Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Hello Everyone,

Last Tuesday I taught on 'Gratitude' at Celebrate Recovery. A few people came up to me and asked for the poem, some others asked what scriptures I used from the teaching, and some, like my parents, were unable to make it that evening.

Here it is... take what you need from it and enjoy.

The teaching began with a video from the CR teen program 'The Landing' called 'Thank You God':

I was all dressed up in office clothes, the way I used to look, when I went to work downtown many moons ago. As I spoke, I replaced those clothes one by one with the clothes I wear to work now (Rubber boots, Sudbury dinner jacket, toque and gloves). There was a reason for it... keep reading to the end... the answer lies there.
"Those who mutter, miss what matters!" I began with a quote (from Pastor Rob at North Ridge when he spoke on "Search and Rescue Training" a few weeks ago, see here to  listen to that sermon). Then I continued with a poem by an unknown author. A friend of mine gave me this poem, when we were teenagers, and I've kept it all these years. 

Forgive Me When I Whine

Today upon a bus, I saw a lovely girl with golden hair,
I envied her, she seemed so gay and wished I was so fair.
  When suddenly she rose to leave, she hobbled down the isle,
She had one leg and wore a crutch, but as she passed a smile.
Oh God forgive me when I whine, I have two legs, the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy, the lad who sold it had such charm.
I talked with him, he seemed so glad, if I were late, it'll do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me "Thank-you, you have been so kind.
It's nice to talk with folks like you, because you see, I'm blind."
Oh God forgive me when I whine, I have two eyes, the world is mine.

Later, while walking down the street, I saw a child with eyes of blue.
He stood and watched the others play, he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said, "Why don't you join the others dear?"
He looked ahead without a word and then I knew he couldn't hear.
Oh God forgive me when I whine, I have two ears the world is mine.

With feet to take me where to go
With eyes to see the sunset glow
With ears to hear what I should know
Oh God forgive me when I whine, I'm blessed indeed!
The world is mine.

Author Unknown

Principle 7:
We need to reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for our life and to gain the power to follow His will.

Colossians 3:16 (NIV)
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.

or another translation (NCV) says:

Let the teaching of Christ live in you richly.

What does this look like for you? We all have very busy schedules, and I know it's hard to take some time, daily, to spend time with God. But how does spending time in Gods word, help us to see things a little differently than we normally would?

Let's take a look at His word and see:

Psalm 119:129-130 (NCV)
Your rules are wonderful,
that's why I keep them.
Learning your words give wisdom,
and understanding for the foolish.

Taking the time out of our  busy schedule to be with God helps us to focus on what He needs us to do, to become the person He created us to be.

Step 11:
We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and power to carry that out.

So what is prayer  and meditation? Are they both the same thing?

When I first started on this journey of healing, I thought prayer and meditation meant the same thing, but they don't.

Prayer = talking to God
Meditation = listening to God

You are Gods handiwork, His creation.

How do you know what you were made for unless you have a relationship with your creator? He has your owners manual and He would love to talk to you about the operating procedures.

I'd like us to focus our prayers of gratitude in four area's of our life:
1) Towards God
2) Towards Others
3) Towards our Recovery
4) Towards our Church

(This is where I took off my shoes and replaced them with very muddy bog boots).

I like to do things backwards sometimes, so I began with 'the church'. Save the best for last!

"I must admit," I said, "I have had a tough time with the church. And there were times that I just didn't see the importance of 'the church'." I am an introvert, and I feel very awkward in social settings, always have. It's uncomfortable, and when things 'feel' uncomfortable, as a co-dependent, I avoid it.
It seems a few people 2000 years ago, felt the same as I do, because in Hebrews 10:25 it says,"Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another."

How can I find encouragement or give encouragement if I am avoiding?
God has given each of us great gifts - each of us different and unique for a reason. Each of us is a different part of the body of Christ. A finger doesn't work by itself, it's part of a hand, attached to an arm, etc...
We are mediocre at best on our own, but we are great when we are together with the body of Christ. We need each other, it's how we were made. 

We need to be thankful for the role of the church in our lives, because it's a place where we can find a safe environment that offers encouragement, love and acceptance.

(This was where I took off my Office Jacket and put on my Sudbury Dinner Jacket).

Next, is to be thankful for our recovery.

Hebrews 12:1(NCV)
We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up. We should remove from our lives anything that would get in the way and the sin that so easily holds us back.

Let us be grateful for those people here at Celebrate Recovery who have reached out and encouraged us... loved us, unconditionally without judgement.
Let us be grateful for the progress we've made since we first started healing from our hurts, habits and hang-ups.

There may have been times along this road of recovery when we have fallen and taken a step back. But, we got back on our feet and started walking on that road of healing again. We didn't give up. Be grateful for that. We are still on our feet... running that race and moving forward!

(This was when I put on my toque). 

Next, is to be thankful for others.

Colossians 3:15-16 (NCV)
Let the peace that Christ gives control your thinking because you were all created together in one body to have peace. Always be thankful. Let the teaching of Christ live in you richly. Use all wisdom to teach and instruct each other by singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

I am guilty for taking people for granted and I am guilty for not appreciating them as I should have.

We need to be grateful to others. Those special people who walked along side of us on our road to recovery. Those who have loved us, taught us and counseled us. Without these people in our lives, life would get pretty cold out there, disoriented and lonely. With out others we could possibly find ourselves... lost.

I was going to show this video next, for a little lighthearted look at why it's important to be a part of a small group. However, I couldn't find it on the CR "The Landing" programing and I didn't have enough time to download from the Skit Guys site to the CR media on time for last Tuesday. I found it on YouTube. Enjoy!

Did you know that prayer, reading our Bibles, having help and encouragement from others, and telling our stories can help us avoid the mistake of slipping back into what we feel is more comfortable? In other words... a relapse.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18(NCV)
Always be joyful. Pray continually, and give thanks whatever happens. That is what God wants for you in Christ Jesus."

In my Women Of Faith Bible, one of the writer's paraphrased this scripture and I wanted to share that with you.

Be joyful always, even when you do not feel like it. Pray continually, never stop; and keep seeking God's heart and direction. Thank Him in the good, the bad, and even the ugly. Give thanks no matter what happens.

How is it possible to give thanks in all circumstances?

Does God want us to give thanks even in the middle of bad situations? How do we do that?

There have been times, in my life, when I have found it very difficult to be grateful to God. There have been times within the last 6 months, where I have not been joyful... even if I didn't feel like it.

- This summer I almost burned my house down, see my Wild West Diaries entry, "Casa del pollo fuego".
- I had ants in my kitchen, in Biblical proportions. For more on that story, you can read it here.
- We had slashed tires.
- My youngest daughter suffered from migraines.
- I have had issues with arthritis.
- Financial issues. 
And finally, I went from Accounts Receivables Clerk for Transat Holiday and Nolitours - staying at 5 star all inclusive hotels.... to... Poop shoveler at a horse/riding stables.

(Then I pointed at my old clothes, laying on a chair beside me).

"How did I get from that... to this?" I pointed to my barn clothes on me, "and why in the world would God allow that to happen?"

Those questions and more raced through my mind last Wednesday after a Appaloosa Pony named Prancer kicked me. Later that day as I nursed the horse shoe imprint on my upper thigh, I questioned why? Why am I here... in this place of my life... at 46 years of age. And I cried. Not because of the black and blue hoof print, but because I felt defeated. I was unhappy.

"How am I supposed to speak on gratitude next week?"  I thought to myself. I had the phone in my hand to contact Carol and Barry (The Leaders of CR), and to tell them, I couldn't do it. Then my daughter came home from school. She gave me a hug... then backed off with a look of disgust and said, "Mom, you stink!" Shoveling poop does that to a person. I put the phone down and went to take a shower.
I thought back to my office days and I slowly began to remember how unhappy I was back then. I left the house at 6AM and wasn't back until 7:30PM. I missed my girls. There were mornings when I would cry all the way to the train station. There were days , especially when the kids were sick, that I couldn't focus and concentrate on my job. I just wanted to be home with my girls.
Then I realized something... I may stink... but my kids can hug me when they get home from school. I am there in the morning for them and I am there in the afternoon and evening.

This is the reason why I can say, "Thank-you God!"

But wait there's more...

I took a look back into my old journals and I found something I'd like to share with you.

02nd April, 2008

...if I could do anything with my life? What would that look like? I would write stories, and tell stories like you did Lord. I want to inspire people to be who you created them to be.

Guess what? Today I write 4 blogs:
- Deeds For Needs (as of today has had 18, 307 page views.  My first post called "Too Busy" in Oct 2009 only had 2 page views).

This is the reason why I can say, "Thank-you God!"

But wait there's more...

I also wrote back in 2008, that I wanted to teach kids. I wanted to build up their self-confidence, so they would become strong leaders in their communities. To teach them, that no matter how tough life gets... they are loved. 

This is what I wrote:

Just watched my neighbour throwing her daughter up in the air. She's having a blast - both of them are.
I remembered when our girls were that age and the trust they had in us. Remembering the joy as we threw them up in the air. They trusted Rene and I to catch them, and we did, each and every time. They were able to let go and enjoy the moment.
When during their lives into adulthood do they stop trusting us and begin to question? Worries and fear slither and worm there way into our children's lives and they follow in our footsteps. Become addicted to alcohol, drugs, approval or bling... or worse yet, they become depressed and suicidal.
How do we prevent this from happening to our children?

What happened? We stopped trusting our father's... we stopped trusting God.

God has put me in a position at Celebrate Recovery to be a leader of children. I am the children's leader and every Tuesday night I teach the same things their parents are learning that night. I plant God's seeds to teach them that they do not have to follow in their parents footsteps. There are other ways to deal with their hurts, habits and hang-ups.
This is the reason why I can say, "Thank-you God!"

But wait... there's more...

Back then I wrote:

I just went to a Women of Faith Conference. It was amazing! I heard God speak to me as Nicole Johnson did a skit and spoke up on stage. He said to me, "This is what I want you to do Anuschka."

Now, it may not have been a Women of Faith Conference... but last Tuesday I was up on stage speaking. For a very shy person, who used to hate making eye contact with people... well...

This is the reason why I can say, "Thank-you God!"

But wait... there's more...

I just read an article about Child Psychology and Newfoundland dogs. The therapist writing the article explained how for months he couldn't get through to this young boy who had been mentally and physically abused for years. His neighbour was a Newfoundland breeder and some of his dogs were trained therapy dogs. The therapist brought one of the dogs to work with him and within five minutes the boy opened up and began his journey of healing.
Lord, I want to bring animals and kids together in a place where they can learn, grow, and heal together. Where animals that have been abused and kids that are hurting can come together in a safe, loving place of healing. Where kids learn to take care of something, learn to teach, learn to become pack-leaders and learn to love. Helping animals to heal as they heal.

(Then I pointed to the old me... on the chair beside me).

That self over there, was mostly depressed.
That self over there put on a lot of masks to hide behind, because she was afraid all the time,
That self over there, wasn't genuine.
That self over there, would never have been able to handle an ornery horse who kicked, let alone and angry child who's been abused and is kicking and screaming to be loved.

Guess What!

1. I am home with my children
2. I am writing stories
3. I am leading kids
4. I am learning a lot about animals, barn management, and being a pack-leader... because, isn't that what I wanted to teach the kids?

I am exactly in the place where God wants me to be.

This is the reason why I can say, "Thank-you God!"

(This was where I got a harness and a rope out of the bag).

We humans have such a limited view, as to how our dreams come true.

(This was where I clicked my tongue as if I were calling a horse in. My dog Angel came in and up on stage with me).

"So, how many of you thought a horse was coming through that door?" I asked.

God brings things into our lives that are unexpected. Following God does that. We have a limited view and God is full of surprises. But what He does bring onto our path is good.

"Angel here, is a well-behaved, and obedient dog, who is very focused on her pack-leaders". Lucky for me, although Angel was nervous last Tuesday she did behave on stage. 
"I am one of Angel's pack-leaders. I love her. I treat her well. I lead her. I teach her. Guess what? God loves you way more than I love my dog. he loves you unconditionally, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can not earn His love... it is there, always.

Isn't that something to be thankful for?

So what are you focused on?

The world? It's problems? Your problems? Or a God who is there to love you, to teach you and to lead you out of the dark places along your path?

Then I ended with Paul's prayer to the Philippians:

Philippians 1:9-11(NCV)
This is my prayer for you, that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between good and bad and you will choose the good; that you will be pure and without wrong for the coming of Christ; that you will be filled with the good things produced in your life by Christ to bring glory and praise to God.

That's when the Celebration Station kids came up with Barry and they sang, "You Lead" by Jamie Grace.
Thanks to:
- God
- Everyone who is a part of this journey with me 
- Angel my dog and Rene my husband for bringing her
- The Kids, Barry and Lorne at CR
- Prancer and the barn
- You Tube
- Skit Guys
- The Landing Programs
- Celebration Station Programs
- Celebrate Recovery Leader's Guide and Bible (NIV)
- Jamie Grace "You Lead"
- Woman of Faith Bible (NCV)
- The Unknown Poet
- Pastor Rob and my family at North Ridge


Anonymous said...

Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your experiences beacause reading (and visualizing) them really reminded me how God ALWAYS sees the BIG picture; all I need to do is keep trusting. Thank you, Michelle

Anonymous said...

Very nicely written, although I am an Atheist.I only believe in the mirror, when I look in the mirror and I see myself strait in the eyes, then its me who sees the BIG picture.
But keep writing! Love,