Being really honest today

Do you ever feel as though you have to cling to God's promises to get through the days, or the weeks, or the months?

Lately I've been grasping so tightly. Sometimes it feels as though I'm holding my breath underwater struggling to get to the surface but God brings me quick bursts of oxygen when I really need them. There are days when my anxiety overwhelms me, where I would like to hide from life and sleep the days away. Every little thing feels like more than I can handle. I don't want to act this way and I know that I should be able to finish these small tasks but for some reason they push me over the edge. When the anxiety comes flooding in depression and self-hatred seem to follow. I understand why those two have always seemed to go together. Anxiety and depression. I have been depressed before, and I have suffered from anxiety before but this is one of the first times in my life my anxiety is making me feel depressed.

It's during these times I am so thankful for my faith. If I didn't have God during these weeks that may last as long as they do, I don't know where I would be. Every moment I cling to His promises. The Psalms narrate my day. I breathe deeply in His Spirit and our His name Yahweh. Jehovah Jireh, our God the provided who will give me everything I need for this season. And that is truly what it is, a season. There will be joy again. Don't get me wrong on the surface God gives me the strength to smile and function with love and grace, but on the inside there are many moments where I feel I'm slowly being destroyed. There are many stolen breakdowns in locked rooms, alone where I can't be found crying and shaking. Moments where I find myself collapsed and whispering His name to get through the attacks of the evil one. 

Our God is good!

Even when the cloud surrounding you seems dark, the storm seems like it might take everything that is left of you. He is there and he knows exactly how you feel, how I feel.

God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him.
   We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom,
      courageous in seastorm and earthquake,
   Before the rush and roar of oceans,
      the tremors that shift mountains.    
Jacob-wrestling God fights for us,
      God-of-Angel-Armies protects us. 
Psalm 46:1-3


God's provision

I sincerely apologize for the lack of writing these last two months, to say they have been busy would be an understatement. Work and life seems to overwhelm at times and I greatly miss the enjoyment of sitting down and writing out my thoughts.

We had both of our computers go to computer heaven in one week and we only bought one to replace. Really why would we need two computers? Well the only reason would be so I could blog more and that didn't seem like being a good stewards of our money. So I rarely get moments on the computer especially not when I'm in the mood to write. The journal has been getting a good work out but unfortunately doesn't get shared with the world. The computers breaking down was actually a really cool story of God providing. They broke down the same week that my husband happened to be working for the first time in months and brought home a cheque that was perfect to cover the costs. Fancy God's provision, He is so good! He has provided for us along every single step of this journey while Shaun is in school and I'm so grateful. Every time an unexpected bill comes along for some reason some unexpected income comes along. I still think back to when we started this journey last fall. When I typed up the budget no matter how I did it we were always short what we had committed to tithing. I'm so thankful that I saw that right away as a temptation from the devil and went on giving the same even if it meant going into school savings every month. Funny how every month when I still tithed the amount and assumed I would be short I never once needed to take money out of savings. Groceries or Hydro or Gas was always less than expected and we always broke ever, sometimes only by five dollars but God provided. He is so good, and when you follow His plan the money is always there. I take the same attitude when I approach this adoption thing, yes we have lots of time to save which I'm so grateful for. But adoption is God's plan for our family so He will provide us what we need to complete our family. He is good!

So somehow this turned into a story about how God had provided BUT please take it as an encouragement. No matter what seems to be in front of you, He never fails! He is so good all the time!


Jim and Casper go to church

I just finished a fantastic book borrowed from my father's library. It's the best source for books these days. The basis of Jim and Casper is that they travel around to ten famous and different churches in America and rate them. Throw in the twist that Casper is an atheist. It is amazing to see the church through the eyes of an objective viewer, someone who doesn't just think well that's how we've always done it. It makes you as a church goer think twice about why we do what we do.

Here are some of my favourite sections in the book.

"Case in point: The preacher asked everyone to 'greet the people around you.' Well, I don't mean to throw cold water on your church thing, but frankly, I thought that was lame. Why do you have to tell people to talk with each other anyways? Why didn't someone voluntarily approach me?"

"I don't mean to be overly critical, but what if instead of asking people to pray a prayer on order to go to heaven, the pastor challenged everyone to go out and serve someone else here on earth? Could you imagine if he told everyone here today to go out and make a difference today...can you imagine what a difference that would make in one day alone?"

"If a complete stranger comes up to me and starts professing his faith, it's easy -too easy- to say that dude's nuts. But when people take the time to tell me about themselves, give me some context for their story, give me names, places, and times, it makes a lot more sense."

"Well, it's right here, in the heart of the city. Amidst the poor and suffering. To me, that
makes more sense than building a campus our in the middle of nowhere. Put your church where people need it the most."

"I don't understand why they need to do the big show. Why don't they just help people and call it good? Why the fog machine, camera crews, multiple screens, PowerPoint, and the lights, lights, and lights? Is this what Jesus told you guys to do? Put on a Christian rock show that's visually and sonically indistinguishable from a non-christian rock snow, change the words, and call it church? Is that pulled from the Bible?"

"Did he just say he healed someone who couldn't walk? Then why in the world is he wastig time hanging out in church? Doesn't he know there are thousands of people in this city who need his touch? ... If this man can truly heal people: get out there then! There are people who need your help!"

"Churches using technology to communicate better doesn't bother me at all. What was bothering me at those churches was the amount of money that was clearly being spent on technology and equipment, which I see as vain at best, hypocritical at worst. How are you helping others by spending your offering money on a Hollywood stage show?"

"Why is a church deemed successful by it's size rather than it's ability to truly teach it's people?"

"The pastor made up his mind about what he wanted to say and the pitch he wanted to make, and then he selected passages in the Bible that support his pitch."

I really enjoyed looking at church from the perspective of a non-believer. It definitely enforced some of my struggles with mega churches and also challenged many of the things I do every Sunday or in every day life.

I truly do believe that following Christ does require sacrifice and should not be comfortable but I'm continuing to learn how I'm supposed to sacrifice in my own life. Being a Christian shouldn't be easy and the same foes for churches, they should always challenge why they do what they do and whether that is what Jesus would have wanted.


My Mom

In honor of Mother's day I want to share with all of you why my mom is the best.

Seriously, she knocks your mom's socks off.

And my mother in law is the best mother in law ever.

Seriously, I am beyond blessed with these two beautiful women in my life.

My mama, had a heart of gold. She never would have dreamed of being a pastor's wife but she has taken on the role with grace and dignity and does a darn good job. She is the silent force behind my dad's ministry. Many of you don't know this but nearly ever service my mother is behind the stage praying for my father as he shares God's truth with the church. She is the power behind him. My mom hates being in the spotlight so she might hate that I'm writing this but I could care less. She has a heart for the least of these, much like me. Every holiday we invite people over who don't have family around, so they can be a part of one. She knows how to reach out to those who are hurting and those who are lonely. She opens her home and her heart again and again for those who need a place to stay. Last week my parents had four extra men living in their house. People who just needed a place to stay for a few months. They are down to one now and I'm sure my dad is enjoying the peace and quiet. My mother is always willing to give and serve in any way she can. She fills the gap whenever I need. She continually blesses me by always me by always being willing to help me out however she can. My parents have blessed us financially in a huge way during this time where Shaun is in school and I'm so grateful. I loved my home in high school because every one of my friends was always welcomed and fed a meal and treated as though they were sons and daughters as well. This is something I pray I will exemplify when I am a mother. My mom loves the orphan just as much as I do and we have shared many tears over blogs and conversations about those hurting in this world. We are hoping to serve in Uganda together this upcoming January and I can hardly wait to do this as mother and daughter. I am so incredibly blessed by my mother and I know I don't tell her how thankful I am enough. I pray every day that I will be a mom like her. I have never once doubted her love for me and I'm so grateful for that.

So those are a few of the reasons why my mom is the bomb, seriously!

Love you mom.

My Other Mother

Don't think I'd leave out my other mom did you?

Sheila deserves a whole lot of credit for being an amazing mother as well.

Well first off, she raised the most amazing man I know. He is everything I could have asked for in a husband and I'm thankful every day that he was raised by such an amazing women. Sheila is such a kind heart. I have so greatly enjoyed getting to know her and connecting with her deeply in the past two years. She and Brian are a great addition to my life. You know those stories about the evil mother in law. Well mine sure isn't. Sheila is always willing to give whatever we need to help us out. She has prepared countless meals for us and painstakingly served our family at every gathering. She is such a loving woman and has made me feel so accepted and loved in my new family. Sheila and I enjoy the same things so it has been amazing to connect in that way. Sheila will do anything for her kids and I pray that I will have that characteristic when I'm a mother as well. She consistently sacrifices herself and her needs to bless her family. Sheila does not get the praise or thanks she deserves. I'm blessed to call her Mom and to have her as a part of my life.

Love you Sheila!


The pursuit of happiness

Today while watching TV I stumbled across a program on happiness. Studies on what make people happy.

I found it so interesting that none of the 'happiest' people surveyed were extremely wealthy or had lived perfect lives. They all have pasts, struggles, ups and downs. In fact of our happiness only 10% is based on our external circumstances. 50% is based on our genes. That means that 40% of our happiness is based on us and our attitude. We are in control of our happiness and how we feel.

Also the majority of the happiest people found had faith. They had a deeper belief; they acknowledged that someone else was out there. Having faith increases your happiness. I know that if I did not have my faith or my faith family that would greatly change my outlook on life. I cannot imagine waking up every morning without the joy my faith gives me.

Researchers say that thanking people is a great way to increase your happiness. If we are not appreciative we start taking things for granted. We forget where the good things are coming from. We adapt to our new settings whether they are good or bad and our happiness readjusts to the way it was before, unless we continue to give thanks and remember the positive changes. Jesus taught us by his actions to give thanks, for the good and the bad, to celebrate the body and the blood.

Happy people are more likely to be generous. We are happier if we help others. Giving of our times, energy and finances gives us fulfillment and happiness. Jesus taught to give all we could to those in need.

Another large factor in people's happiness is the ability to forgive. Letting go of our anger and hurt so we can focus on positive things in our life instead of the negative. What's the point in keeping those negative feelings around? Why do you think Jesus preached forgiveness over and over again?

I've always found it so interesting that the most joyful people I know are the ones you would least expect to be happy by the world's standards. I remember feeling in awe when invited to a village church in Uganda. These people had nothing, their church was made of ripped tarps, their children just had one ripped t shirt to their name. They had not eaten breakfast but had instead saved their food to share with me for lunch after. Their empty stomachs suffering so that they could give and bless me. And as I walked away from the meal and the church service I was overcome by their joy and happiness. They had nothing yet they worshiped the Lord like I've never seen before, they willingly shared the little food they had to bless me. How were they so happy?

Simply put, Jesus had saved them so how could they keep from singing?

You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don't see him, yet you trust him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation. 
1 Peter 1:8-9