A New Level of Trust

I often hear the term “oh, I am waiting on God”. Actually, not only do I hear that term, but I myself have said it, numerous times, in context of anything from a relationship to a job, to any kind of answer for which I feel like I cannot control. I see it all the time, plastered across numerous blogs, preached in sermons, and most importantly even in the Bible.

In fact, every morning, at 9:55am I get a reminder flashed on my phone:

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalm 27:14

It has long been a topic on this blog about allowing God to take control.

Even recently I wrote about having a trust without borders and the lessons in peace and humility that allowing God to have control brought. However, it was not until I was spending time with an amazing friend in NYC that our discussion led to a new and deeper understanding of God and his timing.

You see, in January I strongly felt that God was telling me to stop even considering my next steps and to simply (not so simple) take each day and allow myself to do well with what was in my hands. Whilst I accepted this and as you can read in my post, learned many valuable lessons from that time. Funny though, because just 6 weeks after writing this post I began to get a bit antsy. It was only when I went to NYC and hung out with C that I began to understand what God was trying to teach me next.

10626453_10152435093227091_4653617695945005897_nC and I had not seen each other in years, but as only true friends can, we picked up where we had left out. It was in this discussion that God spoke to me. At first, difficult to articulate, I later came to understand this.

My child, you tell me you trust me, you make all the effort to do what is asked of you, but you still give me timelines.

It hit hard, the realisation that although I gave God my every day, it was with the subconscious understanding that he would provide when in my time. For me that meant that as I finished my thesis, I would go to a few interviews and miraculously I would have a job before the end of summer. Funny thing, our timing, it is rarely, I hasten to even say, never God’s.

Now, while God continually and faithfully provided for me from June to October when I finally got my full time position, it was not in the manner I saw coming.

Do you not believe, live in the complete understanding that I love you so much that I want to give you my very best. I see the desires of your heart, the longings of your soul, I put them there. I love you enough to keep you from that which will not be my best for you.

But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. Matt 6:33 (AMP)

It is much easier to say you will trust God for a spouse until you are in your 30s and you see your body adding hair in places you did not want.

It is much easier to trust God for that job until you are dangerously close to running out of money.

It is much easier to trust God for that new apartment until you have just bought another one and you have not sold your first.

It is always easier to trust God on our terms. For me, it used to be hard to trust God in even the small things…but as we grow, as we mature, God allows us to be stretched and grow. It used to be that I would take a job just because I was worried I could not pay the bills. This time, I trusted and I waited on Him…and again, he showed me His love in beautiful and even outstanding ways.

I guess what I am trying to say is that…

Fear not [there is nothing to fear], for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you; yes, I will hold you up and retain you with My [victorious] right hand of rightness and justice. Isaiah 41:10

Allow your trust in God to stretch you further, wait on Him…the answers will come…it may not be as tangible as a house, or a husband, it may be a lesson in understanding your purpose, your place, your destiny…

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

A Lesson to my 18 year old self…

the past

author’s note: I wrote this a few weeks before I moved to Sweden. I didn’t share it then, but I thought why not? We can always learn from our past. 

I was 22 with a degree plus a bunch of other letters in front of my name…I packed my bags, booked a plane ticket and moved to England, alone. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do, who I wanted to be, or what was next;  I only knew that I wanted out of Canada and that I liked the idea of being in PR. Admittedly I have spent a lot of the last seven years trying to figure this all out…

So here I am…a few years past 18… and my life just changed all over again…I cannot tell you what you should do for a living or who you should marry but I can tell you what I have learned…a girl, trying to be a good woman and trying to honour this life I have been given while I’m here…

1. Don’t expect the world to do anything for you…instead, expect to be the person who goes above and beyond.

You will stand out in whatever environment you are put in, whether it’s work, serving in church or living with your new housemates. When you choose to put in the extra bit of effort that will be seen. My boss was always amazed that I ask for reviews every 3-6 months; however I’m the only one in our team who has been promoted twice in three years. Go the extra mile and people will notice…

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24

2. Don’t get expect to stay in the same job for the rest of your life…instead, be faithful in what you are doing, take opportunities and let that which gets you excited guide you.
I left my post-secondary education believing I was going to walk into my perfect PR job and just be fabulous. What a shock when 2 months into living in London I had already been a temp and started working back at Starbucks. It took four and a half years before I landed my PR role which I loved and which has formed the basis for my future studies and owning my own company. And you know what? All the skills big and small; from learning how to set up a phone system to taking up Dutch (temporarily) as another language, that I picked up working in other roles, were the very things that got me that job.
3. Don’t take yourself so seriously…instead, laugh at the awkward moments, understand your heart will heal and that who you are is far more important than what you do. 

I have to say I spent far too much of my 20s caring what others thought of my job, my looks, the boys I dated and where I was going to be in 30 years. Then one day I heard a very popular Christian folk singer from New Zealand talk about how God created me to show love and be loved and at that moment my life changed (albeit slowly and it was a process). It was easier to be generous with my time, my finances, my entire being. I could just be me and as I allowed myself to be comfortable in that I began to really become the woman God created me to be.\
4. Don’t live a mundane or mediocre existence…instead, live a life full of passion.
Whatever you love, go for it. Do everything you do like you only have today…because honestly, that’s all we’re promised. Love with all your heart. Eat well. Exercise with effort. If you love writing, write all the time. If you love coffee, become your own at home expert. People who live life with passion go far and are far more interesting than those who just get on with it… 

“So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life. That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 8:15
 
And when life gets too hard, stop, breathe and thank God He gave you life…the life you’re living, your unique and perfect existence. Remember you can only make the impact that you can make. No one else can be you, so go out, be you in every way…

A Lesson from a Formerly Broken Heart

Time to say goodbye: updated...

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love does not envy.

Love does not boast.

Love is not proud.

Love does not dishonor others.

Love is not self-seeking.

Love is not easily angered.

Love keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but love does rejoice in truth.

Love always protects.

Love always trusts.

Love always hopes.

Loves always perseveres.

One year ago today these verses pressed against my heart. I wrote them in my journal, I pondered the implications of putting this kind of love into action. I thought through how I was demonstrating them and how in so many ways I lacked real love. The words burned into my spirit and I was unable to shake them from my thoughts.

I thought that I was being drawn to these verses within the context of my own relationship. I was in love, or least falling, and my heart was full. We’d had plans and dreams and I felt secure.

God, how can I show love to him more? How do I show real love?

These words etched into my journal in black ink, over and over. God, why are you showing me this?

You see, that relationship, it was my first real relationship. I have never been the girl to jump into anything serious. Sometimes I think I was being protected, other times I wanted to simply run away, other times I don’t think I could be bothered. Either way, this was my first relationship, my first time falling in love and I was gone.

Looking back, the last few weeks of that relationship were a warning sign that maybe something was off and I struggled with how to deal. I spent hours journaling, praying, trying to understand. It was during this time that these verses kept popping into my mind and touching, even scraping at my heart.

Love is patient.

Love is kind.

Love is not easily-angered.

Love is not self-seeking…

Than those words happened that ended it all…

“I can’t love you like you need. I don’t want to.”

Ouch.

I look back over photos from the months following that night. I can still see the sadness in my eyes. Sadness I thought I had hidden in my heart. Many people said I was protected from a hurt much greater than I imagined but when you lose love, more importantly, when you lose that which you love your heart seeks something to grasp onto. I felt like I had nothing. Admittedly, even writing these words has been something I have struggled to do over the past twelve months. Who wants to admit that someone wrecked you? Who wants to admit that you made mistakes in a relationship? Who wants to admit how you felt rejected, broken?

Pride sometimes stood in the way of admitting that it was okay that it was over.

Now, with today being Valentine’s Day, I can admit that there were days I stood in the mirror hating myself. There were days I replayed my entire relationship over and over trying to figure out what could have been done better. There are days where I saw any reminders of him and my heart broke again, not only for my relationship but because I lost my best friend. There were even days I hated him. I think the worst though are the days when you believe love won’t come again. The days when, in my case, you live in an entirely new country, with all new people and you can’t see one day in front of the next. Those days are the scariest for a heart that still has fragile moments. I can admit that there were moments when pride filled my heart and I did not want to tell any one how broken I felt. I felt so unworthy of love.

But slowly, surely and with my heart and mind focused on God He began to reveal to me why those verses burned so deeply days before my relationship ended. He was protecting me before I knew I even needed it. He took the broken pieces of my heart and healed them. Intricately sewing each piece back until the seams were invisible.

Love is patient…in my friend’s ability to let me yammer on about how I was over it…when I wasn’t really.

Love is kind…when my best friend sat with me, letting my cry for hours in her lap.

Love does not envy…standing beside my best friend and soul sister when she got married to the man of her dreams and simply being happy for her.

Love does not boast…when you are celebrating others.

Love is not proud…admitting that I was wrong and apologizing.

Love does not dishonor others…stopping the words to fall out of my mouth when someone wrongs me or others.

Love is not self-seeking…knowing all that your mother gave up for you so you could flourish.

Love is not easily angered…keeping your mouth shut and your heart soft even when you hear lies being told about you.

Love keeps no record of wrongs…remembering the past in peace.

Love does not delight in evil but love does rejoice in truth…making the decision to speak truth for long-term gain instead of short term pain.

Love always protects…knowing when to reveal truth to someone when you know it may hurt.

Love always trusts…taking the next step and letting your heart be open again…

Love always hopes…open to a future with a love greater than what you have already experienced.

Loves always perseveres…trusting the almighty God that His love is so great that He will only bring you better.

LOVE is an action. LOVE is a choice.

So…to quote the ever popular “Love, Actually” then…love, actually is all around.

I’m single and the next time I fall in love I will be better at it. Not because I’m better but because I know God’s love better. I see it in every one around me, I see it in me, I see it in the little ways that God reveals His unconditional, impenetrable and unmoving love.

My hope now is that single or not, my actions, my words, my thoughts demonstrate real love…in all that I do.

love is

On the Subject of Singleness

I am no expert on love or singleness…

But I have been in love and I am single.

So I guess I can say something on the subject.

My lovely friend told me today that her boyfriend and her were back together after a time a part and reflecting on what they both wanted. I was so happy for her as she was glowing and as I sat on the bus riding home I realised that I am in no rush to be with someone and this, this is new.

I am probably going to have to read this post at least once a week because I do have my moments but I thought about life now and I realised that I’m just happy to wait. There is no one in my life that makes me want to give up the life I have. Maybe that’s selfish, but if you listen to Paul he does talk about how an unmarried man or woman can attend to the affairs of the Lord (1 Corinthians 7). I think, after 29 years, I’m finally believing that.

Oh sure, I absolutely want to get married but I also do not want to marry the wrong person.

I live in a country that actually has a word to describe the idea of just enough…mediocrity in another sense of the word. Okay, so not all Swedish people live like this (take for example, all the amazing inventions like Skype that have come out of this country) so I am definitely not putting the Swedes down. However, it’s a great word to describe how a lot of people seem to choose their boyfriends, girlfriends or spouses; they’re just enough.

As it says above, “Yes, I’m single and you’re going to have to be pretty damn amazing to change that.” I always thought that it was a bit rude, a bit cheeky and maybe even a bit prideful. It’s not though, is it?

I have one life one earth.

I have ONE chance to make the biggest difference to as many people as I can.

As a Christian, I have one purpose: to show the love of God to others so they may find Him and His grace, love and relationship.

If I marry the wrong person…am I really honouring that responsibility?

God has put many dreams on my heart. Some of these dreams I have fulfilled, some I’m working on and others, well, I’m not quite ready to do them yet…some of these things I will accomplish on my own, others with business partners and then some with the man that decides, with me, to spend the rest of our lives together.

I don’t want to be the girl who gets to the end of her life and sees the life she could have lead, the impact she could have made, the people who would have met Christ…I personally want to do everything in my power to make the “would, could and should haves” as small a number as possible.

So, if it means waiting a bit longer to get married…then okay.

I can wait.

Pressed upon my heart for many weeks now is this: be here, in the season I am in now, simply taking care of the things that are in my hand now, honoring the now, so that whatever God has for me, all the doors He opens and closes, the steps I need to take, the people I need to meet, that I will be prepared for them because I was faithful in my day to day.

It applies to my marriage as much as it does my career…

I have, in the past, been stuck in a job only because I had to work and took the first thing I found instead of trusting God for the better thing and that simply sucked. I do not want to be stuck in a covenant because I went for the first thing that came along. If it means waiting for that one who needs time, or waiting because I need time…whatever the reasons are that I am not yet running the race with a partner, I would much rather wait than commit myself to a life sentence of “Just okay.”

So…until that time…I’m okay..no, I’m more than okay. I am content with me, with my relationship status and well, frankly, someone is going to have to be pretty damn amazing to change that…

Until then I’ll just keep piling on the blankets to keep warm in my king size bed in a very cold country.

 

It takes two or “I’m glad we met”

You know, a lot of the past few months have been spent dealing with the hurt, the pain, the brokenness of the last year. I used this as a place where I could think, feel, express and comprehend everything that had gone on. (And with God’s grace, help others in ways I never imagined and for that I’m thankful) And through that entire time there was one thing I never really expressed, the one thing that I always felt but was not ready to say out loud.

When you deal with grief, with brokenness and it involves another person it’s just easier to process what you are going through and not consider the other person. When it comes to breaking up with someone that is more than often the absolute truth. The thing is, that’s okay. It’s okay to just deal with you and to become you again. In my case, find myself, change my life, fix what needed fixing and pursue the dreams I had on my heart for so many years.

For me, I tried a lot, in my prayers, rants and journal entries to understand the other side but frankly, it was not the time.

And then one day that just changed. It’s that moment when you can begin to remember in peace and accept what you knew already: it takes two. There’s always another side to the story, a person on the other other end of the break up. They suffer, they grieve, they hurt and they have their own issues to deal with (because honestly, we all have baggage).

My friend made a comment on Twitter that parents of writers never really get to forget their past mistakes because we use the material in everything we do. Quite frankly, Max Dubinsky was right when he said that you can’t date a writer either, unless you marry them (which he did)…that can’t be easy for the one on the other end.

The other person is human and of course they have to deal with all that went on and move forward. It’s forgiveness, it’s closure and I hope that some day it means a friendly, genuine hello.

We have been given grace beyond what we deserve so we should be giving it too…so for what’s it worth…I’m glad we met…

and for all of you…when it’s time…forgive, forget, remember peacefully…

 

I want to be kind…

No matter what I want to be kind. When I’m tired and I am cranky. I want to be kind. When my heart breaks and I don’t understand choices made. I want to be kind. When I am over excited and celebratory. I want to be kind.

My mom used to listen to a song with me called Love Will Build a Bridge…the first verse and chorus go like this:

I’d gladly walk across the desert with no shoes upon my feet. To share with you the last bite of bread I had to eat…I would swim out to save you in your sea of broken dreams
When all your hopes are sinking’…Let me show you what love means…(Chorus) Love can build a bridge…Between your heart and mine…Love can build a bridge…Don’t you think it’s time?…Don’t you think it’s time?

love/kindness can build a bridge…It can make someone smile, the hug that the person needs because they have had a really bad day…or it can be the first step in that a relationship that needs to be mended…

One of my fatal flaws is that I can be quick to assume or make a comment that isn’t so kind, most of the time out of tiredness or frustration. Honestly, don’t like that part of me and I want to be kind in those situations, I want my hearts’ reaction to be kindness and love at all times even in the situations where it’s not easy to be kind…
The desire of a man is his kindness…it says in Proverbs 19:22…so our Friday challenge: To be known for being generous in our kindness.

“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.” Colossians 3:12

God gave us everything we need to love and be kind because He is love and if we have chosen life with Him he’s in us…

I’m challenging myself on the way I react in situations…to change habits where needed and be kind. 

And because Friday needs music…one more Kari Jobe song…(the entire album which has been on repeat since I bought it) 

…and which, one Motion City Soundtrack because i’m going to the concert in April and I can’t wait!