Tag Archives: strength

The Strength of Our Scars

This morning I read some wise words written by Madeline L’Engle in her novel, “In a House Like a Lotus”. I plan on remembering these words and applying them to my own life. I decided that they might be helpful to some of you.

“There isn’t anything that happens that can’t teach us something, that can’t be turned into something positive. One can’t undo what’s been done, but one can use it creatively…The only thing is to accept and let the scar heal. Scar tissue is the strongest tissue in the body…so I shouldn’t be surprised if it’s the strongest part of the soul.”

As we journey through the tough times in our lives, for me it is helpful to remember that the scars when fully healed will provide us with the strength we need for living. I guess the secret is, to have the courage, and take the time, for the healing to happen.

Love Can Win!

 

Above the front door of our home hangs a simple plaque, a wedding gift from friends. At the time of our wedding, I hardly knew these people, but Tom did. They are ‘sort of’ family – cousins of a cousin. They travelled all the way from Massachusetts to our wedding celebration. Although they are people of deep faith, I am sure they were not aware at the time that they were bringing Tom and me God’s inspiration for our lives.

“May the love that surrounds you today give you the strength to face your tomorrows.” For nearly fourteen years we have experienced the Truth and Grace of that blessing.

Today is Good Friday. This morning I sat down in my favorite chair to pray, to reflect on this day in our Easter story. The sun blazed through our living room window, filling my soul with God’s light and warmth. The scripture readings presented the horror of Jesus’ crucifixion in vivid detail. I couldn’t avoid the cruelty. I didn’t want to feel the pain. Yet as I read, I could think only of the plague of torture, cruelty, greed, violence that seems to be sucking up the goodness in this world as quickly as it is created. Calvary happens over and over again. Family violence, workplace abuse, residential schools, war, cruel dictatorships. Yes, Jesus’ crucifixion happens somewhere every day.

Last night our house overflowed with love. Our daughter, two of her grandchildren and two of our most cherished friends enjoyed food, conversation, memories, hugs. Each one of us was truly surrounded with God’s love. This morning as I think about Jesus, Good Friday, and our world, I am drawing on last night’s love, on the love that God has showered upon us as a family. With that love as my foundation, I have the strength to face the supreme cruelty of humankind. I can give thanks for God’s endless love shown to us through Jesus’ forgiveness from the cross. That love gives me the strength to offer myself in the struggle for goodness and peace.

I read our plaque as I step through our door, and know God’s love has given me hope for tomorrow.

How Much Persistence Do I Need?

How Many More?

 

Warm weather draws us to our gardens. The weeds of course, have managed to get there ahead of us. “It doesn’t matter what I do,” a friend declared. “The weeds persist. If weeds can’t get through the layers of gardening cloth I’ve laid down, they grow sidewise until they are past the barrier. Then they poke their heads up and thrive.”

Today’s world encourages us to give up on living with integrity. Often the work is piled on so heavily, it’s almost impossible to do our best job. Media reports on cheating by elected officials and people in leadership have led us to think it’s the norm to cheat at least a little.

It we truly want:   

  • to live in a better world,
  • to ensure that all people have enough to eat,  
  • to promote peace,

we need to have the same persistence as the weeds in our garden.

We cannot succumb to the messages given by today’s society. We cannot let the immensity of need defeat us.

We can do it. We can be the hands and feet of Christ.

The weeds persistence comes from their drive to survive.

Our persistence comes from God. Step forth in faith. God will give you the strength to build a new world.

 

 

How To Avoid Power Failure

My laptop computer is getting old and cranky. The battery power lasts for only an hour, and then it fails. I almost always try to find an outlet where I can plug in.

As the years pass, I too feel as if the battery that supplies my energy is failing. Although I know a good diet and exercise will help, what I really want is a power outlet. I’d like to plug in to a life source and get a dose of new life. I’m just like the rest of humanity that has searched for that “fountain of youth” for centuries.

This week, in my Bible, I read Isaiah 40:27-31. “They shall rise up on wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” The message for me was that when my battery gets low, I can plug in to God. I know that God does not promise a new young body, but God will ensure that I have the energy I need for the tasks that God has for me.

How do we plug in to God? The first step is prayer. When we take time to talk and to listen to God, we are opening ourselves to God’s power. Step two is to pick up our Bibles and begin to read. Start with the book of Mark, the shortest of the stories of Jesus’ life. Don’t just zoom through it. Read a short section. Think about it. Read it again. Focus on what God is saying to your life in that story. Talk with God about it. Step three: Talk with a friend about what you need and what you are learning. You’ll be amazed at the renewed strength and energy you will have.

“God gives power to the weak and to those who have no might. God increases strength.” (Isaiah 40:29)

Just Plunge Right In

Living close to SturgeonLake means that I can find relief from hot weather with a daily dip in the lake’s cool water. On busy days, it can be nine at night, before I think, “Oh yes, I haven’t yet had my swim.” Still, I grab my towel and trot down to the beach. At night, the mosquitoes make sure I don’t stand on the shore cautiously dipping my toes to see if the water’s cold. With their help, I plunge right in. As I stretch out in that cool refreshing water, all the cares of the day recede. I turn my eyes to the stars glistening in the sky, and the moon’s silvery path across the water. God is good, I think.

In some ways, our attitude to God’s call is a lot like my attitude to swimming. We know that doing God’s work daily will bring joy and refreshment, but far too often, when God calls on us with a leadership role, we hang back. Whether it’s chairing a committee, organizing the strawberry supper, teaching Sunday School, or joining the church visitation team, we’re afraid. Will we be able to do it? Do we have the skills?

God doesn’t use mosquitoes or any kind of force to get us to choose God’s way. God does promise to be with us, giving us the strength, the wisdom and the help we need. When we set aside our fears and plunge in, we’re often amazed. Before long, we’re doing the job and enjoying it.

The bottom line is that we cannot enjoy the cool refreshing water as long as we stand on the sea shore. We cannot receive the joy of growing and learning with God without conquering our fear of what lies ahead. We can say yes to leadership. We can plunge right into the water because God is with us. Remember God doesn’t call the equipped. God equips the called. Thanks be to God.

 

“For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”  (2 Timothy 6-7)

God’s Amazing Grace

The picture is at the end. It seems to be the best I can do tonight.

I have a friend who greets the question, “How are you today?” with this response. “Well, I woke up this morning on the right side of the grass. I’m grateful.” I usually chuckle with him because he reminds me that being alive is a gift.

I believe that each day, God gives us twenty-four hours in which to be the best we can be. And God doesn’t abandon us to struggle with that gift. God fills those twenty-four hours with moments of “Amazing Grace”. This time of year, God’s daily package often includes blessed sunshine dancing from flower to flower, or refreshing rain washing the world clean.  Regardless of what is happening in my life, I can look out my living room window, and give thanks for God’s beautiful world. Some days, I wake up excited about a party planned for a friend, a new job, a grandchild coming to visit. On those days, it’s easy to be aware of God’s Amazing Grace.

The problem is that every day is not filled with joy. April and May for my family and me were filled with tough days. As my sisters and I walked with our precious mother on her cancer journey to death, there were days when I didn’t want to open God’s daily gift of life. Exhaustion made the simplest task difficult. My heart ached for my Mom, who endured excruciating pain. Looking back, I know those days were also filled with “God’s Amazing Grace”. Those weeks were a “Holy Time”. God filled them with the privilege of physically caring for my Mom, with laughter in the midst of misery, with conversations about life and death, with strength to continue.

A parcel, no matter how beautifully wrapped, is not truly a gift until it is received and opened. Some days we want to refuse God’s gift of life because it’s difficult. Those feelings are natural and normal. On those days, we need to remember that always, God is with us. Trust that even when life is messy God has given us a day filled with “Amazing Grace”. Make a point of opening your eyes and heart to the Grace God has in store for you on even the greyest of days.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  (Philippians 4:4)

Graduation

Last Sunday, graduation pictures of church members, a congratulations sign, streamers, and balloons decorated our church sanctuary as we celebrated all the young people of our congregation who were graduating from Senior Kindergarten, grade eight, high school and university. During our minister’s conversation with the children, one young Mom announced that her son had just graduated from diapers to using the potty.
The scripture that morning described the confrontation between the shepherd boy David and the Philistine giant Goliath. Throughout the story, David declares that, strengthened by God’s presence within him, he can use his God-given talents to do God’s work. David needed only the courage of his faith, his ordinary slingshot and five smooth stones to complete the task.
            Although I have never liked this violent story, it carried a message for me and, I hope, for our graduates. During our lifetime, we will be faced with difficult tasks. Sometimes, like David, we’ll be aware of the importance of the task for ourselves and the world. Much of the time, we’ll think that our efforts will go unnoticed. But all of the time, we can draw on God’s strength. We can have courage because we know that God is with us, and has provided the gifts God knows we need to do the job.
            Last Sunday, as we congratulated our young people, I hoped that their time among us had helped them know four things:
1.      They are God’s precious children.
2.      God is always with them, giving them strength and hope.
3.      Their church family supports them with prayer and love.
4.      God asks that they live a life of love for others, for God and for themselves.
 The Lordwho rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear, will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”  1 Samuel 17:37