Category Archives: Life

A Prayer for the Start of a New Week

Will you pray this with me this morning?


Dear God —

As we wake to a brand new week we thank You for a fresh start. Your mercies are new every morning. Each day is a gift and its Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise.

We are excited about what this week might hold. You alone know the end from the beginning have good plans for us. We wait in eager anticipation.




As we begin again this week, we will intentionally forget what lies behind — those moments last week where we deliberately chose to ignore the promptings of Your Spirit and stubbornly walked our own way. We intentionally commit to press forward into what lies ahead, forging boldly into the future You have planned for us.

Help us to turn the mundane into holy moments with You. Those piles of laundry and stacks of dishes and mud tracked onto clean floors are really evidence of Your blessing — the family You’ve given and this home we make together. As we move through the routine of regular life let us see every mundane task as a sacrifice of praise.

May we seize every opportunity You give for Your glory and our growth — making the most of our time for the days are so evil.




Lord, on the cusp of a new week, we are so aware that we will fail You. There will be moments that frustration erupts into anger, times of unbelief and ungratefulness, missed opportunities and flat out rebellion. We confess all this up front. But we are also so aware that You will never fail us. You remain faithful. Faithful to forgive when we turn to You in repentance.  Thank you, Lord.

We want to walk with You this week, and amazingly You want to walk with us.

The future is unknown and so uncertain. Life can change in an instant. God, this week could contain something that significantly alters the course of our lives. But we trust You. You know what this week holds. Calm our fears. Lift our eyes. Banish our doubts. Give us that steady assurance that You are never more close than when Your children are suffering, and help us to trust Your purpose in trials.

Our plans for the next seven days are written in the lightest of pencil and we submit them to You. Change them. Jesus. Make them better. Because You can do far more than all we can ask or imagine.

Help us to live God-aware this week. At the end of the week our hope is to know You better and be changed by You.

Give us greater faith, believing You for great things, because without faith it is impossible to please You.

We give this week to You.

And we pray all of this in the mighty, matchless name of Jesus Christ,


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When life seems a bit uncertain

We sit in my kitchen and she tells me things are up in the air, the future uncertain.

I nod knowingly.

This one I understand by experience.

The waves of the storms of life roll in one after the other and we squint in the darkness, trying to discern the future.








But life is so unpredictable and can knock you around a bit.

As much as I plan and prepare, this year has kept me in a state of uncertainty for various reasons.

Just as I thought the fall would lead to some  sense of routine, life has handed me another trial, which is in reality another opportunity to trust God and wait patiently for the outcome.

As many have said:

We do not know what the future holds, but we know the One who holds the future.

That has to be enough.

And so each morning, I surrender it again to God, telling Him I’ll wait and watch for His leading.

Because He is still on the throne.

What is causing uncertainty in your life? Will you surrender it (again) to God and wait for Him to lead and guide you?  

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From a mama to her daughter on her birthday

My darling daughter,

I kissed you goodnight last night and this morning you woke up a whole year older.


Today we celebrate 8.

Doesn’t every mama wish she could turn back the hands of time?

If I could, I’d go back to this …

lake superior 2009 129

july 4 209

shining tree 2009 016

You like running wild and climbing high and keeping up with your big brother. You run with a pack of boys that plays Manhunt well after dark, and you race dirtbikes through the dust and scooters down the sidewalk after those same boys. Your not afraid to bait a hook and touch a fish and kiss a frog.









I wonder … if I would have dressed you in pink satin and tied pretty bows in your hair when you were little, would you be more likely to choose those things now? Would you enjoy painted nails and salon-styled hair and shoes that match frilly dresses?

But that’s not who you are. And do you know what? That’s not who I was either.

When you were a babe in arms you always reached for your Papa over your Nanny and your Daddy over your Mommy and your Uncle over your Aunt.

When I watch you follow after your Papa in rubber boots and choose the outdoors every time, I see a much younger version of myself. I was the one out of three girls who trudged through the snow with my Dad every night to the barn. I was the one who rode endless lengths of the field on the back of the corn planter. I was the one who climbed every tree I could just because I could.


I see some of myself in you.

But you are much more independent, much more determined than I ever was. You have a strong spirit and I see a leader emerging in you as you grow. Your teachers tell me you don’t care about following what others are doing, you are happy to do it your way. Dear daughter, you will save yourself a world of trouble by not following the crowds.

You are fiercely passionate, and even though we sometimes battle over clothes and piano and bedtimes, I love your independent nature.

You know who you are far more than I did at your age.









Your Daddy and I thank God for you. You are a gift straight from Him and we are blessed to have you in our lives.

Jaden, on your birthday this is my prayer for you. These are the words I whisper beside your bed as you sleep:

I pray you will know God (1 Chronicles 28:9)

Knowing God will be your greatest pursuit.

I pray you will serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind (1 Chronicles 28:9)

As you get to know God, the only right response is to serve Him. Take all your and determination and be independently dependant on God. Follow His plans for your life. This will be your greatest joy and your greatest fulfillment.

I pray you will seek hard after Him (1 Chronicles 28:9)

If you seek Him, He will let you find Him. Chase hard after God all the days of your life. He is not far from you.

I pray you will direct your heart to God (1 Chronicles 29:18)

Take all your God-given passion and spunk and love God with your whole heart. Let your love for God drive everything you do. Worship Him with an undivided heart.

I pray God will give you a perfect heart to keep His Word (1 Chronicles 29:19)

His Word is your life. It is alive and active and works its purpose in you. Cling to God’s Word. Spend time in it daily. It will guide you, and in it’s pages you will meet your God and know Him better.

Happy birthday, sweet girl!








When you feel like you have to do it all

We spent much of the summer talking about our fall schedule.

Cautious of over-committing our family with the uncertainty of a cancer diagnosis, a new school for our kids, and an upcoming season of work travel for my husband, we were wise to carefully consider our activities.





We talked through each one, evaluating its importance and impact on the family pace (there may have even been a spreadsheet or two involved!).

Truth be told – I lobbied hard to keep them all.

Every individual commitment seems so worthy (and so fun!), but when strung next to each other in the weekly grind, I realized (with my husband’s repeated wise counsel) that we could not do it all.

I could not do it all.

But I want to do it all.

But wisdom is foreseeing what will happen if we commit to too many things. Wisdom knows this mama becomes harried and stressed and not at all fun to live with when life is too full.

I can’t do it all … 

… but I can be faithful.


God has given me the exact amount of time in this life to fulfill what He’s called me to do.

I spent the eve before the swing back into familiar fall routines on my knees confessing I wanted to do it all, but admitting I couldn’t. I told God I wanted to be faithful with the ministry He has given me.

“As much as we’d like to think otherwise, we have just one little piece, and our faithfulness with it is paramount.” (Beth Moore)

But I needed Him to narrow the scope slightly and show me His priorities for me. What should I invest my time in and what should I release?




The next morning He was faithful to show me the first step.

“When the height of ministry outgrows its depth, it will inevitably come tumbling down. We are wise when we focus on the depth alone and from that time forward leave the length, breadth, and height to Him. As long as the latter dimensions matter most to us, we are not ready to build what lasts.” (Beth Moore).

His priority for me is to focus on the depth of my relationship with Him. I can’t give what I don’t have. Any ministry He calls me to must come out of the overflow of what He is doing in my heart and life.

So I begin here.

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What I Learned This Summer

The days are getting shorter and cooler.

As summer comes to a close, I’m looking back and reflecting on all God has taught me. Here are the top ten things I learned in this summer:

1.  Healing is a slow process that demands I slow (and it always takes longer than I think).

When the doctor looked straight into my eyes and told me I was overdoing it, I shrunk a little in my chair and hung my head. My expectations for life to return to normal (almost) immediately were unrealistic. Slowing does not come easy, but I learned (the hard way) it was the best way. I prefer doing and going and checking things off of a list. Watching life go on around me from a sofa is not easy. But slowing and resting are necessary in certain seasons, and we must embrace them too. And God’s voice is so much more audible when the swirl of life slows.



2.  Love is an action, and when it’s not, relationships suffer.

Even (especially?) after twelve-and-a-half years, marriage needs to be intentional. When it’s not, it soon becomes obvious. This summer has been an intentional effort of re-investing in our marriage and setting the pattern for the future. Love that man!




3. Waiting is a grueling exercise in patience and trust.

Some say the waiting is the worst, and at times it has been hard. The majority of the summer was spent waiting for test results to see if the cancer had spread or was contained. But God has been teaching me patience and trust through whatever He allows into my life. And when the news finally came, I was so grateful for the journey to that end.



4.  Life is often hard but God is always good.

We all go through seasons of difficulty that God sovereignly allows in our lives. But He can use those seasons to refine our character  and reveal Himself to us in ways we never thought possible. He is never more near than when His children are suffering. In some ways, it’s a sweet time.



5.  Good neighbours are a great blessing.

So thankful for the community of kids on our street who rang our doorbell and jumped on our trampoline and formed strong friendships with our kids all summer long.



6.  I recharge in solitude (and that’s ok).

I am a talk-to-me-one-at-a-time kind of mom. I wish I could do the happy chaos of many children and activities all swirling at the same time – I can for a while – but then I like quiet. When asked if I prefer to spend the day fishing with the whole family or being left alone to read and write, I chose the latter. And I’ve come to realize I’m a better person, more capable of serving others, when I am intentional about choosing periods of solitude.



7.  Living life distraction-free is a breath of fresh air and reminds us of what is truly important.

After eight days off the grid, I almost dreaded going back to the pull of technology. It was wonderful not to reach for my phone and instead reach for family. Distractions can keep us running from what matters most.












8.  Camp can bring new levels of knowing God.

They came home wonderfully exhausted every day from Bible Camp. And I’m in awe of the glimpses of growth I see in them. In the midst of all the glorious fun, they definitely met God.


9.  A singular event can evoke the most opposite of emotions.

A family wedding brings laughter and tears all mixed together. The summer closes with the wedding of my baby sister and her man. It was a day filled with great joy for the happy couple and great sadness over the one whose absence was so painfully obvious. My mom would have loved to see her beautiful daughter get married.














10.  Home is always the place I love most.

Summers are full of vacations and travelling and enjoying a slower pace of life, but I always love coming home to this life God has given us. I love getting back into the routine of school and ministry. Looking forward to what the fall will bring!

What has God taught you this summer?


What does your to do list say about you?

I passed by those stands eight times in four days before I finally stopped.








They are dotting the country roads this time of year, tall stems of beautiful flowers in pails of water. Only pennies a bloom.

Every time I passed I wanted to stop, but I was in a hurry. Late for something. I told myself I couldn’t afford the time to stop.

Luxuries like taking roadside flowers and arranging them in a vase for the kitchen are reserved for those who aren’t so busy.

My to do list is long these days. Some of it is legitimate. Some of it self-imposed busyness and wishful thinking.

Its when I realized I was looking with envy at couples leisurely strolling down the sidewalk after dinner – and the pang of jealousy that came when I read her status update about laying on the trampoline with her kids watching shooting stars – that I realized something had to change.

And then this on the screen made me freeze –

“Your to do list shouldn’t always be about what you’re doing, but who you are becoming” (Glynnis Whitwer).

Somehow I’d lost sight of this … again.

God is always more interested in my character than my list of accomplishments. He always would have me choose people over tasks. He is more concerned about doing a work in me than me doing work.

And life is not an emergency.

We are not meant to run breathless from one activity to the next. We miss His presence, His voice, and His counsel when we are consumed with our lists.

And what if – just what if – our lists don’t match His? What if our plans are not His for us?

Father, forgive me.

So today I stopped – at every flower stand I saw along the way!

I choose the prettiest blooms. And instead of rushing in the door and starting the next thing, I carefully trimmed them, chose a glass vase, and spent some time arranging them in front of the windows.





Yes, they are just flowers.

But they are more than that.

They are a constant reminder to pay more attention to who I am becoming than what I am getting accomplished.

(I have a feeling I might need to continually re-learn this).

(And yes I ordered the book!)




Facing whatever is coming this way

They’ve packed fishing poles and sandwiches and bug spray and loaded the boat in the back of the truck, and they are gone for the day.


The littlest one is wearing her pink hat and she hugs me hard and tells me she wishes I was coming.

The boy, preoccupied with that fisherman’s hope of catching the big one, forgets to kiss his mama goodbye as he climbs into the back seat.

All is desperately and gloriously quiet as I make my way down to the water’s edge.

The surface of the lake reflects the grey expanse above.



The wind blows hard in off the water and I turn to face directly towards whatever is coming this way.



Tomorrow is clouded in the unknown and no one can know, except the One who knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10).

The doctor had said four to six weeks for the test results and knowing the next bit of future.

The bandages have fallen off and the little one had stared at the thin upturned line etched on my neck and tells me it looks like I have two smiles.

Because who wouldn’t want double joy? 

I think about the possibilities. There will be great joy and celebration if the results say the skilled surgeon cut out every last cancer cell.

But wasn’t it James who said we were to consider it all joy when trials come (James 1:2)? Those same results could say the opposite – that the dark cancer is still lurking elsewhere in my body. And is there joy in that too?

The water is rippling straight towards me and whatever will come will come.

And who can add a single hour to her life through worry? (Matthew 6:27).



Will I turn and cower, or will I bravely face the future God has planned? Will I succumb to the fear and the what ifs, or will I determine to wake up and not live numb to this moment?

Because the here and now – this is a gift.

The hours stretch long and I find joy in lingering long in the Word and processing my thoughts with my own words. Finally that silver truck makes its way up the laneway and they all pile out with stories as big as the fish they caught.





Yes – this – this is a precious gift. Today is here and tomorrow will come, – and although unknown – it too will be filled with its own trials and graces.

As I usher them into the house I pause to gaze down at the lake one last time. The wind is gentler now.


I will turn and bravely face whatever is coming because my God promises to walk beside me.






When you are tempted to feel lonely

I call it the ‘Sunday night feeling.’

Every Sunday night as the sun was going down, week after week, month after month, year after year – for my entire childhood – my Daddy would give us all goodbye hugs. Then he would take my Mom and walk through that door and they would kiss in the privacy of the front porch, and then he’d climb into that truck and drive straight out the lane, the air horn blasting as he went.

As I watched those taillights fade down the highway from the kitchen window, the loneliness would wash over me like a tidal wave.

Even now, some Sunday nights that old familiar feeling threatens in the shadows.

Six days after my surgery I’m wrestling with whether to go or not. The trip north was planned well before cancer interrupted normal life. The safe and reasonable thing to do would be to kiss the three of them goodbye and watch them drive away and allow the quietness to settle like a wet blanket. Home alone for five days would mean rest and healing and catching up on things left undone over the last number of weeks.

But that Sunday night feeling is just too much for me to take.

And so after the pros and cons are weighed and discussed and prayed over – and then its after the pleading from those two who know just how to turn my heart inside-out – I pack my bags for the north.








Yet the loneliness still threatens.

Does leaving the comforts and routine of home mean leaving His presence? The uncertainty of when and how to spend time in the Word over the next several days causes that same familiar ache.

I’m still not quite sure I’ve made the right decision as we carry the sleeping children to the van in the dark of night and begin our eight-hour drive.

I’m dozing and praying as the sky turns orange with the first light of day, the trees black shadows against it, and its then that a sure knowing settles over me.

I am in Christ no matter where I go. 

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me” (Psalm 139:7-10). 






Loneliness is not a reality for us because we cannot escape the presence of God.

“I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). 

I’m never lonely for Him. 

When are you most tempted to feel lonely? How can you turn to God in the midst of the loneliness and acknowledge His comforting presence?














When you wonder if you are able to wait well

OK…the truth?

This resting and recovery is hard. So hard.

Harder than dreading the surgery and all the irrational fears that came with it. Harder than submitting to needle pokes and IV’s and blood pressure cuffs. Harder than actually walking through those operating room doors.

Because life is still moving and the lists are growing longer and the kids want to play and there are so many things to do … so many things I want to do.

But my body simply will not cooperate. My energy will not last the length of the list.

Resting and waiting for healing is not easy for those who evaluate a day based on things checked off a list and accomplishments and performance. Aren’t most of us this way in our fast-paced, performance-based, instant-gratification culture?

We think to do and do and do is far better than to be.

But God is far more interested in who we are than in what we do.

Resting and waiting on God is not easy.

I remember when I was convinced I would have my firstborn on the day he was due, and fourteen weeks before that date circled in red on my calendar, God told me to rest, and He put me flat on my back in a hospital bed for seven weeks.

Resting and waiting on God is down-right difficult.

So often we want to work our way into God’s graces – to do something, anything to fix or improve our situation, or maybe to feel better about ourselves.

Cease striving and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).

But God demands that we approach Him through grace not works.

Works says you have to do better and be better. Grace says Christ is better and has done better.

Works says you need to be good. Grace says you are desperately wicked but God is gloriously good and Christ has done everything you need to clothe yourself in that goodness.

Works says this is the way to please God. Grace says God has done the work to make us pleasing in His sight.

Works says if you perform well you will be more loved and accepted by God. Grace says you are already perfectly loved and accepted because of what Christ has performed on your behalf.

Habakkuk had it right. He wailed and cried out to God about the state of the land – the state of his circumstances. But then he said,

“I will stand on my guard post and station myself on the rampart; and I will keep watch to see what He will speak to me, and how I may reply when I am reproved” (Habakkuk 2:1).

Translation: “God, I’m going to stand right here and wait for what You have to say.”

Habakkuk expected God to answer and he was willing to wait.

I too need to expect God to do a good work in this time of rest and healing and I need to be willing to wait.

Wait for the Lord

Rest and wait.

  • When it seems like God isn’t answering? Wait.
  • When it seems like nothing is happening? Wait.
  • When it seems as if God has turned His attention away and has forgotten you are waiting? Wait.
  • When it seems as if nothing good (read: productive) could come out of this period of inactivity? Wait.

And maybe – just maybe – God is able to get our attention during rest more easily than when we are too busy and distracted with normal life.

Maybe He is able to do a far greater work in us as we rest and wait.

Perhaps this period of rest is a precious gift.


A Tribute to Dad for Father’s Day … {better late than never?}

I was the boy he never had.

I trudged along beside him in rubber boots to the barn every evening to watch the cattle noisily lick up every kernel of corn.

I stood on the back of the little corn planter riding round and round the field watching the little seeds drop into the ground.

I skipped along to check the groundhog traps on summer evenings and cheered when we got one.

I hugged him wild the day I came home and there was a horse in the barnyard … all for me.

Every Sunday evening he’d walk out the front door, suitcase in hand, and kiss my mother goodbye on the front porch. All week long she would have to answer the question from three little girls, “How many more sleeps until Daddy comes home?” Then on Friday night when we finally would hear that air horn and see the big truck pull in the laneway, we’d run and wave wild until it came to a stop, then climb up those big steps and into his arms.

I am so grateful for the childhood he worked hard to give me. Space to run wild and free. Room to grow and make mistakes, yet always come home.

When he told me I couldn’t go, I slammed the door hard and told him I knew better, and then flew halfway around the world to explore the land down under. I know now I must have sliced his heart right in two. I can’t imagine how he must have laid awake at night wondering if I was safe. Four months later when I realized home was the place I was loved most, I didn’t tell him I was boarding a plane to come back. Truth be told, I wasn’t sure if I’d be welcome.

It was in the dark of night that I came through those never-locked farmhouse doors  and climbed the stairs to their bedroom. With my heart ready to beating wild inside my chest, I gently shook him awake. When he realized the long-lost daughter had returned home, he sat straight up and hugged me and said, “You’re home! Let’s party!”



That’s the heart of a father. Always ready to welcome and celebrate a prodigal home.

That’s the heart of our heavenly Father when we repent and turn home.

Thanking God today for my earthly father …


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