Posted in Faith

Speak Life

As I write this, my sons are battling it out laser-style in our dark basement. It’s just past 7:30 pm, and we’re hoping to see some of the northern lights before settling in for a slightly later-than-usual bedtime. The telescope is set up and ready to go. I honestly don’t think it will help much, but it’s fun to play around with anyway.

High hopes.

The weather? Cold, then snowy, then snowy again, and then even colder. The past few weeks, it has felt like there were more school cancellations due to weather than actual days of school. And that’s about all of the recap I will give you because I have officially reached the point of winter where I stop paying attention. Minus 30-ish, all the time, and that about sums it up. I’ve resigned myself to grit my teeth and wait for spring.

My husband, tunneling his way to somewhere warmer.

And on this cold evening, waiting for the northern lights to appear, my son decided to put on some TobyMac. Suddenly, I had a thought.

“Ooh!” I called to him from the kitchen, where I was cleaning up after supper. “You should play ‘Elements.'” What song would be more befitting of our arctic-like surroundings?

“That’s just what I’m doing!” he replied.

But as I sauntered over to the living room to watch part of the music video and listen to the song, I found myself getting choked up. The words were more relevant than I wanted them to be.

“…This world, is up in my grill

This world, is shooting to kill

This world always gotta be stealing my heart

This world always tryin’ to rip my family apart…”

“…This ain’t our home, nah, not even close

They camouflage like we’re fighting some ghost

You start to doubt everything that you know

I feel the heat and it’s starting to show

They try to break us, break us, make us wanna give in

Lay down our arms, Novocain us again

Lay down a fight, I could never relent

And I’ma take it all the way to the end…”

“…And I’ma go down swinging, if I go down

I’ma go down swinging, if I go down

I’ma go down swinging, if I go down

I’ma go down swinging, if I go down

Let’s go…”

“The Elements” by TobyMac

I went into my bedroom, under the guise of trying to spot the lights from another window. I haven’t cried in a while, but a few tears squeaked out as I peered at the sky.

I’ve been keeping it together, mostly. Watching the news attentively, praying myself to sleep at night. Grappling for ideas of what to do with my rambunctious children when it’s cold, I’m tired, there’s no school, and we’re not allowed in any recreational environments.

May as well enjoy it!

I’ve felt gratitude that finally, FINALLY there were people in my country willing to make a stand. But my hopes crashed pretty quick when I realized my Prime Minister had no intention whatsoever of even engaging them in a conversation. My heart was stabbed when he painted them all with the same “tinfoil-hat” wearing brush. My feelings were enraged when he, of all people, told me from the screen of my phone to “do what’s right.”

I was disappointed – not surprised – by the biased media reports. The villainization of anyone whose thoughts differ from the dominant political narrative.

It’s old. It’s all old news to the point where I can hardly stand to hear about it anymore. We know what the reporters will say before they say it. We know who they will belittle in their articles. We know who they will undermine. We know when they will use diminutive taglines and quotation marks. Or, even outright insults and mistruths.

And in the midst of this, the feds are introducing an anti-hate bill that will seek to protect ethnic, religious, or other groups of people from hate speech, including online.

Sounds like a good idea, right? Well, it depends what you characterize as hate speech. Is my blog hate speech? Because I don’t agree with Mr. Trudeau?

The main reason I left Facebook was due to the mockery, disdain, and outright hatred that I often read directed towards my God, my heritage, and my faith. My church, at the moment, is bearing up under a steady stream of online abuse and slander.

Will those qualify as hate speech? Or are those things ok, because they’re directed at Christians?

I’m only basing this on my thirty-some years of life. But these elements…they feel intense.

Storm’s a-brewin’.

A few songs after playing “The Elements,” my son put on another TobyMac favorite – “Speak Life.”

Again, my eyes teared up a little. In the video, protesters are seen, shouting at a person until he is defeated. Then a child whispers something life-giving in his ear, and he stands up again.

This depiction, like the last video, was all too fitting. Because that’s the way to do this, isn’t it? Yes, we engage. We stand firm. But as we do so, we speak life. We use our words for good, and not to harm.

May the Lord give us strength and wisdom, to stand when it’s time to stand. May He protect us, and fill us with life-giving words. May He, and not the media, Bill C-36, or politicians, be the One to muzzle our tongues.

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:16 NIV

Featured image by Nandhu Kumar from Pexels

Posted in Faith

Praying the Psalms – Psalm 12: Words

The Psalms is a book of prayers. It covers a wide range of human emotions and can be a catalyst for when you don’t know what to say to God! Join me as I pray through the Psalms. I would love for you to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments, and I will pray for you right here on the blog.

Psalm 12 (Original text, NIV)

“Help, Lord, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.

Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception.

May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue that says, ‘We will triumph with our tongues; we own our lips – who is our master?’

‘Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise,’ says the Lord. ‘I will protect them from those who malign them.’

And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.

O Lord, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.

The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.”

A prayer inspired by Psalm 12:

God, in my life, I have sometimes felt so alone. In dark places, where I was the only one who loved you. The only one who followed you.

It’s difficult to hold fast. To resist the temptations to just join in. Even in small ways, like insincerity. Flattering others, to better my own position. Boasting. Or dominating others – trying to climb over them.

Because the ones who talk (or write?) the fastest and the most get noticed the fastest and gain the most. We wave our flags and wag our tongues and claim that freedom of speech is a human right while shoving down the views we don’t like. That’s the way of the world. The way of business, the way of success.

But it’s not your way.

I imagine you shaking your head when we do this. Watching the quiet ones. The ones we climb over and push down, for the sake of our own gain.

Forgive us, Lord. This way is wrong.

Let us not be the ones to malign others anymore. Help us, instead, to listen. To consider. To thoughtfully respond.

And if we are the ones who are left behind, ignored, or shut down, help us to not despair. Because what really matters is that our hearts are right with you. That we continue to submit to you – our thoughts, our ways, our words.

Because you are always listening, though the rest of the world may not be. Thank you, Lord, for being a God who hears our words, and even, our quietest thoughts. Even the things we’re barely aware of ourselves. You are good.

And your words, unlike ours, are purest gold. May we have nothing to say, nothing to write, unless it is blessed and enabled by you.

May we not join in with the majority, enamored by their success and the things they have on this earth.

We love you, Lord.

Amen.

To catch up on the rest of this series, you may click the following links:

As mentioned earlier, please feel free to add your prayers and prayer requests in the comments. I would love to pray with and for you. May you be blessed today!

Warm wishes,

Lisa