Tuesday, January 6, 2015

after you...

     I live in Canada - the land of reputed politeness and niceties. It's an often true reputation that pervades our culture and humor over the never ending stop at the three way stop with each idling vehicle nodding to the others genially, "After you... I insist..."
     I had a day dream the other day while I was sitting in a worship service in church. A man had invited guests to his home. It was a dinner party, and when the first guest arrived, he was given the task of opening the door for the guests who would arrive after him.
     As the doorbell rang, he ran to open it adding urgently, "No! Don't take off your shoes, leave your coat on... come here. I will serve you your dessert." While the host in the kitchen continued to prepare the meal for his guests to eat, the pseudo-host organized those who came after in a most bizarre fashion.
     He got them to switch seats, to sit, but then to stand, he asked them to eat different courses of foods out of turn. As a spoon of soup was brought to one mouth and a creamy dessert brought to another, the other guests looked at each other in confusion, knowing that something was awry. They waited for someone to take the first bite. The pseudo-host glowed. "Oh no! YOU eat. I don't need a thing. I will watch you all and serve you. I will fill your plates and bring you your next course. I will witness your satisfaction and you won't need to witness me getting my fill.
     Finally the real host gently stopped him, "Friend... I invited you here as my guest. i am the host and what you are doing isn't appropriate behavior.Your attempted kindnesses are not only robbing your fellow guests of the experience I intended for them, but you have chosen hunger over partaking. This isn't right."
     I opened my eyes and they rested on the pastoral staff in the front row - eyes closed, arms raised in worship.
     And it was like a little wave of understanding washed over me in that little moment of wonder.
Invited to God's house, they attended. Ushered to the throne room, they worshiped. They ate, they drank - not waiting for another guest's first bite, but partaking at the invitation of The King. Each course delivered in it's time. No guest's need escaping the tender eye of the holiest of Hosts.

“Come, all you who are thirsty,
    come to the waters" - isa. 55:1a


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Mini blogs...

I feel like every once in awhile I clear my throat & realize that I haven't been using my voice very much... There's a little sting in that because I want to heed that little whisper that reminds me, "let everything that has breath praise the Lord..." & my praise seems to come in mulling over his fingers swirling the colours in my life... So I'll breathe in some grace & breathe out some praise, & share a couple little 'Facebook status' style updates with my people. Here you go... 

1. Lemme tell you, after a dozen years of homeschooling, it's a queer little ache that comes to you in waves as your oldest moves beyond the walls that hold you still... But there's this strange euphoria that chases that ache too. Our little team mate is out in the world, pursuing her education. She's sobbing in classes that are stretching her capacity to empathize, care for and nurse... She's working hard, learning and growing. She's going to be amazing. 
So I pick up that little grade 2 reader & watch a stubby little finger trip over the bold font... I correct math tests, fold laundry and read. We pray, we eat, we school, we live... conscious of both the ache and the euphoria that are inevitable parts of this wonderous wandering.. 

2. (An *actual* Facebook status...)
 Fine. 
I'll admit it. 
Doctor Who wrecks me. 
Sloanie & I started watching the series on netflix months ago - & it's not the cheesy science fiction veneer that cuts to my core & exposes my vulnerability... 
It's the little hints sprinkled like faery dust through the lines that linger long after they're spoken. They burrow like seeds into my mind and as this silly show unveils aspects of life and humanity that we're not to speak of, shouldn't even know of, must pretend never happened.. those little seeds start to grow into full fledged ideas. Who am I becoming? What matters? Why does it matter? 

"How long should we wait?"
"The rest of our lives."
"Agreed." 

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. (Philippians 4:5 NIV)

Aaaaaand... Now you all know what a nerd I am. 

3. Neil is at a trade show this weekend. I guess he has a "booth" there... I try to picture these trade shows, but all that comes to mind are science fairs. Are there other adults there with better booths than Neil? Did some guy's boss have an unlimited budget & he has a cooler booth than everyone else? Does one person have the equivalent of the volcano booth that erupts every once in while while the guy looks cocky, but the judges are unimpressed cause they see it every year? Did one guy light up his booth with lights powered by a potato? What on earth does Neil's booth look like? I asked him all these questions and more... But he just looked at me sternly and said, "yes. It's like a science fair." 
It's probably not nearly as interesting as I'm imagining. 


(The picture is just a bonus...)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

artsy fartsy

    It's amazing how much of music is intuitive. i don't remember being as blown away by a distinction in any of my babe's musical tastes as i have been with Elmer. We play a game where we'll take turns choosing a piece of music to play over the speakers while he's playing at our feet. His response is usually immediate and definitive. He either likes it and starts to move and react, clapping, bobbing his head and dancing - or he'll ignore it completely and continue what he's doing. His tastes are sometimes different than mine, he'll fling out his arms and turn his face to the sky during a song that doesn't move me or he'll start his wiggly dance while i'm changing a diaper and i hadn't even noticed the song had changed. Sometimes he'll dance and shout happy baby sounds while i play and sing and sometimes he'll just pull on my clothes asking me to stop so that he can have my full attention.

    And then there's Gage. He's six and can sing with more emotion than Barbara Streisand. He was in my room the other day and i stopped outside the door to listen to him sing to himself in my big full length mirror. He was making up a song about going to Kelowna to visit his grandparents and i couldn't help but get caught up in his lyrics. He drew me in with the complex conflict between his desire for the road trip and wondering if he will miss and be missed at home. His little voice trembled as it rose higher and higher, louder and louder.... conflicted and more conflicted. He repeated little melodic phrases, he used syncopation and rhythmical riffs, he repeated lyrical themes and used every dynamic and vocal inflection he could think of. He changed the rhythm as it suited him, some of it rubato, some of it following a stricter meter... He embellished with long anguished notes or quick staccato; haphazardly creating little phrases as he worked his way through his song... and i kind of sat there thinking - he's just experimenting with musical ideas he couldn't even name - to *create* something. It's so similar to a child taking up a paint brush, dancing, making a craft or forming something out of clay... Like, 'what can you do, voice, to express what i'm experiencing in my little six-year-old boy existence?'

    It's kind of weird to me, how much of what i think of as being something you need training for is really just open to everyone to enjoy. How much expression do i shy away from because i think i'm not good enough, that i might make a fool of myself, that the end product trumps the experience of creation?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

intercession

    The kids and i have been doing a study called, Love to Pray by Alvin Vandergriend in the mornings lately. It's a 40 day devotional that we've done before (i had scrawled the date of the last time we did it on the front cover - January 2006). In it, i had made notes and prayer requests - praying for baby cousins who were on the way tucked in their mother's wombs, prayers for our daddy to find a job as his was in flux as this was right before we ended up moving to Calgary... It has been an interesting trip down memory lane, but more importantly - it has been another invitation (He is constantly inviting...) to walk, run or even crawl deeper into my prayer journey. 

    The author  made a distinction in this book between petition (praying for ourselves) and intercession (praying for others). As we've read different passages and as we've studied - but ultimately as we've taken the time each morning to put into practice what we're learning and to actually pray... i feel like i've been stretched by this invitation to put my love into action through prayer.

    Sometimes praying feels like walking a tightrope. i want to pray only the things that are in the will of God, i want to pray authentically... i want to bring Him my hurt, my worry, my heart, my adoration and my joy. i want to pray for others for the areas in their lives that are broken. A word i used that maybe i just made up is, `pre-redeemed`... "What does pre-Christmas mean?" i asked my little ones, "We can only use the word, 'pre-Christmas' because Christmas is coming." i want to have the confidence to use the word, 'pre-redeemed' in the same way - redemption of all the the enemy has stolen is coming, beauty from ashes. i might be living in the 'pre' - but that little word only indicates what is coming, and i can't wait.

    Today was beautiful in it's practical applicability. First the question of nagging doubt was tenderly addressed. Do my prayers make any difference at all? If i believe the Bible... if i take God at His word... then i have to believe that through His Great Love for us, God does allow our prayers to make a difference to the history of nations, our family, our communities, our churches... i believe it. i think that belief  is no small thing when God is looks for and calls intercessors. If we don't believe that our prayers matter, or that they've had any consequence at all... prayer won't be precious to us, and i think over time we'd probably cease to make time for it at all because what is relationship with a God who remains disengaged from our lives, from our trials and from our pain? Thankfully this isn't how God truly is... He is engaged, He sees, He hears and He takes action on our behalf. He loves us, and is deeply interested in having a relationship with us. He is worthy of our love.

    Still, prayer is sometimes hard (like anything worth learning or doing). We run out of things to say, we wonder if maybe we're praying for healing when God is going to use sickness. We wonder if our present suffering is possibly not worth mentioning... we pray alone and our mind drifts and we might feel like we're talking to ourselves. Prayer is something we can grow in, we can learn about, we can get better at. It's not just an intangible feeling, "Sending you good vibes!" It's an intentional conversation with the One in control.

    I love the distinction between petition and intercession - and i don't remember making it before in my own mind. Honestly? i think we are in desperate need of both - but sometimes i find i need to focus outside of my own self, and God has used intercession to show me His Great Love for those around me, and in those times i think it has helped me catch just a glimpse of the bigger picture. The devotional i mentioned gave us a small tool to try this morning using the word, BLESS to help us to pray for those around us. The B stood for body needs. We prayed for those who are struggling with their physical body - for strength and healing for sickness, brokenness and disease. We prayed by name for people with needs in their physical body and blessed them. L stood for labour - it was easy to remember to pray for our pastor, for our church leadership and for their families, but we also prayed for Cairo, out getting training for her vocation and for Neil who works for our family. We all labour, but using this little tool brought specific people to mind... and we prayed for them by name. The E was for emotional - there are so many with inner hurts that God wants to heal - the pre-redeemed. We prayed for them. The first S stood for social - (relational) needs. We prayed for families for restoration of brokenness and for these relationships that currently bring pain to begin instead to bring joy and hope and strength to their members. We prayed for families to receive blessing, and also for them to bring glory to God. The last S was for spiritual - for people who need Jesus. We prayed for our friends by name but also for our little community, our neighbours and the world.

    And i don't know if it's because Elmer slept in and we had the time and the atmosphere to just *be* before God, to be reminded by Him of the people He loves, to intercede for them and "stand in the gap" between, 'pre-redeemed' and 'redeemed', but even hours later... i'm unable to shake the idea that our prayers from this morning were heard and that their impact will be multi-faceted and generational, because that? That is the kind of God that i serve - and He wastes nothing.

in·ter·ces·sion
ˌintərˈseSHən/
noun
  1. the action of intervening on behalf of another.
    "through the intercession of friends, I was able to obtain her a sinecure"
    synonyms:mediation, intermediation, arbitrationconciliationnegotiationMore
    • the action of saying a prayer on behalf of another person.
      "prayers of intercession"


* Ezekiel 22: 30-31
* Luke 11: 5-8
* Philippians 4: 6-7
* 1 John 5: 14-15
* Hebrews 4:16
* Luke 18: 1
* John 16:24
* 1 John 3:21-22
* Mark 11:22-24
* Psalm 66:18-19
* Hebrews 4:16
* Exodus 17: 9, 11
* Romans 8: 26-27
* 1 Timothy 2:1-4
* 1 Thessalonians 5:17
* John 10:27
* Ephesians 6:18
* Matthew 6:9-13
* Ephesians 3: 14-19
* Colossians 1:9-12
* Ephesians 1:17-19
* 1 Chronicles 4:10
* Mark 1:35
* Luke 5:16
* Luke 6:12
* Romans 1: 9-10
* James 5:16
* Luke 22: 31-32
* Revelation 8: 3-5

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

night feeds

At over 15 months, he's getting a little long in the tooth for night feeds. i've wished so many times over the course of the past year that he would sleep longer stretches, but last night i couldn't fall asleep, and i wished he were up to keep me company. i groaned as the clock slipped past 11 then 12... i kept winking at it, willing myself to sleep, begging my eyes to stay shut. Instead i watched as the numbers on the clock crept past one.. then 1:30. He rarely sleeps that long and i had wasted it.
i didn't let myself look at that mocking clock again until i finally heard his cries at 2:30 in the morning.
He can't possibly need a night feed. He's a nice solid little boy - a far cry from the hungry baby who couldn't get his mama's milk with his funny little tongue tied down. He sits in a high chair at meal times and points to whatever table food he thinks looks like it might have sugar in it.
He is definitely big enough to get through the night without a night feed, but we never do.
No... we never do. And this night is no exception...  his perfect legs curl up against my body and my legs curl underneath him, almost like a yin and yang... he signs to me with his pudgy hand that he wants to nurse and with a contented sigh relaxes into my arms. And it's at times like this where i cannot decide which of us feeds and which of us is fed.
i slept peacefully after that, you know... Soul kind of nourished, doubts quieted for night... comforted by nothing more than a little feed in the night...

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