Can I be in your Shelfie?

Straight up, I have a lot of books. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to many of you. At Christmas, most of my presents are fresh printer-and-ink-smelling rectangles in tacky Christmas wrap, simply because I make it easy for my husband to guess what I want by constantly adding a pile of Marissa Meyer, Veronica Roth, Marie Lu, Lindsay Cummings, Kate Quinn, and Kiera Cass volumes to my Amazon Wishlist, along with the random other authors I decide to obsess over. And don’t even get me started on my Bill Johnson collection.

With technology and self-checkout robots dominating society, I’m relieved that real books with paper pages are still a thing. Gone are the days where Christmas shopping was as easy as purchasing a CD, or a DVD that you knew someone liked. Now with Spotify and Netflix, who needs stuff like that?

And now here comes Kindles and e-books, rising up from the guts of the literary world with its robot tentacles to scoop up as many of us as they can. Some people love reading on a Kindle or their phone, and I’m sure that’s where the future is headed. But it’s just not my thing.

Don’t go dying on me book-lovers. We need our libraries to live on!

In the midst of the buzzing technology that runs this world, I find my happiest place is still sitting by the window in a plush chair, with a cup of something only slightly less hot than burn-your-mouth temperature, with all the other sounds turned off, holding open a book and getting lost in a great story. And since moments of rest are sort of God’s thing, something He holds high on the list of valuable things for your life, I hope some day I can be responsible for the story that brings someone else into a place of peace.

Because, really. After all these years of raising babies, it’s about time I kick-start my writing career, wouldn’t you say? I’ve been telling stories since I was a little girl, and now that I have kids of my own I want them to go on adventures and live a life with all the magic of getting carried away into other worlds. So please pray for me, friends! Shoot one into the air right now if you can. I need all the faith-fuel I can get as I start to send proposals to literary agencies. And you can bet your buttocks I’ll keep you in the loop as much as I can!

Now tell me, what kind of story would you want to read about?

  1. Parallel universes on the brink of war with a psychologically unstable (but hilarious) female lead that has totally fallen head-over-heels for a guy who hates her guts.
  2. A chilly Christmas tale that forces an uncoordinated faithless female protagonist to face off with villains from old Christmas legends.
  3. A fairy-tale retelling with a twist that pits two sisters against each other in a dangerous competition to hunt down the greatest threats their historians have ever recorded.

Let me know! I’m sharpening my pencils to take notes…

 

 

Life Speakers and Bad Breath Breathers

Isn’t it funny how a breath mint can be the difference between a moment with someone being sentimental and precious vs. terrible and nasty?

There are times when I’ve been in close quarters with someone and all I can think about is how little I can breathe from the fog-cloud they are creating between us and how much I’d like to throw a breath mint in their mouth while they are talking. I hate to say it, but I have noticed that this problem seems to rage to special heights in churches. Who’s idea was it to serve everyone coffee before social time? What a ministry.

Maybe our true church ministry should be providing breath mints to the needy.

I love coffee. So I’ve often found myself in this awkward position of having just inhaled a cup or two during a service and then realized that the Lord is putting it on my heart to go and pray for someone. So then there’s the mad “gum scramble”, during which we have about fifteen seconds to ask everyone in our row if they remembered to come prepared. Usually they haven’t. And so the apologies to the one seeking prayer begin.

In a way the coffee-breath ministry can be easily related to our words, and ultimately our hearts, because the Bible says that our words are a reflection of what we have inside. I think it’s probably wise for each of us to ask ourselves every once in a while, “What is coming out of my mouth?”

God has made it abundantly clear to me and my husband during this season of our lives that He is going to battle for us. It’s cool to think about, but only for a second or two. Because after He confirmed that to us, we quickly realized that meant we had been put on the sidelines. Yes, we are out of the game. We have given the Lord permission to go to bat for us, but that means we aren’t going to bat at all.

On the plus side, God has never lost a game.

On the down side…It means we need to constantly check ourselves so that we make sure we aren’t picking up any spare sports equipment to try and jump into the game. If I rush out there the ref will blow the whistle for having too many players on the field and I’m either going to take a penalty and get suspended from the game, or worse, the whole season. This is something I have learned a lot about these past few years, that when God tells us to trust Him, we have to. There is no alternative. There is no “Maybe I’ll just do this one thing,” or “Things would be better if I just spoke up and told my side of the story.”

Stop it, you. Just stop. When God says to trust Him, then TRUST HIM.

Ugh, the agony. No one likes to sit on the sidelines. But I have begun to realize how peaceful it is over here.

Distrust in God always has way more consequences than trusting Him.

That is a statement I should tattoo to my own forehead. Because the person who took the biggest hit from my distrust last season was me. It’s been a long break between seasons and God has revealed so much to me about those times, and taught me so many things about my own life as I have been on this break. He called a penalty on me and I was forced back onto the sidelines for a while. Even writing blogs was out of the question for a time, as I learned to “trust myself to trust God”. Distrust has consequences. But even more than that, it carries baggage. My heart has always been to minister to the broken-hearted, and to share His unrestrained love to those who feel hopeless. If that’s truly my heart, then God will give me those opportunities. I don’t need to try and find them myself.

The strange part about this new season is how much more prepared I am going into it. Learning, even if it’s by mistakes, is invaluable. At first it seemed like punishment, God calling me to stay at home and be involved in less in every area of my life, but over time I realized that He wasn’t mad. He was just equipping me to get back out there, patting the dirt off my jersey and giving me a Coach’s speech so that when I did re-enter the game I would be ready for it this time.

I think that God brings us through the same tests that we have failed in the past, so that we have another chance to pass them. This season is different in some ways, yet there are many similarities to what we as a family are experiencing. It would be easy to default to my former self, the one who would have felt the need to plead my case and speak up to defend myself when people are getting the wrong idea about what is happening. But the biggest difference between this season and the last one, is me. God is pulling on his batting gloves and scanning the field. Something major is about to happen and I don’t want to ruin it by jumping in and giving my team a penalty. And if I can wait, and trust in Him, we might just walk away with a trophy or two.

One thing that the Lord has been majorly pressing into us is that right now He is watching and waiting. During the stretches of desert that we seemed to be trudging through as we were trying for a baby, and wondering what God’s plans were for what is now our home in Shingletown, He told us over and over again that His timing was perfect, and He sees all things. Rushing wasn’t on His agenda, so we had to take it off ours. We couldn’t push God’s timing, or there would be consequences. We couldn’t make a move without His leading, or kick open the doors that He hadn’t opened yet. HIS timing is perfect. And He sees ALL things.

Here, take some of His peace. You can have it. It’s free. *Hand thrust forward* 

Trust really is its own therapy, once we finally give in and let it be our way. I’m sure this is the way God intended us to live as Christians, to love everyone, address every person with respect, and forgive no matter what. The hardest people to forgive are the ones who need it the most, and are probably suffering from something themselves. When we love and pray for those that make things harder on us, we are releasing Heaven into the atmosphere and breaking chains that the enemy has tried to place over us.

Jesus is the King of Love, and He dishes it out in handfuls. It’s easy to love others when we remember just how much He loves us, and what He’s willing to do for us (which is everything, even dying). So I’m sitting out for this season, until the Lord hands me a catcher’s glove and sends me out onto the field. His timing is perfect. He sees all things. And right now, He’s watching, He’s studying the game and all of the players, and He’s waiting…

God has called all of us to be speakers of life into every situation, and to contribute to the trust we are supposed to have in Him. He has called us to be unified before His throne and to keep our eyes on the things of Heaven. I don’t want to be a bad-breath-breather. I would rather muzzle myself than speak negativity into the situations around me. Instead I think I will let God bring everything into being, since that’s sort of His thing, and watch in amazement as the incredible begins to happen.

Thank you Jesus for everything. Every accomplishment and moment of glory goes straight up to you.

So there you have it. Now let’s all go buy a whopping bag of breath mints for Sunday. Bring enough to share.

 

 

 

 

 

Clear Skies Ahead

There’s a grey sky outside clobbering the morning with unwelcome shadows but just beyond it I can see a vibrant blue rolling in. This will be a bright morning after all.

It’s been a little bit of time since I’ve graced you all with pretty words and mildly inappropriate humour, but there’s been a lot going on. First, I had to endure the first trimester of pregnancy. If you don’t know what a “first trimester” is, Google will tell you that it’s one of Mother Nature’s cruelest practical jokes. She plays a lot of these on us women. I won’t start making a list or you will lose your breakfast, but just know that only God in Heaven has the infinite power to get us through certain seasons.

Thankfully I’m over all that garbage. First trimester is long behind me and I’m standing under that ravishing warm blue, kissing those pesky rainclouds goodbye. Thank you Jesus that I’m not going to experience morning sickness throughout my entire pregnancy like so many others. Let’s have a moment of silence to honour those poor souls that do.

Anyway, it’s hard to entirely forget about the upcoming torture, which scholars like to call “labour”, but at least I have a break before then to remember what the world is actually like. Apparently it’s not all made up of repulsive foods and bad smells. Suddenly I’m craving a whole variety of cultural cuisine. Like Taco Bell. I haven’t touched a morsel of food from Taco Bell since…well since my last pregnancy actually. There’s just something about their Loaded Cheese Fries Supreme that would make me cringe on any normal day, but during pregnancy it suddenly becomes the meal that makes you feel like you are eating at the Lord’s table.

In addition to being pregnant and getting to experience the giddy joys of feeling something kicking against my insides and busting holes through my innocent ribs, I’ve also been preoccupied with building a house. Well, obviously I’m not building it. I couldn’t find the appropriate drill bit if my life depended on it. But my husband and some of his honorable allies are throwing the thing together. If you pray and stuff, then please be praying with me that this process of getting permits and the whole building process goes so much faster than we expect. I don’t particularly want to add the experience of “going through labour + moving into a new house at the same time” to my resume. It’s not exactly on my bucket list.

Something that should be on your bucket list, however, is to read CINDER by Marissa Meyer, the first installment in The Lunar Chronicles. If you like gritty young adult commercial fiction, fairy tales, fantasy, and sci-fi, with just a hint of added man-meets-machine genetics, then you will probably fall in love with this writer’s stuff. Might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m into this sorta thing. It’s been a thoroughly entertaining way to endure the pregnancy drama.

Okay, enough random. Apart from checking in just for the sake of it, I also came across a verse that has been on my mind a lot that I wanted to chuck into the world so that everyone else could benefit from it too. Unfortunately, one of the hardships of becoming a parent is that we suddenly have to live with this fear that something terrible could happen to our kids that is completely out of our control. Does anyone else face this monster? For me it hits at night, in those last few moments right before I’m about to fall asleep. Suddenly I see this image of some random thing happening to my son that is awful, and somehow every night my mind creates a different way for him to suffer, completely against my will. What a torturous way to lay awake at night. All I can do is squeeze my eyes shut, and beg Jesus to take the images away. The ironic thing, the thing that I have to remember in these moments, is that Fear is a coward.

Yes. The “Fear Monster”, is a coward.

The Spirit of Fear will run away scared like a little pansy the moment we tell it to leave in the name of Jesus.

This brings me back to the BRAVE Conference from a few years back, where the testimonies and teaching got planted into my brain so deeply that it’s still what I go to when fear presents itself. Fear cannot stand up to Jesus. It runs and flees the second the presence of Jesus is present. Our job is to cast it out, using the tools that God gave us to fight the enemy. All it takes is a simple, “Fear, leave in the name of Jesus.” Sometimes you tell it to once and it leaves forever. Sometimes you have to do it every night (until you are delivered of the thing that is causing it to manifest). But no matter what, it hikes up it’s pants and runs for it’s life.

So my verse is found in 2 Timothy 1:7. “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control.”

God gave us a spirit of power. And a spirit of love. And self-control. Fear does not come from God. So be afraid, Fear. We’re coming to deal with you.

‘Nuff said.

Thanks for reading.

The Big Comeback

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In June I started writing a magical Christmas novel and for some bizarre reason I’ve stayed fully dunked into the Christmas zone for months. Yes, I was in some other sparkling snowy world all summer. Doesn’t seem very Canadian of me, acting like those precious hot months of summer weren’t really there. I’m probably insane. I’m sure there are people in my life who think so.

Thankfully, I don’t give a flying fart in the winter wind what they think.

My mind has been bubbling over with creativity, so much so that I really can’t keep up with it. There isn’t time for all of these “gold minds”! My “mind-field” is at full capacity. Yet, still the unexpected colourful explosions come. And this is both a chaotic scramble and an enormous relief, because for a while I thought maybe I had lost every creative bone in my body. Except for my funny bone, of course. Somehow that one managed to stay. Which was a comic relief. A relaxing clean break. Just side-splintering, as a matter of fracture.

I’m fairly certain that what brought forth the change was all the time I spent in the presence of Jesus, basking in the fiery glow of love that He has for me, getting fuelled and recharged. Music started pouring out of my soul. It was my own personal revival; my dry bones waking up to dance, my aching voice coming out of captivity for the first time in years, and my stomach being filled with fire. Stories are being intricately woven together in my mind. My head is so full.

And what crazy timing. In about two weeks my friend Jess and I are putting a worship conference on at our church called Set Free. I haven’t talked about it much on here. In fact, I haven’t written often at all in the months that we have been praying for this conference, but now I’m going to tell you why you need to be there.

God is doing something miraculous. In the past few weeks He has been pouring out, and every week it’s growing into more. I’ve never planned a conference where I’ve had so little to do. God took care of everything.

This is how my God works. Praise Him!

See you in the tidal wave.

Peace.

Silver Platter of Filth

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I have two dramatically different sides. And one of my sides is unquestionably more charming than the other.

There’s my fun, full-stomach, had a good sleep, ready to face the world and make mankind laugh at my expense side…and then there’s the hungry, tired, spaced, mirror-image-of-a-zombie side. And trust me, when I go all Jeckle-Hyde and my zombie side comes out, you’d better hide before I infect you with my atrocious attitude.

I’m pleased to say that over the years I’ve learned to manage this and I’m a bear much less of the time than in my past. I have Jesus to thank for that.

One simple cure; time with God.

I think I’ve said this before, but it baffles me how potent this remedy can be. There was a time where my health (and I do mean my physical health) depended on me taking time every single day to rest in God. If I didn’t I would be short tempered and often I would feel sick to my stomach and exhausted shortly after. It’s shameful that it took so much to get me to realize that I needed to be with God on my own time more than just once or twice a year when I was feeling particularly motivated. Sometimes God tries to get our attention nicely first, but we pathetic humans usually fail to catch on. And when we do catch on we still decide we have better things to do.

Unfortunately I’m one of those people that God needs to knock clean off my feet from time to time to get my attention. I get distracted easily. I’m guilty of taking off to ‘chase the butterflies’ whenever they fly by.

There is one thing though that is persistent. Regardless of the fact that God uses necessary discipline to get me to listen, every time I come back he doesn’t scold me or kick me back into the dirt and walk off. Every time I sit down with God, he tells me that he loves me. He simply says, “Welcome back. Now let’s get down to business.”

This has been the beginning of many conversations and ‘planning sessions’ with God that have resulted in some of the best accomplishments I’ve ever experienced in ministry. The great thing for me is that God already knows everything, so I don’t need to run around and try to get the answers or figure everything out on my own. I simply wait. He gives me what I need. And then I go.

For ages I was always in the mindset of “I just have to get it together and then I will talk with God”. God doesn’t want that garbage. But Jesus made a point to stay away from the ‘put together’ people in his time. The raw truth is that God wants both sides of us, including the nasty one that you don’t want anyone to see. In fact, I think he mostly wants you’re imperfect side. Sheesh he already knows how crabby you get. Try taking that gross part of you to him when you’re feeling in the dumps and see what he does with it. Those moments of surrender have become some of the most character building experiences of my life.

All I’m saying is that there are a lot of ‘butterflies’ that are vying for our attention these days. There are so many things to think about and for some reason we are terrified to let them out of our minds for one second. We think they are the most important things in the world.

No one needs to become a zombie. Zombies are unnecessary. And the zombified-droopy-face-look is unflattering on everyone. So get back to God for a ‘faith-lift’.

I’m sending out dozens of little prayers right now. If you’re reading this then one of them will land on you. I’m sending out a prayer of God’s peace, and I’m praying that in this moment you would get a glimpse of God’s warm love. I hope he has your attention now.

Kropf out.