Tuesday, 3 June 2014


I've always known that community is vital. Growing up it was as much a part my family's life as hair is a part of your head (unless you're my dad... sorry pops). for as long as I can remember my parents have exemplified what it means to live in community. through serving others, sacrificing time, prayer, inviting friends and neighbours into our home, and being sensitive to people's needs I was immersed in true community. in doing life together. in being there for one another.

yet I have never understood community to the depth that I have begun to experience the last five months.

during my months in India and ever since I've been home my brain disorder has gone downhill. I can't exactly pinpoint why but I am sure that the stress I was under in India plays a huge part. the symptoms of my disorder seize my body and are moving to parts of my body that have never before been affected. everything has intensified. I used to be able to find relief in singing. it was unbelievable how the twitching and pain would stop almost completely while I sang. for those moments, doing what I love the most, I could be still. but this one avenue of relief is now gone. the twitches intensify even more when standing and singing. nothing seems to help anymore.

for years I have lived with peace as I daily surrendered this struggle to God. as I saw Him using it for His glory I gained a deeper understanding of His sufficient grace. yet in the last five months I found my mind consumed with fear and worry. crying out to God and pouring out my heart wondering 'how much worse will this get? I don't know if I can take this any longer. I'm so worn and exhausted. please free me from this, Lord. it is unbearable. please.'

it was my problem so I dealt with it on my own. not telling anyone of my worsening condition. I remained silent not wanting to complain. I know a lot of the time there's nothing to say and I didn't want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I knew my loved ones cared but I was shutting them out from this area of my life. my parents were the only ones who really knew and who I was allowing to walk with me.

at one point a few dear friends asked specifically how I was dealing with it. brought to tears I shared the struggle and realized I couldn't do this on my own anymore. I had to let others in. why was I keeping everything inside? I had to share the burden. my friends asked if my choir could pray for me that night.

it was powerful. I briefly shared about the downhill turn my disorder had taken the last few months. expressed my fears and pain. then my choir of almost one hundred people, my family, surrounded me, laid hands on me, and prayed for me. and they didn't just lay their hands on me. they held me. supporting me. without words their caring hands communicated that they were walking with me.  hurting with me. God was so clearly reminding me that people cared. the love of God and everyone in that room washed over me.

I felt a weight lifted from me that night. I wasn't miraculously healed. nothing physically changed. but I was no longer the only one carrying this burden. you know, I never was alone, but I was finally letting people help me. finally recognizing the amazing support that I had all along but had never allowed myself to receive. I was humbled by the number of people who had already been praying for me. telling me God had placed me on their hearts months before when I had said nothing. God placed me in a community of people who get it. who celebrate with exciting news, mourn with those who grieve, serve one another, and share the burdens we each carry.

my eyes were opened that night to the incredible power of community. since then I have allowed myself to experience the amazing love and support that was always there. when we do it right community changes everything. it changes individuals. it changes us as a whole. we are stronger together in Christ.

the texts you send to say you're praying. the phone calls you make just to see how someone's doing. the hugs. the intentional conversations. the unknown prayers. they are needed, my friends. everyone needs someone.

never stop supporting. never stop praying. never stop loving.

God knew that man could not live this life alone. we are meant to be in constant communion with one another. and when we truly understand the command to carry each other's burdens in this way fulfilling the law of Christ {Galatians 6:2}we begin to grasp the community that God intended for us.

the community I have experienced the last few months has changed me. the people in my life have taught me to be humble and accept offered help. to be honest when I'm struggling and ask for prayer. some have even gone to great lengths to seek help for me. I hope that I will always reciprocate this kind of true community. I cannot thank God enough. I cannot thank each of you enough.

community loves. community humbles. community strengthens.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


questions. tears. doubts.
the brokenness of this world. of humanity. it brings me to my knees. overwhelms me.
our ability to inflict violence, pain, and hurt on one another comes far too easily. how have we allowed ourselves to arrive here? rather, how have we allowed ourselves to stay here? the vulnerable suffer intensely. slavery is all too real. the 'socially different' are rejected. lonely. the wealthy - yes even 'poor struggling students' are members of that label - we sit comfortably in our wealth while the rest of the world suffers and lives in fear. the quality of life varies drastically from one country to the next as a result of selfishness. our North American society continues to encourage self satisfaction. consumerism. we are essentially told "you've worked hard enough so you deserve to spend excessive amounts of money on unnecessary things" when our money could be used for greater things. to save lives. the brokenness crashes down on me like a wave and consumes my thoughts.
it's not like any of this is new. but these days the reality impacts me deeply. i question humanity and what we have become. yes, i recognize and am so grateful for the incredible organizations standing against injustice and who seek to rescue and restore. what they do gives me hope. yet how is it that today there are more people enslaved than any point in history. right now nearly 30 million people are enslaved.
30 million.
that number is devastating. the reality is devastating. it is out of control. it breaks me. women and children taken advantage of. their bodies sold to please men. manipulation, threats, corruption, fear, violence, & bondage consume 30 million people. they are mothers, fathers, brother, sisters and cannot be protected. what can i even do? the problem is so enormous and i lose hope. humanity continues to destroy each other.
but i have to remind myself over and over that humanity was broken from the beginning. a result of our sin. why am i putting my hope into humanity who is bound to fail - who continues to fail? i have let myself become unfocused. to put my hope in people that will never meet the mark. who at the core are sinful. my hope can be in nothing or nobody else but Christ - everything else will disappoint yet Christ never fails. in the middle of this completely broken, hurting, and corrupt world Christ is present. but it still doesn't make sense to me why all of the evil continues.
i beg God to stop it. but i know that a result of our sin is suffering. we have brought it on ourselves. praise God we don't have to go through this alone. thank God that he hasn't left us. thank God that he is sufficient. thank God that Jesus is coming back. thank God this is not the end.
the sin that continues to destroy us will not win.
for Jesus told us "here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” {John 16:33}
this is all we have. Christ is everything. He is who i cling to. He is who i place my hope in. and at His feet i place the brokenness and pain that is choking the world. i pray that His love, passion, and desire for justice moves me to action. to be a light in this darkness. i so desperately desire change. freedom for the vulnerable. but right now all i can do is pray.
and i know prayer is powerful so i will continue to pray without ceasing.
and on my knees cry out to the only one who offers hope.
{i encourage you to read "The Locust Effect" by Gary Haugen & Victor Boutros. also check out http://www.thelocusteffect.com/ }