Friday, December 21, 2007


I just finished talking with my daughter Sandy who is in Germany now on a missions trip. She's quite homesick and lonely. Mainly because it's Christmas time and she's not with the family to celebrate.

We usually have a fun time being together and this is the first time that she is so far away and unable to be with us.

It's hard for us too.

The "mom" in me would love to go and rescue her and bring her back her for the 5 or 6 days that she is off and then she could go back again to the mission base. Some of the other team members are doing that.

But I can't always be running to "rescue" her. And she knows that. She's just having a lonely moment.

Loneliness is a painful ailment. We were created for fellowship and companionship and to belong to a "body" that is made up of many members.

When we are not with those we love the most and hold dear, there is an ache within our heart. There are so many lonely people in this world. I happen to know some of them and the pain they describe to me is crippling.

I can't solve their problems either. Loneliness can happen for many reasons. Some our own doing, some that happen because of circumstance. Whatever the situation, or cause, those of us who are for the moment strong, need to rally around and embrace them with arms of compassion.

I will be praying that my daughter may find strength in the Lord this holiday season and friendship in the company of other Christian brothers and sisters who will be sensitive to her needs.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Live to Dream - Dream to Live

I love the season of life that I am now in. I can hardly believe how it's changing me. I feel a surge of energy and vitality that I haven't felt in a long time.

This season of "empty nest" is wonderful!

It took about a year and a half for me to figure out what I should do, what I could do, and who I am, or who I wanted to be.

What I love about it so much is the change of responsibility. For such a long time my focus and energy was solely concentrated on my children and my home. As the kids grew older, the responsibility for their primary care, got less and less. Now of course, there are other concerns about them, but the day to day care is not there.

So I am free to develop other interests in my life, increase my understanding of my faith and reach out to build relationships and minister to those God brings along my path.

I love the spontaneity of deciding at the wee hours of the night to be completely irresponsible and sit by the fire cuddled up with my husband, listening to our favourite CD and drinking coffee. We have the freedom to do this every once in awhile . Or the casual drive in the car on a summer day and we end up in the city to watch a movie and decide to stay overnight.

It's moments like these that make life amazing. It's the ability to keep the dream alive, to live life to the fullest with the person you love the most.

I find that I must fight for these moments and embrace them when the time is there or they are lost to the many and urgent demands of just living. The magic and joy of the moment can be stolen from us and before long we survive and cope without even realizing they are missing. We get used to the "hum drum" of living.

There is so much more that we need to dream about, to believe in. Things can be better, there can be a difference in our situations. There can be an "inbreaking" that only God can manoevre and deliver.

The memories we create at this stage in our lives will carry us through the years ahead when tough times come and we forget who we are.

Years ago I came across this quote that lived on my fridge for a very long time - "To love someone, is to learn the song that is in their heart and sing it to them when they've forgotten."

We need to remind each other who they are, where they've come from, what they've accomplished, and the dreams they once had.

The dreams we have today, have no expiry date - they can keep evolving, changing, growing, but they must never die.

Live to dream - dream to live.

Christmas - A time for Giving

There is something wonderful that happens when we give. It's a smile that comes across our face and a warm feeling deep inside because we've done something nice for someone. Often times it's a sacrificial act given when we ourselves are in pain.

I had an experience last week when I was struggling over the concerns of my grandchildren inheriting my husbands visual impairment. Since one of our daughters is trying to have children of her own, the reality that this condition may be passed on is very real. We are starting the process of seeking out further opinions and genetic counseling.

At one point in particular, I grieved in my spirit for the lives of my grandchildren yet unborn that could have poor sight. I know all too well the pain associated in having a child with a disability and also the struggles that my husband faces because of his lack of vision.

In the midst of all of this, I heard about a close friend that was struggling with some severe physical issues and for some reason, I felt that I should go and minister to this person even though I was hurting myself.

What I realized is that in setting aside my pain, putting it on the back shelf, I was more open to give every part of me and share in my friends pain. The coming along side meant that I wept with her, held her, prayed with her, hugged her and wept some more.

I was in a vulnerable position but was willing to lay this before the Lord and ask Him for a gift of ministry for my friend. He came through and the time together was rich and healing.

In times of complete emptiness and pain, God chooses to demonstrate his great work through us, if we are willing to allow him to do so. I can't help but believe that we then receive grace to carry on with our own struggles.

During the summer God spoke to me about extravagant giving, extravagant loving. It's an attitude of the heart that I continually want to develop more and more in my Christian walk.

At what cost will we continue to keep giving? Keep loving? I believe that love goes all the way - beyond "normal", - "over-the-top". It should be a sacrificial offering of our "best", given in the most humble way. And we need to ignore the "second guessing" of our intentions, that will only get us into trouble and paralyze us next time we feel inclined to give.

It is in giving that miracles happen. It is in giving that lives find new hope and courage to carry on. It is in giving that we invest in lives that will change the future. It is in giving that Christ smiles upon us. It is in giving, that we receive.

Freely we have received, freely we must give.

Let this Christmas be a time that you give out of the abundance of your heart, your life, your possessions.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Anxiety, fear, insecurity, obedience

Lord, I'm off centre.

Somehow in the last few days, I've slipped and fallen down. My disciplines around certain things have completely vanished, my heart is anxious and fearful and I'm feeling insecure.

How did this happen?

It usually has to do with an improper balance between my physical and emotional world. Either pushing too hard physically at something or not getting enough rest. Often it's an attack from the enemy. Other times it's a burden that I feel I need to carry and own. It could have something to do with the pressures around this busy season of Christmas too. I've let things go too late and now I'm panicking. It's probably all of these in one big package.

But I know that it has something to do with my children.

I am particulary burdened for them all lately. The "clucky hen" in me wishes they were all here with me now, close, safe, where I can see them, feel them, know that they are ok. But one is in Nova Scotia, another in a city a few hours away, probably travelling home before a big storm comes, and another in Germany, about to set off in two weeks for a mission experience.

There is anxiety and concern in my heart for all of them. For their futures, for them, for their families. When I'm in this state, my "normal" gets shifted. I'm distracted for awhile, my focus is not sharp. Sometimes it's just a complete lack of trust in You. There are things happening that I can't control and I'm blindsided. I can't seem to find you in the fog.

Help me Lord to get back on track. Help me to extend my hand in the dark night hoping I will touch yours - hoping that you will find me first and pull me back to a level place where my footing is secure again and my steps are certain.

Reach down and put your hand under my chin and raise my head so I once again can see your face. Come close and let our eyes meet. I need you to tell me how much you love me by the look in your eyes.

This morning, (again another early morning that You have pulled me out of bed), I hear you telling me to be vulnerable and share my heart in this blog. Ok. But I know tomorrow I will want to delete the whole thing. Obedience. Maybe that's the key to getting back on track. Pulling myself out of this temporary mudbath. Obedience.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Courage to Dream

I awoke this morning with a sense of your presence nearer to me than usual.

I asked you to help me walk out the dream you have for me.

More than that, I asked You to give me dreams, and expand my mind with possibilities that are limitless.

Help me Lord to be satisfied and content with the present moment, understanding that there is much I need to learn at this point in time, yet reaching and dreaming for it to be different. Let me take small steps of risk that require faith and complete trust in you.

Make me passionate about knowing you in a deeper and more intimate way. Inform my mind, inflame my heart.

Make more space in my heart to receive your love for me and help me to fully understand what it means to be loved by you.

Give me more insight to know how to fight back the voices within me that want to silence the dream you have for me, the voices that remind me that I am not qualified.

Let me find my own voice and give volume to it.

Surround me with friends that will encourage and strengthen me. Friends that I can trust with my dreams. Friends that will graciously move me forward.

On the days when I am weak and feel the whole world is crushing in on me and I can't even raise my eyes to look in your face, be my glory and the "lifter of my head".

Let my dreams keep me pursuing you.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Sleepless in St. Stephen"

I wasn't able to sleep much last night. This often happens to me, and more regularly of late. Mid-life, menopause, anxiety, too much caffiene, who knows. So in my restless moments, I try to take advantage of the hours and begin praying for my friends.

God gave me some pictures right away and then over time, it became more clear and I believe more accurate. At one point in the wee hours I was able to say, "yes, Lord, this is your heart for my friends...this is what you would have me share with them".

Then after dozing off for what seemed to be a short space of time, (how can one measure time and sleep - you can sleep for hours and feel like it's minutes or sleep for minutes and feel like it's been hours) God shared a beautiful picture with me about our relationship. I nudged my husband and told him I had to get up and blog, to get it written down.

He decided to get up with me, put on some coffee and join me on the second floor landing of our home to watch the sun come up. Our view is even more awesome now since we tore down the dilapitated house of ours next door.

I am discovering a relationship with my Lord in such a new and different way. My paradigm is changing on how I see and know God and how he relates to me. Let me share it with you.

I have discovered him as a friend.

In the picture he put in my thoughts, I am walking down the road beside my Lord. His arm is in mine. We are comfortable. Obviously, enjoying each others company. He turns to me and in a quizzical look, says to me, "Robyn, why are you carrying that heavy basket of items?" I respond, shrugging my shoulders and like a teenager who never seems to know why they are doing anything, say to him, "I don't know...I just want to, I guess."

He offers to take some of my load. He grabs "jealously", "lust", "unforgiveness", and "shame". The load is somewhat lighter and I notice that he doesn't even comment on what is in my basket. This is amazing to me. I want to almost remind him of what I was carrying. Did he not see how sinful the items were that I had? Was he not embarrassed by these things? I at least, expected some chastisement or correction, but it never happened.

We continue walking again for a bit, and then he stops all of a sudden - so naturally, I stop too. Now, I thought, I will get his rebuke. ( Why is this our pattern of default thinking? ) He looks at me again, and shakes his head and says, "Robyn, you are still carrying too much-it's weighing you down for our walk together. Here, give me some more."

So I do. This time I hand over to him, "anger", "hate", "fear", "self-pity". I'm again, embarrassed by what I'm carrying and for how long they've been in my basket. Then all of a sudden, like a good friend would do...he reaches over to me and says, "here, let me just take it all from you, then you will have no burdens at all".

(On a side note ...the sun just burst through the darkness and is a blaze of fire sending shock waves across the shadows of the night. Its' light is streaming out like arms of an octupus giving definition to trees and landscapes and buildings. It's glorious! Another new day to live and laugh and love and experience the new mercies of God. Wow!)

As the basket leaves my arms and settles into his, I feel lighter than I've ever felt before. The strain of the load I was carrying all these years had taken its' toll on me and I bore the injuries and scars of its' burdens. But life and strength was returning to my wounded parts. Energy was flowing through me. And being free, I was now able to use my arms to reach down and pull flowers towards me to smell their life giving fragrance. I could extend my arms in waves of motion and embrace the heat of the sun.

I could hardly believe my friend did this all for me. What good friend would not help the other? And do it without commentary on what that person was carrying? Why have I not trusted him as a friend before?...because... I never saw him as my friend before.

His friendship is such that he would lay down his life for me - and he did just that. Why do I think he cannot handle my sins? Is it pride that keeps me from sharing them with him? After all, he knows my thoughts before I even know them. He is not afraid of what I am carrying and frankly, I don't think he even cares. He just wants to get them out of my hands, take them over, relieve me of the burden, set me free, give me life, partner with me and do it all over again if I manage (and I will) to carry them again!

This concept of Christ as my friend,- my Saviour as my dearest friend, changes how I commune with him. It's much more relational, casual, honest and real. I'm not afraid to tell him anything. My life is laid bare before him. He knows everything there is to know about me. No secrets.

I've been blessed to have good friends and I love them dearly. I would sacrifice and give my life for them, because they mean so much to me. They deposit gifts, treasures and life within me. They call me forth when I want to stay in my safe place too long. And, it's all done in such a gentle and caring way.

Why would I expect anything less from my heavenly father as my friend?

I encourage you to imagine Christ as your dearest and most loving and intimate friend. Explore this new relationship with him and embrace new ways of journeying with him.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Parents

I just returned home from a visit with my parents who live several hours away.

The visit was good. I was reminded again of God's hand upon my life in giving me the parents he did.

I grew up in a home that practised Christianity. My parents did the very best they could to teach us godly ways and instruct us in the way of Christ. For that I am forever grateful.

There were very few arguments between my parents. As children we enjoyed a "happy home", a stable home.

My father was the breadwinner of the family, very traditional, and my mother was a hairdresser until the day she delivered twins of which I am one. Her hands were full after that, especially because she had two other children before us, and then she had two more after us. One big happy family!

My dad was a hard worker all his life and my mother also and alot of value was placed on the virtue of "working hard".

Our friends growing up were our cousins who lived just a few houses away. We'd spend many days playing all sorts of outdoor games and during the winter, the pond would freeze over and we would ice skate. I learned to skate on that pond pushing a chair in front of me.

As a child, I was always drawing pictures of horses and someday dreamed about having a horse of my own. One day, dad surprised me and gave me a pony! I could hardly believe my dream had come true!

Dad would hitch "Lady" to a small buggy and take us for rides up and down the road. Other times we would ride her bareback. But sad to say, over time, this wonderful pony became ordinary and easily forgotten.

I can remember the large family picnics we would have and the worry and bother my mother would go to make sure there was enough food for everyone. All in all, it was a great time as we headed for the beaches of the St. Lawrence River to spend the whole day and early evening in the sun, swimming and visiting with relatives.

My father bought a snowmobile one year and for several years after, we enjoyed the cold outdoors as we drove all over the countryside. He bought a huge sled to pull behind the ski-doo and I can remember going out on evening rides, all bundled up in the cold crisp air.

My mom and dad love to look at new houses. Even this past weekend, we drove around to new subdivisions near where they live and commented on all the new homes being built. We all had our opinion on what looked good and what didn't.

I get my gift for interior design from my mom. She always had the house looking comfortable and "homey". She has an eye for "nice things".

Generousity came easy to my parents. They both gave generously to their children, church and community.

My dad loves to tease. He gives waitresses a hard time at restaurants with his teasing - all in good fun. He has a great sense of humour.

I have wonderful memories as a child of going in to kiss my mom good night and smelling the perfume she had just put on before going to bed. My mom always presented herself beautifully and her makeup and perfume were a part of that.

This past weekend, I was privileged again to hear my dad read his bible before he went to sleep and see him kneel down and pray for his children and family - a memory that will always remain with me.

In some ways, I am like my dad and in other ways, I am very similar to my mom. I love the parts of me that are like them.

My parents have given me essential building blocks to build a foundation centered on the Lord Jesus Christ, for my marriage and for my family. I have a godly heritage. What I do with what has been entrusted to me is up to me. Where I go, who I become, is all because of their influence and guidance on my life growing up.

My prayer and hope is that I can pass on to my children this desire to serve God in whatever way he has created each of them and that they would seek his counsel, guidance and will for their lives.

And I will petition my heavenly father on their behalf as they seek to do this.

Look beyond

I look out the windows on the second floor landing in my home and I can see clearly, the first street across the river which just so happens to be in another country because I live in a border town.

The view wasn't always so clear and so vast. The reason for the change is that we made the decision to tear down the dilapitated house on the property next to us that we purchased two years ago.

My husband and I imagined the view without the house there many times but we never really expected the clear site line across the river to the first street and beyond.

We never imagined the feeling of spaciousness as we look out across our lot which draws your eye beyond the horizon. Even the two large trees which before were on the edge of the one property are now centered in the bigger lot.

From the third floor, the attic room, you can see above the house tops and view the winding river. At nighttime the view is even more beautiful because the street and house lights are now visible.

It has made me think how much our perspective changes when something that is blocking our vision is removed or taken away. Its hard to imagine what might be on the "other side" or "behind" it.

Too often we become satisfied to just leave things the way they are and settle for "limited sight". Our world becomes small, restricted by what we allow to grow up around us, or by walls built up over time to protect us from being vulnerable or hurt.

It takes courage to change. It takes hope to imagine life being different. It takes faith to believe that it's worth reaching for, worth the risk, worth the struggle.

My husband and I have discussions on why we waited so long ... we could have enjoyed the beautiful scenery long ago.

I encourage you to imagine life beyond whatever may be holding you back from experiencing the fullness of God's presence. And I encourage you to take the steps to remove it, slowly if need be, but fervently.

You will be amazed at the vista before your eyes.

Monday, October 29, 2007

My return from Africa

I have safely returned to Canada after being in 4 different African countries in the last 3 weeks.

So much of what I have felt, experienced, and touched will at some time be written in this blog, but it may be awhile in order for it to sift through my thought processes and find words to fit the emotions.

As I push through the jet lag weariness I am still humbled at the measure of grace bestowed to me throughout the entire trip. My God, my friend, my protector, my teacher, has never left my side. He can't leave me, ever, I'm the one that moves away.

Our friendship and journeying together has deepened. We've had many good chats, heart to hearts, tears and moments of intense pain that are secrets we will have until eternity.

I am becoming more and more comfortable and honest with my companion. After all, he created me, knows my thoughts even before I do and still loves me - there is nothing I can hide from him, nothing he doesn't know already, so I can relax and confidently ask him to help me through each and every situation.

I am no longer immobilized by guilt. I am breaking through its grip on me. I am pushing back insecurities and self-doubt and reaching out for his purposes and plan for me.

In time I will be able to share glimpses of this revelation.

For now, it will need to settle, take root and then bring forth fruit.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

My Loved Ones

My husband came home yesterday after being in England two weeks with a dear friend who lead a worship conference.

We sat in the dining room across the table from each other while my oldest daughter Jodi was playing the piano softly in the background.

As often happens when she plays, I am suddenly ushered into this place that my soul remembers. A place of connecting with the spirit residing in me and I am moved emotionally.

She is not aware of this. My husband is not aware of this. He is visually impaired and can't see the tears slowly slip out from my eyes. I look at him and listen carefully, asking questions to keep the conversation going. Still he has no idea I am crying.

There are times I do not want him to know and I cry silently, hiding any other signs that may give my emotional state away.

Then there are times I want him to know, like tonight. So I reach across the table, take his hand and bring his finger to the wet mark on my cheek and he realizes then what's going on.

Other times, I will take the tear from my cheek and touch his lips with it so he can taste my emotions.

Tonight, it was important for me to let him know how I felt. I missed him when he was away. And I was glad he was home. I wanted him to know that.

My husband Paul, is like bookends for me which hold and support me and everything I do. He is my best friend, my lover, my greatest supporter, my provider while I live on this earth. He encourages me to step out and try new things and helps me when I feel I've made the wrong decision.

He is there through every emotional upset I go through...and there have been many. And he never complains...he knows this is just who I am.

He is the father to my three amazing children and I love to see the ways they are simliar in personality to him as they grow older. Each of them has a unique piece of his identity which has already in some ways, determined a path they may choose.

He is the one of the few people I know who has an amazing friendship with God. They enjoy each others company. Laugh together, cry together.

My husband loves to pray.

About 20 years ago, I made him a prayer gown out of heavy polar fleece with a hood to keep his head warm. So many nights, he would put it on and turn the lights off in the living room after the kids had gone to bed and walk back and forth across the floor praying about something on his heart.

When Bill was very young he would go fetch his father's prayer gown and curl up in it on the couch and go off to sleep. We would often place it over him when he was ill. It has become and will always be, a garment with so much meaning and attachment to the children.

Paul often times would tell Bill that he was "his son in whom he was well pleased". Bill grew up knowing he had a blessing from his dad. And he would speak into the girls lives in ways that specifically spoke life into them also.

I'm fondly remembering the "good times" we have had. The difficult times were there too, but somehow, we managed to survive them, grow in understanding from them and focused on the positive.

When I said goodbye to my daughter Sandy at the airport the other day in Halifax, God gave me a gift. He is so gracious to me and knows just what I need to trust Him.

I stepped back from rushing in to "rescue" Sandy and look after her and what I saw was Jodi rising to the occasion, caring for every last detail and preparation to go off to Germany. Jodi is actually the one who encouraged her to venture on this YWAM mission. And then I noticed Bill coming along side her, running at the last minute to get something she forgot, seeing to it that she was all set to go. And I just watched and marveled at God's provision for Sandy.

God seemed to be saying to me that my time of caring for her is really over in a lot of ways. Jodi and Bill are there to make sure she will be ok and she will connect with new friends in Germany that will in their own way, care for her.

I needed to see this. It's all part of God calling me out for himself. He has been telling me to put down the gardening gloves, set the dust cloth aside and come sit at His feet and learn from Him.

"I want you Robyn. I want you to extend your influence beyond your family, into the community and into the world.Come on an adventure with me. Take my hand and I will show you things that will break your heart, enlarge your heart and increase your faith. There is much I wish to show you. Trust me. And in the same way I care for Sandy, I will care for Paul. Trust me."

How can I refuse such an invitation? He, after all, has created this desire within me to follow Him. It only seems natural that I would wholeheartedly respond.

This journey for a short time, means leaving behind those I love and care about the most and going it "on my own". A hard thing to do for someone like me.

But I know it will change me and deepen my relationship with God. It's time to follow Him.

I'm ready to follow Him.

The Risk in Being Real

I sometimes struggle as to what I should write in my blog.

There's a certain risk and vulnerability in sharing your heart publicly. Often times, the feelings and emotions pass and I wonder why I shared what I did.

Then there is the pressure of accountability. Once you bear your soul and it's desires, someone can hold you to what you've said you'd like to do or be. Perhaps thats not so bad after all, a part of growth it seems.

However, as I am open to being transformed bit by bit by God's gentle way with me, I am less judgemental on myself. Too often I have said something or done something only to be sabotaged by own thoughts passing harsh criticism on me.

How silly it seems that the most wounding comes from within our selves.

God never meant us to be like that. His plan for us was to reflect His image and His glory.

I am gaining ground on this battlefield and changing my thought patterns and walking away from second guessing everything I do. I never win at that game. It's destructive and sinful. What I am experiencing instead, is freedom, real freedom to be who God created me to be.

I'm all through with wishing I were "this" or "that" . I will seek to improve myself in every area I possibly can, but there are some things that are "just me" and I've come to terms with "me".

Saying all of that, I still have my moments when I slip into puddles of insecurity and self-condemnation, but rather than stay there and become stagnant, I choose to pull myself out, to keep on keeping on.

There is a call on my life as there is for every creature on the face of this earth and more than ever I want to live out this call passionately.

This includes becoming a better wife to my husband. Learning to know him better, seeking to understand him more, caring and loving him more deeply. As good as it is (and it's pretty good!) I believe it can get better and richer and that's what I want to be passionate about.

I also want to be passionate about investing in others.

The image that comes to my mind is that of a child on a tricycle unable to manoevre the pedals to move forward. Just a gentle shove from behind is all that is needed to give enough momentum for them to take off and then look at them go! Sometimes, they are not even aware that anyone has pushed them, they really believe they've done it themselves. I would love to be the one that pushes people forward.

Perhaps I am being naive about what it takes to become this child of God. I am probably not aware of the cost, the risk, the sacrifice, not only for me, but my close loved ones. But I may never have this window of opportunity again and with all my heart I want to serve my Lord.

My prayer is that I may be fit for the task, worthy of the calling, a vessel of honour, an image bearer of His glory. A child of His that brings Him delight.

Lord, let it be so.

Friday, September 21, 2007

My Journey

I'm on a journey which I believe will last for a very long time, perhaps the rest of my life. It's called "growth".

It will take me to places I've never been before. There will be people that I will meet for the first time ever that will influence me in ways that may change my life. There will be experiences that will shape my opinions, thoughts about life and what I do next.

This journey is mainly spiritual, although I am actually journeying to countries that I have never visited before and I am looking forward to this experience.

Part of this journey involves God gently calling me out of my safe place. It's where I usually hide when I feel insecure. It's a place where people won't notice if I make a mistake, say the wrong thing, do the "stupid" thing!

I don't very often seek the spotlight. I rather prefer to be in places where I am somewhat unnoticed. Again, a comfortable place to hide. God actually lives in this safe place with me. He is just asking me to "relocate" - to find a "bigger" place that we can live in together. I'm ok with that.

I feel this invitation to join His hand and go on an adventure with Him. And He knows just how to call me out of course - He knows what I will respond to, because He created me and it will be different from the way He calls others.

I think God wants others to see my heart, to see the giftings he has placed within me. A bit frightening sometimes and yet freeing at other times.

A quite confidence comes from being vulnerable. I'm more willing to trust that He has an eternal purpose in all of this. This is growth for me.

This fall will be a huge transition for me and my family. I am going to Mozambique in less than two weeks, my husband is presently in England with a great friend at a worship conference, and my daughter is leaving next weekend for a YWAM course for six months in Germany.

Besides all of that, I am studying at St. Stephen's University this semester, taking two courses in the ministry program.

Also, I am on this intense weight loss and work out program, mainly to be in good physical shape when I go to Mozambique.

In every area of my life I am being stretched.

Spiritually, I am coming into more freedom in Christ and at the same time, He is calling me to trust Him in a way I've never had to before. Physically, I am disciplining the body beyond its comfort, mentally I am trying to study again after 32 years out of school and emotionally, I am saying goodbye to my daughter Sandy, which may be hardest thing of all.

I am reminded of a white water rafting trip I took this summer with my family and a few other friends. My friend and I were hurled out of the raft in class five rapids, at the most dangerous part of the entire trip. This came immediately after I agreed to staying in the raft with the team (despite my fears).

The rapids swirled around me and submerged me several times. I tried as hard as I could to swim across them to the shore. At one point I realized I was not going to be able to make it to shore because the force of the river was pushing me down stream faster than I could swim across the rapids. I was in a crisis.

Fear did at one point consume me and I hollered out for help. As I turned my head, I realized another raft had anchored themselves in the middle of the river to rescue me as I was recklessly being pushed downstream.

Those in the second raft grabbed me and hauled me over the side of their raft. I was breathless for several moments my heart was pounding so fast. Surprisingly, there was no emotion on my part (probably because I was in shock!).

Obviously, I survived, my friend survived and I probably will never do white water rafting again, even though that was the second time I have gone.

But the picture has come back to my mind many times and I believe God will use it to speak to me about this journey I am on. There will be times that I will feel I am barely keeping my head above the water, my heart is racing and my strength is gone, yet I will be ok....God is there positioning himself in the midst of the crisis and has his arms outstretched ready to receive me and save me. I know that for sure.

He is my strength and my deliverer. My God in whom I trust.

My shoes are laced up, my bags are packed. I'm on my way travelling with an amazing companion and friend. He has much to teach me.

I'll let you know how the journey is going. I am sure I will never be the same!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007


We are heading into my favourite season of the year - fall.

It excites me so much when I step outside and the crisp air brushes against my face - I think of it as God "kissing" me!

My husband Paul would often remind me that God made the windly fall days especially for me, out of His love for me. I love movement in nature, the branches of trees bending in the wind and the whirlwind of leaves rustling around my feet.

I love the smells of the this season too. There is a "woodsy" smell as the leaves and small branches begin to decay and disappear under foot. And the smell of wood burning in stoves as we walk past our neighbours home makes me wish for a few moments we heated our home that way again.

When I check the temperature every morning and notice that it's starting to get in the lower numbers, I actually get excited because it means "sweater season" is almost here. I love to wear sweaters, cardigans, hoodies, anything warm and cozy. The "bundling up" of extra clothing gives me a sense of being hugged.

Sitting beside a warm fire with a hot cup of coffee and reading a book or visiting with a friend, are some of my favourite things that I enjoy most.

The most obvious reason I love this season is because of the splendor of colour that bursts forth mid October covering the countryside like a patchwork quilt of random hues of oranges, reds and yellows. The last explosion of life before the cold takes the leaves away. God's design for beauty is evident everywhere I look.

I have wonderful memories of this season too.All three of my children were born in the fall, my birthday is in the fall and I was married in mid November.

The routine of the fall is something I also enjoy. When we lived in Halifax in the southend of the city, we were close to the universities and the first of of September there would be a "buzz" happening as the students desended on the campus grounds, ready to begin a new year of study.

The fervour of activity and "starting" of something new excites me. I become energized and spontaneous and take on a multitude of tasks.

The "nesting" is what I love about the fall. It's all about creating and preparing that safe place inside where friends and family can gather and be warmed and loved. The season creates intimacy in a way - a gathering together to be close, a form of community within our homes.

Welcome this fall with a sense of awe and wonder and celebrate the gift of relationship with those you love and care for.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Letting Go

Today I sat with a woman that I had never met before and within a few minutes she let me hear her heart speak.

She shared with me the difficulty in saying goodbye to her youngest daughter who was staying in the community to attend university. As her deepfelt emotions exposed themselves by tears falling down her cheeks, I felt moved within my own heart.

I have gone through a similar experience with all three of my children, saying good-bye to them as they go off to university, head out west to a land of great opportunity or to head to New Zealand to attend a YWAM mission team.

Nothing quite prepares you for those moments. As a mom, and strong nurturing type, the apron strings were tied tightly to my kids. After so many years of caring and watching out for them, how could I ever live my life not having them around?

Yet it's an essential part of growing up for them and for those of us as parents too.

It's like watching them cross the street by themselves and choose not to use the crosswalk, but dart in and out of cars speeding by to make it to the other side. For a few years, kids really do think they are invincible.

The sadness I felt from my new friend was like precious ointment being spilled out. It spoke of the extravagent love a mother and daughter had for each other. The tears seemed to spill out of a reservoir very deep within.

There were obvious hurts and pain in the past. This "departing" seemed to be so painful.

It made me think of good friends that move away from each other.

Someone new would have to come along and try to fill the gap. How does a mom "fill the gap"? I don't know.

All I could do is reassure this mom that I would look out for her daughter, keep an eye on her, like she would herself. That promise seemed to stop the tears momentarily.

I find myself in a similar place this month as I say goodbye to my middle child, my second daughter, who is heading off to YWAM in Germany for six months. She will be gone over Christmas which will be very difficult for us all.

We have never been apart from each other for that length of time before. The longest was 2 months. I know that I have pushed the event deep down in my subconscious in order not to deal with it until the time comes. But I am fearful of saying goodbye to her.

I'm afraid of the pain that I will feel. It will be intense. It will render me emotionally bankrupt for several days. I will have trouble sleeping at nights and my mind will be conjuring up scenarios that will never happen.

I will forget the God of my youth, the One I trusted in so solidly. I may in fact react with anger towards Him for "taking her away". My thoughts will be scattered and inaccurate. I will find no solace in scripture. My husbands consoling words will mean nothing when he speaks them.

Yet, in time, I will yield to the patient bidding of his spirit and will trust in Him again. I will believe the words He spoke to me in the wee hours of the morning as I was coming out of a deep sleep, "she is MINE, and I WILL CARE FOR HER".

The message was clear as a bell, there was no denying that God had spoken clearly to me. So I will trust this God whom I've committed my life to and I will believe that He will protect and care for her.

How could I ever hold her back from experiencing all God has for her? She has chosen a path that will deepen and strengthen her walk with the Lord.

Letting go is life giving.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Unique identities

Each of us has a unique signature of the soul. A fingerprint identity like no one else on earth.

Sadly though, we try so hard to be like someone other than who God created and fashioned us to be.

There is peace when we "settle" into our specific element and do the thing God has called us to do. It is ever evolving, changing, growing, and alive. It need not suffer from the criticisms of others or the intimidation of our thoughts.

Sometimes, all it takes is for someone to believe in us, challenge us or move us.

Our impossible expectatons come from within, not from God. They are born out of insecurity. When we can fully grasp his love for us, we become secure, difficult to offend, less quick to react in defense of our position.

The pace he expects us to move at is far slower than we would ever set to "get things done, to change". There are lessons we need to learn along the way that will develop our character and challenge our belief in God.

Confidence comes when we have courage to take the first step, and then it comes faster each step after that. We begin to believe in ourselves and that what we do does in fact matter. It is significant.

As I have reached the middle years of my life, I am more aware of time passing by. If I intend to be effective and influential in any way at all, I must be more intentional about doing the "thing" God has called me to do. Realizing that could be many different things, I still desire to push ahead, feeling my way around, while at the same time, asking God for confirmation.

It may not be anything "big" or "monumental". It may in fact be making myself more available to others who are hurting, extending my ear, listening with the heart. It may be that I walk into more relationships with an attitude of "giving" more than I think I have to give.

Perhaps it's pursuing my design giftings in a more deliberate way to my community. Whatever it is that God dreams that I would do, I am on my way.

Imagine God dreaming about us!

Friday, August 24, 2007

No Excuses

During a long drive home from a city about 5 hours away, I was feeling quite exhausted and noticed myself getting a bit impatient with my husband. I can tell when my "emotional bank" has been depleted and I'm running on "empty".

The night before had not been restful for me. My mind was racing ahead to events scheduled to happen in the next month and I was overwhelmed by what needed to be accomplished. Plenty of reasons to justify my actions.

But I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit among the clamour of my thoughts. "There are no excuses to respond in an unloving way."

I thought of toddlers who are irritable when they are tired. They get out of control. They do not have the maturity to control their physical responses. They are without boundaries.

Even in the most exhausting of situations we must respond with grace and love. We cannot tear people apart and put them down just because WE are tired.

It might be the most difficult task of all. To reach deep down inside for that last remaining bit of mercy and then extend it toward our fellow brother or sister. This is what God expects us to do. Being tired and exhausted, having a bad day - these are not excuses. We must be accountable for every word we say , every deliberate and hurtful action.

More than ever, during these "low times", our words need to be encouraging and inspiring. We must fight for the "good" within us. Our thoughts must be more focused on those around us than ourselves.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Parent's Blessing

I am at a wonderful stage of life. My children are all in their 20's, independent and charting their own course.

The parenting is over. The suggestion of advice is sometimes welcome, sometimes not, which is perfectly fine. Decisions are made that you find out about later. This is all good. All natural. All the way it should be.

The relationship of parent and child shifts and if you're lucky, you enter a relationship with them as adults and even friends.

What I have come to realize recently is how different a person I am when I am with my kids. Particularly, when I am with my girls on an "outing".

I "morph" into this carefree, hilarious person that few people see. The walls come down, the motherly role is forgotten. We laugh at each other, but they mostly laugh at me - the silly things I do, the silly things I say! I laugh at Me! We are like three best friends having the time of our lives.

My kids keep me young. Sandy was the first one to pull me out on the dance floor several years ago and I'm glad she did. We had so much fun dancing. I experienced a joy with her that I will forever remember.

We've checked out the makeup counters, hit the clothing sales, tried on dozens of shoes (it's a female thing!) shared nachos and sometimes, we've caught the latest "chick flick." But mostly, we've shopped.

I become a less serious person and forget the rules for a short time. I've connected with their friends who remind me what goes on inside the heads of 18-20 year olds. It's good to be reminded. It makes me less judgmental - I was 18 once.

Our conversation can span the entire globe. It can be ridiculous - particularly when we complain about the few pounds we've gained; how we look in this piece of clothing -"does this make me look fat?" or should I get my hair coloured (again...Sandy??!!) Or we can find ourselves in tears because we've had a TM (tender moment... I'm the one with the record for the most TM's) and our hearts become connected.

There are times when I've been able to tell them what God is doing in my life, where He seems to be leading me, how He has spoken to me lately and I know they are moved by what I'm sharing.

There is absolutely nothing else in this world that brings me as much joy and deep happiness, than to hear my kids tell me over and over again that they love me. And, they always do. My son will end the conversation by telling me he loves me. It means so much to me.

This relationship is rich that I have with my children. I am truly blessed. I am satisfied. I am content. I am full. I am so grateful to God .

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Love moves me to Serve

I awoke early this morning and heard God encourage me to get up out of bed and spend some time with Him. Gladly, I can say, I responded to the call this morning. Most mornings I just roll over and try to get some extra sleep before the day begins. (I am not a morning person).

So I snuck downstairs as quietly as I could and put some coffee on. I brought a cup up to my husband, woke him with a kiss on the forehead and began my day with him.

What I am learning lately is that the more we love, the more we are called to serve. The more denying of ourselves, prefering one another, and caring for their needs before our own, is in fact, the life we are called to.

It is usually easier for mothers to do this because of our nurturing instinct. Our whole focus is on the care and training of our children. Seeking their good, before our own.

At this stage of empty nest in my life, my primary care and serving goes to my husband. Then to my family spread across the country and then to my friends and community.

What I have yet to learn is to serve under difficult circumstances. I'm sure the trip I am taking to Africa this fall will teach me that.

Psalm 139

This is one of my favourite psalms.

It helps me to realize that there are no secret thoughts that God does not already know and somehow, this gives me a sense of security and well-being.

If He knows every thought and nothing is hidden from Him, then I have no choice but to believe that He still loves me. He is quite well aware of the "intentions of the heart".

I am learning to relax and say, "Lord, you know everything I am thinking and everything I will think in the next moment and I trust you to help me to honour you in all I do. So Lord, reveal to me what is offensive and grant me the strength and wisdom to know how to change and give you control of every aspect of my life."

"Together, we will work on it."

2 Cups of Coffee

For those of you who happen to look at the time that I am writing this post, yes, it is 1:31 am.

I was at a friends house for a party earlier tonight and had two cups of coffee, knowing full well that it would keep me up for a good part of the night. (I made my husband have one too so we would be up together...but alas, he has fallen asleep and my second cup is still working on me, so I thought I would make good use of the time and post a blog entry.)

I am heading off to Mozambique, Africa, this October for two weeks on a mission trip to visit and help out in the orphanages established there. It seems to be the next best step for me on this journey of knowing God better.

My only other mission experience was a two month short term trip to Mexico when I was 22 years old - a year before I was married.

Interestingly enough, I just now recalled it being a time when I wrote long letters to family and friends back home and journaled alot about my spiritual experiences there.

I expect God will stretch me in many ways while I am there. The physical journey to even set foot on African soil, will be exhausting and trying to say the least. Let alone the living and eating conditions when we arrive.

The comforts and luxuries of home that I have become so accustomed to and enjoy, will be absent from me for two weeks.

I will miss my warm showers, the idea of being clean and the daily routine of making myself presentable.

Instead, I may find myself appalled at the stench of body odour, food cooking over an open fire and probably other new smells that I didn't even know existed.

But there is so much I'm looking forward to with great expectation.

I know I will be moved by the intensity of worship among people who are wholeheartedly submitted to him, sincerely loving and praising His name.

I know I will see beauty and dispair in the faces of the children who are orphaned and living with so many others in impoverished conditions.

I wonder if I will be able to contain the overwhelming emotions when I come to terms with how much I have, how thankful I should be and how little they have and how thankful and grateful they are for even that.

I know I will be humbled. I know my heart will break many times. I know this experience will have a long lasting effect on the rest of my life.

I know I will be challenged to trust the One in whom I believe more than I've ever trusted Him before.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Unspoken Messages of Love

Our family has a secret "gesture" which we use from time to time when words cannot be spoken, which means "I love you".

I can't remember how it started, but we've been doing it for years now. It's so special and endearing to us all, that when we give the signal, we smile not only with our lips, but our eyes too.

Because two of our family members are visually impaired, we don't use the gesture at a great distance. Instead, we do it when we are actually very near to each other, which gives it a more intimate and close feel.

I love language that is not spoken with words (although I do love affirmation of love with words too), but there is something so beautifully spoken in the silence of words and in the expression of our physical bodies.

A smile that sneaks across our face, or a tear that finds its way out, marking it's path down our cheeks. A hand that reaches out to grasp another. An arm that seeks to hold someone tight. A nod that acknowledges one's presence.

We have been fearfully and wonderfully designed by a loving Creator. I love to sit in His silence and without any words spoken from Him, know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is telling me He loves me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Rain on me, Lord

I love the rain. Especially a warm rain.

My oldest daughter Jodi also loves the rain. When she was little, she used to put her raincoat on and go and play and splash in it. I used to tell the kids that the rain was God's way of washing the world and giving the earth a drink, like he had a huge shower hose up in heaven and turned it on.

Wash me Lord. Rain on me with loving kindness and mercy. Cleanse my soul. Purify my thoughts. Cause me to drink from your well that never runs dry. Let your glory be my garment.

Rain on me Lord.

Monday, August 6, 2007

God's Amazing Love

Something happens inside us when we fully understand and accept the unconditional love of our Saviour. When we receive this truth deep with our being and begin to take hold of its significance, there is nothing we cannot do.

Suddenly, we are not inhibited by our lack of courage, by our fear of failure. Our confidence comes in knowing that God is with us, beside us, and for us. He is cheering us on from the sidelines. It is in this place that we can begin to change and heal, because we know we are loved, just the way we are.

This is where the journey begins. Then slowly, lovingly, He takes us further. We deal with painful memories, recurring sins, lack of loving kindness towards our loved ones and mostly towards ourselves. We stop the enemy from the onslaught of destructive thoughts.

We focus less on ourselves and more on others. Grace becomes easier to give in situations that once made us angry or irritable. We desire to serve, rather than being served.

We become open to the possibility of change. And this makes us willing to improve ourselves in many areas of life. The lure of being a "better, whole person" is attractive to us.

We fully understand our limitations and weaknessess and yet know that when we accept his love , all things are possible.

Understanding God's love for me, is perhaps the most powerful, life changing event I've ever experienced.

Friday, August 3, 2007


I came across this scripture earlier tonight in the Message Bible (Matthew 5:14) and absolutely love the way it expresses who we are to be.

"You are here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world."

What a wonderful job description to have!

Change Me Lord

I just spent two hours with an amazing person that I have only meant once before in my life and she has spoken into my life in a very beautiful way.

Why is it God that you allow others to speak into my life things that I cannot see in myself and sometimes struggle to believe even exist in my being?

In the past, I would normally discount their opinion and say they really don't know who I am. I'm not capable of that.

However, today and from here on in, I receive the word as if you have uttered it yourself (and you actually have through your servant) and can hardly wait for its manifestation.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Seize Life!

This morning I happened to be reading scripture from Ecclesiastes 9:7-10 (Message Bible) and it reminded me of the need to embrace each day with an intensity of "attack" - "Seize Life"- get out there and capture it! Take hold of the beauty that awaits you and the opportunity given you to encourage, share, teach, love and change your life and the lives of those around you. Make this day count for eternity. Create memories that will make you smile months from now and invest in relationships that will stand the test of time.
Go deeper in your faith, test your God, He can handle it. Work harder at your health, push more at the gym, love without inhibition. Dress with colour and youthfulness. Laugh harder, cry more often, allow your emotions to surface without reservation. Today may be your last to express all you have within your heart. Eat like a banquet has been spread before you. Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might. GRAB THIS DAY!

Here I go!

Today I start blogging for the first time - here goes!