Thanks In All Things

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

This past weekend was Thanksgiving here in Canada. I have so many things to be thankful for – I wake up each morning in a warm house, in a beautiful little town, with my husband and daughter. I know how fortunate I am.

At the same time, it’s hard to give thanks right now. It’s hard for me to feel thankful in all things. Which, as a Christian, I’m called to do. I don’t know how I’m supposed to be thankful for the loss of a baby – or if that’s even what I’m supposed to strive for.

In the days before Pearl’s birth I remember reading the story of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3 and being comforted by the fact that we worship a God who enters the furnace with us. We were saved from that furnace and given a healthy baby. The men in Daniel were also saved; although they were thrown to the fire, they were unharmed.

So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out of the fire…They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them.

Daniel 3: 26b, 27b

But what do you do when you are not saved from the fire?

I don’t think I’m expected to give thanks for the fire itself. I do believe that my God weeps with me. The Bible never ever chastises the mournful. Jesus himself wept at Lazarus’ tomb (John 11). In Exodus 23, the Promised Land is described as a place where none are barren and there is no miscarriage. Clearly we don’t live there yet. I find it comforting that God’s perfect plan doesn’t involve the loss of my baby. And I find it confusing that an omnipotent God allowed that loss.

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and He will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Daniel 3:17-18

In Daniel, the men declare that they believe God will rescue them. But even if He doesn’t, they will not turn from Him. They are thrown into the fire and a fourth figure is seen in the furnace with them. That is the strange and confusing and beautiful part of our faith. We are not always saved from the fire but we are never alone in it.

I will not be burned up by this fire. I will not bow down to the gods of grief and loss. I am here right now but this is not my forever. Slowly, slowly, I will give thanks. God help me.

This weekend we skipped town for a couple of days with some very wonderful friends in Victoria. Pearl’s first trip to the place where Peter and I met and fell in love and spent the first year of our marriage.

Downtown Victoria Harbour

Downtown Victoria Harbour

We were fortunate enough to be able to fly by seaplane from Sechelt, which makes the trip so much faster. Pearl’s first time on a seaplane went very well, though she refused to wear the ear protection they provided for her.

Telling me to catch up on a walk with friends.

Telling me to catch up on a walk with friends.

There was a lot we didn’t get to do in our quick trip but we did get to catch up with some of my favourite people, meet a new-ish baby, visit my old workplace/Canada’s largest bookstore, and walk a little through a lovely city.

Tried to take a picture of these two at the bookstore and Pearl is picking her nose.

Tried to take a picture of these two at the bookstore and Pearl is picking her nose.

Also, Pearl discovered she can put her hands in her pockets so please enjoy one of my favourite pictures ever:

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There is a lot to be thankful for.

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Spring Break 2014

Halfway through Spring Break and feeling thankful. I love lazy days at home with my best guy.

I also love adventuring with him.

For the first half of Spring Break, we took off to Vancouver Island to visit with friends and wander down memory lane. We made a road trip of it (complete with sound track) – two ferries, a drive down the island, and we were knocking on our friends’ door mid-afternoon on Saturday.

I lived in Victoria from 2003 to 2011. Peter moved there in 2007. It was the first place I ever lived on my own. It was the city where I made amazing friends, grew in my spiritual walk, met my husband. We spent our first year of married life there. So many good memories.

We struck a great balance of seeing friends, visiting our former church, and wandering through our favourite spots. We had a late night and a lazy Sunday with two of our favourite people (three, including their super cute baby boy!) and then fancied it up in a hotel downtown.

View from our hotel.

View from our hotel.

We ate at our favourite spots, and some new ones, and did a bunch of those things that you jsut don’t do when you live in a city.

Market Square

Market Square

Gates of Chinatown

Gates of Chinatown

Spring is a little closer in Victoria. Their blooms are out while ours are just beginning to bud on the Sunshine Coast.

Dragons and cherry blossoms

Dragons and cherry blossoms

There were a lot of “remember whens”. Our first apartment, the house I used to share with five other girls, the coffee shop I once worked at, the park Peter took kids to when he worked for a summer camp. The restaurant we went to on our first date. The spot where we first held hands. The beach near my old house where we made ‘smores and I first thought, “I might be in love with this guy.”

The Inner Harbour

The Inner Harbour

The Ledge

The Ledge

 

The Legislative Buildings and Queen Victoria

The Legislative Buildings and Queen Victoria

Views from Mount Doug

Views from Mount Doug

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I spent a lot of time up here over the years.

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Mount Doug Park

Mount Doug Park

Downtown Victoria and the Johnson Street Bridge

Downtown Victoria and the Johnson Street Bridge

We took a twilight walk along the waterfront to Ogden Point.

The Inner Harbour

The Inner Harbour

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Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf

Ogden Point

Ogden Point

It’s good to be reminded of so many lovely places and the wonderful moments they hold. And it’s good to return to our lovely little home and to remember that both good and bad have followed us everywhere. But mostly the good.

The Ledge at night

The Ledge at night

Our Road Trip 2014 Playlist

1. Hot Tonight – Tokyo Police Club

2. Hopeless Wanderer – Mumford & Sons

3. Stars (Hold On) – Youngblood Hawke

4. Step – Vampire Weekend

5. Madness – Muse

6. Get Lucky – Daft Punk (feat. Pharrell)

7. Lover of the Light – Mumford & Sons

8. Stay – Rihanna

9. Ends of the Earth – Lord Huron

10. Unbelievers – Vampire Weekend

*Bonus – This list will get you from Nanaimo to Mill Bay