Thursday, April 30

For today....

The house is silent. It is mid afternoon. My husband is upstairs sleeping - still trying to recover from surgery. It has taken him down.... flat out.... you would never ever catch him sleeping on a sunny afternoon any other time. He has been in pain, and discomfort. More than he expected I think.... and his body needs this quiet down time to heal.

God knows all that - what we need to heal. Healing - in so many ways - physical, emotional, spiritual -- healing of our bodies and our hearts. O God, how I need that healing.

I realize that the time is ticking down to my return. This past month has not been at all what I expected. And while it is okay - it is just that in some ways, all of a sudden, I feel a little robbed. Still alot to do - wow, that's a loaded statement. I realize there is alot to do still in my journey of grief. Am I okay? Am I better? These are questions we get, all from well meaning people, many of whom have not had to experience grief. And while I hope that no one ever has to experience grief so deep and dark... the reality is, people around me will grieve. Loss of family, friends, health, jobs, financial security - and on and on - all types of grief. My best friend just told me this morning about a young woman who just had a baby also born silently. Oh, my heart broke. O God, NO - I just felt like I wanted to reach out and hug her, and hug the grandmothers - O God...

I have gone to Sunnyside three times in the last almost week. His little headstone is now in place. The kids picked it up, and took it there on the 9 month anniversary of Jay's death. It would be very easy to rant and rave again - really God? No couple their age should ever have to design and pay for a headstone to be made for their son! It is beautiful, but it makes it even more real, and it almost feels like the scab that has begun to form over the wound, is ripped off again. I wonder if it will ever not be surreal? Today I took Alvin. The pround poppa he is - and yet I know that his feelings are likely the same as mine. I have never seen a grown man weep so many tears. The thing is, while I was at Sunnyside yesterday, I saw something beautiful - and while today, I noticed that there were a few more around - the biggest area of crocuses is just west of where our little Jay is buried.

Yesterday, I took pictures of them. They are fuzzy looking, and for the most part, just trying to peek through, and closed. A couple of them were slightly open. I knew that the land at Sunnyside produces beautiful wild flowers - I didn't realize how beautiful and timely these crocuses would be for me. I have to say, the way my heart has been this week - a mix of emotions - these beautiful flowers were a KISS from my Heavenly Father.

As I said, the time is ticking down to my return. As of today, there are four more sleeps. This week has been full, and fast drawing to a close. I have been doing alot ALOT of reflection and inward soul-searching this week it seems. My emotions feel all over the place. I have felt occassion when I knew that Satan was using thoughts to create doubt and fear - but I know God is far bigger and powerful. Satan can create the doubt but God conquers Satan. I have to keep remembering that.

I realized I had not journalled for a while, so I sat down a little while ago. As I began to write ~ God gave a reference to me, which I looked up. Again, it was for me - today. Again, I am not going to comment on it. I will just share it with you, and hope that in some way, it will also speak into your life. This is taken from

Psalm 143 (New Living Translation)

Psalm 143
A psalm of David.
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord;
listen to my plea!
Answer me because you are faithful and righteous.
2 Don’t put your servant on trial,
for no one is innocent before you.
3 My enemy has chased me.
He has knocked me to the ground
and forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave.
4 I am losing all hope;
I am paralyzed with fear.
5 I remember the days of old.
I ponder all your great works
and think about what you have done.
6 I lift my hands to you in prayer.
I thirst for you as parched land thirsts for rain.

7 Come quickly, Lord, and answer me,
for my depression deepens.
Don’t turn away from me,
or I will die.
8 Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning,
for I am trusting you.
Show me where to walk,
for I give myself to you.
9 Rescue me from my enemies, Lord;
I run to you to hide me.
10 Teach me to do your will,
for you are my God.
May your gracious Spirit lead me forward
on a firm footing.
11 For the glory of your name, O Lord, preserve my life.
Because of your faithfulness, bring me out of this distress.
12 In your unfailing love, silence all my enemies
and destroy all my foes,
for I am your servant.

Sunday, April 26

His Word Speaks to Me - over and over and over again

The other day, as I was going to bed, I asked the Lord to speak to me in whatever way He chose - through Scripture that He gave to me/impressed on my heart; through dreams and/or visions given to me and/or to others who in turn tell me; through prayer and meditation or whatever way He chose to use. I took my journal to my room thinking that perhaps that would be the night that He spoke or woke me up, and "gave something to me". So it was, as I was writing that request down in my journal, I heard a reference from Scripture, which I wrote down. In the morning, I found it fascinating where I looked it up, and then when I read the whole chapter. I am not going to put any of my insight into this, but I just want to share the text with you.
The copied portion is Isaiah 48, and I will highlight selected verses that spoke more so to me (and as I said, I will not give you my insight). Perhaps God will use this text to speak to you as well! He does that!

Isaiah 48 (New International Version)

Isaiah 48
Stubborn Israel
1 "Listen to this, O house of Jacob,
you who are called by the name of Israel
and come from the line of Judah,
you who take oaths in the name of the LORD
and invoke the God of Israel—
but not in truth or righteousness-
2 you who call yourselves citizens of the holy city
and rely on the God of Israel—
the LORD Almighty is his name:

3 I foretold the former things long ago,
my mouth announced them and I made them known;
then suddenly I acted, and they came to pass.

4 For I knew how stubborn you were;

the sinews of your neck were iron,
your forehead was bronze.

5 Therefore I told you these things long ago;
before they happened I announced them to you
so that you could not say,
'My idols did them;
my wooden image and metal god ordained them.'

6 You have heard these things; look at them all.
Will you not admit them?
"From now on I will tell you of new things,
of hidden things unknown to you.

7 They are created now, and not long ago;
you have not heard of them before today.
So you cannot say,
'Yes, I knew of them.'

8 You have neither heard nor understood;
from of old your ear has not been open.
Well do I know how treacherous you are;
you were called a rebel from birth.

9 For my own name's sake I delay my wrath;
for the sake of my praise I hold it back from you,
so as not to cut you off.

10 See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.

11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do this.
How can I let myself be defamed?
I will not yield my glory to another.
Israel Freed
12 "Listen to me, O Jacob,
Israel, whom I have called:
I am he;
I am the first and I am the last.
13 My own hand laid the foundations of the earth,
and my right hand spread out the heavens;
when I summon them,
they all stand up together.

14 "Come together, all of you, and listen:
Which of the idols has foretold these things?
The LORD's chosen ally
will carry out his purpose against Babylon;
his arm will be against the Babylonians. [a]

15 I, even I, have spoken;
yes, I have called him.
I will bring him,
and he will succeed in his mission.

16 "Come near me and listen to this:
"From the first announcement I have not spoken in secret;
at the time it happens, I am there."
And now the Sovereign LORD has sent me,
with his Spirit.

17 This is what the LORD says—
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
"I am the LORD your God,
who teaches you what is best for you,
who directs you in the way you should go.

18 If only you had paid attention to my commands,
your peace would have been like a river,
your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

19 Your descendants would have been like the sand,
your children like its numberless grains;
their name would never be cut off
nor destroyed from before me."

20 Leave Babylon,
flee from the Babylonians!
Announce this with shouts of joy
and proclaim it.
Send it out to the ends of the earth;
say, "The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob."

21 They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts;
he made water flow for them from the rock;
he split the rock
and water gushed out.

22 "There is no peace," says the LORD, "for the wicked."

Friday, April 24

9 months

Today is April 24th, and my grandson Jay Benjamin Klassen would have been 9 months old. It has been a day of reflection. Today I took daisies to Sunnyside. I walked to where he was buried. Sunnyside is actually a very beautiful place - it is a scenic view of the whole city. Today it was cold and windy, unlike some of the warm weather we had this week. I could not help but think of the morning that we buried Jay, at sunrise. It all seems very surreal still, and yet very very real.
As I thought about my little grandbaby, it seemed like I was conscious of the empty ache in my arms. In OUR arms.

Today I reflected. I realize that 9 months later there are many things that I have learned through my Grandson's short life. I also realize that many people still do not know what to say. I have thought of a few things that I want to say to you - and may God give me grace as I do this.

I AM A GRANNY! Some people try to say the right thing, and tell us that one day we will be grandparents. I want to say that I AM a Grandmother now. Alvin IS a Grandfather now. It's just that while other friends get to hold their grandchildren, my little grandson is being held by the arms of the Father.

I LOVE TALKING ABOUT MY GRANDSON! I get it that some people don't know what to say but just ask me about my little grandson Jay. Let me tell you about the things that I treasured in my heart while I watched him grow inside his mommy. Let me tell you about the way my kids prepared for his arrival. Let me tell you how WE prepared - I will even tell you about the quilt that I made - my first one and how I put a piece of my grad dress in Jay's quilt. Just ask me - and let me talk. One thing we know and that each of us agree on is that we never want to stop remembering him. His life was short on this side of Heaven, but he made such a great impact on our hearts and in our lives. We will always remember our firstborn grandson Jay Benjamin.

I LOVE SHOWING OFF HIS PICTURES! One of the greatest gifts the kids got was from their friend Jeremy, who came and took the most beautiful pictures of Jay. Ask me to share the website with you, and maybe even watch it with me again. I weep each time I watch it, so please be prepared. I am pretty proud of how beautiful and how perfect my little grandson was. I have put his website on the bottom of this post should you want to watch his dvd again. (thank you Jeremy)

ASK US HOW WE ARE DOING! I realize that right now, some people just want to hear that we are "okay" or "better" or have "worked through our grief" - but the reality is: we don't really know what it means to be okay, or better. And our grief - we will never be done working through it. Being "okay" or "better" implies that life has gone on and everything is rosy. For us, the reality is, the life we knew before ended on July 24th, and we are all different now. I think we can say that we are perhaps "moving forward" more than we are going backwards. And we do laugh again.

WE STILL APPRECIATE THE HUGS! Sometimes people want to say something and then end up saying something that makes us cringe. We know that people just feel helpless, but the best thing you can still do is give us a hug. We have walked with Jesus for many, many years, and we know Jesus as our Saviour and we could recite all the God-answers for you. So, just hug!

PRAY FOR US! If you know us, you will know how to pray. If you don't know us well, I think that even if you just breathe our names to the Lord, He will interecede on our behalf. O Lord, hear our prayers.

Today my grandson Jay would have been 9 months. In his short little life, he has taught this Granny more than you know. Maybe one day we can share over coffee!

Jay Benjamin Klassen - born and died July 24th, 2008. Absolutely Perfect! 9 months later, I miss you more than ever little one!

Wednesday, April 22

My Husband is on "time out!"

Downstairs it is pretty quiet. Our dog is snoozing at the back door. The t.v. is on although I don't really know what is happening - hard to write my blog and watch t.v. at the same time. Upstairs my sweetheart is fast asleep and has been for the last hour and a half. Today he had surgery. Now if you know my husband you know that "its hard to keep a good man down!" We tease him that he just goes and goes and when he stops, he falls asleep! This kind of runs in his family as his mom is the same way! Today we were up early. I exercised (my 14th morning in a row I might add!) And we went to the hospital - as it was his surgery. He had two hernias that needed to be repaired. The doctor says they are a fact of the job! All Alvin knew was that the one especially was a big inconvenience! Didn't seem to affect his life, but I knew it bothered him alot. So, today the specialist repaired him! When I came to see him, he told me that apparently he had been a bit of a "wild man" in recovery - and pulled his IV out and it took 3 nurses to hold him down! (who'd of thought!)

Anyhow, we got him home after stopping to get his prescription filled and pick up a sandwich from Tim Horton's! (He was hungry!) As the evening work on, the pain settled in, and we felt that bed would be the best place for him. This will be like a time out for him! Alvin does not normally just "step out" of life and slow down.

Stepping out and slowing down! Seems that is something that has evaded me lately. Just the fact that I have not blogged in over a week ~ that is an indication in itself.

So, I will share some of my last week with you:

~ I spent hours at the hospital visiting Mom K. Her biopsy shows that the myeloma cancer is in her kidneys. They continue to work at less than 10%. But she came home Thursday night - weak, but so happy to be home!
~ Alvin and I had a wonderful counselling visit with Mary. She is such a gift from God to us. We love her so much and thank God for her. She has helped us walk through hard stuff - and continues to give wise counsel and pray for us
~ I went to a counselling session with Mary. She sees me individually too. I realized that she has become a treasured friend.
~ while I continue to struggle with letting go of white flour and white sugar - I realize it is nothing compared to the way Mom K. has to eat now: low potassium, low sodium and low protein. We are learning together.
~ Alvin and I had coffee with our good friends Kim and Kevin. Although I was the only one that drank coffee!! It was so good to spend time with them. We can always laugh with them!
~ Alvin and I were invited out for a most delicious supper! And, we got to hug some sweet kids! I realize that we love having young couples as friends!
~ My friend of 40 years invited me over for supper and then we went to St. Benedict's Table (a church service held in All Saints Anglican - 7 pm on Sundays). It was a wonderful worship experience. The smell of incense, the taking part in communion, a strong sense of community. My preconceived ideas of "the way worship has to be" were stirred up - and there was such an obvious sense of God in our midst!
- I "lunched" with my cousin Gail - just like old times until we were told the restaurant was closed! So we just moved the coffee party to A&W at Lockport!
~ we signed the papers at the bank for our land purchase!! SO EXCITING!
~ Monday I went with Mom K. for a bone marrow test. I realize what a brave woman my mother-in-law is! She is also a prayer warrior. I am enjoying the time we get to spend together as we sit, drive, wait... Cancer Care in St. Boniface has become part of her life, and therefore mine. The last time I was there was with Dad, almost three years ago!
~ last night I had a meeting with my executive from church regarding my return to work. My date is fast approaching! Right now my FMS pain is "under control" so it is easier to think of work again.
~ other highlights are all the texts, the phonecalls, the time spent with my kids! I love them so much, and thank God that Josh, Leah, Ash and Michael love being with us too! O Lord, thank you for our children!

Life is complicated. Life is hard. But we know that God is the author of our lives and has a plan and a purpose. He is teaching me about His sovereignty. It is hard, but I am learning. As my daughter-in-law Leah said last year - we can either do this(life and its deep and hard times) WITH God or WITHOUT God. I say that Life WITH God is hard - I would hate to see what it would be WITHOUT Him.

As for me and my house - we will serve the Lord! O Jesus, be our strength. As my husband sleeps, may you do a work in his body, repairing and healing. Thank you for his surgeon and the skill you gave to him as he operated. May this "time out" be a good time for my husband, and may you give Him peace O Lord. And Father - you know the continued cries of our hearts! You have told me to trust you with those requests, so Lord, I do. Thank you in advance for all that you are going to do in our lives. O Lord, your will be done today and tomorrow. I love you Jesus!

PS - guess I should go and check my man!

Tuesday, April 14

wearing my boots - walking in puddles - and getting a kiss from God!

Well, it is Tuesday afternoon, and I realize that it has been a rather slow and lazy day. (even if I keep saying that I have to get to work on the house stuff!!) I got up early - to the smell of coffee. I exercised!! Yes - this is day 6! Getting up early to exercise is getting much easier, and I love getting it "out of the way" so that I can go about the rest of my day.

I made the lunch for my guys - Alvin, Josh and Michael - "BLUE JAY FAMILY WORKS". I said that as long as I am home, I will make their lunches. It is a way to pour some love into their day (through their tummies!).

I have spent much of my day reading. I will post more about that at another time. But, I have finished two books: Wrestling with God: Loving the God We Don't Understand and When God Breaks Your Heart: Choosing Hope in the Midst of Faith-Shattering Circumstances. These books have been life-giving!!

But, right around noon, I decided to go for a walk. First of all, I went outside on the deck. You could just hear the sound and see the flies! They are very happy for the sunny weather. We have been killing them in the house for weeks. Funny how they come out of nowhere when it warms up! A sure sign of spring.

I went in, pulled on my boots and went outside. Oreo was so glad to see me. I love walking with him. He is such an adventurer. I decided to walk the path in the back - since we no longer take Orrie on Springfield. His lack of eyesight and deafness puts him in jeopardy with the cars that bomb down the road. So, there we went - to the back. I felt like a kid again! While the path that I took in winter still has some snow on it, it is mostly puddles! And, I walked right through them. And, also had to walk through a bit of cow poop! (almost slipped there - and remembered times when my kids used to lose a boot in the mud and mire!!) I don't know how many booters my kids got during spring. And here I was - almost 51 and loving every moment. There is something about the feel of cool water coming through your boots, and the suction sound of my boot on my barefoot as I walked.

On our return, that is where I got the kiss from God. You see when I was in the back, I thought I saw a Blue Jay, but didn't.... BUT just coming into the yard, I heard the loud cawing that the Jay makes.... and then saw him flying to the tree. Blue and Black - beautiful! The beauty of the Blue Jay covers for his reputation as being a scoundrel of a bird! God, I felt your kiss!!

I have been asking God lately about a few things - for affirmation. And whenever He gives me a "kiss" I always feel tremendously loved, valued and treasured. That's my Lord for you!

Sunday, April 12


Today was Easter. The first Easter in my life that I didn't attend church. Instead I sang praise songs along with christian radio station, and then I decided to watch the DVD (The Gospel According to Matthew) which covered Jesus life, from Matthew chapter 15, until the crucifixion, resurrection and his command to his disciples (and us) to go into all the nations...

So I did "church" in a new way this morning. In a new way I again was reacquainted with the story of the Crucifixion - the greatest story of grace!!
And the amazing story of Jesus rising again!! HE IS RISEN! HE IS RISEN INDEED!

Later I went into the city to eat together with the Klassen side, and then go and visit Mom K. in hospital. Then, I started home - alone, me and my thoughts.
While it has been a pretty okay day, it is not without its sadness for our family.
That doesn't even have to be stated... it is just the reality of our lives.

So it was, that as I drove home - my thoughts seemed to be as many as the drops of rain that my wipers tried to keep cleared away!

And then it was, that I wondered...
God knows our brokenness. He knows our sadness. King David wrote something (I think it was him) about God collecting our tears in a bottle!
Perhaps (I thought) - just perhaps the rain drops are tears that are falling from the face of God!
Okay, I know what you are thinking - where would I get this from?!
Yes, it is likely far fetched, but what if??

This thought actually brought me some comfort. You see, I believe that Jesus weeps with us. I have just finished a book that focused on Lazarus being raised from the dead. And there is the verse - short but profound - JESUS WEPT.

I have realized the reality of tears wept - the feel of eyes that have cried for hours - the feel of tears that roll down the cheeks and neck - the telltale streaks left on cheeks. I have realized that tears came when we thought we had none left. I have realized that tears still come freely and often when we least expect it. I have also realized that when friends wept with us, it brought us comfort. The tears wept with us validated our grief, and still does.

I have also realized that as Jesus wept over his good friend Lazarus - I believe he weeps and has wept with us...
So, today when the thought came, about perhaps the rain being tears falling from heaven... like I said, silly as it may sound to imagine this.... the thought brought me a sense of comfort.

Sometimes we can imagine. Regardless of whether the rain were falling salty tears, or actually just the accumulation of condensation in the clouds that falls when they get too heavy - the rain was healing!

Reminds me of a Michael W. Smith song called Healing Rain. I came across this CD when a friend's wife died. It goes like this:

Healing rain is coming down
It's coming nearer to this old town
Rich and poor, weak and strong
It's bringing mercy, it won't be long

Healing rain is coming down
It's coming closer to the lost and found
Tears of joy, and tears of shame
Are washed forever in Jesus' name

Healing rain, it comes with fire
So let it fall and take us higher
Healing rain, I'm not afraid
To be washed in Heaven's rain

Lift your heads, let us return
To the mercy seat where time began
And in your eyes, I see the pain
Come soak this dry heart with healing rain

And only You, the Son of man
Can take a leper and let him stand
So lift your hands, they can be held
By someone greater, the great I Am

Healing rain, it comes with fire
So let it fall and take us higher
Healing rain, I'm not afraid
To be washed in Heaven's rain

To be washed in Heaven's rain...

Healing rain is falling down
Healing rain is falling down
I'm not afraid
I'm not afraid...

Oh dear sweet Jesus - my Lord - I am not afraid. Come and soak this dry heart and the hearts of my family - with your healing rain.
I lift my hands - to you Jesus, the great I am!
Hold me - Alvin, Josh and Leah, Ashley and Michael - Mom K...
Hold us, and rain on us - Healing Rain.
O Lord, hear my prayer.

Saturday, April 11

Mom K

Last night as I blogged, I was thinking that today I would blog about my other MOM - Mom Klassen. You see, today is her birthday. She turns 78 today. I don't think that Mom realizes how much she means to us. To her biological kids, as well as to us kids who have become hers through marriage. The thing I love is that she doesn't classify us - we are just all her kids.

I have known Mom K. since I started dating Alvin when we were 16. So, a little math makes that 35 years this fall!! From the start, I felt like Mom became my friend. She welcomed me into her heart. There were many things Mom taught me through her quiet ways. I also had a chance to get to know the things she didn't talk much about - the places in her heart that meant alot to her.

Mom had a hard childhood. Mom, was an only child. Her father was murdered during the war times. Omi, mom's mom, raised her as a single mom, and together with Omi's sister and her children, they became a bigger family. Omi's sister's husband was also taken and killed. That in itself is something no mom and child should ever have to live through, but Mom did. She has told us the stories of when she was so sick with typhoid, and with TB... often to the brink of death, but obviously God had much bigger and greater purpose for Mom. She is a survivor!

The story of how her and Dad met - is very cute. Dad wrote it down for us in his story that he wrote before he passed away. While Mom and Dad were never really big on "demonstrative expressions of love in public" - there was never a doubt that Mom and Dad were in love, and love us all. That we know without a doubt.

I have to say however that the biggest gift that we (Alvin and I and our kids) had was when in 1997, Mom and Dad lived with us for a few months, while they built their house right through the bush from us. Just a hop skip and a jump. That is a time of life that I will always cherish, as I got to know mom and dad in a deeper more intimate way. You see, that was the year after my Mom died, and the year that my Dad died. Mom and Dad K. became the only parents I had left.

It was so nice to hear them at the door - calling to see if we were home? I saw how they did everything together. Cutting wood? Mom could certainly hold her own!!
Mom crocheted stars for christmas ornaments - Dad helped pin them on a board to starch them. They were "all for one and one for all" mentality. They loved the country. They loved looking out the back window and seeing the wildlife, and well, the cows too. They loved the gas fireplace and the garage - both "luxuries" that they never had in the 40+ years of living in NK. You never found mom idle, and when she did stop, she fell asleep!! (something Alvin also does - hmmm where did that come from!)

When Dad went "home" to be with the Lord, Mom's heart broken. She had poured all her energy into helping to care for him in the last 6 weeks of his life. Her broken heart is still not mended. I know that. The tears are still there, and she has realized that it doesn't "get easier after a year" as people all told her it would.
I saw Mom's heart break even more last July, when our little Jay Benjamin Klassen was born silently. Jay is Mom's first great grandchild.

We have watched mom - adapt to doing things on her own. Things that she never had to do when Dad was alive. We have watched mom move from her country life, into city life once again. That was so hard for us too. We have watched mom continue to care for others while at the same time feeling her own brokenness. We have joked with mom, and love to see her laugh. We have visited with her, although not nearly enough! We continue to be amazed by her baking and cooking! There is nothing that she can't do. I know that my kids go to her with tricky sewing/fixing situations too.

This last month has been hard - as her body has weakened, and her kidneys for some reason are failing. We continue to see a strong reliance on the Lord - even amidst all the unknown of the current situation. Mom continues to show us her faith, even amidst adversity. And, she continues to laugh when we joke with her. She is just plain sweet and lovable.

Today, it is her birthday. She is 78. She also celebrates in the hospital - instead of celebrating at our place. Today is a day that we will likley all take turns to visit her at the hospital - to give her a hug and a happy birthday. Today is a chance for me to stand back and thank God for giving her to me as a second mom.
God, thank you for our Mom - only you Lord, know her future. We continue to entrust her to you God.

Yesterday, I sat with mom for a while, just her and I, in the tv room of St. B.
It was a good time - and we had a good chat. On Friday, before she left her condo, for her appoointments, which then landed her in hospital again, Mom took my hand and as I prayed, we were reminded again, that "ONLY GOD KNOWS" but He will be our strength.

Seems I have said that alot lately.... "God, only You know. We don't understand. We know that your ways are not always our ways, but God, help us to trust - through the dark valleys that we are walking through."

Yesterday, as I made my way down from the 5th floor where Mom was, I stopped on the Labor and Delivery Floor. Yesterday was the first time I returned to this ward since the day we left with Josh and Leah. While I have returned "emotionally and mentally" to the hospital, and journalled about it- I had not yet returned to the hospital physically and really, I didn't think I would again until we were there for our next little grandbaby to arrive. But in my inner being, I just had to. So I stopped and looked at the glass waiting area on the L&D side. The thoughts of that day overwhelmed me. Then I went through the doors, down the hall that we walked out of on July 25th - and I walked to the nursing station and chatted with them. They asked how the kids were doing... they didn't know me - they were different nurses than Josh and Leah had, yet they asked how Leah and Josh were doing now. And then I walked out of there - and found myself choking back the tears as I took the remaining steps to the main floor.

St. Boniface hospital. My daughter Ashley was born there. My first grandson Jay Benjamin was born silently there. And now Mom is there, waiting on a biopsy, and results and prognosis and plan - and Jesus is there with her too.... walking her and also us, through all of this.

Lord, thank you for your love - even when we feel like you are so far from us - we know you are here. Thank you for Mom - for her birthday. Thank you for her life and the legacy of faith she has and is passing down to us and our children. Thank you God for giving her a strong body and mind, even though she has had so much sickness as a young girl. Thank you Lord, for the doctors that you have given to her. We pray for wisdom for them as they try to figure out what the cause of her kidney failure is. And Lord, for this special day - her birthday - we give you thanks for her life and ask that we continue to entrust her life to you. Lord bless her today, in a special way - and as her kids, as we all come and see her - Lord, may we continue to give thanks for Mom, and Grandma.

Friday, April 10

Good Friday thoughts....

Good Friday. Today I was wondering why exactly it is called Good Friday – or is that just plain obvious – for Jesus believers anyhow – Good Friday is the most amazing Good that we could ever experience. The day that Jesus died for us – our sin – past, present and future! Jesus loves me, this I know!!

So today I started off my day when I woke up (without an alarm) to the smell of fresh coffee. This is the way I have awoken these past two days. Something about that coffee smell. Then I have gotten out of bed (much to my husband’s surprise!) and have gone downstairs to work out to a DVD I have. Okay, I am proud of myself – two days in a row. For most of the week since Sunday, my FMS was so bad, the pain so brutal, along with the stiffness in my body that I didn’t even THINK of exercising at 5:30.

I had to laugh when Alvin kissed me good bye one morning, and asked “what ever happened to getting up early to exercise? (Bless him ) to which I replied “can’t do it!”
But today is day two in a row, and I am pumped!! Doesn’t take much hey?

Anyhow, I exercised, did some QT with the Lord, and got ready to go in, to take Alvin to work. Leaving the fire hall, I decided to go and get a cup of coffee and went and parked by the river – to watch the water and ice flow, to read a book (which I finished) and to journal, think and pray… spent about 1.5 hours there, and then went and picked up Leah, and we headed to McIvor for the Good Friday service.

It was kind of weird going into the church entirely as a “congregant” instead of as a “pastor” and sitting in the seat, not knowing what was going to come. I did know that my daughter Ashley had been on the planning committee, and was also singing a solo WAVES OF GRACE.

The drama touched my soul…. I had asked the Holy Spirit to do a work in me today.
It focused on the Woman at the Well (one of my favs) and on Martha and on Pilate, and Nicodemus, and on Judas. And as each one spoke, it ended with “lies” that they had believed but now know the truth! We were supposed to write out our own lies, and put them on the cross. I looked at my little white paper and wondered where I would start…
What lies has the Devil wanted me to believe?

Perhaps the lie that “I have nothing to offer God… I am so inadequate” Yes, I struggle with this, believe me. But lately, I have seen that this is a lie, and I know that, because through HIM, I can do all things, and all Jesus wants is a contrite and a willing heart.

I am working through that one, surprise, surprise. People are usually surprised when I share that I struggle with feeling like I have something to offer – or that I am qualified in many areas – or that I have talent and gifting that God can use. I realize that much of that struggle comes with the ministry position God had me in – the pastoral role. Unfortunately I had heard that during the “pastoral search” (when I had applied) someone asked what Joy could possibly have to offer those with university degrees (since I have no degree). Man, did I struggle with inadequacy – every single time I got up to preach, right up to the last time I preached in December.


When my daughter got up to sing, the words touched my innermost parts of my soul.
It was beautiful (yes, I am biased!)… I also know that the song she sang is one that moves her own soul as well.

WAVES OF GRACE by David Noble

The walls are high, the walls are strong
I’ve been locked in this castle
That I’ve built for far too long
You have surrounded me, a sea on every side
The cracks are forming and I’ve got nowhere to hide

Now I see
The walls I’ve built are falling
And your waves of grace are washing over me

My heart’s been hard, I have been blind
I have often worked so hard to keep you from my mind
I have ruled my life, in a palace built on sand
I want you to reign, Lord, take me by the hand

Lord please reign in every part
I give my life to you
I open up my heart
I want to be like you, I want to seek your face
O Lord please wash me in your awesome waves of grace.

The morning ended with Leah and I leaving a little before the very end. It was something that we just had to do. There were a lot of hugs today – and I felt very loved.
But I knew that both of us needed to leave before it got overwhelming. I think people understand what I mean.
As I left the gym, I got two last hugs before I went out the door.
As we walked out into the sunshine of the morning, I felt like I had taken a big breath!

We ended the morning with Ash and Michael, sitting around the table at their house, enjoying lunch together.
I am thankful – just as I asked him to,
This morning, the Holy Spirit nudged me several times…
He breathed into my being – as tears rolled unashamedly down my cheeks and neck.
Good Friday – oh sweet Jesus – thank you for Good Friday. Thank you for your waves of grace!

PS. The picture of the book cover, IN THE FOOTPRINTS OF JESUS is an amazing book. My thoughts of Jesus, "Man of Joy" just grew, and I found myself falling more and more in love with the Saviour and Lover of my Soul.

Friday, April 3

there is no such thing as trying.... you either DO or you DON'T

I realize I am pathetic! When I began my leave, I was going to do something...
1) get up early to exercise and 2)get up early to have my QT with my Jesus.

Well.... I am in my last month of my leave, and I will be the first to admit (if I didn't my husband would admit it for me!) that I have not done what I wanted to do.

The other day, he got home from working a night. He ran up to give me a kiss hello and laughed and said "Whatever happened to getting up early" to which I replied "I can't"

Someone tried to tell me that it's okay not to get up... maybe my pattern should be a different time of the day. Thing is I think I WANT to be an early person. And, some days it works, some days it doesn't... but I have not been consistent!

The other day, I saw a sign (I think it was on a church, but I can't remember?) It said, there is no such thing as TRYING. I would really have to admit that is so right. I have tried to do many things. Then there is the times that I just DO them.
And I succeed. I remember someone using the saying "trying is lying".... hmmm... leaves no room for any other comment!!

So, tonight I am going to go to bed. I hope that from here on it, I can get up, and do my time with the Lord, and my time for exercise. I am so tired of wanting to and NOT... so here goes....

I am not trying to be rule bound.... I just want to do what is so important to me - my spiritual and my physical part of my being... so I am going to quite saying that I am trying, and see if I can just DO IT!!

Sure, go ahead.... keep me accountable. I dare you! :)

Wednesday, April 1

working through the "hurt"

Life is a journey.
Each dip in the road.
Each mountain we face
Each valley we walk through
The Sun in our face, the wind in our hair -
Sometimes leaning so far forward, trying to walk in the storm.
It is all part of the journey.
We can choose to walk forward, or stay put.
Sometimes we are whipped backward so fast that we don't know what hit us.
Sometimes we have no strength to put one foot in front of the next, and depend on HIS strong arms to carry us.

Today is April 1st. I have just started into the 3rd month of my leave. I am trying not to do a mental countdown of my return to work. Somehow though, it continues to tick subconsciously.

I realize that I still have some "work" to do. Which reminds me I need to make another appointment with my dear friend Mary, our counsellor. God has given her to me, as a gift - someone who has helped to bring perspective on things. Even though, as one friend put it, "she only sees one side" (that being my side)

I have work to do "inside" between now and my return, and honestly, I am not sure quite how to do it. It involves "hurt" - deep hurt. I realize that I am blogging publically about something very private. My family and closest of friends know what I am talking about.

I keep asking God, how do I do this. I guess the pat Christian answer would be "just forgive". I can honestly say I love those who hurt me - I just don't know how to get past the feeling of hurt.

I am doing the Beth Moore study on ESTHER, and I just finished the last study in week four, and it hit home. Perhaps this is one of the things Karis said she thought of me when she heard this. Beth Moore writes:
"The situation becomes even more complicated when you sense that the very person who helped your life to fall apart wonders why you can't get it together. There's nothing quite like someone who hurt you judging you for being hurt." Aw, it felt like an "aha" moment - a realization. But deep down, I know they "get it" (my feeling of being hurt)

I don't know how to do it. Or perhaps I do... "just forgive"
Perhaps I think that it all just "onesided" ... (another Beth Moore quote from today was "One of the hardest facts of life to accept is that some people are not sorry for the anguish they have caused.") ***sigh***
Perhaps I think that possibly the one(s) who caused the hurt would perhaps feel that they were sorry. Or, as Mary said, "Joy, if they didn't get it then, they won't get it now... some people just do not have it in them"
Perhaps he/she are just oblivious, although I don't think so.
Perhaps working through how I was hurt, would seem like they understood or cared, and sometimes that may be pushing one out of a comfort zone, or perhaps felt as a weakness.
Perhaps those who I felt hurt by, just don't get it. So maybe I just need to "just forgive" and suck it up, and pretend like nothing ever happened.
And that, is my dilemma.... because I think I could pretend, but I don't necessarily think that pretending is a good thing, nor a good option.

So, if you are reading this, and you are some of those closest to me who know what I am talking about... please pray for me, that I can "just forgive" if the solution is just that...
Please pray that I can show grace.
Please pray that there will be other ways that I experience love, acceptance, caring and support that will outweigh and ease the hurt.
I know that I can carry on - and ultimately I can return to work, and do the ministry God has called me to do, but I also know, being "human" that this will always be a part of my life, unless some miracle happens.

The first day of the last month
thoughts too numerous to mention crowd out my mind
My return to work
My return in many ways into a world that I have stepped out of for a time
My return into the world where I will come face to face with those who
whether oblivious, or aware of,
have caused great hurt.

Stepping back into life - into the real world so to speak.
A world where I need to live fully and authentically still, and much more in the public eye.
I really don't want to step back in to that world,
With thoughts, and hurts that put up walls, or barriers
God - what do I do,
God, how do I do it.
God, do I perhaps not want to just let go?

The first day of the month
A fresh start again
A grateful heart
That You God - speak into my life
You whisper
You shout
You also just speak as a Father to his child.
And I want to be obedient

but not too deep or painful for you God.

In your mercy
In your wisdom
In your great love -
Give me the grace that I need
to work through
to overcome
to forgive

O Lord, hear my prayer. O Lord, have mercy.