To Honour her Legacy

love is new

My beautiful Oma passed away a few months ago and today, as I washed the blanket she carefully crocheted for me just ten years ago I was reminded of the lessons she left me. In the last couple of years of my Oma’s life I saw her less and less, but I came to realize more and more how much I was like her. Perhaps this is the reason that we butt heads so often…our fiery, stubborn personalities were what bonded us and created tension all at once.
Personality aside, I learned a lot from Oma  and I reckon the world needs more people like her so here are a few pieces of My Oma…

1) Even the pennies count: I can be guilty of spending money simply for the pleasure of a good cup of coffee or that feeling of a brand new, snugly sweater. However, my Oma, a pastor’s wife and a child of war understood, sometimes to a fault, the value of money. While she too loved beautiful things she also picked up literally EVERY penny.
She knew that money had value and that we should not wasted anything. Her habit of picking up every penny meant that we all always had our favourite chocolate or treat waiting at Oma’s house.

Which leads me to the next point…

2) Value every one individually: Although Oma had 4 kids and a plethora of grandkids, most of which are female, she understood that we all needed different things. Oma knew that spending time with me, cuddling on the couch spoke to my love languages. She understood that always having Opa’s favourite cologne or jam spoke to his needs. Even in death Oma was prepared. Just days after her promotion to heaven Opa, with tears in his eyes spoke to me of how he found his favourite jars of jam stacked up in the cupboard, waiting for him, as if she knew she was going.
Oma knew that we all need different things in life, whether it was a hug or are favourite cookies Oma understood the power of loving individually.

 

3) The power of the living word: Oma never got out of bed without spending time with God and his Word. Whenever I stayed at Oma and Opa’s house we would read our devotions and pray together. I never felt like I could conquer the world more on those days and when I did feel a bit weak I remembered Oma would have spent time praying for me that morning. I was covered. She taught us that no matter the circumstance we were in God was there for you, through prayer or his words.

 

4) Honesty: My grandparents could fight! I think my aunt and I got all our fiery spirit from my Oma. I didn’t know her as a mom, I knew her as a grandma, something very different than what Oma may have been like as a young woman…However, Oma was never dishonest. She told you and everyone else what she thought, but because she loved you, you knew it was okay. Oma was the only person who told me that my ex wasn’t the person for me. She was quiet but firm and I appreciated it now (not so much then I can tell you…). Her desire for truth and direct attitude showed me that in this world that’s the only way to live. Why be anything you are not? What do you gain by not being truthful.

 

5) What love is: Okay, so Oma is not the only one who taught me this lesson, many people have contributed to this very important lesson…but Oma showed me in ways only a grandmother can…
In how she got up early to peel grapefruit for ALL the grandkids.

In how she made us all “Oma cookies” for every birthday.

The way she stayed up and sang me to sleep when I was afraid.

The way she honoured my Opa and the calling to ministry they had on each of their lives.

Love is not only a choice but it is also truly practical. You can say I love you all you want but it’s only in your actions that love is truly felt.

I don’t know where my life will take me or whom I will share it with, but no matter who crosses my path I hope that I can carry on the legacy of love shared with me and all those whose lives she touched.

Keep me from getting carried away

let it be

The first time I ever heard Christine Caine speak she spoke about being pregnant.

It was my first time at a Hillsong Women’s event and I was a bit overwhelmed. I had only been living in London 2 months and everything was up in the air. I had no permanent job (at least not what I wanted to be doing) and well, pretty much my entire life was ahead of me. I listened to Christine talk about how there is a reason that women need to be at full term before giving birth. If the baby comes too early then it just isn’t the time.

I was, admittedly, distracted or even too focused on trying to get life right, to really allow this message to set in. I wish I had listened better because I could have avoided a lot of heartache.

Too early, too late, not the right time…

All these things have been factors in my life and if I’m direct, it has not been until recently that I have seen the affects that being impatient or not letting things developed has had on my life.

I’m a planner. If you read any of my posts from the last year or so you’ll see this is a theme I constantly struggle with. I like to know what’s next, what will the outcome be, where life is going.

However, as I listened to a song as I walked home this morning, I realized that has all changed. While of course, habits do not change overnight or in a split second, so I’ll likely still have my moments, I have come to realize that I am okay with waiting.

 

Out there

Thousand years into the future

Almost nothing of it seems sure

Things so rarely stay the same

Right here

In these burning simple seconds

Living out all your best guesses

Someone’s calling out your name

And you get carried away

Carried away (carried away, carried away)

Carried away (carried away, carried away)

Carried away (carried away, carried away)

Carried away (carried away, carried away)

 Teach me to know my number of days

Hold out my heart from getting carried

 

I’m one of those visionary type of people. I have ideas, I like projects, I love creating. My heart can easily get carried away with what will be.

However, just like a baby needs to be in the womb for a certain amount of time in order to develop, grow and be strong, so too is this the same for many aspects of life.

I want to give examples of things that you may need to wait for but something doesn’t feel right about that. I can however, tell you that I personally am at a stage where I am okay to wait.

You know when you’re making pancakes and you bite into a mouthful of batter? If you had just left the temperature a bit lower and let them cook a bit longer they not only would not have been burned but also, they would have been cooked all the way through. They would have been perfect.

In a season where for me, everything has changed and is in a bit of a “pull the arrow back before it’s launched” kind of season, I’m ready to wait. No pressure, no worry, no getting carried away…

Just living a life, loving it, enjoying the process and seeing where it all goes…

“keep my heart from getting carried…away”

 

Sometimes I just need to shut up

God will direct

“shut up, shut up, shut up!!” (Black Eye Peas song in your head yet?)

Do you ever scream that at yourself? You can hear yourself talking, babbling on and you just.can’t.stop.

I do. I talk when I get nervous. Recently sitting across from someone, after dinner, chatting, I knew I should just stop talking and enjoy the moment, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t keep silent because I did not know what would happen if I just stopped. I was scared. If I stopped talking I’d lose control of the conversation and anything could happen. (really I’m not neurotic…)

Sometimes I create noise just so that I don’t have have to stop and see what happens next. If I keep going…then at least I know where I am headed.

The thing is, I reckon we do that a lot with God. We keep ourselves busy, we fill the silence with talking, with internet, with music, with thoughts, with whatever distracts us from hearings God’s voice. If we keep talking or keep planning…keep ourselves, busy, then we can direct our lives. When we create a lot of noise then we allow ourselves to remain in control.

We say that we want what God has for us. We say that we trust God. We say that we want His plan but then our actions speak differently.

Recently I awoke early and did not need to get out of bed so I put on some worship music. Playing softly the words of “Oceans (where feet may fail)” filled my room and as I quieted my heart and mind I was again reminded of God’s providence.

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

I think of Peter when God called him onto the water. When he kept focused on God’s voice he walked fine. HE WALKED ON WATER! Seriously, this guy just got out of a boat, in a storm and walked on water. Have you tried walking on water lately? I live in Sweden and the closest thing I get is walking on ice. Walking on water is simply not possible without God. In fact, many things aren’t possible without God.

When Peter began to listen to the noise around him, he began to sink. It was more than the fact that he stopped focusing on God. He just could not shut up. While he may not have been literally been talking, the voices in his head allowed doubt to enter his mind and heart and change his direction. In this case, it was actually DOWN…he was sinking. However, when we shut out all the voices, the opinions, the advice and listen to what God is saying, our direction, our paths, remain straight.

God gave us his word to light our path.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6

He said he goes before us and prepares the way.

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

We can trust him to lead us and give us the best.

It’s really time to cut out the noise. I am a proponent for good, strong wisdom from friends and mentors. We need community to live our lives and we need input from others. However, sometimes we take that too far and instead of praying about it, searching His word or simply being still, and we just listen to everyone else. Well, everyone has an agenda. Other people do not see your entire future. We exist within space and time and a specific context. While advice and input is important we must keep our hearts focused on the one whose love is unconditional, who knows your days, and the number of hairs on your head. have you prayed about it as much as you’ve talked about it?

So, I am learning to just shut up…in all areas of my life…and trust that the next steps are His best for me.

Psalm 46:10 says that we need to be still and know that God is, well God.

Break the Walls Down

Walls01

And you got nowhere else to go
And you’re lost within your own home
And you’re trying so hard to win
You keep trying its embarrassing
And how you don’t even know
But you know you’re off the tracks
And how did you get in here
Thinking how did I get in here

I’ll help you break the walls down
I’ll help you break the walls down
And bust you out and take you home
Believe in me you are not alone
I’ll help you break the walls down

-The Rocket Summer, Walls

Brick by brick. Stone by stone.

With each broken promise, with every dream never realised, with each empty word falling flat, the walls were built.

With each slanderous word, with each whisper of gossip, with each backstabbing thought, the walls were built.

With each painful glance at the mirror, with each damaging thought, with each murmur of self-doubt, the walls were built.

With each break up, with each broken friendship, with each moment of abuse, the walls were built.

Brick by brick. Stone by stone.

The walls went up. and up. and up.

-mp. 2013

Your walls look different than mine. Mine may be brick, with graffiti and big windows. Yours may be concrete, scratched by years of pain or maybe wood, damaged by the rain of tears.

Walls are dangerous. While healthy boundaries force you to look up and keep you protected, walls keep you hidden, closed off and unable to grow.

A lot of the time our walls are invisible to us. The walls we have built are for protection against more pain (in whatever form). They keep the abuser at bay, they keep the potential of heartbreak from existing, they hold the world away.

These walls are usually not visible to others, in fact, often over compensation leads those around you to believe you are just fine. We act out in order to preserve our dignity; over compensate to hide the pain.

Admittedly I have built walls more than once in my life. Self-preservation yielded the need to hide, to run away, to close off so that as not to allow someone else to tell me that I wasn’t good enough…

I stopped writing, stopped singing, stopped being me because “me” wasn’t good enough.

Most recently I built up walls around my heart. My mom told me I am stand offish. I’m not even sure that’s a real word but apparently whenever she sees someone show interest I turn into stone.

What I thought was healed was merely mended. Although no longer in pain the next step, the one that would allow me to move on was to break down the walls.

For the former, breaking down the walls meant getting up in front of a whole lot of my friends who had never heard me sing and just belt it out at a friend’s wedding in France. It was there that I found the courage to break the walls down and believe that I was enough.

Now, for me, it’s vulnerability of the heart. In this case, when it comes to my heart, it means letting someone in again. It means even simply allowing myself to be myself with another person, to let him see me, to know me, to consider the possibility of more. It’s often a prayer, a cry out to God, going…protect me Lord, because I’m trying here…

The thing with walls is, that even if they were built because of something done to us, we choose to be victims and build the walls. Walls are built because we do not feel that we are enough. We may not feel that we can overcome the pain, the abuse, the heartache…whatever the case may be (and to varying degrees these things are not easy and may require, in some cases, professional assistance*), but they do take a first step of believing that we are good enough for a complete and fulfilled and whole life.

Understanding your value and knowing you are completely worthy of being whole is not easy. It requires acceptance of flaws, understanding that no one is perfect, and most importantly, I believe, the knowledge that you were created with a plan in mind. Intricately, fearfully and wonderfully made by God. Knowing that the King of Kings loves you and planned your very existence can help break those walls down.

He wants you to be whole, to live a full life, in relationship with Him and in healthy relationship with others.

go on, let Him break your walls down.


side note: if you or someone you know needs professional help please contact your local church or medical professional, or talk to a friend. We’re not in this life alone. x

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 Vulnerability

vulnerable

“I like you”

Those words can be the best or worst thing an unmarried  person has to hear or say.

In Sweden, as an egalitarian society, the concept of a girl asking a guy out is not unheard of. This turn of protocol is even familiar or dare I say normal. Showing that you are interested or declaring what you want, as a girl, here in Sweden is far more normal than other parts of the world (as far as my experience can permit me to declare).

Having been raised with the  completely opposite state of mind, with a strong sense of tradition and code that says the guy makes the first move, this entire revelation is not empowering but in fact the epitome of terrifying.

It requires vulnerability (and a decision to follow this social more of course)

To be vulnerable means to being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally: “we were in a vulnerable position”.

When you allow your heart to be open, to risk rejection you are vulnerable.

The idea that someone can hurt you, break your heart, reject you is one of the hardest concepts to swallow and that’s probably why a lot of us are single for a lot longer than we had hoped.

However, there is someone who will never reject you or break your heart or hurt you. He created you. He knows the hairs on your head. He knew you before you were in your mother’s womb. He knows the life He has for you. He is the Lord God.

He knows the moments He will need to pick you up shattered from a broken heart and the moments where He rejoices in Heaven with you as you make the decision to follow Him.

He knows your ups and downs, your ins and outs. He knows when you stand in front of the mirror and reject the beautiful person you are. He knows the moments you cry out to Him thankful for the life He has given for you. He knows it all.

He knows ALL of these things and He loves you.

So, then I ask myself and you…why is it so hard to be vulnerable with God?

Unlike that person that makes your heart skip, the one who, human like you, has the ability to hurt you, God loves us with a love unparalleled. He loves us so much our human hearts cannot fathom it.

Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:5
And so faith, hope, love abide [faith—conviction and belief respecting man’s relation to God and divine things; hope—joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love—true affection for God and man, growing out of God’s love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13
May Christ through your faith [actually] dwell (settle down, abide, make His permanent home) in your hearts! May you be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love…That you may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp with all the saints [God’s devoted people, the experience of that love] what is the breadth and length and height and depth [of it]; Ephesians 3:17 & 18

For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. John 3:16

I was listening to a song by Ne-Yo “I will love you until you love yourself” and I thought that it was such a great representation of God’s love for us (warning: the video is NOT). He will love us no matter what. He loves us on the days we love Him and the days we push Him away. He loves us when we love ourselves and those we do not.

So then why do we find it so hard to be vulnerable in front of the ONE who no matter how hard He tries cannot not love us? Why do we find it so difficult to trust His plans for us?

Three Februaries ago I stood in Hillsong Church Stockholm visiting a friend from high school. I was here on business. One year ago I stood there with my ex after a weekend wedding of that same friend. And this past Sunday, I walked into my church, Hillsong Stockholm and went to my third Vision Sunday, not as a spectator or a guest here but as a leader and member of my church. My path to Stockholm has been a crazy one and simply unimaginable to think that when I stepped on a plane almost 8 years ago to move to England that my life would be here in Stockholm now. However, the thread that has been woven by my heavenly Father is one of love and kindness, of careful planning and purpose.

Looking back I was not always so vulnerable with God (and in particular areas I’m still not). I tried to make plans, to manipulate, to fall at His feet and cry out why? But yesterday, Vision Sunday, was a strong reminder and evidence of what happens when you allow yourself to be vulnerable to the one who created it all.

As for the boy…jury is out. I’m still not sure I can be the one to make a move, but I know that my heavenly father has my heart in His hands and my life will be alright and for that…I am truly thankful.

my peace I give you

Currently

swl quotes

So something a bit new in 2013! Once a month I’ll share a “currently” post. I believe we can get inspiration from many people and many places and once a month I’ll share what is inspiring me and maybe inspire you a bit.

Loving: Winter! I didn’t realise how much I love winter until I moved to Stockholm. The clothes, the warm drinks, the crispness in the air. I have discovered a love of winter (and fun new clothes) that I never knew. Now i’m just in search of the perfect fire place to sit beside and keep warm…and maybe someone to keep warm with! 😉

Watching: Mad Men. I am about 6 episodes in and I’m still unsure of whether I rate the show or not. I think from a TV studies perspective I can appreciate the history, the style, the clothes and the culture; however the misogyny and over-sexualised nature of the show puts me off.

Anticipating: Taking the youth on a snowboarding/skiing in a few weeks. Not only am I excited to see what God is going to do in their lives but I also get to learn to snowboard. Let’s see if I get off my butt at all!!

Listening to: Alicia Keys, The Civil Wars, Eisley, Lifehouse and The Lumineers…all the newest albums.

Planning: Rebranding this website. It’s a big job and slightly overwhelming. I’ve also got a second project on the go and thinkingabout the wisdom of when to start it!

Working on: patience. Is this an ongoing battle that I’m always going to struggle with? 

Thinking about: Not thinking about the future. Isn’t that funny? This is actually an area I struggle with a lot. I want it all now. I’m a true visionary at heart and getting from point A to point B may have a bunch of steps but I rather skip them, even if I know that I need them all to get to where I’m going. No one ever ate an entire cake in one bite.

Wishing: I had the finance to see my friends more and more. I miss the coffees, the walks, the evenings spent just hanging out with so many. I’m going to have to get better at Skyping!

And now to leave you with a little treat. The following was written by Cory Copeland. Thanks Cory for letting me repost!  You can find his website here or on Twitter here. I had been thinking over and pondering this topic when Cory’s post came up on my newsfeed. Please take a second and read and maybe even follow his blog too!

enjoy

Michelle

What Kind of Wrecker are You?

-cory copeland

What does it mean to be wrecked, exactly? Not in the way one car wrecks another, but the kind of wrecked when something or someone comes along and completely discombobulates your life, mind, and heart. Everything you thought you knew is now in question because for once, you’ve been awoken to new truth. To be wrecked is to be reduced to rubble and rebuilt. And this wrecking can produce itself in good and bad ways.

They say love is a wrecker. We’re marching along, happy and satisfied though wanting, and suddenly, our world is turned upside down by some ardent lover. We are wrecked from the first day because we weren’t aware we could feel these things or speak those words. They lift us up and brighten our life. We love them and they return that love tenfold. It’s all so wonderful and meaningful.
But as time passes, we grow accustomed to one another and we become comfortable. Eventually, our effort passes by the wayside and we merely exist in each other’s company. Soon after, the fights start and the passion that once burned so brightly between us turns to white hot rage. Filth spills from our mouth as we hurl insults at this person we once cherished. We do our best to hurt them, to reduce them, to wreck them.
The ending is inevitable and comes much later than it should have. We are undone and we are broken for a spell. What once was a wrecking of saintly beauty has turned us into a twisted form of bruised feelings and lonely regret. Love has wrecked us.

They say love is a wrecker. We’ve played this game before and are leery of its black magic. We proceed with caution, but the curiosity is too much for our sensibilities to resist. This new angel has appeared and with it, has cast away every doubt and hesitation we once held. We step slow but steady, proceeding at a comfortable pace because we’ve been wrecked by that wretched potential before and we aren’t in a hurry to be back there. But this new hope pulls us forward with grace and charity. Slowly, beautifully, we are becoming wrecked once again.
The nights are softer and the days feel longer. Everything is sweeter and moves slower. We feel whole again and want nothing more than to be with our lover forever. We speak sweet and smile wide. Cross words rarely pass through our lips and anger feels like a thing of our past. We are happy now and we are wrecked in goodness and love. Our once desperate life was found a new meaning steeped in graciousness and beauty. We are fulfilled. We are satisfied. Reduced to nothing and rebuilt, we have been wrecked.

And while it’s possible you’ve experienced both of these scenarios as I have, a begging question is brought forth.

What kind of wrecker are you?

Do you fill those around you with happiness and grace? Or do you selfishly take what you can and leave those around you wrecked and angry?
Are you a faithful friend and lover who aches to make others whole? Or are you in search of your own fulfillment and your own desperate treasure?
Do you wreck others in goodness and beauty? Or do you leave them broken and regretting the time spent in your company?

We all will wreck and we all will be wrecked. With guarded hearts and hopeful vision, we can avoid the lesser and wreck this world with love and understanding.

H.O.M.E

It feels like home to me…

Just know you’re not alone, Cause I’m going to make this place your home…

Another aeroplane, another sunny place, I’m lucky, I know. But I wanna go home, Mmmm, I’ve got to go home…

Ahh, Home…Let me come Home…Home is wherever I’m with you (2x)

La la la la, take me Home, Baby, I’m coming Home…

And finally…

There is no place like HOME.

I think that HOME just might be important to people…

So, what is home?


What does it mean to you?

When you see the word home, when the word passes your lips do floods of warm memories of your childhood home come flooding in? Or perhaps bad memories engulf your thoughts? Perhaps the immediate image is that of the kitchen you had today’s morning coffee in, or the apartment in the last city you lived in. It may even be that home has many meanings to you.

Before I continue on, I’ll give you a bit of my story. I was raised in British Columbia, Canada. My parents worked full-time so I was raised by a village and subsequently I had many houses to live in: my grandparents, my baby-sitter’s and my own house. We then moved into a new house at 13 and at 18 I moved across the country to attend university. There I first lived in residence halls, then in a house then apartment with friends. Meanwhile my parents had divorced and were living in separate houses with new spouses. My belongings packed up and stored. Shortly after university I moved to England where in seven years I lived in 5 different housing situations, mostly with friends but once on my own. I have since moved to Stockholm and live in an apartment with two others who, before I moved in, were strangers and I plan to eventually move in with a friend.

Woah, now that’s a mouthful, but hang on with me…

If HOME is a building, something I attach myself, my memories, my life too then what happens of my heart when that changes?  Am I left with no home? Or a permanent sense of belonging? I say no.

When someone asks me where home is I really do not have an answer. This question is usually paired with, well, where is home? I can’t really say Canada because that’s not the entire story. If I say London, I get a look wondering where my accent is and if I said Germany (where I hold citizenship) I have to explain that I have never lived there.

So…do I have a home?

Home, to me is a not a place, it’s not a person, it’s not even a place that is permanent.

Some say that home is where the heart is…and if that’s the case my home is in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, The United States, Germany, England and Sweden. My heart is in all those places. I have friends and family, each of whom have a piece of my heart.

So, to me, home is more than where my heart is. Home is a state of mind. It’s a place where I may have lived; it’s a place where I have loved. It’s a place where I am safe and protected and secure.

Home is not a permanent fixture. The first house I ever lived in on Peacock Place is not “home”. At least not the only home I have had. It is a place where memories lie dormant but it’s not complete understanding of home to me.

For some, you may never leave your childhood city or even move out of the home you grew up in (who knows each circumstance). Some of you may be even more extravagant like a beautiful friend of mine who has not stopped travelling for over 5 years moving from place to place to place on a grand adventure. For each of us home will look differently but the most important thing to remember, to even get away from is the dictionary definition of what home is.

The place where one lives permanently, esp. as a member of a family or household.

Get that out of your mind. It’s a constraint, a lock, a wall.

Home is where you make it, the people you let  in and the memories you have and will make.

If what you experienced as home hurt you, than make new memories.

If your childhood home is no longer there, then build a home where you are at now.

If, like me, the physical representation of home changes constantly, feel not weary or displaced but blessed that the world is your home, your family expansive, diverse and full of love.

I think I love the song that says…”home is wherever I’m with you”…

Because YOU are important to me.

Pride before the fall…or the Voice Within

work hard stay humble

A simple warning: this post is raw, it’s truthful and you may not like what I have to say…but hear me out…

Do you ever wonder why you have been given a gift and not been given the chance to use it? The kind of gift that when you knock on doors and try to take opportunities, that every door is slammed in your face?

Now, I am not talking about someone whose grandma, uncle, second cousin or dentist said that you could be famous and frankly, were just being nice. I am talking about real talent and gifts that seem to not be in use.

I have had conversations like this with many people in my life. People who have real talent and when they try and use it, every door is closed. These are people who are humble, talented and just wondering when it will be their turn.

Let’s take one aspect of my life as an example, oh goody…

I have to admit that the last 3 or years has not been easy when it comes to this subject. In fact, I’d say probably since I moved to London this has been something that has bothered me.

You see, I sing. I have been singing since I barely could walk. Ask my parents, aunts, uncles, anyone who has ever taken care of me. Performing has been in me since the days I would memorise entire soundtracks and perform them with dance routines and all. Throughout school and into post-secondary education I performed all the time…even if it was only in our residence lounge, sat around a piano with two of my dearest friends belting out whatever we could remember how to play on the piano or get music to.

Then I moved and for the last 8 years I have barely sang, at least not in comparison to what I used to. Yes, I have done a few weddings and I sang BVs on worship team back in London, but mostly I have just been told “you have a great voice”, “you have a beautiful voice”, or my favourite which basically implied I didn’t have the right look to be singing…that didn’t hurt at all.

I have prayed and prayed and cried and felt rejected. I have tried to understand why I have been put aside. I have tried to understand what I am supposed to do with what I have been given, how I was supposed to honour God in every way when my attempts were shut down.

and…I stopped singing outside of church.

And then recently I realised something…I stopped because I was hurt.

But I was hurt because I was not getting what I thought I should.

Of course my first priority and heart is to serve the church, but just because I am not singing in church does not mean that I cannot sing outside of church. I do not write as part of my serving in church…I’m a youth leader. That does not stop me from being a writer as a profession.

I had taken the fact that I wasn’t using one particular talent in church, projected my feelings of rejection onto that situation and stopped myself from doing everything I loved. No one could stop me from singing outside of church but I did. Singing outside of church was not going to hurt or cause someone to stumble…and yet…I did not do it…

When Paul is speaking to the Corinthians, he talks about causing others to stumble with your actions.

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corithians 10:31-33

Colossians goes onto say…in verse 23, Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men.

Just because I am not singing in church does not mean I cannot pursue that in other avenues. I used to sing to elderly people in a social centre. What fun it was to sing Christmas carols and songs from their teenage years to entertain them? I loved seeing their faces light up! I could sing to glorify Him…anywhere (well, not anywhere…but let’s just say anywhere to make my point).

I used to believe that if I was not singing in church I should not sing anywhere and then I realised how prideful that statement was. I was saying that I only wanted to use my gifts to honour God in my way and that if it was not in church, then I was not honoring Him. Who am I to make a judgement like that? That is not humility, it is pride. It is saying that nowhere else is good enough.

I felt sick to my stomach thinking about how wrong I had been…

sidenote: I 100% believe about honouring God and serving in His church, serving His people and doing that with all your heart. I will serve in my local church until the day I die…this is not about a heart for serving but about keeping your heart right when it comes to using your talents in all areas of life. I will serve in whatever capacity there is need and I will seek God and those whose authority I have been put under for direction in serving.

My point is this…

Are you not pursuing a talent simply because someone said no?

Is there pride that you need to deal with?

Have you stopped doing something you loved because where you thought you should be doing it, is not working out?

Perhaps it’s not in church, perhaps it’s at work? Maybe you did not get that promotion you wanted and now you’re not working quite as hard? Perhaps someone said no to a project you wanted to work on, so you have laid it by the way side?

Why is it that just because another human being says no that we just give up?

Why do we let pride get in our way?

So with that in mind…

What is in your heart that hurts so much to keep it in?

What talents should you be developing right now?

Psalm 119 says that thy word is a light unto my path and a lamp unto my feet. I once heard that God only lights enough of the path so you can take the next step…but what are you doing in the light you see now? How are you preparing for the next step?

If I am not practising, song-writing, taking every opportunity to sing, then how can I be ready for the next step? Furthermore, if I stop singing simply because one person says no…what does that say about my passion or how I honor what God has given to me?

And who knows? We often only see the future according to our present. We see what could be based on what we know NOW but maybe God has not lit up the path further because you would freak out if you saw what was ahead…

Instead of playing it small, feeling sorry for yourself (hey, I’m so preaching to myself here) or hiding your talents, work on them…

I’m a writer. I do not choose to write. It chose me. I do not want to write. I have to write. I never let anyone stop me from writing…

So why would I let someone stop me from singing?

I may never be a famous singer, I’m not even sure that is what I want. I just want to sing and to do whatever I can to serve people with my voice, just like my writing…I cannot predict the future but I can humbly seek Him and honour every gift I have been given by stewarding it correctly.

I hope that through this post you heard my heart. I hope that, like me, if there is something you need to work on, a bit of a heart adjustment, that you take a quiet moment, reflect and ask God to help you with that.

It’s not easy, trust me…it hurts. A lot…

x