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?