I am still confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord
Psalm 27: 13-14

Friday, June 17, 2011

Good byes are never an easy thing...

The word goodbye is just so final sounding.  Even to those who know eternity is just around the corner, and our once "goodbye" will change to eternity with the ones we have loved, the ones we have lost and the ones we never got to meet on this earth.

The last little while has been a growing time for me.  And a challenge.  Ending with another "goodbye for now".
I won't go in to personal details, but the past few days have really been a test for me. 

My relationship with God had become much stronger.  Through reading a WONDERFUL book (Psalm 91) I faced many areas in my life that I had become to complacent in with my relationship.  And realized that I was blaming God for so many things that I KNEW He wasn't just "doing" to me...and I knew it wasn't about Him causing me heartache just to turn back to Him. 
I turned back (not that I ever left my faith...let me just get that straight right off the bat.  I just got lazy!) to Him because I realize more than ever that it is in these times of sadness and heartbreak and goodbyes that I need Him all the more.  To carry my burdens.  And to realize that He holds the ones I long to see.

Life is full of tests.  Life is full of evil and sin and darkness.  But it is also full of grace, and love and opportunities to trust that God remains true to His word.  All He can do is extend His hand to us.  He will never force Himself on us.  And He does not create sadness "just because". 

I know when life is going good for me it is easy for me to stay in His word and belt out the praise and worship songs and prayers.  Yet, when life throws a curve ball...no matter how logically you knew odds to be in your situation...it's so easy to want to get angry and say "but I was trusting You!  I was being faithful!  I was being strong!" (insert feet pounding on the ground in temper tantrum style!)

Guess what...those are the times where we need to STAY trusting.  To STAY faithful.  To STAY strong.  No tantrum foot-stomping, no fist-in-the-air waving.  To STAY in His word.  To keep belting out those praise and worship songs.

Yes...the ache in my heart remains.  They feel like they keep adding up.  But by remaining focused on God's love and faithfulness and protection and promise to carry me through all things (if I let Him!!)...the ache stays at bay and doesn't turn to bitterness and accusations.

The enemy knows my weakness.  He knows where to beat me up when I fall down.  He knows that I find it very easy to blame myself for things that were never in my control.  He knows that I want to keep my guard up against hope when hope seems to fail.
But I realize this more and more.  I realize his ways.  I realize the horrid, awful thoughts that he whispers to me.  And even though it is easy for me to fall for them and believe them...I am believing more and more that my God loves me more than I know.  And more than I deserve.  And that He hurts when I hurt.  And all He wants to do is to be there for me.  But I have to be the one to let Him. 

I have a hard time admitting to people my true feelings.  For some reason I just plaster on this smile and ensure that everything is okay, and that I'm doing okay.  Most of the time it is true.  But for some reason I guess I just fear that when someone asks me how I'm doing...they really won't be prepared for my answer some times.  And I already know they don't have the answers to my sorrows...so I don't want to make things awkward.  To smile and put on the brave front is easier.  Granted...that creates a big feeling of loneliness a lot of the times.  But, that is my choice, unless I allow a person in to the details of my heart.  But that is scary for me.
And I guess after Zac passed away...I felt the same with God.  I was scared to allow Him the details of my heart, because I didn't know how to talk about it, and I didn't want to hurt when I didn't get an answer.

But I'm learning.  I am.  And through this last disappointment I am really trying really hard to stay focused on God's voice and His truths.

As always...music is the key to my heart.  And although it often is also a huge opening to a floodgate of tears, it is good to have those moments.

A few songs from the CD Here Is Love (Bethel Live) have been really strong encouragers for me.  Hard to hear, scary to claim as my own...but a true challenge to my new-found strength in my relationship with God.
I'd like to share the lyrics...


You hold my every moment
You calm my raging sea
You walk with me through fire
You heal all my disease

I trust in You

I believe you're my healer
I believe you are all I need
I believe you're my portion
I believe you're more than enough for me
Jesus you're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

I Need You More

I need You more, more than yesterday
I need You more, more than words can say
I need You more, than ever before
I need You Lord, I need You Lord

More than the air I breathe, More than the song I sing
More than the next heartbeat, More than anything
And Lord as time goes by, I'll be by Your side
Cause I never want to go back to my old life

Let Heaven Shout

I surrender all to You my God
I will give You all I have
For You took my filthiness and made me clean

I love You Lord Your praises I will sing
Let Heaven shout for I have been redeemed.

I lay down my life, my plans, my rights
For I'm captured by Your love
And though I lose this world I will know You

Nothing compares to knowing You

These songs are a true test for me.  As I listen to them, and sing them...I often don't get through more than the first line of each before turning in to a ball of tears.  It is so hard to allow oneself to be so vulnerable, even to a God who knows my everything.  He created me.  He loves the real me, and accepts me as I am.
But He also requires my love to Him, and if I take myself out from under the umbrella of His protection...how can I expect a relationship to grow and strengthen.
It is a two-way street.

So even though our goodbyes feel like the pain will never disappear...the truth is...our goodbyes are only temporary until we gather in eternity.
For that...I will be glad.

Sending out prayers to those of you who are hurting through whatever life circumstance has come your way...and praying for God's protection and strength.  Do not lose hope.  Do not give up on God. 
And know you have someone praying for you!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Update, and what I have been learning...

 "Riding" the bear at the Calgary Zoo!

Evan LOVED all the bright fish!

Well, we'll start with a quick update.  Things are good.  Evan is wonderful and growing more and more each day.  Talking up a storm and loving riding his bikes (which he calls motorbikes because he LOVES motorbikes!), and still loving every sport imaginable!  We have discovered he has quite the amazing golf swing!! 
He is either going to be one busy kid, or he'll have to choose carefully the sports he wants to do the most!
He is the light of my life, and we are just having such a blast with him the more verbal and independent he is becoming!  He is definitely polite, but opinionated!  Hmmmm, wonder who he takes after! 

We made a trip to Medicine Hat and Calgary last week, which was fun.  And we finally got to take Evan to the Calgary Zoo!!  Brett and I haven't been there in 14 years, so this was just as big of an adventure for us as it was for Evan.  And Evan just LOVED the animals!  And running freely of course!  We went early enough where there weren't too many crowds, but by the end we kept him in very close sight! 

It's fun to get away, but good to be home too.  Even if it's back to the noise and dirt of all the construction around us!  But I'm actually getting "used" to it.  So it doesn't really bother me.

What DOES bother me is as the houses begin to go up farther behind us...I am bound to lose the view of Zac's cemetery tree line...and for some reason that really bothers me.  At least I have that clear view now.  Yes, it's hard to see it with the realization of how wrong it is not to have Zac HERE in our HOME with all of us where he belongs.  And I know, he really isn't THERE in that cemetery or casket.  I know he is home...his true home.  And I know he runs freely, and laughs...and I can just see those gorgeous, precious eyes of his...just as they found my eyes when he would hear my voice...I know he knows he is loved and missed.  But I know he does not want me to be sad all the time.  I know he wants me to live and love and laugh and make him proud. 

Back to our trip.  Evan did AMAZING on both the drive up and back.  I would sit in the back with him from time to time and we'd watch a movie or draw on his AquaDoodle or read or just be silly together.
While we were in Calgary Evan was GLUED to his big cousin Jacob (who is in grade 7).  Evan just followed him around every where and just LOVED Jacob!!  One night when I was putting Evan to bed and he had already fallen asleep he started to jabber in his sleep and then I heard him say Jacob's name!  It was ADORABLE!!
And Jacob was an awesome big cousin to entertain Evan so well!!  Jacob...you are hired!!!  Come for a week and stay with us this summer!! :) hee hee hee.

Now, on to what I've been learning lately.
Things have been busy.  And I had been feeling so unbelievably anxious and stressed.  Not unusual for me to feel that way.
One day, I had enough.
I was SOOOOO tired of feeling that gut wrenching stress and worry.  And so tired of telling myself over and over how much I didn't like feeling that way.
I had shared those feelings with a friend.  She prayed...and I knew it...because I knew God was working in me HUGE!
Through days where I would normally feel off the wall stress with circumstances...I felt unbelievable peace.  I felt such an UNfamiliar calm.  I began to REALLY believe it when I would tell myself that all I can do is live for the day, and that none of the common "dark" scenarios of the future that I would create had a place in my mind or my life any more!  I was done.  I AM done with that.  I am so tired of feeling a heaviness.  I am so tired of worrying...or should I say, CREATING worry about a future that is unknown to me.  What good was it doing me?  What good could it have been doing all these years?
NO good!
Just heaviness, and doubt, and fear, and frustration...
just what the enemy would want, DID want, DOES want.

But he doesn't have me any more!

Ya sure, I'm going to have moments, and I'm going to feel those nerves from time to time...but I'm learning where my strength TRULY comes from.  I'm living out the truth.  I'm not just saying the religious jargon and verbal cliches any more.  I'm LIVING it!  Because I WANT to live it.  I WANT to feel God's presence.  I WANT to feel His strength, and His guidance, and His peace, and His assurance that through whatever circumstance and whatever my future may or may not hold...it's in HIS hands...and He has ME in His hands as well.

Purchasing a few new AWESOME CD's have certainly helped too.  Music has always been a key for my heart and my hinderances.  And these CD's have been SOOOOOOO good for me!  I listen to them EVERY day, and every time I'm in my vehicle.

I've also started reading a book recommended by a wonderful friend.  It's called Psalm 91 by Peggy Joyce Ruth and Angelia Ruth Schum.
How Psalm 91 is a shield for us from God...HOWEVER, many lessons am I learning in devouring this book!
It goes through Psalm 91 verse by verse...and it is AMAZING!  I really recommend it!!

I know the enemy knows my weaknesses.  I know he knows where to go in for the kill to pull me down.  And I'm learning more and more how I need to protect myself from that.  To see those moments and take them captive before he has a chance to disrupt all that has been changing within me.
I know he knows he has a fight on his hands, and I know that can often mean a war...but I'm equiping myself.  I am getting prepared. 
And in the moments of disappointment that may arise...I HAVE to trust that good or sad...God will always carry me through...if I ask Him, and LET Him.
The offer is always there from Him...and it's up to ME to accept.

Life is too hard battling on your own.  It's too frustrating to put on the happy face for others yet screaming out from the inside wishing someone would come by your side. 
So...a new friendship rekindled...which has brought about an amazing prayer warrior in my life.
A new relationship with God rekindled...worth the battle.  And the battle is won with Him on my side.

Every day I live by the words "live for today...for this very day.  See the blessings of today, and trust God with tomorrow." 

My words.  

A song from one of the most recent CD's I purchased is playing right now...and I just have to share the lyrics:

Let Heaven Shout
(CD: Here is Love - Bethel Live)

I surrender all to You my God
I will give You all I have
For You took my filthiness and made me clean
I love you Lord Your praises I will sing
Let heaven shout for I have been redeemed.
I lay down my life, my plans, my rights
For I'm captured by Your love
And though I lose this world I will know You.
Nothing compares to knowing You.