Joyska's Journal: November 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"this is my brother darryl and my other brother darryl"

I have a lot of friends with same name.

For example this is what my day was like:
I left the house at 8:00 am and met my friend Deb for breakfast
I wondered the Forks and the mall for a while after that, and then met my friend Cheryl for a movie at which my other friend Deb was supposed to join us.
I then returned to my apartment where my friend Sheryl lives.
I got on to my facebook page and am playing scrabble with yet another Deb, and yet another Cheryl.

I just hope there isn't a Christmas party in which they all attend.
Joyska at 6:21 PM

Friday, November 28, 2008

moses the murderer

I don't know about you, but when I think of Moses, I don't always think of him as a murderer. Not only was he guilty of murder, but then he became a fugitive. He ran away. As a child he was abandoned by his mother (to save his life, but abandoned all the same) was raised in a foster home, got the best education, but threw it all away when anger got the best of him.

Doesn't sound like the greatest candidate for leadership. His resume would most likely be thrown into the "recycle bin" in most companies.

But throw God into the picture and everything changes. God saved his life when his mother sent him up the river. God raised him up in Pharoah's company because he knew he would need to understand that world in later years. God saw him murder the egyptian and watched him flee, only to give him the experience of being a shepherd in the wilderness... another world he would have to understand.

It was in that place, knowing he was a murderer, knowing he had fled, knowing his past and everything about him that God chose to meet him. Moses was probably feeling like he had failed God, his family and his people, and was living out his days quietly as a shepherd and a father, a husband and a son in law.

But God saw more. He took him from that place of utter obscurity and placed him infront of Pharoah once again. He took him from the desert as a fugitive to the being a leader of a nation leading them through the desert. God saw his future, not his past. God entered into his life from the very beginning and shaped him through every circumstance.

God called Moses his friend.

I don't know about you, but THAT gives me hope.

Advent begins in 2 days. I pray that this season reminds us all that God sees our future and walks us through the now. So much so, that he sent Jesus to solidify our place with Him, so that all of us can be not only God's children, but also His friend.
Joyska at 7:44 PM

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

more about expectations

I was thinking again about the expectations we put on people. This is a rather serious post and a longer than usual one, so if you are looking for something light and fun, this isn't the one to read right now :) though it may enlighten or at the very least encourage you.

There is a quote that fortunately or unfortunately was made famous by Drew Barrymore in "Ever After" that says:

"If you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners corrupted from infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded, sire, but that you first make thieves and then punish them?

I read the concept years ago in Thomas Moore's "Utopia" and went "hmmm, good point" and kept reading. Well, I was confronted with some of that logic today. Many of you know that I have been working in the inner city most of my adult life. From the time I was in college to my present job now, I have in some way wanted to impact the poor and less fortunate in our cities.

I met someone today who had a lot to say about that. He spoke about how the native community in our country is in the condition it is in because so much has been taken from them:

Treaties that have never been renogatiated as time passed, eventhough the needs and understandings of the communities had changed.

Residential schools that tore apart families, if not by force, then by introducing new language and new culture into the children only to return to their families and not "fit in" anymore, or not wanting to.

Land deals that took men who lived off the land and in the bush, and were prosperous and industrious and made them dependant on other institutions to take care of them.

And ultimately many of them leave their homes to come to the city to learn a new skill, or work in the industries, or simply because there is even less for them in their home towns.

So many of them end up in the poor areas of the city. Some of them end up on the street. Many of them are dependant on alcohol and drugs to just feel better, even if it's just for a little while.

I took in all that my new friend was sharing and it made me rethink how I look at the alcoholics and drug addicts that I know. Sometimes, even though I know this isn't the case, I expect that they should just be able to stop drinking. They should know how to "pull up their boot straps" and do what they need to do, and I get frustrated when they don't or chose not to.

But here is the problem. The list that my new friend gave me as to reasons why they don't "get better" makes sense. They are good reasons (not excuses). I myself have trouble just "doing what I need to do" for my own lists of reasons. But somehow, they are and I am expected to.
I'm not trying to say that people aren't responsible for their own actions, I am fully aware of the devestation that happens when people blame everyone else for their problems, but I think that there has to be a place for grace.

Expectation is the mother of disappointment. (I didn't come up with that)

What is the opposite of expectation? I've come to realize that for me, it's grace and acceptance. Grace takes into account the situation and accepts the person anyway. YES I want to challenge the status quo in the lives of my friends AND in my own life, but I need to remember the factors that got them there. Expectations, no unfair expectations without grace cause all of us to misunderstand.

Now, what does ANY of this have to Advent?

Everything. God has a level of expectation of His creation as well. It's called the law. Obviously none of us will live up to that law at least according to Romans 3:23. It's ONLY through God's grace and acceptance of us that salvation was even possible. So once again, as always it comes down to love. (John 3:16). God loves me, I love God, myself and my neighbour. Give without expecting anything in return.

So as Sunday and the first official day of Advent approaches, my prayer is that rather than unfair expectations of others, myself and even of God... I pray for grace and acceptance for myself and others, and trust in the God who loves me.
Joyska at 3:46 PM

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Well, I've decided to blog again. Not so much for anyone else, but more for me.
I am always a little more introspective, and well, pensive this time of year. Part of that comes from where I work and seeing how the weather changing affects the homeless and those at risk.
But it's more about expectations.

Christmas time means warm feelings and eggnog,
presents and times with family
Christmas songs playing in the mall and Santa making the rounds (Cuz if there is only one Santa Clause, he sure is busy!)
Kids bright eyed and making their list
etc and etc.

Don't get me wrong, if you know me at all you know I LOVE the Christmas season and am biting at the bit to get my tree up and decorate with all the pretty lights. I love to drink the eggnog, buy Christmas presents, and wandering the mall? My favourite passtime at Christmas.

But it's the EXPECTATION that it is all going to be wonderful. It's the EXPECTATION that everyone should be with family and be happy about it. The problem is, the expectation is rarely what it turns out to be.

Some of us are not able to go home for Christmas, and for many people home isn't exactly the place "celebrations" happen. Not all the things on the list are going to be under the tree, and gratefulness isn't always the response to presents anyway.

See, but that is where God is different. He created us with expectation in us for HIM. For his coming, and ultimately for his return. So this year, I want to focus on EXPECTING Jesus. Advent is such an amazing time of year. It's not about what Christmas has become. It's about what God intended to bring us back to --a place where we can meet him face to face -- talk about expectation :)

So this year, instead of telling you all the Christmas movies I'm watching, I'm going to go through Advent with you, if you want to come along. Who knows what to expect!

So, I'm back to blogging, and I'm filled with expectation!
Joyska at 4:25 PM