February 2011


When was the last time you took a good look at the clothes in your closet?  If you’re anything like me, you’ve got some favourites, some not so favourites, some things that require some attention (a hem, or a button), some things are too big or too small and some things that haven’t been worn in ages.  Every so often, I look through my closet to reevaluate what is taking up space.  I choose to keep some things, pass other things along and add new items into the mix.

For a while now I’ve been thinking about the clothes in my “spiritual closet”, the character of my heart.  The Bible is filled with verses that tell us how to dress, how to “clothe ourselves” and I’ve been looking at ways to add these “clothes” (characteristics, attitudes, actions and thoughts) into my life.

Consider the words that Paul writes in Colossians 3:12-14  Since God chose you to be holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.

Tenderhearted mercy. Kindness. Humility. Gentleness. Patience. And most important: Love.

When I look at these pieces of clothing in my  life I can say that are times when these clothes fit really well, they are comfortable staples in my wardrobe. I wear them all the time.  But if I take a hard honest look, there are times when these clothes are hidden in the back of my closet, the back of my heart and mind. They are too tight, too big or require too much work and they get tucked away in favour of other things.

In Colossians 3:3-11, Paul tells us “to put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires. Don’t be greedy for the good things of this life, for that is idolatry.  God’s terrible anger will come upon those who do such things. You used to do them when your life was still part of this world. But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behaviour, slander, and dirty language. Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds.  In its place you have clothed yourselves with a brand-new nature that is continually being renewed as you learn more and more about Christ, who created this new nature within you. In this new life… Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

So what’s in your closet? Take a minute with me to look at the list above and compare that to your “spiritual closet”.

What clothes do you need to throw away? Lying? Anger? Sexual sin? Dirty language?

What clothes do you need to wear more often? Love? Tenderhearted mercy? Patience?

I don’t know about you, but I know that there is some Spring Cleaning to be done in my own life. At the end of the chapter, Paul gives us some practical help on how we can make these changes.

Colossians 3:15-17

  • And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in our hearts.
  • Always be thankful
  • Let the words of Christ live in your hearts and make you wise
  • Use his words to teach and counsel each other
  • Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts
  • Whatever you do or say, let it be as a representative of the Lord Jesus, all the while giving thanks through him to God the Father

So who’s with me? Are you ready to take a look at your attitudes, desires and behavours in your spiritual closet and make an honest examination of what is there? As we sort through the closets of our hearts and minds I know that we will find some clothes that fit us well, love, peace, humility perhaps. Wear them even more than you do now.  I also know that we will find things that we need to get rid of, rip to shreds and throw out to the trash.  By doing this, remember, that we are each making more room in our closets/hearts for those attitudes, behaviours, thoughts and actions that God wants for us. Are you ready to throw the poorly fitted clothes away? Are you willing to exchange them for a new wardrobe of kindness, humility, tenderhearted mercy, gentleness, patience and love?

With love, Heather

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It’s early. I’ve been up since 5 am, as I am most mornings and unable to fall back asleep.  Most mornings at this time I lie quietly in bed, hoping to drift back to sleep. I don’t and so instead my mind races, I spend time in prayer and I wait for the familiar and predictable 6:15 wake up call of our 4 year old, who paddles into our room with his favourite stuffed animals in hand and greets me with a bleary eyed “Good Morning Sunshine!” This morning could have (and should have) been a sleep in since he’s away on an overnight but I heard the Gentle Voice, the voice I know so well, calling out “Good Morning Sunshine”. And so my day begins, as it should, resting in the arms of the One who knows me and loves me. The One who listens to me and speaks to me.

Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

This yoke that Jesus speaks of is not a “one size fits all” design, but one made specifically for me. One that fits me. One that prepares me, enables me and equips me. It is easy and light, not burdensome or heavy. This does not mean that doing what God calls and asks us to do will be easy, without challenge or even perhaps without difficulty or question, but that He prepares us, walks along beside us and equips us for what will come. That is good news!

Health Update: I am just coming up on 14.5 months post bone marrow transplant. The doctors continue to be pleased with my progress and monitor me closely.  I am usually down at Princess Margaret Hospital once a week but we are starting to stretch out those visits to 2-3 weeks. The doctors are also monitoring my medications, reducing and increasing doses as necessary.  My biggest health battle is with graft vs host, the ongoing battle of the new bone marrow and my old bone marrow. For me, this has been mostly in the form of mouth sores.  When these sores flare up at their worst, it is difficult to eat and is painful, but at other times the sores are just uncomfortable.

Perspective: I am learning the importance of perspective when it comes to these sores and other frustrations regarding my healing process. These sores in my mouth, weekly trips to the hospital, daily medications and the side effects that come along with it all are small and light compared to the battles that some of my bmt friends are going through.  I am constantly thankful to God (and my healthcare team) for the healing that has happened and continues to happen.  I have listened to stories in the waiting room of other transplant patients who have spent extended time in hospital, who have had difficult recoveries and I know of others who have lost the fight. I am full of thanksgiving to God and must daily fight the “woe is me” or “this is too hard” or “enough is enough” and turn my heart, thoughts and actions back to the One who knows me best, who whispers truths about who I am and who I am becoming.

H.