Friday, October 09, 2009

A New Home for the Dresser Family

Today was a momentus day in our life. Okay, so it doesn't quite compare with my wedding day, or the birth of either of the kids, but momentus just the same.

For the past year or two, I've felt the Spirit's urging that we need to 'get ready' and that there were changes ahead. Even back then I sensed he was getting us ready to move. That's a big thing considering we've been in our present home for 16 years now. So, slowly and sometimes frustratingly, we readied ourselves and our home for the future.

This summer, several events came together and we started looking at homes. First we were considering new. We had a model all picked out, we had our financing approved, and then we hit an obstacle. Big enough to make us reconsider the new house. So from there we looked around to see what was available on the resale market.

And it looked promising...we found several homes that seemed suitable in their own way. We attempted to arrange showings, or even to put in offers. It became something of a joke because every time we showed any interest in a property, it sold. Really, incredibly, this seemed to be our fate. Several times we'd be on the doorstep about to enter to view a property and our agent would get a call saying an offer had just come in. What's up with that? One time we had our agent working late into the night preparing an offer on a property we'd just seen, only to find out the next day that it had sold before we even viewed it, but the seller's agent hadn't passed on the info.

Discouraging to say the least. Several friends and family members suggested that maybe I'd got my messages wrong and God wasn't telling us to move. So, I took it to God to see what he had to say. And each time, something else would happen to convince us to continue with the search. Each time, I would sense God saying to be diligent and keep looking, when the time was right we'd find the right house. I felt we'd know it and everything would fall into place. Well, my instincts were right. Last night we found the right house. I knew even before I went to see it. When our agent sent us the detailed listing, I saw that it was an estate sale, so I decided to do a check and see if I could find out any information on the former owners. I found them both. They were a couple in their late 70's, married 58 years. The husband passed away from an illness in April, and the wife passed from a long battle with cancer in Sept. On the surface a sad sorry. But consider this was a family home. The couple lived a good life and according to their obituary had been great life partners. They had 4 kids who probably grew up in the home. I felt this was a nice thing, made me feel it was a happy and well loved home. When we went to see it, the interior was quite dated, but obviously well kept. When Derek and I had started looking, we put together a wish list of the things we would like the house to have:
  • Pool, preferably inground
  • garage, preferably double
  • 4th bedroom and/or above grade family room
  • ensuite bathroom
  • cold cellar
  • large front porch
  • hardwood floors
  • side door
  • side garden
  • good size lot 50 x 100+
  • eat in kitchen & separate dining room
  • mature trees
  • updated kitchen with pot/pan drawers

This house had everything on the list except for the ensuite bathroom. However, both bathrooms are large enough to modify with extra shower in the 2 piece and jacuzzi tub/shower in the main bath. And in both cases, they need updating, so it's not like we have to undo recent updating or live with something we don't like. On top of that, the roof, windows, air conditioning/furnace have all be recently updated. There is a greenhouse window in the kitchen. There are two solar tubes installed for more light. The house comes with a garage door opener and central vac. Even more than we had on our list of wants.

But here is the real kicker that convinced me. All along, I've really liked the Dorset Park area of Milton but one thing nagged at me. Robert still has 1-1/2 years left of school. The rules are that he has to be living in Mississauga to remain in his program. So if we were to move to Milton, we could probably get away hiding it from the school, but that goes against my belief in honesty and I couldn't reconcile with how it could be God's plan if that wasn't worked out. It just wasn't in keeping with God's nature, so it had to either be wrong or God had to work the whole school thing out. Well, he worked it out. The new house is in Mississauga, even closer to Robert's school than we are now. The last major piece clicked into place for me, and I thought 'okay God, this could be it'. And last, but not least, both kids are excited about this house, which is more than I can say about most of the others.

Well, we put in our offer tonight, and while waiting for it to be presented, sure enough another offer came in. So there we are back to renegotiating what we are going to offer, wanting to go with our best offer but not overpay. At the same time, not wanting to miss this house. So, I went with my gut and trusted God that if it was his plan, it would all work out. And it did. They accepted our offer as is. So, tonight we bought a home. Pretty expensive purchase, but very very exciting. I know in my heart that this home has been picked out by God for us. I have no idea what I did to deserve such great love and care, but I am very thankful for it. And for the guidance provided by our Lord so that we have assurance that the decisions we make and the paths we choose are the right ones.

Thank you Lord, help me get through moving day! And help me to sleep because it's now almost 2 am and I have work tomorrow. So far my mind has been buzzing way to much for sleep.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A moment in time...

Recently I was downtown, sitting in the car while stopped at a red light when I noticed a young man sitting on the sidewalk. He was most likely homeless, his appearance was dirty and he was just sitting there while the ebb and flow of the city swirled around him. I only observed him for a few minutes. He never moved, he wasn't panhandling. He just sat there staring at the dusty pavement. He never noticed me, but I was struck in that moment with the overwhelming knowledge that God loves this young person so much and he will probably never know it. It was incredibly heart breaking and humbling - a few short moments out of time.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Savour Today, LIve it to the fullest!!

I'm sitting here at the Leadership Summit, day 2. I've listened to Wess Stafford, CEO of Compassion detail how he received his calling to champion children at the age of 9. I contrast this with myself, who at the age of 49 still wonders what my true calling really is. And the Lord whispers into my heart that my calling is to savour today. To do his work here and now, and to let tomorrow fend for itself. A familiar theme in my life these days, it would seem. I guess I'm rather thick and it takes a lot of reminders for it to sink in. But the truth of these simple words is unavoidable. Thank you Lord.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Last Tuesday's Question - follow up

Last Tuesday I posed a question. After a week of consideration and prayer, God did not show me any areas that weren't given over to him. My overall answer as of today is that I am trusting God with my life, just need to increase my trust overall, and continue relying on him more each day. A growth process...

On another note, I have had a huge answer to prayer this week. As some people know, I have been unhappy in my job for quite some time. I have wanted to get out of collections, but felt that God had me in my current job for his purposes. This has been a very strong conviction in my life - that God placed me with my current company 10 years ago and I was not to leave until he moved me. I was not to pursue a change. Well, yesterday I was given the opportunity to move to another department, doing a job I believe will be even more suited to my strengths and capabilities. This doesn't solve all of my issues at work, but goes a very long way. Thank you Lord for your continued guidance and love. I know you have some new tasks for me, as well as others that will continue despite the change. Help me to show your love and care to all I come in contact with today and every day...

Random Thoughts

Spiritual Gifts & Temperament

Yesterday I was browsing around on the net and decided to do some research on Pastor Rogers church. Most days I listen to one of Adrian Rogers podcasts as part of my devotional. (As an aside, I've realized I need to contribute to this ministry that has been such an influence over the past year or so in my life) Anyway, I know Pastor Rogers has passed away. The web for his podcast ministry has been set up separate from his old church, which is how it should be, but I got to thinking about that church. Where is it, who is the pastor now, etc. How is it doing with a new person in control. So, I thought I was doing some casual surfing. I should have known better!

As with everything, God's hand was on this too. Funny how we do all these things we think are casual, throwaway actions, but they are all under God's hand, protection and guidance. The bible tells us that our God knows the number of hairs on our head, but often we forget how great a thing that really is. Back to the story ... I track down the church and start browsing their website. On there, under Member Development, they have an online questionnaire for spiritual gifts and temperament. Now God knows that I did a spiritual gifts class, but that was a long time ago. I've heard that our spiritual gifts don't change but have wondered about that for a long time because I've changed so much since when I did that last class. Okay, maybe not so much change as matured, but as always, I wanted to see for myself.

When I took the class way back then, I had three strong gifting areas - Prophecy, Administration and Teaching. Yesterday my gifts showed up as Teaching and Administration. This makes sense to me. I believe the prophecy is still also a gifting, but one that God moves from foreground to background and back at different times in my life. I go through times when God shows me lots of things about the people and world around me, but then I go through other times when the focus is more on internal growth. The focus recently has been on internal growth, putting prophecy into the background.

While I really don't think of myself as a teacher, obviously God does and that is what is important, and administration is another area that just comes naturally like breathing to me. Even if I was to try and stifle it (which I have at times because I haven't wanted the responsibility), it just comes through anyway. Like telling my body I don't want to breathe today, a failed venture from the start.

Now, the most interesting part was the personality test. I'm doing this test, and it didn't seem to make much sense to me. You have to go through and number qualities in each box from 1-4, most unlike to most like yourself. I'm looking at some of the boxes thinking this couldn't possibly work because I'm really not like any of the traits in certain boxes. Oh, me of little faith ;-)

So I do the test and look at the results. My temperament is Melancholy. Okay, is this some kind of a joke? I know I can be moody at times, but I'm much better these days. I'm a happy person overall. When I look at life, I see the glass as half full. How can I be Melancholy? See, this test was definitely flawed! And then I read the description... Oh, me of little faith, it fit me to a T, both the strengths and weaknesses. In the end, it was an incredible encouragement from God, the start to another great day. How wonderful that God knows us and loves us each so well - right down to the number of hairs on my head, or the intricate details of ME - who I am and how he made me, not perfect but perfect for the tasks he sets before me... Thank you Lord!

Should anyone be reading this and wonder what their strengths and temperament are, simply ckick on the title of this post to go to the Member Development page of Belleview Church. On there you'll find the links to both their tests.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Morning Question...

It's a Tuesday morning in July. I'm typing this on my new netbook, a great tiny, portable little thing. I just love it! except that they moved the left 'shift' key over so I have to think everytime I use it. Probably not a bad thing, over all.

We are in the midst of a full out house hunt, looking around an older area of Milton. We've seen some great homes, even to the point of putting in a couple of offers. But we haven't found the one God has picked out for us yet. It's exciting because we've seen some great homes and I know that the one God has for us is even greater than those we've seen. How exciting is that?

I've just finished my devotions for the morning and should really be getting ready for work now, but thought I'd take a minute and jot down a line or two.

My question for today is: Jesus, have I given you the keys to every area of my life?

My quick answer is 'of course I have', but there is a small voice inside that says - like my shift key, maybe I need to stop and think for a second before giving that quick answer. Have I really? So that is my question/request to God today. Lord, if there is an area I haven't surrendered, please show me so that I can hand you that key also. The bible and my experience over the past 25 years tells me that God is faithful and will answer. So I wait with anticipation....

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Obeying God - and leaving the consequences to him

This May I turned 49, sitting on the brink of 50. I don't feel that old, truth be in my mind I feel about 10 years younger than that. But in many ways, the past month has been a turning point for me, and I think it's time to start tracking the journey again. Something tells me my life is about to pick up pace, and when I look back, I want to be able to relive every moment.

I had a huge 'ah-ha' moment in May. I'm not sure if it's something that God has been trying to get me to understand for years, or if it's just that I was finally in the place he wanted me to be, so that I could finally see. Either way, doesn't really matter, just an interesting reflection. Either way, my eyes were finally opened that little bit more and my life has been changed forever. Isn't it amazing how God works?

So, what was my great revelation? It was the simple fact that God does all the hard work!

How many times have I read that Jesus says 'my yoke is easy and my burden is light' (mt 11:28-30)? But now I realize that these are not just nice, feel good words. Jesus puts action behind his words. He stands behind them. How complicated I have made my life, how much stress I have brought upon myself.

Suddenly, I really listened to a sermon and God showed me that it doesn't matter where I work, it doesn't matter where I live - he is in charge of all that and will make sure that I am where I am supposed to be. My job is to get up each day and focus only on that day. Forget about yesterday and tomorrow. As long as I do what God has set before me to do today, I will look back fondly on my yesterdays and my tomorrows will sort themselves out when they get here.

Okay, sounds good, but what does that mean?

Well, it means that I need to start each day on time. I need to get up and spend time with God - reading my bible and praying. I need to ask God to show me my tasks for the day. Some are straightforward and do not really change. For example, Monday to Friday, I need to get up and go to work. While at work, I need to focus on my job and do my best. That is all. As long as I am working to the best of my ability, it doesn't really matter what gets done and what has to wait for tomorrow. God will work that out because he has purposefully set me in that job. And if that's not where he wants me to be, he will move me to the right place. I now realize I don't have to worry about it, that's God's job.

Okay, but I'm a Christian in a secular workplace, so that's pressure right? Isn't it my job to always be on my best behaviour so that people will see Christ through me? The bible talks about all that 'fruit of the spirit' stuff. God has given me a huge responsibility, hasn't he? Well, here is the best part of what I learned - no that's God's job too. I don't have to WORK at demonstrating the fruit of the spirit. As long as I'm getting up and doing the tasks already outlined above, the Holy Spirit will work in me - because I've invited him to - and he changes me from the inside out. He creates the fruit of the spirit in me, day by day.

Okay, so there is one more catch. There's always a catch, isn't there? But it's one that I can live with. The one other task that I have to do each day, is to not procrastinate. Anyone who really knows me (like my family) know that I'm very bad at putting things off. So that is my area of focus - to do things when I think of them, or when I'm shown by the Spirit. And that takes some prayer and focus, but so far it's been going pretty good. The first part is that I've set a time to get up each day and have made a point to do it. On days when it's a struggle, I get up and tell God it's a struggle, or I tell him I'm tired. I admit my weakness and ask God for help. And so far, each day, he has come though.

Take today as a example. I got up and while I was reading my bible, and focusing on the past week, the thought suddenly came to me that I need to pick up the blog again. Perhaps my life is about to pick up speed and I should be documenting it. Not really sure why that came to me, I haven't thought of this blog for a long time. It was 2007 when I last posted to it. But why doesn't matter, I don't need to worry about that. And then my next thought was that I have a busy day ahead and would think about doing that tonight. But then it started nagging at me - see it was my natural nature to procrastinate. But God knows me, he made me the way I am, after all. So it started nagging at me, to the point I realized I needed to do it now, so here it is - my first 'come back' post. Hopefully, and with God's help and blessing, it will be the first of many.