Lesson #1

I'm currently finding myself in the midst of a crazy transition. Life as I knew it is not what I'm currently experiencing; what I'm currently experiencing is not the life I will soon be living. In the midst of this transition I've been quite reflective of the past few years of my life & have realized that I've learned some valuable life lessons along the way.

Lesson #1:
Remember, life is full of seasons & this too shall pass.

With the turning of the leaves & cooling temperatures, I can't help but find this particular valuable life lesson that much more relevant.

Life brings all sorts of twists & turns with it, some expected & some very unexpected. For some reason it never ceases to amaze me that when I keep my current situations in perspective I tend to learn & grow more. Through some of the difficult moments I've found myself in, it's been incredibly comforting to keep in mind the cliche "hindsight is 20/20." In retrospect it feels as if each season has been full of its own defining moments & I've discovered more about myself & who I've been created to be as I've had to navigate through each circumstance.

From everything like planning a wedding, to building a house, from walking through a church split, to making a career shift, my husband & I have experienced a variety of different seasons & emotions to go along with them. Nearly every season seems to last forever when stuck in the middle of it. Tears have been shed, multiple prayers uttered, sleepless nights too numerous to count have passed & yet, there has been peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding has been mine through every situation I've found myself in.

Some may say this comes from some deep, inner peace. Perhaps. Although I give the credit of this peace to the fact that I know the One who creates the seasons & changes them. The deep truth is that instead of worrying, there's one thing to do - pray; tell God what you need, & thank Him for all He has done. As a result of this action, peace that is so big to guard our hearts & minds comes.

In the midst of the current chaos I'm in, I'm finding peace once again.  Normally at times like this I'd be totally stressed & freaking out. It's no small miracle that I'm currently feeling just fine with the uncertainty & chaos. There's no doubt in my mind that this stems from peace that surpasses all understanding; unexplainable peace that comes from presenting all my requests to the only one who knows all.

Thankfully seasons have a beginning & an end. Six weeks into this season, I have to admit I'm looking forward to the end. In the meantime, I'm surviving because of peace that is far bigger then the current chaos & in knowing that one day I'll look back on this & recognize defining moments.


90 birthday candles

My amazing maternal grandmother turned 90 today. My mom's sisters decided to throw her a come & go tea, aka birthday party, this past weekend. Those of us who are blessed enough to be in the same family as her know her resilience & love first hand, as a result it was no surprise to see the many guests attend her party & honour her on this admirable milestone.

If you've ever met my grandma, you know what a shock it is to think that she's 90 years old; not only is she in remarkable physical condition, she has maintained a sharp mind & quick wit. I'm thankful for the influence she's had in my life over the years & for the incredible genetics that she's passed onto her daughters & grandchildren.

My grandma is someone I respect more then I can clearly articulate. She's been a constant source of support as I've travelled the a couple of contents, started a career, gotten married & experienced all sorts of twists & turns. She's someone who displaces unconditional love unlike anyone I've ever met.

In honour of my incredible grandma I wrote the following to share at her party:

Grandma, for 26 of your 90 years I've had the honour & privilege of being your granddaughter; this has brought great responsibility to my life. A responsibility to be a loving, supportive wife. A responsibility to keep my heart & arms open towards my family, as I display unconditional love. A responsibility to be a kind & faithful friend. A responsibility to care for the physical, emotional & spiritual needs if those who enter my home. And finally a responsibility to care for myself, as being in your shape at 90 is something I aspire to. Thank you for being the ultimate role model, it's my great delight to build upon your legacy. I love you.

Among the many blessings in my life that I'm thankful for, my grandma is certainly one of them. It was such a privilege to be able to celebrate this milestone with her. I'm forever grateful to be her granddaughter.


So long, farewell

After years of having to say goodbye, you think I’d be good at it, or at least comfortable with it.  The truth is, I’m not.  As I face the end of yet another chapter in my life, I find myself in a bit of denial as I know that all too soon I’ll be saying those two words laced with tears.  I suppose it’s a good thing when one stays “soft,” at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Reflecting back there are certain goodbyes I distinctively remember.
I’ve had to say goodbye to my parents & siblings as I’ve left the continent, unsure if I’d ever return to call Canada “home.”
I said goodbye to my best friend/boyfriend (now husband), as I went to the opposite end of the world just days after we started dating.
I’ve said goodbye to friends from around the globe, not knowing when, where, or if our paths will ever cross again.
I’ve said final goodbyes to two grandparents who graduated to heaven.
My husband & I have said goodbye countless times as he or I have left the other for days at a time to take work trips.
I’ve said goodbye to besties who have relocated.
Each of these goodbye has been significant & painful in its own way.

Despite these various situations of having to say goodbye to some of my nearest & dearest, I have a feeling the round of goodbyes coming up could quite possibly be one of the most painful.  In just over a week I will be saying goodbye to my church family as my husband & I continue the crazy adventure we’ve on together.  I’m aware that people leave churches all the time, be it because of discontent, unresolved issues, or relocation; what we’re about to do is nothing out of the norm.  However, I’d like to suggest that our departure will indeed be one of great sadness as we are in fact leaving on a good note, yet a difficult one.  I’ve been on staff at our church for over 5 years…  5 of the most difficult, wonderful & stretching years of my life.  I’ve grown in countless ways & learned that there’s a lot that wasn’t actually taught to me in Bible College, that or perhaps I was just to na├»ve to take notice of that which would prepare me for real life ministry.  We’ve gone through rough patches, as well as some good.  Numerous times the thought crossed my mind to leave earlier, yet I always felt that the timing just wasn’t right & now there’s peace as my notice has been given & my final day is in sight.

Our church has not only been my place of employment, but it’s also become a second family to us.  We’ve created relationships with young & old that have made an eternal impact on our lives.  We’re so thankful for the laughs, tears, coffees, lunches, dinners, desserts & fun we’ve had the opportunity to share with those have accepted & loved us.  We've both grown & matured in countless ways. We've been empowered & released to do what God has called us to in ministry & in our everyday lives.

I know that more goodbyes will come my way over the years.  I also know that this isn’t a final goodbye, as I’m certain we’ll visit this “home” of ours often.  When we encounter those who are a part of this family we’ve grown with, our interactions will not be awkward or unfriendly, rather we’ll embrace with warmth & fondness.  Not only are we moving on with a blessing, we will leave one as we go & although you'll hear goodbyes from our mouths, in our hearts we'll really be saying "see you soon."


I was evacuated.

There's nothing like an evacuation to put life into perspective. Thankfully I was home from work as the small town I live in was being evacuated. Frantically I went through our home of three years gathering what would be needed in the event that our house ended up in flames.

While gathering important papers, passports & photos I began to get a greater perspective on what's truly of value. I'm so thankful that my parents were able to come assist me. My mom helped me get a handle on what's irreplaceable as she began packing up pieces from my husband's grandma & china pieces that have been passed down through generations, plus precious quilts handmade by my maternal grandma.

Leaving my home gave me a new understanding of what it would feel like to live in a developing nation. As I looked ahead & saw nothing but a steady stream of traffic & in my rear view mirrors just as many vehicles following. Imagining what it would be like to be making that trek away from my home on foot brought all sorts of emotions to the surface. I could not have been more thankful to have a vehicle to assist with my quick evacuation; my Jeep, is something that I so often take for granted & yet after a day like yesterday, I was so appreciative of the four wheels that transported me to safety.

My mom & I headed out of town at the same time, while my dad was a bit behind as he went to rescue our trailer. The only thing is that he wasn't just "a bit" behind, we didn't see him for more then five hours. Did I mention he didn't have a cell phone on him? What was supposed to be a quick trip, ended up being an evening full of praying & fried nerves. Turns out my dad was stuck in traffic, thankfully that's all that had happened.

Although I had our family heirlooms, all important documents & our wedding photos, I realize that the most important thing in my life, isn't a thing. The most important thing in my life is without a doubt the relationships I have with my nearest & dearest. I know that that sounds incredibly cliche, but it couldn't be more true after the past 24 hours I've experienced.

Last night I was incredibly displaced with only a suitcase that I threw a few clothing items in (no shoes I might add, shocking, I know!), a laundry basket with items wrapped in tea towels & a backseat full of important papers & photos. To be honest, I'm still emotionally raw. I could not be more thankful for the many men & women who have worked so hard to keep homes & lives safe. I could not be more thankful to my incredible brother-in-law who was out digging trenches, one of the many unsung heros of Southern Alberta; someone who certainly never signed up to fight fires.

Finally my heart is bursting at the seams that my family is safe. Words can't even begin to describe how thankful & grateful I am at the moment. The words "His mercies are new every morning," have never felt more true in my life then they did today.


Making Goals

In keeping with my goal to write on a weekly basis, here is my first blog of September.

I would say I'm dreamer & definitely a planner.  One of my dreams is to write a book one day.  This has been a dream of mine for quite a few years now.  Having said that, if I'm not currently writing, how will the thoughts muddled up inside of me ever make their way onto paper?  And so, my goal to write on a weekly basis has become part of plan in achieving my dream of writing a book.

My husband & I have always been planners & dreamers.  In fact, when we first got married we had some dreams that we wished to achieve before growing our family.  In less then six months all our set dreams had become reality & suddenly we needed to dream more & bigger.  Here we are four years & a half years later, still dreaming.

I'm realizing that as I get older time really does seem to go by faster, or perhaps it's true that, "time flies when you're having fun."  Suddenly it's September & I find myself with only a few more precious months left in 2012.  Although I'm a planner & set goals for myself, to say that I'm good at setting deadlines is another story.  That being said for the time being my goal is to write once a week until the end of the year.  Maybe this is a big goal.  This fall seems to be bringing all sorts of changes & challenges with it.  Hopefully with everything going on around me I'm not setting myself up for failure, rather stretching myself & my capacity.

Psalm 37:4 states:
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you the desires of your heart.

I believe this to be truth, and so as I plan & dream, I know that ultimately the One who gave the dream will be the One to ultimately make it come to pass.  In the meantime I'll be taking delight in Him & doing what I've been enabled to do.


It's been awhile...

& I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head & noted all over the place.

In no particular order here's what's happening:

I'm thankful for Post-it notes, scrap paper & Notes on my iPhone & iPad.  Where would I be without the ability to jot down little reminders for myself?

Summer!  Although the past couple of months seem to be a blur, I'm so thankful for a break in the norm & some hot weather.  Honestly, summer has been really busy this year.  There's been quite a bit to cramp into a few weeks, but I've loved (nearly) every minute of it.  Despite the summer cold I'm still fighting, overall summer 2012 is a season to be remembered, full of family, friends & beautiful memories.

I've really missed writing.  It's been strange not to be blogging, or writing documents in Word, or flushing out thoughts in my journal.  It's time to get back at it, to start setting myself some goals & to follow through.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how my belief system needs to line up with my lifestyle.  It's easy to be "a sinner saved by grace."  When I sin, I ask for forgiveness.  The thing is the cycle continues & unless I make a conscious choice, nothing changes.  But something needs to change.

I also really miss reading!  It's been longer then I prefer since I last picked up a book, relaxed & just read.  My days have been so busy lately that it seems when I sit down to relax I'm just falling asleep, not reading.  This needs to change...soon.  So soon in fact that I'm planning on stopping to pick up a book or two this afternoon.

This coming autumn looks as though it'll bring a few more changes then just the leaves colours.  I like change.  I thrive in change.  I'm excited.  Perhaps I'll be changing my hairstyle soon as well just to get this ball rolling.


Oh, the weekends...

I love summer.  I love the sunshine, the heat, the thunderstorms, the sandals, breezy sleeveless tops, skirts, pedicures, sunglasses, long weekends, camp fires, BBQ's...I could go on & on.  I really just love summer.

One of my all time favourite things about summer is my weekends.  Matt & I both grew up camping & consider it a favourite past time.  As a result we make a point of using our trailer as often as we can.  The truth is, it's a lot of work for us to get away for the weekend.  We lead incredibly busy lives between family, work & all sorts of other things we find ourselves involved in.  Often times our weekends end up starting Friday evening after work & end bright & early Sunday morning before work.  Between Matt's job & mine it's difficult for us to get a full weekend away.  Yet, we still take as much time as often as possible to escape to our "home on wheels."  We've recently gotten water toys that really add to our time of relaxing as we escape to the lake for hours at a time.  Weekends that we aren't able to get away for our glorious 24 hours, we take the opportunity to get away for 2-4 hours on the water.

Although it requires work to get away, there is something to refreshing about being away from all the busyness found at home, in our offices & continually pestering us on our phones.  Not only are these weekends physically refreshing as we relax (once we FINALLY get away BEFORE we have to pack up again), but there's something that refreshes our souls as well.

I love that summer lends itself to weekends away in our trailer, or afternoons on the water.  I love the refreshing that takes place as I escape from my normal life of fluorescent lights to the calm of the warm sunshine.

This is why from Victoria Day in May, until Labour Day in September I live for the weekends.


And then it was June.

Where does time go?  How is it that 2012 is nearly half over already?  I feel as though reflecting back over the past few months is the same as look at a toddlers piece of art; crazy, confusing & yet beautiful.

I like feeling as though we're finally having moments where the sun is gracious enough to grace us with its presence.  Although this past winter wasn't particularly cold, it was extremely gloomy.  How nice to feel the warmth of the sun & watch life being breathed into nature once again.  I've enjoyed moments of being outside in the sunshine, basking in its warmth, while filling my lungs with the fresh air.  Hopefully this summer will be full of these refreshing moments spent outdoors with those nearest & dearest to me.

It's amazing how life get so busy at times that you feel as though you've shifted into autopilot.  Without a doubt, I could define my life this spring as being in autopilot.  It seems that sometime the end of March something shifted & I began just going through the motions.  Perhaps it was that I was done with the dreary, windy weather.  Or maybe it was caused by conversations & circumstances I found myself in.  Whatever initiated it, I'm now realizing the effects it's had on my outlook & attitude towards everything that has found it's way onto my "to do" list.

As life seems to be springing up all around me, I can't help but want to get in on vibrant freshness of the world.

The thing is, it takes more then just wanting to feel free & alive.  It takes a conscious decision to wake up with excitement for what the day holds.  It's up to me to choose to my attitude, it doesn't just happen.

And with that in mind, as the earth seems to be coming alive, I'm reminding myself that it's my choice to get in on the exciting new life springing up all around.  It's time to get out of autopilot & get on it with it.  So watch out, I'm ready to bloom.


About my mom & family

With Mother's Day having just passed, I've been quite reflective the past little while about how incredible my mom is.  Those closest to her & who know her well, know that her life has certainly had it's share of difficult situations & yet, she is strong & could easily be defined as an overcomer.  My mom is beautiful to the core & her beauty from within radiates outwards.  Her identity is defined not by what she does, rather by who she is & by who has created her.  She is without a doubt supportive, encouraging, passionate & faithful.  The way she models unconditional love consistently points me to Jesus.  She loves & values people, a trait that I believe she has passed on & instilled into her children, which leads me to type the following...

I am a lover of all things family. I'm an advocate for the family.

The thing I'm realizing, is that at the core of my love for family, it's not so much about my family, rather about relationships. More then relationships, it's the essence of having a safe place to fall & to receive unconditional love, no matter what.

This love that is so deep within me, I truly believe was placed there the moment I was created. People crave relationships. I think of the movie "Cast Away" with Tom Hanks, he craved relationship so much he became friends with Wilson, a volleyball. There is no doubt in my mind that people were never created to be alone.

Personally, I could not be more thankful for my parents & siblings. Without a doubt my sister is my most trusted, best friend. My parents are one of the few safe places in my life that I can run to regardless of the situation I find myself in. My brother is always just a phone call or text away & although younger then me, has been my "protecter" since we were children.  The family I've married into is equally as important & valuable in my life.  I realize the relationships I have with my inlaws are precious & indeed rare.  My husband & I value our relationships with our family members above all others & desire to create a home where family is always a top priority.

I do realize however that not everyone has been as fortunate as I have in terms of biological parents & siblings. Unfortunately family as I know it is not the norm. This would explain the numerous people who have been in & out my life growing up, acting as "older siblings," as they were seeking a safe place like the home I grew up in.

And this is where one of the beautiful things about families comes in. Family can be created. If at the end of the day, a family is the people you feel most loved, accepted & safest with, then no DNA testing can define or determine your family.  However there is one key factor involved with family as I know it, & that is intergenerational relationships.

A little while ago I had the distinct joy & privilege of spending time with some extended family.  From my great aunt, to cousins the same age as my parents, plus a few cousins closer to my age, these three generations spent some precious moments together & were the envy of many around us.  Every once in awhile I need to pinch myself as I think of the reality in which I live.  I think one of my family's greatest assets is that we're inclusive, as all families should be.

They say that blood is thicker then water.  As it should be.  Family are the ones who stick closest through thick & thin.  Who support & encourage in all circumstances.  Family are the ones who display unconditional love in the most overwhelming ways that cannot begin to be described.

In the end, our family in whatever shape or form it comes will always be there & in turn, need us to be there for them.


Hope is hope

A few weeks ago I was talking with my mom on my way home.

{As a side note, first I would like to say how God certainly knew what He was doing putting me in the 21st Century! I can't imagine my life without the technology that I have at my finger tips. Everything from luxuries within my home like appliances, running water, central air etc., to my vehicle, my mobile phone, computers & the internet. I can't imagine having to heat water over a fire just for a warm bath, washing clothes by hand, or not having the means to communicate with those nearest & dearest to me where ever & whenever I like!}

Back to my conversation with my mom...this particular day we had both had full days. We both have jobs that require working closely with people & their emotions. My mom works at a high school & I work at church. Although we have very different job descriptions & employers, I think often times our jobs are very similar. That day was one of those days that was similar, yet very different

However, there is one detail which separates our jobs regardless of the situations, it's a little four letter word...H-O-P-E. The beauty of working in a church, is that I'm given the freedom to offer hope in every situation I face. Not only in my own approach to situations, but also in how & what I say. Working in a public school, my mom is confined to what she's able to share in situations, however, the tone she uses, her attitude &a actions are able to display hope in perhaps a more tangible way then my words ever could.

I'm fairly confident that the greatest gift you can offer someone in crisis is hope.  What more do we really want then the hope that things can change, that people will change, that sickness will be healed, that something better will come of an awful situation.  At the end of the day, it's hope that often gets us through those darkest moments in our lives.

The truth is, the packaging doesn't really matter.  Whether I'm offering hope through Bible verses & prayers, or my mom is offering hope through a calm tone & a positive attitude, the effects are the same.  Perhaps the situations my mom offers hope in are more difficult for something with a faith in God, as she needs to be a bit more creative in her approach, but at the end of the day hope is hope.

Since I am employed by a church, & as a result able to be "churchy" I leave you with this...
"we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us." (Romans 5:3-4)


The Life You've Imagined

Have you ever seen those mugs, or journals that have inspirational quotes on them at Chapters? Today one quote from the cover of a journal has come crashing to mind, "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." -Thoreau.

The truth is the life I'm living is more then I ever imagined it would be in terms of what I dreamed as a little girl & even what I had hoped for in high school. I married my best friend just over four years ago. Our relationship has been full of beautiful, romantic moments that make up fairy tales. We built our first home & moved in just over three years ago & it has quickly become more then just a dwelling place for us, it's our safe place where we're establishing ourselves as a family. Both my hubs & I started our careers fairly young & despite many opposing situations have managed to be successful by the worlds standards & by our own personal standards as well.

The thing about the above quote is that I think "life" encompasses more then just what you DO & HAVE. I think it really boils down to do who you ARE. What character traits define you? What are you passionate about? What do you love?

With my 26th birthday still fresh in my memory, I can't help but challenge myself to "Live the life I've imagined," as I realize there are only a few precious more years left in my twenties. I've come to understand that what I DO & HAVE is ultimately trivial at the end of the day. It's my character that creates this "life I've imagined."

And so bearing all this in mind, I'm bravely facing the next four years with a smile on my face. I'm looking forward to new adventures & challenges as I stretch myself to live this life to it's fullest. The future is no doubt bright & so I'm putting on my sunnies; I don't want to miss one second because I've been squinting!


So lately...

A few weeks ago, a thought process & deep conviction that my hubs & I share was challenged. Who knew a thoughtless comment would offend & hurt us so quickly & deeply? At the age of 25 (nearly 26!) I can honestly say I've now experienced a fairly serious offence. Over the past few weeks I've been working through forgiveness towards this individual, which has become a daily thing. It's easy for offence to taint our world views & effect our attitudes. Although the child in me would like to just be hurt & make sure everyone knows it, I realize that pouting is not the appropriate or responsible action to take. Growing pains are never easy, & whether a core element of my belief system needs to change, or if I just need to work on my heart & maintaing a Christ-like attitude, I know one day I'll be thankful for this experience which challenged my character & hopefully was a defining moment in my adult life.

I've always loved writing. I remember being in school & loving any & every assignment that involved having to write a short story, essay, letter etc. Currently my mind is racing thinking of how to best utilize this passion. Perhaps there's a book in me somewhere just waiting to be put onto pages.

Recently I've heard from a few people on more then one occasion that I'm "wise." This word completely humbles & astonishes me every time I hear it. I feel as though my life experience is extremely limited compared to others. I've only had two years of post-secondary education & at a Bible College no less. I have no degree. No children. I've only ever had one real job. How could I possibly be wise? And yet, there's something within that word that resonates within me. I've always desired to be known as someone who has wisdom. As I read through Proverbs, I can't help but be drawn to the character of a the wise person. That is who I desire to be & hopefully who I am becoming.

I turn 26 in a couple of days. I've come to the realization that I'm now closer to 30 than to 20. Although I don't feel older, the number "26" is quite alarming. Who am I? What is my purpose on this earth? How can I reach my full potential? What would I like to do with the remainder of my 20-something years?

I've had this desire recently to go against the status-quo. Perhaps there's a bit of rebellion within me, but I'm fairly confident this stems from a thought process of wanting to know the "why" behind the "what." What's more valuable, the process or the deep set conviction that inspired the process? I hope to be a woman who values what is truly valuable in life.

In light of Easter I can't help but be overwhelmed by the New Covenant. What an incredible gift to receive salvation & freedom from sin & the law. I'm certain my mind barely grasps the fullness of the gift which I have received.

And that's what's been going on in my mind & life lately...


Twenty Seven Million

There’s a song that has just come available today on iTunes in Canada that I purchased first thing this morning.

I can’t say that I’m necessarily in love with the music, I am however in love with lyrics & the cause.

Twenty Seven Million, by Matt Redman & LZ7, is a song to fight human trafficking. Partnering with the A21 campaign, all proceeds from this song are going towards fighting modern day slavery.

Roll Up the Rim, a Canadian tradition at Tim Horton’s, is currently happening. When I think of the cost of a coffee as opposed to the $1.29 I paid for Twenty Seven Million, I can’t help but think there’s absolutely no comparison. The value of any prize won at Timmy’s doesn’t even come close to the value of freedom.

Today, if you’re contemplating spending loose change on a coffee, can I challenge you to reconsider? Do something today to change the world. Be someone’s freedom. Let your actions speak out against human trafficking.


Wilderness Message

{Adapted from Sister's Connect at Dominion GateWay Center, February, 13th, 2012}

Did you make a New Years Resolution this year? Have you managed to keep your resolution so far? One of my resolutions was to start an online Bible readying plan through YouVersion, which will lead me through he Bible in one year. Truth be told, I've read through the Bible before. Second truth, I've started this plan before (this is my third time actually) & have failed. Perhaps this time will be different though...

I've recently finished the book of Exodus. I don't know if you've ever read Exodus before, but for me, reading it through this time, it was as if every day there was something new for me to ponder or be challenged with.

I've been challenged by the courage of Moses' mother & sister, two amazing women who changed history by protecting & saving Moses' life.

I've been confronted with my feelings of inadequacy, much like Moses, wondering "who am I God, that you would choose to use me?"

I've remember past springs & autumns when my house seems to be full of flied & have felt as though I can identify with the Egyptians being faced with the plagues...although I'm sure the handful of flies in my house is nothing compared to what they dealt with.

As I read about the plague of frogs & Pharaoh choosing to wait one more day for the frogs to be gone, I've wondered what I've been holding onto in my own life until "Tomorrow."

My thought process & perhaps even my value system on some levels has been reexamined as I've read over the laws God gave to His people to try & protect them from following anyone other then Him, in attempts to redeem them.

But something that has really stuck out to me I read in Exodus 7, prior to the first plague of the water turning to blood & its been on my mind ever since...
Exodus 7:16a (NLT) - Then announce to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has sent me to tell you, "Let my people go, so they can worship me in the wilderness.

Wow! Did you catch that..."so they can worship me in the wilderness." Really, worship in the wilderness? Who in the right mind would choose to worship in the wilderness? I'm not talking that mountain top experience, or standing before the vastness of the ocean, I'm talking wilderness. No thank you, I much prefer my safe, comfy church to the wilderness.

Being someone who really likes words, I thought perhaps there was more to the meaning of wilderness, then my knowledge of wilderness. So here's the definition:

noun [usu. in sing.]
an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
  • a neglected or abandoned area of a garden or town.
  • figurative position of disfavor, esp. in a political context
Uh, no, it's exactly what I thought it was! & the thing is, people are led OUT OF the wilderness, not INTO it!

Perhaps there was a method to God's madness. Perhaps leading the Hebrew people (& other followers of His over the years) into the wilderness has something to do with some He said earlier in Exodus 6:7 (NLT) - I will claim you as my own people, and I will be your God. Then you know that I am the LORD your God who has freed you from your oppression in Egypt.

By being in some place uninhabited, God could truly claim His people as His won. While in Egypt, God's people were slavs, under the ownership of Pharaoh. They had already been claimed in a sense. By leading His people in the wilderness, the Hebrew people were under no rule & then God could step in & claim them as His won.

When I look at my own life, I can actually identify with being claimed as God's own in the wilderness.

The wilderness' I've experienced have helped define who I am. The wilderness is without a doubt not a place I've enjoyed being, or look forward to going back to, but it's totally uninhabited & uncultivated, a place where God can truly have His way in our lives.

The wilderness is not a permanent destination, thankfully! It's merely part of the journey to not so much GET to where we're supposed to be, but to MAKE us into who we're supposed to be.


Happy Love Day

It’s Valentine’s Day, the one day out of the year specifically dedicated to love.

For some couples it’s perhaps that one night other then a special anniversary to go “all out” on showing one another just how important, special & cherished the other truly is.

For other couples Valentine’s Day is just another day. Perhaps for them this day is just another day out of the year to tell the other how much they’re loved & appreciated, but really it’s just like February 13th or 15th.

There are those whose Valentine’s Day has changed drastically as children have been added to the mix & suddenly, this once romantic day has turned into doting the little people in their world. Little love notes are being left in random places & special little treats are waiting to be opened.

For some, it’s a painful reminder that they are still alone, feeling as though everyone else seems to have someone special in their world. It’s become “Singles Awareness Day” & is faced bravely, though inside is terribly lonely.

February 14th, a simple day that can hold so many emotions & experiences.

This year, I’d like to share with you what I guarantee will be the greatest Valentine you will ever receive.

“God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son. Anyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.”

John 3:16

For just a moment look at this a bit differently. Where you see the blanks insert your own name:

“God loved _________________ so much that he gave his one and only Son. If ______________ believes in him ________________ will not die but have eternal life.”

This statement spoken thousands of years ago, speaks a great truth of a love has stood & will continue to stand the test of time.

The greatest act of love you will ever receive was given for you before you ever breathed one breath. This act of love doesn’t care about what you’ve done, what you look like or who you are.

So Happy Valentine’s Day whoever you & at whatever stage you find yourself today. May you know & feel a love so great today & everyday!


...days ordained for me...

I had started writing a blog yesterday. Since I had a bit of a crazy day I had typed a few thoughts, but hadn't completed anything. As it turns out, today I received an e-mail asking me to share at a ladies cafe-styled evening in a couple weeks. So, my thoughts will be saved until after that evening, at which time I'll post them on here.

I'm not one who believe in coincidences. To say that having these God-thoughts rolling around in my head & then being asked to share God-thoughts in just over two weeks, is a coincidence is not me. I do however believe in a much bigger plan.

The curriculum I use in the children's ministry I lead talks very much about The Big God Story. How this amazing story started in Genesis 1:1, continues throughout the Bible, includes me & will continue on to my future with Jesus. Such an amazing way to look at life. Not as isolated events, but rather as God's amazing narrative playing out as He reconciles humanity back to Himself.

Psalm 139 is one of my all time favourite parts of the Bible. As I've been contemplating timing in the midst of the thoughts rolling around my head & the incredible invitation I've received to share my thoughts, Psalm 139:15 has come crashing to the forefront of my mind.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
God knew exactly what was going to go down. In fact, He ordained it.

And so here I sit, mulling over numerous things, smiling to myself, amazed once again at how my God is at work.


January thoughts

For someone who claims to love writing & one day dreams of writing a book, you'd never know it from taking a look at this blog...YIKES!

On the other hand, if you check out dgcchurch.ca and "click" on the "Blog" link along the top menu bar, you'd see otherwise...

Hard to believe that January 2012, is more then half over! Where on earth has the time gone? Seems like I was just preparing for Christmas. New Years came & went basically without me even noticing & now the second & shortest month of the year is nearly here. It boggles my mind to think of how fast time seems to fly by.

This past fall was certainly one of being stretched, challenged & learning to adapt. To say it was a difficult autumn would be a bit of an understatement. It was long & it was tough to get through. There were various moments of wanting to just up & move, to start over some place completely new. The good news is that I persevered, survived & perhaps in some brief moments even thrived. I believe I learned much. I had to work on my heart, which is always good for me & my character.

I think the older I get, the greater appreciation I receive for time. In the culture I live in, we don't like to wait. We want what we want, & we want it right now. No waiting, no lines, instant service please. Over the past few weeks I've really be challenged to re-evalute the value of waiting, being patient & even hopeful. I believe a certain level of contentment comes with being willing to wait. Such a beautiful thing when you exude peace because you're content & full of hope; certainly the opposite to an anxious, rushing society we live in.

All this being said, we're now well into the Winter Season. Things seem to be going rather smoothly & life is looking pretty good, however, I know that life is full of seasons. Perhaps what I'm experiencing at the moment is the "calm before the storm," who's to say what will come next?

In moments like this I'm consciously I'm choosing to be content. I'm choosing patience, hope & peace.