There is a time for everything…

I talked to a young Mom recently who shared that she would love to be able to sit down and write books like I have done but her life is way too hectic and frazzled with raising preschoolers.  I sensed that she was feeling weary and perhaps a little envious of the fact that I was able to write whereas she spent her days picking up toys, changing diapers and folding mountains of laundry.  I smiled at her and commented, “There are seasons in everyone’s life.  You are right in the middle of a very active and no doubt tiring season of parenting preschoolers.  They need you.  It is more important for you right now to embrace this season because it flies by so quickly and then your children are in school, then they are teenagers, and then they are married.  Enjoy this season because it will be over far too quickly…trust me…I know.”

I remember vaguely those preschool years, helping my kids tie their own shoe laces, or watching them learn how to master the fine art of drinking from a sipping cup and having Cheerios and raisins stomped into my carpet on a regular basis.  I remember the trials of potty training and yes, the mountains of laundry.  Now I have a married daughter, and two young adults who do not live at home…they don’t need my constant supervision now.  They don’t run to me for hugs, or plant strawberry breath kisses on my cheek.  That particular remembered pleasure for me is now reserved for my grandbabies!

It’s not that I miss my season with my own preschoolers, I don’t.  I embraced it for all it was worth because a brilliant older woman in my church said the very same thing to me when I was a young Mom, words I now found I was repeating to this young woman: “There is a time for everything.”

My son is engaged to be married.  I remember vividly his giggling and baby laughter, the way his dimples stole my heart the first time I held him.  Now he towers over me, “Awwww, Mom!  You’re embarrassing me!” he complains when I force a hug from him as he heads out the door after one of his short visits.  His fiancee watches him squirm in my arms and good-naturedly teases him as he bends down to give me a quick hug.  I would love to hang on to him but I reluctantly let him go, “…there is a time to embrace and a time to refrain”.

My youngest daughter has always balked at my nagging at her to keep her room tidy.  “I don’t like it neat and tidy, Mom!  I like my room this way!  I feel comfortable!  Besides, I’m the one who has to live in it, Mom.  Close the door if you don’t like to see the mess.”  Nagging at her never worked.  Now when she has lived away from home the past year, I find her neat and tidy but empty room disconcerting.  I miss the mess.  Don’t let her hear me say that though!  I close her door and think to myself, I wish I had remembered when she lived at home that “…there is a time to be silent and a time to speak”.  

My daughter will be celebrating a “milestone” birthday in April.  Where did those thirty years go?  I remember the excitement of planning her wedding day.  I remember dress shopping and decorating and attending bridal showers with her.  I remember the deluge of rain that fell in cascades from the sky on her wedding day.  The ‘great flood of 2005’ they called it here in Cochrane, but still it didn’t dampen the excitement of the day.  She glided down the aisle on the arm of her father and his voice broke with emotion when asked, “Who gives this woman to be wed?”  I knew before he spoke the words: “Her mother and I”, that years of memories must have washed over him in that instant, drenching him with emotion more so than any deluge of rain could.  I think the most courageous thing a loving father will ever do in his life is let go of his daughter’s hand on her wedding day and place it in the hands of another man.

But it was his season to let go…

There is indeed a time for everything as I hug on my two adorable grandbabies!  Seasons come and go, but enjoy each one.  Don’t hurry through the one you’re in and certainly don’t wish for the next one.  It will come…

… far too quickly!

Defining Moments

Thirty five years ago, (on June 2, 1979), I married my best friend.  He’s still my BFF (best friend forever)!  Charles and I met in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves in Victoria, B.C.  As a lieutenant, he had been told that he would be commanding a platoon of girls for the summer.  (It would be the first time in reserve history in Victoria that there would be a large enough contingent of girls registered to warrant creating an entire platoon made up of girls.)  I learned from him after that summer that this potentially exciting “history making” news had been withheld from Charles by his superior officers until the very last-minute and despite his protests to be involved in making history (for reasons I will relate later), he had no choice but to accept this command despite the fact he was treading on unfamiliar and uncharted territory here.

The Canadian Armed Forces in the 70’s was primarily a male-dominated force.  Women in the military was an extremely controversial and a widely debated issue amongst those who thought women had no place serving alongside men on the battlefield.  That summer of ’77,  there were few women officers and perhaps a handful of women who served as clerks or secretaries at the Bay Street Armouries in Victoria.  An entire platoon of girls who would train side by side with boys in basic training was not only a novelty, it was an oddity.  Charles’ fellow officers teased him about his new command and bets were placed amongst the leaders of the boys’ platoons that the “girl squad” would never be able to handle the physical demands of basic training and that they would all “cry and run home to their mamas” the first time they got yelled at.

I was getting ready to go into my second year of university and desperately needed a summer job.  Jobs were scarce then and my mother encouraged me to sign up for the Student Summer Employment Activity Program (SSEAP) at the armouries.  Now to say I was naive as to what I was signing up for was a huge understatement!  I knew I was signing up to spend the summer with the army reserves but let’s face it with a name like “Student Summer Employment Activity Program”, it sounded to me more like summer camp.  I could almost taste the smores and picture the  camp fire sing alongs!

Yeah, I was THAT naive!

I showed up the next morning and was summarily handed a starched uniform that I took one look at and immediately complained to a young corporal that it was the most awful tacky green colour I had ever seen and I didn’t think it was very stylish and certainly wouldn’t suit me at all.  A very tall, husky girl recruit who followed behind me in line, whom we later nicknamed, “Moose”, frowned when the standard black purse she had been given disintegrated in her hand when she tried to grab hold of the handle.  To this day, I have no idea what she did or how much force she must have  used to do that since MY army-issue purse was like a mini tank in my hand.  A howitzer wouldn’t have made a dent in it.

I quickly realized as I looked around at the 30 girls who had signed up for this “summer camp” that I was only one of three girls who had some post secondary education behind me.  The rest of our motley crew was made up of mostly high school girls and the chances of half of them completing high school was slim at best.  (Thankfully the Canadian Armed Forces has raised their recruiting standards considerably since that summer…at least I hope so.)

We spent the rest of the day having a kind of orientation about what our summer would be like and truly the young officer made it sound like lots of fun.  We’d go on hikes, go orienteering, go out on a field trips, and we’d get paid doing it…sounded great!  The next morning I lined up on the parade floor with the rest of the recruits, proudly wearing my tacky green uniform.  I tried my best to stand at attention while the young lieutenant and the drill sergeant went up and down the ranks inspecting the new “troops”.  There were three platoons of recruits, two boy’s platoons and our girl’s platoon.  Considerable giggling was going on amongst the ranks as the high school girls tried to catch the eye of the boys and finally the drill sergeant roared out an expletive along with an “Eyes front!” command.

I felt a wee bit intimidated when the officer and this same sergeant spent a considerable amount of time looking me up and down during inspection.  If you’ve ever watched the movie “An Officer and a Gentlemen” you will know that there must be some kind of sick, twisted tradition in the military to make an example of someone on the first day.  Guess what?  The officer pointed out to his drill sergeant that I had shown up on parade without first having ironed my shirt properly.  A tell-tale crease at the back was to be my disgrace.  The officer then left his sergeant to deal with the infraction.  Unfortunately the young officer did not realize that once he had left the parade floor to go into his office, his sergeant would use that opportunity to mete out his own brand of fit punishment for my unpressed uniform infraction.  I’m sure the sarge was thinking about the comment she’ll “cry and run home to mama if yelled at.”  He was about to test that theory.  Once the lieutenant was out of earshot, the drill sergeant spent the next few minutes with his nose pressed as close to my face without actually touching it, yelling at me about my incompetence.   He shouted obscenities, he insulted me, my father, my mother, my unsavoury upbringing, my lack of intelligence.  It took everything in me to not collapse in a heap on the parade floor, curl up into a fetal position and suck my thumb, but I stood there and allowed that man to call me names I had only thought foul-mouthed truck drivers would use.  I came from a very sheltered home, and never, ever had I been talked to in that manner.  He continued to berate me while the other recruits, boys and girls alike, quivered around me afraid that they would be next to feel his wrath.  When he was done, leaving me standing with stinging tears in my eyes, I wasn’t sure I would be able to survive the embarrassment or the humiliation.  (In fairness to our lieutenant, he reprimanded his sergeant later when he heard about the tongue lashing I had received.  He told all his leaders, “The recruits, both boys and girls, will rise to the level of respect they are shown”.  Although the drill sergeant continued to yell at us for any infraction throughout that summer, he did not use as many demeaning profanities from then on.)  Instead, he mercilessly barked orders at us, teaching us how to march, how to salute, the proper way to stand at attention, how to shoot a rifle, pushed us to our physical limits in combat training, and as that saying goes, “I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore” and definitely not in summer camp!

When I got home that first night I was exhausted emotionally and physically but something inside of me urged me not to quit.  I took out my iron and spent the next three hours pressing my uniform so you could cut yourself on the seams and I spit-polished my boots so you could see your reflection in them.  I took toothpaste and polished my cap badge so it looked like the finest army “bling” ever and I went to bed tired but satisfied that my appearance on parade the next morning would illicit praise instead of foul expletives from my sergeant.

The next morning all recruits, boys and girls, showed up on parade and it was obvious that everyone had spent a considerable amount of time pressing their uniforms the night before.  No one looked as sharp as me though.  Proudly I stood, prim pressed, cap badge a-sparkling and almost smiled when the young lieutenant went by me followed by his sergeant.  I waited for the compliment.  Surely they had to be impressed.  They walked right past me…not a word,… barely a glance.

I learned that summer a lot about pride.  I realized I had a lot of it and it took a whole summer and a lot of work to let go of some of it.  You see, in the military, you are not praised as much for individual accomplishments as for team effort.  The young lieutenant had one rule: “everyone participates and no one quits”.  He had some challenging days getting that point across to some very whiney and complaining teenage girls who frequently showed up for sick call begging to be excused from physical activity because for the third time that month they were complaining of cramps and menstrual bloating.  Finally Charles found a woman corporal who did not blush when the girls related to her their womanly “complaints”.  Instead she kept track of all the girl’s cycles and laughed at them and put them immediately on KP duty (cleaning the toilets and bathrooms) if they used the excuse more than once.   She was a rough-around-the-edges gal, swore just as much or more than any foul-mouthed truck driver.  She was tougher than nails, small in stature but built like an armoured tank.  We were absolutely terrified of her, and adored her at the same time because she had a tender heart underneath that gruff exterior.  She became the girls’ confidante, to Charles she was a God-send.

After that first day of humiliation and then being totally ignored on the second day, I determined I would try to excel at everything they put to me.  On the firing range I could take apart, clean, and put my FN (rifle) together faster than any of the other girls AND the majority of boys too.  I was a crack shot and garnered a tweak of praise for marksmanship.  I took the classroom work seriously and got the highest marks in all the exams.  After the first day, my uniform was always perfectly cleaned and pressed.  I learned how to march and do the drills and even with the physical activity I managed to keep pace.  When we were told we were going to go on a five-mile march up a steep hilly course, everyone groaned (boy’s included), but I said, “Bring it on!”  I was ready!

The next day I was at the head of the line jogging at an even clip and not even breaking a sweat.  We were in our combat gear (a kind of camouflage-green coloured coveralls over a white t-shirt and shorts).  We were expected to wear our socks and combat boots.  While other girls were clearly struggling up the hillside path, I ran along thinking to myself, “This is too easy!  I’ll get to the finish line before everyone else and then maybe do some sun tanning at the top of the hill while I wait for the other girls to catch up.”   As I sped up and even passed the young lieutenant who was leading his platoon, he beckoned for his sergeant who grabbed my collar as I ran past him and yelled at me, “Private!  Since you’ve got so much energy, how about you help the straggler’s at the back of the line so we ALL cross the finish line together?!”  So I ran a considerable distance down the path that I had just ran up on and with the encouragement of a couple of misfortunate corporals who had been told to bring up the rear, I ran, pushed, coaxed, dragged and even carried some of the less “energetic” members of my platoon up that mountain.  I came in dead last but every girl crossed that finish line.  It was the first time I noted that both the sergeant and the lieutenant seemed well pleased with my last place finish.

It was a defining moment for me.

Inspired Writing

logoSomeone told me when I published my first book to start a blog.  So I started blogging five years ago basically to promote my books.  I really had no thought about content or outreach, it was all about marketing and promotion.  I honestly had no idea what “blogging” really was and I had no idea  that a blog could have a potential for a world-wide audience.  It was when I started to gain followers and more and more people started to comment on the content I posted, that I realized that blogging had the potential to be a ministry.

This past year, I have seen God take my little musings and expand my reading audience world wide.  I have followers who contact me and ask for prayer…many of them from countries that are considered “dark” and believers persecuted harshly for their faith.  I am humbled and at times saddened that total strangers are so desperate for prayer that they contact me, a stranger to them personally, to ask for prayer.  It is the least I can do for them.

I have been discouraged at times by dwindling book sales and have often questioned the Lord as to why He wanted me to write and publish in the first place.  I never thought about it before, but I wonder if publishing my books was just an avenue that led me to blogging?  Perhaps it was not my books, although the Lord has certainly blessed that effort immeasurably, but the blog that has given me a ministry the likes I would never have realized had it not been for my need initially to promote my books with my blog.

It is a lot of effort.  It requires much devotion and passion to write regularly and write timely posts that appeal to a large audience.  I find I spend far less time promoting my books as a result of my blog but book sales have still held steady because people who read my blog venture to read the books as well.  Some authors may call this a means to an end, and that’s what I thought five years ago to be sure, but I have a whole new mind set now.

For me it’s not about using my blog to get people to buy my books per se, it’s blogging to bring a message of hope and Truth to people who hunger and thirst for spiritual food.  This past year, rather than promoting my books as much on the blog, I have been devoting myself primarily to writing for His Glory on my Journey Thoughts blog and God has blessed those efforts in ways I could not have imagined.

Christian writers, do not stop writing.  If God has called you to write a book…write a book.  If God has called you to write poetry, write rhyme and verse.  If God has called you to blog, blog!  Use your talent to bring honour and glory to God in everything you write!

Lynn Dove - authorLynn Dove calls  herself a Christ-follower, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, a teacher and a writer (in that order). She is the author of award winning books: The Wounded Trilogy.  Her blog, Journey Thoughts won a Canadian Christian Writing Award – 2011. She has also had essays published in “Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith” and “Chicken Soup for the Soul – Parenthood” (March 2013), Devotional Stories for Wives: 101 Daily Devotions to Comfort, Encourage, and Inspire You (Sept. 2013) O Canada The Wonders of Winter: 101 Stories about Bad Weather, Good Times, and Great Sports (Nov. 2013) and Miracles Happen: 101 Inspirational Stories about Hope, Answered Prayers, and Divine Intervention (Feb. 2014) and The Multitasking Mom’s Survival Guide: 101 Inspiring and Amusing Stories for Mothers Who Do It All (March 2014).  She was most recently awarded Literary Classics International Book Awards – Seal of Approval and Silver Medal in Young Adult Faith-based fiction for her book Love the Wounded.  Readers may connect with Lynn on FacebookTwitter and on her blogs: Journey Thoughts and Word Salt or on her website:

This was originally posted on InScribe Writers Online.

The “Cool” Factor

my-grandkids-think-im-coolIn February we celebrated our first grandbaby’s third birthday!  We also celebrated the engagement of my son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law.  My husband and I went on a trip to Cuba and it was an adventure of  lifetime!  Being an Empty Nester has been okay!  I love this season of life and as is obvious whenever I’m around my grandbabies, …I fully intend to cling tight to each one of them and rock, coo, cuddle, make silly faces, and love, love, love them for hours and hours…or at least until their diapers need changing…hahaha.

I take it as my God-given perogative…no, responsibility to totally spoil any grandbabies that come into the family!  I’ve told everyone I’m going to be the “cool” grandma.  It is not meant as a slight on Matt’s mom or on my future daughter-in-law’s mom.  I have to be the “cool” grandma because Chandler’s Mom is the “hostess with the mostess” and Grandma Rollings has the undisputed title of best baker, cook and domestic goddess.  I bow to their expertise.

Me?  I don’t have many domestic skills…none actually.  The thing I do best for dinner is make reservations!  No, I’ve decided I’ll have to take up riding a Harley or something, maybe get a tattoo,… something to edge in the “cool factor”.  (I can just hear my kids rolling on the floor laughing hysterically.  “Mom ride a Harley?…get a tattoo?…yeah, right??!!” ) Okay, enough sarcasm, I guess I won’t be that cool!

On Feb. 20, 2011 as we waited expectantly for our new grandbaby to arrive on the scene, I also celebrated the 10th anniversary of my breast cancer diagnosis.  Now I ask you…how “cool” is that??

If someone had told me on that day that ten years later I would be looking forward to holding my first grandbaby in my arms, I wouldn’t have believed them.  If someone had said on that day in the next ten years you will be hired as Children’s Minister at your church, you will go to seminary to get your Masters, you will see your daughter get married and graduate from university, and you will publish not one but three books; I would have laughed bitterly and then shook my head because on that day I did not think I had a future or a hope.  All I thought of on that day was that I had cancer and it was a death sentence.

I came across this video and invite you to watch it as it describes exactly the emotions I felt on that day!

On the day I discovered I had breast cancer I felt knocked out.  It was all I could do to pick myself off the canvas and fight back and on my own strength I suppose I would have been “down for the count” but I did not rely on my strength.  My strength comes from the Lord and on that day as I wept before the Lord, He gave me this scripture:

 10 I said, “In the prime of my life
must I go through the gates of death
and be robbed of the rest of my years?”

11 I said, “I will not again see the LORD,
the LORD, in the land of the living;
no longer will I look on mankind,
or be with those who now dwell in this world.

12 Like a shepherd’s tent my house
has been pulled down and taken from me.
Like a weaver I have rolled up my life,
and he has cut me off from the loom;
day and night you made an end of me.

13 I waited patiently till dawn,
but like a lion he broke all my bones;
day and night you made an end of me.

14 I cried like a swift or thrush,
I moaned like a mourning dove.
My eyes grew weak as I looked to the heavens.
I am troubled; O Lord, come to my aid!”

15 But what can I say?
He has spoken to me, and he himself has done this.
I will walk humbly all my years
because of this anguish of my soul.

16 Lord, by such things men live;
and my spirit finds life in them too.
You restored me to health
and let me live.

17 Surely it was for my benefit
that I suffered such anguish.
In your love you kept me
from the pit of destruction;
you have put all my sins
behind your back.

18 For the grave cannot praise you,
death cannot sing your praise;
those who go down to the pit
cannot hope for your faithfulness.

19 The living, the living—they praise you,
as I am doing today;
fathers tell their children
about your faithfulness.

20 The LORD will save me,
and we will sing with stringed instruments
all the days of our lives
in the temple of the LORD.

Isaiah 38:10-20

So for our family February seems to be a stellar month.  It is my “milestone” month and a time to rejoice that I’ve been able to praise God another year.  The fact that it is “The living, the living – they praise You, as I am doing today; [grandmother]  tell your [grandbabies] about Your faithfulness…” (vs. 19)

Now that is what I call pretty cool !  Oh, and in case anyone was wondering…today marks the 13th year of me being cancer free!

Daddy’s Rules of Dating

If my husband has a “soft spot”, it is that corner of his heart that is 110% devoted to his two daughters.  From the first moment newborn Laurelle, grabbed happlication to date my daughterold of his little finger in the intensive care nursery and their eyes met, he was in love, and she’s had him wrapped around her little finger ever since!  The same holds true for our youngest daughter, Carmen.  (Our son, Brett, has always claimed another significant “corner” of our hearts, but today it’s all about the girls.)

From the time Laurelle was a little girl, we prayed for her future husband.  We knew (and know for both Carmen and Brett), that God has a plan and a purpose for their lives and that includes a perfect spouse for each of them.  We praise God that He brought Matt into Laurelle’s life.  He was the answer to our prayers for her and he has been such a blessing to our family!

That said, as much as we prayed, Charles was not above using his own intimidating selective process to weed out some of the less than desirable boyfriend candidates himself.  Charles has always been that “immovable force” that boys have had to impress and move in order to continue to date his daughters.  When Laurelle was a teenager, Charles threatened to mount a mannequin’s head on the wall with a plaque reading: “Laurelle’s 1st Boyfriend”.  I remember Charles greeting one of Laurelle’s boyfriend “candidates” at the door wearing his combat fatigues, and camouflage makeup.  Another time, Charles drove Laurelle to a youth event and a misguided young man made the mistake of yelling a less than complimentary remark at Laurelle from across the parking lot while in ear shot of her protective father.  Leaping from the car, Charles grabbed the boy by the collar and then slowly lifted the young man over his head with one arm and calmly demanded that he apologize to her.

Charles admits he wasn’t quite as successful at intimidating Matt, but it could have something to do with the fact that our son-in-law is 6’7″ and wiry.  Still, Charles tried to work the poor boy to death while Laurelle and Matt were dating…figured if he couldn’t chase him away, he would at least see if the boy had any staying power and stamina!  Congratulations, Matt, you survived!

Someone sent this to me years ago and every time I read it, I think of all those protective Dads out there, my husband especially.  In fact, I’ll dedicate Rule 10 to Charles.  He’s got his camouflage makeup ready for Carmen’s boyfriend…

Daddy’s Rules of Dating

Rule One

If you pull into my driveway and honk, you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two

You do not touch my daughter in front of me.  You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck.  If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter’s body, I will remove them.

Rule Three

I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips.  Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and your friends are all complete idiots.  Still I want to be fair and open-minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: you may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object.  However, in order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place at your waist.

Rule Four

I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilizing a “barrier method” of some kind can kill you.  Let me elaborate, when it comes to you even thinking about having sex with my daughter, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five

It is usually understood that in order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, cars, and other issues of the day.  Please do not do this.  The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is: “early”.

Rule Six

I have no doubt that you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls.  This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter.  Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you.  If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven

As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh or fidget.  If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating.  My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge.  Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight

The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool.  Places where there is darkness.  Places where there is dancing, holding hands or happiness.  Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops with spaghetti straps, midriff t-shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka – zipped up to her throat.  Movies with strong romantic themes are to be avoided; movies that feature chain saws are okay.  Hockey games are okay.  Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine

Do not lie to me.  I may appear to you as being this pot-bellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been, but you could not be more wrong especially on issues relating to my daughter.  I am in fact, all-knowing, all-seeing and possibly your worst nightmare.  If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  I have a shotgun, a shovel, and four acres behind them.

Rule Ten

Be afraid, be very afraid.  It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper flying over a rice paddy near Hanoi.  When my Agent Orange kicks in, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home.  As soon as you pull into the driveway, you should exit the car with both hands in plain sight.  Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car – there is no need for you to come inside.  The camouflaged face at the window is mine.

Will March Come In Like a Lion or a Lamb?

Here in Alberta, we’re carefully watching for the first signs of Spring.  Gophers peeking out of their holes, with hawks and eagles circling overhead just in case those gophers decide to stray too far out from the safety of their burrows ;)  We’re also measuring how far the snow drifts are melting with every passing Chinook, but we also know that winter is not over…it’s just in a lull.

March has two major weather patterns here in Alberta: snow and wind, or wind and snow.  You say that’s not much difference…au contraire!  Snow and wind means that March has likely come in like a lion.  Roaring in with blizzard conditions that has us slip-sliding our way into the middle of the month and begging for warmth!  Wind and snow means that we’ve got “lamb-like” conditions, a little blustery perhaps but likely the warm west winds will melt rather than add onto the snow accumulation.  The thing is, it’s not the beginning of the month I look towards most years, it’s the last week of March that often has me curled up in a fetal position wondering why I still live in this frozen wasteland.  It’s just hinting of Spring but those depressing April Showers bring in freezing white hail storms that stomp and wreck havoc all over any unlucky sprouts in my garden that are just peeking up through the dirt.

So will March come in like a lion or a lamb?  That’s not the question.  It’s whether or not March will romp merrily out of the way to give us a sweet reprieve before April careens in with the last vestiges of the white stuff?

Oh, until May…

Chuck Norris was here

Persistence Pays Off !

prayer_poster_350Think about a request you would like to make of God, but before you do, decide how this request will benefit God.  Will this request build up the Kingdom, will it have eternal consequences?  Those are questions I have been pondering upon for some time now, and has challenged me to think about what I ask of God.

Am I engaged in persistent, persevering and powerful prayer?  Praying so that I continually come before the Lord in earnest, humble prayer, and then expecting that God will hear and answer according to His perfect will.

Am I bold in prayer?  Do I keep asking, keep seeking, keep knocking (Luke 11: 9), never give up (Luke 18: 4-5), keep pleading (Genesis 18: 16-33)?  The thing about praying is that we live in a world that is all about immediate gratification.  We can microwave something to eat in two minutes, we can email, text, and surf the web in a millisecond.  If it doesn’t happen immediately, we become frustrated and if it doesn’t happen according to our fast-paced timetable we give up and move on to something else that will gratify us quicker.  Prayer is not like that.

Remember that request I asked you to think about?  If you are requesting something of God and you are expecting Him to answer immediately, chances are you’re going to be disappointed.  Certainly God has answered prayers instantaneously, sometimes even before they were asked, but more often than not, God takes His time; He works on a different timetable than ours.  His timing is perfect so it may take years and years and years for Him to answer your prayer.  If that is the case, and you’ve been waiting a long time, have you given up?  Have you stopped praying?

I am guilty of giving up when God has taken too much time to answer my prayer.  Another thing I’m guilty of is not praying big enough.  I limit God by the way I pray.  It shows my unbelief that He can’t or won’t answer my prayers.  If you don’t pray big, you can’t expect God to answer big!

It is important, too that when we pray that our joy and thankfulness to God not fluctuate with our circumstances, our needs or our feelings.  We are to rejoice, give thanks and continue to persevere in prayer.  Although we may not always understand it, perseverance may bring about unexpected blessings.

“”Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”  Romans 5:3-4

God hears us when we pray: “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.  And if we know that He hears us – whatever we ask- we know that we have what we asked of Him.”  (1 John 5:14-15)  It is important to note that we must ask in line with His will.   People often pray for things that they want instead of what God desires for us.  He wants only what is best for us so check that you are praying according to His will not your will.

It gives me great encouragement when I look to John Wesley as an example.

John Wesley, the great Methodist preacher, encountered many times of refusal, and denial, during his early years in the ministry.  He logged a few of these instances in his diary:

Sunday, A.M., May 5    Preached in St. Anne’s. Was asked not to come back anymore.
Sunday, P.M., May 5     Preached in St. John’s. Deacons said “Get out and stay out.”
Sunday, A.M., May 12    Preached in St. Jude’s. Can’t go back there, either.
Sunday, A.M., May 19    Preached in St. Somebody Else’s. Deacons called special meeting and said I couldn’t return.
Sunday, P.M., May 19    Preached on street. Kicked off street.
Sunday, A.M., May 26    Preached in meadow. Chased out of meadow as bull was turned loose during service.
Sunday, A.M., June 2    Preached out at the edge of town. Kicked off the highway.
Sunday, P.M., June 2    Afternoon, preached in a pasture. Ten thousand people came out to hear me.

Persistence pays off !