Tuesday, August 23

Blessed daily by Faye's "FAITH"

I go to Curves, and each day that I go - I am blessed in new ways.  One of the ways is that when I go into the room to change - I see a poster for an Art Show that is being held by Faye Hall (for more details see http://www.fayehall.com/2011/08/turning-my-home-into-a-gallery/ )

If you go to Faye's site, you will see why I am blessed each day that I go into Curves and see her poster on the bulletin board.  I am daily blown away at how God weaves details of our lives together to make an amazing LIFE PICTURE.

Let me share a story that I shared in part, on January 6th of this year (you can see that blog post if you wish).  

I don't always share such intimate details of my walk with God.  However I am going to do that today.  I don't usually share them because I don't always think that HE wants me to.  I also don't always share them because I will be honest ... when I say that God speaks to me, not everyone believes me, and some people think that doesn't happen today.  BUT ... whether you believe me or not, I know that God speaks.  In fact, he speaks alot. (Personally I think more of us would hear him more often if we were less busy, less distracted and more inclined to just sit and listen without talking ourselves!)  Anyhow... I have told my kids that when I die, if they choose to read my journals, that if they see "conversations" ~ that they will know I was writing as I was listening.  It was so refreshing one day when I met with my dear young friend Karen, and she shared how she finds out that she writes conversations in her journal.  I totally understood what she was saying as that was happening to me too.  This has not always been the way things have gone with me.  But definitely during the last 10 years or so.  Personally I think it is because I am just so thirsty for the LORD.  Which is what this post is all about.
(and here comes the details of my conversation with the Lord, on the morning of Jan. 6 of this year, 2011)

That morning, in my QT he had directed me to Isaiah 35:7  "the parched land will become a pool and springs of water will satisfy the thirsty land"

When I journalled about the word parched I wrote down these definitions:
parched:  desperate for water; dry to the extreme; dried out by heat or excessive exposure to sunlight; needing or desiring drink - thirsty; archaic thirst; to make dry, hot or thirsty.

the key thought for that day, from my devotional book was "hot sands will become a cool oasis"

From there, I started to journal, and here are my thoughts and my conversation with God, word for word.  

"Good morning Lord.  Thank you for your Word given this morning through Isaiah 35.  The verse that I focused on was verse 7 which talked about the parched land coming to live - with water quenching it - and springing forth!

I have looked up the word parched.  Does this often describe my soul?  Does the dry and barrenness describe my life often?  Lord ~ forgive me.  Sometimes the "heat" in my life just overtakes me and leaves me very dry - very lifeless - very crusty like the soil that has not gotten water in a very long time.

What has made my life dry and cracked - what has made my life parched?  I think perhaps the times when the day gets going and I have not chosen to renew at the well - the springs of living water!! O Lord help me to get into this practice again!

I thirst ... O Lord please fill me.
I see this image/picture you have just given me - of a woman standing under a waterfall with the water streaming down onto her face.  She is standing in all her clothes - and her face is looking into it.  Her eyes are closed - her arms are up as if to catch even more of the living and refreshing water.  There is a serene look on her face - 
O Lord - this is ME!!
Fill me to overflowing
Wash over me with your living water
Please Lord.  Please"

A couple months later (I think it was) I got an email from Faye, in regards to Steve Bell.  As a result of reading that over, I came to see a picture (I think it was tiny and beside her name or something) and it literally took my breath away!  THERE WAS THE PICTURE THAT GOD GAVE TO ME ON JAN 6 OF THIS YEAR!  Honestly I had never seen this picture before, even though she painted it in 2010.  

The reason why I am writing this again, and why I am blessed with going into Curves and seeing Faye's poster is for exactly this reason ..If you go to her post, and see the poster, it will explain itself!  AND HEY ...  she is a very very talented local artist.  Look through her site - read her blog about some of her paintings - and attend her first ever art show!  

God moves in mysterious ways.  And, he has certainly used Faye Hall to bless my life!  AND she didn't even know it when she painted a picture that came as an inspiration to her.

Our God is an awesome God! He never ceases to amaze me at how he brings people together!  Now go - check her website out! www.fayehall.com      Guaranteed you will also be blessed!

Monday, August 22

Hello Monday

hello beautiful day
hello lazy river flowing past my balcony
hello birds that sing, and hot air balloons floating by

hello unplanned schedule
hello fresh cup of coffee
hello Lord - thank you for quiet time with you in a while

hello family
hello friends
hello walk in the community and taking in creation around me

hello exercise (you will feel so good)
hello weigh in (hope I am down a pound or two)
hello unexpected meeting of people I know

hello today
hello all that it holds
hello Lord, and thank you for giving me breath for another day
and the promise of good things

hello Monday!

Wednesday, August 17



Today I began my day with Isaiah 55: 10 - 13 and it seemed like I was reading the Word with new eyes.  Here is the Scripture in two versions:  The Message and also New Living Bible.  I like to often read it in The Message because Eugene Peterson just seems to bring it to everyday language.  

Isaiah 55:10-13

The Message (MSG)

 8-11"I don't think the way you think.
   The way you work isn't the way I work."
         God's Decree.
"For as the sky soars high above earth,
   so the way I work surpasses the way you work,
   and the way I think is beyond the way you think.
Just as rain and snow descend from the skies
   and don't go back until they've watered the earth,
Doing their work of making things grow and blossom,
   producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry,
So will the words that come out of my mouth
   not come back empty-handed.
They'll do the work I sent them to do,
   they'll complete the assignment I gave them.
 12-13"So you'll go out in joy,
   you'll be led into a whole and complete life.
The mountains and hills will lead the parade,
   bursting with song.
All the trees of the forest will join the procession,
   exuberant with applause.
No more thistles, but giant sequoias,
   no more thornbushes, but stately pines—
Monuments to me, to God,
   living and lasting evidence of God."

Isaiah 55:10-13

New Living Translation (NLT)
 10 “The rain and snow come down from the heavens
      and stay on the ground to water the earth.
   They cause the grain to grow,
      producing seed for the farmer
      and bread for the hungry.
11 It is the same with my word.
      I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
   It will accomplish all I want it to,
      and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
12 You will live in joy and peace.
      The mountains and hills will burst into song,
      and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
13 Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
      Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
   These events will bring great honor to the L
ord’s name;
      they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

I know for sure I have read this.  I also know that a couple years ago, my dear friend Phoebe sent a "word" for me, along with a flower - and on the paper were the words from verse 12 about the mountains and hills will burst into song and the trees will clap their hands!  I remember at the time, that it was a word of encouragement.

The thing that struck me today however - was verse 13 that talks about trees growing where thistles and nettles grew.  Have you ever been "stung" by nettles?  You will know if you have.  As a little girl I remember getting stung and it hurts.  So much that to this day - I do not want to brush by any if I see them!  

And then the Word says - that "these events will bring great honor to the Lord's name; they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love!"  THERE came my "aha" moment.  A moment that was filled with the thoughts of all the "thistles, thorns, and nettle stinging moments" in my life.  AND YET out of all that - things will grow AND FLOURISH and God's name will be praised!  Really, that is what my life needs to be about.  As much as I get caught up in my "woe is me" moments ~ my life is all about HIM!  All about my Lord!

It seems that as I walk through life - many things do sting.  Many things become thorns in our flesh that we just seem to not be able to remove.  There are also so many things in life that are like those nettles I walked into as a little girl - they looked pretty but felt terrible when touched.  Life - is fragile.  Life - is for the most part "unseen" as far as what the future holds.  I am so glad that in looking backward, that is when we get the whole picture and see the journey that we have walked, and the parts where God has carried us through.  

The other day I was reminded of the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ through a song by Chris Tomlin.  I love the words - and perhaps they will also speak into your soul and bring peace, comfort and a healing balm to the "sting of any nettles" that you may have encountered lately!  

if you are also reading "the journey"  I have also posted on zephaniah3verse17.blogspot.com

Monday, August 15

sympathesizing with the TIN MAN

When I was young, I knew that my mom lived in pain.  She often slept up in a chair.  I didn't understand it but I knew this was a fact.  Living in pain is a fact of life for many many people.  I know that too.  I also understand it.  Pain has been a very constant part of my life.  Physical pain that is ... for a number of years.  OFFICIALLY my pain was recognized as my doctor in 1995 and given a name:  fibromyalgia.
However, it is not noticeable for the most part by others, unless they see a limp, or a stiffness, or my hands on my back, or taking some extra strength pain meds.

In my life - I have just kind of worked through it.  Mainly because I hate PITY.  Don't want to hear any "oh poor you" ... I hate that.  I also lived through it till now because - it makes no sense to complain as that changes absolutely nothing, and only gets you PITY or puts you in your own "pity-party" and I hate that too.  

Over the past 16 years - my FMS has had a few flare-ups, and most of them were stress related.  At some points, changing gears on our standard car was hard to do ...  or holding my arms at my side caused aching right through to the middle of the bones!  I don't know how to explain it other than feeling like the "tin man" from the wizard of OZ.  Can only imagine how his rusty limbs felt!!

Last week I stepped up my exercise - and my walking.  Not sure - was that why the FM hit with a vengeance this past weekend and on into today?  But it is such a catch 22.  Everything feels like it is rusted and can't move - and so you don't want to move - but then you know if you don't move - you will feel worse so you do move and exercise but it is painful - but that is good even though it feels bad.

anyhow - yesterday I did not do anything - I didn't even walk.  DIDN'T feel good about that.  SO I was back at Curves today and I clipped my pedometer back on this morning - at this point I have only done about 7000 steps, but hey - that is about 6000 + more than yesterday!

Just needed to vent a little.  But more than that - if you are praying friends - would love your prayers for this.  Pray that I will continue to walk through this - and take it as it comes.  Pray that I won't ever get to the point where I can't pick up my grandkids, or get down with them.  That is what really scares me.  And pray that I can continue on, without landing in my own little pity party!  Thanks all.

GOD IS GOOD.  HE IS HEALER .... and He knows about every ache and pain in my and your lives!  Every one - spiritual, mental, emotional and especially as I speak today - the physical!  
With that - I am going to get these joints moving - got some cleaning up to do!

I have just sat down again after the clean up blitz in the condo (not a big clean, just the mini one - you know, dishes in the dishwasher, crumbs off the table, dirty clothes in the basket, etc)  I read through the above again, and my first thoughts were:  "what kind of post was that!! sounds like a whole lot of pity calls to me!!"  AND my next impulse was to just delete the post.  BUT I will leave it.  It is my reality but what I think I want to add as a ps is that ALL of us have pain of one kind or another in life.   I AM NOT ALONE!!  But, the redeeming thing is this:  all that I go through ... I think can cause me to be more compassionate with others who also have pain.  So that is my prayer, that while walking through this tin-man pain, that I will be able to come alongside of someone else, and offer encouragement, support, prayer, and hope!  There is so much of life to live!!  It is my prayer that regardless - God will use me to his glory!  So.... forgive the "poor me" post!!   I really didn't intend it to sound that way.  :)

Wednesday, August 10

looking up

I am doing a Beth Moore Study - called Stepping Up - the Psalms of Ascent - and I am actually not doing this in a group setting, but I am doing this on my own.  Just wanted an in depth study during summer, and have always wanted to do this one.  So I am.

Yesterday and again today, my thoughts were focused on Psalm 121 - a psalm that I love.  I often read this Psalm to Omi (Mom Klassen's mom) when she was dying, and I also read this Psalm to Mom as well.  I love it.   It directs my gaze upward.

It talks about our Lord God as our helper, our protector along our journey.  Yes ... along the journey!  And what a journey we are on.  Each of our journeys are different - but none the less are not always easy.  My journey has been full of uphill climbs and down hill coasting ... it has been full of mountain top experiences as well as deep valley lows  The journey has not been an easy one, but it has been one where I have been stretched, and grown and changed to become the woman that I am today.  Sometimes I don't recognize myself or the life now ... but I know who has carried me through all the steps and the journey, and I am thankful that HE, my Lord, is the one fully in control.  Yes FULLY ... even though I still ask him many "WHY GOD?" questions.

At the end of today's Quiet Time, I was asked in study to transform PSALM 121 into my own prayer:
Here it is.  Perhaps you could write your own too, based on this favorite Psalm 121.

My Psalm 121

I stand and look
my face upward toward heaven
to ward you O Lord, MY God.
You are the One who is my helper at all times
you watch over each step I take and you guard me along my journey
I don't have to worry because you are always alert
you are watching and waiting.
You never get tired or sleep
You always watch over me - like a parent over their child
watching every rise and fall of my chest with each breath
listening for every sound that is murmured or spoken
watching for danger or distractions along the way
When the heat of this present life overwhelms me and threatens to sap all my strength
You provide the shade, and the green grass to rest in
You give me what I need to renew, refuel and refresh
It doesn't matter what time of day or night
You are there.

You keep my from harm
in the past
in my present day
and in the future
You care about each step of my journey
You love me so much
You direct each step I take and when I can't walk another step
you will carry me when I am too tired.

You have been
You are, and
You always will be
my helper
my protector
my Sovereign God.
And I love you so much.
So very very much.

Thursday, August 4

NOT impressed but impressed

Years and years ago, after coming home from camp - Josh proceeded to do graffiti art on some of our sheds/cow lean to's etc in the back.  He went to town with spray paint, and later when his cousin came, Gord did a little art of his own back there.  Then when Josh and Jer were running a skateboard park in the church parking lot - he was able to secure a semi trailer (just the trailer) and got it moved into the yard, and then they got a guy to do graffiti on it.  Actually I like graffiti - or should I say I like SOME graffiti.  I do not like the stuff that the gangs tag on buildings/signs/mailboxes etc.  BUT I do like the graffiti I see when the long trains go by.  Some of the graffiti is very creative - very artsy.  I like the colors, the flowing lines, and often the abstract art form.

Well this morning, as I was on the way to work - I went over the Chief Peguis bridge and on to work.  I turned onto MainStreet and was not too far south when I noticed the flowers and the graffiti.  I don't know which I noticed first, HOWEVER I did notice that there were the purple and white flowers - multiplying/blooming/growing on the median boulevard right close to Kildonan Park.  Maybe I also got to take a little more in since I had a red light at that intersection.  

The flowers were beautiful.  I especially liked the purple petunias I think they were. And then I saw the graffiti - and although it is by the looks of it, just a tagging with initials, it was done in PURPLE!!
And while I was not impressed with the tag itself - I was impressed by the fact that the tagger did it to match the flowers! Perhaps he/she didn't plan it like this - but I am giving them the shadow of a doubt ad saying it was planned this way.  Perhaps in the midst of tagging property that is not theirs - just perhaps they had some thought to it - to make the tag blend instead of stick out!  Regardless - it really wasn't that offensive as it would have been in black!

It made me think of how we want to blend in, but yet keep our originality.  Hmmm.... 
It made me think about as one who follows Jesus ... do I blend in or stick out?  I am not sure that sticking out is a good thing.  Too many people are turned away from Jesus by Christians who stick out so much they make other people feel like they would never measure up - or be good enough to get close to Jesus. (no wonder Jesus came for the broken, the sin-filled, the messy ... cause he doesn't care if we measure up, he just wants us to follow him!)

Maybe blending in a little, and yet keeping the originality of who God made me to be is similar to the tag done in purple among the purple and white flowers.  I don't know ... just a thought!

Tuesday, August 2

Soul Care 101 by Dr. Larry Crabb

Two years ago, just before I resigned, I had signed up for a week long course with Dr. Larry Crabb, down in beautiful Colorado Springs, at Glen Eyrie Retreat and Conference Center.  This week long time together, which was the School of Spiritual Direction (class 33) ~ was one of the most amazing weeks I have experienced.  I was in a beautiful part of the world, being taught by Dr. Crabb (which was amazing in itself) and to meet some amazing men and women (especially Paige and Jason, who were my friends in my triad)  This week was costly - but I can not say how amazing it was for me spiritually.  Absolutely amazing.  I thank God for the opportunity to go and learn.

I have thought of that time away alot and thank God for what I experienced.  It was at a very raw point in my life ... I had just resigned from my 7.5 years in pastoral ministry because I knew without a doubt that God was calling me out of ministry at McIvor.  However, leaving ministry there, was not without some personal pain and heartache which had occurred in the year following our little grandson Jay's silent birth. While losing our firstborn grandson Jay was the hardest grief I have ever ever ever experienced ... our journey was compounded by some misunderstanding and hurt.  Hard to say, and sorry to say, but true.  SO going away to sit under the teaching of Dr. Crabb (christian counsellor/teacher/author) was so timely.  I wept as God began the work of healing in my life.  (which is still ongoing).

Since that time I have thought alot about getting more insight, more teaching in the areas of spiritual direction and Alvin and I are currently reading the book SOUL CARE by Dr. Crabb.  I love it when we are both reading the same book at the same time!  It involves creative reading so that we never lose one another's spots! BUT ... tonight I just signed up for a course by Dr. Crabb, called SOUL CARE 101 which can be taken online - and will only grow my understanding and ability of caring for others - through daring to care for someone!

This is the first of 4 courses, and then I hope to be able to go to the next Step week long course once again under the instruction of Dr. Crabb.   While it in the end with give me a "certificate" ~ I think that the real thing I look forward to is having more insight, more knowledge into caring for others.  I am thinking perhaps I need to start saving my money for the next week long course !!

I am very excited about this ... very, very excited!  Just thought I would share that with you.  I think perhaps God will use this in the retreat ministry with women!  O Lord, please grow my love for you, my love for your Word, and my love for others.  Please use me Lord.  Use me to bring you honor and glory. amen.