Freedom is…

I’m heartbroken that we can’t talk to each other in ways that lead us to understanding and necessary change.  As an American who loves her country, and knows  the privilege of being born in such a place,  I’m frustrated that we can’t seem to see that our history as a country, with all its imperfections and very real injustices, have brought us to a place where it’s still a good place to live.  There’s a long way to go but we’ve also come a long way.  My heartbreak and frustration is nothing compared to those who feel the injustice impact their daily lives, something I really have never known on that same scale.  My freedom as a person living in the world has come at a high cost to many ~ those who lost their lives fighting to keep wars away from us, those who packed up what they owned, loaded their jars of hard red winter wheat into crates to travel to a place they could call home, where they were free, and those who lived on this land before me, for whom the injustice felt I ask forgiveness.

“It was for freedom Christ, in His death that forgave our wrongs, has liberated us.  Persevere then, and don’t hold onto stuff that enslaved you in the first place.  

“For you have been called to live in freedom, my fellow Christ followers. Don’t use your freedom as an opportunity to satisfy what you were before you were forgiven, made new.

Instead of things that harm  ~ hostility, quarrelling, division, envy ~ use your freedom from all that to #SERVEONEANOTHER IN #love.  It’s the same love that binds us to Christ, the same love that is the center of #holiness, the #agape ~ unconditional, impartial, never ending, wide, deep, high, foot-washing, cross-carrying, death-defying, life-giving, hell-overcoming LOVE ~ THAT’s the love we serve each other with. 

TO serve each other, that is why we are made free.  #Freedomis… ultimately responsibility, to love others with all the love God has lavished on us.  Freedom from what held us captive gives #liberty to love those with whom we live life, yes, every other human on this small globe… they’re all our neighbors.

But hear this…

“if you’re always trying to wound each other’s soul by your words, to cut deep with disapproval, shame and criticism, if all you really want is to finish each other off well … watch out!  In the end, you will ultimately destroy one another.

Instead…  

“Let the Spirit who lives in you guide you… away from who you were and what you craved before you knew the saving grace of Jesus.  When you LOVE… you have more of a chance of being who you were created to be.

As we celebrate today, we seem far from free. This freedom we like to proclaim has gotten away from us, become a burden, a source of destruction of our souls, and the neighbors we are called to love. When our pride desires the last word, when we hate for the sake of hating, when we don’t stop to see, listen, get to know… we forget that love means we look out for our neighbor at all costs.  That responsibility comes with freedom.

We are free when we can say like Jesus said, “Greater love has no one than this… to lay down their lives for their friends”. 

We are free if we have “nailed the passions and desires of our sinful pre-grace selves to HIS Cross”

We are free when we have “crucified” our own wants and aspirations and RIGHTS at the cross. 

I celebrate my home country today for all that it has given me.  And with the knowledge of those gifts, I humbly seek all the ways I might work toward fully loving my neighbor until they are truly free as well.

Lord, have mercy on us.

Credit: Paul the Apostle for his words to the Church in Galatia, seen in chapter 5.  Translation and commentary mine.

Five Minute Friday: PEOPLE

I miss #mypeople Oh I have lots of amazing people here too but if you’ve ever lived away from family you actually enjoy being around, you’ll understand how it’s possible to be #homesick even when your been away for a couple decades.
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It happens every #4thofjuly Its one holiday that’s full of so many memories…

Wheat Harvest is over on the farm so there’s big suppers on the patio with neighbors and cousins

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Foot races with Grandpa G. on the road south of the house

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Dressing up as a kid for the bicentennial, decorating my bike and parading around the square by the Mingo church.

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Later it was #fireworks with friends at #gofourth in Topeka. Including camping out on Angie and Nicks lawn thankful they were in married housing on campus so we had good seats

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Another time getting totally drenched with the youth group and a few parents after we ran home in a torrential downpour.

❤️.

Yes I miss my people and my home country and I’m so thankful that to God for landing me in the family and place he did.

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And this #independenceday I’m saying prayers for my people and home. We’re going through a lot. We have a lot to learn, of growing up to do. We have to get this right. We do.

#OhCanada

This is the story of how I got to Canada.  My first step was, when answering a call to ministry, I said “ok God, I’ll do that, just don’t send me to California” (please don’t be offended, it was a long way from home).

I left my great job, cute little house and beloved faith community who were like family to me, and a fulfilling ministry with some great people, moved and went to Seminary.  I’m in my last year and guess what?  I wanted to plant churches, and well, the only place that really seemed to be a good fit for me, with a great ministry team and work that would support my ministry goals was… you guessed it… in California.  So as I’m dropping to my knees  in prayer to work through an offer to interview there, I also prayed, “Ok God.  I’ll go to California.  That’s fine.  Just don’t send me to another country”.

A girl should not pray that way.  It wasn’t long before this eternally single girl started dating the most handsome fellow ever, who happened to be from… Canada. 

So it’s prayer that brought me here… misplaced prayer I think, but God said “yeah, you get what I give you, and I will make it all right”.  And He Did.  And He Has.

This is my 21st #CanadaDay living in this beautiful place.  Though I do get terribly homesick at times for my home country, I’ve never regretted the decision to turn my face North, a course that led me to a loving husband, the best in-laws a girl could ask for, the most unique of families, and a place not only to call home as well, but to serve God as He decides. 

Thank God for prayers answered in unexpected ways and paths that lead to things we never imagined we wanted or needed. 

God keep our land, Glorious and free.

#OhCanada we stand on guard for thee!

#MotherStories: Becoming #hopelesshoper

I truly can’t remember when it was that I became a #hopelesshoper – the kind of hoper that cant help herself, hopelessly hoping even when it means you’ll get hurt. I think it happened sometime between getting married and the last fertility treatment. I mean, I stood at that altar facing a man I’d only really started getting to know 10 months before. And in knowing him, loving him, #newhope sprang (or springed??) to life on my dream of #motherhood. 🌸

You see, I’d knelt at a different altar 3 short years before with a heart in full surrender, believing with my whole spirit , mind and body that answering a #calltoministry meant giving up my dream of being a mother. I was certain in that moment on my knees that in honoring what I knew God wanted for me I was giving up one of my most long held dreams. 🌸

But here I was, a near Seminary grad, marrying a farm boy from Alberta, and together already #dreamingofbabies 🌸

That day we both thought that our obedience – how we had lived to that point – assured our dream of being parents wouldn’t be long off.
Hope. Dreams of family.

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart”

Psalm 37:4

#MotherStories: Still the Beginning

I’m struggling to write the next #motherstories installment. How do you talk about something that happened so long ago yet still feels so fresh in my heart? How do I take apart the complexities of infertility, miscarriage, of going through the grief of unrealized dreams and intangible losses? How do you do that when so many struggle to tolerate expression of open ended loss when “you should be over it” or “you have such a good life now…you’re so blessed…” and I know that I am but there it is. 🦋

There it is #likeastone on my chest at times I’m not prepared for it. 🦋

Believe me I’d like nothing more than to #justgetoverit. I’d love nothing more than to never wonder #whatmightvebeen. I’d love nothing more than to just live blissful surrounded by #mytwomiracles, a wonderful husband, a beautiful home, a good life. 🦋

But if there’s anything I’ve learned from trying to be the best momma to my kids, it’s that your body remembers #trauma … remembers loss …remembers even when you’re willing your self to forget. It’s still there and part of #livingwithit and the repercussions of all that’s happened is allowing myself to remember and feel and acknowledge that, in spite of the good place, in addition to the blessings, there’s stuff that’s been pretty brutal on the heart and being heard, being fully known is a part of the healing process. 🦋