Tuesday, 25 March 2014

My Most Freeing Revelation About Prayer

When I first became a Christian, I was perpetually filled with guilt because even though I knew I should pray every day, I didn't.

I had heard of others who would pray for hours every day, and I wanted so badly to be like them... but with those expectations on myself, I fell short and got discouraged. Then it started that I didn't pray unless I had a full hour to put aside for prayer, because I was committed to being THAT holy. Because of my weak relationship with the voice of God, when I did talk to him (on average once or twice a month), I got distracted, or fell asleep within minutes... thus perpetuating the guilt.

I'm painting this picture and sharing with you guys because I just remembered this part of my life, and I'm wondering if anyone else ever felt/feels this.
I want you to know this:

I heard the voice of the Lord in my heart one day, and He simply told me this. "I love when you just say 'hi.'"

I know that's not a crazy revelation. I had heard it in church before. But when I heard it from God, it hit hard, and I felt excitement well up within me. I thought, "In between my hour prayer sessions, I can say 'hi' to God, and that's okay!" I was so excited. It was like a new relationship. In addition to talking to the staunch, stuffy God who would only be pleased with a minimum one hour of prayer, I could ALSO be free to converse with a casual, friendly God who is okay if I just say, "hi."

I didn't realize at the time how wrong I was about the personality of God.

He graciously covers the wrong we find ourselves in, and he is unreasonably proud of us over the small things that we do right.

Yesterday, I was flipping through my facebook posts from the last couple of months, and I was reminded of a post that I made about Noah taking off his shirt all by himself. I was so proud of him! So proud that I shared the news with everyone I knew. I'm generally not that impressed with the action of shirt-removing. It wasn't the shirt falling to the floor that made my heart happy... and conversely, I didn't secretly scowl at the shirt's stretched arms and neck that resulted from the lengthy struggle that preceded the victory. I didn't even remember Noah's frustration and stomping in the height of his shirt-battle.

I remember the high five, the hugging, the hoots and hollers, and the impossibly cute smiles of pride.

I'm a good mom, but I'm not THAT good. This concept of parents being proud of the little things our kids do DIDN'T originate in me. Good parents do this inherently because God did it first to us.

This new concept of God being okay with me was so compelling that I found myself with lots to say to Him. When I started saying "hi" to God, knowing inside that I was without guilt and shame before Him, I wanted to keep talking. I found myself doing something incredibly foreign, and wonderfully freeing.


I started out with what I excitedly referred to as my five second prayers. (And to be honest, to this day, that's where I get my best work done with God.)

If you find yourself struggling with prayer, stop reading this right now, and say "hi" to God.

If that's all you say, that's totally, completely, incredibly awesome!!!

And if you say more... well... I'm not surprised. The TRUE character of God is wildly attractive, and the more we get to know Him, the more we WANT to get to know Him!

I don't care that I still don't pray an hour every day, and I don't think that God cares either... but I DO talk to God about things all day long all the time... a split second here, and several minutes there. (And it's the split second prayers that get me through the day).

The Bible talks about God being the Breath of Life (Job 33:4, Gen 2:7). It might be helpful to look at our relationship with Him as breathing.

You wouldn't last long holding your breath all day so that you could have a REALLY good breathing time just before bed tonight. Just like that would kill you physically, that would eventually kill you Spiritually too. We weren't created to go more than seconds without oxygen... and neither were we created to go without God (1 Thes 5:17). But God doesn't require that. He is happy with a quick breath here, and a big breath there (now we're talking about prayer obviously... please keep breathing regularly, people).

This was an absolutely life changing revelation for me. I now walk free of condemnation regardless of my less-than-super-holy-Christian prayer life. Because God and I talk. It pleases Him, and it gives me life.

I hope that helped you.

"So now anyone who is in Christ Jesus is not judged guilty. That is because in Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit that brings life made you free."           Romans 8:1

Be free. Talk to God. And know that I love you.

Thanks for letting me be part of your day. :)

~ Holly

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Does our SIN separate us from God?

WOW! First... lets just give me a round of applause for doing two blog posts in two days!!! WOOOOT!

Haha. I'm awesome or something.

"Does our sin separate us from God?"

HUGE question... HUGE answer.

I think that the way we answer this question dictates much of how we live our lives.

I think that the answer could be summed up in one sentence... and could also fill volumes and volumes of books. It is simple and wildly complex all at the same time. And therein lies the confusion.

I DO NOT pretend to know all of the ins and outs of this topic. I, too, have a list of questions that I will be asking when I arrive at the pearl gates.

But for now, I hope this can help someone:

Does our sin separate us from God?

The answer is a very simple "Yes" or "No" depending on only one thing.



At risk of sounding preachy, I am not going to miss sharing the Gospel at a potential Gospel-sharing time. So here is...

the Gospel Holly-style:

God made us (and the rest of everything ever), and thought we were the bees knees!

Sin (which is pretty much a Biblical word for disobedience) screwed everything up.

This is how I picture it:

God is perfect. Perfectly perfect. He is the absolute standard for perfection, and nothing imperfect could ever be in the presence of His perfection. It's not because it's mean... it's just because He's perfect.

Kind of like how light and darkness don't mix.
When you turn on the light, you don't see darkness hanging around and trying to get to hang out in the same place as the light. They just don't coexist.

So the simplest version is that when we made a mistake... sin... disobey God... whatever you want to call it, we effectively removed ourselves from God's presence. Again... not because He doesn't like us... simply because our sin just isn't okay in God's presence.

(I should add that Hell was a place created only for Satan and his demons. It was never created for people. However, because we have sinned, and our sin isn't able to enter heaven... well... when we die, we have to end up somewhere... and if it's not Heaven,  it must be... well... think about it.)

INTERJECTION:   If this was the end of the story, then the answer would be quick and easy. YES. Sin does separate us from God. But it's not the end. Thank God.

So here is where the story gets GOOD.

Jesus. Simply put, JESUS is God in sandals... He is perfect in every way, lived a sinless life, and actually, truthfully walked on this Earth approx 2000 years ago, and did such remarkable things back then that He is still the biggest thing going to this day.

Because He never, EVER disobeyed God, He was the first human being in history ever to qualify to go to Heaven. EVER.

Now instead of living His life, doing good things, loving people, and calling it a day, He did something SO much more remarkable. He was perfect, AND He was GOD (remember...? God in sandals. That's a big deal). He knew that going spending eternity in Heaven would be wonderful, but He didn't want to go alone. He wanted to bring every single one of us with Him! So He did what none of us could do... He decided to pay for each of our sins. He took the responsibility of all of our sins. He dealt with our imperfection. And it was pretty much the single biggest event in all of history. (And this is where the Easter story comes in).

(If you want a crazy visual of what this REALLY meant, and what it REALLY took, watch "the Passion of the Christ." Bring your tissues, and brace yourself. It's intense... and you might never be the same... in the best way possible. And when you watch it [even if you've already seen it, watch it again], keep in mind that the entire reason that He did all of that was so that YOU could go to Heaven WITH Him.) - Remember back to when God thought we were the bees knees? I was serious... He is MIGHTY fond of us!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAomWDGOAL4     <------- Here's a link to it on youtube

And that brings us to this moment... the moment where we decide whether or not we want to go to Heaven and accept the work that Jesus did so that we can know God and live with Him forever.

I'm going to lay it out as simple as I possibly can:

You are NOT choosing to be religious... you are not committed to being perfect... and there is no need to even be a good person to accept Jesus. (It's like taking a bath... when you're dirty, you need a bath... if you're just a little bit dirty, or REALLY dirty. Either way, hop in... and THEN you can get clean. Simple. As. That.)

You ARE choosing to go to Heaven... you are choosing to not go to Hell. You are choosing to accept the sacrifice and work that Jesus did so that you can go WITH Him to Heaven. You are choosing to have a relationship with Jesus, God the Father, and His Holy Spirit (Simply put, that's kind of like the part of God that lives in us and helps us out with anything we need - sort of like a conscience. Like a real life GOD version of Jimminy Cricket).

How do you do it?

Simple: Tell God that you want to. And that can be done in any words you want. I'll give you an example of what to say to God if you would like to just pray along with me:

Jesus, I believe that you paid for my sins so that I can go to Heaven and live with You forever. Thank you for loving me. I accept what you did for me, and I choose to go to Heaven and live my life for you. Holy Spirit, I ask you for your help. Please teach me how to live for You, God. I ask for your forgiveness for everything I've ever done wrong, and I thank you for loving me and forgiving me. Please help me to meet people who will help me learn more about you.


WOOOOOOOOOT!!! (In case that was new for you, please let me know... via twitter, facebook, my blog, however... You have an amazing life ahead of you, and I would love to chat and hear your story.)


Does our sin separate us from God?

That depends entirely on if you let it. Naturally, yes. Our sin DOES separate us from God. (If you didn't read the Gospel portion, do a quick check back to the light/darkness bit).

But if you have accepted the work that Jesus did for us, paying the price for our sins, then NO! YOUR SIN DOES NOT separate you from God.

Yes, your sin will have natural consequences... and if you continually choose to disobey God, then you will begin to silence His voice in your life. There are ways to hinder an excellent relationship with God, and continual, unrepentant sin is a great way to do that. But when we are Christians and have accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made, our sin does NOT separate us from God.

This came up the other day when a young girl that I know told me about something bad that she had done. It wasn't world changing, but it was a bad choice, and we both acknowledged that. And then she told me that it separated her from God.

It stopped me in my tracks.

And I wondered how many of us believe this lie.

When I remember back to my early days as a young Christian, I remember some well meaning people telling me that every time I sinned, it's like putting another brick on a wall between me and God. This type of message is preached often, but it is NOT the Gospel!

The TRUTH is that if this brick wall theory were true, then no one would ever go to Heaven. The truth is that only one brick is enough to keep us away from God. And the truth is that Jesus worked WAY to knock down EVERY wall for us to believe that we are building new ones.

And I think that this lie is crippling and shaming so many of us.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then YES. Your sin is separating you from God (read above). But if you HAVE accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then your sin is DEALT WITH!

I picture that when we sin, we walk up Jesus with our brick (the one that with out Him WOULD have built the wall to separate us from God), and we hand it to Him, and fall into His loving, forgiving arms.

The Bible says,

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow - not even the powers of hell can separate us from God's love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below - indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

Our sin sucks. It is not okay. We need to try not to do it. We need to repent. We need to ask God for help. Sometimes, when we are stuck, we even need to ask others for help. We need to read our Bibles so that we know what God says and so that it can renew us, and we need to be part of a Church family that is going to help us do our best.

But we need to believe in the saving power of Jesus! We need to believe that our sin is NOT a big enough deal to separate us from God any more. We need to believe that the work that Jesus did on the cross was MORE powerful than our sin. And we need to stand on that truth because believing and confessing Jesus is what saves us (Romans 10:9-10).

My friend did sin. And so did I when I yelled at my kids this morning. It was not okay, and it needs to stop.

But am I separated from God because of it? Am I building a wall that is slowly undoing what Jesus DID?!? NO! I am not. Praise GOD I'm not. Because my sin list is long, and ugly... and my wall would be blocking out God's goodness by now. But I can tell you from experience that when I have sinned and ran to Jesus' arms for forgiveness and love, and help... I have been embraced with a love so mighty, so powerful, and so pure that it has changed me.

I am not telling the whole story. There is more to this. Like I said, there are volumes and volumes... books galore on this... millions of sermons preached, and I am NOT covering all of what could (and maybe should) be said on this topic. But this is a tidbit. A morsel. A snippit. Hopefully enough to get you thinking... hungry... desiring to learn more about how sin does affect your life.

But as for me and my sin... I know that mine is dealt with, and I am mightily grateful for that!

Thank you, Jesus.


If you would like some amazing free resources on this, here are a few of my favorite places to start:

the BIBLE! The BEST resource out there... it is never wrong, and it DOES tell the whole story. If you don't have one, get one. There are lots of places to get free Bibles in your city. Including a local church in your area. If you have one that you don't understand, get a different one. If it's the Bible, it's going to tell the same story. Some versions simply say it in a different way. (hint* Start reading in the book of John... great place to start.)

An ALPHA course in your area.

http://gatewaypeople.com/sermons - Incredible teaching sermons. Consistent, and I'm confident that they will help you learn the TRUTH.

Your local Christian church.

And me! Like I said earlier, if you want to talk, let me know. I love new friends! And I don't have all the answers, but I know the Guy who does! *wink*wink* hehe.

As always, Be Blessed!

Love you!

~ Holly

Monday, 3 March 2014

52 Things in 52 Weeks – First Update. What I’ve learned.

52 Things in 52 Weeks – First Update. What I’ve learned.

It’s March, and I’m still thinking about my new year’s resolution. I think that says a LOT right there! *patting*myself*on*the*back*
Let me share some of the thing I’ve learned so far:

1.       I am VERY average

The things that I think that I will do that are extraordinary… most of those end up getting lost in the madness of “life.”

2.       Being VERY average is totally OKAY

I’m plagued by a threatening, and wildly distracting voice inside of me that tells me that if I cannot do something perfectly, then I am a complete failure of a person, and that I might as well quit altogether at said activity. THIS VOICE IS LYING TO ME!!!!! And I’m finally hearing it for what it is, and learning what to do with it. I have failed miserably at many of the things on my list, and the glorious thing is that I’m failing with GRACE! I’m also doing really well at other things. I think this makes me normal. Average. And totally okay. (I think next year, I’m going to make one of my 52 have to do with silencing this voice, and believing new things about myself).

3.       I tend to do the things that I ENJOY and don’t do the things I dislike

Yep. I know what you’re thinking… “duh, Holly… I could have told you that.” And I know… this shouldn’t be a new concept for me or anyone. But let me put it this way;
We live in a self-help culture where almost everyone is trying, at some level or another, to better himself. And I actually don’t think that this is inherently a bad thing at all. I am on this bandwagon, and I think it’s very Biblical to try to be our best, recognize when we’re not doing that well, and do what we can to change it.
So why is it, then, that in our self-help culture, where everyone is trying to be the best person they can be, that our world is riddled with sin, adultery, addiction, self-harm, abuse, self-hatred, depression, anxiety, betrayal, confusion, etc. etc. etc. There are a million valid reasons for this… but I think one small part of it is… we have set ourselves up for failure by trying too hard to do the things we SHOULD do, and not so much the things we WANT to do. I want us to have permission to stop “SHOULD”ing on ourselves (*teehee*), and start simply DOING what we like. I know that when I feel healthier, and better about myself, I’m more likely to have the capacity to get up and do the things I “should” do. But in the meantime, I can find lots to do that is healthy, and positive, AND on my list of enjoyed activities.
I hope this makes sense. In a nutshell, I LOVE brussel sprouts, and I DISPISE mushrooms. Both are healthy. I could focus hard on getting more of the uber healthy mushrooms in my diet, or I could just stop driving myself insane, and binge on brussel sprouts because it makes me happy. Happy is okay, and tends to be underrated. STOP DEPRESSIONS WITH A SIMPLE DOSE OF HAPPY. Do something that you like. That’s what I’ve been doing, and it’s HELPING!!!!!

4.       I believe too many bad things about myself

I think this is going to be a blog post coming up… but let me preface it with these questions (and please don’t rob yourself of this opportunity for self-evaluation by giving a cookie cutter Christian answer. REALLY analyze yourself… EVERYONE can benefit from this) :


Even if you know where I’m going with this, think about it… this is such a huge part of how we function as people.

5.       I don’t need to know everything before I do something

I have wanted to write this update for a long time, but I have stopped myself for a million reasons. Most of those reasons sound something like this,

“I’m not qualified to write about this.” “I know 100 people more qualified to write about this than me.” “I shouldn’t say anything until I’ve read a book about it.” “What if I preach heresy!?!”

And actually, every single one of those point are completely true. But they shouldn’t stop me. This is a continual struggle, as is everything else I’ve said thus far. Feel free to pray for me, and encourage me that I’m not the worst. I need it… we all need it. The world is not always kind to us, so we need to be EXTRA kind to each other.

6.       Prepare, prepare, prepare

Most often, the things that I’m most proud of in my life are things that I’ve spent lots of work and time preparing for.
(Yep… I have presented a paradox. This point is going to rival the message from previous points. But I believe in your ability to sort it out in your capable brains.) :D
I find that much of my reason for NOT keeping up with my less desirable goals in my “52 Things in 52 Weeks” is that I was under-prepared in my tracking method. I am now so far behind in knowing exactly HOW well I’m doing that I’m discouraged in even trying. I think the trick is just in finding my footing, accepting the imperfections, and doing something I can be proud of today… or this week… or this month.

In a nutshell,
I’m totally average, and totally okay!
I’m going to do things that I like, and good for me!
My negative beliefs have limited me in the past, but my future is brighter, and I’m learning to be free to think that I AM AWESOME!
I am on a journey to accepting that I am imperfectly perfect.
And it doesn’t hurt to work hard, think a lot, and prepare a bit when it comes to things we really care about.

As always, I hope you were blessed by something here.

I really hope.

Want an example of me walking out a bit of the lessons I’ve learned?

I’m purposely not allowing myself to go back and edit this. I’m just going to post it. Because I’m HOPING that even in its imperfections, it’s good enough. (And I know that if I begin down that road, my insecurities will talk me out of posting, which would be really unfortunate.)

Anyway… I’m off to go do something that I WANT to do… hang out with my handsome hubby, and my beautiful boys (who happen to think that I’m the bees knees… even when I don’t. I WIN!)

Be Blessed

~ Holly

Saturday, 4 January 2014

52 Things in 52 Weeks and Listening to God

Hey friends!

First of all, thank you so much for all of the encouragement and support that I've gotten from all of you so far. I feel like I'm really putting myself "out there," and that is such a scary thing... so every bit of encouragement has meant a great deal. Keep it up! You fuel me. Haha.

I have changed a few things on my list, and there is one new one that I want to point out. It's the "in bed by 10 and asleep by 11." Meh... this was NOT my idea, and even as I type this, it is 10:02pm, and I'm totally breaking this rule for the second night in a row (and I only added it yesterday, which means I've failed twice and succeeded zero times!... so far). Let me explain.

So for the past couple of years, I've been on a VERY intensive healing journey (which I'm sure will be the topic of many future blog posts), and about a year ago, I very clearly heard the Lord tell me that a practical step in my healing would be to go to bed at 10 and be asleep by 11.

Like a mad genius, I decided that God was wrong, and I would be fine to continue on my merry way going to bed an ungodly (literally, now that I'm being directly disobedient to God, Himself) hour, and wake up late... day... after day... after day.

And the other day, I realized that I had spent hours wracking my brain, asking friends, reading blogs, and even polling Facebook to determine the 52 things that I wanted to accomplish, yet I didn't even think to PRAY! As soon as I realized this, I screwed my head back on, swept away the looming condemnation, and I asked God what He wanted me to do. Before I finished asking Him, I already heard His answer... "I already told you, Holly... You need to be in bed by 10 and asleep by 11." Wow... oops. So again, like a genius, I thought I would make SURE God knew what He was talking about. "God, are you SUUUUUURE this is really necessary? So much quality time with Jeremy is spent after this time... and..." God kindly cut me off with something along these lines, "Holly, you have 52 things on a list that you want to accomplish, yet you are wanting to forgo the one thing that is going to make those other 51 possible... please trust Me, and do your best to obey Me."

So... After hours of considering this, trying to talk God and myself out of it, and being so strongly convicted about my disobedience, I decided to humble myself, repent, and let God be Lord of my life. I reluctantly added it to my list. Why was this so hard? While talking to a dear friend yesterday morning, I realized that I am addicted to the feeling of being up at night. I'm not 100% sure what it is about the feeling... but it's more than just being a night owl. It's an addiction, and it's something that I've been putting before God. And so I'm letting it go.

Also, this same friend confirmed what God had told me by telling me that He had been saying the same thing to her (be in bed by 10 and asleep by 11)... and so did a YouTube video I watched about natural cures for depression (it was REALLY good. Let me know if you want the link).

Obviously, I'm not starting out that strong. But the year has barely started, and I have lots of time to get better at this. And I don't expect to be perfect in this area by the end of 2014. I just hope to be better. And I hope to no longer be blatantly disobeying my Heavenly Father.

I am going to need to pray my way through this one (if this seems silly to you, bear with me... it's an addiction. And no matter what we are addicted to, addictions are hard to break).

So far, my prayer looks something like this,

"Oh Father, please help me to do my best to obey you and treat my body well by going to bed on time. When I succeed, help me to give you Glory, and when I fail, help me to lean on You. And when my best isn't good enough, please let your grace be enough that I may still be successful. Thank you for your patience with me. Thank you that you love me. And thank you that with you, I always have hope. Amen!"
Hmmm... I hope that wasn't boring for you.

On another note, I am totally committing to my 5k run. May 31st in Cloverdale, I'm doing the "Color Me Rad" run with friends. (http://www.colormerad.com/)

I am so excited. It's hard to believe that I'm actually going to do a run! I'm going to have a number and everything! I am doing it, and it's going to be wonderful.

I'll keep you posted on how all of this is going.

Feel free to pray for me!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

52 Things in 52 Weeks 2014

This was my facebook status yesterday:

Happy New Year, everyone!!!
So I haven't done a new year's resolution in several years, but in years that I have done them, I've DONE them! I don't make a NYR, and abandon it when I realize they're more fun to make than keep. I tend to keep them.

Having said that, I am SO ready for a good, VERY serious one this year. And I want it to be FUN! In fact, I've already committed to doing a 5k run this year, and started my training in December to get a head start (yep... I'm a TERRIBLE runner, and 5k is a VERY big deal to me - "like" this if you've ever seen me run and laughed or cried in embarrassment for me).

So I have been trying to figure this out since November, and I have yet to fully make up my mind on what my resolution will be (there are SO many fun things to choose out of). BUT today, I found a link to an awesome blog post (http://kincavelkorner.wordpress.com/about/52-things-in-52-weeks-2013/) and I loved the idea. So I'm doing it!

So far, I have organized my list into three sections "Body, Soul, and Spirit." And as much as I have tons of ideas that I'm so excited about, I'm not even half way to 52 things.

So... do you guys have any ideas I could sift through? Feel free to share your own resolutions, daily routines, goals, etc. Also, keep in mind that ANYTHING that makes for a healthy living is good. This includes doing a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. I love puzzles, and therefore, doing one will be healthy for my soul. Also, including chia seeds into my morning routine every day of the year. And everything in between.

Please share! I'd love to hear your ideas. No matter how easy, or hard. I can always revamp it according to my needs/doability (yep... making up a word).

COMMENT! Thanks. Love you all. 

So I've worked really hard since I posted this, and I have nearly finalized my list. I will share it now, but leave myself room to hear from the Lord, and refine a few things here and there as needed.

I changed my organizing system slightly (my soul list was looooong, and it made sense to break it up a bit).

52 Things in 52 Weeks

Healthy BODY

  • Only allowed chocolate on days AFTER I exercise (1 cheat day/week) - (___/312)
  • No chocolate after 7pm avg 5 days a week - (___/260)
  • Do a 5k run
  • Learn a healthy bread recipe I can actually make and like
  • Eat something I grew myself
  • Make healthy granola to replace cereal in our diets
  • Eat chia seeds avg 5 days a week - (___/260)
  • Learn to make yogurt that I like
  • Pick our own berries to freeze
  • Make 1 big zeroxeno choice per month (see zeroxeno.com if you're wondering what this is) - (__/12)
  • Get adjusted at the chiropractor MIN 3X/month - (__/36)
  • Drink 730 Litres of water (avg 2L/day) - (___/730)
  • Get off all meds
  • Finish all 3 levels on traction block
  • Make 6 make-ahead foods - (_/6)


  • Awake with hubby avg 1 morning/week - (__/52)
  • In bed by 10 & asleep by 11 avg 5 nights a week - (___/260)
  • Do one kid-centered activity out of the house per week - (__/52)
  • Do one NEW craft/activity with kids per month - (__/12)
  • Blog at least once per month about 52 in 52 progress - (__/12)
  • Follow the budget using mint.com
  • Get oil changed BEFORE due each time
  • Make habit of cleaning kitchen every evening BEFORE lounging
  • Make scheduled routine that works and serves me
  • Tidy for 10 twice a day - (__/730)

Healthy SPIRIT

  • Finish Behind the Mask
  • Read 33 books of the Bible - (__/33)
  • Write a new worship song
  • Write out & memorize my spiritual promises & Scriptures - (__/4)
  • Watch minimum one sermon per week - (__/52)
  • Serve Recovery Church for at least one event
  • Make and Maintain a prayer list
  • Go to early morning church prayer three times - (_/3)
  • Worship God in my own way once a week - (__/52)

Just Cuz I WANNA

  • Give blood
  • Read 3 non-fiction books - (_/3)
  • Read 3 fictional books - (_/3)
  • Make a photobook
  • Kill a spider
  • Play or read something at Open Mic Night
  • Make and hang burlap drapes
  • Revamp one of the 52 to something doable when I realize I've bitten off more than I can chew
  • Purge 52 items - (__/52)
  • Sell 52 items - (__/52)
  • Go out of my way to bless 12 friends - (__/12)
  • Make a new family tradition
  • Finish medical transcription course

Must... do... more... CRAFTING

  • Give myself an airbrush tattoo
  • Create a piece of airbrush art that I am proud of
  • Sew something that I am proud of
  • Make myself a functioning craft corner
  • Make a Christmas present

So I think I'm going to have a busy year. I anticipate that some of these things are going to be really easy, and others are going to be very difficult (killing a spider... baaaah!). And I also anticipate that I will really surprise myself by which ones I achieve and which I don't. And I think my biggest concern overall is how I'm going to feel when I fall short somewhere along the way. I hope I'm proud of myself by this time next year. And I hope that this time next year, I'll be posting my 2015 list.

I really tried to be honest with myself as to what is achievable for ME. And also, notably difficult, I tried not to choose things simply to impress others. (I originally had listed "Read 52 books of the Bible." Then thought that made it seem like for some reason, I didn't WANT to read the whole Bible in a year - there are 66 books total. But knowing that the whole Bible in a year is an embarrassingly large leap from my current Bible reading routine, and knowing that I'm already taking on a lot this year, and knowing that God prefers when I look at my Bible reading as a joyful thing, and not a condemning, failure experience, I decided to give myself a break. I dropped it from 66 to 52, and then further again to 33. I think this is a perfect number for me. It's half the Bible, and I can do the other half next year! It's more than I probably would have read without this particular goal, and not so much that I am setting myself up for failure. And I resisted the temptation to look impressive.)

We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

"ROLL DOWN THE WINDOW!" - A Story Of Salvation


Oh sweet, sweet, Jesus, if only we knew all the ways you watch out for us every day... even those who don't yet know You. You watch over them too... not because they deserve it. And not because You need to... simply because You love them. You love them with such a passionate desperation that You choose to defy the natural process of destruction and chaos, and You shower them with blessing, favor, and mercy.

- Amen

Back story: Today I had the pleasure of doing lifegroup with some of my favorite people - certainly some of God's favorites too - while floating down the Penticton Canal. (For those who don't know, there is a beautiful city about a 45 minute drive from my hometown called Penticton, which is sandwiched between two equally gorgeous lakes. Connecting those lakes is a Channel/Canal wth a strong current that is MAD fun to float/swim down in the summer.) So we had a wonderful time floating, chatting, flipping eachother, laughing histerically, swimming, and floating some more. About an hour and a half, and 6ish kms later, we arrived at the end of our ride, and dragged our floaties up onto the shore, and started deflating, still excited about our fun adventure. Little did we know, the real adventure was only beginning.

Minutes later, a taxi cab that had been waiting from up above for potential passengers jumped from it's parking lot position into a full on race towards the water. With only the driver in the vehicle (praise God!), the car barrelled down an embankment, and into the water as though it was travelling promptly with purpose. Myself and the several other witnesses stood dumbfounded for a moment before we realized that this was in fact real life, and not a scene from a movie (which seemed like a more probable conclusion for my now very confused and concerned mind).

Only moments after the car hit the water, three of my wonderful friends, Sean, Warren, and Alex, along with two others, jumped into the water determined to save this man's life. I remember so clearly seeing Warren with the fire, and desperation of Father God in his eyes, begging this trapped man to snap out of his extreme shock and blank daze, and unroll the window before we were all forced to witness the unthinkable. For what seemed like an eternity, we watched Warren banging with frantic urgency on the window, pleading with this man's blank stare to wake up, and accept his only chance for survival - the hand of a loving stranger. In literally the last second before it was too late, the man looked to his left, and then to his right, and realized, in his limited, shocked state, that his situation was bad. Likely unsure of how he got there, he knew he wanted out, and this was going to require immediate action on his part... one step in the right direction... one step would do it... a simple move of his finger... a lowering of the window... to let the stranger - the waiting hero - in. Thank GOD, he did just that. Mere moments before the top of the car was completely submerged, the still-shocked taxi driver, stiff as a board, was being kept afloat by five amazing men - three of whom I know for a fact had God's Spirit of strength on them, as they were the literal hands and feet of Jesus, dragging the stranger to shore.

God's providence didn't end there... Karmelle (Alex's wife, and one of my dearest friends) was waiting on the shore to put her nursing skills to work, praying for God's loving protection to continue, and monitoring his health until the ambulance arrived.

I am simply in awe of our merciful Father God. The more I look at the details of this unreal event, the more I see how God's hand was ALL over it!

Firstly, the taxi miraculously went off the road literally SECONDS AFTER our pastor's wife and two small children (ages 3 and 4) walked right in front of it. Had they been hit with the taxi going at that speed... I can't even bear to think about it. Just Praise God He didn't let that happen.        PRAISE           GOD           !!!

Secondly, on undoubtably one of the BUSIEST days of the year (The Monday of the August long weekend), there happened to be a perfect gap in floating-traffic at the exact time the car hit the water. One could only imagine the number of fatalities there could have been if a group of people were floating by before, during, or after that moment.

Thirdly, common cultural floating-practice is to collect all the booze you can get your hands on, and drink it on your way down the canal - for obvious reasons, we didn't participate in the drinking aspect, and were very possibly the only 100% sober people at the shore at that time. I believe that God strategically timed it that the first people on the scene, and the closest witnesses would be clear-minded, and God-dependent.

Fourthly, it might sound silly, but I'm personally eternally grateful to God that my wonderful friends (and the two other men) were at the scene, willing to risk their lives, and strong enough to save this man. I hate to say it, but I feel like if they weren't around, and I had to jump in, we would be telling a much different story right now. I don't think any number of women would have been able to do what those men did. This taxi driver was a big man, and even as we were watching these strong men pulling him to shore, his head bobbed under the water a couple of times, and I honestly questioned for a second whether or not THEY were going to make it. I praise God that I didn't have to attempt that myself. It would have been unbearable if my little girl-muscles were unable to bear the weight of this man and his water logged clothes. I can't bear to imagine how I would have felt if I had to watch this man go down with little I could do but struggle weakly.

But I didn't. Honestly, I feel so very involved... yet in reality, most of my involvement consisted of watching from the shore. I would have helped if I had to... I really would have. I was ready to make a move, but when I looked around, there was not much to do but praise the Father. God had taken care of everything. He thought out every little detail. Planned to the second for His glory and for the sake of His beloved children. He arranged in advance that no one would need to suffer - that everyone would come out unscathed. Do you think this East Indian taxi driver knew Jesus and that's why He saved him? Possibly... I don't know either way. But the chances are, this man was an unbeliever - most people are. Yet, his Heavenly Father, whether he knew Him or not, was watching him intently... concerned about his every move... anticipating his innocent mistake, and ready to catch him in His loving arms when he fell.

God did everything he possibly could do to help this man. Yet remember the part when Warren was pleading for the man to roll down his window? What if he didn't choose to comply? Would God have still been there? Would God still have been worthy of praise? God's part didn't change, did it? He would have been just as willing and prepared to save the man. He would still have done everything he could to bring him back to the safety of the shore... but ultimately, for a moment, salvation - the differenece between life and death - was in the taxi driver's hands. He had only one possible way out... no second, or third route to safety. This was it. And he had only but a moment to figure it out, and a lifetime of reward for doing it.

Isn't this how it is when we are faced with salvation through Jesus Christ? We don't have multiple options... several correct choices... a few ways that might work. The deal is, that if we don't roll down our spiritual window, our loving Saviour cannot pull us out to safety. No other option... no other way... period! We often sit in our car's too long, attempting foolishly to drive ourselves out of the water only to wind up drowning in our own "selfish ambition and vain conceit." Sometimes, we are tricked to believe that if we act like we aren't really sinking, and deny our obvious fate, that it can't get us. Yet, the fact is, Jesus is like Warren was... standing helplessly, only inches away from us, begging, and pleading for us to choose Him; to admit our need, accept His help, press the button, and hurry our way out of there with the help of our new Best-Friend.

The man later claimed to have accidentally hit the gas instead of the brake - likely over-tired, and half asleep on this long-weekend which was undoubtably busy for any taxi driver. He is a husband and a father, and seemed to be a very sweet, loving man. Please pray for him and his family as he mentally, physically, and emotionally recovers from this traumatic incident. My prayer for him is that his spiritual eyes would be open to see the desperate situation that is living a life without salvation through Jesus. Holy Spirit, I pray that he would willingly, and joyfully receive Your loving, and faithful hand.



Dear God,

Let our words make sense, Father, in the ears of those who would rather not believe.
- Hit them with the weight of the truth while their hearts are soft.
- Hit them with the urgency when their passion and despiration is raw, and at its height.

Kill our apathy.

Put us on the front lines, I pray. There is a war, and I want to fight!

There is a war, and I'm on the winning team. They're playing on our turf.

Lets get out there, take out our five stones, take out Goliath; kill the Philistines of our day, take off our apathy, and wake up, because the war of all wars is being fought secretly in our midst. How much longer can we be so ignorant.

We're playing games in a war-zone, where a stale-mate is not an option - a stale-mate is as big a loss as any. If we choose not to fight, it's just a victory not yet claimed. There is no greater tragedy.

Have mercy on us, Lord.

Take our radical generation. Speak to our forefathers; speak your Words to the leaders of our generation, and the ones preceding us. Help them see. Help us see.

If we don't fight, no one will... we're blind if we think we're in the last days... we're blind if we think we're in the last hour... or minutes... decades have passed, and few have fought... today, we are living in the last second. Help us to take up our cross, help us to put on the full Ephesians armor you've given us, and help us to hold Your hand, which will NEVER let us go. Praise you, Jesus.

You are preparing your army... Father, I pray, by your grace alone, put me on your front-lines... I will give my life!


(October 25th, 2007)