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A Song in the Night

“….‘Where is God my Maker who gives songs in the night, who teaches us more than he teaches the beasts of the earth and makes us wiser than the birds in the sky?’” Job 35:10, 11

Clouded moon

Christ’s death and resurrection is particularly dear to me this year, as our earthly celebration follows mere days after my sister-in-law passed away. Over the past four years, some of my posts documented Rebecca’s battle with cancer and requests for your prayers.  You shared in her victories and disappointments. Now she is gone–and it’s as difficult to write that as to believe it.

“Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” 

I Corinthians 15:56, 57

Becky wrote a song the night before she had a very difficult back surgery to remedy months of excruciating pain caused by an unforgiving tumor.  The song was put to music by the worship team at her church and played at her memorial service last week.  I may have a word or two wrong since I transcribed this from a shaky recording, but it deserves to be shared:

Becky’s Song in the Night

Jesus you are the bright and morning star

Illuminate our hearts and guide us where you are

Help us dear Lord in the shining light you send

Oh morning star, we love you, and we long for You

Jesus morning star, our lives in you made new

Jesus morning star, our lives in you made new!

~~

Chorus:

Praise the bright and Morning star

Praise his holy name

Praise the Master and the Saviour,

You won’t be the same

Praise Him, Morning star!

Praise Him, The bright and Morning star!

~~

Now as you rise in heavens glory, morning star

Help our hearts to rise up on your wings

Help us know the ways you made us free,

And let us see your beauty and your majesty!

~~

Praise the bright and Morning star

Praise his holy name

Praise the Master and the Saviour,

You won’t be the same

Praise Him, Morning star!

Praise Him, The bright and Morning star!

How amazing, that her song in the night focused entirely on her Morning Star!  Becky’s eyes were fixed on Jesus!

As we remember our Lord’s Passion, his suffering, pain and grief, may our songs in the night melt into praise in the morning, as we see Him, risen with power and glory, paving the way of Hope for our eternal future!

~~

Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.   According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.  After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And so we will be with the Lord forever.

I Thess. 4:13-17 

~

Kodak Moments

To me remains nor place, nor time;
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.

After  settling back into our non-routine routine life, I finally found made some time to compile a little photo log of our journey over the past several weeks; or, one might call it, “really great excuses as to why I haven’t been blogging.”  I think my husband’s seven-year old Kodak 612Z camera still does a pretty good job capturing and highlighting our days.

After Easter, we moved out of our cute little spot in Ottawa.

Then we stayed on the “other” side of the Ottawa River a while with friends:

with dear friend, Elaine!

and moved our “schtuff” into their basement…

Guess I got a little too comfortable in their basement!

Then, it was time to say “See you later” (not goodbye), to some friends…

With Mitch at the Coffee House (JRCM)

Dave speaking at Jericho Road Coffee House

Kim’s surprise party was a success!! ♪ Happy 50th Birthday dear Friend ♪ !!

Last day–Brunch with Mack, Ray, Gloria, JL, and Charlene (taking the pic)

As we headed out of town, some colourful tulips peaking through the snow caught our eye.

At Dow’s Lake, these early blooms held up well to the late snow

Delicate, but tough

Then we drove south, and south, and east a bit…to enjoy an extended stay in Virginia Beach for my mom’s 80th birthday celebration, shared with our daughters and grandkids!  These are just a few pics of all that were taken from our blessed time together:

With my beautiful mom. Willa

With my mom, Hope (& her baby-to-be), and Gracey!

Joy, my mom, Grace with Eva, and moi

All smiles with Gracey and Joy (and her baby-to-be)

Sisters with child(ren)

Say Cheese!! Grace, Joy, Steve, and Eva!

Cousins get reacquainted

Protected and Protector

On stage at the Kid’s Place

Eva is a star too!!

Busch Gardens with Hope, Jon and Andrew

Joy and Eva are not persuaded that the ponies are entirely safe at the Petting Zoo 🙂

John Deere meets John and Jon!

Wrapping up a morning at the Petting Zoo

Time for piggies in the sand!

The whole world’s a Beach for Poppop and Jonathan

Eva’s beach time with Pop-Pop

A few minutes of relaxin’ for lovely Nurse Grace

All done….

After spending time with our blessings, it was time to meet the road again.

highway to the hills

As Bilbo sang in The Hobbit,

Roads go ever ever on,

Over rock and under tree,

By caves where never sun has shone,

By streams that never find the sea;

Over snow by winter sown,

And through the merry flowers of June,

Over grass and over stone,

And under mountains in the moon.

So we return, for a bit, to our hollow in the hills, giving praise to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and seeking Him for whatever lies ahead.

Your decrees have been the theme of my songs wherever I have lived. Psalm 119:5

While place we seek, or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none;
But with a God to guide our way,
“tis equal joy to go or stay.

Jeanne Marie Guyon, 1722

What have you been up to lately?

Too Busy Being Me

Amidst this sad consciousness of imperfection, here is comfort for you–you are “perfect in Christ Jesus.”  ~ Spurgeon

I am so imperfect.  And quite the imperfect blogger.  I’ve been terribly sporadic this year!  So, thought it time to lay out all my excuses and explain why I’ve been less-than-regular with writing and encouragement.

My husband has often says of himself, “It’s a full-time job just being me.”

And so with Linda….I’ve been too busy being me.

Being me, as any beloved child, is about partaking in God’s daily discipline and grace.  Discipline, because I need it so much, and truly deserve it.  Grace, well, because I need it so much, and don’t deserve it.

And being me has felt a bit like Bilbo Baggins, who said he felt “thin, sort of stretched, like butter, scraped over too much bread.”

Stretched, but content…

.

~~Living in Ottawa, but preparing to leave for our “other” home, building on relationships while facing goodbyes, being served by the very people I seek to serve, tutoring and plugging along with my degree, surprisingly chosen for the “novel” task of ghostwriting,  and most recently, selected to be a contributing author for Regent University’s new blog.

~~A grateful wife of 36 years to a lovely, deep man, with an oft broken, contrite, yet humorous spirit!

~~Always a mom, though my daughters are grown and don’t live anywhere nearby.   But I’m a mom, and thankfully, ever will be!

~~A grandma to two precious little ones, with another on the way!  When I’m with them, I can’t imagine being away.  And when I’m away→→I skype!!

.

~~An only, beloved child to my sweet mom, and this year, planning her 80th birthday celebration and reunion! How priceless is that?!

Being me may keep me from blogging regularly, but may it never keep me from daily seeking the Lord, leaning on and learning of His unfailing love and surpassing mercy.

I just pray that me being me won’t get in the way of

Him being Him,

in me,

for

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

~~~

Maybe you could share how you maintain blogging and other responsibilities, while still being you?

Grace

Grace finds beauty in everything

Happy Birthday to our wonderful youngest daughter, Grace Victoria!

Bono’s song, Grace, touches my heart on so many precious and personal levels.

First it speaks of “a girl”, not just a girl, but our lovely daughter, Grace Victoria, who turns 30 today!!

It defines her, as she “finds goodness and beauty in everything” even as Oncological Nurse, who sees pain and disappointment on a daily basis.

It addresses the very reason we gave her that name–because, God knew we were in desperate need of His Grace to ‘change our world.’

And ultimately, His Grace is what, or rather, WHO, “takes the blame…covers the shame, removes the stain.”  That Grace is Jesus.  Jesus is Grace, unmerited favour, an undeserved gift, full of unconditional love,  Who “makes beauty out of ugly things.”

Like us.

Thank you, Jesus, for Your Grace, God’s Grace, and our Grace Victoria!

~~~

Grace, she takes the blame

She covers the shame

Removes the stain

It could be her name

~~~

Grace, it’s a name for a girl

It’s also a thought that changed the world

And when she walks on the street

You can hear the strings

Grace finds goodness in everything

~~~

Grace, she’s got the walk

Not on a ramp or on chalk

She’s got the time to talk

She travels outside of karma, karma

She travels outside of karma

~~~

When she goes to work

You can hear the strings

Grace finds beauty in everything

~~~

Grace, she carries a world on her hips

No champagne flute for her lips

No twirls or skips between her fingertips

She carries a pearl in perfect condition

What once was hurt, what once was friction

What left a mark no longer stains

Because Grace makes beauty out of ugly things

~~~

Grace finds beauty in everything

Grace finds goodness in everything.

 

If you care to listen to this lovely song, just click away on the Music Box.  The MP3 may be purchased Here

Honouring My Mom

Happy 79th Birthday to my Mom!!

I long to honour my mom whenever possible because, even though everything in Scripture says she should be served by the Church, my mom seeks and lives to serve Jesus and His church with no expectation of return.

Recently, she’s struggled with some upper respiratory issues, and had to be the recipient of others’ servitude. But she felt so uncomfortable with that!  She prays to be fully restored and back on her feet, so she can serve, minister, and fellowship to and with others! That’s just one of the reasons I love her so much!!

The following is a repost from her birthday two years ago, but it’s as true today as it was then:

mom and me!Me and my Mom

Let me introduce you to my mom–not back to when I (or she) was a child, but who she is Today–at 77 years old:

  • She joins others at her church several mornings a week to intercede for their pastor, the country, church family, own family, and many other needs.
  • Several years ago she started a Bible Study in her home–and 5 years later, several precious and faithful women still gather together every Monday night to study God’s Word.
  • She serves on her church’s Mission Committee, corresponding with a LOT of missionaries and their families; sends them cards for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays, and keeps them apprised of church events/issues at home.  She also helps plan the annual Missions Conference–contacts missionaries, compiles names of those attending, and helps plan events throughout the week.
  • Four years ago, she started a puppet show ministry, using Bible Stories she wrote for children. Along with other extremely devoted friends from her church, the “Gospel Tellers’  was formed.  They present fun and Scriptural puppet/flannel shows 3-4 times a month at various shelters in the Phoenix area.  And the best part–through these shows, hundreds of children, moms and dads, have come to know Jesus as their Saviour!!

This list doesn’t do her justice, because what really sets her apart is her spirit, her example, and her love for Jesus.  And….she’s my mom!

Her children rise up and bless her!”

“Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised!! ”

Prov. 31:28, 30

Sin in Control

Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight.”      Psalm 51:4

I’m not a theologian, I don’t read Hebrew or Greek, and I’m not a subject-matter expert about much of anything. There.

But sometimes I’m burdened about something so much, that I’m compelled to step out of my comfort zone (as a warm-fuzzy encourager), and share my heart. It’s my sincerest prayer that through today’s post and future Titus2sdays, you may grow in the Lord, pleasing Him in every respect, and His name would be glorified.

Even though it’s quite clear that the desire of  human nature is to control and be in control, I think women struggle the most with this battle. I  know—I am one.

Genesis 3:16 reminds us why we’re so encumbered:

To the woman he said, “I will greatly increase your pains in childbearing; with pain you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

When boundaries are set, we instantly to try to step over them, climb under them, or reason our way around them.  The apostle Paul discusses this inclination extensively in Romans 7.  Specifically, verse 7 says,

For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.”

So, just as the Word revealed Paul’s coveting as sin, we too face an uncomfortable fact:  Our desire for control is sin. We don’t want to be ‘ruled’ by anyone, God or man.  Perhaps because we don’t trust others to make the right decisions on our behalf.  Or, we don’t trust God.  And that equates to sin.

But desiring to control is more than not trusting God, it’s attempting to be God.  One of my favourite authors, Paul D. Tripp, discusses this dilemma:

  • The desire to be God rather than to serve God lies at the bottom of every sin that anyone has ever committed…. Sin is rooted in my desire to live for me. [1]
  • Self-sovereignty is the dream of every sinner. It’s hard for us to trust ourselves to the wisdom, power, and control of another. We want to write our own drama, and we want to be the central character of the story. But the spiritual reality of the universe is that we are not authors of our own story. Our story is a part of a larger story written by the Lord. In this story we are never on center stage. That is a position to be occupied by the Lord alone. [2]
  • You and I can change no one. Ultimately, personal change comes from only one source: the gracious act of a powerful God. When people try to change one another, typically the focus is on behaviour. Yet behaviour is not really the issue…the root problem is the heart. When we attempt to do God’s job and change someone’s heart, we only cause frustration to ourselves and pain to the other person. [3]

So try to control others according to our limited wisdom or for our benefit, we become self-serving, we hurt others, and, we’re sinning against God.

“Against You only, I have sinned.”

Thankfully, the Lord is gracious. He is compassionate, wise, understanding, and above all, forgiving. He is able to help us. We can and must depend entirely on Him, yielding our hearts and minds to His control.

What a wretched woman I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!!  Romans 7:24

~~~~~~~

Let’s pray together about this during the week and ask ourselves:

Where do I need the grace of God to say no to the temptation to step over God’s boundaries and control?

How have I sinned against the Lord by trying to control others?

~~~~~~~

Dear Lord, Thank you for the victory we have through Christ! We are incapable of living out this Christian life apart from you.  Sometimes it’s so difficult, we feel like quitting. Please meet us first thing each morning and all day long, with your mercy and grace, to enable us to relinquish our behaviours, thoughts, and words to You. Your kingdom come, Your will be done…not ours. In Jesus’ powerful name, Amen

~~~~~~~

[1]  Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy

[2]  A Shelter in A Time of Storm: Meditations on God and Trouble

[3]  Broken-Down House

~~~~~~~

Join us next Titus 2sday for more discussion on control, trust, and the help available through Jesus!

Eighty or Twenty?

Titus 2sday, brought to you today, by Elisabeth Elliot:

A wife, if she is very generous, may allow that her husband lives up to perhaps eighty percent of her expectations.  There is always the other twenty percent that she would like to change, and she may chip away at it for the whole of their married life without reducing it by very much.  She may, on the other hand, simply decide to enjoy the eighty percent, and both of them will be happy.  [1]

What are we focusing on today, the 80% or the 20%?

~~~

[1]. Elisabeth Elliot, Love Has a Price Tag (Ann Arbor, MI:  Servant Books, 1979), p. 97.