How Low Can You Go?

To those of you who have known 2015 to be the most painful year of your life, I pray for you, that in the midst of your personal tragedy, the Lord would show you how he has been working and give you great hope for the future!

These each started as lows and then turned into highs as I reflected on them!

  1. Emma’s Grad 
    We had our last graduation in my family this past June. It was special on a number of levels as Emma had lived with our family for two years, and she had asked my son Caleb to be her escort.

    The morning of grad we received a text that Emma was really sick and in the hospital. The prognosis looked serious, and I sat with her that day and wept and prayed over her body.

    She improved enough to go to grad, but with hardly a moment to spare before the ceremony!

    She laid in her hospital bed as I did her make up, then some wonderful friends helped me finish her hair and get her finalized at home.

    After her ceremony, making a speech and greeting her guests,  she suddenly looked like she was going to faint and then went back to the hospital.

    It did not go the way we expected and I was heartbroken for her, but everyone pulled together in such a beautiful way, and Emma ended her high school career with great courage and positivity!

    On the right: I was bawling my eyes out as this beautiful woman walked out of the room, IV port and all!
    On the left: Caleb walking his sweet auntie out of grad.

  2. Amayah Breaking Her Collar Bone
    Our daughter fractured her collar bone at camp, and it honestly was a horrible 24 hours. She screamed and cried in an absolute panic. The first night she had terrible nightmares from the pain. I didn’t think we would survive the next few weeks.

    The next morning a group of people prayed over her and she went from extreme pain to instantly climbing out of the stroller and flagging in worship! She experienced a significant healing that day!Amayah.JPG
    This picture was just days after fracturing her collar bone. She was told it would be painful for weeks! Thank you Jesus!

  3. Our 5th Anniversary
    Andrew had arranged people to take care of our kids on our anniversary and had planned a little getaway for us. We ended up both getting the stomach flu shortly after arriving in the city and spent the whole night throwing up in a beautiful hotel room. Super disappointing.

    How is this also a high? We didn’t have three kids to take care of that night. I honestly don’t think we would have been able to!
    11412351_10155597810235431_4997040861444366692_n

  4. Sleep 
    So here is where some of you might sigh and go “yeah, I haven’t slept in years either!”.  And that’s ok, but really, not sleeping is a bit of a low isn’t it? So let’s take a moment to grieve no sleep, and then move on with our lives!

    2015 is the first year since becoming a mom that I haven’t had at least one night of six consecutive hours of sleep. There was ONE night where Eli had a good sleep and Amayah then cried for hours from her two year old molars.

    While there have been breaking points during the year where I’ve felt I can’t go on if I don’t get some extra sleep, over all the positive has been that I’m learning to do so much on so little, imagine how effective I’ll be when I can sleep a little more at night!!  1936474_10156324735250431_3341511680449917674_n

What lows did you experience? Can you see God’s hand at work in the midst of the pain?

On a high note!

The end of the year brings this beautiful opportunity for closure for one season and anticipation for the next.

I’m all about reflection and growth in December. Not only is it Christmas and a new year, but my birthday also lands on the 30th day of the last month.

We practice sharing our highs and lows everyday as a family. Sometimes we want to focus on either just the negative or positive depending on our personality, but I think there is tremendous benefit to realistically acknowledging how life has been!

Here are a few of my highs from 2015 (I’ll save the lows for tomorrow).

  1. Speaking at retreats with my husband.
    We had the terrifying honour of speaking at two youth retreats this year.

    I say terrifying because honestly, we were freaking out. Well, me more more than Andrew. God had told me I needed to be brave in 2015, and he definitely pushed me!

    Some sessions we co-spoke while others we did separately. It was a blast to serve together in such a unique setting. These events stretched us beyond what we thought we were capable of and we fell more in love with Jesus.12239470_10156184314670431_2283361315548503621_n.jpg

  2. My Fitness Journey
    After I gave birth to Eli, I knew he was my last biological baby. I really wanted to work hard on getting my health on track so I could continue to live a active and influential life style.

    I had no idea the journey God took me on this year until last week when he laid it all out for me. He gave me a kick start in January when I signed up for an in town class and an online challenge group, then led me to Holy Yoga and some free online classes through the summer.

    In September I discovered Revelation Wellness, where I learned the powerful phrase “weigh less to feed more”, the principle of being in shape to minister more effectively (spiritually feed others).

    Once I had my foundation right and I wasn’t vainly seeking “a perfect body”, he led me into a more intense season of exercise with an eating plan.

    I haven’t successfully followed through a year of exercise until this year, and I know that I didn’t do it on my own. I still have a way to go, but I feel confidently on the right track.

    Be encouraged, HE CAN HELP YOU DO THIS! Maybe one of these tools I found will be a support to you!1bc655a82f07515928916c11dcbdb3db

  3. Watching My Kids Grow
    This was our first full year as a family of five. Each of our kids have had a big developmental year.

    Caleb is excelling in school and initiates going deeper in his learning at home. He had a goal to count to 100, which he succeeded in, and he writes many words and is beginning to recognize words as he seeks to read.

    Amayah really turned a corner in her speech and hearing all the adorable things on her mind is so fun. She is in love with her doctor and daily reminds us “Actually, yesterday, I had an owie on my finger and the doctor fixed it!”

    Eli has grown into a wild ball of energy who runs around all over the house, taking anyone out who stands in his way! He has some favourite words: cup, car, cat, GO, mama, dada, and uh oh!

    We went two places as a family this year that my kids still talk about all the time. The Meander Creek Pumpkin Patch and the Manitoba Children’s Museum. 

    pumpkin patch

     

    What were your highs for 2015? I would LOVE to hear them! Share in the comments, on Facebook or on Twitter!

 

Baby Hope

You know when you have a dream that feels so big, it feels like it can never happen.

That’s where I am at with our adoption dream tonight.

Honestly, I’m not actually “ready” for another baby yet. Sometimes I freak myself out thinking that we actually told God “yes” to this call.

adopt2.jpg

It wasn’t until Eli was almost one that God reminded me of HIS call to take care of orphans.

Even just typing it out gives me conflicting emotions. It seems so overwhelming but so incredible. The opportunity to really “do for one what we wish we could do for everyone.” 

Caleb asks me about our baby sometimes. Where they will come from, what gender they will be (although Amayah is believing for a sister), what colour their skin, hair or eyes might be?

Each time I kiss Eli’s baby skin I wonder if my next baby will be older or younger then he currently is when they arrive to us.

The unknown can feel so beautifully haunting.

As I often do when I feel discouraged in where God has us on this journey, I looked at some adoption quotes and verses, just to remind myself of of His heart for the babies who are without family.

e1730a4e7aca9b4f55b8dcbd41078edd

When God starts to break you, he does it so deeply and wonderfully. I have never been an animal person, not ever. But suddenly if you put the word “orphan” before any living creature I well up with tears.

That’s so Jesus. 

A similar “breaking” happened when the Lord woke me up and told me we needed to move to Kipling to pastor. I had NEVER wanted to move back to my small town.

But God broke out hearts and we had an intense, burning passion to move and continue the good work.

Suddenly it looked like it wouldn’t work out and I said to God “why would you break my heart for something that wouldn’t come to pass?”

That’s when I felt a deep assurance that he would not deeply break me for something he didn’t need me to act on.

That situation felt so big, but nothing compares to adoption. That was just a picture of what I’m believing for now.

I daily remind myself of the words a wise friend spoke over me:

God cannot be delayed. And God cannot be rushed.

What are you believing for? Declare with me tonight that HIS timing is the PERFECT timing

adopt

Wild Winter

Over the last six months God has taken me on a journey of really observing what season I am in. When I look back on my life so far I can see very clear seasons, but I haven’t always recognized them in the moment.

I found that I would become extremely frustrated and discouraged with where my life was at and would try to fix things instead of relaxing into what God was teaching me or doing in my life at that time.

This all started this past June when we entered into our “Summer of Rest”. That phrase became our mantra and guided most of our decisions.

Even if something came up that we really wanted to do, if it didn’t fit in our season of rest, we didn’t do it. And it was ok, because we knew it was only temporary and for our benefit.

Then came “Audacious Autumn”. The word audacious means “showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks”. For me this also meant asking audaciously of the Lord and sometimes of others.

We audaciously bought a fixer upper home that we (well, let’s face it, my husband) has stripped down to the studs and is completely redoing (hey, I do get to be involved in the planning and clean up!).

demodays copy{Excited kids helping out possession day}

The day we got possession of the home I heard the Lord whisper to my heart that the season was changing. He said he was giving me some notice so I could prepare myself.

“Wild Winter” officially came full force last week, and regardless of my preparation, felt like it came as a bit of a wrecking ball.

My kids got really sick in the midst of a big push to demolish the inside of the house and felt again in survival mode, a setting that I hate living in.

sickkid
{I had never seen my boy so sick.}

The dust has started to settle, at home and at the worksite, and I asked the Lord what on earth was going on.demodays
{so much demo!}

“It’s Wild Winter”, He said.

Oh right. I forgot about that.

“And it’s just a season, right Lord?”

“Yeah, it’s just a season. We can do this.” 

“Well can I know what spring is going to be?” I audaciously asked, since it’s still technically autumn.

I felt the Lord chuckle.

“No, you just press right into me and I’ll get you through wild winter, then we can talk about spring.”

I just love my Lord. I love how practical my relationship with him is, and how he speaks to my heart and knows me so intimately. He knows he can’t give me too much of the vision or I’ll get ahead of myself.

Wild means uncontrolled or unrestrained, and I know over the next few months it will feel like things are a little chaotic and and out of my control. But God is still in control, it’s just a season, and spring WILL come!