Anyhow, back to Sunday. Leah and I got there a little late, and sat down. I love worship, and we had actually missed some of it I think. But we sang one song, that resonated with me.
It was somewhat new to me, although I have since heard it on the christian radio station. It is called, "How Can I Keep from Singing" and it is by Chris Tomlin.
One verse said, "and though the storms may come, I am holding on, To the rock I cling." hmmmm..... clinging, I know about that. Clinging so tightly that I am white-knuckled. Another verse says, "I wil lift my eyes, in the darkest night, For I know my Saviour lives. And I will walk with You , Knowing you'll see me through, and sing the songs You give"

This morning I walked... me an my faithful Oreo... although faithful as he is, he never walks beside me, always ahead as if he has to scout out the trail. Perhaps he is. Anyhow, as I walked, I thought of a few things, but this song kept on playing in my head.... It's a song about singing no matter what. Singing in troubled times, singing when I win, when I lose my step and fall down. It is about singing cause He picks me up, and He is there, about singing because I know that God hears me when I call out in prayer. Hmmmm..... there it is again. That same old doubt that has plagued me for what seems like forever, when it is just the past 7 months. (since July 24, 2008 - the day my grandson was born silently)

I kept thinking, I love to sing... but right now I don't sing alot. Why not? I also was thinking that I love to sing, but right now I don't want to sing, because I am shattered, and broken... but He wants me to sing!!

As I turned to walk the second round, all of a sudden another song came clearly to my mind. One of the most beautiful songs, and yet one that will forever be attached to the beautiful pictures of my grandson Jay Benjamin. When Jeremy Hiebert came and took pictures for Josh and Leah, of our little Jay, he then put them on a DVD and attached this song to them. (www.jeremyhiebert.ca/jaybenjaminklassen)
I put it on my blog before but I feel the need to once again remind myself of the words, and ask myself.... God, do I really believe.

This song is actually off the album by Vineyard Music, titled BELIEVE.
I share the words with you again.

words and music by Andy Park

I will praise You, Lord my God
Even in my brokenness
I will praise You Lord.
I will praise you, Lord my God
Even in my desperation
I will praise You Lord.

And I can't understand
All that You allow
I just can't see the reason
But my life is in Your hands
And thought I cannot see You
I choose to Trust You

Even when my heart is torn
I will praise You Lord
Even when I feel deserted
I will praise You Lord
Even in the darkest valley
I will praise You Lord
And when my world is shattered
And it seems all hope is gone
Yet I will praise You Lord

I will trust You, Lord my God
Even in my loneliness
I will trust You Lord
i will trust You, Lord my God
Even when I cannot hear You
I will trust You Lord

And I will not forget
That You hung on a cross
Lord You beld and deid for me
And if I have to suffer
I know that You've been there
And I know that You're here now.

Even when my heart is torn
I will trust You Lord
Even when I feel deserted
I will trust You Lord
Even in the darkest valley
I will trust You Lord
And when my world is shattered
And it seems all hope is gone.
Yet I will praise you Lord.

Today, my little grandson Jay Benjamin Klassen, born perfect but silently, would have been 7 months.
broken ~ desparation ~ can't understand ~ can't see the reason ~ cannot see You ~ heart is torn ~ deserted ~ darkest valley ~ world is shattered ~ seems all hope is gone ~ loneliness ~

O Lord have mercy.
I weep. I pray. I wait. We all do.

"And though the storms may come, I am holding on, To the rock I cling." (Chris Tomlin)

Monday, February 23


Right now, I am sitting here in the tv room, checking things on the computer, while at the same time realizing that when I go to get up, it will be a painful process.
It seems that right now, my fibromyalgia has been in "flare up mode" for a little while. Since being diagnosed with it in 1995, I have to say that I have not been "sidelined" too often.

I remember in 2001, while going through a very stressful period, I was unable to work for a few days. At that time, it felt like I didn't even have the strength to put my standard car into gear.

Since then, it has been something that I lived with. It is not visible, so I would venture to say that most times, people don't even know, or think of it, unless I say something about the pain. Perhaps I should complain, but then again, that wouldn't do anything anyhow. Really... life has to go on. I have really slacked off in the cleaning of my house, and have gotten some help from my daughter Ashley on some weeks. I am okay with the non-vacuumed look!

However the other thing that happens is that I need to put wood into the boiler when Alvin is at work. I really don't have any options... not sure I want frozen boiler pipes and a cold house. Even with my menopausal hot flashes, I still don't want a cold house.

So, such as it is.... in a few hours, I will put on my outdoor stuff and saunter out to the wood boiler to fill it up. A bit over a year ago, when Alvin had his rotator cuff surgery, I got pretty good at filling the wood boiler, and usually had a roaring fire going. Now a days, I am glad to be able to lift the logs and get them into the boiler, and get back into the house.

I am thankful that Alvin has cut the logs up into smaller pieces which are easier for me to handle.

Pain, I remember it was a fact of life for my mom. I remember that she often slept in a chair. I don't have to sleep in a chair, but I do have a hard time sleeping.
Pain is a constant fact of my life. Lately, a lot more obvious too. I noticed in December that I seemed to be having a flare-up. It made sense, as it is also affected by stress, and there was more than enough of that in my life.

On Saturday, it was awful.... the pain, and the stiffness. And the fatigue. Everything seemed to be a big thing...
Even walking was hard. I know that I have to walk, I have to exercise. But that day, I was counting each step and wishing I was done. Making two laps was harder than ever before. All I wanted to do was lay on my bed. But that is hard too. I found that there were some things that were coming out in my thoughts - like anger towards those situations/people that contributed to my stress. However, I knew that was something that I needed to let go of. Like my counsellor told me, sometimes I have to choose what to address, and what to just let go, depending on what I know. Right now, some of the stressful stuff, I just have to let go. (much easier said than done... God, help me)

God.... are you there? It feels like there is nothing in my life that even resembles the old life I had. We, each one in our family, we have all changed. It feels like everything is just plain hard. Emotionally, I hate that it is so awfully hard to work through life!! Mentally, I feel tired. Socially, I thank God for those few who continue to dare to connect with us while I am off. It seems that our grief has not scared everyone off.... it also seems that some of our friends are still okay talking about where we are at. Lord, thank you for these friends who are there even when we don't connect naturally at church every Sunday. In regards to the physical pain, tears are constantly on the verge. Physically - I feel like the tin man from the wizard of oz. I try not to complain. Really, there is nothing anyone can do anyhow. The one thing I know is that I hate to be pitied!!

Yesterday I pulled out a book on Fibromyalgia syndrome. It was quite interesting. It began with Scripture.

"And the days of affliction ahve taken hold upon me. my bones are pierced in me in the night season and my sinews take no rest." Jobe 30: 16-17
The book said that "the medical condition known as fibromyalgia is not new. in fact, some doctors say is sounds very like the afflictions of Job, a biblical character whose sufferings were recorded thousands of years ago."

Hmmm I hadn't thought of Job in quite this way, although since Jay died, I have read Job more than I had before.

Thing is.... what can I do about it. I know I need to exercise, even when my body is so fatigued and painful and stiff.
It is just a mad catch 22. I can pray about it, and I have... but then again, I have prayed about many things. And, I will continue to pray. That is all I can do.

When my mom was sick, and dying, during her last week before she went home to Heaven, this Psalm brought me great comfort. It still does today. It is rtuly the cry of my heart... the cry of OUR hearts as family.

Psalm 40 (New Living Translation)

Psalm 40
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

Jesus, you are the great I am. You are healer. I wait paitently for you. Okay Lord, sometimes yu know that I am not always the most patient. Forgive me for that.
I am waiting for you to turn to us, and hear our cry. Lord, you must hear us? You must heart a millions cries from our lips, and our hearts. WIll you lift us out of this deep deep pit of despair? God, we are waiting.
We are waiting for you to set our feet on solid ground, and to steady us. O God, please. You will give us a new song to sing. Will the song come to us soon?
We long to sing it. Till then, we will praise you! I admit, praising you when I feel this way is hard, but I know that it is ALL ABOUT YOU JESUS.... and I need to praise you whether I feel like it or not. You are worthy to be praised!!

We wait on you Jesus... we know that when you choose to show your favor on us, that many will see what you do, and will glorify your name, and put their trust in you.
We wait on you. O Jesus.... have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Amen.

Sunday, February 22

Thinking about Heaven

I have been thinking alot about heaven lately. Not sure why. Guess I am journalling and walking through my grief over my grandson Jay Benjamin. It has taken me to some very deep and hard places. "Going Back" to the hospital (emotionally/mentally not physically) I have thought alot about how we grandparents stood in a circle and prayed for our little Jay. But God had already chosen to take him to his heavenly home.... a mystery that only God understands. I was also at a memorial service of a man who lived his life for Jesus. As I sat there, with the sun shining through the window right on me, I thought alot about life. Last weekend, there was a write up in the Wpg. Free Press in which my father, Geri Thomas was mentioned, as someone who was a great influence. My father has been in heaven for over 11 years now (12 in November) while my mom has been gone for 13 in May, and my Father-in-law John Klassen, will be gone 3 years this July.

I have thought of each one of them alot. But my greatest thoughts are that they are able to run, and play with our little Jay. My dad, who was an amputee - now has two legs that work! My mom, who died with a foot that was going to have to be amputated because of diabetes - now can run! My father-in-law, I can just imagine him saying "Com on here youngest" in his slightly german accent. If I let my thoughts linger there, I can imagine in my mind, what this scene looks like, and I am so glad that they are there with Jay. I mean, really, Jesus is there, and that in iteself is amazing! I bet Jay is running with him too! But I like to think that Jay's great grandparents are loving him up!! That thought alone, brings me comfort.

So, I have thought of heaven alot. I have also come to love a song that I heard an artist named Michael English sing, on a Gaither Vocal Group reunion tape.
I am also reading a biography on Michael English - truly a story of redeeming love, and a prodigal coming HOME.

Here are the words to the song, I BOWED ON MY KNEES AND CRIED HOLY

I dreamed of a city called Glory
It was so bright and so fair
As I entered that gate, I cried holy
All the angels met me there
And They carried me from mansion to mansion
And all The sights I saw
I said I want to see Jesus
He's the One who died for all

I bowed on my knees and cried Holy, holy, holy
I clapped my hands and sang Glory,
Glory to the Son of God
Glory to the Son of God

When I entered the gates of the city
My Loved ones all knew me well
They took me down the streets of heaven
All the saints were too many to tell
I saw Abraham, Jacob and Isaac
Talked with Mark, sat down with Timothy
But then I said, I want to see Jesus
He's the One who died for me

I bowed on my knees and cried Holy, holy, holy
I clapped my hands and sang Glory,glory, glory
I clapped my hands and sang Glory
I clapped my hands and sang Glory
I clapped my hands and sang Glory
Glory to the Son of God
Glory to the Son of God

You see, the human part of us gets really glued to this life. Afterall, this is the life we know. We want to live fully. I think that sometimes I (I will speak for myself) forget that I am just passing through. That this life is just a blip in view of eternity that we will spend with Jesus. I remember when I was a young married, I would pray, "Lord, please just let me have kids before you come again." and then when I had kids I would pray, "Lord, just let my kids grow up before you come again..." and then it is "Lord, just let me see my kids married..." and now it is "Lord, just let me see my grandchildren..."

I realize that I often have my eyes so tightly fixed on my life here and now, that I miss looking at Jesus, the author and finisher of my faith. I realize that sometimes my eyes are turned so inward, that I fail to see what God is doing in my life. Sometimes I get so stuck in the valley, that I forget to look on the face of my Beloved Jesus - as he carries me out of the valley.

I used to be scared of dying... and then my mom passed away, and somehow, the scariness has gone out of death.
I realize how close I came to death in March of 2006. Somehow, God had another idea for me at that time, as it is only through my sister that we believe I missed death that day!
And now, it would be that I would see my grandson Jay. At this point, it is only in death, or at the second coming of Jesus. Either way, it will be a reunion that will be bigger than we can ever expect! A reunion that is second to none.

this is where my thoughts have been reminincing to. Again, not sure why, but they have. Do I expect to go there soon? Not that I expect, but then again, we don't know God's plan for us do we. There are some mysteries Jesus holds. He knows our beginning and our end. He knows the number of our days, just like he knew the number of my grandson's days, before one even came to be.

a place where there will be no more crying, no more sickness, no death, no pain...

When I was younger, actually at camp, we used to sing this song:
"Heaven is a wonderful place
filled with glory and grace
I want to see my Saviour's face.
Heaven is a wonderful
Heaven is a marvelous
Heaven is a wonderful place."

Note about the picture: I took this picture one afternoon a couple summers ago. A storm was developing outside. When I looked at it later, I saw some faces in it... and I began to refer to it as "the great cloud of witnesses"

Monday, February 16

Thank God for my Men

My men.... Alvin, the one whom I have loved since I was 16. Joshua and Michael, both my boys, one by blood, and one by marriage, but both mine!! (sounds a little like the beginning of yesterday's post?)

I just got in from a walk outside. It was fresh. The sun was starting to think of setting... as I walked, I could hear the sound of the chainsaw. The guys have all been outside - actually for most of the day. They have been getting wood for our wood boiler. (Okay, that is one thing I will not miss when we sell and build our next home!) Alvin and I are so thankful that our boys are so willing to help. There is absolutely no "pulling teeth" - but instead a willingness to come and help out a parent.

As I walked, I was praying again.... it is the most amazing walk in that sense.... constant reminders of God around me, and a space to just spend time, uninterrupted with my God. I love that about country living!! Quiet solitude!

As I got closer to the sound, I saw piles of wood along the way. The tractor was heading back toward the house (with Alvin driving it) and its load of wood. Michael was stacking, Josh was cutting.

As I walked to the end and doubled back, I decided to take a few more pictures. That is when Alvin got back, this time with the snowmobile and sled, and I could get the three hard workers together.

God, I thank you for my men. For the man whom I saw the first day of MBCI, Sept 74 and knew that he was the one!

For my boys... well, for my men. Joshua, my son by birth - the firstborn. I will never forget that when I was in labor, my dad got a phonecall from his sister, telling him that she had a dream that I was in labor, and that I had a boy. I don't know that she ever thought she was prophetic, but in this case she was. My father used to say that Joshua was going to be used by God in a mighty way. Josh was alot like my father - Geri Thomas - or POPPA as the kids called him. I see that in Josh's personality, in the way he has with people. In his entrepreneurship....and for the ideas he has. He has never been without a job of some kind, even dreaming up his own and making money at it. I love how my son's eyes tear up prior to him telling you something funny. He has a sense of humour, and has had it since he was a very little boy. In Josh, I see a sensitivity to people, and to life. I see a little boy who grew up to be a man whom I am so proud of. A handsome guy outwardly, but a man with a beauty inside, that is because of God. I watch my son, and see a spitting image of Alvin... the way they walk, the way they do things. Like father like son. I was so proud of the way my son was preparing to be a dad - and the pride he had when he looked at Leah as she carried Jay. I know that Josh looked forward to Jay making him into a daddy. We weep together at a life cut short before even a day came to be.

Michael, my son through marriage. Who would have thought that the drummer who helped lead us into worship, would marry my baby girl! I love watching Michael and the way he loves to learn. I love seeing how he is eager to get involved, how he laughs at the crazy antics of our family, and gets right in there. I am proud of the man that he has become too - even though I haven't known him for only a few years. I love how he is sensitive to those around him. I think what I love the most is watching he and Josh interact. They seem to just really love hanging out.
I love how Michael is so easy going, and yet can get serious when he needs to be. I watch as he cares for and loves my daughter. I remember how we teased Michael last year when we were in Cuba, and how Josh and Leah began calling him Uncle Mikey.

We know that we learn through the experience of life. We know without a doubt, that the experience of our little Jay being born silently last July, was one of the hardest teachers we ever had. Through it, I saw how my men were able to be there for one another. No young man should have to bury his own son... that just does not make any sense. No young man should have to help his father-in-law make a little casket for a precious little baby. I saw how life turned my men older than their years. And how it caused tears to fall from eyes that usually laughed. I can hardly wait until the mourning turns to joy again.

I thank God for my men. For Alvin, for Joshua and for Michael. I am so proud to be wife, and mom. I am so glad that I have them to lean on, and to give support to, during the hardest of life, and we look forward to when we all laugh together again.
God, thank you, for the men of integrity that you have created Alvin, Joshua and Michael to be. Lord, may you be their strength in all ways - physical, emotional, mental and spiritually. Amen

Sunday, February 15


My girls.... one by birth, one by marriage but both mine! I will get back to that thought... work with me here :)

Today I went outside for a double walk (I walked the back path twice). Just me, my thoughts, and my dog Oreo. Alvin had not come home from his night shift yet. The air was crisp. The sun was already bright. The snow was whiter than white! As I walked I thought, I prayed. I walked on the path that had fresh snowmobile tracks, and prayed for my son in law Michael, who had snowmobiled there yesterday. Of course then I prayed for both he and Ashley. Then, I thought of my kids Josh and Leah who are in Saskatoon with my nephew Daniel. They took him for his hockey tournament. I thought of them, and prayed for them as well. I listened to the bird, who's call sounded like one of the rings on my cell phone. God, thank you for your creation. I watched Orrie as he ran ahead, and recalled my blog the other day, about how Oreo was an object lesson to me, teaching me about my walk with God. I passed by the place in the snow, where Alvin had stopped yesterday, when we were out walking with Ash and Mike, and he had drawn something in the snow, after Michael had asked about some thing he saw across the field. Lord, thank you for my husband, who is so practical, and so knowledgable...(the kids know that Dad will always have an object lesson for them!)

Then, I came in, a little frozen (hmmm forgot to put on my long johns this morning for my walk) and gave my husband a kiss and hug, and had a good cup of hot coffee.

Fast forward to now. I have just finished "church". I watched the Beth Moore bible study on Esther, the DVD lesson number 1. I was laughing when I talked with Karis the other day, and told her that I have always disliked my second name, and now I have decided it is a great name. My second name is Esther. Yes, JOY ESTHER.

I wept through todays lesson. When she talked about her little grandson feeding his dog little goldfish crackers...

I wept when she talked about her mother-in-law burying her second child and saying "It's too much, it's not fair, it's not right!"

I wept when Beth talked about wanting her husband to find her beautiful, and when he kissed her neck, and she kissed his, and how he loved being with Granny!
This is what I was thinking I would be called. Granny.

And then, God spoke to me even more, and he just reemphasized something that He has been telling me for years... it is about being beautiful in God's sight. It is about being precious. About being COMPLETE IN HIM (Colossians 2:10) about being HIS LOVER AND HE CLAIMS ME AS HIS OWN (Song of Songs 7:10) and its about the "the Lord our God show us his approval" (Psalm 90:17). This is all about being beautiful, and precious in His eyes... it is about Him KNOWING us. Intimately - flaws and all.

Years ago, God laid a vision on my heart. A vision for retreat ministry for women.
He laid out the whole plan - what it should include as to what the house should have inside it, the purpose, and it was because of this vision that I left my career of 25 years in one field, and followed him. Well, he circumvented that plan, for a time... and called me into pastoral ministry. I, the least likely. Really... I have no seminary. (okay, perhaps you are reading this, and are surprised that I have been one of your pastors without credentials!!) Anyhow, I struggled with that decision, and asked God to affirm each step of that way... putting out the fleece several times. And the rest is history. I have been in pastoral ministry for 7 years this May. Amazing. (although I still struggle with being "uneducated")

ANYHOW, lest you think I am bunnytrailing AGAIN.. let me get back. I realized within a very short time frame, why He called me into pastoral ministry (for whatever length He will be the decider of). Within weeks, I was meeting with women, listening and praying with. If there is anything that I have gleaned over the past 6.5 years of ministry it is that there are so many women who do not realize how beautiful, how special, how precious, how loved they are by God. And when women struggle with earthly relationships that often make them feel less loved, they have to know that GOD LOVES YOU and thinks you are beautiful.

Eventually, when the retreat house becomes a reality - everything in the place will be picked, chosen, thought of, so that ultimately women who come will feel cared for, precious, aware of the beautiful women they are! It will be a feast for the senses Lord willing.

Okay, this bunny trail takes me back to my first statement... about my girls. One by birth - Ashley Marie (now Thiessen), one by marriage - Leah Michelle - both mine, and both loved, and might I add, I think my girls are so beautiful!!

I love my girls so much. I love being with them. I love laughing with them. I also know that we are so good being able to cry together, and I wish we haven't had to do so much of that. My girls, Ashley and Leah are beautiful. Their personalities are uniquely their own, and I love that about them. They have different gifting, and different talents. They both love life, even though right now life feels like it has been sucked out of us all. I love watching them together. Ever since Leah joined our family, when she was seventeen, Ashley simply adored her. It was so important that whomever Josh fell in love with, would also love Ashley. And Leah became the big sister that Ash never had and now she did.
Ashley and Leah are sisters and best friends.

I think my girls are two of the most beautiful women I know. They have outer beauty. There is something about their eyes too... They also have inner beauty that shines through their eyes, and makes them all the more attractive. I believe that is why they have so many people who love being with them. They both are able to make people feel special, and loved, and important. They make me feel special as their mom, and their friend.

I love my girls and think that they show such beauty through their relationship with God, who has given them the beauty I see! (inner and outer) I love how they process, how they talk about God, how they wrestle with faith stuff. I wish we didn't have to wrestle so much over this past half year. Their beauty oozes from their relationship with God, that is their own relationship and their own walk.

I love my girls. I love spending time with them - together, and also one on one. I do not take that for granted. It is a special and rare gift. Thank you God... for my girls (and for my boys too!! but that is another blog!) Thank you God for making me a woman who is loved - who is complete in you Lord - who is precious and who you know intimately. Thank you for making me a wife, a mother, a granny! Thank you for laying the vision for retreat ministry for women, and Lord, may you make that a reality! Thank you for the beauty that you have given to my girls. For your love Jesus... Thank you.

(The vision God laid on my heart has officially been a registered charity called WOMEN REFRESHED AT THE WELL, and can officially give tax receipts for any donations, should you ever wish to make a donation to a ministry. Consider WRATW!! But, more than that, please pray for God's will for this ministry.)

Saturday, February 14

"Joy, you have to read Exodus 33, the last half especially. Joy, this is for you and your family!"

The other day, one of my best friends Josie, was over for lunch. Before leaving she said that there was somewhere she was reading in Exodus, and she was going to look it up and call me. The next morning the phoone rang, and although she only had a couple minutes before her work began, she said, "Joy you have to read Exodus 33.... " There was excitement in her voice, which lead me to grab my Bible as soon as she hung up, and read. I wanted to see what it was she thought was for me and my family.

Well -- you can read it for yourself. But the bottom line is that Moses, was bold and he reminded God of what God had promised, and asked for God's favor to fall on Moses...

Later, on Thursday afternoon, there I sat at my favorite coffee place (Mountain Bean) and journalled and read and journalled and read.... and read and journalled some more. Here are some of my thoughts:

A long time on the hill, out of sight - the people get restless
And left to their own plans - give up their gold to make a golden calf.
O foolish people - stubborn and rebellious.
God's anger was stirred.
And Aaron, poor Aaron, a man in leadership...
He was made into a laughing stock.

Moses tries to pacify the Lord and it says that "the Lord changed his mind"
And Moses returns to the people
with two tablets of stone - freshly inscribed by God himself.
His anger aroused at the sight,
and at the sound of Aaron justifying the pagan worship.
O Aaron, what were you thinking?
Had you not seen God at work?

And Moses intercedes for Israel.
He returns to the Lord on their behalf
but God replied that they would be held responsible for their sin.
O People - stubborn and rebellious
How quicily you forgot what God had done for you.
(and I heard a whisper... Joy, are these people like anyone you know.... O God, yes.)

Moses gets about the business of God
Spending time in the Tent of Meeting
And as he went - the pillar of cloud descended as God spoke one on one with Moses
And the people witnessing the cloud, would bow in reverence.
O Moses - what an experience you had
The Lord speaking to you face to face "as someone speaks to a friend."
(and I hear a whisper - just like I speak to you Joy, one on one - as one speaks to a friend.... O God, yes.)

And then one day -
Moses got bold and said to the Lord.
Moses SAID.
Moses didn't ask, but he boldly said what was on his heart.
He asked God about words God had spoken to him.
About knowing Moses by name...and about looking favorably...
O Moses... how bold.
And yet - how you loved the Lord, and how you longed for fuller understanding and to enjoy God's favor.
Moses - you spoke the owrds that are on my heart.
My thoughts
Thse words have also rolled off the tip of my tongue.

God..."if your presence doesn't take the lead here, call this trip off right now - how else will it be known that you're with me in this - with me and your people...

...are you travelling with us or not? how else will we know that we're special - I and your people among all other people on this planet Earth?

And God said, "All Right, just as you say, this also will I do, for I know you well and you are special to me - I know you by name." The Message, Exodus 33: 15 - 17

Oh Lord - I feel like I can exhale.
Like Moses, I ask for the same thing.
Examine my heart God.
May it be in line with your will for me and my family.
In boldness, I ask for you to look favorable on us. To let us know your ways. Because O Lord, we love you, and you know us by name.
Lord, shine on us.
O Lord, in your mercy.... show us your favor.

Friday, February 13

My "JOY" Basket

Wow.... I have been blown away by love. Yesterday, I was talking with my good friend Judy, to see if she was around for coffee at Mountain Bean, and well unfortunately, she had taken an extra shift and was working. So I went about my afternoon and spent some time at the Bean, just journalling and working through some scripture...I love doing that at the Mountain Bean. Something about the atmosphere there. :)

Later, I picked up Alvin from work, and before we went home, checked back with Judy to see if they wanted to meet us for coffee... and well, it ended up being an impromptu invitation by her to come for supper, which she was just making. So, off we went, for a great time of food (she is an amazing cook) and fellowship around the table and also around their fireplace. And might I add, some fun conversation and many, many laughs!!

And then, came the overwhelming part.... when she explained that the huge basket of gifts, and the bags around it, were for me, and some were for the both of us, just because we are loved....

You know, it is a funny thing. At this point, I have been away from work for almost a month (two weeks of holidays, and almost two weeks of being A.W.O.L.) And, as someone suggested the other day "is your email and phone overrun with messages?" to which I said no, that wasn't the case, BUT I have talked with a few people... many through email or facebook, including each of the staff I work with, and a handful of close friends from our church, and also our good young friends from our caregroup (these young couples breathe life into these dry bones!) ... and I have had coffee and supper with some friends as well, including a few men who are good friends with Alvin. AND, really I am not complaining because I really do not need nor do I want to be telling and retelling my story to everyone, and really, most people don't want to know, or need to know... that is the reality of life, and how it stops for some, while it marches on for others. But, that being said, I have thought how one could literally walk away and perhaps not be missed. I know, I know.... that isn't true right? But really, how many times have we/I noticed that we haven't seen someone at church in a long time, but haven't tried to contact them? I am guilty of that too.
So, anyhow, Alvin and I have talked about this.... in fact right after I had been hugged up and chatted with Karis (while getting the next Esther DVD) we talked all the way to Lloyd and Judy's about missing people, and about people perhaps missing us but "giving us space". Yep, I have done that too, but have also through our walk with grief, realized that "giving space" to someone who needs it, is really not the thing to do... because people need to be cared for, and the grieving person themself, should be the one to say "I need my space" if that is truly what they need. Okay, I am rambling....

Anyhow, we had been talking on the way to their house, about our experience, and about how perhaps we have treated people who were in our position in the past, and how we feel we are wiser in some ways now through our current journey (one which we would never ever have picked ourselves, and pray no one else ever walks this..)

And then, we get THIS BASKET.... you can call it a number of things, A "sunshine" or "joy" basket, which was on the label. The long and the short of it is, it was put together by people (friends) who love, pray and want to encourage me/us through this long and dark and deep walk through grief, and into healing. And, I/we were and are blown away.

Last night, I opened the loose cards, and quickly realized they weren't just cards, but each one held a treat of some kind...

This morning, I opened a gift that had a prayer blanket in it... lovingly made... actually by someone whom I had made a prayer shawl for... and it is around me right now. I opened this bag because when I carried it, I felt it and thought perhaps this could be what it was.

I am blown away. I am thankful. I am once again reminded that God puts people in our lives who love us and pray for us, and encourage and yes, remember us when we are away. People who are there in the background, and in the forefront. People who are there when it feels quiet and lonely... I am truly thankful.

I have many gifts to open.... and will look forward to each morning, and the treat that it brings. And, I will thank God for each person attached to the gift, and if it is anonymous, I will still thank God, because He knows the hand that wrapped the gift and gave it to Judy.

So, if you are reading this, and you have been a part of this Joy basket.... my thanks... from the bottom of my heart.... the broken heart, whose pieces are slowly but surely coming back together. O God, thank you for friends.

Monday, February 9

Sitting with God in the midst of Grief

Today when I went on facebook, I saw a note written by one of my kids friends, Lisa. Her note touched me deeply. As I read it, I saw that her words were expressions of my own. Her struggling with God since Jay was born silently. A “feeling of being so let down by the one person you thought “had your back” ….. (part of Lisa’s note)
I understand Lisa’s thoughts so well. She is someone who has dared to express what she feels, and her disappointment I guess, with God. Somehow, it is comforting to know that someone else realizes/feels/experiences this in some way.

And for me, it brought back to the surface, a bunch of hurt that I am carrying around – I know it is obviously my problem, but it is there…just below the surface, where I have had to tuck it for now. I have a few months to deal with “hurt feelings” and since it does not include those who are in my family or close friends, I can leave it out there for now. Right now, that seems trivial compared to what I need to do to work through the grief, taking it each day at a time, and sitting with my thoughts, which involve remembering when I first held my little grandbaby, and snuggled him. As I do this, you have to believe that the thoughts that Lisa expressed, plus way more… come right to the surface… and right in my face. I am writing several pages in my journal these days. I am waking up with my family on my mind… I am going to bed with my family on my thoughts…I am laying awake giving them and our future to God.

Since God lifted the “dark cloud” on January 10, I have to say that I feel in tune with him again… I still don’t understand what He did, or allowed, or what He is doing, nor do I understand his timing, or what I can say his un-timing… but I feel God again…
I am so thankful that the cloud has lifted so I can “see” more clearly.

On this leave, I have enjoyed the time to just “sit” with God…
I have also just recently begun doing a Beth Moore Bible Study (on my own) and it is called ESTHER: its tough being a woman. And yesterday, as I watched the CD, Beth said something that hit my heart. Okay, she said many things… but this one thing,
She talked about when she walked through “the dark night of the soul” (yep, been there…) and how it was amazing when she felt like the dark had lifted. She talked about the times when we can’t find God/feel God but that we KNOW he is there! (yep. Know what she is talking about there too.)

I know that I have asked God to do something, pretty specific. (as if God doesn’t know what He wants to do, and needs my help). I have also asked God about his timing, and have shared with him how much doing a miracle would be for His honor and glory! And, we continue to wait, and wonder, and ask…
Beth Moore said this….maybe, could it be that
“God is building our faith to see something that we are hardly going to believe when it comes to full revelation?”

Oh God, please, YES…. I hope so. I don’t understand why you allowed Jay’s heart to stop. I don’t understand why you didn’t make it beat again as we prayed for you to do that. I don’t understand why a baby so complete and perfect was born silently. I don’t understand why you continue to allow other babies to come into families, and yet took our little one “home” for yourself. BUT GOD… I do want to believe that you are building our faith (even though at times it feels like it is not there) and I want to believe that we are going to see something that we are hardly going to believe when it comes to full revelation!! God, only YOU can do that. Only YOU can make shattered pieces come back together. Only YOU can do a miracle that will prove that although we don’t see it now, that you DO have it under YOUR power and Control, because YOU ALONE are SOVEREIGN> YOU ALONE ARE GOD.

God, I give you my day, my week, my month.
I also ask that you would continue to work out my faith…
I thank you that salvation in YOU is secure, even though at times I am wavering like a ship on the sea.
I thank you that I know that through generations, you have been faithful, even though at times, I have questioned your faithfulness.
I thank you that when I talk to you, I know you hear, and I know that you are going to answer.
Give me patience as I wait. Draw me near Lord, so near I can feel your heartbeat.
Oh Lord, draw me, and my family near.

Sunday, February 8

Oreo teaches me about my walk with God

This morning, at 8 am, I went outside with our dog Oreo, and decided to get a walk in. The sky was already showing the promise of a nice new day. Oreo was so excited that I was out, and taking him for a walk, or vice versa! 

I went to the “back 40” to the road that Alvin had groomed again yesterday, taking away the drifts of snow that had come across it over the past few days. It is easier walking this way, and I love that my husband does this for me.

I decided to walk the path twice – and while I walked, I listened, I thought and I prayed. I loved the silence, at the same time I loved watching creation around me. Front and foremost was Oreo. It is much easier to take him on this walk, as there are no speeding cars chasing by, that we have to watch out for him. Oreo is quite deaf, and quite blind.
Anyhow, as soon as he gets the impression that we are walking a certain way, he is off…. chasing ahead of me. Once in a while, he checks around, to see if he can see us moving forward, or if we have turned around. I guess he sees the shadow of us and can tell the direction.

Anyhow, this morning, I was talking to God… telling him what was on my heart (as if he doesn’t know without me telling him… ) I think he just loves me coming to him, and so I come. I came to the end of the path, and turned around to double back. All of a sudden, Oreo, realizing I had turned, goes whipping past me – full speed ahead! All of a sudden, I had just received an object lesson. I realized that sometimes I am like that. I think I know the direction God is going… and all of a sudden, I run ahead, sometimes turning around to check and see that God is still coming along, and sometimes getting so far ahead of God, thinking I know exactly what he is going to do, where he is going to go, how he is going to come along… only to realize I am so far ahead on my own journey!!
With that, God laid a couple lines from an old hymn I remember singing …
“where He leads me, I will follow
where He leads me, I will follow
where He leads me, I will follow
I will follow, follow, close to Him.”
(I think that is the last line…)

And it made me think, my life with Jesus is about following HIM… not Him following me. It is about following close to Him….
This means that I may not always see where He is leading…
I may be like Oreo, “blinded” to where God is actually leading…
But trusting Him for the journey, and knowing that God is never going to take me someplace that He does not want me to go! Hmmm…..
Lord, Help me to follow you, regardless of whether I see the whole way or not.
Help me to follow so closely, that I have my hand in yours..
And that I can hear and feel your heart beat.
Jesus, where you lead me – I WILL follow…. Lord, give me strength and courage for the journey. And, great trust.
I love you Jesus.

Friday, February 6


I am sitting here this morning, looking out the window, watching the flag wave in the wind, and the hugest squirrels run across the yard. Alvin and I walked outside shortly after eight am., then came in and ate breakfast, and now I thought I would just "muse" for a while...

So here are my random thoughts on things I love... just as they come to my mind.

I love a good cup of coffee, usually black, but sometimes with cream. Never milk, only cream! I love watching my four kids banter with one another. I love that my kids love being with us just hanging out! I love popcorn. I love it when our dog Oreo puts his front legs on us, and wants to be petted. I love watching the white clouds on a blue sky. I love snuggling with my husband. I love the smell of fresh sheets, especially pillowcases. I love dancing when no one is watching. I love Jesus! I love reading my parents old journals. I love finding old pictures. I love looking at how much my kids love life. I love the smell of babies. I love the memories of my little grandson, and I remember I loved his smell too. I will always love my little Jay. I love watching birds. I love the sound of a train whistle. I love to feel the warmth of a kitten and I love the purr that it makes when contented. I love a clean house. I love a glass of red wine. I love my extended family. I love the memories of growing up and how much my parents loved me. I love reading. I love watching the movie CITY OF ANGELS. I love travelling, especially with my kids. I love the sound of the ocean, espcially when i am laying with my eyes closed on the sand. I love my friends. I love unexpected letters/cards in the mail from someone who loves me. I love to laugh till tears roll down my cheeks, and I do that alot with my kids and husband. I love doing Beth Moore's Bible Studies. I love worship music. I love going to see and listen to Steve Bell's with the WSO.
I love the hugs I get from little kids. I love to bake. I love to eat my baking!! (or any one else's). I love to go to the cottage.

I am just sitting down, a few hours later, with another good cup of black coffee. Let's see.... what else do I love:
I love the twinkle in my husband's eye - I love the way he can do anything that needs to be done - I love the way my son's eyes water just before he tells you something funny - I love the way Leah can take her hair and just put it up, and it always looks beautiful - I love the way my daughter just sings, riht from her heart, this has always been one of her languages - I love watching Michael as he taps his fingers on his leg (as if drumming) when he hears music - I love having my kids all around the table - I love how they are such a strong source of encouragement - I love how we band together to make a strong united front - I love that we can laugh, cry, and talk together - I love getting texts from my kids - I love travelling together, making memories, taking goofy pictures and just plain getting along.

I love Jesus. (I said that before) I love that He has given me so many gifts - and blessings. I love that He has also carried me/us through incredible dark and deep waters.

I love being a wife, a mom, a granny. I love being a daughter, a sister, and auntie and a friend. I love my extended family more than they know. I love my friends and the way they seem to take chances on me.

I love life...,,Thank you Jesus.
Thank you for allowing me to LOVE.

Tuesday, February 3

There is absolutely no man like mine!

It is 3:36 am Manitoba time. I know NOW that once I get into bed, I will not be coming out of it at 6 am to do what I just blogged about. There is just no way.
It is freezing cold outside. I just came inside, after helping Alvin with the wood boiler. And he is still outside working, in the cold, where he has been since we got home tonight at about 9:15 or so.

My husband, is one of a kind. The only man I know that is a jack of all trades and a master of all of them. There is not one single thing that has broken in our place that he has not been able to fix. He is a builder, a renovator, a fixer.... and that is all on top of being the most incredible husband I could ever have been given. Tonight, there I was, freezing (yep, a little wimpy I am!!) and I did not complain!! And yet, he is still out there, not complaining at all, just doing what he needs to do.

Today he noticed there was a leak in our wood boiler (that heats our house, and Alvin's big shop, with heat that comes through underground water hoses. He spent the good part of the day emptying out enough water, so that he could get to the leak, and hopefully weld it (or something like that). We had a leak last year too, and that was the protocol. Well, we needed to go into the city, and so he did what he could and decided he would have to finish it tomorrow. Well, when we came home, just one look at the temperature in the furnace, and he knew that there was no water circulating. Now, 6 hours later, we have filled and emptied 15 (possibly 18) 5 gallon pails of water.... one small container at a time, through a hose and a funnel. It seemed that nothing worked for him tonight... the little pump he was going to use failed, as did his big flashlight...
But like I said, there was little complaining coming from his lips. Just a few words spoken to indicate that if our lines froze, we were done until spring with this system. The other thing was that because of the water not circulating, there was an air lock in the pipes... not good. It was at that point, that I texted our kids and asked them to pray. And that is exactly what I did on this end as well.
"Lord, I know you are not a vending machine, but could you please unlock the airlock in the hoses... "

Did I expect that God would do it? Yes. Did he owe it to me? No.

Well, That was at about 11:15 or so. I said "God, I know that you can do it, and that you are sovereign over all - even this ..."
Alvin just came in, and I was dreading that perhaps I would have to refill the pails again. But, he ran downstairs to check the lines in the house... and said the machine shed lines were working. Jack of all trades, and master of each one. The lines/the pumps/the boiler is working.

God, thank you.... for answering this prayer. Not because you had to, not because you owed me anything. But because you are sovereign, even over the boiler!

I am heading upstairs to bed... with my husband. Goodnight.

Monday, February 2

Getting up early.... for two things: QT with my God, and exercise!

The best time to start was last year. The second best time is right now."
--Seth Godin, business guru and author of The Dip.

I have been struggling with something that I see as important. As part of my leave, which I "officially" began yesterday, Feb. 1 - there are for sure two things that I want to do.
1) make an appointment with God in the early portion of my day, that is non-negotiable. In other words, that nothing will detour my time with God, or bump it, or anything. I have an easy time spending quiet time with God... because I love spending time with Him. However sometimes I fit it in at the end of the day, and really, I feel that I want to give him the firstfruit of my day. I want to do this NOT so that I become legalistic, or that I can "check" it off the "things to do" list - but rather that I can get my fuel from God for my day and all that it holds.

2) exercise! Okay, most people that know me well, know that exercise is something that I like the idea of, but find it hard to do. Last year I got to running 30 minutes straight. For me that was HUGE! Then, I stopped. Not sure why, but I did. I also go to CURVES but that is hard when I am not in the city daily anymore... I also like to walk, and my husband has made a beautiful cleared walking path in our "back 40"... and I like to do my "dance pad" to praise songs (which I did today).... I like the idea, but find it hard to stay committed to anything. I also find that if I do this first thing in the morning, I am a happy camper! It's like "whew, got that done, now I can relax and enjoy!" Plus doing exercise first thing really gives me energy.

I think the quote on the top of the page is good.... I can not do anything about the past, but I can do something now... I have likely talked about this on my blog before... and my kids, well, they know my thoughts. I have shared with God that I think He is impressing on me the need to get up early and just do it! He even wakes me up, but I have refused to get out of bed. Gotta figure that out! I hate "quenching the Spirit" - it is just hard to get out of bed when it is so hard to sleep during the night!

So, that is my predicament. I am not an early person, but I want to be. So this will be my prayer, that with God's strength and energy, I can get up when He wakes me up, and that I can meet with Him, and spend time in exercise too, and get on with my day. I feel that this is important to me while I am on leave, and learning to be. I feel that this is part of the process. And now, that I have written it down on this blog, I realize that someone just may ask me how it is going....

There is a verse in scripture, I forget where, but it says, "with God's strength I can scale a wall.." I figure with God's strength, I can do this. I feel it is about surrender, about laying down of self. May God be my strength.

Sunday, February 1

Pizza and Friends

Okay, I love pizza. It is one of the foods that really, I should stay away from. Afterall, who can eat just one piece?? So, needless to say, having back to back nights of pizza likely isn't helpful in my attempts to lose some weight. HOWEVER, there is a huge "up" side to the pizza meals....it included fellowship with some of my favorite family and friends.

Yesterday we got a phone message "Hi, this is Fast's Pizzaria ---" The message went on, and the long and short of it was that our friends Al and Jan were making pizza and wanted us to come over. Al and Jan are like family...and we took them up on the spur of the moment offer. We arrived at 6pm and left at I think it was one or something. The night included laughter, tears, talking, listening and praying together before we parted. They are friends that we wish we saw more, and yet, whenever we do get together, it feels like there has been no time in between.
What a gift from God...

Today we ventured out after Ash and Mike left, and as we drove in a "white out" Alvin and I wondered if we were doing the right thing.... who drives in weather like this! We were heading to a gathering with our "young care group" - or most of them. Leroy and Joanne, Russ and Lisa, Terence and Mia and their kids. We got together for the Superbowl game (although I am not sure who actually really likes football). It seemed like a good excuse to come together for pizza :) and a visit. It has been a long time since we got together with these couples, who are dear and trusted friends whom we love and respect greatly. Over pizza we talked, laughed, shared life, and watched 7 little ones run and play. And about 8 or so, we all decided it was time to get the kids home and in bed...
These young couples are a gift from God to us.

Pizza and friends. A great combination. Both nights I was asked something in regards to the leave that I am now on. And today, is officially "day one" of my 3 month leave.

Feb. 1st - God, I can't help but wonder what you have in store for me? It is with great peace, and assurance that YOU are in control, and there is nothing that you won't walk me through. Getting to this point has not been without some struggle, but right now, it is with absolute confidence that I am doing the right thing, and I am excited to see what God does with me/in me through this next while.

I have no doubt that there will be more pizza... more friends. I am thankful for those who dare to step into my world and connect. Yesterday I had some good conversation over telephone too. Friends are a gift from God. God, thank you...