Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today was the first Sunday of Advent. For the last few years I haven't thought much about the significance of these weeks leading up to Christmas. I guess growing up in the church it just seemed like we did the same thing every year and I lost some of the significance of it all. But last night when the first Advent candle was lit, something stuck with me.


That's what this candle was all about.


Something our world needs.


Something we hold onto tightly in many of life's circumstances.


The expectant desire of something. In this case, the expectation of the coming Messiah. Today, we know that Jesus came and all that He did on our behalf to reconcile us to God. But, I've been thinking a bit about how it would have felt to be an Israelite waiting for the Messiah to come.

Prophets had predicted His coming. Yet, in all these years of waiting, the Messiah had yet to come. The Messiah was their hope. And they had hoped for years without seeing the Messiah come. Proverbs says that hope deferred makes the heart sick. If I had been an Israelite then, I think I may have had a hard time holding on to hope for all that time. I would have gotten discouraged and begun to doubt if what the prophets had predicted was really going to happen.

And so to day was the first Sunday Advent and the candle of hope was lit. Hope. We all have it at times. And I would say we all need it in our lives. Without hope life can get depressing. But, when our hope never comes to fruition it can be demoralizing. But, we have to hold onto hope. In many ways it keeps us moving forward.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

dreams on hold?

A couple of days ago, I read a quote that challenged me and made me think. It talked about putting dreams on hold when we have things to work on in our lives.

"One of the lessons I have learned in six and a half decades of life is that very few dreams should go on hold while you improve the shortcomings of your life. ... To be sure, there are times when you need to stop what you are doing and focus on conquering a flaw. But of you wait till all your shortcomings are remedied, you dreams will die. All our advances are with a limp.
If you wait till you are beyond criticism to pursue your dream, you will never do it. You won't marry or stay married. You won't decide to have children or raise them. You won't take your first job or keep it. You won't go into missions or stay there. ... Few things paralyze people more than their own imperfections. And there are always people around to remind you of your flaws and suggest you can't move forward until you're better." (John Piper, Bloodlines)

When I read that, it seemed like all my excuses for not pursuing my dreams were shot down in a couple of paragraphs. How often do we do exactly that? We have a list of things in our lives that we feel we have to fix before we can even begin to think about pursuing our dreams.

And the reality is that when we think that way, we often don't ever get around to pursuing our dreams. We just continue to have more things we need to work on. Or the time it takes us to feel like we have actually fixed anything is just long enough that we lose enough of the excitement for our dream that we don't follow through on pursuing it.

The sentence from the quote that seemed to jump off the page at me was: "All our advances are with a limp." There is incredible truth in that statement. We don't move forward in life perfectly. As we pursue our dreams, we will make mistakes and we discover things about ourselves that we need to change or "fix." We do move forward with a limp. The important thing is that we do move forward.

What are your dreams? Are you pursuing them? Why are you not pursuing them?

Those are some of the questions that have been running through my head since I read that quote. Maybe they can challenge or encourage you.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

first snowfall

Yesterday was the first snowfall of the year. And it was more than just a dusting of snow. The drive home from work was a slow drive on slippery roads. It would have been easy to be nothing but frustrated with the snow and the challenges or inconveniences it can bring.

This picture is from Jan 2011.
I didn't have my camera yesterday.
But, I was struck by something as I was shovelling the snow off my steps. I don't mind shovelling snow - as long as it's just a small space I have to shovel. Even though there was vehicles driving on the roads on both sides of the house, the only sound I could hear was my shovel scraping on the steps. In a world that is so busy and noisy all the time, it was a refreshing few minutes.

It reminded me of why I love going for walks in the snow so much. The layer of white on everything looks so peaceful and the silence that it seems to bring to the world. I enjoy the escape that it brings. When I'm out walking in the snow, for some reason it seems easier to leave the rest of what is going on in my life behind.

It makes me wonder how to find those moments in life more? How can we create those moments where we leave the busy-ness and noise of the world behind and just enjoy the silence?

Monday, November 14, 2011

random thoughts

Well, for the last couple of weeks I have had a few thoughts in my head that have never made it to a blog post. Partly because I was not sure they were coherent yet. And partly because my computer died, and I'm boring my sister's netbook. The keyboard is significantly smaller than I'm used to so typing is a bit of a challenge, but at least I have a computer to use until I get a new one.

Since the retreat I went on last weekend, I have been thinking about the masks we often wear when we're around church people. We've probably all done it at one time or another - we go to church event and we paste a smile on our faces and tell everyone we're fine no matter what is really going on in our lives. But, something I've seen happen at the last few retreats I've gone to is that the masks come down. In that environment it seems like, at least to some degree, we stop caring about what others think of us. I wonder if we need to learn to take that feeling of being free to be ourselves from retreats into the rest of our lives. Hiding behind our masks is not a healthy way to live. I know I enjoy life more when I take down the masks, but it does not always come easy.

Do you ever wonder what you would do if you didn't have to worry about money? Have you ever thought about what you would do? A couple of people have asked me this question in the last couple of weeks. It's more difficult to answer than I thought. The world tells us we should be practical and plan for the future. We don't dream big. Or, if we do, we don't admit it to anyone. But being asked this question has made me think, made me dream. What about you? What would you do if you didn't have to think about the cost?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


I spent the last weekend at a women's retreat. As I was reflecting a bit on the weekend tonight, it seemed like a poem fit the way I would describe it.

Friday night at the retreat
Laughter and conversation rings
There's an excitement in the air
Just the beginning of some time away
With girlfriends and with God

Late night, laughter, games
Dance party in the games room
Everyone gets involved
No expectations or judgement
Let's just have some fun

Time in worship and in prayer
God is the reason that we gather here
"God we want to hear from You -
Pleas meet us here?"
We come with expectation

The lives we have at home
The things that fill our hours
Are left behind for hours
So we can hear from God
And grow together in His Word

Sunday lunch comes too soon
It's time to head back home
Conversations, prayers, and tears
Have made up our weekend
They go home with us

God did show up amongst us
He drew us close to Him
He drew us close to others
Our lives changed if we allowed it
Because God has been at work