Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Once in a while I fall into the "depths of despair", as Anne of Green Gables would say.  Life with all of its disappointments just seems to overwhelm me, and I want to run away.

I had a week like that last week.

This week, I read the following Proverb from Chapter 18, verse 1.

Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;  he breaks out against all sound judgment.

My pattern is this:  I get angry.  I look around and see that things are not as they should be.  The kids don't measure up.  My house is a wreck.  My husband doesn't spend time with me.  My church is too far away.  Finances are tight.  I am a failure...

The truth is that my depression comes from anger which comes from lack of contentment.  I am not contented with what the Lord has ordained for me.  I want a perfect house, obedient children, a marriage-made-in-heaven!  I want to pay all of the bills on time.  I want to dispense words of wisdom to those who ask for advice.  I want to be a great example to family and friends - a true woman of virtue.

The reality is that I struggle daily with sinful patterns, and I don't like them one little bit.

So, I get angry.  Then I get depressed.  And I want to run away.  I think about places I can run to.  I hide in my bedroom or sit on the computer.  I grunt when spoken to, or dissolve into tears.  All I can think about is how rotten my life is and how much better other people's lives are.


The Proverb says, whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire.  He becomes self-centered, and all he can think about is self-gratification.  He breaks out against all sound judgment - even his own knowledge and wisdom.  He seeks advice from no one.

I did that.  I didn't want to go to church.  I didn't want to be encouraged.  I didn't want to read any spiritual blogs or listen to any good sermons.  I wanted to wallow for a bit in my own misery... I even didn't want my own sound judgment.

I am not saying that all depression follows this pattern.  But I'd wager that a lot of depression comes from anger that has its beginning in looking at one's circumstances instead of keeping one's eyes fixed firmly on Jesus.

Proverbs 18:14 A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?

My spirit was crushed last week.  I believe the Enemy of our souls was working to destroy my influence - in my home and in our church.

The answer to any attack is to put on the armour of God.

The Whole Armor of God
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

Put on your armour the second you see that you're getting your eyes off of Jesus.  Put on your armour as soon as you start looking around at the mountain of laundry, the ton of weeds, or the never-ending tasks of daily life.  Tell yourself the truth - that Jesus knows your every need and promised to meet them... that He loves you enough to die for you and pay the price for all of your sin... that He understands your weaknesses and supplies His strength as soon as you abide in Him by faith... that He has invited you into His own family and will never forsake you, not even for a second.

You are never alone.  No use pretending.  No use trying to isolate yourself or play the fool.  Instead, fix your eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith, and keep looking at Him.  Know that He has given you everything you need for life and godliness.

And start living!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

That's What the Promise is For

It's been nearly 37 years since I stood, as an 18 year old bride, at the altar of the massive Anglican church in Stratford, and made a promise that was reciprocated by my 22 year old groom.  Thirty-seven years of dancing in the minefields, reflecting the Son of God to each other.

I am thankful that God has held us together, and that Rick has reminded me time and again that he loves me.  He doesn't so much remind me with words, but by being there, day after day, week after week, month after month.  He gets up in the dark and heads out to a cold truck to bring home the bacon.  He says to the kids, "Where's your mother?" and I know he wants me to just come and sit with him at the end of a long day.  Companionship is more important to him than communication - which is more important to me. 

But we keep dancing.

In the minefields of life.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A Sadness Observed

I have been struggling lately.  It seems like forever, but it's only been a matter of weeks, or months.  Certainly not years, I don't think.

It's certainly not the first time I have wallowed in depression, overwhelmed by the trials of life, at the end of my rope, so to speak.

It likely won't be the last.

This morning I read "A Grief Observed" by C.S. Lewis.  The reading did not lift the weight off of my shoulders, but it gave me some small comfort knowing that I am not alone in my struggle to understand, and even cope with, this world as it really is.

It's a messy place, this world.  Nasty and confusing.  An honest assessment brings the conclusion that nothing is right with the place.  There are too many sorrows, too many pains, too many tsunamis and earthquakes and floods.  All is not right with the world.

It begs the question, "Is God in control?"  I firmly believe He is.  Not going to debate or discuss that here.

Then, if He is in control, "Is He good?"

C.S. Lewis agonized over that question when considering the death of his one true love.  People told him, "She is at rest" and "She is in God's hands".

He wrote, 

"Because she is in God's hands."  But if so, she was in God's hands all the time, and I have seen what they did to her here.  Do they suddenly become gentler to us the moment we are out of the body?  And if so, why?  If God's goodness is inconsistent with hurting us, then either God is not good or there is no God:  for in the only life we know He hurts us beyond our worst fears and beyond all we can  imagine.  If it is consistent with hurting us, then He may hurt us after death as unendurably as before it."

What reason do we have to believe God is good?  Doesn't all of the evidence speak the opposite?  It does, until you consider Christ.  He took upon Himself the sin of the whole world, and paid its terrible price.  We partake in His sufferings in a very minute manner, and in the end, in eternity, it will all make sense.

2 Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self  is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

So we do not lose heart.  Sigh.

C.S. Lewis wrestled with the thought that he might never see his beloved Joy again.

He wrote, "When I lay these questions before God I get no answer.  But a rather special sort of "No answer." It is not the locked door.  It is more like a silent, certainly not uncompassionate, gaze.  As though He shook His head not in refusal but waiving the question.  Like, "Peace, child, you don't understand."

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable?  Quite easily, I should think.  All nonsense questions are unanswerable.  How many hours are there in a mile?  Is yellow square or round?  Probably half the questions we ask - half our great theological and metaphysical problems - are like that."

Is God good?  That's a nonsense question.  He's very good.

But not at all tame.

As Mr Beaver says to Lucy in C S Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia ”He’s not a tame lion!” Nor is He “safe.”
In that same passage from the book, Lucy asks Mr Beaver if Aslan, the Lion representing Christ, is “safe”. To which he responds, "Safe? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."

God is good.

He's the King, I tell you. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Little Faith

Matthew 6:30
But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
Matthew 8:26
And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, O you of little faith?” Then he rose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
Matthew 14:31 
Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him, saying to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Matthew 16:8 
But Jesus, aware of this, said, “O you of little faith, why are you discussing among yourselves the fact that you have no bread?
Matthew 17:20 
He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Do you have "little faith"?  Is your faith deficient, defective, or just plain ineffective?  Do you worry about what you will wear or how you will pay the bills?  Do you panic at the coming storm - no matter what form the storm takes - whether it's a health issue, or a relationship issue, or a parenting issue, or a financial issue?  The storms of life pour down on us.  Do you face them with "little faith"?

Do you trust Jesus to give you what you need?  Or is your faith weak?  

If it is, you are not alone.  Peter was a man of "little faith", yet God blessed him and used him mightily to build the church.  The disciples were men of "little faith", and God took the ragged bunch and transformed them to be strong and courageous proclaimers of the truth of God's word.

Thank God that you have "little faith", for it's better than no faith at all.  

Gaze on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.  Suddenly you'll realize that your faith has grown.  Suddenly you'll be a man (or woman) of faith.  

“The essence of faith is being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus”. John Piper

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sometimes I wish I had a mother...

I wish I could just sit down and talk to her.  I wish I could ask her how she felt when she was pushing 56.  I never thought to ask her about it THEN, when I was only in my 30's.  It didn't seem all that important.

I wonder if she felt like a failure.  Did she worry about how her kids were doing, or whether or not they'd turn out okay.  They were all grown up by the time she was in her 50's, so the issues weren't quite the same as those I am facing.  But, I wonder.

I think, wouldn't it be nice to sit and sip a cup of tea and ask her bunches of questions.

I miss having a mother.

And then my mind wanders to myself.  I AM a mother.  My kids have me to ask questions of.  They have me now, to share ideas with.  But, do they?


But not always.

I don't blame them a bit, for I am not the perfect mother.

I lose my temper and write nasty notes to straighten them up and make them fly right, so to speak.

I lose my composure and cry, sobbing great big tears and letting them run down my cheeks and hit my lap (if they reach that far before I wipe them and the snot away, wondering how I can produce so much liquid from such a dry old grannymom.).  I know my tears make them uncomfortable.  I am sorry.

When I think of myself I realize that I will never be the kind of mother I wish I could be, I wish my kids had.  I want to show grace to them always.  I want to be wise, and good.  I want to demonstrate love to these great works we have been blessed with over the past 37 years.  I do it sometimes, not very well, and not often enough.  Too often I demonstrate the opposite - impatience, foolishness, worry, crankiness, selfishness.  Just those qualities I hate.  Just those qualities I want them NOT to have.


When I'm weak, YOU are strong, and I'm carried along by the power of Christ in me.

Lord, show my family love through Your power working in me.  Demonstrate grace to them, and kindness, and wisdom, and strength.  I am oh so weak, but You are NOT.  I pray that You will so work in my life that they will see the glory of You in the middle of all of my weakness.

I no longer have a mother.

But I do have a Father - an all-wise, all-knowing, gracious and good Father, who loves me.  

Boggles the mind.