Spread Joy · Uncategorized

To be a Child of God

Recently, I had tickets to take my older daughter into the city by train and go see a show. Of course, the day of the show arrived, and I had a touch of a cold still lingering and therefore hadn’t slept the best, and I woke up to hear the roads were terrible from a freezing rain/snow combo. Well, this left me feeling incredibly anxious. Anxiety is not something I would say has been an issue for me for long, in fact, I believe when I became a Christian, it really seemed to calm my nerves, but lately its been an issue for me, hence why the blog says “Walk with me as I learn to accept God’s comfort.”

So, now my daughter is thrilled, and so was I – the day had finally arrived, and we could have special one on one time, and cue anxiety to overcast excitement. I began to pray, “Father God,  I pray you help my daughter and I arrive safely please, and please clear the roads where we need to go and take care of us...” And then I heard the whisper of the Holy Spirit remind me that I am to pray boldly. After all, I am speaking to the One who created the entire universe, separated the red sea and gave me Jesus. Hebrews 4:16 tells us, “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” So, I stood firm and declared “Okay Father God, I’m not going to waste my time tip toeing around this, I am tense and anxious, but you know how excited I am. I trust you to go before me and protect me, and I trust you to give me discernment while I’m driving, and Lord I declare this day is going to be amazing, and when I get home this evening, I will say ‘We had an amazing day, and all the glory to God for it!’ I boldly declare this in Jesus’ MIGHTY and POWERFUL name, Amen.

Immediately, I felt my excitement return and my fears subside. I told my daughter, the roads are slippery so we will leave early and take our time, and its going to be a great adventure no matter what happens! We got in the van, drove safely to our train, we made it with 3 minutes to spare (which is actually way better, no waiting around!) We got the best seats that she wanted, in the second floor of the train, and normally that would make me feel a bit car sick, but I felt fine. We arrived to our destination, and had to transfer to a subway. On our walk over, a car was stuck trying to exit a parking lot. I had my daughter stand safely to the side, and I helped with a few other strangers to push the car out. I felt proud to know my almost 6 year old daughter saw me use courtesy and strength to help others and I quietly thanked God for the chance to have her see me make a small difference in someone’s day after all we lead more by example than with words. We then walked to the subway, and thankfully I knew the station from when I used to live in the city, so that helped a lot! I had looked up the subway prices the night before and told the man waiting that I wanted an all day pass, and pulled my master card out. He said, “We only take exact cash or fares.” I told him, I didn’t have cash as I use my card for everything to get rewards. “Oh,” he said “well in that case, go on through, consider it a Christmas gift. Merry Christmas.” My daughter and I were so excited and amazed! Free subway passes!

We walked down to the waiting area, and the subway came a few seconds later, again, no wait! We counted our 14 stops, and got off where we needed to go. I was unsure of the area, but I figured there’d be somewhere we could grab a bite to eat before our noon show time. It was 11:15. Just enough time! When we came up from below ground, I saw a Pizza Pizza! Excellent, as we both love pizza. We went in and they only had two flavours, cheese and pepperoni, so we waited in the line and discussed our choices when suddenly the man working there brought literally every other flavour out! We got to chose our favourites – Hawaiian and Garden Veggie. What a blessing! All around us, little moments were happening. We ate and walked over to the show just as the doors opened. We had enough time to find and use the washrooms, and our seats, and within a few minutes the play began. It was perfect, and we both enjoyed it so much! On our walk back to the subway, I realized a store I had always wanted to check out was on our route, and was closing forever December 31st, so we went and scratched that off my childhood bucket list! Just in time, as it was December 17th! We found small little souvenirs for each of her siblings, and her, and we headed back to the subway.

I explained to the woman that I didn’t know I needed exact cash as I was from out of town, and she asked me what I had on me, and I told her 50 cents. She said through that in and be on your way! So for my $12 total, I paid 50 cents to board the subway there and back! Amazing. Once again, it arrived almost immediately. On our walk back to the train, we had enough time to find a Tim Hortons and grab a drink, and as soon as we arrived in the train station, the train arrived too (its a half hour cycle so that was so exciting.) We got back to our vehicle as the freezing rain started, but the entire drive was smooth and we had no issues. We walked in the door just as my lovely husband was serving dinner.

As I had prayed, our day was perfect. Glory to God for that!

I couldn’t help but reflect on the day, how I always made sure my daughter was on the inside of the sidewalk, how I was just as excited about this trip because I knew she was excited, how I stopped to grab her a kit kat, completely out of the ordinary for us just because she asked and it seemed like a fun thing to do, how much fun we had together just chatting, and running through the snow and seeing the city that is so different from our small town.  It donned on me in that moment, that I took such pleasure in making this trip happen for my daughter, that I enjoyed buying her treats along the way, that I graciously put her on the inside of the sidewalk just because I love her and want to see her safe. That’s when I realized, that’s what God had done for me – his daughter. He heard my frantic call for comfort, and he provided. He kept me safe, he provided tiny blessings through out the entire day, including perfect timing and my favourite pizza slice. And I bet, just as I smiled at my daughter and felt thankful for the opportunity to treat her, He felt the same.

He didn’t roll His eyes when I said “God, I need you.. yet again!” Instead he gave me peace, and then some! He doesn’t think I’m a bother when I go to Him, instead He is thankful that I chose to seek Him for comfort. Just as it was my pleasure to serve my daughter and do something wonderful for her out of the deep love that I have for her, so was it God’s pleasure to serve me, His daughter, and to do something wonderful for me, someone he has a deep love for. Do you realize how amazing that is? God isn’t bothered by the little details of our lives, in fact He wants to see us thrive and rejoice. He wants to see us happy just as I want to see my children happy. He wants to comfort us, just as I want to comfort my children when something is wrong. If I love my children so much it makes me a little nauseous to think about, how much more does God love me, and you too? His love is immeasurable. Accept it, and cling to it. You are God’s creation and He made you with a purpose for a purpose. He loves you more than you can imagine possible!!

Bible Reading · Uncategorized

Note to self: Read my Bible!

I have been sick with a stomach virus for three days, and barely had the energy to do anything. Of course, sadly, my Bible reading fell to the wayside. In fact, I realized, I hadn’t actually read my Bible in about a week, so really I couldn’t even blame illness.

Interestingly enough, today I feel well enough to resume normal life duties, and one of the first habits I reached for was my Bible. I began to read, and immediately felt so encouraged and refreshed, until my first distraction. Then I remembered the laundry in my bedroom waiting to be folded, the germs lingering from my bug waiting to be cleaned, the tidying of the toys and clutter I couldn’t keep up with, the laundry needing to be washed, the dinner I had planned to make, you name it, it crossed my mind and suddenly I found myself feeling completely overwhelmed again.

Isn’t it ironic how I picked up my Bible and immediately felt peace, until I remembered my growing to do list..  I’ve read articles that the enemy of our soul resides in our busy schedules, keeping us too busy to even spend time with God. Sure enough, I myself had let distraction then illness keep me from indulging in the Word of God. And oh, how I missed this time! I picked back in Luke where I was trying to read a chapter a day for the 24 days leading from December 1st to Christmas. I was refreshed and encouraged by the things I read. I found myself intentionally choosing to ignore my to do list to spend time with God (which is incredibly hard for me, but I wanted to do after having a taste of His peace.) When I got up, and went about some of my business, I felt so much chipper and lighter than I had felt in days.

I didn’t just feel good because after a few sick days, I was well. I felt good in my soul. I felt peace, and I felt joyous. I even found myself singing worship songs to my daughter as I changed her diaper, or ate lunch with her. This is what studying Jesus’ life does for my soul. This is why daily Bible reading is crucial for any Christian. Think of the Bible as vitamins for our soul, we want to stay well so we take our vitamins. We forget our vitamins for a few days and we feel unwell. My week away from the Word of God left me feeling overwhelmed and unwell.

I’d love to encourage you to read your Bible, daily! I have been trying to read through the history books of the Old Testament, one chapter of Psalms, a few proverbs and one chapter of Luke a day. I didn’t start out with that much! I focused on one book initially, but slowly have added to it realizing I was missing reading about Jesus, and especially with the Christmas season, so of those my priority right now is Luke. If you aren’t familiar with your Bible, I encourage you to find an easier to read edition, NLT, NIV, ESV (New Living Translation, NLT is the one I use.) I encourage you to read a study Bible – this way you can have access to answers immediately as you read things and wonder what on earth the context meant! Remember, culturally, we are in an entirely different time than when the Bible was written. This doesn’t change the TRUTH of the Bible, but it does make it seem strange for us to understand certain parts without understanding the cultural norms of the time, and this is where a study Bible is SOOO helpful!

Some people, like my husband who is on round 2 of reading the Bible chronologically, thrive with a daily plan, and others just kind of go where the Spirit leads them. I consider myself the latter. I will hear someone discussing a book from the Bible, and just go there, I just kind of go where I feel I should. I think this works better for me because if I miss a day or two, I can pick up where I left off, rather than feel like I need to speed read to catch up and get back on plan. Sometimes I read less and sometimes I read more. Sometimes one sentence changes my entire mindset and that’s sufficient, and other times I read pieces here and there, but the point is: I read it. I leave it right on my dining room table so that I can come and go through out the day, a chapter here and a chapter there. That may not work for many, but for me with 4 young children and a lot of demands, it does.

If you have never read the bible, I encourage you to start in the New Testament. Look at the Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. Each tell the story of Jesus’ time on earth as researched and witnessed by the men who’s name the book is after. Matthew’s goal was to show the Jews that Jesus was the Messiah, Mark’s goal was to help the early Christian church, Luke was a Doctor who recognized the importance of interviewing and researching so that he could present the most facts possible and John wrote with the intention of proving Jesus was the true Son of God and that all who believe in Him will have eternal life, and as a result, John is really the most popular among new Christians. The rest of the books in the New Testament are considered ‘letters.’ Many were written by Paul to the Early Christian church, and many where written to encourage early Christians. Paul was a Jewish man who did not believe Jesus was the Messiah, and in fact, participated in the first stoning of a man who identified as a Christian. Later, he has an amazing experience with Jesus, realizes how wrong he is and writes a lot of the New Testament. Personally, I love Paul because he reminds me no matter how much someone is against Jesus and Christianity, they can still come around and do major things for the Kingdom.

I believe that the Bible is the word of God and in reading it daily, our faith is encouraged, educated and strengthened. I think we gain peace, and lose selfishness by spending time with God daily, especially in His word, and perhaps best of all? We hear from God.So many times I have heard God speak to me through the words written in the Bible. The more that I read my Bible, the more that happens – and what an amazing blessing that is!

Jesus says in Luke 8:18 “So pay attention to how you hear. To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given. But for those who are not listening, even what they think they understand may be taken away from them.” Jesus said that after explaining the parable of the soils to his disciples. I especially love how he says, “To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given.” This is exactly what happens to me as I study the Bible more. I am sometimes surprised at how things speak to me, or how I am able to recall verses (not completely by heart but I remember the point), or find peace about a situation bothering me. But how cool is that – the Messiah, Himself, promises to reveal more things we could never have imagined knowing and understanding if we listen to His teaching. Wow! Don’t you want to know and understand more? The blessings I find from reading my Bible are endless.

I truly believe this message is directly from God because I sat down intending to write something about Luke, not really knowing what, just knowing that I had missed writing, and this came out so easily. God loves you so much, and He loves spending time in conversation with you through prayer, and while you are reading His word. Relating back to the parable of the soils, Jesus says in Luke 8:8 “Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted.” Go read Luke Chapter 8, and see what Jesus means by this. He later says that the seeds that fell on the fertile soil  represent “honest , good-hearted people who hear God’s Word, cling to it and patiently produce a good harvest.” (Verse 15) I challenge you today, read and hear God’s word, and cling to it!

 

 

 

Spread Joy

All the Kingdoms of the World

By now in life, you must be aware of “advent Calendars” with their 24 doors you open each day counting down from December 1st to Christmas, and each day you get a nice little treat. My children love them each year, rushing through their meals (even the yucky parts) to be able to have that sweet treat, and one more door open until Christmas is upon us. I decided to see if I could find a “Spiritual Advent Calendar” for myself this year, and wouldn’t you know the Gospel of Luke is 24 chapters long! (Gospels are the four books in the Bible, Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, that tell of Jesus’ ministry and life.) How perfect – my own Christmas Advent reminding me of Jesus in the season of his birth celebration.

Fast forward to December 4th, or ‘Luke Chapter 4′ day. In context, Jesus has become an adult, and was baptized and felt lead by the Holy Spirit to go into the wilderness for 40 days and nights where he was tempted by Satan himself. First of all – whats with the whole 40 days in the wilderness thing? Well, Jesus was in a time of trial and testing, which we all know makes us stronger if we endure it well. Jesus is about 30 years old and about to begin his Ministry. I believe this time was to help give him the strength to have a testimony, and to understand the temptations every day people often feel as they themselves are tempted.

So, Jesus, wanders in the wilderness for 40 days without food. Try and imagine that; 40 days and nights in nature, with no people or friends, no social media, not even a bite to eat. I’m imaging that I would be lonely, famished and desperate. Enter Satan. He tries to tempt Jesus to do things like turn a rock into bread, and tests Jesus’ knowledge of scripture itself. How amazing an opportunity would it be for the most corrupt angel to win over the soul of God’s son who was literally sent to earth to redeem the people in earth. He takes Jesus, and we read in verse 5-7, “he revealed to Jesus all of the Kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. “I will give you the glory of these kingdoms and authority over them,” the devil said, “because they are mine to give to anyone I please. I will give it all to you if you will worship me.”

Without missing a beat, Jesus tells Satan, “The scripture says you must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.” (verse 8)

Wait just a minute. Slow down and really think this through. The devil reveals ALL of the kingdoms of the world?! Imagine learning of Ancient Egypt, the beauty and mystery of the pyramids. Imagine, the Roman empire, as they were creating so many modern day things we still use! Picture the beginning of time, before pollution, before anything was destroyed and there was only a few people on the earth. Think about modern day societies. I know I dreamed of becoming a royal family member as a young girl. Can you imagine being offered the chance to be a King or a Queen of wherever you live now, in this present age? How interesting and exciting that would be! The devil is offering Jesus not only that, but ownership over every single Kingdom. Every single country. From the dawn of time, to a time we don’t even know that is coming. Imagine the temptation in that moment.

Jesus is given a glimpse into what is to come. Imagine Him walking the earth in sandals, walking from town to town and seeing someday there would be jets, high rise buildings, trains, at this time even hover boards! Imagine Jesus who’s diet would have been a lot different from ours, eating things like fish and unleavened bread, seeing things like 24 hour drive throughs, fast food restaurants, anything you could possibly dream of craving or wanting available by walking into a grocery store. I cant even imagine how exciting it must have been to have been given a glance of all the kingdoms and history in the world. Can you imagine seeing 1000 years from now? Even just 50 years from now would be so interesting. How tempted would you be to say “yes Satan.. I’ll take that offer! Forget the plan my Father had for me. This is MY life and I want to be King over all of that stuff, I want to be King of this world! I’d much rather barter with you than die as a sacrificial lamb on a cross with real pain and agony. Show me where you need me to sign on the dotted line!”

The struggle is real! I don’t know if I would have been strong enough,being lonely, isolated and starving to turn down that offer. But Jesus did. He knew the word of God well enough to quote the Law the Jewish people believed and followed – that you must worship the Lord your God and serve ONLY Him. He stood in the face of the biggest temptation anyone could ever imagine and said “Naw, I’m good dude. I’ve got the law in my heart and a mission to fulfill. See yah!”

Wow. Just a few sentences of a chapter in the greatest story told, and yet, what an amazing few sentences. My heart was so full of admiration and love as I read these verses. Jesus loves us enough to take the road of extreme suffering and mockery, rather than accepting the greatest offer the enemy could give him. He loves us THAT much. I am not even sure I’d have the ability to turn that offer down for everyone, let alone one person, and yet Jesus didn’t stutter.

This Christmas season, I want to just think of that. How great a love does He have for us to remain that incredibly strong. But, also, what an amazing influence for us who call ourselves followers of Him. I struggle every day with temptations, and I give in more often than I’d like to admit. Maybe now, that struggle I have won’t be so tough to say no to because I will remember the One I have placed my faith in said No to the world and its glory so that I may one day reside in Heaven. Maybe now I will be able to stand a little bit more firm in my faith knowing my temptations are so minor, and the consequences of my temptations will never be as much as Jesus faced. If nothing else, I am that much more thankful for Jesus, His influence, His strength, His Will, and even His knowledge of the Word of God and ability to respond as He did. I am encouraged and inspired, and forever thankful.

 

 

 

Spread Joy · Uncategorized

Joyful Dancing

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I may sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give praise to you forever!”
-Pslam 30: 11-12 (NLT)

I came to know Jesus as my savior when I was 22 years old. A lot can happen to shape a person in 22 years, and a lot did. My past is very colourful and vibrant. There are things I am not proud of, and yet looking back there are a million ways God provided without me even realizing. I’m alive, aren’t I?

I recently had a situation where someone from my present was told about my past. In my anger and hurt, I realized – I can not be ashamed of my past. It is a testimony of how far I have come. I have often referred to myself as my”old self” and “new self”, Jesus being the source that made me new. The person from my past even showed my past in a manipulative way, behind my back, as if to show that the current “new self” isn’t real, or to bring dishonour to my name.

I thank God that the person knew my story, and knew how much I have overcome and why Im so deeply thankful for Jesus and His redemption. When she told me about the situation, she said “What struck me the most was the photos of you back then, just showed sadness in your eyes even when you were smiling or laughing.”

My heart broke at these words. I see that same agony in my eyes when I see pictures from my youth and teenage years as well, and yet this person who knew me so well never saw that back then or even today looking back. I think as believers, God allows us the honour to see more and be able to discern things that others can’t see, and my treasured beleiving friend saw right through the laughter and saw the pain. She told me herself these eyes shine brightly now. They do. I am free!

In my past, I searched so desperately for love. I wanted acceptance above all else. I wanted to belong, to know I mattered, to be important, a person of value. Now that I know Jesus and know of His love for me, His sacrifice for me, I know these things to be true. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a NEW person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” How exciting! I am loved. I am valuable. Im worth it! Im a person of deep value! God has made me with a plan for a reason! I am important in His eyes, worth even dying for. I am accepted regardless of my past.

I am so happy as I settle in with these truths. God’s love is never ending. If you don’t know Jesus, I so encourage you to seek him and accept Him into your life. I have never regretted it for a minute. Yes, I have lost things including the friendship with the person who tried to ruin my reputation, but I have gained so much more, as the Psalm said, my mourning has become joyful dancing.

Praise God for all that He has done. My life as a Christian is far different from my life without. I have come so far, and I am so excited to see what God has yet to do in and through me!

Spread Joy

Choose Your Legacy Wisely

Last night, I was really troubled by the amount of negativity and posts that encourage negativity and hate on my Facebook news feed. One post in particular really saddened me, it said “The nicer you are, the easier you get hurt, so just be an a–hole.” Oh, my heart was sad to see this.

Yes, you may be hurt by being nice – but doesn’t that beat out being the bad person hurting others? I think so. I would rather be apologized to, then be the one apologizing (oh there’s my niceness kicking in.)  I would rather be free to chose to forgive someone else than to know people spent time loathing me, resenting me, or struggling because of me.

I teach my children when we go somewhere, to try and be the type of people that after our exit, others say “Wow, I’m so glad they came. It was so nice to have them here.” I want people to feel that way about me – I want to be seen as a helper, an encourager, a friend, a giver, a hugger, and someone others are happy to be around. We need to stay eternity minded and stop thinking in this moment. One day I am going to die, and all that remains of me here on earth will be the legacy I have left. It is my sincere hope, that at my funeral, people will say things like “She was so lovely. My life is better because she was in it. When I picture her face, I see a big smile.” In this temporary moment, it may seem easy or fair to chose hate. Maybe you were seriously hurt, maybe you haven’t had the niceness you have given offered back to you, but don’t let that allow you to follow the world’s advice. Don’t let the world decide your legacy.

In these times of social media, there is a footprint left behind when someone passes away. What if tomorrow you passed away, and the last post you made said “The nicer you are, the easier you get hurt, so just be an a–hole.” People would be looking at your page as I know I have done after losing someone, relishing in their final words. What a disappointing last message to leave to others, one to discourage kindness.

This morning, as I was spending time reading my Bible, I was reading the story in 2 Chronicles of Jehoram, who was an evil King over Judah long before Jesus’ time. Jehoram came into Kingship after his father, Jehosophat, passed away. After becoming King, he murdered his brothers and took advice from evil friends and even married the daughter of an other evil King. When Jehoram passed away, 2 Chronicles 21:20 tells us, “Jehoram was thirty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eight years. No one was sorry when he died. They buried him in the City of David, but not in the royal cemetery.” (NLT) No one was sorry when he died. Can you imagine? By all means, I want the lives of those I leave behind to carry on in my absence, but I sure hope that I’m a good enough person living that people will be sorry to hear of my passing.

Don’t be a Jehoram. Be a person whom others love and admire. Spread joy in this dark world. Be a nice person, even if it means you may get hurt. Be forgiving. But whatever you do, don’t be a Jehoram.

I’ll leave you with these final words I also happened to read this morning, from Proverbs.

Wickedness never brings stability, but the Godly have deep roots.” Proverbs 12:3

The wicked die and disappear, but the words of the Godly save lives.” Proverbs 12:7

A sensible person wins admiration, but a warped mind is despised.” Provers 12:8

 

Uncategorized

Welcome

Thank you for taking the time to read my words! Writing has always been something I have felt called to do, and now I am excited to turn that thought into a reality. The subject of my blog will be learning and healing by acceptance of the comfort God has for us. Join me as I grow, and may you be blessed by my thoughts and words.

L D-M