Everyday Spectacular

Imperfections. Ramblings. Life to the Full.

Car Problems

This past winter wasn’t too bad, all things considered. I do live in the Great White North, after all, and it wasn’t even all that white for most of the winter. It did however, get a bit ice-y, dice-y a few days.

On one of these days I had driven over to a friend’s house for a “mommy playdate” and decided to park in her driveway instead of on the road since it was a bit iced-over.

About an hour after I had arrived, while we were pretty relaxed and drinking our coffees and pretty close to solving all of the problems in the world, the doorbell rang.

Sure that it was a solicitor, but because we were sitting in clear view of the front window and had already been spotted, my friend answered the door. We then quickly learned that the poor guy, who was not in fact a solicitor, had hit some ice, jumped the curb and plowed into my Dodge Journey in the driveway.


Anyway, I finally was able to take the car in this past week for the repair work and ended up in a rental Dodge Journey, 3 years newer than mine.

Yesterday on the way to church, my son was remarking that the rental was JUST LIKE our own car and how you wouldn’t even know it wasn’t our car.

Then my daughter piped up from the backseat… “Only this one smells better!”


My car stinks. Who knew???


Subtraction = Addition

(I wrote this recently at the end of a church-wide fast as an email for our church…thought I would share here as well.)

The last number of months have been a challenging season in my personal life. Since August, I’ve been caring for a foster baby with very challenging and ongoing medical needs. As we got closer to January, and the fast, I felt myself despairing, “God, how can I give you any more right now? I am already so worn out and just barely keeping up with all the demands on my life. More? You want more? Weakness? I think I’m already there.”

I was feeling guilt sinking in as I thought about how I couldn’t take on a huge fast with only being able to eat certain things and/or complicated recipes and/or a big time commitment. I felt overwhelmed thinking about adding even one more thing to my plate (haha – fasting joke).

But then I felt the nudging of Holy Spirit, which instead, asked me to come into a different way of thinking…“Carrie, what if you approached this fast from another direction? What if instead of being bogged down with the addition of more things, you thought about what you could subtract from your life during this fast? Could you do that?”

Ummm, ok. Sure, why not?

So I chose my fast based on some things I could for sure subtract… one meal a day, my “highly favoured” sweets and a little game on my phone that I had been using as a “mind dis-connect”.

And, I just have to tell you…I have felt a new lightness in my spirit over these past 19 days. I had not even realized just how desperately I was in need of making some space for the strength of Jesus to come in and breathe life back into me.  Since I’m being honest with you, I should let you know that these past 19 days have actually brought even more challenges with our little guy. But through the fast, I really am finding that His mercies have been brand new each and every day. I have been leaning into the faithfulness and presence of God.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

And this passage in Matthew…WOW. Did I ever need to remember to relax & remember that I live in a God reality that is not based on my external circumstances!

Matthew 6: 31-34 (MSG)
 “What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

It’s amazing how even in the midst of heavy circumstances, God can create inner lightness. It has been such a relief to this tired momma to realize that He wants me to keep throwing my cares and my burdens and my prayers onto Him. Perhaps you could also use this reminder today?

Because as it turns out, our kind of subtraction really does equal the very best kind of addition.


On Sunday mornings my husband is up at a really ungodly hour (5am counts as ungodly, don’t you think?) in order to get to church before anyone else.  He enjoys the quiet and between you and me, he also may do it to avoid the chaos of what is to come at our house when everyone is awake.  I get up slightly later with our kids to make it to the start of the 9:15 service. By the way, the current kid count in our house is 3.  We currently house and feed #1 our son, 12, #2 our daughter, 8 and #3 our 3 month old foster-love.

What this really means is that the one day of the week I might actually care about what I look like, my only consultants who can give me advice and compliments are those in my house who,  #1: still has to be told he “absolutely cannot leave the house wearing that striped shirt with those plaid shorts”, #2: who thinks the ultimate in fashion is if is tie-dyed, sparkle-y and was purchased at Justice with bonus points awarded if her initial is on it somewhere and #3: who will just spit up on or blow out his diaper on whatever I choose to wear on any given day regardless of the effort I make into putting myself together.

For the love of all that is right and true in this world, why then did I even bother to ask on our way to church this past Sunday how they thought mommy looked?

Well, I’ll tell you why I asked…because on the whole my kids love me and affirm me and still think I am pretty.

Was I fishing for a compliment on a day I didn’t feel like I looked very nice before I was about to stand up on stage in front of our large congregation?

Yep. I sure was. And after birthing these children and keeping them alive up until now, is it really too much to ask?

But, alas, my children are truth-tellers and so #1 told me that my hair was fuzzy and that if I was going for a real put together look, I hadn’t really succeeded. #2, bless her, said I looked “ok”. I believe that to be a direct quote. #3 was silent while most likely plotting how he would further ruin my outfit with his bodily fluids later.

How did I handle this level of honesty and blows to my ego, you ask?

In the only way I know how… I stood up and greeted my church in both morning services and told them all about my car ride that morning.

Pain is best shared.

Carter-Approved Dental Visits

The thing about my son, now 11 years old, is that he really, truly thinks on a different plane than I do. This lends itself to most of the entertainment in my life and why parenting him can be a bit challenging at times.

Here’s the lastest…

On Saturday afternoon it “comes out” (Read: my daughter told on him) that Carter, in times when I think he has been out riding his bike, has also been visiting the neighborhood dentist’s office in order to sit on their waiting room couch and watch movies.

Yes. Let that sink in. My son has been visiting the dentist by himself. To watch movies.

As far as I can tell, this kid has more guts than I do and I’m, well, a lot older than 11.

Apparently this has already happened a few times with the receptionist approving this activity. I guess on Saturday morning she went so far as to ask him if he was grounded, if that was why he was there. He replied, “No, I’m not grounded. My dad just told me to get out of the house.”

I kept trying to tell him through my not-suppressed-at-all laughter that he was not to do this EVER AGAIN. But then I got to thinking that with all the necessary dental work this kid is going to need, perhaps I should count it a blessing that this is where he’s been choosing to spend his time.

Anybody else have a kid like this???


Needs Improvement

I strongly dislike getting “Progress Reports” from my kids’ school.

I pretty much already know what they will say even before I slide the papers from their official looking envelopes.

One of my children will be told repeatedly, in numerous ways and technical terminology, that “they” are the ideal student…eager to learn, to contribute, to be creative,  to work well with others, etcetera to infinity.

In fact, I do not even need to have a parent-teacher interview with this child’s teacher because (and this is a direct written quote from the teacher on the interview request form)  this child is “utterly brilliant and completely delightful.”  (Which is 100% true, of course!)

My other child’s progress report reads pretty much exactly the opposite…doesn’t participate much in class, extremely disorganized, lack of focus and motivation, etcetera to infinity. The front page of the report reads Needs Improvement so many times that I have to carefully look for words like “great ideas when asked” and “curiosity for learning” so as not to be defeated in my own heart for this child. It was no surprise that a parent-teacher interview was requested with me before the report cards even came home.

And here is my dilemma: it really doesn’t seem right to extol the one child for the high praise being lavished upon “them” and to punish/withhold praise from the other, even though the progress reports are polar opposites.

Because BOTH of my kids are actually “utterly brilliant and completely delightful.”

And because BOTH of my kids actually need improvement.

We all do….We are all sinners saved only by the incredible grace of Jesus.

Romans 3:22-24 “22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”

But we are still works in progress, working out His Presence in every area of our lives.

Philippians 2:12-13 ” continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.”

I feel like through my kids report cards I am mirroring my own spiritual journey. I am truly all over the map. I see and get defeated by my own “Needs Improvement”s and barely “Satisfactory”s all over the pages of my life. I see my failings, my shortcomings my never-enoughs. I focus too easily and too often on my deficiencies.

But if I am willing to look a bit closer, I am able to say, Praise and thanks be to God!  There has already been improvement! He is changing me! I am not what I was! I am not what I am going to be! I am not what I would be without Jesus!

And I can hear Him say to me, “Carrie, you are utterly brilliant and completely delightful.”

But then, “Let’s meet about your areas with room to grow.”

And it changes my perspective when I realize that the meeting isn’t to punish me and to point out all of my imperfections, it’s to encourage MORE GROWTH.

So that Parent-Teacher interview thing-y later today?

I get it now. That teacher and I are on the same page. We both want more growth for this child, this utterly brilliant, completely delightful child. And we are going to not be defeated in spirit over this child’s grades on a page.

We are going to keep seeing beyond to what WILL BE.

How low can you go?

This summer has been an absolute whirlwind. Lots of transition and all the ups and downs that go with relocating your entire life from a place you truly love (Kingsview, I’m looking at you!) to a place you are sure that you will love as well (Calvary, can’t wait to get to know you!)

I hope to dissect this in greater detail at some point, but for now, a (literal) low point.

Jeff and I recently attended a beautiful wedding and reception of a former Master’s Commission student of ours, Jen Wilton. Her husband is originally from Pakistan (I think?) and I was beyond thrilled to hear that we would be eating lots of amazing food for dinner including butter chicken, which when the time came, I literally had to force myself to not lick the plate.

During the reception, which was set up with a large dance floor in the middle of two sections of tables and guests, there were two people (Crystal and a friend of the groom) on the microphone coordinating games and toasts and the usual reception goings-on. Jeff and I had ventured over to a table right next to the wooden dance floor on the other side of the hall and were catching up with some old friends, when dessert was called. So, OBVIOUSLY, that was my clue it was time to return to our own table (by way of the dessert table, of course).

Crystal and the groom’s friend were still carrying away up on stage so while the attention was sort of on them, I decided it was time to make our move.

At this point, I began to take steps away from the table….






The weekend we spent in Cambridge in July… the night we met the staff for the first time, I broke my sandal and could not walk in it. And the next day, while walking with a few board members at the church, I tripped UP the stairs. They wanted to make sure I was ok and all I could say to reassure them was, “Yes, I am ok. But that won’t be the only time this happens.”


Anybody else out there a walking disaster? Got a good story for me? I need to know who my friends are!







We just returned from a week’s vacation in Orlando with all these people.



These people being my parents, my sister and her family, and me, Jeff & the kids. Yes, 11 of us in all.


My prayer all week was, “Lord, give me strength.” 

Followed closely by, “And help me not to freak out at the Happiest Place on Earth.”

Because besides the fact that my husband is not in the above picture, neither are the over-100,000 other people that just happened to be at Disney World on the same day we were there.


Actually, we really had fun. Both my kids and my sister’s kids are at really fun ages (read, no nap times required) and get along really well together. Aren’t they so cute?!


(My sister and I have decided that cousins are way more fun than sisters. Because although NOW I really love having a sister, we were not always so keen on the idea when we were younger. HA.)

Have I mentioned recently on here how my parents are so amazing? Well, they are. They footed the bill for about 95% of this wonderful vacation and I sincerely hope they know what a gift this was to be all together in Orlando for a week.

However, I may be able to save them some money next time around.

Because this happened….

On the last day of the trip I asked my son which one of the three Disney Parks we went to (Epcot, Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios) was his favorite. He took a minute to think through his answer and came up with this gem…

My favorite was Epcot. – Carter

Oh, and why is that? – Me

(insert drumroll please)

Because of the cookies you gave me in the Test Track line. – Carter

(Silence and an incredulous look from me)

Actually, I liked it all – Carter.

So, there you have it, folks.

Next time we will be going to the park down the road with a box of Enjoy Life Chocolate Brownie Cookies.

Vacation, done. 

Life update

2013 was a pretty hard year. I’ll spare you all the gritty details but can sum it up by saying that between Jeff’s Nan dying, Jeff’s dad moving to Vancouver, problems with our rental house in Florida, and our sweet baby girl being adopted (thus, leaving our home) at the end of November,  I was pretty emotionally done by December.

In fact, I tried to write my annual Christmas letter and when Jeff looked it over, he told me it was “depressing”. I told him that it would be the most honest Christmas letter floating around out there, but, good man that he is, he kabosh-ed it. I honestly couldn’t fix it, and so he ended up doing up a cool photo collage instead and that’s what we sent out.

(Also, you should know I plan to write a depressing letter EVERY YEAR from now on in order for Husband to continue doing the cool Christmas letter/collage. I know a good thing when I see it.)

Anyway, a week after our 19 month foster daughter got adopted to a truly amazing couple, we got a call from CAS for a little baby boy. “Here we go”, I thought. Then I only got to have that darling boy for a week, and he was moved on. I came to think of that little guy as God’s gift to me even for that week, someone to hold while my heart was literally wrenching out of my body.

And then he was gone, and our home was open. For a long time, in fact…7 weeks with no phone call from Children’s Aid. I am pretty sure this is practically unheard of. They are usually pretty desperate for baby homes.  I began to wonder if we had done something wrong and no one had told us. (Ok, not really, but the mind does start to wonder!)

When the calendar rolled over to 2014, I felt an almost tangible relief. If last year was a year of loss and release, surely this year would hold something else entirely. I felt hope, a sense that this new year would be drastically different than the one we had just journeyed through. I told God I would embrace the new season, whatever it would be. I meant it.

Then we got the call.





After 4 days of discussions with Jeff, we were at an impasse. We were weighing out how our lives would change with 2 babies to care for. Did we want to change that much? Could we handle it? Did we WANT to handle it?

On the fifth day, Jeff told me he had a moment of clarity. Perhaps we were laboring over a decision that wasn’t really ours to make. Perhaps the fact that we know we are called to foster and the fact that our home was open and ready was enough? Perhaps these boys are supposed to be in our home?

He was scared. We both were. (ARE, actually…I think we are both still scared.)

And I loved him so much for saying what he did.

I called my worker the next morning and said, YES.  (And then, I WENT SHOPPING, because, TWINS!)

A week later, those precious angels were home with us.

Now they are four weeks old already, and I am so very glad we said Yes.

I already love them like crazy.

And after all….“Scared is the new brave” – Lisa-Jo Baker

What about you? Is there something you know God is asking you to do, that feels just a little beyond your capacity?


So here’s the truth of my life these days.

I have a wonderful husband of 14+ years, a growing-up-too-soon ten year old son and a mini-me six year old daughter.

I also have a bright-eyed giggling 18 month old daughter-for-now.

I haven’t talked much about our fostering journey here on the blog, mainly because, well, clearly I don’t blog much, and also because I am not always clear on how much I am allowed to share. There is certainly a mountain of confidentiality issues and I would NEVER want to violate the children in my care or their birth or adoptive families.

But this thing I am facing now is beyond anyone else’s rights/ privileges/confidentiality. This thing is personal.

This daughter I love, this baby I have raised since her birth is going to be adopted soon.

And not by us.

(insert actual heart-heaving here)

We have agonized over this.

God, please, please, please, PPPPLLLEEEEAAASSSEEEE, let us be the ones to adopt her. Give us a sign, any sign will do. Seriously, God, how about this? If I walk outside in the rain and get wet, we can keep her. Or how about if I go to church today and we sing that song about you making the orphans, sons and daughters again, we can keep her.

Ok, so I haven’t been quite THAT ridiculous, but if that is the “I’m-being-ridiculous-line”, then you should just assume I’ve been living in a place pretty darn close to there.

The short story of the past 18 months is this…

#1 We have fallen in love with this gift of a child in our home and

#2 We did not get the answer from God that we wanted. We have not had the necessary peace within to pursue adopting her. I don’t know why. I may never know why.

And my heart feels like it is literally ripping into tiny little pieces.

Oh, peace is tricky.

And grief is tricky.

And trust in God is tricky.

And she is still here, chewing on her favorite teddy bear and wearing her sunglassess and stealing our hearts.

For now.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is greater.”But I say unto you, they are inseparable.Together they come, and when  one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy,”

– Kahlil Gibran, as quoted in I Will Carry You by Angie Smith


Church of the Spilled Blood

I have mentioned that mom and I went to Europe in May. You’ve already heard my luggage woes, but there was so much more to the adventure than that.

When we were finally on our trip, I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around all of the history, the culture, the beauty of what we were seeing.

…Look over here, remnants of the Berlin Wall!


…Sure, let’s eat reindeer for lunch in Helsinki!


…Ahhh, I can’t believe we are standing right in front of original Van Goghs and Picassos and Rembrandts in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg!


And the churches, oh, the churches…they are everywhere and they are amazing. The one I was most excited to visit is the Church of the Spilled Blood in St. Petersburg, and it did not disappoint.  The entire inside is built out of teeny-tiny mosaic tiles. Here is what it looks like upclose.


And here is what all those teeny-tiny tiles look like all together.


It was breath-taking, beautiful, overwhelming. I kept thinking of the patience required by the artisans who created it in the first place. How were they able to take all those little bits of color and create such magnificent panoramas?

It wasn’t until I got home from our trip that the Lord reminded me that while it may be nice to visit The Church of the Spilled Blood, I AM THE CHURCH OF THE SPILLED BLOOD, every single day of my life. And you are too.

I Corinthians 6:19-20 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”

God is the master artisan who is creating the mosaics of our lives. He is the one piecing it all together, all of our experiences, all of our heartaches, all of our joys…they really can come together to create something beautiful. Through the blood of Jesus, we get to be the ones who house His presence, allowing Holy Spirit to illuminate us from the inside out.

My pray for us today is simply this, that when others get around us, they would feel that they had visited the true Church, the one where Jesus is seen and Holy Spirit is felt.

Parenting Success

Tonight was a bit of a rough one.

Imagine both kids crying in their rooms over mistakes made and dealt with today.

Imagine one of those kids telling me he figures he must be pretty close to the end of his second chances with Jesus.

Imagine the other telling me she doesn’t know if she can find peace to sleep because she’s so mad at herself.

Imagine me trying to speak grace into the turmoil, teaching truth, extending forgiveness, wrapping love, singing peace.

Imagine my momma heart crying right along with them.

Growing up can be so hard. I remember learning these lessons as a kid, but I didn’t realize how hard it would be to be the parent.


I did have a bit of a success moment yesterday though. Let’s dwell on that, shall we?

I was at the grocery store with Mykah and heard this gem pop out of her mouth….

“Mom, what’s a pop-tart?”

Success, ladies and gentlemen, there you have it…that my kids will know grace, love and forgiveness but not pop-tarts.


My mom and I just returned from a cruise in Northern Europe. We had been planning and dreaming and booking day tours and researching cities and getting REALLY EXCITED for months.


I was to fly out of Toronto on a Thursday night, meet up with her in Chicago and fly over to Copenhagen together that same night where we would then have a day to explore the city before leaving on our cruise on Saturday. However, it was a tight connection time between my flights, and thanks to an unexplained hour long wait on the runway at Pearson, I was late for the next flight.  I was disappointed but figured we would get another flight out, no problem.


OYE. It was a problem.


The customer service (ahem) lady we dealt with informed us that she could not get us in to Copenhagen until SUNDAY. Sorry, but that’s the best she could do.


In my nicest I’m-a-Jesus-lover-but-still-really-upset-voice,  “Ummm, no, listen, lady, that is not going to work.”


At 2am, after 4 hours, much anxiety and several other representatives later, we closed down the customer service counter but we were finally booked on flights that got us to the cruise with less than an hour to spare.


Oh, but my bag decided it was going to have its own sort of adventure and went AWOL.


(I don’t think I have to say much more about this, right? You just groaned out loud, right? You just imagined trying to outfit yourself for your cruise from the cruise gift shop, right? Enough said.)


We had an absolutely fantastic time on our cruise and in the countries we visited…Germany, Russia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Oh, the history, the cultures, the food! Oh, the castles, cathedrals, and cobblestoned streets! Not to mention that being with my mom is one of my most favorite things, and that not having to make and clean up breakfast, lunch and dinner for my family for 12 days is a vacation all by itself.


But, what I’ve realized is this…the best stories we have to tell from our trip are of all the moments that didn’t go as planned and the ones we never could have planned for…the hilarious photos we took of each other, the random people we met, the Ballet-night debacle, the Russian meatloaf, the Swedish marathon, and the Helsinki port-o-potty to name a few. Oh, and the shopping I will get reimbursed for because of the luggage delay, WAHOO!


And, it’s got me to thinking that life is a lot like this too.

The best stories of God at work are usually the ones where He is moving in unexpected ways.


Sometimes it’s in the delay. Remember Mary, Martha and Lazarus in John 11?  It was obvious to everyone but Jesus that he was late…unacceptably, unforgivably late. Yet Jesus tells the disciples that he was glad that he wasn’t there, so that their belief would increase. The long-dead being brought back to life does tend to increase the faith level.


Sometimes it’s in the change of plans. Remember young Mary receiving the news that she has been chosen to bear the Son of God? (Luke 1) She had certainly not signed up for this, and yet she embraced this radical life-detour.


Sometimes it’s in the inconvenience. Sometimes it’s in the awkward moments. Sometimes it’s those blessings-in-disguise. But always, always, Jesus is trying to get us to see from His perspective.


I want to encourage you today that if the journey you’re on right now looks different than what you think it should look like, don’t lose heart. I’m pretty sure if you look hard enough, you will find joy ready to burst onto the scene….sort of like how I felt on day 5 when my luggage finally arrived.


Travel on, friends. Travel on.





Tooth Question

2 quick things…

1. My son has discovered my blog.

(Hi, Carter, for when you read this!)

I am nervous. Truly I am.

He did give me permission to continue to write about him and Mykah though, so I guess I will work through this in time.

2. My son lost one of his front teeth last Thursday.

He is nine and a half. It’s about time those front ones came out.

The tooth fairy did not come that night.

My son lost the other of his front teeth last Friday at school.

That night he had to write a special note for the tooth fairy that said something along the lines of “Dear Tooth Fairy, please leave me some extra money as I have now lost two teeth and then literally lost the second one.”, which he put with tooth #1 in a baggie under his pillow.

The tooth fairy did not come that night either.

She finally showed up sometime SATURDAY MORNING.

My mind is just boggled.

When I was a kid, this never happened.

Is anyone else having trouble with the “collector-of-the-teeth-and-the-leaver-of-the-money” lately?

Any good theories on this?

(See, Carter, I care that you are reading my blog and thought we should discuss with the kind people on the internet the deep dilemmas in our household these days.)

Thanks for your help everyone!


“Don’t tell my friends that I watched My Little Pony with you or I will be a laughingstock.” – from my 9 year old son.

“Don’t tell anyone that I played with the baby’s toys or I will be a laughingstock.”- from my 6 year old daughter (obviously borrowing the term from her brother!)

My kids are apparently now at the ages where the opinions of their peers are starting to impact their own responses. I had been secretly hoping for a few more years of bliss, holding off junior high and high school “issues” until, well, junior high and high school.

It saddens me to see this now. Do my kids really need to be thinking about altering their behaviors in order to fend off ridicule? In Kindergarten? REALLY?!

 I struggle with this. On the one hand, I so desperately want them to be confident in their own selves, in their own ideas, in their own beliefs and values. I want them to learn to stand up for themselves, to realize that they have just as much a right to their opinions as the perceived perceptions of their friends. On the other hand, I fear that they won’t be able to really know what they believe until they are tested and forced to process it in their actual lives. This processing is necessary for their growth, even if it’s just SO HARD for me to watch and parent them through.

But, if I had a third hand, I would use it to say that it saddens me even more to see how much like ME and my own thinking, this “laughingstock” fear really is. I suspect I am well past the age where I should care so much about the perceived perceptions of people around me. Yet I fear that many times I am so concerned about not offending anyone, that I choose to hide my true self, bury my actual feelings, and present a cleaned-up, inoffensive me to the world.

“Better not tell my neighbors that I love Jesus…that might sound weird. I will just talk about going to church instead.”

“Better not show my flaws to those church ladies…I shouldn’t still be struggling with that sin.”

“Better not take a public stand on issues of morality…I don’t want to upset anyone.”

But there’s Romans 12:1-2 to consider…. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I find I have such a hard time with these Scriptures because I simply don’t like the idea of being a LIVING SACRIFICE.  That sounds uncomfortable and more than a little painful.  I seem to have the idea that since I live in this great country of Canada where I lack for nothing, I really shouldn’t have to subject myself to suffering for any reason. Pain, um, NO THANKS.

And yet when I read Matthew 5:10-12,  “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”….  it makes me realize that I’ve got it all wrong. Perhaps in trying to live an inoffensive, free of friction, devoid of conflict life, I am missing the point entirely. Where in Scripture do I see the call of Jesus to be synonymous with living an inoffensive, free of friction, devoid of conflict life? (Oh, how I wish I could find this!)

Perhaps in the same way that I cannot shield my own children from ridicule (short of sequestering them in their rooms forever!), I should stop trying to shield myself. And perhaps in the same way that I am trying to teach them to use ridicule as a basis for firming up, not belittling their own opinions, I need to not be afraid of having my own beliefs questioned. I need to remember that opposition to my views does not negate my opinions and in fact, can help me to better define my own beliefs.  From a place of grace and humility, I need to learn to stand up for truth as I perceive it to be, regardless of the estimations of others. I want to embrace the various pain of being a daily, living sacrifice in order for Jesus to be seen through my life. I want to know Christ and to not only identify with His victories, but also to identify with His sufferings (Philippians 3:10), which probably means I might actually have to face into some sufferings, some ridicule, some pain myself.

What about you? Are you ready to pray with me today?….

Jesus, help me to be willing to be a laughingstock, a living sacrifice, for you. Help me to stop trying to avoid ridicule from those you would like me to be affecting for you. And help me to  stop insulating myself from the pain that you just might have a purpose for in my life.

Ego Boost

We held our annual business meeting at Kingsview last night.

(And perhaps I should not broadcast this next statement for fear of ruining my chances at winning the title “pastor’s wife of the year”, but #1 oh wait, I don’t care, and #2, there is no such thing, so whatever. There you have it…)

In general this is not my most favorite night of the year.

I have attended these meetings for years in churches I have “membered” at. I have attended these meetings for years in churches I have “pastor’s wife-d” at.

I recognize the importance of these meetings.

It’s vital to present the annual ministry reports and the annual financial reports. It’s imperative that new board members are elected and to provide opportunities for members to ask questions as to the state of the church and the accounting notes.

I also recognize my lack of enthusiasm for these meetings.

Historically in churches I have attended, these meetings are, quite simply, quite honestly, BORING.

And I just don’t understand this.

WHY, OH WHY, must they be? Why can’t these meetings be upbeat and exciting? Certainly there can be challenges in our churches, certainly there are setbacks and sour moods and not-so-wonderful reports that must be reported, but shouldn’t we also find reason to celebrate what God has done over the past year?!

I am happy to say that this has become a bit of a theme for the Kingsview annual business meeting.

It can still be a bit stiff and formal at times. This is still the one meeting a year that I hear things like “There is a motion before us. Does someone second the motion?”.

But we also try to highlight how amazing God has been to us over the past year.

And there is smiling and cheering and celebration.

And I really feel you must know something else. The minutes from the previous year;s meeting were officially accepted last night. These minutes were included in the packets that were given out and available for all to read.

I kid you not, this gem was hidden within….

“9. Carrie Johnston is incredibly good looking, as specifically declared to the group by her husband. Carrie introduced the names of the new members to the KVCC congregation. ” …


So, I just wanted you to know that it’s official. I am incredibly good looking, as stated by my husband, as typed up my dear friend, Lis who took the minutes of last year’s meeting and as AFFIRMED BY THE ENTIRE MEMBERSHIP last night.

Thank you, Kingview, I couldn’t ask for a better church, and I look forward to next year’s annual meeting with you.

I seem to recall my husband declaring last night something along the lines of  “anything positive you feel about me is because of my wife”. I sincerely hope we get to accept that statement as part of the minutes next year!

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