Wednesday, November 23, 2005

the world doesn't need more of me

The following is a quote that I copied from Donnie's (my boss') hand-written notes. I hope I got it right. It is by Eugene Peterson, I am not sure when and where he wrote it, but it struck me deeply enough that I wanted to share it with you:

"We do not progress in the Christian life by becoming more competent, more knowledgeable, more virtuous, or more energetic.
We do not advance in the Christian life by acquiring expertise...
I want to simplify your lives.
When others are telling you to read more, I want to tell you to read less;
when others are telling you to do more, I want to tell you to do less.
The world does not need more of you; it needs more of God.
Your friends don't need more of you; they need more of God.
And you don't need more of you; you need more of God."

**Thanks to James for getting the reference: the above quote is from Eugene Peterson's book, Subversive Spirituality.**

Monday, November 21, 2005

Deven & Heather

An exciting thing happened this weekend! My little brother got engaged! I knew it was coming this weekend, but I was still excited. I am so glad that it is finally official, and I am so pleased that Heather MacRaild is going to be joining the MacDonald clan. I love Heather, she is a special girl, and Deven is a lucky man. Congratulations you two, I love you!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Found a wormhole!

I lost my voice this morning, and found it a little later on. I still sound kind of like a scratchy-voiced man though. I am kind of grumpy today too. I'll blame it on my cold, hehe. You who read this are lucky that you are not with me in person. :)

I had a good weekend though. I went to a concert on Saturday and then on Sunday travelled to Cambridge so I could share at New Harvest Fellowship in the morning service. The only problems were these: my muffler fell off my car enroute to the church, so in my church clothes I had to maneuover my way partially under the car to undo the part that was still attached. And, I was still a bit deaf from the concert, and with my voice being considerably lower than usual, when I spoke to people at church I couldn't hear myself... I hope I wasn't yelling :)

Sunday afternoon I had a great time hanging out with dear friends: Zane & Marcia, Matt & Lisa, Amy. We re-established the geekiness (and closet geekiness) of the gang (the post title is taken from that discussion). I refuse to confirm or deny my own geekiness. And even after gruelling interrogation, there are some secrets that I will take to my grave (Zane!!!)

More highlights: I got to play Barbies with Victoria (she's getting so big!) and Joshie gave me a hug! Watched a chick-flick with Marcia (just like old times) that made me cry, and finally triggered a good cry session. I spent Monday afternoon on the couch talking with Lisa- time well spent!

I also spent time with Steve & Amanda, and Steve once again fixed my car. I swear I wouldn't have a car if it weren't for those two! (Thank you guys!!) Some of the repairs took longer than expected so I stayed an extra day and came back to London Tuesday instead of Monday. Unbeknownst to me, it caused a bit of a kerfuffle... I just decided to stay, without telling anyone back home, and my mom had been trying to reach me and a few others were worried about my whereabouts and trying to track me down. Of course I am safe and sound... but next time I will be a little more responsible... yikes!

Friday, November 11, 2005

Beauty hurts

I have been meditating on beauty. I read this in a book recently:

"He remembered as though it were but a few days ago that winter night, himself too young even to know the meaning of beauty, when he had looked up at a delicate tracery of bare branches against the icy glittering stars: suddenly something that was, all at once, pain and longing and adoring had welled up in him, almost choking him. He had wanted to tell someone, but he had no words, inarticulate in the pain and glory. It was long afterwards that he realised that it had been his first aesthetic experience. That nameless something that had stopped his heart was Beauty. Even now, for him, 'bare branches against the stars' was a synonym for beauty."
(from A Severe Mercy, by Sheldon Vanauken)

When I read it- I sat up straight, and said to myself, "that's it!" I've had that feeling before, but could never find words to describe it. I've felt it this Fall when I have driven through countrysides in southern Ontario, and seen the trees changing colours- almost too awesome to behold. I've felt it when looking at the flowers given to me for my birthday. There is a longing there, to fully behold it, but part of me realizes that it is too much for me. Before I can fully appreciate them, the leaves will fall from the trees, and the flowers will wilt and die. There is something about beauty that is higher than my understanding.

I think there is something that hints of God in all of this.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

sure about this?

My mom asked me last night if I'm sure I want to share this much on my blog, since some of it is kind of personal. I told her I was sure. If my blog is my opportunity to share some of my journey with other people, then I want to share my real journey... not the polished and cleaned up version. Later on in the same conversation, she commented that from her observations, the people who live the most open lives are the happiest, because they don't live in fear of what others think.

I hope my sharing doesn't make you feel uncomfortable. But I guess it's your choice if you want to read it in the first place. :)

I know it is scary to see someone else go down into the depths, I think we secretly fear that they won't make it, or that God won't be enough. I've learned that when I let God take me into the depths, He brings His love there. I've learned that when I experience the depths, I can also experience heights that I would never before have imagined.

I wrote this yesterday to a friend:

A couple of years ago God challenged me with a quote from C.S. Lewis (my paraphrase, from memory) "The only place outside of heaven where one can be perfectly safe from all of the trials and perturbations of love... is hell." He challenged me not to shut down my heart, but to let it feel, to let it love, even though it could be ripped apart. The funny thing is that when I let my walls down, I learned I was right, being vulnerable let me get hurt. I have been hurt a hundred times more since that time, than I ever had before. I have also experienced more joy and wonder than I could ever have imagined. I choose a life of heights and depths, rather than the safer, middle way.

For those of you who are still worried about me: there is joy in my heart that I cannot contain.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Exquisite pain, precious peace

"I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed."
(Ps 34:4,5)

The LORD has delivered me from all my fears, though not in a package I would have chosen. In circumstances too personal to share on a blog, He has allowed my heart to be broken. But in the midst of exquisite pain, I experience a peace and joy that is nothing short of beautiful. He has not only met me here, He lead me here. Why exactly, I don't know... but I see a few threads of the tapestry weaving together to form something more precious than I've ever imagined.
I see Him, and it takes my breath away. I hunger for Him, and see that I am complete in Christ.
I love you LORD!

Monday, November 07, 2005


I'm a mess. I was journalling this morning, and I told God that if I looked like how I feel, I'd be lying limp like a rag doll with my face in the dirt.

Then He brought to mind Psalm 34:4,5:
"I sought the LORD, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces will never be ashamed."

Wipe that dirt off, and look to Him. ...their faces will never be ashamed

I used to pride myself on my vulnerability and transparency. Lately God has been showing me how I am still in kindergarten in this area. He's shown me that I can't go any further until I agree to let myself be weak.

He's shown me that I want to be strong, not because I want others to see His strength, but because I want them to be impressed with my faith. Wow. I had to repent of that. Thank You Father for your forgiveness! He showed me that I want to have it all together, because I am still believing the original lie: "I should be as god"- therefore weakness is shameful.

I'm a mess right now because He has shown me areas I need to let myself be weak in- and it is terrifying! I'm a mess, because it hurts so much when He digs like this. Though I agree to His work with my will, my feelings betray me at every turn.

... He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears...

Crowded to Christ

A friend showed me the quote below and it struck me. It made me think not just of the circumstances that bring us to Christ in the first place, but of the circumstances that He brings in our life after we've already received Him. It brought to mind the many difficult and painful things that drive us deeper into Him, as He shapes us into His image.

From L.E. Maxwell's book Crowded to Christ:

"I am one of the Jews who escaped from Germany," says Abraham Poljak. "I thank God for all the strokes with which I was driven from darkness to light. It is better that we arrive beaten and bleeding at the glorious goal than that we decay happily and contented in darkness. As long as things were all right with us, we did not know anything of God, and the salvation of our souls and the world beyond. Hitler's arrows and our misery have lead us to the uttermost heart. We have lost our earthly home but found the heavenly one. We have lost our economic support, but won the friendship of the ravens of Elijah. On the bitter ways of emigration we have found Jesus, the Riches of all worlds."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The whole pie

I was definitely spoiled on my birthday.

I was surprised to be so spoiled this birthday. I haven't had a really good birthday for years. I had anticipated being pretty lonely, with most friends being away, and family even further. But God showed me His love through many precious people.

In terms of gifts, I got flowers, chocolates, a ring, and taken to a fancy restaurant. I'm not even a gift person, so it was all unexpected, and that much more meaningful I guess. I think it's funny because those are the traditional "date" things and none of them were that way.

It makes me think of a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago. In Sunday School we had been discussing whether or not God was enough even if for some reason we were stripped of all our fellowship with others. One person said, "are you telling me, that if we are all by ourselves, with God, we have the whole pie??" In response to the skeptic, he said that even then we have the whole pie. It's just in more slices when God's love comes through people.

So anyway, what I'm saying is, I'm single, and I often wish I wasn't... but even though I don't have what many other people my age do, in that sense, God is not holding out on me! He'll often love me through people He has brought into my life: sometimes unexpectedly like this spoiling, sometimes just through the ups and downs of precious friendships. Sometimes I am all alone, and incredibly lonely- but even there, He is not holding out on me because He offers me Himself!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Blessings of friendship

Here I am with my friend Sarah Illsley. We have been
friends since the first grade when she rescued me from
my cousin's bullying. She came to Ontario recently and
visited me for a few days. Here we are at Niagara Falls.

Here we are at age 9? I guess we got into my mom's
makeup :)

Amanda Chapman came to Niagara Falls with us

That week my sister also came to visit me. Here we
are at the Curry Garden, enjoying yummy Indian food
and Mango Lassees.

At Swiss Chalet with my sister and friends:

Melissa, Marty and Johnny

And here is the birthday cake that I made for myself.
Ok, I'm not really as pathetic as I sound, I had to make
it for the cake decorating class- honest!