Thursday, 6 September 2007

Waiting on God - Living In Confidence

During my quiet time a couple of days ago I read the following scripture.

Isaiah 40:28-34 (New American Standard Bible)

Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth
Does not become weary or tired
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary,
And to him who lacks might He increases power.
Though youths grow weary and tired,
And vigorous young men stumble badly,
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary.

I love this passage. It inspires me. It gives me energy whenever I think about it. I don't have to do it all! In fact I am not suppose to. I am suppose to wait on the Lord and He will give me new strength. Oh boy have I needed to hear this. I have been struggling with all the needs that five kids in a house bring and I have been falling into bed at night and I am tired!

I think the thing that we have to remember about waiting on God is not that we just sit there and watch time pass but that we live in confidence that He is going to act on our behalf. My biggest challenge in this situation is not to run ahead of Him and try to solve the problem myself. Maybe there is something in your life that is dragging you down or making you tired. Maybe you have a situation that seems overwhelming and you don't understand it. Good news, God is working and He has given you an opportunity to live in hope. He is right there and He knows all about it and (this is my favourite part) He knows what "the best" resolution for us would be.

For any of you that have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I love to look up words in the dictionary. So I looked up the word inscrutable as it describes His wisdom from verse 28.

"in·scru·ta·ble" - defn. –adjective

1. incapable of being investigated, analyzed, or scrutinized; impenetrable.

2. not easily understood; mysterious; unfathomable: an inscrutable smile.

So this is good news. God's wisdom is not like ours. He sees our situation different than we do and He has a plan. Yeah God!

I encourage you to read all of Isaiah 40. The first section concentrates on God's promised deliverance , the second section is about His ability to deliver His people and verses 28-31 is Isaiah's response to the attitudes of God's people that might think that God has given up on them or He does not care.

Be encouraged, when we live in confidence of the character of Our God - we live a life of faith, a life where we truly give ourselves to Him without reservation, a life where we are moment by moment giving our concerns into our caring Creator's hands. In this state, He is able to transform our lives, our situations and our problems into "His best" for us.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

The Speech

Thank-you to all those who have been faithfully checking this blog. It has been quite a while since I have written. It is not there there hasn't been anything to write about but it seems like every time I try I can't get the words down on paper. My very wise husband Jason says it is like the game Boggle. I have the words ready to go and then somebody comes along and shakes them all up and I know that the words are still there somewhere but I just need to find them again because everything looks different. So if you have ever played the game Boggle that is what our life has been like as of late.

I have alluded in other blogs to the fact that we were facing some big decisions that would really affect our family and life in general for the whole McGibbon clan. For those of you that we see everyday you know that we have a friend staying with us. She started out as a friend of Caroline's and over the past ten months or so we have all become friends. We have invited her to stay in our home and she has accepted. So for now we are a family of six and one friend who is like family while she is living with us. As we only have three bedrooms for this new clan of seven it has meant some changes and lots of sharing! We are all adjusting to our new situation and we look forward to seeing what God has in store.

I was struggling with some of the issues that surround our expanded clan this past week and I called Anita. I was wrestling with self doubt that I could handle all the pressures of this new situation. Not because of the little girl we have taken in who is a sweetie but because the arrangements are a complicated situation.

I started to cry, as my friend answered "Hey what's up!" "I am calling for the speech" I responded quickly as my voice started to crack. "I know, I know the speech, I know I have given the speech but I need you to give me the speech and quick." And my dear friend instead of calling me a ninny reminded my how much God loves me and she quoted scripture about what He says about me. And she reminded me what He says about this little girl who is in our home and she told me again that with God all things are possible. "You can do this" she said "because He is going to do it." And as the words sank into my heart, the lump in my throat started to get smaller and my voice got stronger and I was reminded again by my amazing friend that God is control and He has plan for our family and He has a plan for this sweet little girl.

Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

When I got off the phone with Anita, I felt so much better. A few seconds later the phone rang and it was Cheri. "Hey" she said. "I can't get you off my mind are you okay?" "Yes" I laughed! I just called Anita and she gave me the speech and I am doing much better. Cheri also gave me her version of the speech which ended with her telling me to call Louise for more prayer and scripture just to make doubly sure that I was going to be okay!

Every once in a while life requires your good friends to give you the speech even when you know the words by heart. Thank-you to my dear friends who gave me the speech and those of you who would have given it to me if Anita and Cheri had been out!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A Lesson from a Group of Fireflies

I feel like I have been unplugged forever! We are back from family camp where the whole gang had a blast. TJ (and Jay and I) survived her first camp experience including sleeping in a tent. She loved the worship and continues to go around our house singing at the top of her lungs. "I just want to be a sheep" and "Oh when the saints come marchin' in!" At the last minute we took a friend of ours and the kids had a great time teaching her all the songs and showing her all the great stuff about camp. Jason and I taught together for the first time and really enjoyed all the adults in our group. We used Ephesians 1:1-14 to look at what scripture has to say about, our Heavenly Father, our Saviour His Son, The Holy Spirit, the body of Christ and our call to missions. The directors of family camp and the permanent staff at Ryerson did a fabulous job of blessing all of our families and we loved hanging out with them and watching God work!

Each night I would head off some time between 8 and 9 pm and try to get TJ settled down for bed. Jason and kids would head off to the dining hall, to play some board games with other families and so it was usually nice and quiet. It is really dark at camp when you are away from the city lights. Once I turned off the flashlight in the tent it was too dark to read or really see too much so I would usually lie on my air mattress and chat with God about the day, as TJ started to drift off to sleep.

I think it was about mid week that I noticed the tiny flying lights. At first, I thought, I was seeing things as I saw one little light quickly glow and then vanish into the dark. As I stared into the open space, I realized that I had seen it again and then the glow became more frequent and soon there was more time that I could see the tiny lights then not. I realized that they were fireflies congregating together and shining their beautiful sparkling lights for all the world to see. Pretty soon, the light show was amazing and I could hear other campers talking about the fireflies and commenting about the beauty. I heard kids asking their parents what are those lights and why do they do it? I must have watched them for over half an hour.

When I finally laid my head back down on the pillow, I thought what a great reminder those fireflies are for the body of Christ. I had noticed the one little firefly on his own but as he attracted more of his firefly friends the beautiful show began and that is when the kids began to ask about why these little bugs do what they do. God wants us to be in community shining brightly together for Him. When we go out into our communities as the body of Christ our neighbours will ask who we are and why is it that they do what we do? So as you head out into the world this week take a lesson from the fireflies and shine your light!

"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16

Friday, 27 July 2007

The Fresh Start of Today

The summer is flying by and it has been just over a week since I posted my thoughts. Life at the McGibbon house has been a bit crazier than usual so my blogging time was taken over by the pressures of life with lots of kids. We are getting ready to leave for family camp at Ryerson ( ) on Sunday afternoon for about five days. Jason and I will have a chance to lead the adult sessions everyday and we will be looking at Ephesians 1:1-14. I can't wait. I am sure there will be lots to share about upon our return.

As I write this morning, the sound and smell of fresh rain is filling my family room. It is washing away the old and ushering in a fresh new start. All is quiet and the kids are still sleeping. Well, for now at least!

I love this time of day when I get up before everyone else. I have my coffee (Timmy's of course!) and read my bible and journal my thoughts and pray. I thank God for the gift of a new day. For the opportunity to start fresh, to readjust my will to His and to take time to be thankful for all the blessings He has given. Every morning I have this short but very sweet time to take stock, to take a deep breath and to be grateful that I am once again given the fresh start of Today.

Today, I have the opportunity to thank God for the gift of His Son more often. Today, I have the chance to teach my children more about His love. Today, I have the prospect of living a day of worship with every choice. Today, I will be given occasions to love my husband the way Christ intended. Today, I have the possibility to proclaim His Kingdom to my circle of influence. Today, I have the ability to make choices that shine His light into my community. Today, I can live my life for Jesus and not for myself. The opportunities are endless with what I can do with the fresh start of today.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Her Circle of Influence

Yesterday, I packed all my kids in the van and headed off with my parents to see my great Aunt Ag. She lives about an hour away in another town. On the weekend, Aunt Ag had a birthday so we were going out to give her our best wishes and take her lunch from Swiss Chalet. Aunt Ag likes the soup and chicken sandwich. My kids were thrilled that Grandpa was taking them out to eat!

When we arrived Aunt Ag greeted us at the door with her usual bright sunny attitude. Her positive approach to life seems to be enhanced with every birthday that she celebrates. Aunt Ag just celebrated her 102nd birthday.

As she interacted with my kids and talked to my mom and dad I stared at her beautiful smile and her sparkling eyes. The blue eyes that have witnessed so much life. It is amazing to really think about how much life she has actually lived. I listened to her asking questions about how the kids were doing in school, did they like french? How was my mom's mother keeping? How is our church? What was my niece Fiona been up to? I listened as she told stories of what it was like to live in Ireland when she was young. I watched my children's faces as she talked about how she went to work at the Mill when she was just 12 years old. They worked from 6am to 6 pm and it was hard work. I continued to listen as she and my dad reminisced about my grandparents and life when my dad was growing up. Their lives revolved around church and family and being together. I heard fresh about the influence that both she and my grandmother had been on their husbands and in turn their own families. I thought about how that circle of influence now included my children who were playing on the grass.

"Oh this is such a lovely lunch." she kept saying. "I do love to see the children." I wonder when she looks at them if she realizes her influence on their lives. If she understands the heritage she has passed down to our family. I wonder who else has been touched by her life. I wonder if at 102 years old you begin to comprehend the enormity of the impact of your circle of influence.

I wonder...

Monday, 9 July 2007

PEPSI People

Well, life at the McGibbon house is never dull. We were away at the cottage for a few days last week. It was nice to sit and watch the kids play in the sand on the shores of Georgian Bay. The weather cooperated for the most part and we had a blast just hanging out as a family. We came home for the weekend and to make sure we did not miss our Sunday service with the Sanctuary Milton gang.

One of our church family members had made a photo presentation of activities that we had been involved in the week before with some of our friends from Mt. Airy Baptist Church in South Carolina. (view more photos on As I sat and watched the faces on the screen I was over come with emotion. How amazing God's family is! Light was shone in our community and you could see it all over the faces of the children that we had served and with the people that we had been able to make connections.

Our daughter Caroline has a shirt from Mt. Airy. On the back it has a great life statement. (I always think of it when I drink a PEPSI)

In His Name

As the photo presentation continued to play and memories flooded my mind this statement is what I saw being played out in the images on the screen. Liam who is 7 came up beside me and said, "It was a good week with the mission team. I want to grow up so I can go and be just like them. Kathy and her whole family get to go this week and tell people about Jesus in place where they have lizards. We should do that. That is cool."

Thank-you to my friends in Mt. Airy for being a light in our community, for your prayers for our ministry but most of all for being an incredible example to my children and for inspiring them.

Pray for Kathy and her family this week and Mt. Airy Baptist Church as they send a team this Saturday to serve in Christ's name in Costa Rica. (Kathy, I am praying that all the lizards go for a holiday while you are there!)
As we go out into the world this week wherever we are may we all be PEPSI people.

Saturday, 30 June 2007

The McGibbon Titanic and the Worshipping Daughter

About once a week at our house we have what is affectionately known as left overs night. Since we have a larger family there is rarely enough of one thing to feed the entire crew but if you throw a bunch of leftovers together....Voila we have a theme dinner! Well, anyway that is what I tell my kids so they won't complain. The thing about leftover night is everyone gets something different and you never know what it is going to be.
So last week we were having leftover night. For some reason I had to feed the kids first. To be honest I can't remember why but Jason and I had to eat after them. So as the kids started to clean up in the kitchen after their dinner and Jason and I tried to start to eat our dinner (in the dining room) the trouble began. A low rumble started to be audible in the kitchen. It seems not everyone was being helpful in the clean up process. Can you imagine that? The rumble started to grow into a roar so we called our youngest son Liam whose voice was the loudest to come and see us. We had a little chat and sent him back to help. Well, it seems that another one of our children was having a little trouble with the routine. Miss Trinity Joy wanted someone to play with her and she wanted them to do it now! For any of you that have children you can probably start to picture the scene in your mind. All Jay and I want is a little peace and quiet so we can finish our dinner. We don't need total silence and it does not have to be a leisurely dinner but we don't really want to have to wolf down our food and we would like to be able to hear ourselves talk. Well, the situation is deteriorating fast and we as parents are loosing any sense of control that we had fooled ourselves into thinking that we had. There are crying and yelling children, barking dogs who are trying to steal any food that is left unattended and frustrated hungry parents who are about to loose their cool, when through the chaos we hear the faint sounds of someone worshipping....

Caroline is doing the dishes and as she is washing up if we listen hard through all the noise we can hear her singing, "Blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be your name. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Blessed be your glorious name." Now if you have ever seen the movie Titanic, there is a scene in which the Titanic is sinking and people are screaming for life rafts and the string quartet is playing beautiful music up on deck. They seem to be totally oblivious to what is happening around them and are content to continue to do their job well up until the end. This is the scene that is playing out before our eyes. There is utter chaos in our house and it seems like the McGibbon ship is about to sink into the depths of the end of the school year kid craziness except there is one who is remembering what is important. Caroline is worshipping the King of Kings as the madness rages on around her. We were created to worship the Lord our God above all else. What a great reminder.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

The Body of Christ Arrived on a Bus

As the wife of a pastor who has chosen to help start a new church I have experienced many blessings. One of those incrediable blessings came a few weeks ago in the form of a mission team. From the moment I met them in the misty rain on their cool mission bus I was blessed. This small group of teens and there leaders exuded God's light into our community where ever they went. They travelled here all the way from Ashburn, Georgia which is home to this big peanut in the photo. As I talked to them I realized that for some this was their first trip outside of the United States and yet they came here not to see the sights but to come along side us to enable us to spend more time with our community. They delivered hundreds and hundreds of flyers, worked at one of our community groups for children, scraped and painted our clapboard signs and most of all encouraged us with their enthusiasm and love.

When we started at The Sanctuary Milton I really did not have any idea of how difficult it might be to start a new church. I had no idea how hard the days of distraction, discouragement and doubt might be at times. One of those times came right before the Ashburn team got here. The team had no idea but God knew that I was in need of seeing the body of Christ at work to encourage me. Not only did they encourage me, and love our family and other families in our little church and in our town but they inspired me. I will never forget worshipping with them in my living room and hearing their beautiful voices lifted in praise.

Recently someone from our town asked me why would these people come if they did not know us? What was in it for them? What an opportunity I was given to share about living out Jesus' love. What an impact this mission team had on a woman that they never even met while they were here. God's plans are amazing! How big is our God and vast is His Kingdom! Thank-you to my new friends! Thank-you for coming and being God's blessing to me!

Monday, 18 June 2007

Daniel's Baptism

Sunday was Father's Day. It was also my son Daniel's 12th birthday. Daniel has changed and grown so much since the first day we met him. Every day I learn more about my son than I knew the day before. What an amazing gift he is to us.

What I love the most is that Daniel's eyes sparkle when he smiles. It is infectious and it makes me smile too. We both had lots to smile about this past Sunday. My husband Jason had the privilege of baptizing Daniel during our church service. This is what Daniel wanted to do for his birthday. What an amazing moment for his dad.

I tried to take photos between the tears of joy. I remember not knowing how how to pray for Daniel just a few short years ago. I prayed that he would know we loved him with all our hearts and that we would be able to help him grow his own roots in God's love. I prayed that one day he would know Jesus and that he would be able to soar upon his wings to heights that he could never imagine on his own. I remember the day that Daniel started to learn that he could pray to Jesus. I remember watching his face as he was starting to realize that no matter what might be happening in his life that he could talk to Jesus when ever he wanted. I will never forget the day he asked Jesus into his heart and I will never forget this past Father's Day when Daniel decided to let the world know he had come home. Daniel has amazing testimony and I am looking forward to the day when he shares it to proclaim God's Kingdom. Yeah God!! Thank-you for giving us Daniel.

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Temper Tantrums

I have now experienced a right of passage with my youngest daughter, little Miss TJ. She treated me to a full blown screammin' Mimi public temper tantrum a couple of weeks ago. The day had started off well. She had woken up in a great mood. We had gotten out the door at a reasonable hour and headed to a Christian bookstore to pick up a book for a friend. Everything was going well until we got into the store. My darling little Miss wanted to look at all the books on the book shelves and could not understand why I would not let her touch every single one. She also wanted down to walk by herself, she was a big girl and she told me she could do it. "I do it." she kept saying. I had said "no" because frankly there were allot of breakables in this particular store.

The only thing more embarrassing than a public temper tantrum is having to pay for and pick up pieces of broken figurines as your child is still screaming for all she is worth. Putting on my "calm" mom voice I tried hard to reason with my sweet little girl. "T.J. Mommy will give you your book when we get back in the car. These books are for grown-ups not for little girls. They don't have any pictures. You won't like them." "NO MOMMY. NO... LIKE...YOU!." she said loud enough so that even the people in the next store would have heard her. I took a deep breath... "That is too bad. Mommy loves you very much. I will just be one more minute." I said in my best Mom voice.

Now, as every parent knows what I should have done at this point was just leave the store. Why is it that we think we can squeeze another minute out of an already distressed toddler. I have no other time to get this book I reasoned and it needs to be just the right one. Well, little stressed out girls do not understand Mommy's reasoning and you can guess what happened next. As I picked my book and attempted to pay for it I had a screaming, crying, flailing, pterodactyl in my arms instead of my precious cute pigtailed daughter. Trinity did not understand why her Mommy was not listening to her and there were no words that would make her listen. She had hit her breaking point.

Although, I didn't like TJ's behaviour in the store I think I can relate. In fact, I think I can safely say that even as a grown up I have a few temper tantrums myself. Now, maybe I don't have them in public anymore and I think I am a little quieter than my ear piercing daughter but if I am really honest with myself the stompping feet are still the same. Have you ever felt like this? What is it that pushes you over your breaking point? When you have calmed down do you ever look at what led you to that place? For me I find that missed quiet times with the Lord can often be found when I get pushed past my limit. It is not that life is any easier or less stressful but when I start off the morning by myself in God's word and in prayer I start the day with my focus in the right place. Even Jesus needed time by himself to be with His father. "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. " Mark 1:35.

So if you find yourself getting pushed past your limit take a deep breath and than at the first chance you get spend some time with the One who loves you no matter what state your heart is in. Tell Jesus everything and He will focus your attention to what is important.

As for Trinity Joy, when we left the store I hugged my little girl, dried her tears and said "It is alright. Mommy loves you even when you are a screammin' Mimi."

Sunday, 10 June 2007

My Life

"Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring." Isaiah 58:10-11

I have been thinking about my "life" alot lately and as I often do when I am thinking about something, I thought I would look it up on Well, for a very short four letter word, life as a noun has alot of definitions. Over 25 to be exact and if you are looking at it as an adjective and/or idiom then you get up to 36! I know, I know... I am amused by strange things.

So the first definition is as follows: 1. the condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organisms, being manifested by growth through metabolism, reproduction, and the power of adaptation to environment through changes originating internally. Wow, that is mouthful! It is almost as if I need a definition for my definition. Anyway, when I got down to number 11 I was intrigued. Number 11 states: the course of existence or sum of experiences and actions that constitute a person's existence. Now, that was more like it. This is more along the line of what I have been thinking about. What is my life?

Our family is in the process of making some fairly significant decisions that would reshape our life as we currently know it. This unexpected opportunity has led me to ponder how my life became this zoo that I love so much. As I look back I can tell you that as a teenager I did not dream this life for myself. In fact ,I wanted just the opposite. I wanted a fast paced, successful career. I wanted a small family and lots of money for us to travel around the world. I wanted a big house and a cottage on a quiet lake and for my kids to never want for anything. My desire was to have a "successful" life.

Somewhere along the way though Jesus changed my heart's desire. He placed this fabulous man in my life who took my breath away. (My mom actually prayed Jason into my life but that is another post!) He was (and still is) this amazing musician and God had a hold of him and was calling him into ministry and He was my best friend in the whole world. He challenged me with ideas like "If we are Christians shouldn't our lives look so different to the outside world that people ask us why that is?" Well, we married on the happiest day of my life and bought our two crazy dogs and after a couple of years we had a son. His name was Liam. He turned everything upside down. I remember looking at him in the hospital and thinking I can't believe that God would allow us to be responsible to bring up this miracle. It was overwhelming. This little baby opened my eyes and my heart to think about what God considers important in a life and what He would want Liam to learn.

Well, over the years there has been more overwhelming experiences. At Ryerson camp we met all these great kids that were in the foster care system. Many of them did not know who Jesus was and were really not looking start a new relationship. For them relationships meant pain and loss and to talk about how God sent His only Son so that we could have a relationship with Him did not interest most of them a bit. God began to open our eyes to a whole community of children that had broken hearts which could only be repaired by the Creator of the Universe. The problem was that no one was telling them about Jesus in a way in which they would relate. God began to speak to our hearts about how He cares about the children who have no families. We began to see that God's people have the capacity to make a real difference in the lives of these children. So when Liam was three our family grew to include Daniel and Caroline through adoption. The process is an experience that has left us forever changed and forever blessed. The miracles that we have witnessed in our family can only be attributed to a God that loves us all.

Our most recent little addition to the family occurred almost two years ago when Trinity Joy bounced her way into our lives. She might be the smallest in our brood but her vocabulary grows everyday and what she lacks in size she makes up for in volume! From the moment that she was born she has made sure that everyone knows she is here to stay!

So in the midst of all these famly additions we have made some other significant choices. I made the choice to stay home with the kids and devote much of my time to leading worship for At His Feet Ministries. Jason went into full-time ministry as a worship pastor and we moved to Milton in order to be a part of starting a new church called The Sanctuary Milton.

Obviously in this post I can't describe all aspects of my life but as I reminisce and look forward to what could be a new chapter in our lives I am reminded of Psalm 37: 4 which says "Delight yourself in the LORD and He will give you the desires of your heart." My "life" thus far through the sum of my experinces as defined by has given me the desires of my heart. Not the desires I thought they would be as a young teenager but the desires that He has helped me to discover. I am looking forward to what is around the corner!

Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Press to Jesus for One Touch

I have had a few days to try to process all that was said at the Women of Faith Conference that I attended on the weekend. As I had typed in my last post the theme scripture for the conference was John 8:36 "So if the Son has made you free than you will be free indeed."

All the speakers were great but I think the moment that spoke to me the most was when Nicole C. Mullen sang her new song "One Touch". ( then click on her song One Touch to hear it). This song is based on the story of the hemorrhaging woman in scripture. This story can be found in Mark 5:25-34. Mathew 9:20-22 and Luke 43-48.

Over the past few days I had read and re-read these portions of scripture. I have pondered my own issues that have needed healing and I have prayed for those that I know are struggling. I have thanked God for this particular story of encouragement in scripture. Jesus heals. Jesus saves. Jesus sets us free. I have a God who is willing to touch me in my brokenness and who has made me whole. In fact I would dare to say my God would like to see me a little more broken. At times I have bought into the North American dream of Independence. We have much to learn from this scripture and those around us who are willing to expose their brokenness. In my brokenness I am humble and I have a desperate dependence on the grace offered so freely by Jesus. How often though is this truly the case?

The story of the hemorrhaging woman exposes this woman's deep desperation and Jesus reaction to her desperate situation. In reading the story you realize that this woman was more desperate than most of us have ever been and she pressed her way to Jesus with a determined faith that only He was the answer to her situation. Jesus acknowledges her act of faith by not rebuking her. He shows her and us that He is unashamed by her uncleanness. He knew that He would take her uncleanness and all of our shame and sin on the cross at Calvary. Do we who call ourselves followers of Christ really react to others that are that desperate? Are we as unashamed to touch them? To help them press to Jesus? Or is it too uncomfortable for us? Why is that often our reaction if we believe that only the grace of Jesus has saved us?

A good friend of mine posed a question to me on Monday night. She asked "How often are we in North America really in an impossible situation in which only God can be our supply? Does this fact limit our faith? Should we be praying for impossible situations in our lives in which only God can get the glory? Are we really ready to do that??" I have been thinking alot about these question ever since. I thought I would pass it on to see what you thought. I still have lots to think about and will write more later.

Monday, 4 June 2007

We are home!

We are home! It was quite a road trip. God has given me lots to ponder as I settle back into my crazy zoo-like life! The conference was great! Over 10,000 women worshipping the Lord through His words and in song and in dance! Yes, I said dance. We, girls were quite the sight! Although Hip Hop is not our strong suit (yet!), we are resolved to learn! Anyway, I am sure that when the Lord was looking down he saw our hearts dancing for Him and not Cheri elbowing me in the head!

It was truly great to spend time with my friends who know me so well and to watch the impact of His words on all of us. I am looking forward to over the next week processing all that was said and really digging deep on how I am going to respond.

We also got some time to relax, to kick back and to just laugh. And laugh, and laugh and laugh! And laugh just a little bit more!
As promised here are a few pictures of the girls at our favourite restaurant The Cracker Barrel. As you can see we love the rockers. I can see us all in a few years sitting on a porch just like this one. Laughing and worshipping and just being with each other and Jesus. Louise and Michelle will want to play checkers and the rest of us will be making sure that they don't cheat!

Well, over the next couple days I will write more but for now I will just leave you with the scripture verse that was the Amazing Freedom conference theme.

"So if the Son sets you free, You are free indeed." John 8:36 Take some time to meditate on this verse this week. I will write more soon!

Thursday, 31 May 2007

Road Trip - Six Women in a Mini-Van with Jesus

This is a picture of myself (I have brown hair in the back row) and the other women from AHF Ministries at our ladies spring retreat PJ party! Who says Christian women are boring!!! It is hard to believe that it has been almost five years since God took a van load of women on their way to New York City for the weekend and started to plant seeds for a ministry of His design. As I look back over all the road trips He has brought together and all that He has done and how He has grown six ladies I am amazed.

Well, our God has worked out all the details so that AHF Ministries can again head out on another road trip with Him. We leave tomorrow and are headed to Rochester, New York for a wonderful weekend of spending time with Jesus and each other at a Women of Faith Conference.

Yesterday, I was reading Anita's blog and I found myself laughing right out loud. God honestly could not have picked six more different women to put together in an enclosed space like a mini-van! It is the craziest thing. The key that holds us all together like glue is our times of sitting at the Lord's feet and listening to what He has to say to us. The truth is that those times together worshipping in His word and prayer has stretched me until it has become down right uncomfortable.

In a way, I feel just as nervous about our road trip tomorrow as I did on our first road trip, when I wondered how on earth I ended up driving nine hours to New York with women I hardly knew. Oh, I know this road trip will be a blast. I know we will come back with funny stories that make us laugh until our sides hurt. I know we will have an amazing time at the conference and I can't wait to hear Nicolle C. Mullen sing but I still get a bit nervous about "the Jesus factor". From experience I know that our road trips are never quite as straight forward as they are suppose to be. You see Jesus is always the extra passenger in the van. He physically doesn't take up much room (which is good with six women and luggage) but sometimes His presence is overwhelming and He takes us to the most unexpected places! I have a feeling that once again I will be taken out of my comfort zone and challenged by our amazing God. I will take lots of photos (ones where we are not in our PJ's!) and let you know all about it when we get back!

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Kairos - Where are you sharing your hope?

"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have."
1 Peter 3:15

Yesterday, I was making cookies. Lots and lots of chocolate chip cookies. As I have mentioned before I am trying to live a more healthy lifestyle and lots of chocolate chip cookies is not on the menu! As I baked cookies the door bell kept ringing and friends from our congregation kept arriving with armloads of more cookies! Pretty soon my kitchen counters were full of boxes and boxes of cookies and the yummy smell of freshly backed goods filled the air. So why I am putting myself through this torture? My father-in-law Gerry inspires me.

He leaves tomorrow to share the hope that he has with inmates in a prison. I can't think of a place that would be more void of hope than a prison. Gerry will spend the next four days with a Kairos team giving himself away to shine some light into this very dark place. He will share with them how Christ changed his life, how he has has been forever changed and how they too can have that kind of hope. You see hope commits us to action that connects with God's promises. Hope acts on the conviction that God will complete the work that He has begun even when the appearances, especially when the appearances oppose it. Gerry and his friends will share cookies with these inmates and they will share the hope of Christ. This is a hope-determined action. It is a participation in the future that God is bringing into being. It it listening to what God says and responding despite what society or anyone else thinks.

On Karios' website they have some testimonies. Here are just two that hit home for me.

Steve: “I was lost...without hope ... no guide, no friend, I have found the path to freedom, hope with vision, guidance toward happiness and more kindness, love and fellowship than I have ever seen.”

Art: “I’m glad I got caught, because if I had not been caught and sentenced and sent to this place, I might never have met Jesus Christ on this weekend, never have known God was real.”
The act of bringing hundreds of dozens of cookies to a prison and sharing hope over coffee may not seem to be a spectacular act in our worldly view but when I read the testimonies above I am awed by the deliberate act of hope for Christ that will occur this weekend and I am inspired at the example that my father-in-law sets for us all. I can't wait to hear about what God accomplishes. Where will you share your hope this weekend?

Tuesday, 29 May 2007

A Distant Rain

The other day it rained. I love a good rain storm. At first, you hear the occasional drop...drop...drop. Sometimes, as you look off into the distance you can see the rain coming like the photo above. Then as you began to listen, the drops get closer together and they get faster and louder and you sense that a storm is brewing. Before long you are enveloped in the sound and you know that there is nothing that is exposed that the rain will not touch.

Sometimes, I feel God works like a rain storm. You sense the rumblings that He is beginning to do something. He makes you spiritually aware and you start looking to see what is happening. You see him working and weaving circumstances, and lives together. He begins to prompt your spirit to join Him in His work. Sometimes though, we can be too busy to miss what He is doing and His work happens all around us and we never notice. We go untouched because we have not exposed ourselves to His promptings. Other times, we are open to where He is working and we become enveloped in what He is doing and He touches every part of our lives that we have left open to Him.

Right now, I am watching a distant rain. In my quiet times in prayer, in His word and through circumstances He has made me keenly aware that He is calling me to be involved in what He is doing. I have many questions about what will this storm of "His working" look like? What will happen in the end? What exactly does He want me to do?

The following is a great song by Delirious? ( You can listen to the song here) It is a good one and is on their Worldservice album. As I continue to pray about what I see God doing I will be definitely be turning this one up loud and dancing in my living room.

Rain Down
Written by Martin Smith/Stuart Garrard copyright 2003 Curious?Music UK

Looks like tonight, the sky is heavy
Feels like the winds are gonna change
Beneath my feet, the earth is ready
I know its time for heaven's rain
It's gonna rain

Cos it's living water we desire
To flood our hearts with holy fire
Rain down all around the world we're singing
Rain down can you here the earth is singing
Rain down my heart is dry but still I'm singing
Rain down rain it down on me.

Back to the start, my heart is heavy
Feels like it's time, to dream again
I see the clouds, and yes I'm ready
To dance upon this barren land
Hope in my hands

Do not shut, Do not shut, Do not shut the heavens
But open up, open up, open up our hearts

Give me strength to cross this water
Keep my heart upon your altar
Give me strength to cross this water
Keep my feet don’t let me falter

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

What does God think on our Birthdays?

My youngest son and I share the same birthday. We celebrated this past long weekend at Jason's parent's cottage. It is fun to share a birthday with him. I admit that not long ago he came up with a plan to move my birthday to August so he could have the day all to himself but I still think it is fun. As I sat on the beach over looking Georgian Bay and watching the kids play in the sand I was in a reflective mood. My son came and sat beside me. "So do you feel different?" He asked. "No buddy. How about you? Do you feel different today?" I responded. "I feel 7 today." He said. "Hey Mom, What do you think God is thinking about us today, since it is our birthday?" Now, I should be use to this type of questioning from my son but it was my birthday and I was relaxing so I was caught off guard . "Well" I began. "I don't know ... What do you think?"I asked. Trying to delay my answer until I could get me brain in gear. "I think He thinks I am doing pretty good for 7." He said matter of factly. "Really, why do you think that?" I asked. " Because I know Jesus is His Son and He died so we could be with God again and I like the colour orange and so does God." Before I could respond the other kids called him and my son was off running and I was left with my thoughts. I wonder what God does think on our birthday?

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Mothers of Nobility

I have been thinking a lot lately about being a Mom and about how God has brought our family together. Maybe it is because Mother's Day was last Sunday. Maybe it is because it is this time of year that all my kids have birthdays and I have been thinking that they are growing up too fast. Maybe it is because Pastor Jim spoke a great message on "Being a Mother of Nobility" this past Sunday. Maybe it is because at the end of his message I (along with some other moms) received the greatest gift from my kids that I could have ever gotten. Honestly, I am not sure if there was a dry eye in the room. (If you have a minute and want to listen to a great sermon check it out at You can download the MP3 or listen to it from the website. Go to the Current Message Series tab.) Maybe it is because the follow-up questions at our homechurch last night were really hitting home with how God has created our family. Or maybe it is because God is trying to get my attention and He wants me to listen and respond to what He has to say.

I am so blessed to have the privilege of raising my children. God has taught me many things through each of them. He has expanded my concept of unconditional love. He enables me to parent them. He helps me to teach them about Him and His redeeming plan for their lives. He reminds me about things He has said to me through them. And He guides me in making choices for them.

Last night at home church, we talked about how many kids there are in Ontario and even in our region of Halton that do not have parents that are able to raise them safely. Over the last five years alone Halton CAS reports a 50% increase in referral rates to Children's Aid. These children are lost. They are a lost generation of kids. They live in our neighborhoods, they go to our schools, we see them playing at the park but do we really recognize how lost they are?

We as a society try to care for their physical and emotional needs. We take them out of unhealthy situations, we offer them counselling and place them with people that will care for them. The problem is that hearts can only be mended by the one who made them. Jesus is the only one who can save this generation of lost kids. Only the Lord knows that they are "fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139. He alone formed their inward parts and wove them in their mother's womb. He alone is intimately acquainted with all their ways. Psalm 139 also says, "Wonderful are your works and my soul knows it very well" (v14b). How will they know this if no one tells them?

A mother of nobility prays for her children. Who will pray for these children? Who will pray for these lost broken hearts? Who will pray that God changes our hearts to call us to parent them and tell them about the one who will love them with a love that they have never known? Please consider praying with me.

Thursday, 10 May 2007

See the Need - Meet the Need

Spring always reminds me that summer is just around the corner. For the past 10 years or so summer has meant that we have got to spend some time at camp. Ryerson Christian Camp is on 68 acres overlooking beautiful Lake Erie and is near Turkey Point, Ontario. Nothing beats a week at camp. Fried oats over an open fire, amazing worship and sessions, vesper point views, sponge wars, camp out night and of course campfires. (If you want to know more about the camp or sign up your kids I have been filing out registration forms for my kids and I am slightly jealous. I tried to talk them into family camp this year but they want to go to camp without their parents. My oldest reminded me that camp is his "vacation". A twelve year old that needs a vacation!

One of the things I love about Ryerson is that the directors and staff teach by example. They have a passion for Jesus that teaches my kids through worship and sessions. They love my kids simply because they were created by God. They share with my kids their own walks with Christ and they challenge them that they can serve Jesus too. It is an amazing place where Christ is the centre and children can come just as they are and learn about Him and His unconditional love.

There is a saying at camp, "See the need - meet the need". I don't know who came up with it but it is one of the most profound statements that I know. Sometimes, I remind my kids and I often hear them repeating this saying as they help around the house, help to set up all the equipment at church or when they are telling me about school and an issue has arisen where they felt they needed to do something.

We have also talked about this saying not just in regards to tasks but in the context of relationships with people. If we see someone that is sad what should we do? If we see someone that needs help, what should we do? If we see someone that doesn't know about Jesus - what should we do? If we have been made aware of a need what is our response? This saying is all about what God did for us. He saw our need to be saved and He sent Jesus to bring us back to Him. Throughout scripture we see examples of needs that Jesus met. He met physical needs and spiritual needs for people that God created and loved and we are challenged through His example to do the same.

So as you feel the warm spring air on your face today and you go about your day, take a look what needs do you see? How will you meet them?

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Toilet Paper Rolls and Do Overs

I am not sure why but my kids have something against toilet paper rolls. It never fails that when I go into their bathroom the toilet paper is never on the holder. They have rolls of toilet paper on the back of the toilet, on the counter or sometimes on the floor beside the toilet but never on the holder. It is one of those things that drives me nuts. It doesn't matter how many times I tell them. Or how many times I put the toilet paper on the holder to show them. Their rolls of toilet paper never seem to make it to the proper place.

A few days ago I was having a "moment". Maybe it was because I have been sick with a cough that I can't shake (I am cranky) or maybe it was just the straw that broke the camels back but my eldest son was receiving the brunt. He stood there looking at me while I went into a full blown lecture about the toilet paper rolls. The look in his eyes began to change and I could start to see worry. I knew what he was thinking,"Oh no I think Mom is loosing it." He was right, I was loosing it and I was on a roll. I was just getting to the part in my rant where there was no way that he would ever be able to grow up to be a successful human being if he could not remember to put the toilet paper on the holder when I stopped in mid sentence. "What were you doing?" I asked him. "Uhh, I was just writing in my agenda." He stammered. "What were you writing?" "I was writing a reminder in my calender on the date of your birthday because I didn't want to forget and I forget lots of stuff." Sure enough, I could see that he had indeed been writing about my birthday in his agenda.

Well, you can guess what happened next. My rant about learning the importance of toilet paper roll etiquette to be successful seemed not only unimportant but all I could think of was Ephesians 6:4. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children, instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." At this particular moment I was not doing such a bang up job. "Listen buddy, sorry about yelling at you. I was having a bad moment. Do you think we could start again?" "My friends and I call that a do over." he said. "I need to use it alot when we are playing grounders." "Well, could I use a do over?" I asked. "Sure." he said.

I love my kids.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Sleepless in Milton

Do you ever have one of those nights where you can't sleep? I have been sick for a few days and so I got the chance to go to bed early tonight. I was in my comfy PJ's by 9:30 pm and snuggled up under my covers. Oh what a treat I thought. I will get lots of rest and kick this cold. Well, the minutes ticked by and my mind would not turn off. For an hour and half I struggled to rest. My body wanted to sleep but my mind was like a spinning rolodex. Flip. Flip. Flip. Flip. Thoughts of things I needed to do were running like ticker tape across my brain. Not only thoughts of things that needed to get done but thoughts of things that might need to be done. Like if this happens then I will need to do this. Or if this happens I will need to look into this.

Do you ever have times where your life just gets plain complicated? Maybe it is complications at work that are causing you stress. Or maybe your health is making things complicated. Or one of your children is going through a rough time. Or maybe you are having trouble finding a sense of balance in your life? Or maybe you have to make a decision about something and you are not sure how it will all turn out. I think I am heading into one of those times where I don't know ahead of time how everything is going to work out. That is the reason for my restlessness. That is the reason I can't sleep. I need peace. Not just peace with a particular situation but the kind of peace that only Jesus can give. The peace that comes with knowing that He knows all the answers to any type of situation that may arise.

The apostle Paul wrote:"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard our hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." (Phillipians 4:6-7) I love this passage. It is the prescription for sleeplessness. It is how we "...Seek peace and pursue it." (Psalm 34:14). This is the answer to restless nights, churning stomachs, ticker tape minds that won't shut off, and worries and fears that continue to creep into our brains. We can go to our Father and tell him all about it. He will cover us in His peace that is better than any warm cozy blanket. His peace is the knowledge that He is in control and no matter what may happen He has already been working on our behalf. I love that about God.
I am off to "pray about everything" and then I am headed to bed.

Friday, 27 April 2007

Good and Perfect Gifts

Mornings are a bit crazier at our zoo than other parts of the day. Three of my kids head off to two different schools and my youngest waits for her best friend who comes about 8am for the day while her mom heads off to work. There are breakfasts to make, lunch bags to get ready with food for two different nutrition breaks, agendas to sign, back packs to pack with homework, indoor shoes and of course appropriate clothing for our crazy weather. Some days I feel like I have run a marathon up and down our stairs all before 8:30 am.

Well, a couple of days ago the morning was a bit crazier than usual as I promised a couple of friends that I would babysit their kids for part of the day as well. I was getting ready to host five children all under the age of three! As I rushed about trying to be as organized as possible, I kept saying to myself it is only about four hours. I can make it through four hours. No problem, I said as I tried to psych myself up. Four hours will go by fast. It is only four hours.

I am not sure when I noticed that my youngest son was singing. You see he sings all the time. In the bathroom, in the shower, at dinner, in his room, outside, while he is doing his homework, I truly mean he sings all the time. He makes up his own songs or his own words to songs he has heard. He is only six so you can imagine some of songs that he comes up with. So after a while in our house you sort of tune him out to reserve your sanity. People often comment when they come over about how much he sings but we who live with this little darling don't even notice anymore.

For some reason this particular morning I noticed. Maybe it was the look on his face, or the fact that he was singing with such passion, or maybe God was trying to get my attention but I noticed he was singing. Not just singing but worshipping as he made his breakfast. The song went like this:

"Thank-you God for cream cheese,
You are so good to me.
Thank-you God for my mom
who bought bagels.
You know just what I need."

Do you ever have those moments in your life when you realize that your kids are sometimes smarter than you? I had kind of been hoping that my son would be older than six before it happened but here it was plain as day. He was really getting "it" and I was not.

"Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow." James 1:17

My son knew that everything is a gift from God and that he needs to thank Him and praise Him for all His gifts. Here he was thanking God for cream cheese and bagels and I had forgotten to thank God for the oportunity that was before me to love five of his precious children. All I could think about was "just making it through". Who would have thought that a child's song about his morning breakfast could provide such an attitude adjustment. Praise God for bagels and cream cheese!

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Worship Songs from the Retreat

Some of you have been asking where you can find some of the songs that we sang together on the weekend. Most of them you can get at Blessings Christian Bookstore or from the artists themselves. Below are some songs I have been asked about. If there are any songs that I don't list and you would like to know where you can find them just send me a comment at the bottom of this post.

"Captivated" and "Above All Else" - were written by Vicky Beeching. She is a worship leader from the UK. She has a website She has two albums that I know of. I got these two songs off the first album which is called Yesterday, today and tomorrow. She just released another album at the beginning of the month. You can listen to snippets of her songs on her website.

"Come Running Home", "Let God Arise", "Holy is the Lord" and "Made to Worship" are all worship songs from Chris Tomlin. He has quite a few releases. is where you can find out about all his albums. "Let God Arise" and "Made to Worship" are from his most recent album called See the Morning. I think "Come Running Home" is from his album called Not to Us. And "Holy is the Lord" is from the album Arrriving.

"I Believe", "I am Broken" , "Come to Worship" "As the Father Sent Me" and "Go and Tell" were written by my husband Jason McGibbon. He has a couple of albums out under The Jason McGibbon Project, one of which is a children's album. "I am Broken" is on the first album which is available at some local Christian bookstores. The kids album which features "Go and Tell" was released in September is available through our church Jason has a website and a my space page.

The videos that I used are from Sara Groves and the Nomad Reality Series. I got it at Blessings. Sara is one of my favourite Christian artists. You can find out more about her and her albums at

Well, I hope that helps! The lyrics for most of the songs are in the back of the journal. If you can't find something just let me know!

Also I would love to hear about the worship music that you listen to. It was great to have women from so many different backgrounds and cultures and I always want to learn new stuff that I might not hear about unless you share it.


Sunday, 22 April 2007

What a weekend!

Well, my kids are off to bed and all is quiet again at my house. I am exhausted and wide awake all at the same time. As I reflect on this year's Spring Retreat in Niagara Falls I am overwhelmed with gratititude that Jesus always comes to meet us exactly where we are. I am overwhelmed at the heritage of wonderful women in scripture that He has left for us to study. His interactions with these women encourage us, teach us and reveal to us more about our Lord's character.

I am so excited that at the retreat I got to meet so many of you and hear about how Jesus is working in your life. I have to say there are moments from the retreat that I will never forget. The saturday afternoon sharing time was one of my favourite. I loved to hear about what you discovered with each other in scripture and I loved getting to see some of the talents that God has given you. My heart was full of joy as I witnessed so many of you take "The Stand" for Jesus worshipping Him with your hearts abandoned. Of course there were funny moments that I won't share....let's just say the Pajama Party!

I pray that you enjoyed spiritual refreshment at the feet of Jesus and that you were able to listen to what He had to say to you this weekend. I will continue to pray that as we get back to our busy schedules and lives that you will continue to know "He is calling for you" where ever you are on your journey with Him. "Mary, was listening to the Lord's Word seated at His feet." Luke 10:39. I hope that you were able to move this verse from your head to your heart this weekend. Continue to pray for ladies that you met whenever you use your new mug!

I would love to hear about what Jesus said to you at the retreat and your response. Please post a comment or you can email me at . If you were not able to fill in a prayer request card and you would like me to come along side you in prayer please let me know.

I look forward to hearing from you and I hope to see at our fall retreat!


Tuesday, 17 April 2007

My Prayer

I have been glued to the news. The horrific news from the Virginia Tech campus seems almost surreal. On the TV screen it seemed so far away, so removed from my life here in small-town Milton. Not long after the shootings I heard that about a month ago students from this particular university had been to a town near Milton helping to get a church started. They had come here to give themselves away to a country they were not from and to people that they did not know. They came to show the people that Jesus loves them. I pray that some of God's people are in their town tonight reminding and showing these students and all the others on their campus that Jesus loves them too.

"You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book." Psalm 56:8 NLT

Monday, 16 April 2007

I'll Be There!

"You can do no great things. Just small things with great love." Mother Teresa

Has God ever given you an assignment that is so out of your comfort zone that you wonder if you got the message wrong somehow? Have you ever argued with Him that He must be mistaken? That He must have meant to ask someone who had different gifts from you? Someone who had more time and/or energy? Someone who you thought could do the assignment much better than you could?

I have asked those questions on more than one occasion. I am so glad that my God is patient. Since He is omniscient, He knows that I am going to ask questions, make excuses and argue logical reasons on why this assignment for me does not make sense. Yet He does not give up on me. He still gives me the task He intends for me to have.

Why am I writing all this? Well, it is only few days before our Spring Retreat. This is about the time I start to panic and go over with God again all the reasons why someone else should lead worship. Don't get me wrong. I love to worship. I love it when it is loud, I love it when it is quiet. I love when I am worshipping on my own just me and Jesus and I love when I am surrounded by other's and our voices are lifted in praise. But I am not a musician and so when it comes to organizing chord charts and a band I am hopeless. Don't even get me started on the tech stuff that you need in order for people to see words on a screen or hear the music so they can worship along. So right about the time I start to really go off the deep end I try to remember that what God has asked me to do is show up. What He is going to do is meet me there. Yeah God! I can't wait to see you in Niagara Falls!

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The Fixer of Big Messes

This afternoon I decided to make roasted vegetable soup. I made the stock yesterday and today I needed to puree the roasted veggies and add my spices etc. I was so excited about this soup. It's cold outside and since the weather is not cooperating this homemade soup was going to cheer me up. I was hurrying as I worked and I guess I wasn't really paying attention. So you can imagine my surprise when I turned on my blender and I had forgotten to attach the lid. You guessed it! There was suddenly pureed veggies spewing all over my kitchen. Now, you need to understand when I say the veggies were all over my kitchen. I really mean all over me and all over my kitchen. After I finished screaming, I stopped the blender and I began to take in the damage. Not only was I covered in my mistake but there was not a counter service or a wall that hadn't been touched. As I began to clean up the huge mess by myself I began to wish there was someone to help me. Someone... anyone to help me clean up this huge mess and restore my kitchen but there was just me. Okay, that is not entirely true my crazy dogs were having a field day cleaning up the floor.

As I cleaned, I thought that this was kind of like life. You are moving along and then all of a sudden you are in the middle of a huge mess. Has that ever happened to you? Maybe it was a mess that you created unknowingly by making a mistake or maybe you made some bad choices. Maybe it was a mess that someone else created and you just got pulled into it. The thing with huge messes is that no matter how they get started at some point in order to move on you need to clean them up. I am so thankful that Jesus wants to help us clean up any mess that we make.

As I look through scripture time and time again people have made huge messes and God does not walk away from them. He is the fixer of big messes. Just think about it, God took a murderer like Moses to lead His people out of slavery. He used an adulterer like David to be King. What about Peter? Peter was a traitor and a coward when Jesus was crucified. Despite that fact Peter was restored by Jesus and the leader upon which God built His Church. Finally, our best known evangelist Paul started out by persecuting Christians, that is until Jesus got a hold of his life. Much of the New Testament is written by this changed man. Now those are huge messes that people created and God fixed. Not only did He fix them He made them better than they started out. So the next time you find yourself in a big mess call on God. He will be right beside you to help you clean it up and He will restore you.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Jibbitz and the King of Kings

Today is my eldest daughter's ninth birthday. As I watched her yesterday at her party I was struck by how grown up she is becoming. She really is a sweetie pie if I do say so myself. She has the best smile and yesterday like most days she was full of smiles. I bought her a special present. It was a Jibbitz. Now, unless you are a girl about the age of my daughter you are probably asking yourself what is a Jibbitz? Well, they are decorations for Crocs shoewear. They fit in the holes that are on top of the shoe. You can decorate your Crocs with all kinds of Jibbitz. They have flowers, sports icons, animals and school themes etc. So now that we are all up on the preteen craze I will get back to the story.

I gave her a Jibbitz. It was a crown. Not just any any crown but a crown to remind her of who she is and whose she is. She is a princess and she is loved by the King Most High. We talked about how the crown symbolizes her rights and responsibility as a princess of the King. We talked about when you love the King with all your heart you get to accept His free gift of the keys to His Kingdom. We talked about how every princess has a responsibility to be a great ambassador for the Kingdom and most importantly the King. And finally we talked about where ever you go as a princess you need to tell others about the great King that you know.

Some days life even in grade three can be tough. If my daughter is having one of those days and she is tempted to stare at her feet she will see her Jibbitz crown and be reminded to look up to the King of Kings that loves her and calls her princess.

Happy Birthday Sweetie!

Saturday, 7 April 2007

My God is a Great God

It is early and very quiet in the zoo. Everyone was up late so they are still fast asleep. I have the very unusual blessing of sitting at my computer sipping my coffee and being able to reflect in the stillness of how great my God is.

Two years ago last January, God called us to Milton to serve in a small church plant. At the time when He was speaking to our hearts there was no actual position for my husband (he is a worship pastor and they already had one), there was no salary and really there was no guarantee that this little church plant was going to survive. In our personal lives there were many obstacles, we worried about moving our children, we loved our house with our big backyard and we did not want to leave our homechurch or our friends. God, however was unrelentless in His pursuit. He confirmed over and over again that He wanted us to go. He gave us hearts for the people of Milton. Hearts for their families. Hearts that began to burn with a desire to share with them the amazing God that we know. Even once we had made our decision major changes in our lives tested our faith. Looking back it has been quite a ride.

A few weeks ago, Census Canada released information that names our little town of Milton as the fastest growing community in all of Canada. God is bringing people here from all different nationalities and cultures. Our church hosted an outreach event last night for Good Friday. It was a festival, a celebration and probably not the usual thing that most people would expect for a church to do for a Good Friday service. We called it "Taste the World" and we had approximately 14 booths from different countries and/or ethnicity's. Members of our church cooked food from their heritages and decorated their areas to give people a flavour of what life is like in their home country. We had booths from New Orleans, Holland, Iraq, Cambodia, Germany, Brazil, India and Ireland just to name a few.

My husband and I and the other couple that we serve with on staff prayed that God would bring 300 people. We prayed that people from our community would come to this event and hear the gospel and celebrate with us. This was a big goal for our little church that usually has between 70 or 80 people (we have grown from 25-30 when we started) out on a Sunday morning. We cooked for 300 and we prayed. God answered that prayer by bringing about 400 people to our Good Friday service and event. Can you imagine 400 people!

Today as I reflect, I am overwhelmed by His love and His commitment and faithfulness to us. I am overwhelmed with how great God is. I am overwhelmed by how much He cares for the people of Milton. I am overwhelmed yet again that He sent His only Son to walk among us and die for us and to pay our debt. "And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God's love." Romans 8:38a.

My God is a great God!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

With Jesus Everyday is a Celebration

I got an Easter Card the other day from a good friend. It is a really cute one that made me laugh because it said" Happy Easter to one of God's hippest chicks." If you know me you know I would not exactly call myself "hip". When I think of hip I think of people who live in some of the cool areas of Toronto with those trendy clothing stores, tea shops and urban decor places. It is funny because hip is also how I would describe my friend who gave me the card. She has a "hip" job as a radio personality in T.O. and great fashion sense that makes me wonder where she finds her outfits. It is not that I don't want to be hip. It is just that when the majority of your shopping is done at Milton's discount stores hip usually gets replaced by a good deal. Anyway, after I got over laughing at thinking of myself as a "hip" I read one of the most profound statments. My friend had written "With Jesus alive in our hearts everyday is a celebration." How wise my "hip" friend is. She is so right. I wanted to shout Yippee!! Yahoo!! It is true everyday is a celebration when we have Jesus in our hearts. He makes us hip. And I am so thankful for the reminder. I can't wait to celebrate with my friend.

Yes Jesus Wuvs Me....

Yesterday was a busy day. My husband and I were taking a quick breather, before we started to get all the kids and dogs ready for homechurch. Our sweet baby girl came into the room struggling to drag her big sister's bible case behind her. "My bible" she told us. "I weed it" she said. With determination, she proceeded to sit down and open up the pink case. As she turned the pages I said to her "What does it say?" "Jesus" she said without hesitation. "You read it mommy." I read her a couple lines and told her it says, "Jesus loves you." She nodded. Then she started to nod her head and sing. "Yes, Jesus wuvs me." At the sound of her sweet voice my eyes filled with tears. She only knows one line of that children's hymn but she knows it well. At 20 months, she may not be able to read God's word herself but even at her young age, she knows that God gave us the bible so that she could read that Jesus loves her. My prayer is that all of our children will know the importance of God's word and how He uses it to reveal Himself to us. Psalm 78:4 says, " We will not hide these truths from our children; we will tell the next generation about the glorious deeds of the Lord, about his power and his mighty wonders. I think I will go and find my sweet baby, read her a story from her big sister's pink bible and tell her about how much God loves her. Maybe she will even sing for me.

Monday, 2 April 2007

I am having a day....

As I was trying to get my 20 month old daughter dressed this morning I realized that it is like trying to nail Jello to the wall. As a mother of four, I should know by now that life with kids never quite goes as planned. Did she not know that I had laundry to do, groceries to get, other kids to get off to school and a to do list that was growing by the minute? No, my beautiful baby girl did not seem to be sympathetic in the least. She had decided that today was a great day to spend in her favourite P.J.'s. Now I can understand. It is April 2nd and they are calling for snow at the end of the week so maybe she is right and P.J.'s should be at the top of my priority list. The problem is that I just don't have time for her protest today. As a family, we have a very busy week and I need to get moving or our lives will look like when the laundry does not get done for a couple of days.
As I tried to convince my precious bundle of joy that jeans, socks and a sweatshirt are just as cool as P.J.'s, I could feel my patience slipping away. "Oh please Lord.." I prayed. "Give me patience today, give me extra minutes, and give me something to convince my daughter not to wear her P.J.'s to the grocery store." As I prayed, I was overwhelmed by the fact that Jesus was listening. In my mind, I can see Him listening intently. He does not brush me off and say that this struggle or my prayer for help is not important. To Him, whatever I tell Him is important. He is listening with compassion and understanding that at this moment and all others I need Him. I quietly begin to sing:

"I need Thee ev'ry hour,
Most gracious Lord;
No tender voice like Thine
Can peace afford.
I need thee, Oh I need Thee;
Ev'ry hour I need Thee!
O bless me now, my Savior,
I come to Thee."
In the 1800's this beautiful hymn was written by Annie Hawks a thirty-seven year old homemaker from Brooklyn, New York. The words came to her as she was busy with her household chores. I wonder if she was having a day like mine?