Monthly Archives: February 2004

Simple faith

Luke 18: 16 and 17

“Then Jesus called for the children and said to the disciples, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I assure you, anyone who doesn’t have their kind of faith will never get into the Kingdom of God.”” (NLT)

A friend despairs, becomes depressed because of the state of his life and the state of the spiritual life of many around him.  At least that is partly the reason, I guess.

 

I’ve been there too.  Sometimes life is extremely hard to figure out.  And when you begin to think deeply about God and where we fit in well it is mind boggling.  Some thoughts are not even resolvable.  You get to a certain point and then the thought pattern sort of collapses, leaving a sense of what on earth am I believing anyway”.  And then worse yet is wondering if maybe the neurotransmitters are just out of whack, the brain being such a mixed up bag of chemicals, and we should not really trust our feelings and experiences.

 

Maybe believing in God is something for which we have to let ourselves become simpler; simpler like a child.  A child that is full of the wonder of the world around.  Like the first time a small child flies.  They aren’t very interested in the technical reasons the plane can fly rather they are amazed watching the earth drop away as they take off.  Like their first snowfall they don’t ask how the flakes are made, they just enjoy jumping in it, tasting it, feeling its coldness.

 

Maybe I should follow the advice of Jesus and become as a little child, stop trying so hard to figure out everything about God and about myself.  I can’t figure it all out anyways.  Maybe I should just enjoy being His child playing in His presence, trying to keep my little feet in His big footprints and stop trying to figure out in theological/logical terms how I can possibly know Him. 

 

I suppose this is oversimplifying things.  I have a great deal of respect for reason and knowledge.  I am glad there are great and deep thinkers who have used their wisdom to understand some of the amazing things about God.  I do not think that one should rely only on experiences and feelings as a complete revelation of who God is (because that could be just some chemical thing going on in our brains).  But Jesus took the simple things around Him and made them into stories we could understand.  And he showed us how to love and care for our neighbors.  He did not spend much time in the great institutions of learning arguing a case for God.  He just lived an exemplary life and then gave us that very life to redeem ours, coming back to show his friends that yes it was true death and sin were conquered.

 

I would like to live out that kind of a life that would be loving enough, simple enough, transparent enough, to show God’s presence, as it were, through my skin.

 

And I wish the people who know me best my family would see more of God in me and less of the areas where I constantly fail.

 

James 3
17But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere. (NLT)

And if this seems much too introspective – well these things usually follow an episode of completely failing to be wise. 

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On being sent out to play in the playground

Yesterday, in Saskatoon, I stopped by one of the large Christian bookstores on my way out of town.  (I know it’s part of the ghetto but they do have some books I want)

The name “Brennon Manning” has had a familiar ring to it and I thought  – that’s just because he’s written books I’ve heard lots about. 

Then, today, I looked at the back cover of a book and there he was – his picture.  And it came back to me – I know him.  We have talked to each other.

Back in the late 1980’s I was at a Christian Medical and Dental Society(CMDS) sponsored continuing education conference in Kenya for medical and dental missionaries.  These are great conferences and are still going on.  Those needing continuing education points to maintain theri licences can usually get all the points they need at this week long educational event.  And there is also an inspirational speaker for the week.  So both brains and hearts get refreshed.

When I went to this conference, I was at a bit of a turning point.  We(Leo and I) had been talking about resigning as missionaries.  Our kids were going to be university age and we knew we could not afford to send them to school.  Leo was also getting worn out and changes were occuring in medical missions philisophically that made being a medical missionary more frustrating for Leo. 

I had always had a strong sense of God calling me to be a dentist and a missionary.  And I was having a hard time dealing with going back to North America – as if I was quitting, selling out.  I didn’t really want to leave.  But I could see that Leo needed to go and since he was the guy I was married to …

So – Brennan Manning was the inspirational speaker for that week in Kenya.  He shared with us from his own life honestly and openly.  And he made himself available to anyone who wanted to talk.  I am not the kind of person who does this easily but Manning was the kind of guy who when he said come and talk, you knew he meant it.  So I sought out some counsel from him. 

He told me this:
      God has a very large playground.  Going back to Canada does not mean that you are leaving the playground.  You’ll just be going to a different part of it.  If you go to a different part of His playground, God will help you find something fun and fulfilling to do there too.

I don’t know what I learned as far as dental knowledge that week, but I’ve never forgotten what he said to me.

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It has been a long day

It has been a very long day. 

Grace had a race in Saskatoon at 9 am which meant she had to be at the field house by 8:00, which meant we had to leave PA by 6:00, which meant I had to be up by 5:00.  Now that is not all that unusual an hour for me to be up – but not on my day off! 

We got down to Saskatoon in good time.  The roads were great, the sky was clear and the moon is just barely starting to wane so it was a nice drive.

Grace placed 17th in her race which was one short of placing in the semi-finals.  She stayed in Saskatoon since she is supposed to race tomorrow as well.  Not sure if she will run or not. 

Got home early afternoon, took a very short nap and then went over to my office to do some work for my niece.  They live in Cochrane but I am doing some orthodontics for her so it gives them an excuse to come about once a month to visit and see Dad as well.

Then Sara had a soccer game at 6:00 that I wanted to see at least a part of and Christian called to say that he was part of a concert at 7:30.  So I went from the soccer game to Ecole Valois to hear the concert for IMPAC.  IMPAC stands for something in French. It is a workshop to promote music in the French language so some professional musicians from Radio Canada come for the weekend and work with wanna be musicians and songwriters.  Tonight was their concert and Christian was part of the back-up band.  I guess he will be involved with this again in the morning.

And Sara’s team won their game against North Battleford 12-1 so they will be playing  tomorrow either at 11 or 1:00. 

So no grocery shopping has gotten done this weekend, no housecleaning and Leo has had to be enlisted to do the laundry.  Good thing he is versatile!  He’s done a good DAD job this weekend.

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Visit the Blogcabin

Chuck is giving away compliments to Canadians.  I guess we’re pretty funny, eh?  What can you expect in a land where you use all available means to warm up – laughter included.

Anyway he has discovered a new Canadian blogger at the Blogcabin.  And she can write some good stories. 

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Getting the silent treatment

You know sometimes I cause trouble just by being the mom.  I don’t know exactly what I did tonight but something happened to cause a lot of tears. 

Lots of tears but very few words – at least not to me!  She has been on the phone for hours but to me – well lets just say pulling teeth is a whole lot easier than getting her to talk – even wisdom teeth!

I don’t even know how I caused this particular incident – it seems to have begun before I even got home from work.  I just walked in to a kid visibly upset, asked what was wrong and got tears.  And the cold shoulder.  And the silent treatment.

So when I told her “no” she could not stay out past 11 tonight I shouldn’t have been surprised when I went from being a horrible mom to being the worlds most horrible mom.  Oh the joys of parenthood.

I think she liked it that I offered to drive her to Saskatoon anyways so she could go to her track meet Saturday – even if I am horrible.  Maybe the trip will be long enough so she will talk.  We can have really good days and then days like today. 

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The Internet in Africa

Jordon talks about how the internet and blogging could be a good way to provide a hearing for indiginous voices.  There is an article on the UNESCO site that speaks to the use of the internet in Africa.  Just remember that Africa is a big place and there is so much diversity in access to telephones and the internet.  But technological progress is slowly being made even in the face of conflict.  Link 

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Some of my winter work

Four scarves, three pairs of mits.  That has been my knitting production this winter so far.  I start a toque tomorrow – maybe tonight, we’ll see how time goes. 

This is the scarf I knit for Grace.

Todays completed scarf went to Annette – one of my most wonderful daughters-in-law. 

Snow falling today covered everything in a soft white blanket and it was even warm enough to appreciate the beauty outside.  It was warm enough to begin to think of spring.  Only two more months till it gets all sloppy and brown in the streets. 

I have to get the toque done before it isn’t needed any more – not that I wish for the warm weather to wait!

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