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Photo credit: Eastop

Photo credit: Eastop

I know that you don’t often see the words obedience and exciting in the same sentence. Many would assume that a life devoted to serving God would be terribly dull. But I’m convinced that there is no greater adventure.

Like a faithful knight in times of old, when we surrender our will to the King of kings, we enter a life of purpose. Thoughts, words, deeds—all become significant. Suddenly, every challenge is a stepping stone to greater faith and usefulness.

Learning to see challenges—even pain—as God’s way of stretching me and making me grow, has changed my life. I used to run from discomfort until fear consumed me, but now I see a world of opportunity in my trials. If I’m not facing opposition or experiencing discomfort then I’m not growing or meeting my God-given potential.

It’s purpose that turns difficulties into adventures. Think of any great adventure story. If you took out the purpose—conquering a mountain, discovering new lands, saving the world—all you would have left is the pain. But when the purpose is great enough, then no trial is too difficult.

What is our purpose? To shine like lights in the dark universe. We are to show God to the world around us, to our children, spouses, parents, bosses, colleagues, even enemies. We are to use our gifts to bless others. We are to make the most of our time here.

What we do in this lifetime counts for all eternity…the ultimate adventure.

 

 

Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky.

 

~Philippians 2:12-15

Photo credit: Marie

Photo credit: Marie

Eclipse

Photo credit: Havard

Photo credit: Havard

Seventeen years ago–half my life away–I wrote poetry in an effort to cope with the anguish in my soul. Today, my life is very, very different and I no longer write to survive. There have been times since then, though, that I desired to delve into poetry again. But I was afraid to go back there. The poems that I wrote were raw and full of angst. What would it be like to bare my soul again?

I have only written three or four poems since I was a hurting teenager, but it is something that I am ready to explore. I am eager to paint with vivid word pictures once again.

Here is one of my first attempts at free verse after a very long hiatus.

 


Eclipse

 

I was raised to be strong

Never give up

Never give in

Or cry

Strength was independence

Fierce, unyielding

A mask for the soul

 

We—the unbending—

Despised weakness

Where tears reveal pain

The open heart ready to surrender

It is easy to mock the uninitiated

 

Eclipse

Night and day momentarily combined

Strength made beautiful in frailty

Man of sorrows; King of kings

Damascus Light

Brings blindness—for a time—

 

In cocoon of darkness

The metamorphosis

Scales fall away to reveal

I am weak

But also strong—in Another—

 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made
perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

~1 Corinthians 12:9-10

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Getty images

I’m a birth nut. I love everything about birth, and it’s not because I don’t know any better. I caught my first baby in my own hands, I delivered my second baby in a hotel room after a one hour labour, I birthed twins by Caesarean,  had a VBAC, and had a water birth with my last baby. I caught him too. When I shared my birth stories at a doula course, the instructor jokingly said that maybe I should be teaching the course.

Sometimes I find myself daydreaming  about triplets. After all, I’ve never had triplets before. What’s really funny is a friend’s mom—who hadn’t even met me—dreamt that I had triplets on her bed! People who don’t even know me know that I’m a birth nut.

And watch out—this birth addiction spreads. This same friend, who used to think that I was crazy and laughed at me when I talked about how beautiful birth is, just organized a meeting to discuss birth and shared about natural pain relief. Yep, she’s a birth nut now too.

There was a time (not too long ago) when I wanted 20 children. Seriously. There is nothing on this earth that I find as miraculous and world shaking as the birth of a child. I get the “birth high” so intensely, with all those endorphins coursing through my body, that I can barely sleep for three days after a birth.

My husband—because he loves me—agreed to having 6 children, but he’s really not up to 20. I decided to be thankful for the abundance I have and stop asking for babies. So what does a birth nut do when she stops having children? Becomes a doula of course!

A doula is a woman who supports a mother before, during, and after childbirth. Now that’s a job I can be passionate about! I had the awesome privilege of attending a friend’s labour as a doula almost two years ago. That beautiful experience will stay with me forever.

I’m so excited to be pursuing my doula certification once again! Anyone feel like getting pregnant so you can have me as a doula? ;)

 

 

O Canada

Happy Canada Day!

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Courtesy of freeimages

Courtesy of freeimages

I’ll be honest with you; my prayer and Bible study time isn’t all it ought to be. I hate to admit this, but deep down inside I want you to think that I’ve got it all together—that I get down on my knees and I have this powerful communion with God. That’s not the truth, though.

Lately when I pray my mind’s all over the place, and it’s even worse when I read my Bible. I have to keep telling myself, “Focus!”

Every morning I spend an hour praying and reading my Bible. I don’t really want to know how much time I’m actually praying and reading the Bible, and how much time I’m thinking about who needs to practice spelling that day or wondering if I should get more highlights in my hair.

The thing is, I’ve been in this place before and even found a remedy for the “distracted during devotions syndrome.” I’ve just been too lazy to do it. The remedy: a prayer and Bible study journal.

I started using a journal for devotions when I had several small children and never any “quiet time.” I found that I could focus on my prayers even in a room full of people—even small noisy people. And it’s not just me—several friends have found that just using a journal transformed their study time.

I mainly used my journal for prayers. I’d just write a letter to God. Others use their journals to take notes in while they read the Bible, and some do both. I guess I thought that I outgrew my need for a study journal, but I haven’t. I’m off to find my notebook—and dust it off.

 

“Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law.”

~ Psalm 119:18

Photo credit: Tazzmaniac

Photo credit: Tazzmaniac

I have the uncanny ability of being able to “hear” chocolate.  It calls to me, “You know you want me. Just one little bite.” I was 9 or 10 when I first heard it. It was just before Christmas, and I had a wrapped box of chocolates under the bed for my dad. I tossed and turned for hours, but those little chocolates just had to tell me about their flavours and how creamy they were. Who could stand such torture? I tore off the wrapping paper and ate every last one of my tormentors. Sigh.

I wish that I could say that was the last time chocolate has made a fool of me, but I’m a slow learner. Within a year my little sister brought me a chocolate bar. The kid was three and I knew perfectly well that she had gotten that chocolate from somewhere off limits. But I could blame the three-year-old when people started asking questions. I paid for that one. Turns out the chocolate was a laxative, and I had taken a mega dose. Nobody bothered punishing me. I suffered enough. Instead they bring it up at every single family gathering. In the end, though, I won. I learned how to quiet the pesky chocolate voices. We have a freezer in a shed at the end of our long driveway where I keep my chocolate. I can barely hear it now.

 

 

I’m excited to be sharing a guest post from my long-time friend Miriam, who has been encouraging and blessing me for years. I hope to have more posts from her over the coming months. Enjoy!

<3 Rachel

Photo credit: Balabusta

Photo credit: Balabusta

I phoned my friend up the evening before. It was one of those last-minute, short-notice kind of calls, where I realized I had a day off and thought I might utilize it to visit some friends in a neighbouring town—provided it worked on their end.”There is one problem,” Rachel said, “The kids and I are actually going to a homeschool craft day at the Fort, so we won’t be home tomorrow.”

“Well, would you mind if I tagged along?” I asked, undaunted: I knew there would be one empty seat in their van. “We could talk as we drive.” And so it was settled!

To make a long story short, I am glad that I went! Not only did I have fun and get to observe a variety of crafts as well as meet some interesting people and catch up with my friends, I was especially fascinated by the pottery-glazing process, which on later reflection occurred to me to be a kind of parable of God’s work in the lives of His children. Let me explain.

Pottery glaze comes in individual cans, each labelled according to colour. But though the can clearly states its colour, the actual appearance of the glaze inside it is very different to the shade it claims to be! In fact, most of the tones are very dull and dreary-looking and must be painted by faith in the label onto the items of clay, which action in itself does nothing to enhance their appearance. It is only when the pottery is fired in the kiln that the true colours come to light. And such colours they are. Rich crimsons and azure blues, glowing yellows and warm greens.

I was impressed. It afterwards occurred to me that this is oftentimes how God works in us, when He allows into our lives those dreary days of waiting for a longing to be fulfilled, perhaps, or those seasons of sameness when nothing in our lives seems to be making much forward-progress; or yet again those dark days when we suffer the loss of a loved one or even the death of a dream we hold dear.

The Bible tells us that God is sovereign and that nothing happens by accident – everything has a purpose, and that purpose is God’s for our ultimate good and His glory (Psalm 115:3, Romans 8:28). It also tells us that God is good, He is faithful, and He is love (1John 4:8, Psalm 86:5, Psalm 145:13).

Therefore we can know that not one of His brush strokes lands amiss; each dull stroke He paints will turn into a thing of beauty and brilliance through the fires He sends into our lives. He knows what He is doing; we can trust Him absolutely!

The glazes He chooses and the trials He allows will be different for each one of us, for no two of His pottery pieces look the same when He’s finished with them. Yet one day we will make a glorious collection, each designed for a specific destiny, together bringing glory to the Lord our God!

“But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our Potter; we are all the work of Your hand.” ~ Isaiah 64:8

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