Tuesday, October 17, 2017


Peace may feel far away, but it doesn’t have to. Discover three things that may be disturbing your peace.

Monday, October 16, 2017


Your love's not fractured
It's not a troubled mind
It isn't anxious
It's not the restless kind
Your love's not passive
It's never disengaged
It's always present
It hangs on every word we say
Love keeps its promises
It keeps its word
It honors what's sacred
'Cause its vows are good
Your love's not broken
It's not insecure
Your love's not selfish
Your love is pure

You don't give Your heart in pieces
You don't hide Yourself to tease us

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Life Right Now

Sometimes my husband and I go out to eat on our Date Night, other times I make a homemade vegan pasta carbonara and we have Date Night at home. Pasta, a glass of red wine and Pumpkin spice kettle corn for dessert equals an awesome Date Night in my world!

July and October are my favorite months of the year! I love enjoying the beauty of nature and going for bike rides in October. This is one of my favorite places to take a break in the middle of my workout and just enjoy the peace and quiet for a little while.

Going for an evening walk along the beach is another hobby of mine that I treasure in October.

October also means that I get to enjoy Pumpkin Spice Muffins as a sweet snack every week.

In between my sweet snacks I eat boring but healthy snacks like crackers with roasted garlic hummus dip.

On a rainy and cold Fall weekend I love staying indoors in my favorite home clothes; sweatpants and my husband's t-shirt. I light candles around the house and enjoy reading books or Home Decor magazines. Life is good!

I'm on a Diet

It’s the week after Thanksgiving and I’m currently on a diet. I took some time to reflect last week and concluded that I need to go on a diet, a social media- and Netflix-diet. Social media and Netflix bring joy to my life but I need to control the number of hours I spend staring at a screen. When I was 12-years old it was easy to avoid watching too much TV or spending a lot of time online. The internet used to cost a lot of money per hour back then and my favorite TV shows only came on once a week. I had to wait a whole week before I could watch another episode of my favorite shows. Today we have constant access to a never-ending stream of entertainment, which makes it easy to spend too much time looking at a screen.

I have counted how many hours I spend online per week and have decided that I need to cut that number in half. I don’t spend that much time on one form of social media, but when you add up the time I spend on all different types of social media it becomes a lot of hours per week. I write a blog, read other people’s blogs, watch Netflix, follow people on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook etc.

Life is short. I want to make sure that I spend enough time in my life on loving God and loving people, not on staying updated on what everyone is doing on social media. Real love still happens in real life. I will continue to enjoy the benefits of Netflix and social media, but hopefully I will be able to spend less hours on these things from now on. Cutting my social media and Netflix intake in half will be a challenge for me, but I’m looking forward to having more time leftover for face to face conversations with friends and family. Jennie Allen’s words from her book “Proven” inspired my social media- and Netflix-diet:

Friends, what if abundant joy, bliss, wonder and pleasure were ours, but we just kept missing those things because we’re either trying to work our way to God or numbing ourselves with fleeting entertainment?
I am learning to pick up books that show me more of Jesus, instead of turning on Netflix. I am learning to call friends over for chili instead of surfing Facebook. I am learning to look my kids in the eyes instead of stare at my phone. Our family is choosing to eat outside and laugh and have game nights and I am learning that the rhythms of gracious living are sacred and pleasing to Jesus. I want to enjoy God’s gifts but never give them too much power in my life. I want to see that Jesus is better, better than any cheap substitute I may crave.”

Jennie Allen, in her book Proven

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

We Are All Lovesick

Sex and Romance

God created sex to be good, but do we really believe that? In this honest and biblical look at sex and intimacy, Pastor Levi Lusko of Fresh Life Church encourages us to view it as God always intended.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Take Courage

Sing praise my soul
Find strength in joy
Let His Words lead you on
Do not forget
His great faithfulness
He'll finish all He's begun

So take courage my heart
Stay steadfast my soul
He's in the waiting
He's in the waiting
Hold onto your hope
As your triumph unfolds
He's never failing
He's never failing

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

We are all so different, but our purpose is the same

We all want to know what's the purpose of our lives. We will all be called to different things, one person might be called to help others as a nurse and another person might be called to be a pastor etc. But one thing we all have in common, God calls every single person who has been saved to tell others about Him. When I first realized that the Bible clearly teaches that every Christian's responsibility is to tell others about God I thought to myself: "Noooo, I don't want to do that!"

There is no quicker way to become very unpopular than to start telling others about Jesus. God loves every single person on this Earth and he wants every person on this Earth to know and experience his love. That's great news, but the only problem is that people do not want to hear about it. Talking about God is a quick way to commit social suicide.

So, for the first few years after I had become a Christian I didn't talk much about my faith with anyone. I didn't want to mention God to others out of fear of being viewed as weird. But as the years went by I got to experience more and more of God's love, kindness, peace, joy, blessing and favor in my life and it became impossible to stay silent. I slowly realized that if I would continue to be silent about God it would be the most selfish thing I could do in this life.

I never knew God as a child and today I do, how could I keep that incredible gift a secret? If I won 50 million dollars in the lottery and didn't share any of that money with others I would be very selfish. Knowing God is like winning 50 billion dollars in the lottery, how could I not share that great gift with others? But this doesn't change the fact that it's difficult to be a Christian, people will think you are crazy, weird and stupid for having faith in God, there is no getting around that fact. But the more I experience God's great love for me the more evident it becomes that I can not care about what other people think of me.

One day, maybe in about 60 years from now (or sooner), my life will be over and I will meet God. On that day, I want to be able to tell God this: "I did everything I could to let others know how much you love them. I didn't shy away from telling them about how much you long to have a close and personal relationship with each one of them. I didn't waste my life on living for myself, for my own pleasure and comfort." That's my story. That's why I started to write this blog about God a few years ago. Sujo John has his own story, but his story is much more dramatic than mine.

Sujo John's Story:

Newly arrived in America from their home in Calcutta, India, Sujo John and his wife Mary found work in 2001 with offices in New York's, World Trade Center-Sujo on the 81st floor in the North Tower, Mary on the 71st floor of the South Tower. By September of that year they had settled into a good life and by then were expecting their first child. Yet Sujo was not content. He wanted to know that he was being used for a purpose, not just chasing success. When terrorists hijacked planes and rammed them into the World Trade Center towers on 9/11/2001, his life story was altered.

Monday, October 2, 2017

My Beauty, Relationships and Career is what makes me valuable?

As little children we quickly pick up on what the culture around us values. Our culture teaches us that we will find ultimate happiness and fulfillment in many things that can never truly satisfy our souls. Three of the most popular places we tend to misplace our identity in is our beauty, our relationship status and our careers.

Movies, Women's magazines, social media etc. all send us the same message: "The more beautiful you are the more valuable, fulfilled and happy you will be." When we believe this lie we end up obsessing about how we look. We feel insecure about our appearance and spend a lot of time, effort and money on trying to look more beautiful. But many of the most beautiful people in this world have opened up about how insecure and unfulfilled they felt even as they worked as models or were considered one of the most beautiful people in the world. Our culture teaches us that we need to look a certain way to be happy and fulfilled. God tells us in the Bible that we look exactly the way he intended for us to look. We are all unique, beautiful and of great worth, because we are all made by God himself, He designed us.

Our relationship status is another popular place where we tend to misplace our identity. Look at any movie and you will notice that we are taught that romantic love is what will give us ultimate happiness and fulfillment in life. God teaches us something different, he teaches us that it's only in knowing Him that we can find ultimate happiness and fulfillment. God is perfect and He will never fail me in this life, but my husband will, because he is human. I love my husband and he brings a lot of joy to my life, but he is able to do that mainly because I don't expect him to have God's role in my life.

Romantic relationships become miserable when we expect our significant other to do for us what only God himself can do. God alone is the only one who will love you no matter what, God alone is the only one who will always be there for you to help, listen and care for you. No human-being will ever be able to love you perfectly and unconditionally, only God can do that. If I believe that my relationship status is connected to my worth and value as a woman I will also be discontent with being single and create an unhealthy expectation in my heart that once I'm in a romantic relationship then I will finally be happy and fulfilled. Nope, that's not how it goes. I will never be happy or fulfilled in a romantic relationship if I wasn't already happy and fulfilled as a single lady.

The third place where we tend to misplace our identity is in our careers. When we believe that our careers are connected to our worth and value as a woman we become very focused on achievements and get anxious/stressed when we are not achieving at top level. We were all created by God to do good works, but or work is not what gives us our worth and value as a person. God does not value a woman who works as a CEO any higher than an old retired lady who doesn't work.

We are all called by God to love Him and to love other people. God isn't impressed by how much we achieve, what title we have at work or how much power we have. Sometimes you can see a small child who is more caring and loving to others than some important business owner who has become focused on selfish ambition. Our careers can (and should) be used to love and serve God&people with, but our achievements will never give us more worth in God's eyes. There is nothing we can do for God to love us more, and there is nothing we can do that would make God love us less. God's love for me and you is always completely unconditional and freely given, you could never earn it.

Why are millennials so stressed?

Today we live in a world that offers us more choices than ever before in history. That's great, but it can also be overwhelming. Allison Osborn talks about why it's important for us to know who we are, so that we can learn to prioritize in life. Our time and energy is limited, which is why we can't do everything we want to do. Once we have figured out what's most important to us in life we can create a schedule and a lifestyle that is based on those values.

When we live according to our values we will be able to say "no" to all other options that don't line up with our values. We become stressed in life when we don't know who we are, which leads us to try to do it all, which then leads us to become overworked, overwhelmed and exhausted. A schedule that is too full always points to a problem on a deeper level. Once we know who we are, what our gifts and talents are, what our responsibilities are, what we were created to do, we can easily say no to what we were not created to do.

How most of us define love totally wrong

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Blue Therapy

Few things relaxes me as much as spending time by the water. Some research has shown that spending time on the beach or at the lake makes us happier, healthier and more connected. That makes sense.

The last couple of weeks in Toronto have been very sunny and hot. On Monday evening it was +31 degrees outside so after my husband's soccer game we decided to take a drive to the beach.

We got to enjoy a relaxing evening swim in Lake Ontario and before we drove back home we enjoyed the beautiful sunset.

They are promising colder weather in Toronto at the end of this week and fall will finally arrive for real. Every season has different things to offer, in the fall I love spending time by the water dressed in my warm turtleneck sweater. I enjoy taking walks along the beach as I sip on a hot cup of coffee during sunny fall days. Going hiking is another thing I enjoy doing in October and November. Next week we also celebrate Thanksgiving here in Canada.

3 Ways to Be Humble

Most of the time we are quite unaware of our own pride. It usually takes another person pointing it out to us, for us to become aware of our own pride. It’s easy to spot pride in others, but it’s harder to notice it in my own life. How can I know if I have pride in my heart?

The fruits of pride are anxiety, insecurity, comparison, hunger for recognition, hunger for attention, selfish ambition, self-righteousness, jealousy, envy, resentment, stubbornness. Pride also leads us to become uncommitted, unaccountable, unsubmissive and to like to demean or put others down. Pride makes us feel superior because of what we have or do. Ouch! It hurts reading that list doesn’t it? Yeah, there’s pride in my heart, that’s for sure!

Pride also causes us to become overly self-conscious, self-critical, easily offended, easily angered and self-serving. My prideful heart makes me afraid of other people’s opinions of me, makes me ungrateful and leads me to wallow in self-pity. The more humble I become, the better my life becomes for both me and others around me. But how can I become more humble? Reading many books or acquiring more knowledge won’t make me more humble, so what can make me humble? Joseph Salomon mentions three ways that we can become more humble.

Monday, September 25, 2017

When you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach

We had a fun and relaxing weekend and got to spend a lot of time with friends and family all weekend long. Then on Sunday evening I realized I should go grocery shopping, rather than leaving it until Monday evening. When I came home from the store I was reminded that going grocery shopping when you are tired or hungry is never a great idea.

I pick up the most random and unhealthy items from store when I grocery shop on an empty stomach. Yesterday I managed to buy pumpkin spice flavored Greek yogurt. Who knew something as strange as this even existed? I haven't tried it yet, so we have to wait and see if it tastes good or terrible.

I also picked up some Fall-flavored chocolate chip cookies in a box, pretty much the opposite to healthy organic home baked cookies. They didn't exactly taste amazing, but we had some for movie night last night and pretty soon the box will be empty. Next time I grocery shop I better take the time to write a list and then stick to it.

The Pressure of Being Gifted

It's one thing to know that there's a gift inside of you. It's another to walk confidently in it. Learn how to overcome the pressure to be perfect and manage the gifts God gave you.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Commitment Issues?

Commitment issues can keep us from experiencing success, real love and joy in life, but it's possible to overcome them. No matter what our goals are in life we need to be committed to the journey to reach our goals. Career success or a successful romantic relationship doesn't just happen to people by chance, we experience these blessings in life because we are committed to the work required to have these things in our lives. If we throw in the towel every time something gets hard in life we won't get to experience the joy of seeing our dreams come true.

We can't be successful in a romantic relationship without commitment. We can't be successful in our careers without commitment. What it comes down to in the end is this: How important is that relationship or career goal to you? If it's important you will commit, no matter how hard it will get sometimes. Commitment requires good character, self-discipline and passion.

Is There More to Life Than This?

Begin the greatest adventure with us. The Alpha Film Series is an updated, relevant and engaging resource designed to take the audience on an epic journey exploring the basics of the Christian faith. Find an Alpha near you visit: http://alpha.org/try

My Greatest Adventure?

What does it take to live a life of adventure? Watch world-renowned TV adventurer Bear Grylls share the untold story of his greatest adventure.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Slow Weekends

My husband is Jamaican and I'm Finnish-Swedish, we both come from cultures that are pretty good at enjoying life and finding a balance between work and rest. Today we live in North America where life balance is almost extinct. I get the feeling that it's normal to be exhausted, busy and over-worked in this part of the world. We are expected to tire ourselves out from working long days and commuting on weekdays. On weekends we are expected to train for a marathon/triathlon, take our kids to multiple activities/sports and attend some cultural event in the city. No wonder humans are exhausted in 2017. Time for rest is seldom scheduled.

In our house rest and time with family is something that we value highly and therefore we prioritize it. Last weekend we were busier than usual so this past weekend we were extra focused on making time for rest. Different people find different things to be relaxing, for me resting is to spend time with family and friends. I also enjoy spending time in nature or reading a book or magazine.

On Friday evening my husband and I had our weekly Date Night. I was tired and tempted to cancel the whole event but I'm glad I made the effort to get all dressed up because we ended up having a really fun evening out.

On Saturday we decided to leave the busy city-life behind for a day and take a drive to Wasaga Beach.

This view awaited us at Wasaga Beach. Hello September, I like the way you look this year!

When we went to Wasaga Beach on Labor Day weekend a couple of weeks ago I thought that was the last beach trip for the season. Nope. Summer of 2017 was more rainy than usual in Toronto, but September has been warmer than usual instead. God is funny, and awesome! :)

It was +29 degrees Celsius at Wasaga Beach on Saturday so I decided to cool down with an Island soda.

On Sunday morning we went to church and afterwards we had some brunch. In the afternoon I relaxed by taking a long walk in the neighborhood and along some nature trails. I love living in the suburbs where nature is never far away.

Canada, Oh Canada. Every time I see the Canadian flag in the neighborhood I'm reminded of how blessed I am to get to live in this beautiful country. I'm so grateful for the life I get to live.

New Values, New Priorities

When we find God we find peace, joy, meaning, contentment and an everlasting love. When we find God we are forever changed, the more time we spend in His presence the more our values start to change. God softens my heart when I spend time with Him, life becomes less about me and more about loving others. When I think back at how differently I used to view the world fifteen years ago I smile, if God can change me that much he can change anyone. When I see evil in the world it makes me sad but never hopeless, because I know that when God gets a hold of a person’s heart no evil will prevail. God has the power to change even the most self-centred cold-hearted person. I’ve seen many former criminals and gang members tell their story, with tears in their eyes, about how everything changed in their lives when God got a hold of their heart. One of my friends went to prison for ten years, today he is a loving husband and father of three young kids. If you met him you would never guess that this man once was a member in a dangerous gang.

When we develop a personal and real relationship with God himself everything changes. I can not change myself, only God has the power to change me. Wearing a cross around your neck won’t change you. Visiting church a few times a year won’t change you. Being religious and following all the rules won’t change you. Only God himself can change you, and He will. Nobody ever meets God and walks away unchanged. God doesn’t change us over night, but the more time we spend in His presence the more change we will see. Timothy Keller explains how our whole world view changes when we encounter God’s presence. In his book “The Reason for God” Timothy Keller writes:

In this peaceable kingdom there is a reversal of the values of the world with regard to power, recognition, status and wealth. In this new counterculture, Christians look at money as something to give away. They look at power as something to use strictly for service. Racial and class superiority, accrual of money and power at the expense of others, yearning for popularity and recognition, these normal marks of human life, are the opposite of the mindset of those who have understood and experienced the Cross. Christ creates a whole new order of life. Those who are shaped by the great reversal of the Cross no longer need self-justification through money, status, career, or pride of race and class. So the Cross creates a counterculture in which sex, money, and power cease to control us and are used in life-giving and community-building rather than destructive ways.”

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Freedom is being completely happy with my body

In today’s society, there seem to be two major options for how we should view our bodies. We can either be unhappy about our bodies or we can take pride in our bodies and show them off. Our culture teaches us that if we don’t like our bodies we should cover them up and be ashamed of them. We also learn that the solution to getting rid off the shame is to proudly show off what we’ve got. Shame or pride, those are the options. What both options have in common is that they put a huge focus on the body. Our bodies are no longer just a body but either “a showpiece” or something to be ashamed of. The reason our bodies will either give us feelings of shame or pride is simple; we have decided that our bodies define our worth. If I don’t look good that means I’m “less than”. If I look great it means I have great worth. If I look good I also need to show off skin so that others can validate my worth. This is the type of language that our current social media culture is teaching us.

Historically humans have always based a person’s value on things like beauty, power and social status, but do we really want to live according to that standard? I don’t know about you, but I know that this cultural ideal has caused me to develop body image issues over the years. When my own world view finally changed I became aware of the fact that that my worth has nothing to do with how I look, no matter what pop culture says. Today I’m no longer struggling with body image issues, I’m completely happy with my body. I’m grateful and appreciative of my body but I no longer view my body as an object that defines my worth.

Today I view my body as “a home” where my soul lives, not as a show piece that needs to be botoxed and fixed to perfection. I no longer have a need to show off skin because I no longer look for other people to give me validation. I found freedom when I stopped objectifying my own body and started seeing my body for what it is; just a body. Today I’m more interested in spending my time and energy on taking care of my soul rather than spending a huge amount of hours at the gym. My body has scars, cellulite and wrinkles, but I can honestly say that this doesn’t bother me at all. Ten years ago I would not have been happy with the scars, cellulite and wrinkles on my body.

Here’s a fact: a few years from now my body will be dead and eaten by worms in a casket. I’m sorry about giving you that gross image in your head, but I think it’s important to let that sink in. Why should I spend huge amounts of money and time on fixing up my body to look perfect when it’s only a temporary shell? I will only do that if I believe that my worth is connected to my looks. Botox will not make me a more loving person. Perfectly toned muscles will not make me a more loving person. If I take that same energy that I used to spend on obsessing about my looks and spend it on growing my character I will end up becoming a more loving person. In the end it comes down to this: What does our world need more of? Does our world need more love or more perfect bodies?


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

What True Love Really Looks Like

Truly loving others is one of the hardest things to do. Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird get open and honest about their sisterly relationship and share about the difficulties they have in this area.

I Turn My Eyes

Leaders and Followers

There will come a time in life when we need to step up and be a leader, and there will be other times when we need to follow. I wasn’t designed to live this life following other people, but I often do just that. It starts in Elementary school when we learn what types of music we should listen to, what clothes we need to wear and how we should think and feel. As an adult, I’m fully aware of how I should dress, talk, think, work, play etc. Humans live in communities, which means our lives will always be influenced by how other people live. This isn’t necessarily all bad, but we need to understand what makes us unique so we don’t end up living exactly like our friends or co-workers just because that’s what’s expected of us.

I watched a video last Christmas from when I was two years old. I can’t believe how eye-opening it was to watch that video as an adult. I looked at this little girl in the video who clearly wasn’t comfortable in big crowds but who flourished when she got to spend time with her own family. That little girl is me, and guess how I have treated her? Over the years I have forced myself to spend a lot of time in crowded environments, although my whole being prefers calm and quiet. I have tried to live the way I’m expected to live based on all the current ideals my culture holds dear, but many of those ideals don’t fit me. I have thought to myself: “I should be more like this, and less like that.”

The truth is this: God didn’t make a mistake when he created me, I am who he made me to be. I need to stop trying to fit the culture around me and start being myself. I will always have areas where I need to develop self-control, strength and character, but I don’t need to change who I am. My lack of self-control is a problem, my personality is not. When it comes to the relationship between me and other people I need to learn to be a leader and stop being a follower. It doesn’t matter what other people think I should do, I need to be the leader in my own life and stop following other people’s opinions.

My relationship with God is the complete opposite to my relationship with other people. I tend to bow to other people’s opinions when I should take on the responsibility of being the leader in my own life. When it comes to my relationship with God I need to learn o be a follower, but I tend to leave God out of all the important decisions I make. A few years ago, I was still “a baby-Christian” and I honestly used to think that it was unnecessary to read the Bible every week and pray to God before making any big decisions. Fast forward a few years later and it has become crystal clear to me why I need to seek God’s counsel. I could have spared myself from a lot of unnecessary pain and complications if I had taken the time to seek God’s counsel before making my big decisions. Nowadays I try to practice asking God for what I should do before I make big decisions. It’s fascinating how well things work out when I include God in the decision-making process, even when it looks like things won’t work out God literally shows up to move mountains so that things work out after all.

I’m a perfectionist and a control-freak so to let God lead in my life hasn’t been an easy transition, mainly because it’s all about letting go and learning to trust God. The great news is that the more I have learned to depend on God and trust Him the less worried I have become. I used to be very worried about many things a few years ago, today I’m hardly ever worried. Every time I feel worries starting to creep in I pray to God and ask him to intervene in whatever circumstance I’m worried about. When I know that God has it all in His hands I can let go.

Fear is another thing that wants to creep in and hinder us from depending on God and trusting Him. My greatest weapons against fear is prayer and worship. When I’m afraid I pray to God and ask him to bless me with His peace and joy, because I badly need it. If I’m very afraid I turn to worship next and sing a few worship songs to God. As I worship God I can feel the fear lifting off me and peace comes over me. When I’m worshipping God, I’m giving Him control of my situation and at the same time I’m reminding myself of his love for me, his strength and his power. Here’s three of my favorite worship songs that I like to sing to God when I’m afraid:

“You Never Let Go” by Bryan&Katie Torwalt
“Call Upon The Lord” by Elevation Worship
“The War” by Leeland

Why does God want me to be a follower? It’s not because he’s a control-freak or some strict military sergeant. The Bible describes God as “our Heavenly Father”. God wants me to follow him because he loves me and wants what’s best for me. God will not always call me to do things that are fun or easy, but He knows what I need. One year God might ask me to forgive someone when all I want to do is stay bitter. God might ask me to give up some comfort in my life to be able to help someone else. Over the years God has asked me to do both things I just mentioned and countless other things that I did not feel like doing. Sometimes what God is calling me to do will be fun and exciting, other times it will be the last thing I want to do. Did you want to do all the things your loving parents told you to do growing up? Probably not. Are you grateful today that your loving parents taught you many great lessons that developed good character in you? Yes. Following God will not always be easy, but God knows exactly what he is doing, He always has our best interest at heart.

Today I can look back at the last 15 years of my life and see how God used many difficult situations to form me, teach me and grow good character in me. I made some bad mistakes along the way that caused me (and others) pain, but now I know better. The more I learn to follow God and His plan for my life the more joy, peace, meaning and contentment I get to experience in my life every year. Every year I think to myself: “Life doesn’t get better than this” and then it does! The following year I get to experience even more peace, meaning and joy. God truly is the giver of good gifts, when you think life can’t get any better he surprises you with even more blessings!

Monday, September 11, 2017

A Whisper in the Chaos

The Search for Love and Acceptance

As a lonely college student, Jordone Branch searched for love and acceptance. She turned to the party scene but couldn’t find what she was looking for until a friend stepped in to help.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Through Your Eyes

Get it together
That's what I say to me
I put on the pressure
You could do better
Be who you're supposed to be
But that's when you came in
Right when I needed you
Said all of the things that I was believing
Not one of them were true
You lifted my head up
I was keeping my head down
I didn't know love
But I do now
'Cause you stood right there
And then you broke apart the lies
You told me I had something beautiful inside
You brought to life the part of me I thought had died
'Cause you stood right there until I saw me
I saw me through your eyes
So this is living
This is free
Not keeping score
Not anymore
Not since you rescued me

Can we get honest about our weaknesses

One reason we don’t want to get honest with each other about our weaknesses is because we think that our mistakes and failures define us. There are two different ways to look at our weaknesses, mistakes and failures. The world tells us that our weaknesses, failures and mistakes make us “less than” and affect our worth as a human-being. The world will always measure a person’s worth and success based on their performance. If you excel we will celebrate you in this world, but if you fail you will be defined based on your performance as “a failure”. 

God’s view of our weaknesses, failures and mistakes is very different. God made us and he could have chosen to make us perfect, but instead he chose to make us with weaknesses. My own weaknesses and failures are not a sign that I am “less than”, they are a sign that I was created to exist in a relationship with God. The Bible teaches me that where I am weak, He is strong, but this requires me to let God in. God will never force himself into our lives, we must ask him for help. When I admit my need to God he will give me strength when I am weak, provide where I have a need and redeem what is broken in my life. 

We all have different strengths and weaknesses but each person is weak in some area. The person who tells you that she doesn’t have any weaknesses at all is only working hard at covering them up. Our deficiencies in life are not a sign that we are not “good enough”, it’s a space that God has created for himself in our lives. God is not expecting us to be strong and independent all the time. God wants me to need him, because he wants a relationship with me. If I was a perfect human there would be absolutely no need for God in my life, but God has made sure that I’m far from perfect. I can’t flourish apart from God, I need him, whether I like it or not. This life was meant to be like a dance between God and man, but man decided to leave God out. “I can do this myself” the human said, and here we are. Look how well we are doing by ourselves.

When I try to do life out of my own strength I will fail, mess up and end up exhausted. I wasn’t created to live this life apart from God so when I choose to not let God into my life it’s natural for me to end up worried, anxious, insecure and overwhelmed. I find freedom when I learn to surrender. The moments in your life when you will see God move in powerful ways is often the moments when you are the weakest. The moment I realize that trying harder is not going to work I will finally surrender. When I stop trying to be perfect and say: “God I’m ready to admit that I can’t do this without you, please help me, I need you” that’s when everything shifts. It’s in times like these that we get to see God move in our lives in ways that we could never have imagined. It starts with surrender. One of the greatest obstacles that keep us from knowing God intimately is our own pride. Pride says: “I can do this myself, I don’t need God.” God has left many signs that point to His existence in the universe, like his beautiful artwork; sunsets, mountains, sandy beaches and newborn babies. But another way that God shows himself is by showing up for us where we are weak, if we let him.

God loves every human-being on planet Earth but each human has been given free choice by God. We get around 100 years to decide if we will choose to love God back or not. We can choose to love God back or we can choose to reject him. From the beginning humans have been tempted to build their lives apart from God and do things their own way. The sad thing about this story is that apart from God humans can not flourish. God has created us to exist in relationship with him and apart from him our souls become sick and we end up breaking each other. Saint Augustine stated it well when he said: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” I can choose to struggle through this life alone, or I can learn to “dance with God”.

The Cost of Cover Up

What do you cover up in your life? Discover in this message from Holly Furtick that the things you are covering up could be giving you burdens you weren’t meant to carry — and keeping you from something God wants you to have.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Did You Make 3 Decisions This Week?

Do Good in Secret

Each one of us are given different gifts by God to serve him with during this life. No gift is more important than another. God will call one person to be a pastor, another to be a worship leader and a third to direct cars in the parking lot. One person might be given the gift of administration and another the gift of pastoring, both are equally important to God.

God also makes it clear in the Bible that we should not to use our gifts to strive for personal glory. The Bible calls us to do good in secret. Why? It’s so easy for us humans to make it all about ourselves. How often do we see a news story about how some famous person has given a big donation to a certain cause? Practicing your generosity in front of others is one of the best things you can do for PR. Most companies feel compelled to give to charity, philanthropy is often used as a form of public relations or advertising. Philanthropy is a great way to promote a company’s image or brand, the same is true for an individual. God is not unfamiliar with our human tendencies to use “doing good” for self-advancement. The book of Matthew reads: “Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 6:1 NLT) 

During the past three years I have been on a journey to discover my purpose in life. When I understood what God is calling me to do with my life it became clear that pretty much everything he is asking me to do is “behind the scenes” type of work. That’s funny to me because I know one of my weaknesses is wanting to tell everyone about all the good I’m doing in my life. Let’s just face it, there’s a kick we get when others look up to us or give us praise. The kick can become addictive unless we are careful.

If I do good to others simply because I care, not because I want to self-promote, then there is no reason for me to tell the world about it. But not everybody has this problem, some people can serve God from a stage without it going to their head. We all have different gifts and different weaknesses. One of my weaknesses is wanting personal glory from what I do, which is why it makes perfect sense to me why God decided to place me behind the scenes. It’s also very freeing when you stop living for the praise that people can give you and start living for God alone. People are hard to please, God is not. People only see what’s done in public, God sees all the work I do in private. There is not one good deed done in secret that God does not take notice of in my life. When I wake up He is there, when I go to bed He is there. All the blood, sweat and tears, none of it is wasted when I live for God alone. People might not always give us the praise or recognition our work deserves but God notices everything. He will remember every single little thing you have done for Him.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Why Am I Anxious?

Ever wonder why you’re so anxious? Wish you could experience more peace and less anxiety? The answer to your problems may not be found in what’s happening to you, but in how you’re thinking about it. Discover seven reasons for why you might be anxious.

The Battle Within

The battles within ourselves can be the toughest ones to fight. But Jesus gave us a game plan that won’t fail. In this spoken word piece from part four of Bars & Battles, see how we can encourage ourselves by speaking truth.

No fear can live in the place where love is.

I am strong, where I am weak.

Where I am weak, He is strong.

In Him, every battle is won.

Monday, August 28, 2017

What you won't see on Instagram

In a world full of perfect pictures from our perfect lives on social media it hit me that there are a lot of pictures you will never see from people's real lives. The pictures you take when life did not go according to plan.

The pictures from your Renewal of Vows that turned out less beautiful than others.

The messy counters in your home. It takes a lot of food (and chips) to feed a whole family.

The "Today's outfit" picture from Love Week at Elevation Church. Hairnets might just be the least flattering piece of clothing in the whole world.

The picture you took when you realized that the location where you had planned to take your beautiful Renewal of Vows pictures is covered with bird poop. My brother has some good advice for when life doesn't turn out the way you planned: "Just embrace the poop!"

The Weekend

The last weekend of August had to include a trip to the beach, of course.

On Sunday morning we went to church and afterwards I enjoyed going for a walk in the park.

On Sunday afternoon we took a drive out to Cobourg where we enjoyed the downtown area.

I love what a cozy little town Cobourg is.

Cobourg Coffee House (in the background) is my favorite little cafe in this small town.

On Saturday evening my husband and I went on our first Date Night in Toronto in a long time. All our Date Nights during summer have consisted of a burger and a beer at home, no make up and a very casual dress code. It was fun to get all dressed up for each other again after a long break during summer.

We enjoyed dinner and drinks on the rooftop patio at Milestones.

How blessed we are to get to live here, I love this city! Next weekend it's Labor Day weekend in Canada and I'm already looking forward to the long weekend. This is the last week of summer break for all the kids, then the school year starts again.

Do We Need Truth?

We all have an innate sense of right and wrong. Where does this truth come from and do we need truth in our lives?

Friday, August 25, 2017

Forever I Run

You are, the strength of my heart
Forever I'll run, again to Your love
You are, the strength of my heart
Forever my God, Your love is enough

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Marriage is not for You

Everything from Disney movies to romantic comedies has taught us that marriage will bring ultimate happiness and fulfillment to our lives. Anyone who is married can testify to the fact that this is untrue. One reason marriage will not bring us ultimate happiness is because we marry a human-being, not a fairytale prince/princess. Real people are really messed up, we all are. We have fears and bad habits that our significant other will have to "embrace".

Marriage wasn't created by God to make us happy, but to point to what God's love for humanity looks like. A healthy and joy filled marriage is a picture that God created to point to what His love for us looks like. It's a love that never ends. It's a love that is patient, kind and not self-serving. It's a love that perseveres through hardship.

Marriage can certainly bring happiness to our lives but if we think that happiness is the point our marriages will suffer and probably end up in divorce. True love doesn't say: "what can he/she do for me?" True love is focused on serving the other person. True love will always include self-sacrifice. In a relationship where there is no self-sacrifice at all there is no real love. We will love few people on Earth as much as our own children and every parent knows that a lot of self-sacrifice is involved in parenting. Real love is not self-serving.

When you have two people in a marriage who are both focused on serving their spouse, not on getting what they want out of the relationship, you will see a marriage that flourishes. When I'm fully committed to serving my husband and meeting his needs and he is fully committed to serving me and meeting my needs we both end up happy. On the other hand, if we both choose to focus on making ourselves happy in the marriage we will end up competing with each other and have a lot of conflict. God loves humanity so much that he came down himself to die for all our sins. When I choose to model what Jesus did, to die to my own selfishness and choose an others-focused life I flourish.

You'd think that if I make my own happiness my main focus in life that would make me happy, but it doesn't. We were not created to live isolated lives but to live in community with others. When you have a community full of people focused on their own happiness, it makes sense that you will not see a lot of love in that community. When I learn to live an others-focused life and surround myself with a whole community full of people who are also focused on serving rather than getting, I end up surrounded by real love.