No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it. 1st Corinthians 10:13

Mar. 15, 2008

Earth's Broken Things.

Christ is building His kingdom with earth's broken things. Men want only the strong, the successful, the victorious, the unbroken, in building their kingdoms; but God is the God of the unsuccessful, of those who have failed. Heaven is filling with earth's broken lives, and there is no bruised reed that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious blessedness and beauty. He can take the life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it into a harp whose music shall be all praise. He can lift earth's saddest failure up to heaven's glory.
--J. R. Miller

I'm going through a difficult time right now. I can't chalk it up to only one thing; it feels like everything is being shaken and though I know God has a purpose in this, my human mind struggles for understanding. I know I'm not alone. I've spoken with 5 or 6 others who are dealing with their own situations and I do take comfort in that.....that doesn't sound good. I don't take comfort in others problems, just in knowing that I'm not alone.

I grew up with this beautiful, vivacious, bubbly girl......lets call her Betty. Betty and I weren't "best friends" or anything, but we lived close to one another and our sisters were close. Betty was a grade higher than me and we had a different group of friends but we were in the school band together and CGIT. Growing up on a small island in Northern Ontario means if folks aren't family, they're friends (or end up family unless you marry a non-islander like I did). We keep in touch and when I'm "home" I like to pop in and say hi.

Betty has a beautiful big smile and a great sense of humour. What makes her truly remarkable to me is her positive attitude; though she was never blessed with a child of her own she has always been excited when we've brought another new one for her to meet. Never have I sensed her holding back in her sincerity at welcoming a new baby; never have I questioned whether or not I should bring my babe for her to see. To this day, despite the fact that I've moved several times and had more children, Betty still sends her warm regards that can be felt through the world-wide-web. I know that there were many prayers offered up both by and for her; I don't know personally of the pain she endured; of the questioning that had to go on as she walked through that dark time in her life AND YET she walked through it holding fast to the only One who had any hope of filling the child-shaped void. Betty was pregnant once and miscarred; today marks the 12th anniversary of her due date. I know this day will hold memories for her, but she stands as a witness to me of what God does with one of his broken things.

I'm a Christian - a "follower of Christ" and, like all of us, I've had to deal with life's difficulties. Despite the experiences I've had and the lessons I thought I'd learned, when these circumstances arise my first reaction is most often one of dismay. Once the shock wears off and the emotions clear, then I remember that God allows in his wisdom and love what he could easily prevent by his power and I'm left again with the question of who I trust; who is in control.

Here I am......again. This place is familiar; I've been here before though I really wish I could get it all done in one shot. It took some time but I did find myself a few times over the past week amidst the tears thanking God for where I'm at.

Broken again.

Mar. 11, 2008

Praying for plastic monkeys

Yesterday Declan had his tail in a knot because he couldn't find his monkey (you remember the barrels of monkeys? well he's down to 3 monkeys and had misplaced one of them). Declan likes order and is very single minded.....the complete opposite of his mother and sometimes I find him hard to understand. He was convinced that he'd dropped one of the monkeys between the couch (it's a sectional). Even after we had moved the different pieces of the couch and he still couldn't locate the monkey, he was insistant that it was there. I could feel myself growing frustrated as he cried over this stupid monkey and nothing helped calm him. Finally I sat down on the edge of his bed and took his little hands in mine and started to pray. I couldn't remember the last time I had done that with him. I asked God to help us find the monkey. I told Declan that God cared about everything that concerned us; even his missing monkey. By the end of the prayer we were BOTH crying. We spent some time looking for the missing monkey, Declan calmed down and I was reminded that God does care about what concerns well as what concerns Declan's mother.

I headed to Ogdensburg late afternoon. Somehow the keys to one of our vehicles had gotten locked in the car (some electrical problem with the door locks) and Tess' interim health card being the only ID she has was locked inside. I figured they'd still let me cross and headed out. I had to explain my sad story, but the guy at the US border let me bring Tess in. He likely figured it was such a tale, I couldn't have made it up. This morning when I came back into Canada it was again on my mind.....sometimes these border guys have no common sense at all and despite the fact that I cross that border 3 or 4 times a week, today might be the day I get some new guy who is making sure he asks for ID (rarely do they even ask for it at the Canadian border) and whether or not I have any firearms, alcohol or tobacco. Instead, I had a super friendly guy who let me in with no problem......and tears came to my eyes as I was reminded again that God knows about even these little things that concern me. I asked Him to forgive me for forgetting, for doubting......again.

It has been a difficult week and I found myself one day thanking God for the discomfort. I can't go into details of all that is going on but circumstances have arisen and there is a need for change; a change I know that God has been preparing me for. I'm not completely sure of all that is going on, but it is time to course correct. Walls have gone up that really need to come down and though I know it won't be easy, it is time. Hope - REAL hope is found in brokeness; when we get to the end of ourselves and realize that we can't.....but God can.

Today I had the opportumity to share my "Declan story" to a friend. He said something and though I won't be able to repeat it word for word, it made sense to me. Often it is not the things we accomplish that are important, but the things we overlook in our busyness that are most important. Those few minutes I spent praying for the monkey meant something to both Declan and I.

.......By the way, we found the monkey and CAA unlocked the car door, too.