God on Vacation- how to know when you don’t need Him anymore

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If you measure me in song years, I’m pretty old.

For example, I remember singing about death and dying and the glory of God from the time I could formulate a sentence. Every Sunday my siblings and I mumbled out lyrics such as

“I’ll fly away, oh glory, I’ll fly away…when I die, Hallelujah…”

while mom banged on the piano keys at the front of the church. That was my childhood set to music. Waiting for the world to end.

When we sang A Mighty Fortress is Our God, we sang

every

single

verse.

That meant singing stuff like

Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,

No wonder I spent Sunday afternoon contemplating my mortality instead of riding my bike. Life was short. My existence OBVIOUSLY very fragile. And the eternal unknown right around the corner. 

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It wasn’t until I was older, that I gained perspective. Sure, life was fragile. But God was constant. He would never let us drift into nothingness or suffer alone. I could depend on him every single day, until my dying breath.

Was I finally becoming wiser?

Not so much.

After decades of depending on God, I became anxious.

No more take-my-life-and-let-it-be stuff. Even praise songs such as Ten Thousand Reasons or Good, Good Father didn’t move me.

I needed something more.

Like owning my own home.

As I hit middle age I felt guilty that I had not contributed enough to the family income so that we could own our own home. I began to explore “what if” like what if we had inherited a small down payment or had been at the right moment at the right time for some incredible deal.

I admit it. Owning a home became a symbol of security for me. The golden payoff. The end goal.

God could take a long, long vacation. Why? Because we wouldn’t need Him anymore.

Fact is, we still rent. We still have to depend on God day after day after day. But, is that so bad? Not owning a home? Facing challenges? Loss? Struggles?

I realize now that needing God is not a weakness as much as it is an opportunity to cling to him in childlike faith.

I guess that ‘s the bottom line.

There is NOTHING wrong with owning a home, getting married, having kids, a great career, dreaming that big dream and watching it come true. But, if it takes the place of God we are in trouble.

Big trouble.

God is the one who holds eternity in his hands. Our future. Our ever lasting home. Our job is to trust Him more and more each day. I love the way the song Oceans expresses our faith in God-

you call me out upon the waters,

the great alone where feet may fail

And there I find you in the mystery

In oceans deep

My faith will stand.

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Our deepest needs call us to deepest truths.  Our greatest desperation can begin a journey of discovery into the  mysteries of faith.

We will always need God. And He will always be there.

No matter what.

It’s not allergies, it’s Jesus

To be honest, I don’t trust music much. Sound tracks and radio play lists are the worst. They get you dancing along and then they hit you with some tune that rips your heart out.

Not cool.

I have places to go and people to see. I don’t want to live my life looking like I came straight from the wailing wall.

Worship music at church is the worst.  You can’t change the channel or turn down the volume. Sure, sticking your fingers in your ears and humming works but so does yelling “Not that sappy song” while unplugging the worship leader’s microphone.

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Not what people pleasers like me tend to do in public. 

So I listen, sniff a lot and pretend my allergies are shoving my  my sinuses out through my tear ducts.

Last Sunday morning I let my guard down. It was sort of a kid’s service, ok?  Skits. Fun songs. Great dance moves. No reason to burst into tears. 

Then, the worship team began to lead the kids in the song Jesus loves me. I thought it was the old version I had sung one million, billion, trillion times. (Yeah, that’s how many times I went to church as pastor’s kid.) 

Wrong. 

It was a different song written by Ben Glover, Chris Tomlin, Reuben Morgan.

One line of the song really got me. I mean, really, really got into my heart.

“Jesus loves me, He loves me, He is for me”

Suddenly, I felt like I did in grade school. Standing in the gym waiting for someone  to call my name. To want me on their team.

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Ha! Like it mattered in the great scheme of things.

Evidently it did because I could still feel my cheeks burn as I stood alone. Again. But, I lived with it. Still knew that Jesus loved me. As a kid I figured He loved everybody -in a group hug sort of a way.

I never thought

of Jesus being

for me.

Me.

Choosing me, specifically me

to be with him.

After church, I casually mentioned how I liked the song Jesus Loves me and my eyes started to well up like some kind of underground seepage.

It was weird.

Well, maybe not as weird as the unexplainable urge to run home from school and tell mom that I finally got chosen for a team. After all these years.

Thing is, I did get chosen. I just didn’t realize it then. Jesus gave his life for me. He loves me. He is for me.

And all those kids in my grade school P.E. class were wrong.

I do belong.

And so do you. Jesus, He loves you. He is for you.

Living the dream one moment at a time

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Another post? Two days in a row?

Ha! Even I’m surprised.

After a year or more of sporadic activity I wasn’t sure if I should even be posting at all.  I’ve been busy tutoring,  working on my learning specialist certificate and and keeping up with all things family.

Yeah, great excuses. 🙂

And, maybe it’s just common sense to focus on what is in front of me. I love tutoring, taking courses to learn new strategies, and, of course, I love interacting with my family as much as possible.

But, I have this thing about writing.

No it’s not creepy. More like euphoric. Or maybe it’s more like I have these moments when I feel so deeply, see what matters in life so clearly I just want to write it down. My head fills with words that shape and form to the hidden depth of everyday moments.

It’s my passion.

But, those words seldom get written down. Days and weeks and months go by without a letter formed because I’m waiting

  1. for the perfect moment when I have hours of nothing to do but write.
  2. for the perfect idea to come into my head so I can put it down on paper.
  3. for someone to encourage me and let me know that my writing is perfectly acceptable and I should do it.

Perfect.

As if I will ever be. That’s not me, not you, not anyone.

And that’s why I”m blogging two days in a row. I”m not perfect but I am passionate. And, I have to get capture the rhythm of everyday life in words.

I want to write. Imperfectly. Any time I can. No matter what other people think of me.

What about you? Maybe you’ve been hardwired to sing, dance, write computer code, run 5ks, paint, speak, garden, sketch, knit, landscape, build, tear down, listen deeply, cook creatively, or something I don’t know how to spell, pronounce or even wrap my head around.

Maybe you’ve done it before.

Maybe it’s something you’ve longed to do but never let your self even imagine what it would be like if you did.

I say that

  1. No matter what people think
  2. even if now is not the perfect time,
  3. or you feel you are not good enough

Do it.

The beauty is not just in the end result. It is in the process.

Today

  •  carve out
  • some time
  • even it’s just a moment or two

to begin to bring your dream to life.

 

In the words of the world’s most famous footwear-

Just do it 🙂

 

 

It’s time to get a grip- on eternal truth

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I’ve been working on a book for the last few months. Its about eternal truth and how what we believe effects how we live. Even though it’s been a slow go of writing (I’m a bit of a lazy butt when it comes to just sitting down and writing). And, yet, I find myself checking my thoughts and my words at the most random times.

This is new to me. I’d always figured my ranting about life in general was part of my “verbal processing” personality.

Maybe, maybe not.

Thing is, if what we say in our “processing” is not clarified within the boundaries of eternal truth, we may just be setting up ourselves and people around us to embrace a lie.

Now don’t get all pious on me. We all spout off now and again.

Take the U.S. election for example. I live in Canada but I was born and raised in the United States. I know how inflammatory election rhetoric can be – not just from the candidates but in everyday conversations of ordinary citizens.

Election 2016 election is like no other. The discussions are fierce and the dividing lines cut deep. People are frustrated, angry and scared.

And, sad to say, lies have made themselves at home in every corner of the debate.

“This election will determine wether America will be great or not.”

“If America ceases to be great, we will all suffer”

“If we suffer, what will become of us?”

Pretty scary stuff for adults, much more for kids.  They are just forming their view of the world. Imagine their takeaway from listening to the adults around them.

But the truth is….

God is sovereign. Not Democrat, Republican or independent. He is more concerned about the condition of our hearts than he is in party agenda. No matter what way the election goes God will use it to humble us, to draw us closer to Himself, to teach us to trust Him.

His existence is not threatened by the outcome of the election. Fact check- He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent.

This is what our kids need to hear.

God is in control. He will take care of us no matter what happens. No matter what.

And, this is what our kids need to see.

Mom and Dad and Pastors and teachers and babysitters and leaders seeking God, not for some political agenda but for God to heal our land and our leaders and our neighbours and our friends and strangers we see on the street.

Sorry Nationalists. Eternal truth is global. We are to love and to reach out to the world with the gospel of God’s love.

On the other hand, it is also national. The ties that strengthen this nation will not come through one leader, no matter how charactered, powerful or wise that leader may be. It will come through the moral courage and compassion of individuals, loving families and communities of faith that reach out and embrace to those who have no family, community or faith.

We may not be able to sway an election with one vote. But, we can change the world one honest and loving relationship at a time.

Yes, you can verbally process (if you are like me), but make sure your processing is based on truth, eternal truth.  The kind of truth that heals and transforms hearts and not just promotes a political view.

God’s not dead.

He is alive and well on planet earth. All the earth and every nation. Pretty heady stuff.

Eternal truth.

Talk like it, act like it. Live it in front of your kids.