Calling.

Hello! Did September just happen??

I’m taking up the 31-day writing challenge for the month of October. There are many ways to join in with this and I’m following Katie Motaungs daily word prompt to free-write for five minutes everyday.

Easy right? Write.

Day One word prompt: CALLING

I remember when I was a 17 year old baby Christian, I was convinced I was ‘called’ to be a Pastors wife. Ahem.

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Evidence here in my first bible, complete with compulsory red leather case and gold edge tabs.

Then years later Phil, my husband, who just so happens to be a Pastor would dream of Canada and after a couple of years I gently asked him to stop telling me because you know, roots and tribe and all. Until, my reaction began to change and one night my resistance (fear) faded and a divine shift happened.

And here we are in Canada…of course we all know just because we say yes to a calling doesn’t mean it’s easy (see most bible characters for details) CS Lewis wrote ‘To follow the vocation does not mean happiness, but once it has been heard, there is no happiness for those who do not follow.’

A calling isn’t glamorous, it’s a response, a yes to a summons. A surrender. To die to past and say yes to the future.

I have found we so often complicate our God given calling, as I get a little older I find the following to be true:

You’re called to the very thing that gets your heart racing, your blood pumping.

You’re called to be the world changer that you secretly know you are.

You’re called to be life to the one in front of you.

For some you are called to raise your kids, to work in Starbucks, to buy dinner for the guy holding the ‘to honest to steal to ugly to whore’ sign.

Others you’re called to work nights, to write those words, to sing those songs.

You are called to live and breathe and scream when life doesn’t make any sense.

You are called to find Christ in the midst of suffering and to invite his Spirit to bring healing.

You are called to be a good friend and LOVE yourself.

To know you are fearfully and wonderfully made…and to bring this truth those you meet.

And.

Before all of that, let’s start in the secret place.

You are called to intimacy with your Maker.

Or as Oswald Chambers puts it…

If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are. As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, “I wonder why God allowed this or that?” And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose. A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities. If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.

And if you’re still a little stuck, let’s take this advice from Micah 6:8

‘But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously—take God seriously.

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow!

Love, Michelle

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Dear Church

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Dear Church,

It’s our 5-year Canniversary!

Yes – 5 years since we landed on dry Canadian soil and began the deep dig of calling this place our home.

Let’s backtrack because sometimes that’s necessary to bring the present into a healthy perspective, in other words ‘look how far we’ve come’…

The time up to our farewell was a frenzy of giving away, selling up and saying sad goodbyes – all woven with a divine thread of a call Kelowna and Willow.

It was over the Atlantic where the reality of what we had done hit me, not the best point as there was nowhere to run to, strapped into a tiny seat over an ocean. I remember Phil looking at me and knowing. That feeling lasted – my apologies to those who encountered me in the first while (a year or so…)

We landed in Kelowna, Me, Phil, and our babes Josiah (3) Bella (7) and Em and Jess (11) and as the warm air hit us at Kelowna airport – so did the welcome. Willow Parkers with gifts, flowers and all things red and white. We all smiled while Phil appeared presidential, shaking hands and kissing babies.

What a five years! I have climbed mountains, ran half marathons, faced bears, tripped over snakes, learned to slow, learned to cook, experienced new freedom and found the joy of writing.

It’s not been an easy 5 years, just because we are called doesn’t mean we are comfortable, because we live in the California of Canada doesn’t mean it’s all play and no work but this note is not about the challenges!

I think the beauty of calling is knowing that those around you are your tribe, whether they are like you or not and knowing that because you are in that place God’s purposes and plans are fulfilled.

Initially my expectations put Willow Park into a box. Don’t you find the expectations box can lead to disappointment, disconnection and distraction?

God is so kind and gracious and oh so patient with this girl who likes things in a certain way (almost ex control freak) I thankfully found my way out of ‘boxed in expectations’ and stepped into expectancy – an expectancy that keeps God in charge, that knows He keeps His promises and is always faithful.

I love all that God is doing in our community.

I have loved how you embrace the teaching on hearing God’s voice – and how you chase intimacy and desire to know His voice in your life.

I have loved watching so many of you experience Encounter God retreats – recognizing this is not just a weekend but living a life in the practice of confession, turning away from old habits and living in freedom.

You all know that our favorite meeting is our Willow One prayer. You are faithful pray-ers – keep on faithful ones. I am excited about Willow Park becoming a house of prayer.

The introduction of our Pursuit young adults service is a gift, and not just because I have a couple of young adults of my own…we will always be the biggest cheerleaders of Joel, Melissa and the next generation of our church.

I love how our doors have been thrown open to our wider community, please come and join me in the Hope Centre where the gospel is alive at the table over great food, where the gospel befriends and loves people outside of our church walls – let us become the centre of hope in our community.

Thank you for loving us and encouraging us – you have been super gracious to this English family and we are grateful…and a special thank you for loving this outgoing, introverted pastor’s wife.

Here’s to the next 5 years and beyond with you all, my prayer today is ‘may the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you’

Love, Michelle

‘Your kingdom come, Your will be done, On earth as it is in heaven’ Matthew 6:10

A Wordy Reminder.

Day 27.

The Collins home has various degrees of the bleurghs. Colds and sickness and general meh.

But! I was pleased to hear this morning that I had passed the latest module on my degree. I held off on signing up to the next as I wasn’t sure whether the play that I had written about the life of John Harper, preacher on board the Titanic, would be accepted. Apparently it was just fine!  Which means I have now signed up my next module – poetry.

This got me thinking about the time before we moved to Kelowna. The time of  words, songs, poems and the whispers of God through people to reassure us as we moved on.

Those words combined formed this image of words which has held us on the days when we wonder.

Wander? No way. These are the days when the words speak louder than ever.

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Now, enjoy this poem. Written by a friend of ours, Andy, our town centre poet, a wandering bard, a family friend who would sit at my parents table and talk about life and its complexities.

 Au Revoir, You Collins’s (With Apologies To Bob Dylan)

 It’s not a simple twist of fate,

Or an idiot wind that carries you to Canada.

I’d say its receptivity, desire,

Faith and humble stamina.

You’re blowing in the wind,

You don’t know where it comes from, where it’s going.

If it becomes a hurricane, the Spirit’s in the blowing.

Blood of the Lamb on the tracks

Of a partially trodden path,

Like the rolling away of a stone.

Far from us, you’ll bear His fruit,

Far from being complete unknowns.

Remembering us, you may get briefly tangled up in blue:

Subterranean, homesick –

If so, the Son will see you through.

You’ll have a shelter from the storm,

Knock- knock- knocking on heaven’s door,

Held by enduring friendship,

Within God’s abundant store.

Blond on blond on blond on blond on blond on blond,

On highways that you visit and revisit;

Don’t think twice, babes, it’s alright,

Yours are prayers and pleasures, stuff of life,

The joy of the Holy Spirit.

God is making planet waves.

Don’t feel lonesome when you go.

Under the maple leaf, Jesus saves,

The train is coming – why should it be slow?

Constant, He is rearranging:

For the times they are a-changing.

© Andy Mullis 10/06/2010

Why not remind yourself today of the words around your life.

How many Bob Dylan songs can you spot in the poem? Answer in comments…that is if you can find a way through WordPress hoops. Goodness.

See you tomorrow,

Michelle xo