#FMF – If

Joining up with my fellow writers over at Five Minute Friday to write on ONE WORD for FIVE MINUTES, no editing, just letting your fingers fly. The best part, linking up and then checking out what those around you have written on this same prompt. And seriously, this is my fave community on the Internet, though there are many others I love. Its been a consistent source of prayer, encouragement and friendship. I am so blessed to be a part of it.

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When I saw the prompt I knew that it might be hard. Simple words are often difficult because you can go so many ways with them. I remembered immediately that I had a book from Emily Carmichael that I had downloaded a year ago called ‘If’. It was a series of reflections she had recorded and while I hadn’t read through the whole book, I thought it might be a good place to get my prompt for this week’s writing.

If I say, “Yes, I forgive, but cannot forget,” as though the God who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.”

Oh forgiveness…how I struggle with you. You go deep down in my heart…starting to form a root of bitterness. And the forgetting…its not easy. so often the list of offences committed against me are the first thing that flashes through my mind when I see certain people or hear their names.

But the question remains…I am forgiven. I have been forgiven. The payment for my sins (un-forgiveness and so many other things) has fallen upon Christ’s body and because of Him I am able to be in my Lord’s presence and His dear child.

But this bitterness, un-forgiveness and remembrance that I hang out to…they are un-confessed sin. They are perhaps confessed but still held on to…so not really surrendered. And why do I choose to carry these burdens?

Who do I think I am carrying around this un-forgiveness in my heart when I have been forgiven so much? That is something that often comes to mind, but doesn’t convict me like it should. For some reason I’ve become accustomed to carrying these burdens around. Perhaps its a control thing.

Perhaps it means looking into my heart and seeing how much I have done that requires forgiveness and seeing how other people extend this grace filled offering to me.

And the image of God cleansing the shores at least twice a day all over the world, what a picture that is. My sins have been wiped clean because of Christ, even though I struggle with sin. Why can’t I begin to life up my un-forgiveness to Christ and ask for His help in dealing with this issue.

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Four Somethings (June)

Courtesy of my friend Brooke, I heard about this monthly link-up, Four Somethings hosted by Heather Gerwing, in which we share: Something Loved, Something Said, Something Learned and Something Read. I am excited to join along.

Something Loved
My aunt came to visit at the beginning of this month. She lives in Belgium, and comes to see us every 4-5 years, which used to be furlough for her, but now its just to visit her family (and when she has saved up enough money). She moved to France in her 20’s as a single missionary, was married to a Belgian man and adopted two beautiful daughters. Over the years, her life has had many hard times, but she has remained faithfully in Belgium and ministered there. When it came time for her retire, though we wouldn’t have minded having her in Canada, we felt that Europe was were she should stay because her family and all she had known for the past 50 years was there. It was lovely to get to spend time with her, telling about her family over the past couple years, watching the World Cup and shopping for different things her family had requested that made them think of Canada. In a couple of weeks, I will be heading to a family reunion out West, where I will meet up with her, the rest of her siblings and my family. I look forward to this time when I will see my mom’s siblings. Its been awhile since I saw my Uncle. Family is a precious thing, and while these ones are too close to us, its nice that we are still willing and wanting to be connected. I have heard of division in too many situations. 

Something Said
The past couple of months I have been struggling with severe depression. I have been without a full time job since January, and though I have been blessed with a very part time job which I enjoy, I am still needing to find further employment. I can’t explain how difficult it is to try to prepare my resume and then send it in, and then start again, hoping against hope that someone will get in touch with me and I’ll be the one for the job. In the past, I have been blessed to know people, who helped me have an in at least for an interview. Having to do this on my own (with a bit of assistance) has been very hard for me. But I’m sure I am not alone in this, I only feel alone.

And I posted honestly on Instagram my struggle with not believing the lies that were raging through my head. I recieved many blessed messages but the following three really touched me deep:

Elizabeth : I’d lay down beside you until you’re well.
Bethany: please feel more than welcome to unravel in my direction
Jamie: How I understand. Speak and let your words flow.

And in the midst of listening to the lies that I am all alone, that this will not be overcome, etc…I was reminded of the deepness and realness of sisterhood. For this I am incredibly grateful.

Something Learned
While wandering around Wikipedia, I came across a list of wealthy people in the past from the United States. Of course, the name Rockefeller came up and so I read more. I have only a vague idea of just how rich he was. And while you must read Wiki with a grain of salt (knowing that not all is at it appears), the following idea was put forth that blew my mind.

In 1913, John D. Rockefeller was worth $400 billion US (price adjusted with inflation to todays income) which was recorded as 2% of the US economy at the time.

WHAT? I can’t even begin to fathom that kind of money. No wonder their names are on so many things.

Something Read
I began reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson for the second time. I hadn’t put it down because I didn’t like it, but rather I knew it was quite a treasure and I wanted to devote appropriate attention to it. I have found myself reading and re-reading the first 50 pages over again, because of their luminosity, depth and the beauty of the language of which she carefully makes use. The following is one of the quotes that spoke to me heart, among many that I have jotted in my journal:

It is an amazing thing to watch people laugh, the way it sort of takes them over. Sometimes they really do struggle with it . . . so I wonder what it is and where it comes from, and I wonder what it expends out of your system, so that you have to do it till you’re done, like crying in a way, I suppose, except that laughter is much more easily spent.

The book has no chapter delineation, so you never really come to an end of a thought. You just keep turning the page to find more of the story laid forward. This is a book I am sure that I will revisit time and again. I tend to be wary of books that many people declare as stunning and ‘must read’ but in this case, these people were spot on. I look forward to diving into the rest of her works, Home and Lila.

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#FMF – Ocean

Joining up with Kate and other fearless writers as we ponder one word and than write for five minutes on this prompt. Its always interesting to see what the prompt inspires in people.

I spent three summers working just outside New York City at a camp. On our days off, we had 24hours to use however we wanted.
Two of those days I went to the beach with my friend Andrew. One day we went to the beach in North New Jersey. It was one of the hottest days of the summer and the car didn’t have air conditioning. By the time we got to the beach, and subsequently the ocean, we were dripping wet with sweat. We ran into the water for relief.
Another time we headed to the beach in Rhode Island, and the waves there wre so strong that at one point I realized i had been pulled down the beach and was further than I thought. I made my way back slowly.
I don’t really love swimming, but i love the sound of the water and being near it. I am glad we took advantage of being near the ocean.

Image: Unsplash – Frank McKenna, edited in Canva

#FMF – Restore

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joining up with my pals over at FIVE MINUTE FRIDAY where we all write for five minutes on a one word prompt. There is such grace at this community, some of my dearest friends are there.

We have lived in our house over twenty years. When we first moved in there were two large cedars in front of our porch. They began to look very scraggly so we got rid of them. There was a smaller bush there that we left in place. Over the years it grew into a small tree that pretty much covered about half of our porch. We could just barely see over the top of it out our kitchen window. During the time that bush was growing we acquired a beautiful iron bench from our next door neighbors who were looking to get rid of it. It sat behind the bush and as the ‘tree’ got bigger, it was awkward to try to use.

The past two summers, the beetles have eaten away at the bush as soon as it has leaves, pretty much leaving it looking dead and ugly every time. THis year we decided to get rid of it though we didn’t have the right tools. Our neighbors (Who have every tool under the sun) said they’d help us and they got rid of that bush, right down to the roots.  We came home from shopping and the house looked so different because suddenly you could SEE the porch.

The bench is also far more obvious and it is is need of some love, some restoration. Rust has begun to eat at the iron and the wood has paint peeling off of it. It didn’t matter so much when the small tree hid it but now that its wide out in the open its kind of an eye sore. I’m not sure just when I’ll find time to work on it, but I’ve got some stripping of paint and maybe just lacquering the wood on my mind. the Iron will be a bit more work, but I”ll put some elbow grease into it.

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Poetry Prompt – Benches

The women sat on benches
lining the wall
their heads bent low
as their fingers danced
over stitches
in the clothes
they mended.

The middle of the room
held several buckets
collecting the drips
that consistently fell
from the leaking roof

which is why
the women’s benches
lined the walls

usually they were
lined up
in channels
across the center of the room
they could sit closer
to the only source of heat
this way

the black stove
sat in the center
of the room
(surrounded by buckets)
putting out heat
but not quite
reaching the women
who sat on benches
lining the walls

the bulk orders
of hemming to be done
were piled in the corners
a looming task
as the women shivered
as they sat
on benches
that lined the walls

They swore
this was not the life
they had thought of
when they were
daughters
who still dreamed

They pictured themselves
in soft satin gloves
dresses that cost
more than they could fathom
and no need to life a finger
to help their family
to survive

but this is now
their reality
shivering as they
stitched til their fingers
bled on white cotton
and they had to start again
after rinsing the blood
sweat and tears
from the clothes

as they sat
on benches
that lined the walls.

 

#TellHisStory – Divine Appointments

Yesterday I was in a waiting room at a clinic , taking in the people around me and waiting my turn. As many of you know, I am not generally a shy person so I usually end up striking up a conversation with someone that I sit near.
There was a lady and man sitting next to me. They were talking about finding parking (which in this particular area in hit or miss). He indicated that he had to drive a bit to find parking and had found a spot outside an elementary school. He looked up to find several young men leaning on the metal fence and looking down the street. As he exited his car, they yelled to him “Excuse me sir. Excuse me, mister” He looked up and they said, “Would you be able to get our ball, its down there a bit and has gone under a car.” The man looked where they were pointing and saw a yellow soccer ball stuck under the back of a car. He went and retrieved the ball, and as he walked back to give them the ball they boys began to chant ‘M-V-P, M-V-P” They received their ball back with thanks and the man went on his way. My comment to him was, ‘Now that is a great way to start a Monday.”

And this story stuck with me. How much did it cost that man to go out of his way for complete strangers? Not too much (well I don’t truly know this, but I’d guess this to be true). And yet so often, I see so many (myself included) that by pass things they could be involved in because its ‘not mine to mess with’ or ‘i don’t want to get involved’. I think a lot of the time, I am just not wanting to feel uncomfortable, truth be told. The situation or talking to the person might mean that I am somehow inconvenienced and for some reason that deters me. Many articles that I’ve read recently and instances in my own life have me thinking of the fact that each person is made in the image of God and each person has inherent dignity. While there may be a legitimate reason that I am not able to assist someone at the moment, it is integral that I check my actions and see if I am stepping away from an opportunity that God has placed in my journey.

I remember someone telling me that every morning when they woke up that they would ask God to provide opportunities to share Him with the world, divine opportunities they called them. And I wonder what my life would look like if my eyes were more open to the opportunities that surround me, rather then being preoccupied by what they might cost me. I am being challenged in this, and am not sure how to be consistent in this, but it something that I am seeing as costing me personally so little, and who knows what kind of difference in might make in someone’s life. Maybe this opportunity is a divine appointment that God’s set up…actually, there is no maybe about it.

linking with Mary over at marygeisen.com for Tell His Story >>”Each week we gather as storytellers, word weavers, and encouragers to make His name known. Our story is God’s story and this small corner of the blogging world, where we come together each Tuesday, needs yours.”

#FMF – Fly

Joining up with the crew over at Five Minute Friday to write on one word for five minutes, link up and then check out other reflections. One of my favourite communities.

She’s a spunky little thing
Strutting around, kicking up dust
She knows this place
Like she know the path of flight

The sounds of wings fill my ears
Echoing off the stones around us
It feels like the rush of wind
While you are standing still

She cocks her head
And pins me with her beady eye
She wants to tell me something
I just don’t know what to say
or how to hear

Her scratching in the dust
Resembles hieroglyphs
Her fluttering about
Seems to contain a pattern
But I am unable to decipher it

I close my eyes in frustration
And her coos excell in urgency
She’s moved closer
Like proximity can give me understanding

Maybe the story
Is about what she has seen
Where she has gone
Where she is going

She wants me to know
Sometimes she can’t always
Express herself either
But life goes on

And she turns from me
A quick flash, glint in her eye
She lifts a wing in seeming salute
And she is flying…into her unknown

Image: Unsplash – Daniel Ruyter, edited with Canva