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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Majesty

My God is more majestic than the sunset reflecting off the snow-laden Cheam mountain range. (If only I was photo-savvy like my friend Vicky, then I could show you how awesome the view out my living room window is!)

Psalms 39

I've never read this Psalm before. It struck me as I read it. David's words are fitting for today's society and they are so very clear and full of truth and need no explanation.



4
“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
5 You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”

6 We are merely moving shadows,
and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
not knowing who will spend it.
7 And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
My only hope is in you.
8 Rescue me from my rebellion.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Relationships

My prayer of Thanks:

"Lord I am content. I thank you for the place you have set me. I thank you for my education for my job, for bringing us to Chilliwack and going before us to build relationships and give us a church to grow in and give to. I have a wonderful marriage, thank you for my husband. I have health, I have the ability to read your word and grow."

The Lord hears the prayers of his children. We’ve been here in Chilliwack for a year and a half and it is only now that I realize what God have given: the answer to prayer. I prayed in the season before we moved out here that God would bless this next season of life and I felt confident that God had plans for us in Chilliwack. I also prayed specifically (I read it now in my old journal) for relationships:

June 24/09 “I pray for relationships, go before Ryan and I to prepare people and circumstances that we would connect meaningfully with others and build lasting relationships”

Aug 3 “May Ryan and I find Rich relationships.”

Aug 4 “Lord bless Ryan and I with relationships; strong relationships that build us up and thru which we can build others up.”

Over and over I prayed for relationships and to be built into a strong community; these are just a selection of those prayers. We have mentioned it time and time again how we are so connected here. We are connected in our church and through our church we have opportunity to join in people's lives in our small group. Through Ryan's brother we have met a support network of friends that is beyond any other. They have welcomed us in and loved us and in this short time that we have known them, they are so absolutely dear to us. Then there are other friends we have made through church and I am blessed with such wonderful coworkers at work.

I thank God for the relationships He has given us here in Chilliwack. And I thank God, for those dear people who don't live in Chilliwack, our friends who we are blessed to continue in relationship with even though we now live apart. We are blessed all around!

The Lord has graciously provided and answered our prayer for wonderful relationships and I thank you and praise you God for doing so!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Everything


It is so good to finally feel like I am back to my normal self again. I have motivation. I have energy. I feel full of life again. And this weekend I had the great opportunity to go to Rush Youth conference in Kelowna as a youth leader with my church. There was a moment in one of the sessions where I was overcome by a full sense of contentment. I am in such a good place now and feel so blessed with all I have and my hopes and dreams for the future which I am confident God will provide (yes! I am back to dreaming about the future again!) It is so good to have been so deeply immersed in God's presence, there is nothing like being in that place!

The song by Tim Hughes, everything, got my thoughts going this weekend. The following are some of the lyrics:

God in my living, there in my breathing
God in my waking, God in my sleeping
God in my resting, there in my working
God in my thinking, God in my speaking

God in my hoping, there in my dreaming
God in my watching, God in my waiting
God in my laughing, there in my weeping
God in my hurting, God in my healing

The lyrics proceed to say Be my everything, God, You are everything God. I feel like this past month I have gone through a lot of the things listed in this song.

Everyday I am living, I am breathing, I am waking, I am sleeping. I went through hurting and weeping over my miscarriage and the loss of my baby. From hurting I went to resting in God’s arms and resting in general because I had no motivation. While still in this season of life, I could not escape my responsibility and so I was working and I am working still. Then I proceeded to a time (that I am in right now too) of watching and waiting. Watching my body and waiting for a new pregnancy. Hoping and starting to dream again about the baby we trust God to bring us. I feel like I am being restored; that I have been restored and that the restoration continues on a daily basis and so I am being healed. And in this all it has been so good for my soul to start to blog, to think about what I want to share and to speak words that I feel God has given me.

I feel like myself again. And I am so glad God was there in my hurting, in my weeping, in my healing. I am so glad that God is here in my waiting. I am so glad that God is enabling me to hope and dream again. I am so glad that laughter has returned to my life and that God is there in that laughter.

God has been present in my life in a tangible way this last while. But this song reminds me that God is always there. He is everything we need.

At small group last night we were discussing concepts of freedom. And I was sharing how as Christ followers we have this amazing freedom, because we are free from having to measure up; Christ loves us regardless of anything we do, we don’t have to earn love. Also, we are free from the weight of burden, whether those burdens are from things we are doing that aren’t in line with the right principals that God has laid out in the bible for optimal living, or whether it’s the weight of crappy things happening in one’s life that are out of your control. We are fee to lay those burdens onto our Savior. Our Savior who will carry our burdens and us!!!!

When I talked about this someone asked if I think many people are good at doing this. He alluded that he thought probably not. And here I was struck. Seriously, Christ-followers, are you not leaning hard into God? It is at times of burden and sorrow that I understand God’s love for me the most. This past while essentially daily giving God my struggles, whether they were disappointment, frustration, wants, waiting, sorrow, this has what has helped me through. And in doing this I learned so much about my God that I didn’t know before. I am confident that what I learned about God will stay with me as I press on to a new season of expectant waiting and hopes of reformulated dreams come true. What is the point of following our Guide if we don’t let him take us and carry us when it’s just too much for us? He hasn’t asked us to do it on our own, why are we trying to?

God is everything good….are we letting him be our everything?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Want

I was training for a half-marathon until before Christmas, when I over-did it and strained my knee. Since then I have been busy tending to other matters in my life. However, this morning, being on holidays in the beautiful weather of South Florida, I started Day 1 of my back to running program (I must say my program is rather vague, but in essence determining that I am ready to be in the head space to get back at it and take the necessary proactive measures to ensure my success, this is what initiating my running program is. So as Day 1 of this program, it feels good to be ready to restore myself to an activity I love.) So I have just returned from a run/walk. Two months ago I would have scoffed at running for 1 min and walking for 4 minutes. But today, I am refreshed. This refreshment is so welcome today. As I was walking my thoughts were able to collect themselves. And below I shall write how my thought processes have worked themselves out.

Yesterday I was thinking about the exciting news of all the dear people around us who are pregnant (can I put it more clearly that indeed in the whole of my heart I am thrilled for them?) Yet at the same time it feels odd to share that genuine excitement with a deep sense of want. In a way I feel like a child with unruly want, like in a toy shop or a candy shop. It is an un-thought-out deep want. It feels selfish and at the same time simply so present in my gut. I am a woman who likes to make things happen especially when I have strong passions and desires. I like to formulate plans and I am dedicated to following through to the end result. I can not do that in this situation. I want to be pregnant along with our dear friends. But it rests out of my control.

I think to the Psalms of David that I have been reading lately. Just 2 days ago I wrote how he was so real with God. I feel like this deep want inside of me is too selfish to bring before my God. But then as I think of David and I realize I can be real before my God. How wonderful is that.

So now I plead with you God. I ask you from the depths of my heart. God I want to be pregnant so badly. I want to share with my friends at the same time to be pregnant, because God Ryan and I feel ready to have a baby and God we want a baby and God I want a healthy pregnancy. God, why did you allow our pregnancy and our baby to be born in May to be taken from us? It is because of your plans, isn’t it? But God I still must tell you the longings of my heart. Listen to me, oh God. I know you hear me when I speak and so I speak plainly to you now: Open my womb to conceive this month, God! And Lord while I am in this place, I pray for my wonderful, God-fearing friend* who desires a child also. God, do you not know her heart? Have you not heard her pleading with you? So God, on behalf of her also, I come to You and ask you also to open her womb.

And as I open my heart plainly to You, so there is no secret between us God, well I return to this place where I know You are faithful and I know You provide. So God, provide for Ryan and I as we wait to be pregnant again, as we wait for a healthy baby to hold in our arms. Provide patience and wisdom. God in this season of want, show us Your face of wisdom, Your arms of compassion, Your heart full of love. This is a bumpy road, God, hold me secure so I don’t get too jostled.

So here I have come from disappointment to anger and frustration to sorrow to want. It is indeed a bumpy journey, but God I trust You to provide joy along the way and in the “end” a joy that is uncomparable.

Always Your child,

Cheryl

*I am so thankful for the beautiful friends and friendships God so generously provides and I pray for all those women and couples I know who have had miscarriages or are waiting for children, Lord bless them with a healthy pregnancy and baby in the near future.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Follow steps 1 through 15 as directed

Yesterday at work my coworker spoke of a woman she knows who has encountered essentially no trials in her life and this has made her a “me, I, need, want” person. And then I see my coworker. I look at her and the amazing woman she is; she is a privilege to know because I can see how much in her lifetime she has learned, and if I could only embrace a portion of that wisdom and knowledge, how much richer my life would be. She is a woman who has dredged through hardship after hardship. Her life has blossomed, but that blossoming came with much preparation and pruning.

In my little life thus far, my hardship, too, has been minimal. In reality this miscarriage is my first true hardship on a very personal level. And this makes me think, God calls us to not be comfortable. Not that we should seek out hardship, but do you think that perhaps we can grow in some of the characteristics that my coworker presents (compassion, understanding, generosity, hospitality) by stretching ourselves. Like stepping out of our comfort zone? What does that mean? I don’t know exactly. But Ryan was also talking this morning, about when plans don’t go our way, we ought to look to see where God is moving around us and join in.

You know, it’s not about what can I do to get back on track. You see, I like formulaic practicality. So maybe it’s like this: 1. Things aren’t going as I planned. 2. I have no control (As I posted on Facebook just the other day: It’s out of my hands it was from the start ---Jars of Clay). 3. God is in control. 4. Look to see where God is working and moving and shaking and shaping. 5. Re-orient to God. 6. Live in God’s control. 7. Throw away fear. 8. Embrace the one guaranteed stable choice. 9. Renew strength. 10. Top up my love tank. 11. Give and love. 12. Give and love relentlessly. 13. See lives change. 14. See my life change. 15. Repeat. And you know when I give directions (the “sig”) for medications and if I can’t quite read all of the doctor’s handwriting, I typically add “as directed” at the end for good measure. So my “sig” for life when it’s not going as planned is this: “follow steps 1 through 15 as directed.” (Of course ‘as directed’ allows room for the Holy Spirit to guide and for the voice of God to speak that I may follow.)