the gifts along the path

I wanted the gift of the shortest and easiest path. Instead, He gave me the gift of holding me close and strengthening me for the hard path. It took me a long time to understand that both were gifts. And as I embraced the second, my need for the first lost its tormenting grip.

– Sharon Hinck, the Deliverer
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When I am fearful, worried or anxious, I have a tendency to want an instant fix to the problem facing me.

As much as God loves me, He doesn’t always answer my prayers the way I wish He would.

I can only see the wisdom in His ways with the hindsight which comes from the passing of time.

Over the past five years, our family has had more come at it than I could have imagined as a writer.

And my walk is stronger and my faith the deeper for it, which I can now see.

Because the only thing that matters on the paths He has for us?

The company we keep, and who keeps us in their company.

If all you can focus on in the swirl of emotions and stresses in the moments is the difficulties ahead, you send out the signal that you are a victim.

Which is where the enemy wants you to stay: Frozen with fear or indecision, so you don’t move anywhere.

When we forget who wants to be with us, we lock ourselves on the path we create, instead of reaching for the hand of the One who wants to guide us on His pathways through the hard times.

But when we take His hand, keeping our eyes fixed on His loving gaze, He can leads us deeper into His ways, as He embraces us with His Presence and purpose.

For even though we may be scared or unsure of what is ahead, God isn’t.

For God is the wisest of all, more loving than imaginable, and knows He plans He has for us.

And He wants to walk with you, right beside you, speaking to you through His Word and Holy Spirit, and show you the way for you to go.

If you are unsure of what may be ahead, you can rest assured:

God is for you.

There are blessings ahead beyond what you could grasp know or imagine.

God is with you.

He will never not be with you, Beloved. He is always with the ones He adores.

God is waiting for you.

In every high or low, He is waiting for your invitation, for you to ask Him in, in all His fullness.

God delights in you.

As a writer, painter, musician or artist pours his/herself into what they create, so did God when He made you in His image.

And He likes whom He made. In fact, He absolutely adores you, and has nothing but His best to offer you. He proved it on the cross.

God is the best companion you could ever have as you journey through this life. He Himself is the gift we can discover along the way!

May you remember that nothing is too big or too small to remind Him about, for He already sees it all.

He is one prayer, one conversation away.

Allow Him to light the way as you hold His hand on your path.

Sunday Psalm: in the depths

In the depths
where we hide our hearts
the deep cries are made

In the heights
of Heaven
Your tears at our plight
were great

For You so loved us all
You decided to send
part of Yourself
to meet our need
with the gift of Your son
merged with our DNA

Such depth to Your love

That very same babe
free to be a Rabbi of renown
who spread Your Words of love
as He walked through our towns
speaking peace to our hearts
and life into our hidden places

No matter to You
was too large or too small
You touched each of us
with the greatest Love of all

Such depth to Your Love

Never ending
Your love will go on and on
Forever
Your heart will beat for me
Drawing me out
from where I’ve hidden away
into Your embrace
which restores each day

Such depth to Your Love!

#SundayPsalm

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Joy to the World

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing….
the wonders of His love!

This season is meant to be a shining beacon of hope to a weary world spinning in darkness.

Joy entered the world.

Not only does Jesus represent God’s love in His very essence, He is infused with joy.

You see, God not only loved everyone He created, He enjoys them!

That includes you, and me!

No one is left out.

He takes sheer delight in you, and enjoys your company, because you’re you. And He loves you for it!

Instead of His people holding back and speaking only through tradition, God broke through the barrier between us. He ripped the veil separating Heaven and earth, and entered the story as a living breathing physical man. Fully God wrapped in humanity.

Because He wanted to get as close to you as He could, to make you sit up and notice Him, feel His love for you, know His joy at being near you.

This beloved Christmas carol captures the majesty of God with us, the miracle of God one of us and the mind glowing joy we can have when we accept His gift, His Presence in and with us, always.

Heaven and earth unite to sing of this wonder.

He enjoys His people. For love’s sake, so much so He, our Creator, became one of His own creations to give us the fullness of that love right where we were, are at.

The enemy may be whispering how terrible you were for yelling at your kids last night, or shaming you for something you didn’t do or forgot.

Love is reminding you He is with you.

Your bank account may look smaller than usual, the illness ahead seem insurmountable, your loved one gone on ahead being missed beyond words.

Love is waiting to refill you with the hope and joy of the season.

For this season, Christmas?

Its not dependant upon you or I to become a reality.

It already has!

Because of His love, we have God with us.

It’s sign, sealed and delivered, this gift beyond time and space. And yours, forever.

So regardless of what is happening about you, you can have joy.

For Love came down at Christmas time not only to restore us to Him but for us to enjoy one another, as love tends to do when you draw near to the One you adore.

Joy to the World!
Jesus is born!

Our Carol of truth, love and joy, forevermore!

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Historical Background:

Joy to the World’s music and lyrics were written by Isaac Watts in 1719. It is amazing to me that this piece still sounds like it has just been written by every generation that sings it. I truly believe it is one of the songs we will forever sing when we move Home one day!

Love Came Down at Christmas

Love came down at Christmas
Love, a lovely love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Stars and angels gave the sign

Love arrived at Christmas.
But it wasn’t a new love.

It was the same Love that yearned for someone to love beyond the loving union of Father, Son & Holy Spirit, and so Love created man & woman to love and be loved by.

This same Love decided to humble itself within the limitations of humanity, and arrive not with the triumph, pomp and circumstance He is due, but to the cries of a woman in labour, her scared husband and likely the sounds of several barnyard animals, put off by sharing their warm space with interlopers.

This Love knew we needed not only the majesty of His might, but to be captivated by the wonder of His sight.

God looked not only down on us from heaven, but up at us from the manger that night.

God is Love.  There is no separating His heart for us from how He interacts with us, as each loving parent knows.

And this Love knew we needed to know God could hold us. Understand our struggles. Get what we are unable to put into words when we are overwhelmed.

So He came to show us His face of Love, in the present of Jesus.

God with us, Presence.
God one of us, the present.

This lovely carol reminds us that God so loved us He sent us His Son, and we are to be known as Lovers of His Presence through our love for one another.

Today, be reminded that God put His love into action in the gift of Jesus.

Go show that love in action this Christmas.

Love will be our token
Love be yours, and love be mine
Love from God to all of us
Love for plea and gift a sign

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Historical Background:
This carol was written by poet Christina Georgina Rossetti in the mid to late 1800’s.

hand it to you

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When I used to get something I loved, I had the overwhelming desire to keep it to myself.

Like a hoarder, but of blessings.

As a newborn follower, I needed God to teach me that every blessing comes from Him not only to bless me, but in turn for me to be able to bless others.

When your grip is too tight, it hinder the blessing from its full impact.

When hubby and I moved into our first apartment after getting married, we rarely had company over. Because we felt awkward with the fact our apartment was three rooms all accessible from a common main hallway our landlady used quite regularly.

Instead of sharing that blessing, we kept it mostly to ourselves, and I have often wondered what blessing God could have had for us had we had more open arms and shared the gift of space we had with others.

When we moved to our next apartment, we began to invite others over to share the blessing of space we enjoyed. As many of our friends were still single and living at home or rooming, they enjoyed the hospitality God was stirring up within us.

When we became pregnant with our son, we felt led to move out of my hubby’s childhood stomping grounds to my hometown during my teenaged years.

And we were blessed to be able to rent a townhouse.

So we kept filling it. Friends, family and our neighbors came over regularly, and somehow the space always seemed large enough.

We learned a home is not the size of your space, but the size of your heart.

A few years later, we were blessed to be able to buy our current home. It may be small in size, but it has be used to bless dozens of kids and most of our family and close friends over the years.

We continued the tradition of our house is your house.

Sometimes our blessing means more to us when we have someone to share it with, and becomes all the sweeter because we used it to bless others.

I also regularly donate food to the food bank, and clothes to organizations whose mandate it is to not only bless others with necessities, but give them a hand up and skills to move forward into a new season.

Letting go of what we hold onto so tightly can be just what another has been waiting for.

The same becomes true when we let go of our past, sins and baggage which has been holding us back.

When we take our hands off, He can move His hands in freedom, restoration and blessing.

When we receive all He has for us from His hands with a grateful hand, we can extend the other to those whom through us, He intends us to bless.

Whether it is a physical gift or a spiritual blessing, this holds true.

When we accept His forgiveness, we are able to extend it to others.

Substitute love, grace, peace, joy…for forgiveness, and it remains the same.

We were meant to hold one hand up to receive what He has for us in praise and thanksgiving for all He has given to us, and extend the other hand out to one another to share what we have been given.

The gifts, the blessings He gives us are designed for community.

What God blesses us with is always deeper than we can see on the surface, and part of His plan for us.

When we share His blessing with others, the blessing becomes doubled in a way we cannot fathom on earth, but fulfills the mandate of this Kingdom.

For all we have comes from His loving hands.

And all we do and offer Him back is because of His great love.

Take a moment, and ask Him what you may be holding on too tightly to today. Ask Him to show you how to take the blessings He has given you and offer them as blessings to the community about you. It may be a physical offering of goods, time or use of a gift or talent. It may be an emotional one, by supporting a cause dear to you heart & His. It may be a spiritual offering, coming alongside someone struggling in an area He has set you free from.

In all things, with thanksgiving and praise, we offer all You have given us back to You. For Your Kingdom come for Your will be done, for Your glory, forever and ever.

food for thought

There have been two occasions where people specifically listened to God and acted upon it, where the result ended up with my family being fed.

When our children were quite small, circumstances left us tighter than usual for money with sick (a la chicken pox) children at home.  With about $50 to our name, we didn’t know where our next week’s meals were going to come from. It was Christmas. We didn’t know what exactly to do, nor shared this fact wih anyone else.

But God knew, and prompted two couples we had briefly met at our last night, their first, with our small group in early September, to do something about our lack.

Imagine our surprise when we got the knock on the door and not only did we have a full turkey & all the sides Christmas dinner, but enough money for groceries for the next week!

We had barely enough time to register our need before God met it through obedient followers.

The week before last, hubby had a procedure which required him to take a few days off work (unpaid) and I too needed to adjust my schedule to drive him to several appointments. We had faith it would all work out, but no idea how it was going to.

Last week, all our needs were covered. I just realized yesterday that we wouldn’t have enough to cover our bills and groceries for next week. I briefly prayed and reminded God He said He would provide.

Tonight, we were handed a cheque from someone who anonymously donated the exact amount of our grocery bill each week!

Here is the clincher: In order for us to have received the cheque tonight, they needed to donate it 10 days ago.

God prompted listening hearts, who acted upon the impulse they heard.

Because of them, we are not going without next week.

Now I could have pulled out a credit card and made sure we ate. But God knows how much I want to be debt free wherever possible, and so answered me in such a way I knew He heard my specific prayers.

His people tuned in and acting upon His clear direction can change the world, one need, one life, one family at a time.

The next time God prompts you to do something for someone you don’t quite understand why?

Do it.

Exactly the way He leads you to.

You too may be the answer to someone’s prayer.

You too may be the way He is going to meet their need.

I used to be embarrassed about talking about the first story, but I realized that was the enemy trying to squelch the testimony of how God provided for us through the Body.

Maybe you too are like us and it wasn’t the fact that you blew your money, but an unexpected health concern, car or home repair which just kinda popped up without warning.

I realize that this is part of how the widow’s oil and flour didn’t run out.
Because God moved through His people (Elijah) to provide (the widow) for the need.

Jesus did the same with one basket of fish and loaves.

Miracles still happen today when God is able to move on obedient listeners to provide for the needs He has designed them to meet. They could be basic needs, such as food or clothing. Paying off a hydro or gas bill. Giving a gas card or bus pass. Buying a plane ticket for someone called to go. Praying for the sick. Babysitting for a single mom or pet sitting a family in crisis. An encouraging word or card.

Whatever it is, God can use you to make a miracle happen when we follow as He leads, and give as He directs.

The underlying why to all He does? His love for us.

When we act upon the prompts Holy Spirit gives us to lend a hand, He involves us in demonstrating that love to the receiver.

Food for thought, isn’t it?!

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Remade

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The past several days, God has been peeling back some of how I look at things.

And I am being changed as He does.

Early this year, I virtually met Beth Kinder of Remade Ministries, and became a writer for their team teaching out to minister to women. Something a bit surreal at the same time as exciting and a step beyond what I had been expecting.
I sensed I was to say yes without fully understanding why.

God has been slowly revealing that why to me.

This weekend, I got the revelation that although I may have talent as a writer and a singer, a wordsmith as it were, my best words are His, and come out my best through community.

I was meant, designed to be part of a team. To co-lead, so to speak.
The times when He uses me best are when I link up with the teams He has for me to be part of, for His purposes.

And when I do, another layer within me becomes remade as He desires.

For God knows I need community to help keep me on track and focus in the hard seasons.

Because I have the tendency to lone wolf and isolate myself in the storms, leaving myself open to remaining stuck where I am.

I need the rest of the team of keep me focused on God, listening for His voice & following where He is leading me. I need their prompts, encouragement, and suggestions when I begin to falter or wallow.

Community for me is a blessing: both a gift and a necessity.

I am so thankful that God has been revealing this truth to me in deeper levels as He continues to make me new in the areas where I so desperately need Him to.

My former self used to be a walking sarcastic chip on her shoulder. I couldn’t receive constructive criticism for fear of my tightly around emotions unravelling.

My new self has accepted I need to continuously be learning, repenting, listening, following & becoming new.

Instead of running in fear from going deep with community, I am trusting in the One who is making me new.

Despite my trepidation at becoming remade, I know His plans for me will make me the best me He hardwired me to be. And how those He has blessed me to be in community with, along with Holy Spirit, are the tools He is using to reshape me.

I am so grateful for His timing, and the support of the communities He has gifted me with.

This week, I am leading. But not on my own, as part of team. And i am excited at the thought of what He will do through me, as a part of that unity.

Now is the time to be Remade, Beloved. Each day we have a fresh opportunity to learn, grow & become remade at His hands.

Sunday Psalm: Relentless Love

You carry us, carry us
when the world gives way
You cover us, cover us
with Your endless grace
Your love is relentless!
– Hillsong United

Relentless,
You placed the entirety of Your heart into the plan
You have for bringing us
back to You.
His plan will not fail,
because His passionate pursuit
of those He adores
is never ending,
ever loving,
ever wooing,
everlasting.

Relentless
He does not give up
on His Beloved.
He continues to speak,
comfort, bless & shine
on all the world,
longing for the ones
who have not yet
understood His pursuit
nor accepted His heart
& His offering.

This relentless love
longs to keep you close
under cover,
safe in His embrace.
When you cannot keep
going, He picks you
up & carries you.

Today, God,
I receive Your relentless love
for me.
I can’t say I fully understand it,
but I accept it
as the gift I have always longed for
and will always need.

#SundayPsalm

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she will be loved…

There is a song by a popular band that caught my attention a few days ago when God brought the name of the song to mind….”She will be loved.”

Then I realized He was talking about me.

That little girl within me that still doesn’t feel loveable or worth being loved?

God was speaking to her directly.

But not in the same tense as the song….

For I AM loved, and ALWAYS will be loved.

And so are you.

Some of you, like me, will wrestle with this word today.

And you, like me, need to let go, and just receive it as the amazing gift it is.

His love.

For whether you or I accept it or not, it is true.

You ARE loved, and ALWAYS will be loved.

No matter what you do.
No matter what you think.
No matter where you go.
No matter what you have done.
No matter what has been done to you.

No matter what you can come up with, His love is yours.

No matter what.

YOU are loved.

He loves YOU.

HE loves you.

Always.

Take the time you need, and read this out loud. Let His truth soak into your spirit, and permeate your heart, mind, soul.

Accept it as it is. An eternal truth behind your full comprehension.

Receive it. Allow Him to prove His love to & for you, and allow yourself to feel it.

Find the words He has for you in the Word which tell you how much He loves you. Write them out, print them off or make them your screensaver.

(PS. One of my faves is Romans 8:37-38 ­čÖé

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Sunday Psalm: these feet are meant to follow

Today
I looked down
and realized
my feet
are designed
not only to hold me up
but to help direct my path.

My feet have recently
come under attack,
and when they did,
I realized just how precious
a gift they are to me,
to all of us
who have them.

For where my feet go, I go.

But as the feet
aren’t the head,
it takes the Head
to guide them in the right direction.

For feet are meant to follow.

And my feet?
My feet are meant to follow
the Head.

The Head Designer who formed them.
The Head of the body
to which I belong,
the Head who guides
my every step
when I allow Him
to lead me.

Today
I choose
to follow You.

May my feet
step where You would have me go,
and no other.

May my feet
submit to their Maker,
and be restored to their
rightful health.

May I never take
any part of my body,
or the Body,
for granted again!

#SundayPsalm

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