Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Praise The Lord

Praise the Lord, oh my soul, praise the Lord
Praise the Lord, oh my soul, praise the Lord
Praise the Lord, oh my soul, praise the Lord

This small chorus has filled my heart to overflowing today. I'm not sure why but I'm singing it over & over. Perhaps its just something the Lord needs to hear from me, or perhaps its something I need to hear. Either way, I'm uplifted & full of praise today!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Blues

"Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; For I shall yet praise Him, the help of my countenance and my God." Psalm 42:11

It is no secret that I dislike January. Every year I feel restless & start to question everything. I get cabin-fever, Vitamin D deficient missing the sunshine, discontent longing for spring and just generally BLUE.

Yesterday was no exception. I feel like I woke on the wrong side of the bed and could not find a way to make the day better. I was an impatient parent, a grumpy wife and stayed sour within my head all day long. I felt cooped up, sad, lonely, bored, miserable.  I'm longing for Spring in the south and dreading the long cold winter of the north.

I know I get this way every January. Its when we think we need to make new life plans, or start talking about travelling to some place warm. We spend a lot of time evaluating things, wondering why we are where we are in all aspects of life.

I woke this morning praying that today would be a better day. I'm not feeling it yet. I'm playing worship music over & over in hopes to inspire an attitude change. I'm paging through the Psalms, hoping to read that one verse that will transform my heart. There are many uplifting verses in Psalms, I see them, I read them... but today I do not feel them. I continue to read, to pray, to meditate... I know that He is right beside me, despite my mood, probably with His arms around me speaking comfort into my deaf ears.

Open my ears, Lord, that I may receive your comfort. Change my heart that I may receive Your joy and peace.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's -30C and sunny out...

"Blessed be Your name when the sun's shining down on me, when the world's all as it should be, Blessed be Your name."

Its cold! Very cold here in northern Alberta! While our family to the south is getting dumped on by snow, we're getting hammered with cold temps! I'm quite wimpy when it comes to the cold so needless to say, I don't go out much in it and the extra cold of the north makes me more of a hermit. It makes me a bit homesick for southern BC and its mild temperatures. 

But a day like today, despite the cold, still uplifts my heart. Though you can't really see it in the photo, EVERYTHING is sparkling in the northern sunshine today. The whole world around us is bright, brilliant, beautiful and I'm feeling blessed!

The sun brings life, vitality, growth, renewal...and that's how its making me feel today! Thank you Lord for the sunshine on this icy cold day!

Friday, January 07, 2011

Can You Hear Me, God?

It is no secret that I've been waiting & desiring to hear the Lord's voice. I feel like I've had a lot of questions for Him this past year and that I've been desiring to hear His direction. I often hear other people say that God spoke to them, or that they knew it was from God that they were going to do something, say something, etc. How I desire this!

I know God speaks to us in many many ways, sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly. Through people, through dreams, through Scripture, through songs, through our thoughts. Why do I feel so tone deaf to hearing it? I know God isn't the problem... I'm certain He's tried to reach me many of these ways but I feel like my ears are shut and I can't recognize the word of the Lord. Its making me sad, no sorrowful, because the longing only grows.

So, I just happened to notice this book on our bookshelf yesterday. We're having a tough time up here in northern Alberta and compound that with the fact that its January and we're smack dab in the middle of the Winter Blahs! And I'm back to earnestly desiring God's voice. So what choice did I have but to pick this book up. Perhaps this is one of His ways of communicating with me, saying READ THIS BOOK! I'm talking to you right now! Open your ears!

The first chapter I read lastnight is called "My Sheep Hear My Voice" and parallels Jesus as our Good Shepherd and He knows us and we know Him by His voice. It gave all these examples of how God may have communicated to us in the past and how He is trying to reach us now.

I'm starting to realize the problem with my God-deafness. I'm only waiting for the answer to my questions, meanwhile, I'm missing out on the rest of the conversation. God has been telling me lots of things, wanting me to listen to all the other things He needs for me to hear, but I have shut them out, waiting to hear the answer to just one question.

It showed me the example of how I tend to pray, like I'm leaving a message to God on His answering machine and waiting for Him to call me back with His answer, hanging up before He gets a word in edgewise... never pausing to listen if He has anything else to talk to me about.

I'm missing on the best part, the friendship, the communion, the relationship and treating God like a 'question and answer' survey that I've put in the mail & am eagerly awaiting its response.

So I asked God to show me something in the Bible that I needed to see. I always struggle about where to start reading so I just picked one of my sticky tags & pulled it open. It fell open to the last chapter of Hebrews and the first chapter of James. I wasn't sure which was supposed to be for me so I read them both, paying attention to verses I've underlined in the past.

But it was the verse that wasn't underlined that is jumping out at me. "But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Heb 13:16. Now, I'm not exactly sure why this verse is relevant to me today. I feel like we barely have enough to get by let alone excess to share right now, but yet, its still sticking out at me. I can still "do good" and perhaps there is something that I have need to share that will be a sacrifice. Anyways, I'm not sure why but I'm holding on to this verse for now as an indication that it may be something God wanted me to know.

I also asked God to bring someone to mind who might need prayers or blessings and immediately a good friend's face came to my thoughts. I don't know what her needs may be for today but I will believe that this is a thought from God that I need to pray for her.

Wow, that really wasn't so hard to hear the voice of God afterall. While He may not be answering this huge question on my mind, I asked Him a few simple questions and had the answers in front of me. So I'm going to keep reading this book and try to keep the communication lines OPEN, not hanging up before He has a chance to tell me what I need to hear (not just what I WANT to hear).

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Fishing Takes Faith

"My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him." Psalm 62:5

It takes a lot of faith to go fishing! You stand on a shore or in a boat, put out your line & wait. If you didn't think you might get a bite or catch a fish then it would be pretty pointless to stand there. You believe you're going to catch something. Some days you come home with a great haul, other days you're skunked without even a nibble.

Faith feels like that to me sometimes. If I didn't believe God was going to respond to my prayers, then I would be praying in vain. Sometimes I pray for a big answer, other times I just want a nibble. God can come thru in big obvious ways, like the fish in your hand. Other days, I feel skunked, like He isn't listening at all, I'm empty handed.

That's when I wait, and wait. I do believe He is there, and that He will answer, but I don't always know when. And, sometimes, I just get tired of asking, tired of praying, ready to walk away as my patience wears thin. Sometimes its hard to find the faith that He's going to answer, or that He's even listening.

Lots of people walk away from a good fishing spot, tired of waiting, finally believing that there just must not be any fish there. Maybe they've fished there multiple times and left empty so now they're believing maybe there are no fish in the whole river and they give up fishing for good.

I don't want my faith to get to that point, where I give up on it for good. I will hold to the hope that God is there and I will continue to seek Him, even when it feels like He is silent.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year 2011

"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10

It is a new year and its time for a change here. I have been away from blogging for over 5 months. In that time we've left the relative comfort but discontentment of our life in Osoyoos and moved 100s of miles north to La Crete, Alberta to be with my husband's side of the family.

Many things have changed for us in the last few month and we've faced many challenges and experiences both good and bad. While we are feeling somewhat settled into life in ths northern town, its becoming obvious that our hearts are still not settled.

I've spent the last 5 months dealing with God in many different ways. Anger, ignorance, fear, pleading, blame, love, thankfulness, and wonder. I don't know which emotion was the biggest for the final half of 2010 but its my aim to start 2011 differently.

Not only are we going to try and live a healthier more natural lifestyle in 2011 *hint: new blog coming* but I feel its really time to focus on getting our souls healthy too, finding our way back to that loving God, Abba God, Prince of Peace, not anger, oppression or discontent, the God who is our refuge, our Strength and our Shield, and actually trusting that HE IS these things because we've spent too long feeling the opposite.

My prayer for the new year is not only to hear His voice, as is always our desire, but to feel His LOVE, to feel His Peace, to see His Beauty, to know His Forgiveness, to trust He will Provide and Sustain us, calm the Anger & Bitterness that can take hold, to accept His Grace and Mercy, and to remember all the things we are Thankful for, that we are Blessed with and have 2011 be the year of Joy, Hope, Peace & Love. I know those 4 words are cliche, especially in this season of the year, but it is my desire for them to reign all year long.

So, here I am, January 1st. Lord, Create in me a new heart & renew my spirit!