Hindsight…

For a little while now I really believed I was doing fine with being back in Canada. Content and enjoying a new season. I’ve seen His timing in everything. I didn’t realize til looking back just how much stress we carried in our bodies while living there. And this isn’t to put Honduras down or anything, because I dearly love Honduras and it’s people with all my heart.❤️ I always will.

However there are things I don’t miss and in hindsight I realize brought a lot of trauma. Certain things became the norm. Things we can’t unsee. Things that even now break me when I remember. I truly believe God’s hand of protection covered us while we lived there. We may never know to what extent or how many times harm was diverted from our lives. ( I think of all the times I walked ALONE to and from Walmart with groceries) I don’t think twice about doing that here and the difference is I carry my purse and wear my wedding bands.) Even though we were robbed twice, and our precious puppy poisoned, I still see His protection those times. I know it could have been much worse if I’d woke up and confronted the intruders.

So today when Dale and I were talking about Honduras and whether we would still be there if the pandemic hadn’t happened. Dale replied “maybe” and then out of the blue I couldn’t finish my thoughts because I started bawling and the tears started flowing. “When we first moved there, I thought we’d be there forever.”

It’s ok to have days where grief catches you off guard. It’s all a part of the process. I’m so thankful for His grace. His presence in our lives. He was with us in Honduras and He is with us now, ordering our steps. One day at a time.

On having an impact…

When we knew we were going to be moving back to Canada, I knew I would need to find employment. I definitely did not want to be sitting around my house all day with too much time on my hands. Boring.. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to be doing home daycare again…though I did enjoy it once upon a time. I definitely did not want to be as busy, should I decide to go that route. I look back and wonder how I managed, especially since we still had three kids at home. Eight years ago when we were preparing to leave Canada I was ready for something new. But here we are, our journey in Honduras over…and I am back doing the one thing I have known for most of my married life and truly enjoying it. I laugh Every. Single. Day. It’s like things have come full circle.

Recently I received the sweetest message from a young man who I once babysat in my little home daycare about eighteen years ago. He had seen my post about the funny thing one of my littles had said, and about the donut making, and reached out. He thanked me for being so great to him as a child, and he sometimes still looked back and remembered my kindness to him..love and laughter. He updated me on his life, how he is in management where he works, how one day he’d like to come visit. I may have cried a little. His message meant the world and made my day. I shared with him that it was because of him and his mom that Dale and I started foster parenting…which eventually led to us adopting those foster kids and having a forever family.. He had no idea. But truly, if he had not been part of my home daycare all those years ago, Dale and I would never have looked into or considered foster parenting and would have remained childless. Now here we are years later, our kids now grown; one of them has a child of his own. Our first grandson.

You see, you never know who God will put in your life and how it may change the course of your life forever. You never know the impact you will have on someone else’s life…

So I guess my question is…who do you need to reach out to today? Who needs to hear from you and be encouraged ?

 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1Thessalonians 5:11

Nothing is more appealing than speaking beautiful, life-giving words. For they release sweetness to our souls and inner healing to our spirits. Proverbs 16:24

Thoughts on more restrictions

“When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take if full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. He takes no pleasure in making life hard, in throwing roadblocks in the way. Lamentations 3:28-33 MSG

Yesterday when I read the new restrictions for Ontario I was hit with waves of sadness and discourgement. Life definitely feels heavy right now. It feels like too much. BUT, I know we will get through it. I know God is for us and not against us. I know we can run to Him and cling to Him. He will see us through. We can cling to His faithful promises. We desperately need his strength, grace and patience as we navigate these trying times. As Christians we are not promised a trouble free life..quite the opposite. But we are promised he will never fail or abandon us. He sees us and we are not alone. He is with us in this storm! I am writing these things for my own benefit too, because I can let the current state of things get to me and become an emotional mess thinking of what I can and can’t do…my family that I long to see….It’s so important to shift our focus..

Philippians 4:8,9 And now, dear brothers and sister, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, honorable, an right, and pure, and lovely and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. Keep putting into practice all you learned and received from me—everything you heard from me and saw me doing. Then the peace of God will be with you.

I was telling Dale I sure would not want to be premier Doug Ford right now. I can’t imagine the stress he must be under and the burden he is carrying having to make extremely difficult decisions, impacting our lives, knowing so many people hate his guts right now. Friends, we should be lifting him up in prayer that God gives him wisdom and direction at this time. Not name calling. I’ve been guilty of calling the government a bunch of jerks…which is not the right attitude.

I am grateful we were allowed during this current lockdown to have in person church. Even at fifteen percent…that was a blessing! So, after this Sunday we can no longer met for a while..but we will get through it and hopefull we will be even stronger when it’s all said and done. ..because we are anchored in Him.

A few lockdown thoughts…

The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever..Isaiah 40:8

In Ontario we are in yet another lockdown/stay at home order. There is a weariness. People are tired. People are over it. So many emotions. Anger. Frustration. Loneliness. Despair. Hopelessness. Fear.

I felt a few of these things while strolling through the aisles of Walmart the other day, at the roped off sections not for purchasing. The rules keep changing.

I really feel for parents who have been told their children will not be going back to school for in person learning after Spring break. At first they were told indefinitely…now it has been changed to two weeks….which we know could very well change. So very hard. I worry and pray for the mental health of these parents and children. People need people, and we were not created to live life in isolation.

There is so much division over many things, especially amongst those of us who are followers of Christ. I think that is the one thing I find the most burdonsome in all this. I don’t know if I was prepared for it when we moved back to Canada. And I am not talking about anyone specific. When we were in Honduras, I saw it from afar, on social media. I have so many thoughts on this and I have wept over them, but there is fear in expressing them that I will offend or wound and I don’t ever want that. But maybe one day I will write a post on all these thoughts on here..when I can find the words to adequately express myself.

In closing, I will say this..although everything is changing in our temporary, fragile world,and nothing is the same….there is hope in Jesus. The One who never changes. He hears us when we cry out to Him and He can handle our honesty.

” O my people, trust him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge. Psalm 62:8

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

“So take a new grip with your tired hands and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.” Hebrews 12 :12

Another God moment..

Below is one more thing I shared on social media but again I am posting it here for future reference…

treausre found in a thrift store…

If you have ever been to Honduras and visited Valle de Angeles, a market, or any touristy place, you have no no doubt seen beautiful carved boxes just like this. So, last week when I was in a thrift store looking for toys for the children in my care…you can imagine my surprise and JOY in finding this wooden box sitting on a shelf in the housewares department. I hadn’t even planned in browsing in that area and said, “No way!” when I saw it. Of course I put it in my cart along with the toys and clothing. I couldn’t believe I’d found such a treasure and may have shed a few tears on the walk home. I didn’t even notice the word Honduras carved in the lower left hand corner until Dale later pointed it out to me.

Maybe it’s a coincidence I found it…but I kind of feel like God wanted me to see it sitting there as a little reminder of the country I love and miss, some days more than others. Part of my heart will always be there. God sees us. He knows our hearts and He is good.

I will praise you Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you’ve done.. Psalm 9:11

A hug from God…

Below is once again a post I shared on Facebook but because I don’t want it to get lost on my timeline I am sharing it here.

February 3

Yesterday I began doing childcare in my home after many years of not working in that field. How it all came to be is a God thing….no doubt in my mind and maybe it is a story I’ll one day share.

When the children’s mom came to pick up her girls, she gave me this beautiful grey and white sherpa blanket. It was a gift with grocery points or something, she explained..and she had so many and heard I was always cold. Would I like it? Well of course. I love cozy blankets. And I am always cold.

What she didn’t know was in Honduras I had a sherpa blanket I absolutley loved. It was my favorite. There was a bit of sentimental value attached to it and I had wanted and planned on bringing it back with me. But in the end there was no room in my luggage, so I ended up giving it away to one of our staff. It was also grey and white…although patterned.

So yesterday when I sat on the couch, wrapped up in the warmth of this blanket…it literally felt like a hug from God. The blanket I had in Honduras wasn’t lost in the shipment or destroyed like everything else..it was something I GAVE away. To have a similar one restored….I’m still trying to process it. God’s tender loving care and grace during this season has been nothing short of amazing. I haven’t even shared all of it. There has been so much more.

I know that difficult times will arise again, but I will always look back on this season and on His faithfuness and recall how He provided in the midst of much loss, pain and disappointment. And I will remember that during hard seasons we can know He never leaves us. He is right here with us, writing every chapter, caring for our hearts like the loving Father He is.

The God of abundance..

From His abundance we have recieved one gracious blessing after another. John 1:16

I realized the other day that I have been continually sharing on social media stories of restoration but I had not shared any of this on the blog. I have not even shared all of how He has blessed us. It’s been overwhelming. Eventually these posts will be lost on social media and because I never want to forget I am sharing them here.

January 27

We had a surpise delivery from Amazon. I cried when I opened the box, saw the contents and read the note from a missionary friend in Europe. Such unique and beautiful pieces….measuring cups that nestle together to form a mason jar, the spoon rest, and measuring spoons…the perfect colour for my kitchen and also in my style.

After returning to Canada, it was a difficult blow to learn of our loss and yet through all the tears and disappointment, we have seen God’s love and care for us, oftentimes through others. He has been faithful in every step of our transition, even when we were too overwhelmed to see it. So much of what we lost has been restored.

January 31

A little while ago a missionary friend from Honduras reached out to me. She wanted to host a Pampered chef party for me to help me recover lost things from my kitchen. At first I was reluctant and wanted to decline because really we had enough, we had what we “needed” with the excpetion of a few things. Also it is awkward asking for help. Yet, because of that party I received what you see in the photo below and ths isn’t even all of it. I’ve never once been the owner of a cast iron skillet but now have a set of two which I know I will use often. So blessed. God has been so good during this transition, blessing abundantly. It’s almost been overwhelming and I’ve been brought to tears more than once when I think of it.

You see, in the beginnning when we learned of the loss of our things, it was devastating. I knew we had to release it ….let it go, but it still hurt. But even more devastating to me was what felt like the loss of God’s favor and blessing over our lives. Of course it wasn’t true. I see that now. But it felt like that and I wept a lot because of it.

And then little by little in big ways and small, things have been restored. A lot of things in my favorite colour, my tastes. And he showed me that from the very beginning he was caring for us. …starting with when a friend who is also petite, blessed me with a bag of warm clothes when I had very little in storage at my parent’s.

A very wise woman told me that if everything had gone as planned with our shipment God would not have received as much glory as He is in the loss. That by sharing about His blessings and provision in our lives, He is getting the glory. He is a good Father! It has been a difficult road for sure, but He never stops being good!

You crown the year with a bountiful harvest. Even the hard pathways overflow with abundance. Psalm 65:11

Fresh start…

A couple of years ago at Christmas, Dale gave me the journaling Bible I’d been wanting. I have my favorite compact Bible that is market up with notes, dates, and sticky notes, and I would be lost without it. It is still my go to Bible, even though its cover is actually duct tape because my pet rabbit at one time, ate it years ago. But I wanted a Bible that had more space in the margins to write notes about how certain passages spoke to me. And once I was gifted with that Journaling Bible I began write notes, answer the journaling prompts, add sticky notes if I ran out of space….dated certain passages. However, due to its weight, I decided to put it in the shipment with our other belongings, and of course you all know our shipment was destroyed.

Dale knew my disappointment over losing my Bible and found another one on sale and ordered it for me. It arrived today. Of course my notes and the ways God spoke to me at different times are not written in the margins …and that is kind of sad. But in a way it’s like I’ve been gifted with a clean slate, a fresh start, a new beginning. God will still speak, and once again the margins of this Bible will begin to fill with whatever He lays on my heart. Change is hard, but God is good. And like I said in another post…we can’t grab hold of what God has for us in this new season if we’re still holding onto what is in the past, or what used to be.

Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wildnerness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.

Thoughts on making a difference..

My friend Jody posted this beautiful photo on Facebook that brought some thoughts to mind..

It doesn’t make a difference whether we are somewhere in the mountains of Honduras or in a neighborhood community in Ontario during lockdown. We can still be a light to those who are broken. To those who need Him. So many need him and don’t even know it. So many are walking around in fear and anxiety during these uncertain times. And those of us who know the Lord walk around carrying HOPE inside of us. That’s my desire… that I would be a light to those I meet. That I would bring hope to someone who needs it. Who knows…maybe it could start with dropping off homemade bread or chocolate chip cookies.

I admit, I didn’t have the best attitude when we came out of quarantine towards my fellow Canadians. I had a couple not so nice encounters right at the start. The time I was given the evil eye for accidently going the wrong direction in the grocery aisle, or being told “You need to stand up young lady!” Or being ploughed into and nearly knocked to the ground in another store by someone claiming not to see me. I remeber telling Dale that “Canadians are sooo Rude!”

I don’t find that to be reality anymore. I now realize what it is . Those were just transition pains. The struggle to fit in and adjust to a culture I once knew and yet one that is not the same as it was when we lived here, before we moved to Honduras.

I’ve met a few of my neighbors and they are kind and friendly. I’ve had some great conversations with a few people. Heard their stories of how they immigrated to Canada, and remember their names. Shared about Honduras. I am truly praying God will put some Spanish people in my path too. I miss conversing in Spanish and fumbling my way through. I am praying I will be a light to my neighbours. To those I have met and and have yet to meet. For more opportunities to share about how great our God is….and the hope we have in Him.

Psalm 96:3

Publish his glorious deeds among the nations. Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

Rooted….my word for 2021

When the root is deep, there is no reason to fear the wind. …author unknown..

As I’ve thought and prayed over what I want the theme of this coming year to be, “Rooted” is the word I keep coming back to. It’s the word I want to define my life by. I long to be someone who is rooted in Him. Someone rooted in the Word.

“Let your roots grow down into him and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:7

If there is one thing I’ve learned in 2020…a crazy year full of uncertainty, change, loss, pain and division for so many of us…is the importance of staying connected to Him. The importance of reading and knowing His Word. The importance of having my quiet time each morning, and just being still in His presence. The importance of being rooted. Because if I am rooted in Him, I won’t fall apart quiet as easily. Though there are tears…there is strength in Him.

1 Samuel 30:3 When David and his men saw the ruins and realized what had happened to their families, they wept until they could weep no more.

vs 6b…But David found strength in the Lord his God.

I don’t think I have ever cried as much as I have this past year. Can anyone else relate? Upheaval. Everything canceled. Isolation. Lockdowns. Change. 2020 was a year none of us will forget, much as we want to just put it behind us. And yet…despite all the pain of this past year, I somehow feel stronger. There was growth.

Change is not always growth but growth is often rooted in change…author unknown...

I feel like God “uprooted” us from our life in our beloved Honduras and transplanted us back in Canada. And as a friend pointed out when I shared my word of the year with her…”it’s time for us to lay down fresh roots.” I hadn’t even thought about that when I had chosen my word and yet it certainly rings true. It’s a new season. Fresh roots. New growth.

But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a river bank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worreid about long months of drought. Their lives stay green and they never stop producing fruit. Jeremiah 17:7-8

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. Ephesians 3:16-17