Perspective in Suffering

Today Shaun and I left church early. The smell was much to strong for me and I needed some fresh air to counteract the migraine that was starting. So we went for our usual Sunday drive to look at houses. As we were driving I was flipping through channels and came across Southlands sermon this morning. I only caught the end which was about struggling during your suffering to rejoice in others miracles.

I started to think about this in my own life. My health hasn't been the easiest go. I've been through months without breaks from vicious migraines. I've been frustrated morning and morning again when I wake up in the same pain. I've also rejoiced greatly in that one day where I was pain free. I have tried everything the doctor every suggested and then some. I have changed jobs, I have been to all the specialists, I have changed my eating. I have spent months of my life sleeping away my pain and barely living. I am now at a stage where when I get my migraines they are bad but they are coming much less frequently. I rejoice in this season of rest! But have peace that they may get worse again and I will be okay. I can live in this pain. He will give me the strength.

But while I was listening to Ray speak I was brought to tears. I am so incredibly grateful that God has allowed me such perspective during my pain in life. (I want to call it a season because that indicates that there will be an end but after over half my life I have accepted that this will likely be my thorn and that is okay) I cannot remember a time where I felt hatred or blame towards God for this pain. I rarely feel any bitterness towards those who don't understand the pain I go through. I have always known beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am blessed and they are many in this world who suffer through much worse than I could ever imagine.

As I though about my perspective I immediately thought about my Chelsea Beth. See growing up right next to someone who truly suffers, it allows you to realize how blessed you are to only have migraines. See I don't have cancer raging inside my body. Chelsea was never meant to live past six, so every day we get with her is a miracle. She beat the cancer she was never supposed to beat, and though it is back she still fights through chemo every day. But it's not just cancer. Chelsea Beth has epilepsy so as she fights through chemo her seizures get worse. In spite of all her pain and suffering Chelsea still has the most beautiful soul I have ever encountered. She is full of such joy and hope. She loves with such reckless abandon, we could all learn from how this beautiful woman loves. I never remember Chels complaining when we were younger, I`m sure it happened but all I remember is her taking needles and pain like a champ. I remember her smiling and laughing. I remember how she had a huge crush on my brother (and likely still does, he`s a stud!) I remember how she stole the affection of every one she encountered. So how could I think my life was bad when I grew up next to someone who suffered with joy better than anyone I have ever met.

God has also allowed incredible timing in my life. See when I went to Africa I was truly changed. My whole world view was transformed and opened. I never want to forget everything I learned while I was out there. It was only after coming home my migraines spiraled out of control. Through those months of darkness I continued to keep everything in perspective. I had a warm bed to suffer in, I had ice packs when I needed them, I had heat packs when I needed them, I had a hospital with drugs that helped when I needed it, I had a mom to give me countless massages to work out the tension, I had a husband who cooked when I couldn`t. See it`s easy to know that every day 30 000 children die of starvation or preventable diseases. But once you meet those children it`s not easy to forget. And once you know their names you will always remember that they are suffering with nothing and no one to help them. So how can I complain about my migraines when kids are dying in pain every day with no one who loves them.

Through this all I am so incredibly grateful that God has allowed me this perspective. He has given me this gift so I have no been bitter or resentful and so that I can still enjoy life and those around me. I truly pray that through all of our struggles our eyes will be opened with Godly perspective. Because when we keep it all in perspective it is so much easier to struggle with joy and hope. When I think of Chelsea Beth, or my beautiful children in Africa who I love so much I can handle that migraine. Because it is only a migraine and though Satan gives me that pain I won`t allow him to take my hope and joy with it.



I'm Canadian so we celebrate our thanksgiving way earlier than all my friends down South. But that just meant a great long weekend of food! It is actually amazing as we approach this weekend and thanksgiving meals tomorrow how incredibly much I have to be thankful for. Also how much I have learned about being thankful over the last couple months. 

Shaun and I are officially obsessed with 'How I Met Your Mother.' We have seen every single episode and I'm wanting to start some serious Slapsgiving traditions, I wonder if my brother would oblige and let me hit him one quick during supper tomorrow, or we could just slap bet it up so that next year I can have some holiday fun! We will have to see... (Only those who watch will understand any of that!)

For those who haven't had a chance to chat with me over the last month I have started my new job and I'm absolutely loving it. It has been beyond a blessing in my life and I'm so grateful that I've been given the opportunity to have a job I love. I greatly enjoy the people I work with and feel like I've been gifted perfectly to do the tasks I'm given. I do so many different tasks that I'm never sick of doing the same thing. It doesn't hurt that it is on the same street as my husbands job so we have no need to buy a new car for a while. 

I was given a great gift last week. My aunt and uncle gave me an old lab top. I'm super thankful as both of ours broke earlier this year and we only bought one to replace. I haven't been able to write nearly as much as I would like to and have missed processing through things on this blog. So I'm hoping to get back into the habit as now I have the ability to write whenever my heart is led. So I'm so incredibly thankful for that this weekend.

Would also like to say that tomorrow is a pretty epic day. Jets are back!!! I can hardly wait to watch the game tomorrow and don't care how many other people will be proudly wearing my jets shirt tomorrow. What more can you ask for thanksgiving. Bombers won, Jets season opener and a lot of food!!!


Jonathan's true act of sacrifice

Spoke at youth tonight and figured I would share my notes here. Hope you enjoy.

While studying 1 Samuel I have been absolutely fascinated by this little known character, his name is Jonathan. I'm a pastor's kid so I grew up reading the Bible over and over again. I have read the story of David and Jonathan many times before. But for the first time as I have been studying I've really caught on to what an amazing man of God, Jonathan was. I love how scripture can do that. You can read something twenty times and the twenty first time you feel like you understand it for the first time. It truly proves to me that scripture is living and breathing.

So who is this Jonathan ?

I want us to put ourselves in Jonathan's shoes and really picture the life he lived because that will make his friendship with David mean so much more.

Jonathan was Saul’s son and heir to Israel’s throne. He was going to be king. I wonder how I might have lived my life if I knew one day I would be king. It’s pretty hard for us to imagine. But imagine growing up as Prince William. There is a ton of pressure but there is also a lot of perks. You can buy anything you want, you can have any woman you want, you can get away with anything. I really want you guys to understand the life that Jonathan lived. That he didn’t owe David anything, there was no reason for him to treat David the way he did. There were people a lot cooler and more elite than David that Jonathan could have chose to be his friend. I mean David was a Shepard and Jonathan was the future King.

Let’s read the passage.

1 Samuel 18:1-4 “After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in sprit with David, and he loved him as himself. From that day, Saul kept David with him and did not let him return to his father’s house. And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow and his belt.”

I have read this verse so many times and have never caught on to the true act of friendship Jonathan was showing to David.

1. There is nothing in these chapters in 1 Samuel that discuss David’s love for Jonathan. I’m sure David loved Jonathan but the writer of first Samuel wanted to make sure we understood that David did nothing to earn this friendship from Jonathan. Friendship should be like that. We can't expect anything in return from those we call "friends" now it is important to have friends who build you up as well, but that does not mean not being friends with those who might only be "take" friends. They are important too, and loving them the way Jesus would is likely what they need in the "take" season of their life.

2. In the old testament when you made a covenant there were three acts that made it solemn covenant before God. It required a Sign, a Sacrifice and a Solemn oath. The solemn oath was to love David as himself. The Sign was giving his tunic etc. But the sacrifice is the biggest part of all. The sacrifice was giving up his hopes of becoming King. See Jonathan knew that David had been anointed so in the act of giving David his tunic, he was symbolizing giving David his birthright as heir to Israel's throne. This meant loving and supporting David knowing that God had chosen HIM to be king instead of Jonathan. That’s giving up a lot. I don’t know if I would be willing to give my future kingdom over to my friend because that was what God wanted. That is a huge amount of sacrifice.

So I’ve been challenging myself to become more like Jonathan. And I’ve been studying what it means to be a godly friend like he was. God calls us to sacrifice much in the act of friendship. None of us can give up an actual kingdom to a friend but there are a lot of other things we can sacrifice to show others God's love.

So why is it important to be a godly friend and to have godly friends?

Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12 says: “It’s better to have a partner than go at it alone. Share the work, share the wealth. If one falls down, the other helps, but is there is not one to help, tough! Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night. By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.”

Proverbs 13:20 says “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.”

So who are our friends? If God calls us to sacrifice much to be godly friends who should we be friends too? There is this rotten verse that can really mess our lives up in a good way if we take what it says and apply it to who our friends are.

Matthew 25:31-46 "When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:
I was hungry and you fed me, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was homeless and you gave me a room, I was shivering and you gave me clothes, I was sick and you stopped to visit, I was in prison and you came to me.'Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'Then he will turn to the 'goats,' the ones on his left, and say, 'Get out, worthless goats! You're good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because I was hungry and you gave me not meal, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was homeless and you gave me no bed, I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, Sick and in prison, and you never visited.'Then those 'goats' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn't help?' He will answer them, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.'Then those 'goats' will be herded to their eternal doom, but the 'sheep' to their eternal reward.

I wish I could tell you guys that being a Christian is easy, but if we take what the Bible commands us seriously being a Christian is hard, and it requires a ton of sacrifice and we don't always get to go the fun easy way. But the rewards are really great, they might not be on earth but heaven will be pretty kick butt.

So what can we practically sacrifice to be a godly friend and how do you go about it?

1. Prayer. Pray for your friend and there needs but also pray for yourself that you will be a godly friend full of love and patience. Take time out of your day to spend with the Lord lifting not only your requests up to him but also the requests of those in your life. Our prayer lives need to have a lot less "I need" in them. It is important to bring our requests before God but we cannot forget those around us who have needs.

2. Effort. It sounds so cheesy but making the first move to reach out to someone who is hurting. Always being willing to talk when they need a helping hand. Tell them your praying for them. Leave a note of encouragement in their locker. This will mean sacrificing our comfort sometimes and doing something that makes us feel weird or awkward to reach out to our "friends."

3. Avoid godless chatter. 2 Timothy 2:16 says “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” When our friends are saying things that we don't want to partake it, it will take sacrifice to walk away or tell them you don't need to say mean things about others. It won't be easy but its a huge part of being a godly friend. Keeping our friends trust is hugely important, and something we need to value.

4. Never encourage your friend in wrong doings. Be the one to "sit out" with your friends instead of encouraging them to "join in."

5. It means loving your friend even when you don’t want to or they don’t deserve it. Sometimes our friends won't make it easy but that doesn't give us an excuse to love them any less. Unfortunately we will still be held accountable for how we treat people in spite of how they treat us. Sometimes it's easy to excuse our actions because of what someone did BUT God doesn't see that as a good enough excuse. He sees it as sin.

6. A godly friend says hard things sometimes. You might need to tell your friend that they are doing something sinful and be a partner in accountability. This isn’t easy but it is a huge part in being a good friend. It will build trust and communication if you can be honest in all situations.


Eyes wide open

In the beginning of every school year our church presents Bibles to Grade 1s and their parents. So today I sat in a pew and watched proud parents and smiling kids walk up to accept their very own Bible. The parents had been able to go into the church before Sunday and write personalized notes to encourage their kids in their personal walk. Those parents would pray for their children, and answer (to the best of their ability) all their questions about faith and life. And those parents would love those kids, as only parents can.

I thought I was done grieving my kids I left in Africa, but as grief often does today it came rushing back when I least expected it. No one would give any of my beautiful children Bibles when they got to Grade 1. No one was there to dedicate them after birth. No one was there to tuck them into bed every night and read to them from their very own Bible. Needless to say I was lost in my emotions and thoughts.

It's not fair. There is nothing fair about life, I know that. But every child deserves love and the opportunity to grow up in a family. Through reunification or adoption. My heart wants to tuck every child into bed and tell them how much I love them, and more importantly how much Jesus loves them. I'm going to he totally honest with you guys. As much as my heart aches to go back to Uganda I'm so scared. I can still remember how my heart hurt after I go home. Crying myself to sleep because I was so far away from the children I loved so much. Wondering whether in all my pain I even made a difference in their lives. Wondering what I can do to make a difference from home.

I am a selfish human and when I think only of myself I would never want to go back. I want to put the blinders back on and forget everything I saw. But here's the thing. Scripture says once our eyes are opened we are responsible. And when I think of all the kids living without love, when I put them first, I would go back in a heartbeat. It is always easier to not know. It will always be easier to live a life where you don't know that 30 000 kids die a day of starvation or preferable diseases. Or where you don't think about the 147 million orphans. But that's not the life I want for myself. Because when I think about my beautiful kids there is still grief but then I remember dancing with Trevor or Peaces' first smile. Or when Susan walked on her own for the first time. Or how Gift glowed when we threw her a birthday party. I pray in my brokenness God allowed those moments to mean something. That my kids will always know that they are loved, most importantly by our Heavenly Father.

So I chose to stand with eyes wide open. Sometimes it's harder to know and see but the rewards are far greater. In this life and the next.


Thrifty Shopping

So I did a little shopping this last weekend for the new job. And I'm pretty proud of my thrifty find, so I thought I would share with you some of my rules. I have a few tips on how I have curbed the once shopping addiction and how I keep my spending on track. I think how we spend our money is very important and excessive spending is not necessary or biblical. I also think it is okay to treat ourselves something and that is something you need to decide on your own. These are just personal guidelines I follow.

Now that I'm buying clothes again I'm really careful to follow some rules.

1. I never window shop, don't go to the mall unless you actually need something. How you decide your need is a personal thing but try to go with the replace not upgrade thought process. If things don't fit or a ripped or worn out it is okay to replace them. In my case I got a new job and did need new dress clothes because I had none!

2. Decide what you need before you go to the mall. If all you need is a new sweater, go in, find a sweater, and leave.

3. Don't buy too fast, sometimes it is worth it to shop around and find the best deal. I also try the thrift stores first, you don't always find something there but when you do it is well worth it. It takes a bit more work but is worth the savings.

4. Set a budget and don't go over it. For me I would not spend over 15 dollars on a shirt, so if it was more than that it went back on the rack. I don't even try it on if it is over the budget. This is a great way to not fall in love with things that are more than you would want to spend. You tend not to really love stuff until you see how it fits etc.

5. Always try it on! Make sure it fits right otherwise it will sit in the closet and be a waste of money.

6. Try to arrange your closet in a way you can see everything. I used to have so many clothes that things would be lost and I would forget what I had. I find that continually donating stuff that doesn't fit or is ripped etc. allows you to see what you actually have and therefore know what you actually need.

7. Try to buy things that work with everything else in your closet. This weekend I fell in love with some grey shoes but they would not have matched with my tan pants so then I would have needed to buy another pair of shoes for those pants. So I walked away. Later I found the same style shoes in black and knew they would work perfect! Was so glad I held off.

8. Spend the majority of your money on things that are timeless. Anything trendy try to find on super sale or at the thrift store because it is unlikely you are going to want to wear it after it is out of style.

So what did I buy this weekend?

I got three great pairs of dress pants. I bought some fantastic grey slacks at the thrift store for $6. I found dress pants I liked at target for $25, since they were regular I kept shopping and figured I could come back if I found something cheaper. When I went back to target the next day they had restocked and organized the sale rack and I found two great pairs of dress pants for $6. Same price as the thrift store, I was very excited.

I treated myself to a dress. I don't really have a fall dress for weddings and I found a great black classic dress for $7. You can't really go wrong at that price and I have a wedding to wear it to next month anyways!

I thrifted one cardigan at $8 and splurged on another at $25.

I bought myself some great white Gap jeans for $10.

I thrifted a blouse for $6, bought one at $15 and a nice dress sweater at $15.

Last but not least I bought me some shoes! I needed something I could wear in winter, wanted a flat and a heel for the office. So I got these great oxfords for only $20 and some super cute ankle boots with a small heel for $30.

Shopping is all about balance, something you might spend a little more than you wanted to on something but getting everything else at a great price balances things out!

It is also about remember that it is important to look good, because if you look good you tend to feel good but our worth cannot only come from outward appearance. We are children of an amazing God who pursues us passionately and we don't need to put anything on to please Him. He loves us exactly as we are!


My Beautiful Dresser!

This is a bit of a brag post, about my amazing husband.

We had a bit of a space issue in our house. We have two closets which is totally enough but we desperately needed something with drawers. All of Shaun's clothes that couldn't hang were literally thrown on the top shelf of his closet and I have no idea how many times all those clothes came down in search of one t shirt that was buried in the bottom. So we started checking the thrift stores for dressers. We couldn't find anything! So we started looking at some cheaper furniture stores. I have expensive tastes and so does Shaun. It is not on purpose we just like things that tend to cost way too much money. The dresser I feel in love with was....$1299. Not a hot chance that was happening.

Back when we first got married Shaun always used to joke that he would like to be a furniture builder. I never thought I would see the day where he built anything. My husband is an accountant and he is the smartest man I know but I had never seen the handy man side of him.

Shaun got it in his head that he was going to build a dresser. I was a little bit scared but figured worst case we would waste a bit of money if it didn't work out and I would end up with no dresser.

My anniversary gift was a beautiful dresser. And I am baffled that it turned out as amazing as it did. Apparently I married a man who can do pretty much anything he sets his mind to. I'm incredibly proud and I have a beautiful dresser full of t shirts so that laundry is much less frustrating.

Please ignore the grainy iPod photos.

It's starting to look like a dresser.

All fits and look great, hard part is done.

After the first coat of primer.

The finished product, I think it's beautiful!


Changes in Life

Lately life has been full of big decisions. Decisions made while holding tightly to Gods Word and promises and full of trust and hope. I have full confidence that I have made the best decision for Shaun and I.

I'm leaving my job. After four years it feels a bit like a break up where we leave on good terms and walk away friends, but there are still a lot of weird emotions you don't expect. I'm leaving the best boss I probably could have ever had and some of the closest friends I have made in my life. I can truly say that I will miss most of the people that I spend my days with and the community that we have at my job.

I don't do things halfway, that's not me. I fully commit in all ways. This job has seriously consumed more of my life than it probably ever should have and it will feel so weird once that giant chunk of brain space is freed. There are so many areas of my job where I feel tired and really need a change. That is part of the reason why I'm so excited to start my new job as it included absolutely nothing that I did at my current job. It is a huge change. I'm thrilled to work no evenings and weekends. I know health wise it is one of the best things that I can do, to force my body to wake up at the same time every single day. It will greatly impact my migraines and sleep patterns. It will also include a lot less worry and take home "energy."

God has guided me every step of the way in this decisions and I love how He has come through on every single thing. Big things like working next door to my husband with the same hours (does it get more blessed than that) and small things even as I shopped for new work clothes He opened up some great deals to allow me to get what I need for my new job for very little. I'm so thankful. He is so good and I never would have left my current job without a pretty serious direction from Him and He led me.

What a great God we serve.

So I start after September long. Pray for me if you want!