Monday, September 17, 2012


I have been thinking a lot about obedience lately.  I am surrounded by many a good person, who wants good things and does good things.  Sometimes, I find it is secular people who most look out for their fellow man.  So I was contemplating the questions, "Why am I obedient to Christ's laws?  What makes my obedience different?"

I grew up in a church where much of my obedience stemmed from fear.  As I stated to a friend this weekend, it was fear of both my heavenly and earthly father.  I knew that both loved me and yet I did not want to disappoint so I obeyed.  I wanted people to see me as as righteous and good.  I wanted God to see me as righteous and good. So I stayed away from bad things and tried to do the good, in order to earn acceptance and to appear perfect.

As I matured in my faith I realized that with Jesus it is no longer about me.  It is not my sacrifices that make me right.  It is not my offerings of goodness and pseudorighteousness but His offering of true righteousness.  I no longer need to strive for perfection because I am already made perfect through Christ.  It is not my action's but Christ's that enable me to be accepted and that make me holy.  HE DID IT ALL!!

And yet I still follow the law and disciplines (albeit imperfectly).  I don't follow to make myself righteous.  I follow because I already am righteous.  I don't follow to earn God's favour; I follow to show that I favour God.  I follow, I am disciplined, I sacrifice to remind myself of all that Christ gave up for me, all that he sacrificed to make me holy.  I don't follow rules as an act of desperation but as an act of worship, an act of love for the one that loved me first.

This reminds me of Will and Kate - the duke and duchess of Cambridge.  Before they were married, kate was a commoner.  She had very few rules and protocols to follow.  No amount of curtsying or genuflecting would have made her part of the royal family.  Will fell in love with Kate and made her part of the royal family, gave her a new status of princess and duchess.  Now Kate has rules and protocols to follow to show that she is part of that family.  Even if she slips up and doesn't curtsy at the appropriate time, she is still family.

Likewise, I can do NOTHING to earn God's favour.  But He has decided to make me a part of His family, make me royalty because he loves me.  Now I follow rules and protocols to show myself and those around me that I belong to God.  And none of my slip ups will ever change that.

Sunday, September 09, 2012


A few weeks ago, I sat down and read all my previous blog entries.  I laughed a lot at some of the memories but for others I had tears in my eyes.  I marvelled at the way God used me.  I also was able to remember some of the missing pieces that I was not able to mention - the happenings at school that I could not reveal, the despair that I felt in my last year, my frustrations with the education that I was offering and that my students were receiving.  There was so much that had to go unmentioned, and as I read, it all came back to me.

I do keep in touch with some of my students and acquaintances in Trout.  I can thank Facebook for the medium that allows me to spy.  According to their status updates, things are happening in Trout.  Many of the students I taught are planning on going on to post secondary education opportunities.  One is planning on getting his Power engineering.  Other former students/ graduates are working.  

Also according to their status updates, God is moving in Trout.  It seems like a few have turned to Christ to gain meaning and hope for their lives.  I am filled with joy at this and pray that they will truly find freedom in Christ.

I did go to Trout in June for grad.  It was the last batch of students what I was heavily involved with.  When I left Trout, I felt that my fellow high school team and I had paved the road for three subsequent graduations - totalling 4 (or 5?) grads in a row.  The year after I left, some people did graduate but no one was willing to plan the ceremony and festivities.  The next year, they did have a celebration but it was on a Thursday, which meant that I could not go.  This year, they had a Saturday celebration, so I took the long, lonely road to Trout to celebrate with my last class and honour their achievements.  It was good to see people grown up, mature, happy, changed - and yet so much was still the same.

Trout has also amalgamated with his neighbour community to form a new First Nation.  It does seem like there is a lot of excitement (And growing pains) with this change.  I hope that it will provide new opportunities and hope for the people who live there.

So I feel like things are happening in my former place of residence and I hope that I provided a small spark that helped illuminate the flames of hope that are starting to flicker in the darkness.  I know that it will be a long journey to wholeness (do any of us ever reach that state here on earth?).  I know that  there is still a lot of pain, drunkenness, hurt, abuse, despair and on and on and on in that place.  And I know that there will be ups and downs, darkness and light, that people will fail and that the town will have difficult moments, years etc.  But it is good to see some hope and my prayer is that hope will foster hope and resilience - that after moments of failure, individuals and the community as a whole will have the strength and desire to pick up and start again.  My prayer is also that the community will find and lean on the True Source of Hope as they continue on their journey.

Reading my entries made me wonder again what God has for me here and what God has for me next.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

The murkiness of having to many Shades Of Grey

Disclaimer:  No I have not read the book and No I do not plan on reading the book.  Plus this post may not be appropriate for children.  And I am sorry for the LONG ramblings.  I have not quite resolved the issues yet.  Still have the questions.  That results in long posts.

I am sure that you have heard of it by now.  The summer reading sensation entitled "50 Shades of Grey".  I first heard about the over-hyped phenom in Macleans - an article that discussed the issue of this book and a young adult book called Between Shades of Grey coming out at about the same time.  If you need a book to read, I recommend the later, as it exposes the cruelty of Stalin and his Siberian exiles.  It has also been nominated for the Carnegie medal for juvenile fiction.  I have not read it yet but it is on my list of to read books.

But I digress.  My next big reading foray into the 50 Shades Hype was through one of my new favourite websites maintained by Relevant Magazine.  First I read this article entitled "When Sex Goes Grey: How 'Fifty Shades of Grey' is turning the clock back on a Humanitarian Crisis".   I agreed with most of what the author said about how the glorification of BDSM dulls our conscience against violence against women and domestic abuse.   I am a comment reader and what got to me were some of the comments written by others who had read this article and who are followers of Christ.  I am going to edit the ones I post so that they are not too graphic and my response is in italics.

"Not that I completely disagree with you, but to really know what you're talking about, you should read all 3 books. Ana fights back & doesn't allow herself to be abused."
    So we want to promote the idea that we should put up with violence in the hope of changing our partner?    

"Genuine power dynamics in a sexual relationship and sexual violence have nothing to do with each other. A man acting in a dominant role to a woman's submission has nothing whatsoever to do with domestic violence. Real kink is not violence. . . 

If you want to pull "Fifty Shades" you have to pull every romance novel ever written -- almost all of which present a far more genuinely chauvinist view of female sexuality. "
Pulling every romance book off the shelf - probably not a bad idea.

"What two consenting adults do in the privacy of their own relationship and in their own bedroom is their business. The keyword here is "consenting". " 
So everything is permissible as long as both parties consent?  I have had questions about this for years and years actually.  As a Christian, what is sexually acceptable after marriage?  Since I am not married, I have not had to find the answers yet but I have wondered.

"Though it is not the work of a literary genius, it does display how a woman can confidently take control of her sexuality without shame. .. So often women are marginalized for expressing their eroticism while men are celebrated. Women, in both Christian and secular communities are taught to be ashamed of their sexuality and ..." Anastasia's character demonstrates how a woman can express herself in a non-mainstream, sexual way and still maintain her femininity. How many women are afraid and ashamed of the desires that are inside of them; why must they feel that there is something wrong with them?
I kind of agree with what is being said here.  As a single Christian women, I feel that sometimes I have buried my sexuality as I am afraid of it.  But do I need to turn to secular stories to reclaim it?  How can  I reclaim it in a Scriptural manner?
So I spent a few days contemplating these questions.  Christ transforms us and as our sexuality is part of who we are, he must transform that as well.  So how does Christian sex and sexuality look different before, during and after marriage?  I know that before marriage we are supposed to abstain and remain pure, but then what?
Then Relevant had another article asking "Is There Room For Erotica in Christianity?"  It discusses how erotica often addresses a need in our lives - maybe to fan the embers of sexual desire within a marriage or to promote sexual conversations.  Then they ask the questions that had been burning in the back of my mind: "But since when does what a person uses to meet a need necessarily equate to what a person actually needs?"  The article discusses how the church at large has dropped the ball on teaching about sex and how Christian sex is different than the world's version.  Even for myself, it wasn't a Christian comment that spurred me to think about what Christ's desires in my sexuality, but rather a popular secular novel that I will not read.  I am afraid that without proper teaching,  'Saving sex for marriage' [will become] 'waiting until marriage to objectify my partner.'
I was relieved that I was not the only one asking these questions about how Christ's sacrifice redeems sex (back to what it was meant to be) and how Christian sex is different than worldly sex (other than remaining pure before marriage).  And yet the article did not answer all of my queries and wonderings.  So I feel like I have started on a journey of questioning and discovery.  And I have invited my friends to come along with me.  Yes some of the same friends mentioned in my previous post.  In fact one of them has practically emptied her church library of all books pertaining to sex.  So as step one of my journey I have resurrected a book club tradition among friends and recommended that we read "Real Sex: The Naked Truth About Chastity" by Lauren F. Winner.  Use the link; don't google it.  You may get results that you are not so happy with.
With porn in the mainstream, I think that it is time for Christians to reclaim true sex, true marriage, true sexuality.  For in Christ is where truth ultimately lies.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blessed With Friends Like These

I spent the weekend at The Girl's Annual Gull Lake Campout.  I and 8 of my single gal friends got together to catch up, continue inside jokes and start inside jokes.  I could list some of those jokes here but "Hot Bush Pie Maker" would not be hilarious except for those in the know.  After the campout, another friend of mine from a different circle and different time in my life, drove an hour and a bit to bring her family and others to come and see me.  Once again, I got home and felt so homesick for people who truly know me - my past, sense of humour, passions etc.   I love my friends and family because:

- we can joke and laugh together about the dumbest things.  Oh my sore abs.
- we can discuss deep topics such as dissatisfaction, unrequited love, hopes and dreams.
- we want the best for each other.  I spent part of my car ride praying for the best for each of you.
- we share a common faith and common perspective on life within that faith or at least share common experiences
- I can be extrovert-like with them around

So when I was feeling at my most low, I heard this song that I would like to dedicate to my friends.  Thanks "Band of The Day" for introducing me to this song.

So while I was unpacking, I discovered a token of the friendship, hiding in the backseat of my car, underneath the oodles of messy camping gear.  I knee deep down inside that  I would end up with it, and decided to display it prominently in my house as a reminder that I am loved and known.

Looks pretty good sitting there doesn't it?  The picture unfortunately does not do the ugliness of the eagle head justice.  So which one of my friends would like to invite me over for a visit?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Paths of Discontentment

Now is the winter of our discontent
Made glorious summer . . .;
And all the clouds that low'r'd upon our house
In the deep bosom of the ocean buried.
Richard The Third Act 1, scene 1, 1–4

Lately I have been feeling discontented.  I have wondered to myself, "Is this all there is to life?  Work, play, giving a little?"  I have been longing for change of pace, change of scenery, change of single status.  I believe that this discontentment is from God because as I am asking questions, He too is asking things of me, "Is this all there is to your life?  Work, play, giving a little?  Are you using the gifts I have given you?  Are you living out your calling?  Are you longing for me?"

Today I realized that my discontentment can lead two ways.  Yesterday, I was at a wedding with a dance and alcohol.  I nominated myself as designated driver and had the privilege of observing the comaderie that alcohol created, the flirtations and "freedom" that resulted.  Frankly I felt lonely in my sobriety and jealous of the friendships/flirtations of others.  I wanted to partake of the lifestyle.  I felt discontented with who I was.  This morning I realized that the discontentment that I have been feeling could result in me longing for worldly things - things that don't last.  

So today I heard God saying, "Yes this discontentment comes from me because I want you to pursue me and heavenly things.  What are you pursuing right now - more education?  more love? relationships with others? more ways to have an impact?  None of these are bad things but I want you to pursue me.  I will relieve your discontentment.  I will fulfill these other things as well.  But pursue me."

So I am at a crossroads, a daily crossroads.  In my discontent what will I pursue?  What will I use to fill the emptiness?  Whose strength will I rely on?  Whose plan will I follow?

Saturday, July 14, 2012


It's been over two years and today I just felt like writing - a way of expressing my joy and my journey.  I am not sure how often I will write but I do feel like I have a burning today, for the past few days actually and it is time to give into it.

So what prompted this burning?  I just had a birthday and as my birthday approached, I started to have a bit of a pity party.  "I am alone, far from my family, all my friends are busy and can't celebrate with me.  No one is going to surprise me with cake and a dinner out.  This is going to be a horrible birthday without anything of significance happening.  Wa wa wa."

To get out of my doldrums I asked myself, "Child what can you do to make this birthday a significant one for you and others?  Instead of looking to be blessed, how can you be the blessing?"  The questioned rolled into the corners of my mind as I contemplated possibilities of giving money to a charity as a birthday gift to myself.  But what charity?  How much money?  How can I make this even more significant?

The morning of my special day, I woke up to multiple notifications on my phone telling me of all my friends that had already wished me blessings on my day.  My doldrums and self pity disappeared as I remembered, I AM BLESSED!!!  I have a multitude of family, friends and acquaintances who love me.  I have a great job that pays well and satisfies my longing to help.  I AM BLESSED and need to pass that blessing on.

So I made a pledge on facebook that I would donate $5 dollars for every person who sent a  birthday greeting via any technology to a cause that is close to my heart - clean water.  I used charitywater to facilitate my giving and used Facebook (and my birthday) as a platform to raise awareness about water issues and the joys of giving.  In 3 days, I have almost reached my goal.

I did have misgivings about announcing my giving on Facebook.  You know the whole, "Do not let your right hand know what the left is doing" thing.  But I pray that instead of glorifying myself and unselfishness, I inspire others to see the possible ways that they can give back and that a community of givers is established.

In the end, my birthday was a GREAT day.  I had coffee with a friend in the morning (I brought the coffee and some garden strawberries I stole from a friend - another way of blessing others), and my room mate cooked me supper in the evening.  No I wasn't surprised with cake but I was surprised with some apple fritter donuts which is just as good.  More importantly, I made a small change in the world and possibly started a new birthday tradition.