Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Appreciate Your Tribe

I am blessed to be surrounded by a diverse group of people who all love and support me. And it has really been at the forefront of my thoughts lately what a great gift this is.

I have mentioned before my immediate and extended family.  And some friends that have stuck by me through thick and thin.

Lately I've been thinking about my Mom's group.  I have taken over leadership of the group after a friend and her family relocated. I feel so uncomfortable calling myself a leader. If you knew me, you would understand that for me, any group larger than 2 (me and one other person) is a challenge.  I don't do well in groups.  I actually spend most of my time in my house avoiding groups of people.  And yet I was called to do just that. I think God laughs at my plans once again.

The funny thing?  It's forcing me to grow in ways I never thought I would.  I now pray for people in front of a group of people. Talk about uncomfortable. My prayer life has always been a very private thing for me.  God and me.  That makes 2. Pretty much my limit.

I lead discussions. Me. The one who almost never spoke during the weekly discussions before, even though I've been a part of this group for almost 4 years now.  And now I'm usually the first to go. Mainly because everyone else waits for me to start...but I do it!

And these women are so different. Growing up in different provinces and countries.  Different decades. Different everything. And yet they show up week after week, to do life with me. They offer me advice and perspectives before that I've never considered. They are my tribe, and for better or worse, they are there for each other. Through child rearing debacles, sickness, marital discord, family issues.  And we don't always see eye to eye.  Really, when you get a group of women together, how often do they all truly agree?  But I hope I can continue the pattern of respect, openness and support that was started by my predecessor.  And that God would help me to add even a portion to these women's lives as they have given me.

I don't know if you have a tribe. Maybe you have the perfect mix of support in your life.  Maybe you're struggling to connect on a deeper level.  I pray that He would bring in women who will have your back.  Who will challenge you to grow, even when you don't want to.  And who will show you grace and acceptance no matter what.

Monday, 4 April 2016


Perspective.  Getting to choose how you look at your current situation.

It's been one of those days. Weeks.  Months.  Where very time I turn around it feels as though something else in my life is falling apart.  Or do I just need to change my perspective?

There are always going to be those days. Or seasons.  Or years maybe.  And we are going to get through. And some will have us believe that a part of us will miss them one day.  I'm not there yet.  But as I get ready to pour my exhausted self into bed tonight, it occurs to me.

People are praying for what I'm complaining about. My husband has so much work that it feels as though he is always gone. But at least he has work. There are people out there praying for a job.  For food.  For shelter.  And I am taking that for granted.

My children are testing boundaries something fierce right now (and my sanity, but who needs that?!?).  But they are healthy. I am not praying for a miracle of healing.  I'm not spending time with doctors hoping to get answers. My children are healthy enough to test their boundaries all day long. And that's a privilege, even when it doesn't feel like it.  I have one baby in heaven already.  But I get the chance every single day to hold these ones in my arms and tell them I love them every single day.

So tonight, I am choosing to change my perspective. I am choosing to be grateful for all of my blessings. And tomorrow, while I am scrubbing coconut oil off the walls, I will choose to be grateful for my healthy, active kids. And I just may decide to make sure they are a little more occupied next time.  ;)

My cup runneth over, just like my grandma used to say!

God is a God of love.  And grace. And I believe, with a pretty good sense of humour. And He has given you everything you have for a reason. And it is all meant for good.  All that He asks of us is to be willing to trust His plan, and to trust in Him.  So whatever it is you are facing right now, know that He is with you. And He loves you.

If you would like prayer, I would love the opportunity to pray for you.   Leave a request in the comments, and I will be praying.

There Is Beauty in Your Story

I had the privilege of hearing the testimony of a friend recently.  She phoned me the night before she was coming to our ladies group, and told me she had never really told her story in front of a group before. She had actually only told parts of her story to people who needed to know that they were not alone.  Even her family doesn't know everything. I told her that we only needed to hear what she was comfortable with. And I explained that we have had other women share marriage advice, crafting passions, parenting tips, and baking recipes.

We are there to enjoy getting to know the, better in whatever way we can. And that we will love her no matter what she decides to share with us.

We should feel honoured when these women choose to trust us with the details of their life. These are the very things that have shaped them into who they are today. And not all of the shaping has been easy, or is something they really want to re-live.  There's bravery in their willingness to bare their souls to us. And we need to respect and realize that.

We are there to enjoy getting to know the, better in whatever way we can. And she needs to know that we will love her no matter what she decides to share with us.

Now, I won't go into details, as it is her story to tell, not mine.  But I will say that it was heartbreaking, beautiful, and inspiring all in less than 1 hour.  This woman told us how she has walked a long, difficult road, but she has felt His presence each and every step of the way.  And she knows that she has only made it through because of His strength, not hers.  She offered no explanation of why she had to walk this path, but was grateful that she always knew she was not alone, and that she was loved, no matter what.  There is no shame in her story, only faithfulness and perseverance.

Ladies, I want you to consider two things.

1) That you never know the story behind the woman in front of you in line at the grocery store, or the woman ringing in your groceries.  Her story is unique, and beautiful in its own way.  And no matter what it may seem like, she is doing her absolute best to get through each and every day.  She needs understanding and acceptance.

And 2) Your story matters. You are never alone in whatever you are going through. He is using you in ways you can't even imagine. And in sharing a part of your journey, you are an inspiring example of his love.

I see so much judgment every day.  And I'm just as guilty of doing it too.  But unless you've walked their path, right beside them each step of the way, then you can't offer ways to have done it better. Because it isn't your story. Just like they can't tell you what you should have done. But maybe we can help make the journey a little better by offering grace. Understanding.  Love.  And maybe one story at a time, we can make our world a little bit better. One step at a time.

If you have any prayer requests, I would be honoured to lift you up!