Legends of the Fall

The prayer requests kept coming and coming! Marriage troubles, health issues, child custody battles, impending surgeries, cancer treatments, financial burdens, job layoffs, and Covid cases kept filling up my prayer journal. Whenever I listened to the news, I got tense. To be honest, I was so over-burdened with bad news every day, my own personal mental health was starting to be negatively impacted. My husband could see that it was taking a toll on me and thought a week away camping would do us both the world of good.

The weather was great the first night in the mountains. I luxuriated in not being “connected” online and could tell that I was starting to relax somewhat. Then just before midnight I got a call from my brother. The lateness of the hour was disconcerting, and I hesitantly answered my cell phone. I could tell right away that he was not quite lucid, he was rambling, not putting words together well. His wife came on and quickly told me that they were in the hospital and he was heavily medicated. My brother, Jack had a terrible fall and landed on his left arm basically driving his wrist bone through his elbow. Basically, he broke so many bones in that arm, the doctors were contemplating amputation. He was scheduled to have surgery in the morning.

When I got off the phone with her, I started to tremble. Then I burst into tears. It was too much to take in. My husband tried to comfort me, but I felt like an enormous weight was upon me, and I could hardly breathe. “Let’s pray!” he said, and as he lifted my brother and his wife up in prayer, I silently nodded in agreement, too emotionally exhausted to respond in turn. I didn’t sleep that night, nor did I venture far from our trailer the next morning, staying close to the phone to hear how the surgery had gone. Mid-afternoon, I finally got a call from my sister-in-law telling me that Jack had been in surgery six hours and the doctors had to put in a plate to repair the wrist damage. He’d have to have more surgery in the future, but for now his arm was mended as well as they were able to and he was going to need time to heal.

I praised God. I did not lift my arms up to the heavens, and burst into song as I thought I would. I just managed a weak, helpless, whispered, exhausted “thank-You” and then I burst into tears again.

I am weary.

There is a heaviness that has clung to me over these past few months. I guess some people have started to call it “Covid Fatigue”, and I suppose that definitely adds to this burden I seem to be hauling around with me. Ever since my last bout with cancer, I have felt battle-weary. I’m just not “with it” as much as I would like. Physically, I’m fine, but mentally I’m exhausted. Jack’s accident seemed to have pushed me close to that precarious brink.

Yesterday, our Premier announced a three stage plan to get the Province back to “normal” after the pandemic. A 70% vaccination rate, where Albertans aged 12 and up would have their first vaccination, would allow Alberta to be fully open with no restrictions. He seemed hopeful that we could even celebrate the Calgary Stampede in early July. Immediately, the naysayers and critics responded with expected negativity, but to me, the Premier’s announcement was just the best news, coming at JUST the right time! In fact, that little bit of good news was just what I needed to feel more positive and upbeat; looking forward to the summer ahead.

This week, I’ve connected with my brother by phone and text numerous times. He was actually released from hospital the next day after his surgery. Truly an answer to prayer! Until the Covid restrictions are fully lifted, I can’t go in person and give him a gentle hug, but that reunion may be coming sooner than expected! I am definitely looking forward to seeing him soon. He’s home recuperating and it warms my heart to see him get his sense of humour back. This morning he posted on Facebook: “As a follow-up to previous posts about my “little spill” last week…I was able to connect with the young man who called 911 for me, and thank him personally by text. As it turns out, this gentleman owns a fall protection safety company. I met him just 15 minutes too late. You can’t make this stuff up, folks.”

Get well soon, Jack!

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Everything

All I have comes from You, Lord.

I cannot claim anything, do anything, earn anything on my own merits.

All I have comes from You, Lord.

I have no riches unless it comes from You.

I have no family,

                possessions,

                home,

                joy,

                health

Unless it comes from You, Lord.

I have no wisdom unless it comes from You.

I have no peace,

                words,

                mercy,

                compassion,

                beauty

Unless it comes from You, Lord.

I have no devotion unless it comes from You.

I have no salvation,

                grace,

                judgement,

                deliverance,

                understanding

Unless it comes from You, Lord.

I have no Heavenly Home unless it comes from You.

I have no indwelling of the Holy Spirit,

                breath,

                purpose,

                stamina,

                hope

Unless it comes from You, Lord.

I have no prosperity unless it comes from You.

I have no friendship,

                endurance,

                career,

                pleasure,

                delight

Unless it comes from You, Lord.

I have no love for others unless it comes from You.

I have no goals,

                strength,

                meaning,

                worth

Unless it comes from You, Lord.

I have no humility unless it comes from You.

I have no self-control,

                kindness,

                patience,

                gentleness,

                faith

Unless it comes from You, Lord.

If I find myself claiming these blessings based on what I have done on my own,

Remind me often that everything I am,

Everything I have,

Everything I need,

Everything that is praiseworthy…

Comes from You, Lord.

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Reorienting

We are in the third wave of Covid here in Alberta. Thankfully, my husband and I were able to get our first vaccination (Moderna) nearly two weeks ago. Doctors say we will have about 80% immunity against the virus about two weeks into getting vaccinated and about 96% after our second shot. That said, we are still following all health protocols until the entire province (and country) is vaccinated. It has been a long slog through uncharted territory with this pandemic, so I figure the sooner everyone gets vaccinated the sooner we can start to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

But that’s only my opinion.

I’ve noticed how the enemy has used Covid to divide God’s people. We have differing opinions how to combat this disease. I don’t want to debate the arguments for or against masking, or restrictions or vaccinating, I just appeal to my brothers and sisters in Christ to love one another regardless of whether or not we agree or disagree with the stances taken to combat Covid. It’s okay to disagree, it’s not okay to malign one another.

Over this weekend I attended the CNBC Overflowing Women’s Conference, where women from across Canada gathered online to encourage one another to “spread the Word”, using Acts 4:20 to anchor us in prayer, discussion and inspiration. I would have loved meeting face to face, but I felt a camaraderie with the ladies nevertheless, and enjoyed the gathering immensely. I latched on to one word that was repeated several times from speakers and in the panel discussion that I have pondered upon ever since the conference: REORIENT.

Definition of REORIENT: Transitive verb: to orient (someone or something) again or differently: such as: to change the orientation or direction of (something or someone) for example: reorient the antenna or she reoriented herself so she was facing North. Or to reacquaint (someone, especially oneself) with a situation, environment, etc. For example I woke up and reoriented myself to my surroundings.

The English teacher side in me wanted to go deeper so I discovered that a transitive verb is one that only makes sense if it exerts its action on an object. It needs to transfer its action to something or someone. Based on this, I think I’m correct in saying that to reorient something or someone requires a change of some kind to occur with an object or a person.

When I was in the Canadian armed forces, I remember learning the sport of Orienteering. Basically we were taught some navigational skills using a map and compass to navigate from point A to point B. We tested those skills one weekend in 1977 on Vancouver Island near Nanoose Bay, when we went on an overnight camp out. The exercise was simple: we were driven to the top of a “mountain”, and with only a compass and map to guide us, make our way down to our camp. It was only a big hill, not a mountain, but to our little group it looked like a daunting challenge. I was in a group of four gals including a woman Corporal who thought she would join our group because she felt we were the most competent team to get down the “mountain” before nightfall.

She was wrong.

An exercise that should only have taken us a couple of hours to complete, instead became an effort in futility. We became disoriented! We didn’t have confidence in our equipment and so we started to rely on ourselves to get us “home”. The end result: we became hopelessly lost. We couldn’t seem to agree on how to navigate at all. No matter how we tried to reorient ourselves to align our way with compass direction and map topography, we just couldn’t find a clear path to our camp destination. Our Corporal became more and more panicked as the sun started to set and we learned she had an irrational fear of the dark. Finally, we caught a glimpse of a campfire, the only light we could focus on in the darkness. We ran full tilt through the trees and underbrush towards the light and miraculously crashed through a thorny thicket into our group camp. When questioned why our team was so late, our still-flustered Corporal reported to our commanding officer that we were just being overly methodical in our orienteering technique. He grinned knowingly, “Well, you’re here,” he said. “Glad we didn’t need to call out a search party!”

The life lesson I learned that night of orienteering failure was that I had the proper tools in my hand to help me get down that “mountain” quite easily but I refused to utilize them. I need to apply that lesson today. During this season of Covid, I don’t have access to a map or compass to navigate through these uncertain times. If I’m honest I probably wouldn’t rely on them much if I had them. I still have no sense of direction…just ask my husband. So, there are times I feel so disoriented with what’s happening in the world that I feel like I’m running full tilt down a mountain, relying on just myself to get me safely to an unknown destination.

I need to stop doing that.

I do have tools at my disposal to navigate through these tough times, I just need to utilize them. -Specifically, God is calling me to reorient myself to a new way of doing “church”. It may be a long while before we gather in worship like we did before Covid. Rather than complain, I’m asking God to show me how to adapt and find new ways to serve Him.

-This is a chance to grow deeper in my faith. An uncertain time is an opportunity to experience God on a whole new level. Digging deeper into the Word, and being purposeful in prayer centres me on Him and not on myself.

-I am still in community with other believers even if we may not be sitting side-by-side or face to face. Thankfully, technology is available to connect us. I felt that online companionship this weekend at the conference with the ladies. I also felt a unified connectedness when I joined a coast to coast to coast Zoom Prayer meeting last night for our dear Pastor, Bob who is in hospital fighting Covid. Though apart, all our hearts were (are) united in prayer for his healing.

I’m reorienting myself to a new way of following God during and after this pandemic. He’s given me the tools to make it easier for me to get through this uncertain time: spend more time in prayer, dig deeper in the Bible, and stay connected with other believers.

In truth, I’ve always had access to that, but I need to remember to utilize what God has given to me whenever I feel like I’m careening down a mountain, in the dark, alone.

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