Friday, January 30, 2009

An exciting life?

I was reading a blog earlier (One day at a time), and Mrs Sandy mentioned that it surprised her that people took interest in her day to day life. Compared to the experiences of other blog writers, she questioned what made people read and comment about her life.

I, for one, am fascinated by the fact that Mrs Sandy is a foster parent. Her ability to divide her time and love with so many little ones, and mold them into confident members of society....all the while continuing to nurture the family she gave birth to, is an adventure in and of itself. The lessons and perspectives gained by such selfless actions are what draw me to that particular blog.

Emily has travelled on a rough road that began as pain, torment and anguish....but has allowed her sadness to turn into joy. I am enthralled by the Grace she has shown in the midst of a pain that is beyond my comprehension.

Sunshine is timid and yet so full of life. Her story may not seem 'made for Hollywood', but her spirit shines through as she speaks of the love she has for her family.

Bestill has found a way to share her praises through fears and uncertainty. I am encouraged by her words and thoughts that are so freely shared.

S.Sarah's blog was one I stumbled across as I read comments on another. I believe I was led to her blog to offer some words of comfort and possibly a friendship. I see her reaching out, and I know that Christ would grab onto her I did too.

All of us at some point or another feels insignificant in this our experiences and 'talents' are of no use to anyone else. God feels different. He uses us in ways that sometimes we don't see the ripple effect, or the outcome of our obedience to His Will. Sometimes we are blessed to see the fruit of our actions.....which serves to remind us that our thoughts, words and deeds have the potential to reach far and wide.

My story has many elements to it, and each experience was essential for me to come to know Christ in a personal way. He knew me from before I was formed, and He also knew what was necessary for me to endure in order to 'hear' him. He was there for me when I turned my back on Him so many times.....His free Grace saved me from myself. Because I am forgiven much, I chose to love much. How can I withhold love, when Christ gave it so freely?

There is no such thing as a 'boring' life when Christ is at work within. In fact, there is no such thing as a boring life even when you don't know Christ....because He knows you! I am privileged to know some of you as well.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A little story

A little boy asked to his Mom and (step)Dad if he could get baptized in a Church. They didn't see any reason not to, so they set up a date with the Church to get all three of their children baptized.

The day before the baptism, the bio-Dad stated that he wanted to attend. Because of prior incidents involving bio-Dad, (step)Dad decided that it would be best not to have the boy baptised at this date, but to give bio-Dad a time limit to arrange it to be done.

The little boy's shoulders slumped, but he said he understood to spare the feelings of his (step)Dad.

The day of the baptism went smoothly. The little boy watched as his little brother and sister were welcomed into Christ's family, and even got to hold their lit candles during the service! He was happy for his siblings.....and yet there was a sparkle missing from this normally happy little guy.

All of his aunts, uncles and cousins were there, and did their best to console the boy in his disappointment.....but there were no words that could touch the deep 'left-out' feeling that settled in the pit of his stomach.

One cousin, who had always been very close to the little boy, saw his hurt and spent the whole morning praying that something would change, and that the little boy would get baptized. When it looked like all hope was lost, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Secretly, he whispered to the little boy to come with him along with another cousin to the water fountain. He asked the little boy, "Do you want Jesus in your heart, so you can be part of His family, and believe He is the Son of God?" The little boy answered, "Yes."

The cousin then turned on the water tap and sprinkled water over the little boy saying, "I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. You are now part of Jesus' family forever."

The sparkle instantly returned to the little boy's eyes.

The little boy is my nephew. The cousin is my oldest son, Ethan.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Faith and Healing

*Update* Kalyna is now on a third antibiotic and it is staying down! Praise God! We are not out of the woods yet, but we are definitely on the right path. Thank you for your prayers. God has heard our petitions and calmed my fears.

Original post:

Does your Faith get shaken? I find it hard to answer this question sometimes.

I have been through some pretty rough situations, and I have had my focus taken away from Christ, but to say that my Faith had been affected doesn't sound accurate. Even in my angry times, when I didn't understand why God had allowed things to occur, I didn't question His authority or His love for me. I think that was the only thing that got me through the painful periods of my life.

The one area I still struggle in is when my kids are affected. You can throw financial turmoil my way, and I'll flinch, but I know I'll come out just fine with God's help. You can throw stress into the mix of my life, and I'll depend on God to guide me through. When it comes to my children suffering....well, I just don't want that to be part of my lessons.

My youngest daughter, Kalyna, is suffering from pneumonia right now. She has tried 3 different antibiotics but cannot keep them down long enough to be of any help. She is not sleeping at night, and she's not eating much at all. Prayer has been a stable part of her treatment (seems to be the only thing I can do for her), and I'm feeling quite spiritually attacked through this experience.

I do trust that God has gone before us with this struggle, and that I will come out of this hardship with a much stronger Faith and a testament to His healing powers, but fear is something that is gripping my heart right now.

Please help me to lift Kalyna up in prayer as her little body fights this awful illness.

God Bless you all.

Friday, January 23, 2009

How we met (for S.Sarah!)

Today I'll share the story of how I met my husband. It's a long story....actually it's not, but I like to add in so many details (it's how I talk too) that it makes for a long story.

I had just entered my first year of University and was still unsure of what exactly I wanted to study. I had never thought about a career other than motherhood, so deciding what to be while I waited for my true calling was rather intimidating.

I felt so lost in the sea of other students, and often found myself in a corner of the main building, writing down random thoughts. The loneliness surprised me, especially since there were so many people around.

On one particular Friday afternoon, my girlfriend and I were in a silly mood. I think it had more to do with fatigue than mischief, but we were caught up in fits of laughter. (I giggle when I'm over tired) As we entered the bus that would take us home, I looked up to see a young man sitting at the front. His eyes pierced right through me, and I had this odd sensation that one day I would 'date' him. (We were both seeing other people at this point)

My friend commented that he was cute, and being in a silly mood, I asked if she wanted me to strike up a conversation so that she could meet him. She was mortified that I would even suggest it, so we continued to giggle to ourselves as onlookers wondered about our sanity.

When I arrived home, I mentioned to my Mom that this guy had looked me in the eyes on the bus. Eye contact was not something that happened often with strangers on a bus. Most people find their seat and keep to themselves. I didn't tell her about the odd thought that passed through my mind, though.

Three weeks later, I was the 'designated driver' for some of my girlfriends as we went out for drinks. It was convenient for my friends to have me tag along, as I was not a drinker. We had decided to hang out at a small lounge at a local restaurant. There was a small dance floor for later in the evening, and my friends beckoned me to join them as they began to show signs of alcohol 'relaxation'.

As I danced, I sensed someone watching was the guy from the bus! He kept staring at me and smiling, so I smiled back. As he approached me, I felt the need to apologize for my behaviour on the bus. You know that blank, hesitant look people give you when they have no clue what you are talking about? Well, he gave that to me. Apparently, he left more of an impression on me that day, than I on him.

He leaned into me and, speaking over the loud music, asked, "Are you single?"

I happened to be single at that time, and answered in the affirmative. Then he introduced himself to me. "My name is Arnaud." Huh?

" Schwarzenegger." I loved his comparison, and still remember how cute he looked as he struggled to speak in English with me. When I discovered he was from France, I was hooked. He was in his last year of studies, and on an exchange program.

We searched high and low for a pen and paper in order to share our phone numbers....and wouldn't you know it, not one person (including waiters!) had one for us to use! We decided to meet in front of the University book store at 12:00 pm, in 3 days' time. I couldn't wait to see him again.

I was in front of the book store 10 minutes before the agreed time. I didn't want to risk missing Arnaud. The time came, and I looked around anxiously, barely containing my excitement. 12:05 one. 12:10 pm....still no Arnaud. At this point, I'm imagining he and his friends perched on one of the balconies, pointing and laughing at the poor girl thinking that her 'Prince' will come.

I started to walk away, angry that I had been stood up. I stopped and decided to go back. This was not like me. I didn't wait around for guys.....I had much more integrity than that. I can look back now and realize that God directed me to turn back, as there was no way I'd ever run into Arnaud again.

As soon as I returned to the book store entrance, Arnaud came waltzing down the corridor to greet me. I had planned to give him a little hug, then suggest a cafeteria to have some coffee in. He being French, had a different kind of greeting! Wow! Talk about rubber legs--he held me in the most passionate embrace, and I lost all the wits about me. I could barely talk after he performed this shocking PDA (public display of affection). I know my face was flushed.

We chatted for awhile, then exchanged phone numbers. He called me that very evening, and I knew this one was special.

I guess the rest is history!

Monday, January 19, 2009

On loan

I have always wanted to be a Mom. It has been my heart's deepest desire since I can remember (and I have a very long memory!).

I have been training for this purpose from the moment I took my first breath; the scream I let out on the day of my birth demonstrated that my lungs were designed for summoning children from afar. This ability has served me well.

All of my dolls were very well taken care of.....until my younger sister was old enough to get her hands on them. Even then I had the natural instinct to comfort each one as their face was destroyed by magic marker or their hair cut with safety scissors. I learned through each of these difficulties to forgive my sister and to love my 'babies', even with their faults.

I began babysitting at 12 years of age, and loved every minute of my time spent with others' children. There was a sense of accomplishment when I would walk into a new home and get the children to bed with no fussing! Word spread fast that I had a 'children whisperer' quality, and my calendar was always booked.

It's no surprise to those who knew me well that I began my family early. Although my first was not planned, I was fully prepared in my heart to raise him (as I'd been trained!). I couldn't wait to dress him up (just like my dolls), and carry him around in the snugly. He would be mine, all mine.....or so I thought.

Through the years (and a few children later), it occurred to me that God had given me these children on loan. He is the one who created them. He is the one who paid for them. And one day, He will call them home. Until that time, I am given the honour of raising them in the knowledge of Him, and am expected to invest my talents in them that they may grow interest for Christ.

Prior to this revelation, I had been trying to mold them to my standards. I would have bad days and take some of my frustrations out on my kids, then justify it by mentally stating, "They are my kids, I'll raise them how I feel is best." I felt that somehow I had ownership over them, and therefore, did not have anyone to answer to over my failings.

I am so grateful that the Lord stepped in when He did. It took losing two pregnancies for my eyes to be opened up to the Truth that "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." He is the True Master for my children, I am but a temporary guardian.....trusted with the task of directing them to the straight path.

When I have my bad days (yes, I still have many of those), I no longer justify my actions or poor choices.....I make amends. I apologize to my children--not for addressing their behaviours, but for doing so in a hurtful manner. In this way, I am acknowledging that they do not belong to me, but belong to the same Master that I serve.

Friday, January 16, 2009

That's Impossible!

I've mentioned before that God comes to me in dreams and visions. Sometimes I 'hear' His message right away, other times it takes a few attempts for my mind to have an 'aha!' moment. Sometimes I just simply hide from the responsibility of being His vessel....

About 2 years ago, I began having a persistent dream. In the dream, God was telling me that it was time to give Him the full tithe at Church. Not only that, but it had to be decided by my husband, Arnaud! All he had to do was commit to 2 months, and if God had not revealed Himself to Arnaud by then, we could stop tithing.

Let me paint a picture of the enormity of the task I had just been asked to do.....

It had taken me nearly 5 years to convince my husband to give even a slight portion of our income to the Church, as he held onto some pretty strong views regarding Churches and their spending habits. Each year, as Arnaud would get his raise at work, I would increase our giving by the same percentage. I was careful not to make too big a deal about the amount, as I knew his issues were deep.

I actually laughed in my sleep at the thought of bringing this up with my husband. I was sure he'd look at me like I had 3 heads. So I ignored the message. I convinced myself that it was just my deep yearning to please God, and my mind was playing tricks on me again.

The next night, God came to me with the same message. I told myself it was impossible to think this could be from God....I mean, He knows my husband too, right?

For two weeks God pursued me in dreams. After that amount of time, with little to no sleep because the message was getting more urgent, I finally broke to God's Will and spoke with my husband. I said word for word the message and waited for a response......

"Uh, I'll think about it." Okay then. That night I had the deepest, most restful sleep I could remember.

A week later, Arnaud still hadn't given a definitive answer to God's message. I had almost forgotten about it, but God is an excellent reminder of His plans. I began to lose sleep again, with a new message: Arnaud now had to give his answer by that Saturday...which gave him about a week to decide.

On Wednesday of that week, my husband and I discovered we were pregnant again. In normal circumstances, this news would bring great joy and celebration. Instead, it brought fear and confusion.

You see, after our fourth child was born (a year prior), my doctor told me that having another child would be very dangerous. So, I gave permission for the doctor to tie my fallopian tubes during the c-section. Although I couldn't be sure that what I was doing was God's direction, I did know that He would forgive me for lacking faith in that moment.

Thus, the fear that we both felt with this new impossible situation. I was also experiencing some pain in one of my sides, and feared an ectopic pregnancy. That night, The Lord came to me in a dream and told me that this child would be a catalyst for great things that were to come. I had peace in my heart again.

On Friday, we learned that baby was growing inside the uterus! The odds of this happening were very low, and we were all in awe of God's power in this miracle.

Saturday came.....and Arnaud had not given an answer. I was completely absorbed with planing for another precious baby, and 'the message' was far from my mind. That day, while in the care of my husband, our youngest daughter fell down the stairs and broke her arm. It was a scary time for all of us, but she was okay aside from her arm.

As we prepared to go to Church that Sunday morning, I went to write our check for the Tithe. I turned to Arnaud and asked if he had decided the amount yet......

"Let's do the whole Tithe. Two months, right?"

I was shocked! I didn't question it, but there was no way my husband could have just decided to give more money--it was impossible! I wrote the check for 10% and off we went.

We lost the baby at 7 weeks along. We both were devastated, but I hung to the promise of the message I had received, that 'he would be a catalyst for great things.'

A week later, Arnaud received a promotion that was not foreseeable or possible 2 weeks earlier. The stresses at work eased, and he began being praised for his efforts there.

The 2 month mark arrived, and I sat Arnaud down for a talk. I let him know he had fulfilled the obligation of 2 months (which was part of the message), and did he want to go back to what we were giving before?

"Sarah, when you first shared the dream with me, I thought you had finally lost it. I put it out of my mind. When you reminded me and gave me a deadline, I was annoyed, and avoided it. Then you got pregnant....I was scared and saw God's power to do the impossible. When Kalyna broke her arm, I knew that God was upset with me for not answering him. That's why I agreed to the whole Tithe. I didn't want to know what God's next step was! After we started Tithing, I have seen God in the blessings that have followed. I don't want to go back to doubting."

I had prayed for years that my husband would come to know The Lord in a personal way....and in that moment, The Lord revealed that He had heard my pleas, and answered them! God takes the impossible and makes it possible!

It will take my whole lifetime to grow into the servant that The Lord has called me to be, and as I attempt to lean more on my Faith (and less on my own understandings), I am also learning to listen to His voice.

My husband and I both continue on our journey of faith with the knowledge that God is right here beside us the whole way.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


It does not mean the absence of chaos, noise and is to be in the midst of these things, and be calm in your heart.

Author unknown.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


'Kah - Leen - ah'.

Soft spoken, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. She loves to cuddle, and is the first to offer a kiss for her older siblings' boo-boos.

Kalyna is our last baby. She was conceived after two losses, and early on we were sure we had lost her too. It was the hardest times in my life, and yet the Lord blessed us through them.....showing us just how precious life is, and what gifts our children are.

I always loved my children, but there were many days that my focus was on the work of caring for them, as opposed to the honour of raising them. Following our losses, and then our miracle, I have never looked at my children as less than the blessings they are. (and sometimes blessings are hard work too!)

I loved the baby stage, and I was dreading the toddler stage with Kalyna. I knew it probably meant more Independence (a bittersweet inevitability), and less cuddle time....and I braced for it. She surprised me with her continued enjoyment of those snuggles and nearness times, and I will milk it for all it's worth!

At almost 3 years of age, Kalyna has taught our family about putting others first--well, putting her first, anyways! She's still learning about how to ask for things politely. She'll say 'please and thank you'.....and that's great! However, when it's said in a high-pitched, shrill scream, most people have a hard time making out the words.

Kalyna. Our little 'Cranberry bush' (Ukrainian meaning).

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Isn't laughter the most wonderful sound? God knew what He was doing when we were designed to produce a sound that emits the joy that bubbles up and out from our hearts.

The hearty laughs are the most fulfilling, in my opinion. The ones that are not forced or expected, they just burst out--sometimes surprising the person making the sound.

It's not often that my children catch me off guard with their jokes. They are still at the stage where they forget the important half of the jokes while reciting them, or they give the punch lines away at the wrong time. I laugh genuinely, although I have to admit it's mostly because they look so cute trying to remember the details.

Friday night, Alec came into the computer room before I left for Bible Study. Ethan was on the laptop beside me, and we were concentrating on our respective screens.

Alec: "Hey guys, wanna hear a construction joke?"

Ethan and I: "Sure."

Alec: "I'm working on it."

With that, he walked away....then it hit me. A loud, booming laugh erupted from my middle and I laughed so hard I cried. It was a good joke. It caught me off guard, and I chased Alec down to snuggle and tickle him.

Laughter is a gift.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A lasting gift

Here is a picture of the latest sweater set I made for a little baby girl. I love to knit, but I don't often find time to finish many projects.

This is a pattern that my Grandmother used to make all my children special sets when they were born. I once mentioned to my Mom that I'd love to one day learn how to knit like Grandma, so that I could make these things for friends and family.

My Mom went to visit Grandma and help her with chemo treatments one winter. They had a lot of time on their hands as they waited in hospitals, then at home for the medicine to run its course. During this time, Mom asked Grandma to teach her the pattern.

That Christmas, I opened a strangely shaped package from my Mom. Inside I found knitting supplies and some baby wool. I burst out crying when I opened up a photocopied booklet of Grandma's pattern for baby layettes, and a note saying, "Merry Christmas, Sarah. When you find the time, I will sit down and teach you to read this pattern. Love Mom and Grandma."

Since learning this pattern, I have made 5 sets for our Church's street mission to hand out to new mothers, and 5 other sets for friends. This is one Christmas gift that will keep on giving!


A song fills her heart. Vivacious, a social butterfly, a contagious laughter. She defines the phrase 'wearing your emotions on your sleeve'.

Annlise is our first born daughter. She was born a tiny little thing, with a great big attitude! Her baby growth chart shows she stayed under the 3rd percentile until she was into her 18th month. The doctor told us that she would not reach 5 ft tall, and we embraced the thought of having a little 'pixie' girl to cuddle.

By the time she reached 2 years of age, she had jumped up to the 50th percentile for height! Well, now the doctor told us she would be 5 ft 1 in at full growth. To make a long story short, she is now the tallest girl in her grade 1 class! I think her attitude was too big for her small frame, so her body grew to accommodate the spirit!

She was born with music in her heart and has communicated through song since she learned to speak. When reading or playing dolls, you'll find her humming along to life's's what makes her happy.

I always dreamed of having my own little princess; a little girl to play dress up with and to impart my knowledge of the important things in life, all the while developing a beauty from within.

I have no worries for this little fire cracker. She makes it known what she is thinking and feeling as soon as the emotions hit.

My (not-so-little) Princess. Annlise

Friday, January 9, 2009


An observer. Thoughtful, smart as a whip, and a tender heart to minister to others' needs.

Alec is our second born child, and our youngest son. He came into this world bigger than life itself (I'm not kidding, this kid was 10 lbs, 13 oz)--and the doctor almost dropped him because of it. (yes, she actually admitted to this!)

He had some troubles at birth, and was kept in the Neonatal Intermediate ICU on an I.V. for the first 24 hours of his life. When I was finally wheeled to his little bassinet, I realized just how out-of-place he seemed in a room full of 2 and 3 pound babies. They looked so tiny in their isolettes, and Alec was spilling over he was so big!

I was able to cuddle him and nurse him right away--boy was he hungry!

He was a quiet little baby, and we worried he had delays....but our concerns were allayed when he began speaking in full sentences at 18 months. That right, folks, he went from zero to five million words in one day! (Okay, a little exaggerated, but you get the point)

Alec is our black and white thinker. There is a right and a wrong for every situation, and he'll call you on it if something is unfair. This way of thinking has served him well in most situations, but has also caused some difficulties with certain teachers.....*cringe*

As strong willed as he can be, Alec has the most tender heart you'll ever see in a nine year old body. He has a love for animals, and for babies, both of whom are completely vulnerable and needy. I thank God for him every day....especially on the days that I could strangle him (but choose not to!).


(Oh, he was diagnosed, at age 3, with Type 1 diabetes....but that is not who he is.)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


Wise beyond his years. Eager to please, quick to comfort, a bright young man.

Ethan is our oldest child of four (living). He was not planned by us, but God knew how important he would be in our lives. He was originally going to be named Brett. Arnaud and I had agreed upon this name after our first ultrasound, even though we did not yet know if he was a boy. I just had this 'feeling' that I was carrying a son. Brett was a bold name. A strong name. Plus, it was cool.

Again, our plans were revised by He had a different name in store for our firstborn.

I traveled to France in my sixth month of pregnancy, to share the news of our pregnancy with Arnaud's family. Once the shock wore off (for them!), we began planning for the upcoming changes in our lives.

At the time of our visit, Arnaud's grandfather was in the last stages of his life and in hospital. I had met him once before, and formed an immediate bond. His first words to me (in French) were, "Sarah, did you know your name is in the Bible?" When I answered in the affirmative, he beamed from ear to ear. I was told later that day that it was the first time his family had seen him smile in a long time.

I had wanted to visit him one last time, but my future mother-in-law thought it best I didn't. She didn't want me to remember him so sick, and he wasn't conscious to remember me. I was disappointed and heartbroken, but I respected her wishes.

One morning, I had a vision. It was so clear and seemed so real. In the vision, I was sitting beside his grandfather, saying goodbye. I asked him to say 'Hi' to God for me, and he replied, "You can say 'Hi' yourself, He's all around!" He then placed his hand on my bulging abdomen and told me that this baby boy would do great things in this life. He then said the baby's name, but I didn't quite he said, "Don't worry, it's in the Bible."

I felt almost as if I had been there in his hospital room, and I was at peace, knowing that I had said my goodbyes.

I didn't think much of the details of the message, as I was yet to begin my relationship with Christ, but when Arnaud heard about it, he immediately blurted out, "What do you think of the name Ethan?"


It was okay....I didn't know anyone else with this name, so I guess it was an option. I replied, "I like it, but I don't think it's in the Bible."

That day, Arnaud's grandfather passed away. We spent the afternoon mourning with family, and later that night, I snuggled beside Arnaud on the couch to watch a movie. I told him that we should look 'Ethan' up on the computer, to see what it meant. Since hearing the name that morning, I became less and less a fan of Brett.

The confirmation that this indeed would be our child's name came when we found the origins via 'google'. Ethan was, in fact, a name found in the Bible. It's meaning is 'firmness, long-lived'. He has certainly lived up to his name (the firmness part, anyway!).

On more than one occasion, I have seen glimpses of the greatness that God has in store for him. I pray each day that I can follow God's Will for his upbringing. When asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he answers, "A priest and a doctor."


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

"The sign"

A man was stranded on the roof of his house during a flood. He had a deep Christian faith, so he began to pray earnestly for God to rescue him.

After an hour, a young boy in an inflatable boat floated by, and asked if he needed help. The stranded man replied, "No, sir, I am waiting for God to save me." The boy in the boat left.

Once again, the stranded man petitioned the Lord to save him. About 2 hours later, a man paddled by in a canoe. He saw the stranded man on the roof, and asked if he needed a ride to safety. "No thank you, God will save me--I have faith." The man paddled away.

"Please Lord, give me a sign that you will save me!" cried the man, who was still stranded on his roof. Just as he looked up, a helicopter appeared overhead. On the loudspeaker, the pilot asked if the man needed to be rescued. The stranded man waved the helicopter away, yelling, "I'm okay, I don't need your help, I'm waiting for God!"

The water continued to rise above the house. The man perished in the flood, and went up to Heaven. Once there, he asked God, "Lord, I called out to you to save me, why didn't you?"

In a booming, yet loving voice, the Lord God replied, "I sent you a boat, a canoe and a helicopter....what more did I have to do?"

How often do we ask God for signs in our life to 'prove' that He is Lord? How often do we cry out to Him and ask that He fix a problem or take away a hurt? How often do we listen and accept the help He sends?

I heard this joke many years ago, and laughed at its truth--both in how God sometimes answers our prayers, as well as in how we expect God's answer to look different....bigger.

Imagine the Jews' disappointment when for centuries they had cried out for a saviour, and God's answer was a tiny baby, laying in a manger. Surely God would have sent someone a little more capable....a lot more powerful, right? And, how could He die, if He was indeed the One?

I know in my life, I have rejected help from others time and again. Whether due to pride, embarrassment or just plain self-pity, I did not accept the people sent to me to ease my burdens. I wanted the answers to come from God Himself (with a bolt of lightening or two), I just didn't expect the message to come through friends and acquaintances--or my children.

I have learned over time that to be part of the Body of Christ means that there are other parts that assist my function, and I in turn, assist their function. If we are not working together, we are not growing or accomplishing any of God's work. God can even use non-believers (or 'pre'believers, as I like to refer to them!) to help His children in times of need.

I think my biggest hurdle comes because I sometimes question the intent of those who do not know Christ. I do love "pre" believers, and I have no problems separating the sin from the sinner, but I have a very hard time accepting that God may be working through them to help me. I am actively working on this aspect, as I do believe I've missed the boat, canoe and helicopter on many occasions in this area.

Monday, January 5, 2009

What do you need?

For the past 5 nights, my younger son, Alec (9), has been staying up late in his room. When I would walk past his room (around 10 pm) to turn out the light, assuming he was asleep, I would find him either reading his book, playing his Nintendo DS, or just tinkering with this lego.

My initial reaction had been exasperation and frustration, with quite a few sighs thrown in for good measure. I admonished him for staying up so late, knowing that he needed rest for school starting up again after the holidays.

That first interaction produced some tears, and I went over to hug him. I ask him why he couldn't sleep. Was it a tummy ache? no. Was it a headache? no. Do you need to use the washroom? no.

"What do you need, Alec?"

Mom, I'm scared to close my eyes. Every time I do, I see bad pictures and have bad thoughts. that's something I know how to help with.

I placed my hands on Alec's head, and prayed, "Dear Jesus, we ask that you place your healing hands upon Alec, and take away his bad thoughts and dreams. Lord, give him the rest he needs in order to wake up refreshed and ready for the new day. Thank you, Lord Jesus, Amen."

I looked at Alec, and he smiled. I told him that the prayer needed one more thing. He asked what it was, so I answered, "It needs for you to agree with the words spoken by saying Amen."

Why is that, Mom?

I answered, "Because the Bible states: 'For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.'"(Mat.18.20)

Again, that smile crept across his face, and he whispered, "Amen."

Each night after that, he would stay awake until I'd pass by his room. He would complain that he couldn't sleep, and I'd ask, "What do you need?"

A little smile, and a shy, "I need a prayer, Mom" would be all that was needed to get me to cross the room to his bed. I would ask him to state to Jesus what his fears were, and he'd go through the list of concerns. I would then say the prayer, with Alec echoing his 'Amen' at the end.

What began as an annoyance, has become a beautiful bedtime ritual; one that has brought me the joy of praying with my children. I think the Lord used a child to lead me (again), and showed me the need in my life: laying my burdens before Him, and trusting that He will carry me through.

Alec is sound asleep within 5 minutes of prayer.....trusting in His Lord and Saviour to fulfill his needs.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bigger is not always better

And longer is not always more interesting!

Here's a short post.

My bedroom is rarely tidy. The bed gets made, and the clean clothes are in drawers...but it's the room that becomes the catch-all for 'stuff'. The top of my dresser has three distinct areas: Jewelry, books and magazines, and husband's worn-but-not-dirty clothes.

The rest of my house (including all four kids' rooms) is tidy and organized. I spend most of my energy on these areas, and at the end of the day, I just don't have the energy to tackle my room.

Today it hit me that this routine reflects my attitude in life. I make sure everyone else's space is liveable and comfortable, while sacrificing my own. I do put others first, and that's okay--even commendable; however, God wants me to do this with thanksgiving in my heart, with a 'tidy' and comfortable refuge to fall back on while refueling the Spirit within me.

I am going to make time to refuel in my life. It may (or may not!) start with a tidy bedroom.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Prayer time

I know how important prayer is in a Christian's walk of Faith. I have seen time and time again the changes that occur in one who prays diligently. I have experienced the shame and embarrassment when I realize that I don't spend nearly enough time in communion with my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

There was a time that the shame kept me from seeing all the opportunities in a day to communicate with God Himself. As that nudging feeling would remind me that I needed that closeness again, to refill the Spirit within me, I would turn away and put my Friend back up on a shelf.....

I was too busy. I had too much to do. I didn't know what to say, and I had fallen so far off the path--how could I face Him again?

I could imagine how Eve felt as God came looking for her in the Garden of Eden. She knew she was naked and exposed, and tried to hide from Him. I felt a similar wave of fear with each reminder that I was avoiding my part in a relationship. I was not fearful of repercussions, I was fearful of the disappointment that I would surely face from the One who knew my deepest thoughts.

Since I did not answer His call during the day, The Lord came to me in my sleep. It was the only time that my mind was not racing with the day's activities, and I could actually hear His voice. He was not angry. He did not admonish me. He embraced me and told me He loves me. Always. He does not need for me to wake early or stay up late and meditate, all He asked for was a dialogue, a friendship.

"Hello Jesus, today I'm feeling rather low. There is too much on my plate, and I'm feeling overwhelmed. Please help me carry this burden, and help me to be who you want me to be."

I found myself including Him in all that I do. From putting the dishes away, to breaking up yet another argument between my kids. He was there to guide my reactions, or to help me clean up the mess I left when I would lose my temper. I began to see how He was making me a better Mom, wife and person.....and I wasn't losing any time by adding Him in my life. In fact, I was enjoying my time much more.

God is not a part-time listener....He's a full-time Father who yearns for a relationship with His children. One day I hope I can be in a place where my devotions to Him are longer than my focus on worldly 'needs'. Until then, I know that He will continue to mold me into the child He intended for His service.

Have you said 'Hello' to Jesus today? Don't be surprised if He answers back.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Savannah's sweater

Savannah Grace.

I'd like to introduce you to a very special little girl that has had a profound effect on my life. She taught me about love, life, and letting go. Her strength was displayed with each hurdle she overcame, but her strongest moment happened without a sound.

I first heard about Savannah when her Mom announced she was expecting in an online parenting group. Emily very hesitantly shared that she was expecting her fourth child, but had experienced complications with the pregnancy. At the end of her first trimester, a visit with the doctor indicated that the pregnancy would most likely end soon.

The little one growing inside had other plans, though. She fought harder than those doctors thought she could, and kept hanging on. She defied all odds and entered into the second trimester with a strong heartbeat.

I didn't know Emily well (aside from reading some of her posts), and I made it a point not to become too involved with 'people on the screen'. It was still a new concept to me to be able to 'talk' real time with someone typing a world (or country) away.

I offered some words of comfort and support, letting Emily know that I would pray for her little one. I felt so helpless, living so far away, and prayed that God would show me a way of reaching out to both Emily and her sweet, unborn child.

One afternoon, while sitting down to finish knitting a sweater for our church's mission, it dawned on me that I should make a layette set for the tiny baby forming within Emily. I logged onto the parenting site, and asked if it would be alright to send along a little package. It was then that I was informed that Emily had been admitted into hospital with heavy bleeding. My heart sank. Things didn't look good and I braced myself for heartbreaking news. I was surprised at how close I felt to Emily, and vowed to open myself up to help her.

Emily was 25 weeks pregnant, and losing quite a bit of blood....but baby was happy and healthy, with a strong heartbeat. My heart filled with joy! The doctors decided to keep her in hospital, and aim for 27 weeks before taking baby out. Emily shared with us that she was expecting a little girl.

I had two weeks to get that sweater set done. I picked out a lilac colour of wool that had a shimmer to it. I prayed each day for the safety of that little girl, as I stitched together the sweater with love. Since I knew that the little one would be born prematurely, I knit a mini cap with the same wool, and embroidered the nickname "Goober" that had lovingly been given to her.

I finished the set with a couple days to spare! I boxed it up, included some other little trinkets, and shipped it off to the hospital where Emily awaited her youngest girl.

Little Savannah Grace left this earth while still in the comfort of her mother's womb. I could not accept the words I had read on the update. NO! This is not the way things were supposed to turn out! She is a fighter, there had to have been a mistake.

I cried. I prayed for Emily and her family--as much sadness as I felt, I knew they were feeling a million times more heartbreak.

The sweater!! Oh, no....when it arrives, it will just add salt to a gaping wound. I prayed that Emily would be protected and supported as she opened the package I sent. When it finally arrived at the hospital, two weeks after Savannah's funeral, Emily opened the box surrounded by the nurses that helped care for her.

Emily shared with me that she smiled as she saw the embroidered 'Goober' on the preemie cap I had knit. I praised God that she was able to smile in the midst of all her grieving.

We shared letters and emails over the next few days, weeks and months. In Savannah's short life, she had a lasting influence on my understanding of what it is to love my children. It's not about clinging and sheltering, it's about letting go and loving.

We are not guaranteed a single day with those we love, so enjoy each day as a gift. I cannot express accurately my gratitude for the lessons both Emily and Savannah taught me during those times, and still teach me today. My life is better for knowing and loving them both.