Faith from the Edges

Faith and life from the perspective of me.

Archive for the tag “reflection”

Set aside your fears


 “…what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”  (Micah 6:8 NRSV)

We hear it all the time, what are you afraid of, why don’t you just get over it, what is holding you back. We have all been afraid. Afraid to try something new. Afraid that we won’t get it right. Afraid that we won’t be heard when we tell our story. Then we hear another voice, God’s gentle voice, saying don’t be afraid. I am here. You are not alone.

I remember the first time I went to a northern community, a First Nations community. I remember how afraid I was. That I would say something wrong. That I would be judged because I am  a settler. That I wouldn’t be able to hear the hard stories that might be shared. This fear was almost crippling.

Then I thought about that passage from Micah about justice, kindness and walking humbly with God. I had been invited to that community because I was working on doing justice in the church and for the church.  I wanted to hear the stories even if they did make me uncomfortable. If I did listen humbly and with kindness I would be able to hear their stories and not be afraid. I would be able to hear  and have those stories change me from someone fearful to someone with compassion and courage. I was able to hear God’s voice in those stories telling me to not be afraid of the truth, to not be afraid of the journey of reconciliation, to not be afraid of strengthening relationships.

I now live in Wetaskiwin, a semi-rural community in central Alberta, a place that neighbours  four First Nations, a place that is struggling to become a bridge builder. I am the member of a church that is struggling to discern what are the next best steps for it to take on its reconciling journey. We are all working on not being afraid. We are all waiting to see where God is leading us.

During Advent we get a time that is set aside. A time for hearing God’s call to us.  A time that calls us out of our fears to see where God is calling us to do justice , to love kindness and to walk humbly in the way of our Saviour. We have a time that calls us to become filled with God’s love for all people and the whole world.

Holy One who calls us to do justice, love kindness and to walk humbly with you, assist us to set aside our fears, to open our hearts to reconciling relationships, to become filled with your love and walk with each other through this time of Advent.

(A version of this has been published in the On Eagles Wings Advent Reflections and also in the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton’s monthly newspaper ‘The Messenger‘. I thank them for doing so.)



How to make sense of it all……

This week has been pretty rough here in Canada. There is a lot of bad news going on. It has been a rough week in other parts of the world as well. A dear friend of mine from Regina, put this up as her Facebook status recently:

Sometimes I think we live in a world gone mad! Schoolgirls abducted in Nigeria to face God knows what horrors – five innocent students stabbed to death in Calgary for no apparent reason – and on and on. Sometimes I wonder if it would be easier to live life in a vacuum oblivious of what is happening all around us – even in our little city of Regina. But life comes with its horrors along with its joys.

The question that has been rattling around in my head the last couple of days is how to make sense of it all. Where is God when homes are getting flooded in Quebec? Where is God when a young man for unknown reasons at this point kills 5 other young people in Calgary? Where is God when a 15 year old boy stabs random people in a mall in Regina? Where is God when a woman is beaten again by her partner? Where is God when another family is forced to leave their home because of the violence in Syria, South Sudan, Ukraine? Where is God when a child, an adult, is sexually assaulted by someone they know and trust? Where is God when communities are wracked by generational violence? Where is God?

Then I remember that we are in the midst of Holy Week. The most emotional, violent, horrifying, upsetting, crucifying week of the Christian year. A week where Jesus’ friends thought the world they were living in had gone mad. They arrested Jesus! They beat Jesus! They made Jesus carry his own cross! They crucified Jesus! Where is God? Where is God?


The answer is, at least for me, is that God is in the midst of all that messy, ugly violence that can overwhelm us. That God in Jesus hung on that cross, for us, because of us, with us. That God is with us, no matter what, no matter how badly we screw up, not matter what, no matter how much we hate, no matter what, God is with us.

Tonight begins the great Triduum. I along with Christians around the world will be remembering, watching, praying the acts of Jesus. We will be singing, lamenting, confessing and making our way to reconciliation. We will ask ourselves where is God and we will find God in the midst of us, in the breaking of bread and drinking of wine, in the betrayals and denials, in our world gone mad. This is how we will make sense of it all. Just this. It will be enough. It will be Grace.



Good-bye 2012 …..Hello 2013

When I look back at this year, I am so glad that I am looking at it from our new home and from the perspective of the dear one having a new position. If we were still living in Kenora under the circumstances that we had been living in I am sure that I wouldn’t have had much to say that was good about 2012.

2012 was a hard year that I am really happy to see the back of as it drifts off into the sunset. As the dear one said the other day if we had known two years ago that it was going to take so long for him to find a new position we might have just curled up and given up. Thankfully we did neither.

Instead of dwelling on what was not great this past year, here is a brief synopsis of what was lovely, beautiful, blessed and gracious in our lives:

  • Eldest daughter got married to wonderful son in law – so much celebrating was done that week!
  • Next daughter made a decision about her future and found her passion – going into international development – the next part of her journey begins soon.
  • Son and youngest decided to go to university and has been at the University of Manitoba since September.
  • The dear one and I got lots and lots of skills built up in doing home renovation work and design – I am ready to do some more painting of rooms when we get a new home.
  • We had a lovely last summer in Kenora with both of  our younger children home with us – probably the last time ever.
  • A bishop reached out to the dear one and he now has a parish and we have a new community to live in and we have moved.
  • I learned who our good friends are and who will always be our friends. I am so grateful to all of them.
  • I started this blog and have found a way to keep on writing, reflecting and reaching out that is just for me and no one else.
  • I chose three words for this year – voice, joy and courage – kept them in front of me and used them regularly. I remembered what it meant to have a voice, hence this blog. I looked for joy and discovered it all over the place. I found courage to hold onto my faith when it seemed like I was going to lose it.

Here is what I am looking forward to this next year:

  • Choosing three new words to guide me through this next year.
  • Selling our home in Kenora and buying a new one here in Wetaskiwin.
  • Getting to know more people in the parish and figuring out, with God’s help, what I am supposed to be doing here.
  • Finding a job that is fulfilling and flexible – a big order I know, but it can happen.
  • Joining a community choir – to be able to sing and meet new friends.
  • Taking more time to get in the pool and get regular exercise.
  • Having time with the dear one making a new home and learning how to be a couple with adult kids.
  • Planting a new garden while at the same time learning what is in the one we will inherit from whomever we buy our new home.
  • Getting to know more about this part of Alberta and doing some fun exploring with the dear one.
A little blurry but here is the dear one and I after the Christmas Eve services this year. One of my favourite pictures of 2012.

A little blurry but here is the dear one and I after the Christmas Eve services this year. One of my favourite pictures of 2012.

Reflection on an Ending

I am struggling to find words for the emotions that are going through me this week. I am in the last days of a position that I have held for a long time. This work is not ending by my choice. It is not ending because I haven’t done good work. It is ending because of church politics and I have got caught in the midst of them.

I am sad, angry, lost and weeping. I am once again full of grief. I have been crying on and off for the last two days. I told the dear one that I thought I wouldn’t have anymore tears to cry and I do. I have done good work and it is all ending. All ended with two boxes of files and display materials being dropped off. I am sad.

I had hoped that by this point that I would be able to accept what is happening and just move on, but I can’t.

I feel abandoned by the church (the institution not the people) that I have put so much of my creative energy and effort into.  So the question arises how do I move forward? How do I take the good that I have done and remember it and let it be.

I want to be done with the grief. I want to be able to enjoy things. I want to dream of new possibilities. I want to find God in the people I meet and live with. Just can’t at the moment.

I ‘ll continue to walk in the desert dragging my faith behind me as I go.

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