My husband took me to Ottawa for my birthday to visit a special woman...one of my Flickr contacts. I happened to be looking at one of her pictures on Flickr early last week and was reading her post when I read she was heading to Ottawa...she lives in Florida and Ottawa is only 2 1/2 hours from where I live. So I stepped out, sent her an email and asked if we could get together for coffee if she had time. I was kind of nervous to ask...fear creeps in and all that but I asked anyway.
I often wonder how many opportunities I miss because I allow fear to have so much power in my life. And those opportunities missed don't just affect me but others as well. I am the hands and feet of Christ...His image bearer here to bear witness to others of His love, grace, truth and mercy. As I get older I am learning more and more to overcome that fear...see age is a good thing :-) And so because I didn't allow fear to have it's way I was so blessed to be able to visit with Debbie and her friend Nancy.
Saturday night my husband came home from Curling, that's a whole other story, and I was telling him I had to take some baptism pictures at Church the next morning, he promptly told me I wasn't going to Church in the morning. I was somewhat confused...of course I was going to Church...I was on toddler room duty and now I was on picture duty as well. He told me again I wasn't going and went on to explain that we were heading to Ottawa bright and early Sunday morning to meet up with Debbie and Nancy to have a private tour of the Parliament buildings. I had no idea, I mean I knew we were heading to Ottawa but the original plan was to meet Debbie and Nancy for brunch on Monday morning. Apparently my husband had been emailing Debbie privately making plans.
We arrived early and waited by the Centennial Flame in front of the Parliament Buildings...this is where we had agreed to meet. I was excited and nervous at the same time. While we waited I took a bunch of shots of the Parliament Buildings...it was so quiet...hardly a soul was there. It was a beautiful cool but not too cold winter's morning.
My husband saw two women approaching and figured it must be them...I was nervous...I can feel a bit awkward when meeting new people, not quite knowing how to react/respond. But it was good and was nice to finally meet Debbie after having been Flickr contacts for two years. She introduced us to Nancy, a friend of hers who travelled with her to help with the conference Debbie was doing at Calvary Chapel in Ottawa. We hugged and said our hellos and headed to the Parliament Building for our tour.
Our tour guide was a young man who worked in Parliament, it was nice having a tour with such a small group. This young man was a Christian and it was neat hearing his perspective in regards to Parliament. He took us to some places which aren't normally open to the public. The last place he took us to was the Parliamentary Chapel. The five of us spent some time there and prayed...it was quite special to us to be praying for our government right there in the chapel on Parliament Hill. This was a highlight of our day. Here my husband and I sat and prayed with people we had just met and yet it seemed we had known each other for years...that is the Body of Christ that crosses all borders and is not bound by race, gender, status, age, etc. but united by the cross...what a huge blessing!
After our tour we said our goodbyes and would meet again Monday morning for brunch. My husband and I walked the streets a bit while I took some pictures. We visited a couple museums and then went to our hotel for the night.
Monday morning we headed to the home where Debbie and Nancy were staying. I was excited to be able to spend some time with them to talk and share life. Our visit the day before didn't give much opportunity for chatting. When we entered the kitchen I was surprised by happy birthday wishes, a delicious looking cake and a gift...I felt very blessed. Mart had told Debbie it was my birthday without me knowing it. He so much wanted to bless me on this day.
We ate a delicious breakfast together and shared life stories. Both Debbie and Nancy are such beautiful sisters in Christ who have a deep love for the Lord and His Kingdom work. My husband and I were both so comfortable chatting with them. We both felt spiritually refreshed in our time spend together. I was once again amazed that in the Body of Christ there can be such unity even among those we have just met.
Both Debbie and Nancy had quite the time getting to Ottawa, there were plane delays due to weather conditions and Debbie ended up spending a night in Chicago due to a cancelled flight. In her first email to me about getting together she was already at the airport waiting, here is what she said: "We were "waiting" in the air for an hour and a half because of all the snow! Can you believe I left my house at 9:30 this morning and I am still sitting here in Chicago airport and its 6:30 already!!!! Looking and praying for God opportunities..."let the God times roll" :)" In her next email she had this to report: "I am still stuck here in Chicago because of snow and hope to get to Ottawa tonight or so they say. I invited a 25 year old girl, Sarah*, to share a hotel room with me, she was also on the flight that I was that was cancelled...she had not slept for two days coming back from visiting a friend, her flights were cancelled like mine, and she prayed to receive Christ last night at 2:00 in the morning! Please join me in prayer for Sarah* and her new walk with the Lover of her soul : ) No wonder my flight was cancelled after waiting in the airport for 10 hours!" God is at work in so many places if we have the eyes and ears to see and listen for Him and respond.
We heard many other stories of God moving in the lives of these two women, it was so refreshing to hear. It encouraged me in my own walk...I am reminded of Hebrews 10: 23 - 25 "Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
This was such a special day for me, not just because it was my birthday but because I felt so in the presence of God and His people...there was a freedom that I felt. It's funny they had bought a birthday cake of course not knowing that for Lent I had given up cakes, cookies, chocolates and sweets. I told them about this and sat there debating with myself whether I should have a piece of this delicious looking cake. The perfectionist/legalistic side of me thought I shouldn't, I had committed to giving this up and so I should stick to it and just do it but then there was God's GRACE. So in the end I decided that for me this would be okay and I had a piece...guilt free and it was delicious :)
Our time together seemed too short, there was much more we could have talked about and maybe one day we'll see each other again...God knows. But I am thankful for the gift of time and fellowship that we did have.
On a side note as I hadn't finished this blog yet before my friend came over this afternoon. I opened the door to her arrival and she presented me with this beautiful carrot cake for my birthday. I asked if she wanted a piece with her tea and told her that I had actually given up cake, cookies, chocolates and all sweets for Lent. She told me the cake was made of vegetables, dairy, fruits and nuts so it should be okay :-) You know what...I had a piece...once again I think the Lord is teaching me something in this whole Lent thing...GRACE, apart from the Law and my ability to just do what I set my mind to. And so I consumed another piece of guilt-free cake and it was good...very good.
Gifts journaled for days 60 ~ 66
178. His precious Word...
179. A call and chat from the eldest son in TO
180. My Oma who turned 98!
181. Fun day trying a new sport - curling
182. A surprise from my husband
183. Youngest daughter and eldest son hanging out together
184. Meeting Debbie, Nancy and Daniel in Ottawa - what a blessing
185. Praying with Debbie, Nancy, Daniel, Mart and myself in the Parliamentary Chapel
186. Time away
187. Another year past - my birthday
188. Fellowship with two special ladies
189. A husband who blessed me tremendously!
190. Birds chirping in the morning - sounds of Spring
191. Beautiful sunshine
192. Small child's laughter
194. A God I can pray to
195. Colour and texture in God's creation
196. God...who sees and knows the big picture
197. Delicious birthday carrot cake from a friend - learning GRACE
198. That God works in me and through me
Love what the flame does in this image.
Debbie and me
Out on the streets...
Staying put...not peddling this one...
Sarah* not her real name