Things have been a little quiet…

So, you’ve probably noticed that things have been a little quiet on my blog! I hope that this changes very soon. Do you want to know why?

Take a look at this picture and see if you can figure out what the note says!

 

It says “I’m going to be a big bro!”

Caleb was working pretty hard on his whiteboard creation on the iPad!

Anyway, we are expecting in April, and we’re very excited. The only thing is that  I have been pretty sick, and everything has made me nauseous! Especially screens, so I haven’t replied to texts, emailed, Facebook messages, or written blogs!

I have been on my medicine for a couple of days and the nausea has become more manageable. Now it’s just exhaustion. I basically sleep every time Caleb sleeps. However, I remember that did tone down a lot in the second trimester in my last pregnancy.

I’m very excited to blog throughout this pregnancy and share what’s going on in my life, and walk with you through our transition from a family of three to a family of four!

Much love to all my faithful readers – please stay with me and know that when I’m feeling up to it, I will post again!

 

Loving Our Neighbours

One of the wonderful parts of our new block has been meeting so many of the neighbours on our street. We have trustworthy names like Betty, Roberta and other lovely elderly people. They each love Caleb and he drinks up their attention.

This was something that was missing on the last street we lived on. I did not realize how much I longed for that sense of community until we moved here and found it.

I had listened to an interesting radio interview on our local station on the day that we moved to town. The woman was talking about how strong neighbourhoods are the backbone of a strong nation. She gave many practical ideas for how to reach out to your neighbours and create strong relationships. She would often invite all her neighbours over for coffee and muffins on a Saturday morning. 

She shared a story about how when she was away she had hired someone to come and fix something on her house. She had a phone call from each neighbour asking what was going on. They were concerned she was being robbed.

I saw many interesting things on our last block, and besides phoning the police once to report our neighbours for dangerous drinking and driving, that was it.

I’m excited about the new opportunity here but I’m reminded that to have a nice neighbourhood, I have to be a nice neighbour. I need to be an equal part of the change. For me this means saying hello to the person walking by, or crossing the street to meet the couple working in their yard. Sometimes I’m so caught up in my own world, I miss the people right beside me.

We need each other. Our communities need the light that we hold within our hearts, the love of Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:9 says

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.

I pray that God gives our family a heart for these beautiful people on our street.

May our homes shine like lighthouses in the midst of hopeless and hurting people.

You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16)

As we reach out to those around us, we also will have the blessing of safety and security. Proverbs 27:10 says that when disaster strikes it is better to have a neighbour to go to, then to rely on a brother far away.

These relationship are vital.

Help us out! How do you reach out to your neighbours?

Remaining in the Meadow

Most of us are consistent in our actions. Our actions are a reflection of what we believe and what we value. After reading many definitions of integrity, this is what I have pulled together.

Integrity – Clinging to your morals and convictions, valuing honesty and truth, consistently, day after day.

I read a verse in Proverbs the other day that hit me hard regarding integrity.

For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it. (Proverbs 2:21)

I believe that the land talked about here for our Christian lives, is our destiny. Godly people can and will walk in what the Lord has laid out for them. But there is a difference between walking through a beautiful meadow and remaining in it. The one enjoys it briefly, like a holiday, and they soon go back to the old life, dreaming of one day returning.

Those who live in a meadow become one with the area. The sights and smells become comforting and familiar. Birds sing, flowers grow and waters rush. You know the trickle of the stream, and the varieties of butterflies that surround you. You breathe in deeply and the air that fills your lungs is refreshing, and you breathe out and know that you are home. You feel safe and secure, this is where you belong.

Is your hearts cry to remain in God’s will? Mine is. So how do we do it?

Sin is of course the number one thing that can remove us from the centre of that beautiful place which is God’s will. You can be ensnared by something, not realizing that your choices will cost you your life. The battle for your thoughts can be lost in an instant, and one bad choice can ruin you.

That is no ones desire. So how do we remain?

Let’s look back to that verse. Those with integrity with remain in the land.

After reading that, something jumped within me, screaming “seek out integrity, find it, develop it, live with it, love it!”

Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church says;

Integrity is built by defeating the temptation to be dishonest.

Being honest is more than just simply telling the truth. It’s being the same person, the person you say you are, in private and in public. It’s saying that you will do something, and then actually doing it, even if no one is holding you accountable. It’s saying that you won’t do something, and then actually not doing it, even if no one is watching.

It takes courage to examine your ways and ask the Lord if they are rooted in integrity or not.

Well known bible teacher and pastor, Chuck Swindoll made this powerful statement.

“Few things are more infectious than a godly lifestyle. The people you rub shoulders with everyday need that kind of challenge. Not prudish. Not preachy. Just cracker jack clean living. Just honest to goodness, bone – deep, non-hypocritical integrity.”

This is tough, and the Lord gives us what we need to walk out our Christian lives, so we can daily come to him and ask for forgiveness and renew our commitment to integral living.

I don’t care what it takes, I want to remain in the land that the Lord has for me. If integrity is the way, then we as children of God need to pursue it wholeheartedly. The saddest thing to imagine is a life not lived to its full potential.

 

What does integrity mean to you?

 

Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise)

This morning I was listening to the Hillsong Cornerstone album on my way back from dropping my husband off at work. I was so inspired by the song Beneath The Waters (I Will Rise), specifically the bridge.

No power can stand against You
No curse assault Your throne
No one can steal Your glory
For it is Yours alone
I stand to sing Your praises
I stand to testify
For I was dead in my sin

[Chorus]
But now I rise, I will rise
As Christ was raised to life
Now in Him, now in Him
I live 

I get chills in my body even reading those lyrics and the truth of their words. Take each line and declare it over every circumstance in your life that is trying to exalt itself higher than the Lord, every challenge stealing your joy, each emotion that does not edify.

I am covered by the blood of the Lamb, and no power can stand against me, no curse can assault me, and no one will steal the glory that belongs to the Lord as he works in my life.

Powerful.

As I was thinking about some things that were concerning me in my life, specifically in regards to parenting, I felt such peace as I was singing and an assurance from the Lord that he would give me the wisdom and knowledge that I need. No problem can stand on it’s feet in the manifest presence of my Saviour.

 

Singing out truth and declaring the word is destiny defining. Take a moment and worship along with this song and allow the Lord’s promises to reign.


Embracing Loneliness

Tomorrow my husband goes to the office for the first time, while baby bear and I are home by ourselves for the first time here in this new house.

It’s funny how as a stay at home mom, so much changes, yet nothing changes. We move to a new city, new house, new neighborhood, new stores, new everything, yet we still sleep, eat, play, cook, clean, repeat. Only now without the former securities we once had; we don’t know our way around, we can’t just call up a friend, and neither of us yet really feel at home in the house fully. It’s just so different.

We can be brave to a point, until we truly look the bundle of fears in the face and then we rarely can stand on our own. At that point the only option is to hand all the fears to God, or to fall apart.

Today I’ve been more on the fall apart end. Loneliness and uncertainty are trying to crowd out my joy and excitement.

This verse spoke to my heart today.

The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Psalm 28:7

You never truly realize the amazing friends and family you were surrounded with until they are no longer at your beck and call.

Whatever challenge your walking through, and whatever discouragement is stealing your heart, I hope you can have the courage to find your strength in the Lord.

It is often in our times of loneliness that he speaks to us. Sometimes we have to break off from our comforts so that he can finally be the first love of our soul. It isn’t good for us to stay in a place of loneliness, but for a time it can allow us to know God better.

I, of course, look forward to making new friends and building a life here, but in the mean time, I hope can deepen my friendship with Christ, a friendship that I don’t always put as my number one priority.

 

Beauty Does Not Equal Relational Security

While standing at the grocery story the other day, my eyes caught a sad headline. The celebrity named “the most beautiful woman in the world” was having relationship problems again. They captured the heartbroken Jennifer Lopez grieving over her cheating boyfriend.

While I’m not caught up on celebrity gossip, and I try to not look at those magazines, my heart broke for Jennifer Lopez. Many girls would do just about anything to become the most beautiful woman according the worlds standards. Yet here is this gorgeous woman, left alone and hurt. Obviously this means that beauty does not offer relational security.

The thoughts that swirled through my head, and the message that gets sent out to the world is that if someone like Jennifer Lopez can’t keep a man, how is the average woman going to prevent hers from walking out?

In the moment of her pain, I’m sure she asks herself the same questions we do in crisis.
What if I were prettier?
What if I were smarter?
What if I was more talented?
Then would I stop getting hurt?

After thinking and praying on this, I have thought of many couples who have stood the test of time, and haven’t succumb to divorce and adultery. None of those situations ranked outward appearance anywhere near the top of important qualities.

I hope that allows you to exhale for a moment. We can rest easier when we know that the important things are areas that we can work on and submit to the Lord. Our physical self can change to an extent, but then no more. Our inner self can continually be made more into the likeness of God everyday, as we make it a priority.

Proverbs 31: 28-30 in a familiar verse, but let it sink into your heart.

Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her: “There are many virtuous and capable women in the world, but you surpass them all!” Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised.

The husband of a wife who works on her inner beauty, will praise her, and out of that his love for her will grow. As I hear older men speak of their beloved wives, you can tell they love them in a much deeper way than a younger couple can even comprehend.

Sadly the world has rated these as top things to have: beauty, fame, power and money. People attain these, and still often have nothing.

We can still have it all with Jesus; He has given me beauty for ashes, recognition in the courts of the King of Kings, power from on high, and a promise to supply all my needs. My cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the courts of my King forever.

Don’t keep this hope to yourself. Many women around us have relied on their outward beauty to bring them acceptance. Eventually it fails. When it does, be sure to point them to the one who wants to beautify them on the inside to attract the man who will love, praise and honour them for who they are as a virtuous woman.

 

Hashtag Reality Checks

I’m kind of freaking out today. My stomach is one big ball of emotion. We move tomorrow morning. I just laid Caleb down for his last nap here in this house. Wow, I did not expect that flood of memories. In fourteen short months, he has filled this house with inexplicable joy. I will always remember bringing that boy home from the hospital, to this special house. I’m sure we will drive by for the rest of our lives and tell our kids that this was the first house mom and dad owned, and this was also where Caleb was brought home. Houses really do hold wonderful memories.

During one of my freak out moments the other day, I instagramed (as any social media indulgent would do at a time like that) this photo with the hashtag #panicmode.

After publishing my photo, I decided to click on the tag (for those of you who are completely lost, this is a way to view all other photos categorized by this name). Instantly I felt ridiculous.

First, I will say that I was surprised at the photos, since I don’t think I would be stopping to take pictures in some of these scenarios. The most dramatic one I saw was extreme flooding with cars and homes being swept away. I saw a terrified face watching the destruction.

Talk about perspective.

Oh hashtags, some times you bring a reality check.

Anyway, I’m not going to get too down on myself for my lack of understanding for actual world problems. Tomorrow morning when I’m stressing out, I’ll just thank the Lord that it’s not flooding!

I guess the moral of the story is, if you feel like you’re in a tough spot, hashtag your extreme adjective, and see what other people are going through! 🙂

‘Til after the move,

Not My Desire

When we were house hunting, I had many desires in my heart. I was looking for some very specific qualities in a house. I fell in love with a couple of two story,  hundred year old character homes, with beautifully manicured backyards and lots of space. I told our realtor that my husband might be ambitious with what he says we’ll take on, but I didn’t want a fixer-upper. Not one bit!

As one by one the houses that I loved fell through, my heart was breaking. I had let myself get attached to the idea of them, and I was fighting hard for something that wasn’t meant to be. I heard many times the standard christian line “God will grant you the desire of your heart.” Usually this was followed by an implication that the right two story, hundred year old home had not yet surfaced.

Needless to say, the right house did appear, and it is a true understatement to say that it was not what I desired. A bungalow, fixer-upper with a yard that needed a complete overhaul, was not my idea of a fun weekend project, while preparing to move cities. I knew in my heart this was the one, though every part of my flesh screamed against it.

I went back to the Word of God to remind myself of what He says about our hearts desire. I looked no further than Psalm 37:4.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you your heart’s desires.

The Lord is wonderful, in that sometimes he does not give us what our flesh desires, because he knows the deeper desires of our heart. The greater purposes in our heart sometimes are clouded by selfishness and conceited ambition. Proverbs 20:5 says

The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

The Lord really began to draw out the true desires of my heart. What came to the surface were things that might have been choked out by trying to keep up with higher payments. Desires for space to welcome people was granted, and in a creative way, extra time with my husband was granted since we needed to drive more and stay over night and work on the house. The Lord sees the big picture, even when we don’t.

The wonderful thing is, that Psalm 37 addresses is that as we delight ourselves in the Lord, he will grant the desires of our heart. He might have to change them while we’re delighting ourselves in him, but when you are connected with him, he will make your desires one with his desires.

And whose desires can compete with His?

 

Our project isn’t done, but it’s amazing how different this house looks. There are still many lessons to be learned from this new home transformation, but I’ll save them for another conversation, and get back to packing!