Wednesday, November 30, 2011

reflections on a busy November

So i am home. 
i am safe and comforted, poured out, used up and finished. 
My dry little soul praises my Maker for what November brought. 
The ladies tea in Ponoka was a night of uncertainty.  Would God come?  Would He meet my needs when i was broken and afraid? 
He came. 
The memory that persists from that night was the woman who might have been in her 50's.  She came up to me and tearfully told me about her losses.  They far outnumbered the children she was given to raise.  She almost whispered, "i never heard anyone share about miscarriage before.  Thank you."
And then there were the four nights God gave me in Sexsmith.  Each one unique and beautiful in it's own way.  The third night was awash in tears, awkward pauses, strange mistakes and blunders... but i trust that even there, God can use my weaknesses for His Glory.  The fourth night, i asked God what the evening would hold & felt a deep, honest peace... That night was my favourite - i felt like a baby soothed by it's nursing mama - and i felt like i finished with His blessing.  i walked off... found a quiet corner... and closed my eyes with gratitude knowing that *home* was only hours away.
Once home, i hermited at my computer for a couple of stolen hours and wrote about eight hundred blog posts that begged to be captured (actually, only 6... but that felt like a lot!), a couple that i've shared already & others that i'm still figuring out - fingering the edges, considering their texture, their deeper meaning, the value - or lack of value.    There is something comforting about the solitude of writing and the camaraderie that comes from sharing what you've written.  Thank you, for reading here... it means a lot to me to have you come. 
i sold all the books i had... and then a couple more that i will have to ship... and December brings the blessing of time away with Neil - & it makes me laugh that my Father knew how i would finish this month empty & He provided for replenishing in the next.
i hope December brings joy, sincerity and reconciliation.  i hope it brings growth, honesty and clarity.  i'd love to feel understood, but i'll settle for better understanding, if He'll let me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


My life comes to me in pictures lately. 
i see myself. 
i am some sort of being, part plant, part flesh... That much is unclear.  i look, and behold the wild fragility of God's creation. 
i am 35.
Most of this being matches that age, and the passage of time has brought about appropriate growth, but there are parts of me that have grown far beyond what is possible in 35 years - thick branches that are strong and beautiful... the areas that He blessed me in and caused me to grow.
i approach this being and draw apart the thick folds of both foliage and humanity, and gasp as i see the wound.
i am concerned as i see the branches around the wound are stunted.
It is, as i told my friend, as though in those areas, i am a mere child.  The growth has slowed or stalled - and the leaves are sickly and ill formed.
The wound is infected.  Over the years, there have been bandages applied, and they are soaked through - pathetic attempts at healing, dirty cloths oozing puss and blood.

Fear is my raging fever.   Unlovable is my delerium. 

And then the Gardener comes. 
He is knowledgable in all things plant and flesh. 
His eyes meet mine, and i know that this moment... this moment... is ordained to bring about healing. 
He parts the thick branches of blessing, and lays bare the rotten bits with dying flesh and stunted growth...
i turn my face away, even now - while i gaze upon the scene with my mind's eye.  It's horrible and painful... it's terrifying and grim. 
But He's there... and my life is in His hands.

Monday, November 28, 2011


i went for coffee with an old friend. 
My tears are frequent, and disobedient these days - never staying where they are put, but constantly, freely flowing...
We caught up on our families, what God has been doing in our lives - and how he is causing us to grow.  i told her about my family... and found the words came sparse and hard... "i feel like i'm a child again..."
"Well maybe..." she suggested gently, "God doesn't want you to remain a child in that area of your life any longer.  Maybe, He wants you to grow."
Her words washed over me - brushing away some of the confusion, lighting a small light so that instead of complete darkness, i could see the grainy outline what might be. 
i can explain that moment like this:
Imaging you're hurtling down the highway, making great progress towards your goal.  Suddenly, you come to a stretch of the road where it's not only unpaved, there's no gravel road, there's not even a trail and the grass and trees grow freely there, water runs through it and you have no idea how to get across.  You look behind you to see if you've turned the wrong direction, but the beautifully paved highway leads you directly to this very spot.  You strain your eyes to see in the distance, and can see the shiny blacktop beyond this patch of wild... and know that it must be crossed, but don't know how. 
Up until the moment my friend offered the gentle suggestion of growth, i had turned off my vehicle and was sitting on the side of the road crying. 
& it's ok to grieve. 
It's ok to know that what is ahead is rough and untamed. 
It's ok to be afraid - knowing that there will be difficulties, pain and slow laborious progress to get back to that highway...
But with her words, i found the strength to put the key in my ignition, and put my vehicle into drive.  Maybe it'll get stuck and i'll have to abandon it.  And instead of driving, i'll be forced to continue on foot for the remainder of my journey.  Maybe it will be easier than i anticipated, and before i know it, i'll be flying down that easy smooth highway again... but regardless, the wilds await me.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

i miss these people

So, i'm in Grande Prairie with my big sister - doing the Ladie's Tea at Grace Bible Fellowship in Sexsmith. We are doing 4 nights in a row... one night down, three to go.  i already sold most of the books i brought, so it's a nice feeling to have those go too...
How's it going? 
i don't know. 
But i do pray that God will use these loaves & fishes in some small way to bring dark places to light & to comfort to the hurting. 
i am homesick. 
i'm honestly so glad to be here - and i feel, if nothing else... obedient. 
But i really, really, really miss my people. 
At least i brought a cheerful Charter, and a snuggly, clingy Ephraim to keep me company & to nourish my mama heart. 
i like singing - & i like telling stories... telling others about the Faithful Father... and i love the people who live here.  i'm grateful that He brought me this opportunity.
Even at this funny, hurting juncture in my life. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


We were playing a rousing game of charades... 
Mostly because i suggested it when i was too tired to oust my body from the couch to go downstairs and play hide and go seek in the dark. 
Neil's cousins were visiting, and the littles were each trying to out do the last with their acting. 
Peyton stood up. 
She delicately held up 2 fingers. 
"Two words!" we shouted.
She held up one finger.
"First word!" we continued. 
Charter was visibly impressed with this charade short cut that he had not used before. 
"Two words, first word, second word... i like that!  That sure makes it easy to know how many words long it is!" He muttered, absently bouncing in his seat as that little marble rolled around in his brain. 
Peyton finished her turn in seconds and returned to her seat.  Charter was up next.  He wracked his brain for a few seconds and then leapt from his seat. 
Beaming, obviously pleased with himself, he just had one question, "Hey Kari, how many words is chainsaw?"

Monday, November 21, 2011

how many fridays left?

i think there are only five.  That means i've muddled through 11 of these already.  Searching, praying, grasping, learning...
This past Friday we got a dump of snow and a taste of the real winter to come. 
i bundled up as warm as i could (it was not warm enough) and i headed to the church. 
The accusing voices are getting easier to understand these days - while in the past, they just made me feel an abstract, 'can't put my finger on it', foolish - now i hear the precision of the attack as those arrows whiz around me and my family...
"Who are you to pray for family?  Look at the state of your own... Whatever you thought you knew, is obviously false - do you think you really have what it takes to build a marriage and a family that lasts?"
"It's too late... whatever you wanted to accomplish has failed.  Give up."
& the worst one - the one that gets under my skin the easiest...
"Neil doesn't love you... You... are utterly unlovable..."
So i turn off my van,  i text the man i love, "i'm at the church.  i will never, ever give up on us.  i love you."
The phone buzzes in my hand and i glance down..."Love you too." i pray to God that i could please believe it, accept it, trust it...  even with this broken child's heart that i seem stuck with these days...
i trudge through the snow, bringing the accusations of the enemy to my Father - who loves me in my inadequacy. 
i feel His tender mercy - and the hot tears freeze on my face as i pace the concrete steps of my church building. 
i pray the Daily Office to help me avoid distraction and stamp my feet to keep out the cold...
..."to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace..."
"Darkness is not dark to thee, O Lord; The night is as bright as the day."
And the fifteen on friday count themselves to their end... i follow my footprints back to my waiting van and drive home to the warmth of my lovely little family...
There are still more questions than answers.  i feel like i'm better understanding the faith that it takes to obey without understanding, without seeing the 'why' or the 'what' God will do.  Five more fridays to go - five more appointments with God...
& i'll thank Him now - because i know... i know... He hears.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

exclamation points

neil has been using more exclamation points in his texts as of late. 
i think he's subconsciously trying to lift me - add a little spark, a little expression, a little excitement to his communication. 
"We should have chicken burgers for supper!"
"i took out the garbage!"
"i hope ephraim sleeps tonight!"
& i feel the corner of my mouth curl in a reluctant smile... He's poking me, prodding me to find the happiness amidst my grief. 
i'm gonna find my footing, babe... i am. 
i'm gonna laugh too loud again & interrupt your stories to tell mine.  i'm gonna crush your toes when i stand on them to wrap my arms around your neck and kiss you even when you flinch.  i know you have a hard time communicating your love - especially to me right now in my frailty... but i hear it. 
i do!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

what's on my mind you ask?

i'm expecting overnight company tonight.  The sweetest, best kind of company - the family kind...
My kids are just finishing off their antibiotics & are still coughing and several of them are breaking out in a rash... is it from the antibiotics or their new pj's? 
What will i make for supper for my company tonight?
Neil will be gone till tomorrow night. 
The 2 big girls have 3 hours of violin at the college tonight... my company will babysit while i drive. 
My house is a mess. 
i need to read with Charter & catch up on math with Peyton. 
The 2 bigs need to practice for their classical lessons tomorrow. 
My cough has prohibited much practice for my singing stuff that's coming up.  i'm really nervous to sing & speak *5* evenings this month - and i hope i don't make a fool of myself with my hoarse voice...
My laundry bag is missing. 
Neil said the basement is a mess, but i don't have the heart to go down there. 
My baby still isn't sleeping through the night & i'm leaving him for 3 sleeps in 2 and a half weeks... i don't know how he'll do.
Wondering if i should take the rash kids to the doctor or wait it out? 
i have a meeting today that i really want to go to & won't cancel for anything - even though it's totally inconvenient. 
Everytime i sit down at the piano to practice, Ephraim cries.  Neil promised to take the littles swimming on Saturday so i can have some time to practice & talk out loud & 'time' my music & speaking all alone. 
i'm nervous that i'll say something stupid.  
i'm insecure.  & i'm tired of being insecure.  i'm ready to find my confidence again...
i feel like laughing and crying at the same time. 
Cai just walked into my room as i was making my bed & i blurted out that i love being a mom & i meant it... y'know how 'out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks'?  i now know what's really on my heart - & it's good. 
It's my niece & my nephew's birthdays today - & my darling niece is spending hers getting chemo & my nephew has hit that incredible milestone of 16 years... i wish i lived closer to my family. 
So there you have it... the gurgling thoughts on my mind.  Yes, i know - it's a jumbled mess - i won't post a crazed post like this very often, but for today - i thought it would be ok to post the frazzled mess of threads that are running through my mind & to laugh at my weakness & to pass the whole ball to my Father who soothes, sorts and organizes - he tenderly unravels, finds patterns and puts these threads to right.  He takes them on one by one and gives me the strength to take on each new task and worry...
i'm resting in Him today. 

Monday, November 14, 2011


It's been a rough go. 
This blog - is for my little ones.  Maybe one day it will be helpful for them to see their mama 'in the thick of it all' & know how very hard i wrestled out my faith because of my love for them.  And yet even though i write with that small audience in mind, i've chosen to be public in this seeking place - hoping that He will use even these tiny loaves and fishes and multiply them for His Kingdom...
Sometimes that makes it more challenging - because of the privacy of others, but i don't know how to embark on this next stage of learning without gently, brokenly stating that my parents have filed for divorce.  i'm not gonna talk about them - or their marriage, but instead i need to take a long hard look at myself - the walking wounded child of divorce - and explain to my children that yes... i'm drowning, but i promise you all that i will pull myself together.  i will press into the heart of my Father, and accept His comfort.  i will learn what He has for me to learn and i will whisper the truths He teaches me through this present pain into your ears and hearts.  Bear with me, little ones, i'm still reeling. 
i just feel like grabbing Neil & hiding & making him tell me that we'll still love each other when we're 60 and still flawed - that we'll laugh at our differences - hold hands when we walk together and cradle each other when we cry... i want to crawl inside his head and fill it with memories of our past & our dreams for the future & all the things we are to each other. 
My friends tell me it will get better - it will get easier as these nighmarish days pass and we find our new footing, but right now... this is where i am... feeling a little orphaned, blinded by darkness, feeling my way along a dangerous pathway, praying for morning. 
i hate looking at marriage with fear - & that's what i can't seem to stop doing right now...

Friday, November 11, 2011


There is a constant tampering with the vacuume at my house so it was no surprise when i went to vacuume the upstairs of my house and i realized that the middle tube was missing, making it the perfect height for my 3 year old to use.  i called downstairs for my 9 year old to find the missing piece & bring it up to me...
Moments later, he burst through the door shouting triumphantly, "Ta-DAAAAAA!!"
He swung his trophy in a glorious arc and made a huge gash in the wall of our room that Neil had just finished freshly painting after 5 years of abuse... (the walls were abused, not Neil... :) 
We both stood in shocked silence for a minute and then he smiled at me with his teeth-too-big-for-his-face 9 year old smile, "Sorry mom!"
He was still swinging the tube in his hands and i was watching it warily, "k, bud.  Put that down before someone gets hurt."
He tossed it into the hallway & leapt all gangly away.  He took the entire stairwell in 2 leaps humming haphazardly to himself... 
Nine is all gawky & strange - partly grown up with rarely washed hair and teeth that forget to be brushed.  Nine still cries in frustration sometimes, but is learning to listen to reason.  Nine is cheerfully genuine, forgetful and clumsy.  It is the absentminded professor, with good intentions and questions borne of deep thought...
Nine doesn't realize how far his arms will fling when he spreads them wide, hoping to please his mama by meeting her present pressing need. 
Nine is heartbreakingly brief - and sweet and funny - and worthy of the flair of a little captivating entrance. 
So don't cry to me, yellow walls - your fresh coats will come & go - but my son will soon turn ten... and i'm too busy loving nine. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

& then...

All seven lambies seemed to get the same horrible cough... it kept them up at night & robbed the whole family of sleep.  We kept thinking, oh, one more day... one more day... it should be getting better tomorrow - & we'd limp through another interrupted night of sleep and slog our way through sleepy days. 
Finally after three weeks, we decided i had better take a couple of them to the walk in to make sure that there wasn't something else going on.  Sure enough, they got diagnosed with bronchitis, so i drove my babies home & picked up the remaining 5 to take them back to the doctors to get their diagnosis & prescriptions too...
& as i bundled my loves in & out of doctors & pharmacy with my bulging bag of antibiotics... i thought about how lucky i am to have all my chickies under one roof.  These years are so fleeting - and soon they'll be calling me to tell me their children are sick and that they spent the night soothing a distraught child, or comforting a feverish babe... & i'll remember this week of bronchitis - hacking coughs and the smell of menthol & halls & wistfully remember these child-growing days. 
So i'll take this present shared sickness - i'll measure out doses and count pills... i'll make sure my little ones are comfortable and comforted - and i'll count it all joy that these moments are mine. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

he winked at me

My sister described arriving for her daughter's appointment at the pediatric oncology unit and being greeted by a familiar face from her church as feeling like a, "wink from God"...
The image stayed with me after reading her post, because isn't that just like our Father?  Sometimes quietly standing in the shadows - showing us His mercy and love... His gracious compassion... with a wink? 
i have found myself lately in the midst of a really, really busy and heavy season.  i had the prolife conference last weekend, and a music/worship conference this weekend at our church, and as far as my eyes can see into my future, it's full of commitments, appointments and promises. 
And - i can't even tell you this whole story... because it's one of those stories that is still unfolding and unwrapping... & parts of it are mine & parts aren't...
But the part that i want to tell you about is mine...
& it's the part where He winked at me.
i got in my van to head to the church for the first evening of our music conference.  Graham Ord and Norm Strauss were speaking & to be honest, there wasn't a lot else that could have coaxed me out of my house that Friday night.  i felt heavy and blue - weary in a spiritual sense.  My introvertedness was rearing it's ugly head and i was craving solitude.
i was probably only a block from my house, when suddenly it felt like my whole van was full of this heavy, crushing inescapable gratitude for my husband Neil.  Now, looking back on it, i'm sure that it must have been God...
Our goodbye had been casual... Him whispering, "Sneak out so ephraim doesn't notice, k?" and me grabbing my purse and tiptoeing out the door with a, "Seeya".
It was completely ordinary.
There had been no fight, no awesome romantic moment to bring about this overwhelming gratitude - but i was so moved by it that i could barely wait to pull into the church parking lot so that i could text him and tell him how i felt.
i grabbed my phone and typed, "i'm so glad i married you.  Best thing i ever did."
He responded, "Ahh what?"
i persisted, "It just hit me again.  Grateful."
"i am grateful too."
"Love you."
That felt like the moment when God made eye contact with me. 
i tucked my phone in my purse and carefully averting my eyes from my friend's cheerful greetings, i went and found an empty seat to sit in...
i slouched in my seat, letting the words pour over & into me.  Soaking in what i could - and letting the rest sit in puddles around me.  Suddenly norm pulled out his guitar...
"Can we sing a song?" He asked. 
He started to play... and i softly sang along...
father of lights, you delight.... in your children.
father of lights, you never change... you have no turning. 
every good, and perfect gift, comes from you -
father of lights....
Midsong, he stopped singing - and still playing softly, he said... "when i sing, sometimes i like to just sing the things that i'm grateful for."  His eyes were closed, and he turned his face upward and sang, "i'm so thankful for my wife..."
And my ears rang. 
Because it was so unexpected, seemingly out of the blue. 
i felt the whisper in the wind, "you've got something there, paige... I've given you a precious gift & it's something you need to be grateful for."
& i'm pretty sure He winked at me.
& maybe it seems like a funny little coincidence, but how many times do we try to explain away the supernatural?  How cynical and unbelieving we can be when we roll our eyes and mutter, "That's it?  That's the best you can do?"
Because a wink from God... seems pretty significant to me...

Friday, November 4, 2011

15 on first snow day...

Winter is dribbling into fall... & still i find i'm struggling to better understand prayer.
i use my bible - my heart - my mind... to find the words to pray...
& in the silence, sometimes He speaks, and sometimes He's silent too. 
Today my words wouldn't stop - & i'm sure He heard me... but sometimes i long for the thickness of His presence - a glimpse of His glory - a portion of His rest...

If you want to read some of my thoughts about graphic images in prolife work, you can find them HERE... definitely not the be all, end all post... just things that i'm muddling through & learning. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


i read a post from a mama of 6 the other day who stated unabashedly that she's struggling. & i felt that tiny nudging from deep within to put up a wary hand and and moan, "me too."
Near the beginning of this 40 days of prayer, i reached out to three beautiful women from my church & i told them what i was working on - & would they please pray for me and my family during this 40 days... They said yes & i know they have been praying - because even though i'm struggling - i see His hand working in my pain and weakness. 
My struggles look like what anyone's struggles might look like - a sudden fresh dose of sleep deprivation, a deep hacking cough for each one of my seven beauties, discouragement, insecurity, rejection and wounded pride.  i miss my husband like a child with separation anxiety and i'm so conscious of the burden of worry and sickness that my sister is carrying right now that i don't want to confess to my own weakness - thinking my phony strength will somehow spare her any further distress.  There is a weight that is carried when we enter into - and pray consistently - for the hurting.   & i can admit it with trepidation here:

i'm a weakling.

i told this to one of the ladies who has been praying for me in a furtive email, and she wrote me back, "I am reminded about the verse in 2 Corinthians 12:9... So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me."
& i feel nowhere near ready to boast about my weaknesses - but i want Him to know i'm willing to be made weak.  i want happiness and pretty things - baubles and toys.  i want frivolity and chocolate - and i want romance and tinkling laughter, 12 hours of solid sleep followed by breakfast in bed... But i want Him more. 

So take even my weakness, Father - and let me see Your hand at work... Your grace is sufficient.


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