Tag Archive | pilgrimage

Setting our hearts on pilgrimage-Part 2

If you read my one of my previous posts Setting our hearts on pilgrimage you will know that my husband and I took a trip to England in September. And if you read the post then you will know the significance of this trip for me, it was a journey to discover more of my roots.

My dad was a Canadian soldier in World War 2, and while there he met a young English woman. They got married while he was stationed there, and after a few months he was sent home, my mom followed shortly after.

Little did anyone know that she would die at the young age of 34, leaving behind a husband and 4 children. I was the youngest, just 6 months old, and for reasons I’ve never fully understood I was taken from my father and raised by my aunt and uncle.

I grew up not knowing my dad but I did know most of the relatives on his side of the family. But it was my mom’s side of the family that I never knew.

You know how we have the habit of saying, or at least I have said it to my husband, “you sound just like your mom” (which is a good thing, don’t get me wrong)….or you look in the mirror one morning and say, “I am my mother” (at least my daughters have told me they’ve said that!!)…..well, I could never say that because I never knew my parents.

As a little girl I would often cry myself to sleep longing for my mom….even as a young girl I knew that someday I was going to go to England, the country of her birth. And so this past September my dream came true.

I knew my uncle, my mom’s brother, through letters, emails and phone calls….he did come to Canada 16 years ago for a short visit….but I still had lots of questions, as well as relatives there that I’d never met. I went not knowing if they would be like the Waltons or the Adams family…thankfully they were not like the latter!

I spent many hours with my uncle pouring over photos, asking questions and learning more about my mother and my heritage. I learned what kind of woman she had been, and I knew that even though I didn’t know her, I carried some of her traits. One afternoon while going through photos my uncle stopped and looked at me and said: “do you know that today would have been your mom’s birthday” coincidence? I don’t think so….

During our time in England we took a tour to the southern part known as the English Riviera, while there we took a boat across the bay to Dartmouth. While on the boat I looked back at the shore line and thought about my mom…how she must have felt leaving on a ship with other war brides headed for Canada. Looking back at her country did she wonder if she would ever see her homeland or her family again. Did she have any idea what the Canadian prairies during the harsh winter months were going to be like?

That day on the boat, lost in my thoughts, what I sensed in my spirit was that my mom was a woman of courage and strength. And this is the common thread that I have seen handed down through the generations, in the lives of my daughters and just like it took God’s courage and strength for me to face my painful and abusive childhood and find healing.

I don’t know why my mom had to die at such a young age, I have learned not to question my heavenly Father but to trust Him….and I have learned that it is all about the journey-and His presence can be found in every step.

As God writes the stories of our lives he uses our past to open up our future. God reveals himself to you, and to others, through the story He has written in your life.

God gave me two Scriptures when I became a Christian at age 22, one is Psalm 16: 6: “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” And another Scripture, Joel 2:23-24 says: So I will restore the years that the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust and the chewing locust. In this passage we find there are 4 different kinds of locusts, one takes the flower, one takes the stem, one takes the leaf, and one takes the root, so when they are done there is virtually nothing left. Yet, God’s promise to me was that He would take the heart of a bruised and battered child, who suffered in silence, and heal and restore her again.

These two verses have been such a source of strength and encouragement in some of my most challenging and darkest times.

God took a broken little child and restored her……He took a wounded young girl and offered her healing….and He took a woman, filled with shame and promised her life!!

The Lord doesn’t reclaim the years of the locust….He restores them! He restores them to demonstrate His grace, to bring praise to His name, and to reveal His power…..How can we not Thank HIM!!

Today, I can testify that He has indeed given me a delightful inheritance….and as Psalm 78:4 reminds me; “We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord and His power, and the wonders He has done.”

And I am thankful beyond words…..when I was on the plane watching England fade into the distance, the tears softly flowed….not tears of grief, but tears of deep gratitude, because God had answered the prayers of a little, abandoned girl so many years ago, and gave her the connection and family she’d always longed for

….no I never knew my mom or my dad, but I’ve known and tasted the goodness of my Lord, and to Him I am forever grateful!

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Setting our hearts on pilgrimage

Image

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,

who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.

As they pass through the Valley of Baca,

they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.

They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.

Psalm 84:5-7

1pil·grim·age

noun \ˈpil-grə-mij\

Definition of PILGRIMAGE

1: a journey of a pilgrim; especially: one to a shrine or a sacred place as an act of religious devotion… a journey, esp. a long one,

2: the course of life on earth


For those who have followed my blog and know of my story you may remember that my mother was a war bride from England. She was the mother I never knew because she died when I was only 6 months old. As a child I would often cry myself to sleep, weeping for my mother. I needed a mother to comfort me, to hold me, to tell me I was loved and wanted…..I went to bed each night with a longing and an emptiness…..and a dream….someday I was going to go to England, to see the country of her birth.

 And now in my 50’s my lifelong dream of visiting the UK is finally coming to fruition.

20 some years ago I was at a Women’s conference when the Lord gave me these verses in Psalm 84.

I sensed in my spirit that these verses were a promise for me. God was making a covenant with me, this was my inheritance. God was going to do a work in my life, I needed to trust Him. And throughout the years these verses have come back to me, usually at a pivotal point in my life. I find myself remembering and reflecting on them once more as I prepare for this trip to the UK.

When the Lord first gave me these verses I had no idea that my journey of healing was about to begin. “Journey” implies a starting place, a place one leaves, and a destination…that place to which one goes.

Looking back I have seen the weaving of God’s hand upon my life. His healing is a thread that has been woven into my life, my journey of healing.

It was Debbie Milam who said: “When we embrace the many parts of our experience we discover a magnificent creation. . . Every moment is but a thread, a thread of consciousness embracing the very essence of life. Some threads are brilliant and dazzling while others are tattered and torn. When looked upon in isolation the tattered threads look inferior. Yet when woven together by the wondrous hands of the Creator, the light magically blends with the dark. As joy coalesces with pain, God creates the magnificent tapestry that is life.”

The tapestry of my life continues to be woven. In preparing for this trip I have looked back at the entire tapestry of my life, and I can see that every aspect of my journey was necessary and needed. Each step of my journey led to a new place, even though the steps often felt like obstacles or painful experiences.

 A pilgrimage can be described as a journey, set apart because of its reflective nature. It is a journey of movement, a journey of attentiveness, a journey hoped to transform. A pilgrimage cannot be embarked upon without a willingness to follow the path as it unfolds. This is what I sense in my spirit as I embark on this trip.

Psalm 84 speaks of one’s yearning for God’s dwelling place; could it be that the temple might come to mean for us a search for our heart’s full dwelling in His presence?

This is much more than just a sightseeing tour of the UK.  One can physically move themselves around the world and never set their heart on a journey towards His dwelling, just as one can remain physically at home and yet set their heart on pilgrimage.

Psalm 84 reminds me that I am not on pilgrimage to God’s temple, but I am on pilgrimage with God.This Psalm assures me that if I understand that God himself is my strength and if I set my heart on allowing Him to carry me in my journey, in my pilgrimage, then I am blessed indeed!! It is an adventure of magnitude, of significance, of love.

His love is a glorious thread that is woven throughout the Word of God, and finds it’s fulfillment through Jesus Christ in our hearts. When Jesus takes hold of our lives the entire fabric of our being is changed. I don’t accomplish anything in this life on my own….as the weavings of individual threads from one to another creates something; the result is a whole tapestry…as God weaves the threads into the fabric of our lives, He creates a beautiful tapestry.

Little did I know that the tattered and broken little girl who cried herself to sleep every night would set her heart on pilgrimage when she heard the wooing of Her heavenly Father. Little did I know she would respond to the longing in her heart and learn to rest beneath the shadow of His wings.

 Our lifelong journey is our pilgrimage toward the fulfillment of our inheritance that God Himself has given to us.

Do you, my friends, know what God’s inheritance is for you? Have you gone back to the place of covenant, the very place where God covenanted with you?

I am excited to see what God has for me in this next journey of my life, this next adventure. I know that this trip to the UK is the next part of my pilgrimage and I am trusting my Heavenly Father as He continues to weave the threads of healing and wholeness in my life….stay tuned….I’ll share the adventure when I get back!!