Category Archives: Ramblings

after burnout

after burnout

It has been almost 5 months since my website was hacked and I lost everything I have written in the past 2 years. This happened at a time of chaos in my life, getting ready to go to Africa, then coming back and jumping right back into the insanity that is my life (of my own making). Africa was exactly as I imagined it would be, what wasn’t the same was the feeling of coming back. I have been overseas before so I knew a bit of it but at the time I was still a child really, a teenager with the world open to me and very few responsibilities. This time coming back meant jumping back into the ministries I am involved in, jumping back into being a mom and my work responsibilities. I didn’t expect the emotions that came with it or even know how to explain them, I still don’t really. Losing every post I have poured my heart into for the past two years only exasperated it (a lot).

I found myself well along the road to burnout, again, with no idea how to turn it around and no idea how to even explain how I was feeling except tired.

I don’t blame Africa, that was awesome and I am dying to back, it was entirely my own fault for getting myself involved in too many things, stretching myself too thin and relying on my own strength.

Normally when I feel these feeling writing helps, but this time even my voice was tired. No words left in my over wordy life. Words have always been a way of processing for me, they help but these past few months trying to find words was so hard!

I too a step back of whatever I could and still I just felt exhausted. Every so slowly I started to feel like myself again but still the words were missing. Today was the first time in a long time that I have felt those words start to bubble up again and felt the need to sit down and write. It feels like a spring in my life which is wonderful, slowly those tiny plants are starting to poke through again and I’m starting to feel life creep into me again. Words and emotion, not sure why they have come back together but they have, they both came crashing in on me today.

So, I am back, hopefully to stay and will slowly rebuild my site and content.

signed

PS I just read Eve Undone by Alanna Rusnak and I loved it and I’m not just saying that because she is my friend! It is a short story so it’s perfect for when you want something to fill an hour or so. Seriously, check it out!

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Ghana trip

Ghana Trip (part 1)

I have been trying to find the right words to answer the questions that people keep asking about how our trip was. I think I haven’t really processed it all yet and it is so much to try to sum up into a quick answer! We loved it so much! Ghanaians are wonderful welcoming people who are so fun to be around because they are WAY more expressive than North Americans.

Paul and Anna

Ghanaians are wonderful welcoming people who are so fun to be around because they are WAY more expressive than North Americans. While we were there we taught our hostess, Anna, and her sister Millicent how to make pizza, when we told her we would teach her she danced around the house smiling and cheering. It’s wonderful. (the pizza turned out really good too) We could not have dreamed of better hosts than Paul, Anna and Millicent! We adore them and miss them so much now that we are away. Anna and Millicent are fabulous cooks and spoiled us so much! All three of them are so fun to be around, so silly and hilarious and just all around wonderful.

Millicent

The classes were great, Caleb loved teaching with Pete and Paul and I enjoyed hanging out with some of the kids what came along with their moms. Lesley and I were able to lead a small group during the second module which was on our Position in Christ. We had about 15 women in our group and really enjoyed getting to know them. We would have loved to have a lot more time with them and are looking forward to seeing them again on a future trip.

Caleb teaching in Ghana

We were able to go to a local school and teach during chapels on Wednesday mornings which was awesome. Caleb and I taught the little guys (K – grade 6ish). The younger kids don’t speak very much English yet so we had the help of a translator which was actually really fun because he was a very high energy and expressive translator who copied all the mannerisms I used when I told my story. Caleb taught the first week and I took the second one, I taught the story of Elijah with the prophets of Baal – my  favorite Bible story. (That story always goes over really well with kids.) It is pretty cool that they still have prayer, singing and Bible classes in public schools there! It seems like such a foreign thing coming from a country like Canada or the US.

We were able to spend two days with Priscilla, a very cool lady who fosters 8 children (2 have been adopted by her and her husband now, 6 are still foster kids) in Accra. These children all have special needs and some of them are fairly severe. Priscilla is so full of faith and love she practically radiates it. It was so wonderful getting to know her a bit, I would have loved to spend a lot more time with her and hope to do so next time. On top of her job being mommy and daddy to 8 little kids, Priscilla and William teach Bible classes in the nearby slums, one of the few unchurched places. They are praying about planting a church there soon. There are ways to support their ministry with children and with this church plant if you are interested….

Priscilla Pete, William and the kids Lesley

Just today we saw that the adoptions for two of these little children have gone through and they will be heading over to the US to their new families. Please pray for William and Priscilla and the children as they all say goodbye, this is always very hard but also something to praise God for! If you want to know more about their ministries you can look them up on facebook, twitter or online West Africa Mercy Ministries.

If you haven’t seen the first video from our trip you can do so here and subscribe to my youtube channel to see the next one when it comes out. I will write more and post more videos soon.

signed

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Confessions of a Lazy Mom

Confessions of a Lazy Mom

I have to admit that most of the time I fail miserably at being a mom. Oh I can make it look like I don’t, I can put on a good show when others are around but when it really comes down to it I am nothing like the mom I planned to be. I can’t seem to find the energy to be her.

I don’t scream at my kids, I don’t use words like “shut up” or bad language around them, but i do yell sometimes. I do empty threats that I am just to lazy to follow through with or never intended to follow through with in the first place.

I don’t enjoy cooking most days so if I can get away with it our meals will be quick and easy things. My mom always had great meals (unless she tried a new recipe that was a flop – that happened a few times, usually when we were having company over) but my level of cooking laziness far exceeds hers. My kids aren’t starving by any means but this isn’t what I pictured when I thought about being a mom. I thought I would love cooking and doing their laundry. Who could not love folding up tiny clothes over and over again because they knocked over the pile again or decided it looked like a fun place to jump….

I thought I would read to my kids a lot more than I do. I love to read and always have but when I tried to read books to my kids they ways got bored within minutes or even seconds. That has improved quite a bit now that they are older but most of the time it is still frustrating. I guess, in hindsight, starting them off with that complete works of Aristotle might have been a mistake…..haha I kid, obviously, but that is how they treated even the most exciting books if they don’t have any pictures. I’ve let it burn me out and frustrate me more than it should and instead of persevering I more often opt for what is easier and requires less work. I really need to work on this area…. I must force them to enjoy reading….

I don’t do all that extracurricular crap. Honestly, I get really tired when other moms talk and out skating lessons and swimming lessons and gymnastics and dance class and hockey and soccer and ballet and music lessons and a million other things our children apparently HAVE to learn if they will succeed. My kids play outside and play with lego. They make up their own dance moves, do enough crafts to paper most of the continent and do enough gymnastics on the trampoline that I think they will probably survive.

Sports?! Ain’t nobody got time for dat! Seriously, I have no idea how anyone has time for that. Sure it is cute when they are little but it’s just not gonna happen. Aurora has school-year-long PE every year in her school and gets a taste of all different sports and does intramural games for all of them, that’s good enough. When she’s a teenager she can do more if she wants. When I was a teenager we played floor hockey, basketball or soccer daily but it was always just games we called and if you wanted to play you came. I don’t really see that in Aurora’s future, she may surprise me but it would be a BIG surprise and I am way too lazy to force it.

I don’t do Pinterest crafts with them, I did at one point but now it is basically a once a year or a couple times a year thing….and I don’t do “sensory activities” I mean, my kids bead necklaces and bracelets and paint and stuff like that but I don’t do these specific sensory things that are supposedly so crucial.

Do I feel guilty about it? Ya, sometimes. Probably a lot actually but then I remind myself that my kids are surviving fine, are learning and are doing well so it is probably all ok.

What are your lazy mom confessions?

signed

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Grace in the ugly

grace in the ugly

I have been thinking about grace a lot this summer. When grace shows the most in our lives, and when we see it the most in the lives of others.

A few of weeks ago a couple I know had a new baby, their precious baby came too soon though and was only with them for an hour before going to be with Jesus.

As a bystander I was wrecked, I sat in my car listening to music just weeping for them, I had to sneak out of church a week later because I was sobbing again, even as I write this the tears threaten to pour over.

I drove to meet some girlfriends the day I heard the news, listening to “Your Grace Finds Me” by Matt Redman and sobbing for them and their children and their pain. I started to think about how Grace is most evident in the ugliest moments of our lives.

As a believer we can see grace in our lives every day in so many ways and they are all beautiful, but grace never shows up so beautifully as it does in those devastating moments. The moments when a regular person would fall apart, when a regular person would get angry and yell at God. Those are the moments when grace shines so brightly it can’t be ignored.

When the person who should be destroyed with grief is still praising the Lord.

When the woman who just received the news that there is nothing else they can do for her cancer and she has only weeks left is singing praises and encouraging others.

When the man who just lost his whole family because of his faith is still telling everyone he meets about Jesus.

When the thing that should make a person bitter actually draws them closer to God; grace is never so beautiful as it is then.

It was, after all, one of these ugly moments when Grace won. In that moment when the perfect God-incarnate, beaten so badly he was unrecognizable, cried “it is finished” and conquered sin and showed us what Grace is in the biggest way possible.

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missing love

missing love

So, SBC changed some of their policies on who can be accepted to serve with them now. The changes include no longer automatically disqualifying someone who has spoken in tongues or believes that the tongues is for today. 

Their stance is that you shouldn’t put overemphasis on it because that can become a problem. Our main emphasis should be thing the gospel and discipling others.

I think this is excellent. What I do not think is excellent is the responses. Some people were happy of course, but most many comments I read on facebook frankly disgusted me. “SBC is going to lose a lot of support.” “I am so over SCB.” “And it keeps going down…” People claiming this is against the Bible (who curiously enough cannot show any Biblical proof of that…), people who are just angry because they don’t like things to ever change….. Seriously people! Grow up!

We are really willing to gripe and complain about insignificant things instead of worrying about the people who are dying without hearing the gospel?! Yah, that sounds right.

One day we will get to heaven and I might find out that God doesn’t quite fit into my minuscule picture of Him. I will, no doubt, find that I was wrong about a few things but so will you.

We love to bicker over the little things, how the end times will play out, if the “sign gifts” are for today, if we are predestined or not. We need to get over ourselves! I feel like a broken record with this one. Knock it off people! 

I grew up knowing a few thing were true and oddly enough, the older I get and the more I study the less sure I am about those things but guess what? The person who believes in speaking in tongues or healing or prophecy is going to be in the same heaven with the person who believes cessation and is a Hyper Calvinist. So will the Amillennialist and the Dispensationalist and the Covenant Theologist and any other “ist” I have missed. We are missing the whole point of 1 Corinthians 13! We are a clashing symbol, we are missing love and we are NOTHING.

Sometime we need. Good kick in the butt and some duct tape over our mouths. If we shut up for a moment and really think about what we are saying as we troll the Internet and tear down people both online and in front of us we would hopefully realize that not a single one of us knows everything. God is too big to fit in our tiny brains and we do not have all the answers. 

If we don’t have love, it counts for nothing.

We are missing love.

We are spending our days ripping the bride of Christ to shreds in the name of doctrinal correctness and it is disgusting to God.

Christine Caine said it beautifully, she asked how it would be if her husband’s best man had stood I the church beside her groom while she walked down the isle and stalked about how ugly she (the bride) was, how bad her hair is, how hideous the dress is, how terrible her makeup is…. No groom would take that. Yet we think it is ok to do that abut HIS bide. We diss other churches and other believers and call the Bride ugly and it is offensive to Christ. The people who believe very different things from what you believe are still part of the Bride.

Is it really more important to die on a rock about your specific issue or to work together in love and grace reaching the lost and discipling one another as we grow together?

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mental disorders and the Christian life

mental illness and the Christian life

I was reading, this morning, through the long list of names and genealogies and how long people lived in Genesis 5 and came to the short story about Enoch. We don’t know a whole lot about him, he lived about 4 of our lives but was pretty young compared to his father and son. Besides that, we know that he was faithful to God and that God took him home. Enoch is the only one that has that little bit added on to his short story, “he walked faithfully to God”.

Thinking about Enoch inevitably lead me to thinking about the other person in history who didn’t die, Elijah. I think about his story often, he is one of my favourite people in the Bible actually, but that isn’t what came to mind today. 

Elijah was not exactly what we think about when we think about what a faithful believer should look like. Clearly he had some mental health issues, possibly anxiety, obviously severe depression at times, he could have easily been bipolar. We see him do some crazy awesome things and then freak right out. (Granted, he did not have the Holy Spirit but still.)

Despite struggles with his mental health, Elijah had a great honour only given (that we know of) to two people in history. He got to go to heaven without dying, in a chariot of fire no less! 

It is funny to look at some of the people that God called faithful, a lot of them seemed to possibly have some form of mental illness. David struggled with depression and anxiety, Elijah, Ezekiel struggled with mental illness, Jeremiah and Job may have struggled with depression, and We know Paul had some sort of “affliction” which some think could have been a mental health issue.  Often today the “church” tends to look on people who are struggling with anxiety or depression  (or other mental disorders) as not trusting God enough or not living the “victorious” Christian life but I think these (and other) examples should show us that is an ignorant thought. It seems pretty clear to me that these people were faithful in part because of their mental struggles not just in spite of them. 

This might sound odd, I know, but I have witnessed the Christian life lived out by people with various mental illnesses. I have seen when struggle to faithfully trust God when you struggle with anxiety and as much as it can seem like failure to the person dealing with it, to the observant family member or friend (and I think in God’s eyes too) they are often more victorious because of the struggles they have been entrusted with. 

If David hadn’t struggled with such severe depression would he have drawn as close to the Lord? It is beautiful to read his honesty with the Lord during the dark times and the great times. If Elijah hadn’t struggled the way he did would he have still been granted the honour of departed the earth intake way he did?

I think it is quite beautiful to see the struggles of these people and how they succeeded and failed. It isn’t sugar coated, some of them messed up big time but in the end they were counted as faithful. 

signed

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what God and “science” really say about me

IMG_9239I saw a heartbreaking picture on Facebook today. The picture shows an adorable little girl holding a page full of lies.

I felt I just had to respond to it.

Our world is so full of lies about what “religion” says about people. This is what God says:

God says that anyone who harms a child is better off tying a millstone around his neck and jumping into the sea.

He sent his only Son to DIE for us, He made us in His image. He gives us hope for eternity. He hears our prayers, He answers them. He cares about the sparrows. He provides for us. He is our fortress, an ever present help in times of trouble. He is a Father to the fatherless. I could go on and on.

According to “science” i.e. evolution we are just a cosmic accident. We came from animals, we are basically just animals ourselves. We have no soul, no hope, no purpose, no life after death.

Now which is really more damaging?

Hope for Heaven through Christ, or a guarantee of Hell whether you believe in it or not?

Like I said, it breaks my heart.

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a letter to working moms

Dear working mom,

Hi, I’ve been wanting to write you a letter for a while. You see, we stay at home moms (and work from home moms) keep getting letters from you and I thought you deserved a response.

The last letter I read from you was about a week or two ago and it has been on my mind ever since.

Here are a couple things I want you to understand:

1. SAHMs who say inconsiderate things to you like “I could never leave my kids to work” or “how do you do it?” are often feeling very judged by society and their way of trying to compensate sometimes is passing that judgement back to you. No one ever says “oh you are just a nurse?” or “oh…you are an office manager” in those condescending tones used by people when they say “oh you stay at home with your kids?” or “oh ya, that is the hardest job right?”

Yes, you feel judged by us but we also feel extremely judged.

2. I know sometimes it looks like we have it made in the shade but remember when you have your adult conversations at work (even if you feel like your coworkers are children) that we are often longing for an adult to talk to for just a second someone who won’t talk back or hit or whine (although in all honesty a lot of adults do 2 of those three things daily). So when we have play dates or whatever it is often just an attempt at keeping our sanity until bed time.

3. I am not complaining and stay at home moms should never complain because despite the frustrations we may feel, being able to stay at home with our children is a huge privilege that some of you (especially you single moms) do not have. We value that (most days) and even though some of us may make you feel bad we often look up to you.

4. For some of you it isn’t a choice, you have to work. (I am talking mostly about you single moms, or wives of husbands who have been laid off, haven’t been able to find a job or are in ministry or injured or anything like that. ) But some of you do have a choice, you have made the choice that you feel is right for your family. That is the same thing we did. 

5. We as moms (all moms) already have so many people judging us. We have judgment coming from almost every direction. “oh you don’t let your kids have sugar? That is stupid and mean.”, “oh you DO let them have sugar, that isn’t healthy!“, “oh you vaccinate?“, “You DON”T vaccinate?” the list goes on and on and on. We don’t need to be judging each other for choosing to stay home or be a working mom.

In the end there is just so many more important things we could be doing that laying guilt trips on each other all the time for making the choices we feel are right for our families. In the end the only person who will answer for our choices is us and if we are focusing on the Lord and keeping him in our decisions then who is another mom to judge you for it?

SO working moms, know that we support you. We appreciate what you do for your children and so do they. We do not judge you, and next time a mom makes you feel judged just keep in mind that she is probably feeling very judged and frazzled herself and is making the mistake of putting that on you. Pray for her and try not to hate her. 

All of us, as parents, have the hardest job in the world. We are shaping the world. It is scary and wonderful and we can all use all the support we can get from each other.

Love from,

An at home mom

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feeling restless?

Do you ever get that restless feeling, the one that is like an itch you can’t seem to scratch? For me  it is a creative itch, a feeling that i should be creating something and no matter what I create it doesn’t seem to satisfy the restlessness.

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This isn’t a winter restlessness or a cabin fever feeling I am talking about, this feeling can strike just as easily in the summer.

Am I alone here? Do you know what I am talking about?

I am a fairly creative person so if I am not changing the furniture around, painting the house, working on art or some interesting photography I get bored, but that empty restless feeling is different. It doesn’t feel good. It is an emptiness that no amount of creativity can fill.

I think I have found what causes it. I have noticed recently that when I am ignoring God and not spending time reading the word the feeling comes; If i am spending time in the Word every day then it fades quickly and goes away.

I guess all of those times when i was trying to fill that emptiness with art or words or whatever I was trying to fill what could only be filled by God.

I wonder how many of you feel the same way I do and have found that this is also true in your lives.

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friendship, loneliness and the facade of perfection

I’ve been thinking yesterday and today about how we, as women, often misrepresent ourselves and and the women around us. We look at the women around us and assume that they have it all put together that they never feel lonely or desperate or discouraged, and put on a face (sometimes on purpose sometimes not) that makes us look that way to other women.

So many of us women spend a lot of our lives lonely and longing for deep friendship with other women. Women were made to need each other, we need other women to push us to godliness, encourage us when we are down, laugh with us and cry with us and sometimes hold up a mirror to show us that we are behaving like selfish spoiled children.

It is easy to look at the women around us and assume that they don’t feel this way even when we do. It is scary to put ourselves out there and ask for friendship, to admit loneliness and show our hearts and risk rejection. It can also be scary to approach someone you think may be lonely and offer your friendship.

I was talking with a friend yesterday and it reminded me of the days when i was in the place, I had just moved up from Chicago and 3-4 years of intense loneliness and pain . In my naivety I assumed that simply moving  to where there were a lot of women my age and attending a church full of young couples would change that but I was wrong. For months I spent time watching other friendships and wishing to be part of one and not quite sure how. (I am not a quiet person so don’t assume that just because someone isn’t shy, quiet, introverted or because they always have a smile on their face that they are not desperately lonely.) It wasn’t until I reached the bottom and was *forced* by my mom to call of ladies that things started to change. I started to experienced real friendship again for the first time in a really long time.

It is scary to open ourselves up, friendship is hard, it takes a LOT of work to maintain and our lives are often so busy. Maybe we already have one or two deep friendships and don’t think we need more. But what about those lonely souls around us. The ones who smile at us and make small talk on Sundays. The ones who look like they have it all together. What if you could see past that shell into their desperate hearts? What if they are crying for someone to spend time with them and pray with them and listen to their hopes and fears.

I pray that God would open our eyes and our hearts to those around us who are secretly lonely. That we would either be that friend they so desperately need or that we would pray with them for bravery to seek that friendship.

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*To those dear women who have become those friends to me, I cannot thank the Lord enough for you. I am so blessed through you.

*I in no way want to belittle the friendships I had in Chicago with the sweet ladies I worked with, if you girls are reading this know that I love you dearly. And Allison, you were a beautiful light in such a dark time and you will forever be one of the dearest friends I have -despite distance and seeing each other only once a year. And my mom and sister, you have always been there for me and I love you so much.

 

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