Search This Blog

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Not a Jot or Tittle

In delving further into the WHOLE word of God (and starting at the very beginning), our family has come to understand that God's law continues to be relevant in our lives today... not for our salvation (Jesus fulfilled that part), but as our means of "loving God with all of our being". This twenty minute video beautifully sums up what is turning out to be years of searching, studying, testing, etc... to ensure our hearts are truly offered fully to God.

I much prefer those who offer teachings based strictly on scripture and not puffed up egos or accusatory approaches.  That's what I greatly appreciated about this video... it asks thought-provoking questions, presents the opinion with encouragement to challenge it for yourself, and shares the scriptural passages supporting the opinion expressed.

To me, that is far more inviting than some of the others resources we have found (sooo sorry about Michael Rood's approach!).  Hopefully this will be as thought-provoking for you as it was for me!

Heaven & Earth and the Law of God (20 min) from 119 Ministries on Vimeo.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

God's promise of deliverance fulfilled again, and again!

It began nearly six weeks ago now...

The last few years as we have approached "Easter", Duane's information on its historical roots would haunt me.  Despite this, I continued resisting letting go of this tradition as it had always been such a rich, family and spiritual time for me growing up.  It represented the death of our Saviour Jesus Christ willingly on the cross and his blessed resurrection for the sake of our souls.  It meant family gatherings, feasts, solemn moments of silence as we dared to imagine our Lord's final moments.  Surely something that has touched me so deeply cannot be bad??

Can you see now why the information Duane first presented to me was met with anger no differently than some of you may be angry with me right now for writing these words?  I was angry that what Easter meant to ME was not a convincing argument in his eyes and that even my own torment was revealing to me its weakness.  That scared me.  Why must the comforts of our faith be challenged??  Why does it hurt so much?

For me, it was because it felt like I had to let go of something that felt so true, so beautiful and secure... it felt like dangling in the midst of nothingness... to doubt for a mere moment... enough to shake me up and not know what was safe to grasp hold of anymore, if anything!

And these words returned to me like a slow drumming chant in the background: discern, discern, discern.

"But what do you mean by that, Father?" I prayed fervently one day.

The answer I felt stir deep within my soul resonated with the following message:

"Be equipped with the knowledge of my Word to know what is of man versus what is of Me.  For those who love Me but who do not know my Truth will be the greatest targets of deception.  Their very love for me will be what is used against them if they follow blindly.  But those who hear my words, and know they come from Me, and choose to obey will know my appointed times and their messages contained therein.  Their faith will be revealed through their obedience."

First step for me in hearing/feeling such a response is to do exactly what preceded it... DISCERN.  Could this truly come from God?  Or are these my own words?  Does it align with scripture?  Or am I being deceived by my very faith?

I tell you there is not enough time in a day to swallow scriptures and devour it with such ravenous appetite!  Thankfully, the few times I could delve into it, it felt as though the very passages I needed to find were revealed to me and the very path I had been resisting was becoming more and more clear.

I wept.  I ached.  I mourned what I have known my whole life.

Feeling like a newborn babe, I studied what was fast approaching and beckoning me like a long lost friend... PASSOVER.

The layers of the story hit me so profoundly this year that it literally pulled me down to my knees in sheer humility of His incredible perfection!  Beginning with the mass Exodus of God's people enslaved in Egypt thanks to the willing heart of Moses and the love of our God... the blood of the lamb marking the doorposts of His people and sparring their lives when the angel of death passed over Egypt... the commandment of this event now being one of His appointed times... the lamb that is to be brought into the homes four days before passover inspected to be perfect and without blemish, to fall in love with the innocence and to cringe at the very notion of something so perfect being destined to be slain BECAUSE of our sins!  Sure makes you not ever want to sin again!  Centuries to follow, the mass of Hebrews bringing their precious lamb to the altar at the temple to begin the slaughtering at 9:00 a.m. on passover... a day filled with the shedding of blood... the sheer solemnity of it, the weight of the burden of knowing something so innocent suffers at your hand!  The high priest saving the last lamb to represent all of Israel to be slaughtered at 3:00 pm where he then spreads his hands for the mass of people to see as he exclaims "IT IS FINISHED!"

This is what was commanded... each of these steps.  And not until the coming of Christ, but for all time.

Centuries later, our precious Jesus came into Israel four days before passover where he was tested, prodded and Pontius Pilot himself "found no fault in this man."  He was flawless... just like the passover lambs.

And then he was placed on the cross at 9:00 a.m. as the lambs were being sacrificed at the Temple and at 3:00 pm, he expired on the cross at the same moment that the lamb for israel was slain.  But not without first proclaiming "IT IS FINISHED!"

Even as I type this, the tears are flowing amply down my face.  I share with you the sheer weight of this humility of this shame and yet this victory on behalf of our Saviour.  Oh how much He must love us!  And why?  Do you look in the mirror as I do and see the very faults that caused him to be nailed to that cross in the first place?  I weep because I dare not fathom WHY He loves me so... why He loves us all so much!

But praise God almighty that He does!

Perhaps it is worth loving one another, too?  Perhaps it should make the task effortless given the weight of the message that He, our very Creator, the one who knows the very thoughts we keep from others, believed us to be precious and worth saving.

Well I tell you, it was with great fervour that I embraced Passover this year.  I felt united as a family (at long last) as Duane and I surrendered to the process of clearing our home of leaven (yeast) and meal planning for a week of unleavened bread to follow suit.  And as I surrendered our home to the process of being cleansed, my every day task was focused on Him... it was beautiful!  To my surprise, that unity extended far beyond our front door as I imagined the thousands upon thousands of homes around the globe sharing in this very task... a unity with which I cannot even describe!

There were two Sabbaths to mark both the beginning and the end of that week and First Fruits to fall therein as well.  Which was another greatly humbling realization...

Jesus rose from the dead at First Fruits... another of God's appointed Times.  "The first portion of the harvest that belongs to God."

Do you see why our family has come to believe that these Appointed Times were indeed created "for all time" by an unchanging God?  For those in the world not observing them, the sheer weight and significance of Christ's death would have just been another guy dying on the cross.  But God ensured that the message of our salvation be declared repeatedly through the institution of Passover as means for us to recognize it... first freed from Egypt and now freed from eternal separation from Him because of Sin.

Oh my dear beloved friends... I know I must sound crazy to you, but I wish I could give you my heart and the very transformation that has happened as I truly desired to seek God's eternal words!  How He must love us that He wants us to "rehearse" these appointed times as though saying to us "If you observe these, you will be equipped to recognize significant world events... and you will be prepared!"

His love continues to astound me.

Would you believe that I have felt greatly rewarded by this surrender?  For six weeks I have had a newfound energy and my home has never been so consistently organized and cleaned!  A joy has budded along with Spring and the first fruits of this energy has given me life beyond my wildest imagination (and that's saying a lot!).

Do you recall a few entries past when I professed my tendency to hoard?  Soon after that, in preparation for Passover, I began a "mass exodus" of clutter and have given away, thrown away large quantities of... well... crap!  What liberation!  And the process has been continuing.

So I come to you this morning with the grandeur of this personal event in my life knowing that some of you may think I am crazy, some of you may even be angry (and that's okay! I was there, too!), and some of you may just ask yourselves if there truly is something more here.  Regardless of what this leaves you with, I offer it to you simply as my own humble process... a journey that is life-long and never-ending... and for my blessed family who may be wondering why I am not the same as I once was, may this bring you peace in knowing I love you from the bottom of my heart and that I feel so blessed that we can rejoice at the journeys each of us lives.

I am humbly your servant, your daughter, your sister, your friend... an honour I thank God for every day.  God bless you all out there and may you feel His love for you today more than ever.  And perhaps for the first time in a long time (or maybe even ever), you can believe that you DESERVE joy, peace, and love!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Kitchen Windows, Epipens & Sore Thumbs

It was a beautiful Tuesday morning and the old farm equipment was groaning with protest at being wakened after another season's hibernation.  Duane was pulling out the old grain trucks for cleaning and fixing with the usual hope in his heart that the crops this year would finally see fruition!  Three consecutive years of crop failures has left a looming heaviness on his heart at the increasing debt load on our family.  I do not envy the constant debate in his mind nor the temptation of turning away from his integrity of farming naturally & ethically to using modern day fertilizers on genetically modified crops with supposed "guaranteed" harvests.  It makes one appreciate the challenge EACH farmer faces especially when they have mouths to feed!

Thankfully, Duane's father had always strongly encouraged him to have a steady job to supplement any potential farm income or debt.  So the luxury of choosing to farm according to his heart's desire is more possible than most farmers out there.

So this time of year is always kind of neat for me to see his spirits lifted with the promise of harvesting successful organic crops... of learning new ways of making organic farming work despite our clay soils, abundance of persistent weeds, and all-too-wet conditions... and of helping others make that same transition.

The burden is great on his shoulders and I see it some days more than others.

"Why would anyone be tempted to change their farming ways if I cannot be an example to them of how it can WORK?"

"Let God do that THROUGH you and your genuine desire to help take care of His earth and the people in it.  It cannot be through your efforts alone, but by His Will, His strength and YOUR willingness."

"Sometimes I think He pushes me to the point of giving up to see if I am really committed to this and my TRUST in Him."

"Then I am sorry for the times that I pressure you about the debt load.  You have to do what you believe is right.  And I need to support you in that."

With those words in the back of my mind, it was with pleasure that I looked out my kitchen window this past Tuesday, and smiled as I watched him tend to his father's old farm equipment with our son eagerly hanging around him.  Up into the truck went Ethan as Duane sprayed the engine clean with the pump hose.  I thought to myself, "you know... I am going to MAKE time today and blog about this window and the many times I have felt privileged to look out of it to see the beauty of our world here."

Before I could even finish that thought, I looked up from the sink again to see Duane running towards the house carrying Ethan.

Now hopefully you have figured enough out about Duane from my blogging that nothing excites him terribly much.  An essential trait to have as a firefighter but annoying for this mother who feels that he downplays serious situations!  Duane does not "run" for anything unless it is seeding time or harvest.  Needless to say, this sight caused me to stop dead in my tracks.

As he got closer to the house, he saw me in the window and signalled for the puffer.  Ethan's blue puffer... his rescue puffer.  I ran to the bathroom and grabbed it quick and met him at the door.  But when I saw Ethan, my heart began to pound in fear...

His eyes were so swollen and covered in hives.  But worst yet was his breathing!  He could barely breath properly and was trying to cough.  He was scared and trying to cry which did not help.

"What happened???"

"He was fine in the grain truck one minute and then the next he was screaming and scratching at his eyes and coughing lots."

"Duane, this is not a 'puffer' situation... this requires his Epipen!!"

Would you believe that despite all the mental training for situations like this, my mind literally drew a blank?  We have three epipens in our house but do you think I could remember where any of them were in that moment?  To hesitate in a moment like that feels like you are wasting precious, precious time.

"Where on earth do I keep his epipens again??"  Finally it came back to me... one in my purse, one in his backpack and one in the medicine cabinet... Medicine cabinet... start there!

I grabbed it and pulled off the grey cap as my mind went blank all over again on HOW to administer this thing!  Which end??  Duane was holding Ethan on his lap who continued sputtering and coughing for air while pulling away from the epipen.

"Duane!  How do you do this again??"

"Doesn't it go the other way??  Quick!  Give it to me!"

So I gave it to Duane who is technically trained to deal with these situations as an emergency responder.  But with the heightened stress of watching your own son struggle to breath, even his state of mind was challenged as he jabbed the epipen against Ethan's outer thigh only to have the needle spring out the other end into (and right through) his own thumb!

"OH MY GOODNESS, Duane!!!"  But the situation at hand needed my full attention on Ethan.  So I turned away from Duane whose finger was now bleeding quite a bit to searching like mad to find the second epipen.

Thankfully, logic began to set in again and I remembered what I had practiced so many times with our trainer epipen (which you can order online at  I got it into Ethan's leg, counted to ten, and placed a bandaid on the sore spot on his leg afterwards.

His gasping stopped almost instantly.  He stopped crying within seconds and our son was breathing... but now was the mad rush to pack things up quickly and get him to Children's Emergency before the epipen wore off!  They would want to keep him under observation over the next four to six hours.

Duane's thumb was now white and a little piece of his nail was embedded in the tip of the epipen needle.    Given the time sensitivity of the matter, Duane would take him as I needed to stay back for Sivana's nursings.

I looked into my son's swollen eyes and held him so tight.  "I love you, my boy.  You be good for Daddy, okay?  And mommy will pray and ask God to help heal your body fast, fast, fast, okay?  Thanks for being such a brave boy."

I watched them drive away and felt a sudden shiver of intensity over what had just occurred in the past five minutes... it felt like enough to last a lifetime.  And the tears began to flow for the helplessness of my son's lot in life... of feeling like an error on our part could cost him his life... for the fragility of life and for the gift of every breath... literally!

I called my mom right away and asked her to come and be with the little ones.  I would cook Ethan's lunch, nurse Sivana once she awoke and would head down to join my boys at Emergency.  I sent an email out to immediate family asking for prayers which finally allowed my heart to settle into peace in trusting that those very prayers would find my son and keep him in the palm of God's hand.

Looking at my daily chores list, I numbly turned towards the dryer to pull out the latest load of kids' clothes.  My hands were a bit shaky as I pulled out Ethan's little jeans and the tears started flowing amply again.  I do not ever want to pull out my children's laundry and not have his little clothes to fold.  I don't ever want to lose him!  The times he drives me nuts or I lose my patience with him seem so trivial in the grand scheme of things.

Every moment with my kids is a gift and I don't want to waste ANY of that time in anger, frustration or disappointment.  It sucks that too many times, it is wasted.

My mom arrived and we waited to hear from Duane who called an hour later to say that Ethan's heart & lungs sounded good and we seemed to be in the clear.  I had not realized that I had been holding my breath because suddenly I finally felt like I could breathe!  They would be home not long after lunch so I did not need to bring them special Ethan-food.

When Duane got back, he told me about refilling the two epipen prescriptions with poor Ethan sitting in the shopping cart, big puffy eyes, saying to the pharmacist "Our Tractor is brooooken.  It doesn't make noise anymore.  But the good guys are going to fix it!"

Apparently the pharmacist did not know what to do with that info and at first I was disappointed that she didn't go along with it (ie: oh really?  What colour is your tractor?  What noises did it used to make?).  But thinking about it, I had to chuckle at what it must have looked like for that pharmacist: two year old boy with swollen eyes filling out TWO prescriptions for epipens and talking about a broken tractor...

I suppose even the best of us would hesitate at that one!

Duane professed that he is batting 0-1000 where administering Ethan's epipens are concerned and has crowned me "official epipen-giver" from now on.  We did have to chuckle together at that one.  (First time, he put it through Ethan's INNER thigh just missing a major artery!).

"It sure is different when it's your own kid."  Is all he needed to say.

Bottom line, Ethan is doing good.  His eyes were swollen for a couple of days but he's right back to his old self.  We are so appreciative of family's support (even Duane's mom had called to say there were collaborative efforts in place to watch the kids so I could go to the hospital, too).  It's a huge relief to know we have a network of loved ones ready and willing to help us in a moment's notice.

My heart aches for the families out there who face these challenges alone.  I could only imagine...

So may this find you all doing well and enjoying the very breaths you have taken unknowingly as you have read this entire outpour!  May you give thanks for the miracle of the intricate details God looked after in creating such incredible bodily functions.  And may you be blessed with the support of loved ones in your life... or BE a support to others.  We are all in this "life" thing together... and thank God for that!

Friday, 6 May 2011

Sea creatures in the sky

Just had to capture this little moment...

As I was driving in the van with the kids to pick up Isabel from a school (a forty-five minute commute one-way driven TWICE daily... sigh), Anika exclaimed "MOMMY!  I see a DOLPHIN!"

Naturally, I could not imagine where on earth in the long stretch of highway with nothing but fields on either side she could possibly spot a dolphin.  I glanced up in the rear view mirror to see her looking up at the sky.

The sky was perfectly blue and the sun was shining bright.  A much welcomed warmth after the gloomy days of rain and snow we've had this week.  Sure enough, in the sky were puffy white clouds.  I suppose one looked just like a whale.  (Anika seems to truly have an affinity to sea creatures... whereas they are my phobia... most intriguing!).

Before I could comment, she exclaimed with disappointment:

"Never mind, Mom.  It's just a sword fish."

Ah... the joys of being witness to a child's mind's process.  No wonder Jesus said that the kingdom belongs to those with the heart of a child.  Here are a few more precious biblical verses that speak of our world's precious children (English Standard Version).

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(Psalms 127:3-5 ESV)

“‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
(Matthew 21:15-16 ESV)

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.
(Matthew 18:10 ESV)

And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. “Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
(Matthew 18:2-6 ESV)

And they were bringing children to him that he might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
(Mark 10:13-16 ESV)

Enjoy in this day and in knowing that our world is filled with such beautiful children and the multitude of wise words, silly words and joyous laughter.  (Please note that I have left out whining, complaining, and crying... just trying to savour the moment... savouring it... ah yes.)