Thank you for your Grace

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Last week

At Willow Park, we have been through a long process of deciding whether or not women will be allowed on our Elders board. This discussion has included much prayer, unbiased and well-researched teaching videos presented by Phil, Q and A church meetings, many conversations…all culminating in the church membership making the decision by voting on Sunday.

Complementarian or Egalitarian?

Words that many had not heard or wrestled with until recently.


I had a dream on Saturday night

I was on a hike walking alongside a cliff, on a relatively narrow, rugged pathway. There were lots of us, all heading in the same direction. I was struggling because I dragging a huge suitcase, challenging to navigate and very heavy.

We all reached a point on the walk where we had to step onto a large wooden platform area before climbing over to the next point of the journey. The wooded area was continually moving and difficult to pass, you had to concentrate on being able to get onto the moving platform and then climb over.

Thankfully, Brad (chair of our board) and Phil (pastor) stood at the top of the platform, they were helping everyone up and over. I was struggling, this was impossible with heavy luggage, so I hoisted the case up to Brad and Phil.

As I climbed on, I saw them put my suitcase to one side. It was empty.

Brad looked at me and said, ‘you don’t need that anymore, you can continue without it.’


I woke Sunday morning reassured and encouraged. That whatever the outcome and decision made on the members vote. That the women in our church would be traveling lighter because of it. I was reassured this journey has been a God-given process for this time, for our church, and I knew that God had us here for a purpose to bring us closer to His heart.

A decision was made that all members, male and female, can be nominated to become elders of Willow Park Church.  



We took a day off and walked Enderby Cliffs. 14 km of cliff edge walking while praying for our church. We thanked God that we have been able to offer answers to occasional questions of fallout and possible division. We have responded that we believe our church is healthy, that the heart of people is unity, and we will continue to walk well together with our different opinions and thoughts.


Because the main thing is the main thing: Jesus. Salvation. His presence. Transformation.

The climb up the cliff was hard today. But alongside the increased heart rate and occasional trip-ups – we stopped and took in the views, the wildflowers, the beauty.

And enjoyed the reward of a spacious place.

Then I found the platform that I’d seen in my dream, but this time it wasn’t unstable or moving, but steady.


We journey on – focused, lighter, anticipating all that God has for us.


Thank you for your grace, Willow Park Church – well done.

Love, Michelle xo

Ps. All pics from our hike today 🙂


Please don’t hug me (your way)


Dear Church,

I will start by saying. ‘His grace is enough.’

I enjoyed your Sunday morning service this week, thank you so much for your warm welcome.

You need to know it’s a big deal for anyone walking into a church for the first time – and for some more than others. I just wanted to point out a few things that might help you in understanding some of us who walk through your big glass doors.

Firstly, I realize why hugging is really important. You’re excitedly declaring, ‘welcome, come and be part of our church family.’

But you need to know…some of us can’t hug. Your way.

Touch repulses me and if you try and hug me my skin crawls. I actually want to vomit, often do, and my whole state becomes unbalanced. You might want to Google sensory processing disorder to understand more.

So maybe try not to presume everyone you meet is a hugger. When you get to know me, I’ll show you my sign for hugging, and we can do that as I walk into the foyer rather than…well…what happened.

I also really understand that eye contact is important; you show you are listening – you are giving your attention to me and no one else. The problem is, I can’t give you eye contact because my eyes sting and it feels like tiny hot needles are poking me. But please don’t think I’m rude. I’m happy that you talking to me, I just don’t like you looking into my eyes.

Finally, I know I got up and down a lot in the service. It’s not that I don’t like being there or I’m struggling with the message, or I’m that I’m demonised! Restlessness is a side effect of the medication I’m taking, so, I get up and wander around until my legs settle. Easy? Sort of, depending on the volume of the music is and how bright the lights are.

It can be tiring being me sometimes.

Thanks for reading  – I will come back next week. I know it’s about us understanding each other and I know you also have a lot of stuff going on that no one knows about. I can see that in you, it’s just that my stuff is more obvious…

I’ll close with my life verse from Psalm 139 that I like to encourage people with.

I will offer You my grateful heart,

for I am Your unique creation,

filled with wonder and awe.

You have approached even the smallest details with excellence;

Your works are wonderful;

I carry this knowledge deep within my soul.

I believe this. Do you?



P.S. I also have Aspergers.  I forget to mention it sometimes…

(This is revamp/repost, for the five minute Friday prompt, ‘touch’ A letter worth reading again…)


We are that Family.

Day Two of 31 days of writing. Word Prompt: Family.

11218918_10153328071359480_6088156165853711636_nI see my church family as a living, breathing organism with a natural rhythm of inhaling and exhaling, gathering and going out.

This week I have seen our young adult community gather close to mourn the loss of their friend Lauren. A bright light and Jesus lover, Lauren is remembered daily in our church family. They were reminded to – grieve with hope, stay close to each other and keep talking about Lauren.

Church family, it’s natural to be together as scripture encourages us. Inhaling, being close, filled up, worshipping and praying together and for one another AND exhaling going out to be light and salt to fulfill our calling.

Let’s not hide in our churches nor isolate ourselves. Let’s not add to our dysfunction with offenses and ‘not liking how things are done’ and the many issues that can distract from our priority.

Let the main thing be the main thing, knowing Christ together and sharing that with our community.


Inhaling we live in fellowship,

Exhaling we release what the living God breathes into us.

Inhaling ask the Spirit to take control.

Exhaling we live in a place of confession and forgiveness.

Of letting go, releasing.

Breathe church family….

As God intended.


I asked a few friends what (in a few words) ‘church family means to them’. Here are some responses…

*The book of Acts. Living it.

*A better family than the one you’re born with.

*Unity. One heart, one way. Corporate, powerful, effective prayer.

*Interactive , supportive , prayerful, “do life” together , beautiful and messy…

*A group of people bound together by blood and by love with passion for and dedication to the honor and growth of the family name and legacy. Every member with value, purpose and responsibility to the community.

*It’s the ones with the same heartbeat as your own. Ones where words are usually not necessary because there’s a deeper understanding and connection.

*Connection with people who know my story. People who will pray for me and stand by me, who accept me. People who are my tribe.

And this…being in a church family means you will never be lonely or as Psalm 68:2 puts it ‘God sets the lonely in families…’

See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle

Sunday Smiles.

Day 17.

tumblr_lbmragGvcb1qdw16zo1_1280It’s Sunday. It’s X Factor catch up and I’ve just heard ‘I’m a Celeb’ is starting tonight !

Which means one thing, I don’t plan on using my brain too much.

SO, today’s post is the best church bulletin bloopers, they still make me laugh…

  • Don’t let worry kill you – let the church help.
  • Thursday night – Potluck supper. Prayer and medication to follow.
  • Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say “hell” to someone who doesn’t care much about you.
  • For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • The rosebud on the alter this morning is to announce the birth of David Alan Belzer, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Julius Belzer.
  • This afternoon there will be a meeting in the South and North ends of the church. Children will be baptized at both ends.
  • Tuesday at 4:00 pm there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk please come early.
  • Wednesday the ladies liturgy will meet. Mrs. Johnson will sing “Put me in my little bed accompanied by the pastor.”
  • Thursday at 5:00 pm there will be a meeting of the Little Mothers Club. All ladies wishing to be “Little Mothers” will meet with the Pastor in his study.
  • This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.
  • The service will close with “Little Drops of Water.” One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.
  • Next Sunday a special collection will be taken to defray the cost of the new carpet. All those wishing to do something on the new carpet will come forward and do so.
  • The ladies of the church have cast off clothing of every kind. They can be seen in the church basement Saturday.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be “What is Hell?” Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.
  • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 p.m. Please use the back door.
  • The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, “Break Forth Into Joy.”
  • The eighth graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7p.m. The Congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 pm at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
  • Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.
  • Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan who are preparing for the girth of their first child.
  • The Lutheran Men’s group will meet at 6 PM. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.
  • The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: “I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.”
  • Our next song is “Angels We Have Heard Get High.”
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.
  • The outreach committee has enlisted 25 visitors to make calls on people who are not afflicted with any church.
  • During the absence of our pastor, we enjoyed the rare privilege of hearing a good sermon when J.F. Stubbs supplied our pulpit.
  • Due to the Rector’s illness, Wednesday’s healing services will be discontinued until further notice.
  • The concert held in Fellowship Hall was a great success. Special thanks are due to the minister’s daughter, who labored the whole evening at the piano, which as usual fell upon her.
  • 22 members were present at the church meeting held at the home of Mrs. Marsha Crutchfield last evening. Mrs. Crutchfield and Mrs. Rankin sang a duet, The Lord Knows Why.
  • Pastor is on vacation. Massages can be given to church secretary.
  • Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa will be speaking tonight at Calvary Memorial Church in Racine. Come tonight and hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.
  • Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.
  • Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  • Barbara remains in the hospital and needs blood donors for more transfusions. She is also having trouble sleeping and requests tapes of Pastor Jack’s sermons.
  • Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
  • Attend and you will hear an excellent speaker and heave a healthy lunch.
  • The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer conference includes meals.
  • Youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 pm in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang “I Will Not Pass This Way Again,” giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, superb entertainment, and gracious hostility.
  • This evening at 7 pm there will be a hymn sing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.

Hope they bring a smile today,

And finally… to ponder.


See you tomorrow,

Love, Michelle xoxo

“Laughter is the greatest weapon we have and we, as humans, use it the least. – Mark Twain”

NaBloPoMo November 2013


Day 4.

Monday morning in Kelowna.
Monday morning in Kelowna.

Today is a word prompt from my friend Sam.


“Important in any community of faith is an ever-renewed expectation in what God is doing with our brothers and sisters in the faith. We refuse to label the others as one thing or another. We refuse to predict our brother’s behavior, our sister’s growth. Each person in the community is unique; each is specially loved and particularly led by the Spirit of God. How can I presume to make conclusions about anyone? How can I pretend to know your worth or your place? …A community of faith flourishes when we view each other with this expectancy, wondering what God will do today in this one, in that one.” {Eugene Peterson A Long Obedience in the Same Direction}

The role of Pastors wife brings expectations, I captured thoughts on this in my post ‘Thick skin, Soft heart’ here.

One expectation is sitting on the front row of church, reserved in an unspoken way for the Senior Leader and his family. It has been a while since the Collins 6 have all sat on the front row, the teens like to sit in the balcony, or attend Pursuit on Sunday evenings.

Bella helps in children’s church.

So, it’s my boys and me.

Until Josiah goes to children’s church.

Then it’s Phil and me.

Then Phil gets up to preach.

Leaving me.

On my own.

On a very wide, open pew.

Now, I know that the congregation aren’t looking at me, or what I’m wearing or how I’m worshipping or wondering why I’m on my phone. *cough* YouVersion. (…except for yesterday I was texting my teens.)

The truth is I feel uncomfortable.

At this point I must say that Phil doesn’t mind where I sit in church. Front, back balcony, foyer but I do want to be there cheering him on.

But yes. I’m uncomfortable.

Yesterday I went to church with the above words from Eugene Peterson ringing through my mind.

My plan was to view my community with expectancy.

I met a guy in the foyer while the service was on and knew he was in turmoil. Accusations, pain, lies spinning through his tired mind.

After a while I invited him into church with me.

‘Come on, find some peace’.

We entered to the sounds of  ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’. There were no spaces for us at the back.

‘Looks like we are the front row, it’s a sacred place you know’ I laughed.

My front row discomfort dissolved as I saw him find some peace in his fraught state.

I wanted to be there. He did find a sacred place.

My clan and a few extras joined us for lunch after church at Latin Fiesta and my front row friend joined us.

Two things stick in my busy mind from the lunch. The noise and chaos of my family and their friends. (The face juggler app really is hilarious, you have to download it.)

I apologized for our chaos – how could I excuse noise of family to a man who has no one? He was totally at home.

I then apologized for dragging him to the front row.

‘Oh I loved it’ he said ‘Years ago, before I lost everything, I was an elder in the church, I played worship, I was on ministry teams. I always sat on the front row. It was lovely to sit there today. Thank-you for inviting me’

Ministry is uncomfortable, it always will be – and apparently it’s not about me.

I’m comfortable with that.

See you tomorrow!

Love, Michelle xoxo

*Today I figured how to add Gifs to my blog. Be very prepared.

*I set up a Facebook Page!

Thanks for liking


NaBloPoMo November 2013