Monday, April 28, 2014

One Thousand Gifts (continued)

When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, 'The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field'" 
(Matthew 9:36-38)

I had another visit at the jail today.  This time I went without Paul, which I have to admit, was a tad bit out of my comfort zone to say the least.
Again, like last time, (http://parentsforpurity.blogspot.ca/2014_03_01_archive.html), I was awestruck at the brokenness surrounding me.
However, this time it felt different.
My heart was breaking for the little two year old behind me in line, whose mother was hoping he'd have some physical contact with whoever they were visiting.
My heart was breaking for the mother and daughter in front of me who were visiting their son and brother.
My heart was breaking for the woman who looked so lost and confused because the person she was supposed to visit didn't show up.
My heart was breaking for those who feel so alone, so helpless, and so angry (I saw few angry people there today).
My heart was breaking for our friend who is so eager to be released from his prison cell and is counting down the days.
My heart was breaking for our friend who doesn't know where he'll even be living when he is released.
My heart was breaking for those hundreds of inmates who are living in darkness and for all who are like lost sheep without a shepherd.

I was reminded of the words from a song by Hillsong United:

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me
Break my heart from what breaks yours 
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause

Could it be that God is using these visits to break my heart?  Perhaps.  However, could my heart truly be broken when I'm not doing the things that I should be doing to help those in need- that which really breaks His heart?  Could my heart truly be broken when I continue to live a selfish life?  Could my heart truly be broken when I continue to judge others?  There is so much brokenness and hurt in this world.  I pray that God will "show me how to love like you have loved me".  

It is also my prayer that God will "break my heart from what breaks yours".  

Continuing to give thanks...
-an encouraging visit with our friend in prison
-his safety
-his boldness to tell others about Jesus
-his desire to be transformed by the renewing of the Spirit
-my heart beginning to be broken

-friends getting together to play and celebrate a birthday

-eating without utensils!
-that his mommy is home from the hospital and is recovering

-his seriousness as he interviews his uncle over the phone for a Cadet badge

-how she had her bathing suit ready all day, waiting to go in her uncle's hot tub

-how she sings and dances all the time
-her microphone as she attempts to sing, "I am a C H R I S T I A N"

-splashing in the puddles
-catching rain drops on her tongue

-practicing for his speech

-being prepared to face the bugs that spring/summer has to offer

-how she was willing to play her saxophone in church (and what a wonderful job she did!!)

-celebrating Christian Education week at school
-fun activities at school all week
-celebrating Grandparents

-"games day"
-dress alike day (Jesse's not alone with his obsession)
-how his obsession has led to late nights, watching hockey, but also to a road trip with his father and an opportunity to bond, bringing memories that will last a lifetime!

-being inspired at the Women's Alive conference and hearing Carolyn Arends http://carolynarends.com
-meeting and getting to know such a beautiful Christian woman who works for Compassion Canada (www.compassion.ca)
-children being sponsored, and many lives being impacted

Monday, April 21, 2014

One Thousand Gifts (continued)

"He is not here; He has risen, just as He said." 
 (Matthew 28:6)

Giving thanks for the hope that Easter brings!
H-heaven; knowing that heaven is real and that one day I will bask in God's glory with the angels     because of the hope of Easter
O-open tomb; the stone was rolled away, not so that Jesus could walk out, but so that the witnesses could see and believe that He was raised from the dead and so that all of us can proclaim, HE'S ALIVE!
P-penalty- Christ paid the penalty of our sins by His death on the cross
E-eternal life; know that God has promised eternal life to all those who confess with their mouths, "Jesus is Lord", and believe in their hearts, God raised him from the dead, will be saved (Romans 10:9)

Continuing to give thanks...
-the hope of Easter
-the promise of eternal life
-that He's ALIVE!

-celebrating Easter with family
-enjoying a nice walk with my in-laws
-beautiful weather
-wonderful in-laws to celebrate Easter with

-enjoying the animals on our walk

-the opportunity to have a SUPER fun road trip with his father
-the fun that he and his dad are having!

-our  South Ontario weather where we are able to ski and swim outdoors in the same week!
-her excitement to get out the little pool 
-her excitement about everything!
-enjoying the warm weather (and warm water after many buckets of hot water)

-how she "reads" to her toys and tucks them into bed

-enjoying their P.D. day with their grandparents

-a fun morning, enjoying breakfast and the outdoors with Opa and Oma

-grandparents who are so involved with their grandkids' lives

-Paul's willingness to take two  preschoolers to the Dora show in Toronto!
-the fun that Deborah had with her best buddy
-that God spared the life of her best buddy's Mommy
-that she received surgery on time and is recovering well
-her friendship and our kids' loving, fun, innocent friendship

-racing their cars
-the help from another dad, greasing the wheels

-a nice evening visit with a friend
-a night out with my boys and watching "Heaven is for Real"
-Paul taking his daughter and his parents to "Heaven is for Real"
-Christian entertainment
-a great group of women whom I play volleyball with (and winning the finals)
-the many bonding opportunities, while driving with my dear friend, Jessica

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


"For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted as His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will-" (Ephesians 1:4,5)

Yes, it's mid April and we have more snow.  There are a lot of unhappy people about that.  To be honest, I wasn't too thrilled about pulling out the winter coats from the basement after I had washed them and put them away.  However, I tried not to complain too much.  How could I when I heard Deborah's excitement?!  When I said, "Look at all of the snow", her response was, "Yeah!  Can we go out and play?  Can I put my skis on?"

She had a completely different perspective in regards to our never ending winter.  I love her enthusiasm and her excitement!  I love how a four year old is able to get so excited about anything!  I love her positive outlook on life.

How often, we compare ourselves to others, or view something in a completely negative light.  How often we complain about others, or about ourselves.  How does God view us?  He calls us "chosen" and "adopted as His sons/daughters"!  We are His heirs.  We are chosen.  We are His children.  He loves us so much that He was willing to sacrifice His Son for our sins.  Yes, we are sinners, but we are sinners saved by grace.  As Timothy Keller says (which our Pastor often quotes), "we are more wicked than we ever dared believe, but more loved and accepted in Christ than we ever dared hope"!

Monday, April 14, 2014

One Thousand Gifts (continued)

"We have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding" (Colossians 1:9).

We have this wonderful ministry in our church with the girls' club, called "prayer pals".  We were able to meet out prayer pals on Friday evening, and it was so encouraging to see so many willing participants, of all ages, committed to praying for others.  There is so much power in prayer, and it is so encouraging when you know that others are praying for you.  

Continuing to give thanks...
-our prayer pal ministry
-for church members who pray for each other
-the power of prayer
-the encouragement and strength we get, knowing others are praying for us
-our GEMS leaders' commitment, and willingness to organize this ministry
-how she enjoyed writing back and forth in her prayer journal to her prayer pal
-how her prayer pal encouraged her in writing skills and gifts 

-dressing up "springy"!  
-enjoying the company of my fun friend

-the fun that she had at the "big" school
-how she willingly and excitedly went on the bus

-how they look out for her and take care of her

-enjoying her day at the high school with her new friend

-a friendly battle of the books competition
-working together as a team
-the love of books

Monday, April 7, 2014

One Thousand Gifts (continued)

"Discipline your children, and they will give you peace; they will bring you the delights you desire." 
(Proverbs 29:17 TNIV)

Fourteen years.  
Fourteen years of parenting.  
Our baby turns 14 today.  Although I have been parenting for awhile, I am still learning about this thing called parenting every day!  I try to learn from my mistakes, and embrace each day as a new day.  I also try to embrace each stage of our children's lives with excitement and thankfulness to God.   I am encouraged by my sister-in-law's comments about how she has enjoyed each stage of her children's development.  I have loved watching our son grow from a quiet, curious content toddler to a responsible, fun-loving, and still quiet, young man.  We are so thankful to God for entrusting him to us and giving us the privilege to parent him and call him our son.  
Continuing to give thanks...
-celebrating our son's 14th birthday
-enjoying each stage of our children's lives
-God, entrusting us to be Jesse's parents

-his responsible character

-his patience and love to his little sister

-his athleticism
-the joy he brings to our lives

-his loving heart toward others and towards His maker

-learning her moves from her big brother

-celebrating with grandparents

-creating forts

-how they love to squeeze into tiny spots

-his grateful and thankful heart

-honouring the many volunteers of Compassion Canada
-enjoying the company of three teachers for dinner (an especially quiet dinner that night!)
-sitting on the couch, drinking tea with an old friend
-enjoying tea and a nice visit with another friend
-Deborah enjoying her play dates