Total Pageviews

Monday, 30 July 2012


Last month I wrote about my brother Paul who committed suicide.

Sometimes when we open up our hearts to others we expose dim, dusty corners. It's like opening the curtains on a sunny morning. What had been gray and indistinct becomes clear, you can suddenly see detail.

After I wrote that post, one memory kept coming back to me. It was the last conversation I had with my brother. The kids and I were in Owen Sound visiting my parents. At the time we had three children, a seven month old, a two year old and a nine year old. We'd spent part of the day with Paul. The rest of the day was spent keeping up with the children. During the afternoon and evening Paul called numerous times to speak with my mother. She was a patient, kind and understanding woman, her heart went out to anyone who needed help. She was a good listener, which is why Paul called her so often. Sometimes though, it's the compassionate, kind people who wear themselves out. That evening my mother was exhausted. When my brother called for the umpteenth time that day, I picked up the phone, he wanted to speak to my mother again. I told mom who it was and her face fell, she was wiped out, drained. I felt caught, my brother needed to talk, my mother was worn out. I thought maybe he would talk to me. I told him that Mom was worn out and needed a rest, too tired to come to the phone. Paul exploded! He screamed in my ear. At that moment I knew that any conversation was not possible so I said, "Paul I love you but I have to hang up now." He yelled again and I hung up. It was the last time I spoke to him, he died less than a week later.

Remembering this makes me deeply sad. I have never really thought about that last conversation. I didn't wanted to look at that memory, I kept it in a corner, half hidden. I was aware of it but I ignored it. I didn't want to look at it because it hurt too much and I had those awful niggling feelings of guilt.

Since I wrote the post that memory has been exposed to the fresh air and light of Jesus love. I have cried, mourned. I wish that my last conversation with my brother had been pleasant, but it wasn't. I have talked with Jesus about it and he is helping me to see the memory more clearly. My brother had attempted suicide before, more than once. He was a troubled young man and I was unable to help him, it was beyond me, beyond my mother, father or any of my other brothers. We did what we could and it wasn't enough. We are only human.

 Paul gave his heart to Jesus, he went through the waters of baptism, but still suffered in a way that few understand. He is with the Lord in a place where there is no sorrow or suffering.  The Lord gave me this portion of scripture long ago about my brother, "A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out." God's grace is greater than any other; he is full of compassion and mercy.

Wonderful the matchless grace of Jesus,
Deeper than the mighty rolling sea;
Wonderful grace, all sufficient for me, for even me.
Broader than the scope of my transgressions,
Greater far than all my sin and shame,
O magnify the precious Name of Jesus.
Praise His Name!

Sunday, 29 July 2012


When I was young, I ran away from God.

At the age of twenty, I was a new mother, living with a man who was still married to someone else. We lived in Alberta. When the economy turned bad I returned to my parents' house while the man I was living with looked for work. At home, I encountered Jesus and came face to face with my own heart. He spoke to me of his love and goodness, of the sacrifice that he had made for me. I saw my heart in light of his goodness, purity and faithfulness. I saw my unworthiness. I had been living a half-life, solely devoted to myself and pursuit of happiness. I understood that he was offering me more than happiness or pleasure. In him, I would find a well of living water, fresh, clear and satisfying. As the months wore on he spoke to me and said "don't go back to Alberta, trust me, I will be all you need, I will fill all the gaps." I came very close to giving in, I even called the man I loved and told him I would not be returning. Then sanity returned. I had given over a year of my life to this man, had a child with him. I faltered in my determination to stay in Ontario. I called him back in tears and said, "Forget what I just told you, I'm coming back".

Once I had made the decision to return to Alberta, I closed my ears to Jesus voice, ignored the scratchy feeling in my heart that told me I was making a mistake. I ran away from God and into another's arms where I had no business being. I thought I could go back to life as usual but I had no peace. I could not turn off the voice of God no matter how hard I tried. I was lonely during the day and terrified at night. When my partner was away from home over night I could not bring myself to turn out the light, I would lie curled in a ball under my covers until I fell asleep. Everywhere I looked, I encountered the Lord's message, on billboards, in songs, at the library. Every time I turned around he was there and yet I was far from him. "Day and night [his] hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped." (Psalm 32:4) Finally, one day I could stand it no longer I got down on my knees and cried, "Oh God, forgive me! I can't ignore you anymore and I don't want to live without you! I don't care what I have to do; I want to have you in my life." At that moment I knew, he was asking me to leave the man I loved, the one I had a child with. I tried to get out of it, I asked the man if we could get married, but he said no. When he said no my heart sank and I said, "Well then I think I have to leave." There was no pleading, no argument, just "yes, I guess you do."

It was not easy; I cried for 7 days off and on, I could not seem to stop the tears. In the end, I got on a plane and returned to Ontario. As I walked away from the man, I loved, a weight fell from me, my sorrow disappeared and I was free. I never turned back.

When I left Alberta I didn't know if I would be single for the rest of my life. I could not see mysef ever loving another man. After a few years I began to long for a partner. My focus changed from living for the Lord to living for the day when I'd be married. My peace was disturbed, I became dissatisfied, lonely.  But God is good and he turned my eyes back on him and my peace returned.

One day the Lord brought a good man into my life, I fell in love and got married. Pete and I have shared 25 years together. God has been faithful, he has helped us change and grow together as we raised our children and made our way through life. It was the Lord's plan for me to have someone special, I just had to wait for his timing and his man.

The Lord has never let us down. At our wedding we sang the hymn, "Great is thy faithfulness" and I have discovered the truth of that. I am overwhelmed daily at his love and goodness. I am blessed daily by his grace. He has promised "I am with you always, even to the end of the age". He is faithful.

 I have also discoverd that the Lord is that "river of living water" and I need never be thirsty.

There is a river that flows from deep within.
There is a fountain that frees the soul from sin.
Come to these waters, there is a vast supply.
There is a river that never shall run dry. (Sapp)

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. Psalm 103:1-5