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!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Beyond Limits

Have you ever exceeded your limits? You push past the speed limit in driving, you eat one more cookie even though your stomach feels full, or you stay just a half hour more at work and ignore your headache or exhaustion because you just have to get work done!   If all that sounds familiar, it won’t be long before the pushing through catches up to you.  The police pull you over, eating habits become unhealthy and your work leaves you feeling burnt out and lifeless.  This summer began with me speaking out loud what I already knew in my soul and that was that I was going way beyond my limits!  Yes me!  The girl who tries to prove that she has no limits had to step back and say, “Enough!” I stepped out of my role of overseeing our summer students and was given the grace and freedom to use this summer as a recovery/rest time.  It has been a challenge to admit to myself (and others around me) that I have limits, but I am learning that it is a human thing.  We all need to realize and know our limits and admit that we have them, and yet not let them define us!  It has been a hard, but beautiful thing to know my limits and yet live in the space of not letting them define me.  Please pray with me that I will continue to let myself rest, discern exactly what to say “No!” to and “Yes!” to, and continue to have the courage to live out of my unique role and passions.  The Fall will look different for me as I go forward, but for now I find myself still being a supportive encourager to staff, programs and people.  I am a limited human with a limitless, powerful Jesus...this I know above how I feel!

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Throwing Pens and Making Space for Differences

I was always the 'different' kid and I hated it!  Sometimes I just wish that I could walk through a mall, down a street or anywhere really and not get stared at. Somehow I missed the beauty of walking out differences. Why can't I be like everyone else?? This was in a physical way because of my disability and it also rings true for me in communicating and building relationships.
   I am naturally  careful to blend in...go along with whatever everyone else is saying. I don't want to cause a stir. I run and hide from conflict and thought that if I disagree with something that there can no longer be conversation or even relationship.  I had to be compliant and cooperative and never express my opinion (especially if I knew it was different than everyone in the room) in order to keep peace.  This is not ok!!!!  This is not REAL community...this not REAL  relationship...this is not REAL love.  God has been moving in me and challenging me to risk and understand the differences of people around me and how to give up control and let people be who He has created them to be. We are unique people with a unique relationship with Jesus, unique personalities and unique backgrounds.  We cannot all be the same and do the same things the same way!  And I have learned that to try and make everyone like me is rather controlling and does not celebrate unity, but creates robotic, uniform, shallow relationships/ spaces and stunts growth. I need people around me who challenge my thinking, who do a different dance, organize a different way and use their different gifts.  When I swallowed my pride and let go of control,  the people who were beside me in running to Jesus were no longer a threat to me. They compliment me and teach me. The above photo is an example of this.  We are two very different girls...with two very different ways of living life and yet we (for a very short season) plunged into a friendship that was for each of us a learning process.  We had to give each other space for understanding our differences.  How do you do this?  *Giggles* SO MUCH TIME & VULNERABILITY!  It takes time to be intentional and loving in a real way!  There were days when I had to be super honest about how she made me feel or came across...I had to risk hurting her...and she had to risk hurting me in order to bring truth and clarity to our friendship!  She wasn't afraid to listen to my different way...she trusted me enough to let me in and yes, she even made me frustrated so much that I threw a pen at her head!!! (It missed her though and I'm still so sorry about it!) It was real ya'll and not always the "let's braid each other's hair " kind of friendship!  We were quite the office duo and yet the lessons I learned from her will stay with me.  Our friendship/communication was a piece of what I think Jesus wants for His family.  What would it be like if our lives/churches were places where people felt freedom to be different and express differing opinions without being shut down? What if two different people, from two different backgrounds learned how to work and live under Jesus?  What if we could risk stating our disagreements and still value persons/friendships?  There would maybe be a lot of pens thrown across the room😆 and yet a real, authentic, Jesus-exalting, beautiful expression of His family united and yet uniquely put together!
Most of the YFC Portage Crew

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Singing Together

If you've been around me for any length of time you will know that music and singing are a part of me.  In times of joy,  fear, frustration,  pain, celebration or in the ordinary day music has been my go to.  This week at our Drop In we had a "YFC's Got Talent Night" and I got excited.  Why?  I like places that celebrate artistic gifts, talents and abilities and I love Youth.  When you bring that together it brings joy!  I'm pretty sure the Heavenly Artist smiles down when He sees us using it all too! :)

We had soloists, magicians, dancers, comedians, skateboard tricks all come together! It was awesome!  I invited one of our former Factory students back to accompany me.  She and I would sing often at church and YFC Banquets. Music was our connecting point.  She is in college now, but came home for the summer.  I asked her to sing at our talent night and she came!!!  We did a cover of JJ Heller's "All I Need."  Check this little clip out!  Singing over my soul...together with her was just what  I needed!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

"Who Told You You Were Naked?"

 "When they heard the sound of God strolling in the garden in the evening breeze, the Man and his Wife hid in the trees of the garden, hid from God.
God called to the Man: “Where are you?”
 He said, “I heard you in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked. And I hid.”
 God said, “Who told you you were naked? Did you eat from that tree I told you not to eat from?” (Genesis 3:9-11)
Back to the Garden ...
Recently I was brought back to the Garden.  This scene of two humans who had messed up big time. They tried to hide their sin--their mistake--their brokenness.  They covered it up out of fear and shame, maybe even guilt.They saw themselves as they really were and hid.   The God who knew them so intimately came to to them in this state and just asked that big question: “Who told you you were naked?"  Whose Voice have you been listening to? 
  We as humans were created to live in unhindered, uncovered relationship with God just like in the Garden.  The Voice who told us we were naked and our choice to listen to him keeps us hiding 'all the stuff'...hiding all the sin. Since that day we often feel we have to cover up for fear of being exposed.  We don't want to show our Gardener who we really are or what we have done...and that cold, Liar Voice holds his power over us!

Ah, but then my sweet Gardener Love comes to me and whispers this very direct question.  I realize what I've done. I take off my cover ups and say "I'm sorry!"  I realize the Voice who cried out, "Naked! Shame! Not Good Enough!" was not the Voice of my Love.

I turn all my bare self over to Him...He sees it all!  And just when I think He's going to turn away, He looks and kisses those broken sinful parts, covers them with HIS love and says, "Yes! The Voice who told you you were naked no longer has power over you. It's no longer hidden.  Your nakedness laid bare before me in all of its ugly will now be used to heal and show my beauty.  You've listened too long to the one who wants to expose and destroy you."
My Own Nakedness...

I remember learning the 'tricks to hide' early on.  I tried to hide my big clunky leg braces under my floral printed dresses because  I just wanted to not let anyone see them.  (As if my little red handled walker wasn't a dead give away 😉).  I hid a lot of the emotional pain and pushed past my limitations for fear of being labelled "Weak."  I had to be strong...don't let them see how you feel.  Don't let them see you are human. Don't let them see your vulnerable parts.  Keep it all covered.  

I came to God in a similar way.  I was afraid to show Him the ways that I've messed up...ways I've sinned.  I think that He's not going to love me...that it's too much..and the real raw Deanna will just be shamed.  EXPOSED! Left Naked!  
This heart trip 'back to the Garden' showed me otherwise.  My Lover, my Jesus doesn't shame us when we let Him see what we really are.  Yes, vulnerability feels painful feels like exposure.  Oh, but when we show our vulnerable parts to Jesus He doesn't just leave us there!  He reminds us to come in to HIS covering...and reminds us that there is healing for it all.  He looks at us in our nakedness, kisses us with His love and says, "What was hidden will now be used for holy and beautiful things." 

And this VOICE of the Gardener Lover will be way more sweet and freeing than the other.  

This is the life I'm intimate, unhindered, no hiding life with Jesus.   Will you join me in this this vulnerable journey?  Come out of Hiding, dear friends.