Thursday, May 10, 2012

PC's Once Upon a Blessing - Episode 1

Good morning beautiful people!

I thought I'd share a chuckle with you all this morning!

As I write this it's just past 7am my time and I am headed for a fabulous day of studies but before I get to that I thought I'd share something positive with you all!

Most of you know that I recently spent some time at the National Student Forum in Ottawa recently and was privileged to be able to sit and listen to fellow students, Member Parliaments, Staffers and other wonderful people such as Thanh Campbell, Nazanin Afshin-Jam MacKay,  and Father Raymond Desouza -- all of whom discussed their work, their faith, and stories that shaped their understanding of God, life, and Canada today.

Alright maybe not in those exact words but it's not that far of a reach. I learned so much from all of them and I was so touched by all of their testimonies that I thought wouldn't it be amazing to lift each other up and share our own?

Sharing our miracles, blessings -- stories about how and when we first REALLY met Jesus in our own lives, how God has changed us or lifted us out of our troubles -- or even just why we feel so blessed to be Christians.

Although I think it would be utterly fabulous if you guys would write and share all of your testimonies with me I know some of you may not -- so I encourage you to do it wherever you do want to! On Facebook, make your own vlog, tweet it, tell your mom and dad or neighbor or co-workers -- but do share! It's the most spiritually satisfying act you could do for yourself (selfish though it may sound), but also for the person listening. It's a great way to sow seeds, just encourage each other, or just because it's so humbling and awe-inspiring remembering all the amazing things that God has done for us every day of our lives.

So as my first testimony I'll share a couple of small miracles that I've experienced...

In 2000 while the world was going on about the millennium and ripping their hair out buying water bottles and canned meat -- my grandmother passed away. She was the only grandparent I had known -- and sad as this event was in my life -- it was further eclipsed by the fact that due to certain differences, prior to her sudden depth of illness I had stopped talking to her. I loved my grandmother so much, I can't even tell you how it broke my heart that we hadn't spoken in a few months and then she fell ill. She called my mother and I and told us and we rushed over; all three of us weeping and asking for forgiveness. Yes, we forgave each other immediately, after all no matter who was right or wrong we adored each other. Besides my mother, there really has been no other woman in my life that has influenced me as much as my grandmother did.

She passed away and it fell upon my mother to carry out her last wishes and take her body back to Pakistan, to our village; and I wouldn't be left behind -- I begged to go with them. I couldn't let my mother do this alone. Though we held a funeral service here in Canada -- the rest of the funeral and burial would take place a couple of days later due to the time it took to get to the village in Pakistan. This is where our first miracle occurred. My mother cherished her own mother in a way I could only compare to my own feeling for my mum. So we had done everything we could with the help of family and by the grace of God to give her the respect that we knew she deserved in her funeral. My mother so lovingly chose fresh flower displays to surround grandmother and she didn't want anything less from anywhere else -- so my father and I and mum went to a packing store and much to the surprise of the workers told them we needed all of the funeral flowers packed in the most delicate of way so as to take them to Pakistan with us.

Part of me knew that it wouldn't last. It was just so heartbreaking, nothing else seemed to matter and we were holding on to anything we could because it was all we had left. My father took us to the airport and sent us off with a prayer. The flight was horrendous -- and for those of us who have flown from Canada to Pakistan or vice versa you have probably experienced the delays which sometimes border on ridiculous -- for us it was almost 8 hours on the tarmac. With every hour that ticked by the morbidity and sadness of the situation grew ------- but fast forward to Pakistan ------- it's hot, it's night time and we still have hours to go by car before we reach the village.

When we finally got there it was even more overwhelming than we were ready to face. All of our extended family, the entire village -- people I couldn't recognize milling around me, patting my head -- wailing. I could barely cry anymore. It was pure confusion. And then we started unpacking waiting for the worst. The first box opened, the second, the third, and so on and box after box of pristine still fresh like they had just been cut from their stems the flowers came out. We were in shock. God took care of us even then...

There was more hardships and more miracles in the days to come. Issues with family and friends, sadness and anger and forgiveness -- as is what happens in such times. We stayed in Pakistan for a few weeks, after such a long and physically/mentally/spiritually draining journey it just wouldn't have been feasible for my mother and I to travel back right away. Sitting at home was becoming tiresome as well though, so my mother and I did one of the only things we have ever been able to do for entertainment in Pakistan -- we drove around and looked at the sights and stores.

As we drove, we passed many things many sights and smells and sounds but there came one road where my mother was adamant we stop. She had been drawn to a shop with wooden furniture in it -- and almost immediately she found what she wanted. It was a deep cherry colored solid wooden console with a matching carved mirror. If you've ever met my mother you'll know like I do that regardless of situation, when she decides something there is no turning back.

The table and mirror were packed to the best of the furniture makers abilities and with our own suitcase each it was the right number of pieces -- but I was still concerned about how we were supposed to be taking these huge pieces of furniture to Canada.

My mother's only recently told me this: before my grandmother passed away she had shown her a video of the house that we had just bought -- literally just bought, and we were moving into it the day that my mother and I had ended up having to go to Pakistan -- she told me grandmother loved our new house, even marking two rooms as her own (one of which I'm currently using as my room!). We had nothing of hers in this house but our own thoughts, and we didn't take any inheritance either -- but my mum wanted to take something back with her to keep in our new home as a reminder of her mother and the love that they shared.

Apparently, as strange as it was for me to understand at that moment -- that token was a huge console and mirror set.

At the airport in Pakistan we were faced with the usual challenges and the usual solutions (aka nothing money couldn't fix). But even though we made it past check-in and had paid everyone in full once we went to drop off our luggage we were told that our furniture just would not go. It was big, awkwardly shaped, heavy -- it just wouldn't do! Conversation after conversation took place with worker after worker and our family had already left us there to tend to ourselves. With barely any cash in hand we talked at last with the airline manager on duty. He heard our story, he apologized for our circumstances and gave us a sum -- he said if you pay me this much right now I will let this go -- and then he promptly walked away to let us figure it out. My mother was about ready to weep and I was ready to break the furniture; so we stood there shaking and at once my mother opened her hands looked up and cried "God help us".

He came towards us very quickly like the wind and I kid you not when I tell you I did not see a face or even an exact shape. He was tall almost like a long shadow, and my mother can't remember much else either -- but he came to us and placed in my mothers open hands the exact amount of money she needed at that time. Then in what seemed to be a blink of the eye -- he was gone.

We stared at the money together, rejoicing and thanking God and went in search of the man that saved us but there was no one to be found. After paying the manager and getting our luggage sorted out, my mother and I kept searching, kept asking people if they saw anyone there -- we just wanted to say thank you but there was no one around to say it to.

What more could it be? This was our miracle, pure and simple.

We came home with joy in our burdened hearts -- and to my dad's surprise with furniture. I didn't understand it then, how this token was supposed to remind us of my grandmother -- how any of this even related to her; but it didn't have to. God was always watching us, He was always there with us every step of the way -- carrying us when we wept, comforting us as we mourned -- He was there reminding us that in every moment of our lives He is with us; and that my grandmother was safe in His rest.

Some people still might think this is too trivial to be a miracle or too much of a stretch but after all these years, and the many things that have changed in our lives and our home -- that console and mirror still sit there in our front foyer; still shining as bright as the moment we saw them in the store with not a scratch on them even though we throw our keys/mail/purses and so forth on the table every day. Every day they remind us of the small miracles that God blesses us with, and every day they remind me of how much my grandmother loved me -- even though we couldn't always show each other.

Anddddddd....... now it's your turn! Post your comments, share your stories and I'd really love to add them here and keep adding them so that others (like myself!) can be blessed by them as well! Our community is a troubled and persecuted one but also a faithful one. I know you have all been mightily blessed as I have been!

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