I’m No Sissy!

I uttered those words just this week while at a Canadian Tire store with my youngest daughter, Elizabeth.

You see I have been subject to a very annoying buzzing sound as I have been driving around in my minivan. It happens the moment I turn my key on to start the van. I immediately hit the reset button only to have the annoying sound reappear every time I turned on my left turn signal. This ever present annoying sound was to draw my attention to the fact that my left blinker bulb was burnt out. And given that I spend a lot of time driving here and there for kids’ activities, you can only imagine my growing frustration. So I decided to do something about it.

I had about an hour of spare time this past Friday morning (a rare thing!) so I decided I was going to fix this annoying problem before I went crazy. (Me and crazy might not be a very pretty sight.) So, I did what I thought every woman might do. I pulled out the manual to the van and searched for blinker bulb (aka turn signal) and hunted down what I would need and how to change it.

So here I am in Canadian Tire with the van book in my hand speaking to the sales agent (who also happens to be a woman) and telling her the exact part I need in order to fix my problem. Elizabeth, overhearing our conversation says to me, “Mom, I think you better wait for Dad to do that.” I looked at her and my immediate, and I mean immediate response was to say, “I’m no sissy!” Now, I’m not saying women that choose to wait for their husbands to fix something are sissys because they are not. I reacted that way because I was confident, in my own mind, that I could do this (I didn’t need Albert to do it!) because the book gave me a step-by-step procedure.

On Saturday morning (I couldn’t stand another day of annoying reminders!) I popped the hood of my van, pulled out the two anchoring pins that held the headlamp, pulled the headlamp from its resting spot, turned the existing socket (that held the bulb) counterclockwise and removed the burnt out bulb. I replaced it with the new one (which I was rather proud of purchasing all on my own!) and then I put everything back together again. Then came the big moment. I started my van, turned the left signal on and jumped out to see if I had done what I had set out to accomplish. Indeed I did! I had successfully, on my own, replaced the bulb in my van. I am driving around now without that annoying sound –though I’m sure at some point, given our van has about 270,000 kilometres on it, that something else is going to go and my trusty (sometimes annoying!) van will bring it to my awareness. (I wish it would sing me a great song or something though!)

So why write about this? First because it is a funny story that I’m sure many of you (my women friends) can identity with. Perhaps you haven’t changed a bulb recently, but you have experienced or sensed at times that because of your gender you were seen as not able or capable of doing something. The second reason I wrote about it was because I was reminded of how necessary having turn signals are. Signals are a means of communication with fellow travellers on the road; signals tell others that we are moving in a certain direction.

Now if you’ll permit me (though you don’t really have a choice because it’s my blog) I’m going to take this in a different direction to end this funny story. I believe that many of us can wander aimlessly in life looking for a sense of purpose and direction. We can often travel down roads that by the world’s standards may seem successful (nice house, nice toys, beautiful family) but on the inside we are reeling. And I believe the answer to humanities deepest need is Jesus.  Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Jn 8:12

So, what signal are you following? Is it time to replace the old with the new?

With Special Care

Last night before I laid my head down to get some rest, I picked up one of my Bible’s from many years ago. I’m one of those types that mark up my Bible by highlighting, underlining, writing important dates down and just generally writing all over margins. It’s one of the ways I learn. So needless to say, I have a few around the house and I keep one of them by my bed. So last night before I went to sleep, I opened my Bible to just read a few passages and I came to Jeremiah 1 and I began to read.

As I was reading I noticed that I had tucked the date January 19,1997 by Jeremiah 1:5. So I thought on that verse for some time before falling asleep. When I woke up this morning, I decided that I was going to do a short reflection on that particular verse.

The word of the LORD came to Jeremiah according to 1:4. In the Hebrew, the word for came is הָיָה hayah. It is a word that carries more meaning than simply something coming to Jeremiah; it is a word that expresses something ‘happening’ to Jeremiah. And in this particular instance, Jeremiah is encountering the living God and Jeremiah is experiencing something powerful in his life. And there are three things I want to point out from 1:5.

The three things are:

1. God knew him.

2. God had set him apart.

3. God had appointed him with a specific purpose.

All of the above show God as having intimate knowledge of the details of Jeremiah’s life. God’s care in forming him, God’s intimate knowledge in Jeremiah’s formation (God was part of the formation!) and lastly, God “appointment” or purpose for Jeremiah. I’m not suggesting that Jeremiah’s life is more special than any other life. What I’m wanting to encourage you with today is this: The same kind of care, the same kind of longing for separation and the same desire to show you your purpose is still a truth for us today.

God knows us, God desires for us is to be set apart for him and God has appointed us with a special purpose. Part of being free to become is working that out in our lives.

Blessings as you ponder the intimate knowledge of God concerning you.

Free to Become

In recent weeks I have been pondering a word that the Lord deposited into my heart during a recent chapel service. And that word was, “you are free to become in Christ.” In sharing the word that day, I shared with those present that we are free to become who God has purposed for us to be, and that in Christ we can become that person.

Since sharing that word that day, I have come to realize that it was also meant for me. A word from God that was meant to encourage others was also meant to strengthen and encourage my own heart and to prepare me for a season I was about to enter. So, I decided to blog about it and share it with those of you who take time to read my blog. I want you to know up front that writing is not a primary gift, and often grammar is difficult for me. (I’m working on it!) Nevertheless, I want to write because I want to process. And this writing is especially for my female friends who, like myself, are on a journey of discovery.

Who am I? And what is my purpose? What is God calling me to do? And what has he gifted me with? God, are these dreams I have in my heart from you or….? These are questions that from time to time I have asked myself. Have you? Do you have dreams, passions or ideas that will sometimes grip your heart and you find yourself saying, God please? Or at other times saying, oh Lord, please no!

Free to become in Christ gives us permission to ask the questions. And questions are good! I also think as we ask the questions we invite the Lord to show us his handiwork and his desire for us. This has often happened for me step by step, opportunity by opportunity, conversation by conversation, revelation upon revelation, and year by year. I believe that God is still creating me, or perhaps some might say recreating…

I say creating in an ongoing sense because I am convinced that workmanship takes time, especially good workmanship. The scripture says, “he who began a good work in you will see it through to completion.” So, it seems to me (and you are free to weigh in!) that there is a starting point and a completion point for every work of God in our lives, including the continued formation of who we are. And though hard at times, I must accept that this working of craftsmanship is to be a life-long process. But – there is freedom to become. And enveloped in that freedom is the gift of “becoming new.” Of allowing the old Carmen to die in order that she might live, and that she might live as Christ is forming her to be. Though this is a process, I want to say upfront that I do NOT have all the answers…I’m on a journey of discovery.

In recent years I have felt extremely blessed to be in an environment where I have felt affirmed, accepted and challenged to “become.” And part of my journey this last few years has been spent engaged in intentional study of God’s word. This will be a lifelong journey for me, and this type of study is something I have discovered feeds my soul and is something I totally enjoy! But for a moment, actually for longer than a moment, I am going to pause and do some internal work, or if you will, some self-examination. Why? Because there are some things I wish to explore about the ways that God has created me. And I am aware that in turning inward it could be argued that I am taking my eyes off God because it’s an inward focus. But I’m going to focus there for a season, and I’m doing that through various personality profile types of tests (tools can be helpful!) and through the readings of scripture and various other books. And I would suggest that if I am “fearfully and wonderfully made”, then to spend a season of learning about what that means could actually help me to understand something of God and his handiwork. In fact, as I was processing with some of my girlfriends tonight, I posed this question: Can I learn something about the Creator by examining his creation?

So my friends, I want to encourage you that you too are free to become in Christ. You are free to be changed. You are free to examine the creation of the creator – and that means you!

Quotes of the Day

“And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom.” Anais Nin

“The purpose of your life is not to grow into someone else.”

 

Context Matters – Why the name choice?

Why the name?

For at least a year I have been feeling like I needed to find a central location to write, or if truth be told, learn to write. It is my hope that as the years pass I will become a more fluent and creative writer. But that day is not yet upon us, so those of you that follow this blog will also follow someone who deeply desires to grow, and she will make several mistakes along the way. Thank the Lord for grace!

That said. I chose this name because it is reflective of my journey in Christ, and it is a message that I’ve felt him empower me to encourage others with. Being free to become is a message of  encouragement and empowerment because there is great freedom in discovering who God created you to be and in discovering what your life’s purpose is. There is much that can be unpacked as we discover the unique ways that God has, and is, creating each one of us to be.

As a mom of six amazing children (though several of them are now young adults!), I desire for each one of them to find themselves “in Christ” and to embrace all that he has for them.

Additionally, I had originally thought to go with a name that ended in .ca but would have had to have purchased that from another site (adding yet more work!) and so I had to choose the the available endings here. The .org ending leaves room for this to grow into a place/ministry that in more than just about my journey. I wanted to leave room for this website to become more than what I currently envision it to be. 🙂

Blessings,
Carmen

Hello world!

Life is a continuous journey of discovery, especially in discovering who we are to “become” or who Christ is “forming” us to be.  In recent years I have felt a nudging to have a more visible and concrete place to share not only my story of “becoming”, but to provide a place where encouragement can be offered to those on the path of discovering who God is inviting them to be.

In the Bible it says, “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Cor 5:17) “God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.” (Eph. 2:10)

I am on a path of discovery, and it is my hope that God will use me, along with several others, to encourage you on yours.

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