I am both a third and fourth generation Canadian on my paternal and maternal parent’s sides respectively. The backstories of my ancestor’s arrivals and lives in this country are varied and fascinating. My paternal great grandparents emigrated from Russia (German ancestry) and my paternal and maternal great grand-parents and grandfather emigrated from England. My German ancestors were displaced from Germany into Russia during the time of Catherine the Great and after many years of hardship there and having their land taken from them, immigrated to Canada. They led difficult lives, clearing bush to farm in the Tawatinaw Alberta area; my father only receiving a grade seven education when he was removed from school to help on the farm.
My maternal grandfather came over to Canada on a boat from England as a very young boy to join family. His parents had both died and his older siblings had no desire to keep him. An artistic man, he spent most of his adult years slightly lost and sad. I’ve inherited his wallet from the depression years containing an unemployment ticket and often wonder about this shadow of a man I have barely heard a word about; his hopes, his dreams and his feelings as he stood in the unemployment lines with a family of six children to care for, wishing I could reach back to him to comfort him and let him know that his life did matter.
Our oldest son is the fourth generation farming the family land on his father’s side in Saskatchewan. Our younger son serves in the Canadian Armed Forces. My husband and I farmed for 17 years before leaving and now own our own business. Even in writing this, I can sense the tracings of generations running back to what helped form each of us today. I’m proud to see the same endurance and tenacity shining from our sons eyes; true Canadians, strong and free, standing on guard for their country.
My husband and I met at Bible College where our faith journey’s intersected. He had received a heritage of faith from both sides of his family, whereas mine came mainly down from my mother’s side. She had attended Christian High school in Three Hills Alberta. Her mother was a strong, enduring Christian lady and to this day I credit my grandmothers’ prayers for the most likely reason that I am still here today. I received Christ as a young girl at a Bible Camp but returned home to an extremely dysfunctional home. Most of my adult years have been a wandering of my own; internally. Unlike my artistic grandfathers for sure, but I can’t help but see the similarities of searching and longing for something that often seemed elusive.
Still, like my ancestors, I endure and feel blessed for how far I have come in this journey called life. I strived to raise my own children in faith and was blessed to be the one to lead them both to Christ at a young age. Now they are on their own paths. They have their own discoveries to make, their own wanderings, which as a mother I can’t help but pray will not be as difficult as my own. However, in looking back at my own and those of my ancestors, it provides me with a sense of God’s abiding presence in each one’s life and a knowledge that He will always be pursuing my children too and ready to bestow his Grace. Life was not easy for my ancestors, nor myself, yet they and now I, move forward.
I have been richly blessed in the past few years with three beautiful, joy-inspiring grand-daughters. I look at them and wonder, what will life be like for them? As Canadians? Will our flag still fly as high and proud as it has in the past?
I am a prolific news follower. I cannot go a day without reading up on what is going on in our world and if I do, I feel out of touch and ill informed. While I recognize that I must be careful where I receive that news from and to not only hear the negative, it is just too hard to ignore the fact that as a country we don’t seem to be going in a good direction; morally, spiritually or in many other ways. I often have a profound sadness and concern when thinking of what life may be like for future generations. I feel certain that it’s not the life most of our ancestors were looking for, nor what our brave soldiers fought for.
But before I am a Canadian, I am a Christian. And that is where my hope for the future comes from. That is where my prayers for our nation and my dear, sweet grand-daughters comes from. God, the maker of heaven and earth and the one who made this great nation, is Sovereign over all. May He keep our land, Glorious and Free.
God Bless Canada.