Justice · Uncategorized

Fury Like A Woman Scorned

“Heav’n has no rage like love to hatred turn’d, nor hell a fury like a woman scorn’d”

-William Congreve 1697

Some words just seem to stick on us long after we’ve heard them and this quote often dances in my mind.

Of course, this one in particular has usually been misquoted and attributed to William Shakespeare.

The first time I heard it (in its misquoted form of course) I was in grade 9. Someone had hurt my friend and I blasted this particular person with all the pent up rage and defensiveness my tongue could muster without getting me sent to the principal’s office, only to have the boy smirk at me and say, “Hell hath no fury like a woman, that’s for sure!”

His careless attitude got me even more upset and I responded that he hadn’t even seen the beginning of my rage (that much was probably true). But despite being bothered by his amusement of my anger, deep down, I took it as a compliment. The act of defending someone in a “righteous” rage, made me feel a sense of control. Like I had a special kind of anger no man could ever experience: The anger of a woman.

It’s no secret, women in particular are known for their protectiveness and their intense emotions leading to even more intense interactions and conflicts.

It’s why girl fights are often much longer lasting and emotionally damaging then guy fights.

It’s why women in particular are known to have far more friend conflicts than their male counterparts. Women are relational. But when they are hurt they can leave a nasty trial of destruction behind. They don’t call her Mama Bear for nothing.

I’ve been the brunt of some pretty hurtful words, emails, texts and notes in the past…and for the most part, I’ve been able to calm myself down, reacting rationally and even kindly.

But I gotta tell you, nothing, literally nothing gets me as mad as when you hurt someone I love or someone who is unable to defend themselves. It’s as if the protector in me jumps out of my usually passive nature and says:

“Hold on, they may NOT do THAT!!! They won’t get away with it!!”

I am a defender. A brewing storm. An earthquake about to happen. A wild cat, defending it’s territory. A fighter at heart.

The very thing that causes me the most anger is when those in a position of power or authority get away with abuse. The fire within me burns.

How dare they!!

My anger, my rage, longs to see them brought to justice, to see them suffer for all the pain that they’ve brought on innocent, unsuspecting people, those weaker than themselves like the true bullies they are.

I want to see them admit to the wrongs they’ve caused, to see them work to make it right! And until then, no, I do not wish good things for them!

Does one wish the best for the heartless?

For those who reap havoc everywhere they go?

For those in authority who abuse their power by cutting down the weak and the needy and deceive their followers into thinking its for the greater good?

In the end, isn’t the best wish one can have for them is for them to be caught and punished for their crimes? To be brought to justice?

Anger comes over me trying to control that which I have no control over.

After all, isn’t that what anger is? A false sense of control?

How can I say that I trust in God’s judgements if I insist on taking it into my own hands? This lack of restraint is dangerous and in my personal journey, led to me believing a lie that my unchecked rage was somehow a good thing and that lashing out at people was some form of justice.

My heart yearns to rest in a Father who knows and sees all.

He sees my tears.

He knows their injustice.

And he will one day make everything right.

But my mind cries: Will it be enough? Will it be soon enough?

Trust in Him, O my Soul. Trust in the God alone. He will avenge. He will repay. He will reveal the wrongs, even the hidden ones that no one sees.

He is coming to judge the earth.

Sometimes I wonder what he’s waiting for. Isn’t there enough pain? Isn’t there enough unrestrained evil going on?

There’s answers to these questions, this I know, but in the moment of pain and frustration none of the even comes close to comfort.

When will it be enough?

Have you experienced injustice? How do you handle it?

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In the Waiting

“Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:14

These words have been like a beacon of light in a very dark valley for me. For years I’ve been asking God hard questions…questions of when I will be united with like-minded believers, questions of how long I will feel alone, questions of why I feel so much like an outcast, a misfit, a foreigner.

And I hear Him over and over again speaking:

Wait for the Lord. Yes, Lord, I’m waiting.

Be strong and take heart. I’m trying Lord, really, I am!

Be strong and take heart. I’m tired of being strong God.

Take heart and wait for the Lord. I’m tired of waiting God.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Do you believe this promise? Do you believe my words? God, you know I do.

Then wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

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Beautiful March

I don’t know what it is about turning the calendar page and seeing that uplifting word “March” that lightens my heart so. Maybe it’s the promising thought that the worst of the winter winds, storms and temperature drops are over. As I’ve shared in the past, winter in Manitoba, Canada is no picnic. With windchill, temperatures where I live can drop as low as -50 degrees Celsius (That’s -58 Fahrenheit for my American readers)…This last February we spent almost a week in such weather and I don’t need fancy wording to describe what it feels like: It sucks. 

Kids get out of sorts, vehicles break, snowblowers break. My doors freeze shut and I literally have to blow dry the handles to thaw them. It’s just too cold. And I know I’m not the only one around here who asks the question, “Why do people LIVE here?!?”

But then, March! A glimmer of hope, the end is near! Spring is near. With it, longer and brighter days, sunshine, fresh cool air that doesn’t hurt to breathe, mounds of snow that day by day look just a little bit smaller. And yes, spring comes with its own troubles here… BUT after the dirty roads begin to dry, after the flooding ditches and after the loads upon loads of laundry from kids playing on the soggy, soaked grass and mud, after all this comes a beautiful and dreamy summer. Summer in Canada is wonderful! And every time it comes I thank God over and over for this country I call home. The skies are open and blue, the fields around my home stretch out for miles. It’s so warm and sunny that winter is but a distant memory. I forget the harsh reality that winter lasts half of the year; starting gently in November and December, freezing harshly in January and February, and slowly thawing from March until April.

I wonder, would I fully be able to appreciate summer if I never experienced the harsh, cold realities of winter? Would I love every minute of the sunshine if I hadn’t experienced the long days without it? Would all the warmth be taken for granted if I had never been without it?

Interesting to think about, that hard seasons of life make the good ones so much better. If I light a tea light in a sunny room, it goes unnoticed. But light that same candle in a room that is pitch black and the candle shines brightly. It reminds me that even bad things can serve a purpose in this world and that thought fills me with so much hope. Sickness makes health so much sweeter. Pain makes comfort all the greater. Going without, does bring about thankfulness for the things we have and it’s no secret that a thankful heart is a happy heart.

So, I guess (though I hate to admit it), even winter in Canada has it’s purposes.

 

 

 

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Don’t Blame a Selfish Generation on the School System (or the Government)

Sometimes a post or a comment can trigger a string of thoughts. Often I just ponder them throughout the day, but, once in a while – if I have the time to sit down and write – a new blog post is written. A few months ago, I noticed a paragraph that got posted a few times on my feed by different people and so even though I often skip long status updates, I ended up reading this one through many times. And each time I read it I thought, hmmm…it’s very interesting how whoever wrote this felt the need to both write off an entire generation of people and blame the government for making them that way.

Here’s the post:

R.I.P. Canada You are too soft. You raised the cost of living so high that both parents are always at work, rather than spending time with their children. You took authority out of schools. Parents were told ‘No you can’t discipline your kids’. Well, Canada You shall reap what you sow, and we have lost a percentage of next generation adults as the soft approach turned them into rude, selfish, disrespectful humans who have no respect for people, property or authority…

(Ok I deleted a big section of this long-winded rant, but I left the conclusion for you 😜)….

Things need to change! Copy & paste if you have the guts too!!!”

Now, I would agree with some of the thoughts behind the post, but today I’m not writing about politics or my concerns about our current government’s shortcomings. Today I want to address a FAR more important issue that’s damaging households and families in every background and social status across our Country.

Let me start off by saying this:

Fellow parents, it is not the governments fault or the school system’s fault if our children turn out to be selfish, disrespectful and rude. It’s OURS. If all our children are really turning out that bad, we just have to look in the mirror to see who’s really at fault.

I hear again and again that “both parents HAVE to work in order to survive these days” and I have to tell you, in the most respectful way possible, that this simply isn’t true!

I got pregnant as a teenager. I got married at 18. My husband was making only $24,000 a year when our first son was born. And you know what? We have been living off of one income for the past 12.5 years.

Was it easy? No. No it wasn’t.

What teenager wants to go from living in a wealthy home in a nice neighbourhood, to living in a mouse infested trailer in the trailer court? What woman (or man) wants to be stuck at home all day with a baby because there’s no money for a second vehicle? What teenage new mother wants to stop wearing makeup and buying new clothes because she can only afford the used ones? Or go without internet, satellite, or a smartphone (gasp!) and settle instead for a landline.

Not very many – I assure you. Not very many are willing. But don’t tell me it’s not possible! I’ve lived it.

But here’s the thing: my baby boy couldn’t care less whether he was laying on designer sheets, in a fancy house, with a well decorated nursery – or a plain white sheet, in a used crib, in a trailer.

All that mattered to him was that he was being loved and tenderly cared for.

Now don’t get me wrong….I’m NOT saying you need to homeschool or stay at home and live on one income to raise good children. But you do need time. And it’s not the governments fault that we haven’t made time for our kids.

It’s our own busy lives that do that.

If us parents would be really honest with ourselves, all that stuff we buy for “them” is really not for them at all!

It’s for us.

The fancy themed bedrooms with matching decor, the name brand outfits bought for that perfect photo shoot, the outrageous Pinterest birthday parties, with the perfectly decorated cakes (as I gulp…guilty over here 🙋🏼‍♀️) …all these things never were really for them in the first place. They were for us. To boost our egos. To make up for what we fear we lack. Social Media and Pinterest have only fueled this struggle for parents because deep down we want our kids to have the best childhood! We really do!

Yet, I look at so many children and do you know what I see? Emptiness. Sadness. Disconnectedness. The result of parents not giving them what they deeply wanted and needed all along.

Parents: All your children want is YOU! From day one. This is why the new fancy toy set you just bought for them remains in the corner a few days (or hours) later while they whine and cry at your feet…they didn’t really want it in the first place. They just want YOU!!

Twelve years have gone by. My husband went back to school for a college degree and got a job in a field he loves. Four more kids have been added to our home. My oldest boy is in grade 7 and has been in the public school system now for the past couple years. My husband is making a lot more and we are living in my dream home in the country. But we still are making “sacrifices” so that I can stay home. And somehow, looking at the relationship that we have with our kids, I no longer see them as sacrifices. I willingly give up a finished basement, a shiny new vehicle, or a perfectly manicured yard to finish raising my children well – to have them feel safe and loved and connected. To have time to teach them to work hard, to volunteer, to cook and clean.

And I don’t worry about the negative affect of the school systems policies, because I’ve done the hard work at home. No matter what happened at school, I know my boy can come home and talk about it with me, feeling safe and loved. It wasn’t up to the school to raise him.  It wasn’t up to his coaches to teach him respect, or up to his Sunday school teachers to teach him about God and morals. It was my job! And unfortunately not all parents understand this!

Parenting is a hard, draining, often uncertain and lifelong commitment. It’s a parents job to teach respect and morals. And in Canada we still have so many opportunities and freedoms to do so! You know the best way to change your country? It’s not simply changing the government. It’s raising the next generation to be confident, caring, compassionate, hardworking individuals who believe that their most important job in life isn’t the one that pays them to be there, but rather their responsibility to the lives around them.

You want to change Canada? Then do!

But don’t try to change it by copying and pasting some whiny rant against the government. Change it, one person at a time, by taking responsibility for what’s happening in your own home.

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Quiet Blogging

Yesterday I was at a birthday party and someone commented to me that they missed reading my blog posts and asked if I was still writing at all. I replied that I am absolutely still writing, I’m just not posting it.

I’ve been writing, but I’ve been doing it quietly. Much of my silence has to do with time and my former misuse of it. Some of it has to do with being tired of conflict and negative feedback.

Writers have feelings. GASP! I said it. And although I don’t expect everyone to agree with everything I have to say, I don’t need to be told every time I’m disagreed with. And it was becoming an issue, because let’s face it, usually we don’t give our feedback to people unless they have upset us in some way.

So I have climbed back into a writing shell. For now. Until I can find some way of writing without having to get so emotionally involved.

But there’s always more to the story…

I’m also not OK with wasting hours a day on my phone anymore. I’m not OK with spending so much time writing articles that get read by a few dozen and all too quickly forgotten. And I’ve realized that I’m far more content, patient, productive, alert and relaxed when I’m off social media. Simply put I’m a better parent when I’m not on Facebook.

I love socializing. Part of this contributes to my up-and-down involvement on social media. I’ve quit Facebook before, re-joined, only to quit again, re-join again… You get the picture – it gets old very fast. This time unlike the others, my exit from Instagram and Facebook was silent. No warning, no sappy post about my intentions or convictions. I just…left. I didn’t care to make a big deal about it. I didn’t care to get any attention because of it. And just like all the other times, I really felt so much relief after I made my decision. The only difference was that I actually deleted my account this time.

This time it’s for good.

Since quitting, I have had so much joy. I don’t ever wonder what’s going on in the internet world. I mean, I DO wonder about people – but then again, if I really care, I can call or text. It’s not like I’m moving to a deserted island with no communication to the outside world…

Please don’t misunderstand, in no way do I think all need to follow in my footsteps. Facebook is a tool, neither good nor bad, but as all tools it can be misused. And I was mostly misusing it.

I spent time reading articles on some random persons vacation plans rather than doing dishes.

I browsed the comment sections for hours, reading arguments of people I didn’t even know and scrolling through endless debates, only to get up in a worse mood than when I sat down to “rest”.

I told my kiddos to “just wait, I’m doing something important” while I posted a carefully worded paragraph about what God’s teaching me, when really I should be teaching my kids (they’re homeschooled).

Then I proceed to check for likes and comments every five minutes for the next 2 days. Sound at all familiar? So I quit it. And my parenting has gotten better.

Whoever is missing out from my absence online can be rest assured that my family is gaining from my presence.

There are people I miss when I think of Facebookland. I could name quite of few of them. But the one thing they all have in common is that I never really knew them before joining Facebook. And they never really knew me. If if there was a hint of friendship forming, there were no attempts by either of us to connect in real life.

One thing that has become abundantly clear after leaving Facebook is how I need real close friends in my life.

After a month of separation from the many people who I had come to know closely online, I’ve realized just how lonely I actually am without them. Facebook has done a tremendous job at masking how isolated our culture really is. So instead of longing to rejoin the online social world, my efforts have been channeled into finding these connections all around me.

Honestly it’s just so much more rewarding. I love being in the presence of real people.

So what’s to become of my blog?

I’ll continue to write, daily in fact – but I will not necessarily post my musings immediately. I will wait and sit on each post for a few days, proofreading cautiously, bringing authenticity, honesty, as well as sensitivity into my posts. I don’t want to be one who unnecessarily bulldozes down people and hurts them, even if what I have to say gets a larger reaction when delivered with a harder punch.

So keep on following, friends. I’m still here. Just quieter, gentler…and possibly a bit more joyful.

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Snapshots and Memories

As I raise this family of mine, I often hope that the good things will stick. Many times us mothers live in constant worry – as if our children will only remember every single bad thing we ever did and forget all the good times that happened in between.

There was a time when my oldest was small, where every time I would mess up, yell, or react in a wrong way, I would comfort myself with the thought: “Well he’s only two, he won’t remember that.”

Then, “Hey he’s only three, I don’t remember anything from when I was three…maybe he’ll forget it.”

Then four, “He might actually remember this.”

Then Five: “By this age he’ll totally remember…”

And then Six: “He’ll never forget that!”

Somewhere along the way I had become haunted by the thought that every single flaw, every failure would be carefully recorded, stored in their memories and brought out on the inevitable day when they most certainly will all go to years of therapy to undo all my mistakes.

But realistically, our memories don’t work that way.

My own childhood is a mixed-up snapshot, a mostly happy blur of highlights: playing dolls with my sisters, an old horse named Gus who I led around the pasture for many hours, dump runs with my dad, working outside with the whole family and then going afterwards to my grandparents house to swim and eat freezer-burnt Revels (which, by the way, I LOVED because of all the ice on the outside and the middle was yellowish and chrystalized just as I liked it!!), singing with my mom while she rocked me in our old brown rocking chair, random cartoon characters, knitted kittens and KFC at my other Grandma’s house, hockey cards with hard chewing gum in the packs, stories of my Father’s fascinating childhood in Mexico, new batches of kittens every spring, special family vacations, family gatherings with cousins to play with, morning devotions, camping disasters and traumatic news events such as Princess Diana’s death and 9/11.

Were my parents perfect? No.

But do I have a file of horror stories that I need deep healing from? Absolutely not!

In fact, almost every single one of my memories of them are happy ones!!!

Still there’s days where I wonder: Will my kids remember any of the good?

Looking back on pictures of my firstborn has many times filled me with deep regret. Regret because I wanted so badly to be that perfect parent that I wanted HIM to be perfect, so I barely gave him a childhood. Still I was trying my very best then, just as I am now.

“Let’s play a game!” I suddenly said to my children one lazy afternoon as I was thinking such thoughts as these.

I called it “Snapshots and Memories”

“Let’s take turns telling stories of our early memories (good or bad) and see what all comes to mind!”

What’s the worst that can happen?? (Part of me expected the worst.)

I started off the game with a memory from when I was five. My family was moving to a new community and I was so excited, yet sad, simply because I was really worried about missing the opportunity to sleep with our big class bear in kindergarten! Each child got a turn to take the bear home and sleep with it for a night…(ok that’s kind of gross now to think about!!) But my teacher was so kind that I got “randomly picked” the night before my last day at that school. I was thrilled! Now I could move on 😉

Next Bella shared a memory of going to a conference when she was six and being so embarrassed when a boy her age kept following her around telling her he was “in love” with her. She shuddered at the memory! (Oh the problems of being popular everywhere you go lol).

Then Jonas shared a memory of a spicy chip he ate and that I gave him a cold glass of milk afterwards…. (skipping that part about his dad encouraging it and filming as he changed from smug faced to “oh boy, this is HOT!🥵”)

Ok phew! So far so good!

Dallas shared next about going through my spices in the cupboard when I came up asking what he was doing and he kept saying “I’m trying to sell it” when he really meant “smell it”.

Emerson told a random story about monsters chasing him and me spraying them with a fire gun…which I quite enjoyed because I was the hero of that one and it most likely was 100% true…

AND…then the game took a very sharp downhill turn of made up senarios that I’m quite certain never actually took place, ALTHOUGH….the story of our family rocket blasting down Mt. Everest with two day old baby Emerson strapped to it really would be quite the adventure to tell the grandchildren about one day!

Maybe I’ll have to keep that one in the memory book…

As for their “ruined” childhoods, I am now certain that it’s not the actual failures I need to worry about, but the made up ones.

 

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More than Conquerors

In the midst of World War 2, in the middle of a German death camp, a sixty year old woman whispered these words and in them found hope:

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?  Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword….No! In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Romans 8:35-37

Corrie ten Boom faced an impossible and hopeless situation…worse than anything I could possibly imagine. Everything she listed from the scriptures above happened to her.

Death, starvation and evil prevailed.

She stood for hours in the cold, naked and filthy as she watched the women around her get beaten and shot when they could stand no longer.

Her dying sister was mocked and brutally treated by even the nurses in the camp.

And yet, somehow, these very words brought such comfort to her soul that she was able to lift her hands in adoration and face each new day with courage.

I’ve been pondering these very scriptures in Romans 8 for the past few days now and I have come to the conclusion that while these words deeply move me, I will never quite know the depth to which they comforted Corrie until I face the very trials and pain of which they speak.

When I wake up, I am well fed and warm, healthy and clothed and it is SO easy to feel like I can conquer anything. But take even one of these “rights” away, and I become miserable, discouraged, perhaps even angry and bitter.

The true test of our faith comes not when things are good, but when things are hard.

I’ve recently seen two different people: both were pleasant and joyful, both claiming to have faith, both strong and admirable. There was no difference between the two when all was well.

Yet something terrible happened to each one. And here’s when their true colours showed. One of them grew angry, cold, hard and bitter, isolating themselves from the people around them, bullying anyone who tried to reach out and help.

Yet the other person stayed soft, thankful, kind, and gentle…not only this but they continued to even bless, encourage and even help those around them.

Somehow I think God wasn’t surprised.

Many times I look at the world around me and see people who don’t seem to care for God at all and wonder how they have their lives better put together than mine. I ask myself – is there any point?

Ahh, yes. Then I remember that right now, things are quite comfortable.

But a time comes for each person where they are tested to the core of their being. Only through Jesus Christ can we stand against these trials and say we are more than Conquerors.

I have a feeling that someone reading this today is going through such a trial now. My heart breaks for you. I am crying as I write these words, because such hardships can nearly destroy us forever.

But Jesus.

Jesus understands it completely. He was beaten almost to death. He was naked on the cross. He was mocked. He was betrayed. He saw evil reign. Yet he conquered it all!

AND because He conquered all of these things, we can be confident that he will never ever leave us and that through him we are MORE than Conquerors!

Our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

What’s coming will FAR outweigh all the suffering we will experience here. Just like in childbirth, the reward is worth the pain. In fact, ask any mother and she would willingly go through it all over or even worse for her precious bundle. All suffering is forgotten when she receives her prize. I believe it will be the same with our reward in heaven.

Don’t let your troubles destroy you, dear friend. Even as you feel weakened in the flesh, may your spirit grow strong in Christ. Allow yourself to be purified in this time of testing.