A Father’s Hands…

Today was a day that reminded me of a  really bad day I blogged about a few years back.  I’m not sure if it’s the full moon, or what, but I needed a reminder that I’ve had worse days and just like then, today was “handled” – once I handed it over. Today it took a trip to the dog park, but it really did turn around too. I hope you enjoy today’s post from back in 2013…
Yesterday was one of those days.
It started out ok…
Then quickly spiraled down and out of control.
The oldest boy had ATTITUDE.
The middle boy was EMOTIONAL with ATTITUDE.
The youngest boy was WHINY.
They were all fighting, running in the house, making wrong choices.
The baby was cranky…teething? diaper rash? fussy?
All of the above.
Even the dog was annoying.
That morning I’d been reminded of a few personal setbacks…
Waves of  worry, fear, doubting self, doubting God…
Feeling like the little we had, would never be enough to meet the need.
Feeling unsettled, words in my mind wearing away at the Peace
That usually keeps me calm in the midst of these storms.
Feeling pretty ugly inside and out.
So I kept losing my cool…
yelling…
threatening…
lashing out…
probably worse,
I’ve blocked it from my memory.
We were all ready for a change of pace, a change of scenery.
I remember driving to the organic farm to pick up the veggies
On the verge of tears.
At the farm, the dear farmer sensed my duress.
She made me laugh.
A moment outside of the moment.
She encouraged me like only a mama of mamas can.
We drove home in almost silence. A hymn was playing on the radio.
The quiet was needed…appreciated.
The baby had fallen asleep.
The boys were not fighting, not even talking.
I pulled into the drive.
Thinking about what to make for dinner.
Giving instructions for unloading the veggies…
The middle boy was not in the van…
 Momentary panic.
Call the farmer.
He’s there. Relief.
Drive 25 mins back there to get him.
Beat myself up most of the way.
After all…how could I not notice he wasn’t in the van?!
Sigh…
I really felt like crying on the way home again.
Decided, that the day was basically lost now
A lost day…
When I should have loved my kids better…
When I should have been gentle, and kind.
 And now it was half hour to bedtime…
No time to make dinner…
MacDonald’s it is.
At least the boys were thrilled.
I beat myself up for not providing a healthier dinner.
In the drive-thru…I had to dig into the recesses of my wallet to pay.
Tucked inside a pocket, was shoved one of these.
I haven’t seen one in years.
(for my American friends – we have dollar coins here)
For some reason, it reminded me of my dad.
How his hands hardened by work, would always offer to give me money.
When I was around 9 and first allowed to ride my bike to the corner store.
When I was 16 and driving the car and needed gas.
When I was visiting home from college and always in need of a little extra cash.
How on a day like this, he would have put his arms around me…
And the world would have felt better again.
Sometimes we’d just sit in the garden, quiet.
I thought about how much I miss those hands,
How that final goodbye felt a few short years ago…
How much I wanted my daddy at that moment.
Mercy, the tears would not stop…
I almost had to pull over the van.
Then the kindest whisper…
A reminder really.
That there was another set of hands…
Readily available…
Hands that were not only work hardened…
But pierced.
For me.
Hands, eagerly waiting for me to surrender the day
Ready to provide,
Ready to take fish and bread, and meet those needs and more.
Restoring peace, reminding me of Eternity
and how my earthly daddy lives there now, with Him.
Redeeming the day, in a moment.
Making the world feel better again.
Oh how wonderful to to fall into my Heavenly Father’s Hands
To be enveloped in His grace and mercy.
Psalm 31:14
But as for me, I trust You, oh Lord,
I say,”You are my God”
My Times are in your hand…
 
And as the day came to a close,
Kissing soft cheeks, whispering thanks
whispering “I love yous”
Watching the steady rise and fall of little bodies at rest.
Peace…I am still.
Knowing the day is saved, and a new one is at hand.
A new one, that is in His hand,
As I am.

Pausing on May 1st

So many thoughts rumbling around today… but many of them with a similar theme…I guess someone is trying to get my attention…

I read this quote in my devotional today…

Going through life without pauses (big and small) would be like writing without punctuation! Commas, periods, or new paragraphs help us make sense of things., take a breath or organize, and to know where one chapter ends and a new one begins. We need these pauses in our lives as they unfold as well!              

~Amy Cooper Collier

from the devotional itself by Julie Bogart…

Maybe today we can all pause – simply long enough to be present to ourselves and to our families in this moment in time. To pause is to cease what you’re doing for a moment, giving yourself an opportunity to be.

and then this post from blogger Shauna…must pay attention…

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Pausing to think about a sisters birthday today. A sister who is lovely and gentle and kind. Silly and funny, quiet and thoughtful. Pleasant and loyal and deserves a really good year. A really, really good one. Happy birthday Aya – I love you always.

Pausing to reflect on my daughter. The joy it brings me to see those words before me. My daughter… all my life I wanted a daughter. She was worth the wait. Her name, Elaina, means light. I was thinking about how,she was born at the beginning of a new chapter. We’d had several years of darkness in our family so to speak. Death and disillusionment, disappointment and loss…and through it all we kept walking – rather stumbling, falling and crawling and even, being carried by grace. Grace and faith…at times, even hope was gone, and even the road didn’t look like a road leading anywhere good…but Jesus…he was there…and then, the road turned sharply, the clouds parted and the valley was behind us. Breathing deeply,the gasps of survivors. and we were bathed in light. The kind of light you can feel on your skin. The kind you can’t help but turn your face to. The kind that warms your insides, heals your soul, refreshes your hope and brings clarity to your mind…and the path ahead.

Light… reflecting on the daughter conceived in the final steps of that valley. Elaina, is certainly delightful, almost always happy, loved by everyone… last week I posted a cute pic of her online, and it had over 50 likes, overnight. She loves to jump and sing and dance. She loves hugs, and her family. She has this bright smile and sparkly eyes and this curly blonde hair that when the sun hits it on a certain angle, looks like a halo. She makes me pause…a million times a day. To hug, to sing “twinkle” – for of course – Twinkle, twinkle little star” –  a million times a day, to “jumpy mommy!”…she’s full of things to say and share and learn…a reflection of the promise.

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I pause to reflect on the years my womb was silent, when the hope for children was crushed again and again. I’ve often thought, why didn’t God just tell me then, what I know now…that it really was too early? That He had things for me to do that would be impossible to do with a family…and that I would look back on that hard season as one of the best of my life? That He knew me better than my 20 something self knew me… that I would want to share motherhood with my sisters who weren’t even married yet, rather than the friends who shared that season with me, but are no longer nearby? That  I would want my children to share memories with their cousins…not just grandparents. So the timing, though unexplained, difficult…  five years of waiting and loss, was in Him. Why didn’t he just whisper it to me? Maybe He had, and I just wasn’t listening. 20 somethings don’t often know how to pause.

Pausing to reflect on those sons – the first, the promise child – who causes me to cling to hope and continue to trust in the Lord’s promise, that the work of faith wasn’t fulfilled in his birth, but in the walking out of motherhood with him. The second son, the talker, the joker, the fun-maker. The one who pushed me away when he was months old, and still isn’t sure if he wants to pull me closer or push me away even now. A riddle I am challenged with loving in his own unique way, for forever. And the 3rd son. Born 6 months between the deaths of both grandfathers…the child who was peaceful… though rarely slept. Who cried every night, until you picked him up. Who just wanted to be held in the midnight hours…and now I wonder if instead it was he who was holding me…through his early years, the path our family walked, grew darker still and yet, this child continued to be a watchman – the one constantly seeking to comfort others. A picture of God’s peace in the midst of every imaginable storm…knowing now that God was holding us all up, together, and drawing us forward into a season of light.

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Pausing again, as our first chinese “daughter” returned to visit last night. Reflecting on 3 almost 4 years ago, and where we were then, at the very beginning of this chapter – when I was expecting Elaina and welcoming light in…and where we are now, where the Lord has brought us…wondering if she saw the difference? Wondering if the light I feel radiating inside me, is felt outside me at all yet?

Pausing, to reflect on Grace. Where we’ve been, where we’re going. To let the light shine, to let the light in and to give thanks.

“My name is now Christian, but my name used to be Graceless.” ― John BunyanThe Pilgrim’s Progress: From This World to That Which Is to Come

Divine Kisses

When I want to show my affection to my children the most natural impulse is for me to kiss them. It is a simple gesture, yet it implies much more.

Lucas kissIt implies that they are beautiful to me, that they are accepted. It denotes that I would withhold nothing from them, and I wouldn’t. I am filled with joy when I see how one of my kisses immediately brings a smile to their faces, they walk more confidently and laugh more fully. One of my kisses would magically “heal” a boo boo. When they were little, they were requested more than food or entertainment of any kind. My response to this… more kisses. Doesn’t our heavenly Father demonstrate His love to us with no less passion?

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ. Ephesians 1:3

Because we have been given everything we could ever need, because we have been given Christ himself and He is all in all. More so, He loves us. He demonstrates his affection for us, constantly. It’s like He is blowing us kisses from heaven, perpetually. As His grace is extended to us every moment, we become more aware of His favour on us. When we have those moments of “seeing” his hand at work, we are being kissed. In her book- The Best Yes, Lysa Terkeurst defines those who fear God (follow after, honour and worship, be in awe of) as those who “see the hand of God in everything”. I love that. Sometimes we have to choose to see it, but it is always there.

We are “highly favoured”, but in addition to that, we have been made the “children” of God. We have been born into His family so that we could have fellowship with Him, eternally. Now, His influence on our hearts enables us to walk in the awareness of His strength, His wisdom, His vitality, His peace and His provision, in every area.

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And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work: 2 Cor 9:8

I believe that the more we recognize these “kisses” from heaven, the more we will respond to His affection. We will radiate His love. We will smile and laugh in the abundance of joy that salvation brings.We will walk in the light, as He is in the light. In essence, our worship is really like blowing kisses back to Him. In turn, He continues to shower us with His love! Is this not one way His glory will cover the earth?

Ordinary

Ordinary…

I’ve had a fear of being “ordinary” for as long as I can remember. It’s driven me to try to accomplish something, to “be” someone, to leave a legacy that is…special.

I haven’t wanted to be “just like everyone else”… and lately, as in the last few years, I’ve had to examine this drive. This sense of inadequacy and where it comes from.

Most people do not live to see the significance their life has or hasn’t had on their world and it’s far reaching effects…and yet I’ve been constantly aware of it. I’ve lived with a shadow on my heart because I didn’t find ‘significant’ education, or ‘significant’ success in business or ministry…

I think I’ve even tried to find ‘significance’ in my relationships with underlying motives of becoming significantly “wise”… what’s wrong with that you ask. Pretty sure that pretty much everything is wrong with that. I am a person, and the people in my life are significant because we are HERE. We all matter to someone. We all matter to God.

I don’t want anyone to think that I’ve developed some kind of psychological imbalance or spiritual deficit because I haven’t. I think I’ve just come to a place where I’ve realized that it’s not necessary for me to stand out from the crowd to be significant. I am no more or less significant than any other person…I am ordinary. Ordinary is not insignificant.

I matter to Him, but more than that, I’m not the only one that matters to Him. Yes I am beloved…highly favoured and blessed…but I don’t deserve it any more than the next person…none of us deserve His love, His forgiveness and grace…Yet He loves us anyways. We matter to him.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t feel that I have to matter to everyone else in order to matter to God. (And yes I know I am significant to my friends and family…my people – I am blessed among women). It’s just been a bit of a day of inward reckoning…

I’ve been very comfortable focusing on thinking about my place in the world, my place in history, the things I feel and think… without honestly giving a whole lot of thought to the fact that others maybe live like that too. I haven’t really thought about the role that others have might have NOTHING to do with ME. Thinking in that small minded way that everything happening around me, is about me. Crazy I know… I think I’ve been a slow learner at this… or maybe just an ordinary learner – lol.

This morning I read this post from a lovely soul (Thank you PW) who is an inspiration in her authenticity and transparency, it sums up how I’ve been feeling…

I sat in my usual spot.

I am a creature of habit.

I saw him coming down the bus aisle.

Pierced face.

Mohawk.

Pants hanging way past his waist.

“Please God don’t let him sit beside me”

I thought.

I put my purse down on the chair beside me.

Closed my eyes and leaned against the window.

Avoiding eye contact.

I felt his presence.

Standing beside me.

I opened my eyes.

He looked down at my purse and motioned me to move it.

“Fine” I thought to myself.

As I wondered why God had ignored my previous request.

He smelled like a mixture of drugs and alcohol.

I rolled up my sweatshirt and tried to ignore the smell.

I was feeling pretty sorry myself.

And wondering what I did to deserve this kick off to my Thanksgiving weekend.

I look over and noticed him texting someone.

“I want to die, everyone hates me”

The message said.

Whoosh…I could feel Jesus reminding me of where I use to be.

I started to take in this stranger beside me.

Starting at his feet.

His shoes were falling apart.

The back pack on his lap was held together with duct tape.

It was then that I noticed.

His arms.

There written with something sharp.

Were words like these:

Failure.

Worthless.

No value.

Garbage.

My eyes filled with tears.

I know what it feels.

To feel like that.

I started to pray.

For this man sharing.

My bus space.

“Are you ok” he asked.

“You aren’t worthless” I replied. “You have infinite value”

His eyes welled with tears.

“No one has ever said that to me before”

I gave him my cell number.

And said.

“Next time you feel like that, text me”

I got off at my stop.

Nodded my head goodbye.

And thanked Jesus for my new friend.

Be in prayer.

He has infinite value.

His creator said so.

Thankful that He who created me.

Sometimes says “No” to my selfish requests.

Blessed and Grateful.

For many things.

And that’s a great thought to kick off my Thanksgiving weekend.

It really is a great way to kick off the weekend!
Linking up here. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone (in Canada)!

A Father’s Hands…

Yesterday was one of those days. 
It started out ok…
Then quickly spiraled down and out of control. 
The oldest boy had ATTITUDE.
The middle boy was EMOTIONAL with ATTITUDE.
The youngest boy was WHINY.
They were all fighting, running in the house, making wrong choices.
The baby was cranky…teething? diaper rash? fussy?  
All of the above.
Even the dog was annoying.
That morning I’d been reminded of a few personal setbacks… 
Waves of  worry, fear, doubting self, doubting God…
Feeling like the little we had, would never be enough to meet the need. 
Feeling unsettled, words in my mind wearing away at the Peace
That usually keeps me calm in the midst of these storms.
Feeling pretty ugly inside and out.
So I kept losing my cool… 
yelling…
threatening…
lashing out… 
probably worse, 
I’ve blocked it from my memory.
We were all ready for a change of pace, a change of scenery.
I remember driving to the organic farm to pick up the veggies
On the verge of tears. 
At the farm, the dear farmer sensed my duress.
She made me laugh. 
A moment outside of the moment. 
She encouraged me like only a mama of mamas can.
We drove home in almost silence. A hymn was playing on the radio.
The quiet was needed…appreciated.
The baby had fallen asleep.
The boys were not fighting, not even talking.
I pulled into the drive.
Thinking about what to make for dinner.
Giving instructions for unloading the veggies…
The middle boy was not in the van…
 Momentary panic.
Call the farmer.
He’s there. Relief.
Drive 25 mins back there to get him.
Beat myself up most of the way.
Afterall…how could I not notice he wasn’t in the van?!
Sigh…
I really felt like crying on the way home again.
Decided, that the day was basically lost now
A lost day…
When I should have loved my kids better…
When I should have been gentle, and kind. 
 And now it was half hour to bedtime…
No time to make dinner…
MacDonald’s it is.
At least the boys were thrilled.
I beat myself up for not providing a healthier dinner.
In the drive-thru…I had to dig into the recesses of my wallet to pay.
Tucked inside a pocket, was shoved one of these.
I haven’t seen one in years. 
(for my American friends – we have dollar coins here)
For some reason, it reminded me of my dad.
How his hands hardened by work, would always offer to give me money.
When I was around 9 and first allowed to ride my bike to the corner store.
When I was 16 and driving the car and needed gas.
When I was visiting home from college and always in need of a little extra cash.
How on a day like this, he would have put his arms around me…
And the world would have felt better again.
Sometimes we’d just sit in the garden, quiet.
I thought about how much I miss those hands, 
How that final goodbye felt a few short years ago…
How much I wanted my daddy at that moment.
Mercy, the tears would not stop…
I almost had to pull over the van.
Then the kindest whisper…
A reminder really.
That there was another set of hands…
Readily available…
Hands that were not only work hardened…
But pierced.
For me.
Hands, eagerly waiting for me to surrender the day
Ready to provide, 
Ready to take fish and bread, and meet those needs and more.
Restoring peace, reminding me of Eternity 
and how my earthly daddy lives there now, with Him.
Redeeming the day, in a moment.
Making the world feel better again.
Oh how wonderful to to fall into my Heavenly Father’s Hands
To be enveloped in His grace and mercy.
Psalm 31:14
But as for me, I trust You, oh Lord,
I say,”You are my God”
My Times are in your hand…

And as the day came to a close, 
Kissing soft cheeks, whispering thanks
whispering “I love yous”
Watching the steady rise and fall of little bodies at rest.
Peace…I am still.
Knowing the day is saved, and a new one is at hand.
A new one, that is in His hand,
As I am.

More than you can handle?

Yesterday someone asked me how I’m getting through the days…

They were referring to that fact that these 2 beautiful girls from Korea…
joined our family for 7 weeks. That’s right, I now care for 5 kids…
No biggie…. except I look like this…
That’s right, in case you forgot, I’m 31 weeks pregnant. So if your math is on target, I’ll be 38 weeks when they go home… (which means if I went early, they’d be here when I deliver).
Anyways, back to the start, someone asked me how I’m doing this without falling apart, and my reply was not cliche in any way…it was and is by GRACE. The grace of God. Every day, every moment. I’m reminded that it is wrong to say that “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle”… he does give us more than we can handle, all the time. He gives us more than we can handle, but never more than HE can handle, never more than His grace is sufficient for. 
So that’s how I smile, and try to do it with a song and keep busy and keep on keeping on and living through the laughter and the fights, and the struggles of having 2 extra kids, who speak english as a second language in my home.  GRACE. It’s more than enough 🙂

A Long Revelation Road

I want to preface this post with a warning. This is part of the process of getting out of my head and into print many of the things I’ve been intensely wrestling with over the past 6 months (though the process started years ago really). It may change your opinion of me, and I’m OK with that. I started this blog to help me keep a record of my walk on this earth physically and spiritually. This is one of the “deeper” posts. It is also LONG.
If you get lost because it gets too deep or rambles, that’s ok too, and I’m sorry.
If you have questions, fire away, it will help me continue to work through this process – after months of going it rather alone, I’m cautiously optimistic to share it with others so as to continue to grow J

A Long Revelation Road
Every once in awhile I start reading a book that just turns everything topsy turvy in what I thought I knew, what I thought I believed. The last few months I’ve been reading like crazy, but there are 2 books that hands down have just wreaked blessed havoc (in a good way). The first is this one…
The Bonsai Conspiracy
Here’s the official description:
When the idea for this book was first conceived, it was born out of a simple desire to help reframe the “Good News” of the gospel of Jesus Christ for those who, having become disillusioned with their “faith”, had found their way to The Grace Project. It was intended for a limited audience. It was for those of us who, in the words of Thomas Carlyle, knew that “the ideal is in thyself; the impediment, too, is in thyself” but for whom the reconciliation of the paradox seemed beyond them.

It was written by Paul Anderson Walsh is based out of and is part of The Grace Project in Great Britain. To add to the “official” description, I would say that personally, it added great depth to my understanding of the mystery of “Christ in Us the hope of glory” and to the grace of God through the New Covenant. This book has kept me up at night because the biblical instruction is so intense and the scope is so pointedly inward. I would go to the scripture passages it referred to and get absorbed in it. It felt at times like it was taking the instruction that I’ve been under for the past 9 years and turned on a light switch. All the complexities and the the intricate beauty of God’s intention for me became something I could grasp and cling to. Likewise all the instructional dust, the rot and the vermin of false add-ons to the scriptures or lack of taking it to the fullest understanding and application were also very apparent…and caused me to become very uncomfortable in my own shoes.
The second book has also kept me up at night, but for much different reasons. First of all, it feels like so much of it has also helped me to tie together much of the instruction that I’ve received in the word in my walk thus far – especially in dealing with those “whispers”. Maybe you know what I’m talking about here. By whispers I mean those moments when you feel like you’ve heard or read something very very important but because of where you are personally, in your life circumstances or maturity/ or lack thereof or you were too busy to stop and really consider it – you didn’t grasp it fully. You are acutely aware that you just glimpsed something big, something real, something more – even if you had to look away or distract yourself.

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most pick themselves up and hurry on as if nothing had happened.” Winston Churchill – at many times, I know that was me. I had walked away from those whispers feeling like i had been burnt by a small flame, the numb chafed sensation was there, but it wasn’t enough to make me pay attention to it…yet. This book has made me pay attention.
This book has also helped me come to terms with questions and doubts that came up over the past 17 years that I was involved in full time ministry in an “institutional” church. By institutional, I mean one that fits into the form gradually established over the past 1700 years including the aspects that were not part of the original organism known as the Church (the Body of Christ). i.e. buildings, paid staff, pulpit-to-pew sharing of the word, laity and clergy, etc. What we know as traditional or contemporary church today
Please understand that I do not have a problem with any of these aspects of church as we’ve known it personally. However in being fully transparent I want to acknowledge that in all my “working” in the ministry these many years, I always heard these whispers that I was missing something, not just personally, but in the community of the church and it’s fellowship with God and one another. Having been part of something that I now know was an unintentional Organic Church in the 90’s; I always wondered why that felt so real, so much like Jesus was in charge, and we saw lives really truly changed, compared to the “ministry” I was involved in it was so different. In the “ministry” or traditional church form, if I’m completely honest… different “leaders” were the “head” rather than Jesus. As I said before I feel like a light was turned on and now I can see just a little further down the road and my footing is a little surer… having said all that the second book is:

Finding Organic Church
Here’s the official description:
A comprehensive Guide to Starting and Sustaining Authentic Christian Communities
Here’s my take on it:
Organic Church is not about the “how to’s of seeing how the church functions” it’s about seeing it as an organism that is alive and it’s head is Jesus, not a man or a group of “leaders”. It is a completely different way of living your life as a Christian and as a part of the Body of Christ, Therefore, its a different way of viewing “ministry” and our daily/ weekly interaction with other believers and the the world around us. Having said that I wanted to explore a few of the things that I would say started as whispers and then became pivotal in my growth as a believer…
The Jesus Centered Life
When I met Jesus in 1989, my mom was instrumental in leading a life of example of someone who already knew Him, and the main thing she would direct me in was Jesus. “It’s all about Jesus”, “He’s more than enough”, “He’s all you need”, “Look to Jesus”; “Let’s ask Jesus” – these statements crossed her lips so frequently it was almost maddening . She was very intent on laying a foundation of the reality of Jesus in my life. Over time I remember getting caught up in various teachings as a young person – but my mom (and other believers in our “Bible Study” – which I now know was more of an organic church than anything) would constantly point us back to the person of Jesus. All these years later, this truth has become more and more of a reality to me. It’s not about what I can do or who I am – But who He is, what he did and then who He is in me. He was someone who lived a life on earth in communion with God. He was aware of the reality of heaven, and brought it to earth (as a man) because of his communion with His Father… what did heaven look like? It is the presence and the fullness of God.
Jesus said when we saw him, we saw the Father. That he only did His Father’s will. What does the father’s will look like? What does the Father look like? Everywhere Jesus went he did good, he healed the sick, he fed the hungry… and in doing so, he upset the religious people. I am becoming more aware that because I am one with Christ, I have this same communion with the Father through the Spirit – and so my steps on earth should mirror Christs (the Son of Man; the Son of God) – my steps should be bringing the fullness of God’s presence (heaven) to earth – bringing healing, feeding the hungry, giving hope, doing good (and maybe in doing so, upsetting a few religious people too J)
About 8 or 9 years ago, the pastor I served under began to teach in earnest a series of messages about the Grace of God. To this day I believe that they were a divine word for the body in Niagara. Doing away with works of the flesh, resting in the finished work of Jesus and being set free from fear, guilt, condemnation and sin consciousness rather than Jesus consciousness. Knowing how to sit with Christ, how to walk with Christ and how to Stand. In my life, it resulted in an increased thirst for God, for His word, it steered me toward generosity and an intense desire to demonstrate the great love poured out for me, through me toward all others. It also over time, made me feel an intense sense of responsibility to be a good steward of my life, the lives that cross paths with mine and all of creation too.
Eventually this led to an even longer period of time being instructed in…
The New Covenant/ The Mystery of the Ages Revealed
The following quotes bring it together so beautifully…
“The members of the Godhead counseled together and concieved an eternal purpose. They shrouded this purpose in a mystery, and they hid it in the Son until an appointed time (Rom 16:25; Eph 1:9-11; 3:3-11) What was that purpose? It was that the Trinitarian Community (The Father, Son and Holy Spirit) would one day expand its fellowship to others (John 17:20-26; Gal 6:15; Eph 2:15; 3:3-6; Col. 1:25-27; 3:11) When men and women are brought to Christ and organic churches are born, the divine fellowship is expanded. Properly understood, the church is a human community that lives by divine life and participates in and reflects the Divine fellowship (John 6:57; Gal 2:20; 2 Pet 1:4).” Frank Viola
“This is the story of community. The Trinity, God in community, reaches out in creation and in redemption to form a human community to partcipate in the Divine community…”
Stuart Murray
“Throughout eternity God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – the community of love. More specifically, the dynamic of the Trinity is the love shared between the Father and the Son, which is the Holy Spirit. God’s purpose is to bring glory to His own triune nature by establishing a reconciled creation in which humans reflect the reality of the Creator. The triune God desires that human beings be brought together into a fellowship of reconcillation, which not only reflects God’s own eternal essence, but actually participates in His nature.” (2 Peter 1:4)
Stanley Grentz
I think its because of this extended amount of time under this teaching via our former Pastor and others like Steve McVey, Joseph Prince, Andrew Womack and Paul Anderson Walsh – that I gradually began to question why the church (and not just the one I was a part of) seemed to be so limited in its effectiveness (especially compared to the years prior to my coming to Niagara and full time ministry when I was part of something that seemed so genuine, effective, and allowed Jesus to be the head – even though it was small – no one person was more important than another, it was similar to the church that I read about in the Bible)… Why were there so many walls, so much division? I have friends (brothers and sisters in Christ in literally every church in the region – and deciding to remain at one, or attend another felt more and more like I was picking which friends I preferred to do life with – and well, I was growing more and more frustrated with this. We are all one body, and I didn’t want to choose…

The Organic Church
I was also doubting more and more the pattern of one pastor being the leader of the congregation, sharing the “vision”, telling me and others what God wanted me to hear, when all through the years I had learned that God would direct us individually and corporately. I also questioned why a small team (of which I was a part) were the only ones truly using their gifts when the Ecclesia (assembly of the church) would gather together (on Sundays) Though I enjoyed sharing my gifts, I felt that so many others were being robbed of the same privilege… I felt more and more like the primary assembly time was occupied with “the big show” – and I found this in almost every congregation I visited.
I questioned how much more individual growth happened in smaller chapel times of open discussion of the Word, than the longer sermons where one speaks and everyone else listens. Not that I don’t appreciate times of instruction and teaching, I do very much. However I’ve begun to feel that the Body ministry should not be limited to that.
I felt like fellow believers (and sometimes myself) were constantly looking to Sunday as the spiritual “pick me up” – rather than a true celebration of the overflow of daily interaction with Christ and each other. Church was never meant to be a big show with scripted moments for “connection”. It’s not about buildings, and staff and programs… It is ALL about connection and taking care of each other. It is a BODY – where each joint fits perfectly, and is working together supplying life. The Church is comprised of everyone who follows Christ – and yes we are to get together, often – but is it always supposed to be limited to a certain “local group”?
I question the mega-church model and whether numbers are really what God looks at to measure success. I guess you could say I’ve just begun to openly question a lot of things (as in the questions in my mind and heart are coming out of my mouth now)… and I know that I’m not alone in my questioning – in fact I’ve learned that there are millions in the same boat… I also have come to many possible answers, though I know many of them would upset people. So we’ll leave most of them for another day…
What I do know is this. The Church is a FAMILY. Sure there should be a general idea of what we’d like to do when we get together, but it should be completely organic in nature – open to change, to everyone participating, to everyone partaking in a genuine love for each other and for God. Instead, over and over again I find that more churches are run like businesses (and of course they have the “business” of the church to attend to (or is it the busy-ness?) – but the wake of this approach is countless believers who’ve been hurt, offended, battered, abused and taken for granted. Love is not overwhelmingly present for them – you know, patient, kind, longsuffering, gentle, etc, etc. instead they are the walking wounded – and it’s all good and easy to point at them and say – don’t be offended, but the New Testament is full of exhortations to not cause or be an offence to anyone either. We are supposed to be doing this “God kind of life” together, not living as the world does.
Understanding that the Church flows out of the Godhead removes it from the world of human methodology. Church renewal, then, is not a matter of finding a new style, a mew method, or a new structure. It’s a matter of participating in God’s life (2 Pet 1:4)… “The most primitive expression of the ekklesia is found in the fellowship of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit before time. We can say then, that the church finds its origins in the Godhead in the timeless past.” Frank Viola
“There was ministry before there was a world, ministry in the being of God… Ministry is God’s ministry, arising from the communal life of God, the Father, the Son and Spirit ministering love to one another even before there was a world to save.”
R. Paul Stevens

“As the doctrine of the Trinity assert, throughout all eternity God is community, namely the fellowship of Father, Son and the Holy Spirit who comprise the triune God. The creation of humankind in the Divine image, therefore, can ean nothing less than that humans express the relational dynamic of God whose representations we are called to be… the focus of this present experience, according to the New Testament writers, is the community of Christ.”
Stanley Grentz
In Finding Organic Church, Frank Viola repeats the following points over and over again, showing how in scripture it is a constant thread…

God’s Eternal Thought for Humanity

1) To live by divine life (the christian life)
2) To experience the fellowship of the divine community (org church life)
3) to enlarge the divine life and fellowship to others

The thread begins with Jesus
The Father taught Jesus how to live by divine love (essentially the Christian life which is a life lived by God’s own life)
The Father taught Jesus how to fellowship with Him as a man… In Jesus, humanity had fellowship with divinity. For the first time a human being was brought into vital participation with the divine community. In this way Jesus Christ incarnated God’s purpose for humanity.
The Father taught Jesus how to raise up men and train them in a short period of time, to be able to go out and increase the divine life and fellowship to the known world.
This same thread passed on through these men through several generations and in fact continues to this day…
I love that, the community Christ – where we minister love to one another – because at the end of the day – God is Love and He’s what it’s all about”. I believe that when the church of today begins to walk in the fullness of this, the World will “know we are Christians because of our great love for each other” and since love is the language, the power, the actual person of the Trinity revealed in us – shouldn’t this be so overwhelmingly present in our lives and in our community of faith that as we go about like Jesus did…we in turn change the world?
Anyways, I hope this wasn’t too much for anyone, and please believe me when I say, I will not go off on a tangent when we’re talking face to face – though now you know at least some of what’s going on behind these blue eyes when I’m not talking J

Also, please, I am not offended or angry or bitter. I’ve just had questions. I have loved every moment of these past years in ministry and in the local church. I am grateful for how it’s shaped me, and I’m thankful for every opportunity, for all the growth, for every relationship and for all the love and the many memories. I continue to walk the same journey i always have, though I know some feel or think perhaps I am misguided, I am fully confident in Christ and in His Body to continue to lead me in His way. t

You sure you want a Revolution? – Part One

Just watched this video and this one. It’s funny how when you are ready, the things you need to hear and read and see are there, the things you need in order to be changed and renewed, which were just out of reach – are suddenly rushing in abundantly…


After reading the book: Irresistible Revolution
(thanks for the referral Stephanie, you should have warned me not to listen to the book while driving 🙂
My mind is swirling and my heart is pounding… I’ve felt this shift inside me coming for a long time now, but it’s starting to take shape…starting to…
Fav. Quotes…
“The more I get to know Jesus, the more trouble he seems to get me into.”

“To refer to the Church as a building is to call people 2 x 4’s.”

“Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived.”

“And I think that’s what our world is desperately in need of – lovers, people who are building deep, genuine relationships with fellow strugglers along the way, and who actually know the faces of the people behind the issues they are concerned about.”

Mother Theresa always said, “Calcuttas are everywhere if only we have eyes to see. Find your Calcutta.”

Biological family is too small of a vision. Patriotism is far too myopic. A love for our own relatives and a love for the people of our own country are not bad things, but our love does not stop at the border.”

“I asked participants who claimed to be “strong followers of Jesus” whether Jesus spent time with the poor. Nearly 80 percent said yes. Later in the survey, I sneaked in another question, I asked this same group of strong followers whether they spent time wit the poor, and less than 2 percent said they did. I learned a powerful lesson: We can admire and worship Jesus without doing what he did. We can applaud what he preached and stood for without caring about the same things. We can adore his cross without taking up ours. I had come to see that the great tragedy of the church is not that rich Christians do not care about the poor but that rich Christians do not know the poor.”

“For even if the whole world believed in resurrection, little would change until we began to practice it. We can believe in CPR, but people will remain dead until someone breathes new life into them. And we can tell the world that there is life after death, but the world really seems to be wondering if there is life before death.”
This of course is on the heals of reading about the life of Billy Graham who was a radical in his own right…
Billy – The Untold Story… Just As I Am

Some Fav. Quotes…
Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion – it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.
The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.

The men who followed Him were unique in their generation. They turned the world upside down because their hearts had been turned right side up. The world has never been the same
.

I want to live my life authentically. The reality of my very real relationship with Christ clearly evident. I want it to matter in light of eternity…knowing this, some things are going to change.


Made me Glad


I will bless the Lord at all times

That’s a pretty strong statement. How often do I sing it with oh such feeling and good intention, but when it comes right down to the nitty gritty of life, it’s way to easy to complain rather than bless.

I look back at the last year of my life, and I am truly grateful for health (esp. that of my boys) and God’s grace and provision. however, it has not been easy and I’ve not been myself. I don’t know if it’s a combination of the grief of losing my dad in 2008 and the regrets that only the passage of time can soften, or if it’s the mid-thirty drift (heart, mind, horomones)- but somewhere I lost or put down my joy, and I didn’t even realize it. It’s been a struggle to truly enjoy each and every day – now i would not say i’ve been depressed (because I remember 1996 thankyou very much and never want to go back there) – no, but i remember feeling truly connected to myself, even when the world around me was uncertain and dark – i was sure and full. I enjoyed the smallest things, really enjoyed them. One of them was writing, another was going out, dressing up, cooking, decorating – and now, well, now

Perhaps its the toll of all the changes that last 2 years have brought finally catching up with me – gaining, losing, hurting, healing, losing again, fighting, letting go, giving up, surrendering, picking up, dusting off, trying again….

or it could just be the reality of me having to deal with issues I’ve long avoided… anyways, I remember that girl, the one I was and I’m wondering where she went, because the one looking at me from the mirror, well, she’s just not me…

The great thing is though, that it won’t be hard to find her, because she’s been whispering to me all along (and of course, the Holy Spirit has been whispering to her all along too).
everything feels like WORK

argh!

I don’t want this season of my life to just pass me by because I’m so busy or emotionally shut down to accept it for what it is and find the happiness that can be found in it.

But I find that no matter how hard I try, everything going on in my little world right now is insistent on bearing down all the pressure possible onto me. Pressure on mind, my will, my emotions and my body, and is hell bent on stealing my joy. I used to welcome pressure, because it made me stronger, but now – now I think it’s breaking me…

Dare I commit to black and white my fears, doubts and true feelings – what if someone read them!?! gasp. Is it all just a big lie? Am I actually just a pretender? At this moment in time I’m really not too sure about anything at all. Not even what I’m afraid of? What am I afraid of really, being destroyed? no – in this state of mind – utter destruction feels like a sweet escape…

as a person of faith, how do I reconcile my humanity with myself? I’m completely overwhelmed and freaking out on everyone all the time, and my world keeps spinning,spinning, spinning and everything is so big, so fast and so out of my control, I can’t get my footing – i can’t even get a moment to catch my breath. I’m afraid I’m changing into the person I fear becoming.

I have no one to talk to because my partner and best friend is changing too and my place in his life is not what is was. When I try to verbalise it, there’s no soft place to fall, and he looks at me like I’m going crazy. I just have to BE something I’m not, because I don’t really know who I am right now, and that’s just not acceptable.

trying to embrace the element of faith in “rolling it over to jesus” just doesn’t seem to be enough right now – I can’t barely stand still enough to remember to “cast my cares” let alone do it, leave it and move on.

and what’s with this whole “Die to Self, Die to Self, Die, die, die in order to truly live” mantra that repeats itself in my head? As a concept – it doesn’t seem to be working for me. I feel like i just can’t die, die, die – without losing all of my identity and stability along the way. Heaven forbid I be weak, and wretched and afraid – this grace has trapped me…

Does no one notice? In my day to day life I’m rarely relaxed these days. I’m frustrated and angry more often than truly happy in the moment. I have no interest in planning annual events that used to inspire me, I have no interest in adding anything to my life. I could care less about being inspired, I’d be happy with a break. I’d rather be alone and watch tv or read so i don’t have to face my reality? I have little interest in going out – though I know I need it – and my soul screams for it, when i have the oppourtunity to go out, I’m overwhelmed by choices – so i do nothing at all. I’m barely creating anything – my last blog was in July, and they were becoming more sporadic before that. I haven’t scrapbooked in over a year, no poetry, no new music – nothing. dark, dark, dark – and everyone who would help me look to Jesus in the past, is well – i’ve done such a good job in the past, that I don’t think anyone sees how much I need rescuing now.

The only times I’m truly alive are when i’m leading worship/ singing (and only in certain perameters) and I think that’s because that’s the only time I’m truly lost in Him and free from all the pressure… but the strings attached to that simple happiness are becoming too strong for me1. the only other times i truly escape are when i’m with the boys and I ignore or pretend that I don’t have anything outside of them. Unfortunately that does not last either, because the responsibilities i ignore in those times just become deferred and end up being thrown on the pile of things creating the pressure that’s killing me…

Don’t tell me to “talk about it” – please just shut up – this is me talking about it, it’s out, it’s in black and white, i can leave it here and if need be, tomorrow I can delete it. but for now, i’ve done what i probably should have done weeks and weeks ago – and maybe i’ll come back tomorrow and write some more, from a different side of the vortex that is all bright, shiny and full of hope… but today – this is what it is, so just shut up, ok?