Drinking tea in the Presence of God

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This week I sat on my deck, it was 6am, the birds were reminding me of the new day, while my sleeping ones stirred. The sun bounced through the leaves of the lilac tree. I watched the steam swirling from my hot tea and pondered the Holy Place. The place where God dwells and I rejoiced at the knowledge that because of Christ, I can enter into his presence. That no magic tricks are needed, that God has made His home in us. 

And without a doubt, I was there. Loved, heard, reassured. 

No longer are we separated by a veil before the holiest place. No longer is there a barrier to God. When Jesus died, the veil was torn in two. The 60 foot long, 30 feet wide, 4-inch thick veil – a veil that took hundreds of priests to manipulate. 

It was only the one true God who could tear it in two on that day, as He moved from the temple of hands to the temples of heart. 

Naturally, my early morning musings began to swirl into a post to share because I want everyone to know ALL are invited to His presence. I shared my first thoughts on my insta story and, my friend connected with it. Nic, having just returned from Israel, had also had her own moment of pondering access to his presence and she shared her words with me, which meant I didn’t have to write any because she wrote it so well… 

‘We stand behind the wall. 

We’re safe there behind the wall. 

We’ll shuffle up close,

touch it,

lean against it,

hope our prayers will be heard through it. 

But we won’t go past it. 

We’re safe behind the boundary of the wall. 

Fear. 

Fear keeps us, holds us. 

Fear whispers in its lies of deceit that it protects us. 

If we move past the wall, we will tread into the uncomfortable. 

What will be asked of us?

Who might reject us?

What old coat will we be required to shed?

What new clothes will we be asked to wear? 

What if everything we have always known we are asked to leave behind?

What if we enter beyond and into and we die? 

What waits for us behind the wall?

A place where once a curtain hung. 

A curtain that separated heaven and earth, God, and man. 

A curtain that veiled the holy of holies. 

But then in that prophecy fulfilled day, in the heavy blackened darkness, during three holy ordained hours raged the war of all wars battled,

as the King of all kings won the victory of all victories,

that curtain from top to bottom was torn in two. 

Hear the war cry, “It is finished!”

Hear the war cries of, 

Death defeated.

Life redeemed. 

Fear overcome. 

And freedom sings it’s song!

Hear the gentle voice,

“Come, child, fear no more. I destroyed the boundary to the Holy. I flew wide open the gate! 

So why do you stand behind your own made wall? 

Come, my child, walk with me in the garden. I have waited so long. 

Let me take your fear so you can know my love. 

Let me have your faith so I can give you goodness and life. 

Walk with me in the garden, feel the breeze. 

Walk with me in my garden. For no more is there a boundary. 

Look, I stand behind your wall, let me tear down your wall? 

Accept my breath of grace! 

My beloved, come, my darling; 

there are no more walls. 

The winter has passed, and the rains have gone. 

The season of singing has come. 

Arise, come, my beautiful one, come with Me.’ 

by Nicole Richardson, check out more of her words here

I pray you to know the freedom of this truth.  

Love, Michelle xo 

*A few people have asked what the Collins Clan are up to nowadays, so look out for the Collins family news this week! 

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.

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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.’

Yesterday

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.  

Today

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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.

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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.

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

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

Love, Michelle xo

Ps. All pics from our hike today 🙂

 

You are invited into the story of the resurrected life!

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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

I love this piece, ‘the Disciples,’ by Eugène Burnand. 

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‘Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck.’

You can just imagine their feet were moving before Mary had finished talking, with the golden dawn lighting the sky, Peter and John, run, at this point, they are side by side and heading in one direction. Apprehension, amazement and resolve on their faces, hand over heart and clasped in prayer. Mike Frost wrote, ‘surely this is also the posture with which we should approach Easter. Leaning in, wringing our hands, clutching our chests, desperate for it to be true.’

Also described as the visual equivalent of Lectio Divina. “This Resurrection scene does not put us before still figures near a stagnant stone, or figures standing with stony faces in a contrived, plastic posture, pointing to an empty tomb. This scene is dynamic; we are in motion.”

‘The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.’ John 20:4

Meditate upon their faces as Burnand intended you to do and through them discover the empty tomb.

On this day of celebration, you are invited into the story of the resurrected life.

But Michelle, it’s okay for you to talk of this resurrected life, but, is this story the answer to my wandering, my suffocating, my despair, my insignificance. My pain.

Yes! Invite Him in. I did.

Invite Jesus into your tomb and allow him to lead you out. HIs promise is life over your disappointments, your situations, your dreams, your promises.

His promise is resurrection over dormant destiny.

Then, if and when the betrayal of Maundy Thursday, the darkness of Good Friday, the confusion, questions, and doubt of Silent Saturday takes place. You can confidently face them from the place of resurrection – in the power, promise and the presence of Jesus.

He wants you to know how much you loved and created with purpose and a unique song in your soul for this world.

Happy Easter!

Love, Michelle xo

We are thankful today God. For the promise of the resurrection in every area of our lives. 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. Amen

 

The Strangest Story of All

Black by day, Red by night

C.S Lewis calls it The Strangest Story of all
The Easter Story 

It’s all about stories.
Those ordinary ones who put Him on the cross that day, the same men who went home to their wives preparing dinner, to their playful kids. Pilate, Caiaphas, Soldiers – those who were doing their job.
A 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.
Good Friday reminds us of that.
It’s all about stories.
His story
The blunt nails forced, His pierced side, impaled, broken, immersed in giving His life for you. Yet, while doing so, looking down and ensuring that his own mother was cared for. Yes, death on the cross for all of mankind, while caring for the details of his family.
Your story
Stare into the story of love, into the ending that will begin, into death that will bring life. And hear the truth declared over you, It is Finished.
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?
This past week, I have been reminded of the fragility, beauty, and brutality of our broken world. Church leadership is not for faint-hearted, thankfully God calls us to be soft-hearted when situations scream otherwise. I have also heard some amazing stories of answered prayers. The deliverance of God declaring ENOUGH over what we perceived impossible and offering transformation and deliverance far beyond our best prayers.
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.’
I sit quietly on this Good Friday, eternally grateful, praying through the night allowing myself not speed by these final days of our Lent journey.
I’ll be back Sunday,
As my friend Gerard wrote today, let’s call it, GodisGood Friday,
Love, Michelle xo

This one dedicated to you Jake – my encourager.

Be Kind to Yourself today!

Friends,

A quick summer Collins catch up…

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Summer is in full flow here in Kelowna, Mom and D have enjoyed their annual visit, Phil and I took advantage of Josiah at the Ark camp and stayed at Spirit Ridge Resort, Osoyoos last week. Highly recommended! Em and Bella had a great time at Watson Lake in the Yukon, Em with the youth team and Bella with the children’s. You can read about the camp in this local newspaper report here.  Phil visited both of the teams and camps for a few days and was so blessed by their energy, commitment and the way God is using the church and camps we are involved with, and of course, he enjoyed the many bears and other wildlife (lynx!) along the Alaska highway.

 

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Emily and Jessica are heading to the UK for a visit in a few weeks to visit Family and friends before they head back to College in September.

Me – well I think about my France trip and all that I saw and how God is using our friends in Caen. If you didn’t catch my thoughts on the trip, you can read about it here and here. I’ve also just signed up for my final writing degree module and looking ahead to September and our new intake of Pursuit School students. If you know someone who would like to join us from September 2018 to June 2019 (a 6-month program is also available) point them to our website here!

There are many musings whirring through my head this week – of answered prayers and gratitude and observing first hand the promise of God over my family. But that’s for another time. But…for now, be encouraged that God hears every prayer you pray for your babes – every prayer. He answers and is always faithful.

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While Emily was at work last week a little girl couldn’t find her Aunt, Em asked, ‘what does she look like.’

The girl thought a while, smiled and replied ‘she’s very kind.’

I love this!

How is kindness looking on you today?

Some of my favourite verses are from Colossians, ‘So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it. Colossians 3:12-14

Can you imagine if we lived like this?

One of the areas highlighted in my life recently has been kindness.

In a world of cruelty and opinion and frustration, the universal and divine language of kindness helps to drown harsh updates, hungry humans, and wandering souls.

But it doesn’t just happen – in the garden of our hearts, we need to prune, tend, cultivate and give away the fruit.

There are whole lists of kindness we can follow, but we all know those don’t we?

I believe it starts with this act of kindness, which, when applied, inevitably affects those around me – the act of being kind to myself.

It’s time to be vigilant on behalf of your own best self which includes treating yourself as you treat a dear friend.

Kindness allows silence and hears a whisper of worth over your soul.

Kindness allows questions, doubt, and grief.

Kindness rushes in like a parent over their hurting child.

Kindness takes the opportunity to free your baggage.

Kindness affects your whole being with both nurture (caring) and action (motivating).

Kindness recognises that you are created with qualities that are a blessing to others – what are yours?

You’re created by God, made in His image and loved beyond measure. God is calling you today to be kind to yourself, to acknowledge your beauty and God-given gifts.

Be kind to yourself today; it looks good on you,

Love, Michelle xo

Listening

Reading (more to come on this book…)

 

 

Promises, Promises

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Happy Mother’s Day UK!

‘But Mom, we live in Canada,’ declare my children.

‘But I’m English,’ I reply.

Then on May 13, Mother’s Day, Canada. 

‘But Mom, you’re English.’

‘And I live in Canada dear children.’

#win

I am reminded of a post I wrote a while back about my Mom, ‘the laughing, tattooed prayer warrior’ and her love for God’s promises.

Mom’s life view is often from the valley, where mountains loom. But from that place, she always finds God’s promise and knows His presence. Whatever she faces, or we face, she is armed with a dog-eared notebook. This little piece of dynamite is overflowing with promises that God has given her. Verse upon verse, one promise after the other. Mom lives the promises of God, she sees many fulfilled, and some not – yet.

I remember as I went through the medieval torture of delivering twins naturally that Mom and Val played outside of my room. Wheeling one another up and down the halls in wheelchairs, laughing, waiting and no doubt being told off. I remember as Mom walked into the room, now quiet, she looked into my eyes – and hurt for the pain I was in. 

As Moms, we never stop laboring. We never stop delivering.

Jesus promises us, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’ That verse has carried us through it all. Suffering still stings, promised strength is not pain immunity. It’s not positive thinking either. It’s focusing on the One who knows. Who sees us through those battles, one breath, one prayer at a time.

Thank you for showing me how this promise life works Mom, I’m thankful that my today is partly because of your faithful yesterdays – your faithful prayers of promise. You shine Mom – with life, His presence, and of course, a few added sequins,

I encourage you all today, find your promises, read them, memorize them, shout them, whisper them, sing them and cry them.

Let’s not work our problems out but allow His promises in.

Blessings and love, 

Michelle xo

What promise are you standing with today? Need encouragement? Here are a few promises for you…

All your children shall be taught by the Lord,
And great shall be the peace of your children.

Isaiah 54:13.

‘You can’t force these things. They only come about through my Spirit’

Zechariah 4:6

‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’

Matthew 11:28-30

‘No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.

1 Corinthians 10: 13

 

Get On With It…

Hey friends!

It’s been a while.

I blame the dreaded flu, an unresponsive Macbook and that January meh.

Anyway! Here I am with a February encouragement for you…

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As you know, Phil and I love to teach, disciple all and invest in the next generation. So it was no surprise when five years ago at a conference in Kelowna, we were given a word about a ‘school’ where people would learn to minister, to preach, to live in God’s presence, to pray – to do. It was a far-reaching Canada wide word.

Then three years ago at Bethel, we were prayed for by several Pastors and were given the same encouragement from the Lord.

We wrote it down, for the appointed time

Last year, Phil was asked the question, ‘who is training the ministers, the evangelists?’ With a divine ‘Kapow’ that appointed time was speaking a clear,

‘Get on with it!’

We wrote a vision document and presented it our denominational leaders and with a resounding YES we gathered a group of people, young and not so, in our living room and presented a vision for a class/placement school in Kelowna, based out of Willow Park.

We dreamed and prayed and pursued.

We worked hard – writing, connecting, decorating, learning, collaborating, wondering…

Last September Pursuit School began with twelve full-time students, starting with a ‘boot camp’ where we took students through our Set Free retreat, Hearing God and understanding the importance of mentoring. The curriculum is packed with subjects, such as how to prep and preach, effective storytelling and understanding culture. Students have shared in church, rang bells with the salvation army, planned projects and taken part in our 21 days of prayer! Pursuit Night School also began with many attending weekly to hear the ‘condensed version.’  

I love the challenge of Bob Goff, ‘quit aiming for what you’re able to do; pick a couple things only God could do.’

I want to encourage you today, dig out your journal of dreams and divine promises.

Allow the breath of God to blow the dust off those prophecies and hear the whisper,

‘Get on with it.’

There’s something for us all in these poetic words of writer and blogger, Sarah Bessey.

My philosophy of ministry right now could best be described as “Get on with it.”

~There will be those who misunderstand: get on with it.

There will be those who judge and find your efforts wanting: get on with it.

There will be those who think you are doing it wrong: get on with it.

There will be those who hold you up as a warning: get on with it.

There will be those who say you have no business doing it: get on with it.

There will be those who believe you’re outside the boundaries: get on with it.

There will be those who are certain you are too much: get on with it.

There will be those who question your faith, your credentials, your right, your voice, your methods, your manners, your tone, your size, your doctrine of atonement, your style, your medium, your translation of the Bible: get on with it.

Get on with the work of the Gospel.

Get on with rising, on with love.

Get on with speaking up and speaking out.

Get on with setting more places at the tables in the wilderness, with opening the doors a bit wider, with blowing the roof off with praise.

Get on with late night walks under the stars and kisses behind the minivan.

Get on with praying for miracles and working for them, too.

Get on with reading widely and listening deeply and being disrupted.

Get on with new paths in unexpected wilderness.

Get on with the people who laugh and cry easily.

Get on with proclaiming freedom and welcome.

Get on with making a home where the dispossessed feel at rest.

Get on with giving away your money and making plans for goodness.

Get on with feeding the hungry and offering water to the parched.

Get on with paying attention.

Get on with staying awake and watchful.

Get on with making a nuisance of yourself to the powerful.

Get on with organizing and protesting and making speeches on Facebook.

Get on with declaring this is the year of the Lord and you’re not going to stop until there is beauty for ashes and joy for mourning.

Get on with making friends and being kind in ordinary ways.

Get on with your own healing and wholeness so that you can offer a healed and whole glimpse of the abundance of God.

Get on with renewal and redemption and resurrection~

We are now accepting applications for Pursuit School starting this September. If you are interested or know someone who might be, get in touch via our website pursuitschool.com

Blessings on you and yours,

Love, Michelle xo

 

It’s a YES from me!

Hi friends, 

I read this quote recently, ‘put your YES on the table and let God put it on the map.’

I immediately thought of two significant YES moments.

The obvious being YES to Canada seven and a half years ago;  then there was this moment.

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I’m 22 years old, sitting under the African sun, the air is smoky as fires crackle outside homes along the roadside. I’m writing, not only saying yes to God, but to a place. To a mission and a lifelong love of a ministry. I remember wanting to go Africa the day I said yes to Jesus, anywhere in Africa! I’d tried to get there through various charities but it didn’t happen immediately. A ‘yes’ doesn’t mean we click our fingers and it happens. A few years later I went with a good friend to Living Waters to Mwanza, Tanzania. I remember more than one person saying to me ‘how do you think those poor Africans feel, you white people coming and going.’

Fair question?

Back to my journalling. I’m 22. I’m saying yes and ‘Lord, can my yes stay here, not necessarily live here, but commit to this group of people?’

And now 23 journals later, I am still staying yes, to the same place and people. My yes joined the unwavering yes of the ‘good friend’ I traveled with – oh and we’ve been married 19 years, he’s a veryyyyy good friend.

When my 14 year old Bella sent me a photo of her first African sunset over Lake Victoria a few weeks ago…

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…my heart beat faster, as it does when Emily’s eyes light up when she talks about Mwanza. Then came more pictures, and videos of laughter,  of movie nights and colouring and games with the children (we like to call it family night) and then the pics of helping in school, teaching ABC’s and 123’s.

Phil was able to spend quality time with Living Water’s staff, teachers and friends, looking into familiar faces and smiles, of newly weds or of new parents or into the eyes of those heavy with grief. 

To find a charity, a tribe, a ministry, a community you can invest in outside of your own comfortable world, whether one mile or ten thousand away – this is Jesus living, the way of the kingdom. For us it’s a blessing to board four flights and travel across the world to be with family. We love our Living Waters family – Carolyn, Agricola, Happiness, Lillian, Goodluck, Baby Agnes, Joyce, Doris, Fred and many, many more! 

You might remember a trip I took three years ago – I wrote about it, here and here  (this one was my favourite)  A friend on our team, Cathleen who lives in Kelowna, said YES too – to something she had no experience of, yet felt a call and passion to run with.

The dream to build a secondary school!

Three years later Phil and Bella were able to see Living Waters Secondary school close to completion. An inspiring, innovative project built from shipping containers! WOW! Follow the journey of the school here.

What are you saying YES to today that will live longer than you?

Have a great weekend,

Love, Michelle xo

P.S.  Thank you Carolyn for saying YES in the beginning!

 

He comforts to the point of strength

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I have no words yet I have all the words. Death seems to have a way of breathing new life into our bones and shifting our focus on the eternal. Thank you all for your love, prayers and messages these past few weeks. We have felt it. God has wrapped us up in His love. For those who are new here. Here’s the link to our journey over the past while.

I have been meditating on the valley… because it is a familiar place to us at the moment. It would appear this valley here is no sprint – but what I do know is that ‘even though I walk through the darkest valley.’

THROUGH. Phew

 Rick Warren describes the valley as : Inevitable /\Unpredictable/\Impartial/\Temporary

Valleys happen, they are no respecter of persons and never happen at a good time – read more of his devotional here  – he ends it with this ‘…There is an eternal glory. This is important. Pain can be productive. There will be a benefit for our problems if we respond in the right way. While we have the temporary hassles there is long term, eternal benefit when you go through a valley and respond to it correctly.’

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Our God the comfort, He comforts well – to the point of strength. That’s our promise even when emotions weigh us down and grief gets in the bones. Even in the darkest valley moments. There’s always, ALWAYS light.

Because of promise. Because He is light. And there is no darkness in Him. And at times like these. When we’re fighting for the day. There is a community that rises up. With encouragement and food, and cakes (because sweet things are comforting ;)) meals out and a whole lot of love. Thank you.

….and today I am procrastinating on a uni assignment because I seem to have misplaced creativity. I am supposed to be writing a Fantasy story for 7-9 year olds – so I decided to ‘winterize’ the (neglected) veggie patch instead.

As I begin to turn it over, and weed – I pull up a whole harvest of misshaped carrots – I find monster zucchini hidden under shrivelled leaves – and an abundance of tomatoes desperately crawling on the ground. Yes, there is still fruit – even when it appears we’re not on top of things. There is harvest in this mess.

And a surprise selection of sunflowers grow tall. Facing light.

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After my gardening today I came in for tea and (more) cake and read an article by Danny Silk.  ‘Your life is a gift from God to you. It has infinite value to him, which he communicates to you in all the many ways He loves you…healthy relationships grow between people who have embraced their individual responsibility to tend to their own gardens. …You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of someone else. If you have ever been on a plane, you have been subjected to the flight attendants’ spiel about what to do if the cabin loses pressure. They explain that oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling and show you how to put them on. Every time, they remind you that if you are traveling with a child or someone else in need of assistance, you must be sure to put your mask on before you try to help anyone else. The implication is clear. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you won’t be able to care for anyone else. (Thanks Danny!)

So as we walk through the valley we care for ourselves, we hide in the rock, and hear Jesus whisper ‘get up’…. and we take a few more steps.

And even in these past few weeks loved ones near and far have faced their own valley –unexpected news, accident, illness and loss.

Friends: God is near to you – He is near to the broken hearted He rescues those who are crushed in spirit – He prays for us. What a perfect opportunity for the Holy Spirit to meet us in our weakness and pray on our behalf. He knows us.

That’s all for now!

Love, Michelle xo

 

A few days before we returned UK Phil preached on the book of Job – little did we know we’d practicing what he preached… you can listen to it here.

 

She ignored me in the church foyer…

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Hi friends!

How’s your summer?

We’ve enjoyed summer weeks of lovely family and friends staying with us from far-flung places such as UK, Cyprus, Seattle and Vancouver…the pic above was taken during a short break we enjoyed at Harrison Hot Springs.

I promised a few ‘wow’ thoughts – here’s another.

Phil preached a challenging sermon on offence a few weeks ago; combine that with John Bevere’s book and boom!

Isn’t it so easy to be offended? From a crime against us to ‘she ignored me in the church foyer.’

I am challenged to acknowledge how offence can affect EVERYTHING.

Offence is the thief of abounding love, of freedom, of joy.

Offence takes a hold of me and drains life from me.

Offence makes me self-centered.

It becomes my filter with which I view the world.

And soon enough – offence goes deep and takes root, and the root has a name.

Bitterness.

That toxic root becomes an acidic tree.

Oh and bitterness, not only affects me, but those around me.

If we let that bitter tree grow. We live life with a critical heart. We’re moody. Hypersensitive…

Fixating – because bitterness flourishes in the soil of justification. And as we replay the movie of scripted speeches and justified revenge – it becomes a blockbuster of bitterness.

And while we love to blame the one who has offended us – the only one who can take the purposes of God’s plan from me is ME, the only one who can take the purposes of God’s plan from you is YOU.

Bitterness travels in a pack, so not only our emotions – but also health can be affected too. Scientists have even concluded that bitterness, if left unchecked affects our hormones and immunity.

Offence and bitterness suffocate the life out of us – swallowing up the spacious places God has promised.

UNTIL we hear the Holy Spirit – the Counselor whisper – hand it over, hand them over.

But..but…

Forgiveness is the answer – it sets US free. We have been forgiven much.

Hand it over, Hand them over… To Him and see the promised LIFE released in you.

I wonder if you recognize some of those roots and fruits – I know I do.

Lord, give me courage to be honest. I give you permission to shine a light on who I am offended with, reveal unforgiveness or bitterness. Show me where roots of bitterness have taken hold, affecting me and those around me. Bring me into the promised spacious place as I release my offence and those offending me. AMEN.

You are loved,

Michelle xo

“Do not be afraid to allow the Holy Spirit to reveal any unforgiveness or bitterness. The longer you hide it, the stronger it will become and the harder your heart will grow. Stay tenderhearted. How? Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. —EPHESIANS 4:31-32”