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

Jul. 18, 2011

Storms

It came in quickly last evening......it wasn't the first time we had a front row seat as the sky darkened and the winds picked up and blew the front door open! I love a good storm; always have. As a kid, I loved listening to the rain on our steel roof; loved sleeping in the tent trailer and listening to the rain hit the canvass and I LOVE the natural light show. Last evening I watched as the wind create "white caps" on the usually quiet river. Boats that had been caught playing headed for home.

Declan, Rhys and Tess were on the one hand curious and on the other hand nervous. Between Dec's comments of "wow, look at that", I could hear Rhys' more quiet "mom, I'm scared". With the way the trees were being whipped about, I didn't want them standing in front of the picture window, so I herded them into the bedroom where Brad was channel surfing.....I think we do more channel surfing than watching t.v....but again, I digress. Carleigh had been away in Toronto for the weekend with Saxon and I had to go and get her at the Fallowfield Station. It hadn't started raining hard...yet, but the wind had blown the recycling down the stairs and so I made my way gingerly, avoiding the broken pickle jar. The wind was still whipping, and there were branches strewn about the yard.

As I drove, the evidence of the storm lay everywhere; branches of varying sizes lay broken where they fell, garbage put out that evening was blowing around freely. Once I turned on Rideau Valley, two fire trucks coming from Manotick drove past in a big hurry......I silently prayed. Not a great time for a fire; never a great time for a fire.

In Manotick I could see pieces of white stuff on the road and thought at first it was hail. Soon enough I realized it was styrofoam that had been blown and beaten into submission and had come to settle beneath the back end of a truck. The streets were quiet, except for cars that were hastening home. I made it without incident to Fallowfield....hummed a few bars of "I See the train a comin'" by Johnny Cash, retrieved my daughter and went home. It didn't take long to clean up the errant recycling, taking care of the broken glass. I made a few frogs nervous.

I got in the house, dried and changed and was walking through the living room to the kitchen when I looked out at the river. The trees weren't blowing, but looked weary and bent from their battering.....they looked as though they were mourning the loss of their broken friends. The once white-capped river seemed abnormally calm. Almost as though there had been no disturbance at all.

This morning the duck family was out front here, making the most of what I imagine the wind had churned up from the bottom of the river. I'm no expert at what happens to a river during a storm, but it makes sense to me that the wind that blew so fiercely last evening, enough to create white caps on this lazy river, was enough to bring some good stuff to the surface! It made me think of the storms that hit our life. Almost always they come as a surprise and seem to bring such ferocity with them; I can only speak for myself, but anxiousness ensues, frantic prayers.....and yes sometimes "why me". Somewhere in that midst of all my frazzled feelings comes a thought; a reminder from where my help comes. The storm may have taken me by surprise, but it never takes my Lord by surprise.

1-2 I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,
who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

3-4 He won't let you stumble,
your Guardian God won't fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel's
Guardian will never doze or sleep.

5-6 God's your Guardian,
right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,
sheltering you from moonstroke.

7-8 God guards you from every evil,
he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,
he guards you now, he guards you always. Psalm 121


Panic, pruning, praise.......peace.

Jul. 9, 2011

Home is.....



I started writing this particular post about 2 years ago, but for whatever reason, never posted it. So, I edited it, provided an update and posted it.....but it didn't post at today's date. So, I'm giving 'er another whirl!

I try not to focus on the fact that we're not at "home"; most days I'm successful. When we were offered the use of the mobile home, we thought (hoped??) that our stay would be temporary - a couple weeks; sort of like an unplanned vacation. We had a service man in to take a look at the furnace when we first got there just days following the fire and in the course of our conversation he asked whether we'd be here come winter. I pretty quickly responded in the negative. That wasn't the plan...... winter seemed such a long way off in April but what seemed a long way off then, doesn't seem far enough away now.

My prayer and goal is to get back into the south wing of our place before winter and I am hopeful that will happen. However, our plans are largely dependent on circumstances that are beyond our control. In order to avoid future disappointment, I have to manage my expectations now. I have to be content and prepared to stay here for as long as that is required. It's in that regard I can learn a thing or two from my youngest children.

We are told that children are "a heritage, a gift or a blessing" given to us so that we might train them up in the way they should go, and yet we can learn so much from them. At least I do. I've had times when I've thought I was revealing some great truth to my kids only to realize that the message was clearly intended for me. We've not had to deal with tears or tantrums about being in a strange or different place. Dec and Rhys went from having their own beds to sharing a mattress on the floor without complaint. We weren't here very long when I heard Rhys refer to the trailer as "home". Though that didn't make me feel all warm and tingly, I realized that my kids are safe and secure when their family is together, wherever that is.


Yesterday Tess was playing in the kitchen, looking through the cupboards yattering away at me. She doesn't care about where she plays or sleeps as long as she is with her family. Her actions reminded me that home isn't as much about where we live, but who we live with; Home is less about a building and more about the people who inhabit it.



Filling in the blanks: I started writing this around the end of June, 2009 and here we are in July of 2011. We transitioned....again....from the mobile to the "house on the river" last August to make room for kids returning home. Here the three youngest share a bigger mattress on the floor....Tess likes sleeping with "her boys" and before we just let her do it, we would find here there anyway. You learn after the 6th or 7th not to sweat the small stuff. In my last post I shared about our first home where we were blissfully happy for the four weeks that we were there. It was never home again following the accident. It needed work to get it winterized and there wasn't time or ability following the accident. Though Brad's practice was thriving before hand, being in hospital for a month followed by weeks and months of physical therapy and recovery that clearly had an affect on his ability to provide legal services,. It was the first time I was faced with the concept of God's provision. Following the hospital stay, friends offered us the use of their basement apartment and then we sub-let an apartment from a lady who went south for the winter. When I was 6 months pregnant, I was diagnosed with Toxemia, which I believe they now call pre-eclampsia. I was put on strict bed rest and my sister moved in with us to take care of me and, much to my dismay, our home. A month or so before Meagan arrived, we moved into my parents' home....this was all in our first year of wedded bliss! Though it isn't the dream of any newlywed couple, we lived happily there til Meagan was 9 months when we bought a wee house in Richards Landing. The family grew and pretty soon we needed more space, so we bought a bigger place just down the road......A change in Brad's employment took us to Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island; we also called Kagawong home for a while. From Manitoulin we ventured north to the Northwest Territories and enjoyed 3 years in Yellowknife. From there to Hatfield Crescent in Orleans, to "the Palace" just south of Kemptville..

The buildings have changed; we've added more children nd have had the privilege of having others make them their home with us too. For me, home is definitely less about a building and more about the people who inhabit it.



Jul. 7, 2011

Enjoying the Journey


Last evening we had company and were talking about "enjoying the journey". Anyone who has ever had a goal or dream or.....traveled with small children, can relate. "When are we gonna be there" is a question not allowed when we took road trips and we encouraged the kids to "enjoy the journey". I find that I have to remind myself of that; sometimes I can be so focused on what I see as the reward, that I miss so much getting there. Joseph had a dream, but I know that dream didn't include a pit, being sold or doing jail time.

I didn't have a lot of dreams growing up; it just wasn't part of my thinking and it wasn't really encouraged either. I didn't make plans about what I wanted to be or what I hoped to accomplish for God....to be honest, I wasn't sure I could do anything for him. At some point, I did know that I wanted to get married and have a family. I accomplished that one REALLY well! 25 years ago this past June 21 I married a man who treated me as no one else had. He was very different from anyone I knew and he was from "off the Island". When you live on an Island, there are two types of people: Islanders and non-Islanders. You also have "city" people and "country folk", "saved" and "unsaved" and "churched" and "unchurched". We categorize people....it's just the way it is. But I digress.....

So, 21 and married. My husband planned completely on his own an absolutely beautiful honeymoon. We spent 2 weeks on the West coast of this beautiful Country; we drove up the coast and took in the sites; gondola rides up mountains, white water rafting and a lovely cruise back down to the top of Vancouver Island. We did all the tourist things in Victoria and to top it all off, we spent 3 days at Expo in Vancouver before flying home It was a lovely time. While away, Brad had made arrangements for his mobile home to be moved to 400 acres of land he owned north of Sault Ste. Marie; it was a lovely property that included it's own lake and we had plans, dreams of building our home on the mountain with a view of that lake. I had given up my job before we married; we knew we wanted a family and didn't want to grow accustomed to having a second income. Brad's law practice was doing well and could certainly provide for us; we owned our own home and life was good!

We'd been home for about 4 weeks and I went into the office; I can't recall why....perhaps I was filling in for someone. I came home a little early so I could do laundry; Brad was catching a ride with my dad and sister so he could pick up his motorcycle and typically I would go with him, but not on this day. I was at home, puttering around, the radio was on in the background when I heard about an accident on the highway between the Sault and St. Joe. I stopped short and had a gut feeling. I called Kev; he had been Brad's best man and told him what I'd heard. He put my mind at ease and told me not to worry. A short time later he called back to let me know that he'd called the police, but the car involved wasn't a jetta. Whew. I started to breathe again.

It wasn't long after that I got a call from a cousin; he had been on his way home from the Sault and had passed the accident. He saw dad's car and confirmed that they had been involved and the fire and ambulance were at the scene.

I don't remember all of what transpired next.....but I talked to Kev again who told me to stay put and that he'd come and get me. It was the longest wait of my life, to that point. When I arrived at the hospital, they took me into Emerg to see my husband. His head was the size of a pumpkin and his one eye swollen shut. He had been asking for me....repeatedly. He didn't believe that I wasn't with him. In addition to suffering a concussion which mercifully caused him to lose consciousness, he had some rather nasty gashes on his forehead and eyelid that had come very close to his eye. He'd broken his femur and shattered his tibia and fibula. Surgery would be required, but he'd have to spend the night in ICU on what I think was a fracture board due to the more severe injuries of others. After assuring Brad I was fine, which I would have to do again thanks to the concussion, I was taken to see dad. The Sault had two hospitals, virtually side by side and dad was in the other one. Mr. Tulloch held my hand as we walked and prepared me as best he could. Dad had been driving and had taken the brunt of the impact and I was left with the impression that it wasn't known if he would survive. Both femurs were broken, his knee caps busted and the bones in his feet. When they'd x-rayed his pelvis, it was cracked as well. I remember looking at my father's broken body, the ugly colour of him and his legs laying at awkward angles. Mercifully, I can't recall how I felt.

My sister D'Arcy was 16 years old and had been in the backseat. She'd broken her femur as well, but still required two surgeries and spent close to a month in hospital. Brad was next to be released, right around the month mark and dad followed shortly after. As a family, we celebrated; though they only had 2 good legs between them, we hadn't had to stand at anyone's graveside. Even the young man who was in the other vehicle had survived and following lots of surgery told Brad years later that he was "better looking than ever". In addition to some other injuries, all of the bones in his face were broken when he was ejected through the front window. He was a young army recruit, headed west and had fallen asleep at the wheel. He had been just a few bed's down from my dad in ICU and in the absence of family, my mom would go and sit at his side. Over the course of the next weeks we did hear comments about how the accident could have been avoided if......you'd prayed that morning with your husband......you'd been living "right". We people who profess Christ can say the stupidest things at times.

It was while these three were in the hospital that I learned Brad and I were expecting. Somewhere on the coast of Beautiful B.C......sorry. I recall going into ICU to see my dad following a survery so I could share with him the good news that he was going to be a grandpa; he couldn't speak as his vocal chords had been damaged, but he closed his head, squeezed my hand and nodded. The day Meagan was born he walked into my hospital room wearing a sharp new black fedora and a huge grin. He was a proud papa.

I have learned in the last 25 years that I do have dreams; some are relatively small and have been realized and some are "friggin' huge" and have not. There have been many twists and turns along the way....most of them NOT what I would have planned. You see, I don't particularly enjoy difficulty or discomfort; I have no plan on ever jumping from an airplane or tying a bungy cord around my ankle. I am not an adventurer by nature, but I must acknowledge that I have experienced a deeper growth in my faith when I'm knee high in.....manure, 'cause that's when I'm more apt to be relying on God's strength rather than my own. I've had many times when I've come to the absolutely end of myself and have said "ok, Lord....I give. I trust you". I love reminding myself from where God has brought us. It may not have been as history making as the crossing of the Red Sea, but he has shown himself so faithful and I KNOW HE WILL CONTINUE TO BE SO 'cause it's who he is.

I love to travel....love road trips but if I knew before I left Ypsilanti last Friday that I was going to be stuck on the side of the 401 on July 1 with a flat tire, I would have done something about it. But I didn't know.

If I'd known at any juncture along my journey what lay ahead of me, I probably never would have married, forget having a baby....or 8. But I didn't know.

That's why it's a faith walk and not a cake walk! One of my favourite verses is 1 Cor 10:13
"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it."

God has redeemed me; he is in the restoration business and he IS making all things new. I will continue to hope and trust in him and enjoy the journey.