Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “prayer”

Oh my goodness, it’s time for Lent!!

Here it is Shrove Tuesday and that means, yep Lent is right around the corner! Last year I kept Lent fairly simple as I will still in recovery mode from cancer treatment. This year it seems a plan has developed by listening to the Spirit. Tools have appeared that I am hoping will be life giving and deepen my walk with Jesus through the 40 days that are coming.

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My guides for Lent

Here are my tools – Diana Butler Bass’ book Grounded, Richard Wagameese’s book Embers, and my drawing pad and water colour pencils. Each day through Lent I am going to pick up one of these. I will read and delve deeper into my spiritual life. I will pray and let the Spirit guide me as she does. I will draw and let my creativity flow in a different way than it usually does. Each day I will do one of these, I am not going to try to do all three on top of what I regularly do – that would be a bit much to say the least.

The dear one and I have a routine of saying Morning Prayer which I know will feed my thoughts and reflections during this time as well. We also reduce the amount of meat that we eat and of course there is extra stuff at church that we will be participating in. My hope, my prayer is that all of this together will lead to a holy Lent for me and for those around me.

I’d love to hear if you have any plans for Lent and what they are? Are you giving up something? Are you taking on something? Are you engaging with something new to see God’s presence in your life differently?

May you have a good and holy Lent. May you take the forty days as a way to renew your spiritual life. May you see Jesus walking with you each and every day.

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#AdventWord #Animate

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#AdventWord #Animate

Last night a small group of us gathered in the church that I go to. We gathered to recognize the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. We gathered to bring our longings and our griefs and place them before our loving God. We gathered to hear scripture and poetry. We gathered to pray.

Today’s Advent Word is animate and that is what we did, we animated our prayers, our griefs, our longings by writing them on stars and hanging them on the little Christmas tree. As I was sitting there thinking about what I wanted to write I was overwhelmed. I wrote on three stars – my cancer, my depression, how lonely I feel, living with constant pain and learning to manage it, how I am missing my children and won’t get to see them until early January – it all came pouring out of me. I left it there on the tree. I walked out of the church and felt lighter than I had in a long time.

To animate our hopes, prayers, longings, griefs – to write them out, to hang them on the tree, to hand them over to God – was life giving for me and I think it was for the others who were present last night. We can then make our lives full of God’s light and love and be ready to animate our faith with hope. My faith includes my struggles, my longings, my griefs as well as my hopes, my dreams, my loves, my joys. Thank you Advent for reminding me of all this.

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#AdventWord #Renew

Today’s Advent word is renew. I have sat with this almost the whole day. The pictures above tell a story – the first is me barely 4 weeks after my last chemo session for ovarian cancer, the second is me now feeling grateful, mostly healthy, and so glad to be alive. Here is my prayer for today:

I am sick Lord, so sick

Renew my health O God

I am tired Lord, so tired

Renew my energy O God

I am scared Lord, so scared

Renew my heart O God

I am in pain Lord, so much pain

Renew my cells O God

I am improving Lord, slowly improving

Thank you God for renewal of health

I wake up ready for the day Lord

Thank you God for renewal of energy

I am smiling Lord, so many smiles

Thank you God for renewal of heart

I have learned to live with the pain I have Lord

Thank you God for renewal of perspective

 

Renewal has happened and is happening in my life. I am grateful. That is all, grateful.

 

#AdventWord #Worship

#AdventWord #Worship Each night through Advent the dear one and I, as long as we are home,  light the candles of this little Advent wreath. We then pray the Advent collect together. When our children lived at home we would also sing a verse from an Advent hymn. All this before we say grace at meals. Family worship has been and continues to be an important part of our life together.

As the weeks of Advent go by we light more and more candles and the light grows. We worship at home because our faith is important to us. It is a way of keeping us grounded. It is knowing that God is part of all we do. During Advent in particular it is about waiting for the one to come, while worshipping the one already with us.

These little acts of worship through the day, through each week, have given me hope when it seemed hope wasn’t possible. They have given me a connection to that which is greater than me. They have reminded that others do this as well and we are all connected through the web of worship. Worship is what makes sure I don’t get off track in my faith life. Worship for me, is life.

Life between Chemo Sessions

I admit it, I still don’t like saying the words that I have cancer and in particular I don’t like saying the words ovarian cancer. Hard words to say, harder I think for others to hear. I keep reminding myself and others that my prognosis is good, that I will get through this, that my hair will grow back, that my energy and focus will come back, that the neuropathy pain will subside, that there will be life after chemo. Right now, however, my life is what I do or don’t do between chemo sessions.

Ovarian Cancer Canada Sunflower

This has been a difficult week pain wise. I am dealing with peripheral neuropathy pain which is a side effect of the chemo medications. This means that I am getting numbness, tingling and worst of all burning pain in my feet, lower legs, hands and lower arms. It has been hard and I have been grumpy and not sleeping well. I have been taking pain meds and am on a longer term acting med (which takes time to build up in my system) to deal with it. My health care providers have told me that it is likely that this will last for several months after the chemo treatments have finished.

Sharing all this not to look for sympathy but to let others know what it is like to live on chemo – it is hard. Be gentle with those of us who are dealing with it. Ask before hugging, it may not be a good day for it. Pray, if you pray, for those of us living with it to have the strength and courage to get through it. I have shed more tears of late than I thought I had left in me.

Life between chemo sessions right now is about managing the side effects, making sure I get enough sleep (thank God for afternoon naps), drinking lots and lots of fluids, eating the right foods, watching more TV than is probably good for me, getting some small tasks done each day, hanging with the dear one, remembering to take all my meds and supplements to deal with the side effects, small walks that get me outside, reaching out to friends and family for love and support and sometimes just being.

Rocking a scarf and earrings! Some days are good.

I know I haven’t written a lot lately, it takes a lot of energy to write. Hopefully when I am through the chemo life there will be more to write about. In the meantime, thank you dear readers for hanging in with me, thank you for your notes of support, for your prayers and your good wishes. Not doing this alone and for that I am most grateful.

Lent as Reconciliation

I have been pondering reconciliation a lot lately. It has something to do with the work I do, it has something to do with some personal relationships, it has a lot to do with my relationship with God. I decided yesterday that the word I am going to keep in front of me this Lent is reconciliation, as it seems to be the word God wants me to pay attention to. Over this holy season I am going to pray about reconciliation, write about reconciliation, work on reconciliation. I want this word and all its meanings to seep deep into my soul and become part of my being.

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Tonight like other Christians I will be going to church for the Imposition of Ashes. I have been getting a cross put on my forehead in this way for most of my life. It is a way for me to mark the beginning of this season. It will be a way for me to mark my reconciliation as a child of God, as a follower of Jesus. I will repeat the words over and over again today, “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return” as my prayer. I will remember how I have turned away from God and that God’s mercy and love is ever present even when I don’t recognize it. I will embrace that love and mercy and claim it as my own. I will remember that I am dust and to dust I shall return.

I want to be about the work of God’s reconciliation in the world and to do that I need first of all to make space for God in my life, to sit in silence (something I am not always good at), to let the words of Scripture be present and work through me, to hear the voice of Jesus through the voices of others.

This Lent I am going to hold these words from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians in front of me:

 So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

(2 Corinthians 5:17-19)

Have a holy Lent. May you find God’s reconciling acts of love and mercy wherever you go. May you be Jesus’ ministers of reconciliation. May the Holy Spirit guide you in acts of reconciliation with others. Have a holy Lent.

 

 

 

#Breathe #AdventWord

The weather here has been remarkably unsettled over the last month. We have had deep freeze cold, snow and now we are going through a thaw. For someone like me who lives with rheumatoid arthritis my joints just can’t get it together. Yesterday I went for my monthly massage. It is something that I do for self-care and it has made a huge difference in being able to get things done and not getting them done. During the massage there were several moments when I took deep breaths to let my massage therapist get at the tension she was working on in my muscles. I kept telling myself to breathe. I became aware of how I was breathing. It became a prayer.

When I came home and finished up work I was able to get at some home tasks even with the unsettled weather. I was conscious of breathing well and moving well. I was able to make pastry and the first meat pie of the season.

#Breathe #AdventWord

The dear one and I breathed in the warm smell of the pie. We breathed in the goodness that was awaiting us. We breathed in life. We gave thanks to God and we enjoyed the pie!

We all need to breathe, for it is our breath that gives us life. We speak about the Holy Spirit as breathing new life on the church at Pentecost. Remembering to breathe deeply and slowly when stressed can be difficult for some but I know how much it calms me down. I breathe and I pray. I breathe and I pray. Then I become calm and can think clearly.

Breathe, pray, let us open ourselves to God’s good gifts this Advent season.

#ShowUp #AdventWord

I live with rheumatoid arthritis and until the past 6 months it wasn’t that noticeable except occassionally. Now it seems I can’t go more than a day or two without discernible pain. Then there are days like today when I have to push past the pain just to do the regular stuff, like making coffee or getting dressed. Pain makes it hard for the best of me to show up and be present. All I want to do is to curl up, snuggle under a blanket, and let the pain meds do their work. I become this whiny, crabby person with a short temper. Not the person I want to be or the person that I know God is calling me to be. Certainly not the person I know I am when the pain is under control.

#ShowUp #AdventWord

I know that God shows up when even I can’t and for that I am so grateful. I am going to do my best to show up for God. Showing up means discipline. Discipline to take care of myself, so that I can be there for others. Discipline to ask for prayers and assistance. So here I am showing up even when I just want to the world to go away and leave me alone.

What do you need to show up for? How do you know when God shows up for you?

#Watch #AdventWord

December 6th and the Advent Word for today is watch. Here in Canada it is the 25th anniversary of the Montreal Massacre of 14 young women by a young man who blamed feminists for his issues.

#Watch #AdventWord

It is a day to watch, pray, remember and act. It is a day to tell our daughters and sons about what happened and why violence against women and girls needs to end. It is a day to watch our governments wherever we will live so that the rights of the vulnerable are enhanced and not taken away. It is a day to watch for God’s loving actions in the world and name them as such. It is a day to give thanks for those who women who have survived and are making new lives for themselves and their children. It is a day to remember the murdered and missing indigenous women of Canada and work to make this end. It is a day to watch. pray, remember and act.

How will you watch, pray, remember and act?

Healing Time

I have realized that the last couple of months, after moving into our new home, have been a healing time for me and for the dear one. We are making this place our home. We are painting and putting up our art. We are planning our new garden. We are exercising more. We are healing. We are not there yet but we are healing.

How do I know this? We aren’t arguing as often. We are able to step back and breathe. We are both praying more regularly. We have spaces in our new home that are just mine and just his. We are developing better patterns of living together in this new place. It is slow but I can feel the healing seeping into our bones. We are learning to trust again. Trust God, trust others and trust ourselves.

I spoke recently with a friend and she told me that it is necessary for me to take this time. That healing doesn’t happen over night and that with everything the dear one and I have been through in the previous 2 years to arriving here has to have time to get into the past. She told me that is a necessary thing for me to have this time to slow down, heal and remember that I still have something to contribute to the church and to my community. That taking the time to figure that out is a good thing. To think of this healing time as a gift from God and it is.

For now I am going to bake, putter in my new garden, cook good meals for the dear one and I, find out more about the diocese that we are now a part of, dip my toes into commitments, let other people see me for who I am, sing when I can, read lots of good books, go to yoga class – in other words I am going to heal and so is the dear one. He will do this in his way and we will be there for each other and heal as a couple.

A new orchid - a healing gift in our new home.

A new orchid – a healing gift in our new home.

I am thankful to God for this healing time. For this time to remember the love that has been given to me and continues to be given to me. For the developing new relationships that are filled with grace and love and are allowing me to learn how to trust again. I am thankful that I hung onto my faith through the dark time, when it was hard, and that I  have  found a new place for it to grow and hopefully flourish. I am thankful for this healing time.

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