Monday, 18 September 2017


Picture yourself sitting by a lake on a cool September morning.  You are sitting in a circle with a group of women, some of whom you know, others you haven't met yet.  There are about 20 ladies of varying ages, and each of us with different stories.
And then someone brings out a guitar and asks you all to sing workship songs.  Without the lyrics in front of you.  And your heart starts to beat faster and faster.

You DON'T sing in public.  And without the proper words on some type of screen?!?

Well, if you let go and just sing, it can actually be pretty cool.  I didn't grow up with a Christian background.  I grew up singing rock and country, not gospel.  I knew some of the words to sing, but not all of them.  And I've been told I have a less than perfect singing voice.

The thing is, no one asked me for perfect.  All I had to do was be willing.  Willing to worship, and join my voice with many others.  And my voice didn't stand out.  At least, no one complained.  ;)

I couldn't help but wonder as we were sitting there, being stretched out of our comfort zones, how often God only asks us for our willingness.  I'm sure you've heard that God equips the called rather than calling the equipped. 

And it's just that easy.  We put the desire for perfection there, not Him.  Society today has put this need for outward perfection on every Mom.  And most of us feel stuck trying to be everything.  Perfect wife, making sure we are always pouring our everything into our spouse.  The quintessential hockey Mom, joyfully lugging all of that equipment to the rink at all different hours of the day.  The best friend, always having the perfect thing to say, no matter the situation.  The parishioner that always has the time to help with every single event happening.  Taking the time out of our busy days to surf Pinterest and making perfect meals and crafts to adorn our houses according to the seasons.

While my bible certainly says to strive for my best, working cheerfully for my family and to contribute to the kingdom, never once does it tell me I have to be perfect.  It actually tells me I'm not perfect.  That was the job of Jesus.  He was sent to encourage us that times will be hard, we will be challenged, but that He is the only way to make our lives work.  To put Him first and let God work out the rest.

So why do we spend our days, weeks, months and years beating ourselves down for something that we can truly never attain?

My friends, could we all just agree to stop this here?  Can we start off our mornings asking God to prepare us for the day ahead?  And take it one day at a time, putting our best into everything we truly need to do, not all the stuff everyone else thinks we should do.  And play to our strengths.  Let your friends help you.  Let your friends share your burdens as you want to share theirs. That's exactly what they are there for. 

After we finished our worship this morning, I got to see a little into the hearts of these women.  And they are precious.  Each of us shared in feeling like we were being stretched to the limit, constantly pouring ourselves out for those around us, struggling to be enough of everything for everyone.  And we were all feeling like we were failing in one or more area, if not all of them at times.  And we had the privilege of sharing the knowledge that we are not alone in our struggles.  And it was such a weight off of our chests to realize that we all feel the same way, but we are all trying our best.  And that we could all feel that we have someone so powerful on our side that we can't help but be successful in the things that are truly important.  If our voices could somehow blend to create a beautiful harmony singing for him, how much more could we do if we continue to pour into Him and each other?

God gave us each individual strengths and weaknesses for a reason.  Because we are meant to do this life together, contributing and pouring into each others lives and complementing their weaknesses with our strengths.  Not looking at that "perfect" family and trying to be them.

My voice, while certainly imperfect, and unsure at times, was exactly what it needed to be this morning.  Pure.  Filled with awe that even while there are a plethora of days that I feel like I fall so short, He is enough.  He will fill in the important things.  I just have to be willing to trust.  To take that step, no matter how much I want to control it, of just letting go and letting Him figure it out.  The days that I've woken up and handed it all over to him work out so much better than the days where I run myself ragged trying to do it all myself.

Heavenly Father, I thank you today for all of the gifts you have given me, especially the ones that I take for granted.  I thank you that you have trusted me with these beautiful children, and that you are there to fill in any holes that I leave behind.  I am so blessed that you love me, even at my worst, and I pray that you would fill me with the grace you have shown me so that I may show it to those around me.  Help me to see the important steps I need to take through your eyes, not the eyes of the world.  And help me to see the people around me as you see them, imperfect but beautiful each in their own way.  I pray that we could all let go of the notion of perfect and concentrate instead on using our gifts to bring truth and love to those around us.  In faith I pray this.  Amen.

Monday, 4 September 2017

He Gives Power to the Powerless

Our area has been ravaged by natural disaster this summer. Tens of thousands of people are affected by fires. Hundreds have lost homes and outbuildings. 

We have thousands of firefighters sleeping on cots in tents, after working 18 hour days trying to fight these "fire beasts."  We have hundreds of arm personnel coming in for 2 week tours, helping in any way that they can.  We have RCMP volunteering to come into evacuation order zones, spending time away from loved ones so that the homes that do survive the fires aren't ransacked by others.  All of these service people are saying how amazing their experience has been, with the communities supporting them in any way that they can.

People have lost their houses, with all of their possessions inside. Some have built those homes with their very own hands. One family that we know of lost their house in 2010, the last year we had fires. And again this year. Twice they've had to sift through their remaining belongings hoping to save something of meaning. 

Some have lost their livelihood, with countless animals, gardens and fields ravaged by the flames.   Hundreds of thousands of acres of ranch land are destroyed now. 

Some days, it feels like we are walking through a thick fog, just putting one foot in front of the other, searching for normal. 

I have felt few feelings in my life worse than helplessness. We as humans are wired to want to control what is going on around us, and when nature takes over, we lose that sense of control. We lose our sense of safety with all of the unpredictable. 

And do you know what He has done?He has brought people together.  

One of the groups He brought was Samaritans purse, with some amazing volunteers, into our little town (and many others), and gave us the power to help others.  His love is shining brightly through those willing to show up and serve others.  Through the smoke, ashes and tears, people are going to know they are loved, even in their darkest hour.

Until He gave it back. He gave some of my family members back a sense of pride and accomplishment sifting the ashes of houses that were burnt. They were able to return some memories and tokens to those that had lost everything.

My father in law, who himself was evacuated from his house for almost 3 weeks, said he has felt the most beautiful feeling - contributing in a way that would truly make a difference. He said that he felt more in sifting through those ashes, helping out people he has never even met before, than he ever has after a day of work. There is no hopelessness in that. Only power. 

You can drive in any direction from my house and find blackened trees and burnt yards or fields. But through all of that black, you can see life returning.  And all you have to do is look around you to feel grateful for all you still have.

I don't know where you are walking today, but I do know that you are not alone. Even if the path seems barren and hopeless, there will once again be light.  I know we are not the only one facing the ravages of natural disaster.  But you are not alone.  And He will get us through it.  I pray that you can be a light to someone through all of this.  That the love of Christ would shine through all of this so brightly that He could no longer be denied.  That the overflow of water and the reaches of the flames would be no match for the love of His people.  In faith I pray.  Amen.

He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. 
Isaiah 40:29