Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Beautiful Ugly

 
I've been thinking...that's usually how these writings start. We are all searching for "happiness" or whatever you want to call it, but we are all looking in different places, hoping some divine voice will call "you're getting warmer...WARMER". For some it's in pleasures, others it's in a job well done, that special "someone" or creative expression. The search continues for years and years. Dead-ends prevail or else we wear out the hopeful idol. And sometimes, our time runs out, way before we thought it would. 

What if we are living life upside down? What if the secret to contentment, peace, happiness, strength and hope are in the opposite direction? Like a big stinkin' city traffic jam. Everyone is frantically stalled, fender to fender. Anxiously trying to get through, to get ahead. Every once in awhile, one guy gives up. he wriggles out of the common line, turns around and goes the other way. It seems absurd. That's not the right direction. But he's desperate for another way. He is really unsure of his decision, but he is convinced that his current course is not working. Losing his place in line is risky, but he cannot bear another horn honk, curse word or revving engine. The stillness is killing him. Faith and hope turns him directly around. A glance at the back of the line is not enough. Leaving his car and running to "check it out" back there is not enough. He has to  get out of line, turn around 180 degrees and drive...as fast as he can.

 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!"
Mark1:15
The traffic is heading straight for a place called Self. Self is a place exactly the way you want it to be and the capital city is Me. It's laws command that you believe in yourself...your own strength, your own will and your own truth...custom made to your own desires. It's a Utopia. I like the idea of living there myself. The problem is that it's not real. It's a great idea, but pure fiction. If it were real, then the greatest people in the world, those who accomplish the most, make the most money, have the most power or popularity would have reached Heaven on Earth, but they don't. Sometimes they even take their own lives in the hopelessness of reaching another dead-end. The end of the highway. The end of pleasures.

"There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death."
Proverbs 14:12

Brokenness. Before we find that place of peace, joy and contentment, we need to make a pit stop. It's a nasty and painful place...in the direct opposite direction most are traveling. You don't need to stay there long, but you need to sign the guest book at least. This place is wall to wall mirrors that show the hidden places of the heart. It reveals the ugly truth about what we often think, desire and do. The things that no one else may know. When you stand on the border of Good and Bad, with one foot about to cross the line, you start to realize what you are capable of. Every monster out there that we see in the news doing unspeakable things was once a precious baby with all the potential for good that we have. God's grace holds us back. Once we see the possibility of our own destructive nature, something changes. The fear, disgust and shock of that mirror's reflection is a critical moment. That horrific, but necessary moment is the key to passionate love and transformation. It is what turns us around, motivates us to really love and be loved.

 "Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it."
Matthew 10:39
Contrite spirits. That feeling or showing or remorse for sin or a shortcoming. That brokenness over our failure and incapability. That is what ignites the power. That is the weakness that gives birth to strength. That is what furnishes the home where Jesus wants to dwell. Once He moves in, we get on the right road and move forward enduring every bump, turn and stall with indescribable peace and joy. His love for us, for that horrific mirror image we denied was there for so long, compels us to love Him back. Acceptance, faithfulness and unlimited hope is ours, never to be lost. That brief moment of darkness, that pit stop, opened the door to unending light. But most won't go there...not even for a moment.

  "I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite."
Isaiah 57:15

Some people begin their journey with Jesus at the pit stop of ugly mirrors and others experience a rejuvenation of their faith there. Either way, that's where the love is born or grows.  Being loved unconditionally by a perfect and all powerful God is the key, but we cannot appreciate that until we see how undeserving we are...what a great price that love costs. The uglier we see ourselves, the more beautiful He makes us feel. Opposite. Upside-down. Other direction. Turn around.

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9

North American affluence and humanistic thinking...money and self esteem...often hide this turning point from us, as well as our own fleshly avoidance. Don't be fooled. Helplessly go there. It'll only hurt for a moment, as long as you let it go. See it...hate it...then give it away to the Healer. Ask Him to take you there, whatever the cost...He'll cover you. It's a beautiful ugly.

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."
Matthew 6:33








Friday, April 12, 2013

A World Without Buscuits

 

Home. 
Probably the most important place on the planet. 
Images of open verandas, trampolines, neat flower beds and a "room of their own" for every family member comes to mind...but not to reality. Home is a place not a theater stage or a store display window. A good home does not come easily and needs constant care.If left unattended, it will get up and run away on you. The people that live in the building are the home. The souls that rest, eat, work and learn there are the home. It should be a place or nourishment, education and safety. Every world leader, artist, scientist, preacher and Nobel Peace Prize winner had one. If not kept properly, it will produce bad fruit and will run away to join the circus.

I don't like politics, but we are all political to some degree and have opinions. When Hon. Keith Ashfield made the "Good Wife" comment recently, regarding his compliment to a young woman for her baking, these opinions started to fly...including mine. He said that she would someday make a good wife because of her culinary talents. She wasn't offended and neither was I. We "homemakers" aren't usually invited to share our expertise in the media, regarding issues of this kind, so we meekly carry on, holding up societal integrity by the laundry line. I'm not bragging about myself, I'm bragging about the job.


They say that homemaking is SO important and SO vital, but when push comes to shove, society refers to our nourishing as a wasted life. Those were the words of deputy NDP leader Megan Leslie:

“Look, his comments were disrespectful. Come on. Grace, you're a great cook? You're going to make a wonderful wife for somebody? In other words: there, there, stop planning for your future.”

It hit me hard. Even another woman. I planned to be a wife and mother...full time.

Me:  "I planned to give my husband and children the very best of myself, my talents and my time. Opening a restaurant to use my culinary skills never crossed my mind or heart! Forgive me, but I long to feed my family. I long to faithfully believe that behind every good man and woman is a totally sold out Mom, spending every ounce of energy on that short time with her children and that grace of life called marriage."

  Political Analyst Lisa Kirbie:  “In what universe is it acceptable to tell a young woman that she is going to make someone a great wife one day?”

Me:   "My universe...and I am Canadian. It is not only acceptable, but an honor."


  Megan Leslie:   “Wow, leave it to the Conservatives to encourage young women to get married as part of their economic action plan,”

Me:    "My kids have been running a small business since the age of about 6, making money and providing for the community. They couldn't have done that if I hadn't planned to get married, have kids and be HOME for them. My husband makes the money and I make it happen...unashamed. I believe that small business makes the economy go 'round...you're welcome...just doing my small part."

Please tell me you don't think being a wife can be reduced to biscuit making???

*Quotes taken from Huffington Post Canada, by Ryan Maloney,


I'm not trying to mock these successful women, I'm simply using the costly freedom and technological opportunity to stand up and speak my heart. I think it might do some good for the modern woman to realize that we don't all agree on this issue. On what "success" wears...a power suit or an apron?  I don't even wear aprons, but you get the picture. This little blog is my cyber corner of the techno-world where I can express my heart, where others might stumble and see who else lives in this great land.

I may have been able to become a Wendy Mesley, a Glenn Close or a Marie Curie, but I CHOSE not to try. I PLANNED to cook, laundry, clean, teach and love. Who knows what God might do with those efforts. It doesn't matter though. We all have the freedom to make that choice and we shouldn't be "offended" by another's choice. I'm not offended by the power suits. It's just not that important to me. Why should I offend you? Unless you think full-time love, service and sacrifice is NOT important? I think that's it. I think service sacrifice and even marriage are dirty words these days. All the melodic slide-show presentations highlighting the "small and humble" things of life are just a token applause. What is REALLY important today is being on the winning team, personal gratification and self-love.

The media does not represent our country's women well...but we are too busy forging and supporting heroes to do anything about it. 

 Enough about my thoughts...I've got to go feed the most incredible 5 people I know :)
I planned to do this...and it's an honor.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Pray


The bare trees are a silhouette in front of the grey. The beautiful mountain, the blue sky and the careless clouds are hiding behind the grey. I know they are there, but I can't see them. I want to see them because they make me feel. The grey just makes me want. My heart conveys a message to God. He knows my desires. He has them in his hands...both hands because they are many. The grey tempts me to fear, to despair. The prayer fights the temptation. The prayer is the weapon of hope and mobilization. It is the invisible power that I forget is there, that I often refuse to use. Why on Earth would I do that? Because I depend on my eyes too much. Maybe that's why we close them in prayer. I continue to peer behind that tree searching for some other color than grey. If I would just close my eyes and fight. My will is limited, but my prayers are potent. 

Like Fanny Crosby, have faith and close your eyes.