“MY HUSBAND” — Lent, Day 8

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I have much to be grateful for, but when I consider my life and all that I have, the one thing that stands out so clearly to me is the better part of me—my husband.

Through all our ups and downs, six years of them, he has shown his love to me in a very tangible and real way.  His gentleness, kindness and compassion draw people to him and truly are the traits that have kept us bonded together.

Marriage is often used as a comparison tool to the relationship between Christ and the church/community.  It’s not hard to see why:  the same principles apply in both situations.  Our marriages grows stronger as we trust and respect each other, as we worship and pray together.

As I look at my husband and thoughtfully consider his character and our relationship, I am struck by how my husband is such an example for me in his giving and servant attitude.  I am convicted to be more giving, to be more willing to help in various ways as we walk through life together.

At home we see the best and the worst of each other.  When we continue to walk together even through experiencing the worst of each other, we fulfill the commitment we have made to each other in marriage.  Our love has grown stronger and more powerful in ways I would never have imagined.

In this marital love there is such comfort, there is easy intimacy.  We don’t second guess each other or our relationship–we can simply love and exist in the knowledge that even though times are hard, we will be there for each other no matter what.

What a blessing it is to be married to my first (and last) boyfriend!  I am thankful that we were brought together to love each other, to learn from each other and to face life’s challenges on the same team.

May I continue to grow to be a woman who supports and loves her husband as we journey through life.

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“Love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself.”
— C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

 

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, thank you for the blessing of my spouse/partner and my marriage/relationship.  May I grow in my love and respect for them as we journey through life together.  Teach me how to love them as you have loved us.  Amen.

“SPRING” — Lent, Day 7

There is something so moving and beautiful about the four season weather.  Today, after an admittedly short and warmer winter, the weather felt like spring.  It was grey outside, but warm and birds could be heard chirping and singing to each other.  There was an almost imperceptible change in the air, as if the earth is turning over in its sleep, tossing as spring approaches and it must wake up.

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In many ways we view spring as a time of new beginnings.  We enter into a different solstice, days grows longer, Easter is a celebration of resurrection and life… There are myriads of reasons why spring is a time of refreshment and excitement.  After a grey and dismal February, we look forward with anticipation to the warm spring and summer months.

Without the grey and cold of the winter, would spring feel the same? Would we welcome it with such open and eager arms?

In the same way, Christ is our spring.  Often we emerge from spiritual darkness or even a depression in need of refreshing.  We may be returning to the fold after a long trip away or we may just need a restoration of our heart and mind.  Without the struggle and the difficulties, we may not find ourselves wanting or needing change or renewal.

Are you approaching a spring time in your life?  Do you find yourself in need of a revival in your spirit?  The great news is that Easter and Lent is a beautiful time to reach out, to celebrate new life, to find community and to be renewed.

For behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
-Song of Sol.2:11-12

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, thank you for the nature you have made, for the seasons that celebrate your glory.  Bring renewal and refreshing into my life as Easter approaches and we celebrate your resurrection.  Amen.

“WORK PLACES” — Lent, Day 4&5

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Our workplace can be formidable and provide difficult trials for us at times.
Most of us probably have jobs to make a living in the world.  Our jobs are all different and challenging in their own unique ways.

For myself, working in healthcare, perhaps one of the greatest difficulties is learning to how to communicate with co-workers but not become caught up in the gossip and judgement.

In a work place that is dominated with females, it is extremely easy to fall into the habit of disseminating each other in brutal detail, when we should be seeking to encourage and lift each other up.  But working day in and day out at the same job can be hard on our spirits and as such–our behaviour.

Being on maternity leave from 2015-2016 opened my eyes up to the reality of how I treated others that I worked with and how I needed to change to reflect my beliefs.

This is the reality that we are all faced with:  work can be exhausting and can wear down our spirits and our hearts.  Perhaps it is a sign to consider moving into another job or career.  Perhaps it is a check point, a warning flag that we need to re-evaluate how we behave.

As I consider my future and whatever may lay ahead, I want to know that I was a positive influence on those I worked with, that I did my job to the best of my capabilities.

 

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the LORD and not for people.
Col.3:23

 

Whatever your life’s work is, do it well.
Martin Luther King, JR

DAILY PRAYER:  LORD, give me strength to be a rock when work may seem like a storm about me.  Help me shine as a light through each long day; give me patience even when I feel worn thin and unappreciated.  Amen.

“BE STILL” — Lent, day 3

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We cannot know what lies ahead,
the day we are in may seem fearsome and long;
we cannot think of what is behind,
the night unending, an open song.

In moments where all is taken away,
when we struggle to find an answer so small;
there’s a reason, there’s a reason, we know–
but our hearts yearn to be master of all.

The time will come when we must believe
that he is covering us with his love.
The greatest gifts we will ever receive,
come from him, the Father above.

Do not be disheartened;  simply be–
take a moment to be angry, take a moment to breathe.
You are not alone, we have been there before.
There’s an open window next to the closed door.

Be still and and be patient–you are almost there.
The waiting may be heavy and difficult to bear;
but in the stillness and quiet you will hear him say,
“I have loved you, I still love you, I will show you the way.”

 

 

The Lord will fight for you while you keep still
-Exodus 14:14

 

Be still and know that he is God
Be still and know that he is faithful
Consider all that he has done
Stand in awe and be amazed
And know that he will never change
Be still
-S.C. Chapman

 

The quieter you become, the more you can hear.
-Ram Dass

“PATIENCE” — Lent, Day 2

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Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2

 

As I drove down a highway today with a screaming child in the backseat, the thought reverberating through my head was: “WHY ME?”  I threw items toward the backseat into his lap in a panic.  My phone.  My iPod.  Blocks.  A book.  A purse.  Cheerios.  A bottle of water.  Nothing could stop the screaming.

Finally I gave in and pulled over onto the shoulder. Trudging around the car to the frantic toddler,  I felt flashed of rage and frustration overwhelming me.  Adjust the seat belt.  Tuck the blanket back in.  Find the missing soother.

Everyone says it and it’s true:  as a parent you are stretched and stretched, sometimes beyond what you believe you can bear.  In becoming a parent myself, I have faced moments of extreme “stretching”, where I wonder how much more I can take.  In these times, we are faced with one of the most difficult virtues:

PATIENCE.

Each of us have our versions of sayings that relate exactly to this.  Perhaps the most popular I have heard is “good things come to those who wait”.  We can all agree that patience is not easy to master, especially more difficult for some than others.

With that in mind, I want to urge myself and you to take a moment and reflect on an area of your life where you need to be more patient.  Perhaps you have a hope or a dream that you are waiting impatiently for; perhaps you have a need that you desperately are anticipating an answer to.

We all are.  We all have reached that point where we simply do not know how much longer we can wait.  We have all been tested and tried.

This Lenten season, let us consider how we treat others and how we could demonstrate more patience and kindness towards them. I am learning with you. I am learning to be slower to speak, more patient even as my instinct is to roar with frustration and anger.

The answer you are waiting for is coming.
Be still and wait.
Be patient.

 

“Quite honestly, most people are quick to “write someone off.” But our God is a God of the second chance. Learn from One who is patient with you, and you’ll learn to be patient with others.”
Woodrow Kroll

 

DAILY PRAYER:  Lord, grant me patience to wait for answers, patience to respond with love and kindness, patience to give time and love to those in my life who need it.  Thank you for all the patience you have shown me.  Amen.

“Courage” — Lent, day 1

As March begins and the first day of LENT is upon us, I would like to spend this season not only as a time of fasting, but as a time of reflection.

When I consider the 40 days leading up the death of Jesus, one of the first thoughts I have is:  how could Jesus, knowing what was in store for him, continue walking down the path that led him to his eventual death?

This is why my first reflection on LENT is COURAGE.

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C.S. Lewis put it most succinctly with these words:

Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.

Or as a pastor once said memorably in a sermon, “Where courage is not, no other virtue can occur except by accident”.

As I was contemplating the immense courage and bravery it must have taken Jesus to walk down that road, I also thought of all the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for the freedom of others.   Those who have suffered through conflicts and have even offered up their lives for the greater good… How did they do it?  How did they make the choice to put the needs of others ahead of their own?

For some of us, every day requires a bit of courage;  sometimes we even struggle to get out of bed.  I want you to know that you are not alone.  We are all fighting the same battle and we all need courage to face some days.  When you think of your future and when you feel afraid, remind yourself that others have been right where you are.   Remember that God does not forsake us and he will supply us with our needs, with the strength and courage we may need to face our circumstances.

I leave you with this verse:

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your GOD. I will strengthen you and help you.
-Isaiah 41:10A

DAILY PRAYER:  Lord, give us courage when we cannot find our way.  Help us to face our fears and worries with courage, trusting that YOU have the perfect plan for us.  Amen.