Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Begin Again

The weird thing about publishing my first book (You can buy it here.)  and shutting down my church in the same week, is that it feels like the doctor gave me an arm I have been waiting  my entire life for but in the same breath told me that he had to cut off my leg.  It's a crazy mixed up way of living and feeling.  I feel that I am in the midst of sorting my feelings into little boxes so that they don't spill out into my everyday world in a big jumbled mess.


All of those emotions course through my body, and yet it still feels surreal to me.  But Sunday as I sat in a completely different service in the first steps of "church shopping" the reality felt like a brick building tumbling down on top of me.  It seemed so crazy final.  I won't ever go to Mosaic again.  Sadder still,  there is no Mosaic in Lethbridge.  It was a season in our lives that is now gone forever.  And I wasn't really ready to see that season go.  I wasn't ready for Mosaic to simply be a memory.

It is like  reading a book and you get to the end of the book and you are angry that you have to close the book.  You aren't ready to begin to read the next adventure because you became friends with the people in this book.  You belonged.  You understood their adventures, their heartache, their victories.  You related and became so intricately carved into their future and their lives.  And it just doesn't seem fair to close the book and place it back on the shelf with all the others.  

The thing of it is,  I have had lots of people write me or ask me point blank,  “Why did  you really close the Church down.”  I think that people are looking for a big juicy story.  Whether they like it or not - they want to know the dirt.  They want to be involved in a story that is far more dramatic than it really is.

And then there are others (many more others) who are concerned about our health; or concerned that we have walked away from God.   Or just concerned - period.

And I am afraid that the true answer is a lot more boring than people would like to admit.

Our health is great.  Our hearts are great.  Our relationships with each other  and the ones that were in our beloved Mosaic are great.   

Here is the real reason.  We got tired.  But more importantly,  our team got tired.   They worked, and pushed and pulled and prodded and walked and ran and loved and worked some more - every Sunday and every week.   One day, we looked around and we realized that our team as loyal as they were, were beginning to see burn out.  And so were we!

We had people come to our Church, filled up, healed and go on their way.  We had broken people join our church for a season and then God would call them elsewhere to serve as whole people in their calling.  We saw miracles and we saw beautiful things.

My husband preached a powerful message on our last day that I think thousands should listen to.  Honestly.  He writes about it here .   He preached about everything having a season.  When that season is over then it’s time to let go.  Or the beautiful becomes ugly.    We wanted to let go while it was still beautiful.  We wanted to let go before burn out reached our hearts and our spirits.  We wanted to be smart about closing a season, a chapter down.

Am I disappointed?  Absolutely.

Am I angry at any of those who left the church in the last 10 years?  Not even remotely.  All of us have a journey.  All of us at the end of the journey,  have to stand before God and answer to Him for the journey that he set before us.   We are all following it the best of our ability. 

Am I angry at God?  Not right now, but I may be in the future.  If I am to be honest.  I know that he had the power.  I know that he had the means to bring hundreds of people and in the law of sowing and reaping,   we should have a thriving church by now.  We have done everything right.  We are good pastors and we have worked really really really hard.  And so has our team and our family.   But you know what?!  It’s really okay if I get angry with God because he is a "big Boy" and He can handle it.  I promise you.   He has broad shoulders and Paul in the Bible got super angry with him.    Job got angry with him.  In fact, there were many that got angry with God.   He either responded in love and compassion, or he put them in their place.  Either is okay with me as long as I can be brutally honest with the One who I have the closest relationship with.  

At the end of the day,  I love him.  At the end of the day, I will never walk away from him.   I know he has a plan and purpose and that plan is not to harm me or hurt me.  I have been through too much, seen too much, felt too much and forged that relationship deep and wide with Jesus - I can't run away from the very One who can help me the most. 

Am I heart broken?  I really am.    We had a vision.  We had plans and a strong purpose for this church.  It feels like death.  It's a death of a dream. In a short wisp, it's gone.  It's hard to pick up the pieces from that.

But this is what I know.  I have been heartbroken before.  I have been at a loss, totally not understanding the season that I was facing - and I made it.  I am still standing.  I am still smiling even.  Because I KNOW.  I KNOW.  I won’t feel this heartbreak forever.  I won’t feel this confusion forever.  I won’t feel this emptiness forever.  Tomorrow is another day.  There will be another season.  There will be another chapter.

This is what else I know.  It doesn't matter where I am at,  He will find me.  He will find me as the waters rush over my head and I feel myself drowning in a sea of doubt and cynicism.  He will find me in the mud when I have stumbled and I am too weak to lift my weary body onto my  feet.  He will find me and when he does he will gently lift my bare soul and bring it to His place of healing and warmth. 

He will find you too.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Faith Untangled is Ready to Order!!

I am so excited that my book,  Faith Untangled, is finally ready to order!

Faith Untangled is a beautiful line art colouring book, with heartfelt inspirational readings throughout.  I have also included some instructions in the back of the book along with some practice pages.   Also included are book marks and cards for you to colour and enjoy.  This book of full of fun!!!  

Tumaini Children's Home is a place in Africa that needs our help.   Their home is growing and last year they received a mandate from the government to get a  bigger house.  With a title deed in their hand for beautiful property in Kenya, they are now looking at the arduous task of building a house to suit their family of 33 children and growing.

That's where we come in!!  75% of the proceeds of this book will go right into their hands to begin building this house.

 Phyllis and Horace have a passion to see children educated, fed and loved within a family.  Will you join with me in linking arms and hearts to help a lovely family in Africa?

Please share this post with everyone you know.  Please share it on your walls.  Please share it with your pastors, your friends, your family.    Together we could do something HUGE!!

How to Order

The book costs  $17.00 US. Prices in other currencies are calculated automatically.

You can order single copies from my createspace store by Clicking Here.

If you wish to order 10 or more copies, please send me an email here

Thank you for your support!!  Isn't it wonderful that we can make a DIFFERENCE?!

Monday, April 4, 2016

We had hoped

 They were devastated.  The men walked in silence as they made their way to Emmaus.    Their hearts were breaking and they knew that their lives would never again be the same.  Jesus had just been brutally crucified.

One of them broke the silence.  He turned to his friend   and voiced what had hovered in their thoughts for three days.  "We thought he was the one. "  How crushed they felt as they shared their hearts.  Everything - their life, their hopes, their dreams, their goals - hung on this one man.  He had let them down. 

They were followers of Jesus.  They were passionate about and for Him.   They watched him with pride as they knew that he would be the one who would save the Israelites from the cruel government that now ruled the land.    It was prophesied in the Old Testament about this man who would rescue them.   They KNEW, KNEW KNEW that this man - this carpenter from Nazareth  was the answer to their hearts cry. 

Then one day, it happened.  They watched in breathlessness while Jesus - a mass of blood and flesh bowed his head and said, " Father forgive them." In shock and utter disbelief they stared at each other.  He was supposed to save himself so that he could save others!  He had walked around for three years, doing miracles showing signs and wonders through his mere words or gentle touch.  He had saved himself before.  Why not now?  Why didn't he call fire from heaven?  Why didn't he perform an amazing miracle of coming down off that cross victoriously showing the world that NOTHING could stop him - that he was invincible?  He could have done that.  He had the power in his grasp.  Why then did he choose to die?

  It felt as if they had been rejected and abandoned along with their nation.  They had been left.  And now there was no hope of freedom.  There was no hope away from the government that oppressed them.   Not only did they feel the rejection, the questions,  they were lost in a  deep and inconsolable grief and pain.  They had lost a friend.  No doubt they had followed Jesus everywhere knowing that He was the One.  No doubt they had formed a strong love for this carpenter.  Jesus had become their life; part of their routine and  certainly held their dreams in the palm of His Hands.  Until he let their dreams fall - shattered at their feet. 

What a crazy mix of emotions were raging in their hearts. 

As I was pondering this scene a few days I ago, I started to cry.  I thought of all the things in my life or even in the last 5 or 6 years that I had hoped.  I had hoped the Church would be thriving by now.   I had hoped that my father in law would have been raised from his bed of sickness.  I had hoped that my health would not have been so rocky and scary in the last years.  I had hoped that our financial situation would be so much better.  I wasn't going to be HERE in this place in my life at 52. It was supposed to be different.  If I served and loved God and did all the right things,  it was supposed to be so much different than it is.     The list goes on and on.

 I am sure it does for you too.   I let myself feel the grief of those things that have turned out so differently than I had hoped and expected.  I let the tears wash my soul with God's comfort.  I let myself feel the pain as so often people push the tears down.

Then I remembered something.  The story doesn't stop there.

A third man approached them.  He wondered what they were upset at.  They looked at him and their jaw dropped.  Everyone knew what happened in Jerusalem three days ago.  Where had he been?  Everyone knew - the air was filled with a somberness that could be cut with a knife.  It was the talk of the town.  There was sorrow that literally hung in the air.  Who was this man?  As they talked,  they began to pour out their hearts to this stranger. 

"We had hoped that this was the man who would rescue us - would overthrow the kingdom.  We had hoped that this was the man who would be the answer to our questions.  But he is dead.  The dream is dead.  The hope is lost - gone."

As we all know the third man was Jesus himself who had already risen from the dead.  Why didn't they recognize him?  I know that his body had changed.   But why didn't they recognize him - somehow, someway?   Were they in so much turmoil, were they in so much pain that they did not recognize Jesus walking with them right then?

When they invited him back to their place for the evening and he broke bread with them, that is when their eyes were opened and they knew.  Suddenly it clicked!!  That's why they had goose bumps when he was talking about the scriptures of the Bible.  That's why their heart leapt within them as he spoke!!   He was Jesus!!!

How much joy they experienced that day when they ran back to the disciples telling them all about the encounter with Jesus.

Here's an interesting thought though.  Jesus still did not overthrow the government the way that all the Jews thought he would; the way that everyone had interpreted the prophecies.  He didn't rescue them like they thought he would.  They still lived under the Roman government for hundreds of years.

 But he did something better!!!  So so so much better!!  He gave them eternal life.  He gave them a reason to get up in the morning.  He gave them access to God Himself - not through our sacrifice, not the through the law,  not through all the hard stuff they had to experience before.  He gave them access simply by their own voice - their own heart.

We have all lived our "we had hoped."  We have all been there.  This life we live sometimes is filled with difficult and painful roads.   We are all learning that life does not always turn out as we had hoped and sometimes our dreams simply lay smashed at our feet.

Are you not where you thought life would take you?  Are you living some "We had hoped" moments?   Does your life not look like you thought it would at this time?  Your marriage, your children, your Church, your life?

I don't know what the answer is to your questions.  I don't know what the answer is to my questions.  But this is what I do know.  When the two men were so depleted, when they had so much pain they didn't know where to turn or what to do - Jesus was there all along.  He was walking their journey with them.  So I know that even if I don't feel him,  see him or hear him,  I need only to open my eyes and look around.  I know that He is here.

That's enough for me.