Thursday, 2 February 2017

Walking it out...

It's been almost two weeks since I left all I knew to go where the LORD has called us.  My days have been up and down.  At times I have wondered oh no what have I done, I could be here for two years or more.  But my time is in His hands.  I have shed many tears missing...



my neighbourhood

my church community

everything I knew

the normalcy of my life as I knew it  

This card hangs on our fridge to remind me of what is true.

There are many things in life that we grieve, it's not just the loss of a loved one.  All through life there are losses that we must face and experience.  It is a passage, not a place to stay and I have to remind myself that when the tears come, it's not weakness or's love that brings on those tears.  You can only grieve what you have loved and lost. 

My second night here I had an awful dream.  My husband and I were driving somewhere and suddenly he grabbed his chest, he was having a heart attack.  Fear and panic set in and I said to him, no, you can't leave me, you can't leave me!  Yet at the same time these words came to my mind as well, no, God is my ROCK, He is my ROCK, no matter what.

And it's true, He is my ROCK.  He doesn't call me here and leave me, He is with me.  It is He who guides my steps.  At times those steps will be filled with joy, other times sadness and pain. This journey, this life I live is a mixture of both joy and sorrow, you can't have one without the other.  

I said to my husband the other day that when it comes time to leave this place...when God calls us back, I want to have the same feelings of sadness as when I left my home to come here.  I want my heart to have rooted here in this community. 

The other morning I was reading Hebrews 13: 20 - 21, beautiful verses that speak God's love.  "Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.  

Jesus...that GREAT SHEPHERD, those words jumped out at me. He is my GREAT SHEPHERD...your GREAT SHEPHERD and the GREAT SHEPHERD of the men here at the Village of Hope.  He is the One who can refresh my soul.  The One who can guide me along the right path.  Even when I walk through the darkest of valleys, I need not fear for He is with me.

And so I know I'll be alright here because I can trust that He has led my husband and I here.  Life is different but He is here and it is good.   Most week nights my husband and I eat with the men, one of them works in the kitchen and makes the meals. And I think that's pretty cool, I feel blessed to be a part of their lives, even if it's only a small part.  I pray that each one of them who walks onto this property will know that Jesus wants to be their GREAT SHEPHERD.

Things to be thankful for...

3068.  Encouraging call from a man at church
3069. A day at home
3070. Dinner and fellowship with my family
3071. Visit and tea with a friend
3072. Gift from my sister-in-law and family...pepper grinder :-) 
3073. Homemade muffins from Kierra for our trip
3074. Peaceful morning at home on my last day
3075. Beautiful card from mom
3076. Heart felt goodbyes
3077. Prayer from friends, vehicle issues resolved 
3078. Safely at our new home

3079. A vase of flowers and groceries at our new home...settling in
3080. Beautiful surroundings
3081. Saw two foxes this morning
3082. Nice chat with Jocelyne
3083. Meeting the guys at the Village of Hope
3084. Quiet night with my husband
3085. God is my ROCK
3086. Church service at the Village
3087. Meeting new people
3088. A new day
3089. Fox running across the yard
3090. Bright morning sunshine
3091. Good meeting
3092. Dinner with the guys
3093. Chat with Charissa
3094. Working in the office
3095. Good chat with Matt
3096. Matt loves learning
3097. Everything encased in ice

An ice storm came through the Village of Hope last Tuesday and the next morning everything was encased in ice.  The slender birch trees were bent over, many the tops touching the ground.  It was a picture of many of the men who come to the Village, weighed down by wrong choices, brokenness and shame - bent but not fully broken.  I am reminded of Matthew 11: 28 - 30; "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."  As these men face the tough choices it takes to follow Jesus, believe His truths and walk in His ways, they will be like the birches, the ice slowly falling from their branches, freed to stand tall.

3098. God's hand in the mens lives
3099. Meeting some kids at the Village
3100. Video chat with Will, Amy and Lily
3101. Seeing Lily's beautiful smile
3102. Video chat with Charissa
3103. Input from Matt
3104. My husband
3105. Warm sunshine on my face
3106. Euchre with the guys
3107. Call from Matt, his kindness
3108. Visit with Evan, Kara and April
3109. Our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep
3110. My husband's care for my heart
3111. Games night with the guys
3112. Facetime with Will, Amy and Lily
3113. Jocelyne over for a visit
3114. Took a couple short hikes

3115. Knitting
3116. Good nights sleep
3117. Church service
3118. Getting to know new people
3119. Walk in the sunshine
3120. Talk with mom
3121. A call with friends
3122. Productive day with Erica
3123. Watching the guys floor hockey game
3124. A good day
3125. Beautiful, sunny winter's day
3126. Video call with Amy & Lily
3127. Walk on a super cold sunny morning
3128. Sunshine glistening on frost covered trees

3129. Quiet day at home
3130. Delicious dinner at Frank and Linda's
3131. Gorgeous winter morning
3132. Sun glistening on the snow

3133. God working through people to accomplish His purposes
3134. Visit with Kara and April

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Living the reality of the cost...

Back in November I had written a blog titled The Cost where I shared some of the journey my husband and I have been on over the last couple years.  I share how there is a cost in following Jesus and was I willing to pay that cost whatever it would be.  Often times we don't know fully what that cost will be but we have to consider all things...would I be willing to give up everything to follow Him.  I ended my blog with this: "And it hit me, Tina, the cost...have you counted the cost...can you pay it?  I realized at that moment...yes I have and I can in Christ as painful as it could be because my heart was to follow my LORD...wherever He would call me." 

At the time I didn't know for sure that the cost would mean packing my bags and moving a great distance away from my family, friends, neighbourhood and church community but I also knew that I had to consider it.  And so Thursday morning my husband and I head to New Brunswick for a season to involve ourselves in a men's addiction program called The Village of Hope.  I feel both sadness and excitement in this venture.

I'm excited to step out into this with my husband but at the same time my heart is sad.  There is so much I will miss about the life I have here, I have shed many tears already and I'm sure there are many more to come, but it's okay.  There is no greater place to be than in the midst of God's will for my life.  And that's not just a cliche christian statement, it's what I really believe.  There is peace in the midst of His will but He never said it would be free of pain or suffering.  What there will be from Him though is strength and comfort in the midst of pain and suffering.

Over the last number of weeks I have looked at things and experienced things in light of leaving, it's as though I've been more aware of the blessings in all of the little things...little things that I will miss.

The hum of life here

Walks with my daughter and Cooper

The beauty of where I live


Chats with my youngest

My nieces dropping by for a visit

The chatter and laughter of cousins hanging out

Children that have been a part of my life here that I will no longer see for a season

Being able to hop in the car and visit with my oldest, his wife and our granddaughter Lily

My animals

My parents who live next door

My neighbourhood and those who live here


Tea with friends

My daughter's smile

Morning walks with a friend

Daily sharing from my kids when they come home from school

My church family

That knock on my bedroom door when my son comes home at night

My siblings and their families

There's much more I could add, life is full here for me and I am so thankful.  But I also know God has a plan and purpose for me out in New Brunswick and that will unfold over time and I'm excited about that.  I know it won't always be easy, but we grow in the hard as we depend on Him for our strength.  This is just another piece of the beautiful story He is weaving for His Kingdom purposes.  I'm excited that I will be close to our oldest daughter, I look forward to hiking adventures with her, exploring a new landscape and capturing the beauty of God's creation through my lens and sharing it with all of you.

God is good and my life is in His hands to be used for His glory.

Things to be thankful for...

2932. A call from Jocelyne
2933. Open doors
2934. Beautiful gift from a friend

2935. Matt stepping out
2936. Courage
2937. Kayla hanging out here
2938. Charissa picked up groceries
2939. Knitting by the fire
2940. Facebook video call from Will...Lily smiles
2941. Early morning movie in bed with Charissa and Cooper
2942. A call from my husband and time to talk
2943. Life and purpose
2944. Twenty-fifth anniversary celebration
2945. My church community
2946. Snow
2947. Pizza dinner made by Charissa
2948. Waking up to a beautiful blanket of snow
2949. Matt plowed the driveways
2950. Dinner at mom's
2951. Going to the Friendship Christmas Pageant with Matt
2952. Chat with Jocelyne
2953. Tea and conversation with a friend
2954. Good news for Matt - passed a test
2955. Perseverance
2956. Sunlight sparkling on the snow
2957. Chatting with Kayla, Sarah and Charissa
2958. Horse farm memories
2959. Matt's been accepted into college
2960. My Pastor, a good man
2961. Gorgeous orange full moon
2962. Falling snow glistening in the sunshine
2963. Warmth of the wood stove on a cold day
2964. Beautiful snowy walk with Charissa and Cooper

2965. The beauty of winter
2966. Call from my husband, good to hear his voice
2967. Chat with Jocelyne
2968. Profession of Faith service
2969. Sunshine glistening on ice covered trees

2970. A game of Ticket to Ride with Charissa
2971. Tea and conversation with a friend
2972. Lots accomplished
2973. House cleaning with Charissa
2974. Beautiful morning
2975. Nice chat with my mother-in-law
2976. An elderly man's love and joy in his wife's recovery
2977. Matt and Kayla out picking up her puppy
2978. Charissa washed the kitchen floor
2979. Call from my husband, tomorrow he and Jocelyne come home!
2980. Gorgeous winter morning - winter wonderland

2981. Breakfast and conversations with friends

2982. My husband and Jocelyne are home!
2983. Catching up with my husband
2984. Stories shared
2985. Hearing the girls chatter

Our beautiful Charlie Brown tree...Jocelyne's serious look ;-)

2986. Walk with my husband and the girls

2987. Dreams shared
2988. Laughter
2989. Celebrating Kayla's birthday
2990. Kids all home for Christmas

Annual family shot in front of the tree - Lily looks the most awake :-)

2991. Family

2992. Beautiful gift from the kids

2993. Family games
2994. Lily's smiles
2995. Kids all out together
2996. Great visit with Will, Amy and Lily
2997. The way Lily always smiles at Matt and is intrigued by him

2998. Sister's laughing
2999. Early morning winter rainbow
3000. Colour
3001. Girls puzzling

3002. Great photo shoot with a beautiful family
3003. Afternoon out with my husband
3004. Beautiful snowfall
3005. Projects finished
3006. Chocolate
3007. Found what I was looking for
3008. Jessica over for a visit
3009. My husband and Matt having a good conversation
3010. Kayla and Sarah over for a visit

3011. Friends over for dinner and sharing
3012. Excitement over new things
3013. Walk in Vanderwater with the girls and dogs

Trying to get organized

Did it!

And then there was chaos :-)

3014. New Years Eve service
3015. Hanging out with friends
3016. The start of a new year
3017. Friendship
3018. Beautiful frost and morning sunshine
3019. Peaceful space while doing chores
3020. Help from my husband
3021. Singing in the kitchen with the girls
3022. Blessings

3023. Girls out bowling with my mom
3024. Sharing ideas, dreams and passions
3025. Dinner at mom's
3026. My husband's love for his children
3027. Jocelyne safely home
3028. Sunlight breaking through the clouds and snow squalls
3029. Delicious meal at my sister-in-laws
3030. Catching up and sharing hearts
3031. Good visit with my husband's uncle
3032. Nice time spent with Will, Amy and Lily
3033. Beautiful Lily, full of life
3034. Thoughtful gift from my sister's
3035. A nice visit and dinner with my sister's and their families
3036. Coming home to a clean house
3037. My church family
3038. Challenging message
3039. Charissa and her dad out for a walk
3040. Softly falling snow
3041. Firewood from friends
3042. The two youngest off to college
3043. Words of encouragement and blessing
3044. Snow storm
3045. Listening to the chatter of Charissa and Kayla in the basement
3046. Pink tinged clouds in the morning sky
3047. Sunlight & shadows dancing across my bed
3048. Visit with the Broekema kids, fun in the snow
3049. Tobogganing

3050. Friends, hearts shared
3051. Morning walk and talk with a friend
3052. Facetime with Amy & Lily
3053. Connections, tea with a friend
3054. Kind words and encouragement
3055. Lily and her mom over for a visit
3056. Chat in the woods with my dad
3057. Nice visit with our neighbours and a beautiful card
3058. Dinner out with my husband
3059. Kevin's encouragement
3060. The love and encouragement from my church family

3061. Tea with friends
3062. One last morning walk with a friend
3063. Lunch with my mom and some shopping at David's Tea
3064. Visit with a friend, her excitement over our new venture
3065. Dinner and a visit with my husband's mom, sister & brother-in-law
3066. Laughter
3067. Matt sharing what he's learned with me