Friday, 24 March 2017

Journey by Susan L.

  Much has changed. Much has been healed. Much has been forgiven. Much has been celebrated. It's humbling and inspiring when so much "much" can be accomplished through a few short hours of prayer. My time at Singing Waters left me clearer in understanding Jesus and what His relationship with me looks like. It has also given me a direction for the blog.
  Over the next year, I will be exploring the three hundred scriptural affirmations that were assigned as homework.
  So, the first one, "I am able" Phil 4:13 is easy.
  Not to boast but anyone who has been following my blog knows that there isn't much I can't do. My capabilities range from deck and shed building to plumbing and home repairs. My creative abilities, as much a part of me as breathing, touch nearly every aspect of my life. There isn't much that scares me because, praise the Lord, I am able to make mistakes and start again. I am also not afraid to explore and learn new skills.
  That's the "doing" aspect of being able.
  In matters of the heart, through the love of Jesus, and even though mental health challenges are part of life because of past events, I have been able to find the ability to forgive both others and myself.
  So, how does, "I am able" challenge me?
  Choices are a stumbling block. Mostly it's because of doubting my own ability to make decisions. Forgive me for that, my Lord. I'll choose to forgive those who enforced the idea that I am incapable of  making the right decisions. Thank You, Lord, that it is Your guidance I can lean on.
  Making the choice to ask for help is always tough. Being so darned capable and self sufficient doesn't mean I don't have to ask for help once in a while. Oooo, doesn't that smack of pride! Forgive me, Lord.
  So, how does making the choice to reach out to others for help in making major decisions sound?
  I think that's a good idea seeing as Pumpkin isn't much of a conversationalist and his sole focus is either food or cuddles.
  This was a rather light hearted start. But that's okay, I don't have to be so serious all the time. Being able to find the funny side of trials and tribulations is a gift from God. Thank You because laughter is a great teacher.
 "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content; I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Phil 4:11-13

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

BIC by Susan L.

  The more I am learning about Anabaptists and the Brethren in Christ, the more I am finding that this is a faith home that aligns with my own ideals. My church has been exploring their doctrine with the idea that our currently non-denominational church will move into becoming a church of the Brethren in Christ.
  There's a number of reasons for this potential move. Mostly it's because it will give our independent church a community. With that community comes support, accountability, and greater resources to help our church grow.
  We've just finished a ten week video teaching about what BIC believes. It's an older one from the Meeting House where we follow the teachings of Bruxy Cavey via video. This series may be older but it has blown through my heart like a breath of fresh air.
  From what I have understood, BIC is all about being a community of believers. It's not a community of "believe what we believe or else" but is about coming together in grace and love. The lessons were more about sharing different ideas and allowing us the space to make up our own minds. If anything the aspirations of the church are anti-religion especially when religion is used to divide God's Church.
  To come to a place that is willing to draw wisdom from the wise regardless of doctrinal differences honours God, the source of all wisdom.
  I don't have to agree with everything the BIC believes. In fact, they encourage questioning and more importantly, will facilitate answer finding. Many times Bruxy has stated that if you aren't growing spiritually or as a child of God by attending the Meeting House, they would be more than willing to help you find a church home where that would be possible regardless of denomination.
  This is my favorite image that Bruxy used to illustrate an idea. The three circles represent the doctrinal practices of Catholicism, Protestantism and the Anabaptists. The shaded part is where our own beliefs are part of the other faiths. In the middle, as it should be, is the Cross of Christ. In the grand scheme of things, this is all that matters. At least, it is all that matters to me.
  My own walk has taken me to many different churches for a season and a reason. My Anglican upbringing has played a role in shaping my own personal faith and beliefs. This variety of experiences has shown me that Protestant style dancing and singing for joy are as much a part of worship as Catholic quiet moments of contemplation. It's wonderful to be free to celebrate and partake of the beauty found in the practices of all who follow Christ.
  By keeping the circle of circles in mind and remembering the jagged line I blogged about the other day I can become a better person. I can find the ability to love others unconditionally because I don't want to break the circles apart or allow a jagged line of judgement to be a barrier to God's love. He loves every one of His creations regardless of where they attend a Sunday's service. He even loves those who don't!
  Not that this will be easy or even if it will be something I can do all the time. I am only human after all. Yet, with Him leading me, it will be possible.
  Thank You, Lord, for Your forgiveness and grace. Thank You for personalizing our faith and for meeting us where we are at. Thank You for helping me grow in this journey of acceptance and grace.
  "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. For by me your days will be multiplied, and years of life will be added to you." Prov 9:10-11

Monday, 20 March 2017

Hike by Susan L.

  H and I went over to the Gibson Hills yesterday to enjoy the sunshine, the warmth and a bit of the outdoors. The leafless treetops were adorned with songbirds and my first official spring Robin. The ground was muddy and downright slippery as we struggled to walk down a couple of the steeper hills. Thankfully, neither of us did a face plant or ended up falling. We'd both brought hiking sticks that helped us thwart gravity and treacherous footing.
  Since we won't be going camping this summer, we've taken on the challenge of hiking the entire Bruce Trail. It cuts through our area on the way north so there's plenty of places to pick it up and hike without having to travel too far.
  The trail is 885 kilometers long, starting at the Niagara River and ending in Tobermory. We won't do this in one summer (if ever!) but plan on breaking it down into shorter hikes. We'll take two cars, dropping one off at our ending point then head to the start so there won't be any need for doubling back.
  If we were to tackle it in one fell swoop, we would have to hike eight hours a day for thirty days. That's not happening either!
  Every once in a while, I get amazed at just how big this country is. I know there's places in Europe where having a car is a considered a luxury. Here it's a necessity unless you live in a large, urban setting with public transit. Even if I wanted to visit a city, I still need a car to get to public transit because the only buses feeding them run along the main highway corridors. It's a forty-five minute drive to the nearest bus station.
  As the nicer weather rolls in, I'll have to start walking again. Couch potato winters mean out of shape springs. Keeping the Bruce Trail in mind will hopefully inspire me to regain the fitness level I achieved before heading to Nova Scotia last September.
  Tackling the Bruce Trail and celebrating the beauty of this country seems a great way to celebrate Canada's 150th birthday.
  "The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge." Ps 46:7