Learning to Rest

on Thursday, March 10, 2011

to Rest

I remember the day, a few years ago, I sat on my friends couch. Graeme and I were waiting, praying and hoping for our missions trip money to come through. It was a step of faith to apply for the trip because it was expensive, but we felt God leading us that way and were taking a risk. The friend was an awesome person, but we were constantly confronted with their concerns about finances. The concerns seemed so irrational. They had a massive house with a pool, several cars and lots of nice stuff. I admit I was constantly looking at their financial concerns from a seat of judgement, “if you would just sell one of your cars...” or “if you hadn’t invested in such an elaborate house.”

This day, the wife was ecstatic because a family friend found out that they were still waiting for the money to pay for her missions trip to Israel which was more expensive than our trip, btw. They had decided that they felt the Lord leading them to pay the whole shot! They were going to pay for her trip completely. I sat in my seat of judgement completely stunned. “How could God provide for her trip like this when we still had so much owing on ours.” “We have given up so much to be here and they seem to be giving up nothing.” She was so excited and I sat there doing everything I could to not gush with tears of resentment and jealousy.

(Sorry friend, if you know who you are) I hadn’t learned yet about the faithfulness of God.  I’d heard of it, but I hadn’t learned to count on it, trust it, expect it. I couldn’t see beyond my own need to love God for blessing her. Over the coming months I heard Bill Johnson’s messages on thankfulness, stewarding what you have been given and positioning yourself for increase by rejoicing with those who are blessed abundantly and beyond you. When we celebrate other’s victories we pull the testimony into our own life, calling out for all of heaven to hear “Do it again, Lord!” I learned that her blessing doesn’t mean that there is any less to go around to provide for me. Everything that God has in store for us is afforded according to His riches in glory! It’s like the sky is the limit! haha. How much more gloriously are the lilies of the valley clothed than Solomon arrayed in all his splendour? God was faithful to provide for our missions trip too in the end. In fact, we had to leave on our trip before it was paid for and while we were gone, an acquaintance felt God tell him to give a big chunk of money that he just inherited to pay off the rest of our trips. It was nearly a thousand dollars! I had never even met the guy. He just knew God wanted him to do it, so he did.

Over time, I came to find it easy to rejoice with those who celebrated. I almost proudly wore the badge of celebrating others fortune no matter where we were at because day after day I was seeing the provision and redemption of the Lord in my life. I knew that what God was doing for others was testimony of what He could do for me. I was coming to know the truth of the fact that there is always enough. And to celebrate another’s riches when I have lack is to set myself up for increase. I am learning to humbly celebrate my own abundance and my lack in anticipation of His provision.

I found myself tempted to go back to that seat of judgement and jealousy again today. I have been so tired and so busy, longing for down time and quality time with my family. I find myself dreaming of holidays with the kids and with Graeme. Several friends around me have been blessed recently with the opportunity to go on holidays. The first couple times that people shared their good news I was genuinely happy for them and able to rejoice, but there was a hint of envy while I longed for the same opportunities. Then another friend came today to share her excitement. They found an amazing deal online and just booked a holiday for their whole family. I was suddenly back in that place. “What about me, God?”

I was just realizing something about myself yesterday. I was thinking about my longing for a family vacation and asking myself what it is exactly that I am missing that leaves me so longing. I realized that I am missing fun, I am missing rest and I am missing connection. Part of me was believing that I am just so overworked that I am needing a holiday. There may be an element of truth to that, but my solutions aren’t as much answers as escapes. I’m realizing that I can’t run away every time stuff gets hard. This is life and it doesn’t stop and there is not going to come a day when all the struggle is over and life is like a Caribbean Holiday. I know that I need to learn to rest, to joy and to connect in the every days.

I found a journal entry from a very difficult season in my life, when my kids were small and I had extra kids living with me. I was noticing how everyday I was trying to plan my life around a time when things would get easier and every moment that I waited for the next season, I felt like I was losing time, losing life.

Today I find myself longing for a time when things will slow down, longing for a holiday, for spring break, longing for the end of this homeschooling season, or the end of the ministry school program, longing for the summer. But the further I look down the road, the more realistically I see that one season leads into another and you never really see anything finish, seasons just change and the demands and expectations change. I’m realizing that I can’t wait anymore. I can’t search for the quick fix, the magic pill. I’ve heard time and again to learn to love the process. I’m not quite there today, more just accepting that life is process and you can’t change it.

But …. but there are things you can change. I can change my today. I can’t go to the Caribbean, but I can take my son for a walk. I can choose not to think about what I have to do while I sit in the hot tub with Bailey. I can even go to the tanning salon and catch a few rays and some Vitamin D for a pick me up. I need to fight for a nap! When I’m tired and fighting to get everything done, I need to realize that I’m better when I’m rested, put on some soft worship music, try my best to shut off my brain and sleep. Hebrews 4:11 says that we are to strive to enter his rest. In fact, it is the only thing we are to strive for. So, if I’m stressed out and overtired I am being disobedient! Now that’s a crazy idea. Bill Johnson was sharing about the value of the night season, fixing your affections on the father before you sleep to let him minister to you in your rest. He quoted Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep...  Everything I need he can give me while I rest.

So I guess this blog is all about learning to rest. I’m learning that I don’t necessarily need a holiday, I need a lifestyle of rest. I need to redirect my focus to the point that my only striving is to enter His rest. I need to let Him be what I need to get everything done in the day while letting me be the human being that I am who needs sleep, fun and connection. I’m praying now that God will help me discipline myself for rest and muster up the focus for fun.

And now, I’m rejoicing in my friend’s holidays (all of them, today and a few years ago) and praying blessing and increase on them. I do it partly because I want to pull the testimony into my own life, but also because I am learning to see beyond my own need to be genuinely happy for them and their blessings. Because they  are some pretty awesome people and really do deserve the blessing. And I’m rejoicing in God’s faithful and miraculous provision for Bailey and her missions trip to Mexico in a couple of weeks. But, that one was the easiest to celebrate. Thankyou, Jesus.

I guess you could call me a Student Teacher ...

on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I guess you could call me a Student Teacher ....

Here I am again, having left the blog for too long and feeling the need to put some of my life on paper. It's going to be a tough one cuz I am just not feeling a stream of thought flowing like I want before I plan to write, but it's time and I'm here, so here it goes.

I find myself in an incredibly educational season. That's a funny statement. I'm asking, did I lose myself? Or have I really even found myself? Everyday I am learning more about who I am and who He is. I learn about how much I lack and how faithful He is to fill me up. Not only is His strength made perfect in my weakness, but He turns everything around and makes me look good too. It's ironic that I am learning these things now. These are the very things that make up the bulk of what we want to teach our students this year, a sense of identity, knowing who we are and here I am still learning. Maybe being a professional learner will make me a better teacher, here's hoping.

It is an overwhelming time in my life. I realized recently that this is the first time I have worked outside of the home since I was pregnant with Ben. Yep, it's been nearly 12 years! I am suddenly overcome with gratitude to God for the grace that was on our family for the past 12 years. To have been able to stay home with my kids over the years has been a treasured position that I don't take for granted. I have loved being undivided (for the most part) in my love of staying home and being with my kids. God was blessing me day by day with opportunity to pour my life into my kids, my family and friends through relationship. I didn't love it everyday, but I learned to love it and walking into a new season has been a tough transition. I still have the same love and value for staying home and being there for my kids, but I have found a new joy in teaching and directing this school of ministry. I am only working at the school part time, but also feeling more pull from church and ministries that our students are involved in. For years, while my kids were small, I cried at the expectation of going back to work. I was devastated by the idea that I would have to leave my kids. Part of that struggle is still in me, but my heart cries out for a new grace. My prayers are to God to cover my kids, teach me to guard our relationship, while making a way for me to be at the school more. We are still homeschooling Ben and Caleb, while Bailey is attending a local Christian school. We'd started to consider the kids schooling as the older two were getting in the higher grades, but I didn't think I would ever want to work outside the home. I'm surprising myself. I honestly feel like I was born for what I am doing now! 

My heart is pulled in so many directions today. Each time Graeme and I have a meeting or commitment outside the home I hear the disappointment in the kids voices. "Where do you have to go this time?" or "I thought you were staying home today." The kids have felt the strain of transition as much as I have. They want to have their mommy home 24/7 like I used to be. I'm learning to be available when I'm home, invested in what I'm doing when I'm not home and always engaging the kids at every turn to demonstrate to them that they still have my heart without having all the attention. It's such a stretch! Internally processing is quickly becoming a luxury as they long to relate with me/exchange whenever we are together. 

I'm starting to understand the role of Elasta-girl from the Incredibles. Realizing what I am capable of and what I just have to be, like it or not. My role at school has demanded a lot of me and more importantly a lot of Christ in me. I am constantly coming to the end of myself and calling out, "Jesus, I need you." I think it is a healthy place but it is not a comfortable place. I find myself constantly confronted with the fact that I am not enough and almost afraid that the people who are trusting me will figure that out. I keep having dreams about being caught naked or exposed in public places. I never realized how vulnerable of a place it is to be entrusted with such great responsibility. It's this daily walk of reminding myself who I am in Christ and that I only have to be who God made me and then He picks up the slack. He makes it all work out for me, because of me and in spite of me.

I'm reminding myself moment by moment that I am here because of His love. I am here to obey what he's called me to do. I am here because He loves me and I serve because I love Him and the rest of the world needs to know what I know. I know that I am not doing it alone and that His grace is on me and the situation so I strive to rest. I strive to remain in peace and give him the wheel. Captain my captain, lead me and keep me, hold me steadfast on the path. I have to be so aware of where my hope levels are and stewarding them. 

... I'm finding it hard to write at the moment .... I am so caught between process and understanding .... Where I am going and where I want to be, what I know and what I'm learning. The more I figure that I understand, the more I'm caught in a place of knowing that I have so much to learn. This isn't sounding like a very victorious blog at the moment, but I really am seeing the fruit and the victory in what we are doing here. I am tired, but I'm figuring out what rest looks like in the midst of running. So I will leave you with the words of this song because they are close to my heart today and an encouragement to me. I hope they encourage you today too.

It's called Love Came Down by Brian Johson

If my heart is overwhelmed and I cannot hear Your voice 
I’ll hold on to what is true though I cannot see 
If the storms of live they come and the road ahead gets steep 
I will lift these hands in faith I will believe 

I remind myself of all that You’ve done 
And the life I have because Your Son 

Love came down and rescued me 
Love came down and set me free  
I am Yours I am forever Yours 
Mountain high or valley low  
I sing out remind my soul  
I am Yours I am forever Yours 

When my heart is filled with hope and every promise comes my way 
When I feel Your hands of grace rest upon me 
Staying desperate for You God, Staying humbled at Your feet 
I will lift these hands and praise I will believe 

After all, it is all about Him, isn't it?
Love you,

It's official! EWSSM Starts Jan. 4th.

on Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The past couple months have been a roller coaster ride of excitement, fear, hope and tension. We have been considering an opportunity to be part of a Supernatural School of Ministry in Kelowna, BC. The invitation came in November while Graeme and I were still in Irricana, AB with his family. The word of the Lord at the moment was to "Wait". This was a difficult position to be in, especially due to the fact that there were many people waiting on our decision. Graeme was gung ho and excited to move forward, but we couldn't deny God's direction to wait or to be still. So the tension was great between us as Graeme sought permission to move forward and I sought the peace and confidence that this was what the Lord wanted. Much of the need to move forward by several parties involved put pressure on us to search our hearts and press into the Lord like we haven't before. We needed to know what we wanted and where we felt the Lord was leading. We needed vision.

Through much prayer and even confrontation (baring our heart and concerns), we felt like we got the confidence we needed to move forward. We gave our "yes" to Wesley and Stacy Campbell on December 10th. Our yes came in obedience to what we felt God calling us to and the confidence grew in the conversations that followed. A family from KCC heard of our need for a place to land. They were going to be gone for at least a month over Christmas, so they generously offered us their home. On December 20th, we left Irricana to settle in a beautiful home in Kelowna. It is a blessing to have a space of our own for a season. Shortly after arriving in Kelowna, we met with the Campbells and Donna Petch from New Life Church to discuss our roles. Graeme and I have been named Directors of the school and Wesley and Stacy Campbell are the overseers. We are excited about this role and opportunity.

The school is called "Eyes and Wings School of Supernatural Ministry". So far, it looks as if we will have 13 or 14 students. We are thankful for the small class as we have a lot of ground to cover in a short space of time. We are hoping to work our way through 80 Bethel DVD sessions, 4 books and 2 training manuals. In addition we will do some ministry training classes, guest speakers, outreaches, worship, small groups and a missions trip. A good friend gave us a word yesterday that we are going to be squeezed like we've never been squeezed before and it's going to cause us to grow. We can see this coming to pass and the very words confirm a dream I had six months ago. I love that God has been giving me many dreams again that encourage and inspire me as we enter into this new season of running.

The schedule is going to be an adjustment for our family. I am going to be at school everyday from mid morning to 2ish and then Graeme and I will switch places and he will be at school until 5:30pm. Graeme and I will take turns helping the kids with homeschooling and taking them to activities depending on time of day and schedule. We only have one vehicle so this will mean sometimes having the kids at the school with us and we are looking at the possibility of taking turns on the bus. When we are done our stay at this home in Kelowna mid to late January, we have been graciously offered a home in Glenrosa. It will also be a house sitting situation. It is a sure thing for a month and there have been other options in the works to follow. God has been so good to us, providing us with housing and the grace to be here while we wait for school finances to be sorted out. This whole thing has been a leap of faith for everyone involved, from New Life staff and the Campbells to the students and us.

Thanks for all your love, prayers and encouragement. It has been a wonderful Christmas with time to connect with Kelowna friends and family. We have enjoyed the visits, food, presents and Christmas greetings from all over. Graeme is eager to get into school mode and I am getting into that mode slowly but surely. We have started planning the weekly schedule and figuring out homework, ordering books and DVDs, small groups, outreaches. We have been interviewing students over the phone and emailing back and forth. It is exciting and overwhelming. We are confident in this, that this is a season of coming to the end of ourselves and seeing God show up. We are utterly dependent on His faithfulness to come when we call. We'll be calling on Him a lot :) But that's the everyday supernatural life, right? Please continue to hold us up in prayers as our family adjusts to a new lifestyle and new responsibilities.

Many Blessings and Happy New Year.

Our Christmas letter 2010

on Thursday, December 16, 2010

 Merry Christmas 2010

5th times a charm? Lets see if I can get through this letter on my 5th attempt. Once again, not surprisingly, my heart is cluttered and full of things to say, but getting an organized stream of info on the screen has been difficult this year. It has been a crazy year. We started out in Nicaragua, spent a short time in California, returned to Kelowna, moved on to Whitehorse, stopping in Alberta for a while on the way, only to return to Alberta and find ourselves sitting and waiting for the next “assignment”. It has been a season of running, walking, waiting. You name it, we have been there this year.

Our time in Nicaragua was nothing less than miraculous! It was a divine appointment that manifested God’s grace to us in awe striking and tangible ways day by day. It was a season of running, especially for Graeme. In the first couple weeks we were there, God arranged dozens of kingdom connections and the remaining 3 months were spent preaching, teaching and praying in many churches. We were amazed by the healings that happened when we prayed and taught others to pray. There was this constant realization that we were not enough, but we were wiling and we were obedient so God chose to use us. The desperation and hunger in the people we encountered was inspiring. We left with a confidence that we were in the right place at the right time and that God’s hand was on us to make a difference in Nicaragua.

After our time in Nica, we returned to Kelowna for a short season. It was a season of recovery and relationship building. We spent only a couple of months there, but in a very short time, God was knitting us together with other like minded believers at New Life Church. We often questioned what God was doing as we saw an acceleration in connection with several elders at NLC. For the first time in our lives, we felt lead to join this church as members. It was a confident decision, but we were perplexed as to why God was doing this just before we were going on the road again.

In July, Graeme and I were heading for Whitehorse. We were excited to visit family and had already made connection with a small foursquare church there. The church had some hopes to start a school of ministry in the future and we were hoping to work with them toward this goal. It was a beautiful summer. All of my siblings and their families managed to make it to Whitehorse (or be in town for those who live there) for a 10 day family reunion. It was so fun to have all 26 of us together. We enjoyed bbqs, fishing, boating, walks and swims. A great time was had by all and many memories made. The summer was an amazing time of getting to know my nieces and nephews and keep building relationships with my family. I loved the cuddles and the coffees, the board games and the chats. It was a special summer. I hope for more just like it in the future.

Our time with the church in Whitehorse was also exciting. I was privileged to help lead worship for the summer. It was stretching for me, but I loved the extra time I was afforded to practise playing piano and just get lost in God’s presence. Graeme loved every opportunity to preach and teach. He was leading a weekly meeting meant to build up the local leaders. We were so blessed by all that God did in our family and in the church while we were with them and excited about all that God has in store as they continue to seek revival in their own hearts and in their church.

We left Whitehorse in October hoping for an opportunity to return to Kelowna. We knew that God was building something there and our hearts were drawn to be a part of it. Unfortunately, the couldn’t see the grace to be there right away. Finances and lack of opportunity kept us searching our hearts and the Lord for wisdom and direction. The word for the moment was to wait. So wait we did. We have been in Irricana, Alberta now, with Graeme’s family, for 2 months. They have been so gracious, making us feel welcomed and comfortable. We are truly thankful for the homes we have been given all over the world. This season of waiting has given us the time to get to know our nieces better and help Graeme’s sister with her new baby. It is such a joy to be part of their lives.

Our season of waiting has almost come to an end. Graeme and I have been connecting with leaders at New Life Church in Kelowna and Wesley and Stacey Campbell. We have been invited to come and help them with a school of ministry that they are building. Graeme and I have committed to help them through the spring. A generous family that we don’t know, has offered us a place to stay Dec. 20th through January and another family offered us a place for the month of February. They are both house sitting opportunities so we will be alone as a family in their houses which is a treat. We are excited about this opportunity, but a little nervous as well. We have been challenged, once again, to come to a place where we know that the commitment is beyond us and requires our dependency on God to move in power to accomplish what we hope for.

Please hold us in your prayers as we will you, praying for God’s Holy Spirit to work in you both to will and to do according to His good purposes.

We love you.
Chris, Graeme, Caleb, Bailey and Ben

Long time ... no info.

on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Well, first things first. I guess it is time that I apologize for my lack of contact over the past few months. Can't believe it has been months since our last update, especially when so much has gone on over the summer.

The last update I posted was mid-May. Graeme and I with the kids were still in Kelowna, blessed to live with great friends for a couple months. We headed to Alberta for about a week or two to spend some time with Graeme's family in Irricana on our way to Whitehorse. It was some fun catch up time and now we are here in Irricana again. Graeme's sister, Wendy, just had their third baby a week ago. She arrived the day before we did. Her name is Ainsley and it has been such a joy to get to know her and spend some time with her big sisters, Sydney and Mackenzie, and the rest of the family.

In between these two Irricana visits Graeme and I spent a few days in Edmonton on our way to Whitehorse and again on our way back. We have another great friend there. Her name is Lana and we go way back all the way to youth group in the late 80's/early 90's. She has generously put us up a couple times now so we could spend time with her, share her church family and have some family time at West Edmonton Mall. Lana also graciously shared a mechanically inclined family friend with us a couple weeks back when our alternator went on us and we were at the mercy of high priced tow trucks, mechanics and parts. She and a friend, with his family, drove two hours north to meet us and help replace the part. They were such a blessing. Thankful once again for the kindness of friends and strangers. God's got our back.

We arrived in Whitehorse the last week of June. We were there in time for the kids to get a free ride to camp. Bailey and Ben went as campers and Caleb went as a counsellor while I spent the week in the kitchen helping with food prep. It was a fun week. The kids made new friends and had some fun times with their cousins. It was a challenging week for Caleb learning to be a big brother to a lot of unchurched and often rambunctious boys, but he went to chapel every night with the kids and one of the nights he had an awesome encounter with God and it changed his whole outlook. He was excited to go back to camp a couple weeks later as a teen camper. I also enjoyed the time. My sister, Sue, organized our being able to be part of camp and she and I worked together in the kitchen and shared a camper all week. It was fun to chat, laugh, cook and play scrabble together. It was a special time together.

After the kids and I returned from camp, I was on duty. We stayed with my brother, Clayton, and his family. Clayton and Candice had identical twin girls last November and also have 2 little guys so their hands are full. Clayton had to travel several times for work this summer so we were happy to be there to help Candice with the kids. My days were spent on family visits, kids outings and walks, baby feedings, changes and playtime. We loved the time we got with Clayton and Candice and the rest of the family. They made us very comfortable. Graeme and I had our own room as did Bailey, while Caleb and Ben shared a large rec room with their cousins. It was a great set up and we were excited to have some time with my family in Whitehorse.

It was an awesome blessing when my brother and his family and my sister with her family travelled to Whitehorse. We had a 10 day family reunion with all my siblings and their families. We had bbqs and fishing trips and play time at the park. It was special to all be together for the first time in several years.

While Graeme and I were in Whitehorse, we were invited to be part of a small foursquare church there. My parents and my brother's family have attended there for a while. The pastor of this church has been considering starting a school of ministry for some time. The development of ministry schools and equipping the saints is heavy on mine and Graeme's heart so we were drawn to commit to help this church for a few months. We were not sure what role we would play in helping the church out this summer, but were eager to make ourselves available to them. Shortly after we arrived in Whitehorse, Graeme started meeting with the pastor. When he was confident in Graeme's vision and heart, he wanted Graeme to start doing some teaching. Meetings were held weekly on Monday nights already, but the focus shifted a little as the pastor wanted to see his church moving with a culture of honour. Graeme started teaching weekly and was preaching occasionally in Sunday services too.

I was also stretched in our commitment to this church as I took on the role of worship leader for a season. Most Sundays I was leading the worship and a practise on Thursday nights. I have always been more comfortable in the background so this was a challenge to me. Preparing for worship was quite involved for me and usually took the better part of a day to nail down a list of songs and keys for the Thursday night practise. It was easier and easier as the summer progressed and I became more and more comfortable flowing by the spirit. I truly discovered this summer that "I love I love, I love his presence." and that was my heart and focus each time I was choosing songs. It was a growing season for me in this area.

While we were there, between teaching and relationship, we were excited to see God moving in restoration and reconciliation in the relationships around us. It was a blessing to see the hunger and passion on this body for God's presence and to see him move among them. Toward the end of our time in Whitehorse, many people were telling us that we needed to stay. God was moving in such amazing ways, but there was something in our hearts and in the air that said it was time to go. We are drawn to be part of what God is doing in Kelowna and we wanted to take some time to spend with Graeme's family.

We are now in another season of waiting. God has taught us to watch for the grace and so we watch and pray. We are trying to be present where we are at and not always look toward what is not here yet, but still our hearts are longing for an opportunity in Kelowna. We also have hopes and dreams about touching other nations with the message planted in our hearts so we are open to whatever the Lord is going to lead us into. There are open doors for us in a couple of places, but we are yet to feel a confidence that it is what God has for us in this moment. Please hold us in your prayers while we renew our strength and wait on the Lord.


Learning to Love ... And it hurts in all the right places.

on Thursday, May 13, 2010

Learning to Love ... And it hurts in all the right places.

Ooooh, another one of those complicated questions are coming. I can feel it! Those mushy ooey gooey questions all full of feelings and heavies. Too much for you? Can't stand it? Turn back now cuz it's coming ... oh oh ... here it is. "BOOM!"

What does real love look like?

Phew, glad that's over with. But not so fast. There is so much heart wrenching loveliness to discuss here.

Have you ever been in one of those relationships that so oozed love that people were sickened by it?

You know what a mean! ... When you hear a kid lip their mom off and completely disrespect them, manipulate, call names, whine and complain about them and take advantage and you turn around to find mom running to their rescue with open arms because they just took a major dive off their skateboard and figured out they really shredded something up (pun intended :P). Oh ... maybe ... that's ... not the ooey gooey love you were thinking of?!?!

Maybe you were thinking of the absent husband that came home drunk and threw up all over the floor on his way to bed and you turn around to see the wife, kneeling on the floor in her housecoat, washing the floor with a bucket of water, a rag and a tear soaked tissue tucked in her bra. She gets up in the morning to fix him his eggs just like he likes them and a steaming hot cup of coffee.

No, still not the picture you were thinking?

Oooooh, you were thinking of the newlywed couple, who only met a few weeks ago and knew at first sight that destiny brought them together. They love every little thing about their new love. The funny little mole on his chin, the way she snorts when she giggles, can't keep their eyes or hands off each other and they have all these corny little lovey dovey things to say to each other. Then they turn around a few years later asking themselves what they were thinking and trying to find the highest rolling, lowest charging divorce lawyer in the phone book.

Wow, the pictures we have accepted as images of extravagant love!??!  Honestly, it's all pretty dysfunctional and we know it, but where does that furious love of the Lord fit in all of this, in our dysfunctional world filled with misunderstandings, misunderstood, manipulations, control, codependency. 

I'm learning a lot about love. Maybe my lesson is old hat to you, but this is my blog so bare with me while I process.

I've spent a long time looking at dysfunction and looking for the loopholes in all the Kingdom, Jesus, the scripture teach us about love. It's so easy to look at an abusive relationship (controlling, manipulative, passive - they come in all shapes and sizes) and give yourself permission to check out on the love factor.
I know what some of you are thinking ..... soooo Whoah! Hold your horses! I'm gonna get there.

I think this note is going to stir some pots, cuz, I know that there is the whole co-dependency thing, the facilitating thing, head in the sand, aiding and abetting, tough love, boundaries, drawing the line, controlling your destiny, rights! All those get mushed together to make a great big argument that says shutting off the love and checking out is okay.

But where is the love? How often do we counsel our friends or reason through our own situation while thinking of our rights, their rights. There are some people who are really great at keeping the love on while maintaining healthy boundaries and they should probably give lessons, but I really think it has become way to easy to justify withdrawal. Removing yourself from the relationship or at least removing yourself from the responsibility of love.

How many times has that abusive person in your life completely treated you unjustly? ... Too many to count?!?! It really hurt! That wasn't some fictitious pain. And that was totally not okay and it wasn't right ... Thoughts like "they are never going to treat me that way again! I'll teach them! I should've said ..." How many times have we stayed quiet in fear of waking the beast, rocking the boat. Just sit down, shut up, pretend it isn't happening and it will all go away. In fact, if I just walk away right now, it will never have to happen to me again.        But what about this person that you once loved. Oh, I know! They have to want it ... their sickness is not your responsibility... am I my brother's keeper?

 ...But love!  
When we were yet sinners Christ died for us! ... It's the kindness of God that leads us to repentance. You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. It's not til we turn on the love and keep it on, that the person can truly get a glimpse of what they can become. If no one loves you, you feel no love. To feel no love means that your life will be consumed by fear and the tragic loss of identity. It's because He first loved us that our lives are worth anything today. And you know what! You are so worth it! a billion dollars! a whole garden of beautiful, fragrant roses, a sunny day, a majestic mountain, a heart warming song, a cool breeze on a hot day, that perfect parking spot when you don't feel like walking or a path completely free of dog poo when you do :)

You are worth it. And it's all because He loves you. It makes me think that an epic river of love that keeps flowing can actually change a person! For sure, I don't always feel like I'm worth it, but the Bible still says I am and who's gonna argue with the Bible? When they understand that they are worth it, than there is reason, maybe for the first time, to change.

I have a millions questions in my heart about what heaven's love looks like in the midst of dysfunction as I'm sure you do too. Or maybe you didn't before, but thanks to me you do now! Haha, I love the power of influence. There is one thing I know, that true love is not afraid to confront ... or maybe it is afraid, but love does it anyway. I was tempted to try to give you tools, but ultimately, the best teaching is Holy Spirit, after that there is Danny Silk ... haha. True! :)

I guess this is a great big note to say "Lord, teach me how to love the unlovelies!"
Teach me how to be genuine in my love, sincere in my action, brave in my communication and to live a life that will testify that I am a Christian.

"They'll know we are Christians by our love."

He loves you because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you, because He loves you. He didn't need any other reason.

I love you.

Where we're at.

on Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Well, I have left this far too long. I kept meaning to get back to updating the blog, but honetly just haven't been intentional enough to get down to it.

We left Nicaragua one month ago today. Wow, I just had to figure that out in my head and can't believe that much time has passed already. On April 6th, we flew into San Francisco and a great new friend brought us back up to Redding 24 hours after leaving Nica. It was a long day. Some more great friends left a house key for us when they left for spring break so we got to enjoy their beautiful home along with some peace and quiet, a fun puppy and a wonderfully comfortable king sized bed. It was a fun week, reconnecting with friends, getting in a couple services and meetings, sampling some of our old favourites (Yak's coffee, In N Out burgers, Trader Joe's treats). It was such a joy to have dinner here, coffee there, friends in. Felt so go to be loved and known again. You know what I mean?

After a week of fun we were back to the gruelling chore of travel. Not exactly how I would normally describe it being that I have loved travel so much, but another 24 hours straight felt like a lot! We were in the Redding train station at 3:30am, pulled into Seattle at 8pm and then, with the assistance of our gracious chauffeur, Amie Edwards,  drove on to Kelowna, arriving at 2am. It was so good to feel like "We're here!". Ahhhhh, on solid ground ... at least for a season.

So yes, We are here, in Kelowna. We have been enjoying the company and hospitality of our extended family, the Edwards. The company never gets old :) Many a night spent staying up way too late talking about this and that, sometimes nothing much. It's almost like there is this little fear in each of the four of us that we will miss something if we go to bed before everyone else ... like being the first one to hang up on a phone call. Lots of life giving, friendship .. Like an endless sleepover. LOL We are so thankful for Jamie and Amie.

So what's next you may ask? Haha, well, that is exactly the question. Graeme has been invited back to Nicaragua to do some teaching for a couple weeks. We are not sure when that will happen, but intend on making it a priority. As far as the rest of us? ... and the rest of the year? Well, the last word of direction we received from the Lord was that this year was not going to be an improvisation even though it might feel like it. That God has pre-ordained .. divinely orchestrated it. So, in light of that word and the fact that it is constantly feeling like improvisation, we are trying to lean in ... lay our ears on his heart and try to get our direction from the whispers we hear in the spirit. Every move feels like a risk and at the same time it feels like we can't go wrong. Such a strange tension to be caught in.

For now we have a plan :) ... to stay in Kelowna until June 5th. My nephew is graduating and we want to be here to hoot and holler from the audience for him when he marches across the stage. Every good kid needs a thoroughly embarrassing family to sing his praises at such a moment. We have felt that this would be a good time to burden? ... grace? .. haha another household with our presence. As long as they're ready for us, we look forward to taking full advantage of the hospitality of Graeme's parents and his sister Wendy and her family in Irricana, Alberta. We are still listening to whispers and trying to catch the drum beat of heaven for the exact timing of the next stage.

There are more plans and hopes to head North to Whitehorse, not sure of exactly when or for how long, but again, ear to His heart. Learning to be lead on the trail marked by grace. So far we have seen grace for a stop in Edmonton and some time at a camp in the Yukon for the kids. They are really looking forward to it and time with their cousins.

Well, this update was a long time coming and I'm sorry to those of you who have been left in the dark. I'm going to try to be better at updating this in the future. I go through inspired seasons and dry ones, I hope in all seasons that it's still a good read ... haha.