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Standing in the Gap Between a Rock and a Hard Place

March 6, 2015

So I am hoping to make my return to this blog as unannounced as possible. Those who are still subscribed may have been surprised to see this in your inbox. It won’t be  a regular thing but I had some thoughts and I wanted to record them. Then, I figured they could be helpful to someone else. That’s why I blog. If I have an epiphany, I figure someone may be able to benefit and so I share.

I am an avoider. I avoid all things uncomfortable. I will wait while those who know me have their laugh. The truth is, sometimes, if I feel like the repercussions are small, I may willingly stick myself in a tough situation (pointing out poor customer service tot eh waitress for example) but at the end of the day, the least amount of trouble, the happier I am.

This is the reason I procrastinate. It is also the reason I will avoid people. If I am hurt by someone, I deal with it by staying away for a while while I work things out on my own. It’s my reaction when having to take on a challenge or try something new. Definitely my reaction when I have to get form A to B and take all the side roads instead of the big bad highway. Many times you will find a perfectionist hiding in the skin of the avoider. If you know you’ll fail, avoid! That’s basically where I hang out.

These examples all seem rather benign but the problem an avoider will face in their spiritual life is avoiding the fight. We all know the Christian life is war. If I surprised you in any way with this statement you may need to return to your Bible. Recently I have been thrown into a spiritual war. While my deepest desire is for my family to serve Christ, I have been encountering opposition. My kids roll their eyes at me when I cut into their play time with Bible time. “Moooom, seriously, do we have to? It’s not like God answers us or anything.” These words sting. As your kids get older and you realize that the God you have loved all your life is not their God, that the Christ you worship as Saviour is none other than a weak whimp to them, you come to the point where you have to decide: persevere through or avoid. I justified my avoidance by saying that “salvation belongs tot the Lord”… I can’t save them so just leave it alone. Something inside still wasn’t too comfortable with that stance.

I have been going through the Pentateuch this year with Bible Study Fellowship. One thing that God has been showing me is Moses’ intercession for the people who are so quick to throw him and his God under the bus. His reaction to this people’s unbelief is not to quit- he intercedes for them. He asks God to remember His covenant and he keeps on in obedience.

I had in mind that I would teach my kids to pray. If I wrote down truths of God they could easily read them as prayers and learn how to relate to a God they do not personally know. This was my goal for March Break. On Tuesday, I fell sick, I have been on the couch most of the week. As I watched my kids waste their time away seeking joy in video games and TV, I consoled myself with the fact that it was OK to not stand firm, I was sick after all. I barely had energy to play Tetris on my phon. The Spirit compelled me and kept prompting me and today I got the strength to call my kids to the couch, open my Bible and start telling them of what I was learning. I got the regular eye rolls, the disinterested blank stares, the hurtful comments but I pushed through, begging God to be faithful to my small step of faith. This is the beginning of my fight. There will be many more years. I need to bring my avoidance tendencies to  the cross every day. If I am going to be a faithful prophet in an unbelieving environment, I will have to expect persecution and I will have to be OK with standing alone. I will stand in that lonely and difficult place with my eyes fixed on the Christ who “for the joy set before him, endured the cross”


Just Another Manic Sunday

March 17, 2013

I do not like Sundays. It’s the worst day of the week for me. Day of Rest, Ha!

Right now, my head is pounding and I am tired. OK, full confession, We decided to re-live a little bit of our youth last night and stayed up to watch the “main event” with our friends. It was fun, but now I am tired ( although I did sleep in to make up for the lost time).

Hubby is sleeping, has been since 7 pm. His back hurts.

I am facing an evening of baking and trying to scrape together what I can muster for the kids’ lunches tomorrow. I was supposed to go grocery shopping but it’s too late now. It takes longer to get the kids ready for bed when you’re only one person.Ah, lonely, yucky evening….getting water bottles and thermoses ready to be filled tomorrow, locating mitts, hats and snow pants so that we can make an attempt at being on time for school. Where’s so and so’s agenda? Oh. he decided to take it to the bathroom with him, who knew? Oh, and where are those field trip forms again?

Then there was the homework, the tears… it’s public speaking week so everyone is working on speeches from “The War of 1812” to “Platypuses'” and “Trains”.

Well, at least church was restful this morning you may say. NOPE! Not where I go to church. To keep our church running most of the people do a whole lot! We don’t have our own building. There’s the set-up, the take-down, looking for misplaced curriculum and wondering what happened to the CD player that used to work but now doesn’t.

All the stress causes tension. It’s not peaceful at home.

Of course in my dreams, I go to a huge church where I sing in a choir of 50+ and the music is beautiful. The pews are wood and the building is majestic rousing wonder and awe…

I go to church in Quebec. There’s nothing big, beautiful, majestic and restful about it. It’s a mission field, a grind. If you go to an American Mega-Church, you probably have no category at all for what it means to go to church here. The same ministry needs to happen but with a fraction of the laborers. Whether you have 5 kids in your Sunday school or 105, you’re still called and burdened to prepare a  great lesson for them but you have less volunteers.

Thankfully, most Pastors I know do get Monday off in this province but the volunteer Elders, Sunday-school teachers, musicians, people who worked on the bulletin, people who baked for coffee hour…they all go back to the grind tomorrow.

The day of rest came and went…and I’m exhausted!


A Mother’s Prayer

February 23, 2013

I heard Kristyn Getty perform this song  last April. I am learning it to sing to my boys each night.

Thou Shalt Not Covet…

February 23, 2013

Thy Neighbor’s Prayer Requests.

Have you ever coveted some people’s prayer requests? Ever want someone else’s problems instead of your own?

I had such an experience the other day. I had asked for prayer for my son, specifically for wisdom and the right doctors that would follow him as we decide what the next phase will be for him. It’s overwhelming and difficult to know  the right thing to do. It feels like we are deciding his future for him but we’re doing it blindfolded. There are many variables and many obstacles and the more we discuss the more options emerge making it more and more confusing.

I have to admit there are days where I wish that I had typically developing kids. Most of my hurt is from my own sin. I feel ashamed when my kids disrupt church or when they act impulsively, breaking people’s things or interrupting conversations so they can speak (because if they wait too long they forget what they were going to say). Part of the shame comes from comparing them to others their age.

You moms will know what I mean. There’s always that family whose kids obey immediately, sit nicely in church and excel at everything. The truth is, it shouldn’t phase me one bit, but it does. As much as I can overcome my sin and my coveting other people’s families most days, there are those days where the pain seems to be sitting higher up in my chest, ready to come out.

Last Tuesday nigth was one of those times and the thought came to me… don’t covet your neighbors prayer requests no matter how light their load may seem. Maybe their load is light and mine is heavy.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.” Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:18-22)

So there is the rebuke from God’s word. What is it to you, Pam if everyone else’s kids are healthy obedient and successful? You follow me on the path I have put you on and I will be with you and I will strengthen you and your rest is coming. There will be no disability in heaven!

Technical difficulties

February 23, 2013

Sorry folks. I’ve been having technical difficulties with this blog. I posted something yesterday entitled “Thou Shalt not Covet” and I also wrote a draft for a future post called “Isaac” WordPress published my draft but not my real post. So…. I am re-writing both.

Stay tuned!

Still Here!

February 20, 2013

Here I am!

Busy, busy, busy. Just thought I would say hello to all my readers and let you know what all is happening around here (why do I have this southern drawl in my head today?)

Here are some things that have been happening around here:

1- Dealing with the school. Homework, helping my kids learn the basics that other kids learn quickly, working against attention deficits, dealing with teachers who are overworked and overwhelmed, talking about hiring a tutor etc. etc. It’s exhausting and quite frankly I wish it wasn’t so but it is my reality most of the time.

2-Work: I am enjoying my lunchtime integration aide position and have even been accepted to the priority pool for consideration when future positions come up. It’s been a big learning experience and my skills and creativity get challenged every day. Some days are great and fruitful and some days I get kicked, yelled at and called all kinds of names. I am honored to work with kids that need the extra help because I know that they have parents, people who love them  and my efforts with their children are a way to serve these families as well. Every child deserves dignity, respect, care and protection. I am glad to be a part of that for some of the most vulnerable and needy!

3-Trying to keep my house in order: Did you notice I wrote “trying”. Honestly, I have no clue if any of my kids went to school without underwear today but it’s likely. Firstly, one of them hates underwear and secondly, I do believe they are all still in the dryer… doh!

4- Trying to work out: Again… trying. I was great until sickness started creeping in and my kids started missing whole weeks of school.

5- Trying to eat better. I succeed sometimes but other times, I just need chocolate. I made this awesome corn, green pepper, tomato, avocado salad with cumin. That’s healthy isn’t it?  in truth, my goal is to get off wheat again. I felt good when I was off wheat but it’s the fastest cheapest thing to eat. Still a goal of mine.

6- Dealing with the Social Worker: Social workers are supposed to make your life more manageable… they don’t. Yesterday she almost caused me to pop a blood vessel when she suggested I try to have Jumpy assessed further “through the school “really?  I asked: “can the school Psych diagnose autism?” Answer: “no”. Then why do you think that they are at all equipped to diagnose another disorder within autism?” Silence on the other end. I think I made my point!

7- Organizing our summer: Will the kids play soccer again? will one need specialized swimming lessons? What about a group to work on social skills for Jumpy? What about camp for the eldest? So much juggling.

That’s what’s been keeping me busy. I need a vacation. That’s my next project. Hopefully a family member will be getting married this spring, in another city and we will have the chance to take a break from the routine to attend 🙂

Gotta run folks, them underwear are not gonna fold themselves!

The Year That Was

December 30, 2012

Well, the year began with all its promise and anticipation. And, as years tend to do, they unfold in rather unexpected, twisty, surprising ways. Some surprises are more welcome Imagethan others, I say.

There was the engagement of my second brother to a wonderful lady that I will be glad to have in our family. This year our home will be full of the talk of weddings and parties and food (I am Italian after all). Family dynamics will be pondered as we try to seat people. Should be fun!

Then there was our family vacation to Florida and Walt Disney World. Really, it’s not Imagesomething we’ll soon forget. The kids still talk about it and the memories we made will be forever treasured. I am so grateful for this opportunity we thought we would never have. It started out with my husband urging me to attend the Gospel Coalition Women’s conference and then, we thought we’d just all go- a decision we’ve never regretted!

There were first birthday parties and a visit tImageo the cottage to see granddad and Babcia.

There were 70th birthday parties and 60th wedding anniversaries.

My daddy turned 60 too and we celebrated with the finest Jewish deli fare.Image

There was our community pool and the activities my kids enjoyed there.

There was the first-time ever Sunday School BBQ on the lawn after church (thanks to GC for putting that together!)

There was dinner in utter darkness with dear friends! Oh, the laughs J

There was apple picking and reconnecting with family we hadn’t seen in a while.

There were meals with friends who blessed us with their hospitality.

My piano came over to stay at my place after many years in my parents’ living room. I imagine it wasn’t easy parting with it but we are enjoying it here. Our firstborn has started learning to play.

Then there were not so good surprises:  

  • A leaky roof, despite its young age and other house-related woes.
  • An injured back that would change our family dynamic considerably and test our marriage, our hope, our priorities…
  • There was fatigue and exhaustion and the wish to just crawl under the covers away from EVERYONE. This happens to me every so often and it means that I am depleted and it’s probably November.  Not knowing whether or not I will wake up able to face the day or not is a common occurrence and alto familiar although never welcome.

There were friends facing real pain and sorrow and my inability to make sense of it all. There were times I wish I could have given more comfort but had no words. There were prayers and tears and cries out to God. There were some answered prayers and sometimes, God was silent.

There were hurtful words and the struggle to forgive.

There was failure… oh so much failure. Failure to grow, failure to conquer, failure to comfort, failure towards friends, failure as a wife, failure in mothering, failure to be joyful in everything, failure to hold my tongue… failure everywhere! But the worst failure of all was the failure to refrain from running from the failure, because everyone knows that running is just a distraction and yet, I run.

I am looking forward to a New Year but, I must say with some trepidation.  I am entering 2013 a little beaten and bruised…. And numb. It’s been a while since I laughed, hard, been a while since I happily skipped around my house, since I could think of more than just what needed to be done by day’s end to keep our heads above water. My husband has been asking me where I’ve gone… I don’t know.

I want to make 2013 about finding my joy again, finding myself again.

Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5b

Happy New Year, friends!