Thursday, September 25, 2014

artsy fartsy

    It's amazing how much of music is intuitive. i don't remember being as blown away by a distinction in any of my babe's musical tastes as i have been with Elmer. We play a game where we'll take turns choosing a piece of music to play over the speakers while he's playing at our feet. His response is usually immediate and definitive. He either likes it and starts to move and react, clapping, bobbing his head and dancing - or he'll ignore it completely and continue what he's doing. His tastes are sometimes different than mine, he'll fling out his arms and turn his face to the sky during a song that doesn't move me or he'll start his wiggly dance while i'm changing a diaper and i hadn't even noticed the song had changed. Sometimes he'll dance and shout happy baby sounds while i play and sing and sometimes he'll just pull on my clothes asking me to stop so that he can have my full attention.

    And then there's Gage. He's six and can sing with more emotion than Barbara Streisand. He was in my room the other day and i stopped outside the door to listen to him sing to himself in my big full length mirror. He was making up a song about going to Kelowna to visit his grandparents and i couldn't help but get caught up in his lyrics. He drew me in with the complex conflict between his desire for the road trip and wondering if he will miss and be missed at home. His little voice trembled as it rose higher and higher, louder and louder.... conflicted and more conflicted. He repeated little melodic phrases, he used syncopation and rhythmical riffs, he repeated lyrical themes and used every dynamic and vocal inflection he could think of. He changed the rhythm as it suited him, some of it rubato, some of it following a stricter meter... He embellished with long anguished notes or quick staccato; haphazardly creating little phrases as he worked his way through his song... and i kind of sat there thinking - he's just experimenting with musical ideas he couldn't even name - to *create* something. It's so similar to a child taking up a paint brush, dancing, making a craft or forming something out of clay... Like, 'what can you do, voice, to express what i'm experiencing in my little six-year-old boy existence?'

    It's kind of weird to me, how much of what i think of as being something you need training for is really just open to everyone to enjoy. How much expression do i shy away from because i think i'm not good enough, that i might make a fool of myself, that the end product trumps the experience of creation?

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


    The kids and i have been doing a study called, Love to Pray by Alvin Vandergriend in the mornings lately. It's a 40 day devotional that we've done before (i had scrawled the date of the last time we did it on the front cover - January 2006). In it, i had made notes and prayer requests - praying for baby cousins who were on the way tucked in their mother's wombs, prayers for our daddy to find a job as his was in flux as this was right before we ended up moving to Calgary... It has been an interesting trip down memory lane, but more importantly - it has been another invitation (He is constantly inviting...) to walk, run or even crawl deeper into my prayer journey. 

    The author  made a distinction in this book between petition (praying for ourselves) and intercession (praying for others). As we've read different passages and as we've studied - but ultimately as we've taken the time each morning to put into practice what we're learning and to actually pray... i feel like i've been stretched by this invitation to put my love into action through prayer.

    Sometimes praying feels like walking a tightrope. i want to pray only the things that are in the will of God, i want to pray authentically... i want to bring Him my hurt, my worry, my heart, my adoration and my joy. i want to pray for others for the areas in their lives that are broken. A word i used that maybe i just made up is, `pre-redeemed`... "What does pre-Christmas mean?" i asked my little ones, "We can only use the word, 'pre-Christmas' because Christmas is coming." i want to have the confidence to use the word, 'pre-redeemed' in the same way - redemption of all the the enemy has stolen is coming, beauty from ashes. i might be living in the 'pre' - but that little word only indicates what is coming, and i can't wait.

    Today was beautiful in it's practical applicability. First the question of nagging doubt was tenderly addressed. Do my prayers make any difference at all? If i believe the Bible... if i take God at His word... then i have to believe that through His Great Love for us, God does allow our prayers to make a difference to the history of nations, our family, our communities, our churches... i believe it. i think that belief  is no small thing when God is looks for and calls intercessors. If we don't believe that our prayers matter, or that they've had any consequence at all... prayer won't be precious to us, and i think over time we'd probably cease to make time for it at all because what is relationship with a God who remains disengaged from our lives, from our trials and from our pain? Thankfully this isn't how God truly is... He is engaged, He sees, He hears and He takes action on our behalf. He loves us, and is deeply interested in having a relationship with us. He is worthy of our love.

    Still, prayer is sometimes hard (like anything worth learning or doing). We run out of things to say, we wonder if maybe we're praying for healing when God is going to use sickness. We wonder if our present suffering is possibly not worth mentioning... we pray alone and our mind drifts and we might feel like we're talking to ourselves. Prayer is something we can grow in, we can learn about, we can get better at. It's not just an intangible feeling, "Sending you good vibes!" It's an intentional conversation with the One in control.

    I love the distinction between petition and intercession - and i don't remember making it before in my own mind. Honestly? i think we are in desperate need of both - but sometimes i find i need to focus outside of my own self, and God has used intercession to show me His Great Love for those around me, and in those times i think it has helped me catch just a glimpse of the bigger picture. The devotional i mentioned gave us a small tool to try this morning using the word, BLESS to help us to pray for those around us. The B stood for body needs. We prayed for those who are struggling with their physical body - for strength and healing for sickness, brokenness and disease. We prayed by name for people with needs in their physical body and blessed them. L stood for labour - it was easy to remember to pray for our pastor, for our church leadership and for their families, but we also prayed for Cairo, out getting training for her vocation and for Neil who works for our family. We all labour, but using this little tool brought specific people to mind... and we prayed for them by name. The E was for emotional - there are so many with inner hurts that God wants to heal - the pre-redeemed. We prayed for them. The first S stood for social - (relational) needs. We prayed for families for restoration of brokenness and for these relationships that currently bring pain to begin instead to bring joy and hope and strength to their members. We prayed for families to receive blessing, and also for them to bring glory to God. The last S was for spiritual - for people who need Jesus. We prayed for our friends by name but also for our little community, our neighbours and the world.

    And i don't know if it's because Elmer slept in and we had the time and the atmosphere to just *be* before God, to be reminded by Him of the people He loves, to intercede for them and "stand in the gap" between, 'pre-redeemed' and 'redeemed', but even hours later... i'm unable to shake the idea that our prayers from this morning were heard and that their impact will be multi-faceted and generational, because that? That is the kind of God that i serve - and He wastes nothing.

  1. the action of intervening on behalf of another.
    "through the intercession of friends, I was able to obtain her a sinecure"
    synonyms:mediation, intermediation, arbitrationconciliationnegotiationMore
    • the action of saying a prayer on behalf of another person.
      "prayers of intercession"

* Ezekiel 22: 30-31
* Luke 11: 5-8
* Philippians 4: 6-7
* 1 John 5: 14-15
* Hebrews 4:16
* Luke 18: 1
* John 16:24
* 1 John 3:21-22
* Mark 11:22-24
* Psalm 66:18-19
* Hebrews 4:16
* Exodus 17: 9, 11
* Romans 8: 26-27
* 1 Timothy 2:1-4
* 1 Thessalonians 5:17
* John 10:27
* Ephesians 6:18
* Matthew 6:9-13
* Ephesians 3: 14-19
* Colossians 1:9-12
* Ephesians 1:17-19
* 1 Chronicles 4:10
* Mark 1:35
* Luke 5:16
* Luke 6:12
* Romans 1: 9-10
* James 5:16
* Luke 22: 31-32
* Revelation 8: 3-5

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

night feeds

At over 15 months, he's getting a little long in the tooth for night feeds. i've wished so many times over the course of the past year that he would sleep longer stretches, but last night i couldn't fall asleep, and i wished he were up to keep me company. i groaned as the clock slipped past 11 then 12... i kept winking at it, willing myself to sleep, begging my eyes to stay shut. Instead i watched as the numbers on the clock crept past one.. then 1:30. He rarely sleeps that long and i had wasted it.
i didn't let myself look at that mocking clock again until i finally heard his cries at 2:30 in the morning.
He can't possibly need a night feed. He's a nice solid little boy - a far cry from the hungry baby who couldn't get his mama's milk with his funny little tongue tied down. He sits in a high chair at meal times and points to whatever table food he thinks looks like it might have sugar in it.
He is definitely big enough to get through the night without a night feed, but we never do.
No... we never do. And this night is no exception...  his perfect legs curl up against my body and my legs curl underneath him, almost like a yin and yang... he signs to me with his pudgy hand that he wants to nurse and with a contented sigh relaxes into my arms. And it's at times like this where i cannot decide which of us feeds and which of us is fed.
i slept peacefully after that, you know... Soul kind of nourished, doubts quieted for night... comforted by nothing more than a little feed in the night...

Monday, September 22, 2014

speak for me

    i used to think i was a pretty good communicator. i used to think that i was pretty lucky to be able to form my thoughts, feelings and experiences into words and sentences... i could speak them fairly plainly, i thought, and others were usually able to catch my meaning without too many painful mis-communications or misunderstandings (other than the kinds that were intentional - we all know people like that...)

    My biggest fear in communicating (i think) was probably in church - i lead worship lots of times, and i always had a fear that i would say something wrong - that my theology would be skewed and confuse someone or misrepresent my Father. My words in those situations would often come out too quickly and with very little confidence - smothered in disclaimers and apologies. Even then though... i would usually manage to scrape together the words to get across the essence of the thought i carried. Even in my fear, my meaning came through...

    But over the past couple of years, my view of my own self - and my supposed communication abilities has changed so that what i thought about myself then, is almost unrecognizable to me now.

    i obviously can't communicate.

    i've had more people angry with me in the past couple of years than in the past couple of decades. i've seen more precious relationships broken than built, and i've seen my own words put back in front of me with completely different tone and meaning than i ever sent them out with - and honestly - it makes me look at this little blog and go, "No wonder you have gone so silent here..." Words that i hoped would bring healing, brought only misery. When i thought i spoke kindly, honestly and carefully... the opposite was heard - the opposite was felt... and i didn't know how else to speak, how else to be - it was impossible to be heard or understood, so i reacted the only way i knew how... More curling inward, more awkwardness with my own community, more trepidation in exposing my thoughts, my fears, my dreams... Literally, the other day, i listened in on some small talk from a sweet woman sitting next to me. She asked the usual, "So, how have you been?" of an older couple that she came across. "Genius..."i breathed jealously... "how does she know just what to say?" And it makes me laugh now, from inside my house, the opportunity for small-talk long gone, that her casual inquiries seemed so far beyond my ability to formulate and bring forth myself, but the last few years of dealing with broken relationships has brought out an insecurity that i never had before - and that i'm not sure is one that i'm interested in keeping around. 

    You see, i serve a God who loves people. Relationships are so important to Him that He sent His Son to earth to rescue me - so that we could have a relationship where i could bring my heart to Him - and He could speak to it... i love Him, and because i love Him - this communication phobia is just going to have to go. The enemy would love nothing more than to see me silenced - licking wounds and becoming sulky and awkward... But my Father? He has something else in mind.

    On Sunday, our pastor said that God is using our circumstances (including our pasts) to prepare us to accomplish His vision for our lives. Ever heard of redemption? i guess that's what this is gonna feel like... all the brokenness... all the misunderstanding and pain... all of it - is salvageable to my King. i saw Him do it when i was 19, and i had broken my life with disobedience and careless sin... and He gave me a family to love and serve and grow with... That experience taught me that HE IS FAITHFUL. Our pastor's words reminded me... that God is resourceful - He never wastes.

    So, if you see me on the street - and i take some time to wash around the words in my mouth before coming out with something like..."So... how have you been?" Please know - that that communication there? Is Kingdom work. i'm breaking free of this fear and condemnation that has been binding me lately. i love my Father, and i trust that as i press in to His Good Heart - i will learn to become more like Him and ultimately it is my goal that He will speak for me.

    Speak for me, Father - strain out the me.  Even before the thoughts become words - let them be shaped by the fruit of the Spirit that grows in my life. Let my words sprout and take shape from a heart that is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, self-control, faithfulness and gentleness... More surrender of self - less know it all wordsmith. 
    Less broken. More Redemption. 

    Speak for me. 

Friday, September 12, 2014


I open up the kid's computer in the office. My laptop died months ago and blogging has been scarce.
Benedict Cumberbatch is the screen saver and he smiles coyly at me - almost mockingly as I gather threads of thoughts wondering if I have anything coherent at all to say.

"I'm grateful..." my heart whispers...

And it's true.

This week has been awesome - school is still getting rolling, my college kid is loving her classes, my baby slept better, my teens are changing every day - but it's the beautiful, welcome kind of change. It's the kind of change that is evidence that there is a Holy God working in their lives, whispering truths, beckoning them to come... and they are heeding that invitation. My "almost teens" are growing too... They're trading childish things for talents and passions that they work on and derive pleasure from. They can do so many things that I could never do... it's fun to watch.

Then my bonus boys...

Oh trust me, I'm grateful. I'm plenty grateful.

Belligerently I stomp my foot, "But God," I whine, "I want him..."

My travelling man has been gone all week - swept up in the vortex of work and meetings and technology blips... I haven't heard more than a few words from him.

The loneliness can be so real...

And it almost makes me howl that I could even use the word "lonely" to describe any aspect of this full life I lead. My arms are so rarely empty and everywhere I turn there is another likable human being willing to share a conversation, a hug, a cookie or a TV show.

But there's sometimes a lonely for just the one person who has seen the very nakedness of your soul - who shares your bed, your body, your memories and your deepest loves... a person to chuckle with in the darkness before sleep comes, the person who seems to have what you lack, and lacks what you have...

Too personal... I backspace, try again, frustrated, flushed, embarrassed - keep it togehter, paige...
In the shower, my finger traces the word in the steam, "invisible".

And my heart, whispering it's gratitude defensively is shushed to silence by the Author's question, "am I enough?"

"Of course you're enough!" I sputter... "Aren't I allowed to want someone? or something? or am I supposed to live in a perpetual state of bliss - desiring nothing but the company of God?"

He's working something out in me... I feel it and the tears sting my eyes and I'm ashamed of the lump in my throat because...


He knows I am.

He knows it.

Defences down, I close my eyes.

"Yes. You're enough."

Haven't You, Father, been the subject of every love song sung at my piano this week? Has not my heart been begging for the Gentleness of my Shepherd to lead?

And it's like He speaks to me...

"I see you."

Seen.  Seen in the darkness after the baby has been tucked in. Seen in the king sized bed that refuses to warm up all the way. Seen drawing and singing... and cleaning and cooking. Not invisible. Seen.

"I hear you."

Not only heard, but understood. Not judged for feelings that aren't sin, aren't wrong, aren't insignificant to me... or to Him. Heard, whispering truthful, biblical prayers. Heard playing and singing till my voice wavers, cracks and breaks. Heard.

"I'm with you."

Not alone in trying to protect the little ones in my care. I'm in His company when I whisper that I want my husband. He seems to nod somberly. He's with me.

And oh... my gratitude breaks from the easy list that I have made in my head... a roof over my head, food to eat, children to love, a husband who will, ultimately, come home, friends who care, music that feeds and humour that kindles and brings warmth like a flame...

All of it fades when my invisibility is proved false and His faithfulness is proved true. My gratitude is real.... and so is my longing. They can co-exist - and in that sweet balance, I'm allowed to feel what I feel.. and for that?

I'm grateful.


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