As I look out on this vast expanse of green, the Spirit of God fills me with hope. When I dip my sun-browned toes into the cool lake water and contemplate all of the fun it holds for me, joy stirs itself deep within my soul. Waking up to the sight and sound of the waves against the shore makes my spirit glad within me. I know without a doubt that creation sings its praises to God and He delights in their splendor and song. Skeptics may long for proof but the truth is, creation unabashedly declares the work of a Mighty God. While His handiwork lays before me, the truest of miracles lays behind me. Within those rough-hewn cabin walls are four generations of believers in this Mighty Father. The Lord has expertly shaped each individual into a complex being who fits simply into a family of God-fearing people. Generations who love the Lord declare just as unabashedly the glory of The King. When I think of the family I belong to, my heart sings and my spirit rejoices in the blessing. How lovingly has the Lord placed each of them in my life to nurture and to bless me, some in different ways than others, but all through their common belief in Him. It is a miracle when I cannot figure a single person in this large and boisterous family who does not love Jesus. This family, my family, is a testament to the true artistry of God and I am both humbled and tremendously grateful to be a piece in this tapestry. They are beautiful and their lives declare the Glory of God. I pray one day that I might look upon the generations after me and see the miracle that fills my heart now. God-willing.
“Great is the lord and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts.
They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty – and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They tell of the power of your awesome works – and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.”
Families are wonderful things and mine is truly a masterpiece. I say this not that I might boast, but because God always reminds me of the gift that a family of believers is for a child to grow up with. It takes great patience to raise children who love Jesus and it takes even greater patience to allow them the freedom to choose Him after they’ve grown up. So it is a wonder when one man and one woman can raise six God-fearing children who in turn raise between them almost thirty more children who have followed Jesus thus far in their lives. Now as more little ones are borne of my cousins, a fourth generation of believers begins to stake its roots deep in the rich soil of this family. The scriptures tell us that Jesus delights in families who share a rich history of faith. Furthermore, when we follow His will, God uses our lives to speak of the glorious splendor of His majesty. As a believer who has seen God at work for nearly 20 years now, I still stand in awe of the simple miracle He has worked within my family. How much more does a nonbeliever marvel at the wonder of a family united in Christ? Our lives, our families, bear witness to the absolute magnificence of the Creator God.
I wrote the first section of this blog while sitting at the end of a dock that was floating gently upon the lake where I spent my last weekend. My perch seemed to lend itself perfectly to a quiet mind. When we quiet our minds, the Father draws our attention to what matters most in this noisy world. I am so thankful for the family I grew up in.
I sit here in the cool shade of the early evening, wondering on the aftermath of the week. What a week it has been. The ginger beer I picked up from one certain rustic grocery store scorches down my throat in the most pleasant way, just as the sun scorched my pale olive skin during this glorious sunshine-filled week. It seems to me that there is nothing fresher looking or lovely to experience than skin that has been browned by the sun. Take away every ounce of makeup I own or take a razor to my head – it’s of no matter so long as I may stay this glowing brown colour. I savor these summer months spent flying underwater and stretching out in the sweet smelling grass. I carry them with me even as the skies grow darker and the days become shorter. Change may come (and come it has!) but I am comforted by the familiar sound of the ice cream truck and the warm breeze gently blowing through my bedroom window.
In the past few weeks, my life as I know it has been turned upside down. After two years with the same restaurant, I must bid adieu and make way in my schedule for the demands of a new, far better, job. I will be working as an employed student nurse, allowing me the unparalleled opportunity to practice what I’ve been learning solely in theory. I’ve already said farewell to my cleaning job and have spent my last two days placing my life back in order. I’ve made my room spotless and livable again. I’ve returned to my most loved hobby of manipulating food. Yesterday I made a dinner of Tuscan lemon chicken, parmesan roasted broccoli, and roasted balsamic tomatoes. You may be thinking something along the lines of my mother… that’s an awful lot of flavor for one meal. Perhaps, yes, it is but when you don’t get many opportunities to cook, you sort of have to go big or go home. You attempt to somehow bring together all those recipes you’ve been eyeing for months and if they don’t go well together, who really cares? After dinner I made an apple tart (with homemade pastry dough, of course!). I don’t want to boast but I’ve heard it’s one of my best J
For our anniversary, Jesse and I spent the afternoon on a little private beach in Lynn Canyon, devouring fried chicken and cheese buns. My favourite part was the excuse the cooler weather provided to burrow myself into his arms. We did some “window shopping” on Robson but of course couldn’t help ourselves with a few small purchases. Dinner on a rooftop patio, followed by gelato and the comedy club made for a busy evening.
Two years. It seems to be the magic number when it comes to changes in my life. Two years marks the time I’ve been with Jesse, the time I’ve been in university, the time I’ve worked as a waitress, and the time I’ve spent doing a whole lot of growing up. When real life hits, you have to grow up in your trusting of God. There really isn’t any solid ground to walk upon when the world comes at you after high school. Trusting God actually tends to lead me through some awfully uncertain terrain. My own decision to attend nursing school is one such example. I still don’t know why I chose to become a nurse in lieu of writing or working someplace where I can be in charge. My heart longs to spend my days writing sporadically, with reckless abandon. I yearn to park myself in front of a window somewhere with a blank notebook and bring to life the stories that write themselves onto the canvas of my brain. Lord, if I can’t do that then surely You will place me in a big fancy office where I can order people around. But alas, it was not to be. At first, He prodded me gently towards TWU and their nursing program but when He outright shoved me, I knew that there was no turning back. What I’m beginning to understand is that walking on rocky footing, side by side with Jesus, is infinitely more secure and safe than being in the most seemingly sure places without Him. So I’ll plod on, not knowing what’s ahead but ever hopeful of all that He has promised His children. His plans for me are only good. I am confident that the One who fills forever knows exactly what I need.
It’s funny how though that seems like a perfect spot to end today’s blog, I can’t help but feel like I’m not finished. I haven’t written anything whimsical in a while and that bothers me to no end. What’s more, I haven’t shared anything in far too long. When I finish up on here, I will write something whimsical and special. I feel the ache of my wrist, longing to be put to work. I feel it in my bones, this powerful urge to create. Until then, I’ve just found something I wrote long ago that seems to fit this moment. If I remember correctly, it was inspired by The Book Thief, a novel by Markus Zusak which I would recommend above almost all other novels. I’ve never been so moved by a novel nor inspired so deeply to read and to write. I just attempted to find a little snippet or two to incur some curiosity about the book and ended up scrolling once again through endless quotes from the most tragic of stories to read. I can’t even pick one because they are endlessly compelling. Read this book. What I am about to share from my own notebook pales in comparison to this outstanding book. Nevertheless, it was inspired by this quote from The Book Thief:
“I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
The few worthless scratches I made on paper go something like this:
“We want to write. Our hand aches for the dance between paper and pen like we ache for our lovers to return home. The words are never there, though – or so I have been told. They remain an unsung melody or an empty ungloved hand that should, at the very least, be held by the sky or a star. Bricks are layered; brick after brick after brick after brick, building a block of brown and red barriers, so heavy that no creator may barrel through.
But I have loved the words. No, not mere words! They fight and scream and soothe and clothe. Nothing I have is stronger or more powerful than this way with words. I have loved the words and they have loved me and there is nothing more true in me than how lovely the words are. They float above and around and between the bricks and blocks and ache to be brought forth and loved again. For though the words are lovely, they are nothing if left unsaid.
Why am I afraid to write? This sheet of blank lined paper scares me more than anything. What if I cannot make the words right? Dear God, how do I make it right? I feel it rising up inside me, this insane idea to imagine a world of ingenious and intriguing possibility. One day, I will be brave enough. The day it means something to me is the day I put pen to paper and pour out this world of possibility as it pierces through the brick wall I’ve tirelessly built.”
I don’t remember what the first paragraph even means. I do know that at the time, it meant something to me. There was some image in my mind that brought forth those words and I won’t change them. Now all I want to do is write something important.
God is so good to give us these talents that burn in our blood and cause our knees to knock together in an anxious excitement as mine are doing now. He’s good to give us passions that we feel in our bones. He’s good to give us nights off from work where we might let the passion spill out into the open. Tonight I’m not afraid of what will happen when pen meets paper and the words are let out into the open because I simply feel it in my bones.