Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wherever You Go

There's a saying, 'Wherever you go, there you are', meaning no matter where you go in this world to escape yourself, you will always find one thing to be You can't get away from yourself, no matter how hard you try.

Before I became a Christian, I spent most of my adult life running. Mostly running away from myself but oddly enough I kept getting frustrated because I always met myself with me at each subsequent destination. Whether it was a new city or a new job, there I was. How annoying!!! LOL

I often hear people say that they would like to take some time away, get away from themselves and I can't help but chuckle because I remember being in the exact situation of wanting to get away from ME! Away from my annoying habits, self destructive nature, character traits that would often bring about nausea and so many other things I tried to escape. But it doesn't quite work that way.

Now that I am a Christian, this same saying has taken on a whole new meaning for me. When I think of it, for me, it means that wherever I go, God will be with me. It doesn't matter if I'm in the enchantment of Italy or on the beaches of Hawaii...God will be there. He promises to be there for each and every one of us. And at this point of my life, leaving on my own to explore the unknown territory of Costa Rica, that promise means more than I can possibly articulate. It brings me peace even though I face a storm of chaos within me. It brings me comfort when I'm crying tears of fear in the darkness. And it brings me strength to walk forward in faith even though I am petrified.

So here I am, with God, preparing to leave not knowing anything that lies ahead but knowing that I have peace, the peace of God because He promises that too. That's great for this girl! A Canadian girl, leaving Canada on Canada Day and travelling on an American airline. Yeah, there's a joke in there somewhere!

Adios amigos! Dios te bendiga!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Woman vs Food

I'm here in the booming metropolis of Tuxford, Saskatchewan where I have been told lives a well reputed woman of all things dessert. I've travelled here to face my next appetizing adversary that awaits me. Only one question remains to be answered, will it be woman or food that prevails?? I have been warned that this faceoff is NOT for the faint of heart but I feel confident and am ready to take on this daunting task.

The challenge??? 3 pounds of mouthwatering pecan pie madness!!!!
The place??? Mom's kitchen.

I take my place at the table with glass of water in hand in preparation for the sugar rush that has my name written ALL over it! My mind starts to fill with doubt..."Will the sugar rush be too much? Will an insulin induced coma be inevitable? Will the bulk of the mountain of pecans seal my fate?" I turn away from my nervous questions and say, "NO!", I will not bow down to this sugary serpent!! I will be victorious!!! I'm ready...can I get a countdown!! *crowd counts down from 3...2...1!!!*

I know that it will be critical for me to pace myself and be sure to take in frequent sips of water to balance the large quantities of sugar that I am ingesting. So far, so good as I make my way through the first quarter of the pie. I only have 20 minutes to take down this beast and have easily skated through the first quarter in three and a half minutes! I'm feeling strong and confident as I continue on.

Moments later....Ugh, I'm starting to feel the rush of all this sugar and my stomach is making groaning noises indicating its discomfort with this sugary storm.

Can anyone out there help me with the last piece??? PSYCHE!!!! I will NOT bow down to this delectible demon!!! I WILL OVERCOME!!! *deep breathing*

YES!!! YES!!! *crowd goes wild* In 19 minutes and 23 seconds, I've done it! I've done it!! Just when they said it could not be done, I have proven them WRONG!!! Woman has conquered food!! As with every other food challenge, this girl emerges victorious, once again!!! *cheering and clapping* Now all that awaits me is the eventual crash once the sugar has finished coursing through my bloodstream.

And so I say goodbye to this sleepy little town in search of my next woman vs food challenge! No telling where my tastebuds will take me to next.... :D

Friday, June 17, 2011

We Are Family...

....I've got all my homies with me!! Okay, so I deviated from the original lyrics a bit but I've come to know all my co-workers here at my present employer, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, as such. My homies, my friends, my family.

Now even though we consider ourselves to be a dysfunctional family, I have commented on several occassions that I like to think that we put the FUN in dysFUNctional! :-)

Working at BG has been nothing short of a joy and extreme blessing for me and as I wrap up my time here (my last day is today), I can't help but look back on my short time here with a HUGE smile on my face as I think of how all the people in this organization have impacted my life, both directly and indirectly, in ways that I can't begin to express.

As part of this amazing family, we take time each morning for devotion and prayer and in the past days and weeks, I have, occassionally, been offered up in prayer as I move closer to my departure to Costa Rica. It's an extraordinary experience to be prayed for....hearing the whispers of those around you echoing your name throughout the room as each speaks requests of safety, strength and blessing upon me in this next chapter of my faith walk.

It's impossible for me NOT to be moved by this corporate rally that stands strong, surrounding me on all sides. Makes it REALLY hard to leave. Not just leave the safety net of employment and earning an income but also to leave the safety of my brothers and sisters of this place which I have connected so quickly and deeply with in a short amount of time.

Yesterday was an overwhelming day for me, especially, as I became surrounded not only by a small group of people I consider good friends but also by one of my greatest loves....FOOD!! They held a going away potluck in my honor filled with many of my favorite fares. From pizza to ginger beef to chocolate was as close to heaven on earth that I could get!! See, if someone feeds me or gives me food, I feel loved! The surest and fastest way to my heart is through my stomach. For those people out there who know me best, you're all nodding your heads in agreement right now as you read this! LOL

After we all finished our meals, I was asked if I wished to receive prayer by those in attendance. My face exploded into a smile as I eagerly exclaimed, "YES!" As I closed my eyes to receive their prayers, I felt several hands placed upon me as a couple people in the group spoke in prayer. The tears began to flow freely from my eyes as I could not fathom or comprehend what was happening around spiritual family praying for me in love and truth.

So here's to you, the BGEAC and SPC (Samaritan's Purse of Canada) for being my family away from home. For embracing me, accepting me, loving me and most of all, praying for me. Each one of you has left an indelible mark on my heart and I pray this prayer for each one of you, "The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." - Numbers 6:24-26

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Becoming Less

Last night as I was doing a bit more packing and organizing, I suddenly realized that I had started to laugh OUT LOUD TO MYSELF! It was sparked by the knowlege that my life has now become reduced to three categories: 1) Things to put in storage, 2) Things to pay forward, and 3) Things to take to Costa Rica.

How can it be that I'm categories?? LOL Again, I laugh. As much as I know that I live a fairly simple life, not hoarding or pack ratting, I still find it a wee bit bizarre as I look at the boxes neatly stacked in anticipation of their final destinations.

But then, I'm humbled by the fact that God calls each of us to become less. Not only in the material things but also in the personal things. Like becoming less selfish or less greedy or less proud. God commands us, in fact, that if we want to follow Jesus, that we must die to ourselves and take up the cross.

So just as much as I am becoming less, materialistically, as days go forward, I find that I am becoming less, personally. Less concerned about the things that I am storing or paying forward to someone else who can use it so much more than I can. Less concerned about the vanity of having stuff and more concerned about having the inner strength of heart, mind and spirit to move into the many unknowns of Costa Rica. Kind of scary if I really want to sit down and think about it....which I can't say as I do, well I try not to.

I'd really rather put aside my own cares, anxieties and stresses all of which I have had, and focus on the main thing....following God. And keeping at the forefront of my mind, that no matter what, God will provide whatever it is I do and might need. And, hopefully, in the meantime??? I don't freak out TOO much about the reality of all of this. hee hee

Monday, June 13, 2011

With Eyes to the Horizon

They say a picture is worth a thousand words but if I am fortunate enough to snap a photo of something God has orchestrated for my eyes to see, then capture on 'film', for me that picture is worth a thousand praises. The picture beginning this, my first post, is such a picture.

It was taken as the sun was setting in a fall sky of September 2010 at one of my favorite places in Alberta. It was shortly after I arrived that I felt God speak to my heart, telling me to look to the heavens and there it was...clouds in the formation of an eagle in flight. The eagle is one of the most majestic birds of the air that I have always associated myself closest with. Scripture is filled with references to this awe inspiring creature and God has repeatedly called me to be, spiritually, what this great bird represents.

The eagle escapes to the highest heights in a storm, it always seeks to soar higher, and it is independent of others but not of God. Just like the eagle, I have found myself to be of similar characteristics. I will run to the heights of God's arms when faced with trials and testing, I strive to be a strong woman of God, and I am completely dependent upon God. When I find myself in the midst of difficulty and turmoil, I find that God speaks to me about this very creature either through Scripture or through the literal appearance of one high above me in the sky and it's only through it's piercing cry that I look up and I find renewed strength to continue through the storm I'm in.

As I continue to prepare for my departure to Costa Rica and my final plans here are being made, the storms continue. They come in different forms; fear, trepidation, sorrow and longing. Some of these storms are brief, while others, long and raging. But I know that at no time am I promised that this faith walk will be an easy one, only that I am promised it will be a safe one. I walk this unique path alone as I fall in slow step behind God.

I remember being at one Sunday service, about a month ago, when I was starkly reminded of my reality and conviction to God's call as a message was displayed on the projector screen saying:

'Though no one goes along with me, still I will follow.
No turning turning turning back.'

Lately, I've found great comfort in the words of many songs on Chris Tomlin's latest CD as he speaks about surrender, awakening, freedom and God's majesty. All of these things I have experienced and there is so much more that awaits my experience. Even though I have never felt more alone in all my life in taking this step of faith to Costa Rica, to answer and follow God, a strange counter weight overwhelms me called blessing.

I have never felt more blessed than to have pursued God, wholly surrendered to Him and, now, follow Him to wherever He wants me to go and do whatever He wants me to do. I didn't think I would ever get here,to the point that I would be so ready and willing to do God's will. I used to be petrified that God would call me to a place to do something I would hate!!! It wasn't until I really got in God's face and got to know Him that it's not how He operates. LOL Good thing for me!! Remember Africa???

Anyway, I'd like to leave you with some lyrics, oddly enough, from various songs that have encouraged, renewed, assured and comforted me as I step closer to leaving for Costa Rica. And even though I may not know what awaits me there, I know who I am following....God. I love Him and trust Him and that's all I need to know. I suspect, that's really all God needs to know too. :-)

My testimony in lyrics, all from Chris Tomlin's latest CD, 'And if Our God is For Us':

"Where you go, I'll go,
Where you stay, I'll stay,
When you move, I'll move,
I will follow You.

Who you love, I'll love,
How you serve, I'll serve,
If this life I lose,
I will follow You."

"I lift my hands to believe again,
You are my refuge, You are my strength,
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember,
You are faithful God, forever."

"For You and You alone,
Awake my soul, awake my soul and sing,
For the world you love,
Your will be done, let Your will be me."

So with my eyes to the horizon, without knowing what's beyond the setting sun, I say, "...Here am I. Send me!" - Isaiah 6:8