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Taking Paul’s advice

fallThe Apostle Paul loved to write letters.  In fact most of our New Testament comes from God’s inspiration through his pen.  Paul wrote as if he was right in the room with those he was communicating with.  He patted them on the back when it was deserved, and he wasn’t afraid to kick them in the butt when it was deserved too.

Paul, along with about 100 partners in ministry started many churches.  And the legacy of that continues today.  One of his challenges, that is so easily taken out of context – just by changing one little word – can be found in the letter to the people who were Jesus followers in Thessalonica.  Many very well meaning people will quote the 8th verse of the the 5th chapter as “give thanks FOR all circumstances”, but it actually reads “give thanks IN all circumstances”.  Quite the difference, isn’t it.  It’s much more human to be able to find something to be thankful for IN whatever we find ourselves in, but to be thankful for whatever we are in is much harder.  I don’t think God wants us to ever miss our humanity.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.  A time to gather with our families and friends, to enjoy the fruits of the harvest, and reflect on the good things that the past year held for us.  Some folks even go around the table stating what they are thankful for before they begin the feast.

This year is a Thanksgiving I have been praying would be many years yet in it’s arrival. It’s the first year without my mom at the table. Mom, you see, was quite the hostess. She loved dinners when every pot in the kitchen had been used, and the table was full of dishes and people, and the air very loud with conversation. Over the last number of years, that celebration was much smaller, but she still loved to gather at the table with family, and friends alike. Last year, she wasn’t up to travelling – so we took thanksgiving dinner to them. Jeff bar-b-qued the turkey breast, and I took all the fixings.

I’m so glad we did that – and had I known then, what I know now, I would have made a much bigger deal about it. I would have relished her joy at having busyness in her kitchen, and savoured every bit of laughter that she shared that day. So, this year’s celebration will be different, but a celebration all the same.

You see, the rest of the passage where Paul says to give thanks also says, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” Even prayer-stained hallelujahs are still hallelujahs. God woke me up this morning, He didn’t have to do that, and because He gives me the gift of another day – I will say thanks. My dad is still able to drive to our place, and he is looking forward to having this weekend with us- and I will say thanks. I get to spend this holiday with my beloved, and have the joy of hearing him preach the Word – and I will say thanks. We have all the food (and more) that we need, a lovely home, each other, warmth, good health, the love of those around us, and opportunities beyond measure – and I will say thanks.

Am I happily anticipating this first year’s gathering without mom – not for a moment. But, I know where she is, and that she is at the foot of her Saviour in perpetual worship, no longer sick or hurting- and I will say thanks. For a life well-lived, and a love well-shared, and a faith well-passed along.

May your thanksgiving be IN all things, no matter where life finds you this year. Know that God loves you more than you can ever imagine. That’s worth saying “Thank You” for.

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Posted by on October 11, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

A Great Cloud of Witnesses

ImageToday has always been an important one on our family’s calendar, and for the first time in my life – I don’t feel like celebrating.  Mom would have turned 85 today, but just 3 short weeks ago we said our final goodbyes.  I miss her more than I ever thought I could miss anyone.  I guess you are never ready not have your mom in your life.

Before she died, she was honoured to be working on a talk to give to her ladies group at her church.  She had been asked to speak at their mother’s day gathering.  For a couple of months she worked on her presentation – complete with complimentary scripture.  Her focus that day was the rich faith heritage that she grew up with.  She has been missing her mom terribly, and reflected on just what Grandma Hayton’s faith meant in her life.

To honour her birthday – I want to share her words with you here…

 

My Mom – Barb Tubb, for May 6th 2014. 

First: a question- did you love your Mom as a child? Of course! Did you love your mom as a teenager? Yes! But did you like her? My mom and I loved each other, but we didn’t like each other from my 13th birthday to my 19th year. I was very amazed at 19 how smart MOM had become in those few years. NOT ME – HER. 

As I grew older, I began to pay attention to her and realized how much she gave of herself in Christ’s name, her family and to others who needed her. As I look back I remember so much about her – she’s been my Christian heroine for so many years! How I miss her. 

Mom was born in 1894 in Arkona, ON into a very Christ-centered Baptist Church attending family. As a child I grew up in the midst of 11 deacons, 6 ministers, and 6 missionaries. Every Sunday, if weather was good, our whole family gathered in Grandma and Grandpa’s yard under the big maple trees for fellowship and dinner. Great times of singing, laughter and worship. When the name of Dr. Shields began to be in the conversation, things began to change. “The Split of the Baptist church” was almost here. Ministers could argue nicely. Sadly, some people were missing after a while at our gatherings. The Convention Church remained and the Fellowship Church was born. 

After a farm accident in which my dad lost the power part of his right leg and was unable to farm, we moved to London where dad worked for “The Weights and Measures Department”. We went to Wortley Road Baptist Church.  Church was our life, Sunday mornings,(Mom was going to tell a story about Uncle Harold, but I have no idea what it was –Dad) Sunday School in the afternoon and Sunday Night Worship. Men and Women’s Groups, Bible study, children’s groups, drama time, family times. In my life, I was either at Church, at home and school or skating. 

My mom and dad were lay missionaries at the Indian reserve near Delaware. Mom was a nurse, and worked part time for the Public Health. They went to the reserve every other Saturday and we kids went also. Mom taught woodworking, making repairs, etc. At 3 pm was Bible study. Dad in his spare time helped Dr. Jury look for artifacts along the Thames. Sometimes we kids went. Dad was made and honourary Cheif. They mad him a full length Turkey Feather headdress. The Pow Wow was exciting 

Mom became very ill with cancer when I was 5 and spent the next 5 years in and out of hospital at St. Joseph’s. We kids couldn’t go in to see her. Dad would wheel her to the sunporch on the south corner and we’d talk to her. The first time I saw the sun porch being pulled down I cried. So many memories!  In between her times in the Hospital, she was always busy with us, of course and working as a nurse for helping the needy as a public health nurse. 

In the 30’s and 40’s, “Manor Park” was the area the other side of Warncliffe, between Bruce and Langarth and the Coves. Mom and Aunt Pearl spent many times there helping with Hygiene and eradicating things like lice and Impetago. They also taught sewing, knitting and patching clothes and how to live in a new country. I can still se mom and Pearl climbing into the old Ford car, each with a basket full of medicines, Lice combs, washcloths, cleaning products, Bandages and tables of potassium permanganet, (the cure all for all things). Mom’s favourite statement – “it’s no shame to be poor, stay clean in body and spirit” 

Our house was like a refuge home from the mailman stopping for hot tea in winter, or cool lemonade in summer (on the front verandah, of course). Our farm relatives would send home with us in the smmer, exta vegs. Dad and Mom distributed them to the needy. People in distress came also in the flood of 37, we – like so many – others took in families for over a week, until they could go home. We 3 kids weren’t happy and we gave up our beds and slept on the floor. Many people came for help. At first as young kids we resented it at times. As we grew up we too became involved. All of this she did between her times of illness.  Of course, we had nannys when she was ill. But when she was well -oh my.   Saturday was baking time. All the kids around knew this. Dozen of cookies were eaten, but not before Bible time. No sitting for cookies till Bible stories were told, oh, how it worked. Mom could make David and Joseph and other stories come alive. 

In 1939, our parents had decided to go back to England – Dad’s home. Trunks were bought and filled the living room. In September Grandpa Hayton phoned. “Don’t come, Germany’s acting up. It will be over soon!!” In 1941 Dad was invited to come to Fort Erie to teach woodworking at Fleet Aircraft. So we went by train. It was just after Easter, and we were in spring clothes. At Fort Erie, we got off to snow as high as rooftops. I tried to get back on the train – no way.  During the war, houseing was scarce in Fort Erie. So we ended up at a house in nearby called Erie Beach. After a while we met nice people and discovered there were two houses where people didn’t live up to Baptist standards. 

The “good” people met at our house for House Church, Bible Study and began to plan to build a Baptist Church.  Mom began to worry about the young girls at “Nellies” The house of ill repute, mom called it. Mom would go out of her way to talk to the girls about Jesus and forgiveness. Many of the girls, Dad and Mom would take back to their homes in Buffalo. Sometimes, they let the girls sleep in their spare room. Mom, at 4’ 9” was small, but mighty! Nellie, the “lady” of the house would spit at mom whenever she saw her.

When Dad died at 60, Mom moved into an apartment, and became Mom to them all, and again her house was like a refuge place. Cancer was discovered again in here 80’s, after so many years of remission. 24 hour care was needed. At the residence, she became Mom again to 4 younger people who had had strokes. She taught remedial reading at the school across the road and WORE SLACKS FOR THE FIRST TIME (she also won a bowling trophy!)  Mom was a blessing for Jesus. She took a stroke at 85. So many people we didn’t even know came to say Good-bye. “your mom did this for me” The nurese from the home came and shared teaars with us and stories. Friend, old neighbours, all with stories and all ended with “What your mom gave to us, in Jesus’ name”.

 Psalm 78, Timothy 1:3-10a, Deuteronomy 6:1-9

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Posted by on May 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

My eyes were leaking …

Sunday morning was a moment I’ve been waiting a long time for.  My heart was more ready for it than I anticipated, and as I returned to my seat from that moment – and paused to say my own Thank You…my eyes began to leak.  It was nothing tragic, or remotely upsetting.  In fact, it was far, far from it.

Since being able to make St. Paul’s my church home, and worshipping there on a regular basis – today was my first opportunity to be part of the communion meal (outside of Christmas morning).  It’s funny, I hadn’t realized how much I missed celebrating communion with my beloved, until I was anticipating it on this particular morning.  To be sharing in the mystery of the covenant we have been invited to with the one I love most in this world, and with my new Church Family, it was indeed a very holy moment.  My devotional readings lately  added to the depth and significance for me.

My outlook on life and willingness to watch for all the way God intersects in my day-to-day life has been changed because of Ann Voskamp and her book, “One Thousand Gifts”, as well as her blog www.aholyexperience.com  I am re-reading the book right now, savouring all of it – digging deeper into the scriptures that she references, letting the words soak into my very being.  Eucharisto - this living in true communion with Jesus, begins with giving thanks – Jesus himself models this for us on so many occasions including the night he shared bread and wine with his friends.

One of the things I have learned from Ann’s writings is the tradition that first century Israel had around betrothals.  As a  young man reached marrying age, and the young woman was chosen to be his wife, and the price of the dowry was negotiated, the young man would then ask her to marry him, but he did it in a very Jewish way.  “The young man’s father would take a flask of wine. He would pour a cup of wine and hand it to his son The son would then turn to the young woman, and with all the solemnity of an oath before Almighty God Himself, that young man would take that cup of wine and say to that young woman, ‘This cup is a new covenant in my blood, which I offer to you.’ In other words, ‘I love you. I’ll be your faithful husband. Will you be my bride?’“ 

Recognize the words?  Jesus invited us into a covenantal relationship with him at the last supper  A deep relationship with the care and loyalty a spouse vows to have.  So, with this in my head, and thankfulness in my heart, I set out walking to God’s house with my beloved.  Yet one more sign that God was with me as we walked…I was hearing strange things, like raindrops on leaves, yet it wasn’t raining!  Or at least not on us – we were walking ahead of the rain, staying very dry, yet I marvelled at the wetness behind us.  Sheltered, that’s the way I was feeling.  As sheltered as I know Jeff keeps me in uncertain situations, because we share that covenant.

As we came forward for the elements of the celebration, we were singing, and as I returned to my seat, and bowed in thankful prayer – my eyes leaked.  Leaked with overwhelming thankfulness.  For the joy of worshipping with my new church family, for the honour of sitting under Jeff’s teaching again, for the seamless way my two jobs, which I love, blend together, for the gift we remember with each communion and for the love and care of a Creator and Saviour that I don’t for a minute deserve. 

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

When the wait is over…

Some months back, I posted that I had entered a season of waiting,(http://wp.me/phEAM-89 ).  Let me tell you – it was one of the most challenging seasons I have walked through.  Not the hardest, certainly – that’s a story for another time – but challenging all the same.  For one who likes to be at the helm of things and events around me, to have no control over who would grant an interview, who would see the merit in my working for them, and trying to discern where I was to be…was to say the least – hard!

I have always known that God would make it abundantly clear where my next adventure would lie, and that is would be in His time…and it is only now that I have started on that new path, can I look back and see all that has been happening to bring me to this point.

Easter was a particularly hard time for me – I had been hoping to have a new place of employ in time to spend the most Holy season in church with my love.  But God had other plans.  I, however, took the lack of interviews and even responses to my applications as a sign that I was doing something wrong, that God was using this time to show me the consequences of some past action…

However, the several sources of readings that I use for devotions kept highlighting the promise that God is constantly working behind the scenes.  Two of the writers, on separate days referred to this.  Then one of scripture readings did the same…coincidence, I think not!  So, again armed with a peace about the process, yet still on the job hunt, I waiting and faithfully submitted my resume.  Still nothing, or so I thought.  About this time, in a very casual conversation – I learned that on of the mom’s from the ministry I was involved in was in the process of opening her own studio for her design business.  She casually (I thought) said, “want a job?”  I must admit – I hardly gave it a second thought.  Thrilled for her, but being back in the service industry was not for me!

But, as the days approached for her targeted opening – she asked again, and promising I would pray about it, I did.  And things changed.  I got excited about the possibility of working outside of the Christian bubble.  I thought about how fun to work with someone so completely creative and talented in her field.  I realized that the learning would be intense, but a wonderful challenge…so I said if she would have me, “I think I need to say yes”.  So, true to His promise (and repeated pattern in my life), God led the way to the job that would replace the one I was leaving.  I find I have new energy, because I’m feeling a time of refreshing.  Each day as a new challenge, and I learn more than I thought possible.  I love the interactions with all kinds of fascinating people.  I am so enjoying my new boss, she’s a joy to work with and for.

This past Sunday was my farewell at the church I have been serving, and the thoughtfulness and care that was crafted into the service – well, I came away with a grateful and humbled, very filled heart.  Next Sunday, is the first “not just visiting” in my new church home, and I couldn’t be happier.  I get to worship with my husband again, and after 4 years of having that only occassionally – I know know to treasure it as a gift.  I am so looking forward to what the future holds – and I know that I can wait for Him so unfold it!

 
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Posted by on June 18, 2012 in church life, News and Updates

 

Train Up a Child

I fought it for a long time – this knowing who I resembled, but it’s truer today than I ever thought possible…I am my mother’s daughter.

I am truly a product of my parents – I have some of the best (and not so great) traits of each of my parents, but there are things in my being that are truly my mom.  I love to welcome people into my home, just like her.  I love to cook for those I love, just like her.  My laugh has been described as contagious, and unmistakable, just like her.  I cry at the sappiest of movies and commercials, just like her.  Helping little ones to know how important they are to their Creator, just like her.  Creativity just flows once an inspiration hits, just like her.  I can’t resist Christmas, no matter what time of year it is, just like her. I can’t make a big meal without using all the pots in the kitchen, just like her.

Proverbs tells us to “train up a child in the way that (they) should go”, and mom – sometimes not really knowing – did just that.  And from the way that she lives her life, I know that her mom and grandmom lived the same way.  I come from a very long line of strong, outspoken, devoted to family, deeply in love with Jesus women.

My faith doesn’t always look like my mom’s, but I know it’s a faith in the same Jesus.  We don’t always agree on some of the ways we express matters of faith, but the big picture and the knowledge of Who we walk with is.

I have done so much that is different from how my mom chose to live her life, but I have always believed that I could find my heart’s desire because she cheered me on, and believed in me too, probably more than I believed in myself.

A faith that develops in a child comes from watching proof that God is important to their parents.  A faith that comes alive in a child comes from knowing that their parents live out that faith daily.  I watched as mom cried with hurting people, cared for people who couldn’t care for themselves.  Mom’s house was always open to people (even when they really didn’t want the invitation – ask me some time about Sept 2, 1972!), and all of this was because she knew that they needed to meet Jesus, and it was through her that they could.  She carries this on to this very day, and because I watched her do this so well – I love to do the same.  Just like her.

 

When you’re tired of not being noticed…

Today, the woman whose blog inspires me the most – Ann Voskamp – has done it again. And what is such a God-thing this is, we just focused our whole contemporary service on this very thought last Sunday! I know there are times where I feel completely invisible, (although there’s a post in Pinterest that says “thanks for making me invisible – I’ve always wanted a superpower!).
You have the power to change someone’s day, month and life without even knowing that you’ve done it…especially if you’re doing it because you love Jesus.
Read her oh, so eloquent encouragement at http://www.aholyexperience.com/ – moms, daughters, pastors, labourers…whoever you are, and in whatever role life finds you – you do matter, and God notices!

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Posted by on March 21, 2012 in family ministry

 

Intertwined – Gotta love it!

Today was a milestone in our house – we hosted our 15th annual New Year’s Open House.  Yep, our New Year’s tradition came a week late in our house, due to sickness.  But as I sat at the end of the day, what a glorious delay it was.

Because of the change of dates, we had some folks who were not able to join us that could have been here on the 1st, and some folks were able to be here, who had other commitments on the 1st.  But God knew who and when each one was going to be here and as I took a brief break from keeping the table fully laden with goodies – I was able to ponder the goodness of God in our lives.

I think our Open House is my favourite day of the year.  I have been baking for weeks, and all the planning has finally come together.  Jeff has been working diligently in the trains, and all the new elements are ready for viewing pleasure.  And it’s on this day that we watch as our church family, friends and colleagues join us for fellowship and food.  It makes warms this girl’s heart to have our home filled with conversation and laughter.

At one point this afternoon though, I realized that in our living room at least 6 facets of our life had come together, and in some way had multiple connections.  Some of these relationships go back more than 20 years – to even before we were married, and some are very new friendships, but the connection was there none the less.  One of the professors who was most influential in Jeff’s life from Seminary was here.  He has now become a treasured friend and colleague.  Also in the room were members of his congregation, one of whom came to faith in the church we served in Toronto – she and her husband are also dear friends.  Then we had a couple of Presbytery members here.

One goes to the church of the other.  The elder was a student of Jeff’s last year, and he is good friends with my former Sr Pastor (who also played hockey with the professor).  My former pastor and family now live out of the country, and I miss them dearly – yet here they were being mentioned fondly in multiple conversations.  The final folks in the room were friends from the church I serve.  She is the admin assistant there and she and her husband went to Nassau with us to visit friends last year, and the friendship bond has just deepened since then.

I sat – and as I reflect – realize just how overwhelmed I was.  The day ended with 2 couples who we hold very dear.  The wife of one, and the husband of the other grew up at the church I serve together.  A fitting end to an awesome day!

I think what strikes me the most is the promise that God will place us into families found in Psalm 68.  Jeff and I have come from very different background and made a home.  During our almost 2 decades, we have found family everywhere we have lived, and today – significant parts of that accumulated family were together in our home. 

I love how God shows up in unexpected places, and sometimes – if we are just quiet enough to listen and still enough to see – He says “see, I have been faithful”.  Jeff and I have always felt that we celebrate Christmas with our families and New Year’s with our Church family.  Today, the circle was bigger, but just that much more sweet.

Blessings my friends, may your 2012 be filled with reminders of God’s faithfulness to you – and may you be quiet and still enough to see and hear it.

 
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Posted by on January 7, 2012 in church life, News and Updates

 
 
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