Wednesday 11 December 2019

[VLOG] A Health Update and a Little Hope

Hi Friends,

Some of you have been following along with my crazy health journey this year and wondering how it's been going. First, I wanted to take a moment and say thank you for all your prayers and support this past year! Your kind words and most certainly your prayers have been propping me up through this difficult journey.

Moving forward, it seems as though I finally have some answers in a way that only God could do. I have shared the update with you in the video above. I was just going to share this with my family and close friends, but then I realized it is a message of hope and wanted to share it with all of you. Who doesn't need to hear a message of hope, really?!

For those of you who are wondering what on earth I'm talking about, that's ok, I'll fill you in as well in the video clip.

Love you all!

Thursday 21 November 2019

One Important Lesson my Pup Taught me About the Good Shepherd

Meet Ollie our newest family member. Today Ollie taught me a little thing about shepherding. You see, Ollie is an Australian Shepherd and was born to herd animals. She has quickly become familiar with who her pack/herd/flock/whatever you want to call her family around here.

Today my son, Asher, and I took Ollie for one of her daily walks. About halfway through our walk Asher wasn’t feeling super, let’s just say that walking in snow pants and boots when you are only four years old tires out a guy pretty quickly! Rather than fight the boy’s need to sit every 5 steps, I decided to take a shortcut home. He was relieved to be out of his multiple layers of winter gear, I was relieved to be able to pick up the pace, and so I left him in the care of his two big sister to finish running the dog.

As we left our home for our walk-part-2 it became evident that Ollie was in distress. She kept pulling at her leash in the opposite direction to me. After much frustration, on both our parts, she sat down and refused to budge. I proceeded to ask her what was wrong, because, if you have pets, naturally you assume they will respond in english. “Well Sarah, I feel as though our vision for this outing is not currently compatible…oooo!! ooOO!!! KITTY!!” 

That’s not exactly how it went down, but she did jump at my legs and try to pull me towards home. Close enough, am I right?! I’m sure I broke every obedience training lesson in the book, but curiosity got the best of me and I’m glad it did! 

I let her lead ever so slightly to see where she would take me. She led me across the road, down the block, and right up our sidewalk. I opened the door and she ran in searching for Asher. When she found him she sat down beside him, look at me, and sighed with a huge sigh of contentment knowing she was right where she needed to be. Tail wags and a face wash for the boy followed.

Her shepherding instinct was so strong that after we dropped off Asher she recognized one of us was missing and she needed to find him and ensure we were all safely back together. Her desire to be with him outweighed her desire for a good walk. Together was better, whatever the cost.

As I thought of how diligently Ollie fought to turn back to get to Asher I thought of our own Good Shepherd. Not just once but twice do we get to hear the parable of the lost sheep, once in Matthew 18, and again in Luke 15. 

What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. (Matt 18:12-14)

The fight that my young pup had to get back to her “lost sheep” was nothing compared to the fight from God for the lost. While my pup was willing to give up her precious walk to be together, the Good Shepherd was willing to give up his life. Together is better, whatever the cost. 

Today Ollie gave me a tiny dog-sized visual of the deep love our Father has for us, His sheep. Nothing and no one can distract Him from us, nothing and no one can persuade Him away from us, nothing and no one can use enough brute force to pull us away from Him. What hope we can have for our lost loved ones knowing that God is chasing down His missing sheep. What rest and comfort we can find in our own lives knowing we can lay down and be securely tucked away in the protection of God’s presence. Together is always better.


Wednesday 25 September 2019

The Cost of Abundance

Luke 12:48

“I forgot why I don’t like shopping here,” she muttered as we stood at the checkout stand. “You have to bag your own groceries.”

I laughed, “Well, at least it isn’t Costco where we have to haul out heavy boxes.”

She chuckled then shook her head, “We are so privileged.”

She was right. We finished packing our bags and parted ways. I walked to my car thinking of the privilege it is to be able to buy giant boxfuls of food.

Opening the trunk to my car, I realized I had no space to put my food because I hadn’t taken the bags of clothes we had just cleaned out of our closets to Goodwill yet. A trunk full of too many clothes left me with no room for my shopping cart full of food. Quite the first world predicament.

I checked my grumpy attitude I’ve had the last few days as we’ve been working to declutter (why is getting rid of so much abundance so exhausting?) and thought about all this. God put me here, in Canada. I could have been born in a third world. I could have even been one of the less fortunate in my own city, but here I am staring at my car filled with surplus.

God says much will be required to those of us who have plenty. (Luke 12:48) Based on the space in my car I’m in the “plenty” group, and I'm fairly certain a car, empty or full, is enough to land me in this category. And yet, how many times have I missed an opportunity because I’ve been grumbling over what I have? Have I missed a conversation God needed me to have with the sales clerk because I was too busy bagging my surplus of food like it was some sort of hardship? Did I miss a chance with a stranger because I was in a hurry for my kids dance lesson forgetting that sports aren't a need in God's kingdom? Did I absentmindedly miss someone in need on the street corner because my gas tank was low and I was too busy comparing which stations had the cheapest gas rate? 

Have my privileges distracted me from God’s needs?

God needs us in the ordinary. He need us to look up from the plenty we have and notice those right in front of us. It is a privilege to buy groceries, to have our kids in sports, to drive cars (just to name a few). Those privileges perfectly take us to places where God needs us to be. He needs our mouths to be ready to speak for Him, our hands to be ready to help Him, our feet to be ready to move for Him, and our ears to listen attentively like He does for us. 

Today wasn’t just a reminder to be grateful for all that I’ve been given, it was a reminder to look up and to look around instead of falling prey to being stuck in the privileged routine of an ordinary first world life. It was a reminder that I have been given much at the hand of God, but that that requires much from me. There is joy far greater in serving God than in any earthly abundance anyway. 

Someone around you today needs you to stop fussing over the privileges and abundance of everyday life and bust into their world with words and actions like only God can do. Will you look up?


photo credit:

Thursday 23 May 2019

The Day My Pregnancy Was Terminated

terminated pregnancy

Today is May 24th which for most of you it’s just an ordinary day. But for me, May 24th is a day of remembrance. On this day in 2005 my 8 week pregnancy was terminated and my heart beating baby was removed from my body. As I write this my heart is racing and my hands are trembling as I think back to the day that placed a weight in my heart that I will forever carry with me.

I can remember the day like yesterday. I had been bleeding throughout my pregnancy on and off. I was finally sent for an ultrasound early one morning after a visit to the ER the night before found my uterus was not as large as it should’ve been for 8 weeks pregnant. The ultrasound tech’s furrowed brow and the sharp pain of the probe she kept prodding me with told me something wasn't right. She left me alone, I assume to consult with the doctor, or radiologist, or whoever knows how to officially read the black smudges on the screen. I laid in the room listening to myself breath in the hopes of a welcoming distraction in the silence. Just a few days prior my mom and I had gone to the fabric store to buy fabric for the baby’s room- cowboy and farm print. My dreams for our family had been sweet, but the sinking feeling surrounding the day was causing them to fade in the most painful way possible.

The technician returned.

“Go home and wait by your phone,” was all she said.

Although my husband and I only lived 5 minutes from the clinic, by the time we opened the front door the phone was ringing. It was my family doctor.

“Sarah, your baby is alive and has a heartbeat, but is growing in your tube. I’m calling ahead to the hospital. You’ll be having surgery today to remove the child before your tube ruptures and you hemorrhage. You must go there right away.”

There was a hum in my ears as she spoke. The sounds of our home become muffled by the questions that had began to circle so furiously in my head, I could barely hear my husband speak to me. To this day, I have no idea what he said in that moment. I called my mom to tell her, though I don’t remember what I said, I do remember her saying something about meeting us at the hospital. 

We entered the ER for the second time in a 24 hour period, this time all hope of hearing the words I desperately needed to hear were gone. I was taken into a room and given a gown. There were swarms of nurses in and out of the room, the bustle never seemed to ease up. I was rushed for another ultrasound. They decided against a second one as quickly as they had wheeled me down the hall. I was taken back to the room where a team of nurses was waiting, one began to collect blood on one arm, another began to hook me up to an IV on the other arm. The IV didn’t work and within minutes my arm began to swell as fluid filled my arm. More nurses came pouring in. 

“I don’t feel well,” was all I could get out. Those words prompted more blood work to ensure I wasn’t turning septic. It had nothing to do with being septic. I was suffocating in the swirl of medical personnel. I was drowning in the chaos, but there was no time to come up for air. Down and down I went, further to the bottom of the sea of IVs, stretchers, hospital smells, and medical jargon. Down and down I went from the blissful anticipation of being a new mom, to a heartbroken mother grieving unexpected loss rather than the expected gain. I wouldn’t leave the hospital with a baby in my arms as I had envisioned. I would leave the hospital empty-handed. Vacant. Void of the life I had brought in with me.

I was taken up to what would become my post-op room and signed off on the surgical papers. You know the ones that warn you that you may never wake up. My life, my baby’s life, the preciousness of life was at a stand still. 

For the first time since the ultrasound that morning I was left in an empty room as we waited for the porter to come to take me into the surgical room. I lay there quietly rubbing my hand over the left side of my swollen abdomen where baby was peacefully nestled. 

“How do you tell the child you've never met that it will be ok?” I whispered into the quiet room. 

My husband stepped out to breath for a brief minute, and just Mom and I lingered in the room. Two mothers grieving for their children.

I pushed my hand deep into my belly and asked my mom to put her hand on top of mine, I was desperate for validation from someone else to recognize the budding human growing inside me. Only the surgeons would bear witness to the sacred life my eyes would never see. There we sat, quietly speaking to baby and praying to God.

The porter arrived. Every ounce of air from my lungs was instantly sucked from my body. This was it.

Laying on the stretcher outside the operating room the surgeons arrived, a husband and wife team. As the Mrs. washed her hands the Mr. stood beside me. 

“Will this hurt the baby?” I asked.

“It’s just group of cells, not a real baby. It won’t hurt anything.” His answer shocked me. This was my baby! The baby I had been speaking to for the last few weeks of my life.

“But my baby has a heartbeat,“ I pleaded.

“The heartbeat is only the result of electric pulses and nothing more.” His response was almost as sterile as the room that surrounded me.

The Mrs. overheard and made her way to the other side of the stretcher, her response was only slightly more comforting. 

“Your baby feeds on your blood supply and will be under anesthetic just like you. It won’t feel anything and I’ll leave it inside you until we are finished.”

With that I was wheeled into the OR. My body shivered in the cold, steel room. Tears streamed down as my face and a few breaths later I was asleep.

The room seemed painfully bright as I came to from the anesthetic. The room was still just as busy as when I had gone to sleep, but, this time, there was one less person present. The emptiness in my body was unbearable. 

One week later my family gathered for a memorial service of our little Finch. Early in the pregnancy I gave the baby a nickname, Finch, like a little baby bird. A tiny, fragile life growing in the shelter of my body- a shelter that couldn’t save my Finch. 

It has been 14 years since that day. I’ve had five more babies since then, though only 3 of them are living this side of Heaven. 

As I thought about sharing this with you, I realized I still have unanswered questions and my mind still gets the best of me sometimes. What if I had said no to the surgery? What if I was given more time to get answers? Did I murder my baby?

I can’t answer most of those questions. What I can do is share with you from the side of this pro-lifer. Even as I write “pro-lifer”, the nagging feeling of guilt still threatens to press upon my heart.  

I write this first to my fellow pro-life advocates... 

While my story falls in a rather odd category, you need to have heard my story. Most woman who have had an abortion feel the sharp pangs of your comments of “murderer”. She doesn’t roam the streets looking like a killer (whatever that looks like in your eyes). She looks like me. The girl next door. The lady you sit beside in church. The woman who is now a mother, grateful for the kids she has been given a second chance at. The woman with unseen hurt that she’s likely far too embarrassed to tell you about. This is her. Be gentle with her. 

God’s loving arms are gracious and full of mercy. His love is never-ending. As pro-life advocates we should never forget that pro-life includes all humans, not just the unborn. We are here to fight that all life should see their value and worth just as God has shown us. We are called to love our neighbours, called to reveal a God that offers forgiveness. 

Some of these women are unable to see their own worth let alone the worth of what is growing in the sacred depths of their bodies. They don’t understand the depth of our Father’s love. When we shout profanities, shake our fists in rage, and crush spirits how will they ever know why we value life with such passion if we don’t first show them we value their life too? Speaking truth is no doubt part of God’s love, but truth without kindness will only stir up more strife (Proverbs 15:1). Let’s be quick to remember Paul’s beautiful letter of what it looks like to love one another as God has established for his Church.

Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 emphasis my own)

To the woman who has had an abortion...

 I know your weight, your grief, your chains. I see you, I hear you. I know that while you’re trying to buy into the lie that you only removed a group of cells that in your heart you know the reality of the loss. There is hope for your burden, but it isn’t found in this world. It is found in God, the Father of both you, and of your child. 

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you...(Jeremiah 1:5a)

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

We all make mistakes. We have all sinned, we have all missed the mark, and come up short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23). But God is a God of grace and mercy and love. He doesn’t just possess love, He is the very existence of love (1 John 4:7-21).  Love doesn’t keep records of wrongdoings after the apology has been offered. Unlike you or I who struggle with forgiveness, God is perfect, and He does not struggle. You can find freedom in His presence because He broke your chains on the cross. No more condemnation, no more guilt. Just freedom to know you have been forgiven and can walk beside Him without the stain of blood on your hands. 

To the woman who is considering an abortion...

Know this. There is an unimaginable burden that follows the conscious choice to end a life. I can only assume, like my story, that the speed of what is happening around you is moving too quickly. Like a runaway train, you are desperate to just make it stop moving, whatever the cost. Unless you are hemorrhaging on the spot, you have time. Take it. Breath. Pray. Repeat. Even if it’s just for an hour, shut the terrifying words of the doctors out of your head. Close your ears to those around you who are persuading you that taking a life is what’s best. Be still, and know that there is a God who knows far more than any doctor, far more than any diagnostic testing, far more than anyone around you. He is worth trusting, even if you barely know him. The entire Bible is a story of God’s redemption of a world crushed by our poor choices. If he can redeem a world, he can redeem your story whatever it may be. Breath Him in. Call to Him. Trust Him. 

He determines the number of the stars; he gives to all of them their names. Great is our Lord, and abundant in power; his understanding is beyond measure. (Psalms 147:4-5)

If God knows the stars by their names, surely he has not forgotten you, nor your baby. He will not abandon you. You are not alone. I plead with you from the bottom of my heavy heart to reach out to a pregnancy support center. At least listen to a second opinion. You owe it not just to your baby, but to yourself to hear from someone who honestly wants to hear your fears and concerns, and who long to help you make choices that you won’t regret. Many of them have already been praying for women just like you. They already love you before you’ve even walked through their door. 

My story was and is complex. If I could go back, I would’ve done it differently. It really doesn’t matter though, the past is over and unchangeable. I grieve my loss often, as any mother who’s lost a child would. I hope and pray that someway, somehow, my sharing can change the outcome for someone else. I pray my voice can spare just one child. And, one day, when I make it to Heaven, I will kiss my beautiful Finch and tell my baby how we changed a life together.  


photo credit: Nynne Schrøder @

Wednesday 8 May 2019

When Good Health Became My Idol

Christians and health

I never assumed my health could ever become an idol. I suppose I always took advantage of being a generally healthy person. It wasn’t until my good health was stripped from me with four months of a mysterious illness that I could see it for the idol that it had become.

I laid in my bed exhausted from carrying the sharp pangs of pain that daily coursed through every muscle and joint in my body. My brain could barely keep up with daily conversation, my heartbeat was irregular, and my blood pressure dropped so low the world would spin every time I stood up. I pleaded with God, “Lord, if you would just heal me than I can do more for You!” Yet, wave upon wave of my mysterious illness seemed to knock me over, and defeat was settling in.

Poor health was almost embarrassing to discuss among church friends, that should’ve been my first red flag that I had placed too much merit on this growing idol. I felt ashamed, like somehow I got it wrong and everyone else got it right. Admitting I was sick was like admitting my faith was weak. I knew that not to be true, but I couldn’t escape the feeling that I was a subpar Christian because my health took a hard hit. Looking back on it, I can see now that Good Health sat on a throne and became the dictator by which I measured my life with. 

It wasn’t until I was allowed to struggle in my pain that a profound truth began to sink in. Freedom isn’t free from, it’s free to. I know what you’re thinking, and yes, we are free from sin, but when we became free from sin, we became free to love and be loved by God without interference. Freedom isn’t being free from sickness, overwhelming circumstances, disease, debt, etc., it’s being free to be loved by God. When the chain of your sin was broken by the Lamb, interference from God’s love was abolished for all your eternity.  You do not need to be free from your circumstances to be free to love and be loved by God. 

We pray “IF you...THEN I will...”, but sometimes our “if” doesn’t come, and if the “if” doesn’t come, we are no less saved, no less loved, and no less desired by God. Your health will never distract God from his plan for your life. It will never cause him to place you on the back burner to make room for a healthier alternative. 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?... No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37 emphasis my own)

In all these things, your distress, your persecution, your situations, you are conquerors through Christ. In your bed, wheelchair, pain, illness, less than ideal circumstances you are still prevailing. Why? Because not one single element of what plagues your life is enough to separate you from the freedom of receiving God’s love. Not one single aspect of your illness is enough to cause God to stumble in his desire to be near you. Not even a negative attitude is enough to push God away. In fact, I learned that as my misery grew, He drew closer. 

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit. (Psalm 34:18 emphasis mine)

Not even my misery was enough to turn God away from loving me, and being near to me. 

Having good health as an idol assumed that every other aspect of my life depended on my health for me be worthy. In doing so it lowered God by assuming that he can’t possibly love me or use me if I am sick. It assumes we are useless if we are imperfect. 

Wrong. Dead wrong. 

You are loved, you are desired, you are free.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)


photo credit: @

Sunday 24 March 2019

From Embarrassed to Refined: How God Pulled me From my Hiding Place and Set the Record Straight

How God deals with our pride

Sitting in my chiropractor’s office having deep theological discussion, as we always do, he says something to the extent of this, “Can you imagine how Job must have felt demanding God to show up and defend why He let everything happen, then, in a bizarre turn of events, God actually shows up?!”

“Embarrassed!” I shrieked, “and it isn’t always a bad thing!”

Rewind that story to a few months prior...

We had been studying the book of James in our Bible study. As we read through chapter one this verse struck me:

 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. (James 1:5)

It was as if God had just stood in front of me as I read this and asked, "Sarah, what do you want to know?"

For weeks I wrestled with this question. What DID I want to know? Anticipation began to grow. I asked him a lot of varying different questions. I figured since the offer was there, I wanted to take full advantage of His generosity. But then something happened...He went silent. And I mean absolutely cricket chirping silent.

It grew challenging to read my Bible without it stirring my soul, challenging to pray when there were no answers or changes in what I prayed for. My heart grew tired and weary in what appeared to be His absence. I asked him, “Where did you go?” I thought that had become a rather important question to ask, but again, the only thing he offered me was more silence.

Soon an exhausting health crisis moved into our household. Three out of five of us went down hard. I prayed again for answers, well, actually, I just kept asking “why” a whole lot.

One night, too exhausted to move, I slumped down on the couch and prayed an utterly weak and defeated prayer. Suddenly God began to shift my perspective. I began to realize that somewhere through the course of many layered events and multiple months I had shrunk God down in scale. I hadn’t doubted his existence, only his size. When I prayed I was praying (in my mind) to a God of microscopic stature, therefore I had very little expectation of what he was going to do with my prayers. Somewhere in this mix I had forgotten the power of the one whom I was praying to. 

I finally knew my question.

“I want to know You are still powerful.”

Ok, ok, it’s probably more of a statement than a question, but I suppose in reality God’s power did have a giant question mark hovering over it. Is God really that powerful? Does he still work miracles? The 24 hours that followed were nothing short of a Job moment where God himself showed up and reminded me repeatedly of his power. 

That night my husband and I randomly decided to watch a sermon before bed (not our usual bedtime routine). We typed in one of our favourite preacher’s name into the search bar on YouTube and up came the top three suggestions. The first title made something in me VERY nervous, so I told my husband to hit play on either of the other two selections. Neither worked. I’ll bet you can guess which one of the three did work though! I was already uncomfortable before the first word was even spoken. 

Every single question that I had been hanging onto over the past few months was addressed in sequential form as the preacher spoke. Something that had been recorded months before I watched it (and on the other side of the world I might add) was being used in my home to answer my tiny questions that had yet to be answered. Every piece of scripture that had been at the forefront of my mind was used over the course of the next 30 minutes. I felt like crawling under my blankets and hiding!  I kept hitting pause just to catch my breath. God has been listening even when I thought he had gone silent. I wasn't watching a 30 minute coincidence, I was witnessing God's power in action.

A few days later I was overwhelmed by an outpouring of prayers and encouragement from people I hadn’t met before at our church. People who were being prompted to pray for our family at hours of the night that overlapped with moments when I would wake in pain or anxiety from my own health problems. People who unknowingly spoke words of life that struck right to the core of the matters of our heart. God showed up in all His power and glory and sheepish doesn’t even begin to describe how it felt!

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said,
“Who is this that darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
“Now gird up your loins like a man,
And I will ask you, and you instruct Me!
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?
Tell Me, if you have understanding,
Who set its measurements? Since you know.
Or who stretched the line on it?
“On what were its bases sunk?
Or who laid its cornerstone...
“Have you ever in your life commanded the morning,
And caused the dawn to know its place,
That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,
And the wicked be shaken out of it?
“It is changed like clay under the seal;
And they stand forth like a garment.
“From the wicked their light is withheld,
And the uplifted arm is broken.
“Have you entered into the springs of the sea
Or walked in the recesses of the deep?
“Have the gates of death been revealed to you,
Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
“Have you understood the expanse of the earth?
Tell Me, if you know all this.
(Job 38:1-6, 12-18)

I can almost hear the sound of sarcasm in God’s voice as He talked to Job. “Have YOU understood the expanse of the earth? Hmmm?? Tell Me, if you know all this.” I can see God sort of leaning with His elbow propped atop the tallest tree, eyebrows raised. 
Embarrassed. Yup. Job felt embarrassed. I know, because I certainly did. By the time God got through revealing His power and might my knees were trembling in fear of His greatness. 

He had not answered my other questions prior to that day because they did not get to the core of where my heart needed stability. All valid questions, but in true God form He knew what I really needed to know before my “big” question was even asked. And, in true God wisdom, He knew exactly how to get me to see where my weak point was. His silence wasn’t his absence, but part of His lesson to me. 

Embarrassing? Oh yeah! But, I give God such praise for humbling me and shrinking me down in size. Not because He needs me smaller for Him to look bigger, it wasn’t just a slight of hand or an optical illusion. But because only when I realize my stature can I resume the humble posture of praise that He truly deserves. Only when I am smaller will I hold my problems less and become quicker to place them in His fully capable hands. Only when I am smaller I worry less about the future. Only when I am smaller can I fully understand the amazing ever-present, all-knowing, all-powerful presence and power of our Mighty God.

Has God grown small in your eyes? I might encourage you to ask Him to reveal Himself in the fullness of His stature and power, but prepared to be embarrassed. I promise it’s a good thing.


photo credit: Noelle Otto @

Saturday 16 March 2019

A Faithful God- the Extraordinary Testimony of My Otherwise Ordinary Life

The Backyard Missionary- testimony

Many people have testimonies filled to the brim of God’s redeeming grace. I LOVE hearing how God moved mountains to reveal himself to the abandoned, the sick, the outcasts, and the broken. In contrast I always felt that my testimony was a little drab compared to the jaw dropping testimonies of some. 

From a young age my parents placed my tiny hands into the hand of my faithful God. Every crisis, every major event, every decision was brought before God in prayer. As a result He became my “go to” in all circumstance. Not much excitement there in terms of God’s wild redemption. But here’s what has taken me thirty-six years to finally understand...

There are testimonies of God the Redeemer, God the Healer, God the Provider. While I don’t have one of those, my testimony is one of God the Faithful. I have had 36 years to bear witness to a God who has never failed. A God who has been faithful to his child even when this child wandered or fought against him. 

Though the circumstances looked grim, He would always shine through the darkest moments and lead me back to hope. What was meant for evil, God always managed to work  for the good (Genesis 50:20). And when I shook my fist in anger at the circumstances, he challenged my way of thinking to see clearer His Sovereign hand at work. 

As a teen, when my walk with him was weak, He was my Protector who kept me from wandering too far. When I lost two babies and was told I may not have children, He was my Provider and gave me three more. When my husband battled a drug addiction, He was my Strength to stay and fight. When my mom died from terminal cancer, He was the Comforter to my broken heart. When I questioned the church and those inside, He didn’t turn his back on me, He gave me His heart to see hurt as He sees. When I lashed out in frustration at Him over my health, He humbled me to see He is still in charge and trustworthy.

My God has been faithful.

It is hard to wrap my head around it that in spite of my seemingly lack of interest in him at times, though I have failed, He never has. I have walked away in anger, but he didn’t turn on me. I have questioned his motives, but he didn’t flinch. His faithfulness came through every. single. time. 

I don’t deserve a God like that. One who holds me and walks beside me and the emotional roller coaster I often ride. But, His ego doesn’t get bruised, His love is a fierce one, and his hands never tire of carrying me. "For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 8:38-39) 

I can’t tell you a grand story of being rescued from the streets, or from drugs. But I can tell you my testimony of how God has faithfully rescued me from myself time and time again. He is my God, the unfailing Faithful One.  

Whatever you are up against, I am a walking testimony to trust God. There are no obstacles too challenging, no frustrations too deep, and no questions that He won't guide you through to an answer. He is not a God who gives up, nor a God who walks away.

For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Ps. 100:5)

To all my fellow rather-ordinary-testimony sisters, this one's for you. Never be ashamed of expressing the extraordinary steadfast faithfulness of our loving Father in your ordinary life.


photo credit: Edwin Andrade @ Unsplash

Tuesday 29 January 2019

The Hidden Blessing of a Long-Term Illness

hope with chronic pain

Call me a medical anomaly if you will, but for the past few years I have been seeing a vast array of doctors, specialists, naturopaths, and basically anything ending in “ologist”. I’ve tried medications, natural remedies, exercise, and diet changes. Even still, I’ve yet to receive an official diagnosis, though I’ve heard several speculations. While I wait in the line up to see one more “ologist” I have come to realize the hidden blessing of my long-term illness.

What I do know for certain is that whatever is brewing below the surface, there are plenty of days where my body simply won't cooperate. Last week, driving home caused my wrists to become so inflamed I was unable to hold a knife to make supper by the time I walked in the door. A few days later it had moved on to a new joint once again causing my daily activities to be severely altered. 

If it sounds frustrating, it’s because it is. But, as frustrating at it is, God is faithful in walking beside me, but also in refining me to reshape me into something beautiful (even if outwardly I appear frail). 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13 emphasis mine)


Have you ever wondered what ALL THINGS includes? The better question, as I’m learning, is, “what doesn’t it include?” 

The answer is: absolutely nothing. 

God has given me a gift in this season, the gift of neediness. I am abundantly needy for his strength, and am reminded of that frequently. I continually find myself in circumstances where I once would’ve thrived in my own strength, but now my body will not cooperate, so I lean on him for strength. Something as simple as opening the stuck lid of a jar required me to pray on the spot, “not my strength but yours. Help!” It opened without effort after I prayed! I really should have started with prayer, but I insisted on grappling the slippery lid, banging the jar on the counter, and doing a weird dance with the jar held between my knees while pulling with my hands on the other end before surrendering and acknowledging my neediness once again. 

God is good like that. Just when we think we have a handle on a situation he humbles us and reminds us it’s not by our strength but by His that we stand. There is NOTHING too small to call on the strength of the Lord for. Our go to at the first moment of a furrowed brow should be to call on God to strengthen us in whatever way we need it. 

Maybe you’re like me and it’s physical strength you need, but perhaps for you it’s mental, emotional, or spiritual strength you call on for help. Whatever it is, I’ve learned the gift of neediness is truly a gift worth praising God for. It is in this gift that I am reminded of His goodness, His strength, His mercy, and His compassion. I needn’t worry about my own limitations when I’m walking with such a mighty God. 

The gift of my illness has carved out daily moments in my life where frustration has the possibility to take over, but instead I see the God who holds me and strengthens me. I see my desperate need for Him in a life where I would've otherwise missed it. Those moments where the forward motion of my life hits "pause" are a place to sing songs of joy to Him as I lean hard on His everlasting strength.


photo credit: John Towner @