Tuesday, August 15, 2017

3 Ways to Fight Commitment Issues





Deep and authentic relationships with people is what make us come alive and bring meaning to our lives. But to be able to have deep and meaningful relationships with others we have to be willing to commit to people. If you have been deeply hurt by people before it's understandable that you have commitment issues, but it's not possible to experience the joy of a deep relationship without commitment.

If we fail to commit to others our friendships and romantic relationships will stay shallow and ultimately be meaningless. Getting vulnerable with others is always scary, but on the other side of that challenge is the reward of joy and meaning. We are all called to love God and love people. It's impossible to really love people without committing to them.


The Workout



My favorite workout during the summer is swimming. I like to do a HIIT swimming workout just before sunset. I love doing swimming workouts in the lake because I prefer to do all my workouts outdoors. Lake Ontario and Lake Huron are my gym in the summer.



My workout routine has changed a lot over the years. In my early twenties my main motivation for working out was to lose weight or become fit, it was all about beauty. During my late twenties my motivation changed and became all about performance. My focus was on getting faster,stronger and better. I was focused on getting a better PR every year and winning medals. After getting injured a lot I decided I was done with trying to prove my worth through fitness and sports. It's astonishing what us humans will do to ourselves in the search for meaning and self-worth.


Today my motivation for working out is to take good care of my body. Some weeks I treat my body well, I eat healthy and reach my goal of four workouts per week. On other weeks I eat more cupcakes than green juices and do zero workouts. I have to admit that it was easier to find motivation to work out when what motivated me was fear of not performing well enough or fear of not looking good enough.


Today I'm very content with how I look and I no longer need to have a good PR to feel that my life has worth or meaning. The downside is that contentment sometimes leads me to choose watching TV over going for a bike ride. On the other hand, I still remember what it used to feel like to obsess about my level of fitness. A few years ago I used to work out 5-6 days per week, sometimes twice a day. Today I do 3-4 workouts per week (on a good week). I have a peace, joy and contentment about my body and performance level now that I never want to lose. My body and my strength are gifts to enjoy, but it's not what my body looks like or how fast I can run that gives me my worth as a human-being.


What can easily happen with things like a sport/fitness is that we make it the source that will give us our worth in life. We become addicted to the praise and approval we get from others when we look fit or perform well in a certain sport. But fitness isn't the only thing that can make us addicted when we start relying on it to give us our sense of self-worth. We can get addicted to things like our careers, our achievements, our social status etc. We get addicted to the approval we get from these things so we have to have them.


We know we have become addicted to something when without it we feel insecure, anxious and like we aren't good enough. Good things like our work, relationships, sports etc. have the power to enslave us if we start basing our identity on them. There is a big difference between being good at a sport and needing to be good at it constantly to feel good about oneself.


Monday, August 14, 2017

From Suicidal Thoughts to Fulfillment & Purpose




It's time to step into freedom





Sometimes, we get stuck — not just in a place — but in our own heads. But how can we follow our calling when we’re trapped inside our own minds? Learn how to escape the “stronghold” you’re trapped in and discover how God can use any situation as a setup for victory.


A Slow Weekend















The main event happening in Toronto during the weekend was the Taste of the Danforth in Greek town. It would have been fun to attend, but this weekend we felt like just taking it easy at our house. On Saturday we had a slow day at home and I was able to enjoy reading a book for a few hours. It was rainy on Saturday so it was a perfect day for summer reading.

Sunday was warm and sunny so after church we took a walk in the park and along the beach. I treated myself to a blueberry muffin and coffee for breakfast. My choice of breakfast during the weekends is all about enjoyment and not so much about health.

On Sunday Afternoon we packed our car full of bags and took a day trip to Cobourg beach. It became a wonderful slow weekend! Now it's only three weeks left of summer and I want to enjoy every moment of it! Today it's Monday and nothing exciting is happening. I think I will make some S'mores for dessert tonight, to make this average Monday a little bit more fun and enjoyable.


Friday, August 11, 2017

How Can I Know My Purpose?





Very rarely in the Bible does God command someone to stay. He opens a door, and then he invites us to walk through it—into the unknown. And how we choose to respond will ultimately determine the life we will lead and the person we will become. In fact, to fail to embrace the open door is to miss the work God has made for us to do.

In "All the Places to Go . . . How Will You Know? ", bestselling author John Ortberg opens our eyes to the countless doors God places before us every day, teaches us how to recognize them, and gives us the encouragement to step out in faith and embrace all of the extraordinary opportunities that await.




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Love Won't Let Me Down





When I was searching
Your love was never far
You made a way to get to me
You were the whisper 
Leading me to Your heart
Forever I belong to You

Now I can see clearly
My God You are for me
You won’t let go


Heaven on Earth




When we have asked Jesus to come into our hearts and are saved we get to experience Heaven on Earth. Now we know that we will see heaven the minute we die, but we also get the privilege of experiencing heaven right now. The Bible talks about God's Kingdom coming on Earth, God's Kingdom is when it is on Earth as it is in Heaven.

As long as we live in this world we will always be surrounded by war, murder, hate, abuse and all kinds of evil, but on the inside we can still have peace and joy when we are saved. From the moment we believe in Jesus we are filled with the Holy Spirit and the spirit gives us access to peace and joy every day, no matter what the world around us looks like.

In Heaven there will be no more evil, there will only be love and light, but until then we can have peace and joy on the inside even when the world around us is chaotic. We can experience joy and peace daily in the midst of a dark world when we spend time in God's presence, in God there is no darkness, there is only light.

We become saved when we are finally ready to surrender our lives to Jesus, the one true God. The Bible teaches us that we become saved the moment we believe in Jesus in our hearts and are willing to profess our faith with our mouths. We can profess our faith in God by praying a prayer like this out loud:

Heavenly Father, I trust you with my life.
Save me from my sins, forgive me, and make me new.
Fill me with your spirit, so I can follow you, run my race, living for you.
My life is not my own, Jesus I give it to you.
Thank you for new life, now you have mine.
In Jesus name I pray,
Amen.




When we are saved we become "citizens of Heaven". Sheila Walsh and Sherri Gragg talk about what it means to have citizenship in God's Kingdom of Heaven in their book "A Fresh Infusion of Joy":

"One of the things I learned along the way is that there are both certain rights and responsibilities that go along with becoming an American citizen. The same is true for our citizenship in the kingdom of God.
Did you know, for instance, that joy is one of the rights inherent to citizens of God's kingdom? Listen to this description of the kingdom of God from Romans 14: "The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit" (v. 17).
That is amazing news! Think about it for a moment. It doesn't matter how many mistakes you have made. . . or how much you have lost.
It doesn't matter how much you have (or don't have) in your bank account. . . or what others have to say about you.
As a citizen of the kingdom of heaven, nothing-nothing-can take away your right to joy.
So open your heart wide today, friend. Don't wait until you think you deserve it, or until your circumstances take a turn for the better. 
Receive Christ's joy."


The Joy of Summer



What I've enjoyed the most this summer is definitely going to the beach and getting to spend a lot of time with family.


The Lovebirds, Mom&Dad.


Having my family from Norway and Finland come visit us was a lot of fun. Of course we also had a couple of arguments, that's inevitable when you have family come stay with you for two weeks in a row. But I don't find arguments to be a bad thing, as long as you solve them in the end. Arguments teach us things about ourselves. Each one of us learns where we still have room for personal growth. Nothing helps us grow and mature as much as human relationships do. Relationships are difficult because they challenge us to become better people every year.


Once I heard a pastor say: "God sees that we need to grow so he gives us a husband/wife. If that's not enough he gives us a baby, and if that's not enough he gives us one more baby." LOL. Yep, few things will make you grow more spiritually and mentally than close human relationships. :)


Another thing I'm enjoying this summer is the beautiful gifts we got for our Renewal of Vows. My stepson gave us a nice candle and my brother and his girlfriend gave us some encouragement to hang on the wall. "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain." So true! :)


My summer obsession: Watermelon lemonade. I can't get enough of this drink!


One of my favorite summer memories: Spending many hours in the sun with family at Cobourg Beach.



The Summer bummer:

Nr. 1) The bugs. There's way too many bugs everywhere in August! Every time I try to relax outdoors the bees chase me out of my own backyard! I'm so happy that they have a very short lifespan.

Nr. 2) The rain. This summer has been much more rainy than the average Canadian summer. One minute you're enjoying a nice day at the beach and the next moment dark clouds roll in and you're forced to run towards the parking lot as the rain starts pouring down. When my Scandinavian family came to visit we went to Wasaga Beach and got about one hour of nice weather before we had to run to the car. The upside of a rainy summer is that you appreciate the warm and sunny days even more. When it's weekend and happens to be sunny you scratch all your plans, pack the car full of beach toys and head to the beach. It's called "summer priorities".




The rainy spring and summer has also led to Lake Ontario being flooded. The waterfront of Lake Ontario looks quite messy at certain places.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Grace vs. Performance




When my own personal grasp of the gospel was very weak, my self-view swung wildly between two poles. When I was performing up to my standards—in academic work, professional achievement, or relationships—I felt confident but not humble. I was likely to be proud and unsympathetic to failing people. When I was not living up to my standards, I felt humble but not confident, a failure. I discovered, however, that the gospel contained the resources to build a unique identity. In Christ I could know I was accepted by grace not only despite my flaws, but because I was willing to admit them. The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued and that Jesus was glad to die for me. This leads to deep humility and deep confidence at the same time. It undermines both swaggering and sniveling. I cannot feel superior to anyone, and yet I have nothing to prove to anyone.”

Timothy Keller, in his book “The Reason for God—Belief in an Age of Skepticism”






Religion is to constantly perform, trying your best to live up to a certain standard. All humans are religious beings, you don’t have to join a world religion to be religious. People tend to apply religious behavior to all kinds of things; sports, fitness, dieting, parenting, career, strict devotion to a certain ideology etc. Jesus came to end all religion, to free us from the need to measure up to a certain standard, to free us from the need to prove our worth. Ironically though, many Christians have turned Christianity into a religion too.


Religious behavior says: “to be good enough you must be able to live up to this standard (in your career/parenting/sport/world religion etc.)”. God’s love says: “I know you are deeply flawed and if you would just be willing to admit that fact, my grace is waiting for you. My love for you will never be based on your performance, it is freely given, and every time you mess up my forgiveness is already there waiting for you.” Following Jesus is simply to accept God’s love and grace. When I have accepted God’s grace I am free, I have nothing to prove. I can now be confident yet humble at the same time. I can enjoy living a life of love but when I fail I don’t need to beat myself up because I’m already forgiven. My worth is not defined by my performance, it’s defined by God’s endless love for me.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Helping Others





Every Christian is called to love God and love other people. Helping others is a way for us to let God use us for his purposes. God knows every need in the world and each one of us were created to meet one (or a few) of those needs in the world. It's not my job to save the world, God is the only one who can heal our broken world, but it is my job to do my part in helping God heal the broken parts of this world.

God has the power to create miracles, I am only an instrument in the hands of the great I AM. It's beautiful to see the change that can take place when each person within the church decides to serve and fill a need that they feel passionately about. When each person within the church decides to give sacrificially of their money, time and resources things change. When we give only out of our leftover money, time or resources not much will change, but when we make helping others one of our core values in life big change can happen. Together we can be the change.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Flood The Earth






Freedom is here, fear has to leave
Pain has to go, darkness retreat
Every heart here, finding healing, Heaven
In this moment, You're revealing, Heaven



Niagara Falls



Niagara Falls, Ontario


When my family came to visit us in Toronto we got the chance to go see Niagara Falls again. I've never visited the falls in the summer before so it was a lot of fun to take the trip during peak tourist season.


The view of the falls from the Canadian side of the border.



The big waterfalls and the tiny people in red rain jackets on the boat. Next time we visit the falls I want to go behind the falls like the people on the picture who are dressed in yellow.


The Necessity of Seasons





"Do not misinterpret this season." 



Know Your Season





We all wish we could live lives that are constantly happy and easy. Lives where we can continue to accomplish new things without seasons of struggle or rest in between. But life wasn't built that way, we all go through different seasons in life. Seasons of growth, rest, fruitfulness and preparation. We can't fast forward through a season of growth because God knows exactly what we need in preparation for the next stage in our lives. God will never send us into the next season of life unprepared.

You might be going through a season in your life right now that feels uncomfortable, mundane or slow, but you can be sure that God is at work in your life. What may seem like a mundane season in your life might be exactly what you need to be prepared for what will come next. It's also helpful to remember that every season is temporary, which reminds us to stop and enjoy the sweet times in life and to not give up during difficult times.



Friday, July 28, 2017

I'll Find You





No don't let the fear
Make you feel like you can't fight this on your own
You know I, I'll be there for you no matter where you go
You'll never be alone, no

Just fight a little longer, my friend
It's all worth it in the end
But,when you've got nobody to turn to
Just hold on, and I'll find you
Just fight a little longer, my friend
It's all worth it in the end



Legacy vs. Love





Self-actualization, a burden or a blessing? We have all heard the stories about how hard life was for our ancestors. My grand-parents didn't have an easy life, at 21-years old they were married with a baby and started their own business. Life was very difficult at times, especially when they lost part of their property in a fire and almost had to move to Sweden to survive. The people in the village came to their rescue and gathered together some money so that they could stay in Finland. I think about that sometimes, about how much it matters to have a loving community of people around you to love on you. Living in a small town isn't always easy but when times were tough these people had each other's back.


My own life at age 21 was completely different than my grand parents'. I moved abroad at 22, not because I had to but because I wanted to chase my dreams. When I met my husband at age 25 I was still in the middle of my "self-actualization journey" and as embarrassing as it is to admit I was afraid that my relationship with my new boyfriend was going to hinder me from making all my dreams come true. Yeah, I definitely had some selfishness-issues that I needed to grow out of. Marriage has taught me many things about life and one of the most important lessons I have learned is that the less I focus on myself the happier I will become. I need to love myself and take care of my own needs of course, but there is no fulfillment or satisfaction in living for myself. My selfishness is still one of my least attractive qualities but the older I get the more I learn to live an others-focused life, rather than an inward focused life.


In today's world we have many opportunities so it's tempting to make life all about chasing our own dreams and pleasures, rather than to look at the bigger picture. I like Chip and Jo's outlook on life and the older I get the more I long to live like they do. I don't want to live for me, focus on becoming successful/famous and end up divorced and with children who I'm too busy/tired to spend time with. My grand parents were not famous or rich people but they loved me with everything they had in them throughout my whole childhood.


My grandmother passed away a few years ago and she is one of my biggest role models in life. She was all about love and family and because of that everyone loved to spend time with her. I could visit her anytime and the moment I rang her doorbell she would stop whatever she was doing and give me her full attention during the visit. I hope to be a grandmother like that one day. I have to start by being that kind of wife, sister, daughter and mother. The love that I got from my grandparents and the rest of my family growing up is what laid a solid foundation in my life. My grandparents were happily married for more than 50 years until my grandmother passed away and I want that kind of life for myself. I know that I would have a much harder time believing in love if I hadn't seen it modeled with such excellence growing up.


Today my family from Finland and Norway traveled back home after their visit to Toronto. Some tears were shed at the airport today but I'm so grateful that I get to have these amazing people in my life. I know that far from every human-being on this planet gets to grow up in a family like mine and I want to make sure that I pass this love on to the next generation. That's my job, to love God and to love people. My purpose on this Earth isn't to make my own name famous but rather to pour as much love as I can onto the next generations. It's the love we receive (or the lack of it) that make us who we are today.




Monday, July 24, 2017

I got bit, but I'm not bitter




When a crisis occurs, often our first reaction is to question God and ask why it had to happen. But what if there’s a better way to respond? Discover how learning the right response to a situation is often more important than learning the reasons behind it.


This week it's also Love Week at Elevation Church and there are hundreds of different events available for anyone who wants to take part in serving our city and helping others. My husband and I got the opportunity to serve by packing food for Ontario's kids in need on Sunday. It's inspiring and exciting to see the whole church come together to serve our cities at all the different Elevation church locations in Canada and the US this week. This year Elevation Church is also hosting events all over the world where people from Church Online can take part and serve their cities. Each Christian is called to love God and love other people, Love Week is one great way to live out this mission.


Your love is mine





I walked alone, trying to find my way
On winding roads and paths that I had made
Wandering so far from grace

I'd given up on things that I believe
My hopes and dreams were buried in the sea
But You were there, calling out to me

Life will rise, Death will die
Your love is mine, Your love is mine
Stains washed white, You paid the price
Your love is mine, Your love is mine



Our Renewal of Vows



On Saturday we had our Renewal of Vows ceremony in Toronto.


It became a very beautiful celebration despite the rain in the morning.


Our pastor came to our home and we had the ceremony in our living room. Dan&Serena's wedding in the last episode of Gossip Girl was my source of inspiration for our celebration. All our guests sat on the couch and on chairs in our living room during the ceremony.


Here we are on our way to take some pictures by the lakefront.


Dad got the job as our event photographer.


The happy couple



We had the reception in our dining room at home. Today it's Monday and we are all still resting up from the party by taking a visit to the nail studio and by relaxing at home.


Monday, July 17, 2017

Summer Moments



Taking morning walks on hot and sunny days is one of my favorite things to enjoy in July.


A bowl of fruit&berries for breakfast is a summer treat! Watermelon, strawberries and blueberries are favorites.


This drink called "Beached" from Jack Astor's is my favorite cocktail this summer. It's big enough to share with my husband. But first we had to argue about who gets the blue straw (none of us like the color green).


Breakfast outdoors in the park is one of my favorite things to enjoy every summer!


The High Carb, High Fat diet. That's the diet that I'm on during the summer.


When You Decide, You Will Be Free





That thing that is holding you back in life, that thing that is keeping you in bondage, when you decide to shake it off you will be free. Many times we keep complaining about being in a state in our lives that we don't like, but we are unwilling to look within and find the real solution for our problems. Too many times we are looking for outside sources to solve internal issues. Pastor Michan Carter explains it this way: "We either are complaining that someone's not doing something for us, or we are saying someone did something to us, and we use that as an excuse to never look at us."


Here's the thing with the "issues" we carry around with us through life: "If you don't deal with it, it will deal with you" says pastor Michan Carter. It's tempting to avoid our own issues rather than to look within and deal with our stuff, but the price for issues left undealt with is high. They have the power to ruin our lives and hurt the people we love the most, unless we face them and deal with them. Pastor Michan Carter preaches a great sermon about how we can get free from whatever is holding us back and making us bitter during this season in life.


What is Unconditional Love?





What is Unconditional Love? Love that never ends. God loves every single human-being on Earth unconditionally. We can choose to either love him back or turn our backs on him but he still loves us and will never stop loving us. He longs to be with us like in the beginning, like before this world became broken. One day we will be with him forever, if we choose him.

I chose to marry my husband five years ago, nobody forced me to marry him. I fell in love with him so I was willing to commit my life to him fully until death do us apart, because I love him I happily sacrificed being with anyone else but him. But anyone who has been married for longer than three months knows that I won't always feel like loving my husband. Love is a choice and love is an action. Love is a verb.

I choose to continue to pursue my husband and as a result of that our love blossoms. God loves me every day and every second of my life and I can choose to love him back. I love my husband but no human will ever come close to loving me as much as God loves me. Only God could fill that empty hole on the inside of me that was always longing to be loved unconditionally. God is the only one who can love me with perfect love and the more I spend time in his presence the more I learn to love others the same way that he loves me.

I become a better wife from spending more time with God. I become a better neighbor from spending more time with God. I never want to become so busy or distracted in this life that I forsake spending time with God, my creator. His love is the only love that can satisfy the deepest longings of my soul.


Glorious Day





I was breathing, but not alive
All my failures I tried to hide
It was my tomb
Till I met You

You called my name
And I ran out of that grave
Out of the darkness
Into Your glorious day


Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Love Yourself First





"You have to get to a place where you see yourself as God sees you. And also love yourself like you deserve to be loved, because it's impossible to have the expectation of experiencing true love and somebody respecting you the way that they should if you don't do it for yourself." We can't find real love before we have learned to love and respect ourselves.


From Porn to a Life of Purpose

Monday, July 10, 2017

Change the World





We are the brightest
We won't come to the darkness
The Lord knows when the light rises
You know He's calling
Crying out from the mountain
Telling us to come home right now
You're my brother
We don't have to fight anymore
Oh brother
None of us win in this world

Beautiful people don't you know you're made in his image
The image of greatness
Why don't we see His reflection inside one another
And all of our faces



I'm Just A Girl




Ever feel unsure about God's purpose for your life? Unqualified or insecure about what He's called you to do? Watch this special teaching from Holly Furtick and discover three things you can do that will help you live out your purpose with confidence.


It's not what it looks like




A picture says more than a thousands words. Yes, but it's not always what it looks like. A few examples from my own life:

Picture Nr.1
Los Angeles, a few years ago. What a lovely day at the beach right? Not exactly. My husband and I were in the middle of an argument when we took this picture. We realized that we weren't going to solve the argument as quickly as we wanted so we said: "Let's just take some pictures of the beach first and then we can go somewhere and talk." Oh the joy of those first couple of years as newlyweds when you have many arguments that happen at the most inconvenient times because you don't know each other's weaknesses or sensitive spots yet so you keep stepping on each others' toes.




Picture Nr.2
Here we had made up and decided to go for a hike in Los Angeles. This was a nice moment but based on what you see in the picture you can't tell the huge difference between this picture and the first picture. Pictures tell you far from everything.




Picture Nr.3
I took this picture during a bike ride this spring. It looks like a wonderful day to take a bike ride but in reality it wasn't a fun day at all! The wind was ice cold and I was biking as fast as I could to get back home again as soon as possible.




Picture Nr.4
This was a very nice day during the spring. The weather was warm and I could bike in my t-shirt and I loved the feeling of being able to enjoy riding my bike again after the long break during winter. I never posted the picture of this nice moment on my blog because it doesn't look very enjoyable or pretty.




Picture Nr.5
Then there are those pictures of your home that will never make it onto a social media account. My husband kicked me out of our Master bedroom bathroom a year ago with these words: "You take up way too much of the counter space." I have no idea what he is talking about. Nowadays I treat our guest bathroom as my own bathroom where I can spread out my stuff as much as I want!




Picture Nr.6
As I was looking at the picture of this room I realized that it's about as "cozy" as a prison cell at the moment. I never intended for this room to have such an extreme minimalist decor but let's just say it's still "in process" of getting decorated. One of these days I will take the time to hang up the curtains that I bought months ago. The blinds work fine for now. The shelf that is on the bed also needs to be attached to the wall at some point. The thing is, July is a warm and sunny month and the last thing I want to do right now is spend time indoors. Home decorating will have to wait until a rainy and cold day in September.


These pictures are just a few examples of how different reality looks from our perfectly edited lives online. We have all followed people online who seem to have a perfect, beautiful and loving family until one day the parents tell the world that they are getting a divorce. The shiny pictures that the world got to see was far from reality. We also follow people online who seem to be skilled at finding something negative to complain about in each and every situation. No matter what they are faced with you can be sure that they will find a way to whine about it on their social media accounts. We look at these people's lives online and feel sorry for them since their lives seem to be so difficult and heavy all the time. When in reality the lives of these people might actually be pretty happy and awesome, they just won't tell you about those parts. They use their social media accounts as a place to spew out their negativity.


No matter if your Facebook friends' pages are full of perfect pictures or full of negativity you can be sure that reality is neither. Reality is that life is full of everyday struggles and difficult stuff but at the same time our lives are also full of blessings and beautiful things that we will notice if we look for them. Our world is both broken and beautiful. 


Life right now




What's your favorite thing about summer? Mine is the beach. I love spending a day at the beach in the summer. On Saturday the plan was to get up early and head to the beach but instead I woke up not feeling well at all. I ended up spending most of the day sleeping and watching TV. I was very grumpy about the situation for half of the day, until I decided to snap out of it and make the best of the situation.



On Saturday afternoon I started to feel a lot better so we decided to take a spontaneous trip to the beach after all. We went for an evening swim and then we watched the sunset before we drove back home. Not bad for a sick day after all. Other than spending time at the beach some of my favorite things to enjoy right now is reading books on the couch while I drink coffee and planning the last details for our Renewal of Vows that is coming up soon.


Friday, July 7, 2017

Praying





Oh, sometimes, I pray for you at night
Someday, maybe you'll see the light
Oh, some say, in life, you're gonna get what you give
But some things only God can forgive


I hope you're somewhere prayin', prayin'
I hope your soul is changin', changin'
I hope you find your peace
Falling on your knees, prayin'



Wednesday, July 5, 2017

How to discover what your gift is





It's very difficult to live a life of purpose unless we know what our gifts are. The purpose of this life is partly the same for all human-beings; to love God and love people. On the other hand, how we choose to serve God and serve other people will depend on what areas we are gifted in. God does not desire a person with very low empathy to be the one running the care ministry in the church for example. A person with low empathy won't be able to feel enough compassion for those who need help through the care ministry.


We are all gifted in very different ways but no gift is worth more than another in God's eyes. All different types of gifts were given to us by God for one purpose; to serve Him and serve other people. We aren't meant to use our gifts towards selfish ambition, but rather to help other people in this world. There is somebody out there in the world right now who is praying to God for help in an area where you are able to help. Don't waste your gift, put it to use!


When I was in the process of figuring out my purpose a couple of years ago I found it helpful to read books about purpose. One of the more obvious things we need to figure out what our gifts are is a list of all the things we are good at. I find it helpful to write them all down. Another tip that I learned from reading books about purpose was to ask yourself the question: "What makes me righteously angry?" There are many different types of injustice in our world but we will know what we are meant to change when it makes us really angry. I always get really upset when I see children who are suffering at the hands of their parents or because of our broken society. Kids in poverty and kids who have been abused is one of my people groups that I want to spend my life serving. I also get very upset when I see any type of modern day slavery in our society; human trafficking, the lack of fair trade etc. Helping children get a better life and fighting modern day slavery are two of my greatest passions.


Another way we can know what God wants us to do with our lives is by taking a Spiritual Gifts Test. We all have certain gifts that we are born with (natural gifts) and then we also have spiritual gifts. Our spiritual gifts are given to us by the Holy Spirit and the more we are filled with the spirit the more evident they become in our lives. Some examples of different spiritual gifts are: mercy, pastoring, teaching, wisdom, giving, healing, hospitality, leadership, miracles, evangelism, administration and service. Once I found out what my spiritual gifts are it became easier to see how I can help others by using both my natural gifts and spiritual gifts.


One of my top spiritual gifts is mercy. The gift of Mercy is "the divine strength or ability to feel empathy and to care for those who are hurting in any way." The gift of mercy is very helpful when I work with serving children in poverty for example. God will equip each one of us for entirely different jobs in this life but each person has been given a set of both natural gifts and spiritual gifts that God is expecting us to put to use.



Does God Want Me to Be Happy?

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

You Matter





You are no mistake.
You are not average.
You are not less than.
You are God's creation,
and that makes you
b e a u t i f u l .



You don't have, because you don't ask for it





I really liked this sermon by pastor Charlotte Gambill from Life Church UK about why we need prayer in our lives. The Bible teaches us to pray and James 4:2 says: "You do not have because you do not ask God." Still, I have a tendency to get lazy in my prayer life. It's so easy to put on "the independent woman role" and act like I got life covered, like I don't need God. Me acting like I don't need God is as silly as when a toddler thinks that she doesn't need her parents' help in life.

God is always present and cares for me deeply so why don't I take the time to sit down and get more intentional in my prayer life? The answer is the same as to why I don't do more strength training workouts. Prayer and workouts require time and will never happen unless I make them a high priority in my life. I'm working on becoming more consistent in my prayer life at the moment because I have seen the difference between living my life without prayer and with prayer. I definitely prefer the second version of life. There is so much unnecessary pain and complications that I could save myself from if I just took the time to seek God's counsel before making my decisions.


Canada Day



On Friday night I got all dressed up for another birthday party in the family.


Saturday was Canada Day and not just any Canada Day, it was Canada's 150th birthday!


We celebrated Canada's birthday by hanging out by the Harbourfront center in Toronto.


The giant rubber duckie was one of the most popular sights during Canada Day.


My Canada Day outfit. I should probably have worn something red and white for Canada Day, but I don't own a single piece of red clothing. Bright red is not my favorite color, but next summer I want to buy a red dress so that I can dress for the occasion on Canada Day.


I celebrated Canada Day with a slice of Saskatoon berry pie, but my favorite part of the day was the fireworks. The fireworks by the CN Tower was the most beautiful fireworks I have ever seen in my life! Well done Toronto!


On Sunday we took our first trip to Wasaga Beach this summer. I went swimming a couple of times and the water at Wasaga Beach was about 20 times warmer than in Cobourg. The water is always colder in Lake Ontario than it is in Lake Huron for some reason.


It isn't properly summer before you visit Wasaga Beach every year!


Sand in my flip-flops = a sign of summer!



I treated myself to a beavertail at Wasaga Beach. I had the Avalanche with cheesecake icing and Skor candy, it tasted amazing! I'm very grateful for how the weekend turned out, they had promised a lot of rain but in the end we only got a couple of hours of rain in total. It's July, my favorite month of the year, so I better appreciate every minute of it! :)