Friday, August 29, 2014


I debated on whether to go or not.   I was tired because I had had a busy day the day before.   But mostly because Sean wasn’t feeling well.  He was getting over a cold that hit him all of sudden and I just wasn’t sure he would be in top form to be participating in a parade for Welcome Wagon.  I talked to him and observed him and decided that we could do it.  Once we got there,  we realized that it was going to be much longer than we had anticipated,  there was no access to a bathroom and guess what?!  Of course,  Sean needed to go.  I looked at him.  He looked tired.  I though about walking back to our car to go home but decided against it.   He could sit in the wagon I was pulling if he wasn’t feeling well for a while.  That seemed to be a good idea to him as well.

We were one of the first to go.   As we walked up a little incline and then down and then up again,  I booted Sean out of the wagon because I was getting tired already and we were going to be walking a fair bit.  We were told that it was very slow but as we began walking, we realized that it really wasn’t slow at all.   When I told him he needed to walk,  I also told him that I had a basket of candy and book marks and he was to feel free to go out into the crowd and pass them out at random -  as much as he wanted.  I wasn’t sure he would.

But suddenly he grabbed a handful of candy and started weaving through the crowd handing it out.  He ran back to me for more.  He ran back for book marks and started handing them to random people in the crowd and giving them to upraised hands just like a rock star.  He kept running back to me,  exclaiming,  “This is awesome Mom.  This is pleasing me so much.  This is just pleasing me!”  He ended up running way more than all of us who were walking in a straight line trying to move forward with our wagons and not look or feel like we were going to pass out in the heat.    I looked at him as he moved in and out of crowd of people.  He was smiling, his eyes were shining and I am sure for about an hour at least,  he completely forgot how stuffed up he was and how much he just didn’t feel up to it.  He became alive doing something valuable. 

My mind was brought back to a time years ago,  when my heart was heavy about something personal I was going through.  I felt pressed in my spirit and because of that,  my whole body felt heavy.   I felt like I was walking through molasses as I was walking through my day.   I slowly walked to the photo centre in Costco, -  my mind a trillion miles away.   The lady that helped me asked how I was doing and I politely said,  “Fine.  And how are you?”  glancing up at her as I asked her. 

  I never expected an answer.  Never even wanted one - at least not a truthful one - especially since I hadn’t given her a truthful one myself.  I don’t know why,  but she thought I cared.  And she started to cry.  Right there in Costco,  she started to cry.   We moved aside to a corner and I looked her in the eyes,  now really caring.  I asked her what was wrong and she commenced to tell me that it was the anniversary of her daughter’s death -  a life cut far too short as she was just 20 when she died.  I looked at her and my heart ached as I tried to imagine that kind of grief, watching a daughter waste away from a horrible disease.   I told her I was sorry and that I would pray for her and then wiping away her tears,  she had to go back to work and I went on my way.  Her story,  however, wouldn’t leave me.  I thought about it for the next couple of hours so I went home and made a card and wrote in it that I would be thinking about her and praying for her and gave her my phone number.  I walked back into  Costco, to give it to her.   When I got to where she was working, she had already gone home.  I gave it to someone else to give to her and prayed silently that it would reach her at a time when she needed to read it (which I found out later that it did exactly that.) and then I just went home.  But do you know what happened?  I went home a lighter person.  I went home with a spring in my step.  I went home with love in my heart because I had helped someone.  I had reached outside of my pain and helped someone who was going through something far more painful than I.   It released me.  It brought some healing.  It refreshed me and filled me up.   Suddenly I saw some perspective.  

That’s what I saw in Sean that day.  He reached outside of how he was feeling in order to bring happiness and lightness to someone else.  And in helping someone else,  he helped himself more.

And suddenly I realized something.  The Bible talks about the fact that His burden is easy and his yoke is light. 

"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. 30"For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."  Matthew 11:30 

That verse has always been a mystery to me.  Nothing about a burden or a yoke sounds easy or light.  And today I think I realize more of what it means.  I think that his burden is love.  That’s what his burden is.  If we are yoked or tethered to Him - He IS love!!  So we will become that to those around us.  His commission and life’s purpose for us has always been love.   Just love those around you.  No judgements.  No preconceived rules.  No harsh assumptions.  Simply love your neighbor as yourself - one of His highest commandments. 

  All the other things that we add to our lives that become a burden and a yoke to us are all added things and programs and busyness, when all he really wants us to do it reach out and love.  All he really wants us to do is take on His mission - take on His call and love from wherever we are to wherever they are.  Love.  When we take on that burden and that yoke, something happens to us from the inside out and we find ourselves becoming free.  We find ourselves healing.  Suddenly we are not empty anymore.   Suddenly, and I don’t know how it happens,  that the  more we give out,  the more we gain.  When we are truly motivated by what God wants us to be motivated by, it releases us and frees us and fills us, taking us to heights we had never dreamed of. 

So, today when I find myself exhausted and spread too thin, I am going to remember to take on his burden.  Because I know what love does.
Sean giving out the candy and bookmarks.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Through Eyes of Faith: God, Help Us To Truly See

Through Eyes of Faith: God, Help Us To Truly See: I don’t know why I was cut to the core so deeply when I found out about Robin Williams death.  Maybe it was because I have been looking...

God, Help Us To Truly See

I don’t know why I was cut to the core so deeply when I found out about Robin Williams death.
Maybe it was because I have been looking into anxiety and depression lately.  Maybe it’s because I have myself dipped my toe in waters of anxiety and depression.  Or maybe it’s because here was a man so loved, so entertaining, so successful in the worlds eyes,  but even so,  at the end of the day he felt the pain of death was sweeter than the pain of life.  He was completely without hope.  I was so sharply reminded that there are people all around us that are dying and bleeding and trying to live in a their shattered worlds.

What can we do?  Can we change the world?  Can we turn the tide of the whole world to see hope and peace in the midst of struggles - in the midst of pain?  Maybe not.  But we can change our neighbors.  We can change the people we work with, the people we pass by everyday.  The people we go to Church with.  We can change OUR world.  In fact, we need to be changing our world.

It’s time we give wings to our love.  It’s time we give feet to our message of grace and hands to our song of salvation.

The world and the Church need real.  We need authenticity.  The world needs us as broken and hurting people ourselves to reach out to the more broken and hurting.

We don’t really need any more programs.  We don’t really need anymore fancy lights on our beautiful stages.  What we need is to realize that there are people all around us dying - both on the outside and the inside.   And they aren’t just “out there.”  They are people literally around us - sitting in the pews next to us, staring into our eyes Sunday after Sunday.

 Let’s knock the walls of the church down and spill out into the world, out in the community, out into their hearts.  Because we live in a broken and pained world today that needs hope, that needs peace, that needs a glass of water.   We need to reach out and feed a starving child.; clothe a homeless man.

It’s all about them.  That’s all Jesus asks of us - that we see them.  We don’t make it about ourselves, and our programs and our hurt feelings and our insecurities and our betrayals,  and our questions with no answers.  But that we make it out about them - the world and those around us.  Jesus was always reaching out - his whole life about them - always them. 

We need to look at the people we see everyday.  Really look at them.. Look beyond their blue and brown eyes and into their souls.  We need to look beyond the beautiful body and see the broken pieces within.  We need to hear behind the smooth words and listen to their screams and cries for help.

Somehow in this world of beauty, in this world of technology and fake-ness,  our senses have been dulled.  Jesus looked beyond the paralytic, he looked beyond the man that couldn't move and said that his sins were forgiven him.  Why?  Because he saw a man crying out for salvation and for freedom of the soul even more than he was crying out for movement.  He looked beyond the physical needs of the woman at the well and saw that she was woman through and through who just wanted to be loved, who just wanted to be valued like everyone else.  He saw.  He truly saw.

God, help us.  God help us to truly see.