In reading further on leadership in the book Spiritual Leadership by Henry and Richard Blackaby, my thoughts turned to our family life and our spouses. (This is more for those of us who are in a working and communicative marriage)
This may not be a popular message but it is one I believe in. Not only should we include our spouses in our decisions, we should be asking for their help as we make them, even if they disagree. We should be big enough to take their advice, and trust that there will be other opportunities down the road. In turn they will want to know what we think about their ideas, and welcome help with their decisions.
One of the most honoring and productive actions we can make for a healthy and fruitful future is to listen to our spouse and honor them by placing their ideas and needs before our own. I know, it sounds ‘old fashioned’, but life does run smoother. I believe in what God’s Word teaches us about our husband’s leadership role. Check out this link for a more extensive study on the role of a husband. https://www.allaboutgod.com/role-of-husband-in-the-bible.htm.
This leadership role is not only to guide us and assist us but to protect us from charging head on into something that will drag the family down, or pull the family apart.
I find it interesting how as little girls we dream of finding our Prince Charming, as young women we meet our Prince Charming, and then we marry and discard our Prince Charming in a inadvertent way, or literally.
Part of the reason for this abandonment is because we come to learn that Prince Charming isn’t always charming anymore. Well guess what? Neither is Cinderella that sweet. Another reason for this behavior is an unrealistic idea of what marriage is meant to be in the first place. Marriage is not a step-up to a solo career, it is signing up for a team sport.
So to recap on balancing our lives or collapsing them, how can we honor our husbands before we go running after the next best distraction?
People observing people… trying desperately to balance their lives. I wonder how many ‘balancing act’ courses exist? How many of these courses are able to teach us how to harmonize our chaotic schedules?
In seeking answers today, I came across a few articles that spoke about ‘plates being too full’. One author’s solution was to insist our vision was too small. “Get a bigger plate” he said. “O dear” is my rebuttal.
The trend today is to brag about how busy we are, but chaos should never be something we aspire to. Paul certainly had something to say about busybodies (1 Tim. 5:13). Don’t sign up to do more stuff simply because there are a plethora of choices.
I asked a colleague yesterday what her secret to balancing life was. She answered, “Ask Him”. Two very powerful words that we Christians can put into practice. Before signing our entire family up for our ‘culture craze’ way of living, let’s see what God wants. Jesus certainly was accountable to the Father. Christ’s short life on earth was purposeful and focused. He could have accomplished more, but instead He gloriously fulfilled his purpose. I have often reflected on how hard it must have been for him to restrain himself from healing everyone he met, just because he could.
While reading “Spiritual Leadership” by Henry and Richard Blackaby, I came across a paragraph that struck a chord. In brief they talk about a man who decided to climb Mount Everest simply because ‘IT WAS THERE’. Years later his body was discovered. He lost his life trying to achieve an unessential objective.
Isn’t that what we all experience at one time or another over the course of our lifetime? We embark upon the unnecessary, just because the opportunity is there, AND ‘balance’ continues to evade us. This is where the enemy of our soul wants us – running around in circles like a chicken with its head cut off.
The Blackaby’s write, “why are you taking a particular action?” “What are the long term ramifications?” The authors conclude, “Those who impulsively charge forward will eventually collapse on their mountain, their efforts misspent.”
So let us revisit the “Ask Him”, and let us challenge one another to read God’s Word, and find out what He has to say in regards to balance.
Blackaby, Henry and Richard, Spiritual Leadership, B&H Publishing Group, 2011, pg 86, 87.
…specifically when you are suffering for taking a stand for Christ.
Get on your knees “…pray for those who hurt you” (Luke 6:28).
Identify who or what has hurt you (what does it look like spiritually?)
Ask God for help on how to pray
Sit quietly and reflect on someone who may have been in a similar situation (someone written about in God’s Word).
How did they respond?
Look up the related scripture that comes to mind through the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Continue to wait on God, and listen for His response
2 Corinthians 10:4 talks about the ‘weapons of our warfare’. Followers of Christ have effective tools to use in spiritual warfare, tools that are not of this world.
I wondered to myself, the other night as I knelt in the dark, “what are those weapons?”.
The verse goes on to inform us our weapons have “divine power to demolish strongholds”. Verse 5 continues “We tear down arguments, and every presumption set up against the knowledge of God; and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.…”.
2 Corinthians 6:7 opens the window of clarity a bit further, “in truthful speech and in the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left.”
But again what are those weapons of righteousness? Ephesians 6:10-18 gives us more insight. Verse 12 (in context) reminds us insults may be hurled from human lips but “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against….” (Eph 6:12).
Find a Bible, a Bible app, or use www.biblegateway.com and read on for yourself. A study guide Bible is the best because you are provided with extra explanatory notes below, and other verse references.
The remaining verses in Ephesians 6:10 – 18 continue to describe our weapons, (the belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, shield of faith, feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace, sword of truth…)
As I waited in the dark I asked God to show me how these weapons demolish strongholds and tear down arguments? I lifted my arms and pulled down an invisible wall in front of me, trying to see if further understanding would come. It did.
I recognized my accuser as someone I loved. Suddenly I understood as we pray God’s power transforms us. We begin to see the situation through His eyes. Just as God forgives, we forgive. In love and forgiveness we are able to see through the circumstances. We are able to take our thoughts captive and submit to God’s purposes (2 Cor. 10:5).
I recognized I had a choice to wear the false accusations and allow the curse to linger, or to pray and clothe myself in Christ (Romans 13:14).
Yesterday coming home from church I was reminded about the annual Hitman Game and the Teddy Bear Toss, http://hitmenhockey.com/teddy-bear-toss. The news announcement brought back a difficult, but heart warming memory. Thank you – to our communities and the Hitmen Hockey Team, for your generosity and kindness during the Christmas Season. It made a difference to our little family, and we will never forget you.
One afternoon around Christmas time in 2007 I had gone down the stairs to our daughter’s bedroom to see why she wasn’t answering my call. We were all getting ready to go out and visit with friends. When I found her in her room she was not able to speak or walk. She was eight years old. I carried her out to our vehicle, and drove her down to the clinic. Her younger siblings were crying and frightened because their big sister didn’t recognize them.
Soon after our arrival at the clinic we were told about her Grand Mal seizure. Her Daddy arrived from work to comfort our children, and I got in the back of an ambulance to ride with her to the Children’s Hospital. After a very long night of nurses coming and going, poking and prodding and shining lights in her eyes, the sun arose. I waited to see if our little girl would open her eyes, if she would talk. I had been cautioned that she may have sustained brain damage.
Our daughter opened her eyes. She didn’t smile like she usually did, but she did look around the room. I told her where she was, but she didn’t seem to react, however she noticed she was sharing her room with another patient, a little boy in the bed next to hers. She shoved off her covers, and slid out of her very tall hospital bed. She walked over to a book shelf and pulled a book out. I then watched her go to the boy’s bed and reach for a chair that was nearby.
The seconds that followed were magical. I watched her turn the pages of the book, and heard her voice begin to read. Tears trickled down my face. I didn’t know what the days ahead would bring, but our little girl had come through a very difficult challenge. She was walking, talking and able to see another child’s needs.
Later that morning while we were resting I tried to stop my mind from worrying. I knew our daughter was in good hands, but the fatigue and the weight of our daughter’s health cast a long shadow on my heart. The word ‘Epilepsy’ had been used in the nurses’s conversations. What did it all mean? Would our daughter ever enjoy a normal life? Would she have another seizure?Just as my head felt like it might explode a group of men in hockey uniforms came into the room. They were all holding Teddy Bears. Our daughter sat up and blinked. The men smiled and three of them offered her a bear. I think it was because they had learned she had a brother and sister back home.
Their visit reminded me that so many people cared. We were not alone and forgotten in our sadness, but cradled in the arms of others, even strangers. The Teddy Bears were a symbol of compassion.
Later that day a neighbour and her son came to visit. They were frequent visitors to the hospital and heard we were there. Her son had had several seizures as a young baby and boy, and was in a wheel chair. Our daughter didn’t say much, she was very tired, but she looked at the little boy then back at her three bears, picked one out, and offered it to her new friend.
It was at Christmas time so long ago, in the Calgary Children’s Hospital, where our daughter was indeed given the diagnosis of ‘Epilepsy’, but it was then she also decided to be a Nurse. She never wavered from that call. Her health condition improved, and four very challenging years later, on September 9th, 2011, she was given a clean bill of health. Today she is married, with two beautiful children, and practices nursing on the Sunshine Coast.
Thank you Calgary Hitmen and all the Teddy Bear donors, for keeping the Annual Teddy Bear Toss tradition alive. We are witness to the difference a Teddy Bear can make in the life of a child.
I was running errands today, which required a lot of loading and unloading. Back and forth I went between the indoors and the outdoors. On my last run I flung open the door to the outside world, and was greeted with an amazing heart warming sound and sight. I heard my friends, the geese, honking at each other. I looked up to witness the fine feathered flock paint their “‘V’ across November’s sky. Usually their familiar song stings my heart. After all, their flying south means Old Man Winter has swallowed up all of autumn’s warmth, and the last of our coloured leaves.
This time their song was saying something else. I stood, both feet planted in the parking lot and listened, and watched carefully. It was almost as if I was afraid I might miss something important. I watched until they disappeared into the glare of the late afternoon sun. I was awe struck. I had made a new discovery.
I’ve always known their V shaped flying formation is to prevent wind resistance. But this time I saw something more.
A few geese fell out of formation, and the perfect ‘V’ was ruined. I wondered for a few moments what the stragglers were up to, but then recognized a consistent pattern. Could it be the geese took turns with each other? Those in front would tire, so others would take their place?
I couldn’t help but smile. God uses His creation to teach us something every moment of every day. What I was witnessing was a lesson for all of mankind – a perfect ‘team work’ analogy. My curiosity got the best of me, and I went home to look up more information about geese, and their flying habits. To my surprise I found an article that echoed exactly what I had been musing about, and said it very well.
Last night I couldn’t sleep, and decided to watch a “no brainer” kind of movie. Some of the subliminal messages kept rippling in the rain this morning. I got my coat on, and went for a walk in a nearby park. Nothing like a stroll in the fresh autumn air to turn our eyes towards our creator. His light illuminates the beautiful truth.
As I shuffled through the dying leaves my mouth couldn’t help but smile. I felt so glad to be alive. In my moment of gratitude words came out of my mouth, words that brought the dilemma of this dying world, and the promise of life to light.
Some of these words may not be understood without an understanding of scripture. If you have questions about some of the terminology, make sure you ask them. Find someone who owns a Bible and dig in.
This song is a message for those who believe, and yet doubt in God’s power. How many times have I prayed for someone’s relief, and doubted it may happen? This song is a message for those who believe, but have forgotten where they’ve come from. This is a song of conviction, and of hope, and a song to soothe the weary caregiver’s heart (Gal. 6:9).
She comes and goes in different colours. She changes clothes but underneath,
the sound of axes in the forest remind us all about the thief.
Her yesterdays keep on repeating, despite the prayers upon our lips.
But if He’s given us tomorrow, there’s still a hope that she’ll be His.
So bend your knees all God’s children, arm for battle, sound the cry.
And do not weary of your mission until this daughter is His Bride.
We come and go in different colours, we wear your robe but underneath
our accusations of each other bring us so humbly to your feet.
And under grace our hearts keep beating, your ceaseless prayers have called us forth.
And while we’re certain of tomorrow, there are still more who will be yours.
So bend your knees all God’s children, arm for battle, sound the cry.
And do not weary of your mission until this daughter is His Bride.
I want to personally thank Andrea Hawiuk and Friends for the generous and informative conference on Depression and Suicide, The Conversation Has to Happen (2017). Every story shared offered new insight for those suffering, and those suffering along side of. Thank you also for inviting several of the agencies in Olds to participate through a showcase in the Pomeroy Inn and Suites Foyer.
I was moved by Rev. Dr. John Pentland when he humbly introduced a friend to share about the loss of her Son Ty. I was also very inspired by John’s response to “Thirteen Reasons Why“. I want to follow his practice of writing thirteen nuggets of wisdom to encourage our children to embrace life.
I was in agreement with Mike Ryan when he brought our attention to society’s different treatment towards alcohol versus drugs. They both alter our mental state.
Jim Marland and his program Can Praxis is ingenious and so necessary for veterans and first responders.
Terry Coles – thank you for your honesty and humility. Blessed to have heard your story.
One particular topic that was not discussed at great length was how some of our cultural entertainment trends are catalysts for further suffering. Violence, death, and fantasy, all contributing to darker mood swings, and often times an unrealistic view of life.
Thanks to Wayne McCracken and Don Matchullis, very tasteful touch with the musical choices.
These past few days have carried heavy news to my heart, and the hearts of those I love. When I feel helpless to find comfort or bring comfort to others, I know where to hide. I cozy up on my Heavenly Father’s lap and close my eyes and let the tears fall. Psalm 56:8 tells us that God catches our tears in a bottle. He sees them. He feels our sorrow. He hears our prayers. And there in my hiding place I beckon you to climb up on his lap. There is room for you too.
My Paradise and Heaven
Dedicated to Amanda and her family, and to mine, and to ours together, as one day we will enjoy such sweet reunion.
Is He a mere three letter word, this God I put my trust in?
Is this presence that calms my fears, a ghost of my imagination?
Have the prayers I’ve prayed each day and night sailed into some abyss?
Have the tears I’ve cried, and all my sleepless nights gone unnoticed?
Is my reflection of pure peacefulness, a mask or a mirage?
Who then has quenched my thirst and grown my courage?
Who washed away my hopeless state, and turned my eyes upward?
There is a God my heart knows well, I take Him at His word.
Upon the wind, under the sun, the earth expounds His praise.
Shall I not too be wise to share His wonder all my days?
Is He a mere three letter word, this God I put my hope in?
He is my breath, my life and death, my paradise and heaven.
My workweek was experientially rich. I could say “rough”, but I am going to choose the word “rich”. In my line of work debriefing is mandatory. In most cases a debrief means communication between two people in order to process confidential and often challenging information. This communication practice, in my work setting, is to help me process what I’ve heard, and to help me leave the information in God’s capable hands.
This week I didn’t get the chance to debrief so I wrote instead. As I wrote down each experience a new realization came to the forefront of my mind. Sometimes, even when we are able to debrief with someone we are often still left with an unexplainable unsettledness deep inside. Why?
Even when the hearer is listening, a part of the speaker’s heart is never heard. I am not saying those whom I have talked to in the past have not heard me. I am not saying those who have talked to me have not been heard. I am realizing that as mere human beings, we are incapable of doing what only God can do. We cannot hear the heart. We hear sound bites only.
As I watch my adult children growing and learning and developing in their unique vocations I see a similar frustration across the board. We are family. We have genetic commonalities, personality similarities. Our faith heritage contributes to the way we experience this world as well. But despite our kinship, as we come together to share our deepest concerns, there can still be unseen tension. This tension or inner frustration isn’t because we don’t love each other. It exists because we cannot hear one another’s hearts like only God can.
No matter how much we love each other, there is a limit to our hearing and our understanding. I often think of this song lyric “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen, nobody knows but Jesus….”
If I could give my husband anything, if I could give my children anything, if I could give my friends anything – it would be these words:
When no one understands debrief with God – He hears your heart.
Better still, before we look for someone to understand – go to God first.
I can remember the first time I realized that even adults aren’t grown ups.
For a long time I couldn’t understand why people older than myself were treating one another so poorly. Didn’t they know better?
As a child I began to see that one’s past could very well have something to do with present behaviours. That realization helped me to develop a compassion. I began to separate the behaviour from the person, albeit not all the time.
When that exercise fell short I came face to face with my need for divine intervention. I needed someone who could give me strength and wisdom beyond my human capabilities, someone who could help me forgive others for their short-comings, and someone who could help me forgive me for mine. I needed God, and believed He wanted to help.
With God’s help I am growing up more every day. I want to be an adult that my children and grand-children can look up to.
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”(Romans 5:5)