Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Going Back to the Island

The past couple of months have been a HUGE whirlwind, and a journey of faith!

Ever since coming back from Sri Lanka in 2006, I've felt that prompting that I would eventually go back. I've even made a couple of attempts to go back and God closed the doors on them. He did prompt me that while I patiently waited, I needed to be involved in my local mission field. So that's what I've done.

At the end of April, I found myself walking into a meeting about Sri Lanka at our church. I went in, prepared to hear the ways our church could partner with our Sri Lankan friends. I went in, prepared to see what role I would play in supporting the people who would go to the island. But not even 5 minutes into the presentation, I got the "GO CODE". I heard, "It's time!". It honestly caught me off guard. And what floored me even more were those around me who knew God would say it was time to go back.

I found myself walking up to the National Missions director and saying, "I think I'm supposed to go." Then I went on to explain why.

The past couple of months have been spent figuring out fundraising opportunities to raise the funds for our team of three to travel this summer and having dialogue with all the members of our team so that we can been getting to know each other.

There has also been A LOT of dialogue with my family. It's been a huge teaching experience for us...to teach our kids that when God tells someone it's time, then they need to step out faithfully and go. There have also been many discussions about the possibility of them eventually going, and if we would be okay with that happening.figuring out fundraising opportunities to raise the funds for our team of three to travel this summer.

We are raising our kids with the belief that we are all missionaries and every day that we step out our front door, we are stepping onto our mission field. We want our family to value community and being involved in theirs. We have raised them to know that anyone is capable of going overseas and God doesn't have a particular mold when calling someone!

So, none of the dialogue happening at our home surprises me...

Monday, April 25, 2011

Met Me Where I Was At...

I heard this poem yesterday at the Easter Sunday service I attended and got to help with "releasing" balloons into the crowd during the final benediction. I have been thinking about this poem all day long and think it'll probably have a permanent fixture in my mind. Loved it!

Balloons Belong in Church

I took to church one morning a happy four-year-old child
Holding a bright blue string to which was attached a much
loved orange balloon with pink stripes. . .
Certainly a thing of beauty.
And if not forever at least a joy for a very important now.
When later the child met me at the door,
Clutching blue string, orange and pink bobbing behind her,
She didn't have to tell me something had gone wrong.

"What's the matter?"
She wouldn't tell me.
"I bet they loved your balloon."
Out it came then, mocking the teacher's voice,
"We don't bring balloons to church."
Then that little four-year-old, her lip a little trembly, asked,
"Why aren't balloons allowed in church? I thought God would like balloons."

I celebrate balloons, parades, and chocolate chip cookies,
I celebrate seashells and elephants and lions that roar.
I celebrate roasted marshmallows and chocolate cake and fresh fish.
I celebrate aromas: bread baking, mincemeat, lemons . . .
I celebrate seeing: bright colors, wheat in a field, tiny wild flowers . . .
I celebrate hearing: waves pounding, the rain's rhythm, soft voices . . .
I celebrate touching: toes in the sand, a kitten's fur, another person . . .
I celebrate the sun that shines slab dab in our faces . . .
I celebrate snow falling . . . the wondrous quiet of the snow falling . . .
I celebrate the crashing thunder and the brazen lightning . . .
I celebrate anger at injustice
I celebrate tears for the mistreated, the hurt, the lonely . . .

I celebrate the community that cares . . . the church . . .
I celebrate the church.
I celebrate the times when we in the church made it . . .
When we answered a cry
When we held to our warm and well-fed bodies a cold and lonely world
I celebrate the times when the Church is the church
When we are Christians
When we are living, loving, contributing.
I celebrate perfect love . . . the cross . . . the Christ
Loving in spite of . . .
Giving without reward
I celebrate life . . . that we may live more abundantly . . .

Where did we get the idea that balloons don't belong in the church?
Where did we get the idea that God loves gray and sh-h-h and drab and anything will do?
I think it's blasphemy not to appreciate the joy in God's world.
I think it's blasphemy not to bring joy into His church.
For God so loved the world
That He hung there
Loving the unlovable.
What beautiful gift cannot be offered unto the Lord?
Whether it's a balloon or a song or some joy
that sits within you waiting
to have the lid taken off?

The Scripture says there's a time to laugh and a time to weep.
It's not hard to see the reasons for crying in a world where hatred is so manifest.
So celebrate!
Bring your balloons and your butterflies, your bouquets of flowers . . .
Bring the torches and hold them high!
Dance your dances, paint your feelings, sing your songs, whistle, laugh.
Life is a celebration, an affirmation of God's love.
Life is distributing more balloons.
For God so loved the world . . .
Surely that's a cause for Joy.
Surely we should celebrate it!
Good news! That he should love us that much.
Where did we ever get the idea that balloons don't belong in the church?

Written by Ann Weems

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover

From the outside a person may look strong & like they have things altogether. They may have a smile on their face and be going about their day-to-day tasks like usual. They may greet those around them with love and kindness. They very well may try hard to shine for God in all they and everywhere they go.

But you can't judge a book by its cover. You can never know what's truly going on inside a person's heart and mind. You can never truly know the inward battles they are facing...the struggles they may very well have some days simply to get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other.

"You're NOT good enough!"..."You're REPLACEABLE!!"..."You're NOT strong enough!"..."You CAN'T do anything right!!"

These statements are just a few of many. They may not have very many words, but man they can pack a VERY POWERFUL punch on a person. Not necessarily words spoken to the person's face. Very well might be constant, inward pokes at the heart.

Yeah, words spoken directly to a person's face are hurtful & damaging. But I personally think the power of inward pokes directly at the heart damage far greater and deeper than anyone will every truly know.

At the end of the day, no matter what the circumstances or where a person find themselves, there's still endless potential. But the biggest roadblock & complication lies in finding the inner strength to continue moving forward, despite whatever opposition is being thrust at them...and that's a lot of times easier said than done!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


We've been doing some purging, painting and house cleaning this past while. I was going through some papers and came across an article I'd printed...10 Ways to Know It's Time to Quit. It was written by Geri & Pete Scazzero and came from I Quit: Stop Pretending Everything is Fine and Change Your Life (Zondervan, 2010). This article was posted by Willow Creek Association.

It talked about the fact that when we quit things that are damaging to our lives that we're then freed up to live life differently. A quote from the article said, "Quitting goes hand in hand with choosing".

These were 8 "Quits" that were deemed essential to all genuine spirituality and they seems things worth posting:

1. Quit Being Afraid of What Others Think (Choose Freedom)
I am willing to cut through the disapproval of others and do what is good, true and loving. I no longer ignore the values I hold dearly. Who I am "on stage" before others is the same person I am "off stage" when I am by myself.

2. Quit Lying (Choose Truth)
The degree to which I live in the truth - with myself, God and others - is the degree to which I am free. Learning how to speak the truth respectfuly, honestly and clearly is one of the most significant ways I can respect the image of God in myself and others.

3. Quit Dying to the Wrong Things (Choose Delighting in God's Gifts)
I will no longer set aside or devalue activities or relationships that cause my soul to feel fully alive (e.g. music, dance, art, the outdoors, travel). I will take the time to exlore my internal world of thoughts, feelings, values, loves, beliefs and motivations.

4. Quit Denying Anger, Sadness and Fear (Choose Embracing Your Humanity)
When it comes to feeling, I will avoid extremes - neither neglecting my emotions nor allowing them to run my life. I will allow myself to experience them in the presence of God, calmly think them through, and then take appropriate action.

5. Quit Blaming (Choose to Take Responsibility)
As a human being made in God's image, I recognize that no one is responsible for my life but me. I reclaim my freedom to choose my own life and help others do the same. I can't change others, but I can change myself - with God's grace.

6. Quit Overfunctioning (Choose Letting God)
I will no longer do for others what they can and should do for themselves. I will push through my fears in the face of resistance, asking God fr courage and wisdom.

7. Quit Faulty Thinking (Choose to Live in Reality)
I will refuse to make things bigger than they are. I will not take offense or blame for something before having all the data. And I will not believe the falsehood that things will never change. I will position myself so that the Spirit can correct my wrong assumptions and align me with the truth.

8. Quit Living Someone Else's Life (Choose to be Yourself)
By God's grace I will embrace the unique life He has given me. I will listen to my God-given rhythms, set appropriate boundaries with others, and let go of other people's agenda for me. In this way I will enter into the joy of my own beautifully, God-given life and carry out His unique purposes for me.

Friday, November 12, 2010


“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Saddened Heart...

I posted the video, "A Pittance of Time" below. I saw this video a couple of years ago & seem to watch it every Remembrance Day. I watched it this morning before getting my kids together & driving to our city's Remembrance Day service.

Near the end of the service, the wreaths had all been laid and the bagpipes began to play while the Veterans began to march back onto the floor to do a walk by salute. I was shocked to see people get up and start leaving. Even when the applause of thanks from the crowd broke out for the Veterans, the people didn't stop to applaud...they continued to leave.

It saddened me to have to answer my kids' questions of, "Why?", in terms of why they had left. I was at a loss for words...no answer would have made things seem clear to them or to me.

It saddened me because we live in this Western world bubble. Blind to all that has happened in the past, blind to all that's currently happening and blind to all that could possibly happen in the future. War is something that hasn't been experienced personally by most, so it brings a false sense of safety & that brings forth ignorance and lack of respect.

I sat in the arena today and spoke briefly with Little Miss about her middle name & about the person who's name she shares. See that person is my great aunt...she was an AMAZING woman. My great grandfather & my great uncle fought in different battles, but they both fought in them. When my great uncle was overseas, he met my great aunt. They were married and she came back to Canada, where she waited, alongside his family, for him to return home. My great uncle returned safely...he passed away years later from complications due to an injury sustained during the war. My great aunt was a war bride. She survived longer than her husband. She was able to live the life of freedom he and others had fought so selflessly for. Given any opportunity she would share her story with people. She knew the importance of telling the story forward so that people wouldn't lose sight of the freedom we have. She made sure we always had that importance at the forefront of our minds.

That is why it's vital to me that my children know the importance of never forgetting and never taking things for granted. Today's events that I witnessed just intensified how vital it is to impress the importance of remembrance on my children's lives & and my own, today and every day that comes before us!

Terry Kelly - A Pittance of Time (Official Version)

Monday, November 08, 2010


"Right where I am I will do my best to breathe God's light into our world."

"Right where I am I will do my best to make our organization healthy."

"Right where I am I will not use anger as a leadership tool."

"Right where I am I will see to help solve addictive behaviours that numb my mind."

"Right where I am I will own up to what I've done wrong & make it right."

"We will reach out to the untouched & untouchables."

I went to a Leadership conference this past weekend. I came into it with some huge reservations & and also with some things that were crippling me. See, I had allowed something to take place in my heart that was very dangerous. I had bought into the lies of the "enemy" in a spiritual sense. I was at a place of believing I was failing at a whole lot of things, didn't believe that I was doing anything of worth in the many roles I find myself in and that someone more qualified probably should've attended the conference.

The phrases above were stated in the first 30 seconds of the introduction for the conference. And from that moment on, my pen flew on the pages of my notebook, frantically trying to get everything down. To sum things up in a nutshell...this conference messed me up big time! But that wasn't a bad thing, because I truly believe I needed to be messed up to begin realigning my mindset on life.

By the end of the first night's sessions, I got in my van to drive home. When I got home, I finished up some work and then broke down. Those sessions had messed with and that was a good thing. They constantly talked about NOT QUITTING...PRESSING ON...always remembering that you are a treasured child of the most high God and that He'll always be with you and NEVER leave you!

The one speaker spoke about quieting ourselves and listening to God's whispers. He talked about the fact God's whispers are often short...then he gave a list of some whispers:

1. Don't quit
2. Step up
3. Take the risk (You've been too safe)
4. Apologize now
5. Make the tough decision
6. Get help
7. Stop running from God
8. Slow down
9. Show your heart (Your team needs it)
10. Let others lead
11. Feed your soul
12. Bless the team
13. Make the ask (I need your help...courageous leaders make the ask)
14. Doing something more impactful
15. Come clean
16. Embody the vision
17. Celebrate the victories
18. Speak the truth
19. Pay the price
20. Count your blessings
21. End the secret
22. Check your motives
23. Set the pace
24. Give God your best
25. Get physically fit
26. Serve your spouse/kids
27. Pray
28. Humble yourself

Many of the whispers in this list were echoed repeatedly throughout the course of that night and the next day. It was overwhelming powerful...I don't think I could have guessed what was coming when I stepped into that building to partake of that conference! We took in a whole lot of awesome information and we were given many reflective questions & I've come home with a whole lot to process.

That night, one of the things we were asked to do was this:

"For the next couple of days, ask God to speak & listen for what He's saying. Later on we were instructed to take a minute right then and there to listen to God. Then we were to write down what He had said, if anything was said."

As I sit here with my notebook opened to that page, I'm blown away by what I wrote down in a couple of reflection times about what God said. He repeatedly spoke love, worth, peace & strength into my life...all of which was so badly needed. I thought I was the wrong person to be there, but God knew that was exactly where I was supposed to be and He ensured I knew He had shown up.

So I'll end things like this...

Do you believe that God still speaks today? Have you totally surrendered to God? Or are you just living out a script? Will you do everything in your power to hear His voice & heed it? Take a minute to listen God and see what He might be wanting to whisper to you!