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.