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Beyond Measure

I have never really been one for measurements. I don’t like measuring anything, to be honest with you. I am most definitely the kind of girl who eyeballs everything – when cooking, creating, hanging pictures – measuring tapes aren’t used. To be completely honest with you, I don’t even know what those laser thingies that people use to hang pictures are even called. And you know what? I am not ashamed to admit it. 
Over the years, I have dabbled in different crafts. There’s just something about crafting that soothes my soul. That being said, I always tell people not to look too closely at anything I make, because if you do you will see there are a lot of imperfections. When I crochet things, I may have missed a stitch or two. When I make cards, my papers are crooked – all the time. I know you might suggest I get a stitch counter, or a ruler to solve those issues, but that would suck the enjoyment right out of things for me. I have a creative brain, not a mathematical one!
 
As with many hobbies, the crafting “community” is huge. I know there are a lot of talented crafters out there and occasionally I’ll check out different blogs and Pinterest to see what their latest and greatest creations are. One day, out of the blue, I stumbled upon an absolutely gorgeous card someone had made. I started to compare it to my own. Next to this particular card, mine were the most imperfect, crooked and ridiculous cards on the blogosphere.
 
Why is it so easy to compare ourselves to others? For a girl who doesn’t like measuring, I sure try to measure myself against others a lot. I wish I wouldn’t do it, because it steals my joy and robs me of seeing how I fit into His kingdom.
Not many moments later after that card catastrophe, I received a text from a friend who had received a card that I had made and sent her in the mail. She wrote about how she had been going through a difficult time and my card was just what she needed to lift her spirits. A few hours later, I received a Facebook message from a friend of mine who was fighting cancer who said that the cards and gifts I had sent her throughout her journey had always come at the perfect time.
And here’s what I sometimes miss when I busy myself with trying to measure up to the accomplishments of others. God knew what these two women needed, and He used me to reach out to them to fulfil it. I was part of His plan for their lives. My story was to intertwine with theirs. God loves those two women immeasurably more than I do, and He used my crooked, imperfect cards to deliver them a message of hope and encouragement. And that’s when the joy of making cards started to creep back in my heart. If God used my cards to uplift others, who cares if they are not as beautiful and perfect as the next person’s?
But there’s something even more important to learn here aside from crooked cards or crocheted blankets that are missing a few stitches. Like this truth in Ephesians 3:17-19:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
His love for us is immeasurable – it’s difficult to comprehend how deep, how high and how wide his love is for us. I don’t think any of us could ever measure God’s love for us. Stop and think about that for a moment – something you actually, physically CAN NOT MEASURE. 
 
He knows every little detail of our story, and what we are going through right now that may restrict us or conflict us is all part of His plan. (1)I will be the first to admit it, my creative heart kind of loves that. I can’t even measure His love. Neither can Albert Einstein, or my eleven year old son who can out-math me any day of the week. Nor can the most mathematically minded person on the planet. It just is not possible. Isn’t that amazing?
His love is so incredibly full, it will never end. It is so long and wide, you can never stretch far enough to reach the end, because there isn’t one. His love is so deep, you can’t reach the bottom. His love is so high, you’ll never get to the top.
How perfectly beautiful. 
 
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Autism is Everywhere 

Every year in April I like to reflect on autism and our journey.April is Autism Awareness month, and with two boys on the spectrum, it’s nice to look back on where we’ve been and where we’re headed.

One of the things I’ve discovered as an autism parent is this: autism is everywhere. Before our first son was diagnosed our pediatrician said he may just be “quirky” and now whenever I see someone who is quirky I wonder. Like the seventy something that walked past me at the grocery store smiled and said beep beep beep. Like the teenager who can’t stop touching the crayons in the doctor’s office. Like the toddler at the library reciting the countries on a map.

I see it now.

The quirks aren’t terrible. In fact, sometimes they’re incredible. Sometimes they are gifts. When Aiden was a year old, my Mom bought him a set of toddler flash cards and laminated them. At the time, I thought it was a bit silly. But he brought them over to me one day and I went along with it. I’d show him the card and tell him the colour, shape, or number. I didn’t think much of it until a few days later I heard him rummaging through a box and chattering to himself in his cute little baby voice. I glanced over and couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He pulled out the three cards and laid them on the floor. He picked up the first card and said, green, oh green!” He looked at me and smiled. Realizing I was watching  him, he brought the cards over and laid them beside me. He repeated what he’d just said. Then picked up the second card. “Pear. Pear is green.” Then the third card. “One. I see one pear.” I picked up all the cards then and showed him each card. He recited every single one.

It’s one of my favourite Aiden memories. While other parents had playdates and dress up, I had a little smarty pants. Sure, he wasn’t great at playing with other kids. And when he did okay with toys, he didn’t always play with them as others would. But right then, as he chattered about his flash cards, I didn’t even care. In fact, I never really noticed.

Before we knew, he was just Aiden. He did some goody things, but we didn’t ask questions. When he wore shorts with rubber boots because that’s what he felt was comfortable, we didn’t think it was important. When he cried in October as I packed away his beloved shorts, it didn’t register for me as a problem area. I just sat him down and explained why we couldn’t wear shorts in Canada with winter on the horizon. He still cried uncontrollably at the injustice of it all, until we settled on having his beloved bear he named Bob wear the shorts. In that moment, I didn’t even realize I was using an autism strategy. In that moment, I was just being a Mom.

 

Silver Anniversary

Fast forward a year or so and kindergarten arrived. He was so excited. On the first day of school he woke up at 5 a.m. and got dressed and woke me up for breakfast. He was devastated to learn he still had to wait several hours before it was time. When we walked the twenty minutes to school I could barely keep up. His little red backpack was hung on his hook and his shoes tucked away in his cubby. One last squeeze before he started. And that’s where the good memories of kindergarten stopped. And where autism became a real, living thing in our lives.

I could go on about the negative things that autism brings. But today, I want to focus on the positive. So I’ll shift my focus to another little boy…

Eternal Sunshine. That is how I would describe my Micah. Ever since he was a tiny little baby he would wake up happy. He still does. Granted, he wakes up way before anyone else in the house. And if I am being honest, it’s sometimes hard to be happy with him when he wakes up at the crack of dawn – but his happiness has brought me joy for almost a decade. He gets excited about every little thing. Each day is full of possibilities. He is imaginative, he is creative, he is a beautiful soul – and he’s also autistic.

His story is so different from his brother’s. Autism is everywhere, but no two autistic people are the same. It is a very diverse spectrum. What is evident for one is not for another. We didn’t notice any similarities between the two, so it was a bit unexpected when Micah was diagnosed.  I struggled with it at first, but then I realized something – it doesn’t define who he is.

When he was younger, he used to be the first one to be able to bring Aiden back from a meltdown. I remember one day, Aiden was in his room wrapped up in the curtains sobbing. I don’t remember what the meltdown was about. I don’t remember how Micah came to be there with us. But he walked up to his brother, wrapped his arms around him and squeezed him as hard as a little four year old boy could squeeze. Aiden stopped crying and came out of the curtain and a few minutes later, they were noisily playing with their trains in the playroom.

One afternoon, a little boy was walking home from school when he fell off his bike in front of our house and scraped his knee and hurt his arm. Micah was the first to run over to him and sit beside him. Putting his little arms around him, he comforted him. In his powerful voice, he called out for help until several adults came running. Someone whipped out their phone and the boys parents were called. Arriving quickly, they carried him off to the hospital for a suspected broken arm. Micah waved until he couldn’t see their car anymore.

Last year, the morning after my grandmother passed away, I was rushing to get the boys ready for school. It is always a bit crazy in our house in the mornings. After they had eaten, lunches were packed, ball caps were found and sunscreen was applied, I sat down on the couch to get my bearings. There was a school picnic that day and I didn’t really feel like going. A little hand slipped into mine as Micah laid his head on my arm and said, “it’s okay if we need to be sad today. Great Grandma was special to us and now she’s gone.” Wise words from a little eight year old boy. He sat there with me for a few minutes and calmed my soul. When it was time to leave, the boys pulled on their shoes and back packs and Micah said, “but she’d still want us to be happy enough to go to the picnic, right?” We went to the picnic.

Aiden is smart, helpful and a hard worker. Micah is compassionate, kind and creative. Two very different boys from the same family. Two very different boys with the same diagnosis.

In our house, signs of autism are everywhere. In the kitchen, we have a this/then chart and rewards system. In the bedrooms we have routine task reminders. The living room sports television shows that are more appropriate for preschoolers. The playroom is filled with toys other 9 and 11 year old boys wouldn’t be caught playing with. The cupboards full of medication they need to take to survive the world outside these walls.

As I walk through our home, I am content. Yes, being an autism parent is often difficult. I am aware of the long, hard hours it takes. I know the heartbreak and stress intimately. But I also know the joy. It is in Aiden’s hard work and helpful attitude. It is in Micah’s creativity and compassion. Autism is real and live in our lives. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

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Preparing for Battle 

Once upon a time I dreamed of being a figure skater. I imagined gliding over the ice on perfectly white skates, twirling and jumping in perfection. During the winter months I was glued to the television, watching athletes masterfully dance across the ice. It looked so glamorous. And don’t even get me started on the outfits. Glitter? Yes, please.

Sometimes dreams die. My figure skating dream died the day I was skating on a canal behind my elementary school and I twisted my ankle. I fell flat on my face and when I hit the ice, I realized I didn’t have the skills or the grace to make that dream a reality.

While I wasn’t to broken up over the death of that dream, I have had others die that have been harder to process. Little did I know not being able to figure skate was going to be the least of my worries – and that not being able to walk was going to be one of the worst.

You may know I was recently diagnosed with an untreatable disease called Lipedema. While this disease comes with a significant amount of pain, it also comes with disfigurement and loss of mobility. Essentially, Lipedema is a fat disorder that allows excess fat on your limbs, excluding your extremities. In short, it is just all around ugly. Living with the pain that goes along with this disease is not easy, but far worse is living life in our world as a “super sized” woman.

The good news? I never had dreams of being a super model. I could handle not being able to wear the latest fashions, but I still had to let go of some dreams I didn’t want to have to abandon. One of the hardest dreams I have had to let go of is being just like everyone else. To let go of my independence in my 30s instead of my 80s. Can I be honest here? I needed to let go of the ability to do the little things like putting on my own socks. And the harder things, like going on family hikes. (I am not sure that was ever a “dream” of mine, but I do want to spend time with my kids – and if it that means going on hikes, I wanted to be the kind of Mom that could lace up her boots and join in). Instead, I have had to sit out on a lot of activities with my family, because I can’t walk well, and when I do walk I am painfully slow.

But let’s just pause for a minute – because we need to remember this – we are in a spiritual battle. My battle and your battle might look very different, but they are the same. We are never guaranteed an easy life, so when troubles come like the inevitably will, we need to choose to fight. The devil will try to take a foothold in our lives and cause us to stumble.

I would be wrong if I led you to believe I do this well. I am so far from a perfect warrior. I struggle to fight sometimes, and when I struggle to fight there are casualites. My worst wounds come when I choose to let the comments of people who do not know me slice deep into my heart. People who see my body but do not see my heart. I may have physical imperfections, but far worse are the battle scars my heart has endured.

But here’s the thing – we don’t need to fight this fight alone. Yes, sometimes we have to let go of our dreams, but only because God’s plans are bigger. Surrendering our dreams to live out God’s plan for our lives can be difficult because sometimes we are walking in blind. We don’t know what He has in store for us. We don’t know that plan is. So we just wait.

God allowed Naomi's suffering to give birth to her greatest joy. (1)And while we wait, we fight our battles. When the blows strike, as they often do, I remember God is good to me. I remember I am His. It isn’t always easy to let the words fall around me without injuring me, but you and I have the greatest armour ever.

The Helmet of Salvation – When we believe Christ died for our sins and are part of God’s family, we all wear this.

The Breastplate of Righteousness – This is basically the breastplate of grace. When others hurt us, it means being honest, and good and fair. When others are hurting, it means standing with them and standing up for them.

The Shield of Faith – Our protection for when we are tempted to doubt. Remembering that God WILL keep His promises.

The Belt of Truth – This helps us to keep our hearts and lives in line with God’s will and plan for our lives, even when it means going against everything that makes sense to the world.

The Sword of the Spirit – Our biggest, and our strongest weapon against anything the battle throws at us. The Bible, God’s truth. Read it. Memorize it. Use it, friends.

Feet prepared with the Gospel of Peace – Ahh, here it is. This is what is means to be content in all circumstances and to have peace regardless of what the battle brings.

Oh, that I could be more prepared. Instead, it is when I am at my worst that I remember my armour. After the words have wounded me. After my heart has been broken. After I feel hopeless, when I feel like I am worthless because the world tells me I am. That’s when I hear that gentle whisper telling me to put my armour on.

See, I already told you I am a lousy warrior – most soldiers put their battle armour on BEFORE the fight. But when I remember, when I hear that quiet voice, that is when I rise. That is when my spirit soars with the truth that I am His.

That is when I remember that the battle we are fighting has already been won.

And while I am here, surviving this disease and saying goodbye to dreams, that is when I remember my worth. That is when I the Gospel of Peace slides on to my feet and propels me to keep going. Because the world can’t tell me how and when I matter. Only God can. The world can’t tell me I am ugly, because God tells me I am beautiful.

So put your armour on with me.  Fight with me. The battle is His.

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Learning from Lazarus

I love the story of Lazarus. I grew up going to church, so this is a story that has been passed down from Sunday school class to Sunday school class. In fact, I even remember teaching about Lazarus to a class full of girls I taught in my early twenties. But sometimes when you are familiar with the story you overlook things. Sometimes you miss details that change the story.

That’s what happened for me with Lazarus. From the time I first saw Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha as flannel board figures, it was a great story. Even as a child, it was amazing to hear Lazarus was dead, but then he suddenly wasn’t. It continued to hold my attention as an excellent story until I discovered the details. Then suddenly, Jesus didn’t just raise Lazarus, He transformed me as well.

Let’s look at the details a little closer. In John 11: 2, we can see that Jesus heard Lazarus was ill. We don’t know what was wrong with him, but his sisters were concerned and sent word to Jesus. He was their friend, and He cared about them.

But here’s the first, and one of the most important details for people who struggle with any sickness, illness, disease or situation – Jesus made a statement we can all cling to.

But when Jesus heard about it He said, “Lazarus’s sickness will not end in death. No it happened for the glory of God, so that the Son of God will receive glory from this.” (John 11:4)

This is so important for us to grab hold of and understand. This is a golden nugget of hope for when you are struggling through a period of why me? Lazarus was sick because God’s glory would be revealed through his sickness and death. How would our hearts and attitudes change if we soaked up this truth? What if we proclaimed it boldly over our lives? 

My cancer happened for the glory of God. 

My mental disorder is present in my life so God can receive glory from this.

My MS happened so God can show His glory through how I live my life. 

Yes, Lazarus was ill for the glory of God. Perhaps it is easier for us to understand because we can see the other side of his story. We know what happens next, but we don’t know what will happen in our own lives. 

Here is another detail that we can look at in the story. Verse 6 tells us that while Jesus knew that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was for two whole days. When Mary and Martha send word to Jesus, they might have been expecting that He would come right away. But He didn’t. As always, He had a purpose for that too.

Jesus told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead. And for your sakes, I’m glad I wasn’t there, for now you will really believe. Come, let’s go to him.” (John 11:14-15)

Here’s the plan we can see in Lazarus’s story that we can’t see in our own. (At least,not while we are going through the valley and storms of life.) While Jesus had disciples and followers, He was constantly teaching them. At this point, the disciples were not the bold, wise men we recognize in later parts of the New Testament. Here Jesus was dealing with disciples who didn’t quite understand His power. Here Jesus was teaching those who were confused about what He could do and why He had come. This is why Jesus waited, and why Lazarus died. 

Let’s pause for a moment and look at Lazarus’s sisters. We can learn so much from them, too. When Martha heard Jesus was coming, she ran out to meet him. Martha was grieving for her brother, and might have been feeling abandoned by Jesus. After all, He hadn’t come when they sent word for him. So when she met him she said, “Lord if you had only have been here, my brother might not have died.”  It was then Jesus spoke some powerful words. 

Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying. Everyone who lives in me and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this, Martha?” (John 11:25,26)

If you grew up in the church like me, you may have heard these words many times before. But for Martha, it was new. She told Jesus that she did believe. But she may still have struggled with feeling that Jesus was too late. Shortly after their conversation, she went to find her sister.

Mary and Martha are so different. Where Martha had to process her grief and talk things out, Mary ran to Jesus and threw herself at His feet. While she asked Him the same question as Martha, she sobbed her sorrows out at the feet of Jesus.

How many of us act more like Martha when we should be more like Mary? How many of us struggle to process what is happening to us, wishing we could have a solution or a plan, and feeling broken and destitute when our plans don’t work out? Sometimes it’s difficult to surrender every grief about our situation at his feet like Mary did.

Jesus, ready to work a miracle, asks to be taken to Lazarus’s tomb and asks for the stone to be removed. A horrified Martha intervenes, warning Jesus that since Lazarus had been dead for several days, and it would smell. Only Jesus could be the one to show her what could happen when she abandoned her fears and believed.

Jesus responded, “didn’t I tell you that you would see God’s glory if you believe?” So they rolled the stone aside. Then Jesus looked up to heaven and said, “Father, thank you for hearing me. You always hear me, but I said it out loud for the sake of all these people standing here, so they will believe You sent me.” Then Jesus shouted, “Lazarus, come out!” And the dead man came out, his hands and feet bound in grave clothes, his face wrapped in a head cloth. Jesus told them, “Unwrap him and let him go!” (John 11:40-44)

Here we see Lazarus come alive. It must have been amazing to stand in the crowds of people who had followed the grieving sisters, the disciples, and Jesus there that day. Many people believed in Him after witnessing such a powerful event.

The amazing truth about the power of God is that it didn’t stop when Jesus ascended to heaven. The same power that He used to raise Lazarus (and Himself!) from the grave lives in us if we belong to Him.

God allowed Naomi's suffering to give birth to her greatest joy. (3)We can learn so much from this short story. Martha, the practical thinker – the one who worked hard and who might have liked to be able to control her circumstances. Mary, the same one who wiped Jesus’ feet with expensive oils, who just liked to be hear him – throwing herself at his feet in grief. Are we like Mary or like Martha? Do we feel the need to control or do we feel the need to surrender it all at his feet?

Jesus knew what Mary and Martha needed. He knew what the people needed to see to believe. He knows what you and I need in our lives as we navigate through our storms. His resurrection power is always at work. What does Jesus need to resurrect in your life?

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Holy Land 

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk where Jesus walked? I have. Some friends of mine have been to Israel and done various walking tours there.  They’ve been kind to share pictures with me, and when I look at them, I’m amazed.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to feel the breeze blow through my hair as I stand outside in the same spot Jesus fed the five thousand.  Or to drink of water from the well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman. To see with my own eyes the tomb of Lazarus, where Jesus stood calling his to come out from beyond the grave. Or sit at the Mount of Olives, where Jesus ascended to heaven.
I can’t imagine these things, because I’ve seen the pictures.

If you’ve been on one of the walking tours,  you would understand the need to be physically fit. Not just because you’re walking all over Jerusalem. But because to fully experience these beautiful and captivating  historic sites,  you need to duck and squeeze through small places. You need to crawl on your knees in some spots. Not everything is out in the open on display.

And so, as I look at the pictures and hear the stories, my heart feels heavy. I know a trip to the Holy Land is impossible for me. I understand that.  And I try hard not to get stuck in the comparison trap. But it’s difficult, isn’t it? Sometimes I wish I could be more like Paul. In Philippians 4:11-13 he says this:

I have learned to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation,  whether it is with a full stomach or empty,  with plenty or little. For I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Here Paul was addressing the Philippians who had expressed concern about his physical well-being, but I think we often could take his words further. We can be content with our circumstances, no matter what they are. Whatever it is that keeps us from doing something we might like to do – whether it be physical, mental, financial – we need to be content with our circumstances.

Here’s the thing – we are actively living out God’s plan for our lives, whether we are aware of it or not. He knows every little detail of our story, and what we are going through right now that may restrict us or conflict us is all part of HHe knows every little detail of our story, and what we are going through right now that may restrict us or conflict us is all part of His plan.is plan.

Even if we are dealing with the hard stuff. God knows how to take our messy lives and desperate situations and make it beautiful. Learning to be content in the beauty AND the broken is the ultimate gift.

As I was scrolling through my friend’s photos on Facebook, I saw his grinning face as he stood in front of the Jordan River. I couldn’t help but grin back at him,  even though my heart longed to be able to dip my feet into the very place where my Jesus was baptized. And in that conflicting moment, it was as if Jesus himself whispered these soothing words over that sad place in my heart.

You may never walk where I walked while you are on this earth. But you will one day walk beside me in glory.

Oh, how my heart soared with that truth. With tears in my eyes, I set down my phone and thanked Him for those words. They illuminated the future I can sometimes forget as I stumble through this life. One day, I’ll be perfectly whole. He who gives and takes away has a plan that includes brokenness and healing.

I pray this truth won’t be so easy to forget as I navigate this life. I pray the same for you too. With every breath we breathe, we are living out His plan. Let’s align our hearts to live in His will, too. And let’s pray for contentment in our circumstances,  especially when it’s a tough season. Because that’s when His glory is revealed.

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Spoons and the Saviour

The last time I saw my older brother, I was being wheeled away in a wheelchair. I’d been visiting him and his wife while in the city for a medical appointment, and I was heading home. Excited to see my boys, I woke up early only to discover searing pain in my body, especially my back. It was so awful, I couldn’t even stand up.

I knew my plane was leaving at a certain time, and I only had a few minutes to get washed, dressed and pack up my things. But in that moment, I couldn’t imagine doing any of it.

Have you ever heard of the spoon theory? As it goes, if you suffer with a disability or chronic illness, you wake up each day with a set of spoons. Spoons equal energy and ability to do tasks. Each activity costs you a certain number of spoons. Getting dressed may be one spoon, for others five. Running an errand can costs several spoons. Exercise often costs the greatest amount of spoons. And when you run out of spoons, that’s it. You’re done for the day.

So what happens when you wake up with zero spoons? It certainly felt like it for me. I couldn’t move. I lay on my back in the guest room panicking. What was I going to do?

Sometimes we are slow to turn to God for help, and other times we aren’t. Usually when pain is present I our lives, we are much less likely to forget. So as I lay there, with only about thirty minutes to get out of bed and out the door, I called out to God for help.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1

I’m not used to God moving quickly. Perhaps that’s my lack of faith showing through. But this is the fastest a prayer has ever been answered in my life. As soon as I finished praying for help, I gathered all my strength and stood up. It hurt like I can’t even describe.

Letting out a deep breath, I prayed for help again. I washed up and got dressed. The pain was great but God was greater. I felt His presence as He helped me accomplish these small things. A few minutes later my brother knocked on the door to tell me it was time to go. I told him I felt like I was dying and asked if he had any Advil. He came back with a cold bottle of water and a handful of pain meds. As I downed them, I prayed they would work fast.

God heard me again. As I hobbled to the car, the pain was great but I managed to get in. As we navigated through the airport, it felt less. Relief came as a support personal opened up a wheelchair and I sat down. I don’t love using a wheelchair. It makes me feel embarrassed, being the size I am. I’m always afraid of what people will think of me. I don’t know why spectator opinions matterso much to me. I’m working on that.

But, sitting helplessly in a wheelchair drugged up on pain meds is how my brother saw me last. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the negative. I could dwell on how it made me sad to see him walking off with the image of a somewhat crippled sister changing his image of a once agile sister who could bicycle as fast as he could. A sister who once jumped with him on trampolines. A sister who raced him up the hill after rolling down.A sister who could walk.

Yes, I could get caught up in that. And sometimes, I do. Reality is it hurts when you look back over the life changes that occur when your body goes through something unnatural. But there’s something else at work here. Where there’s the unnatural, there’s also the supernatural. And I’m not talking about science fiction.

Here’s the thing. The Saviour debunks the spoon theory every day. When we cry out to Him for help, He is there. Somehow on the day when I couldn’t move, I flew home, went grocery shopping and visited some friends. Normally, doing any one of those things would liquidate my short supply of spoons. But not when God intervenes. Through His power, my weaknesses are made strong. Through his power that day, my supply of spoons multiplied. In fact, I didn’t think about my energy level at all that day.

I think about that day often. I think about it when I’ve been standing too long and my legs ache with fire. I think about it after I’ve run errands and I’m recouperating in the couch. I remember my cry for help, and His beautiful provision. It still blows my mind I managed to get on that plane.

God allowed Naomi's suffering to give birth to her greatest joy.He wants to help you when you’re weary. He wants to fill you up when you’re empty. His loving kindness is better than any spoon you’ll ever find. Relying on him is the only way you can leave your spoons behind.

That day in the airport, I was wheeled to a spot where I’d wait to get taken to the plane. The support personnel laid my bags on the floor next to me and said someone would be there to help me with them for boarding.  Normally, I’d grab my phone and scroll through Facebook or browse through Pinterest while I was waiting. I couldn’t because my bag was out of reach. As I sat there, feeling vulnerable and alone, I witnessed something I might have missed with my phone in hand. A beautiful, spectacular autumn morning sunrise. As the sun rose up past office buildings and skyscrapers, it took my breath away.

Jesus fills our every need. Who knew that morning my greatest need was abandon my spoons and wake up with the sun?

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The Story of A House

Have you ever doubted that God has your best interest in mind? Have you ever struggled with understanding why He allows certain things to happen in your life and lets other things that you want to happen just fall away? I know I have. As much as I am doubtful, I know the truth. Even though sometimes I struggle with it as much as the next person. The reason why I know? It’s the story of a house.


About a week ago, my best friend and her family moved into their very first home. As she was texting me updates, and taking me on virtual tours of the moving process, it brought me back to when my family was on the verge of making a move to our very first home. Even though I was excited to be a homeowner, the thought of moving rattled me. I had several of our belonging packed in boxes. Our dresser drawers were empty, the paintings and photographs that decorate our home had been taken down and packed away. The kitchen cupboards were mostly bare save for a few things I still needed in order to cook meals (because take out can’t happen every night). Everything that made our house a home has been stripped bare. I felt so overwhelmed and stressed in that situation – everything was in upheaval. 
These seemingly small things were important  to me. God cares about the little things in our lives. And he orchestrated the entire move for us, down to the features of the house we live in.

When we were looking for our very first home, it was a bit of an intimidating process. We had a specific budget, and specific requirements for a house, as does anyone who is looking to buy a house. But these specifications were tailored to me. Not my kids, not my husband, but me. We knew when we bought this house that it wouldn’t be our forever home. As much as I dislike moving, we knew we would have to do it again. Because when we first started looking four years ago, we knew I’d one day be in a wheelchair. So we knew we’d need to one day be in a single level home. But back then, we really just wanted a home with less stairs.

It’s not easy to admit that it’s difficult to climb stairs. In the house we rented, there were two sets of stairs. I had no idea that I would think so much about stairs before Lipedema took over my body. But before we bought our house, I was having trouble going up the 2 flights of stairs in the home. I’d spend most of my nights sleeping on the couch because climbing the stairs at the end of the day was just out of the question. So we wanted to find a house that had limited stairs, and whatever stairs might be in the home, there needed to be a landing so I could take a break.

We looked at lots of houses. Some that my husband loved. Some that I loved. Some that we hated. I remember my husband feeling particularly jazzed about the possibilities of one home. It was a large, empty house with a beautiful kitchen and living room. Hardwood floors, gorgeous bedrooms and natural light. But the stairs to the basement were difficult. I remember wandering from room to room in the basement, aimlessly following the real estate agent as she and my husband chattered excitedly about what could be. But the whole time they were talking, I was stressing about how to get back up the stairs. After the tour I told my husband I didn’t want to live in a house where I couldn’t be in any room at any given time. I didn’t want to own a home I could only use half of.

Packing-Moving-Boxes

So we kept looking. And then we found the house – and it was beautiful. Only ten stairs in the house with a landing in between. Adequate space for everyone. A playroom for the boys. Hardwood floors and lots of natural light. When the realtor led us out onto the deck, I gasped. I hadn’t thought about decks when we were searching for a house. I know to many people the deck is what sells the house. But it hadn’t crossed my mind. Until I saw a deck that didn’t have a standard staircase like every other deck in the neighbourhood. I saw a deck that had a few stairs, and then a landing. A deck I could easily walk on and ascend and descend the stairs without an issue. And the best part? It was nestled right between the two schools my children would attend, a five minute walk to either one.

After the tour, we were both excited. We knew it was the house for us. So we put an offer in on it. And it was turned down.

I admit, this is where I struggled. Why would God show us a house that fit every need that we had thought of, and every need we hadn’t thought of – and then take it away? I wrestled with this. I cried about it. We looked at other houses, but nothing seemed to match up. One listing we viewed was right behind the house,  with the backyards facing each other. I knew I couldn’t live my life there with the reminder of what was right in front of me.

Two weeks passed, and I waffled between believing in His goodness and despairing over not getting the house. Finally, I realized what I was doing and repented of it. I remember praying  Jesus, I know You love me. I know that You have a plan, and I trust in you. Forgive me for being so hung up on this disappointment. Please, please help me let go of this house. Immediately afterwards I felt like a weight was lifted. I still didn’t have the house, and we had looked at several others but they all fell short of what we needed. Still, I made the decision to lay it at His feet and not pick it back up again.

A few days later, the phone rang. It was our realtor. She asked us if we were still interested in the house. It took me a few minutes to realize what she was saying. The homeowners had reconsidered our offer, and decided to accept it if we were still willing to buy. Just days after I let go of the bitterness. Just days after I released my disappointments. Just days after I realigned my heart with His plan.

We got the house.

Here’s the thing. I wasn’t truly trusting Him. I wasn’t really leaning on the promise that He had a plan for our life. I wasn’t believing that He knew my needs and was going to provide for them. I wasn’t living what I knew.

Sometimes Christians can get discouraged. Sometimes we move away from the things we believe. Our thought process slips away from being confident in Him to being confident in ourselves. When that happens, we lose focus and stop trusting. I know this because it happened when we were looking for our house.

But the good news is this. Even when we fall short, even when we stop trusting Him, He doesn’t stop loving us. He doesn’t stop working in our lives. He is always leading us, guiding us, providing for us.

So take heart. Look back over the places in your life where He has provided for you, where He has shined through a particular difficult situation. Think about the story of a house. And be encouraged.