Monday, August 31

The new chapter begins

Today was the first day of this next chapter of life. This week is a week of continued "purging" in our home. It is unbelieveable how much stuff you accumulate in 26 years of living in one place! Everything on this land has been built by Alvin. I keep thinking it will be a very sad moment at such time as we sell - and pull out of our driveway for the last time. Our house isn't up for sale yet - but will be, Lord Willing - very soon.

So, today - I worked for a while and then had to go into the city for a few things, including a dentist app. It just really is too bad that I didn't do this a while ago when my plan was still in effect past tonight! I also went to the RM office to apply for our lot grade... accompanied by a cheque for $2300. Unbelieveable. I think it was at that point I had my first few moments of being overwhelmed. I am not working. I am NOT WORKING! It is true... and tomorrow will be my first day of unemployment!

Today as I drove - the reality sunk in even more. As I drove past McIvor Avenue - I realized that my car will no longer turn and head east off Henderson at McIvor. I began to think again about where I could work - and again it seemed that God was saying and reminding me to trust him. I want to - I just seem to keep wanting to supply my needs !! O Lord, help me to trust - to trust with all my being.

So - I bought some more containers. And I bought shrink wrap to put around the containers that I have already packed up. Michael has been helping Alvin a few days when Josh was at camWp - and on Friday Josh and Michael worked at the ceramic tile at the back door. Alvin is on holidays - and so it is good timing. We are off together finally. Tomorrow Ash is coming out too - and I can't help but think that we will get a ton of stuff done.

I am also signed up for a course at the school of Spiritual Direction in the States in October. I am really going on trust - as I am not working - so I will trust the financial aspects all work out. I can't remember if I blogged this or not, but a couple weeks ago, Ash and I separated my container full of change, and then I lugged it into Steinbach Credit Union to the money machine - and wow - it came to $802! Almost half of the cost to go!
Too bad I couldn't put any of this through my "professional development" fund at church. Kind of sad - to think I was eligible for a sabbatical that I never was able to take - would have been helpful now. Oh well - God knows. I believe that if this is truly what He wants me to do - that He will take care of the financial concerns that I have in regards to me going! Whih reminds me - I need to read all the books!!

Well I am going to go - it is getting late (contrary to what the time of this post will say) it is after ten thirty pm and I am tired. Tomorrow will be a full day. And, the first day of a new month.

God - thank you that you are my God. And I thank you that you have everything in your control - and I really don't have to get overwhelmed even though I do. Sorry Lord - I want to trust you for all these things - somehow I just get easily overwhelmed. Please help me to trust you for all the details in my life. I pray that you will take care of the financial details for this course as well, if this is your will for me to take it. You are a great God and greatly to be praised! Thank you for the strength to go through all the stuff in our house - it is emotionally stressful! But, in your strength - we can do it! And we pray in advance for the sale of our home. Lord, I love you! thank you for being my Saviour and my Lord. In you, I trust. Amen.Well -

Saturday, August 29

relaxing with my girls (and my grandbaby)

It's dark outside - I am home alone. The boys (in the extended Klassen clan) are on their annual camping trip. They did this the year Dad K. passed away and then the year later. Last year, since Ash and Mike were getting married - we didn't do a camping trip, but a golf tournie. This year, the gang that went is smaller - with only three out of five families represented. Alvin, Josh and Mike are all there.

I got to spend some time with my girls - Ash and Leah. And my grandbaby too!! Even though my grandbaby is still "incognito" (smile!!) It was wonderful. It was also timely. We spent the night together at a hotel - the Inn at the Forks. It was wonderful. We got pedicures, spent time together talking, laughing, and doing "girly girl" stuff. This morning, after a night where Ash had to keep telling me to roll over so I wouldn't snore - we got up and headed down to the Riverstone Spa for a massage. Absolute bliss to start the day off this way. Absolute bliss.

I got to feel my little grandbaby's movements - although I am not sure if I felt a kick, or a tumble or just a little poke!! Leah woke up early this morning just because the baby was so active, although a few hours later, the massage seemed to put the baby to sleep!! We have laughed at the little one's movements!!

The rest of the day we spend talking and doing some looking/shopping at St. Vital Center. At the end of the day we sat in Ash and MIke's living room, checking out a couple things on the internet (the girls showed me a cool site called Etsy). And then it was time to head home.

As I was driving - I realized again how blessed I am to be a mom to 4 wonderful kids (two by birth, two by marriage). I realize that I am in the second half of my life (if I live to be 100 which is highly unlikely - but I like to think that 50 is midway... ) I hae realized that I am feeling pumped about the adventure that God is taking us on. It is really an adventure. My friend Lynda's words "Joy, God is going to do something amazing. All I can say is fasten your seatbelt - you are in for a ride!" My seatbelt is fastened. I am loving it.

I am feeling very thankful - for a wonderful husband (our anniversary is coming soon). For my wonderful kids - all 4. For our health - for the blessings that God has given, including this call to retreat ministry. Oh Lord - thank you - may my life be a testimony for you! And may you be the one to get the honor, glory and praise.

I am feeling very loved. Very very very loved. And that in itself feels won-der-ful!! I also know that even though this chapter of my life - the 7 years at McIvor is closing - that the new chapter has already begun! And - the greatest thing about the new chapter - is that within it holds the birth of my second grandbaby! I can hardly wait.

I saw so many babies in the mall today - and oh how I wish we were pushing our little Jay around too. We talked about Jay today. At 13 months of age I know he would have been getting around. I have no doubt that in heaven - he is keeping his great grandpa, great granny and great poppa busy!! I just wish he was here so that I could be gazing into his little eyes! I am blessed to have become a granny last year and will always hold my little Jay in my heart! And while we laugh again, and while we look at little sleepers for this little one that is due at Christmas - we continue to grieve the empty arms. We know that Jay is with Jesus and one day - we will get to hug him again. Really, that is what we have to hang on to and the only thing that brings comfort.

So - tonight, as I post this and go up to my room - set my alarm, and settle down for a sleep in preparation for tomorrow - I ask you Lord - to continue to fill my heart with the knowledge of who you are Lord - the realization of the blessing you have given to me in my kids and grandchildren (one in heaven, and on yet to be born).
I ask you Lord that you would give a good sleep to the guys while they are camping, and a great time together as family. I ask you Lord that already you would prepare the hearts of each one that gathers tomorrow to receive from you. O Lord - I am so blessed - and I thank you. Amen

Wednesday, August 26

The first of the lasts.....

Well it is Wednesday night, and I have experienced many of the firsts of the lasts in my ministry at McIvor. What I mean is that, being I have only 3 full days left of paid ministry - I am winding down - and doing a few last things. Tomorrow I will preach my sermon for the second last time - and then on Sunday - give it for the last time. I have loved the preaching component of ministry - and thank God for giving me both opportunity and affirmation. I pray that as I speak these last two times - people will be able to see Jesus only, and hear his words through my lips. I prayed about this sermon - and believe he has given me the words from his heart to mine. Lord thank you for the words you have given me to speak.

Today I was treated to a tasty lunch at Mongoes Grill and a great visit with my pastoral advisor Marilyn. She blessed me and has been such a woman of wisdom, support, love and a discerning voice in my life. Lord, thank you for Marilyn.

Today I took minutes for the last time - as we sat together one last time for our pastoral roundtable. I was blessed by the words Gerry spoke and shared the portion from Philippians 1 about God who began a great work in you will bring it to completion. (my translation, sorry, don't have my bible closeby). My dad and mom gave me this portion one year - I believe it - God is at work in us. Thank you Lord for the opportunity to minister with this team.

Today I met with about 15 women - 13 of us who happened to go to the Beth Moore event in Fargo a week or so ago. It was a time of hearing what God laid on their hearts - a time of sharing - it was good. I love the fact that Chris and Nely, Kim and Lisa, Karin and Leanne, Tara and Linda, Nellie and Irene, Irene and Lianne, Karis and myself were all free for a Beth Moore debrief. It was a first and also a last since I will not be in ministry to debrief with women after the next ones. However - God has been calling me to continue to minister with women - perhaps even doing coffee hours - not sure how it will look, but I feel like there is something I am to do about this. Lord, thank you for these women who blessed me tonight. Please show me my continued role in the lives of women.

It has been a day that I have done many firsts of the lasts. I want to continue to trust you for all things - Lord, please give me wisdom and discernment and clarity.
Thank you Lord. I sure love you!

Tuesday, August 25

Thank You Lord!

Well as promised, I am writing to update you on how the council meeting went at our Rural Municipal office!! We thank God for answered prayers! We thank you for standing in the gap on our behalf - and on behalf of Women Refreshed at the Well ministry. I would be lying if I said I was not nervous. You sit there and they have your future in your hands - with a yes or a no vote!! But then again, they didn't stand a chance with God on our side, and this is HIS Vision - his ministry.

So, we were there, and asked to answer a few questions. We left at about 7:30 - relieved that it was over and very thankful that we found favor in the eyes of council!

Lord, we thank you! We thank you for going before us - for helping us to find favor. This is your plan Lord - and we are only your conduits. Thank you for everything you have done and are going to do! We love you and praise your name!!
Great are you Lord!

Be Anxious for Nothing...

I am sitting here at home, with a couple verses running through my mind and over my heart. BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD. BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING BUT IN ALL THINGS WITH PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION LET YOUR REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN TO GOD.
Sorry, I may have quoted that a little off, not sure - but the reality is I know why God laid those on my heart just minutes ago. You see - Tonight is the night that we hear whether or not the Rural Municipality that we are moving into (Lord Willing) will grant our requests or not.

We had to take our information to them - the plans, the site plan, letters and reasons why we want to do what we are asking them to grant! And - almost $500 per request. ($1000 total)

We had to do that three weeks prior to their council meeting, which is tonight at 7.
We had to do this, as the plans that Jerald and we have been pouring over, are plans to first of all build a "barn" and then next summer to build the "house".
And, the thing is - the barn is bigger and higher than they allow. And the house, in order to do the ministry, we need to apply for the bed and breakfast permits. And, under that - they allow 2 bedrooms for use as B&B. We are planning for 5. (Jerald had wondered why I picked 5 vs 6 for instance - and all I can say is that 5 is the number that God gave to me for the max number of women at any one time for retreat)

So - tonight we find out if we are permitted to do both requests. Once granted - we can begin to build. Flip side - if not granted, we lose the money that accompanied the request, and there is no appeal. SO.... "Joy, be anxious for nothing..."

This is HIS Vision - and we are just the vessel God is using to do it. We are trusting Him to move their hands on this one and we have been asking our friends to pray!

So, please pray that we will find favor with the council tonight! I will let you know later!

Be anxious for nothing! Lord God - ruler over all things - you are the one who laid this Vision on my heart, and have entrusted it to us to bring to fruition. Lord, I am anxious - perhaps I am "council shy" in some ways, but I ask for peace as we go tonight and sit in on the meeting. I also ask Lord, that you would help us to find favor in their eyes. Lord, this is your Vision - I have absolutely no doubt of that - so I know that you are in control. Not me. Lord - we give you all the honor and the glory! Amen.

Sunday, August 23

The countdown to the next chapter of life!

So today is Sunday - I came in very early - VERY EARLY like I usually do when I come in and drop Alvin off at the firehall. Then come to work, armed with a huge cup of Mountain Bean medium blend coffee. Ummm. It tastes like a real treat when I use cream once in a while, but for the past almost two weeks - my naturapath has me on a no sugar - no dairy - no white flour way of eating. (Yep you got it - no cinnamon buns to go with my coffee!) And, almost two weeks into it - I am feeling wonderful (and weight loss is inevitable when you take sugar and flour out) - and my mental fog is gone - it seems like I can think clearer. BUT MAN IS IT HARD!! Especially breakfast. ANYHOW - here I am at my desk - two hours before I have to be there - and with one hour gone, I figure I have time to write on my blog.

The countdown is on. I work today (Sunday) and then Monday to Thursday, and then next Sunday, and only one day left - Thursday, Sept 3 because I have planned a community parking lot party! So technically I have 7 days of work left. Yesterday someone asked me if I was sad. There is sadness for sure - let's face it, I LOVED ministry at McIvor - loved the people. But there has been hard stuff too - and as I have blogged before - the past 3.5 months have been way harder than I would have ever thought they would be. Guess I was naive.

I know however that there are no doubts, and no regrets to my decision. I also know, without a shadow of a doubt that it is a God thing! There is no arguing with God when he says something - and the reality is - the time to be done is NOW.
It is interesting how God works. Before I gave my notice - I was scheduled in for preaching the last Thursday/Sunday of August. And, the theme - Elijah and the Gentle Voice/Whisper of God. I have to say, I love how God works - as I totally get his whisper!! But, how do I speak on my last day - and what are the words He wants me to speak? I just want to bless people - my family in this local church.
So Wednesday - I sat down to write and by noon, I was done, only have some clean up of wording to do. Is this not totally God? Usually I struggle over sermons - but this one - when I sat down, came together like that. Thank you Lord!

So, today I will sing on the worship team, and then Monday to Thursday I will work at emptying out the office - cleaning up my computer files, etc... oh, and connecting with people through coffee times. Then Thursday I will speak for the first time, and then Sunday. If you are reading this - please pray for me - that I can speak without getting emotional i.e. crying. Tears are such a constant companion in my life - and they are okay but not when you are needing to deliver a sermon!

Well - need to run and practice. I just said good bye to my street friend Barry.
I wonder if I will ever see him again. He literally lives on the street. When I told him I would be done - he shook my hand, and wished me the best. The look in his eyes however, almost made me cry. Barry has become my friend. Barry - sometimes you can hardly stand the smell, but he has a special place in my heart. God has shown me alot through this man. Barry is one of "the least of these" that Jesus refers to. I wonder if I will see him again, or if one day I will hear that he has died. He jokes about having nine lives, like a cat - and today we talked about his nine lives almost coming to an end. He walks with a limp - and several times both Alvin and also my son Josh, have responded to Barry, laying on a Street.
I will never forget the time he recited the verse "Create in me a clean heart O God and renew a steadfast spirit within me." I almost wept. Or the time we prayed together - at the Holy Spirit's nudging. I saw him through the eyes of Jesus that day. O Lord, bless my friend Barry - I know his heart is tender for you.
I believe that although he is ravaged by addiction - that he loves Jesus.

This is the 1st day of my last week - Lord, go before me - and allow me to speak and touch lives for your honor and glory! My God and my King - to you be all the honor and praise and glory - today, tomorrow and forever more. Amen.

Monday, August 17

All that I am

Tonight, while I was cleaning/purging one of the rooms in the house, I found a journal of mine - seems I am trying to get them all together these days. And I sat down and read through it. Fortunately, in those days, I journalled, but not to the extent that I journal now ~ so I could kind of breeze through the pages. And in one part that I called "listening" ~ I found a poem that I wrote .... thought I would share it with you.

All that I am

I come to you Lord
Here I am, standing before you...
My whole being naked as it were -
because You see me, inside out.
You know me, in my innermost places.
My secrets - my talents - my desires - my failures.
All that I am, but you make me feel whole.
In You, I am special.

All that I am, I owe to you
Because in you, I have life.
In you, I have power to go forth.
You forgive me from all sin
You free me from all my strongholds
You choose to forget my failures and give me hope.

All that I am - a new creation!
I come to you Lord
With a heart that is devoted to you.
I give you back - the talents and abilities you've blessed me with,
To use for your honor.

All that I am Lord, I give to You to use.
Lord, could you make me bold?
Lord, could you open my heart, my eyes, my ears.
I know you are Lord of my life,
Could you make my paths straight.

All that I am Lord - I give to you
Here I am Lord, all of me.
Use me.

written by Joy, April 20, 1997

*** Lord God - I thank you that all that I wrote then, is even more real today. And I continue to give you all of me - Use me Lord. Please use me. All of me, All that I am - I give to YOU. Amen

Sunday, August 16

how God used Beth Moore to bless the socks off us!

Last night, as Alvin and I sat in Skinners, he asked me, "So, what did Beth have to say?" (You see, Alvin has been blessed by Beth Moore's teachings too). So I began to tell him, and then got into the car, grabbed my book that I took notes in, and talked ALL the way home to Anola.

I had just returned from a most amazing and fun time to Fargo, ND for the 2009 Living Proof Live conference with Beth Moore. 4500+ women gathered in the Fargodome.
I was there with someone whom I call one of my best friends and sisters. She is like a sister, and has been for many, many, many years...

Leaving early on Friday - we crossed the border, stopping for bathroom, coffee and a little shopping before going to our hotel only to change and head to the dome to get in line!

The worship - oh, sometimes I just had to shut my eyes and listen.
And then the teaching that God gave Beth to teach on - a scripture she said she has NOT wanted to teach on ever - but God said this was what it was to be. Judges 4 and 5. Many people put her down - think she is too out there - but all that I saw was a Woman of God who lived a celebrated journey with the Lord our God. A woman whose personality is as "cute" as she is. A woman who is one of the most humble women I have ever heard. BUT.... what God gave her to speak on --- I KNEW GOD HAD SOMETHING FOR ME!! And, I was overwhelmed with all that He said TO ME through her, and I KNOW that He was speaking constantly to other women as well.

Her question to begin the weekend was "What makes a story fit for a song?" You see Judges chaper 4 and 5 are the same story but chapter 4 is a story in prose, and chapter 5 is the story in song. (And what a song it is!)

She said, she believes that at critical moments in our lives, if we could have our hearing loosed - we would hear some amazing music!

She talked about Psalm 32:7 - "You are my hiding place; you will progect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverence."

and Zephaniah 3:17 - The Lord your God is with you; he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.
(Okay, it is NO coincidence that this verse, back in 2001 when I was asking God for a verse to also partner with the retreat vision, he gave me just the reference Zeph 3:17. When I looked it up, I was so touched by what God said to me through this, and what he has in store for women!! Then, later that year, Leah gave the same verse to me without knowing God had already given it.) Coincidence? NEVER!! One more God thing - praise you Lord.

Anyhow, back to Beth...
Then she said, write down THE SONG OF... and put in your name. So I wrote THE SONG OF JOY.
And began the thinking - what is my song? what is my story?
O Lord - what a story it is.

She said there were 8 points to a great story -
1. A story with considerable drama
2. A story with a great cast of characters! (she said, even people you may not like have a place in your song!!)
3. A great story is a story of God's drection, not just man's convention.
4. A story of a life willing to GO not determined to STAY!
5. A story of unexpected twists and turns (look at Judges 4: 1-20 for instance!)
6. A great story is a story werer the only MAIN character is GOD!!
7. A story displaning the expoints of many!
8. and finally - a great story is a story of tested character and true courage!

At the end - she had us face one another - and speak the words to each other, as we looked into one another's eyes the whole time, and held our sister's hands.
And of course - I wept, I was so moved.

What is my story - what would my song be! O God - I know you are the main character in my story - and I also know that there have been many twists and turns that I just can't seem to say thank you for - BUT I see how you are taking them, and making something beautiful out of all of it! I also know that I am searching you - to show me what it is you are calling me to in the short term once I am done in my current church setting. I know O God - that there is song of great adventure - and this chapter is almost complete, but a bigger and even more exciting chapter is about to be written, and Lord God - I really don't want to miss a single word of it!!
Help me to walk with integrity - with dignity - and with boldness. Increase my faith!! O Lord - find me faithful. And Lord - thank you for using Beth to speak your words to my heart - thank you.

Thursday, August 13

looking forward to hearing Beth!

Over the past few years, I have been challenged, inspired, taught and brought to tears by Beth Moore, who God has given a powerful ministry to. Right now, I am making my way through ESTHER as part of one of her studies - and tomorrow morning bright and early, we will leave for Fargo and looking forward to what Beth Moore has been given by God - to speak into the hearts of women! Somehow I think there is something very special that God wants me to hear. And, I can hardly wait. PLUS it is a bonus, as I get to go to a friend who has "stuck closer than a sister" to me especially over the last year. WOOHOO.... Fargo here we come!

Lord, make us willing and open to hear what it is you will speak into our hearts from your heart through Beth Moore's lips. O God - change my heart - please change it. Lord, I want to hear you, and to respond willingly. Thank You for friends who love me through thick and thin - through the good, the bad, the ugly. Through joy and deep deep sorrow. Thank you Lord for my friend, my sister. Amen.

Monday, August 10


Well - today I left work on time - and appreciated the fact that there was nothing pressing on my agenda for tonight. With Alvin working nights - it makes for some quiet thinking time for me.

Today I cleaned up filing cabinets at work - have a little to finish, but it was quite the task. I refiled some - put some in recycling - and shredded some. It was fun to see some of the things that I filed away - never to be seen again, until today! In this day and age so much of it is on electronic filing in our computers.

In the afternoon, as my son and husband were passing by from one job on the way to another, they stopped and took the couch out of my office to return to Meggie (our office admin, and my friend) who lent it to me many years ago. It is kind of wierd really - packing up my stuff and moving it out - actually there isn't that much.
My husband was in the jellybean container that I have mounted on the wall... a fun type of dispenser that has dispensed MANY MANY MANY candies over the last 7 years.

Today as Alvin left - he said to Meggie - "well Meggie - this may be the last time you see me here" ... I think it caught Meggie off guard - but it also made me realize again that I am almost done. Done - in more ways than one it feels like.

These last 3 months have been alot harder than I thought they would be. Maybe I didn't really know what to expect. After all, I have never left a christian organization before. One thing I know is that I have no doubts and no regrest. However, there is a sadness.

On Sunday two people spoke with me on separate occassions. I have a feeling that it will be harder and harder for me to keep dry eyes, as I noticed on Sunday as two of us wept together. Tears are just part of my life, and part of this process. I know that for sure.

One person asked me if I would have even worked part-time .... if that had ever been a consideration. Funny thing is last year in March, someone spoke some prophetic word to me, and apparently told some or part of our executive, that I needed to work part-time. But she said in March this year, the time for that (for me) has passed. Sometimes I wonder what God wants us to do, and what we miss....
And why do we miss things? I have noticed that we miss it because when God speaks we either don't hear him - or we hear him but are too scared to follow - or we just think we know best.

I have learnt alot over the past 15 years about hearing God - and even more over the past year. About hearing God in the midst of pain - and joy. About hearing silenece at times when I wish I heard his voice. About hearing him say NO. About hearing him tell me to move on something.

I am still learning about listening to God. Right now I am praying about/thinking about the last sermon that I will give to McIvor - actually the last Thursday and Sunday that we have summer services - the last week that I work. That was planned before I gave my notice - funny how that happened. I am trying to be still and hear what it is God wants me to say, about listening to him!

I have three weeks left of work - and two weeks to get my sermon together. Needless to say, I am praying alot these days. God give me all that I need to make it through to the end - and to finish well! O Lord - I need you.

Saturday, August 8 still.

It is raining outside (again). The house is still. Very still.
And in the stillness - the words from scripture, Psalm 46:10 ring in my thoughts.

It is like God is saying
"Joy...shhhhh....Be still.
Be still and know, that I am God.
Joy - KNOW it - experience it - I AM GOD and you just need to be still and rest in me - in that knowing - in my love -
It is unconditional, unending, and here for the taking .... now, and forever.
Oh how I love you - Be still and bask in that - in my love.
You Joy, are mine."

And you know what - it is the most amazing feeling - Lord, thank you for that this morning. Plain, simple yet profound and lifechanging.

Ah.... be still. Really, there is nothing I can do in my own strength. Anything I try will merely be attempts, I need to be still - to be STILL.

KNOW that I am God - to KNOW someone - like the way I KNOW my husband, or my children - it comes out of spending time, personal time with them - and listening to them talk - and watching them - and asking them questions - and just loving to be with them whenever we can be together. That is how I have come to KNOW God and to KNOW him even more and more and more... till the day I take my last breath - I hope I will never stop getting to know my Jesus. The Lover of my soul.

I AM - oh Lord, YOU ARE the great I AM.... nothing/noone compares to you. Almighty, Beautiful Saviour, Creator, Counsellor,the DOOR, Everlasting, Father, Faithful One, Giving, Forgiving, Healer, Just, Judge, giver of JOY, King, Mighty, Omnipotent, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, Powerful, Protector, Provider,Powerful, Refuge, Rock, Redeemer, Saviour, Shepherd, The Truth, The Life, Teacher, Unconditionally loving, Victor, the Way, you o Lord, are the Great I AM - and I love you. Oh, how I love you.

Friday, August 7


All my troubles seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they're here to stay
Oh I believe in yesterday...

Those are the words to part of a song from the Beatles - not sure why they came to mind - perhaps since I wrote the word YESTERDAY at the top of my blog!

Anyhow - back to YESTERDAY (and not the song!) Although I do love the beatles. Sorry - sometimes it feels like my thoughts are going a million miles an hour - and they are all over. It is like I am talking and listening and then out of the blue - I am distracted! Just temporarily though!! My kids have laughed about this, but I know that I need to work at keeping focused!! Sometimes I feel like I am working with some ADHD behaviour that I recognize in myself. Personally, I think the scatteredness is still a part of the grief.

So, back to yesterday!
I had to drop off Alvin to meet the guys and go to their BLUE JAY FAMILY WORKS job - and then I headed to curves at 7 am. Since I was done and showered by 8 I spent the next hour at my FAVORITE hang-out - you guessed it, MOUNTAIN BEAN. I took in my Bible, my journal, and some bible study work - still working through the study by Beth Moore on ESTHER.

It is amazing what can be done over a good cup of coffee. Yesterday I treated myself and had cream in it. Ummmm.

I want to share the verses that have become dear to me - with no commentary.
Read them and see if they bless your heart the same way!

Psalm 119: 37
"Turn my eyes from worthless things and give me life through your Word."

Psalm 119: 92 & 93
"If your instruction hadn't sustained me with joy - I would ahve died in my misery. I will ever forget your commandment for by them you give me life!"

Isaiah 26:8
"Lord we show our trust in you by obeying your laws. Our hearts desire is to glorify your name."

Now, I want to share something else from the book - A CALL TO DIE: 40 days of fasting from the world and feasting on the Word.

What does it look like for the Spirit to be alive in me?
think of the acryonym MAP
M- the Spirit's work is a MYSTERY!
A- our life becomes an ADVENTURE!
P- seeing Him at work deepens our PASSION for Him!

And last but not least - today I was studying Esther chapter 4 with Beth Moore.
I love the way that woman teaches and just brings the Word of God to Life!
Today she was talking about how Esther had a CHOICE. (to go to the King and plead for her people) at the risk of being put to death. Esther FACED THE FEAR!
Did you know that the most important frequent command in the Bible is DO NOT BE AFRAID! (I need to remember that!) and Esther faced her fear and TOOK THE COURAGE she was offered. If you don't know the story - then go to the Word of God and read the book of Esther. (which by the way, is my second name)

One thing Beth said was "you may be one brave decision away from the most important turn in your entire path!"

I have been thinking about that - about fear that keeps me paralyzed at times.
About courage - and how sometimes I feel like such a chicken heart!
About making decisions to follow - when I can't see. I realize this chapter in my life right now - I am truly walking by faith. Yep - a little afraid I guess.

God - please help me to make the right choice - to follow you - to listen to you say DO NOT BE AFRAID and blieve you enough to follow you out on the water!

Those are my thoughts for today - this rainy day - but sunny in my heart. I know that HE IS FAITHFUL -- even though I have walked through the valley of the shadow of death... HE IS FAITHFUL - I just need to hear him say, "Take Courage, It is I, do not be afraid!" O Lord, find me bold, find me courageous, find me willing to follow you - to LIVE, LIVE, LIVE - all out, fully, for you dear Lord. Amen.

Tuesday, August 4

and where does that come from?

I have come to see that my journey through the past year has been hard, and has also left us very changed, and also has had lasting ramifications, especially on friendships. That to me is very interesting, and yet not. I have come to analyze myself alot during this time as well - and also to analyze our (Alvin and my) response to people in the past. I know that I have said and done stupid things as well. Or said things that were very flippant, or very "christian". But there is another thing that I have come to understand - that only when you have walked in certain shoes, can you then walk alongside of another on the same path. For instance - I lost my mom one year, my dad the next. I believe that from that I have learned how to care and walk alongside of those who mourn the death of a mom or dad.
When I was 16 I said good-bye to my Granny. Man, did I love her! She was the mom of my mom. My granny was really with it! I loved staying over at her place when I was in my teens. She noticed everything about me - even when I got my hair trimmed. When she died - I thought I had lost everything! SO, I know how to walk alongside of someone when they lose a grandma --- or a grandpa (since being married I have lost an OPA,an OMI and an OMA and mourned them too.)

With having lost my little Jay - I know that I can walk alongside of other women who have lost grandchildren, or have tried to support children who have lost their babies. I know that since I have shared our story - more women than I could count, have also shared theirs with me. I would have never in my life EVER thought this would be part of our journey - but now, since I have walked in those shoes - I can walk alongside of another as they mourn the loss of grandchildren and children.

I have learned that these moccassins walk a million miles, and still learn new things on the pathway called LIFE. And, I have learned that it is only because of GOD that we can continue to rise up, to stand and to walk! One friend told me yesterday that she thought I was slowly turning the corner and regaining strength. Oh how right she is.

This life - oh this life - how hard it can be. How amazing it can be as well. In the midst of it - tomorrow our kids go for their second ultrasound, and Lord willing, will find out if their second child will be a little boy or little girl. Let me tell you that this Granny is getting excited about starting this little ones rag quilt.

Sometimes I wonder where exactly our thoughts come from. Sometimes they seem like they are buried deep deep down in places unknown, only to rise up to the surface as a surprise! I experienced that yesterday too. Within the past 5 days, I was privy to conversation about some parties that have happened - yesterday I was actually asked by my daughter if I had been invited. I wasn't and really, that is okay. The thing that feels so "like grade school" is the fact that when I realized that two friends had parties, and I wasn't invited - I felt left out. I know, I know - get a grip Joy. I don't have to be invited to everything - and what made me think I should be invited anyhow? Maybe I am not really a friend. I guess it was just that other people were surpised we weren't that then made me feel that I missed something. On the way home I was sharing with my husband that really, I didn't have to go to any parties, but that all of a sudden, I just feel like I am on the outside looking in. And the only thing I can say is - that is never a good feeling. And, it feels lonely. It is just one more way that makes me feel like so much has changed... so much.

Never quite know where our thoughts come from. It seems there are a million harnessed up and kept away, out of sight. Then once in a while - they rear their heads (and often it is their ugly heads!) I want to look forward - to look ahead. Somehow I keep wanting to look back - but it is only in forward thinking that I will really show my trust on God. Trusting...trusting...trusting....
Trusting when I my life is full of friends - and even when it is not.
Trusting when people question my decisions, but I know they are right.
Trusting when it feels lonely, even when I am amongst tons of people.
Trusting when the day is as dark as the night - and trusting when the Sun is shining so brightly that I have to squint.
Trusting in someone who I can't see - but I know is with me - every minute, every hour, every day - past present and future.
Trusting - it is easy when everything goes well - but man, when life gets hard - when you feel excluded - it is even harder!
Trusting when it feels like everything in life is changing - including you.

Jesus - you are the same - Yesterday - Today and forever.
You know my thoughts -
You know my days from start to finish.
You know everything about me - when I sit, stand, travel and rest.
You know everything I will say - and think.
You go before me, with me and behind me.
There is no where I can be without you. O Lord, THANK YOU!
You have made me - so wonderfully and so fearfully made!
You have made me for a purpose - and you will continue to do your work in me.
Search me - know my heart - test me - know my thoughts.
Oh Lord - my Lord and my God - lead me along the path of ever lasting life - and when things come up in my life - whether it be thoughts/feelings out of the depth of my soul where I thought I had buried them - help me to work through them - to give them to you, and to continue to walk with integrity, and with you as my guide.
I love you Lord.

Saturday, August 1

17 again...

Tonight Leah and I decided to go out since we were home alone (in our respective homes) and the guys were at work. Ash and Mike are away at an extended family gathering. So Leah and I decided to go to supper and a movie. We decided to see a movie that Leah had actually seen, but thought worthy to see again. We had two choices but decided on the "funny" movie over the "sad" one. Seems we have already done so much crying, it was time for something to make us laugh.

So we decided to go to the cheap seats, and see "17". It was good. About a couple in their 40's whose marriage was on the rocks (divorce pending) because he kept blaming his wife for his choices as a young man. He, as a young 17 year old, decided to run out of a championship basketball game (where the scouts were watching him) to chase after his girlfriend (who was also pregnant with his child). He of course did not get the scholarship, and got married and had two kids, and a life that he thought had missed out on and blamed his wife for it. Anyhow,he gets a chance to be 17 again (although everyone else remains the same ages) .... I won't tell you the rest, you will have to go for yourself - but it has a happy ending. It is a clean movie really, and those are hard to come by. It was a feel good movie, which Leah and I both were wanting tonight.

So, it has made me think of when I was 17 - which some days, seems a long time ago!
At the age of 17, I had already been dating Alvin for almost a year! We met the first day of school (MBCI) grade 11 - and I was just a couple months over 16. We began dating (or in my days you used to call it "going steady") Alvin and I dated for almost 4 years, and got married at 20. And we haven't looked back since. Now, almost 31 years later - we thank God for the life He has blessed us with - for our children (2 biological, plus 2 through marriage) and for our little Jay who made us Granny and Poppa. We thank God for our extended families who love and support us - for our many friends who love us, pray for us and make us laugh! For the blessings God has given to us, in the form of our homes, our jobs, and many other blessings too numerous to count. We celebrate our anniversary in September - 31 years, on top of the almost 4 that we had dated - and that is a huge chunk of our lives.

My husband - he continues to love me, support me, and make me laugh. I think if there is something that has gotten us through life - it is the fact that as a family - we love to laugh together - and there is a strong sense of humor streak that runs through ---

Would I go back to being 17 - no. It was a good time - but my life just gets better and better with each year that I grow older - God continues to teach me so much and He continues to show me how much he loves me!!

I have been doing a book called "A CALL TO DIE - 40 days of fasting from the world and feasting on God"... and today I was reading about how our walk is represented by the acronym MAP.
First of all - God is a mystery to us. Boy do I know that - in fact, how often have we said about Jay - that why his little heart stopped, and God took him home before he breathed a breath - is a MYSTERY only God understands.

Our life with God is an ADVENTURE! I would be the first to say a huge amen to that.
My seatbelt is continually fastened! I feel like I am sitting on the edge of my seat waiting. Yesterday I was visiting the staff at Friends Funeral Home and they were asking me about the Vision, and leaving paid ministry, being without a job, etc... and whether I was scared or worried. I said no. I actually love the adventure that God is taking me on - and can hardly wait to see it unfold.

Our life with God is about PASSION for Jesus. Oh Jesus - I love you - and I just really want to fall more and more in love with you - enlarge my heart and passion for you, Jesus, lover of my soul.

When I was journaling about this, I remembered a time when I was asking the Lord to show me how to love him more. At that time, I had a dream. In my dream, I was in a house, on a bunk bed, and I was told that someone was there to see me. In walked the most handsome man, and came up to me, and called me by my name. I walked with him, and he put his arm around me, and told me he loved me. In my dream I asked him how he could love me when he didn't know me, to which he replied, "I just do."
The dream I had made me really ponder what it was all about. I realized it was not about a mystery man, nor was it about my husband but I felt it was a dream that God used to show me how much I am loved by the great BRIDEGROOM - Jesus.
This dream will always mean that for me.

When I look back at being 17 - I realize I loved the Lord, but now - I LOVE LOVE LOVE Him with a more mature and deeper love and understanding and passion. I can't quite explain it - and words don't do it justice. I just know that my passion and love for Jesus is far deeper at age 51 than it was at 17. Life has made it deeper - especially this past year. I know that without a doubt.

As I was thinking of this, this morning, the line from a song we sing at church, crossed my mind -
"Jesus, lover of my soul... Jesus, you will never let me go."

Oh Lord God - thank you - that you love me so much, that you remain a mystery than I will never understand, but will trust. Tha you also make my life with you and adventure - you are making this "lover of safety" live life FULLY - wow....thank you.
And Lord God - for the love and passion you have given me for you Jesus - thank you.