I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things

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Aloha!  

I hope your summer is going well! I loved the message this weekend at Willow and thought I’d share a few thoughts from it (and merge them with a previous post) Our summer theme has been the minor prophets and this week we looked at the prophet Micah. Inevitably landing on Micah 6:8: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Let’s take our pick of the many areas to respond to globally with this verse, the injustice that we are made aware of daily. Phil brought the response to our own doorstep – to be conscious of the lonely, recognising that loneliness is a serious problem in our communities.

The bible says ‘God sets the lonely in families.’ (I’m sure that means via us?)  This is more than being alone, a state of being, in fact, being alone can be a gift (INFJ here) This is different, lonely is the emotion brought on by feelings of separation. Loneliness can be devastating, a riot in the brain that brings feelings of being uncared for, not celebrated, unloved.

Let’s backtrack to when loneliness entered – God created Adam and Eve and walked in the cool of the day with them. They were created for His presence, but as we know, sin entered the world and separated us from God. Shame, nakedness, and loneliness penetrated the heart, and we’ve struggled with this ever since, affecting many of our choices. Hurt and pain can isolate us, as we hide within the fear of rejection and misunderstanding. We deny ourselves grace, and we make unhealthy comparisons, enhancing loneliness on an island of echoes.

Good news.  

Loneliness does not exist within the Trinity – God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are in an adoring relationship. One does not function without the other. God is not alone, and God is not lonely. The trinity exalts one another, communing and honoring. It’s a sublime dance. Or as C.S. Lewis put it, ‘in Christianity God is not a static thing… but a dynamic, pulsating activity, a life, almost a kind of drama. Almost, if you would not think me irreverent, a kind of dance.’

Let’s grasp this truth and let’s attempt the outworking of the dance… exalting, honoring, and working together and ‘as we limp toward transparency and community and friendship with our own fears and insecurities, we recognize that we aren’t alone. When we see that we are not alone, we can reach out to one another.’ Ann Voskamp.

Reach out.

As we all carry the blueprint of community, let’s find our place to belong, to find our people. For us, we have seen that in our church community – which we believe was God’s idea. We are better together! Eternity is written in our hearts while community is written on our front door, at our table, the coffee shops, where the people gather, wherever we choose to intentionally position ourselves with others. Our health could even improve, according to Caroline Leaf in her new book ‘Think, Learn, Succeed’ ‘Community involvement has been associated with mental health and cognitive resilience, reduction of chronic pain, lower blood pressure, and improved cardiovascular health. One recent study even indicates that social isolation and loneliness kill more people than obesity.’

Lord,

Help me to be aware that you are with me in every moment.

To know true community in you.

Help me grasp the truth that you desire to walk with me in the cool of the day.

In the valley and mountain. The confusion and fear. The celebration and hope.

Help us all to reach out and find our community.

Amen.

You are loved,  Michelle xo

‘I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things’ Mother Teresa

 

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Our Promise Be

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Our Promise. Be.

Where words fail.

Faces pale.

Find us in groans of grief.

Our Promise.

Wonderful CounselorBe.

Wild fear, smothered in dark.

Tormented.

Too painful, just. too. hard.

Our promise.

Mighty GodBe.

In the empty, the void.

In the missing voice. No choice.

In loss like no other.

Our Promise.

Everlasting FatherBe.

Restless sunset.

A world making us wince.

Lost innocence.

Our promise.

Prince of PeaceBe.

O come, O come Emmanuel.

Be. With. Us.

Praying for you on this Christmas Eve… Rest and Remember.

Love, Michelle

The Feet of Jesus

Hi all,

A quick catch up and another poem by me!

We saw Nanny Sue, Dion and Charl leave us last week after a wonderful few weeks together then this week saw the arrival of Jo and the boys.

We decided to take them for an evening stroll on Mission Creek on their first night. Josiah was excited to spot a Momma bear and cub up the tree.

EEK!

IMG_2236Have you heard this song by Paula and Hannah McClure ‘Jesus we love You’? My theme…

‘Our affection, our devotion poured out on the feet of Jesus’

I love to reflect on life as pilgrimage. We understand that a pilgrim is ‘a foreigner or wayfarer’ An older more poetic definition of pilgrim has its root in the latin ‘through the field’. The ancient image suggests a curious soul who walks beyond known boundaries, crosses fields, touches the earth with a destination in mind and purpose in heart.

Enjoy my thoughts of the feet of the One who touched the earth with destination in mind and purpose in His heart.

The Feet of Jesus.

The womb of the chosen mom,

Trough hay in newborn toes,

Kicking.

Childhood Passover pilgrimage,

Into cold waters of Jordan,

Obeying.

The pinnacle of the temple,

Temptation to step,

Overcoming.

Fragrance fills the air,

Awash with tears,

Receiving.

Storm shakes the night,

Boat rocks as water holds,

Walking.

Dove feathers fly,

As tables overturn,

Stamping.

Fastened by nails to Cedar,

Splintered agony to death,

Loving.

Resurrected beach strolls,

With grains of sand known,

Living.

Thanks for reading!

Love, Michelle x

In the Summertime.

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Hello! It’s been a while… summer livin’ and all. I’m excited today to introduce a fresh new look to my blog (thank you lovely Bethany from our For the Love launch team) On the subject of For the Love by Jen Hatmaker – don’t forget to pre order here… review coming soon.

For the next week or so I am joining up with Blogging 101 on WordPress to give us writers a blogging boost. Assignments and changes on the blog everyday for a few weeks. Today is finding a new theme – I’m such a good student. Thanks WordPress!

For those new around here the reason I write my blog? I love stories and putting faith words to life. My favourite posts are those that give you a glimpse of life of this British family pastoring and adventuring in Kelowna, BC alongside offering words of encouragement to you on your journey, ‘bringing God colours into the mundane and miraculous.’

The blogging world is saturated with blogs of this same genre particularly in North America – and I don’t even offer recipes! So I could ask, is it worth it? But we don’t all read every blog. We read a blog we are interested in, and that we have connection with – and for me that’s enough, so I blog on! Oh and it helps because I am working on a Creative Writing degree.

The biggest comments I have are those of thank you for the encouragement and also apologies for not ‘actually’ commenting on the blog itself. Ah yes the whole commenting thing! I’m told I should leave the blog with a question to encourage you to comment. I’m learning…

Family news. You might remember I mentioned we were waiting to hear from Canadian government that Phil is ‘the man for the job’ we were pleased to hear a YES from them and now wait to be invited to apply for Permanent Residence soon!

We enjoyed a week on Kitsilano beach, catching beautiful sunsets, absorbing vitamin sea and enjoying the beauty of Vancouver. They tell me it rains there but I don’t believe them.

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Bella and I enjoyed a girly 24 hours and went to see Taylor Swift in concert. That girl can sing and dance for hours! Taylor is pretty special too.

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As I wrote on my last post – summer is busy with visitors and camps. Jess has been away for almost a month and returns this weekend. Emily and Bella are currently at the Ark, Emily cooking and Bella having the time of her life, although I’m sure the kitchen is fun too! That leaves Josiah to watch movies and play games with his lovely cousin Charlotte. We all head to family camp at Green Bay next week where Phil will be teaching for the week.

Nanny Sue and Dion are in town, making Kelowna their home for a month!

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So, there’s a little catch up.

I was challenged to publish something on my blog that I haven’t done before so here is a poem I wrote – rewritten from one of my favorite Psalms. My lecturer did challenge me on attempting to rewrite something famous that couldn’t be improved upon but I offer my reflection anyway!

The Invite.

Spoken and silent needs, you know them well,

Your voice settles my soul.

I roll in verdant meadows, in carefree rest.

Stagnant sea, parts to a grace oasis,

I drink in the life of silent streams.

In deep valleys, you whisper echoes,

on weathered trails and sunless paths.

I’m invited! Your guest to sit and feast.

To face my enemies, who watch and mock,

my head spins again under their scorn.

I’m invited! My saporous spread.

I’m invited! My paradise picnic.

Your healing oil cascades over my head,

fresh fragrance flows, I carry your balm.

My darling, ever-present Companion,

You have pursued me well, I will abide,

where the feast never ends. It never ends.

 

Time to hear from you…

Describe your summer so far in a few words…

and/or

What can I pray for you?

Thanks for reading!

Love, Michelle.

 

 

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

Saturday Soup 3: Thanksgiving.

Found: This little treasure trove. Thanksgiving treats for us Brits in Canada. Shhhh.

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Writing: The relief as I posted my assessments for uni this week! Although $70 postage wasn’t such a relief… as long as I pass (and don’t have to repost…) I’ll be a happy writer.

I move onto poetry. I have always written poetry, the deep, the dark… the fun ode. I look forward to understanding orthometry.  Be prepared for poetic offerings!

Thanksgiving: This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and Fall is busy repainting the treetops in vibrant colour – the Collins fam are out in nature – breathing and bear hunting, listening and memory making.

I’m giving thanks, living thanks. 

Mark Buchanan wrote in his blog today ‘God lavishes his grace upon us, not that we would bottle it, but that we would channel it. He’s not looking for holding tanks. He’s looking for sluices. Grace abounds so that it might overflow.’

I will spend my weekend around family, friends and turkey. Reminded to be thankful daily – constant and generous.

Reading: ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2:10.

The Voice translates this as “heaven’s poetry etched in our lives,” the NLT reads “God’s masterpiece” and the Jerusalem Bible says, “God’s work of art.”

The Greek word for “workmanship” used here is “POIEMA,” and it means “that which is made” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). The word signifies that which is manufactured, a product, a design produced by an artisan. It is the word from which we get our English word “poem.”

We are God’s poem – His work of art. 

Here are a handful of the many poems in my life – those in my thoughts and prayers this week, don’t they make a beautiful piece?

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Let’s try and grasp this verse and understand our worth, beauty and creativity as God’s masterpiece.

Respond with a few words of thanksgiving in comments! Go…

IMG_2903 Taken on Bella’s paper route… finding Him in the ordinary.