Sunday, 16 July 2017


These last few days have been emotionally challenging.  I live in BC, Canada, and this particular area is surrounded by wildfires.  Literally surrounded.  North there are several fires that hamper our escape.  East there are fires threatening the homes of those I care about.  And fires to the south that have destroyed the homes and businesses of many.  And to the west, there is a massive fire that has caused some friends to have to flee, leaving loved ones behind to try and save their homes and livelihoods.  

I have watched friends pack up to leave.  I have watched neighbours flee their houses.  And I have sat and explained to my kids to the best of my ability what is going on around us.  We have prayed.  We have asked others to pray.

We have tried to stay strong in the face of constant uncertainty.

But do you know what I think about most in the midst of all of this broken?  The beauty.  How crazy is that?  We are surrounded with plumes and gusts of smoke billowing through our town, and yet there is untold beauty everywhere you look.

All because we have community.   We have friends and neighbours looking out for each other.  Either keeping each other up to date, or watching for the safety of their belongings after they have been evacuated.  We have people doing neighbourhood watch in neighbourhoods that aren't even their own so that people can take care of their families in peace, knowing that everything is being done to protect their homes.

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We have communities coming together to pool their resources to get through to the next day.  There is no "mine", but an "ours" as we help others out as much as we can.

We have taken food to those who are doing their best to protect us, only to have them pay it on to those they are protecting.  We have been humbled when we realize that there are so many people doing so many dangerous things, and yet they still say thank you for something so small as a snack.

We have people volunteering their time at local businesses so that people can get the things they so desperately need.

The communities that people are running to have been outstanding in their willingness to help.  People are freely opening their homes to others, trying to make this whole ordeal the best that it can be.  Donations are pouring out of everywhere.

We have a neighbouring province stepping up in a major way to supply us with equipment, food and basic necessities until the roads re-open, getting them through roadblocks to get to us.  We donated last year during their time of need, never once thinking that it would be returned on this scale.  We did it simply because that is what you do.  You help.  And they have certainly returned the love.  They understand in a way that few other people can what it is that we're are facing right now, and they are happy to help and take time from their own lives to make ours a little bit better.  

We have people all over our own country, as well as in other countries praying for us.  I have a prayer circle of women that have prayed without ceasing, and I've never even met them face to face.  

As I was packing my most precious belongings in case we need to leave, I was focussing on the fact that all of the things I was packing were just that.  Things.  As much as I had my family with me, I had everything I needed.  My stuff can always be replaced if it needs to.  But God has opened my eyes to something else in the meantime.  His love.  I don't know that all natural disasters bring out the best in people.  It doesn't necessarily bring out the best in all people, but I believe it does in most of us.  And it makes you stop and focus on the big picture.  Showing love and grace to those around, just like it has been shown to you.  Doing the little things means so much more than you could ever know.

I don't know what upheaval you are facing right now.  It may be a health issue, or a family disagreement.  Or something else entirely.  But I do know that we have a God who loves us and desires the best for us.  He has never promised that it would be an easy ride, but instead promised that he would be there with us.  As I witness this right now, each day, I ask that you let him reach out to you too.  

I can choose tomorrow when I wake up to search for the ashes.  It would be so easy to look at all of the destruction and miss the beauty in the broken.  I saw a beautiful video the other day by a woman who has struggled, where the woman said to focus on what you can do, instead of what you can't.  There is always something you can do, no matter how small.  And will help you to make a big change.  And I am here to tell you, it works.

Heavenly Father, I thank you today for your mercies.  Even as we walk through the flames, you are here.  You have not abandoned us or forsaken us, but have carried us when we were too weak.  You have been our strength and you have shown your love in the most unbelievable ways.  I lift up those who are struggling to see the light.  I pray that you would give them peace beyond measure and that you would be their strength.  Show them that their worth is in you, not in the world, and that they are loved and worthy of so much more.  Show them the blessings in the broken, just as you have done with me.  In faith I pray.  Amen.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Those Little Letters

It has been an emotional month.  My two oldest have finished their school for the year.  My little boy isn't so little anymore.  He aced Kindergarten though, so there's that!

My beautiful big girl rocked Grade 1.  And we (hopefully) have finished all of her testing to determine what letters get to help us help her.  We confirmed what we had felt since February, that our little girl had High Functioning Autism (formerly known as Asperger's).  

If has been difficult not because she has changed.  Those letters make absolutely no difference in how wonderful she is, or in how much she is loved and cherished.  We were fortunate to have a mostly wonderful team of people helping us to figure out the puzzle that is my Sweetie.  And going forward, we will be meeting even more people who are going to help us on our journey of helping her, and us, help her. 

The difficult moments have been mostly mine I think.  I have had to deal with everyone's reaction when we tell them the results.  They have varied from shoulder shrugs, followed
by statements of support.  To some, her diagnosis is merely a stepping stone to a better future.

To others, it's an awful prognosis.  I have gotten looks of pity from some of those closest to me, almost like I've gotten some sort of countdown to her final days.

I've been told I'm wasting my time getting a diagnosis because she is perfect, and it's all in my head.

I've had people assure me that there are "special people trained to deal with kids like her."  Which I know was meant to be a positive comment, but who exactly do they think she is.  Do they really know her?!?

I think the hardest moments I've had are the ones where I realize that this is part of her life story.  This isn't a stage, she isn't just a quirky person.  She is going to struggle with some parts of her life, for, well, the rest of her life.

And then I remember who she is.  And WHOSE she is.  She was created by a loving God.  And He gave me this wonderful gift in her.  Someone who sees the world so differently than I do, that I can't help but try to see the world through her eyes.  She has a loyalty beyond compare.  She loves to cuddle and just spend time with her people.  She values people more than money.  She actually saves all of her allowance to spend on others.  She knows what it feels like to be left out of activities because people don't "get" her, so she is always looking to make sure that everyone is included.

I can choose to look at those little letters as something that will put her at a disadvantage for the rest of her life.  Or I can choose to look at the unique gifts that she was given, and wonder at how she's going to change the world one day.  Because I am certain that she is going to make an impact for others, and there is really no greater gift than someone who strives to invest in others the way she does.

The Bible constantly tells us that we are loved.  That we are here for a purpose.  And that we are to spread the love of Jesus to others, even when they least deserve it.  

I didn't do anything to deserve this precious little soul, but I hope I can at least show her a little of the grace and love that He has shown to me.

Heavenly Father, there are so many people out there who are struggling to find their place in the world.  Who are wondering why you made them the way that you did, or why you've let certain things take place in their life.  Tonight I lift them up to you Lord.  I pray that someone would come into their life and show them Your love.  To let them know that we are all sinners, saved only by Your grace, and that we are all loved equally by an amazing God.  Father, I pray that they would never let their circumstances define them, but instead would turn to you and let Your unconditional love define them.  I pray in faith.  Amen.