Friday, 5 May 2017

To the weary youth leaders and pastors please don't give up

Picture a little girl. 
Stringy, unbrushed, blonde hair and big blue eyes. 
She's a tiny girl, a girl with rapid feet and a fragile heart. 
She's a girl with secrets and scars so deep that they leap to the surface disguised as mischief and trouble. 
She's the girl with a broken home, a broken heart, and a broken future as far as anyone can see. 
There are not many who take the time for her or have any hope for her. 
She's holding tightly to the anchor of the fierce love of her earthly father and the attention she gets from being a little too loud, a little too wild, and a little too messy. 
She's sweet but so full of spice. 
She looks like a habanero pepper dipped in sugar and she spends her youth being treated that way too. 
People get close but never close enough to feel the heat for too long. 

That little girl was me. 
That is the little girl that is coming to your youth group every Wednesday night.
That is the girl who feels utterly hopeless. 
A lost cause. 

But she's not!
Just like I was not! 

When you see that girl or boy each week that sneaks off into the dark hallways, the one that jokes and laughs through the whole talk, and the one that you are inches away from casting out. 

Remember that she is me. 
Remember how far and wide and deep God's grace and mercy reaches.
Remember how achingly He loves her. 
Remember redemption and love isn't reserved only for those who are "close enough".

What you are doing, each and every week, is for her. 

Those kids that seem the farthest, the ones that seem too broken, or too messy, those are the ones who you are doing this for. 
Those are the kids who, by the grace of God, are going to understand just how far God has brought them. 
Like me, they will look back and be blown away at just how deep God was willing to dive in to save them. 

What you are doing matters. 

It matters more than you will see. You have the hardest job, in my opinion, because you give and give and you rarely ever see the fruit. But I promise you, there will be more fruit than you could have ever imagined. 

So keep singing about bushy tailed squirrels, keep eating wasabi by the spoonful to make them laugh, keep checking those dark hallways, and keep sharing the love of Christ. 

Whatever you do, please don't give up!

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

What I'm actually praying for my future daughters

It was a typical night in our home when I took my sweet 7 year old son down to his room to send him off to sleep for the night. We slumped down in his bed and started to read together. As we began to read he asked me why we all sleep where we sleep and why his dad and I always sleep together.

This led me to tell him of the beauty of marriage and that one day he too will lay down at night next to a woman he loves and chooses to be his wife. His little eyes filled with such joy and amazement it sent my heart leaping from my chest. To know that I have the call to nurture this little man's blossoming anticipation and excitement for marriage is such a magnificent privilege.

That I will be able to send a man into this world who is eager and excited to love and care for someone else's daughter, in marriage, seems such a great honour and rarity. 

As our conversation continued I was able to share the meaning of marriage with him. I was able to tell him of true love and how by loving his father with a deep, selfless, and sacrificial love I am able to show the world a tiny glimpse of Christ's great love for us. The most amazing part of this was that he was getting it, that my tender seven year old baby was nodding his head and fully absorbing what I was telling him.

He was beginning to understand 
a truth that so many go their whole lives without ever knowing.

What a gift for me to see.

Our conversation ended with him wanting to pray for his future wife and with closed eyes and full hearts we lifted that special girl up to God together.

These are the moments that I feel completely overwhelmed with gratitude in being a parent. That I am gifted this beautiful privilege of watching these pieces of my heart turn into children of God.

There's nothing I want more.

I've been sitting with this conversation for weeks now and every time I do I feel God's precious assurance that He is right beside me in this crazy parenting adventure. As I was thinking about that night again I realized something I hadn't thought of before. God placed a precious thought in my mind of how I can continue to pray for my future daughters. The women that will one day join into my family and will become another sweet gift from God.

There are so many ways I want to and will pray for these women but today God led me to pray for the women who need me. That God would bring along young ladies into my son's lives who need all the gifts He has given me as a mother.
Young ladies who need the deep, unwavering love of a mother.
Young women who will need my time, my prayers, my devotion, and my love.
There are girls out there right now, who like I once did, ache for that missing piece.
Who ache for a mother to hold their hand down the isle, in that hospital bed as they jump into mother hood, and at every other twist and turn from there on out.

Those are the girls I am praying for right now. 

That they will beautifully compliment my sons and love Jesus more than anything. 

That they will come into marriage already whole and will know what it means to suffer so that they can understand Christ a little deeper.
That they are prepared to hold on as tight as they can to the coattails of Jesus, as the waves of marriage and life rock everything they've ever known.
That they are fully dependent on Jesus first, and that they come into our life so I may love them deeply, as my own.

This is what I'm actually praying for my daughters.

Monday, 3 April 2017

A little let go

Maybe today you need a reason to let go a little.
To transport back to the carefree and joyful days of your youth.
To put the pains and plans of the now out of your mind for just a moment.
So here's your invitation, an invitation to jump in the shower, run out to the car, or slip away to the back storage room of your job. Put a fun song on and give a little dance.
 Close your eyes if you need to and imagine a time when this didn't feel so weird and uncomfortable and just go there.
I have a feeling it will be the little piece of joy that your day or even week may need.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

A letter to my kids when my care is in the hands of another.

I've been spending a little more time envisioning my future.

The future that is beyond combing stringy blond locks before bedtime.
The future that is beyond the tired-red-eyed days filled with homework, sports, and coaching my not-so-littles how to navigate love, loss, and life.
The future that is beyond white gowns and rocking grand baby's.

The future that holds grey hairs, tender hands, and fragile skin.
The future that holds a vastness of uncertainty, excitement and anticipation.
The future of what I hope is filled with endless grace, wisdom, and selflessness.

So here I am writing to you, my kids...

I have had a few experiences wandering the halls of white walls and wheel chairs as an adult and I've seen many things.
I've seen age creep in like a thief and steal strength, time, and hope.
 I've heard a silence so deep it can be felt to the frail bones of the inhabitants that linger there.
I've felt a loneliness that can only be filled by a vision greater than this fleeting world can give us.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

The Beauty in Obedience

Something cool that God is teaching me right now is the beauty in obedience. I think too often we see obedience as this duty or some daunting obligation but lately God's been showing me how to see obedience in a completely different way.

The last few times I've stepped out in obedience, in ways that seem really difficult and scary, I've been left with incredible blessing.

God was sitting there waiting to say, that he's got a treasure waiting for me but it has to come after obedience. After looking back the being obedient part wasn't that big of a deal. What I was being obedient too wasn't really all that hard and didn't actually cost me all that much.

But as I look back I see the grand reward God had for me. That His response WAS that big of a deal.

He has store houses waiting for us if we only listen and obey. 

Sunday, 26 February 2017

When "Sabbath" fits just right but looks so different

I wanted to share my "sabbath" with you today. 

Chris took the kids out for the day. It's 2:10pm and I haven't brushed my hair or my teeth. I turned on my hipster worship music and pulled out the flour. I let myself fill my "day of rest" with four loads of dishes, 6 pizzas, 2 salads, and a counter full of muffins. The reason I'm sharing this is because my idea of sabbath is constantly being transformed. 

I want to have days of sabbath where I sit in solitude with Jesus and rest, but I'm finding my "sabbath" can look more like service. 

Monday, 16 January 2017

When I tell my daughter he wasn't "The One"

As I was spending time in my "war room"(aka the shower), because that's the only place I can hide from the little monsters that roam my house, I was thinking about those same little monsters and their wedding days.

I was thinking about what I would say to them as I stand at that podium or in front of the mirror as they tremble with anticipation and I share what could be some of the most influential words they hear as they embark on this new and mysterious journey of marriage.

The one thing that kept coming into my mind was that I really wanted them to know they have a choice. 

That as they walk down that isle and as they join hands and lives with the person standing across from them on that day, they are making a choice. That the words, " I do", hold so much weight and so much value.

I want to tell them that before this day that man or woman standing there, who will become my daughter or son's spouse, wasn't "the one" but in this moment they are making the choice that they are and will always be "the one".

Your Love