The roaring 20′s and wanting results. Stat.

Ah, the 20’s. It can be torment and toil, exciting and enriching. There’s so many decisions to make by the time you’re 25 that it can be overwhelming, and for many, downright depressing. At 23, I had finished two years of Bible College, worked for a couple years, and still wanted more post-secondary. I was beside myself as to what ‘it’ was I was supposed to do. I knew I wanted to be creative and make an impact. I had applied for film school in LA, university in Nova Scotia, and finally ended up going to college in Lethbridge. At the time, I was either moving out of the country, across the country, or not at all. Well, 3 hours south called my name.

I recall feeling distraught as I tried to decide what was right. What was I supposed to do with my life? Finally, I decided, and went for it.

Would the other paths have been fine? Probably. Business school or an experience in LA may have been fun and brought experiences to write about as well. But at the end of the day, I was so caught up in my purpose, my dreams, what I was supposed to do, that I was consumed with the process.

Lord, I want to DO something for You! Make you proud. Live my purpose. Save sex for marriage. Get an education. Get a secure job. Buy a house. Do all the things I’m supposed to at ‘xx’ age.

The sparking faulty wire with that thinking is that it makes life, well, all about me. I spent more time trying to figure out what my purpose was and how I could please the Lord, than getting to know the One who had made me in the first place. And getting on that train leaves absolutely no room for  God’s creativity and love to move in me. We can get so busy trying to DO for Him, that we completely miss, Him.

I recently read a book by Matt Chandler, Explicit Gospel. It rocked, and IS rocking my world. You should read it! In it he talks about the prophet Isaiah and how God called him to preach to the people of Judah (a portion of Israel, now known as modern day Bethlehem). In Isaiah 6, God calls to Isaiah. He reveals Himself and the prophet is changed. When God calls, Isaiah says, “Lord, here am I, send me!” (vs8). The only thing is, the people that God was sending him to, would never actually turn from their ways. They’d never actually see the truth. And Isaiah knew all of those truths from the beginning. Only a small remnant, a ‘stump’ (vs13) would remain a holy seed that would someday grow again.

photo (2)Here you have an eager prophet who just encountered the living God, receive a calling and be told that he’d never actually ‘succeed’. Yet it was his mission.

As Matt Chandler explains it, Isaiah wasn’t called to be fruitful, but simply to be faithful. “The priority God charges him with is not success, but integrity.” (Explicit Gospel, Matt Chandler).

And so I wrestle with that. As a woman who has lived most of her life wanting to DO, in this season God is calling me to BE. Be His. Be known. Be loved. Be faithful.

And leave the results to Him.

I like results. Stat. Clean. In 30 minutes. With a plan for what’s next ;)

As we ponder decisions and weigh them… Is this my calling? Is this what You want me to do Lord? I wrestle with you. In the desiring to please the Lord, yet know that ultimately, the results are up to Him.

The really cool thing about Isaiah’s story — his book is full of fear not’s, rest in Him, God will redeem, and He has called you by name. His book is full of hope and promise. And the people of Judah would one day know a Messiah, a Saviour, in their very own land.

God has a way of redeeming. Revealing Himself, if we will ask and wait. We just need to trust the timing and the way He does it, up to Him.

A Dutchman, Jesus and a gorgeous oak table

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It’s a beautiful authentic piece; solid oak and over 30 years old. And now, it will be our first table for our very first home.

As we marvelled over this beautiful oak pedestal table that we scored on kijiji, the elderly Dutch gentleman in his green cardigan told us of how he had oiled it and cared for it over the years. We smiled, and listened. It was as though he had just finished his evening tea and really wanted to tell stories to anyone who would lend an ear. Troy’s hands ran across the top as he bent down to study the grooves of how it was made. Our non-verbals spoke volumes; we knew this was the dining set we’d been looking for.

The man told us how he had fed nearly 15 people around that table, much of which was after his wife died of cancer 30 years ago. The Dutchman left the room to grab the leaves, and as we pulled the table open Troy noticed a sticker from the original manufacturer, “Wood Craft”. This immediately signified to my honey that this piece was well made, and we’d found a gem. That simple sticker confirmed for us that we were getting something that was well made through and through.

We listened a while longer to the man tell us of his first home when he brought home his Dutch wife, then handed him the cash and shook on it. Delighted.

It’s just a table, but it was something we’d been holding out for, looking for, and that simple sticker on the inside, hidden where no one could see it, told us it was the real deal.

You know, God has done the same thing for us, in us, when we accept Christ and everything He did for us on the cross. He gives us His Holy Spirit, sealing us with every promise in His Word, as good as ours. And from then on we have the honour of walking with the Holy Spirit as Counsellor, Comforter, Guide, and Teacher.  He continues to reveal Jesus as we walk with Him. (John 14:26)

The Apostle Paul tells the church in Ephesus in Ephesians 1:13, “In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”

I don’t know about you, but my heart is that that seal, that promise, would shine bright as a confirmation to those I meet that Jesus is at work, and that’s all that matters; that those around me would see “Oh, she’s His girl.”

Like this table needs care and may need some refurbishing, it’s still got the label of its maker. I am His, and that’s all that really matters anyway ;)

Here’s the photo of what we hope to do with the table!

photo 2

 

Costco hot dog fumes and the step and stumble of grace  

Walking

He was rude. Arrogant. And after a 30-second song and dance with this guy I was internally plotting his public humiliation.

It was 11:30am in the Costco tire shop line-up. Winter was officially upon us and we hadn’t quite beaten it to the punch by putting the winter tires back on my Jetta. We didn’t have an appointment, because as we understood it, seasonal swaps were on a first-come first serve basis.

The line-up made an L-shape as ev
eryone waited his or her turn. Dressed in dark winter clothing and smelling the hot dog fumes from the Costco cafe, Troy and I proceeded to flip through the online catalogue.

A fairly large gentleman, likely in his early 50’s, stepped into the line and clearly budded in front of us. Both Troy and I were quick to get hot and say we were next in line. The man held up his white sheet of paper – his appointment booking – as though it justified his rudeness.

“Do YOU have an appointment?” The man accusingly questioned.

“We were told you don’t need one for just switching the tires out,” retorted Troy.

“Either way, it doesn’t matter, we were here first,” I said, calmly, and we moved a couple steps closer.

He proceeded to mumble, and I’ll admit, so did we. It was a classic case of “Hello winter, Alberta”. But as the line-up dwindled, I mentally rehearsed lines of how to put this guy in his place and justify our reasoning for NOT having an appointment. Prove him wrong, that’s what we’ll do!

See, I appear a pretty nice person, but at times, I can have a running dialogue that would shock you! Part of me was pleased with myself for speaking up, saying something. It wasn’t my job to change him or how he handled the on-set of winter. It wasn’t my job to be walked over and be okay with wrong behaviour. It was in our hands to state our position and graciously stand in it.

As I sat down this morning with Bible and journal in hand, I felt the Lord speak to me to make a practice of forgiveness and repentance in my daily time with Him. I’ll admit, unfortunately, that as a woman who can say “I’ve been a Christian almost my whole life”, this is not a practice I have made enough of a habit of.

You see, I’ve always seen myself as a ‘good girl’. But even nice girls can have wrong attitudes, heart issues and roots that go way back that can cause more harm than good if not dealt with. Even ‘good girls’ have to repent of sin, and practice forgiveness and repentance.

As I pondered the word forgiveness, it made me think about what it is NOT. It is not being nice, excusing one’s actions, or being a doormat for recurring hurts. Forgiveness is more like acknowledging that there was sin. Wrong doing. Acknowledging the hurt, the pain, and the wrong behaviour.

Instead of saying, “Oh, that’s okay” and moving on, only for the hurt to creep up yeeeaaaars later because you actually didn’t deal with it; I think forgiveness is more like saying, “What you did hurt me and was wrong. But I am choosing not to react anymore, and love you as you are, where you are at, and am moving on.”

Forgiveness sees truth, and takes the higher road, even when it hurts. It doesn’t mean allowing or being okay with it to happen over and over again.

Isn’t that what Jesus did? He didn’t excuse our sin, but Romans 5:8 says he loved us at our darkest. Even while we were sinning, He chose to die for us. Jesus didn’t brush away our behaviour, but acknowledged that something needed to be made right in us.

I don’t honestly know that we handled that guy perfectly in the tire shop that day. We mumbled, yes we did, but we also stood in our place. As I personally learn how to speak up more and not just be ‘good and nice’, I feel like the step and stumble was wrapped in grace.

 

Our Wedding Day

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It was the perfect day.

As we left the reception that night, my eyes welled up with thankfulness for how wonderfully OUR day had gone. From all the friends and family who helped to make it a reality, to all those who drove a distance to watch us become a Mr and Mrs — it was perfect.

We planned our wedding in three months, and while I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that short timeline for everyone, it worked for us!  Along the way I did have to remind myself that nothing had to be Pinterest perfect, it just had to be ‘us’. And to be honest, I was way more concerned about preparing for MARRIAGE than I was about having some far-off, over-the-budget wedding. We wanted our ceremony to reflect our love for the Lord and our commitment to Him and each other. Troy created our centerpieces and built and amazing arch, and “rustic chic’ quickly became our theme. Funny enough, it’s very trendy right now, but it is also very ‘us’. I became an Etsy guru and spreadsheet-queen throughout the process!

If anyone would’ve told me at the age of 18 when I was dead-set on getting married by 23 that I would wait until 33, I would’ve cried my eyes dry! But Troy was so worth the wait, and God has had be in His hands all along, and I wouldn’t change any of my journey! Here are a few pictures from our day, by This Beloved Life Photography (Red Deer, AB).