Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The church and love

Today one of my friends asked if I could make meals for her aunt.  Her aunt has fought uterine cancer in the past and last year went through a double mastectomy.  Last week she went to the doctors as she has had a cold she couldn't kick.  It appears that there are growths on her lungs and lymphnoids.  My friend advised me that her aunt has never asked for help through her previous trials.  However, she is acknowledging her need for help.  She is not a believer and as a result does not have "A" church to help carry her through this.  That doesn't mean that the church needs to abandon her.

Many people view the church as the place where they go to be fed.  Where they worship and fellowship with other believers.  What they don't understand is that the church isn't just a place, it's all believers.
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:22-23 NIV84
As believers we are part of Christ's body on earth.  God made Him the head and we are the arms, legs, heart and lungs.  No one part is more important than the other.  We are unified.  Our human bodies aren't static.  They are in constant movement even when we sleep, they are working.

We are to do Jesus' work on earth.  To show the world the wonder of his presence through love and grace, not through condemnation and judgment.  That is how most non-believers see the church.  Jesus didn't hang out with religious people.  He was friends with the broken and needy - the unloveables.  That's who we are called to love, not ourselves.  A former pastor always said he wanted a t-shirt that said "Jesus-A Friend of Sinners."  

He calls us to love against our very nature....
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.  1 John 4:10-12 NIV84
John reminds us that our love, like God's, is not complete unless it goes through us to another person.  It's not just about saying you love someone, it's showing you love someone.  This can be as simple as showing up.  Amy Sullivan just wrote a post regarding this, it is well worth the read.  We always think that this means going and "taking over" to show our love in action.  But love is a lot of times expressed in the simple things - a giggle; a hug; a prayer.  This week I was asked if there was anything that I needed by someone from my church family.  Just being asked showed her love and compassion for me.  She showed up.  The visiting pastor this week told a story of when he and his wife had heard the "A" word in regards to their son.  They phoned a friend (another pastor), he and his wife came over with pizza and beer and sat on the floor and listened and prayed.  The visiting pastor said that he didn't remember anything they had said, but he always remembered that they showed up.  They showed their love just being there.  

This week I will be showing up.  Showing God's love through my action of bringing a meal to someone that needs love, not judgment.  That needs to know the church is there for her.  To know Jesus loves her.  I don't need to tell her all this, she'll know just because I became the church for her by showing up.

I'm linking up today with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood.
Sunday, January 29, 2012

Messy Mondays - 5 AM

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life. It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow. It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy. It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.

5 AM

Not a time I want to be woken and not a time that I would wake up naturally.  My alarm is set for 6 am (with the exceptions of Saturday and School PD Days). 

5 AM

Door slams open.  Light flicked on and the heavy patter of little feet running to me.  It is way to early to be up.  Did I mention that I still have another hour to sleep?

I quickly pick up the intruder and carry him back to his room.  I place him in bed, put on his music, shut off his light and close the door.  I don't know why I shut the light off because he will just turn it on himself and play. 

I go back to bed and snuggle under the comforters to escape the cold air.  I wait for sleep to overtake me.  I'm up.  I know I'm up and won't be going back to sleep.  What should I do now?  Make plans for the day.  Think about what needs to be done around the house.  Crafts I have just pinned and how I can make them reality.   Yet there is a tugging at my soul. 

I have been far again and have been feeling lost and in a fog.  I have been wallowing in my own dispair and grief.  The "A" word is appearing again in my little intruder.  WHY ME?  WHY US?  AGAIN?!?!

A voice, so quiet I almost ignore it continues to tugg on my soul.  It gets louder in the morning silence.  Reminding me where I should be.  What I should be doing.  Who I should be talking to.  Who wants to lead me out of the fog and into joy and peace and contentment. 

So I start.  I ask for forgiveness.  I humbly admit my faults and frailties.  I ask for help.  Help in my faith, obedience, walk, as a wife and mother.  I ask for strength.  I ask for peace. 

I am filled immediately. 

5:45 AM  Time to get up.  Time for coffee and the Word.
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Comfort Memories


This week a dear bloggy friend, Jedjidja, wrote a post on a memory of her grandparents visting her as a child.  This reminded me of my great grandmother.  For those who do not know, I was raised by my grandparents.  So my relationsip with them is more of a child/parent relationship.  My relationship with my great grandmother (my maternal grandmother's mom) is the relationship I think of when I think grandparent relationship.  

My great grandma was 66 when I was born.  I remember her coming to our house and bringing digestive biscuits or wafer cookies with her for tea time.  I remember driving in her blue car (I don't know what kind) and getting picked up from school or going to the doctor.  When I was around 5 years old, she had a major heart attack.  This slowed her down.  However, she had just moved into a condominium that was walking distance from our house.  Sometimes after school my grandmother would take me over to her condominium for tea time.  Tea time was always around 3.  The tea was served in delicate china mugs.  There was always some cookie, bar or cup cake that she had made.  But I always waited for the shortbread.  Not whipped shortbread, but traditional Scottish shortbread.  It's more of a bar.  It is also hard and when dipped in your tea is amazing.  I was the shortbread girl.  I would do anything to get some.  The year I lived with my mom when I was 12, she sent me some for my Christmas gift.  My mom wanted me to put it out for our guests, but as it was my Christmas gift I said no and hid it in my room.  
When my great grandmother died I was devastated.  She was so important to me.  I loved listening to her stories of growing up in a mining town.  Or her advice "you meet good boys at church."  Because of this relationship I encourage my children's relationship with their grandparents and great grandmother (my grandma).  I love when my grandmother and kids get to visit with each other and I think it's great that even though we don't live in the same city that they are able to skype. 

My friend, Shawntele, at Rambling with Grace, has a new meme on Friday's called 5 Fave Friday.  This week she is talking about comfort food, which I think is quite fitting with my memories of great grandma.  These are the foods that I think about when I think about family and friends.  They bring back memories of growing up.  They make me think places I have been or places I want to go.

1.  Shortbread - Obvious

2.  Fish Sticks and French Fries - We didn't have a lot of money growing up, but these bring fond memories of sitting with my family eating dinner and watching sitcom reruns at dinner time.

3.  Chocolate Chip Cookies-A classic and a favourite of everyone at any age.

4.  Dutch Apple Taart - When I was a teenager we started buying these for our desert for Christmas dinner.  This year I made my own to start the tradition in my family.

5.  Lasagna - Even though lasagna isn't that hard to make, it is time consuming.  Growing up it was a treat when my grandmother made Lasagna and usually a big family function was going on. 

What are your memories that bring you comfort?  What are the foods you automatically go to remember them?

Come link up your memories or other randomness this week.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - Iran

Update: Iranian pastor Youcef Nadarkhani refuses to compromise faith for release
(Source: Christian Solidarity Worldwide)

Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani recently refused to state that the Muslim prophet Muhammad was a messenger sent by God despite the fact that it would have secured his release. On December 30, local authorities said they would release the pastor if he agreed to make the statement, but the pastor rejected the offer and remains in prison awaiting a final decision on his case. The request violates article 23 of the Iranian Constitution, which states that no one should be molested or taken to task simply for holding a certain belief.

The pastor at the Church of Iran was arrested in Rasht in 2009, and in September 2010, he was tried and found guilty of apostasy and sentenced to death He was made three similar offers in 2011 where recanting his faith would have saved his life, but he refused each time. His case was eventually referred to Iran's Supreme Leader. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the case may have been passed on to the head of the Iranian judiciary, delaying execution for up to a year to allow time to convince the pastor to renounce his faith.
Please pray that Pastor Youcef's courage and faith will continue to be an example to the world that the Lord is more valuable than any earthly reward.

Please pray that his steadfast resolve to protect the integrity of the gospel message will lead others to salvation.

Please pray for his release.
The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Like It or Not....

How many times have you posted a status, a tweet or a post on your blog only to have no one respond to it?  How does this make you feel?  Do you allow it to define you?  Do you take it personally?  Doing research for this post I read the following quote by a student at the University of Waterloo regarding Facebook and depression.  

Too much upward social comparison can potentially lead to depression....It makes me feel that either people don't like me, people don't support me or they're not listening to what I have to say"

Last week I found out that I made someone feel that way when I didn't "like" her status on Facebook, but liked someone else's status in a study group I have been involved in.  I was shocked, because in fact this person perceived that I disliked them.  I don't like everything I see on Facebook.  Nor I do I comment on every blog I read and have given up tweeting as I still don't quite get it.  That doesn't mean I dislike someone or their posting.  When this happens to me, do I feel depressed?  A little.  Do I think people "hate" me?  NO!

I think part of the problem is our focus and what we allow to define us.  We were created in God's image and He commands us to worship Him alone.  Too many people worship false idols and allow them to define them.
They worshiped the Lord, but also served their own gods (2 Kings 17:33)

We cannot serve 2 gods.  We cannot worship God and worship social media at the same time.  Many peole are on Facebook/Twitter a lot.  They sit and comment on everyone else's statuses.  They status about every part of their lives.  They be"friend" everyone they know or have known.  What if they put as much effort into their relationship with God and glorifying His kingdom on earth?  What would happen if they turned off the computer and went to the word to find their worth?  When we worship these "gods" we sell ourselves short.  We allow ourselves to be open to Satan's deceit about who we are.  Sally Clarkson in "Dancing With My Father" states "Our heart will not, cannot, be with God if it is focused on seeking happiness apart from Him." (p 54)  If we focus on allowing social media to make us happy, how can God compete.

As believers we are to seek our worth not through the world's view, but through God's view.  We are to seek His glory, not our own.

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom (Matthew 6:33 Amp)
 I have to admit that I don't always do this.  I struggle in where I find my own worth - through my relationships or through God.  I have compared myself to the world's standards and often find I fall short.  So how do I seek His Kingdom?  Upon relflection on my own life and through study I have found four ways:

1.  Go to Him 1st in prayer and praise.  Too often when we are troubled or when we are excited we go to others to seek their approval or assistance.  God is right there.  We run past Him.  We don't accept what He is offering because we are told it is too hard and His rules are restrictive.  He is freedom.  He wants to help us when we struggle.  He wants to shout for joy when we find blessings, even in the smallest things.

2.  Study His word and get to know Him.  When you meet someone new, you don't just immediately tell them your life's story (unless you're giving your testimony in a group setting).  You work on that relationship.  You learn about their likes and dislikes.  You learn about where they have been and where they are going.  The same for God and He made it easy.  He gave us a book about it.  We may not know everything about Him as it is too overwhelming for us, but we know what we need to know.  If you aren't in the word daily, why not?

3.  Be content in what you have.  This year my word study is contentment.  I have slowly been giving up things, namely aspirations.  Why?  They are the world's aspirations for me and not God's.  For true joy I believe we need to be content in our lives and where God has placed us for these seasons.  Is that tough? Yes.  It's about humbling ourselves and accepting to trust Him.  It is worthwhile.

4.  RELAX and trust in His plan.  We all want to control things.  We have plans and expectations.  These are ours.  These are not His plans.  We need to come to a place of trust.  When we can do that, we can allow ourselves to be a peace and not stress about what people think about us.  Last Friday, I took the evil twin to the mall for her birthday.  We had a great day and when you go to a store with a toddler and a blind person you better believe you get service. 
However, as we were walking back to the van, we were stalked by another vehicle looking for a parking space.  The mall was not that busy.  The people waited while I loaded the van which took more than 5 minutes.  I stressed out thinking about what they were thinking of me.  Debbie kept saying "Relax.  Who cares.  If they want to wait, make them wait."  She was right.  I was stressing over something I perceived.  Not truth.  RELAX.  BREATHE.

There are a lot of studies going on right now regarding depression and social media.  I think a lot of it is because we are forcing ourselves to be accepted not on God's standards but the worlds standards.  We are letting others define us.  We are not letting God define us.  We need to focus on Him and His kingdom in every aspect of our lives to feel the joy that He promises.  

What are you allowing to define you? 

I am linking up with the Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Messy Mondays - Captivated

Messy Mondays where I share what God has been showing me through the messiness of life.  It is my personal belief that this walk isn't clean and crisp and straight or narrow.  It's wide and twisted and mucky and messy.  It's about the ups and the downs, but through it all God is there with us.  

 This week on the way to church, I played a cd a dear friend made for me.  The cd is filled with songs to uplift me and encourage me in my walk.  I normally immediately play Blessings or Better Than a Hallelujah by Amy Grant, but Captivated by Vicky Beeching started playing.  I was immediately drawn to the song.  I started listening to the words.  "I am Captivated by you." 

The definition of captivated is : To attract and hold by charm, beauty, or excellence.  The archaic meaning is captured.  I don't just want to be attracted and held by God.  I want to be captured by Him.  I want to be His captive.  I want Him in control.  I struggle and fight Him.  I throw temper tantrums when I don't get my own way.  But I always come back.  The lyrics "try as I may, I cannot look away" speak of my relationship with God.  I am like Sam.  Sam runs from me.  He is quick and tries to get as far as he can.  But then as I am just about to start running after him, he looks back for me.  Making sure I am still there watching out for him.  Knowing that just by seeing me there he is safe.  

I may try to run and hide from God.  I may even try to turn my back on Him on occasions in defiance.  But He is always there in everything I see or hear.  I cannot totally ignore Him.  I am drawn to Him.  I need to look back.  I need to know He is there watching me as I "toddle" along through life.  When I do glimpse Him I am struck in awe and wonder.  I am entranced by Him.  I am captivated by the Father more and more as I learn to become more like Him and embrace being held by Him.

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Your laughter it echoes like a joyous thunder
Your whisper it warms me like a summer breeze
Your anger is fiercer than the sun in its splendour
You’re close and yet full of mystery
Ever since the day that I saw Your face
Try as I may, I cannot look away, I cannot look away…

Captivated by You
I am captivated by You
May my life be one unbroken gaze
Fixed upon the beauty of Your face

Beholding is becoming, so as You fill my gaze
I become more like You and my heart is changed
Beholding is becoming, so as You fill my view
Transform me into the likeness of You

This is what I ask, for all my days
That I may, never look away, never look away…
No other could ever be as beautiful
No other could ever steal my heart away
I just can’t look away…
Thursday, January 19, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Bugs Day


This week we are not talking about literal bugs, unless we can limit our conversations to either grasshoppers or ladybugs.  These are the only two I can actually put up with without wanting to squash them dead.  No this week we are going to discuss those little things that irritate us.  You know, like which way the toilet paper roll goes on or the sound of one hand clapping (I can actually do this).  When we were in Saskatchewan, the morning talk show radio host hosted the hour of Bugs Day for people to vent their frustrations.  I feel inspired to do this week.  In fact, I even prayed about what to write about and was lead to Bugs Day.  I think sometimes we just to rant for a minute so that we can get it out of our systems instead of allowing it to fester and become something bigger than it really is. So here goes some of the things that bug me.

People who park their trucks in two parking spots.  This just annoys me.  I don't park my van in two spots.  It's not even as if their truck is too wide for the spot.  They just park it because they think they can and they don't want people to scratch their paint.  These are the drivers who drive a truck for the status of driving a truck and not for the practicality because they didn't buy their truck for the purpose of doing what they are supposed to do:  hauling things.  I wouldn't mind if they would park at the back of the parking lot but they take the choice spots at the front of the lot. This is especially irritating in -30C weather. 

Another things that really bugs me is when you are at a play group and have told your children they can only have 3 timbits (doughnut holes at Tim Hortons) and then another mom lets their kids "pig out" on the said timbits which you  brought to share.    This actually happened to me.  What do you say?  I was speechless.  I was especially speechless when she said she let her kids have sd much as they wanted to because she would never buy them......Is your mouth hanging open as mine was?  I can still feel the blood boiling over this.  I can't even say it was because they weren't Christians, because they were.  I think that is what shocked me even more.  The lesson being taught:  gluttony is ok if mommy doesn't buy it for you?  I can't even wrap my head around that one.

Does it annoy you as much as it annoys me when you have been waiting at a store for a sales person or even the deli counter and then someone buts in and gets waited on even though you have been patient for more than 10 minutes.  I can actually smile when I write this though because once this happened to me when I had Nicole with me.  She couldn't have been anymore than about 3.  She saw what happened because I was explaining before to her that it was almost our turn and that we needed to wait nicely.  When a woman butted in front of us, she exclaimed "Mommy that lady was rude.  She took our turn."  I had to scold her for being rude, but I was secretly pleased - out of the mouths of babes. 

Many of us have different things that bug us.  Some things irritate some more than others.  Some things that irritate me may not irritate you at all.  I think that is why sometimes we just need to get it out.  Otherwise it will fester in us.  Lately I find that when I see something that really hits a nerve and I just want to scream, I pray.  I pray and ask that God take away the feelings of frustration, anger, envy, etc...  These are things that Satan wants me to feel.  These are easy entry ways for him to try to have us turn our eyes away from God.  When we face what bugs us head on and ask God to guide us these bugs will be easier to squash when they appear.

What is your bug today?  Come join in the "buggy" conversation with you randomness today.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - Somalia

Convert from Islam whipped in public in Somalia
(Source: Compass Direct News) 

Somali convert from Islam was paraded before a cheering crowd recently and publicly flogged as a punishment for embracing a "foreign religion." Sofia Osman, a 28-year-old Christian from Janale city in Somalia's Lower Shabelle region, had been taken into custody by al Shabaab militants in November. 

The public whipping was meant to mark her release. She received 40 lashes on December 22 while jeered by spectators. "Sofia was whipped 40 lashes ... but she didn't tell what other humiliations she had suffered while in the hands of the militants," an eyewitness said, adding that the whipping left her bleeding. "I saw her faint. I thought she had died, but soon she regained consciousness and her family took her away." The whipping was administered in front of hundreds of spectators after Sofia was released from her month-long custody in al Shabaab camps. 

In the days after the punishment while Sofia was nursing her injuries at her family's home, she would not talk to anyone and looked dazed, a source close in touch with the family said. "Please pray for her quick recovery," the source added. 

Pray the Lord will completely heal Sofia of all physical and emotional injuries. 

Ask the Lord to protect her from further harm. 

Pray that she will rest in the knowledge that the Good Shepherd walks with her through this difficult time (Psalm 23).

Pray her faithful testimony will be used as a witness for the gospel. Pray for all Christians in Somalia.

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)
Monday, January 16, 2012

What Inspired Me

Last week I had a comment from a reader inquiring about what books I was reading and what inspired me.  I had to think about that.  There is a lot that inspires, but not a lot of what I read really does this.  I tend to read a lot of fiction with a few non fiction books thrown in and they are not always very inspirational.  When I do read non fiction I read either a history book or biographical book.  Some of these have been inspirational as I have been able to see how God works or been challenged to change my views.  This year though I have challenged myself to read more non fiction Christian books, namely the studies I have purchased and always intended to read but are currently collecting dust on my shelves.  I promised myself that I would read at least one of these a month. 

However, I have completed many books.  I know its a shock.  To be honest some books I completed in studies, but there have been a few that I have read on my own.  I thought I would share my top 5 non fiction study books that have challenged me, inspired me and encouraged me in my walk.

The Bad Girls of the Bible, by Liz Curtis Higgs

This was the #1 selling book after I became a Christian.  The title spoke to my evil hidden humour.  I thought all the girls in the Bible were good like Mary, boy did this book take away those blinders.  This book spoke to me in a deep and personal way as I was a former Bad Girl.  The best part was it wasn't preachy because Liz herself was a former Bad Girl gone Good.  She was redeemed and renewed just as I had been.  I learned more about my walk in that book then I had during my profession of Faith classes. (Sorry Pastor Phil).  I learned about grace, love, truth, courage, etc..  When I met Liz at a conference I had her sign my book.  I have recommended this book to many new and young Christian woman who are a little unsure of their walk.  It takes away the false representation that only good girls can be used by God.  God uses imperfect people to do His work and tell His story.

No Other Gods by Kelly Minter

Ok, I did this study with my Babes, but this book still changed my life.  I had to look at myself deeply and realize what I was truly worshiping and it wasn't always God.  It wasn't even TV as many struggle with.  I was worshiping my little "g" gods, my friends.  I placed those relationships first.  This book enabled me to acknowledge my idolotry, but also reminded me and guided me to the one I should always have been worshiping. 


After I became a Christian I had a tonne of questions.  I think we all did.  I wanted them immediately answered.  I never felt that I was getting the answers that I wanted or were necessarily accurate.  These two books answered many of my questions.  Where they couldn't answer my exact questions they enabled me to let go and trust God.  I may not have all the answers and others smarter than I may not have the answers, but God has the answers.  These book encouraged me to trust that alone.  That I didn't need the answers to believe.  God was worth more than my little questions.  Sometimes I still struggle with trust issues and let those lingering questions take over, but then I remember the God that redeemed me and restored me and I trust.

This is another Babe study and my introduction to Beth.  I love her.  She is straight talking and honest.  Her teaching is straight from scripture.  This study enabled me to look at man who had a heart that looked at God first.  When he sinned, he immediately went into repentance and accepted the consequences for his sin.  This study made me realize that my relationship with God is the most important relationship I should have.  It opened up my eyes on my own sins and my own struggles and how I should be react to them and how I should be living.

These are just some of the books that have perfected my faith.  I am hoping this year in my study of Contentment that God continues to teach me through other's words and stories.  I already see Him doing this in the books I have been reading this month.  

What are you reading?  What has inspired you?

Linking up with the cool Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - Music Makes the People....


These last two weeks there has been a trend on Facebook to share the song that was the #1 hit on the day of your birth.  I have enjoyed seeing everyone's songs.  I really wanted to join in.  Then I did the research and discovered that the song that was the #1 Hit on the day of my birth was "The Streak" by Ray Stevens.  Yes, you read that correctly.  For those who don't know the song review it at your own risk.  For some reason, people in the early 70s decided it was fun to run naked during awards ceremonies, sports games, etc..  You name it, someone probably streaked it.  I'm a little disturbed by this.  As a result I have not posted it on my Facebook account.  I'm scared about some of the comments I'll get.  I'm a little tempted to stop the comments for today's blog but feel I can trust you ladies to remain clean.

This lead me to see if there were any better songs that were #1 hits on my birthday.  There have been a few good ones, but most of them are sadly lacking.  If you care to see them go here.  Looking over this list I have realized that I am truly stuck in the late 80s and early 90s.  As I saw each song, I heard them in my mind and could visualize where I was when I heard this.  For example in 1989 Michael Damien (of Young and the Restless fame, remember Danny Romalatti), did a remake of the classic Rock On.  I can still see myself raking the grass in the my grandparent's front lawn and listening to this song on a hot summer day.  

It's amazing what a song will do.  Where it will take you in the past?  How it makes you feel.  In 1999 the hit song on my Birthday was Ricky Martin's Livin' La Vida Loca.  I remember driving in my Volkswagon Golf and pumping this song thinking I was a way cool 25 year old.  This song though also reminds me of the day after my hubby proposed in which I went to the Rick Martin concert with my roommate and screamed my head off.  It was the wrap of a life changing weekend.  I still think of this time when I hear that song.  It always puts a smile on my face. 

This week I think I will share a song that is not on my birthday list.  It's the song that always gets me up and going.  It's a happy go lucky song and really has no rhyme or reason.  It's just happy.  When you hear it, you have to get up and dance.  If I'm in a rut, feeling a bit lazy and need some energy I listen to Groove is in the Heart by Dee Lite.  So "Now you are going to dance and have some fun."

What's your birthday hit song?  What song gets you up and dancing?

Join the randomness today, if you can stop dancing. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Wednesday's Vocie - Nigeria

Christians warned by Muslim militants to leave Nigeria's north within days

On January 1, the militant Islamic group Boko Haram issued an ultimatum giving Christians living in northern Nigeria three days to leave the area amid a rising tide of violence. Boko Haram spokesman, Abul Qaqa, also said that fighters were ready to confront soldiers sent to the area under a state of emergency declared in parts of four states by Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan.
Vowing to render Nigeria "ungovernable," Boko Haram targets anything that does not support its fundamentalist Islamist ends and jihadist means: universities, police, secular courts, Christian churches and even liberal mosques.
The state of emergency came after a string of attacks in late December, where churches, a state security building, and a mosque were bombed. By December 31, President Jonathan had closed Nigeria's borders with Chad and Niger Republic and declared the state of emergency in 15 hard-hit local government areas of Borno, Yobe, Plateau and Niger states, sending tanks and soldiers to patrol the streets.
Pray for those who were injured or who lost loved ones over Christmas, that the Lord will minister to them and help them overcome their present sufferings.
Pray that those responsible will be brought to justice and that they will come to repentance and gain knowledge of Christ.
Pray that God will frustrate the plans of the enemy (Nehemiah 4:15) so the current threat will come to nothing.

The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)
Tuesday, January 10, 2012

In His Image They Were Created

Since Middleman was diagnosed with autism, I have been feeling like I am playing catch up.  Not just in arranging therapies for him, but also in my knowledge of autism.  It doesn't help when doctors and therapists you meet assume you know what they are talking about.  They do not supply an Autism for Dummies book to newly diagnosed parents (although I think they should).  

I, as well, didn't want to jump into any group and believe me there are groups.  I wanted to educate myself.  One of the first books I read was about high functioning autism.  It was written by a child educator for children with special needs and a parent.  It was actually written in "English" and was a good primer.  She didn't take sides.  Her mantra seemed to be if a therapy or diet work for you then do it.  If not, don't sweat it. 

Now you may want to know what the sides are those who think autism is curable and those of us who think is just a part of our children.  I have chosen sides.  I was always a little leery of the whole immunization debate.  This December I read a book called Autism's False Prophets by Dr. Paul Offit.  He stated in his prologue that he was not being paid by the big pharmaceutical companies.  I found it funny that a pediatrician turned immunologist had to state that, when his whole career has been about children.  This book opened my eyes to the media, misinformation and explained how studies come out and how to see if they are from reputable science or not.

But the one thing that stayed with me is what one parent, a doctor, commented on.  He felt that the non medical, non conventional therapies that he and his wife tried for both their sons were selling hope.  A hope for a cure.  After I read this, I was angry.  Angry because I finally realized what my disgust was for the other side.  That autism was a type of "cancer."  That my son was imperfect.  That I should be blaming someone or something for the diagnosis we received.  Our children look normal.  Many do not have any visible defects.  However, just because of that doesn't mean there is a cure.  Would you ask a mother of a downs syndrome child if there was a cure?

I do have compassion for these parents because I live just as they do.  I know many of their struggles.  Their loss of dreams and their loss of hope.  I think my sense of acceptance comes from my belief that God created my child and all children with autism in His image (Genesis 1:27).  That each of these precious children were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  That God knows our children and loves them for themselves.  He alone has great plans for our children, plans to prosper them and not to harm them (Jeremiah 29:11).  They are just as God created each of them to be and as I wrote yesterday, God makes no mistakes.  I believe if people could accept this of any child with any disability that there wouldn't be sides.  There would be one focus, how our children can reflect His light and His light alone.

I am linking up with Soli Deo Gloria Sisterhood at Finding Heaven today.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Messy Monday - No Mistakes

God Makes No Mistakes
A.M. Overton

My Father's way may twist and turn,
My heart may throb and ache,
But in my soul I'm glad I know,
He maketh no mistake.

My cherished plans may go astray,
My hopes may fade away,
But still I trust my Lord to lead,
For He doth know the way.

Tho night be dark and it may seem
That day will never break,
I'll pin my faith, my all in Him,
He maketh no mistakes.

There's so much I cannot see,
My eysight far too dim,
But come what may, I'll simply trust
And leave it all to Him.

For bye and bye the mist will lift, 
And plain it all He'll make,
Though all the way, tho'dark to me,
He maketh not one mistake!

I came across this poem while reading Karol Ladd's book, "Positive Principals for Creating Calm and Peace."  It really opened my eyes.  The past year was brutal both mentally and spiritually.  I questioned everything God gave us.  Why me? Why us?  I have been reading this past week about everyone's recollection of 2011 and sounds like it was a struggle for most people.  Why them?  Why now?

In focusing of this year's word "Contentment" I have already been trying to focus on Him and leaning on him to provide for me a safe place.  However, when I don't immediately see those times, I will continue to focus on God.  Trusting Him to get me through it.  I can't expect everything to always be rosy, but I can expect Him to be there with me until those mists lift, because He never makes any mistakes.
Thursday, January 5, 2012

Caffeinated Randomness - New meets Old


This past week I have been visiting family on Coastal Vancouver Island.  We are on vacation, but most of my family is back to their normal routines.  We have had more free time than a normal vacation and thus I have been a little more relaxed.   Unfortunately, because of the weather (torrential down pours) we haven't been able to take the kids out and about as usual.  Today we visited a friend from high school.  Someone I haven't seen in 20 years.  It was great to reconnect with her.  To reminisce about the past and talk about our families. 

I was a little apprehensive about the visit.  My life has changed.  I have become a Christian.  I have become conservative in my thinking.  Growing up on the island, I grew up in a pretty socially liberal society.  Most of the people I hung out with were on the left side of the political spectrum.  Many of them still are.  Many people I hung out with aren't believers.  They believe in mother earth and social liberal thinking.  They have beliefs that are very contrary to mine. 
Last night I was "tagged" in a picture from our high school musical.  I played Mrs. Lynch in Grease.  I chatted with the two people who played Danny and Sandy.  "Sandy" made a comment regarding high school, "I loved school! 1992 was awesome! I so loved every minute of it!"  I have to admit that I didn't love school.  I loved learning.  I had a few friends, but for the most part I was a social misfit.  I didn't fit in.  I danced to my own drummer.  I was ridiculed and tormented by the "cool" kids.  In fact, I remember during one of our dress rehearsal days, I ate lunch on the lawn on my own and started counting the days to graduation and my ticket out of our city.  I knew that I didn't want to hang around.  I knew that I wanted to go somewhere else.  Somewhere where I could start over.  Somewhere new.  Somewhere where I would be liked for me and not my social standing. 

It took me a while to find that place.  I looked.  I looked a lot.  I searched.  I searched for a place where I would be liked for me.  Where people respected me.  Where I was genuinely liked.  It was like that song, "I was searching for ________ in all the wrong places..."  Believe me there were many wrong places.  It happened when I came to know Him.  It wasn't until I found my real Father, the Father who loves me and accepts me just the way I am.  Just for me.  He doesn't expect me to be cool.  He doesn't expect me to fit in.  He expects a lot and a little all at the same time: to follow Him no matter what.   To love Him no matter what. 

I have changed my life.  I am in the process of becoming more like the person He created me to be.  It is a process.  It is not always easy.  Sometimes the lessons I need to learn are hard and lonely, but they always bring me back to where I need to be.  So the new me embraces the old me and all that entails:  insecurities, past hurts, past sins, etc... Looking at this new year, I am glad that they have met.  I am glad that they are going to get along.  It's been hard living between the two of them.     

Are you like me and glad high school is over?  or do you miss it?

Come link up today in the randomness. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wednesday's Voice - Nepal

Buddhists oust believers from their homes in Nepal
(Source: VOM-USA)
Buddhists in Nepal drove a pastor and other believers from their village, accusing the pastor of bringing a foreign religion to the village and promoting teachings against society. The oppressors accused Christians in the village of using bribery and coercion to covert local residents to Christianity. It is also believed a six-year-old girl was sexually abused by one of the individuals who incited the expulsion. A VOM worker has helped the victims resettle in another village and also prayed with the family of the girl who was abused.
Pray that the passion these believers have for Christ will be the light that draws others to Jesus (Matthew 5:14-16).
Pray for healing for the girl who was abused.
Please pray that hostility against Christians in Nepal will cease and that believers will be allowed to live and worship freely.
 The one concern of the devil is to keep Christians from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work and prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, mocks at our wisdom, but trembles when we pray (Samuel Chadwick)
Monday, January 2, 2012

Messy Mondays - Everything I Want, Isn't Everything I Need

The last 2 years I have chosen a word to focus on regarding my walk with God.  I pray about it a few weeks before each New Years.  In 2010, I choose "Submission."  I realized I was trying to control everything.  For those who know me in real life, I am such a Martha and want everything in order.  It is hard for me to let go.  I am not going to say that I was completely successful in fully surrendering to God that year, but I did learn the benefits of doing it.

Last year I focused on "Perserverance."  God led me to the right word as this past year has been one of many struggles.  I have walked through the valley of darkness and pushed through it.  I have been literally broken on the floor, filled with dispair.  Only to be renewed through God's word and push through them again.  God has been faithful and although my trials have not been taken away, He has been by my side through it all.

This year I have been lead to the word "Contentment."

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  Philippians 4:12 NIV

Contentment is defined as the statement of happiness or satisfaction, however, the Martha in me covets.  A Dolce Gusto, steam mop, new curtains, bigger house, new vehicle, etc..  I want more than I have.  I can also play the why me game.  Why can't Middleman be normal?  Why is my family facing the trials we are?  Why do others seem to have it easier than me?  Why don't more people link up to Caffeinated Randomness?  (Ok, I really don't stress out about the last one.)

When I look at my life though I am truly blessed.  Thomas may be autistic, but he doesn't have cancer or any other serious health issues.  Nicole may not have many friends or be the most popular girl at her school, but she is super smart.  She also has a heart for her brothers and often thinks of them before herself.  Sam may not talk, but loves music and can sing songs in his own way.  I have a nice house in a nice neighbourhod.  I have a van.  I am able to purchase a Starbucks latte at least once a week.  My family is healthy.  My husband is employed.  We are blessed and I should be content.

In the song Blessings, there is a line that says "...or the aching of this life.  Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy."  What am I yearning for?  Lysa TerKeurst in Made to Crave often states that "we were made to crave God."  Instead of the external things I have been wanting, I need to recognize that what I truly am craving.  A filling of complete contentment in life and in the blessings I have received.  When I don't appreciate those blessings of God, it's me telling Him that what He got me wasn't good enough.

This year I am going to focus on being content with what I already have been given.  I am going to see the joy in the simple things.  I am going to embrace the gifts that come not matter what they are, knowing that God only wants good for me and only wants me to prosper.

What is your word this year?  Are you content with all God has given you?  Are you willing to?

I am linking up today with the Soli Deo Sisterhood at Finding Heaven.

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Alberta, Canada
I'm a 39 year old (oh yeah I'm telling you my age) Stay at Home mom. A former Bad Girl now reformed sinner, I'm married to my Y2K guy and raising 3 great children from God. Proudly Canadian, however, missing the West Coast, I currently live in the prairies watching the farmers fields produce as I learn how God produces the fruits in me.

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