Saturday, 17 March 2018

He's already there.

My God is the God who goes before!  He was, is, and always will be!  Before I took a breath He was already there from eternity.  This truth hits my prayers and my heart almost daily.   Over the last years I've noticed in my life how those of us who've grown up in Christian culture have tried to control, manipulate and force the Presence of God to only be in a certain building, on a specific day and work in a certain way.  We've  even elevated and exalted "full-time, career missionaries" and  thought them to be more holy than the man who works quietly and shares Jesus as a salesman, or the Mom who feels that all she does is clean babies and house, but prays fervently in  her heart in the middle of the mess. Is God only confined to the things we've labeled sacred? Can He be found in the very ordinary, 'secular' things of life?

The life I live reminds me that God is already there and He invites me to step in and up to where He is working. When I wake up on a very snowy morning and look out my window thinking about how I want to go lay on a beach, I lift my eyes higher to see God in the beauty of the snow on the trees.  I start singing my own cover of Elvis' "Can't Help Falling In Love" (knowing full well it's not a 'worship' song or a hymn), but hear it as if Jesus was singing it to me and KNOW in the sacredness of that moment that I am LOVED.   A Youth visits me in  my office or I start a conversation at the Drop In and I whisper in my heart, "God, show me where You already are moving in him or her'" and He's there!  I hear Joe Cocker's "With a Little Help From My Friends" being sung by a student to a friend who is hurting and I am convinced that these moments are more than just wasted and worldly.  I sit at a clay cafe,  grab paper and markers, listen to their music playlists,  hear  them learn musical instruments,  pass out  xbox controllers,  play with photo filters and learn about skateboards  all so I can become aware of how God uses these ordinary things to show up in the lives of us. I am becoming more and more aware of God's real presence in the world. I see Him in Creation, in laughter, in tears, in songs and art.  This is where the sacred and secular meet...or maybe it's just all sacred?  Never too dark, not too limited, not too closed to the awesome Presence of a God who is always moving and showing us that He is REAL!

So what am I saying?  Find Him in form and traditions, in the classic beautiful hymns and always in the Holy Scriptures. Find Him in the structure and organized way of worship.  Please look for Him too in the giggle of a baby, the glimpse of the moon or even the creative expression of a lost Youth...because He is there too!  He is there in the life of a faithful pastor or missionary who has served Him well! Don't forget though He can be just as real and present on a construction site, an Ag farm or even behind the counter of your favorite cafe counter in a worker who is just as faithful.  He is already there moving!  He's just looking for those whose eyes are open and know exactly where He's at work.

He's already YOU see Him?

Friday, 9 February 2018

When Skies Are Grey... (Living in "The In Between" Space)

Just reminding us (yes, even me) of how to live well in the the place of the place where things don't always make sense.  This is a place of waiting, the place of holding onto dreams that are promised and yet to be fulfilled.  It is a place of darkness and yet a place of glimpses of hope, beauty and a peace that goes beyond how we feel in reminding ourselves that He is here.  This is the tension place, the "in between" place.  A place of walking in our pilgrimage one step, one breath at a time.  Holding on to what we KNOW...learning to laugh and celebrate and be ok with life not always making sense...learning to dance in the rain and bask in the sun and know that  'in the middle' is where beauty and glory can and does grow.

So if you find yourself are 50 things (not in order of importance)  that I pray can help us on our journey...

  1. You are not alone...He is with you.
  2. You are not in control...and it's ok to let go of it.
  3. You are NEVER too messy to Come to Him
  4. Your loneliness is part of the longing that our souls were created for..we were created to long for LOVE and the Person of Love
  5. You don't have to make everyone understand or make everyone be ok with where you are at.
  6. This space doesn't disqualify your service for Jesus, but may even enhance it
  7. You are loved.
  8. The questions are ok to ask...He never gets tired of them...and never thinks we are nagging.
  9. Fear & Doubt are with them in real conversations/prayer
  10. Surrender to the process of one has arrived yet
  11. Smile & Find Joy
  12. Acknowledge your feelings of tension.
  13. Find a few friends...the 2 or 3 to carry you.
  14. Say, "No!" when you can't
  15. Say, "Yes!" when you can
  16. Ask for the strength to lift your eyes and focus
  17. Know there's a bigger story going on than where you are at right now.
  18. Cry, Cry, Cry
  19. Don't get hung up on people's reactions.
  20. Sleep and go for walks/exercise...not at the same time though 😉
  21. Breathe deep
  22. Don't justify your "No." and don't be pressured into saying, "Yes!'
  23. Keep creativity/adventure alive
  24. Say No to shame and yes to belonging
  25. Do something that requires risk
  26. Be ok with not sharing and silence in conversations
  27. Pray, pray pray
  28. Watch a good movie now and again
  29. Learn to communicate what you need  and when you need things
  30. Learn not to be afraid of accountability...the confession of not only your fails, but also find people who remind you of who you are and what you are created for.
  31. Don't take yourself too seriously
  32. Discover and understand who you are. Notice what gives you life and what sucks life out of you....and don't apologize for it.  Know what you are...and acknowledge what you're not
  33. Scratch the word "should" out of your dictionary. 
  34. Times of solitude do not ALWAYS mean isolation...learn to love your own space if that's what you need.
  35. Risk rejection & being misunderstood....but "avoid every form of self-rejection"--Nouwen
  36. Praise even when you don't feel it...sing loud through the questions, doubts and fears.
  37. Explore different spiritual practices and ways of connecting to God. Break yourself out of the box.
  38. Go shopping, buy yourself flowers, visit your favorite cafe
  39. Stop and receive His peace even in the chaos
  40. Read a book
  41. Know pushing through ≠ faithfulness
  42. HE sees, knows & gets it
  43. Examine your motivations/intentions in life
  44. Give yourself freedom to dream of what could be
  45. Sit in Scripture
  46. Ask for help
  47. Listen.
  48. Dance and adjust to disappointments
  49. Help someone else
  50. Remind yourself that it won't always be this way...your story won't end here!!  Yay for hope! 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

‘Sup Bro? We need you!

A girl needs a brother, ya know?  The last few months I have been praying into how much we need each other in the Body of Christ.  We need male and females leading and living out their uniqueness in the Family of God. It is amazing to me how  protected and valued I feel when men actually step in and value and protect me instead of just treating me like I am less than.  I am not an object to be used, abused or looked down on.  I have something to contribute to God's Kingdom ....God can give me  something to say, pray or lay down as my offering to King Jesus. Maybe it's my role at YFC working as a female staff and seeing so many girls hurt by men...and men hurt by girls? 

 Hear me when I say
this is not a man hater post, but rather a call for men to see the women around them as created in God's image.  Please see us as precious sisters who need your strength, courage and gentle compassion.  Be the kind of men who call out the beauty in us and pray for us. Be the ones who give  your wives freedom to still have time for other friendships.  Be the ones who call us out of our quietness and want to hear what we have to say.Be the ones to not write us off as "just another emotional woman" even when you can't understand the why. Be the ones who take a whole car load of us on a road trip, the kind who at the drop of a hat will give a ride so you don't have to take a sketchy taxi  and be the kind of brothers who call out the wild adventurer in us even when we are too tired to see it ourselves.  It is time, dear brothers for you in the Body to be all these things and be like Jesus to us.  It is time in holy purity and with grace-filled boundaries to carry us when we feel tired, to help us find the smile in our day and to help heal the things in us that other men have destroyed and wrecked in us!  You can pray for us, you can walk with us and sing with's ok!  Don't be afraid of us, be aware of us!  I lay down my competitiveness and pick up our uniqueness.  I lay down my fear of you and choose to love who you are.  I lay down my fight against you and walk with you.  Truth is, bro I need you!  You know, bro that we sistas have something you need too.  It's just how our Dad designed it all to be.  I confess we haven't made it easy for you.  Sometimes we've bashed you more than we've helped you or encouraged you.  So I step step up and together we work for His name's sake.  Brother...Sister...TOGETHER!  This is the BODY...this is what will bring healing in the Family and to the families of our communities and nations! Let it be Lord Jesus...let it be!

In the pictures are some of my good, good brothers who've shown me the above things exactly!

Sunday, 14 January 2018

A Private Litany of Humility

From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like yours.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, strengthen me with your Spirit.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, teach me your ways.

O Jesus, meek and humble of heart,

help me put my self-importance aside

to learn the kind of cooperation with others

that makes possible the presence of your Abba’s household. Amen.

~Adapted from a prayer by Rafael Cardinal Merry Del Wal  1865-1930

Saturday, 2 December 2017

A Cracked Wall

I've heard a picture of the Body of Christ a few times  and it hit my heart in a new way this week. Today as I sit and process it with the Lord I think there is more for me (and us) in this picture. This picture is of a cracked wall.  We as the family and the Body of Christ are in a battle against the Enemy of our souls.  The cracked wall in this picture is the defensive/offensive line that protects us against him and as we stand together there ain't no force of Hell that can get's a beautiful picture. Then come in the cracks...what are they, why are they crumbling?  These cracks are the weak places, the vulnerable places, the struggling places that are places where the Enemy can come in...and he does and will if we allow him and fear him.

What is our response as a living Body, a Family, a Force of Soldiers?  Do we suit up, pray up and hound heaven for the cracks to be filled, healed, redeemed, restored and for the darkness and demons to flee?!  Yes! Prayer is a powerful weapon and helps us stand and helps others to stand firm against the Enemy! (See Eph. 6:10-18)

The Family, the Body of Christ also needs to know and be aware of partnering with the heart of God to know about the crack...the vulnerable place. Is it there because of a  direct attack of the Enemy?  Is it a place where the Spirit of God can move the Body to be the Body and step in and pray, care and learn how to love wholly and purely?   YES...and YES!  It is a both/and thing.  This is why we need to be so connected to the heart of God so we know what He's up to.  The weak, vulnerable place must be handled with care and is a place of weakness where we can learn our dependency on the ONE who is the real Victor in this whole story.

By many people's view I am a "crack in the wall" (we all are at different seasons) and  I do not argue with that.  Disability, my introvert personality, sin, emotional hurts, singleness, even being a woman can all carry things that point to my "crumbly place" when I walk into a sanctuary on a Sunday.  The truth is that for a lot of years I believed that I was the problem because of these things.  I was the cursed place where the Enemy got in.  I was the one who needed fixing and until I was healed, fixed and whole I had no value to the wall...I had no place at the table with the Family!  

But He invited me to see...
how He delights in me when I give Him those cracked places...and He has whispered Truth over and is transforming that place in me today.  You see, this weakness--this cracked place can also be used to take the Body...the Family into deeper prayer, deeper care, deeper compassion, deeper understanding of His heart.  A place where we know we are vulnerable to attack and need each others strength in prayer.  We need to be willing to suit up with each other, learn from each other and let the Lord use us in each other's healing, redemptive process.

 Dear Sibling/Fellow Soldier,
Pray for the cracked places...the broken places.   Pray for the broken marriages, the hurt and bitterness and frustrations to be dealt with.  Pray for the lies to be uncovered and the Truth to be let in.  Pray for sexual wholeness, healing for pain, sickness, disability and depression. We are blood-bought children of God who can stand in His Authority and cry for mercy! Remember too, that the weak places, the cracked places are also valuable places where the light of God's glory can shine through and be seen.  Our King, our Head, our Daddy doesn't panic over darkness...He overcomes it...and brings light.  On days when your cracked place feels heavy...lean on another trusted soldier to help you stand.  Read Scripture,  understand your feelings and emotions, cry out to Jesus, listen to the Spirit's voice on what is attack and what is a place where the Lord is refining you.  YOU ARE LOVED &  NOT ALONE!

We are weak, sinful, vulnerable humans who STILL have a unique purpose in the Kingdom of God even on days when our cracks feel so real.  We  have a place at the table and a position to take in battle NOW not when we become better or whole.  Our sins, struggles and situations should be the things that draw us to our family for support and strength not make us feel isolated so much that the Devil wins and Love doesn't!

And the cracked wall...

will be a beautiful trophy of God's beauty and no force of Hell can stop us when we do stand together against the Enemy and live in a deep compassion for each other!

Friday, 10 November 2017

Flashback Friday: Championing Children Conference

The room was full at the Life's Vision Conference on October 14!  My new  friend Cameron MacDonald  shared the overwhelming details of MAID (Medical Assistance In Dying) laws.  Then he ended with this video:
(Sorry that I don't have Cam's part to share, but you can look up Life's Vision Manitoba and follow his work.   They do an amazing job educating and sharing information on all life issues from conception to natural death!

I then shared my story on hope for People with Disabilities.  Here is my story on that day...

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Let Me Love You.

(Written for YFC  Portage Banquet 2017)

Just pretend I am looking at you in the eye as I read this.  Pretend that I've read the below transcript word for word and that I am really good at being creative with videography :) It's just me in real time on video...*eye-rollong smile*

“Let ME love you!” is the invitation that has been sung from Jesus and I have been hearing over myself these days and over the Youth of Portage.  You don’t have to hang around YFC long before you hear stories of distorted, false versions of what love is.  In our world, love is a feeling. Love can be superficial...a magic word that gets you your next fix, friend or food plate.  It is my huge honor as child of God, a woman, and Youth worker to speak truth and live Truth out  before these lies and misconceptions about Who love is, about how humans are reflections of it and how it works itself out in relationships, families and teenage lives.

Many Youth who step into the doors of the Youth Centre...and maybe even many of us sitting in this room tonight believe and live in the space of feeling like we have to earn love from God and others.  I watched this play out the other night at Drop In.  A Youth who is often sitting by himself at school and has expressed many times that he has no friends came in.  This time though he came in with a few of our regular students. He had been hanging out with them at school. He  looked very excited to have people around him.  I was excited!  He came up to the counter opened his wallet and then said  to the person at the counter he was buying his friends something!  Again, I thought he was just being kind and was excited for him!  The next words I heard from him told me different!  He said, “This is how I get friends!”  Though it is often a kind thing to buy things for a friend, the sad reality was that this Youth was using money to buy his friends. He thought that by buying his friends snacks  that that was his way of earning acceptance, friendship, belonging, love.  This may work for awhile, but the sad truth of it is that if you go around trying to buy’ll end up feeling used, broken and confused and empty.

BUT here’s what Jesus says to us and the Youth of Portage….”Let ME love you!  Let Me love you as you are...I paid your debt...I bled, died and rose again to love You wholly and completely.  I love you as you are and will love you into becoming more like Me!”  You don’t have to do anything...just come, let Me love you!  Come, receive!  Hear the Truth that it’s not your’s My work on the cross that set you free! You don’t have to earn it.. Just let me Love you...and let my Love transform you.  

Thank you Portage Community and friends of YFC for supporting me and us at YFC so we can uncover for Youth what true  love is...Who true  love is and keep calling them into this invitation. ♮  Let Him love you! Let Him love you..Just receive!