The Many Looks Of Love

Written by: Rachel Albrecht

Years ago my husband’s younger brother lived with us while he was in college. He arrived in September and as December rolled around, I was curious as to what he would buy me for Christmas. We hadn’t known each other incredibly well before he moved in but over the past few months I had intentionally tried to invest in the relationship.

He had gone to my in laws over the holiday break and left us gifts under our tree. I don’t remember what my husband received, but it was nice gift, thoughtful and appreciated. When I opened my gift I was confused – inside the bag lay an old piece of hockey equipment, a goalie’s glove.

As the one who had cooked for him, picked up after him and watched way more of the sports channel than I ever desired, I had expected the gift to symbolize an appreciation, a value in the relationships we had, unique as it was. Whatever this joke was, it left me feeling hurt.

I tossed the glove in the outside trash can with disappointment. A few days later when I saw my brother in law at a family gathering, he asked if I liked my gift. Scowling, I gave a sarcastic thanks and told him I tossed that disgusting glove in the garbage. He burst out laughing, and asked if I had put my hand inside the glove. Obviously not! He told me to check inside. When we came back home I dug the glove out of the trash and peeked inside. There was a DVD I had long been hoping for.

Love was born in a manger over two thousands years ago yet many rejected Him because of the wrapping. This love, though vastly greater than anyone could have imagined, came to earth in a way no one anticipated and for some, in a way they couldn’t accept.

People were confused. They mistook His simplicity and humility for weakness. They expected the Messiah to be steeped in strength and royalty, to overthrow the oppression of their present day situation. From his birth in a manger to His death on the cross, so much of His life defied the expectations people had for Him.

I understand. This wasn’t what some of them had hoped for, dreamed of and painstakingly anticipated for hundreds of years. This wasn’t the answer they wanted or they felt they needed. If I’m to be very honest with you, I’ve got a couple situations in my life where I’m left wondering what is God doing? Did I not hear correctly? Why are these prayers remaining unanswered? Isn’t the loving thing to do in these situations to respond, and frankly, respond in the way I want Him to? I don’t understand the silence, I don’t understand the waiting period, I don’t understand why things are the way they are.

In times of confusion, I’m reminded love is multifaceted with countless expressions. Just because it doesn’t always show up like I think it should doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. Love can mean stepping up to offer help, or stepping back to give an opportunity. It can mean standing behind someone or sitting beside them. Sometimes love means speaking up and other times it means staying silent. At times love comes and at times it goes, sometimes love gives and sometimes it takes. It can say yes or no, now or later. It can bring smiles or tears, laughter or pain. It can be full of glitz or full of grit. It can be found in a rustic manger or in an empty tomb. Love is still love regardless if we like what it looks like at times.

Despite Christ’s life on earth being so different than what was expected, the details fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy. Now with our place in history we can read the prophecies of the New Testament and look forward to what is coming when they are all fulfilled!

We know that because of His great love for us, Jesus will return to this earth strong and mighty, victorious and powerful! We know He is going to defeat darkness and death and make all things right. Hurt and confusion, sorrow and suffering will cease and we will spend eternity in face to face fellowship with our Saviour!

This Advent season, as we remember how Jesus came in the humblest of forms, we can look forward to how He will return, with His glory, majesty and power in full force! Love will return and Love will win!

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Rachel Albrecht is blessed to be a wife and mom. She resides in Leamington Ontario, and each winter is very thankful to live in the most southern tip of Canada.

Parenting: Love and Discipline

Written by: Christianne Williams

Proverbs 13:13 “He who scorns instruction will pay for it, but he who respects a command is rewarded.”

Proverbs 13:24 “He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.”

This parenting thing, I find it hard sometimes.  Last night was one of those times.  It wasn’t that anything terrible happened, in fact, it was an eye opening time of reflecting on the character of each one of my children. I just get hung up on the things that need improvement and perhaps feel a measure of guilt over them.  The homeschool regulations in our province require meetings with facilitators twice a year. Last night was our first ever, in all of our 13 years of homeschooling, opportunity to sit down with people who were not family and discuss goals, both academically and character related, of our sweet little ducklings.

First of all, I believe we have the best facilitators in all of the world. They were so helpful in getting us to really think about each of children as individuals with their own unique character traits and gifts.  I found it very easy to pull out the positives of some of them and the negatives of others.  Let’s face it, it’s easy to bury the memory of the temper tantrums your sixteen-year old threw when he was seven but its not so easy to forget the one your seven-year old threw five minutes before the guests arrived.  As we were going through the list, taking note of strengths and area that need attention, I began to see that perhaps my ‘soft’, guilt ridden, parenting style, was less than ideal.

I love my babies; they really are great children! They make us proud!  But the areas that need to be worked on are, at the root, things that have evolved because of my inability to follow through with discipline.  I’m a softy.  I get irritated and frustrated, I hand out a punishment, most of the time too severe and one that will punish me too, like no going outside for a year.  Then an hour later when they show up with their sad little eyes, almost managing to squeeze out a tear or two, I cave, and back outside they go.  I know that as soon as their precious little backs are to me they get a smirk on their face because they know me far too well.

As I sat there thinking about it, I realized something else as well.  My view of punishment was that if I followed through I wasn’t showing love to my children.  It was as if I was viewing love as equalling permissiveness, and that isn’t at all what it is.  Loving my children, as God loves us, is setting boundaries, ones that protect them, and seek what’s best for them.  If they choose to push through those fences and I decide to do nothing, one message I’m sending is that really, the rule I’ve set isn’t important so what’s the point of them following it? The other is that I don’t love them enough to show them “tough love”!

Two things are now going to be front and center: 1. Does the punishment fit the ‘crime’? and 2. Once I’ve said it, it has to stick! So, I must be very careful to present a fair consequence with effective results.

God loves us, and He corrects us out of His great love for us.  He wants to keep us safe and unharmed.  He wants us to walk in freedom and develop Godly character.  The same is true of the way I feel toward my kids.  I want them to develop good, Godly character, knowing that love and discipline go hand in hand, not love and permissiveness.

Why I Find Seasons of Rest Difficult

Written by: Cindy Morrone

I ran a ½ marathon once. 21.1 km or 13.1 miles. Years ago. BC. Before children.
I didn’t do amazing but I finished.

Once I crossed the finish line, I had only enough in me to take a shower and eat a pasta dinner.

Then, what I assume rigor mortis felt like, started to set in.

I had only enough to complete the race, then rest and recuperation was necessary.
My spiritual marathons have ended the same.

Elijah, an Old Testament Prophet’s experiences were similar. 1 Kings Chapter 19 tells us that Elijah, after two significant spiritual victories found himself in the wilderness, under a tree asking the Lord to take his life. ‘“…I have had enough, LORD, “ he said. “Take my life;..’ I Kings 19:4

Miraculously the Bible tells us that an angel appeared to Elijah not once but twice and gave him exactly what he needed. Food, drink and rest.

‘The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.”’ I Kings 19:7
…….for the journey is too much for you…….

There is an essential element missing in my necessary seasons of rest. A degree of empowerment of the Holy Spirit. It’s back to basics, breathing, eating and sleeping.
So, like a deflated balloon, I wait until the next marathon.

It’s in this deflated position that I must remember three important Truths while I rest, eat and drink.

1)It was never about me. In those times when I am smack dab in the middle of my God calling, and things are going well, that it is not because I have done all the right things. I often look back on those times and truly wonder how I did it. It’s not about me and how well I can do things; it’s about how perfectly God has empowered me to love and serve others.

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” Romans 8:11

2)It is not about me. Deflated and lifeless; seemingly purposeless as I rest, I need to recall it’s not about me. The Spirit gives what is needed and when. It’s not time to be inflated.

“All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.” 1 Corinthians 12:11

3)It will not be about me. Like Elijah there will come another spiritual marathon; God’s purposes and plans for me are not over. And when He calls me again, He will equip me as He has so faithfully done in the past.

“…We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,” Colossians 1:9-11

The Ordinary

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

“The true test of a person’s spiritual life and character is not what he does in the extraordinary moments of life, but what he does during the ordinary times when there is nothing tremendous or exciting happening.”

– “My Utmost for His Highest” by Oswald Chambers

I love this quote. Mostly because as a woman, wife, mother, friend and professional, running through my life from task to task, I often just feel very ordinary. I am no different than any other woman on the planet. No different than any of you reading this blog.

I do dishes every day, fold laundry, clean toilets, sweep floors, tidy rooms, make meals, reassemble the kitchen and dust the house. I get up to an alarm, get ready for work, sit at my desk with my “to-do” list, cross tasks off as they are accomplished, head home, only to do it all again the next day. I run the kids to their various assorted extra-curricular activities and social engagements. I book eye appointments and visits to the vet for our furry companions. And let’s not forget grocery shopping, gathering sustenance to feed my two growing teenage boys!

Add to this the crazy pace in which life travels and the ordinariness of life can compound. There is often only enough time for mascara and lip balm on my way out the door. The church clothes worn on Sunday get worn on Monday to work for the sake of efficiency. My hair is coiffed the same way every day, because there is limited bathroom time in the morning for experimentation. I still try to use the “baby weight” excuse after 17 years of motherhood for the added pounds around my middle. My younger vain teenage self would be appalled at my older ordinary appearance.

There are times I sit with my family and watch an exciting, edge of the seat flick on Netflix. You know, the ones filled with wonder, adventure, danger, romance, intrigue and suspense. Or we view a documentary of an individual beating the odds or accomplishing a great feat. Both have the ability to leave me feeling somewhat small and insignificant. There are times when special guests come to speak at church and share about their incredible salvation stories or their unbelievable opportunities to minister and witness. Again, my life story pales in comparison.

But, I must remember that in the ordinary moments there are so many opportunities to practice the Fruit of the Spirit and minister to those I come in to contact with every day. All of those little ordinary moments along the way add up to a lifetime of incredible blessings flowing out. The extra care given to removing a sliver from my child’s finger; the bouquet of bacon roses left for my husband when he returns from a meeting at work; the care package sent to my sister abroad. The door held open for the elderly man struggling to enter a building; the encouraging word to a mom in line at the grocery story with a squalling infant; the coffee paid for in the vehicle ahead in the drive-thru line. These are the ordinary moments that become extraordinary as I allow my character to grow and shine for Jesus.

“But the Fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

Galatians 5:22-23

Without Rival—Week Two, Post Four

We continue along in our study and discussion of chapters 3 & 4 in Without Rival by Lisa Bevere

Written by: Megan Kincheloe

So I have this issue. Admitting the problem is the first step, right? I have never had much of an imagination. I am a person who deals much better with facts…with black and white as some say…and gray just does not work well for me. I like to be able to anticipate what is coming next. Some would say I have ‘control issues’…but who are they to judge?

I didn’t even recognize that I was lacking in imagination until I had a daughter. I would observe my mom playing with her and next thing I would know, they would have lyrics made up to songs and would have the plot created for a 15 minute long story that just originated from the depths of their minds a few moments prior. I used to wonder why my brain wasn’t created like that but if there is one things I have learned over the years, it’s that you never question the Master’s handiwork.

At her innocent, young age, our daughter has experienced a lot of loss. She has lost two great-grandparents who loved her dearly, and the feeling was mutual. She’s also lost two close friends of the family and a precious golden retriever who was the model of unconditional love. So I’m a little surprised at my shocked reaction when I asked her on New Year’s Eve what she hoped would happen in 2017. Her fairly quick, heartfelt response was, “I want Jesus to come back so we can all go to Heaven together.” My verbal response to her was, “Oh yes honey. I pray that very same thing.” But if I’m being honest, I couldn’t let my imagination go there. You see, all I could think about was, “But I’d miss watching you and your brother graduate and be the world changers that I know you will be. And I’d miss seeing you both get married and having grandbabies for me to spoil.” Here was my 9 year old tossing everything earthly to the wind and focusing her eyes above and I was the one holding back from craving that very thing that is the ultimate treasure. It was in that moment that God nudged my heart and I almost audibly heard, “Dear daughter…how nearsighted your vision is. None of these things compare to living your life with expectant hope and to the glory of joining me in your forever home.”

You guys, the events here on Earth that seem so beautiful and magnificent and wonderful do not come close to comparing to the treasure awaiting us in Heaven. In Chapter 3 of “Without Rival,” Lisa Bevere says this, “It might seem easier and initially more exciting if I were to tell you someone had just deposited a billion dollars in your bank account. But even if what was left to you was more than you could spend in a lifetime…it would never be yours. For the law of earthly treasure is that it must remain in the realm of its birth. When you die, it will be left behind. But this treasure, the one you possess, transforms as it enriches and will travel with you for eternity.” (pg. 54)

Luke 23:43, “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”

Paradise ya’ll. Paradise.

Please answer the conversation cafe question in our comments section below 🙂


Conversation Cafe:

What treasures or events are you clinging to here in your horizontal vision that are clouding your vertical view and making it impossible to imagine the glory of eternity?


 

Tongue Taming

 

we-are-his-daughters

margaretWritten by: Margaret Connolly

This morning I was greeted in the kitchen by my 6 year old daughter. With a wry grin, she looked at me and said ‘Mom, did you put your makeup on?’ I replied ‘No, I didn’t .. why?’ ‘You look horrible without it!’ she quipped, in her silly, joking way. I know better than to be upset by such a comment and decided instead to tell her that that wasn’t a kind thing to say. I reminded her that it’s better to keep quiet than to say something hurtful. She said she still thought I was beautiful and gave me a hug. You see, for her, this was just a funny little thing to say because she knows that I don’t like to go out without my mascara on (I’ll admit it..). It was harmless, and innocent, and I knew that she didn’t mean it to hurt my feelings. But how many times have each of us said something where the intention behind was to hurt a person? Or, to prove we were right? Or to simply get the last word in? My eldest daughter has the hardest time not having the last word. It is something I pray with her about often, and am always reminding her that sometimes it is best to just close her mouth, breathe and relax.

She’s not the only one though, is she? I see this all the time, often not necessarily face to face, but on social media where it is very easy to hide behind our computer screens in anonymity and spout off our opinion on the latest hot topic, not caring who we hurt or offend. Typing words out is a little different than speaking them, of course, but I believe it holds the same sentiment.

The tongue is a powerful tool. I read this quote online … how much easier would it be to hold our tongues if this was the case?
If only our tongues were made of glass. How much more careful we would be when we speak?’ (—unknown).

I don’t know about you, but I have spoken things many times that I wished I could take back. When my 8 year old is arguing with me about why she has to take a shower, it is so easy to give into my flesh and speak out of turn. When I disagree so strongly with a person on any manner of issues it is so easy to bluntly share my opinion, whether or not it’s welcomed. The defiance behind that action is what becomes the problem here. Have you ever thought ‘I don’t care what so and so thinks, THIS is my opinion and they’re gonna hear it!’ I’m exaggerating, perhaps, but here’s a gentle reminder to you and me both that sometimes silence really is golden. Not talking means you are listening. Not talking probably means that you are allowing yourself to think things through before you speak. Our tongues move quicker than our brains, don’t they?

The Bible has so many verses related to this topic .. clearly God was trying to communicate the importance of this message to us! Here a few of the ones that stuck out to me (pun intended!)

Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and always to be gentle toward everyone. (Titus 3:1-2)

What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them. (Matthew 15:11)

Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.
(Proverbs 21:23)

Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
(Ephesians 4:29)

The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
(Proverbs 18:21)

Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues.
(Proverbs 10:19)

He Cares

Faith

FullSizeRenderWritten by: Melissa Lefevers

While I wear many, the one that is most rewarding and demanding for me is, Mom.

We put this hat on of Mom and instantly we are handed a Phd in medicine, a degree in culinary arts, and housekeeping. We are know-it-alls in every school subject, creator of all things crafty and super woman because we can do thirty things at a time all while balancing a baby on our hip.

It’s a typical day in the life of mom. We mend cuts and bruises. We cook, we clean, we do laundry, we help with homework and projects. We are also referee’s and chauffeurs. There are fights to be settled and the endless back-and-forth for school and activities. The list of things that comes under the “mom hat” is endless. I am sure your list is different than mine, but I bet your heart is similar.

I would also be willing to guess that you have felt the way I do right now. Like a failure. Somewhere along the way I believed that I had to be everything at all times to my three little people. Have you felt that way before? Am I the only one that feels this way?

I cant make the project the way he wants me to because I am really not crafty at all and my buffalo ended up resembling a lot more like a stick that go into a fight with an electrical socket. Fail.

I don’t have the answer to the homework because it’s been WAY to long since I did fourth grade math. Fail.

The kids are fighting over something ridiculous in the back seat of the car and I yell at them about it. Fail.

We try to be perfect and when we don’t measure up we feel like a failure. We feel guilty when we want two minutes of peace or an empty laundry basket. We feel guilty when we have to teach them a hard lesson and it really does hurt us worse. We feel guilty when we want to eat all the cake all by ourself and hide while we are doing it. (Ok…so maybe you don’t want to do that, but I do, and I feel guilty about that too)

We want our house and kids to look perfect and when it doesn’t we feel like such a failure. We get tired and exasperated and we just need a moment— and when it all comes crashing down we don’t always act the way we should.

Well, friends—God reminded me of a simple truth.

Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

Yes, He cares for me and you. I am not a failure, I am a mom who is trying to do her best to raise children in a crazy world. I am reminded that God cares about everything. He cares about me and he wants me to take all of my cares to him. Each and every one.

He cares about you.

He cares and knows that it is tough going through the terrible twos while you are nursing an infant.

He knows that it is hard when your first baby goes to kindergarten.

He knows that it is torture to feel like you never get any sleep because someone is always getting up in the night.

He knows that it is hard trying to balance a life with children and still have time for your husband.

He knows that life is crazy and sometimes we lose it.

He knows that watching your babies get older and go through life lessons is excruciating.

He knows it’s hard to learn how to let go when your baby is now a senior in high school.

You are not a failure as a mom when all of theses things get a little too much. God truly cares about you, and He loves you deeply.

Take all those cares to Him today sweet friend.

Strength Through His Eyes

Faith

FullSizeRenderWritten by: Melissa Lefevers

Have you ever had someone say to you “Well, you should try walking in my shoes?” Maybe you haven’t had someone say that to you but I am sure you have heard the phrase. The phrase simply implies you understand the other person’s specific circumstances.

I am sure you would agree with me that often we should try to do this very thing in our marriage. We should attempt to see life from our spouse’s point of view. I bet you would also agree that a man and a woman view things differently. I am pretty sure I heard a couple, “You’ve got that right”’s from all the way over here. We just see life differently and that’s okay because God made us uniquely different.

With this in mind, I asked my husband if he would help me out on the blog today. Week after week we come together on Wednesday and we talk about life and marriage. Yet, week in and week out they are from my point of view. I write about things that God has whispered to my soul, and lessons I have learned as a woman. I thought it would be fun, and interesting for a change, to get Eric’s point of view.

I asked him one question.

What is your definition of a helpmate?

We have talked on more than one occasion about our role to our husband, but I wondered what he would say. His answer was sweet, comforting and very interesting. Here is what he had to say:

I believe as a husband my role as a helpmate involves many things. My job is to support and encourage you and allow your dreams room to be fulfilled.  It is my job to lead our home biblically and be constant. I want to be there to hold you, comfort you, to be constant and never wavering. I will believe in you, brag on you and help in equipping you with whatever you need. I will shield you and protect you and provide for you. I want to learn more about you everyday. I also think in order for me to be a good help mate I must allow you to see my strengths and my weaknesses.

So after I stopped crying, I pondered all the similarities in our roles as helpmate to one another. I believe the support we lend to each other is the key. I am reminded of a verse in Proverbs:

Proverbs 31:25: Strength and honor are her clothing, and she can laugh at the time to come.

Normally this entire section of the Bible scares me because I often feel less of a women when I read it —but not today. Today taking a look through the eyes of my husband helps me gain a brand new perspective. Maybe, just maybe, the woman in this verse knows that not only because of her love for the Lord but also because of the support from her husband she is able to be all that she can be.

I can be confident of who I am in the Lord and still be virtuous, but when my spouse comes alongside me there in an increase in strength and we are able to laugh at the days to come. With Eric’s love and support and the never-ending love of my Saviour, I can get through anything. It encourages me to see things through my husband’s eyes and not just my own. It brings me comfort and peace to know that this is how God designed our marriages to be— the giving of ourselves to each other. In that giving we look more and more like Jesus and reflect His love to the world.

I pray your husband is your helpmate. I realize not all marriages are in a good place, but please know that there is comfort and safety in the arms of Jesus. If you are married, ask your husband what it means to be your helpmate and take a moment or two to venture in his shoes. I promise it will bring new perspective to your marriage relationship.

Ladies (and a few gentlemen I am sure) it is truly my pleasure to meet with you each week. I pray God has used these words to love on you in some way. Please know that even though we may never meet this side of heaven, I pray for you and hope you know that Jesus loves you more than anything!

A Season For Everything

Faith

IMG_6200Written by: Christianne Williams

My kids have always wanted to have pets. This began at an early age when our two oldest boys, then 2 and 4, received Beta fish for a Christmas gift. They would talk to their fish, read to them, stare at them, one day I even caught one of them right before he took the fish out of the tank to pet him. It didn’t matter that these slippery little creatures had no fur or paws, they were tiny friends to our boys. Now, at that young age our boys weren’t the best at following the proper feeding guidelines, so it was either a feast or famine if they were left to accomplish this task on their own.

I would always check on Gordie and Spike, to make sure there had been food added or to ‘fish out’ some if too much had been dumped. One morning while I was checking on them I noticed that Gordie was swimming close to the top, a little too close, and upon further inspection I noticed that he was belly up. I knew our son would be so disappointed by this, I didn’t know how to break the news to him, and I really wanted to avoid this conversation about loss. So, after I knew my husband would have arrived in his office, I snuck into the bathroom and called.
When I had him on the line, I whispered, “We have a problem, Gordie’s dead. You have to stop at the new one before he notices.” There was a huge gasp from the other end of the phone and a very loud and concerned, “WHAT??” followed. My husband sounded so upset, more that I think my son would’ve been. It baffled me. And then I knew….his uncle was also named Gordie and I hadn’t distinguished between which one I was speaking of.

He stopped listening after the first part of my declaration and was now panicking thinking something had happened to a family member.

Once we got the whole matter cleared up, he agreed to my plan to do the whole switcheroo to save our son the disappointment of loss. I left the dead fish in the tank all day, just hoping that neither boy would ask why Gordie was looking like that, and we made it through. When my husband came through the door, I occupied the boys while he made the exchange, and then we went on with our week. Our son never knew the difference, and we actually had three different Gordie’s and a couple of Spike’s.

Looking back on that event, as well as a few others, I feel we let our little ones down. The bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8:

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens; a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build. A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, at time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.

As parents, we wanted to shield them from the hurt but we missed the opportunity to teach them a valuable lesson about life. These verses in Ecclesiastes show us that there truly is a season for everything and that all of these things are in God’s control. We will experience most, or most likely all, of these things in our lives, and we will have opportunities to teach our children that they are normal processes and God is with us through them all. It important to seek God’s council in all things so that we can gain wisdom in how to respond to the situations we face so that we can exhibit Godly character, one that our kids will inherit. My prayer is that in the future I will be aware of the eyes watching me and the messages I’m sending, so that my kids will be able to fully trust God with their lives.

{Faith} A Warrior For Peace

Phil Bio PhotoWritten by: Phil Zinck

His name is Dylan.

He has leukemia. Chronic Myeloid Leukemia to be precise.

He’s 22 years old.

He’s a warrior for peace.

I boarded a plane in Halifax this week, heading out of town on business. I was just getting settled in my aisle seat when a friendly voice said “excuse me sir”. I looked up and this young man was politely gesturing to the windows seat next to mine. He sat down, we exchanged some surface comments (weather, sports) and then he put his headphones on. He had a pleasant look about him; a tired, pleasant look.

The plane was still taxiing to our runway when I glanced over and saw that he was asleep. “Must be nice”, I muttered to myself, as I cannot sleep on planes despite many efforts. Once in the air, the flight attendant came by offering something to drink which woke this young man up. Ours was a short flight and I was feeling a bit chatty, so once the flight attendant passed us I decided to see if he was up for small talk.

I hit him with my usual battery of leading questions to gauge his interest. He was. When I asked if he was heading home he said yes and then, with a tired smile still on his face he matter-factly told me that he was in Halifax for his latest round of chemo.

Now, bear in mind that I’m losing some of the high’s in my range of hearing, so after a short pause I asked “did you say Chemo, as in the treatment?” Not missing a beat, and the same smile on his face and in his eyes he said “yes”, and went on to explain that he has Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. They caught it early and it’s a slowly progressing form of leukemia so the treatments have been effective. But as this treatment is not available where he lives he needs to make regular trips to a facility “in the city”. Each treatment zaps his strength, explaining the tired look in his smiling eyes.

He went on to talk about cancer, but not in the way you may be expecting. Instead of talking about his plight – a young, bright man just about to make his mark in the world only to have his life plans de-railed by this terrifying disease – he shared the story of his lifelong friend who is battling an aggressive form of bone cancer. It has quickly spread thorough his friend’s body and the treatments to combat this form of cancer are both physically taxing and mentally debilitating. For the next 15 minutes this young man went on to share with me how his friend is struggling with this seemingly unbeatable cancer and how this young man’s purpose in life of this day is to use his own battle with cancer as a platform to speak hope and purpose into his buddy.

Our conversation gradually drifted into normal small talk; he talked about his career plans and aspirations. He asked about my work and seemed to be interested as he asked some good questions. Yet even as our conversation continued I was aware that there was a message God was imparting into my spirit through this “chance encounter.”

As we landed we introduced ourselves and which time he told me his name.

His name is Dylan.

On the outside a small framed, young man, whose hair was still growing back from the treatments, a pleasant but tired countenance with a smile that just would not go away.

On the inside, he is a warrior, fighting against the infirmities that are trying to wrestle life out of him. But it’s his resolve to fight the battle of hopelessness and strife in the lives of others despite the his own challenging journey, to give them peace and hope in the face of the most dire of circumstances, that makes Dylan a warrior for peace.

Later that day, as I meditated on our “chance encounter” the message that I felt God had imparted on me was pointing to one of character traits of a Godly person that Jesus shared on the Mount of Olives.

In Matthew 5:9 Christ said “God blesses those who work for peace for they will be called the children of God.” (NLT) When I’ve read this passage in the past my mind would go to those people passionate about social justice or committed to being a broker for peace in the midst of any conflict. But God used Dylan, a warrior for peace, to show me how I can work for peace in my everyday.

You see, it can be easy to work for peace – to speak hope and peace into the lives of others – when our lives seem to be running smoothly. But it takes the heart of a warrior, a warrior for peace, to look beyond our own valley experiences and remain passionate about sharing with others the message of hope and peace that comes from our living knowledge of a living Saviour.

That the heart of a Dylan, a warrior’s heart, a warrior for peace.