I’m back!! Well, maybe you didn’t know I was away. last week was so crazy busy that I hardly had time to catch up to myself before heading out to the lake on Friday for our annual women’s retreat. Fortunately my Friday was fairly light so that I had time to go by the church and pick up some stuff from the prayer room for our prayer room at the camp lodge and I had time to run quickly to the big box W store and grab a cheap pair of ski pants.
Both of these errands were important to do as it turned out.
The prayer room is an important part of our retreat. We have set up a prayer space every year for the past three years. Each year I think a few more people use it. This year I brought along The Divine Hours for Springtime by Phyllis Tickle and left it in the room for others to use. And I invited anyone who wanted to to join me for Compline. So we had a good time together in that space.
The ski pants were also important to have along. Saturday during our free time in the afternoon, Dixie took some of us on a “short” walk down the trail by the beaver pond. I think the walk is shorter in the summer. Walking about 5 K’s in the snow is real exercise. It was fun though and the day was beautiful. My legs are still tired but I loved the walk.
This women’s retreat is always a significant spiritual event for me. In fact I always have such high expectations for what I will get out of it that I tend to get frustrated with myself. I guess even the recognition of that unrealistic expectation on my part is some progress. And God was very gracious to me today.
“The Lord is my shepherd
I have everything that I need.” vs1(NLT)
These were the words of my morning reading. I didn’t get much farther than this for awhile – the first few reads. Something in these few words spoke to me strongly so that I couldn’t continue; spoke simply but loudly about trust.
“I have everything that I need.”
Being a sheep, I don’t have to create my own pastures. I don’t even have to find the pasture by myself. The shepherd, The Good Shepherd, will lead me to places where I will find everything I need to sustain me and help me grow strong. I simply need to follow. Neither my work nor my efforts to find my own way will get me there.
Jesus said something very similar when he used the metaphor of the field flowers. The wild flowers are nourished and clothed in splendour by God their creator. We can be sure that God will care for his human creations as well.
The 23rd Psalm for me stirs memories in me of death or the waiting time with someone who is close to death. I guess this particular Psalm is used then because it is so comforting. But I think it is really a Psalm for living.
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
All the days of my life
And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” vs 6
That was fun!
Kieran stayed with us from Friday to yesterday. He is such a good little guy. maybe his parents should give lessons on how to parent – or maybe they just lucked out. I can’t remember his dad being so good as a two year old.
Saturday I took him grocery shopping with me. I figured he is still too little to insist on me getting a lot of junk food. We didn’t do too badly. he has definate ideas on what kind of yogurt he wants. The roar kind. That took me a few minutes! But then I saw the lion picture on the little mini yogurts and did the right thing.
His last night with us was the toughest. He was coming down with a cold and kept waking up crying – every 30 minutes or less fro about 10:30 till 2 am. Best way to keep the noise levels down was to lie down beside him and give him lots to drink. The floor is hard! In the morning work. Sedation morning. I do not desire to have any more children – ever.
Grandchildren however will always be welcome to sleep over. I can always make it through a night or two. You, who are parents of young children having to be up at night, have my greatest respect. I guess I did it too when my kids were young – and I was too.
We have a young guy, Eric, staying with us for a couple of days. He is travelling with the Wycliff drama team. Last night we were getting to know him a bit. Tonight at 7 they put on their presentation at Gateway Covenant, our church. I’ve been to their dramas before and they are good.
Our girls were a bit sceptical about having a house guest that we did not know. But Eric is young and “cool” enough, and only a year out of high school, that once they met him they were really OK with having him here. I am not sure if they get all his language. Oh they understand it in some ways when he uses phrases like “spreading the Gospel” when he describes what he has been doing. But we do not normally talk like that in our ordinary conversation. A fair number of “christianese” expressions were used in his speaking about his aims in life. I imagine in time that he will learn to express what his aims in life are without resorting to Christian phrases.
We were sharing with him some of our experiences as missionaries in the Congo. He asked if our work was mainly concerned with physical healing or if we also did spiritual work. Our reply, “How can you separate the two? You cannot disembody the souls of people.” This is a question asked fairly often of people involved in medical or other technical work in missions. I think it shows a lack of understanding of God’s creation. He created us as humans and breathed into us his spirit, and he said his creation was good. So I don’t think we should try and dissect out the spiritual from the lives we live or the work we do and try to grow just that part of our lives – like growing something in a lab petrie dish outside of the body.
I think he will learn; I hope so. He will need to use everything about himself for God if he really wants to serve him. And God has given him a heart for missions so I guess God will take care of his education. Maybe we are part of it.
So, here I am complaining about the blah, blah – the little petty unimportant routines that make up my life.
And then I see God. Not so much that anything major happened to open my eyes. It was just little things that added up.
Today talking after church – It seems that I am not alone in feeling like this. And we begin talking and in the act of talking something clicks. This is just life. God wants me to be faithful to him in all that I do. In fact that is much more difficult than in performing some heroic act from time to time.
So help me to do that with joy, for you God.
Dinner is being cooked and my call phone rings. I am needed by a woman who broke off a new crown on her front tooth. So I set up a time to see her. 2:30 this afternoon. I just returned so it was a bit more than a quick fix. The tooth had been treated with a root canal in the past. Now it had broken off. Fixing it meant a post and fitting the crown to a post as best I could and giving her advice about what her options were.
While we were waiting for the cement to harden, my patient began to talk. Life has been tough for her over the past few months. She too has recently lost her father. She has had unusual workplace stress that has thrown her life into chaos. And now her teeth falling apart. Most of my time with her was spent listening.
This patient was a reminder to me that God has blessed me with things to do for him. Well, maybe more than a subtle reminder.
God, you are so gentle.
When I doubt and complain
You hear me.
You understand me,
You know my need to feel needed,
To be worthwhile,
To be significant.
Maybe someday I will be strong
But I did need that gentle reminder today
That I am your much loved child,
That you have work for me to do.
Thank you, My Beloved Father.
There are times when it so hard to plod through life, wanting more. I am impatient. I am tired. Life has just thrown a lot of things my way over the past year and I think I am getting tired of the incessant burden of everything.
I believe that God created me to live, to enjoy the life he has given me. And I have every reason to enjoy it. I don’t lack for much that I need materially. I have great friends. I have a family that loves me – even if they are also the cause of much worry as well. I just also have this sort of driven nature that wants to see results. So, I look for signs of growth in myself, I expect my kids to show signs of maturity, I search for positive signs that things are improving. And I don’t see them really.
I wonder if God us to go through these dry sorts of times so that he can do something deep inside us where we can’t see; can’t even detect his workings. I like to think he is still around.
Actually, I have experienced enough of his goodness that it doesn’t make sense to doubt him. But it is very hard to just relax, just live and let him do whatever it is that he is doing. I wish for times of solitude and quiet so I might hear him, but there hasn’t been much of that lately.
It is also a hard time to blog. My daily routines of life just seem kind of blah. And writing about it seems just like writing about it is a bit like saying blah, blah, blah, blah…
The lack of wisdom of children amazes me sometimes.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” begins the author of Proverbs. It seems the basis of all wisdom stems from this.
Oh how I wish that this foundation was solid in my children’s lives.
It seems very difficult to help children understand this till a lot of stuff is messed up and they are in a desperate state, having done irreversible things that they will have to deal with for the rest of their lives. So with wisdom comes the ability to see the end results of the actions we take. Mothers can see this. But maybe we got here by making many of the same mistakes.
God protect my children. Become real to them so they can begin the journey to wisdom.