Tuesday, January 29, 2013

"A moment from the bubble bath." by Heather Speers


Okay so this is the coolest thing!!! I have been praying... I typically have posts lined up and waiting in my inbox for the right moment and time to post it... and for the first time in about a year... I was empty... and didn't know what I should post. But I also didn't feel the push to start my next "batch" of requests!!! Okay okay so here is the really cool thing... Today out of the blue a friend of mine asked if she could share something that she wrote yesterday... and I thought ya sure... I love hearing stories... and she shared this.... BEAUTIFUL!!! O my goodness... what a wonderful insight into her mothering and a challenge to remember to embrace all those little moments with our children... and a reminder of the consistent web of God's hand teaching us through life!!! Instantly I asked if I could share it on here... so enjoy... this is a God moment.
 
SOOO it's my pleasure today to introduce you to Heather Speers. A beautiful woman!! One thing that I respect A LOT about Heather is how genuine she is!!! There is no mask, no pretences. She is a real mother, wife and woman choosing to learn and grow and follow God with all of her heart!! It has been a pleasure to from a distance notice all the little journeys over the years that Heather has shared about. So I am even more thrilled to be able to share this moment she had with her babe where God spoke to her and taught her from a seemingly simple opportunity!!!
 
Thank you Heather for sharing... thank you for being willing to send this... what a pleasure to have you be a part of our journey... a part of Passionate Women!!! Blessings to you and your husband as you continue to serve the Lord with all of you hearts and raise two men and a little lady of faith!!!
 
 
 
***************************
 
 
 
"A Moment From The Bubble Bath"
by Heather Speers.
 

Yesterday I was enjoying a snow day off of school with my 3 kids. My 5 year old daughter, who is the middle child, really wanted to have a bubble bath. My youngest son was in bed sleeping, and my eldest was lost in the world of Lego at the kitchen table, so I took the time to spend a few moments with my daughter, drawing her a bath. She got into the water and asked me if I would put my feet into the water and sit with her. In my mind I had a to-do list a mile long that was just waiting to be tackled, especially since my 8 month old was sleeping. But I purposefully took the time to sit with my daughter and put my feet in the tub.

Opportunities for moments like these can quickly pass by without our knowledge of how encouraging they can be. My daughter and I talked about her friends at school, about what she wanted to be when she grew up and about drains. Where do drains go, what happens to things in drains, the safety of our possessions around drains, etc. I told her to be careful with jewelery around sinks/drains. Earrings could be lost, so could rings. And we started the conversation about wedding rings and marriage, and symbols of love. I took off my wedding ring to show her the band and that is when the lesson I was to learn became apparent.

Now if I did not sit for a moment, quiet the whirling to-do list, and have a meaningful conversation with my 5 year old about marriage, I would have missed what I'm about to share with you.

When I took off my wedding ring to allow my daughter to hold on to it, I noticed something. On the inside of my band there is an opening where the diamonds sit and you can see right through the diamonds to the other side (though not clearly, but to allow the light to shine through). However, when I examined the inside of the band I noticed that it was completely dark. I could not see the individual diamonds. From the outside, the ring looked normal. I had ten little diamonds in a row on my band, doing their job of representing my commitment to my husband in marriage.
What I did not realize was that I had neglected to take care of the backside (behind the scenes) of the ring (the marriage commitment). I quickly acknowledged my error, and grabbed an old toothbrush and began to clean out the crud blocking the light.

How often do we go on auto pilot in our marriages, just humming along and thinking that everything is ok? From the outside view, everything looks great, functioning just as it should be. But when do we stop and take a moment to reflect, and polish up our commitment to our spouse? When do we examine our relationship or our attitudes toward our spouse to see if they need a little polishing?
I sat there in repentance, knowing that I needed to sweep away crusty attitudes, shine up what we have together as a couple, and to press on as a tightly knitted unit. When I cleaned behind my diamonds, guess what happened? I could actually see through to the other side. And you know what else happened? From the outside, everything sparkled just a little brighter.

    Friday, January 25, 2013

    "Whole" By Taigan Bombay

    Well I am so excited to share this with you!!!! I have the pleasure of introducing this blog by Taigan Bombay!!! This amazing woman has held a very dear part of my heart since I was surprised with a birthday party about 7 years ago. Her friendship is a gift that I will treasure for a lifetime!!! (It also helps that her husband and my husband were room mates and best friends in Bible College.) Taigan's journey into marriage and motherhood has been incredibly exciting to watch. Possibly because she is one of the most genuine women I have ever met. Never mincing words or pretending to be something she is not... she has taken on every stage with tenacity and a willingness to learn and grow. Her love for God and heart to serve Him with everything has translated into a blog that I have been following called  Selah: Praise and Meditation A Blog by Taigan Bombay I encourage all of you to take a moment and check it out... It is AMAZING!!! SOOOOO easy to read, and you can pretty much relate to everything she writes as she puts into words what God is teaching her from day to day.

    Taigan... I am honored to be a friend and to share life with you!! I am proud of the woman you have become!! From meeting you at the tail end of your teens to seeing you mature into an incredible mother and wife. I have really enjoyed reading your thoughts over the last couple years in your blog!!! You are an incredible writer and I pray that you will continue to see blessing and favor in every area of your life!!! (Be sure to tell your hubby I love him too... and kiss that adorable little baby that I will meet some day soon!!!)






    *******************************
     
     
    "Whole"
    By Taigan Bombay



    Often times I find myself asking God why He uses the people that He does. Why does one gain fame? Another "become" rich? Why do some people have the ability to talk to anyone at anytime? How do the most

    unlikely people rise from the worst of circumstances, and become great?

    Since the beginning of the year I haven't been able to get the word


    whole out of my mind. The last few days it has been rolling around in my heart, and I feel like it has become my "word of the year".

    I don't know about you, but I have a lot of "things on the go". Always started, never completed. I have parts of me that I feel have come a long way, and other parts that I feel are a frazzled mess.





    I desire to be full in heart, deep in character, and to complete everything that I take on whole-heartedly.





    The other day I was reading my daily devotional from http://shereadstruth.com/



    (an AWESOME online site that I highly recommend), and it brought me to this verse:

    "But my servant Caleb, because he has a



    different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall posses it…" Numbers 14:24 (ESV)


    BACK STORY:





    The Israelites escaped from the Egyptians and a life of slavery. Caleb and some other men went and scoped out the land that God had promised to them. When they approached it they saw that


    the inhabitants were very strong, and they told their people that they would not be strong enough to take over the land. But Caleb --- he believed that they were fully capable of taking it. Regardless, the Israelites



    continued to complain and turn against God. The didn't enter the Promise Land at that time, and continued to wander around the desert for 40 years.

    Growing up in church, I have heard this story hundreds of times. I know that the Israelites were whiney. I know how it ends, etc… but I had never read the part about Caleb like I did this time. After questioning

    God so many times about why He uses the people that He does, it was so clear.

    "because he has a different spirit, and has followed me fully."

    fully.

    whole heartedly.

    different.

    willing.

    trusting.

    hopeful.

    There is no mention of Caleb's talent, or dynamic verbal skills. It doesn't say he was above average in intellect. He wasn't bigger or stronger. He wasn't supernaturally gifted.

    He had a different spirit, and he followed God with a full heart and the belief that he could do what God had called him to do.

    I was so intrigued by Caleb that I HAD to look up what his name meant on babynames.com


    (its an obsession that i have, because i think that names are so important and i like when people reflect the name that



    they have been given)





    and here is what it said:


    whole. hearted.



    This year, even though I have resolved to have no resolutions, I am striving to live whole hearted in everything that I do. As a wife, mom, friend, dental hygienist, leader, etc. I am going to stop asking God what he requires of me so that I can become great, and just do what he has already called me to do --- fully.




    i will



    work on the talents He has already given me.



    love unconditionally.

    trust fully.

    reach beyond my comfort zone.

    listen for His still small voice.

    be bold enough to be different.

    live everyday knowing that it's a stepping stone to a greater path that I am being led down.

    Caleb was 40 when he first saw the Promised Land, and he didn't enter it until he was 85. He was only 1 of 2 men from the first generation of Israelites that entered the land that they were searching for.




    a whole hearted person:


    remembers the promise, even when it seems to be broken.



    remains hopeful during disappointments.

    recognizes that just because it hasn't happened, it doesn't mean it's lost.

    remains on the path, when the detour is tempting.

    Whatever you are facing, or going to face this year, do it whole heartedly. You may not know the destination, or the reasons why you are on the journey, but if you can go down the path fully trusting the one who leads you - I promise that the reward is great.


    God is looking for the one who sees things differently, and will follow him fully.
     
    Those are the ones that He uses.
    Those are the ones that He makes great.

    Tuesday, January 15, 2013

    "When did life become so complex?" by Eeleah Cummins

    Wow, I can't believe that I get to share this post with you all!! I have know Eeleah for quite a while now... pretty sure I met her when she was around 12. It was a pleasure to see her grow up for a few years and invest in a dear relationship when she was a teen. It is even more of a pleasure now to see the incredible woman that she has become. With a driving desire to make a difference in the lives of others, Eeleah the young teen that I remember is now married to a kids pastor and lives in Toronto, ON with their precious little cat Lincon. She now is the Executive Director of "My Life Centre" and has worked there for 4 years. This ministry is where her heart overflows and I am so excited to share these words as that passion comes out in this guest blog.

    Eeleah. I am so incredibly blown away with the choice you have made to live your life for others. Your creativity and passion to see restoration and healing to young women is so beautiful to watch naturally pour out of the way you live and the ministry you invest into. May you continue to see God's hand of favor and blessing over every aspect of My Life Centre as well as your personal walk with God and your relationship with Tim.


    *********************
    "When did life become so complex?"
    By Eeleah Cummins


    Depression. Eating disorders. Anxiety. Unplanned pregnancy. Cyber Bullying. Negative self/body image. Unhealthy dating relationships. Sexual identity crisis. Sex. Rape. Self harm. Abortion. Drugs and alcohol. Improper use of social medias. Lack of positive role models. Fatherlessness. Abuse....
    Where do we even start?


    Sometimes when I reflect on all of the issues and battles that young women face today, I feel overwhelmed, hopeless, and defeated. When did life become so complex? So many layers of issues and problems...where do we even start to deal with things? Where do we even start to heal and recover?
    I had a young girl come into my office recently seeking help. I work at a small charity that offers free and confidential services for young women such as unplanned pregnancy support, mentoring for low self esteem and unhealthy relationships, after abortion care, school programs and more. This young woman had booked an appointment for After Abortion Care. I did the usual initial intake form, gathering basic information. Then I asked her what her story was.

    Kara* grew up in a home with a mom with mental illness. Her mom had recently just attempted suicide and was dealing with depression. Kara herself struggled with depression and used drugs to cope. Kara had gotten pregnant a couple years ago, which ended in an abortion. She had booked an appointment with me to talk about her recent abortion, which was a couple months ago. She didn't want to do another abortion, but she felt trapped in her circumstance. Her mother threatened her, that if she kept her baby, she would get worse, maybe even kill herself. Kara obviously cared about her mother and didn't want to add more stress to her already fragile state. So, Kara chose to abort her baby. The deep regret and guilt she felt inside was overwhelming. Not only from her choice, but from all the years of struggles with her family, her mother's mental illness, other issues in her own life... It was layer upon layer of life's tragedies, struggles, and consequences of choices... As she sits across from me desperate for help and support, I listen attentively and lovingly, knowing that I could have been in her shoes... that in a sense, I am Kara. Sure, I haven't made the same choices or grown up in the same home etc., but I'm not near perfect. I've been poor decisions in my life, as we all have.

    Everyone has a story. Sometimes our stories are made up of a series of events that are the result of our own choices... and sometimes they are result of someone else's choices that have affected us - negative or positive. Some things are beyond our control, and other things, we have to power to make the choice.

    I heard a quote once that said, "Our choices dictate our future". Not just our choices with what to eat, or what career we go into, or what we do with an unborn child.. but also choices like how to treat someone after they have mistreated us... or how we choose to forgive others, or if we choose to deal with issues in our life that we would rather shove under the rug.
    So, what do we do when we have a friend who has a complex ray of issues? or what if we do ourselves? Where do we even begin?

    If you are a Christian, then you ask God to reveal to you which issue He wants you to deal with first. And you ask, how does God do that? Sometimes we have to take the first step in our journey in order for God to have the liberty to reveal things. By this I mean, joining a support group like 12 Step or attending Celebrate Recovery. Programs like these give opportunities for us to dig deep into our lives, to get to the root of the problem. We become open and honest with others in a safe environment. We hear stories from others who struggle too. There is great strength in the body of Christ when we become the church Jesus intended us to be: The Bride of Christ that heals, restores, and loves the way Jesus has first healed, restored and loved us. I myself have attended groups such as these and have found great hope. I have also discovered things that I never knew about myself and my behaviours, or things I had thought I had dealt with appropriately. God continues to reveal things to me in my life that are out of line or broken. God will reveal things to you in time, and your healing journey begins with the step of reaching out. Of course other programs such as individual counselling and therapy, are great resources to aid in your journey as well.

    If you are not a Christian, or still figuring things out for yourself which spiritual journey you want to embark on, the suggestions above are remotely the same. If you feel that you have several issues, think about which one is in your head most of the time (currently). Maybe it's a past abortion, or abuse, or self hate... whatever it may be. Start there.. seek out support groups (even church programs, you can attend if you don't believe everything; they will welcome you regardless), counselling, community centres etc. The worst thing we can do is keep things inside. Barbara Wilson, from the book 'The Invisible Bond' says, "Avoidance blocks healing.". A no-brainer... but so often we avoid our feelings and struggles without even consciously thinking of it.

    It takes a lot of courage... I mean a lot of courage to take the first step - every muscle in your body, every ounce of energy, and every muster of strength you have. But the rewards of healing far outweigh the anxiety you feel on the first couple meetings or appointments.

    See, for Kara, she needed healing in regards to her most current abortion. That is what was on her mind. Although, unplanned pregnancy is often a result of deeper issues inside. Abortion was a by-product of many years of struggles, pain, heartache, unhealthy beliefs and choices. But, she made the first step in reaching out, knowing she could not heal on her own. None of us can heal on our own.

    We are all in need of authentic love.

    We are all Kara's.

    *name has been changed to protect confidentiality.




     To find out more about My Life Centre and/or After Abortion Care, or to donate, please visit: www.mylifecentre.ca
    *name has been changed to protect confidentiality.

    Thursday, January 10, 2013

    Just a little song to encourage... :)

     
     
    I always feel joy when I watch this and listen!!!
     
    ENJOY!
     
     
     
     
     

    Monday, January 7, 2013

    Further Up and Further In. by Elizabeth Glover

    Welcome to OUR blog wonderful ladies a new friend of mine!!!! Elizabeth Glover is an amazing woman full of passion! I got to know her for the first time in the fall semester of life groups at Koinonia!! I really enjoyed getting to know her at Lioness Arising. I loved hearing what God is doing in her life and where He is positioning her to make a difference in her sphere of influence!!! And THEN as I started up the Facebook group to read some of the insights that she has had within her devotional times, man I got so excited.... her beautiful written words stirred me to ask her to write for Passionate Women! So ENJOY everyone!

    Elizabeth!! This was an amazing post! The more and more I read the heart felt words from you and many of the women who have shared the more I realize how much that the enemy wants to attack our purpose! GIRL!!! You are one purposed woman!! God has an amazing and unique (yes I said UNIQUE) purpose for you!!! I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know you and see your desire to serve God in all that you do since the day we first chatted!! WOOHOO to the journey of following Gods path and leading in yours and Steven's life!!!! Blessings!!!!


    ***********************
     
     
    Further Up and Further In
    By Elizabeth Glover



    Lately I’ve been coming to a point in my life where I’ve been fighting to try and make God the center of my everything.   I’ve been trying to put Him at the head of my time and my words, my marriage and my finances, my dreams and my hopes and my heart.  Everyone who’s been through this before knows that it is no easy thing to accomplish – after all, we are a fallen people, living in a fallen world, and fighting against a very powerful and cunning Enemy who will stop at nothing to keep us in that fallen state.  The Devil wants to keep us on the ground so he can kick us where it hurts the most.  He wants us to stay so beaten-down that we can’t even hold onto hope, let alone stand and walk in the power that God has given us, under the grace in which God has covered us.

    Let me tell you now that I am no stranger to depression.  It is something that I have struggled with on and off for at least the last twelve or thirteen years.  Recently, though, I have finally realized something that I never paused to really think about before.  Depression, at its core, is the death of hope.  Depression tells you that all of your fears are justified because there is no hope that they won’t come to pass.  Depression tells you that you will always fail in problem areas because there is no hope that next time, you’ll succeed.  Depression tells you that you might as well throw in the towel and give up now, because there is no hope that things are ever going to get better, or that the “good things in life” could ever be meant for you.

    Depression lies.  If you hear nothing else, hear this.  Depression lies.  It is one of the greatest tools of the Enemy, because it strikes at the heart and manages to get us to believe that life sucks, and then you die.  It leaves no room for the hope that life is full of wonder and joy, even if it is right alongside of heartache and sorrow.  It leaves no room for the hope that when all’s said and done and death comes knocking, that is the moment when we begin to really and truly live. 

    Isn’t that what it’s all about, in the end?  Isn’t our God the God of Hope?  Hebrews 11 tells me that our very faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen”.  What does this even mean if not that our faith is directly related to our hope?  Hope in God’s goodness.  Hope in God’s promises.  Hope in the glories and wonders of heaven, the home that we should be looking forward to with such joyful expectation that we should be saying, like Paul, that it is better by far to die and be with Christ than to continue on in this world.  My heart has been enraptured lately with the hope of heaven, and the wedding feast, and the image of my Bridegroom pacing the floor in anticipation of that glorious day.  I have felt a calling that shakes me to the marrow of my bones, beckoning for me to push into God like never before, to lose myself in His utter loveliness, to find Him in the everyday and cling to Him with wild abandon.

    Ever since my mother first read me The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I have adored the land of Narnia.  I love the adventure.  I love the beauty and the wonder.  I love the message of redemption and hope that is woven into the heart of this fantasy world.  I love how C.S. Lewis has been able to reach across the time that separates his life and mine and stir my very soul with his words.  I especially love how the stories end, culminating in the final chapters of The Last Battle with the death of the Narnian world…and what comes after.  It’s this “what comes after” that fires my hope and makes me want to sing for the sheer beauty of the God who’s heart I find in such a story.  Aslan speaks to the heroes, running ahead and playfully calling back to them to “Come further up, come further in!”  As they begin to follow after the great Lion, they cannot shake the feeling that there is something about the land that they now find themselves in that strikes a chord within them.  At last they begin to realize that this new land is exactly like their beloved, lost Narnia, only somehow more real.  Overcome with the beauty and the emotion, one of them cries out, “I have come home at last!  This is my real country!  I belong here.  This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now.  The reason why we loved the old Narnia is that it sometimes looked a little like this.  Come further up, come further in!” 

    They race through the land, always heading further up and further in, running faster than an arrow flies and never tiring.  They eventually come to a garden, encircled by a wall and protected by golden gates.  “For a moment none of them were bold enough to try if the gates would open.”  They hesitate, unsure, all wondering, “Dare we?  Is it right?  Can it be meant for us?”  Then the gates swing open, and the heroes spend several wonderful pages meeting with old friends and legends of Narnian lore.  Finally, all are called together to stand before Aslan himself and this, this is how the stories end:

    Then Aslan turned to them and said:
       “You do not yet look so happy as I mean you to be.”
       Lucy said, “We’re so afraid of being sent away, Aslan.  And you have sent us back into our own world so often.”
       “No fear of that,” said Aslan.  “Have you not guessed?”
       Their hearts leaped and a wild hope rose within them.
       “There was a real railway accident,” said Aslan softly.  “Your father and mother and all of you are – as you used to call it in the Shadowlands – dead.  The term is over: the holidays have begun.  The dream is ended: this is the morning.
       And as He spoke He no longer looked to them like a lion; but the things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them.  And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after.  But for them it was only the beginning of the real story.  All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on forever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.

    Can you see heaven in this?  Can you see the hope and the wonder of God?  Run with me, my friends.  Let’s press onward together – further up and further in to God’s amazing heart.