Believe anyway!

I have come back from a long journey, a journey of breast cancer and hip replacement, a journey not only of Bipolar depression, but some wonderful experiences with nature and people.

I was in the depth of one of these depressions – nay, of despair – and the verse in Romans 4 was given to me. “Abraham…dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do, but on what God said He would do.” (Romans 4:18 MSG)

What stood out to me was that Abraham believed anyway. Hope against hope. I could garner the strength to keep on going. God, who created something out of nothing, could meet me in my circumstances and more than abound. Hallelujah!

He can abound for you. Please leave me a comment if you need to share.

Abundant blessings!

Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing…

“Oh sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
That slid into my soul.”

Samuel Taylor Coleridge – The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

I was pondering the subject of sleep today. It is something we take for granted, unless we are having trouble with it – not enough, too much.

It is something that separates days – it makes yesterday yesterday and today today. Of course those who work night shift may disagree with me, but even these souls have to have sleep.

It makes yesterday the past, today today, and tomorrow the future. When we don’t have enough of it, we become bears, ready to take down anyone who opposes us. Too much, and we drift into lassitude.

Sleep is a gentle, blessed thing. It restores our bodies, souls, minds and spirits. Are you grateful for sleep? I am.

Choose Life

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life, and He will give you many years in the land He swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:19-20)

After being ambivalent for about fifty years about whether to be dead or alive, I’ve decided to live. When my daughter was born, I wanted to live for her, although I had absolutely horrible depressions off and on. There were times when I wanted to die but wouldn’t because I wanted to stay alive for her. Bipolar Disorder can be a deceptive trickster.

Now I want to stay alive. I’ve been confronted with the spectre of death in the form of cancer. I’ve made a choice. I will live as long as God wants me to, not reluctantly at times, but wholeheartedly.

From all appearances, nothing has changed. But I know within myself there has been a reckoning. I’m off the fence. Choose you this day who you will serve – life or death. I choose life.

 

 

 

Am I alone?

Am I the only female sexist left in Canada?

I realized it today.  I am going on retreat at Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph this weekend. It is a silent, guided retreat. Our topic is Thomas Merton, a mystic, writer, complex Cistercian monk who lived from 1915-1968.

I wanted to tell someone I was going. I looked for a male to tell.  After all, males have authority, are interested in such things – but are they the only ones? Then I realized: Christ revealed Himself to women. The woman at the well (I am the Living Water – John 4:10).  Martha (I am the Resurrection and the Life – John 11:25).

I have been getting better at discussing spiritual matters with women whom I casually meet along the way I tread. I have no trouble with men.  To be fair, I need to realize I was brought up in an atmosphere where women were seen (and did all the domestic work) and not heard.

But women are seekers. Our spiritual needs reflect those of all humanity. Our meditations run deep. The glory of our relationship with the Godhead will be manifest upon the resurrection.

Mea culpa. Let me not be so shortsighted. Let my being encompass all other beings in this world.

Look! There is my Son!!

My daughter has just arrived back from Cuba, where she was Maid of Honour for her best friend’s wedding.  The pictures have been posted by the happy bride on Facebook.  I look anxiously to see a glimpse of my daughter in the wedding party.  There she is!  As the pictures are posted I find one that singles her out.  She is alone, on a path strewn with petals.  I share the picture with as many people as I know who have known her since childhood.

Is this normal, to be so proud of one’s child?  Absolutely!  We have the words of God Himself:  “This is my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 17:5).  On the Mount of Transfiguration, God says: “This is my Son, whom I love! Listen to Him!” (Mark 9:7).

If God is proud of His Son, ought we not to be proud of our children? Should we not encourage them and lift them up so they will feel capable to travel the rockiest paths?

I am well pleased with my child.  Can you be well-pleased with yours?

The F’s of Two Thousand Fifteen

I was journalling, and I realized I was writing a lot of F words for this year.  These were aspects I wanted to concentrate on and the more I wrote, the longer the list became.  Let’s start, shall we?

Family

Friends

Fun

Food

Fellowship, with God and others

A Firm Foundation (Christ the Lord)

The Fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Gentleness, Goodness, Faith)

The Fortitude to carry on Fearlessly

Faith, without which we cannot please God

Finances

Fitness

Future (career and goals)

And may the force be with you!  All the mighty power we have through Jesus!  Happy 2015!

Health Club – Track 2

This is a poem I wrote in 1995.  I just discovered it while sorting through papers and thought I would share it with you.

Health Club – Track 2

Perched on the Gravitron he scans the terrain of treadmills, stairmasters, aerobicycles
His eyes searching out someone with whom to nest,
To share some warmth, some care
Before soaring high to travel to places unknown.

I am warmed by another fire, a consuming fire which leaves its object intact, yet burns out the impurities bit by painful bit
I long for the comfort of a companion, the sharing of places we’ve been, the people we’ve seen
But I hold true to the hearth of the divine fire which promises constancy.

From my vantage point on the Polaris
My eyes follow
His eyes scanning the terrain of aerobicycles and
Rowing machines, looking for somewhere to rest his weary soul
His eyes engaging the eyes of a fellow traveller
And I know…
Once more, before he continues his flight,
He will find shelter.

1995

Even to hoar hairs will I carry you…

“Even to your old age I will be the same, And even to your graying years I will bear you! I have done it, and I will carry you; And I will bear you and I will deliver you.”  Isaiah 46:4 (New American Standard Bible)

Growing old.  What does it mean to you?  Are you like the seniors in the commercials and ads, living the good life, prosperous, with the freedom to enjoy?  Or perhaps you live a quiet life, in the house you’ve lived in for decades.  You still putter in the garden and enjoy your flowers.  Your children come by regularly and apart from some health issues, life is good.  Maybe you depend on others for your meals and for getting around.  You make the best of it by your attitude.

I have a birthday coming up.  For the first time, I think, I am feeling it.  I’m having trouble with my eyesight.  My daughter reminds me that I’ve had problems with my eyesight all my life.  It is not necessarily a symptom of growing old.  But there is a nagging insecurity.  When  I am playing keyboard, will my fellow band members perceive that I can’t read the monitor because of age, or will they just attribute it to a need for better glasses?  Other insecurities abound, mostly concerning what I think others’ expectations of me to be.

The seniors I know seem very confident.  But are they like me, afraid to let their guard drop lest anyone be ready to put them on the shelf?

Realistically, I have no need to feel this way.  I am on a new career path.  I have the respect of many.  But still there is that fleeting thought…I’m getting older.  My standing seems more precarious.

What does God say?  “I will bear you and I will deliver you!”.  He will continue to carry me.  He has throughout my childhood, my teen years, the different – and difficult – stages of my adulthood…He will continue to do so  throughout my golden years.  Although oft-repeated, it still is true:  my confidence is not in myself, it is in Him.

Much forgiveness…much love.

“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little” (Luke 7:47)

How do you feel about your sins?  Are they in the past, covered by the Blood of the Lamb, and you seldom, if ever, think of them?  Likewise, you pray for forgiveness each day as you remember each and every trespass and offence that has occurred?

Or, do events and circumstances come to mind frequently, some from long ago, and you are overwhelmed by a sense of sin and a need for forgiveness?  How could I have done that!  Or each impure thought or possibly unkind word strikes your conscious like a fiery brand and you pray for release from the sin that plagues you.

Can I offer a word of comfort.  The person who has been forgiven much, loves much.  That’s what Jesus says.  You are forgiven.  And because you have been forgiven of things of which perhaps you would not speak,  you love much.  He values your love.

Read Luke 7:40-48:

“And Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.”41“A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42“When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”44Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45“You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46“You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47“For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

Rise up to Him in love.  Minister to Him with songs, with praise, with worship, with deeds.  He notices.  He cares.

The wind blows where it wills…

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”  Friedrich Nietzsche

Can joy and sadness dance?  I have a deep well of joy that comes from having the Holy Spirit indwelling me that no amount of depression can erase.  Even when I’m at my worst, I know that my Redeemer lives.  In the darkest of circumstances, I can dance.

 We can be moving in a direction no one understands, but that feels right to us.  John 3:8 says, “The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but cannot tell from where it came, and to where it goes:  so is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”  If we are moving according to the Spirit’s will, there will be times when our actions are misunderstood.  Others won’t be hearing the inner voice directing our steps and will wonder where we are coming from and where we are going.

 Robert Frost, in his poem “The Road Not Taken” says:

            Two roads diverged in a wood, and I –

            I took the one less traveled by,

            And that has made all the difference.

 

Henry David Thoreau wrote:

“If a man loses pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured, or far away.”  

Don’t be afraid of your inner music, your inner muse.  Take heart that others have had the courage to step out and dance, to take a less traveled road, to march to a different drummer.

 

Blog post first published at http://www.moodrainbow.com June 29, 2014.