spirituality

TGIF with Ingrid July 13, 2018: God is Here

TGIF with Ingrid

July 13, 2018

What I am Trusting

This year, St. George’s United Church has partnered with Habitat for Humanity North Island as our focus charity.  We held a fundraising garage sale (we raised $2000 which we matched for a donation of $4000!) and have members and team spending time onsite at the build location on Lake Trail.  Rev. Ryan and I have also offered morning prayers and devotionals onsite for those who are working (every other Thursday).  Rev. Ryan was up Thursday and I went to listen and support him and those who were building.  He shared the story in John about Jesus walking on the water and urging the disciples not to be afraid, and reminded us all that over and over again, Jesus told them, tells us, not to be afraid.  Because God is present.  Ryan said that sometimes, especially when we are participating in a social program or charitable project or some other philanthropic work, it can feel like we are chipping away at a boulder with a pen knife.  Perhaps.  Until we remember that we aren’t the only ones at work.  God is there too.  God was there first in fact.  And God will be there after we are finished.  I am trusting that God is here, and I do not have to be afraid.

 

What I am Grateful For

I had to offer an apology this week for hurting someone I care about.  In my irritability (I had a headache for nearly a week which was thankfully corrected by my chiropractor) and my tiredness (did I mention there is summer day camp at our church?) and my frazzle (my spouse is working) I responded without the love, tenderness, and grace this person deserved.  Today I am grateful for relationships where we can tell one another the truth.  She told me that she was hurt and confused by my response.  I am so glad she did, because in that moment I was able to recognize the ways in which I was not living into my call as a Christian, to live in love, and that I hadn’t taken much time for rest.  I apologized for my behaviour and asked for forgiveness which was readily offered to me.  Honesty is so important, and I know that there are folks that cannot offer or receive honesty (even in love) but I am grateful for those in my life who are willing to risk being honest about how my behaviour affected them, and gracious enough to love me through it.

 

What Inspires Me

This week I am inspired by all those who fall down and get back up to try again.  Folks who don’t give up despite the scrapes, the bruises, the broken bones and broken relationships.  I suppose that we have all been these people in our lives – we would hardly be human if we weren’t resilient and determined, if we didn’t keep moving even when we thought we couldn’t. 

 Inspire: if we go back to the mid 14th century, the common understanding was “to fill the mind/heart with grace” or “to prompt or induce to action”, coming from the Latin “to breathe upon or into” or figuratively “to excite or inflame”.  Going even further back we get to the word pneuma (pnein) in Ancient Greek which is often translated as spirit or God’s breath…but can mean “influence or animate with an idea or purpose.”     

And so, as I consider these everyday try-againers in our midst, I am brought to wonder about their inspiration.  My faith tells a story of folks who are propelled forward by God, enlivened and breathed upon to be filled with the strength to carry on.  It is a powerful consideration – that our determination, our perseverance, our yearning for better (our hope!) comes from a place deep within us that screams “LOVE!” and compels us to move forward.  Perhaps it takes some of the pressure off of us too.

 

How I am Practicing My Faith

This week I wanted to share about a group called Renovaré.  They describe themselves as providing practical resources for cultivating a life – the with-God life – that makes us like Jesus from the inside out.  They have printed resources (the Bible I read is filled with wonderful additions, reflections etc.: you can find it here) articles, and a weekly Podcast.  This past weeks was entitled “Abundant Simplicity” and gently invites listeners to tear back the clutter of life, relationships, possessions, and schedule – anything that keeps us from the abundant life God invites us into.

I would invite you to check out www.renovare.org and explore what they have to offer that might strengthen your relationship with God or, as they would put it, your with-God life.

One of the best lines I took from this podcast was “don’t start a spiritual discipline unless Jesus invites you to do it!”  In other words, don’t decide for yourself what your practice is, trust that the Holy Spirit will tell you what she wants you to do.

 

TGIF May 11th, 2018

TGIF Friday May 11, 2018

I am sitting in the Whole Glow Café in Cumberland this morning sipping on a steaming cup of joe and munching on a delicious breakfast cookie.  I love the sense of community here in Cumberland, the chit chats and laughs I get to have with folks who come into the café while I’m working away.  Here are my thoughts for the week…what are you trusting?  What are you grateful for?  What is inspiring you this week?  How are you practicing your faith or spirituality?

Don't forget to join me at either 10am or 7pm on Tuesday May 15th for Coffee and Conversations that Matter at Whole Glow Cafe at 2713 Dunsmuir in Cumberland when we will be chatting about prayer.

What I am Trusting

This is one of my favourite times of the year: it is warm and sunny during the day but still cool and crisp overnight.  The sunshine of the daytime lifts everyone’s spirits and it seems to help us all slow down a little.  The coolness of the evenings and mornings lends itself to a certain coziness.  I am trusting and leaning into this slowing down where neighbours linger a little longer to visit, where we catch a whiff of the sweet blossoms opening around us, when we find ourselves wrapped up in a blanket on the patio in the evening with fingers curled around a warm mug of tea. 

Slowness in our culture of speed and productivity is an act of rebellion.  I am going to rebel and trust in God’s springtime cycle that encourages slowing down and noticing. 

 

What I am Grateful For

On Monday evening I graduated from the Vancouver School of Theology with a Master of Divinity degree.  I am the first in my family to receive a graduate degree and I am so filled with gratitude for all the hands that helped along the way to get me here.  All the meals that were made while I was studying, all the childcare that was offered while I was in class, all the prayers for perseverance through the tough times and all who celebrated each win along the way.  I am grateful for a mother (and grandmother!) that taught me the value of educated women in society.  I am grateful for a spouse that has encouraged and challenged and supported me through these past years of study.  And I am grateful to have finished!!

 

What Inspires Me

This week my daughter had her bicycle stolen from the bike rack at her elementary school; Monday morning the principal found a cut lock in the schoolyard.  We are a family that does our best to cycle to school most days when the weather shifts, it is a fabulous way to start the day and clear our minds to be ready for whatever comes at us.  We also just love cycling together as a family, especially while we are camping (which we are this weekend!).  We thought this theft would bring some grief with it, but it was taken with remarkable acceptance and grace by Miss E.  At the dinner table last night, we were talking about the incident and Mr. X noted that probably whoever took the bike either needed a bike or needed some money for food so they must need it more than we do.  Indeed.

 

How I am Practicing My Faith

This is sort of stealing from the what I am trusting section of this blog, but I am practicing my faith today by wading into the slowness.  As a Christian, I believe that God created and loved the world so much that he just had to throw some skin on and hang around with us for a little while (Jesus!).  Which teaches us a lot about how we are to love.  When we love someone we just need to be with them sometimes.  Not doing, doing, doing but just hanging out.  I am loving my neighbours when I am just standing around chatting.  I am loving the new mom who pops into the café and I stop work to play with her baby.  I am loving the earth when I lay down barefoot in the grass, close my eyes, and feel that sunshine on my face…I am loving myself as a child of God when I do this too.