Wednesday, 14 November 2012

He Doesn't Live Here Anymore

I filled the kettle with water for the morning and then I remembered
He doesn’t live here anymore
As I was making up the orange juice I realized it was lasting longer
He doesn’t live here anymore
I don’t need to refill the honey jar as often
He doesn’t live here anymore
When I was at Costco I realized I don’t need to buy three packages of English muffins
He doesn’t live here anymore
I stripped his bed; washed the sheets & duvet cover and stored them in the linen closet
He doesn’t live here anymore
I washed his remaining clothes and I packed them in bags
He doesn’t live here anymore
I packed up odds and ends in boxes that he had left behind
He doesn’t live here anymore
When I was hanging up the bath towels I remembered I didn’t need one for him
He doesn’t live here anymore
I don’t need to ask him if he’ll be home for supper
He doesn’t live here anymore
All of the cars now fit in the driveway
He doesn’t live here anymore
I was the last person up so I shut off the living room light before I went to bed
He doesn’t live here anymore
( These were the things I noticed in the first couple of weeks after our eldest son, Chris, was married. The phrase "He doesn't live here anymore" came to mind  and I started writing down the changes I noticed.)

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Learning To Sift

I am learning to sift out the things that God wants me to do from the things that I could do. It is funny how I have things I can do, yet I still long for the “big thing”. I know that life is made up of many little things. My first priority is to my family and my home, then to others. Of course God is first, but I am to serve God first by serving my family and then others. I am not to feel pressured to do everything that comes along.

In thinking about the pressure I feel about taking part in certain things, I see the root of the compulsion that drives me or condemns me is part of the past legalism and wanting to be well-thought-of and not ill-thought-of. Sometimes others have great expectations of us to do for them beyond what we are comfortable with or are capable. I need to give the burdens of others to God and not take any ownership of always having to do something. As I was praying about what God wanted me to do I sensed God saying “My sheep hear my voice and follow Me.” I need to follow what God wants me to do.

As I was lying in bed I had the thought “I want to do great things for God”. God then said to “remove ‘for God’ and what do you have? “ “I want to do great things”. I sensed God saying that often we have great aspirations, or aspiration to greatness, and we try to couch it in religious terms. It is almost as if we think that we are honoring God. We can honour God through little things that go unseen by others.

These thoughts and impressions have come from my journaling over this past year. As I have read through my journal, I have noticed the many times God used me in various ways. I do not need a title or an official ministry to be able to minister to others. God is the One who has ordained me and called me to serve Him. He will provide opportunities for me to serve. I can take encouragement from the fact that I am prepared and ready to serve. I am not using my gifts on an ongoing basis, but rather sporadically as the opportunities unfold. I know that God is in control. He is the One who made me; He is the One who gave me talents and abilities. It is at His discretion that He has given me certain spiritual gifts. God knows that I desire to be used.

During an evening of worship I had a picture in my mind of a giant hand at my side. I had thought that God had been preventing me from going somewhere or doing something, but through this picture I saw that God wanted to direct me where to go. His hand was protecting me and directing me. It was not as a hand in the stop position. I then realized that God did have a plan and I was walking in His plan. The desires I have deep inside are the fuel that gives me the desire or motivation to do what God has called me to do. I cannot make anything happen; I need to rely solely on God. Later, God impressed on my heart and spirit that He can and will direct if the “call” needs to come from someone rather than me volunteering on my own. My obedience to God’s call is either proactive by stepping out and volunteering to do something; or submissive by responding to requests to do something. I don’t need to be burdened by a desire to do something big for God; or be involved in some great purpose. God’s purpose for my life will be fulfilled and is being fulfilled.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

An Allegorical Autobiography

I am a member of a Christian writer's group, "The Writer's Nest".  We were to write a short autobiography for our meeting this month. I left it till the day of the meeting, which was this past Tuesday evening, as I am a procrastinator. I attempted to form an outline, but I was at a loss as to how I would sum up so much. I decided to read through a binder of my writings. I came across the following story of an aspect of my spiritual journey to wholeness. It was written on September 29, 2006. I decided to read this account as my contribution to our monthly meeting as an allegorical autobiography. I received a positive response and encouragement that others would be blessed to hear my story.

I was thinking that I could write about the part of me that has been hidden away or missing for all these years. I could write about her/me as a young woman, who I discover is alive and related to me and that I did not know. I could give her feelings and desires and abilities which are present, but that I find hard to express in my "grown up" "controlled" life. I sense that by doing this in the third person I will be able to bypass anything that could hinder.

I sense that she is a real person and I know that she desires to be acknowledged. She has a joy for life. She loves to dance,sing and write. She loves to read and write poetry. She has a vivid imagination.

It is almost as if she is waiting in the wings and will soon be revealed on stage. Not that she is going to act or perform, but rather she is going to tell her story. I have a picture of her standing behind a podium and she is going to begin telling her story. I sense that she is overcome with emotion and relief that she is finally able to tell her story, that it is a safe place. She has been the "keeper of her story" for so long and now she is finally free to share it.

I was wondering what I would call her since I did not always want to refer to her as "she" and not name her. I sensed that I could call her Ann, for that is one of her/my names. She would have liked to be named Anne with an "e", because Ann seemed too short and simple. Ann was and is a vibrant young woman, She has spunk and a zest for life. Ann easily identified with Anne of Green Gables. There really is "a lot of scope for the imagination" Ann has a vivid imagination. She is able to create in the smallest detail all that she needs to create her imagined world.

Ann, outwardly plain and simple, was really "Anne" inwardly. In some ways she was like Cinderella in that she was relegated to the life of "dos" and "don'ts".There was a sense of tragedy about Ann; unrealized expectations and unfulfilled dreams; of what ifs, and if only; and what might have been.

Ann was a romantic at heart. She loved the fairytale love stories where a prince comes to save the heroine from a life of drudgery and all her dreams come true. One of Ann's favorite stories from childhood was "The Princess and the Pea". It was a rather unbelievable story in that a princess did not get a good night's sleep because there was a pea hidden under a layer of maybe one hundred or so mattresses. This proved that she was a genuine princess even though she was not dressed like one. I think that there is a longing in every young girl to be a princess. There are many things that seek to tear away at that, but then one day we discover that we are princesses, much like in the story "The Princess Diaries" . I think that I was looking for my own Prince Charming to rescue me from my tower. I thought that he was a man, yet I now realize that it is the Lord Jesus; and He is not only a Prince, but He  is a King.

I sense that Jesus is standing in the wings and encouraging me. He is looking at me with eyes of love.

Those who do not have a rich inner life cannot understand its mysteries. They are unaware of the many rooms that I have in my life. Some are interconnected, while others are like secret inner chambers that can only be discovered by taking the time to pass through many corridors, twists and turns. I have described it as "the attic of my life" That was where I stored my various hopes, dreams and loves. That is where I will take you. I have taken some of my past loves and desires, and blown off the dust and cobwebs. I have brought some of them into my present life. I used to visit my attic from time to time and wish that I could have these things in my life. I was sad that they were stored away, collecting dust. I did not realize that they were gifts that God had given me to be used in my life. I did not realize that He had given me those desires and abilities. I had listened to the lies of the enemy. I thought that it was God's will for it was messengers who said they were God's messengers. I did not realize that they too were imprisoned and needed the Prince to rescue them from their tower of religion.

What I sense is that now that Ann is revealed and known, she can be ministered to. Ann needs to be affirmed; her gifts, talents and abilities need to affirmed and matured. Ann needs to be taught and trained so that her abilities can be strengthened and improved. She has a lot to learn and a journey ahead to catch up.

I sense that this time in my life has been a time of makeover and transformation; strengthening and training. It is a time of preparation. I sense that I have been in a time of much concentrated teaching and learning and adjusting. The time for the "big reveal" is at hand. I am reminded of the training and transformation that happened in "The Princess Diaries". I too have had others come alongside me both spiritually and naturally.

I have the sense that Ann is being given a standing ovation. It is almost thunderous applause. There is such a deep sense of appreciation for her keeping and guarding these gifts and abilities. She stood watch and did not allow the enemy to steal them or to destroy them. She kept them alive through her memories of them. Now is the time for her to hand over these gifts, talents and abilities for me to take them to new levels and new dimensions. Ann was the guardian of these gifts, but I am the rightful owner of these gifts. They were given to me by God and He wants them to be a part of my life. There is a definite transfer and a maturing will come to each of these areas.

I can see myself behind the podium. I am accepting these gifts. "Lord, I receive and accept, and take as mine: the gifts of communication; dance; writing; imagination; and singing." I am now taking them and placing them before the altar. I am giving these gifts, strengths and abilities to God, for Him to bless them. I desire for God to use me anew and afresh in each of these areas. I desire to be balanced in every area of my life.

God has honoured these desires and prayers, and I have written about many of them in my various blog posts.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

New Beginnings

Last night I attended a local Christian writers' group meeting and our topic was "new beginnings". It had been a couple of years since I had last attended, so this was an appropriate night for me to return. The following is my reflection on the topic of "new beginnings":

A new beginning can encompass a completely new endeavor or a fresh start at one which was previously attempted or enjoyed. I thought about the farmers who plant again every year. It is a sign of perseverance and faith that they will reap a harvest. A child learning to ride a bike needs to begin anew each time he or she gets on the bicycle until he or she can ride successfully without falling. I have desired to write more frequently so coming again to this writers' group is my act of faith and perseverance.

A new beginning can also be a new way of doing a previous skill or ministry. A neighbour and I are going to start praying together for our neighbours next week. She told me that twenty years ago she used to have such a time of prayer for the neighbours.

A new beginning is not the end or conclusion of a matter, but rather the first steps on a journey, in a process; or as a foundation for other new beginnings to be built upon. On Sunday, an elder at my church preached about a vision for a new outreach to the young families that are moving to Bradford. As he spoke, my heart was stirred to pray for this new planning committee and their plans and procedures. I have a passion to mentor and come alongside younger moms and this outreach will target those very families. By praying for this committee, and later for the actual outreach, I am laying a foundation. It is not the end goal just to have more young families, but for them to come to faith in Jesus and grow in their walk with God. Other future beginnings will be the various ministries to meet those very needs.

I can attempt new beginnings with the confidence that the outcomes are in God's hands. Should a first attempt not work out, I can always begin again in a new or different way.
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