Good medicine

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Well, I got back from the lake late last night. I was going to stay till today, but there was a death and some other things which called me home.

I gotta say, it was a great time of connection and stillness.

I love hearing people's stories. Sometimes they make you laugh and sometimes cry, but they are meaningful. I think you honour people by listening to their stories. You honour their faithfulness and struggles.

Anyway, it was funny to listen as a drug induced LT (hey, he had the flu!!) described how, with the power of his GPS device, he could actually track where he had left a deposit on the hiking trail, last winter!!

Well ok, maybe not all stories are honorable.

Alberto, from Colombia, with his passionate heart for the church, and this planet we live on. Will I be able to eat a cinnamon roll without thinking of him? I doubt it.

And Becky, who introduced me to Grits (Hey, I like em, go figure). She has the depth of spirit that usually only comes from living a long time.  And hey, maybe she has. She is a Georgia Peach.

Linea came up on Friday and stayed till today, and I guess Dave and Mike arrived sometime very early this morning, long after I had left.

But, my gastank is full again and I'm going on. Thanks Leighton for being a great host (For us and whatever parasite you picked up!!)

And thanks for those who attended and mixed their stories with mine for a few days.

It's was healing to be with you all.



The Discipline of silence.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

As I sit here, decompressing, the silence envelopes me.

I realize, much to my surprise, that I am always surrounded by noise. In fact, I think I need the noise, to distract me, to keep me comforted.

I suppose that in the noise and busy-ness of life, I feel productive, like I'm accomplishing something. If I'm reading or listening to something, or watching something, I feel like I'm not wasting time.

Last night, after a day of no external noises, we turned on the TV to watch The Daily Show. It was a good one, (Turd miners!) and we laughed lots. But after that half hour I noticed how it took time to re-establish the sense of stillness that had enveloped us throughout the day.

I was surprised.

Surprised at the effect of a half hour noisy interruption. Surprised at how sensitive I had become to the quiet. Mostly I was surprised at how much hard discipline it takes to enter into a quite space and time.

I guess I do rely on noise to make me feel like I'm doing something, because stillness is seen as a weakness in our society. The work of listening or reading or watching increases my knowledge. But, what about the work of stillness.

Stillness makes me aware of the needs of my own body. I realize that I am tired, or need activity. Or I can sense when I've eaten enough. These things are not desensitized by the noise of life I usually live in.

And God. God gets louder when my surroundings get quieter. The stillness creeps up, and I find I can hear again, Him. And he speaks to me, gently, with love. And I can hear him.

Still, the fight rages within me to turn something on, to find comfort or distraction from the things He wants to tell me. But I like this solitude.

I wonder where this quiet road ends.



Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Tomorrow I'm heading out to Chitek Lake for a few days of connection and prayer.

I've got some things I'm taking along to pray over for people, and there will be some good and challenging discussions happening there. I'm really looking forward to it.

So if it's quiet till the weekend, that's why. I'll be working on increasing my bandwidth to God.

This morning while still in bed, Lauralea gave me my early birthday present!! (Na, not that). She gave me a cool shortwave radio. I love radio's, always have, so she had bought me a great little radio. Cool.

Then, it was broken so I returned it for an exchange at Radio Shack. What is with the sales staff at that place??? Can't they afford to hire anyone who even knows what a radio is? That should be number one on the sales staff hiring test. Picture A is a picture of a mountain in the Swiss Alps. Picture B is a transistor radio. To pass the test you would have to select the picture of the Radio.

The guy I was dealing with today would have picked the mountains, easy. I asked him what frequencies a certain radio covered. He went to look on the box and came back 20 min. later and informed me that the frequencies weren't't included, I would have to purchase later on, by themselves.

I don't believe it.

I usually end up informing the staff about their own products.

So, as God reminds me of you I pray for you, by name. (See, that's where it pays to leave comments!!)



Sausage Trivia

Monday, July 26, 2004

I just discovered that if you search Yahoo for Pioneer Farmer sausage,  I'm the second on the list.

And, to you who was searching the web for it, Pioneer Farmer sausage, is indeed a wholesome food, good for the whole family! BBQ it up and put it in a bun, or slow cook it till it falls apart on your fork. Either way, it's good and good for you!!



The Bourne Supremacy

Well, today on my day off, I had to work. And Wednesday I'm out of town till Saturday, so the people around here were not to impressed. So, tonight I took the unimpressed ones, one, out to see The Bourne Supremacy.

Lauralea and I had a great time at it. Kinda an ongoing, high energy plot throughout, and we liked it.

What we didn't like was paying $20 and having to watch 25 minutes of commercials at the beginning... sorry just about got up on that hobby horse again.

What I didn't like was some of the camera work. Now, I know it was to help give the movie an edgy feel, but why do they have to hire camera people who are cocaine addicts who haven't had a hit in a long time!?! The camera was shaking most of the movie.

And there were some great locations they shot in, but we seemed more concerned with a close up of the brake pedal, or inside JB's nose. What, look out the shaking window?? Why bother??  There was a whole car chase through some amazing parts of Moscow, and what did we see? Some shaky shots of the side of his car, or some shaky shots of the gear selector. And there was a whole long fight scene. The camera was so close that all we saw were black coats flying and covering the camera. We didn't know who was winning the fight!

It should look great on TV.

But, it was a good story, lots of sudden action. Some cool locations. (What does Moscow look like in the summer? I don't remember ever seeing it in a movie!!)

But it was a fun night out. And tomorrow I promised to take some time off, so we all should be happy again.



another one bites the dust

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Well, we just got in from a wedding, a very fun wedding.

A couple of individuals in their 40's/50's who have had some real challenges in their lives. They found each other and tonight, in her backyard, with 55 people looking on, they declared their love for each other, and looked at each other promising to be there till death or Jesus, which ever came first!

I like doing weddings. Usually they are young and giddy and there are underlying stresses with parents and inlaws and separated parents etc. But this one was much better.

The couple was joyful, and poised, and in love. There were none of the tensions with inlaws etc. Her 5 sons took part in it, even were the hot little band. His three girls and one 5 month old baby granddaughter were there, proud as could be.

It was a day of joy, really. And I get the great blessing of helping them put words to their love for each other, and their thankfulness to God for bringing them together.

And now, I'm exhausted.




Mmmmmm, Drinkable Doonnuuttss

Friday, July 23, 2004

Oh boy, my blood pressure is rising just thinking about this,

You can now Drink your Krispy Kreme's! 

Good thing i don't live where they are sold.



Sing baby sing!

Thursday, July 22, 2004


After a hard night of putting Micah's room back together, I sat down at the computer to sing some songs. Yes, sing some great tunes, and my family didn't appreciate it.

They laughed, and Thomas tried to record me singing the hits. And the greatest hurt of all, they turned the TV louder.

Oh the humanity, oh the indignation.

Check it out, online Karaoke.

Thanks Becky. (Thanks alot)



Now, where did I last see my soul...

I spent the morning just connecting with some of the older single women from church. It's one of those things that I usually enjoy doing, however, it's also one of those things that to often get's moved back if the week gets busy on me. You know, if reports are expected or plans or study needs to be worked on, often those demands have very real deadlines. Unless there has been a recent situation or need, an ongoing visit can often be put back a week or so.

This morning I noticed how my spirit feels in certain homes. I was surprised just how, I don't know how to say it, but just how at peace and welcomed my spirit felt at one of the homes. It was like "I'd like to stay here all summer and read and write and wait for my Soul to catch up with me.

You remember the story about the early missionaries to Africa eh? Their native porters kept a grueling pace with them as they moved through the jungle for 4 days. On the fifth day the porters refused to move, and their excuse? They needed to stop and wait a day for their souls to catch up with them.

We need - I need, space and time for my soul to catch up with me I think. A Big space, with few items to distract. A space in which I can think and pray and do some writing...

I felt that space in one of the homes I visited this morning, and I liked it.

She said she really felt cared for by my visit. But let's not kid ourselves here, I felt cared for, just by sharing her "Big Space."



Imagine if you will

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Last night around 11:30pm as I stood high atop a ladder in my wife's winter jacket in the continuing pounding rain and darkness, cleaning out the gutters so the water could run freely again, I thought to myself; "I haven't had a raincoat since I was 8!"

Then I thought to myself, "I bet Toni has a raincoat."

And I was envious.



Virtual meets reality

Last Sunday there was a "New Guy" in church, sitting at the back. Said he read this space. Said his name was Marc.

It was cool to discover he was/is Marc Vandersluys! another Prince Albert blogger.

So we met today for lunch and had a great visit. He is a passionate dude finding his way through life.

Nice lunch, great guy.

I love it when the virtual world meets reality!



Prayin for the Covenant Bible College

I'm on the board for the Covenant Bible College - Canada, and one of the areas God seems to be stretching us in is the whole area of prayer for the school. We feel God is leading us to pray more strategically and deliberately, and to help us do this we are trying out a new tool.

Some of you who know and love CBC have been praying along with us, and have indicated a desire to pray more strategically for the needs of the school.

So, for those of you who pray and would like to pray more deliberately for CBC, we invite you to join us in using this prayer tool. Sign up for a day and join the ranks of the CBC pray-ers.



Some days...

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Peter F. Drucker, management and organizational guru, (Not Sam Drucker, proprietor of the Petticoat Junction General Store) says that the most difficult jobs to have in America (North America) are the following.

The one that is the most difficult is, being the President of the USA.
The second most difficult one is being a Hospital Administrator.
The third most difficult one is being a College President.
And the fourth most difficult job, is being a Local Pastor.

Today, I'm with him.

So many different directions to be pulled in, so little time. And, people hear what they want to hear, not what's being said. It is the curious case of the homo sapien, that we are blind to our own deceptions.

But, to be fair, I'm also cranky because it's one of those months. You know, one of those months when THAT breaks, $150 to fix. Then THAT goes out, to the tune of $200. Then there's THAT, that needs to be paid for, $100. Bla bla bla.

Sunday we came home to a great stink in the basement, and couldn't find it. Till last night. Water has been seeping into Micah's basement room the past few days and now it stinks. Lauralea and him spent the day cleaning and getting it better. Then it starts to rain today, and rain and rain and rain. The gutters are full and overflowing. The water is pouring off the roof like freaking Niagara Falls, and it starts pouring in through his window. Unbelievable.

I rush home and start sucking it up as best I can, but it's gushing through the wall, I can hear it running in the walls! So Thomas and I start pulling off the panelling, and it's a mess. We clean as best we can and are letting it dry, but we're already into repairs to the tune of $200. And that's before we go outside and re-slope the side yard so it will flow away better.

Today I'm seeing my failures and my need.

Let's see what tomorrow brings.



On the river

Monday, July 19, 2004

Yesterday we did make it out to my folks for the afternoon, and we got down to the river for a bit of the party. Here are some pictures.










I dunno, this picture just reminds me a bit of a rednecks backyard bbq...




















We now return you...

to your regularly scheduled blogging.

Seemed there was a death in a hard drive on Prairie Fusion's server, so we took the day off.

You may find some of the Gallery pic's screwed up till I get em fixed.

Thanks for the new server LT.



Then came the rain

Saturday, July 17, 2004

After a long and very hot and humid day, the storms came.

And it rained and rained.

And the sky began to clear.

It looked like the world had come to an end.



More of the same

Another early evening at the hospital.

He, a little older than I. Heart stopped. Flatlined.

She, angry, violent, emotional, lost.

The kids, weeping in a corner.

Code Blue.

They pump meds into his heart. Shoot electricity through his chest.

Waiting... hoping...praying...

They find a pulse.

We pray. And weep and yell and moan.

He wakes up. They can't stablize him.

We wait and wait and wait and wait, and wait.

Still, they work to make him stable.

So the family can see him.

So he can be rushed the hour drive to Saskatoon, for better care.

Minutes pass. Mountains and valleys. Waiting.

Family arrives. I leave. Waiting.

I eat supper.

Tired so I go to bed.

Can't sleep.

Waiting... wondering.



on call, again this week.

Friday, July 16, 2004

Spent a chunk of the night last night at the hospital. The phone started ringing at 12:30 and i didn't get back to sleep till sometime after 3:30. This morning i didn't hear anything or anybody till late.

So, i'm at the office with a gross headache, and I feel like i lost the morning, in terms of getting any work done.

... and i'm to tired to fix my i's.



Shades of Grey

Thursday, July 15, 2004

In yesterdays BreakPoint with Charles Colson, he writes a small critique on the Alt Church movement. Part of what he writes is this:

Now, younger Evangelicals are ?creating alternative churches in coffee bars and warehouses . . . ? And, just as the alternative music scene is an implicit criticism of the musical mainstream, the ?alternative church? sees itself as a corrective to the churches many of its members grew up in.

One participant told the Times that his ?generation is discontent with dead religion . . . ? They ?don´t want to show up on Sunday, sing two hymns, hear a sermon, and go home . . . ? He added that ?the Bible says we´re supposed to die for this thing. If I´m going to do that, this has to be worth something . . . ?

That´s obviously true. What´s not as obvious is how playing basketball after church or worshiping in a coffee house brings us any closer to that kind of sacrificial faith and the hard demands of the Gospel.

There´s something else that both alt and seeker-driven churches often have in common: Their goals are to create a model church that conforms to the individual´s needs and expectations, rather than the other way around. In other words, people demand a church that will tell them what´s in it for them.

If the Alt Church movement is just a church redux for the new century, done in a way that's acceptable to "Todays Generation," then I agree with him. It will eventually turn out the way the church of the 90's is turning out.

As much as we don't like it, we become like those we judge. If the Alt Church is just a reaction against the way the church carried out its mission in the end of the last century, it will be no better. In fact, it may end up worse off, because the movement was immature, and it was based on the rejection of the established church. 

However, it was always my hope that a large part of the Alt Church movement was a desire to move past the "Dead religion" that was a part of many churches. That it wasn't about the basketball or coffee shop religion, but it was about the fact that there was more to worshipping God than "Sunday, sing two hymns, hear a sermon, and go home," stuff they experienced in the church.

And yes, it is obviously true that "(we´re supposed to die for this thing.) If I´m going to do that, this has to be worth something." The question is how do you respond to the tension of living with an established church that has it's questionable moments and sometimes a spirituality that seems on life support. A church that doesn't always get that a faith or religion or a walk with Jesus is required that is worth something. 

Well, sometimes you stick around because God's called you there. You work and live with those around you, challenging and coaxing them to the deep end of the spiritual pool where you find a faith that is worth something.

And sometimes God calls you out to meet an unreached group of people in your own town who won't set foot inside a church but they will have coffee with you. Or God will connect you with a growing group of disillusioned, hurt ex-sundaymorningatelevenchurchgoers. Who were hurt and got lost in the churches push to get big and blessed and forty days closer to something or other.

Yes, there are good established churches, and there are churches that should have their lampstands removed.

And I know that there are Alt Churches that are right where God wants them, out there on the edge, livin large, making the difference, helping create faith within people that is worth something.

And, given the nature of the human heart, I suspect there are Alt Church guys out there who are just trying to stay young or create their own following. Trying to pay the bills and stay relevant.

Time, and God, will test the depths of our hearts.

And if the Alt Church doesn't learn from the boomers mistakes, then they will repeat them and another generation will rise up in complaint of the emptiness and powerlessness of the God of the Alt Church.

I like Colson, but this time his brush strokes were a little broad.



The Great Northern RiverFest

Guess where I'll be on SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!!

Well yeah, I'll be in church, BUT AFTER CHURCH?!?

Saskatoon is preparing to host the 12th Annual Great Northern River Roar Festival.  As one of Saskatchewan´s most anticipated events, the River Roar draws over 100,000 spectators from not only all corners of the province, but all over Canada.  Located on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River in beautiful downtown Saskatoon, the setting is one of a kind.  For the first time ever, this event will feature Champ Class powerboats from the CHAMP tour, the pinnacle of racing in North America and the only Canadian stop on the calendar.  In order to highlight our world-class venue, better host these superior races, and showcase Saskatoon and Saskatchewan to the world, a significantly enhanced six-day festival is planned for 2004 ? The Great Northern RiverFest.  Our goal is to make this event one of the most highly recognized and revered festivals in Canada.

Get the times and dates here.



That's Odd... Update: Really Odd

I was just doing some research on winning lotteries.

Seems that you have a 1 in 13,983,816 million chance at winning the lotto 649. That's like if you buy 1 ticket per week you can expect to win the top prize, on average, once during the next 268,920 years.

In other Odd information, the odds of;

Dying from flesh-eating bacteria disease is 1 in 1 million
Being struck by lightening is 1 in 240,000
Being killed by a venomous bite or sting is 1 in 160,000
Dying from falling down stairs or steps is 1 in 6,330

I really like my odds with the stairs! Who'll bet me a fiver on that?


Update: No sooner had I posted this when I received an email directing me to this news item:

Lottery win

A Saskatoon couple has waited nine months to collect a $10-million Super 7 lottery jackpot.

Lavern and Deb Arndt say they needed time to consider how their lives would change as a result of the win.

The couple say they also wanted to be able to let the people closest to them know about the win before claiming the prize.

Officials say the Arndts, who are in their early 40s, don't want to be interviewed about their big win.

The kicker? I'm told they attend the Covenant church in the city!

Good grief, I'm here preparing a talk on the stewardship of wealth, with illustrations that indicate the very poor odds of winning 649, and I get an email with news that someone we know of, has succeeded at it.

Que the Twilight Zone music please somebody.

I gotta rethink this.

...does it make it ok if they Tithe %10 ???



Dust in the Wind

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

I was practicing my Jesus skills on this one. I stood out on the Churches fire escape rebuking the wind.

Seems I've got a ways to go yet.



That's gonna leave a mark...

This morning during our early (6:30) prayer time at the church, I was being still, waiting on Him. I was reading through Isaiah 53, and my eyes fell on verse 10. I stopped and reread it;

"Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain."

An amazing reminder to me that pain isn't always the enemy, and that if I spend my days fighting the pain, I may be fighting God. Wow.

It was Gods will, not even just to hurt him a little, but to crush him, dead.

So, is God in my pain? Have I even looked for Him there, or do I instantly assume it isn't his work, fighting it tooth and nail.

And pain isn't only physical. What of the pain of separation, the pain of loss? What about the pain of unanswered prayer?

If I look for God in the pain, I might see nothing but sorrow. Or, I may find some answers to life's questions. I may find direction and purpose and provision. I might see love and mercy, or so many other gifts of life, yes, in the pain.

I need to let this soak in a bit more.



Missed a meeting tonight

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Well, just finished a very cool gathering. I was headed to Suddenly Seminary, but I misread the time it started, so I got there after it was over!

Most everybody had left, but there were still a few around to connect with. Topics included were, where we were from, why we blog, being to old to dance, what God's doing in these new ideas and places today, and uh, who is us.

We met in Boaz Lounge, somewhere on a server probably located in the UK. There were people there from London, Texas, The Netherlands, Canada, etc.

Afterwards, we went over to another guys place for mochas.

These places have huge potential for connection. I will be watching to see how they develop and grow.

At the Boaz Lounge.







Later, sipping Mochas at a very happening apartment.



The Important Stuff

Monday, July 12, 2004

I know that Manitoba, and more particularly, Winnipeg sells more Slurpees than anyplace else. Period.

But we are committed to changing that bit of trivia. Our goal is to make Prince Albert the Slurpee Sucking Capitol of the world, so every Monday night we all hop in the van and head up to 711 and get one.

Mmmm, I'm enjoying a MountainDew Livewire which is a kicked up orange flavour.

Brain freeze rules!



The Return of the King

Sunday, July 11, 2004

We watched this film tonight.

There are so many images, layers and concepts in this movie that could be explored, ...

But, for now it's just enough to say again, what an awesome movie. 




A perfect summer evening.

Friday, July 09, 2004



On Call

Got called to the Hospital in the middle of the night, for two different situations.

One was a 56 year old, active young lady who lost a five year battle with breast cancer.

Somebody out there tell the person next to you that you're glad to be alive!



Of Goodness and shadows

It's been quieter in this place than it has been in recent months. That's ok, I'm thinking. And praying alot. I can't think and walk at the same time you know.

I've been thinking about the journey I'm on.

About being a good dad and husband, a son and brother and friend. If I were honest, most of the time I don't feel like I do a awesome job at any of those things.

Then I add a busy week like this one has been and I haven't been a particularly great pastor. At least In terms of the things I wanted to accomplish this week.

Still the tap tap tap on my brain, where am I going...

There is a small mustard seed sized realization in myself that God, who calls himself "Good" is indeed that, "Good."

It follows (for me of the simple mind) then, that, to be near to God as much as possible has a good effect on a person.

That right there is the tension I feel. A hunger to be near him, while it's not always an easy thing, to be near him.

The hunger is a hunger for God, for his sweet presence, for an increase of his goodness, changing who and what I am.

(I've talked of it before, certainly. So if you're tired of hearing about it, that's cool, move along, nothing to see here...)

I am amazed how easily I at least, tend to move towards gimmicks or worship tricks, rather than doing the deep work of walking in the anointing God has given me.

I've been moving back into that much more lately, reminded of my Grandfathers life, and what he sacrificed on a daily basis, just to continue to live in God's presence.

I find that the presence of God is sweeter, more real for the people who gather to worship, if I spend more time in His presence before we meet. Again, the anointing. That's the only word I have for it.

I suspect it's that holy presence of God that most people want to connect with, even if they don't realize it. I wonder if that isn't what "Postmoderns" are looking for. The faith of the Moderns has a form of Godliness, but it is devoid of real power.

Again, being near him, so that there is more of him in more of me. Thus it becomes Him caring for the people.

I have observed that in times of my life that the Holy Spirit comes and overwhelms me, there is usually an immediate change or effect. However, his presence doesn't just remain at that level, it tends to, to decrease over time. I suppose that's why Paul reminds me to continue to be filled with the spirit.

There is something about human nature that thinks, "Wow, I just had a holy moment with God. I will never be the same again!!"

Indeed, life never will be the same again. We will have the gifts and fruit deposited in us that remind us of the holy time. But I find I still need to keep up the connection, rather than live my life remembering the time God met with me.

I'm starting to ramble.

I guess it's very easy to start with God, and move into my own strength and abilities. Lean on my own understanding.

I do know this, like Muller, when I had less money I sure as heck hung onto God a lot more for help and provision, then I do when I have more.

So too, when I have the abilities to lead and care for the people, I tend to rely on God less and less. The stick in the spokes is me relying on my abilities to see eternal fruit happen. Thus God is removed from the equation except as an object of worship.

I want to see more of the fruit of the Holy One in our lives. You know, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

And the life of a pastor, a shepherd, is about leading the people into God's good presence, and getting out of his way. Over and over again.

A professor used to remind me of how the faithful women and men used to speak of seasons of time with God, which would see an increase in the anointing or presence of God around them. This would effect the people they came in contact with. Like Moses who had to wear a veil when he came away from Gods presence. Or Like the early disciples who had people jumping in their shadows to get healed.

He used to ask me; "Anybody been jumpin in your shadow recently Friesen?"

Anybody indeed.


Antoine de Saint Exupery said:

Tuesday, July 06, 2004


"If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders.

Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea."


Antoine must have been on the "Leadership Seminar" circuit of his day. Probably was the first guy to hold his chin with his right hand, and his right elbow with his left hand, (with his robe sleeves rolled up of course.)



Got some pics up from Minneapolis.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Not alot, but here are some of the more interesting ones.

Let's just say the buildings in Minneapolis were very beautiful.















Life in my crib...

Well, tonight I was feeling particularly benevolent towards Lauralea, so I did something I never do, I offered to play a game with her, any game, her choice.

She picked Crib.

I've never played it before so she had to help me lots. What a st**pid game!!

In spite of the fact that I did not have a clue what I was doing, and I moved cards here and there, I won. Which is a big deal cause she's good at it.

So, I am presently unbeaten at Crib. Nope, never been beaten, ever ever ever.




Get this.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Ok, last week when I saw the Mall of America I thought I had finally seen it all. I was wrong.

Iranian woman 'gives birth to frog'

Officially? Now I have seen it all.



The Yoke's on me

Friday, July 02, 2004

You know, Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light."

As part of the service I participated in while I was in Minneapolis, I received a Stole. It's meant to remind me that it's Christ's yoke that I am to be carrying, rather than trying to carry burdens that I was never meant to carry.

So coming home last weekend was interesting.

I had been travelling in wide open spaces for days. The sky was big and open, physically and spiritually, and I felt a freedom and release that I hadn't felt for such a long time.

I remember last summer, dragging my butt into summer holidays, aware that I was in burnout trouble. But this trip made me realize how differently I felt this summer. I really felt lighter, and God seemed close, and so clear.

When I got home I began to see things again, probably as I saw them before I left on the trip.

I saw the repairs we need to make on the house, and felt the weight of not having the cash to do them.
I felt the weight of wanting to give the kids some of the things they need to see from me, yet being unable to offer them.
Family vacation, tired, broken van, yard work demands.......

I kinda freaked a bit on Lauralea. The best way to describe it was that it all felt like it was closing in on me. That life was suddenly tight and ill fitting, and heavy.

I went to church the next day and experienced a similar feel. I saw all the situations that needed attention. The structure, the budget, the direction and goals. Listless worship, overlooking the stranger, some unconcerned hearts.

It felt heavy and tight too, like a dead weight was hanging on to me as I tried to move along.

Now, I have known for a while that I tend to carry too much of the things of life. I have been warned about this for some time, and I have prayed about it, studied it, received counselling on it. But it's always been difficult to see what I should carry and what I should leave alone.

Till this week.

I've been processing this bit of realization all week. I am surprised by the weight of the things that I carry around. They have taken my joy and my life. They have made me to live beneath dark heavy skies, and a self-imposed heaviness. Turns out I may even be a worrier!!

This carrying around of these worries and concerns actually positions me as my own god. That I am responsible to see life change for the needs around me. Yikes, that's one slippery slope there.

Now, I do know I'm not to live beneath this stuff. And I realise that the yoke of Christ and his burden are far easier to carry than the many things I try to carry around. But these truths became very clear to me this week. So I began to offload them, or perhaps I should say upload them.

I began to ask his input into things, asking Him to take control for some of these needs that I cannot carry around any longer. And it was freeing, again.

"God, I can't seem to do anything about _________________________. What can you do about it?"

And the answers have begun to trickle in, bit by bit, prayer by prayer.

I know I had issues, but I never realized I should join a group and stand up and say "Hello, my name is Randall and I'm a worrier."

And I know as sure as I write this that I'm not out of the woods yet. But I am grateful that He has me on a path that leads to freedom and a life of deep joy and contentment.

I used to know this path much better, and I'm not sure where I got distracted, but for today I'm glad that my vision is a little clearer, and the load a little lighter.


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