Dad

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My Dad lay in deepest of sleeps, his breath rattling loose around his fragile frame. He was leaving us, departing this momentary world. Many of those around his bed had been allowed their moment and I waited quietly for mine. Even with ten of us around his bedside My Heavenly Father graced me my space. As I looked up to an empty room tangible peace invaded my being.

Just my Dad and me.
I looked down at his hands, one hand held a wooden prayer cross and I wrapped his other around mine.
I wanted to hold his hand as he was ushered in.
That smooth, familiar hand.
That had steered the truck to support our family.
That had betrayed…defended.
That held back screaming fans in the 60s at the packed town hall.
That had given out aid in Croatia.
The hand that had surrendered to God.
The miracle of his surrender made the redemption of God all the more glorious. We all remember that miracle – when God broke into the chaos, pouring rivers of living water and drowning dysfunction. And wherever the river flowed, transformation happened.
…I said all I had to say; my throat squeezed tight, words finally filling my voiceless pain. He heard me, his frail, cancer consumed body slowly departing, but he heard me – healing tears rolled down his cheeks and mine.
‘Well done Dad, well done.’
Family gathered close again, holding hands tight and every second dear.
Sounds never heard before, emotions never experienced.
Then…a glorious February sunlight shone through the hospice window, a new light.

Remembering you today Dad, with Beatles songs and stories and I’m so thankful to our Saviour,
Love, Shell x

I pray for those of you in the unending shadows, that you will not be overcome by fear.
I pray that you will be reassured that He is with you in those moments and that He is near with protection and guidance.
I pray that you will know His comfort, His presence, His peace – always.

You are loved.

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I’m stuck in Hope

Hey y’all  – a quick check in from the land of Hope!

Pursuit School of Evangelism was prayed for and commissioned yesterday at the Multiply conference in Vancouver with Luis Palau. Excited to see where God takes this vision!

I am sitting here in a terracotta colored motel room in a town called Hope, BC. Perhaps not our first choice of vacay but the Coquihalla is closed due to multiple accidents and severe weather warnings. In fact, it’s the first time in many years that all roads between the Coast and the Interior are closed. We are often involved in firsts.

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So we end up in Hope where Rambo was filmed! There are a few more visitors tonight as sleepy motels fill up #quietatmosphere

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It brings me to thinking about… wait for it…Hope!

I reposted a blog yesterday, which told the story of my baby bro – here it is. It was read and shared more than ever. Always thankful for hope being shared and the power of prayer realized.

I was thinking about some of my old Hope posts and remembered ‘Camp Hope’ from 2010. Can you remember the emotional scene as we watched 33 Chilean miners rise in the Phoenix capsule, following the natural response of family, friends and strangers setting up an actual ‘Camp Hope.’ Above ground. Waiting.

I love hope, not wishful thinking hope but a confident expectation kind of hope.

I spend a lot of time in Camp Hope. Praying and believing for those trapped, blinded by the dark and awaiting rescue. I’ll wait in Camp Hope for as long as it takes – until I see the Phoenix. We all have our role in the camp, some keep spirits high, some cry, some keep order and some can’t find words  and that’s ok too.

‘The moment we get tired in waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans’ Romans 8:28

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

My favorite quote is in a letter written by 19-year-old Chilean miner Jimmy Sanchez? ‘There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here’

And then there’s Jacob (Joseph’s Father) in the Old Testament.

On reaching Jacob they told him, ‘Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt. Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them’ Genesis 45:26

This far surpassed any news he could have expected – in fact – the King James Bible says he fainted. Of course he did! He had concluded that Joseph was dead – therefore he was unable to conceive any alternative.

God loves to break in far beyond our imagination, far beyond our expectations and our conclusions and surprise us.

Let’s allow our imagination to run wild and find our faith extreme.

I’m staying in Hope,

Love, Michelle x

 

Sorry for being your biggest critic

 

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Friends,

Last week I mentioned ‘wow’ moments I had read or listened to. Here’s another…

 I read this quote by Abi Stumvoll

‘Stop criticizing your God-given temple (your body) repent (say sorry/change your mind) to every body part that you’ve spoken death to. Because when you speak life to yourself, you will bloom into it’

 Abi carries a great message of freedom after a life of self-hatred and insecurity – here’s a short summary for you with a few of my musings thrown in.

Many of us are our war with ourselves. We have an accuser who tells us everything we are not allowing a lie to wrap itself around the core of who we are. A violence against the truth. When we criticize ourselves we are criticize our Creator. The bible tells us when a kingdom is divided against itself it cannot stand. When the war is on against our body it prevents us from living in fullness of our true self. God is calling us to wholeness and reconciliation with ourselves – our mind, body and emotions.

Abi challenges us to say sorry to our bodies for the ridiculously high expectations.

Sorry for expecting perfection

Sorry for being your biggest critic

Crazy? No crazier than saying the constant horrible things about ourselves things day in day out. Isn’t it true that most of what we say and do to ourselves we would never do to another person?

What happens when you love something? You invite love back.

This will take intention and commitment – but let us not starve ourselves of love.

Let us unite with our God created selves and begin the habit of love.

Let us start speaking some love over ourselves, breaking a lifetime of loathing.

Let us agree with truth even if it doesn’t make sense – speaking truth out loud – there is power of life and death in the tongue. You might not ‘feel’ anything but the truth promises to set you free.

My prayer for you today is that you will allow God’s love to reach you as you embrace this truth. That you will go where you think love can’t. That you will hear what He likes about you. That you know what He loves when He sees you.

Declare:

I choose to love what you love. I give myself permission to shine. To be alive and vibrant with the life of Christ. I will not align with lies and the accuser. I will know the truth and the truth will set me free. Amen.

Bless you!

Love, Michelle xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.

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Friends,

Thanks for opening up my musings today.

A happy summer to you – look out for the Collins Clan news later this week.

For my next few posts I will be highlighting some wow truths (to me anyway!) that I have heard/read/experienced these past few months. I hope they will bless you and maybe even create some wow moments for you too.

Phil preached a great sermon on worry and stress from Philippians 4 last week. You can listen to it here!

‘Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.’

I had been meditating on this for several days when in the dark hours worry invaded my thoughts with force – taking me by the neck and rubbing my face in every possible dread filled scenario. Of course we know that the enemy, the accuser speaks one language. LIES. He comes to accuse and tell us everything we are not, and every scenario that will not happen.

In the midst of the onslaught I was reminded of the time I was with a loved one through a dreadful panic attack. During the out of control state I knew I needed to find eye contact so I held my loved ones face in my hands and began to speak life and truth and looked deep into those eyes that began catch the light.

In Philippians 4, the Greek word for worry that Paul refers to is an image of Romans killing – when they would take four ropes and four horses and pull the body in every direction.

Worry does this. It pulls us in every direction.Tearing us apart.

Philippians 4 offers us truths for displacing worry.

Adoration: Worship always beats worry. We are promised that the Lord is near.

Earnest prayer: He loves ours passionate, persistent prayers.

Thanksgiving: How can we not be a thankful people who have found healing and freedom?

So back to my dark hours. Jesus took my face in His hands and loosened the grip around my neck.

‘Look at me’ he He whispered. And as I gazed into the eyes of fire – words of truth and trust began to flow, because that’s what all of this is about TRUST. He reminded me of promises and reassured once more.

And peace descended.

….and I know when that moment comes again, when I’m caught off guard when trust is crowded out and I find myself face down again. I’ll find my face in His hands and hear Him whisper.

‘Look at me beloved’

Have a great week,

You are loved,

Michelle xo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please don’t hug me (your way)

 

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Dear Church,

I enjoyed your service this week, thank you so much for the welcome.

You need to know it’s a big deal for anyone walking into a church for the first time – some more than others. So, 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…I can’t hug. Your way.

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

So, just for future reference, try not to presume everyone you meet is a hugger. When you get to know me well, 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 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 being rude. I’m happy that you talking to me, I just don’t like you looking into my eyes. Into me.

Oh and 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 demonised! Restlessness is a side effect of the medication I’m taking, so, I get up and wander around until I settle. Easy? Sort of, depending 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 have a lot of stuff going on that no one knows about. I can see that in you, really see it, it’s just that my stuff is more obvious…

I’ll close with my life verse from Psalm 139 that I love 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?

Regards,

Hannah.

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

A Week in the Life of…

 

 

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We all have those fears that travel down the road of morbid forebodings, mine often dance darkly around car accidents. So when I received a call last week from my firstborn screaming that she had been in a car accident it would seem that what I feared most had come upon me. And then to be first on the scene and responsible for calling the emergency services.My mind quickly raced to my own accident when I was 17 in my little yellow mini, as I heard the same words ‘girls you were fortunate to walk out of this…’

All that to say I am SO thankful to God, for peace over the could’ve been, for angels and for praying friends and family.

And what I’ve learned again that even in my most feared situations there He is in the midst. The promise of God for ALL of us ‘Even in the unending shadows of death’s darkness, I am not overcome by fear, Because You are with me in those dark moments, near with Your protection and guidance, I am comforted (Psalm 23 Voice)

There is one author of morbid forebodings. 

And One ever present in the reality of pain and difficulty.

This weekend I chatted a guy who found a beautiful salvation through Teen Challenge. I talked with a Mexican man who after being in Canada for two days, was on the number 10 bus and saw a service was on at Willow Park church, got off the bus and came in. The first people he met were Spanish speaking, naturally, because God loves detail. This man soon found himself wrapped up in the love of His heavenly Father and declared ‘this is my church.’ I found myself surrounded with many cheering that our Permanent Resident status is granted (thank you Canada) I spoke with friends who had been to the accident spot to give thanks to God for protection. We saw healings as those who attended Azusa Now shared stories of the event, years of pain subsiding, back pain eased, sensitivity to sound and light gone. FOR REAL.

I found myself surrounded with many cheering that our Permanent Resident status is granted (thank you Canada)

I spoke with friends who had been to the accident spot to give thanks to God for protection. We saw healings as those who attended Azusa Now shared stories of the event, years of pain subsiding, back pain eased, sensitivity to sound and light gone. FOR REAL.

We saw healings as those who attended Azusa Now shared stories of the event, years of pain subsiding, back pain eased, sensitivity to sound and light gone. FOR REAL.

And.

I looked into eyes of desperation and saw hope deferred making sick hearts cry for help.

I was reminded to consider it all joy whatever I face and to be content, to turn my eyes upon Jesus look full in his wonderful face.

As we head into a new week I pray that you know love and grace poured into your soul,  that you know peace in the midst and his presence in every hidden space of your life.

Love, Michelle xo

P.S. Happy Birthday Mom. We love you! xx

A Beautiful, Resurrected Life awaits you : RSVP

 

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‘The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus Who was nailed to the cross. He is not here! He has risen from the dead as He said He would. Come and see the place where the Lord lay. Run fast and tell His followers that He is risen from the dead. He is going before you to the country of Galilee. You will see Him there as I have told you.” They went away from the grave in a hurry. They were afraid and yet had much joy. They ran to tell the news to His followers. As they went to tell the followers, Jesus met them and said hello to them. They came and held His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My followers to go to Galilee. They will see Me there.” Matthew 28:5

C.S Lewis calls it ‘The Strangest Story of all’

The Easter Story.

It’s all about stories.

Those ordinary ones who put Him there that day, the same men who went home to their wives making dinner, to their kids. Pilate…Caiaphas…Soldiers…those doing their job.

The nameless carpenter who crafted the cross. Doing his job.

These ordinaries remind me of the destructive darkness that lies deep… that we are all capable of. I am reminded that the cross dealt with that darkness and if I don’t deal with it then it deals with me.

It’s all about stories.

Your story, His story.

What will you do with your story? Do you live it for yourself. Or do you occasionally allow God an appearance.  Or do you take your story and fully immerse into God’s story.

What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven—and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all—life healed and whole. 1 Peter 1:3 MSG

Richard Rohr writes ‘Most of human life is Holy Saturday, a few days of life are Good Friday, but there only needs to be one single Easter Sunday for us to know the final and eternal pattern. We now live inside of such cosmic hope. Jesus trusted enough to outstare the darkness, to outstare the void, to hold out for the resurrection of the forever-awaited “third day,” and not to try to manufacture His own. That is how God stretches and expands the soul, and makes it big enough to include God.’

Today you are invited into the story of the resurrected life.

‘But Michelle – it’s okay for you to talk of this resurrected life, but really, is this story the answer to my life that feels so dead and dark? How do I leave my Holy Saturday life. How do I leave a tomb life. A life of darkness that I can’t find my way out of…?’

Invite Him in. Invite Jesus into your tomb – your mess – your dark. Allow him to lead you out. A resurrected life awaits you, a life of life.

And when the betrayal of Maundy Thursday, the darkness of Good Friday, the confusion, questions and the doubt of Silent Saturday inevitably happen in our lives – we can face them from the place of the resurrection.

We can face those days in the presence, promise and the peace of Jesus.

Happy Easter!

You are loved,

Michelle xo

 

Save Me!

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Palm trees are popping up on my Insta feed this week. Our youth team of 120 kids have been working hard, in between beach days and Krispy Kreme donuts, they have been blessing people on Skid Row and running a kids club in Compton. We cannot wait to see our kids and hear their stories. They’ll be home on Tuesday evening, continue to pray for them as they start their journey home tonight.

And today. Palm branches.

Jesus and his disciples travel to Jerusalem to celebrate Passover. Jesus asks for a colt to ride. Naturally.

The desperate people, they ran.

The bustling crowds, they cheered.

The branches were waved.

Their valued cloaks laid out on the dusty ground.

Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Blessed the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in highest heaven!

Hosanna! Remember the paper palm branches we made in school?

Hosanna! Every year the same story acted out in assembly, I was one of ‘the crowd.’

Hosanna! We all know it means joyful exclamation of adoration. But it’s more than that, its  Hebrew meaning is save us or ‘Oh save us now!’ This crowd of oppressed people shouting hosanna, longed for salvation. Believing that this man on the colt would restore…

Lord remind us today. As we wave our paper palm branches and reread your story. As we shout ‘hosanna’- remind us salvation is ours – help us to fully grasp its true meaning: to be saved from danger, to be delivered, protected, rescued, kept from being lost, to be healed, and made whole.

But not just today, tomorrow and the roller coaster of Holy week.

And as you remind us of what we need to lay down, let us find amazing grace drowning our fickle ways, protecting us from saying Crucify Him.

Love, Michelle xo

 

 

Midday Baby Midday

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My Lent ‘fast from indifference‘ continues. Thank you for your brave messages and comments from my last post ‘Porn kills Love’ read (here) It is my most read and shared post.

Are you like me and see repetitive patterns of numbers? I see ‘33’ every. single. day and have done for 6 years. Alongside seeing it in time, it’s in my phone number… student ID… bank…you name it. Then there’s 1010.

Talking about numbers and times – I’m thinking 12. Or midday.

Last September Bobbie Houston urged friends on social media to join her to pray. She had read a New York Times article that had drawn attention to a ‘Theology of Rape’ being perpetrated by ISIS against innocent girls and the reality that the situation in these war torn regions of the Middle East was intensifying. The prayer initiative resonated and broadened to encompass the challenge of praying for misplaced people. The prayer hashtag #middayBABYmidday grew to include prayer for all people, the world, crisis, disaster, Middle East and refugees.

And now, at midday everyday all over the world there are waves of prayer ascending.

I see reminders as I scroll among the sunsets and the selfies #middayBABYmidday.

I see stories and lives changed as movements with feet on the ground rescue and change lives for good. A21 is an excellent example of a movement who believe human trafficking is modern day slavery. They state human trafficking fuels the growth of organized crime, undermining health, safety, security, and the basic needs of humanity. It is the fastest growing crime in the world. A21 educate potential victims, bring awareness to community groups, rescue victims and restore survivors.

 I was at my lovely hair stylists today. She’ll be giving birth to her first babe very soon – so we were excited to talk all things babies. We chatted about vintage cribs and sleepless nights and the gift of body pillows.

We then talked about pregnant women fleeing for their lives and how it is a reality for many and because we are worshippers and Jesus girls our hearts cannot help respond with groans for those fleeing who are heavily pregnant – those who don’t own pillows.

As we chatted I looked at the clock (just after) midday. And so it begins.

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From today my alarm is set.

I remembered reading a recent story of a Syrian mother who fled her home at 37 weeks pregnant, gave birth in Greece, and traveled immediately to the Macedonian/Serbian border. The story showed her with her 3-day-old baby who was getting treated for a skin rash by Samaritan’s Purse workers. Bobbie Houston writes ‘I can’t even imagine having to endure the last days of pregnancy and the early days of my baby’s life like this, let alone the unknowns ahead. Don’t know how to pray for? Find a story that resonates with you and START THERE’

Let us pray ‘Your kingdom come’ to this broken world.

I know, I know, we’ve got enough to think about, we all get caught up in our day, our lives, our stuff and often easily forget. But they are our family; I read ‘there is no such thing as other people’s children’.

Ready to set your alarm? Bobbie helps us with this prayer guide:

  • Pray for people who can literally give their time, strength and energy on the frontlines.
  • Pray for their safety and families
  • Pray that organizations on the ground will find the financial and human support they need.
  • Pray for the refugees and victims who are so desperately seeking a new life and home.
  • Pray that their hearts will not fail
  • Pray they will find strength to endure
  • Pray that their hope will not be disappointed
  • Pray they will discover that the world is still a magnificent place, that people are kind and compassionate, and that with enough encouragement and help, a way forward is possible.
  • Pray that refugees will miraculously overcome their trauma and move on
  • Pray that they can quickly assimilate into new culture and language
  • Pray for Governments and local communities to have the wisdom to know how to welcome and accommodate these displaced souls into healthy community.
  • Pray the church will rise to her calling and stature in this crisis.
  • Pray for those who are still under fire, attack and threat.
  • Pray many find Jesus in the midst of this exodus and crisis.

“…. and how bold and free we then become in his presence, freely asking according to his will, sure that he is listening. And if we’re confident that he’s listening, we know that what we’ve asked is as good as ours” 1 John 5:14 Message

Today is shine a light on slavery day with the End it movement, read more here. ‘End it’ is a coalition of leading organizations in the world in the fight for freedom.

Today voices are raised.

Don’t forget to set your alarm,

Love, Michelle xo

We all remember that Miracle

 

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My Dad lay, in the deepest of sleeps, his breath rattling loose around his fragile frame. He was leaving us. Departing this momentary world. Many of those around his bed had been allowed their moment and I waited anxiously for mine. Even with ten of us around his bedside My Heavenly Father graced me my space. As I looked up to an empty room tangible peace invaded my being.

Just my Dad and me.

I looked down, one hand held a wooden prayer cross and I wrapped his other around mine.

I wanted to hold his hand as he was ushered in.

That smooth, familiar hand.

That had steered the truck to support our family.

That had betrayed…defended.

That held back screaming fans at the town hall.

That gave out aid in Croatia.

The hand that had surrendered to God.

 The miracle of his surrender made the redemption of God all the more glorious. We all remember that miracle – when God broke into the chaos, pouring rivers of living water and drowning dysfunction. Wherever the river flowed, transformation happened.

I said all I had to say; my throat squeezed tight, words finally filling my voiceless pain. He heard me, his frail, cancer eaten physical body slowly departing, but he heard me. Tears rolled down his cheeks and mine. Salt heals you know.

‘Well done Dad. Well done’

As a family we waited a few more minutes, holding every second dear, then we all gathered closer and held hands, tight.

Sounds never heard before, emotions never experienced. Then…the most glorious February sunlight shone through the hospice window, a new light.

Remembering you today Dad and so thankful to our Savior,

Love, Shell x

I pray for those of you in the unending shadows of death’s darkness, that you will not be overcome by fear.

I pray you will be reassured that He is with you in those dark moments and that He is near with protection and guidance.

I pray you will know His comfort. His presence. His peace. You are loved. Amen.