Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's starting to look a lot like Christmas!

  • Halls are decked
  • Stockings hung
  • Goodies baked
  • Gifts wrapped
  • Company arrived
  • Snow's here

So now it's time to relax with a little rum and eggnog and a hand full of Licorice Allsorts and enjoy some time off with my family.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Love Ruth

Monday, November 3, 2008


Does anyone else struggle with RESENTMENT? I can honestly say it's the single most pervasive negative emotion that camps out in my head! Or maybe its just the loudest one. At any rate, it's been my companion for a long time and the Lord has called me on it several times.

Mostly it has to do with housework and is directed at my family with my husband bearing the brunt of it. I honestly don't know if I would have signed up had I known that being a wife and mother meant that my purpose in life was to be picking up after other people who recklessly take advantage of me, turning me into a ranting, nagging lunatic. I'm being dramatic here and I wouldn't give up my family for the world but this is how I feel at times.

Resentment creeps into other relationships as well. It takes the form of withholding, waiting for others to give me what I think I deserve before I give back.

I have owned it - confessed it - repented of it ......several times. When I harbour resentment, I feel guilty and then I resent myself. It's a vicious cycle!

This summer, I had enough. Why Oh Lord do I struggle with this so much??!!!! I realized that I needed to get to the root of my resentment. It wasn't enough to identify it as sin and be grieved about it, and I have to admit that when it came down to it, I wasn't really willing to give it up. In fact, I felt entitled to this reaction to perceived wrongs against me. Entitled to entertain this insidious relative of unforgiveness. Entitled to withhold until the other party gives something too.

So I sat down with pen and paper, and had a little conversation with God. I find that the answers take form more easily when I write down what I feel God is saying to me.

Why am I resentful? Expectations of others.

What are my expectations of others? Validation

Why do I need to be validated? Loneliness and Isolation (with a picture of me in a deep well by myself)

Why do I feel lonely and isolated?You don't trust people until they prove themselves to you. You don't believe you are valid until someone proves it to you. It prevents you from having a servant's heart.

How do I get a servant's heart? I have chosen you!!! Your name is in the book of life. You have been validated by me!!! For this reason you can die to your expectations of others and have a servants heart towards them.

Yes!! Breakthrough!!!! As these words penetrated my heart - I understood how my resentment is attached to my own need for validation. I keep people on the hook if I don't feel appreciated. I keep them at arms length if I feel rejected. The parable of the unforgiving debtor came to my mind and I saw myself there.

Lord, help me to have a restful spirit that finds its validity in you. Help me to love others lavishly from the abundance of my heart.

Although, the grip of resentment has weakened, I still struggle with it almost daily. I wonder if I will ever be able to die to myself. I long to have the heart of the unprofitable servant, the one who does his daily tasks cheerfully without expecting anything back.

As we sang this song today in church, the words gripped me. With tears streaming down my checks, I knew that this was my answer.

Amazing love how can it be
that you my King should die for me
Amazing love I know it's true
It's my joy to honour you
in all I do.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fun with sitemetre

I've been having fun with sitemetre now that I finally got one for myself. It's so awesome to see that people are stopping by from all over the world! Not too many Canadians though - other than my own personal lurkers who know me in real life and my fellow blogging Canuck from across the country , Valorosa. I wonder where all the Canadian bloggers are?

The Google searches really get me. I tend to use a lot of cliches and catchy little phrases in my writing and titles so I come up on searches for them. But who would have thought that my little blog would come up on a search for nose booger dream interpretation??? Just check it out for yourself!

I wonder what that person was really looking for? It just seems so random. Anyways - if you comeback, I'm glad you found me. Stop in and say hi.

Friday, September 5, 2008

My Burning Bush

I'm participating in a synchro blog that robbymac proposed to share our earliest "charismatic" experience. He encourages us to "remind ourselves and tell each other our stories of how we first became acquainted with, and eager for, the felt presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives."

I think this is a fabulous idea. It builds faith and authentic community when we share our stories of God's realness. I encourage you to visit his post and read some of the other stories there.

About 6 years ago, I experienced for the first time, the Holy Spirit supernaturally meeting me person to person. Before this, my faith was based... well.... just on faith. I had never experienced God in any tangible way. I never had my own burning bush experience.

A friend invited me to visit a charismatic church with her. At the end of the service I went forward to receive prayer. I hoped that somehow I would receive something more than what I would expect at my home conservative evangelical church. I was very hungry to experience God in a real way. Having hit a cross road where I was pretty sure that God was asking me to move into women's ministry leadership in my own church, I didn't want to go any further unless I knew for sure that God was really involved and would equip me.

I was hoping for some real fire from heaven. Eager for this baptism of the HS that I had heard about, I wanted to know that God was real.

The woman who approach me to pray with me told me she had a word for me. There was a brokenness in me that God wants to heal. He wants me to come to him whole. But he wants my permission first.

I was surprised. Me broken? But I've had a perfect life! Nothing bad has happened to me and I've succeeded in most things I've set out to do. I have a nice husband and children. A home. A good career. What do I have to be broken about?

I told her yes I do want God to heal me. I want whatever he has for me. She prayed for me but nothing much seemed to happen. She told me that God has already equipped me and that he will give me grace for each moment as I sit at the feet of Jesus.

No fire. No nothing.

I was peeved after that! And dumbfounded! God knows how hard I had searched for him. How long I have waited. How patient I have been. I felt that he had denied me. As I wrote in my journal " I'm jealous of those who God meets so readily. I'm tired of waiting in line. I want to be picked!"

The next day, everything changed. I wrote about it in my journal and I will share it here:

A Day of Mourning - June 4/2002

It's good that my husband is out of town this week. It's given me some time to hash this out with God. We are having a counseling session.

God has been bringing to mind all the crappy things that ever happened to me. It's nothing really out of the ordinary. "Sh#t happens" so they say. But I guess my spirit was wounded and the wounds festered. It does have a common theme though. I have been wounded by my friendships. I have sought intimacy through friendships and have been let down, misled, sometimes abused. I see how it is affecting my current friendships too.

At first it was painful as these things came to mind. It seemed strange to let them swirl around in my head and feel them in my gut. I didn't have a choice, the memories just kept coming. And as every school yard mind game, cutting remark or betrayal came to mind, the Lord put his arm around me and said "I was there". As I recall the loneliness of keeping my hurt bottled up, God says, "I was there". The voice inside me is so clear and steady.

These events occurred over 15-25 years ago but to the Lord and I it was like yesterday. In fact it feels rather good to have this pity have this time of grieving that God seems to be encouraging.

I feel like I did when I was in the hospital for surgery. The surgery is over and there is pain. But there are people taking care of me, giving me drugs and there is a heated blanket wrapped around me.

It's exhausting. I am tired and achy. I'm sleeping a lot. It's so weird. I wonder why God chose this way to heal me. Couldn't he just zap me with joy? When I asked my friend this question she said "God can't heal the pain you can't feel." I think there is something in that. I had pretty much stuffed all of this over the years.

So this is how I became acquainted with a God who is very real and knows me in my inner most being. A God who uses truth to heal. A God who gets our permission before doing surgery.

In conclusion, I can only say that I was a very different person after that. I became more sure of God and less sure of me. I softened and became more real. I came to understand the meaning of "when we are weak, he is strong". And I have come to understand what it means to be given grace for the moment. Each day is a step of faith.

Friday, August 8, 2008

So..... I'm a 40 year old House Wife/Mom/Accountant. Who would have thunk that trapped inside was a Guitar Totin' Rock Star just waiting to get out????

A couple of weeks ago my 11 year old daughter spent her birthday money on Guitar Hero III. I picked this guitar up and started to strum along to some of the old favorites and before you know it I'm a MOM THAT ROCKS!!

I can't wait until my next chance to pick up that guitar. I wake up with Pearl Jam running through my head!!! I am determined to beat Lou!!!!

And I was reigning champion on Barracuda - the best rock and roll song of all time - 11 year old daughter took my spot on the best score.

I have to concede - she is way better than me. She has never even heard these songs before. But her eye hand coordination is amazing. It makes me wonder. Even though I am older and wiser and I know way more than her, she can think faster than me. Is that cause my brain is 40 years old and and hers is 11? Is my brain deteriorating or is it that I have way too much in it that it's getting bogged down like when the computer gets over loaded with programs? I would like to think the latter. I think I'm going to stop thinking so much.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Wife Happy Life!

My husband picked up that catchy little phrase some time ago. It stuck with him and he pulls it out every once in a while. In fact, it has become somewhat of a tenet in our marriage.

For instance - we might be shopping for a piece of furniture and come to a standstill with differing opinions about what each party feels would be suitable in price, style and functionality. In this case, hubby lays his card on the table. "Okay honey, you decide, after all happy wife happy life." This allows him to save face and let me know that he's doing this to make me happy which of course will make things go well for him too. It's all about the bigger picture.

It's true that the woman sets the tone in the home. There's another catchy phrase that rings true - "when mom ain't happy, ain't no one happy".

This might not be terribly spiritual but there is a grain of truth to it. In fact I think it's in the bible. It goes something like this. "Husbands obey your wives so it will go well with you". Oh wait - I think it's "Children obey your parents" so forget that.

But the bible does ask husbands to love their wives and then tells women to respect their husbands. Eph 5:33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

I have always felt that this word of wisdom is the key to a happy marriage. That somehow, it taps into how men and women are created and our basic needs. It's a delicate balance though - easier said than done. I think because woman can withhold respect when they don't feel loved and men can withhold love when they don't feel respected. And to make things more complicated, a husband might be giving what he thinks is love but the wife doesn't receive it as love, and visa versa.

Oh well, after almost 15 years of marriage, when my husband gives in to me using the Happy Wife Happy Life card, I feel loved.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Try This at Home!!!

Rob at The Spyglass turned me onto word clouds at Wordle. It was really easy to do. I just copied and pasted my post about church family and POOF I got this artistic creation. I entitled it "Love One Another".

I'm disapointed that I could only get a small version to display. To see a larger version click here It takes a couple of seconds to come up.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I Did It! I Did It!!!!

I finally finished my One Year Bible!

Okay so I was on the 18 month plan but I'm still soooooo proud of myself. I have actually read the whole bible!

Well..... I might have skipped over a few begets and sped read through the endless descriptions of how many cubits of this and that were incorporated into the building of the temple. But all in all, I covered the most of it and absorbed much of it.

Although, I had read and studied much of the bible already over the years, there were lots of places that I had never been before. Like Malachi. I really liked Malachi. And Ezra. And then there's Jude, and all the Johns.

Also, it's much more meaningful when it's read in chronological order. I understand the history of the Israelites so much better now. With 'The One Year Bible', you are given readings in order each day from each of the OT, the NT, Psalms and Proverbs. I was amazed at how often, the reading in the NT or Psalms would be talking about something in the reading of the OT.

I totally recommend it to anyone. If you start now you can take the 18 month plan as well and be done by December 2009. Then when you say you've finished 'The One Year Bible' people will think you actually did it in a year. It will just be our little secret.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

10 Random Things That Make Me Happy

I've been tagged by Rob to divulge the above to anyone interested. I find this fun and of course love learning random things about other people as well. So here goes....

  1. My Timmys (that would be Tim Hortons coffee for the non-Canadians)
  2. My children's laughter
  3. My husband's sense of humor
  4. An afternoon spent reading a good book
  5. Presents!! (receiving and giving)
  6. Compliments (ditto)
  7. Blogging (with Timmys)
  8. Writing a great post.
  9. Snuggling
  10. Pink cherry trees in bloom

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I'm so glad I'm a part ..........

Come on, sing it with know the words.

.....................of the family of God

I spent last weekend at the first family camp my church has put on since I was a kid. With my girls in tow, I went despite scheduling conflicts and time pressures because I really felt the HS nudge. He pressed into me that being there would make a difference.

It's about rebuilding church family
It's a chance to be part of the seed of new growth

God knows I love to be part of something right in the middle. He has been telling me for 10 years now, if I want to be part of something good then stick with this church.

But I've got to tell you, the past 10 years has not looked good! We have been without a pastor for 3 of those years. Attendance is waning. People are listless. I was involved in women's ministry for a time but that has disbanded. And throughout this time I have been questioning whether or not I am on the same page as my church or even in the same book.

Did I hear you right Lord? Are you sure it's not time to move on?

I have inquired prophetically of the Lord twice with these questions. Both times he responded through the group with whom I was praying with a resounding YES!!!!

you are a warm ember
a season of perseverance.
the Kingdom of God was near.

Finally - this February, a pastor was found and he joined us this month. Everyone loves him, including me. He seems a perfect fit for our unified yet vastly diverse congregation.

So back to Family Camp......

Well first off, the Lord blessed us with divinely warm weather on this often rainy Victoria Day weekend. The atmosphere was welcoming and tenderhearted. We really needed this. It felt like a big sigh after a long struggle. As well, the Lord answered the desire of my heart that my children would get with some friends. It has been a struggle to get them involved and connected.

And lastly....the guest speaker chose to talk about Church Family. He focused on a word that is used much in the New Testament. Alellon - one another. I couldn't imagine a more appropriate message at this time.

I thought I would do a little study of my own and look up many of the ways that this word is used in the NT.

Bear with one another
Love one another
be at peace with one another
wash one another's feet.
Be devoted to one another
give preference to one another
Be of the same mind toward one another;
serve one another.
Bear one another's burdens
showing tolerance for one another
we are members of one another.
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted
be subject to one another
regard one another as more important than yourselves
bearing with one another
encourage one another and build up one another
seek after that which is good for one another
stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
confess your sins to one another
clothe yourselves with humility toward one another

It occurs to me the high calling we have to make it work with one another. The Lord made us for spiritual community. It's not always easy and we have to be purposeful about it. We have to clothe ourselves with it.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Whole Lot of Taggin' Going On!!!!

I woke up this morning to an inbox full of tags that had circumvented the globe overnight. Thankfully someone tagged me cause I really like this one..... and I'd really hate to be left out.

I've been tagged by Michelle to participate in the Six Word Memoir meme:

{a faithful servant marked by joy}
The Lord gave me this two years ago. It's written on a little piece of yellow paper in my journal - just six little words. It tells me who I am and how I have been created.
I tag......
1. Write the title to your own memoir using 6 words.
2. Post it on your blog.
3. Link to the person that tagged you.
4. Tag five more blogs.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Knocking on Heaven's Door

"The church is a place for answers, not for questions."--Bree Van De Camp, Desperate Housewives.

I'm sure that this recent episode of Desperate Housewives was the most spiritually profound show I have ever seen on prime time television. No....really. At least it spoke to me where I am at. I would give a play by play but someone else has done a way better job of it here.

I am so impressed by the authentic portrayal of the characters. So often in film, religious roles get molded into typical stock characters and the bible is shown in a negative light.

The story of Lynette, searching for answers and having the door slammed in her face by her religious self-serving friend illustrates Matthew 23:13 (New Living Translation).

“What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you shut the door of the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces. You won’t go in yourselves, and you don’t let others enter either."

It's absolutely priceless, the scene in the story where the Minister finishes up his sermon about God's unfailing love and then as he directs everyone to the hymnal he is interrupted by Lynette's upheld hand wanting to (gasp!!!) ask a question!! Her friend Bree is so embarrassed because Lynette doesn't know the unwritten rule - church is about answers not questions.

I was also impressed, when Lynette called Bree on her fakeness and asked her to describe how her faith has gotten her through tough times. In the end the two women are seen reading the bible together on the porch. Searching together for answers.

The Lord has been challenging me to be willing to share my faith with my own circle of "Desperate Housewives". I have come to know and care about my neighbours of 10 years, as our children grow up together, as we participate in school activities and attend Tupperware parties together. It is through this togetherness that women talk and stuff comes out. It is in these early middle age years that women start to ask questions of life.

I am much more secure in sharing my faith than I was in the past. However, I have never closed the deal....never actually led anyone into the Kingdom, although I have been part of the process with a few.

I see myself as having gone through the door of the Kingdom of Heaven, but I've closed it behind me. I am too timid to open the door and call a few people in with me. Fearful because I've always seen it as having to tell someone what to believe or give them a repeat after me prayer that I'm sure I would forget the words to. I just can't do that

Now sitting on my porch (if I had one) and helping a neighbour find answers. That, I think I can do.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Okay breathe deeply now.....

I'm heading out of town for a little while. It's spring break and we are making the pilgrimage to the land of Disney with the girls for the first time.

I'm anticipating blog withdrawl

Maybe I'll find a computer somewhere

....okay, breathe deeply now

Saturday, March 15, 2008

operator....information....give me Jesus on the line

'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.' Jeremiah 33:3

Brad Jersak, author of “Can you hear me? Tuning into a God who speaks” says that Jeremiah 33:3 is God’s phone number. He tells us that we can call on our Shepherd and we, the sheep, can hear his voice. He talks about real conversational prayers with the Lord, rather than the phone messages we are used to leaving on God’s answering machine.

The first time I heard him speak in 2002, I was totally mesmerized. (I’m listening to it right now and it’s still great!) It was the refreshment to my soul that I had been searching for all my life. It seemed too good to be true. “Am I aloud to believe this?” I thought. Until this point in my spiritual life, I had never heard that I could expect the Lord to talk to me on an intimate level. Oh, I had heard it theologically speaking in a “don’t try this at home” kind of way, but this was real and it made sense.

The seminar was two days and it was sooooo juicy! Brad gave us exercises to do and they worked! It was really faith building. For instance, he had us get a partner, someone we didn’t know, and ask the Lord “if that person had a banner over them, what would it say?” Well the woman who prayed for me reported that my banner said “Joy”.

This was a deeply personnel message because the Lord had been speaking to me about joy for a few years. A scripture about joy would pop out, or a person praying for me would sense something to do with joy. This had happened enough that I knew it wasn’t a coincidence. In subsequent years, God has still been speaking joy over me. He has specifically told me that I am “a faithful servant marked by joy”. In my life, this joy was elusive at first. Years went by where I had pockets of joy but it was not in abundant supply as the Lord had promised. However, I can testify that in the past couple of years I have realized much joy as I have walked in greater freedom and I am sure there is more to come. However, I digress……

The next exercise was to ask Jesus what He would say to us if we met Him in heaven. I found this to be a bit of a stretch as I sat, eyes closed, straining my brain to hear something. But then I decided to relax and just go with it. I imagined myself walking into the throne room, and saw Jesus standing in a white robe. This is where my imagination stopped and the vision kept going. Jesus was really tall, almost twice my size. He came over to me and hugged me with a warm embrace. In surprise, I exclaimed, “You know me!” And He replied “Oh, I know you very well”.

This encounter touched me deep in my spirit. It was like I was waiting to hear those words. To know that he had heard all those answering machine messages I had left and he really did know me! He met me in a place in my heart where I had always felt lost in the crowd…..overlooked… unmemorable plain jane. As a single tear streamed down my cheek, Brad looked at me from the front and asked if I would share what I got since it was obvious that it had been meaningful. When I shared, he said that Jesus often tells us something that we need to hear now. I think that’s true.

Over the past few years, I have learned to hear God’s voice in a greater measure. It’s not quite as conversational as Brad reports but it’s definitely there. I have learned to recognize how God speaks to me.

I share these stories out of the abundance of my heart. It is my desire to encourage you in your faith not to brag or be all pie in the sky. God doesn’t play favorites. He knows us all intimately and longs to let each of us know what is special about us and who he has made us to be.

Try it………..ask Jesus what He would say to you if you met Him in heaven today. Let me know what happens.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This is me in grade nine, baby....

This is me in grade nine, baby, this is me in grade nine.
This is me in grade nine, baby, this is me in grade nine.
I've got a blue-and-red Adidas bag and a humongous binder,
I'm trying my best not to look like a minor niner. - The Barenaked Ladies

Yes - this is me in grade 9. It looks like I was too cool to smile. I think I was just worried about having a dorky smile and I was trying to be cool.....we all were.

My Adidas bag was two tone brown. I had Nike swoosh runners and French Jeans. And the perm of course.

Last night we had a blast at the Bearnaked Ladies concert. It was a small venue with only 1000 seats. My only disappointment was that they didn't play "Grade 9"'s my favorite.

We purchased the tickets to the sold out show back in December. Some friends managed to get only 8 tickets and before my hubby and I heard about it they were all snapped up. We still wanted to go so we got some tickets a few rows over. At the time, I was deeply disappointed to be left out and wrote about it here.

It seems silly now.....everything worked out. We still had a great time with our friends. We met for dinner, enjoyed the show and hung out after. However, I'm glad I recorded my initial reaction of being in the depths of despair. It helps me to see where I've come from......and where I am now.

What colour was your Adidas bag?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Beth was here!!

Beth Moore was at the Pacific Coliseum this weekend with her Living Proof tour. This is the second time I have had the privilege of seeing her live. I think this is the first time she officially came to Canada. A few years ago she came to a local church in Surrey for a women's leadership conference partnered by Lifeway. It was a treat and a huge privilege to have her and all those southern ladies building into us.

There were about 4000 in attendance, a small crowd compared to her U.S. appearances. I heard that about 1/3 were from the States. Canadians just don't know what they are missing!

Beth, with her southern drawl, perfectly quaffed appearance and outlandish speaking style, stands out in our reserved Canadian culture. She joked with us about her accent and exclaimed "Elly May and Jethro have come to Canada!" And she extolled the delights of Miss Vickie's Sea Salt and Malt Vinegar Potato Chips, a Canadian delicacy that she discovered on her first visit here.

We absolutely loved her!

And it was evident that she loved us. She got down on the floor, touching women, looking them in the eye, loving on us. I felt such a presence of unity in the Lord. This is the first time I have been to such a large Christian event and it had the feeling of a tent revival meeting.

The worship by Travis Cottrell and his worship team was awesome. It was a perfect balance of worship and performance. His sensitivity to the crowd and the HS was evident. He often silenced the band allowing the voices of 4000 women to resonate accapella to old favorites like "Amazing Grace" and "Then Sings My Soul".

Beth spoke to us solely from Hebrews 4: 12-16. In the next two days we dissected it and memorized it in Beth- Moore- Index- Card fashion.

12For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
14Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,
Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. 16Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

The focus was on "our time of need" and how Jesus can sympathize with us, providing grace and mercy. Beth taught us that our temptations are related to our needs. When we are tempted to fill our needs with the wrong thing we need mercy to turn away from it and grace to turn to the right thing.

I was interested to find out that in Exodus 34:6, when God announces his name as he shows himself to Moses, he uses the words Gracious and Merciful to describe himself. We throw those words around a lot in spiritual talk and they have become common to me. But hearing that they are the words that God chose to describe himself when he announced his name makes me take note.

Beth went on to explain that mercy is the alleviation of deserved consequences, as described in .Psalm 103:10-11. Whereas grace is an undeserved gift bestowed as described in Acts 4:33. Mercy is about a pardon and grace is about power.

In closing, Beth asked us to write down something that we need to loose (turn away from ) and something we need gain (turn to). I started to mentally list off the attitudes in my heart that I know God has been dislodging - resentment, impatience, discontent, fear of rejection. I knew it had something to do with dieing to self. Then it came to me.

self-preservation ........all those reactions that surface when I need to protect myself


self-generosity ....... the ability to give freely of myself without my own wants getting in the way.

Father - I come boldly to your throne of grace, asking for your mercy for relying on my own methods of protecting myself. I ask you for the grace to give freely of myself to others, not counting the costs, not withholding in fear.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

In the palm of His hand

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

A few years ago, God spoke to me through a painting. He put my whole life into perspective and securely anchored my soul.

When my second daughter was a little over a year old, and the oldest one four, my husband and I made the decision not to have any more children. We were happy with the size of our family and wanted to move on with our lives. However, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of loss for the chance to have a son as well and hold a baby of my own one more time.

Oddly, this decision led me to think about getting a piano. Since I had two girls I definitely wanted them to play the piano. I found a beautiful 1918 converted player piano that looked lovely in our home. I dug out my old music books and began to tinker with tunes long-forgotten. As my fingers found their familiar place on the keys, it brought me back to my early teenage years, before the solitary disciplines of music were put aside for a social life.

The music opened up a longing and a passion in me that had been sitting dormant. A grieving in my heart emerged for the loss of my own identity because, in the years that followed, fitting in with the crowd became my priority. I learned to put on a new face for each area of my life, and lost my own. I began to wonder how things might be different now had I made other choices then. My heart was wavering with insecurity and the music was bringing it to the surface.

Having the piano in my home reminded me of a print I had seen years earlier. It depicts a young girl playing a striking grand piano. Her eyes are interlocked with her little sister’s, whose hand is perched on the keyboard. I remembered standing in the art store 15 years earlier, the picture tugging at my heartstrings as I admired the soft pink dresses and the black patent shoes. I remembered thinking at the time, “If I ever have girls, I am getting this picture.”

When I popped into an art store in the mall and described the painting, the clerk knew it right away. It was a well-known painting by Greg Olsen, entitled “Dress Rehearsal”. She said it could be ordered in as a framed special and if I didn’t like it I didn’t have to buy it. That seemed good to me since the idea of picking out matting and a frame seemed overwhelming to a perfectionist like me. When it arrived, it was more than I could have imagined, beautifully framed to match my home.

As that picture hung in my living room its significance became apparent. For one thing, it was uncanny how much the two girls in the picture looked like my own. The hair and facial features were the same for each girl. Although the girls in the picture were a little older their age difference matched. In fact, as my youngest has grown up, she is convinced that it is her in the picture and wants to know where the pretty dress is that she was wearing!

Then God spoke to me in my heart. He got my attention with that picture and He told me about my life.

“Your life is in the palm of my hand”.

"I saw your longing in that art store years ago and I have given you the desire of your heart. "

"Everything now is meant to be. "

“Do not regret anything, because your life circumstances have brought you your husband, your children and your identity. Don’t worry about not having any more children, because everything is good as it is.”

As it began to sink in, this message brought me an incredible peace and security. My marriage and relationships improved because of my secure heart. I was somehow different and it showed.

You may wonder how I can be so sure it was God who spoke to me. It’s hard to put into words but it’s like having knowledge in your mind all at one time that you know you didn’t make up yourself.

It’s like having a dream with the story all laid out before you and all you do is observe, not remembering how it came into your mind.

It’s like how you know when a puzzle piece fits.

The Bible says, “My sheep hear my voice.” I just knew that this was the Lord’s voice and not my own. I have always had a faith in God but He became so real then. He was actually involved in my very life and thoughts!

A couple of years later, God gave me a reminder and a confirmation of His message to me. I went forward for prayer at a church conference, and the person who prayed for me said, “God has you in the palm of His hand.” It was good to know I was still on the right track.

Monday, February 4, 2008

I want it all and I want it now.

"Yuppies' creed: 'I want it all and I want it now.'"
—Russell Baker, New York Times, February 6, 1988

I've been pondering what I've learned about the things in my heart from my dream.

contentment and coveting

They really are two sides of a coin. I didn't see it at first, even though it seems obvious. The Lord wants me to be content. The reason that I am not is because I'm coveting. I asked myself what it is that I really want and I began to realize that I want it all!

If you know me in my everyday life you probably wouldn't guess that about me. You would think I am not in want of anything. (or maybe I don't hide it as well as I think) This is because I never articulate these longings.........they are all in my head or my heart......swimming around. They are expecations that I am subconsciously striving toward.

So I thought I would make a list and get them out once and for all. This makes me feel sooooooo painfully vulnerable. But here goes:
  1. I WANT an impeccably clean and organized home.

  2. I WANT a bigger home in a more prestigious neighborhood.

  3. I WANT a better and more physically fit body.

  4. I WANT to be valued and recognized in all my roles (wife, mother, employee, bible study leader, etc).

  5. I WANT everyone to like me.

Now on a conscious level I am very aware how blessed I truly am. The Lord has actually given me the desires of my heart! I have a wonderful and handsome husband, two lovely girls, and lots of quality relationships, a really nice home in a great neighborhood, a housecleaner, and a great job in my own home. Life is not without it's tensions but generally, it's pretty good.

However, on a deeper level, I have set some standards and expectations for myself and at any given time I am responding to the fact that I am not meeting those standards.

When others aren't helping me to accomplish my goals I get resentful and critical.

When I am not meeting my standards, I get angry at myself.

I am in a constant state of striving.

I get anxious and hurt when I don't get the recognition or attention that I feel I'm entitled to.

Oh, this is sooooo cleansing. When I lay it out like this it seems so silly. It's okay to have goals - but ones that are doable and I don't have to get harry if it doesn't happen. And it's okay to enjoy the fruits of my labour and the blessings of God without setting my heart upon the things of this world....without wanting more. I desire to live in a state of gratitude not striving!

I can actully see these WANTS piled up on a big barge which I am shoving off to sea. The barge is floating farther and farther away and I'm feeling more and more detached from it........weightless.....peaceful.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.........

Tag I'm It.

So, Rob at The Spyglass, tagged me with this completely ridiculous meme that I am only participating in to be a good sport. However, the exercise has not been without merit as I have gleaned the title for my next blog post from Rob's post on this.

So here go the rules:

Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.

I walked down the hall to the book shelves, put my hand on the first book on the midrange shelf which happens to be "The Complete Bartender".

Page 123 sentence 6-7-8 offers us the recipe for Brandy Milk Punch which looks rather ghastly to me. I'm more of a fruity martini girl.

1. Add a few ice cubes to a highball glass.
2. Add brandy, milk and generous pinch of sugar
3. Stir

Here's line 4 just in case you are really into this recipe.....and the ingredients are 2oz. brandy to 5oz. cold milk.

4. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon

PS. I'm not tagging.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Dream Interpretation Part II

But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6)

Thank you, all of you who submitted your heartfelt words of wisdom to me regarding my dream. This is truly what seeking truth in community is about and I have gleaned insights from all that you had to say.

I think I have received revelation about the root of it all. The simple gist of it was brought to me by a friend who is not a blogger but reads my blog. Not wanting to offend me, she timidly submitted two words the Lord had given her about my dream with the above scripture.

Contentment and Coveting.

Yes. I know.

Those things are in my heart.

It’s funny how they can be swimming around but we can’t quite grasp them and own them as our sin. But when the Lord gently points it out it becomes so real. He really sees us!

The Lord and I have a deal. I welcome His gentle correction…. the way He lets me know what is in my heart. And it’s getting easier and easier. Oh yes, when the big stuff comes up it does hurt. But the road to freedom is soooooo great that it is worth it. And it brings glory to God!

Often, the way he shows me is comical. Like the dream. I truly had fun with it. I knew God was trying to tell me something and it is nothing to be ashamed of because we are all the same. We are all but dust.

Isn’t our God Great??!!!

So I confess in the presence of you all that I own the sins of discontent and coveting. I repent of these heart attitudes and receive God’s forgiveness. I rebuke Satan for the ground he has taken in these areas and command him get away from me in Jesus name.

I ask the Lord to fill me with His Holy Spirit. Thank you Lord for all you have blessed me with. I will take peace and security in all that you have given me, not lusting after the things of this world! You have given me a secure foundation with Kingdom treasure.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dream Interpretation Anyone?

I am exploring our "new" house that has already been purchased by my husband for top dollar. (why I wasn't part of the decision, I do not know) I am seeing it for the first time and I am absolutely horrified. It's an old old house, a tear down really. Why in world didn't he even get a house inspection done? It looks as if the floor boards are actually rotting! However, when I look outside, I see that the house is on a large and beautiful piece of property, which gives me some comfort.

Next, in pops a friend - one of the gang that we hang with - and announces that everyone in "the gang" has just purchased brand new condos with all the bells and whistles and they will now be living in blissful luxury together in the same complex. Upon hearing this news my heart drops as I think how we are to be left out of the luxury life while we stick it out in this tear down waiting to be able to afford to tear it down. And I wasn't even part of the decision!!!

End of dream.........

Ya think God's trying to tell me something here?

Maybe some kind of attitude adjustment is necessary on my part?

Or maybe I need to tell my husband he better not make any snappy decisions without me?

I see sooooo many messages here but I am not sure what the root is. There is so much to unpack.

So dear blogging friends and readers who happen by, I am inviting you to help me interpret this dream that I had last night - with wisdom from above of course. I would be appreciative of any insights you can offer.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Six "quirky"and "unimportant" things about me - The Meme

I have been tagged by Rachel to divulge 6 quirky things about me. Now I am normally a very cool and collected person who is rarely given over to any silliness. However, I am really trying to get over this aspect of me and come out of myself a little more. So this is my action step.
  1. My comfort food is macaroni and cheese with ketchup.
  2. I count by 3's if I can't get to sleep
  3. I pile my husband's junk on his side of the room and keep my side neat.
  4. I'm an armchair organizer.........I fantasize, read blogs, magazines etc. but I can't actually keep an organizing system.
  5. Even though I am an Accountant I am really bad with numbers.
  6. I used to work for a funky footwear retailer and I have a pair of these.

Now I tag Livingsword. I can hardly wait to hear his quirks.

The rules are as follows:Link to the person that tagged you.Post the rules on your blog.Share six non-important things/habits/quirks about yourself.Tag six people and at the end of your post, link to their blogs.Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Throwing Caution To The Wind

"Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart" Psalm 37:4

I am reading "Chasing Daylight - Seize The Power Of Every Moment" by Erwin McManus. I love inspirational books that hit the mark and this is right up my alley. Chapter 2 is about initiative and it is really speaking to me. I confess that I regularly get caught up on the merry-go-round of Passion - Initiative - Striving - Discouragement - Passivity I am looking for some perspective here.

I tend to be a cautious person. I will second guess myself and look around at what others are doing. Often, I have said to the Lord "show me exactly what to do because I don't want to drop the ball". However, it's now occurring to me that God wants me to take initiative and to take the risk. McManus says "Do what you know you should do, and you will know what to do. God clarifies in the midst of obedience, not beforehand."

He goes on to say "There is a direct relationship between passion and initiative. The more passionate you are, the more proactive you will tend to be (even if you boldly do the wrong thing). Here's where the dilemma lies: this can actually be paralyzing for a sincere follower of Jesus Christ. You don't want to passionately do the wrong thing. You desperately want to do what's on God's heart, not just on your own heart. Here's the liberating reality: when you are passionate about God, you can trust your passions. God uses our passions as a compass to guide us. To put it crassly, when you are madly in love with God, you can do whatever you want. I am convinced this may be the best contemporary translation of Psalm 37:4 "

This is soooooooo freeing to me! I can trust the desires of my heart!!!! I can throw caution to the wind!!! Oh yes I know that being grounded is still an important factor. And we really need to keep our good friend discernment around. And of course there is our ever present need for wise council. But this is RUTH talking here. I'm the Steady Eddy.......the responsible one. I think I have enough ingrained caution to take me down the road of WILD ABANDON without leaving too much of a mess behind.

I soooooooo do delight in the Lord and as McManus says "When we delight in God, we become anything but apathetic......These desires of our hearts are born out of the heart of God."

New Years Resolution.......... to live a life seizing divine moments, throwing caution to the wind.