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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Love Came Down at Christmas

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By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Christmas is about love.  It is so easy to be cynical about love, to be hurt by what looks like love, to give up on ever being truly loved.  What is love, sang Tina Turner, but a second hand emotion?  When we are hurt, our heart can shut down. We can grow cold and jaded, singing with Tina: “Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken?”  Sometimes in my life, my heart has grown cold.  Sometimes I lose my passion.  That is when God has broken in and renewed my heart with his love.  I remember one time when he literally baptized my heart with love.  It seemed like I was walking in an ocean of God’s love and healing.  I wish that I could live there daily.

Love means many different things to many people. For some, love is expressed through gift-giving.  We can thank the three wise men bringing gifts for the flood of presents given every Christmas.  But love is more than just giving people gifts.  Love is also about quality time.  We live in a frantically busy culture, particularly on the North Shore, where it seems like there is never enough time to do all that we want to do.  It is so easy in our task orientation to lose the relational focus.   Love stops to listen.  Love puts down the newspaper and the cell phone to give true face-to-face time.  Love is curious, open and present.  Love is willing to change.  Love is willing to grow.  Love is willing to admit that we are often wrong.

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Love chooses to encourage when everyone else is tearing down another person.  Love, in the words of 1 Corinthians 13, never gives up on you, always believes in you, always takes a chance on you.  Love realizes that sticks and stones do break our bones, that words will hurt and crush us.  Love says no to bullying.  Love grieves over the tragic loss of Amanda Todd.  Love never gives up, never lets go, always speaks blessing.  Love adds value.  Love cares.  Love respects.  Love allows you to be yourself.

Love doesn’t just talk the talk.  It walks the walk.  Love is practical, down-to-earth.  Love is a cup of cold water, the gift of a meal, a roof over our head.  Love is the washing of another’s feet, the wiping of their brow.  Love is meeting people’s needs.  Jean Vanier, founder of the L’Arche Community, said that love doesn’t mean doing extraordinary or heroic things.  It means knowing how to do ordinary things with tenderness.  The Great Physician said that he came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.  Love is the way of the cross, the way of suffering, the way of unselfishness.

Love is both a verb and a noun.  To say that God is love is true, but it can feel abstract.  What if God put love into action by entering our neighbourhood?  What if God came down at Christmas?  What if Christmas is actually about God embracing us?

This Christmas I invite you to look again at the baby in the manger, the Christ child.   Ask yourself if love came down at Christmas.  Ask yourself if this love might touch your heart.  The greatest is love.  May love fill you, your family and your friends to overflowing during this Advent/Christmas season.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

 -an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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‘Been Like a Mother to Me’

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

My late mother never forgot the time that she opened up her Mother’s Day card and read the words: ‘You’ve Been Like a Mother To Me’.  “But I am your real mother!”, she said.  “Exactly”, I responded.  “That’s why I chose the card.  It’s wonderful that you were not only my birth-mother but also have been so genuinely motherly to me’.

I have been so blessed to have a mother who has been so full of care and compassion through the good times and the bad.  But not everyone has been so fortunate.  Some people have been raised by their birth-mothers who were so wounded that they were unable to express love and nurture during the formative years.  This can leave people with a big hole in their hearts and a sense of loneliness that is hard to express.

Drs. Dennis Cloud & John Townsend, best-selling authors of ‘Boundaries’ and ‘The Mother Factor’, believe that ‘mothering is the most significant, demanding and underpaid profession around.’  When they interviewed people about their definitions of true mothering, certain words came up again and again:  nurture, care, bondedness, cookies, and trust.  Drs. Cloud and Townsend were able to name five basic needs that must be met by a mother, in order for us to be healthy and secure:

Safety

Nurture

Basic Trust

Belonging and Invitation

Someone to Love.

 

Safety, says Cloud & Townsend, comes in the form of a person who is predictable, stable, and danger-free.  Without this person, the child remains in a state of panic or anxiety, unable to love or learn.  I give thanks for my mother who gave me this gift of personal safety.  I always knew intuitively that whether I was a success or a failure, obedient or rebellious, my mother would always be there for me.

The second need that mothers meet is ‘to nurture’.  Webster’s Dictionary says that to nurture is to ‘feed or nourish’.  When I was troubled at school by bullies or exams, my mother was always there to feed me, with cookies, milk, and a listening ear.  I remember going through deep struggles as a teenager about the meaning of life and career choices.  Mom was always there to listen.  True, I often rejected her advice and was closed to her deep spirituality.  But most important, her nurturing and food were always there when I was struggling.

The third need that mothers meet is ‘basic trust’.  Drs. Cloud & Townsend teach that basic trust is the ability to invest oneself in a relationship.  Healthy people let themselves need and depend on others without fear.  We live in a high-tech disposable age where everything is up for grabs.

There is an enormous fear of commitment and long-term intimacy.  Yet simultaneously many of us ache from the absence of such relational rootedness.  My wife and I have been happily married for 41 years.  I believe that a big part of why I have not self-destructed my own marriage is because of how healthy my mother was.  My mother modeled for me the value of hanging in there through the thick and the thin.  My mother demonstrated a deep faith and trust that good would always come out of even the most tragic situations.  With the help of her favorite comic writer Erma Bombeck, my mother could always find something to smile about, even when life was not ‘a bowl of cherries’.

The fourth need that mothers meet is ‘belonging and invitation’.  All of us, say Drs. Cloud & Townsend, have the need to belong to someone and to something bigger than ourselves.  Belonging and love are at the root of our humanness.  My mother, as a gifted chauffeur, was forever driving me to endless soccer, baseball, hockey, chess, swimming, & skiing lessons.  She knew that I had a deep need to belong and to grow.  My mom also did her best to involve me in Sunday school, confirmation classes, youth groups, and summer camps.  I had no idea how much I really needed the church family to be my ‘spiritual mother’.  Like many in our individualistic age, I figured that I could do any spirituality better on my own.  My mother never forced religion down my throat, but the door was always wide open.  Thank God for my mother introducing me to God’s family.

The fifth need that mothers meet is ‘someone to love’.  There is perhaps no greater wound in a child than having a mother who just can’t love you.  We know intuitively that everything about true motherhood is about love and caring.  Yet some moms have been so damaged that they are what Drs. Cloud & Townsend would call ‘Phantom Moms’: moms who are not really there in any tangible sense.  Others have moms who Drs. Cloud & Townsend call ‘China Doll Moms’: moms who are so fragile and stressed out that no one can get too close for fear of shattering them.  Without a mom who can show us real love, we end up feeling unwanted at a deep level and estranged from our true identity.  Thank you, Mom, that once again you came through for me in a very practical way.  For 62 years, my mom showed me time and time again that I mattered to her, and that she really care.  The love of Christ that I saw in my mom allows me to show that same love to others.

The best news of all is that even if our mothers couldn’t fully meet these five basic needs, God can make up for any love deficit.  As the Good Book puts it, ‘though your father and mother forsake you, I the Lord will receive you.’  My prayer for for those reading this article is that each of us may discover afresh the amazing love of God, especially as seen in the loving arms of our mothers.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

 -Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca