We Choose Joy {Sisterhood Sunday} with D’Anne Mullin

With: Cindy Morrone

Welcome!!! To our Sisterhood Sunday video series, “We Choose Joy!!”  You don’t want to miss this one!! D’Anne, one of our very own writers, lays a concrete foundation of how we are able to choose joy in our every day, with intentional habits of devotion!! Listen in as she shares how choosing joy, despite a difficult life circumstance, changed her ability to cope.

D’Anne Mullin lives in Windsor, ON with her husband Kevin and two teenage boys Jeremey and Mitchell; the three men who have stolen her heart!  She loves being a wife and mother, holding very dear times spent together as a family.  Together, Kevin and D’Anne have been in active pastoral ministry for most of their 21 married years and she loves to lead people in worship through music.  She has worked with young children and their families for 20 plus years in the field of Early Childhood Education in many capacities.  In her spare time D’Anne enjoys reading, exercising and the occasional Netflix binge with her menfolk.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Written by: D’Anne Mullin

Growing up I was known to my extended family as the princess, Snow White.  I came in to the world with dainty features, a head full of jet black hair, creamy porcelain skin, navy blue eyes and a red rosebud mouth.  Those distinct features didn’t change as I progressed through infancy into childhood and caused me to stand out in the crowd with the contrast between dark and light.  I can thank my Irish roots for my unique colouring and tip my hat to my creator for His imagination in creating each one His masterpieces.

As homage to my family nickname Snow White, and to my late Grandfather who first bestowed the name upon me, I incorporated Snow White into our wedding day.  Snow White, Prince Charming and the Seven Dwarfs topped our cake.  My wedding dress, though white, was styled to echo her attire.  My groom wore a very princely tux with tails.  The colours to accent our fairytale day echoed those you would find in Snow White’s friendly forest.

Through the years I have also been compared to another raven-haired princess due to my feisty personality, deep convictions and drive for justice in life.  I tend to rise to the occasion in crisis and lead others forward into the adventurous unknown.  That dark featured warrior princess I tend to emulate is Wonder Woman and she is my hero!

During my school yard days, pretending to be Wonder Woman was my favourite pastime.  The adventures my friends and I had fighting for truth and justice were epic!  To date, you will find Wonder Woman paraphernalia in my office and the new Wonder Woman movie recently released was my girlish dreams come to life.

I guess you could say I embody the “little but mighty” persona, with a zeal for life, a big imagination and high hopes for good in our world.  These attributes found in both princesses I am compared to.

But, when I look into the mirror each morning, and see the passage of time ever fleeting across my fair face, the one princess I most want my whole life to emulate is the princess of the King Most High.  In fact, I am a daughter of the King of all Kings and the Lord of all Lords.  I am heavenly royalty and co-heir with the Son.  I am fashioned in God’s image and made to lead and love like Christ.  I am a spiritual warrior endowed with the most powerful weapons this world has ever known; the Word of God, His armour and the Presence of the Holy Spirit in me.  I am a force to be reckoned with in the spiritual realm, yet meant to exercise the Fruit of the Spirit with all who cross my path.

You too, Daughters, are heavenly royalty with me!  We, together as princesses of our heavenly Father the King, can love others with all the femininity that makes us distinctly women, but bring down strongholds with our warrior strength!  We are integral to His work here on earth and have a glorious future ahead of us on the other side of life.

So, the next time the mirror beckons you to look, and you ask it, “who is the fairest one of all?”, just know that it is you…and me…and we…TOGETHER!  Let’s truly step out in the full confidence of our heavenly royalty, grasp who we truly are in Christ and change our world for all eternity!

But, I still get to be Wonder Woman!  Na, Na…I called it first! 😊

He Knows

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ConnyWritten by: Conny Varga

Life can be hard, sometimes even seemingly impossible. Things happen that are out of our control, and we are left feeling alone, hurting, and wondering if we can go on even one more minute. These struggles are real, and sooner or later we all face them.

But there is good news! We have a God who wasn’t content just to care for us. He chose to become one of us, to experience everything we could possibly ever experience in a lifetime, to feel and know and understand exactly how we feel!

Hebrews 4:14-16 states: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

This Easter season, as we remember the suffering and death of our Lord, may we also dwell on all our different struggles and hardships He can now identify with.

Have you been let down by a friend or loved one? Jesus knows how you feel. In the time of His greatest need, all His friends left Him, running off like scared rabbits.

Maybe you feel betrayed, cheated, back-stabbed – Jesus knows your pain. One of his closest companions betrayed Him behind His back, and then hypocritically came and used a kiss, a symbol of affection, to sell Him off to His enemies.

Do you feel stress and anxiety over an upcoming change or event? Jesus knows your anguish. Just shortly before His arrest, He was so anxious and distressed that His sweat was like great drops of blood falling to the ground.

Are people mocking you, sneering at you, and spreading bad rumors about you? Jesus knows that feeling, too. The religious leaders stirred up the mob, who just a few days ago hailed Jesus as King, with outright lies and rumours, and the Roman soldiers mocked and beat Him, spit in His face and laughed at Him.

Perhaps you are struggling with physical pain. Jesus understands. He went through excruciating, debilitating physical agony and pain. Isaiah calls Him a “man of suffering, familiar with pain.”

Maybe you are being accused of something that you are completely innocent of. Yes, Jesus can identify with that as well – being called a traitor and blasphemer while being tortured and killed, even though He was the very image of sinlessness and purity.

Maybe you have tragically lost a loved one who was very dear to you and you wonder why God would allow that. And yet again, He knows your deep pain. God tragically lost a Son, His only Son, due to the wickedness of mankind.

Maybe you have been tempted to sin and you failed, your sins and mistakes now weighing you down. You cannot see past your guilt. Good news – Jesus knows how that feels, too. In fact, He experienced the horrible and unbearable weight of the sins and guilt of every single human being who ever lived, and ever will live. He knows what it’s like to feel separated and distant from His Father. And He knows what it’s like to be tempted to sin.

Whenever you go through a struggle, and you feel that you are all alone, that no-one understands, and you are drowning, know this: Jesus knows how you feel! He cares deeply about you in all your struggles, and He is interceding on your behalf to the Father. “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” He knows – and that makes all the difference!

I Wonder…

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_49A8991Written by: D’Anne Mullin

As you may or may not know, this week, the week before Easter, is commonly referred to as the Holy Week.  Starting with Palm Sunday, progressing towards Christ’s death and resurrection, this is a time where we hold fast to the promise that we serve a Saviour who died for our sins and rose again, defeating death and the grave.

In recounting the Holy Week, as it unfolded some 2000 years ago, my mind can’t help but wander to what Jesus was thinking.  How He knew that in just a few short days he would be crucified.  I wonder how overwhelmed the disciples felt when everything came to a head and all they had left were unanswered questions.  I wonder how God felt, sending his one and only son to the cross to be the sacrifice to end all sacrifices.  I further wonder if the women, whose lives intersected with Christ’s and were transformed by his mercy, love and grace, were part of the crowd and what were they feeling?

I think of one lady in particular; the one with the issue of blood.  This woman had been suffering from this condition for twelve years.  She had given all of her money to physicians, but to no avail.  She was at the end of her rope.  She just could not deal with the pain and disgrace any longer.  She needed a miracle and heard that Jesus was in town.  Getting as close to Jesus as she could, in her ‘unclean’ state, she reached out and touched the edge of his cloak.  Immediately the pain was gone.  She knew the bleeding had stopped.  She was healed.  She tried to hide, but Jesus knew she had touched Him.  He always knows.  He confronted her with a love she had never experienced before.  Her heart exploded with love for her new-found Messiah.

Fast forward to Holy Week.  I wonder if she had come to Jerusalem for Passover.  I wonder if she just wanted to catch a glimpse of the One who healed her.  I wonder how excited she was to see Jesus coming into Jerusalem on a colt.  I wonder how distraught she was when everything went sideways and Jesus was hung on a cross.  The bible and history do not tell us if this lady was there, but if she was, I can only imagine her reaction of sheer terror when she saw the events of “Easter” unfold before her eyes.

This lady was given her life back by the One who just lost His.  “How can this be,” she thinks.  I wonder if she stayed in Jerusalem, trying to compose herself enough to go home when, all of a sudden, word starts to spread through the city like fire in the desert.  “Jesus’ tomb is empty,” she hears.  “The stone has been rolled away,” another reports.  I wonder how long it took her to realize that the prophecies had rang true and Jesus truly was the Messiah.  I wonder if she always knew, deep down inside.

So, Daughters, as the Holy Week unfolds before us, let us rejoice that we have the full story.  Jesus died and rose again and lives eternal at the right hand of the Father.  He is the Saviour and Redeemer of the world.  Let us never allow Easter to become a tradition or a celebration of time off work.  It is a time of clarity for us in the modern age.  A time of truth and victory.  A time of deep joy and celebration as we lift high the name of Jesus and His work on the cross!

In Him There Is No Darkness At All

Written by: Mandy Lawrence-Hill

Have you ever, in the heat of the moment, had to choose between something right or something you knew was wrong, and you chose to do the wrong thing?

I am ashamed to admit it, but I have chosen wrong on many occasions. I’ll bet, if you’re being honest, you’ve chosen similarly a time or two as well.

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

Recently, I started studying the book of 1 John through Wendy Blight’s new book “I Am Loved: Walking In The Fullness of God’s Love”. Wendy has captured my heart through her previous studies and I am not at all disappointed with this newest addition to her writings! As I was studying the word yesterday, God used those moments with Him to begin to heal some of the shame I have felt from choosing poorly in the past.

We cannot escape our sinful nature. Our flesh is drawn to sinful behaviour. However, with the Lord as our Saviour, our heart is drawn to Him (the light) and so this inward battle ensues. Our flesh is pulling us one way and our heart the other.

I began searching to find ways in which to escape this battle and how to only pursue the light. I want to make ONLY good choices! My hopes were quickly dashed as scriptures began flooding my mind:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” —Romans 3:23
So, how do we escape the hopelessness that comes when we realize we simply cannot escape the temptation to choose wrong?

We pursue the light.

We fight with a holy passion to not only know and experience Jesus, but also transform our lives to mirror His. We become like Him. We are intentional about reading the word, praying, fasting and worshipping. And, knowing that we will never arrive to a time or place where we are only presented with the right choice and that our flesh will always be drawn to sinful tendencies, we are always on our toes preparing and anticipating the inevitable. But also fully understanding that the more we become like Him….the more we are going to choose the right thing. Because;

“God is light, in him there is no darkness at all.”

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?