Tag Archives: fear

I Can Do It!!!

I listened to a most interesting radio program, “Word on the Hills” this morning. Gwynn and Felicity interviewed today’s author, Reva Nelson who has done workshops and written a book on risk taking. As I listened, I realized that I started my life with a wonderful sense of adventure. My friend Nancy said to me about 20 years ago that I was willing to try anything. She wasn’t talking about physical risk taking. She was referring to my ability to set aside fear and feelings of incompetence and try a new recipe, a new job, whatever. My ability to take this kind of risk is a quality that helped me answer God’s call to ministry and begin writing and publishing books.

My thoughts shifted to the present. For the last three years, I have been thinking about sending a manuscript off to a publisher or an agent. I told myself my writing wasn’t good enough. I didn’t want the rejection.  I continued my self-publishing with the same moderate success. A month ago, I discussed my desire and my fear with my editor. She listened to my talk about lack of competence for about five minutes, then looked at me and said, “Give it up, Jan. Just do it.” Her words have stayed with me.

Today’s radio interview with Reva reinforced Ruth’s words. I can take the risk. I used to just step forward ready to do my best, trusting that God will use whatever I do for something good. I used to take risks easily. Today, I am choosing a new mantra. “You can do it. Give it a try. Whatever happens, you will survive.” Thanks to “Word on the Hills” and Reva Nelson, for giving me the push I need, at this moment.

“Will All Be Well?”

Yesterday Tom and I had a delightful day, celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary. We spent the day surrounded with family. We are truly blessed. Our blended family is an endless source of pleasure and love. We ended the day with granddaughter Ellie’s rugby game and dinner at the Red Lobster. As always, it was delicious, but Shelley, our waitress particularly went the second mile to make sure we were pleased with our anniversary dinner.

This morning we left home early. I needed surgery. The last two months, I have lived with a spot on my chest, growing and changing, while I waited for my turn with a surgeon. Of course, Google showed me pictures of what was actually growing on my body. The doctor did a biopsy. We waited for the report. She called me herself to re-assure me the report said, “not basal cell.” I believed her, but my spot kept growing and changing

My friends and family have prayed and worried with me. Their prayers and their concern have helped tremendously. From this ordeal, and that’s what it has been for Tom and me, I have learned a great deal. First of all, patience and fear require a great deal of energy. I have kept myself even busier than usual in to keep the anxiety at bay. Second, prayer helps. It’s wonderful knowing that others care. Their loving prayer released a strength I needed. Third, I already knew that Tom is wonderful. Over the last two months he has shown me that growing old with him will be the best possible experience. Fourth,my faith keeps me solid. I had no expectation that God was going to just wipe this growth away. I did know in the depths of my heart that God was with me and I would be okay. In the words of the ancient mystic, Julian of Norwich, “All will be well. All will be well. And all manner of things will be well.” No matter what happens.

Today, I celebrated all the way to Lindsay. It was coming off. I could hardly wait. Of course, there was a wait, of over an hour once we got there. I worried the surgeon might be called away to an emergency. But no, like most worries it didn’t happen. Now it’s done. Surgeon thought it was cancer. Has sent it away to be checked. He assured me he got it all and it would not reoccur. Well, I might get a similar type of growth at some point but it would not be related. So now I’m celebrating all the way home.

I am truly grateful. First, to our wonderful country and its medical system. Yes, I had to wait a bit, but I walked into the hospital this morning, had the surgery, walked out and paid nothing. I’m grateful. I willingly pay my taxes for everyone to have this wonderful medical care. Second I’m grateful to Dr. McNab and for his skills. He was kind, gentle and caring and he got it all. Thirdly and most important, I’m grateful to God for all the help over the last two months and for the gift of life. All IS WELL.  I am truly blessed. God’s Spirit is “the wind beneath my wings.”

Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even unto the ends of the earth.”

The Impossible Is Happening Everyday!

Balancing Rock
Picture taken by Chris Oates

When we were in Vancouver, our Grandson Chris took us for a walk along Vancouver’s English Bay, to watch the sunset. Even though it was cold, the walkway along the ocean was busy with people soaking in the sun’s last rays.

“Look,” Chris said, “they’ve been balancing rocks.” He hopped over the sea wall to take a picture. All along the shoreline was a trail of large and tiny rocks standing on their edges and points. I have tried this myself. Determination, patience, skill and belief in the impossible are required to balance a rock on its point so solidly that it survives the force of the spring breeze.

When we, as individuals, put that same kind of determination and faith into our efforts for peace, we too leave a trail, a trail of kindness, acceptance, forgiveness, that is even more beautiful than the stone sculptures we saw with Chris. Too often, we feel as if our peace paths are washed away by the sea of fear and violence that seems to be flooding our world.

As I studied Chris’ picture, I remembered a headline from the Vancouver Sun:

“Water, Water, everywhere but is it safe to drink?” The article stated that IC-IMPACTS, a Canadian international bilateral research organization has teamed Canadian engineers, research scientists and business people with their counterparts in India to develop cheap, safe water purification for isolated villages in India and in Canada. For me, this bit of news speaks of practical efforts for peace that are happening on a large scale.

In our world, where fear seems to be the biggest commodity sold, and isolationism is accepted wisdom, it’s wonderful to learn about co-operation between countries for their common good. There are wide trails and narrow trails. gradually building a network of love in our world.

As I gaze at Chris’ picture of the impossible, I am reminded that even though we may feel that our values of loving and caring for others are being put to death, resurrections, small and large, are happening the world over. God’s new life is coming. With God, anything is possible even peace. Let us celebrate Easter this year, with confidence, because we know that with God, anything is possible, even world peace.

 

 

 

 

 

A Sick Day

When we are sick, we feel old and hard done by.

Last night the left-overs tasted scrumptious. Very early this morning, they had lost their dazzle. The misery attacked Tom first and hardest. He eats more. I awoke to a thud. On his return to bed he had felt woozy and had fallen. I helped him up. He was soaking wet with sweat. “Have you any pain around your heart,” I asked, terrified of a heart attack.

“No,” he replied, “just weak and nauseous.” I mopped him down. Within half an hour I was in the same state with a much milder dose. We decided it was the curry. We ate it the first night. But, our body refused a second dose. Tom slept till noon today. I offered him water and plain rice with salt. He ate and drank gratefully and slept some more. By supper time tonight he seemed fine. He ate as usual.

Sleep and Supper – Good Medicine

The Lesedi Cultural Village is on hold. Maybe even until 2019 when we return for Jenna’s graduation. We do have two more full days here. We’ll see what comes.

As for adding to the world’s light today, there was joy for me in being able to care for my beloved Tom. I was grateful my mild dose slipped by quickly. I am grateful we are with family who care deeply about us. I am grateful Tom is feeling better. Thank you God. I offer that thanksgiving to the world.

Faith and Fear Walk Hand in Hand

Courage
Courage

I’m not sure what is happening. I know only that I have been reading Psalms, traditional and modern, something new. And now poetry is flowing from my pen onto paper, my fingertips onto the keyboard. I’ve been listening to the confusion, the fear, that is filling our hearts as we hear words of intolerance and isolationism shouted at us through the media. Today, as we approach the first Sunday of Advent, I have two poems for you.

Prayer
Prayer

Lament

Hate is spreading.
Intolerance growing.
The icy fingers of fear
are creeping in
through the cracks of our being.
What can I do?

I teach your love.
I write. I speak.
Some listen.
Your love touches a few.
Hatred has gone viral.
Money and knowledge lead the way
Manipulate the media.

One at a time
That was Jesus’ “way”.
A finger in the dyke.
Can that hold back the flood?
Of evil unleashed.
Destruction, murder, genocide
It’s happened before.
It continues to happen.

God says,
“Only love can defeat evil.”
I know from experience,
God’s love can overcome.
God’s love is stronger than death.
God’s love does bring new life.

Creator, Sustainer, Redeemer,
Help us! Please!

Trust
Trust

Advent/Christmas?

A baby is born?
Bringing Wisdom, Compassion
Is there time?

Intolerance grows.
Fear festers.
Evil’s response to love.
A last gasp.
A last grasp for total power.
How big? How long?

I will trust in God,
who walked on water,
healed the sick,
brought sight to the blind.
I will trust in God,
who died in love,
defeated death
brought new life.
I will trust in God.

I will continue to love,
to love this world into new life.
I will trust in God.

This is my faith.

Thought for Today

cropped-rainbow-more-blue-pink.jpg

I Can Trust in God’s Extravagant Love.

My daily reading tells me to trust in God’s extravagant love. That sounds simple but I know it’s not. This Christmas, in our family, the fear that comes with serious illness is threatening to wipe out our joy. I know we are not alone. There are many among us who are afraid. Illness, loneliness, violence, grief – Christmas is often laced with fear.

Our precious Christmas story is filled with angels saying, “Don’t be afraid.” Over and over again in the stories of Jesus we hear his message, “Don’t be afraid.” Our faith tells us we can trust in God’s extravagant love. Yet as we journey to Bethlehem this year, many of us are afraid.

Years ago, I read these words in a tiny tattered book that has long since disappeared, “Pray as if.” At 3:00 a.m. yesterday morning I heard this message, “Listen to the angels of Christmas. “Do not be afraid. Come and experience God’s extravagant love in baby Jesus. ‘Pray as if’ you trust in God’s extravagant love”.

If fear threatens to take over your life this Christmas, I offer to you what I am doing. I am praying “as if”. I am leaning on the love and faith of friends. Some days, trusting in God’s extravagant love feels solid. Some days my faith feels based in quick sand. Still, I will continue to pray. I will pray “as if” I am without fear and wait. I can trust in God’s extravagant love. I will open my heart to God’s peace for today.

There Is Room in the Inn!

fence-978138_1280

“There Is Room in the Inn. Hallelujah!”

Our new government has responded to the refugee crisis with a promise to bring in 25,000 people by the end of 2015. Our country is huge; we have room. Still, with our small population, assimilating so many so quickly will be a monumental task.

Complicating the task is “fear.” When this many people from a war-torn region come all at once, they could bring terrorism with them. How can we be sure that ISIS hasn’t embedded a suicide bomber among these 25,000 desperate people? Of course, we can’t be certain. Our government security people will do their best, but there are no guarantees.

A friend answered this fear with, “What makes any one of us think that terrorists are not already here? Just because your neighbor looks Anglo-Saxon, or says he’s a Christian, or was born in Canada, he or she could still be a terrorist. We have had a perfect demonstration of that reality right here in our city. The Peterborough Mosque, the place of worship for our city’s Muslims, was set afire by one among us. That person committed an act of “overt terrorism.” What other name can we give it?

I celebrate the fact that most of us are setting aside the fear that breeds violence, hatred, prejudice. I celebrate the fact that we have the courage to open our hearts to so many desperate people. I believe that God is celebrating with us. As individuals, as a nation and as the world, we are reaching out in love. As you prepare for Christmas this year, know that there is room in Canada’s inn. Thanks be to God.

“And Mary brought forth her first born son, wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the inn.” (Luke 2:7)

 

 

We Can’t Let Fear Overwhelm Us!

 

Let's Give Our World a Vigorous Scrub
God Give Our World a Vigorous Scrub. God says, “Good idea. I’ll start with you.”

 

On Remembrance Day 2015, we stepped beyond past memories to the immediacy of war’s devastation in today’s world.  We are increasingly aware of civilian casualties. The devastation in France last Friday brought this home to all of us. Our TV and computer screens reveal waves of desperate refugees trying to cross national boundaries to safety. While we observed two minutes’ silence,for the chaos of past wars,  churches of every denomination, individuals and community groups around the world were reaching out to embrace these refugee families. In their homelands, mass graves for civilians are common, the wounded overwhelm the hospitals, and homelessness has touched everyone. The United Churches of Shining Waters Presbytery have just welcomed a Syrian Refugee family to Peterborough. The fire in our local Mosque, considered a hate crime by police made the pain and misery of war step out of faraway places and into our community. I am glad God is calling Canadians to do more than lament the hatred and violence. We are taking action.

I believe that every time we step past our fear and reach out with love, we add another piece to the jigsaw puzzle of peace in this world. Each family we receive is one less family left vulnerable to those who teach hatred and violence. Hunger and hopelessness are fertile grounds for recruiting suicide bombers. I am grateful that many in the world are responding to this refugee crisis with love. Maybe participating in our Remembrance Day rituals over the years has incited individuals in Canada to respond. We don’t want to forget the people of the past or the present. All are God’s cherished children.

Years ago, Walter Farquharson and Ron Klusmeier collaborated on this children’s song that I offer you with Ron’s permission:

I SAT IN THE TUB

I sat in the tub till I looked like a prune.  My mother told me to get out soon,but I love to sit in the tub and think. I like to float and I like to sink!

REFRAIN:

I prayed to God from right there in the tub, to give this whole world a vigorous scrub, to clean away what does not belong, to get busy right now and fix what’s wrong!

I thought about children that I did not know, who never play and who just don’t grow. They haven’t food or a place on this earth, no one who knows just how much they’re worth. (R)

I wondered why God let them suffer like that, why all of their enemies aren’t laid out flat, and I thought that all things could be more fair, if the rest of the world could just learn how to share. (R)

And then I heard God’s voice way down inside. The voice spoke to me and I almost died! It said, “The idea’s right! — I’ll start with you. You’ll be surprised at what caring can do!”

 

 

How To Cope With a New School?

It’s a long lonely road.

In Canada, school has begun once again. For me, this fall is different. My son has returned with his family from China. Although they spent every summer and most Christmas vacations with us for the last twelve years, this will be the first experience of our Canadian schools for my granddaughter Jenna.

When my children were young, we moved often. I remember the anxiety I felt accompanying them to yet another new school. Will they be accepted? Will they make new friends? I did my best to make our lifestyle an adventure, but I knew it wouldn’t be easy for them. High school was even more stressful. I consoled myself with the belief that somehow, the frequent moves might help them greet new experiences all their lives. Now, Jenna has a new beginning, and my prayers are with her.

This week and for the next months, I encourage you to pray for all young people starting into a different school – college, university, high school, elementary school, nursery school. Pray that they will find adults and children who care about them and their individual needs. Ask God to find some way of telling them that they “are truly fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), that they are loved and valued as God’s special creations. I believe when we know that we have value in ourselves, and have the security of being loved by at least one other person, we can step into a new world with confidence.

Psalm 139 is one of my favourite scripture passages because it talks of the uniqueness and love that each one of us enjoys as God’s child. Pray that each child this year will know that he or she is not alone. As Jesus said, “I will be with you always, even unto the ends of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)  God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.