Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Fall

Tears of red and gold fall softly to the ground
The beauty you held releases around
You stand stripped and naked so you can survive
The cold is harsh and barren but you will not die.

You bravely endure the bitter times ahead
And slowly, so slowly, your soul starts to mend
New life quickens and surges, flowing hope to each part
Beauty lost now returns, unfurling love in your heart.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Thoughts: The appearance of Holy

My husband and I were in Europe for a few weeks this summer. It was a romantic second honeymoon that started in Paris (where I will be living in the near future, or so I dream). My husband, being the pastor that he is, dragged me into every old church we came across. We stood and stared at the incredible ceilings and frescoes and arches and soaked in the general 'majesticness' of the buildings.

Thousands of tourists enter these churches every year. I watched some of them—heck, I was one of them! We all gazed in awe at the appearance of holy and I found myself wondering how many people enter these great cathedrals and experience the Holy of God.

He was there, God/Jesus. There were figures of Him nailed to a cross hanging over the altars, paintings of Him performing miracles, being crucified or after He was raised from the dead. His story was everywhere.

My favourite of all the churches was Sainte Chapelle with it's soaring stained glass windows that fill the church with a mystical light.

As I stood in the nave and gazed at the workmanship I asked God some questions:

Are you here?

Does this building...with all its stained glass and expensive art and exquisite craftsmanship...does it please you? It was built for you, you know.

Then my thoughts turned inward:

Am I like this? Am I desperately trying to be like this old and glorious cathedral, just someone who has an appearance of holiness?

But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am Holy." 1 Peter 1:15-16

I fall short of holiness daily but I keep striving for it. I yearn to be holy, I plead that each day, moment, thought, decision is one that pleases God. And isn't that when Holy is found—in the little breaths of every day? Because if we can't be Christ-like in the little moments then the big moments will surely fall short. It seems silly to think that holy can be found when my daughter spills her milk on the floor...but that's the beautiful mystery of a life that yearns for God and is covered in grace.

And I did experience holy in Europe. It was in Germany, in a little church that sat at the bottom of a hill covered in gravestones and flowers and the greenest grass. The church was built in the 14th century. It had beautiful scenes painted on the walls that were faded by time. I watched the lives of two dearly loved people join as one. It was a holy moment. A little breath in time steeped in the presence of God.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #10

Confession #10: It's Time to be Broken

I have a problem. It's a big problem. I feel too much. I can't watch certain movies or read certain books because I become totally immersed in the things I watch and read, especially read. I don't read a book as a reader, I read it as the characters. I become each character. I put myself in their world and do their actions and say their dialogue. Does anyone else have this problem?

The kinds of books I have to stay away from are: ones with any kind of abuse; have anything to do with the Holocaust; have terrible tragedies ... the list continues. I like books that are light-hearted or feel-good driven. They are safe. All I feel is happy and fuzzy when I read those books.  I can also read about things that are not real, stuff that is fantasy-based. It's not real so it can't happen to me or someone I love and know. Safe.

How many of you have noticed that the world is not safe? No one is safe, really. Any one of us can die at any second. The world doesn't get safer if I put my head in the sand and only allow good things to surround me. In fact, I think it gets a little worse when I do that. Because I'm ignoring the evil rather than being a light standing in the midst of the darkness.

All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. ~Edward Burke
So then why do I do nothing? Because I feel it too much. It hurts too much. This is wrong. I should feel it. I should hurt. I should be broken over all the evil in the world. Brokeness spurs action. Jesus said, "GO into the world." I can't do that if I'm ignoring the world.

Heavy on my heart is the issue of human trafficking. This is a horrible, evil, massive problem that is in the world today. A good friend of mine, Vanessa, went to Thailand last year with a team of women from her church. They went into the darkness and loved the prostitutes. They talked to them, threw them a party, treated them like gold, looked them in their eyes and made sure they knew there was a way out if they wanted it. I admire her for doing that. She sent email updates that I received and read. She was broken. Every email I read I could feel her brokeness and I was broken, too. It was recommended to the team that they get counselling when they came home so they could learn how to deal with their experience. How many of us would take a vacation to do that? I think I mentioned that it was my friend, not me, who went on this trip. Enough said.

The more you know about the evil in the world, the harder it is to do nothing. But you have to be willing to be broken. You have to be willing to feel the pain of others and then DOING something about it. We have to become like Christ, as he hung on the cross and bore and FELT the full weight of our sin and then gave himself to save us. I think being a Christian is supposed to be hard. Really hard. I think I'm finally coming to the realization of how hard it should be and I am nowhere near it. This isn't the safe Christianity we so often model in our safe part of the world—clapping our hands to worship music and going to Swiss Chalet after. This is scary stuff. This is a faith like no other. It is taking a willing step into the darkness, letting your light shine and believing God is going to show up. It's breaking yourself and sharing the pieces with those around you, letting them take the pieces with no expectations that they will return them back to you.

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." Mark 14:22 (NIV).

If there is ever a time when we need to be broken, it's now. It's now because there are women and children being stolen, sold and traded for sex. It's now because people are starving and dying from lack of clean water. It's now because you can get shot while going to a movie. It's now because there are earthquakes and floods and people lose their homes and lose their loved ones and lose their hope. It's now because all around us this world is already broken and we need to break along with it so we can do our part to help heal it.

Break me, Lord.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #9 (Conclusion)

Confession #9: Fear really got a hold on me.

Conclusion: Faith, Hope and Love

If you are just joining me now, you can catch up by reading Part One and Part Two.

So, I've laid all my fears out there for you. Now what? What do I do now? What can I tell you? When praying about this part of my post, God spoke three words to me: Faith. Hope. Love.

FAITH (in God's word & promise):

My mom, after she read Part Two of this "Fear" series, sent me a blog post by Pete Wilson called "Worry is Killing Us". I thought it was so good that I would post it here:

"This morning I was looking at Matthew 6 and the one question Jesus asked in verse 27 has been totally messing with me. He asked,

Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Think about that question. Can anyone here honestly say the time they've spent in fear, anxiety, or worry has added any value to their life?

This particular word "worrying" translated in the Greek literally means "to be drawn in different directions." Worry pulls us apart. I read the other day where a John Hopkins University doctor said, "We do not know why it is that worriers die sooner than non-worriers, but that is a face."

I believe the reason worriers die before non-worriers is because we are inwardly fashioned for faith, not for fear. Fear, worry and anxiety is not true to the way we've been wired. Everything about you from your tissue ... to your brain cells ... to your soul is constructed by our Maker for faith and not fear. To live by fear is to live against the reality of your creation.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. - Philippians 4:6"

HOPE (filled attitude & focus):

"Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark." George Iles

My dad once told me, "never doubt in the dark what God told you in the light." Dark moments come. Fear comes. But those are the times to place your hope in the Lord. Hold out your hand and let Him take it and lead you through.

I love this passage from 2 Corinthians 4:16-18:

"Therefore we do not lose heart. [We hope!] Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes [we focus] not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

When I keep my eyes [my focus] fixed on the eternal the fears of the seen, of this world, dim. They lose strength, they lose power.

LOVE (expressed through actions):

I use to repeat "Perfect love drives out fear" over and over again when I was feeling scared. I would imagine God's perfect love for me getting rid of the fear. It never worked. Why? Because I missed the point. I took one little verse (not even the full verse, just part of it) and forced it to apply to my circumstance without finding out the context and therefore the truth of the verse.

Read it, 1 John 4:7-21, and you'll see it. Yes, it talks about God's love for us but the author is beseeching us to love one another. God's love for us should in turn drive us to love others. When we are showing the perfect love of Christ to other people, that's when fear is driven out. There is no room for fear to fester in our hearts or minds because we are doing the most important thing Christ asked of us: Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all your mind and all your strength AND love your neighbour as yourself. 

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #9 (Part Two)

Confession #9: Fear really got a hold on me.

Part Two: Obedience

In my previous "Confessions" post I confessed that fear had got a hold of my life especially where my children are concerned. God has shown me that my fear comes from wanting control.

About the time when I was finally finding some breakthrough in the area of my children a new fear came along. No rest for the weary and all that.

So this new fear is a fear that surrounds my writing.

Weird, right?

Even weirder is that I have a fear of succeeding, not failing.

There are two areas where my fear is focused. The first, I believe, is a healthy, God-given fear and it has to do with Pride.

My only goal when I write is to bring glory to God. Period. Anything I write I want it to be anointed by the Holy Spirit and always pointing people to recognizing a facet of who God is and, most importantly, that He loves them. But there are times (a lot of them) when someone compliments something of mine that they have read and I feel pride sneak in. Actually, it doesn't really sneak but rather marches in and sits on a large, gilded throne and sits all smug-like. When this happens, I get scared. I get scared that I'll stop giving God the glory and start taking it for myself because I already know that my flesh wants it.

Part of the reason I write my 'Confessions' blogs is to make sure you get the bad and the ugly of my life; you get the self-doubts and the struggles and my admission that I am nothing without Christ. It's a reminder to me. And you have permission, as my readers, to call me out if you find that I'm starting to slip into 'prideland'.

The second area is this: God has called me to write. I feel this call so strongly that I know there is a purpose for it. God wants to use it and He wants me to be faithful with the gifts He has given me. And this is where the fear of succeeding has smothered me. As I stepped out in obedience I heard a voice in my head telling me that if I did this, if I kept writing, then bad things would happen to me. Have you ever heard that voice? I hope you have. It means you are doing what God has called you to do. And I hope you ignored it and kept going. When we step out into the life God has for us, the enemy is not happy. The enemy doesn't want us to succeed and will try and stop us from doing so.

So, I would lay in bed and hear this voice and see pictures in my head of horrible things happening to my family (brings it right back to what I fear the most). Fear keeps trying to hold me back. Fear keeps trying to paralyze me or worse, tries to convince me to take the easy way, the safe way, the comfortable way, the logical way. It's lies...all of it.

It might be easier but it's not safer. The safest place to be is in the centre of God's will. God drove that point home last summer during my personal devotions then made a pastor speak it in a sermon...just for me and, for some mysterious reason, my daughter wanted to read the story of Jonah (who tried to run away from God's will and it turned out badly) EVERY NIGHT FOR A YEAR. There is a picture of Jonah crying and every time she would point to it and say, "Jonah is sad because he didn't do what God wanted him to do." Okay, God. I get it.

It might be more comfortable but it's not logical. What's logical about denying who you are supposed to be? Even the world keeps trying to convince people to be true to themselves so wouldn't you think it's even more important to be true to who Christ wants us to be? I do.

God showed me what to do in those wee hours of the morning when fear attacks me. He whispers in my ear to get up...and write. So I do.

Click here for the conclusion to "Fear really got a hold on me"!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #9 (Part One)

Confession #9: Fear really got a hold on me.

Part One: Control

I beat fear down with a stick on a daily basis. I shouldn't, but I do. There use to be times when I would let fear sink it's talons into me and drag me down, reducing me to a quivering mass or, I would give it a sissy slap and hope for the best. I've come a long way.

I still remember my very first nightmare. I was probably five when I had it the first of many times. I would have it over and over again. As the years past, different nightmares paid their visits and I tried everything to get rid of them: praying, listening to worship music, sleeping with the covers over my head, crawling into my parents bed (I still did this when I was 17 - very embarrassing). Nothing seemed to work. Fear had moved into my heart and we had a nice, cozy relationship.

 But all that was nothing compared to the fear that overtook me when I became a parent.

I spent the first two years of my daughter's life living in complete fear. It was everywhere; in every moment and every thought. I would put my daughter in the car and I would think, "what if we get into an accident?" I would give her a bath and while she would be laughing and splashing, I would be thinking, "what if she slipped and hit her head and somehow, even though I am right here, I'm not quick enough to save her and she drowns?"

I didn't have post-partum depression (PPD), I wasn't sad or depressed, I was just trapped in fear.

I understood this fear. I love my kids. If anything happened to them it would be my worst nightmare.

I begged and pleaded with God about this fear in my life. "Take it away!" I would cry over and over again. But sometimes God likes to work long and slow on some things. The thing God has chosen to work long and slow on with me is: Control

I discovered, through a lot of prayer and listening to what God was trying to say to me, that my fear regarding my children was about wanting control.

I remember standing over my daughter's crib when she was a newborn and hearing God say to me, "Now give her back to me." That's when this particular fear came. It gripped my heart and all I could think was, "God, if I do that, if I give her back to you, then I am giving you permission to take her whenever you want. What if you take her from me when I'm not ready? What if you take her from me PERIOD?" I couldn't handle that. But then God said this, "I can do that anyway but I want you to trust me. I want you to trust that I love her more than you do. And if I love her more than you then I am going to take care of her, even if you don't understand the ways in which I do so."

Heavy. Hard.

After three days of wrestling through that I said "okay" to God and in my heart, I gave my daughter back to Him. Every day since, I have made it a point to give my children back to God. For a long time part of me waited for the shoe to drop, waited for the test to come, waited for the Job moment...you know...the one where everything is ripped away from you to see if you would still praise God? Well, I lived there, in anticipation of that Job moment. Sometimes I still do. Sometimes it's still there. But the more I keep giving the control back to God the better it gets. Some days it comes fairly easy but most days it's still hard and I find myself beating the fear back with a stick before remembering to shove the stick into God's hands saying, "Sorry. I tried to take control again. Take it back, please."

So, we're working on the control thing, long and slow, me and God. But what about my other fears...the ones that aren't tied up in my children? Click here for Part Two: Obedience.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #8

Confession #8: There's a crack in my shellac.

About six years ago, God reminded me of my passion to write and I've been writing ever since. It's been a rather solitary calling; fitting in writing my novels between kids, job, church and the like. But then I started this blog. I started it because I just wanted something 'out there' that would allow me to practice writing. It's a place I come to, to bring order to my thoughts––I have a lot of those. And, it's a place where I can find something to write even when my WIPs are feeling dead-in-the-water. Then I started this series, 'Confessions of a Pastor's Wife'. I started writing this series because I wanted people to know that just because someone is a pastor's wife, and a committed Christian, doesn't mean they don't struggle. I have questions about God just as much as the next person. I read the Bible, I know what it says but when God says, 'now go live that'...well...my flesh rebels. A lot.

I'm thrown up against my 'humaness' time and time again. It's frustrating, painful and exhausting. In these moments of 'humaness' I make mistakes. Lots of them. I say things without thinking, write things without really seeing how people will read it and have had it all come back to bite me in the...behind. I've learned some tough lessons and had to eat humble pie like a big girl. Not fun.

But God knows me. Boy, does He ever! I think sometimes He lets me make a few mistakes to keep me humble. He knows that if I got it right all the time, my pride would kick in and I'd lose sight of what His plan was. I'd become a cliché––a perfect pastor's wife––shellacked from head to toe, too concerned with being fake shiny rather than letting God shine through me.

So, thanks, God! Thanks for continually cracking off any layers of shellac I try to put on. Thanks for reminding me how to be humble. Thanks for continually working on me to be a better follower of you.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #7

Confession #7: I think I'm bi.

A few years ago my brother told me he was gay...ya, you heard me...and all I could think was:

I'm not surprised.

And I wasn't. Not one bit. For years I had felt that he was probably gay and I said nothing. I've deeply regretted that. I wish I had had the courage to talk to him sooner. Been a shoulder, an ear, or a hug for him during those years. But I was scared to talk about "it".

I was scared to give "it" a name. I was scared to even say the word "gay" out loud just in case my saying it made it true. It sounds silly writing it now but that's how I felt then. Because if it was true...well, I didn't really know what would happen, I just knew it would be hard.

Some of you might not like that I would write that it would be hard. You may probably be thinking, "it should be easy accepting that someone is gay". And it might be that way on tv, or how society is starting to think now, but that wasn't the world I grew up in. It wasn't the world a lot of people grew up in. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, just how it is. So, yes, I knew it would be hard.

But it did happen. He did tell the family and this is what ended up happening:

A family meeting was called.

Now, that might sound extreme to some, normal to others or just weird. I don't know. I just know that this is my family's response to things and one of the reasons I love the family I'm in.

You don't need to know everything about the meeting, some things are deeply personal, but the main thing that was said was "we love you". And we made a commitment. A commitment to walk this journey no matter how messy (Christian family with a just-out-of-the-closet member kinda messy) it got because we are family and we are going to fight for family.

So here is my messy...and I hope Christians and LGBTs alike hear my heart because baring my soul is quite hard when I know some people won't like what I have to say.

One part of me doesn't struggle with the fact that my brother is gay. I love him! I want him to have all the things I have and I know he wants––a spouse and kids. He wants to adopt kids. I can't picture a better partner for someone and a loving father to children who need a home. He grew up in the same house I did where saving yourself for marriage, monogamy, and the like, were taught and he values those virtues as much as I do.

Then, on the flip side, my understanding of the Bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. And I'm lost as to what to say to my kids when they are old enough to understand. I asked my brother to treat his boyfriend like a friend, not a boyfriend, when my kids are around––he was not happy! Boy, was he not happy. Then I said I was just trying to protect them...that didn't help. Because all he heard was that I needed to protect my kids from HIM! And I'm horrified that he would think that I would be thinking that but stepping back I see how he took it that way.

See. Messy.

And I still flip from one side to the other. Daily. Hourly. I'm flipping back and forth as I write this. I'm not pro-gay or no-gay, I'm...bi-gay. Ha! Go figure.

My prayer (plea) has become, "God, I have no sweet clue what you want me to do. The only thing I want to do is honour you. Show me how to do that...PLEASE!"

So far I've gotten one thing: God wants me to love Him and love people. When Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment was, he replied with a two-fold response: "Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, all of your soul and all of your strength AND love your neighbour as yourself."

Love God. Check.

Love your neighbour as yourself. What does that look like? For me, it looks a little like this: When someone is hurt, comfort them; when they are happy, laugh with them; when they are crying, cry with them; when they need a hug, give them one; when they need a friend, be one; when they are being bullied, stand up for them. It's what I would hope someone would do for me so that's what I can do for others.

In this journey with my brother, I've discovered that I don't have to agree with everything to give him the support he needs. During a bad break-up he came over and sobbed it out. Ice cream was involved. He was hurting so I hurt for him and that's all that mattered.

I've also discovered that we don't have to agree on everything to treat each other with respect. Actually, I found that out when I got married (ha!) but it applies here too. And just like in a marriage, I've discovered that it takes both parties to think the same way. The LGBT community wants to be loved and respected for who they are and the Christian community would like the same courtesy extended to them. It's really thinking about what you say before you say it. How will it make the other person feel? It's respecting the journey each of us are on.

No matter who we are, our treatment of people should never come with stipulations. It should never matter if someone is gay or straight, what race they are, if they have an addiction or are homeless or don't believe the same things you do, for us to show love to them rather than spew hatred.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3

"And now I will show you the most excellent way. If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing."

1 John 4: 8

"Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love."

So, there you have it. I love gay people.

p.s. this post has been gay brother approved.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #6

Confession #6: It's super duper hard celebrating when I'm suppose to.

It's Easter weekend. The pivotal weekend of Christianity. Pretty much the whole point of my faith is celebrated this weekend. And I don't feel like it.

I would like to say, "it's because I celebrate it every day" or something more profound, but I can't. I'm human just like everyone else and life smothers me sometimes and I forget to focus on God instead of the budget or what I'm going to make for dinner or if Castle will finally tell Beckett how he feels.

Easter equals one thing in this house. BLACK OUT. It means my husband has to work. There is no time off and no long meal with the family where we all relax and eat too much. What it does equal is me being home, alone, with the kids. All by myself. Poor me.

Okay, it's not that bad. My parents live down the street, my brother and sister-in-law live not too far away, so I have family around. But it's not the same. Not the same as having my husband home.

Excuse me. This is God interrupting this blog. Jordan, I'd like to have a word with you.

Uh...okay. Speak Lord, I'm listening...??

Do you love your husband?


Are you proud of him?


Would you rather he worked somewhere else instead of doing what I called him to do?

No...although he does sometimes...

That's not where I'm taking this.


Okay, now more importantly, do you love me?

Of course I do!

Do you love your son?


Would you like to give your son up and have him die a gruesome death to save mankind?

Is that a trick question?


No, I wouldn't! I don't think I could.

Now how do you feel? Knowing once again that I did that for you? That my son did that for you?

Humbled, grateful, unworthy...there are no proper words to express the gratitude I feel.

You're welcome.

Thanks for the reminder.

Anytime. I love you.

I love you too.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #5

Confession #5: I believe in Creation AND Evolution...say what?!

"The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books - a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects." - Albert Einstein

I know my title sounds shocking but, in reality, a lot of Christians have a Theistic Evolution viewpoint.

Here's how my viewpoint can play out:

I have awesome friends on Facebook; friends that post stuff like this: The Most Astounding Fact of the Universe by Neil deGrasse Tyson:

"The most astounding fact is the knowledge that the atoms that comprise life on earth, the atoms that make up the human body are traced to the crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements in their core under extreme measurements and pressures. These stars, the high mass ones among them, went unstable in their later years. They collapsed and then exploded, scattering their enriched guts across the galaxy. Guts made of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and all the fundamental ingredients of life."

Now, some people might be happy with that. It sounds amazing and intelligent. But all I can think is: where did the "crucibles that cooked light elements into heavy elements" come from? What about "the stars, the high mass ones among them, that went unstable and exploded and scattered their guts"? Where did those come from?

Ilya Prigogine, a Chemist-Physicist and two-time Nobel Prize recipient said: "The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero."

Sure, stars could have exploded out their fundamental ingredients of life guts. When I read the Bible and it says "God created", my writer's mind goes crazy with all the different ways it could have happened. Star guts is as good as any. I can work with that.

Neil deGrasse Tyson goes on to say: "when I look up at the night sky and I know, yes, that we are part of this universe, we are in this universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that the universe is in us. When I reflect on that fact...when I look up...I feel big because my atoms came from those stars. That's what we want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant, you want to feel like you are a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you. That's precisely what we are, just by being alive." [Cue emotionally moving Coldplay soundtrack].

Now, some people might be happy with that. It sounds moving and romantic. But all I can think is: there has to be more! More then I've just got some universe atoms and therefore connected. That doesn't satisfy the deepest inner desires of me. So what...when I die my atoms just go back into the universe but I cease to exist? If that's the case then what's the point of life if I become nothing, remember nothing, am a memory to a few people only for a little while until they die and become nothing too?


Even more depressing is wondering what the point of having children is if ultimately they just become universe atoms again. Sure, they bring joy but they also bring a heavy dose of worry, fear, sleepless nights and yes...sometimes pain. Why go through all of that if we're just a bunch of atoms?

I wouldn't.

But I would go through all of that if I believed that God had a plan for them, that He wanted an eternity for them and that He loved them.

Billy Graham was quoted saying: "I don't think there's any conflict at all between Science today and the Scriptures. I think we have misinterpreted the Scriptures many times and we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say. I think that we have made a mistake by thinking the Bible is a scientific book. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course, I accept the Creation story. I believe that God did create the universe. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process and at a certain point He took this person or being and made him a living soul or not, does not change the fact that God did create man...whichever way God did it makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God." (Billy Graham: Personal Thoughts of a Public Man, by David Frost and Fred Bauer)

Ah! Ding! God+Man = Relationship

Let's take that last bit from Mr. Tyson and reword it to how I would say it:

"When I look up at the night sky and I know, yes, that God created this universe, we are part of His universe, but perhaps more important than both of those facts is that He created me. When I reflect on that fact...when I look up...I feel big because I was created for a reason. That's what we want in life, you want to feel connected, you want to feel relevant, you want to feel like you are a participant in the goings on of activities and events around you. That's precisely what we are, just by being alive."

My dad said this to me once:
If I believe in God and I'm wrong, I've lost nothing.
If I don't believe in God and I'm right, I've lost nothing.
If I believe in God and I'm right, I've gained everything.
If I don't believe in God and I'm wrong, I've lost everything.

One thing I do know: 
It takes just as much faith to believe that God started it all or something else did. Science can't answer that part. And I like God's ending better.

Friday, 30 March 2012

Thoughts: As Long as You're Happy.

I hear this phrase a lot and it drives me crazy. It comes with different variations:

I'm just going to do what makes me happy.
Just do what makes you happy.
If you're happy, that's what's important.
It it feels good, just do it.

We all want to be happy. I get it. I want to be happy. I want my life to be one big happy party complete with daily massages and cake for every meal. But I've learned that I can't base my decisions on 'me feeling happy' because sooner rather than later I'll make the wrong decision.

Example: If I get up every morning and decide what to do that day based on what will make me happy, I wouldn't go to work. Not that I don't enjoy my job. I do. But if I wanted to be really happy, I would stay home and write, or stay home and spend the day with my kids. That would make me happy. But I have bills to pay so I go to my job.

Let's apply this saying to the extreme. Would you tell a pedophile "as long as you're happy"? Probably not. Their happiness would mean someone else's nightmare. 

What if your kid wants to join the circus at the age of ten. "Well, junior, if that will make you happy then you should go do it." I think not.

When I die, I don't want people to say "she did what made her happy", I want them to say "she did what was righteous."

Now, I'm not talking 'self-righteous' - I don't want to become that. Ever. The origin of 'righteous' comes from the Old English word rihtwīs, meaning right and wise.

Righteous does not always equal happiness. Sometimes righteous sucks. Sometimes righteous is painful. Sometimes righteous is so hard that even a glimmer of happiness is nowhere near it. 

Example: Being a Christian does not make me happy a lot of the time. Turning the other cheek, loving my enemies, forgiving people who hurt me, listening to hatred being spewed all over God and my faith and then telling them God loves them too. Hard. Super duper hard.

So why do it? Why strive to live a righteous life?

Because I get something better than happiness. I get peace. Peace in spite of my circumstances, peace no matter what happens. Happiness? Sure, sometimes, and that's great. I'm not going to deny the happiness that comes my way. But there is a big difference when at the end of life I can say "It is well with my soul" versus "Sure, I'm happy".

Phillipians 4:8-9

"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable––if anything is excellent or praiseworthy––think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me––put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #4

Confession #4: I hate dislike Niagara Falls.

My brother-in-law was home for a visit recently and brought along his lovely girlfriend. His girlfriend is from Germany and has never been to Canada before so we went to the Falls. I was again reminded why I don't enjoy Niagara Falls.

My lack of enjoyment has a little bit to do with the monstrosity that is Clifton Hill and everything to do with my urge to hurl myself over the railing and be swept over to my death.

Okay, so don't misread the above - although I'm sure you are thinking, "What's there to misread? You are crazy!" and while I get why you would think that (another reason I'm probably in a Twelve Step group) what I don't want you to think is that I am suicidal in any way and that you need to plan an intervention on my behalf. I'm not suicidal. Far opposite of it. Too many reasons to live - my kids topping that long and glorious list.

Okay, back to why I want to hurl myself over the rail.

Niagara Falls is AWEsome. The Falls have so much power that you can feel it deep in your bones. The speed of the water as it rushes to the edge and the force that is generated as gravity drags the water to the rocks below is amazing. It's HUGE and thrilling and scary and I'm drawn to it. Some people would look at the wonder of Niagara Falls and see the Glory of God and me...well, I'm reminded of sin.

Ya, let's get all deep and thoughtful and stuff.

Niagara Falls reminds me of my desire for sin. How there are times when I can be so drawn to it. It can be a siren's call that part of me wants to just answer and fling myself in its path and be swept away in the rush of it all. But then the Falls remind me that if I do that then my death is inevitable.

Did you know that on a sunny day you can look over at the American side of the Falls and see the fish jumping right at the top, right where the water falls over the edge? You just know that they were swimming along, enjoying the ride, thinking life was grand then all of a sudden they realized they were falling to their impending doom and they made that last ditch effort to somehow jump back up into the river...a futile attempt if there ever was one.

Poor fish.

Glad I'm not a fish.

Glad I've got a God that reached down and pulled me out of the river when I asked him to. Glad he's a God that will snatch anyone up, even if they rode the river right to the edge and were tumbling over it. When we call out to him He doesn't stick us into a barrel and say: "Good luck, maybe you'll make it", He comes down and rescues us!

Psalm 40:2 "He lifted me out of the slimy pit [raging Niagara River], out of the mud and mire [as I went hurdling over the edge of the Falls]; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand."

Now that is AWEsome. Okay, maybe I sort of like Niagara Falls after all.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #3

Confession #3: I'm in a Twelve Steps group.

No, I am not an alcoholic, a drug addict and I didn't have a traumatic childhood. My parents love me, I get along with my brothers and sisters and I think my in-laws are great (I know, right?!). So what the heck do I need to be in a Twelve Steps group for?

Here's how I came to be in a Twelve Steps group in 12 steps (so appropriate!) and then I will give you my answer:

1. Receive email asking me to join a Twelve Steps group.

2. Have mental breakdown wondering why they would ask me to join: What is wrong with me? Do they somehow see faults and flaws I don't? Do they somehow know about the faults and flaws that I thought I was doing such a good job at hiding? Why is this happening to me?

3. Stew about this all day.

4. Husband comes home from work.

5. Husband asks me "Hey, did you get that invite to Twelve Steps? I think it will really help our marriage."

6.  Oh. No. He. Didn't.

7. He tells me he will be in his own Twelve Step group.

8. Calm down. A little. Okay, not really.

9. Rush around getting dinner ready for the family, put kids to bed, ignore the disaster of toys spread around the house, try to write something, fall asleep on the couch, wake up and have a minor meltdown that there is no TIME for anything! Why don't I have energy? I can't do this anymore!!!!

10. Research Twelve Steps and read Step One.

11. Email back to say I will be a part of the group

12. Go to my first class. Step One: We admit that we are powerless and that our lives have become unmanageable.

Answer: I'm human. I'll take all the help I can get.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #2

Confession #2: I enjoyed reading both the Twilight series and the Harry Potter series.

Christians all over just read this title, gasped, then judged me. Since I'm already this deep into my confession let's just take it one step further - I have also seen all the movies (to date) associated with the books. I am one of those people eagerly anticipating 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2'. I will line up with all the crazed fans and roll my eyes as they scream at the screen that they love Edward or Jacob.

Author update: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 has come and gone and guess what...I haven't seen it. I also got rid of my Twilight books. Why? God convicted me. That's right. It happens. Something I felt I had freedom to watch/read I no longer do. Do I impose this on everyone? Nope. But God spoke to me and I listened. And...it doesn't bother me one bit :)

I started reading Harry Potter because, at the time, I worked at Chapters (best job ever!) and tons of parents were coming in and buying these books for their kids. So I was curious and read them.

I started reading Twilight because the girls in the youth group that my husband pastored at the time were all reading it and talking about it. So I was curious and read them.

Common thread: it's what the kids are reading.

Observation: We are spiritual beings drawn to supernatural things.

Confession #2.1: Twilight and Harry Potter are the reason I write Christian YA Fiction.

Part of being a Christian is believing, among so many other things, that we have a soul and that when we die, we pass from this life and will spend eternity with Jesus. It's believing in angels and demons and that there is a war going on for said soul.

Supernatural is cool + Christianity is full of the supernatural = I think Christianity is pretty darn cool!! I think we've lost sight of that. So that's my mission. To write things that bring the supernatural back into Christianity.

Now to just finish my edits, find an agent and/or publisher, do more edits based on their suggestions and publish my book so you can all read it...easy peasy.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Confessions of a Pastor's Wife: Confession #1

I'm starting a new little series on my blog: Confessions of a Pastor's Wife. A huge part of my life is affected by what my husband does. I can't get away from it. I tried to leave it behind on here but it's impossible. So I'm just going to share all the funny and not so funny things as honestly as I can. Enjoy!

Confession #1: I love the reaction I get when people find out that my husband is a pastor.

This little tidbit of information about myself doesn't usually come up in conversation with clients, colleagues, etc. until after they have gotten to know me and they have already deemed me nice, normal, likeable, etc. (well, I assume that's what they think of me). But whenever someone finds out, it goes a little like this:

Person: So, what does your husband do?

Me: He's a pastor.

[Person's eyes widen and I watch as their brain practically explodes as they trace back all of our conversations and count every swear word spoken and off-colour joke told].

Person: Wow, that's cool. [They say this very casual like]. Is that different from a minister?

Me: No, it's the same thing.

[Silent pause]

Person: You know, my sister is Catholic.

Me: Okay...

Person: I mean, s**t, you don't hear about people actually choosing to be a pastor these days. Oh my G*d, I'm so sorry for swearing.

Me: Funny enough I'd rather hear 's**t' than 'Oh my G*d'.

Person: Oh my...god...ness! I meant to say goodness!

Me: Hey, no worries.

Person: You don't look like a pastor's wife.

I'm pretty sure this is what people picture when they think about what a pastor's wife looks like:

This is usually when the conversation either goes back to the topic we started talking about in the first place or when Person would like to have a deep theological discussion. I am happy to do either. Keeps life interesting :)