Monday, April 1, 2019

Time Does Not Stand Still

It has been three years since our 25 year old son, Matthew, died in his sleep. It’s been three years since I’ve written anything in my blog. Three years since I’ve wanted to write. It felt, at first, like time stood still, like everything was seen in relation to that catastrophic event in my life. But time doesn’t stop. It goes on and carries you with it.

There are still meals to prepare, birthdays to celebrate, work to do, adventures to take, etc, etc, etc. In other words: LIFE. Life doesn’t stop when someone dies. You wish it would but it doesn’t. Our daughter will be 25 on her birthday and she has expressed how odd it feels to know that she is the same age as Matthew. Matthew will always be 25. He will never get older, like the rest of us, because life continues. Time doesn’t stand still.

Our oldest son, Benjamin, is finishing his first year of a Master’s Degree. Our daughter, Alannah, is expecting her first child, our first grandchild. Yes, life goes on. My husband and I have left pastoral ministry after 25+ years and have entered into an adventure in teaching. Changes take place in everyone’s life. Life, death, sadness, celebration....that’s life.

We have all been given the precious gift of life but we only have one life to live. There are no do-overs. We don’t get a second life to live if we waste the first one. So, we need to live our lives to the fullest. We need to make every day count and not get caught in a daily rut.

If you want to live your happiest life forgive quickly, laugh more, be the child you once were. Love without strings. Be a friend. Keep everything in perspective. Set your priorities right: God, Family, everything else. Most of all show love to everyone far and wide, near and far.

Time goes on. Circumstances change but the love you have will be what you are remembered for and will be the one thing you pass on to the next generation.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Just as my Mother Did

Psalm 116:16
Truly I am your servant, LORD; I serve you just as my mother did; you have freed me from my chains.

This was one of the verses that was shared in Matthew's memorial service. It spoke to me on so many levels. I'm thankful that I had a godly grandmother and mother and that I raised my son to know and love the Lord. I hope that someday I'll be freed from the chains that hold me to this earth, just as he was. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is with my mother and grandmother and someday I'll join them. Above everything else keep your heart, mind and soul focused on eternity. Put your trust in the One Who holds eternity in His hands.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Walking in the Dark

I love the first two words of this verse! I WILL. The writer is determined to trust in God no matter what comes his way. This is how we all should be. It comes down to this: is God your anchor or not? Do you still trust Him when you can't see the end of the problem? 

God won't let you down. He will always be there, helping you, holding you, providing for you. God is always there and He cares for you. No, this doesn't mean that we will never have sorrow or disappointments but it does mean that when we do He will be there to comfort us and bring us through.

Life is not easy. (Whoever said it would be?) Yes, there are times when life is great. There's not a cloud in the sky but then there are times when the clouds come and the storms rage and it's at times like these that we have to determine that I WILL hold on to God. Even though I'm walking in the dark and see no way out, I WILL still walk by faith knowing that He is there to lead and guide me. 

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Sweet Baby Mice

A couple of weeks ago I gave Lilly Rose, our Cocker Spaniel, a haircut and threw the hair over the fence for the birds. The other night while  Bradley and I were setting up for a barbecue party, we separated two lawn chairs and found a beautiful field mouse nest made from Lilly's hair, with a new born pink baby inside. The mother mouse dropped to the ground and gave birth to two more babies, right in front of us!

 Brad grabbed a tote box and turned it upside down over the mother mouse. I picked up the two babies and put them with their sibling in the nest and put the nest under the tote with the mother. I propped it up about an inch with some wood and put a cup of bird seed under the tote to provide food for the mom. 

The babies were so pink and sweet and the mom stayed close by her babies even though we were there. I've checked on them each day since and although the mom us not there, the babies are and they're still alive. I pray they live.  I love living in the country.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Just a Sparrow

One of my favourite times of the day is after supper is over and the dishes are all washed up and my husband and I can sit on the swing in the yard and watch the birds at the feeder. The sun is setting and the dogs are either playing together or stretched out on their outdoor beds I made them. The world is peaceful. Words are not needed. But we are together and enjoying God's masterpiece. 

We mainly have blue jays, grackles, chickadees and doves that come to the feeders which hang from the apple tree. We've even had a cardinal at times but every now and then my favourite bird appears, a simple, little sparrow. I've always loved sparrows because they remind me that I am not forgotten by God. He sees me. Luke 12:6-7 are two of my favourite verses in the Word: 

"Five sparrows are sold for two pennies, aren't they? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Why, even the hairs on your head have been counted! Stop being afraid. You are worth more than a bunch of sparrows." 

Jesus could have chosen any type of bird for this illustration but He chose the humble sparrow to prove His point. Most people love the bright blue of a blue jay or the vivid red of a cardinal rather than the plain brown of a sparrow. But in these verses God is showing us, again, that He loves us all. We all matter to Him. 

Maybe you needed to hear this today. It's easy to think that God loves the people who stand out in the crowd for Him. You know what I mean. Surely God would love the missionary or the evangelist more than me. But He doesn't. God sees you, even if others don't. He sees you and you are precious to Him. The next time you see a sparrow don't just dismiss it as just a little brown bird. No. A sparrow is God's reminder to you that He loves you and He cares about you. He sees you!

“Five sparrows are sold for two pennies, aren’t they? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Why, even all the hairs on your head have been counted! Stop being afraid. You are worth more than a bunch of sparrows.”

Luke 12:6-7 ISV

Friday, August 5, 2016

This Is The Day

Good morning! You woke up this morning which means God has given you another day, a fresh start, a new beginning. You will never get yesterday back again so stop living there. Face forward and determine to live life to its fullest for God. He has blessed you with THIS day. Tomorrow is not promised. You have THIS day to do something great for Him. Every day is a GIFT. What are you going to do with it? "Psalm 118:24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and glad in it."

Sunday, July 31, 2016

The Final Word

From the time our children were old enough to understand words and their meaning I taught them all about the word "obey". I explained to them the Scripture "to obey is better than sacrifice" (1Samuel 15:22). I knew that a child who does not obey those in authority over them may someday find themselves in a life or death situation due to disobedience. Furthermore a child who does not obey their parents will have a hard time learning to obey God. I wanted to protect my children and point them towards God so I taught them to obey. They knew that when Mama spoke she meant it. I had the final word.

I have always been fiercely protective of my children not only physically but spiritually as well. I know that the enemy of our souls "goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour" (1Peter 5:8). I never wanted it to be my kids he devoured or lead astray. So I armed my kids with the weapons they need to stand up in battle against Satan. From an early age I taught them to pray in every situation and to read God's Word. I taught them to seek God's will for their life and to always obey Him and I led my little army by example. I fought battles for them on my knees. 

My word might have been final with my kids but in the whole realm of God's kingdom, He has the final say and I must obey my Commander-In-Chief. On May 29th my Commander called our son Matthew home. I didn't want to lose part of my little army but God pulled rank and promoted Matthew. To say I miss him is a gross understatement but I can't and don't want to wish him back. 

When I think of all the stories I taught my kids about heaven and the army of God's angels and what heaven is like, how could I not be pleased knowing that Matthew is now part of all that. I know the Word tells us that there is coming a day when God will return to fight the final battle. He'll be seated on a white horse and the host of heaven will be with him, mounted as well, and Satan will be defeated once and for all. (Rev. 19). Matthew will be a part of that! My son! He will get to live out all of these stories I've told him for years. That's exciting for me.

As parents we need to be fiercely protective of our children, especially in the spiritual sense. We need to stand between them and a world that would corrupt them and tear them away from God. We need to be warriors of the faith and not have the attitude that there is nothing we can do. Yes there is! We can purposely teach our children about God. We can fight the enemy on our knees in prayer. And we can build up our own faith so we can stand strong and not falter when trials come our way. And above all we can teach them to obey God. Even when His ways are not our ways, we can still trust Him and rely on the fact that He has the final word.

2Corinthians 10: 3-5. 3For though we live in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. The weapons of our warfare are not the weapons of the world. Instead, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5We 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.…

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Extending Compassion to a Hurting World

The Bible tells us to laugh with those who laugh and to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15). It also tells us to bear one another's burdens (Galatians 6:2). I saw both of these verses played out for me yesterday during a trip to Frenchy's. As I was mindlessly sorting though bed linens a stranger approached me and called me by my name. She then introduced herself and said what a lot of people have said since we lost our son, "I understand". 

Now, let me make it clear right now that not everyone who says this actually does understand. How could they unless they had been through the same thing? But this woman did. Four years ago her son died suddenly. She knew my grief. Here we were, two broken mothers, standing in Frenchy's totally oblivious to anyone around us, sharing our grief through tears and words of comfort over the loss of our sons. 

We comforted each other. We spoke of our sons. We shared stories and we were instantly connected by a common bond. She lives near the cemetery where our son's body is buried and has been to his grave. I now have someone else to pray for. I'm glad she was willing to step out of her comfort zone to approach a stranger in Frenchy's and extend the hand of compassion.

We all need to be brave and compassionate like her. We live in a world that is in turmoil. Thousands and thousands of people are displaced from their homes because of wars yet many times when they are forced to go to another country to begin anew, they are met with hatred and hostility. As Christians we should be showing compassion to these people and offering comfort. 

There is a horrible political race being run in the United States right now. Who will triumph? Will it be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump? Only God knows, but that doesn't stop people from throwing their opinion around and in the most hateful ways they can think of. The horrible comments on Facebook or the news about the candidates don't bother me as much when they are made by non Christians but when I see some of the comments made by those who profess to be Christians it grieves my heart.

God has called us to be set apart; to be different than the rest of the world. We are to speak and act kindly and to show His love in every situation. Walt Disney created the sweet character called Thumper in his movie Bambi. Thumper was a young rabbit who was outspoken. One day, after he had said something that wasn't particularly kind, his mother asked him "Thumper what did your father say?" to which he replied: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." 

Can you imagine how much nicer our world would be if we all followed Thumper's father's advice? What if we greeted the foreigner with kindness? What if we kept silent about the gossip of politicians and focused instead on the issues? What if we stepped out of our comfort zone and approached a stranger we knew had experienced a heartache? If we acted like this we'd become more Christlike and the world could be a better place. As representatives of Christ, Christians have the obligation to be different than the people in the world who are not serving Christ. We need to let our light shine before men so the world will see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Girls Road Trip

I'm in Prince Edward Island right now on a girls' road trip. My daughter, Alannah, my daughter-in-law, Gabrielle and myself left early Monday morning from home and headed to PEI to visit with my sister Melanie and her husband Glenn for a couple days. We arrived last night and today we visited shops on a boardwalk and several antique stores. We ate a Cow's ice cream and had our pictures taken next to a bronze statue of Sir John A. MacDonald, Canada's first prime minister. We walked Buddy, my sister's dog, through the woods to a beautiful brook and watched him happily splash in the water. 

Tomorrow we are meeting my other sister, Susan, for coffee and heading to New Brunswick. We will stay at a hotel in Moncton overnight and plan to see the zoo Thursday morning. Alannah will stay behind in Moncton while Gabrielle and I travel on to Sussex to stay with my son, Benjamin and his wife Laverne. Then on Saturday our adventure ends as we head back to Nova Scotia. 

I'm thankful for this time that we can take off and travel together. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Getting Ready to Receive Him

Our son-in-law, Isaac, came to our country from Hong Kong as an. international student when he was only fourteen years old. He lived in several host family homes but sadly they were not always welcoming homes. Many times he went to bed hungry and was made to feel like an outsider. When he married our daughter, Alannah, and told us about his experience as a foreign student my heart broke because of what he had gone through. 

At that point Brad and I determined to help another foreign student have a better experience and a better impression of our country. We decided to look into becoming a host family for a student. Our friends, Rick and Yvonne, mentioned they were meeting with the coordinator for the international student program to become a host family. We told them of our interest and the rest is history. 

We've decided to take in two students so they would have someone their own age to talk to. One of our students is from China and one is from Germany and I can't wait to meet them but before I do I have to prepare. I have to get ready for their arrival. We have a landing at the top of one of our stairways which we converted into a single room. We took down the railing and built a wall. I put up shelves and painted floor, ceiling and walls. I got new bedding and curtains and washed the blankets and put extra blankets in a case under the bed. The room is big enough for a bed, nightstand and dresser. I still have to build a door for the room but the pine boards are bought and are on my to-do list.

After just about completing the first room, other than the door, I started on the second bedroom. This is a much larger room with a queen sized bed, dresser, desk and wooden armchair. I didn't have to build anything for this room but everything got painted and new bedding purchased. I'm almost finished with this room and only have to paint the desk and put up the curtains. 

I decided to paint both of the rooms white. The smaller room has a red ceiling and the larger room has a red floor. Both rooms have red shelves on the wall. Both beds have a black comforter and red pillowcases. One has a cushion which says "true north strong and free" and the other has one with a picture of elk on it. I made a reversible afghan for the larger bed that is red on one side and is white with black trees and moose on the other. Both rooms have a red pennant with Canada spelled out on it in white. Can you tell we're going with a theme?

I've enjoyed making these rooms ready for the students. I want everything to be just right for them and although my husband reminds me all the time that they're not coming until September, I don't want to be rushing around at the last minute trying to get everything done. I want to be ready.

This whole experience reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins found in Matthew 25. "Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’

“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’

“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’

10 “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. 11 Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’

12 “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’

13 “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.

Jesus promised that He will be coming back to earth and when He does He will take all those, who are ready and waiting for Him, to be with Him forever. But we have to be ready. We have to prepare. 

I've enjoyed getting ready for the students and although I don't know the exact time they will arrive, I do know it will be around the last few days of August or the first few days of September. But the Word tells us that no one knows when the Son of God will return so we have to be ready for when He comes.

Getting ready for a houseguest is easy: clean linens, comfortable room, good food etc. But getting ready for Jesus is different. First we have to repent of our sins and turn away from that lifestyle. Then we have to follow what Jesus taught to the best of our ability. Don't worry He will help you. Read His Word, the Bible everyday so you will know how to live and talk to Him, pray, everyday. 

He is coming back and we have to be ready if we want to live forever with Him in Heaven. 

This is a picture of the landing before we made it into a bedroom.

These are a few pictures of the finished room.

Friday, July 1, 2016

O Canada

HAPPY CANADA DAY EVERYONE! I wanted to share with you a little known verse of our national anthem:
Ruler supreme, who hearest humble prayer,
Hold our Dominion, in thy loving care.
Help us to find, O God, in thee,
A lasting rich reward.
As waiting for the better day,
We ever stand on guard.
God keep our land, glorious and free.
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!
O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!  

Sadly most Canadians don't even know this verse ever existed, but it does and it was written at a time when our country worshipped God. We need to pray for our nation and its rulers. Whether you voted for them or not you still need to pray for them to have godly wisdom. We have a great country, let's not take it for granted.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Shall Not Be, I Shall Not Be Moved

As a child in Sunday School I sang a little chorus that went like this:
I shall not be
I shall not be moved.
I shall not be,
I shall not be moved.
Just like a tree that's planted by the water
Lord, I shall not be moved.

I may have first learned this as a child but it has held me in good stead many, many times over the years.when the enemy whispers in my ear to give up. I sing I Shall Not Be Moved. When it seems that everything that could go wrong does go guessed it: I Shall Not Be Moved. 

I will not be moved away from trusting God. Even if it looks bleak, I will still trust Him. A month ago, on May 29, our 25 yr old son died in his sleep. He wasn't in Canada at the time so getting his body back for burial was a trial. Finally he was buried on June 7th, a full eight days later! The waiting during that time and the shock of his death took its toll on us. My husband is a pastor and felt he should do the funeral service. There were well over 200 people at the funeral and he shook the hand of every single person who passed by him at the door. 

By the following Sunday he was getting sick. We prayed and tried home remedies and finally we went to the emergency department of the local hospital. After undergoing tests the doctor appeared at the door and told him that not only did he have strep throat and thrush but he was also a 'severe' diabetic. At this point we had a choice: we could give in to despair and discouragement or we could choose to trust God. I shall not be, I shall not be moved.

There are those who don't walk with God or walk closely to Him who have wondered how can we bear up under the weight of these trials. The answer is God. He gives us grace to make it through the day. Our van needed a costly repair this week. Just another thing to go wrong. But we trust in a God Who is higher than all our troubles and He has not failed me yet, nor will He. 

Brad is gaining back his health. We are both eating a diabetic meal plan and enjoying it. We went for a walk together today for the first time in a long time. We cleaned up the dead flowers from our son's grave and held each other while we grieved. We did it together and talked about how God is bringing us through. The van got fixed and is running good again. Life goes on and we choose to walk that pathway with God because He is good. Through it all, He is good.

I read a quote today that fits our circumstances perfectly. "Trials are not our destination they are our journey." Yes, we will have trials because we live in a sinful world but God will always bring us through them. He is the Rock we hold on to. He will not see us fail, if we hold on to Him. But it's a choice. I choose not to be moved away from His side. No matter what comes my way I will hold on to God's hand. I shall not be moved.

James 1:12 ESV 

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him.