Whatever sucks the life out of you.

I haven’t overly enjoyed nursing any of my kids.

11100103_10155343271950431_1189965023_nI know, you’re probably gasping. “Is she allowed to admit that?”.

Breastfeeding is a wonderful thing, in theory. I don’t argue with that.

But for me each time I go to nurse my child, I am overcome with extreme emotion, intense thirst and incredible exhaustion.

It has become worse with each child.

This Sunday I was preaching and I went to nurse Eli before I went over to the church. I was feeling positive, excited and totally overwhelmed with God’s presence.

Instantly I felt the life drain out of me. Tears started to well up in my eyes like usual, and I felt I could drink litres of water. I was just so tired.

In this nursing moment, I suddenly feel like I can’t do anything. I can’t keep up with my kids, cook meals, do laundry, preach a sermon, write a book, lead worship, of maintain relationships.

I feel dead tired, hungry and thirsty. The life seems to be draining right out of my body.

The moment is so intense, I have a hard time keeping my eyes on what it will be like twenty minutes from then when my baby is done eating.

Then the moment passes and I am fine. Sometimes I even forget my thirst, and don’t refill my water cup.

The Lord said to me today this is what it is like for some of us in life. We go through moments that are so intense and we feel separate from God, and so extremely thirsty.

We are like the psalmist who cried out

O God, you are my God;
    I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
    my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
    where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

These moments of intense thirst for the Lord leave us wondering where God is. In these times it feels nearly impossible to see a way out.

But just like that, in a moment, the situation changes.

When the storm calms, we maybe don’t drink deep and replenish ourselves because the intensity has vanished.

I love what comes in the following verses of Psalm 63.

I have seen you in your sanctuary
    and gazed upon your power and glory.
Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
    how I praise you!

Even in the midst of his intense thirst for God, he declares that he has seen God and he has seen him move, and HE KNOWS beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Lord’s unfailing love is deeper than any other.

Don’t forget that today. No matter how deep your thirst. No matter how alone you feel. Remind yourself of the goodness of God.

Don’t lose sight of the fact that literally in an instant your situation could change, and you need to be ready to drink deep of the Lord when it comes easy, and declare that you’ve experienced him when it’s hard.

Be blessed today, no matter what seems to be sucking the life out of you, God’s life-giving power is stronger.11087421_10155343277060431_78286235_n

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Just tell me what I want to hear.

“I am so tired today, I don’t think I should go to my exercise class. I mean, I’m breastfeeding, chasing kids, working, I’m tired. Don’t you think I should stay home?”

This is a loaded question that I’ve asked my husband before. Not always about exercise, sometimes about getting out for a walk, waking up to read my bible, or something else I want out of.

Another conversation can go like this:

“I’m so discouraged with the fact that I can’t fit into my jeans yet. Can you believe it’s taking so long to get down to my pre-baby weight?”

When I ask these kind of questions, the truth is I am often looking for a “You work so hard. You deserve a break.” or “You look great, don’t worry about fitting into those old jeans.”

And while I’m fishing for compliments or a way out of tasks I need to do, my husband is of the unique breed of men that will actually call me to a higher standard.

His responses can aggravate me as he tells me things like “if you keep working hard you’ll get the results you want.” or “You will feel much better if you don’t give up and follow through on your commitment to this class.”

It can make me so mad!

However, it doesn’t take very long for me to stand back and see that God brought Andrew into my life partially to keep me going on the right track and to be the physical voice echoing the words of my heavenly Father saying “Don’t give up! You will reap a harvest at the right time if you don’t give up.”

Sometimes we really are just looking for someone to tell us what we want to hear.

We don’t want to be pushed beyond our comfort zone or made to try a little harder.

I want someone to tell me that giving 80% was ok, and not question why I held back and didn’t give my all.

Character flaws in our life that should be called out in love by a friend, are often overlooked because of fear to offend.

The bible encourages us to be brave in our relationships and to call each other up to growth and excellence.

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

Even in my laziness at times, I am so thankful for a husband, and many friends, who don’t just tell me what I want to hear, but challenge me to fight the good fight of faith with continued endurance.

Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. Hebrews 10:24

A and M

Servant Parents

This week my husband turned twenty seven. While we were out for supper it hit me that I had the privilege of celebrating all his birthdays with him.

Other people may come and go from our lives, and even close family may live far away, but I will always get to celebrate him and make sure he receives the honour that he should.

Such an exciting position that we have in our spouses’ lives. Not one we should take for granted.

This morning in my devotion time I read this passage in Luke 22:26-27

But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves.

Jesus showed us over and over his example of being servant hearted during his time on earth.

One of the things I admire most about my husband is his Christ-like quality of serving. He is endlessly serving the kids and I. I know that I don’t always appreciate that the way I should, but it is one of the most incredible characteristics about him.

Daddy and AmayahHe has sacrificed so much of his personal success in order to see our family, and me personally succeed.

This week I feel challenged to continue serving the ones in my life who I find it the hardest to serve.

For me, that’s my kids. They are the least thankful, they don’t often praise me and I rarely feel affirmed by them (lately they keep asking why I still look pregnant!). I certainly wouldn’t receive the same accolades as when I serve someone in my church family.

Even though I have to be careful to walk the balance of teaching my kids responsibility, they do need to see the Christ-like quality of a servant.

With this in mind I can cheerfully wipe bums, mop spills, read stories I find boring and cook meals, trusting God to show his love to my children through these tasks.

In the midst of everything I am trying to demonstrate to my kids; to keep running after their dreams, to serve the Lord faithfully and to always work hard for Jesus, I pray they will see his love in the times I patiently serve them.

Andrew's Birthday

Talk about multitasking.

Just the other day we had the opportunity to sit down with a young couple and their two kids who have recently been called into missions and are leaving to another continent in May. Their story is unreal.

They are so radically obedient they are giving up their entire western lifestyle and heading off to make sure that people across the world know Jesus.

They are being transformed by Him.

That same day we had supper with a guy pouring his entire life out in Quebec, the arctic and Africa (a little bit of a temperature difference). He told us stories of people who are literally getting set free by the power of Jesus, and turning from things like self harm into loving relationships with Jesus Christ.

Then my phone goes off. A friend with an exciting report about how God is speaking to them in big ways, leading them on a mission’s trip they hadn’t been expecting, but the Lord is just suddenly providing and sending them into.

He has that person’s heart in a new way.

Then there is the incredible guy in our life that went to a young adults conference and got ROCKED by the Holy Spirit, who totally called him out on how he was living his life. He is getting BAPTIZED in two weeks!

God literally grabbed a hold of his life, brought him peace, hope and joy in a moment from a place of sadness, discouragement and despair.

Can I go on?

Here comes an email to my inbox. God just an answered a prayer by speaking to a girl to go lead a team of teens, when we thought we were going to have to convince people to step up to this.

I haven’t even mentioned what’s going on in my own house.

10807112_10155290351110431_2068276134_nMy own little boy has fallen in love with a special family. He comes home from spending the evening with them and tells me God has a last name. What is it? I asked.

“It’s Kevin”, he said, “God Switzer Kevin”.

Sounds funny, but guess what? Jesus is literally showing my son his incredible love through another person who is simply being obedient to the call of Christ.

And middle name Switzer? He sees God at work in our family. Praise Jesus, because some days I wonder what’s really going on with us and raising our kids.

Um, God, how are you doing it all? Orchestrating all this crazy stuff all over the earth?

I have no idea how he keeps up, but I do know there is nothing more fun, radical or crazy than being a part of the Kingdom of the Living, Mighty, Powerful, All Knowing, All Sufficient, Unstoppable, Forever Reigning, God.

His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the LORD of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

Isaiah 9:7

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Take the stairs.

I have a new life again.

Every time I get back into really exercising after a pregnancy I always feel such an extreme sense of freedom.

I’m no longer limited by my body that wants to slow me down considerably.

My life with the Lord always seems to take on new energy too.

For some reason, exercise is spiritual for me.

I get closer to Jesus when I push hard through the last part of a workout that I don’t think I’m going to make it through.

Something changes in your mind when you switch into health mode. Instead of dreading to take the stairs, stairs become an opportunity to fit in some extra calorie burning minutes.

I go to new heights in my ability to push through difficult circumstances when I can endure the physical.

Making it through a workout, suddenly becomes making it through a hard night with a sick baby, or not giving up through a hard few months in my marriage.

The stairs of life, the difficulties, the uphill battles all become great opportunities for growth, not hardship to be avoided.

Recently the Lord gently, but firmly, corrected me during my morning time with Him, convicting me for the judgement I had toward some people in my life.

I didn’t stay upset with myself, because as the Lord breathed verses into me about his love and forgiveness, I felt as though I had just finished a good run.

It was strenuous, but beneficial. I grew. It was good.

One of my life verses encourages me to keep going.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

Romans 5:3-4

I’m taking part in a 21 day health challenge right now, and a lot of what I’m learning is about preparation. If you want to eat healthy, you have to be prepared to eat healthy.

I have to have the fruit and veggies on hand and cut them up so they’re convenient.

My water bottle has to always be full and near me for me to get my two litres a day in.

I need to look at my day and see where I’m going to squeeze physical activity in.

If cookies are convenient and accessible, that’s what I’ll default too. If my coffee mug is always full, water becomes less important. If my schedule feels packed, exercising tries to be the first to leave.

This all translates to my spiritual walk too. If I want to grow in the Lord I have to be purposeful and prepared to. I’ve shared some of the ways I’m doing that by waking up early, having my Bible always open and simply being accepting of correction and desiring growth in my life.

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 4:8

“Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.”

Keep running in the natural and the spiritual!

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