All of my life
Friday, November 19, 2010
All of my life
In every season
You are still God
I have a reason to sing
I have a reason to worship
A profound thought...can one find reason to sing and worship while in the valley? It is easy to worship and exalt God when on the mountain top of life. When all is the way it should be - no one is ill, no one is sad, money is flowing, life is full of laugher and the cup of your heart is full to overflowing. It is effortless to praise God and thank Him for His blessings and favor. It is natural to praise God in the season of new life and new birth...in the 'Spring' of the Soul!!! Yet in the bleakness and quiet of winter, when beauty has faded away, and life is left bare and dormant...what then? No, it is not effortless to praise God when someone you love is diagnosed with a cruel disease, or your relationships have turned sour, or when all favor seems to dissipate in all aspects of your life. What then?
What was the reason to worship when my baby lay lifeless in my arms...when the beauty of her being had been freed from her human constraints and all that remained was a perfectly empty vessel? Ah...there in the dark night of the soul, before the hope of light returned, there in that utterly hopeless and lonely place - was there still reason to sing?
Yes, for even though my song was filled with anguish, tears, and lamenting, it was still my song to my God who knew my pain. We often think of 'worship' as happy songs filled with thanksgiving and praise. Reality is that worship has little to do with music, lyrics or a kickin' drum beat...but has everything to do with our heart attitude and our life. True worship is a reflection of what is in your heart even when the diagnoses comes back positive. True praise is obedience, albeit through the tears.
The hope of Gracie healed and whole safe in the arms of Jesus is a reason to worship. Even on days when I see a newborn baby, or a little toddler wearing the same touque as Gracie, when I see a glow-worm, or have to console my little girl who is crying inconsolably because she wants her baby sister back...I still have a reason to sing - He is still God and that is reason enough for me.
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
“Earth's crammed with heaven, And every common bush afire with God: But only he who sees takes off his shoes” Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
We were at a Memorial Service with Canuck Place this weekend, honoring the life of our sweet Gracie Grace, alongside many other angels. We met up with a few precious people, and re-connected with amazing staff, nurses and doctors. Our dear friend Leslie came and captured some moments - our first 'family portraiture' without our sweet pea. Being at Canuck Place again, stirs up a myriad of emotion. Some beautiful memories, and some painful ones too.
As we walked through the gorgeous grounds of the garden, and as we played with our kids at the playground, I started to remember Gracie everywhere! We were blessed to have access to the elegant black pram that she used to live in while there! As one of the counsellors (with whom worked with us as a family) wheeled that beautiful carrier towards us, we saw the pram empty...and Andrew and I broke. We remembered her angelic face peeking out of the blankets, admiring the world around her. We could remember those precious moments when we would see her look at us with recognition and see her eyes smile at ours. We remember the tubes, pumps, and machines that burdened the carriage. The memories came flooding back and as they did our souls were flooded with such unbearable emotion.
Yet, as we continued on...and as the memories continued to flow I began to see Gracie more clearly. As Andrew held Olivia and she kissed his cheek, I could see Gracie doing the same - kissing her Heavenly Father on the cheek. As I saw Isaiah and Olivia playing in the playhouse, I could see her playing too, but this time she was healed and whole. As we swung on the garden swing, I could see her swinging high above the trees and clouds, high in the mysterious place of the heavenlies. As we crouched down for a family picture I could see her crouched down at the floor of heaven saying 'look Jesus...there they are and they see me...they SEE me - not only how I was but how I AM...they finally SEE!'
Gracie's countenance was of God. While in her short time here, she would quite literally shine. Her face would glow of peace, and I knew she had a pure communion with God that I could only imagine. I love the verse - "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God" Matthew 5:8 Gracie was pure in heart...and she could see God. Where we saw an empty corner of her pram, or just the twinkling of the Christmas lights...Gracie saw God. I remember at her funeral, my amazing friend Lynn told me that her sweet little one could hear Gracie singing as the piano played. You see, her beautiful Ellianna too is pure of heart - she has gone through more procedures and surgeries than I ever will in my entire lifetime. And Ellie could see God and see my sweet pea singing that day of her funeral, while all I could see was an eerily perfect white casket. Oh to be pure of heart...to see past the obvious. To see God all around us, in others, and in ourselves.
So what do you SEE? Do you see beyond the obvious, do you see what Gracie saw...the beauty of His holiness all around? That is my heart's cry, to know Him more. To be pure of heart, take off my shoes and see God!
Monday, November 01, 2010
We all have them, whether we wanted them or not: Labels. Somewhere along the line of life you stumbled on, earned, or have taken on a label. What does yours say? There are some labels that are most coveted depending on your age and stage. "Pretty" "Smart" "Popular" "Successful" "Handsome" Then there are those labels which you despise. "Geek" "Loser" "Vain" "Conceited" and the list goes on and on and on. These labels can attach themselves so early on in life that a child doesn't even stand a chance of figuring out who he truly is because of what he or someone else has thought (whether accurate or not)...thus a label is born.
After talking about this topic with a few people today, it got me thinking. What is my label? I have had many disparaging labels attached to me throughout the years - "Sarcastic" (which we know is just a nice way of saying you're mean, funny, but mean) "Opinionated" (again another 'nice' way of saying stubborn) "Fat/Ugly" - I don't know many females that haven't struggled with that one. The list goes on. Some labels can be positive and can spur us on to achieve greatness, others are a toxin that paralyze us. The reality is there is only one label that should matter...one label that trumps them all - the label that you belong to HIM. That you are a child of GOD. If you truly believe that - then all other labels fade away.
I read the Max Lucado Storybook called "You Are Special" to Olivia for the first time the other day. It is BEAUTIFUL reflection of labels, and placing value in the Creator and not in the created. Here is a synopsis. Eli the carpenter creates wooden toys called Wemmicks. The Wemmicks would give each other stickers - stars for being 'good' or 'beautiful' and grey dots for for being 'chipped' or 'scratched.' One day a little toy named Puncinello meets Eli - and his world changes...
Eli to Punchinello - "I don't care what the other Wemmicks think, and you shouldn't either. Who are they to give stars or dots? They're Wemmicks just like you. What they think doesn't matter Puncinello. All that matter is what I think. And I think you are pretty special...the stickers only stick if they matter to you. The more you trust my love, the less you care about their stickers. You are special because I made you, and I don't make mistakes." Max Lucado
God - the creator of the universe - calls us HIS own. If you believe that God is who He says He is, and that you are HIS then everything changes. For the same God who spun this world into motion with just a word, is the same God who created the intricasies of our human anatomy and physiology from mere dust, is the same God that created you and me! He knows us, and what our Creator thinks of us should mean more to us than what other 'creations' think of us. Why do we put so much value on other people's opinions of us? After-all, they are not the creator but the created. I encourage you to rid yourself of labels - all but one - the label of being cherised by the CREATOR.
Gracie taught me so much about not looking at the obvious labels that people try to convey. She challenged me to look deeper, beyond the exterior facade and to the heart. God doesn't make mistakes. Gracie was exactly how she was meant to be - and she was filled with His glory - for she was HIS. How I long to have the sweet communion with my maker as Gracie did. Her countenance shone of His love. I want my children to know that they will never be defined by what others think of them. They are and will always be beautiful, valued and cherished creations of the Creator.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.