Thanksgiving with Mars

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Today I sat at a table with Americans, Russians, Canadians, First Nation Canadians and had supper. The conversation covered Russian history, languages,politics, hunting, children, culture. My heart was thankful, I enjoy being in a setting where different cultures sit around a meal and connect. As I watched my friends children play with Mars around us and under the table, I couldn’t help but give thanks to God for giving me a heart for children. Its the main reason I moved to Canada. There are people out there who will spend a lifetime trying to figure out what their purpose in life is. For me, loving kids whatever race or creed has been my heart’s desire from the age of 13. What an adventure it has been with God as he has led me from country to country. Each place with its own set of trials and joys but the connecting thread the same, children.

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Jesus shared a parable of a man who gave three servants money to do something with whilst he was gone. Two did something with the little they had but one just let the money sit, thinking that there was nothing he could do with so little. Needless to say, this servant’s attitude was a great disappointment to the master when he returned. I want to be like the others who did something with the little they had. I don’t want to tire of getting better at working with children. I want to always strive for excellence. I want to say when I see Jesus,” here, you planted a desire to go and love and I did the best I could.”

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When I think of where I have come from and the opportunities God has given me to travel to different parts of the world because of His name, I am filled with amazement and thankfulness.What are the God-given desires, plans, ideas that have been planted in your heart? Don’t give up on them, the road may be lonely, you may not have enough people encouraging you but it’s better to live trying than never attempting at all.

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Happy Canadian Thanksgiving.

 

 

Chance Encounters.

Today I decided to take a walk after spending much of my Saturday glued to my laptop doing my assignments for the counseling course I am taking. I was antsy to finish my workload for two reasons. One, there is this show on Netflix called, Major Crimes that I thoroughly enjoy and I allow myself to watch an episode as a treat every time I finish my work and the other, the sun was out today!!! This week has been rather dreary and the impending gloomy long winter nights that are just around the corner make me want to spend every spare moment taking walks outside!

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Well, I finished my assignment and between watching Netflix or taking a walk, I chose the walk. I wasn’t really particular of where I was going, I just let my feet wonder, I found a spot by the lake and sat, soaking in the warm rays and for the hundredth time I wondered…how does an African end up somewhere the sun will soon stop shining by 3:30 in the afternoon?

A lady starts talking to me, I recognize her as one of the ladies whose baby I took pictures of when she had her boy dedicated. I am completely taken aback that she is talking to me and sharing so much, to say we are acquaintances would be stretching it! I sit and just listen, sometimes there are pockets of silence other times I distract her by drawing her attention to the antics of two dogs near us that are starring up a tree at a chipmunk that they so desperately want to catch but until they grow a pair of wings, that’s just not going to happen. We chuckle as we watch the chipmunk chew on something orange in peaceful contentment.
The small breaks of laughter help as what she is sharing is heavy. I remind myself, often people don’t want advise, they just want to be heard, so listen. She talks some more. Like a wood carver painfully crafting a piece of art, she chips away at the block of wood and slowly an image is formed. Its not beautiful, it is sad, painful and frightening to behold but it is her life. Her story. She talks for over an hour, repeating some truths over again maybe unknowingly stressing to herself how important I had to understand that particular truth. I listen some more and ask the odd question.
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Now that the artist has carved this image for me, now that I have this image in my hands, I wonder, what do I do with it. To look for too long at the tears, the brokenness, the pain and the death that polish off the image to give it its final look  makes me feel like a moth being drawn to a flame. We all know how that ends. So I take careful looks but don’t stare too long. As she talks, occasionally I look at the yellow leaves cheerfully brightening up the blue sky to remind myself that even in someones darkest moments, surely there is hope out there.
I cling to hope, in the last year I have come to appreciate it so much. It is my life line, my buddy and on those days my buddy is not with me, life is a horrible existence. The ladies life is currently devoid of hope. I know what that feels like in bite sizes, I pray I never feel the overwhelming tsunami of hopelessness that so many I have come to know struggle with everyday.

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This attitude that Christ calls us to have, “help carry other peoples burdens,” is no easy task, unless one gets to choose what burdens they want, which in real life rarely happens if you have set your mind to live a life like Jesus. This burden bearing reminds me to constantly go back to the teachings of Christ that always encourage me, I am not alone and even as I help shoulder someones heavy memories, I can turn to Jesus and he will do the same for me, breathing hope into my heavy laden heart and giving me the strength to go out there and be unafraid of chance encounters like todays.

Following His lead.

Pikangikum sunset.

Pikangikum sunset.

The plight of millions of Christians around the world who are persecuted for the Faith is one that has been close to my heart from the time I was 12. I don’t know why but by 12 the books that caught my interest, apart from Nancy Drew and the Hardy boys were books like, ” The voice of the Martyrs” or various books on the history of the Church and how so many have died clinging to Hope. I often wonder if this deep desire to try and understand at such a young age why so many chose to be martyrs was Gods way of preparing me for a time in my life when living in such an environment will take center stage … no one knows the future but Him. In the meanwhile, I never take the freedom I have to worship as I please for granted. This morning I was overwhelmed with tears as I thought (and prayed) of the plight of Christians in Syria, Somalia. I asked myself if Jesus meant so much to me that I would rather die a horrible death than recant … it is easy to say ” yes” in a time of peace, too easy to sing songs about how I want to live a life that only please Jesus when I don’t have to worry about someone coming to my door to arrest me or kill me. You know friend, sometimes I refuse to sing some Christian songs, why make promises to God when I know the state of my heart at that very moment is far from loving him with all my heart soul and mind?! Better to be silent than lie to Him.

JOY

It is said of Home that there is no pain or sorrow but sometimes I wonder if in one moment time, there was an exception…

Something happened that no one in Heaven thought possible,

A rift began between the Father and Son.

Were the angels overwhelmed with inexpressible sadness as the events unfolded?

Surely the Spirit filled Heaven with unbearable sorrow.

Did the Father  have to restrain His angels from coming down and rescuing His Son?

Heaven watched in numb silence as He wept in agony.

It was not what they did to His body

Or the rejection and arrogance of His creation

that brought such pain to them.

It was the crushing of His Spirit, the agonizing sight of the Son

covered, burdened with the sin of all the ages.

What kind of love is this?

Surely the 24 elders, the cherubim, the seraphim all of heaven’s inhabitants

and the very Presence wept when the rift was completed

and the Father poured all his wrath on His Beloved.

For a moment in time their hearts did not beat as one.

In that breathe, did Heaven experience the unthinkable?

The absence of the Sons glory?

Just as death thought he had won, a thunderous shout erupted in Heaven.

Where the earth’s foundations shaken when the Father and Son became one again?

Did the angels dance?

I only wish I had been there to experience that wondrous moment,

Surely no speech or song or dance or any form of expression can ever come close to describing the JOY that filled Heaven!

Because of the Joy awaiting Him, Jesus endured the cross disregarding its shame. May I this be true for me.

Thank God for Grace, cause when I fail, He reminds its OK to try again.

Adoption.

For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to adopt and now working in a home that is involved in adoption I am getting to see what it takes to get a child from point A(orphanage) to point B(new family). I have always known this, but now I know for sure, adoption is not easy, it is hard and in some cases extremely frustrating! The costs, the paper work,  the constant fear of “how about if we dont bond with the child” and if its a child with past trauma its the fear of “will he/she ever be OK emotionally”, if its an interracial adoption its the worry that “maybe the child will be made fun of at school”…the list of worries is endless.

Whilst others would change their minds after seeing first hand what it takes (and I hold nothing against them) I take it as, now I am more informed on how things work and when my time comes, I will be well prepared.

I feel this is the part of the post where I should go into an indepth theological description of how adoption is such a big part of our faith as christians BUT try as I might I cant seem to put the words together( I give up on being good at apologetics!)

I guess I will have to leave that for others who are better at that sort of thing…the next best thing I can do is share a few bible verse that show just how much God takes the subject of taking care of the less fortunate seriously:

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. (James1v27)

Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.(Psalm 82v3)

You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. If you do mistreat them, and they cry out to me, I will surely hear their cry, and my wrath will burn, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless.( Exodus 22:22-24)

Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.(Isaiah 1v17)

I believe, in one way or another we christians should always be in the forefront leading society in looking out for the needs of those who are less fortunate, after all that pretty much sums up what Jesus did when he was on earth!

Well, goodnight friend 🙂 until next time!