Monday, November 28, 2022

The Names of God - Jehovah Shalom

Jehovah Shalom - God is my peace.

Another verse that has been continually returning to my thoughts over the past year or so is Philippians 4:6-7  'Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.'  God wants me to live in peace - without anxieties or concerns.  

This is an outstanding promise, and one I find utterly challenging to take advantage of.  Its so easy to get worried, anxious, and concerned about a multitude of things.  The most tangible example for me currently is when we have thunderstorms in the summer.  I used to love thunderstorms as a kid.  Now that I have a house of my own and experienced some intense prairie thunderstorms with hail that shattered windows and stripped the vinyl siding off of nearby houses, I actually get physically anxious when an extreme storm is forecasted for our area - my heart beats faster, adrenaline kicks in, and I can't stay seated.

God doesn't want me to feel like this!  He wants me to 'cast all my cares upon Him, because He cares for me.'  There are times (like in the middle of a thunderstorm) where I have to sit down and consciously focus and meditate on these promises to release my anxiety.  

Etymology

Gideon gave God the name Jehovah Shalom.  Gideon's life was fear filled up until that point.  He claimed his family as the smallest and weakest family of the smallest and weakest tribe in Israel.  And Israel was the smallest and weakest nation around.  God found Gideon anxiously threshing wheat in a winepress because he was afraid his enemies will find him and steal it.  And when he realized Who showed up to talk to him, he was afraid for his life because 'I have seen the Lord face to face!'  God replied 'Peace. Do not be afraid.  You are not going to die.'  This exchange clearly had a profound impact on Gideon because he built an altar there and called it 'The Lord is Peace' - Jehovah Shalom.

Application

My quality of living is so much better when I've given all my worries, anxieties, and concerns to God.  He doesn't want me to just leave it at that though.  God wants me to share this lighter living with others who are still weighed down.  I'm reminded of St. Francis of Assisi's prayer:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life."
Photo by Colton Duke on Unsplash


Thursday, November 17, 2022

The Names of God - El Roi

El Roi - God sees me.  

Our church is doing a sermon series this summer called 'This Verse Changed My Life.'  One of the verses that had a significant impact on my this year is Genesis 16:13 'Then she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, El-Roi; for she said, “Have I also here seen Him who sees me?”'  

Hagar - Sarah's (Abraham's wife) servant - gave God this name after she ran away from Sarah.  She was distraught, emotional, and pregnant.  God promised her things would work out for her and her son if she returned to Sarah.  Hagar clearly had special moment with God because in giving him this name I believe she was saying, 'You understand me.  You see the full spectrum of my life experience - you know and perceive me.  Thank you for seeing me and my predicament and meeting me where I'm at.'

I Am Seen

I was personally encouraged when this story and name El Roi was re-illuminated for me again this year.  Honestly, for the impact its had on me, 'personally encouraged' sounds weak.  God sees/perceives/recognizes me - every part of my life.  He knows where I've been, all my past experiences, my current situation, when I feel overlooked or ignored or taken advantage of, and all my foibles, faults, frailties, fickleness, and fears.  He groks the entire context of my life, understands who I am, the promise of my life, my potential, and wants to encourage me, too.  Remembering this is an immense comfort for me. 

Nathanael had a similar experience the first time he met Jesus.  In an instance he flip-flopped from being super skeptical to being a completely sold out, convinced follower of Jesus after Jesus said '...I saw you under the fig tree...'  at the end of John chapter 1.  What would make Nathanael do such an about face?  Like his Father, Jesus truly sees.

The names of God - El Roi - God Sees Me. Do I see others?
Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

Isn't being seen a foundational human desire?  It certainly seem to be for me.  I often find myself longing to be genuinely perceived, understood, recognized, and known by someone - particularly people in authority that I admire.  When I let the truth that God sees (and has seen) everything about me sink into my soul though, it changes me.  I'm not as frustrated when I'm interrupted.  I'm not as disappointed when I'm overlooked, misunderstood, or forgotten.  I am seen, heard, and understood by the One who matters most.

Application

God doesn't want me to just be comforted by this realization.  He wants me to live it out, be his ambassador, and truly see others as He does.  I need to slow down, pause, and sincerely consider other's perspective, experiences and context in life beyond me.  Then further, make them aware that they are seen too.


The Names of God

The Names of God

I loosely try and use the Lord's prayer as a model in the morning for my own prayers - at least lately.  See this link for previous prayer patterns I've practiced (love that alliteration).  More specifically, I've been considering who God says He is - how He's revealed His greatness through His name to me personally - and thanking Him for that.  Hallowed (or great) be Your Name...  I've found this combination of thankfulness and remembering His greatness to me particularly potent in a positive way.

The Bible actually focuses a lot on God's names.  Often there are phrases like 'bless the name of the Lord', 'for your namesake' and, like above 'hallowed be Your Name.'  Names carry an enormous significance in the Bible.  Many of the different names of God in the Bible came from different people's experiences with God and actual 'revelations' they had of who God is.  Essentially they're saying 'I experienced the living God in this way...'  

As I consider the kaleidoscope of all the different names of God from the Bible, I find God is ready and more than able to meet my needs for living, anywhere, anytime.  God the Seer, God of ages, God the healer, God my peace, God with me, God of all comfort, God the provider, God my hope and protector, etc.

So what are some of the names of God that I remember and I'm specifically thankful for?

The names of God - a view above the clouds
Photo by Taylor Van Riper on Unsplash




Saturday, October 15, 2022

A Father's Fear - Kids & Accidents

 Have you even been in a situation where you're watching an event unfold right in front of you, and the person involved in that event is going to get hurt, potentially badly, and there's nothing you can do to help them?  There isn't enough time for prevention, you're half aghast that the event is actually happening, and all you can do is observe while your stomach drops to your toes.  You hardly even have time to murmur a quick prayer:  'Oh God...'

I had events happen like this with each of our kids when they were younger - one with Kornelia, and one with Erik.  Fortunately, God protected both of them from getting seriously hurt in both circumstances.  Here's what happened...

Flying Like Peter Pan

Did you ever get confused as a kid with the brakes on a bike?  I think like most people, Kornelia's first bike had brakes in the pedals.  Then, when when she got a bigger bike, the brakes moved up to the handle bars.  Trying to stop that bigger bike with the pedals doesn't work very well, AT ALL.  I think this may have happened to Kornelia...

I took the kids for lots of bike rides when they were younger.  Calgary has lots of great paved biking paths.  One summer Saturday when Kornelia was about 11 or 12,  I took her for a pretty good ride - maybe 10 kms or so.  On the way back, the route I chose had a rather steep hill on it.  There were two routes down - one was paved and zig-zagged down the hill so it wasn't so steep.  The other route was a trail that went straight down the hill, intersecting the paved path at a couple of points.  

I went down the hill first and took the straight path.  I thought Kornelia would take the paved path, but she didn't.  I looked up in shock to see her coming straight down the path I'd just ridden.  The steep decline accelerated her quickly and she panicked, forgetting where her brakes were.  I might have yelled, 'Use your brakes!' but if I did, she didn't hear it.  She rocketed down to the bottom of the hill as I watched, transfixed and terrified.   

The bottom of the hill was immediately flat, but there were numerous obstacles:  A garbage can held solid with a cement foundation; a large boulder to prevent vehicles from driving up from the road; and large bushes all around.  I had no idea how she'd manage to navigate around these obstructions or where she would go.  Everything unfolded in slow motion for me.

God's protection - bike wipeout and swing fall

When Kornelia and her bike hit the bottom of the hill, she launched off her bike and flew like Peter Pan.  I believe God's angels were there giving her an extra guiding push, because she flew quite a distance (several metres) into a large wild rose bush.  The bush was so thick it broke her fall, but scratched her a fair bit.  

I nearly pee-ed my pants.  I shook with adrenaline as I helped extricate her from the bush.  God absolutely protected her from serious injury in that situation.  She walked away from that accident with scratches from the rose bush.

Click here for more true stories of God working in my life

Back Flip Off a Swing

Erik was about 4 or 5 when we went to a nearby playground after supper.  It was winter and the sky was already dark. It wasn't too cold though, and we'd had some significant snow recently so it seemed like a fine evening to get some outside activity and fresh air.  Erik was bundled up in a snowsuit, mittens, and a toque.   

After horsing around on some of the more interesting apparatus in the playground, Erik asked if I could push him on the swing.  I helped him on and gave him some pushes.  Being a typical boy, he requested 'Higher, Dad!'  So I pushed him higher.  I imagine the combination of his clumsy mittens and the frost on the chains didn't help Erik's grip. When the swing reached its full forward amplitude, Erik lost his grip on the swing chains and plummeted down.   

Again, for the duration of that fall, everything was in slow motion.  I watched frozen - literally and figuratively - as Erik flipped backwards off the swing and landed headfirst on the ground.  Immediately I thought, 'Can he feel his feet?' and 'Is he conscious?'  I ran over to see how he was.

God cushioned his fall!  He was stunned, his neck was sore, and I think the fall knocked the wind of him, but he was OK otherwise.  But he was no longer interested in playing outside that evening.

"He will command his angels concerning you to guard you carefully"  Luke 4:10

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

New Every Morning - Journal Entry Sept 2022

As I've grown older, I begin to recognize patterns and attitudes in my daily living that I didn't pay attention to when I was younger.  For example, I've noticed if I haven't exercised in a while and then a do some intense cardio where I'm breathing hard, the next day or two will find me coughing up phlegm a fair bit.  Its not a cold, my lungs are 'cleaning up'. 

Another example I've noticed is that some evenings when I'm very tired - particularly after a more intense day - my attitude suffers.   My thoughts tend to get quite negative and brooding.  I can be grumpy with others, and I find it much easier to blame God for things and wonder negatively about my station and position in life.

God's Mercies are New Every Morning

But then...  I've also discovered this other amazing thing:  I can go to sleep and wake up in the morning feeling and believing that 'its a new day with new opportunities and new hope!'  I also find it easier to forgive other people and the issues I had with them from yesterday.  I believe God gives me this gift most mornings - I'm able to see my life with a renewed, refreshed perspective.  

Morning sunrise - God's mercies are new every morning
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

This might sound a bit silly.  And yes, there are mornings where I definitely get out of the wrong side of the bed and I'm grumpy.  However, for me this 'hope and grace' in the morning is a tangible proof of what the prophet Jeremiah says in Lamentations 3:22-23:  

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

God's grace and mercy is new every morning, for us!  I want to continue to try and receive and embrace it, whether I feel like it or not.  Will you, too?

Friday, September 30, 2022

David & The Ark of the Covenant - August 2022 Journal Entry

 Our church is doing a Summer sermon series where different members share about 'This Verse Changed My Life.'  After the very first sermon, I considered which verse that might be for me, and immediately my mind went to 2 Samuel 6:14.  "...and David danced before the Lord with all his might..."  In fact, I've previously written a blog post (click here to read it) about why that verse impacts me so much.

The week after the first sermon in this series was shared, I couldn't get the idea of sharing about my own verse out of my head.  I texted the pastor to see if there would be a possibility of fitting me in the summer schedule.  It turned out that the schedule was full, but when the pastors found out which verse I wanted to share about, they wanted to squeeze me in.  I was pretty excited to be given 5-10 minutes to share in a service.  My shorter talk required me having to 'edit out' several interesting thoughts I had about David's relationship with God and God's heart for us.  I'll share those things in two blog posts - this one below, and this one I wrote earlier.

Bringing the Ark Home

In this previous post about the closing lines of Psalm 23, I talk about the value and importance a shepherd must put on a dwelling place to rest.  A shepherd back then would've spent all their time in the elements, keeping a watchful eye out for their sheep.  It was a 24/7 job with not a lot of comfort.  Coming back home to an actual dwelling with good shelter would be like a vacation for a shepherd. 

Should we be surprised then, when David's first priority after becoming king is to build a house for God?  Or, when God denies David that chance, David still does what he can to bring the Ark of the Covenant close to him and the protection of his home in Jerusalem?  Up to this point, the Ark had been on a rather nomadic (sometimes eventful - see 1 Samuel chapters 4-7) journey.  The shepherd in David wanted to put that past to rest - literally and figuratively.

Doing the Right Thing the Right Way

That's probably why he didn't stall very long after the tragedy of the death of Uzzah on his first try bringing the Ark into Jerusalem (see 2 Samuel 6).  Something like that would have definitely made me pause for a long time and question "Did I do the right thing?  Was it a mistake to move the Ark?"  I'm not sure David was even asking that question - I think he somehow knew in his shepherd's heart the getting the Ark to Jerusalem was the right thing to do.  So he started an investigation into "What did we do wrong?" and discovered that they weren't moving the Ark the correct way.

Interestingly, sandwiched around this story in 2 Samuel are a couple of stories where David is planning battles against enemies and the first questions he asks before doing anything are "Will God give us victory?  If so, what's the correct way to go about getting the victory?"  Unfortunately, he neglected apply this same line of questioning when moving the Ark.  

Where in my life did I do the right thing, but the wrong way?  Sigh.  I'm so thankful for grace and forgiveness because there are a litany of situations where I have managed this effortlessly.  Numerous times I haven't been a tactful communicator.  I tried to communicate the 'right thing' but unfortunately accomplished my goal in an insensitive manner and hurt/offended people.  Several times I've been onstage playing an instrument and either had to volume turned too high, the wrong sound patch configured, or played the wrong chord/notes and ended up creating an atmosphere of acute disharmony and cacophony.  Recently, I fell off my mountain bike while biking and braced my fall like I was landing on snow (as I skied for many years) instead of hard ground.  Oops.  The result?  A small pelvic fracture that makes it uncomfortable to sit weeks later.

I need to pause, reflect, and seek God's opinion before acting, speaking, and making weighty decisions.  

The Significance of the Ark

As I considered the significance of the Ark in this story, I was struck with the difference in what the Ark meant to David versus most other people at that time.  To David, the Ark signified the presence of God.  David wanted to build a physical temple to house the Ark.  He wanted it close to him, precious, protected. To the rest of the nation of Israel, it seemed to be more of a tool to be used to accomplish victory - the power of God.  It was a tool used in battle to try and assure victory.

Ark of the Covenant - God's presence or power?

Examining my own life, why do I seek and follow God?  Is it for His presence, or His power?  Definitely a sobering line of questioning.  I think the 'fruit' in my life - how do I react/respond to various circumstances - provides me with some answers.  When things go well, am I giving God the credit, thankfully rejoicing?  And when life is disappointing, am I blaming God, or happy that He's giving me an opportunity to become more patient and graceful (like Him)?  

David dances because his heart is in the right place.  He's thankfully rejoicing that the Ark is coming back to Jerusalem - home, close to him, and a place to rest.  It had lost its place as Israel's spiritual centre, but David, with God's help, was bringing it back.  Being a man after God's heart, he was ecstatic to see it coming back to its rightful place.  

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Career Change and Work in Calgary

Some Context...

Ewa and I knew that I would not be in the printing business the rest of my life.  The job at Webco in Leduc, Alberta was shift work, dangerous (lots of pinch points and heavy lifting) and many times I came home with my lunch uneaten because we worked straight through the day.  I was quite skinny and both Ewa and my Mom didn't like the way I looked.

But how to do a career change with two dependents and a house mortgage?  I didn't have a good answer to that question until my brother did a career change himself.  He always wanted to be a policeman and got a degree in criminology, but still wasn't hireable (at least at that time) because his eyesight wasn't good enough.  He decided to look for opportunities in a different career and discovered that he could transition to software development with a school in Calgary in 9 months.  When I saw the job offers he received when he finishing that school, you could've knocked me over with a feather.  I spoke to Ewa about it.  We prayed, and decided that I'd apply to the school and we'd see how things went.

God's Help

One of the minimum requirements of the school was a university/college degree, something I didn't have.  I was told I could alternatively write an essay to justify my case for applying without a degree to have that requirement waived.  With God's help, I accomplished that successfully. 

Then there was an exam requirement, which had to be written in person.  Again, with God's help I successfully got over that hurdle with apparently one of the highest scores they'd ever seen.

We sold our house in Edmonton and moved to Calgary so I could start school, using what we made on the house towards school tuition.  

I immensely enjoyed this new education, and worked hard to learn everything I could.  Unfortunately, two thirds of the way through the course, the school itself went bankrupt!  E&Y, the company that handled the bankruptcy, kept 3 of the 9 schools across Canada open and running so all the existing students could finish their schooling so long as they temporarily moved to those cities which still had schools open.  So I ended up wrapping up my schooling in Vancouver that fall and, with God's help, was awarded the 'School Spirit' award for my class.

Career change to software developer


Finding Work - God's Provision

 My schooling wrapped up in the fall of 2001, which was in the middle of the first major 'dot bomb' of the tech market.  No one wanted to invest money in software and technology after Nortel and other large .coms had gone belly-up that year.  Unlike my brother's easy road to work after school, I was did not find a full-time software job until 10 months later.  

Those were the longest 10 months of my life, with a 3 year old and a pregnant wife depending on me.  I questioned God, sometimes bitterly, during that time.  I struggled in my relationship with Him, my expectations of how He would/should provide, and issues I had with entitlement in that season.  It took me years to get over some of the feelings of abandonment and hurt I experienced.  That said, 10 months later, when it seemed there were no software jobs out there for unexperienced junior software developers, I got a phone call and an interview with a large software consulting firm in Calgary called CGI.  Here's an excerpt from my journal some time later...

Aug. 20, 2002

As of Aug. 12, I have been working with my new employer – CGI.  Again, it was totally a God thing how I got that job.  The human resources manager, Cara, saw my resume on workopolis.com where there are thousands of resumes.  She gave me a call in late June I think, and I had a ‘pre-interview’ with her about a week later.  ‘Pre-interview’ because she didn’t have a job position that she could hire me for at that point and time.  

She called back with the opportunity of a real interview for a real job.  Of all the crazy things, I misunderstood the directions for the location of the interview, and thought the office was downtown.  The interview was at 2:00 and at 1:53, I realized I was 60 blocks too far south.  So I called her and left a message to say that I would be late.  Twenty minutes later, I show up.  She appreciated that I left a message and the interview went well, except that I felt unorganized – I didn’t have my documentation that I thought I had, and I forgot to give her the references that I brought with me. 

Anyway, God gave me favour with her, because she kept my resume on the top of her Java pile, and around the end of July (I had already started working framing houses with Steve Sutherland by this time) she called me up to arrange a technical interview.  I made the arrangements talking on the cell phone in the roofing trusses of a house.  I found out I had the job soon after the technical interview and boy was I elated. 

Ewa thought it was interesting that I got this job pretty much the same way I got the job with Webco – they found me and called me, I didn’t call them.  It was a God thing.  I’m using totally the technologies and methodologies that I was hoping for. 

God's provision for us!   

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus
Philippians 4:19

Click here for more true stories of God working in my life

Friday, September 2, 2022

David - A Man After God's Heart - Aug 2022 Journal Entry

Our church is doing a Summer sermon series where different members share about 'This Verse Changed My Life.'  After the very first sermon, I considered which verse that might be for me, and immediately my mind went to 2 Samuel 6:14.  "...and David danced before the Lord with all his might..."  In fact, I've previously written a blog post (click here to read it) about why that verse impacts me so much.

The week after the first sermon in this series was shared, I couldn't get the idea of sharing about my own verse out of my head.  I texted the pastor to see if there would be a possibility of fitting me in the summer schedule.  It turned out that the schedule was full, but when the pastors found out which verse I wanted to share about, they wanted to squeeze me in.  I was pretty excited to be given 5-10 minutes to share in a service.  My shorter talk required me having to 'edit out' several interesting thoughts I had about David's relationship with God and God's heart for us.  I'll share those things in two blog posts - this one below, and the post at this link.

lamb, looking like he's ready to be a rascal and get lost

A Man After God's Heart

This whole thought process below stemmed from the question: 'What would motivate David to dance before the Lord with all his might?'  

Before David is introduced in the Bible, we find the prophet Samuel telling King Saul that God intends to have another person outside of Saul's family succeed him as the next king of Israel - a 'man after God's heart'.  1 Samuel 13:14.  

Samuel later finds David, overlooked by his family, watching the family's flock of sheep.  He anoints David as the next king and then leaves, and David drops back into obscurity until Goliath shows up.  At that point, something interesting happens.  We see David giving his 'battle resume' to King Saul, trying to convince the King to let him fight the giant. 

'But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep his father's sheep, and when a lion or a bear came and took a lamb out of the flock, I went out after it and struck it, and delivered the lamb from its mouth; and when it arose against me, I caught it by its beard, and struck and killed it. Your servant has killed both lion and bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God."' (1 Samuel 17:34-36)

Growing up in British Columbia I was taught from an early age to avoid bears and lions (we had mountain lions).  And to never, never get between them and their food if you could help it.  What David talks about here with King Saul is a suicide mission.  He didn't use his slingshot to kill these predators - he used his hands!  Why would he take leave of good sense and save these lambs?  They weren't full grown and I'm sure there those weren't the only lambs in the flock - who would miss them?  Why does David care so much about a lamb, on more than one occasion?  

I think David loved his sheep.  Consider the 23rd Psalm - 'The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want...'  A person doesn't pen a poem like that without first hand knowledge, experience, and a love for his own sheep.  Love motivates people to do crazy things.  I believe David loved those little lambs and went after them because they were special to him.  They were his companions out on those fields, dear to him.

And God saw this!  I can see God saying 'Hey, look at this young fellow!  He's putting his life on the line going after that lion/bear to save his lamb!  Let's give him a little helping hand... he has a heart like mine.'  And when the dust and adrenaline had settled, David finds himself and his lamb still alive, and the lion/bear dead at his feet.  Time to celebrate!

'For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.'  2 Chronicles 16:9a

What was it that God recognized in David's heart?  Jesus said, 'Greater love has no man than this, than he lay down his life for his friends.'   Another time Jesus told three separate stories trying to help the pharisees see the heart of God:  

  1. The story of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep to find and save the lost sheep,
  2. The story of the widow and her lost coin, and 
  3. The story of the prodigal son.  
In each of these stories something precious was lost, subsequently found and restored to its place, and rejoicing followed...

And David Danced...

So what would make a fellow dance before the Lord with all his might.  Doing a little be of research I discovered that several Bible commentators think that men didn't traditionally dance in public in Israel at that time.  It wasn't done.  So what would make David do this? 

I don't think the story of David dancing before the Lord with all his might was David's first time dancing.  I believe he was comfortable dancing with all his might in public because he'd danced with all his might before, at least twice, privately, over the body of a carnivore that had to tried to steal his special, dear lambs.  I know if I had put my life on the line to rescue something so meaningful to me from a ferocious adversary and somehow claimed victory, I would definitely be celebrating!

And the same goes for the return of the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.  It was getting restored to its rightful place, close to David's house.  It had also been lost/stolen (by the Philistines) and also lost its place as Israel's spiritual centre, but David, with God's help, was bringing it back.  Being a man after God's heart, he rejoiced to see it coming back to its rightful place.

What Does This Mean to Me?

How do I apply what I learned here about both David, God, and their relationship to my life?  I think first and foremost, as I understand more of the heart of God and what He is like, my perspective of everything else changes.  This blog post by a friend (What is God Like by Phil Aud) talks about how important and foundational our understanding of what God is like is.  I'd like to believe that as God reveals Himself to me in meditations like the one above, I change - or rather, He changes me.  My heart softens and the desire grows inside me to emulate Him and His desires: Seek those who are lost, with Gods help find them and help them be restored, and rejoice along with them in their freedom!


Monday, June 13, 2022

Fractured Femur!

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in his dwelling;
He will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.
Psalm 27:5

The Accident

The first Friday in May 2013, Kornelia was high-jumping in gym class at school.  She missed the mat on the landing of her jump and came down very hard on her left knee.  15 year old teenage girls can be drama queens at times, and consequently it can be hard to discern how bad an injury is.  Kornelia could not put weight on her leg or walk following this fall in the gym and so she called Ewa to come pick her up.  Ewa had to drive to the gym door and help her into the truck.  

Upon seeing how Kornelia was feeling, Ewa decided to take her to the Children's hospital here in the city to get the knee looked at.  The nurse in triage looked at Kornelia in the wheel chair and had her wait... and wait.  Finally, after a couple of hours(!), Kornelia was taken in for an x-ray and... Surprise!  They found this:

Original x-ray

The nurses apologized profusely for not taking Kornelia's pain concerns more seriously and making her wait so long.  Kornelia ended up staying in the hospital over the weekend as an operation was required to put pins in the bone to stabilize it for healing.  Here's the femur after that surgery with the pins in it.


It took a while for everything to settle after that eventful weekend.  Kornelia ended up finishing school from home that year.  There were many follow up appointments and physio sessions and she had a modified Physical Education class in school the following year.  Eventually another surgery was required to 'shave' the pins as they were protruding from the bone and tearing her ligaments when she walked.  

I went for a short hike recently with Kornelia and she casually mentioned how grateful she was that we had that second surgery done.  Those protruding pins had made extended walking painful, and now with them shaved down she doesn't even think about it anymore!

God's Protection

During the recovery period, Ewa was sharing this whole story with some friends.  One of them had previously served as a paramedic in the US military, and another currently serves as a paramedic with the local health system.  When they heard what had transpired between the accident at school and the final diagnosis at the hospital they were amazed that nothing worse had happened.  They told us that having sharp bone edges moving close to major leg arteries is a recipe for disaster - sever one of those arteries and one can quickly die of blood loss. 

We were thankful for God's protection over Kornelia on her way to the hospital - getting from the gym into the vehicle without a stretcher, then out of the truck and into the hospital safely as well.  We're also grateful for God's provision of good doctors, and good, free healthcare!

On the way home after surgery

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Erik's Birth and Health Concerns

Let God have all your worries and cares,
for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. 
1 Peter 5:7

Our son Erik was an answer to prayer the day he was born.  He also had a couple health issues as an infant and a toddler that had us concerned for a while, but God was in control.  Here's my journal entries about these experiences:

Erik is Born!

May 11, 2002
We prayed that Ewa’s labour would be on a day that I was off work, so that we could easily get Kornelia over to our friend, Mandy, who would look after her.  We also asked God to arrange it so that it would be during the morning, quick, and natural (as Ewa had a c-section with Kornelia). God totally answered these prayers.  Ewa’s water broke at 10 am on Saturday April 27, and by 11am we were on the way to the hospital and Kornelia was at Mandy’s.  Erik was born at 2:20 that afternoon.  A natural childbirth with 3 and a half hours of labour, and relatively easy.  Ewa felt really good about it.  We took Erik home on Sunday.  God answers prayer!
Later that week he started having ‘episodes’ which turned out to be from low blood-sugar.  We took him to emergency at the children’s hospital on Thursday morning.  They just about let us go saying they couldn't find anything wrong and then Erik had another episode right in front of the doc.  They immediately rushed him into a special room and discovered his blood sugar was less than 1!  They admitted him and he stayed on an IV until Sunday morning. They released us on Monday evening.  Erik was much better and hasn’t had an ‘episode’ since.  Pretty scary though.


Three Years Later...

April 2005
Erik gave us another health scare at the beginning of April.  He had a low blood sugar level and spent some time in the hospital.  He was actually born with low blood sugar, but he hasn't had any problems

with it up to this point.  He spent the better part of a week in and out of the hospital at the beginning of this month.  Fortunately, Calgary has a great children's hospital, and a great staff.  Erik has fully recovered now, and we'll find out tomorrow what the specialists think is up with his blood sugar.  A number of tests were done while he was in the hospital.  We know he doesn't have diabetes, and the doctors were pretty sure there isn't a hormone imbalance.  God is in control.


The Prognosis

The doctors never did nail down exactly what the problem with Erik was.  They believed it was related to his body having troubles metabolizing ketones - basically we couldn't let him go without food too long, otherwise his blood sugar would drop dangerously low.  So we ensured he had snacks as soon as he got up, before he went to bed, and that he never got too hungry during the day.

The doctors felt he'd probably grow out of it, which is seems he did.  He's now a strapping 6'2'' lad, outweighing me by 20 pounds or so.  God is faithful and He hears our prayers.

Click here for more true stories of God working in my life

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Airline Ticket Scam

Our Dream

Ewa and I had a belated honeymoon once she landed in Canada with 'landed immigrant' status in early May, 1996.  I picked her up at the Calgary airport and we drove through British Columbia to Vancouver Island.  During the drive and on the island, we thought how fun and wonderful it would be to one day invite Ewa parents - who had never travelled outside of Poland - to visit us, and show them the mountains and the sea.

Once we moved to Edmonton, it looked like that dream would come to fruition.  We had a small house with extra room for them to stay, and a significant tax return to pay for their tickets.  We purchased some tickets through a Polish travel agent in Edmonton, and waited for Ewa's parents to receive them.  Here's some excerpts from my journals that document what happened next...

AirLine Ticket Scam

May 21, 1997
I have lots of questions.
I got laid off from work today.  Hired April 29 - laid off May 21.  We moved to Edmonton banking everything on this job.  Ewa’s parents are coming in 9 days from Poland.  And I thought the weekend was bad.

May 23, 1997
This evening we found out that the fellow we bought airplane tickets from for Ewa's parents trip isn’t exactly trustworthy.  They haven’t received the tickets yet, and it is a week before they fly. The fellow hadn’t even sent the money.  He said he would send it over a month ago.

June 1, 1997

Ewa' parents in front of the
Alberta Legislature
in Edmonton
God has been good to us.  Apparently, last week Saturday was the last day we could have done anything about the tickets for Mom and Dad.  God got ahold of us just in time as it might have been too late a day later.  Seats became available in economy class which was really a miracle because there was a line up for people to have a seat on the plane and it didn’t seem like the fellow we bought the tickets from was going to pay Mom and Dad’s way up to business class.  He was just leaving the phone off the hook at the store.  So, Mom and Dad are here now.... The travel agent has flown the coop.  The store is closed and he has left the city.  The story made local news.

July 12, 1997
Last weekend, we certainly saw God's faithfulness and Father heart as we went on a weekend trip to Calgary, Canmore, Banff, and the Rockies.  We had a great time and it couldn’t have worked out better.  The weather was fantastic.  Our trip itinerary filled up nicely and we saw lots of wildlife.  2 bears, a moose, mountain goats, sheep, a couple deer and lots of elk.  It was a great experience for Ewa's parents. 


Ewa and her Mom in the
Christmas store in Banff


God's Protection and Provision

God protected and provided for us.  We didn't lose the flight tickets - Ewa's parents arrived and returned safely. 

Even through that crazy summer with no job (see this post), no steady income, and other disheartening experiences, we were able to take them for a weekend to see Calgary, Banff, Jasper, and the Ice-field Parkway. 

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.  Phillipians 4:19

Click here for more true stories of God working in my life

The Names of God - Jehovah Shalom

Jehovah Shalom - God is my peace. Another verse that has been continually returning to my thoughts over the past year or so is Philippians 4...