Thursday, March 8, 2012

Let me pray you through....

The past few days have been full of family. Full of laughing, crying and sharing hugs, tears, prayers and memories. Yesterday was our last trip to Kamloops, where most of our time has been spent these past few weekends. It was time to say goodbye to a sister, aunt, wife, mother, grandmother and friend. We all knew it could be the last time. My hope and comfort is in the arms of my family and it is found in Him throughout it all. Watching someone you love be ravaged by something that takes away the simplest of abilities is heartbreaking, but she was strong through it all. Strength that came from her wonderful husband, her incredible daughter (love you Shan) and the numerous family members constantly at her side. Her personality shone through.

This morning, Auntie Carol was released from her suffering. And went Home to be with Jesus and to see her Dad, my beloved Grandpa again.
I love you Auntie C - thank you for being one of the most unique women I've ever known. Your colorful hair and style matched the most colorful of personalities. Your stubborness was that of all the Hathaway sisters and daughters. You were truly one of a kind and I'm glad you never changed.
Thank you for the thumbs up and the winks these past few weeks saying you loved us when you couldn't get the words out. Even the gentle hand squeezes and brow raises yesterday were enough because that's all the strength you had. My anger at this disease was replaced with a sense of peace because of that. I thank God for it.

I'm wearing purple for you today, and guess what - I might even suck it up and get my nails done because of the look you gave me last week. I will treasure that. I love you.

The walls are closing in, you feel alone, you feel afraid
Your heart begins to bend, you take a breath and then
It starts to break

So lift your shaking hands, don't say a word, I'll stay with you
The tears will heal the pain, You shouldn't be ashamed
To come undone

Fall down and let me carry you
I'll carry you

I'm all out of words
There's nothing I could say to you
To take away the hurt
So let me pray you through

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The big C

Christ....and Cancer. For me, the 2 go hand in hand.

Cancer has touched my life more than I ever thought it would. My Mom's battle with Cancer almost 5 years ago is what brought me to Christ. It is the biggest part of my testimony and one day I'll do a series of entries from my journals over those 8 months.

3 years ago it was discovered to be affecting my Dad. He beat it too.

Just over a year ago my beautiful friend Christy lost her battle with it. However, her fight and her faith have left a huge mark on this community and many many lives. God used her in ways that were miraculous!

Last night my family found out my aunt, my Mom's oldest sister, is fighting it.

I am tired of this disease. I am tired of it breaking apart families, causing anger, hate and blame. I am tired of the Enemy jumping for joy when he gets exactly what he wants.


I admit that I am not always content with His ways. In fact, I have moments where I am angry with Him. However, I refuse to back down this time and live in my anger. I will fight with every ounce of Truth that I possess. I will show my God-given emotions because they are NOT signs of weakness. I will pray that His will be done in all circumstances and that my family (who do not know Him) will find their strength and solace in the arms of the Redeemer.

I have gone through this battle without God and I have gone through it with Him. You make the call on which way is the clear matter the outcome.

Much love and many many blessings.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Youth conferences, Lent and giving up

As I sit here at my desk at just past 3 in the afternoon with my 3rd caffinated beverage of the day (matcha latte this time - mmm goodness), I'm feeling overly inspired and challenged at the same time. In so. many. ways.
Yes, it's that great that I'm foregoing the rules of punctuation to accent the awesomeness of it all. My grammar police badge is being tossed aside for the moment. This is some fairly heavy and lengthy stuff so you might want to grab your caffeine source of choice.

Why the overload of caffeine today? I'm coming off of RUSH YC weekend, which for those of you outside the circle is a big youth conference in Kelowna. 2 days of worship, speakers, games and outreach all in the name of leading our youth to further their relationship with God. Aside from the lack of sleep, it's always a blast and always inspiring....but personally, it's also a bit of a revival for me. Youth conferences always tend to bring certain parts of my faith to the forefront. Even though I'm clearly not in highschool, being involved in this ministry and seeing young lives changed is incredible and challenging as a leader.

Reign YC (my church's youth conference) back in October was a huge turning point in my relationship with Christ. He spoke to and challenged me in ways that I didn't believe were possible at that point in my life. My heart and mind were wrecked with the Truth He poured into me. In literally the span of 5 minutes I gave up a part of my life that I can now recognize as truly pathetic. Which is a harsh description, but I fully believe it to be true. That part of me was completely broken - and it was a beautiful thing.

He has done MUCH great work on my selfish, attention-seeking and purity-lacking heart/mind. I sought attention because I still struggle with the lack of acceptance I felt growing up. Not being accepted is a lie I have struggled to overcome to this day. By receiving attention (any kind) and feeling good (even for a moment) I was being accepted. Wrong.
Giving into temptation was and is much easier than recognizing the Truth. I lived with my sin because of that. I cannot sit here and tell you that I am completely free of those chains, but I have repented and am slowly working my way out of them and it is only through Christ that I can do it. It's not always easy but being reminded of His loving work on the cross so I wouldn't suffer for the ugliness of my sin is the only inspiration I need to get through it.

Also - I really do have some of the best friends in the world, who challenge me daily. That needs to be acknowledged! They are the bomb! Hollaaaaaa!! (sometimes I'm so wannabe gangster it hurts - watch out Jay-Z!)

Anyways, Ash Wednesday is this week and that means it's the beginning of Lent. Those 40 days before Easter where we give up some kind of vice/dependance (chocolate, caffeine, Facebook) to remember the 40 days and nights Jesus spent in the desert without food being tempted by the Devil. It is a time to dig deeper into prayer and repentance, and to prepare for the celebration of the resurrection. I love this time of year. Seriously - take these next 6+ weeks and dive headfirst into the Gospel. His story leading up to the better-known death and resurrection is fascinating!

After this weekend and much reflection back to that time in October, I've decided to give up 2 things this Lent season: 1 physical and 1 emotional.
1.) Anything overly salty. I know I sound like a 40 year old pre-diabetic but before my allergies I went for sweet and chocolatey. Now it's different. I will treat food as a nourishment for my body, not a replacement for some kind of emotion. I need to bring my emotions to the foot of the cross - not into a bag of Lays. And it's not really helping my running either.
2.) Receiving encouragement and praise as inconsiderate and false. This will last beyond the end of Lent. Again, these are part of the lies that have entangled me for so long. We as the church are called to build eachother up and encourage one another. We need to receive the Truth that is poured out on us. Words are powerful, and I need to learn to receive them as they are meant.

If you made it through that - snaps to you. I write like I talk sometimes. It's cleansing and time-consuming all at the same time. Bonus.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Be still and chill

This Monday's post is simple and basic. Instead of decorating it with detailed stories from the past couple weeks, I'm keeping it light.
I had coffee with my oldest friend on Friday night. Something that was long overdo. She's been my best friend (BFF if I'm being hip) since before we could walk. We laughed, vented and chatted for what seemed like hours and promised to do it more often.

In a world full of endless noise, activity, committments and stresses we generally don't take the time to just BE. We are constantly moving, doing, and thinking. On that night I finally took the time out. I be-ed! (And for the record you won't find that word in Webster's Dictionary...I like to make up my own).

"Be still and know that I am God." -Psalm 46:10
This is my life verse - the one I always return to.

I'm told this is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. I don't know if that's true - but for me it's only in the last year that I've truly come to recognize the full meaning behind it. Being still doesn't just mean staying in one place. The word 'still' comes from a Hebrew word meaning 'to slacken, release or let go'. And knowing God? You can't just add Him as a friend on Facebook and say "Hey, I know Him - we're like BFFs!"

Being still and knowing God comes from taking the time out to quiet your mind, to release the stresses of the world and to actively pursue a relationship with Him. He isn't going to compete with all the other noises in your life to get your attention. By turning down the volume in our heads and entering into a moment with God, we get to know Him. We get to HEAR Him when He speaks. And when we hear Him - giving up our worries and letting go of our problems seems to become a lot easier.

Think of how therapeutic a long conversation over lattes with a close friend is. Jesus knows you better than any worldly friend you'll ever have. He is truly your BFF. He might not pay for coffee but He'll always listen and offer the perfect advice if you take the time out to meet with Him.

The world is a busy place - as are we in it. Instead of reaching the point of wanting to curl up into the fetal position and cry (like I did last week), take a time out, turn down the "noise" and chill out with your BFF.

Whether it's over lattes or not.