faith

Resting

Resting

There will always be things that I’m dealing with. There will always be that sense of ebb and flow through seasons, times where my life seems more peaceful than others. But my happiness doesn’t depend on those circumstances.

So Thankful

In 1998, my paternal grandmother was killed in a car accident. She and my grandfather had been married for 54 years. They were both the children of homesteaders, and quickly followed in their parents' footsteps by homesteading their own parcel of land. The house they built there, as money allowed, is the house where they raised their nine children, and the house they lived in until the days they both died.

After Grandma's death, Grandpa spent almost two years proving to the world that he was no good as a bachelor before re-marrying to another very capable woman--a widow from Iowa. He and Virginia were actually married very shortly after Jason and myself. (How weird is it to be getting married the same year as your grandfather?) They enjoyed over five years together in amiable companionship before Grandpa also died of a heart attack. Virginia still lives in her own home in Iowa, and the kids and I were fortunate to get to see her last fall on our way south to Arkansas.

The very year Grandpa died, I found out some things about him that I never knew before. In fact, when I later told my dad that Grandpa had at one point wanted to be a professional cabinet-maker, even Dad was surprised. I was so sad that he died before I got to know him better as a man, not just as my Grandpa. I mourn even more for the years I lost with my Grandma Hilman--even though, as the oldest grandchild, I certainly got more time to get to know her than any of my cousins.

As I sat out in the snow this afternoon, bundled up in my winter clothes and finally digging up my potatoes from the frozen ground--on Thanksgiving day, which is generally considered a little too late in this part of the world for gardening!--I wished I could have been able to consult with my Grandma, or at least compare notes, now that I am homesteading my own place. She would have known better than to leave her garden in the ground until the second week of October. Granted, winter is not usually here by then, but there is always the odd year--and this year has been very odd. She would probably have some great stories about the first few years on the farm, before the farmhouse was built, and when it was just the two of them plus one or two little boys.

It makes me wonder how much wisdom has been lost in the last century about how to really live on this earth--how many children have grown up from the twentieth and into the twenty-first centuries without knowing the wonderful things that their grandparents could have taught them? How much are we having to re-learn, not at our grandparents' knees, but through trial and error or electronically via the internet? Thank goodness that someone took time to learn from their family's previous generations, so that humanity as a whole could benefit!

I would not wallow in misery for what is no longer retrievable, though. These thoughts made me grateful for the wisdom that is still available to me--both of my maternal grandparents are still living (and from good farming stock, too). My father and mother both have farming backgrounds, and knowledge about many, many other subjects, besides. I have numerous (and I do mean NUMEROUS!) uncles and aunts that know pieces of Grandpa and Grandma Hilman's stories--pieces that could be fitted together to make an interesting picture of their lives, even if necessarily incomplete. Their legacy is not dead--it lives on in us, their family.

I have the world's best husband, three adorable kids, and a roof over my head. There is food in my fridge and friends close by. In this twenty-first century, with uncertain economic times, a changing climate, and predictions of doom and gloom all around, there is still so much to be thankful for.

One of the best parts of the legacy that my grandparents left was faith--the kind of faith that gets you through fifty-four years of marriage, many hard times, and many good ones. The kind of faith that reminds you through all of it that at the end of the Book, the Good Guy wins.

So why not be thankful? After all, it's all going to be okay.

"Pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." I Thessalonians 5:17, 18 (NIV)

Thirsty Thoughts

I am sitting here in my blogging shirt, wanting to pour out some of the random thoughts that have flitted across my brain over the last few days, but I have not had time to record.

First off, Jabin. Jabin has started climbing. He is climbing stairs, and he loves the little landing in front of our master bedroom (only four stairs off the floor from the family room.) He will sit there babbling happily for up to half an hour, proud as punch that he got up there himself. He also likes to climb onto the hearth (of the fireplace we never use, thankfully) and sit there with a very self-satisfied grin on his face. He is so funny.

Last Monday, at breakfast, when I uttered my traditional "Let's pray," he completely floored me by smacking his little hands together and holding them there until we were done the prayer. He has also started adding his own version of "Amen" at the end of the prayer (which sounds a lot like "ba." You might wonder how I can relate those two, but it is so purposefully said, and he says it every time we pray.) He has also started trying to mimic other words we say. One day I was cheering for him for doing something, and he clapped his little hands and tried to imitate my "Yay, Jabin!" It's so strange, because Noah was such a late talker, to think that Jabin is actually trying to communicate verbally. He has also caught on to a few Baby signs: "down," "dog," and he has also tried "more" and "all done," although is not using them with any consistency, yet.

Suri's getting spayed today. You might be wondering why I have barely mentioned our dog since my initial post about her. The reason is, most days I barely tolerate her. The rest of the time, I harbour a secret wish that she would wander off and get eaten by coyotes. This seems harsh and extreme, and all the good feelings you got about me for being so nice to the lady at the hardware store have just fluttered out the window. But truthfully, this was not a good time in my life to get a puppy, and we maybe should have: a) waited another 6 months to a year, as per our original plan, and b) gone with a Golden Retriever, as per our original plan. She has destroyed more stuff with higher value (both sentimentally and fiscally) than she will ever be worth to me, and has gotten us in trouble with our neighbours and the SPCA by escaping three times in the same week (by different means) and being a little too frisky and nippy with the neighbourhood kids. I can't believe we are spending $250 on this operation today. I thought about just giving her away, but then I took a deep breath, set my teeth, and decided to keep waiting it out. Eventually, she'll be done teething. Eventually, she will no longer be a puppy. Eventually, she will calm down (hopefully), and not always be knocking the kids over and going ga-ga over any stranger that comes to our door and not listening to simple commands.

Or, I'll give her away. (Or maybe wait until the coyotes are howling at the moon one night and open the gate to the backyard...)

Lastly (for today), the Lord has been dealing with me on an issue that has been uncovered in my spirit over the last week. Complacency. Ugh. How did I ever end up here? Since first becoming a Christian at the age of 15, I have abhorred Complacency. I have prayed fervently against it. I have wanted to always have the passionate fire for God, and helping people, and loving others, and sharing truth with them that I had then.

The thing about Complacency is you never see it coming. You just wake up one morning and it suddenly hits you that you have become Comfortable. And in that comfort, you no longer carry the burning torch that once lit your path. Each day seems to be mapped out through the familiarity of routine. Who needs a Lamp? Why doesn't it bother you that you haven't opened your Bible for a week? Or more?

Or wait. Maybe it does. And in the very thinking of it, you realize that the parched, empty feeling you have been ignoring has originated in the lack of the Living Water in your life. A lack that you allowed, and for which you have no one to blame but yourself.

I find I want to guzzle it, now that I remember how vital it is to my health and well-being. I want to stand in it's flow and just let it wash over me, right under the waterfall, like one of those commercials for Irish Spring or something. I have had to look at my daily schedule, my routine, and revamp, re-prioritize. Now that I have remembered where my true refreshment lies, I do not want to let old habits and life's "busy-ness" quench this life-giving flow.

Thank you, Lord, for always staying constant and being there for me, even though I am fickle and forgetful.

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water,
so my soul pants for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.
When can I go and meet with God?
My tears have been my food
day and night,
while men say to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

These things I remember
as I pour out my soul:
how I used to go with the multitude,
leading the procession to the house of God,
with shouts of joy and thanksgiving
among the festive throng.

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.

My soul is downcast within me;
therefore I will remember you
from the land of the Jordan,
the heights of Hermon—from Mount Mizar.

Deep calls to deep
in the roar of your waterfalls;
all your waves and breakers
have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs his love,
at night his song is with me—
a prayer to the God of my life.

I say to God my Rock,
"Why have you forgotten me?
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?"
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"

Why are you downcast, O my soul?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Saviour and my God.