Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “hope”

#AdventWord #Open

#AdventWord #Open

Six days until Christmas, three days until all my lovelies are here and my living room looks like this. Laundry in the basket, decoration boxes waiting to go back downstairs, so much stuff on the dining room table and you can’t see it but the kitchen was a paint centre for a couple of pieces of drywall that have to be painted before they can go on the bathroom wall. Yep, we are also in the midst of a bathroom renovation.

Today I am working on being open to the hope that by the end of Thursday we will have a working bathroom on the main floor, beds will be made for everyone arriving the next day, and that I will be able to relax and enjoy the time with my lovelies and not feel super stressed.

Here I am keeping it real and not trying to glitz over all the stuff that is the chaos that is my house at the moment. I am hoping to get the chaos more to order. I also know that my lovelies will just enjoy being with the dear one and I and will take all of it in hand and not get too fussed. Here’s to being open to the spirit of this lovely season and not letting the chaos get too much of my attention.

Advertisements

#AdventWord #Trust

#AdventWord #Trust

Today has been a hard day – we had a fast low pressure system move through with some rain. Drop in pressure and humidity just set my joints to flare up. They started getting puffy, red and achy last night. I must admit I get so down with these kinds of days. It is hard for me to concentrate, plan and do any kind of serious work. It is one of those days that means rejoicing in small, doable tasks and resting as much as needed. Rheumatoid arthritis just sucks!

Then came today’s Advent Word – trust. Oh my goodness,  God – trust??!! Trust what? Trust who? Trust that I will make through the day without ending up in the fetal position – I have so far. Trust that my extra pain medication will do it’s job – it has, somewhat. Trust that I will get taken care of by the dear one, in this one of his busiest church times – he has and that’s lovely. There we go, trust – letting God and others do what is needed for me. Trusting my body to know what I need – rest – and doing just that. Trust that this flare up will not last forever – it won’t, I know that from experience.

Tonight – it is evening here – I am going to give thanks that I can trust and feel hopeful, because I need to do that. I need to trust that God knows what is going on with me and that I am being held in God’s love, always.

Gender Based Violence

Today here in Canada is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. It is to remember the 14 women who were murdered for just being women at a university in Montreal on December 6, 1989. They were all engineering students and the man who killed them said that feminists had taken his life away. It is one of the biggest massacres that has ever happened in Canada. It started a conversation here about violence against women and about gun violence, it is a conversation that we are still having.

In 2009 I was asked to preach at Christ Church Cathedral for the 20th anniversary of this day. I recently found my sermon and thought that it was worth sharing here. I hope that it touches you, I hope that you are pushed to action. If you want to find out how domestic violence has affected one particular person, then please check my sister’s blog Freedom Within

Candles Day of Remembrance and Action

A Service of Remembrance: 20th Anniversary of the Massacre at Ecole Polytechnique
St. Nicholas Day

Scripture Readings:
Judges 11: 30-40
Psalm 55
1 Corinthians 13: 1-13
Mark 7: 24-30

“Faith, hope, and love abide, these three: and the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

Here is a story of love. In a country far away and in a time long ago there lived a poor family. The parents had been blessed with the arrival of three daughters in their family. They loved their girls, as much, if not more than any parents had ever loved their children. In the time that they lived, it was up to the parents to provide a bridal gift, a dowry, to the parents of the young man who was going to marry their daughter. Unfortunately the parents did not have enough money to be able to provide for their daughters. After a long, agonizing time the parents decided that their only option was to sell their daughters into slavery. The mother cried many tears. The father became stony quiet with grief.

In the community where they lived there also lived a bishop, whose name was Nicholas. This bishop heard the story of this family. His heart was moved. Nicholas decided that he needed to do something. He gathered enough money to make three bags that would make their bridal gifts. Late one night before the girls were to be sold Nicholas threw the bags of gold over the fence. In the morning the family discovered the gift and the girls were saved.

Here is a story of hope. Twenty years ago today a young mother was holding her tiny baby girl in a small town in southern Saskatchewan. As she did most days she had her radio tuned to CBC. It helped to remind her that life was not all about babies. That day she was listening to the radio in the late afternoon as the news began to come forth that a young man a had gone through the Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal and that he had targeted and killed women only. This mother looked at her baby girl and tears welled up in her eyes. She thought of all the mothers who would be weeping that day. At that moment this mother determined that she would speak out about violence against women, that she would raise her daughter to be strong and able to make her own decisions.

That baby girl is now a young woman of 20, a university student in southern Ontario, an activist, a person of hope, someone who continues to make me proud to be a mother and gives me hope for the future.

Here is a story of faith. A woman lived in the region of Tyre with her little girl. The little girl had something wrong with her. It was like she was possessed by a demon. The mother was worried out of her mind. She just wanted her little girl to get well. Jesus decided that he needed a break. He went to a house in the Tyre region where he thought no one would notice him. Yet, Jesus being Jesus, could not escape the notice of the people living in the area. This mother heard that Jesus was there. She had heard that Jesus was a great healer, one who came with God’s power to save. She decided that she needed to go and ask him for help. What mother wouldn’t do the same?

When she came into the house, she bowed down at Jesus’ feet. She was that desperate. She begged Jesus to heal her daughter. Now remember, this mother was not Jewish. She was a Greek. Jesus said to her, “The children need to be fed first. It is not fair to take their food and give it to the dogs.” This mother had great grit and did not back down from Jesus at that. She told him, “Even the dogs are allowed to eat the crumbs from the plates of the children.”

At that point Jesus said, “For saying that, your daughter is well. Go and see.” This mother left and found her daughter well and normal.

Just as the women of Israel would gather to remember and lament Jepthah’s daughter, today we gather to remember and to lament. We remember and lament the 14 young women who were murdered today just because they were women, for no other reason, just because they were women. We remember Genevieve, Helene, Nathalie, Barbara, Anne-Marie, Maud, Maryse, Annie, Michele, Ann-Marie, Sonia, Maryse, Annie and Barbara.

We need to remember and lament the missing and dead women from Vancouver’s East Side – many of whom were from First Nations communities. We need to remember and lament the missing and dead women along the “Highway of Tears” – the #16 highway that goes between Prince George and Prince Rupert in northern British Columbia – many of whom are from surrounding First Nations communities. We need to remember and lament Hillary whose body was found this fall. A young 16 year old woman from the Miqmaq First Nation in Burnt Church, New Brunswick. If you look on the internet and go to a site called Missing Native Women, you will find name after name of missing and murdered women from all across Canada. The numbers are staggering, over a thousand women. Remember and lament each of their lives.

What many of these women have in common is that they come from small, isolated northern communities. Communities that make up the part of the church that I live and work in, the Council of the North. It is a tragedy that haunts the lives of our people, of our clergy and especially our youth. Remember and lament.

These are not isolated incidents. Looking around the world we are called to remember and lament many stories. The girls in Afghanistan who cannot go to school because they are afraid of acid being thrown in their faces. Just because they are girls who want to get an education. We need to remember the victims of feminicido – the murder of women – in Mexico; especially Alicia Gomez Lopez who was recently murdered and is the niece of a Primate’s World Relief & Development Fund partner. Remember and lament.

While it is important for us to take the time to remember and to take the time to lament before God the losses that have touched us, it is not the place that people of faith are supposed to stay. Christians like you and me are called to do something more.

Sisters, like the gritty, determined woman living in Tyre we are called to a strong and bold faith that speaks out on behalf of those who cannot speak for themselves. Sisters, who will you speak out for? Sisters, who will you speak to and change their mind just like the Syrophoenician woman did with Jesus? Be of strong and bold faith my sisters.

Brothers, like Nicholas, you are called to acts of generous, loving service for those who are in need. Brothers, who will you act for, which life will you try to save? Brothers, what life story have you heard that challenges you, makes you think, moves your heart that you need to take action on? Be generous and loving in all that you do my brothers.

Cast your burden upon the Lord,
You will be sustained,
The righteous will not stumble.
(Psalm 55:24)

#AdventWord #Journey

#AdventWord #Journey

We are believe it or not in the midst of a bathroom renovation – yep, in December, in Advent! We only got to this point because we had a leaky toilet and when it was removed we discovered there was damage to the floor below it. So out came all the old floor right down to the original sub-floor.

This renovation has been a thought out process of many steps, it has been a journey from here is the problem to here is the solution. When I was thinking about the journey of Advent, it struck me that our journey through this season is much the same. We see a problem – the world is a mess. We are given a solution – Jesus the bringer of God’s love, justice and peace.

I like many others are journeying through Advent with as much hope as I can muster. I don’t think since my early 20’s that I have been as afraid of what the future might bring to our poor, battered world. Will we get climate change under control so that future generations can live on this earth? Will we get nuclear weapons under control? Will we see justice for all the women and girls who sexually harassed and assaulted just because they are female? Will we?

The journey in Advent reminds me that God keeps promises, that God hears the cries of the most vulnerable, that God loves the world so much. I am going to keep on journeying. I hope you are too.

#AdventWord #Awaken

I must begin this post by first apologizing, I haven’t been around on here as much as I had thought. I had some medical issues that completely took over and I needed to take a break from this. But now I am back and ready to begin another church year with Advent Word.

Today Advent starts – my favourite of all the church seasons. I love the anticipation, the build up, the counting of the days and even the shortening of the daylight hours (for us in the northern hemisphere, that is), for coloured lights and all the decorations.

#AdventWord #Awaken

Today our Advent Word is awaken, to be woke, to pay attention to the world, to be vigilant, to get ready for a new thing.

The dear one and our beloved cat have a morning routine that our cat absolutely insists on. When the dear one gets up he has to pick up our cat and wander around the house, looking at what is happening both outside and inside. It is the time for them to awaken to the new day and all its possibilities. Just like with Advent we awaken to all the new possibilities that God puts before us. Possibilities for generosity, for justice, for reconciliation, for hope, for love.

Let’s all awaken to the Spirit moving us into a new day with new possibilities. Happy Advent everyone!

 

 

#AdventWord #Embrace

2016-12-17-18-01-19

#AdventWord #Embrace

Yesterday was a hard day. I live with a chronic illness – rheumatoid arthritis – mostly it is invisible – yesterday it wasn’t. My hands got swollen and red and it was hard to do much. So I didn’t. It was what my body needed to rest. So I did.

The Advent word for yesterday was embrace. I realized that I needed to embrace where I was at the point. When I am in pain it is hard for me to feel hopeful, it is hard for me to find the faith that life will get better. What I said on my Instagram post was ‘this hand will embrace hope even when it is hard’. It is hard work embracing hope, when all around you see darkness, despair and you have no idea how to keep going.

I am going to work on embracing hope even when it doesn’t seem worthwhile to do so. For tomorrow often brings a new perspective and sheds a new light on a difficult situation. It doesn’t mean that I will stop caring for myself, because I have to otherwise I just stop functioning. It does mean that when I get to those moments of darkness I will remember that embracing hope may be the only thing I can do. Embrace what you need to, to get you through the hard moments, days, nights. With you I will remember that God came to us in the midst of great darkness, to give us hope to embrace and to make faith that much richer.

 

#AdventWord #Hope

2016-12-08-10-21-08

#AdventWord #Hope

Like many I have been through my bleak times. I’m not going to list them here – some of you know what they are without me having to rehash them. They have been some of my deepest moments of despair. I truly didn’t know what was going to happen next. I still get them from time to time, I think however given my years I have a bit more perspective on them than I used to.

The world is seeming to be full of despair and bleak at this moment. A moment in our history when there seems to be great uncertainty and no space for creative solutions to the many problems we humans have created. Then I remember hope. God’s gift to us in the bleak and anxious times. God’s gift of a tiny baby – a tiny baby of hope.

I am going to hang onto and hang out with that hope because it is that which gives me life and allows me to live a life of love.

#AdventWord #Care

#AdventWord #Care

I am a little behind on this, so you may be getting a few blog posts from me today on Advent Word. The word for December 6th was care. To care for each other, for those we know well, for those who are our family is easy most of the time. To care for those we don’t know as well, that is harder, especially if it means stretching us beyond our normal comfort zones. The gospel, the good news of Jesus, calls those of us who follow his way to make that happen. We are called as disciples to love our neighbours as we have been loved by God our creator. That means all of our neighbours in this messy, painful, often violent world, all of them. We are called to care for the least of these most of all.

The dear one, as many of you know, is the rector of Immanuel, Wetaskiwin here in central Alberta. This past Sunday we remembered St. Nicholas – the bishop of Myra who cared for three young women who didn’t have enough. He made their lives bearable. Our parish has done some of that as well. We brought in gifts for children who wouldn’t likely get gifts this Christmas in our community, we brought in gifts of food for our local food bank to make sure that people in our community will have enough to eat. In other words we cared. We continue to care and hopefully share the love of God with those who are our neighbours, both near and far.

 

#AdventWord #Repent

#AdventWord #Repent

If you ask the dear one, members of my family or my closest friends they will tell you that I worry, a lot. I worry about little things and I worry about big things. So when I was thinking about the Advent Word, repent I realized that I needed to talk about my own repentance.

I am an impatient woman and that is one of the reasons that I worry. I worry because I can’t wait for things to come around in their own time, or for the news I have been waiting for to happen. I really need to repent of this. Right now my little/big worry is about my hair growing back, post-chemo. The picture above shows my head at 5 weeks post-chemo and you can see it is still just wispy. I am worrying about how long it will take for me to have hair on my head. Good gracious, I really need to let that go! My hair will grow back, when it grows back.

Repentance is about turning around and doing things differently because God loves you. I know this. Sometimes I live this. When it comes to worry however I still have work to do. I am going to have to keep giving my worry to God and repenting regularly. I know God loves me, I know I need to let things happen as they happen, now I just need to not worry about it!

Small Victories

It has come to me in the last while after I posted One Woman’s Story that I need to have a phrase, a catch line if you will, to hang on to during this time of uncertainty about my health. It turns out that small victories is the phrase.

It means getting up, getting dressed, getting a few important things done in the day and then reminding myself that I have to take care of myself. That self-care can be different each day and probably will be everyday. The small victories of getting some stuff done each day is enough for now. I don’t have the energy or emotional strength to do more than that at the moment. I have learned in the last couple of weeks that has to be my small victory.

There have been moments, I mean moments, of sheer terror in the last week. Just overwhelming, oh my God, what is happening to me, why is this happening to me. There have also been moments of such anger, rage, that this is happening to me, that haven’t I had enough, hasn’t the dear one had enough. There have also been moments of joy, of belly gutting laughter with the dear one, of delight and so much love where for a moment we forget what is happening and can just be us.

Small Victories

I took this picture from our front door – the sun peaking through the fog. It said so much to me about what is going on. That my life is foggy right now, but the small victory is that the sun is peaking through, that light is getting through, that I am being upheld in prayer and good thoughts, that so much support is coming my/our way. A small victory for the morning.

Each day is bringing its small victories and it is those that I am going to remember and give thanks for those moments of grace, hope, love and faith. Each small victory is a tangible reminder that I am not alone in this, even when it most terribly feels like I am. That my family, my community of faith, my friends, my God are all with me through this and this is the biggest of my small victories.

What are the small victories you hang onto to make it through the crap that life throws at you?

Post Navigation