Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Don't miss this...

My daughter's blog is worth reading, but especially today. She has downloaded (or is it uploaded?) a speech by Gianna Jessen, an abortion survivor.

I don't care who you are, or what your opinion is regarding life in the womb, this woman is worth listening to.

So, click over to Creekside and take a few minutes to be enlightened.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I perch atop a ladder, filling flaws in the brick wall that we are painting with drywall mud, listening to the praise music emanating from Linda's computer, and I am content. I watch my husband grab the wood filler, repairing the cracks around the windows he installed, and I am deeply thankful.

He's not been so well of late. His heart has been acting up, beating irregularly, irratically, thumping hard in his chest, skipping beats. He's on a monitor for two weeks, and it keeps going off, signalling that it's full, and it's time to call in the results.

I think about the past thirty-five years with this man. Where has the time gone? How could it possibly be that we are now in our middle age, tottering towards the end of this earthly existence?

Rick's heart problems have driven home the fact that this marriage is momentary. Oh, I don't think for a second that either of us will leave. We're comfortable now. We understand each other. We sometimes celebrate the differences between us, and sometimes they're a thorn in our flesh, but we're definitely committed to the relationship.

I've thought about marriage a lot lately. I just finished reading a new book by John Piper, This Momentary Marriage. It was a reminder that marriage is designed by God, to be a reflection of Christ and His Church.

But marriage isn't easy. Two people coming together, from different backgrounds, with dissimilar tastes and desires, don't agree on much. And somehow, they have to live together in intimate fellowship, and work together to raise a family. Somehow, they have to be an example of God's grace.

Too often we have been an example of what it's like to have a sin nature. We've ignored one another, or yelled too much. We've dismissed each other's ideas, or failed to pay attention when the other one is hurting.

Yet here we are, 35 years after saying our "I do's", still sleeping in the same bed, sharing the same space, loving the same children and grandchildren, dreaming the same dreams. This is only by God's grace.

We are grateful for the little things. Rick likes to open his top drawer to see an abundance of socks. I love it when he opens the Word and teaches us, leading in prayer for God's blessing to be poured out on his family.

I am thankful that Rick can still drive that truck, ignoring the pain in his knee, bringing home enough money to make ends meet.

He is glad that I can climb a ladder, or help pile logs, or gut a chicken.

I am pleased as punch that he drives the tractor, digging holes or filling holes, moving garbage or compost, doing things that I could not possibly do.

He is happy when I make the business calls, or do the filing, or assist with paperwork.

I am thrilled when he hands me the card and tells me to get the paint I need to finish the project we are working on.

We both are comforted when we lie in each other's arms, crying out to God on behalf of a hurting daughter, or a wayward son. We share each other's burdens, and often that is more important than sharing the blessings. We're not in it alone: we have each other.

It's the little things that matter, day in, day out. We've been at this a long time, and I am content.

If God should choose, I hope to be blogging on my 40th anniversary, then the 45th, the 50th, and so on. It won't be long, I'm sure, judging by how fast the first 35 years have flown by.

Happy 35th anniversary, my love.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

When will it ever end?

We're STILL renovating. And that means we still have wall-to-wall clutter in the kitchen, where we've moved all of the furniture and stacked it in order to lay down new flooring.

There's still drywall dust everywhere. The mudding and sanding and painting seems to go on forever.

One wall in the great room is now prime-painted, but we can see that more mud must be applied to a couple of places before we can continue with the real paint. And that, of course, means more sanding and another coat of primer.

Daniel couldn't help Linda today, because he spent most of the day installing a window in the living room. That's good.

I didn't help Linda, because I spent most of the day praying and teaching and praying again.

So, Linda, lovely Linda, painted merrily away. I lie. It was not merrily...she HATES painting. But, servant-heart that she is, she painted in order to bless her family.

It's at the point that if order isn't soon returned to my space, I think I will have to run away. So run away I shall. I shall run to the only One Who knows what I am truly going through. I shall cast all of my cares, all of my worries, all of my pain and heartaches, all of the frustration of living in chaos and uncertainty on HIM. (Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.)

And, I know that it will work out. (For we know that all things work together for good to those who love the Lord.)

Even this.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Good Day

We had a jam-packed day yesterday. Up early, breakfast, chores...the usual scurrying around, looking for shoes, getting coffee in travel mugs. On our way.

The drive, although too long in my opinion, is always pleasant on days like yesterday. The sun shone on the frost and the fog, highlighting the beauty of horses grazing in the mist. Fall colours are still brilliant, with oranges, yellows, and scarlets accentuated against blue sky or (surprisingly!) still green fields.

We listen to oldies on the way, children singing along, Rick nodding off. I drive too fast, keeping my eyes open for speed traps (saw two!) and wishing we'd left earlier.

We got to church on time - relief! and were welcomed by 5 smiling faces. I rushed to congratulate Joel on his recent engagement.

Pastor Bob preached powerfully, reminding us of Jesus' status as the Cosmic Creator, Conqueror and King. After fellowship and coffee, we headed to Stratford to help move a piano for Rachel.

It's good that my kids are all tall and strong. We got to the house to pick up the piano and discovered that it had to be hauled up two short flights of stairs, turned on its end, and maneuvered through tight corners. There was a bit of excitement, but the piano got safely to Rachel's house.

We then headed home. Matt and Joanna and their kids arrived before we did. After a bite to eat and a bit of visiting,we went for a walk down the country road and up a gravelly path, filled with leaves that had fallen to make a thick, inviting carpet. The twelve of us (plus two of the dogs) had a blast shuffling through the leaves, discovering treasures in the woods (sticks for swords; a "staff" like Gandalf's) and Kaleb was broken-hearted when we had to turn back.

Daniel fired up the barbecue and cooked hamburgers for all, which we enjoyed out on the patio, snuggled up close to the fire pit.

There truly is joy in the simple things of life: a nature walk, a nice meal shared around a roaring fire, the laughter of children and earnest debate of adults.

It was a good day.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why I am Thankful! Counting blessings...

For the last little while, the following quote has been my signature online:

"The first of Martin Luther's 95 Theses was that the whole of a Christian's life is to be one of repentance of sin." ~ J. I. Packer

Why repentance? Because of who we are: Fallen creatures, prone to wander.

Were it not for our Beautiful God who keeps us in the palm of His hand;
were it not for the Spirit’s promptings, and our Gentle Shepherd’s leading;
we’d wander aimlessly off the Path, looking for meaning in all the wrong places.

How do I know this? Because I've done it. I've forgotten to look to the Lord, to seek His face in the morning, to ask direction for my day. I've forgotten that I can do NOTHING to please Him, apart from the Grace of God. I've dug out that old checklist of things to do to be spiritual, and been very pleased with myself as I check them off: Read the Bible, check. Pray, check. Be kind to others, check. Intercede for the hurting, check. Don't lose my temper, check. And I've swelled with pride and thought myself a very good Christian, and asset to the Kingdom.

Hogwash. All of my righteousnesses are filthy rags. Any good I do is only because I am a branch attached to the Vine, and He does all things well.

No wonder I am thankful. When I consider all that my God has done for me, how can I be anything but grateful?

He sets us in families. I have a really big family, and lots of children and grandchildren to love. I am blessed to get hugs from big boys, and juicy kisses from little babies. I am thrilled to hear, "Dranny, tan I have a dwink?", and I rush to get it for the wee one who's asking.

But even if I had no family, if every one of them were taken away, I know I am part of the family of God. I have the best Brother, the best Father, the best Guide. I am so blessed to be part of this family, adopted as one of His children. I am so thankful.

He gives us work to do. God is a God of purpose, and does nothing by accident. He has created us to work (six days shalt thou labour and do all thy work) and gifted us with talents that reflect His glory. There is no excuse for boredom, because there is always something for us to do. We are truly blessed when we have work.

Sometimes the sheer amount of work I have to do is overwhelming, but I then remind myself that my God has not given me more than I can bear. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I am truly thankful!

He surrounds us with beauty, with evidence of His glory. The sheer beauty of the sunset this evening was astounding. Clouds rippled across the sky in varying colours from the brightest gold to a deep purple, with brilliant orange and magenta between. As darkness fell, the full moon rose, giving enough light for the children to keep on with their games of British Bulldog and Red Rover. I look at the beauty, and I am thankful.

But even more astounding than the beauty of creation that surrounds us is the beauty of a God who Heals the Brokenhearted and Loves the Unloveable. This is my God...How can I be anything but thankful?

He gives us the Spirit, as an earnest, a downpayment of what is to come. What joy we will experience one day when we reach that heavenly shore. No more sin. No more need of that daily repentance! Just constant praise and glory and thanksgiving offered to His name!

As we mature in the Lord, we discover what it really means to give thanks. As baby Christians, we are thankful for our salvation, for having been brought into the kingdom of God, and having new purpose in life. We recognize God’s goodness in the tangible things – food, clothing, housing, relationships, church.

But as mature Christians, we learn to give thanks for the trials, too. That’s not easy…. But we are taught in James to count our trials as joy:

2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, 3for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. 4And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

I am so thankful for a Shepherd who knows me very well. He knows my every need, and He knows exactly what will mould me into the delight that He is designing me to be.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;

Jesus has brought good news to me. How thankful I am!

he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

Jesus has healed my broken heart. I lost both my parents and a baby all in the same year. I suffered misunderstandings, abandonment by friends, pain and hurt and loss, but that didn’t even come close to the brokenness I felt when I realized that it was MY sin that put Him on the cross. Jesus bound up my broken heart. How thankful I am!

to proclaim liberty to the captives,and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

He set me free! How thankful I am!

2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;

He taught me His attributes – He is a God of Grace, but He is also a God of Vengeance. Yet, He comforts those who mourn. How thankful I am!

3to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
(H) that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD,(I) that he may be glorified.

Beauty for ashes; gladness for mourning; praise instead of fear; All this is from our God. He has taken me, a worm, the chief of sinners, and called me an oak of righteousness. He has planted me here in this time and space, and will be glorified because of me. I can’t begin to comprehend His love. How thankful I am!