Friday, September 30, 2011


My sister, Paige, has been blogging a lot lately - both on her personal blog and as official blogger for the Calgary 40 Days for Life campaign.  She signs up for "slots" of time to pray to end abortion, and on Fridays we have been fasting and praying for family in general.

Abortion hurts families.  And the dissolution of the family is one reason abortion has increased to the incredible rate it has.  Did you know that close to a quarter of all babies conceived in Canada will be aborted?  And that the rate within the church is roughly identical to the rate of abortion for people outside the church?

These things should never be.  And my sister and I are praying Malachi 4:6 over our families, our extended families, and the families of our nation, and the world.  (nothing like setting your sights high?)

"He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse."

There are some beautiful explanations of this verse (look here for a start!), but we are going with the simplest.  This says that God can (and will) restore the hearts of the fathers to their children.  Think how different our world would be if all fathers loved their children and cared for them.

Chuck Colson did prison ministry (for decades now), and he says on Mother's Day when his ministry takes in cards for men to send to their mothers, they never bring enough, but when they bring in cards for Father's Day, there are no takers.

Something went wrong between the fathers and the children. 

In a country where fathers love their children, there is no abuse, no neglect.  No verbal denigration, and needs are taken care of.  Fathers who love their children cherish their wives and make their relationship a priority.  The best gift a man can give his children is to love their mother.  And  most of all, if fathers really loved their children, they wouldn't pressure the women they are with to abort them.  Or insist, and drive them to the clinic.  They would worry less about having "enough" and more about the joy of family.

Because there is joy there!  I just read a National Geographic magazine article about the birthrate in Brazil, and how it's dropped drastically.  The headline on the cover said it was due to the "Sassy, smart women who know what they want", but the article said basically that a whole country of mothers has been swayed by daytime drama TV shows, which i'm not sure is a working measure of IQ or a great way to base a life changing decision.

If fathers valued their children, mothers would follow.  We need leaders, we need dads, we need marriages that work, and we need children who are protected, loved and cherished.

Since we started this prayer vigil, so much has happened!  And some of it is good :), and other parts are hard.  A family member's marriage is breaking down, and separation is being discussed, and it feels like Satan is upping the ante.  But God will prevail.  He is bigger, He is stronger, and He has a plan.

Anyway, i titled this blog post "Postures" because i did have a point about them.  Paige, who is my youngest sister, has had a series of posts on postures... postures of the heart.  But so many times i've found that postures of the body have influenced my heart.  The Bible uses such active language talking about our responses to the Word of God "my son, incline your heart/ open your ears/open thy mouth wide, and i will fill it/thy word was like honey on my lips"... 

And one posture i use when i pray is to just open my hands on my lap.  I don't even remember where i picked this up, but it signals to my spirit that all is open before Him.  Anything God wants to take from me, i give willingly.  All that he wants to give, I am open to His plans and ideas and ways...

What we are praying for is this same posture for families.  To be open to the will of God, and to the greatest commandment - to love...

Monday, September 26, 2011

More joy...

I wanted to keep posting here for awhile, because it seems to strange and unfamiliar to be where i am.

We are thoroughly enjoying our new church.  In ways i never would have imagined.

It's liturgical, which Travis finds reverent and thus he appreciates very much.

It's joyful, full of quick tempo praise, which i love.

It's leadership is balanced, and open, and friendly.

The people are open and accepting and kind.

Our children are so happy here.  So are we.

We were looking and hoping for so much less.  We had never heard of this denomination, although i have probably a dozen books by "leading lights" of this family of churches.  I had never really considered a Reformed church, and yet... here we are - and it fits so well...

When we moved here, i threw out a bunch of shoes i had that had never fit, but i used because finding ones that fit was impossible (i wear a size five, which is one size below what is sold in our previous town).  And T took me out and bought me some size five Dr. Marten shoes.  They fit *me* perfectly.  I don't have to wear two pairs of socks, or try sticky tape inside, or extra insoles :) - It's effortless, and comfortable, and i love to look at them, and to wear them.

I feel the same way about where we are right now.  God is so good.  I'm ready to see what He was doing in the past five years - and i know it was good.  And i am just enjoying each day, each week, here in this new chapter.

I hope if anyone is reading this who has had the same troubles as we have - that this encourages you.  That this is possible.  I was very close to thinking that maybe there just was no place for us in the Body of Christ.  That we would have to just let every Christian reject us, follow Jesus, and have fellowship in Heaven.

I'm reading a book right now called Face to Face:  Meditations on Friendship and Hospitality by Steve Wilkins.  I feel like those "muscles" have atrophied - and it was so affirming to read the beginning where he shares his convictions about the importance of relationship.

My mom once said "it hurts to be tolerated" - i felt like if i could just be tolerated, that would be enough.   But i want to pursue the image of God.  I want to *be* a friend, and to enjoy Godly friendship.  Hopefully He will grow me in this, too!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


I know that's not a Christian concept - it's animist, borne from the dread of the ever present spirits - the worry that in their jealousy, if you speak your joy aloud, they will bear it away as a prize, leaving you bereft.

But i've still taken my time in writing on this blog, and it's not because things are bad :) but because God has poured out His favour on me, and i am still reeling, a little bit, inside...

For five years I've really struggled, and tried to fix it all on my own, to hear God's voice and find the good in the situation.  But for so long, it was just hard.  Very hard.  Very lonely, and with no hope of any change.  And then change came, and it only made the situation far worse.

And then, we moved.  And it seems like instead of a huge burden i have to carry around, God has answered the prayer i prayed in the Psalm i set to music -

 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord.  
He brought me into a spacious place. 
 The Lord is with me, I will not be afraid. 
 What can mere mortals do to me?
Psalm 118

In so many ways, over the past three weeks, i have seen Him set things into place that i had given up on.  A spacious place.  Room to grow, to maybe not be curled into a fetal position, hoping to escape the blows.  Even our new house is "a spacious place".  And i was so worried.

One scripture i love to quote says "6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
         Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. (Psalm 16:6)"  And the whole Psalm really speaks to me tonight...

Psalm 16

A Mikhtam of David.
1Preserve me, O God, for I take refuge in You.
2I said to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
         I have no good besides You.”
3As for the saints who are in the earth,
         They are the majestic ones in whom is all my delight.
4The sorrows of those who have bartered for another god will be multiplied;
         I shall not pour out their drink offerings of blood,
         Nor will I take their names upon my lips.
5The LORD is the portion of my inheritance and my cup;
         You support my lot.
6The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
         Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.
7I will bless the LORD who has counseled me;
         Indeed, my mind instructs me in the night.
8I have set the LORD continually before me;
         Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
9Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices;
         My flesh also will dwell securely.
10For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol;
         Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
11You will make known to me the path of life;
         In Your presence is fullness of joy;
         In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

On virtual religion - lessons from the world of gaming

This morning I read an article from that made me think.

I don't want to reproduce the entire article, so here is a link to the original, and it's well worth the few minutes to read all three pages.

Basically, an atheist game programmer was challenged to compete in an event during which the theme was religion (actually, Bigger Than Jesus).

What he came up with is part performance art and part psychology experiment.

But as i mused on his choices and the resultant chaos, it came to me that maybe the flaw was something that modern churches are doing as well, in a completely unconcious way.

See, Jason Rohrer's nine commandments for using his game began with him handing the thumb drive to a complete stranger, chuckling onstage that he couldn't give it to a friend.

But laying aside the aspect of the divinity of Christ, every major religion has had it's foundation laid precisely on , in the beginning, "giving it to friends". Maybe they were called followers, students, or disciples, but in the final analysis, the sacred truth was entrusted to those who had lived, walked, eaten with and conversed with at length, their master.

If Rohrer hadn't been an atheist, that part may have come to him more intuitively, that the game should spread from friend to friend...

And this is the point at which our churches seem to have become adrift.

As a teen and young adult, i felt a deep sense of belonging everytime i walked into a church, no matter what town or denomination. I knew that these were my people, my brothers and sisters. I knew i belonged.

But i think we are seeing the rise of a completely different system, one in which pastors and leaders are not identified and mentored, but one where whoever wants to can pay their money and come out with a piece of paper and get a job preaching.

I understand the concerns re: purity of doctrine, but like all discipline, retaining and owning information, skills, and beliefs come most readily from an environment of intimate friendship.

It's why we have one on one piano lessons, thesis advisors, parents, why apprentices have one overseer, tutoring and counsellors or psychiatrists who work in intimate one on one or small groups where trust and accountability flow both ways.

Ji, the stranger to whom the game was entrusted, proved to be someone who instead took months to pass it on, attempted to sell access to the game, and released videos in which he pretended to destroy the game. Would Rohrer's best friend have done the same? Or would the outcome have degenerated to the same level by the time it had changed hands a few more times?

Christianity is not a game, and God's Word assures us that it will "not return void" but i think this story emphasizes the importance that true relationships can have in maintaining a healthy, true community of believers.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trust me

It's midnight and i have a Big Day tomorrow. But my body has chosen now to be the time to pour out all my cares and polish them, examine them, make them precious. The upcoming move, my children's future marriages (will they really ever grow up to be loving, honorable , true, adults?), how on earth will i ever homeschool highschool? And a hundred things i can do nothing about.

I have had very little time to write music lately but i did write this song. Wanna hear the lyrics?

Trust in me.

That's it. That's all i've got. It 's got verse, chorus, bridge - but only three words.

And i'm talking to You, here in the dark, at midnight, grinning in that "I've got a secret" way - i hear You, singing it back to me, smoothing my forehead and pouring sleep over my tired eyes.

And I will.

Zephaniah 3:17 "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Conference encouragement

Every year, i try to make it to my local homeschool conference.  It has never been easy, and i've usually either brought a big belly or a nursling along with me every year - but this year i brought no babies, and just my 15 year old son.

It's 4.5 hours drive just to get there, and the drive alone, with my big boy and no distractions was worth the price of admission - i so love who he is growing into, and love listening as he figures everything out...

I've told my husband that this is my "professional development" and he's agreed to make it happen, to the best of his ability (any Above Rubies conferences are also on the radar :)... i need to be encouraged sometimes that what i'm doing has value...)

Anyway, i was so excited because the keynote speakers this year were Clay and Sally Clarkson.  Now, a long time ago, over a decade ago, i was a young mom with a very active 3 year old and a new little baby in my belly, and i attended my first homeschool conference, in Vancouver.  The keynote speakers there were the Clarksons, and Dr. Gordon Neufeld, who wrote Hold Onto Your Kids.

Those sessions were absolutely fundamental to me as a mother, as a homeschooler, and as someone commissioned in the ministry of motherhood.

So this year, i was excited to hear them again, after all these years (and fruit!) and compare what i'd done with what i'd heard.

And you know, with so much of what they said, i realized that i had really internalized a lot of what i'd heard and made it my own, with no regrets at all.  i'm so glad that they were there when i needed mentoring - they were such a HUGE blessing to me!

But i noticed something - there seemed to be a brokenness, a humility, a... sadness?  During the sessions, they shared, briefly, some of the challenges they'd had, including being part of a church split, feeling misunderstood by the leaders of their church, and i knew God's hand was in this.

I think when things go sideways in local Body fellowship, it's so easy to do one of two things - either completely blame the other person, or just take it all on your own shoulders and let it weigh you down.

Seeing these people whose fruit i have seen, whose words i have tested with scripture, who have encouraged me so much to search the scriptures and find my fulfillment and purpose in Jesus - that they have had the same disappointments and challenges as I have lately, was paradoxically encouraging.

Not that i wish challenges and trials on anyone, but i felt that burden lifting a little bit.

I am still so disappointed with the situation we have here in this tiny mountain town.  So brokenhearted and helpless.  BUT i do know that God is in control, and I've felt His guidance so much these past few months, and this was just one more way that I heard Him saying "I see you, Stephanie..."

He does.  He sees, He hears, He cares.  He knows my needs, and the needs of my little ones.  He will provide what we need in order to grow us to be the people He wants us to be.

But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children…just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.”
1 Thessalonians 2:7,11-12

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rumours of war...

I haven't posted on here (been a little gun shy!) the last little while, but i posted on my homeschool mom blog about the current furore about Ken Ham/ Peter Enns and i wanted to flesh out my thoughts here, in a little more private way (since this is my *warning* real and not always happy blog!)

Thing is, what i wrote on my blog ( is what i feel from my heart.  The answer to their problem would be so much more easily found if they began and continued in love.

The world seems a very combative, angry, offended place lately.  Egypt, Libya, Yemen - the excitement of the possibility of democracy is intoxicating, and yet there is a certain fear about who will replace the current system...  Then the earthquake in Japan, and the tsunami, and now the nuclear reactors, of which four were billowing grey smoke yesterday.

Hot on the heels of that, brutal attacks in Israel, just to remind us that there in the Middle East that old rivalry hasn't died.

And meanwhile, on the blogosphere, Rob Bell is currently taking a drubbing for being a "Universalist" and Ken Ham is vilifying Peter Enns with the playground politics of namecalling, while Mr. Enns defends himself with the grown up politics of getting Ham banned.

Thing is, "the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God" (James 1:20).

Such a profound verse.

Our anger is not the way that God chooses to work.  He's chosen, instead, as our identifying feature, and our only weapon to the cold world that encroaches - LOVE.

Ken Ham has a point - he is passionate about providing believers a scientific rationale for believing in the Bible, that it is inerrant, always true, and to be believed.  But he calls people "stupid", which is why i gave away the seven video set i had after we watched the first one.  For the simple reason that i didn't want my children to learn to call each other stupid by watching it :) and also, it's poor argumentation to use ad hominem attacks.

Peter Enns also has a point - i've read many of the "most incendiary" quotes that people have been able to pick up and basically, he's a man that thinks.  I don't agree with him, but, for instance, pointing out the the story of Noah and his Ark is more a horror story than a child's bedtime fable is true.  I disagree that we need to edit the Bible in order to feed it to our children, but let's not delude ourselves into thinking it's all suitable for the flannelgraph.  It's not.

But Ken and Peter are brothers - we are all created by the same One who calls us to love one another.  So,  while i do think that conversation must be had between the different sides - i do believe it would honor God to do it with all the love we can muster, and not to jump to name calling and rhetoric.  God is not afraid of reason, and so many times in the Bible, people asked for a sign.  Yes, He loves when we obey Him and don't need "a sign" but He knows we are flesh - and He is Logos, the Word, the Truth - all truth comes from Him, and none will contradict who He is...

Anyway, the birthday cake has cooled, sprinkles have arrived, and another birthday cake is mine to wreck :)...  Just laying it out here that what we need, more than anything else, is to look at the basic requirements of what God wants from us...

Matthew 22:37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

Micah 6:8 He hath shewed thee, O man, what [is] good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

I think sometimes we are so eager to "separate ourselves" from people who appear to disagree with us that we don't even take time to hear what they are really saying...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I read a book by Francis Frangipane where he espoused an ideal of being beyond offense, beyond being hurt by what others think.... because you are so wrapped up in what God thinks, thinking His thoughts, feeling His emotions, following His ways.

And i think i'm slowly getting there.  But when i offend others by following Christ and His direction in my life, it does feel like a sucker punch.  I never see it coming.

Which may be what Courtney is writing about on her blog, Storing Up Treasures.   (Go read the post!)

She writes about people telling her she is easily offended, but that really, she is *offensive*.  People are put off by others who do things "differently".  And honestly, most of the pressure comes from church people.  I think because we are all looking at each other, hoping we look good in comparison, trying to take the good place at the table, hoping we won't be told to move down to make room for someone more important (Luke 14:7-11) ... and we don't want to look foolish, or make anyone else feel bad for not doing something (and then suffer the consequences socially), so we don't do it.

You know, i don't think i'm offended by others who are trying to be more Christlike or to get closer to God, even if their methods look weird to me - but i have been scared off.  It's been a lot of years of *thinking* about sponsoring a child through Compassion International.  I did it as a teen, and once we stopped being subsistence level, i wanted to do it, but i was surrounded by mega families who were sponsoring one child for each of their ten or twelve children, and unless i could do it like that, i didn't want to do it.

But i didn't want them to stop!  Finally, i got over that perfectionism :)...

But what i'm thinking is, that it's a sickness to wish someone to be spiritually dead just so that we won't feel guilty that we never read our Bible this week, haven't prayed for awhile, and don't ever consider God in our day to day activities.

May we all be unoffendable, and all take joy in each other's spiritual journey, each other's desires to be more and more... and more, like Jesus.

Jesus, who washed the feet of the disciples, watches me care for my little brood, and He not only smiles down at me, but He sends His spirit to minister to me and to them.  He arranges teachable moments where we can discuss the things that are on their hearts (and on mine).  This is my ministry, and it is beautiful in my eyes, and in His as well...

May you be blessed and take joy in the work God has put in front of you, too!

Luke 14:7–11

Parable of the Ambitious Guest
7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast,do not sit down in the best placelest one more honorable than you be invited by him9and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place10 cBut when you are invitedgo and sit down in the lowest placeso that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friendgo up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at thetable with you11 dFor whoever exalts himself will be 3humbledand he who humbles himself will be exalted.”