Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Be Still and Know

Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in helping God.
In reality He is asking us to "Be still and Know that I am God".

A couple of things happen when we try to help Him out...often we are like having a 2 year old help with a task that is far beyond their abilities.
It takes longer, often because we get in the way, or if highly convinced that we know how to do this, there will be lengthy discussions, that in the end become futile.
Sometimes we can make a much bigger mess of things, than if we had been able to just let Him be God

Although I am sure God appreciates our heart in wanting to "help", (Don't you find it funny the idea that God might NEED our help? There are times He asks us to partner with Him in something, or He wants to facilitate something through us....but "Need our help" is quite laughable),  usually He is asking us to simply "Rest In Him"...sit back and let Him do the work.
it always turns out so much better that way.

God has been speaking to me about Child likeness once again.
Simple, trusting, loving, child likeness that knows Daddy has it all under control.

  I had to add this very cool testimony of what God can do and how quickly when we are simply at rest in Him and casting our cares on Him.

Yesterday, at school, one of Jonathan's teachers came into the cafeteria to introduce himself to me. He was the second teacher yesterday to do this, both were so complimentary and I could tell genuinely appreciated my son. That was so very satisfying as a mom.

This particular teacher had sought me out to talk to me about a leadership camp that he runs and would really like Jonathan to participate in. He was wanting to prepare Jonathan as a peer leader for next year.
He was very enthusiastic and I knew he really wanted Jonathan to go.
As he explained the fees etc. I couldn't help but think about the fact that Jonathan had just returned from a $500.00 Chicago trip, and this camp was at the end of May.
I knew Mark would be concerned about the cost...about $400.00, (after all, we've yet to plan summer vacation for the 5 other members of this family).

It sounded like such a great opportunity, possibly one to even help with bursaries or scholarships down the road.
I figured we'd look at splitting the cost with Jonathan, so left it with Mark and God.

Jonathan informed me this eve. that the teacher was able to have the cost for the uniforms covered, almost $100.00, and there was a local business that wanted someone to do Spring clean up outside their business. Jonathan and another camp participant were asked if they would like to go and do this and the business would give them $500.00 to split towards their fees.
Literally overnight, the cost is down to about $100.00!!!!!

So glad I didn't try to work this out for God...He is WAY better and FASTER!!!!!
Still Resting,

Monday, April 28, 2008

Take the Shackles off Lord!

Those of you who know my hubby will so appreciate this post...Cheryl, you are about to watch one of your dreams unfold before your eyes!

Yesterday, I had the joy of going to see my girls perform in their "Spring Extravaganza".
In Sept, they both participated in a new ministry from another local church..."Harvest School of the Arts".
Their vision was to provide voice and dance lessons to kids free of charge, so that all kids could grow up with the gift of music. I was thrilled to have the girls participate so whole heartedly and their teacher, a friend I met through the girls' school
 had such a heart to instill in these kids a Godly sense of "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Lessons about being who God created you to be, and having the courage to be that person when the pressure all around you was to be something or someone else.
Hubby and I grew up in a church background that dictated that there was to be no dancing, in or out of church.

I cried as the senior girls did a number, "Shackles", which had lyrics such as: "Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance...I just want to praise you, I'm gonna praise you".
It was so meaningful!
I got to see my Maria in a cowboy hat, something I tried desperately to do all last year, when they were the trend for girls.
The highlight in all of it, as cute as the girls all were, was seeing my hubby dragged to the front by his little girl with all kinds of other dads and grandpas, (she decided to drag Holly's hubby Shaun up as well), and watching the "shackles" come off of his feet, even temporarily.
Cheryl, I know you tried for years, but there are somethings a man needs the heart of his little girl to facilitate.
The video was taken by my younger son, a little shaky but enjoy.
Mark is the one back on to the audience, (he said it was the only way he could do it)...Holly's Shaun, is the next "daddy dancer".

Friday, April 25, 2008

I am Free

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free."

Galations 5:1

Monday, April 21, 2008

Glory Beyond Borders

As I told this funny gardening story to my friend Holly, God began to speak...
He often uses my everyday surroundings and happenings to speak loudly and clearly to my heart.
Maybe this will touch a chord with someone else out there.
First, the story:

Since Ontario has decided that we ought to go straight from winter to summer...skipping the ritual of Spring all together. The girls and I decided to take advantage of the weather and purchase my beloved pansies for my front garden....they never last long because of the heat, but I figured with the early start, I might get to enjoy them a little longer.

Maria shopped with me, and at the check out, picked out a package of Morning Glory seeds.
I love to see these little flowers peek over my neighbor's fence and greet me every morning as I prepare breakfast or wash dishes.

We purchased gardening gloves for each of us girls...because if you are going to dig in the dirt, you MUST be fashionable! (I also have an EXTREME issue with worms). We also bought replacement hand tools, as it seems my dear Michael has taken my new ones from last year off to the fort...never to be found again.
Despite my hiding places and warnings, Spring and new gardening tools go hand in hand in our home.

After planting our pansies Maria wanted to know if she could plant one of the seeds. She chose a spot that may not be in the best interest of this little seed, next to the basketball net.
I filled her in on the "plan", we would plant a lovely row of these seeds at a later date, all along my back fence. I have a bordered area there that is my "battlefield"...I tend to be victorious until about mid July, then ultimately, the weeds win.

Tonight I was tired and I had a few allergy symptoms from my gardening yesterday, so decided to stay inside. Jianna felt it only fair that she get to plant a seed as well. I agreed, and filled her in on "the plan".

Soon, both girls donning their lovely gardening gloves were at the door, seeds, tools, and watering can in hand. Could they plant the rest of the seeds?
I had a few thoughts on that...why stifle this "budding" urge to garden when they could very well prove to be the answer to my gardening prayers?
Besides, they couldn't do any worse than I would do, right?

10 minutes pass, I decide to check on the progress.
I look out to find that the girls decided to plant these climbing beauties in some very interesting front garden...the one that actually looks pretty good most of the time, also beside the step where a small plot of land sits....which is already home to a LARGE bushy tree thing.
So, I praise the girls for their creativity and go over the "PLAN" again, I send them to the back yard with clear instructions to plant along the BACK fence.

As with most kids, the girls got tired of gardening before all of the seeds were planted, I check to see that all of the gardening tools are back in their hiding place. They are not and as I discover the tools, I also discover that the girls planted their seeds against the SIDE fence. Now this would be fine, except that this is an area that was once lovingly gardened by someone who actually had a green was just one more "battlefield" for me, so last summer, we killed everything in there, and completely mulched the was now an extended patio where I would keep a bird bath and some potted plants.
Maria also decided that since these Morning Glories were climbers, she would plant some around the Shepherds rod that was situated to hang prettily organized baskets from.

Depending on the color of my little girls' thumbs, I could be completely surrounded by Morning Glories come mid summer....instead of the well thought out, well planned little bordered wall of  climbing flowers, I had anticipated.

Suddenly God began to speak to me about HIS GLORY. 
How often do we have plans and organized ideas about where His Glory...His Manifest Presence, should come?
Carefully thought out, walled in locations that seem logical to us.
Areas that have been prepped and plowed for this purpose....maybe even areas that are boxed in and controlled, or quite possibly, a little out of view of the passer bys.

He began to speak to me of how His desire is to SURROUND me with His Glory, to come to the areas that were not even set a part for this purpose. The areas where He might seem "out of place"...the unexpected places.

Places like In front of millions of viewers on a secular TV show like "American Idol"....hmmmm, all a little "out of my box", how about yours?
The question then becomes, "Am I prepared to embrace and enjoy Him, wherever He is, however He chooses to show up....or will I try to maintain my organized plan...trying to transplant or even tear out His Glory that is not where and how I expected it?"

God help me to see and Love you and all that you are...even when it doesn't fit my "plan", help me to embrace your "Glory Beyond Borders".

Sunday, April 20, 2008

My Rock

He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken.
Psalm 62:6

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tossed in the Waves

Back in Sept. My hubby gave me the opportunity to go away for a few days....just me and God, my own personal retreat. It was an amazing time and one of the things I loved the most, was getting to spend the afternoon on a secluded beach...dreaming and talking with God.

Being a "Down East" girl at heart, I love to hear  the sound of the breaking surf, feeling the wet sand between my toes as I walk bare foot along the edge of the water, looking for interesting and beautiful treasures that are a product of the churning surf.

This day was no different, my attention was drawn and captured by the variety and smoothness of the stones I saw as I walked along the beach.

I found a particularly smooth one and loved the feel of it in my was warm and perfectly oval, not a bump or rough edge could be found on this little pebble.

As I began to collect other smooth stones in a variety of shapes and colors....God began to speak to me.

I followed the journey of one little stone as it was tossed along by the waves on the edge of the beach.
This was  a  rock that had already spent many years being buffeted by the waves.
 At first glance, it already appeared quite smooth, but as you held it in your hand, you could feel the edges that were yet to be warn away. 

I watched as the waves would pick up and flip this little stone. 
Over and over again, it was turned upside down, often it appeared to be in constant movement and turmoil. Sometimes other rocks that were being tossed by the same strong wave, would find themselves being tossed together and in the process they would crash into and rub up against one another.  The waves would carry them on together tossing and churning for a while, and then this same crashing wave would send them along different paths. 

At times the little stone would come to rest momentarily in the warm sand.  I imagined it to be very thankful for the reprieve from the constant buffeting that seemed to be it's sole existence.
Just as the warm sun would begin to dry off the little stone and it would appear that it had found a place where it was no longer within reach of the surf....a stronger wave would stretch a little further in land,  pick up the stone and carry it along once again. 

As I lost sight of the rock, I considered the process that was refining and smoothing it.
The years of tossing and turning and having it's world turned upside down time and again. I thought of the friction it had endured, the washing of the waves and the moments maybe even days in the sun .

Through all of this, God was speaking and bringing revelation to me.
Revelation of the process, not so different from that of the little stone, that He uses and allows in each one of our lives. The way that we can feel tossed and even that our lives have been turned upside down at times; yet we are able to rest and regain strength as we bask in the SON. That in all of it, there is smooth off the yet rough edges, and make us more like Him.  The joy and warmth He feels when He holds us in His hand and enjoys  who we have become as we have endured and even submitted to the process. 
Yet even as He holds us close...He knows the areas that require still more refining...more tossing in the waves.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

In the Words of my Child:

Amy had a fun post that got me wondering what my 6 year old might say to these same questions...I was very careful to hold my laughter until Jianna had left the room. So here I am in the eyes of my child:

Why did God make mothers?
So they help their child

How did God make mothers?
That one's too hard

What ingredients are mothers made of?
bones, muscles, nerves...that's all I know.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
Because that mom was right for you.

What kind of little girl was your mom?

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
If he was mean or good

Why did your mom marry your dad?
Because he was right for her

Who's the boss at your house?
Parents...(when I asked her if one of us was more the boss...she said "I said ParentS")

What's the difference between moms and dads?
They don't look alike.

What does your mom do in her spare time?

What would it take to make your mom perfect?

If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
I would make you fun. (OUCH!!!!)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Only as High as I Reach

"Only as high as I reach can I grow,
Only as far as I seek can I go,
Only as deep as I look can I see,
Only as much as I dream can I be"

When I reach for Him, I grow...I grow in strength of character, I grow in wisdom, in understanding...I grow more like Him.

When I seek Him I find Him and follow after Him, the places that He leads me are always more amazing than I could have imagined.

When I choose to look deeper than what appears on the surface, when I choose to look beyond  what seems obvious, when I choose to take the time to dig a little deeper,
I see what He sees.

When I dream with Him...I become all that He has created me to be.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Mysteries of God

Although we will never understand all of the mysteries of God, He loves it when we pursue Him. He wants us to study His ways and His Word, for as we gain greater insight in to His ways, we also gain a better understanding of who He is.

Proverbs 25:2 says: "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter,but it is the Glory of Kings to search the matter out".

I was explaining this attribute of God, as I taught on dreams and God's desire to speak to us through our dreams, last night.
I was teaching a group who for the most part, were being introduced to this method of hearing God for the first time.
I love to watch as "the light goes on" and people are seeing the Heart of the Father for them just a little more clearly. Sometimes it is easy to get caught up in the 'method' that God uses to speak, and we miss the 'message'...which was the whole point.
Whether God sends us an angel, or a whirl wind, a still small voice or a dream...the point is that He is speaking and He longs for us to hear and search out the meaning of the message.

As much as I am thrilled when  an interpretation "clicks" with someone and they "get" what God has been revealing....He is absolutely ecstatic when we begin to understand His heart through His message and it causes us to dig a little deeper, reach a little higher and draw in to Him just a little bit closer.