Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “grateful”

#AdventWord #Among

#AdventWord #Among

Yesterday’s Advent word was among  – it took me almost the whole day to come up with an image for that word. I realized that I needed to take a photo of the dear one and I – not the best we have ever taken but it is us at the end of a fairly long day. I said with that photo that among all the stuff of life I am grateful to be sharing it with my beloved.

We have lived among people in different communities across Canada – we have had quite the journey of ministry – it is so much of what makes us, us. We have been through some really rough times and we have had an immense number of really good times as well. We are 31 years of married life and let me tell you that God has been among all of that with us.

Here we are among people that have called us to be in this place, here we are among all that life throws at you, here we are among the joys and sorrows of life. I wouldn’t change any of it. It has made us better people and better partners.

 

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#AdventWord #Focus #Prepare #Messenger #Watch

I need to start with an apology – I am now five days behind. I am going to do four words now and hopefully get today’s word in before tomorrow. Not making any promises. Anybody else find that Advent happenings just catch them and all of a sudden you are behind in what you had been planning to do. All the things that have happened in my life this past week have been great, they have just left me with little energy to get the writing done. Here goes and here is hoping that I can get this posted before the next thing of today catches up to me.

#AdventWord #Focus

 

The word for the past Saturday was focus. On Saturday  I was able to join some other women from my diocese for an intentional quiet day. A day to reflect on Scripture, on worship, on good words given by our speaker. I hadn’t realized until I was part way through the day how much I had needed to just stop and be. It really did give me a chance to focus my thoughts inwardly and reflect on my relationship with God. I am ever so grateful for that day.

 

 

#AdventWord #Prepare

Sunday’s Advent word was prepare. To prepare our hearts for the coming of the Christ Child should be something that we do naturally, but I find with a lot of adults that it is hard work. At the parish that I worship in the dear one has a passion for sharing special stories with the children. This past Sunday he shared the story of St. Nicholas, whose day it was on December 6th. What an empowering story for us all. It helps to prepare us all to be more Christ like in our lives

#AdventWord #Messenger

This little homemade angel has been around for a long time in our house. When the dear one and I first got married we realized when we got to our first Advent that we had no decorations. I mean none! So we decided to make ourselves our own nativity set. It has been added to, but it is still the whimsical homemade one that is our family favourite. He is my messenger that Christmas is getting closer, that all those memories of our family times are wrapped up in his slightly tattered wings, that Jesus will always care for us no matter how tattered we get or look. So much love in one little messenger.

 

#AdventWord #Watch

Yesterday’s Advent word was watch. The days are really short here on the 53rd latitude North- less than 8 hours of daylight at the moment and we don’t get to the solstice until next week. Most mornings I get to watch the sunrise. Yesterday’s was spectacular – the photo to the right really doesn’t do it justice. In fact it has been so warm here – we have just had another chinook go through. I just stood outside and watched this and once again realized what a beautiful world we live and how grateful I am to God for this place and my life.

There we go all caught up. I am hoping that I can get today’s word done either early tomorrow or possibly later tonight. Trying to stay with this Advent discipline because it is good for me. I hope dear readers that it is good for you as well.

#AdventWord #Mend

#AdventWord #Mend

Those of you who have been following/reading my blog for a while will know that two years ago I had the worst year of my life as regards to my health. I found out that I had ovarian cancer, which meant surgery and 6 rounds of chemotherapy. I have to say that I am finally feeling like I am settled into my new normal. Today’s Advent word is mend. I thought to myself that I have done a lot of mending and that sometimes you need to break before you can mend.

When you get a cancer diagnosis, you may not be feeling that ill, but the treatment does make you ill. Chemotherapy means putting drugs into your system that kill the cancer cells. This is really hard on your body, your mind and your spirit. You just feel worse and worse after each treatment. You have to break before you mend.

When I was undergoing treatment I had so many people praying for me and holding me up in so many ways. It was what gave me the strength to keep going going. It’s what held my faith together. Here’s what I learned and some of it is what I remembered – God doesn’t make you sick, God puts the people in place to help you mend and get healthy again.

I am not broken anymore. I am relatively healthy and so far so good on the cancer not returning. The picture on the left is one from two years ago when I was just recovering from chemotherapy. The picture on the right is me now. I am so much better and I am grateful and give thanks to God for that everyday. To mend for me is to get back to a place of good mental and physical health and I’m working on both those things everyday.

My 2016 Advent Calendar

So here we go my whole Advent Calendar. I promised I would make it through the whole of Advent Word with a blog posting for each image and I did it. Thank you for reading and looking at my pictures. I am so blessed and grateful to have been able to do this for myself and for you my dear readers.

Merry Christmas to you all! Light some candles! Sing some songs! Eat lots of good food! Laugh loudly and often! Hug as many people as you can! Bless you all!

Our Act of Faith

Cherry Tree

The dear one and I recently planted a cherry tree, well he did the planting while I was away at meetings, on the front lawn of our new home. I am calling it our act of faith.

It is an act of faith because we have hope that we will be here long enough to enjoy the fruit of this tree. That we will be here long enough to see it grow and bloom year after year. It is our commitment statement that we are staying put and going to put down roots and become members not just of the church community but of the wider community that we now live in.

I can feel roots beginning to grow here. I came home from my meetings in Toronto last weekend and realized that I was coming home. Home to this new place which now feels and is home. Such a good feeling after a long time of being out in the wilderness. I was welcomed back to church and told how much I was missed, that hadn’t happened for a long, long time. The laughter of this community is one of the reasons that this place feels like home.

There have been a number of acts of faith lately by the dear one and I. Making new flower beds, planting perennials that will be here, hopefully, after we have left this house, putting up art and family photos and really making this house our home, not panicking because my employment insurance is finished and I don’t have a paying job yet and every day saying yes to being in this place and living and worshipping with God’s people.

I am deeply grateful that we get this chance to make a new home and to be part of ministering, on its way to being healthy, church community. I am grateful that we took that act of faith to say yes to this place and this church. I am grateful that God has put us here and is allowing roots to start growing and spreading.

What act of faith have you done lately that has just felt right?

Time out

time-out-bench1

I have given myself a time out today. I was really, really grumpy with the dear one this morning and I told him take the van and he said what about church and I said I am not coming. I got my buttons pushed this morning and I got angry, really angry. So yep, I am on a time out. I needed to be by myself and calm down. Ever been there?

It isn’t that important as to what pushed my buttons this morning what is important is that I let them get pushed and then I pushed them so more. I forgot to take a step back and breathe, so that I could remember that the dear one loves me and that I love him. I am immensely grateful for that love but you wouldn’t have known it by how grumpy I was this morning. I don’t really like myself when I get that angry, I am not a nice person then and I take it out on the people that I love the most. As I used to tell my children when they got like that when they were little it is time out for you – in this case me.

I am going to work on remembering this the next someone or something pushes my buttons, that I need to breathe, walk away and take a time out. That I need to do that before things to get out of control, or as in this case I get out of control. I want to find ways to express my discontent or disagreement without having to yell it at the top of my lungs. I want to be the person that I know I am called to be. I am not going to give up my anger I just don’t want it to control how I behave in the moment that I am angry. To get there I am going to need to give myself more time outs to breathe and remember my better self and how I want to really be in with those I love dearly, especially the dear one.

Living out a life of faith is not easy and learning how to be a better human being is not easy. You would think in my middle years that I would have much of this sorted but I am still working on it. Likely that I will be working on it until I can’t remember that I need to be working on it.

I am going to take a time out when I need it and remember that I am a better human being than my anger makes me. Blessings to you all as work on whatever you need to work on in your life.

Reflections

On February 26 of this year, I wrote my first blog post for my newly named site of Faith from the Edges. I am using ‘Faith from the Edges’ as that is often where I feel I live out my faith. Being a clergy spouse means that I am neither fish nor fowl – not considered a ‘real’ layperson by most in the pews and definitely not a clergy person. So someone who lives at the edges of church life.

It has been an interesting 6 months to say the least. I have been reflecting for the last couple of days about the posts that I am thankful that I wrote and for the responses that I have received to them.

I began this blog as a way for me to deal with what has been thrown at the dear one and I over the last 3 years. As a way to deal with the isolation from church community. I also began it because I am a writer and I needed a way to express myself.

Here I am 6 months later and still writing, still finding things I need to share with others, looking forward to what the next 6 months of posting will bring.

Some reflections on what I have done so far:

Early on I wrote this post about why I was struggling with Sundays. I have to admit I was scared when I posted it. I was worried that people wouldn’t understand. What I received was some of the best pastoral care I have been given during this whole awful time. I am still amazed by the outpouring of love and generosity that was shown to me during this time.  My grateful thanks to those who have held me/us up in prayer and continue to do so.

This post about depression and stigma is the one that is still rattling out there in cyberland. It has been the one that has received the most feedback. It was the next to hardest one that I have written so far. I even went so far to give a warning at the top of the post so that those who didn’t want should just give it a skip. You didn’t, you read, you responded, you told me that the dear one and I are not alone. I am still pondering what if anything I can do about the way church deals with clergy with mental health issues and their families. I do know that I will be an advocate for others when this happens to them.

A post that surprised me in the way that it came out was this lament. I can only say that it was Spirit led. It came from a deep place that I hope I will be able to tap again when I need to. I am awed that what I had thought was going to be a simple post turned into a prayer of lament.

I recently wrote this and when I was done I told the dear one I have written a statement of faith. The writing of it articulated my stance in the world in a way I hadn’t imagined it would. I am grateful for that.

I am grateful for the ability to write and to write decently. I am grateful that you the reader are taking the time to read this. I am grateful that I have access to the internet so that I can share my thoughts, feelings, reflections with others.

I am most grateful that I listened to my inner voice and took the courage to begin this process. I will continue to share what it is like to live with my faith at the edges.

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