How I got here | Talking Sex, Love and Relationships

I always felt comfortable on  stage- most like myself, actually- alive and free; whether I was dancing, presenting, competing or public speaking.

I thought I was destined for New York.

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While I grew up Roman Catholic- going to church and private school – I was twenty one before I came to Jesus; largely through hours of driving, listening to Praise 106.5.

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I accepted Jesus in Seattle, in-front of thousands, in a public arena. Somewhere in that time, I stumbled upon this video. It was a complete accident– a divine happenstance. But as I watched it, I began to sob.

In my heart I heard these words, as clear as day: 

This is what you’ll do…

The video was of a fiery Latina, who preaches Jesus to students. She was hilarious and real and honest in a way I hadn’t yet experienced. I was very new to Evangelical Christianity- still ribbed by the staunchness of the Catholic Church.

I laughed. Cried more. Then rewatched the video a dozen times.

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It didn’t make logical sense…. how could this possibly be my calling?!

I was a rebellious, religious screw up, currently living with my boyfriend and sleeping out of wedlock. My sin card was overflowing. I’d barely tasted Jesus and I didn’t know my bible. Plus, my sights were set on buying a wedding business. 

And yet, deep within my heart, I knew it was true.

It was an other-worldly knowing and I’ve carried it’s assurance ever since.

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Years later- perhaps five– I was wrestling with my purpose. I was knee-deep in building my (wedding) business, I was successful and yet, I struggled.

One afternoon, I stumbled upon that video again and just like the first time, my heart responded. 

Then over the course of twelve months,  three different people referred me to an organization- the same organization. I dismissed each one of them.

I saw no connection to myself, my gifts and this non-profit. In fact, I wasn’t sure I even believed what they did!

Then a friend- who I later understood has prophetic gifting- took matters into her own hands. She submitted my name and credentials to them…. and then they called.

So, I relented and went in for an interview

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…. I didn’t even know what for and neither did they! There were no formal openings or jobs posted, but they we’re always looking for volunteers.  For whatever reason, they knew I was meant to be there- I was, “supposed to be part of the organization…” as they put it.

They invited me to a leaders conference with three of their board members. I hadn’t even been hired yet and this was uncommon practice for volunteers.

While there, I became triggered and broke down in the women’s bathroom. One of the board members came in and held me in her arms. I ended up sharing my personal story.

She said she knew why I was there: God wanted me to be a part of Healthy Relationships- a team of presenters that goes into high schools and talks to youth about sex, love and relationships. It was honest, raw and vulnerable work, that took brave people willing to get messy and share their story.

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I had barely begun to process this part of my story- the years of pain and heartbreak in my relationships-  but again, my heart knew.

I was terrified.

I had no idea what this would entail, but I said yes and so I began. 

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I volunteered for two years, when the directors role for the program became available. My boss (and his boss) asked me if I’d consider taking the position. I said no. Three times. After all, I had a successful wedding business to run and that was my plan.

Six months went by.

No one applied for the job.

Then, someone didn’t work out.

Still, the position sat open.

Then one morning, a women sat-in on my talk.  I asked her why she was there and if she was considering volunteering for the team. She said no… She was interviewing for the directors role.

Suddenly, I was nerved. Then I became furious. The whole way home, I yelled at God… about nothing. What was this really about? Then, he showed me:

The position was always mine.

I just had to take it.

And accept His Call.

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When I told both bosses what happened, they laughed. They’d known along along…

I felt like the punch line of a bad joke! Like I’d been kept from some grand scheme!

They told me they’d been praying and patiently waiting…. for my stubborn streak to clear!

We completed formalities and the position was mine. I was now the Director of Healthy Relationships Community Education. 

Shortly thereafter, God told me to close my (wedding) business, but it was six months before I obliged.

I knew then, that God was asking me to lay down my life- the hopes and dreams I had and the vision I’d held of my future….

The choice was mine.  I could choose my will or God’s.

I could settle for a life I could build on my own, or I could choose the adventure and trust Him- even though, I couldn’t see what was ahead.

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It’s been two and a half years since then and my life has changed dramatically.

I am living that video, walking inside my calling.

It’s beautiful and scary; natural, yet hard. But, it’s all together wonderful! I am exactly where I’m supposed to be, doing the thing God made me for… in this season of my life, anyway.

God has used this position to heal and remake me, from the inside out. It was a lifeline in my darkest season. He’s refining my character through it and cultivating in me a humble, servants hearts. He’s teaching me compassion and perseverence in the face of suffering and I’ve become a prayer warrior because of it!

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It’s front lines battle work; spiritual warfare in enemy territory. It’s the lions den – every day- as we fight culture and the lies of darkness: the perversion and deception that has infiltrated our world’s view of love and sex.

But I have never in my life, seen God move like he does in this program.

It’s powerful, crazy, edifying work.

I have more God stories and seen miracles, than I can count!

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I know, every day, that I am part of something so much bigger and I’m making a difference.

I’m fighting for the one, where no one fought for me .

 

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Letter to self | When you need to hear well done

I’ve prayed when I didn’t want to.

I’ve stayed when I wanted to go. 

I’ve fought when I wanted to leave.

I’ve kept quiet when I wanted to point fault. 

I’ve forgiven when deeply offended.

I’ve sought forgiveness when I’ve wounded and hurt. 

I’ve trusted when all things point otherwise.

I’ve believed when it made no sense at all. 

I’ve spoken life when death’s all around me.

I’ve died to be born to new life. 

I’ve sung praise in the midst of destruction.

I’ve grieved for lives not my own. 

I’ve cared even though it costs me.

I’ve loved to the point that it hurts. 

I’ve pressed on when I wanted to drop out.

I’ve quit because I knew it was best. 


I’ve lived far from perfection, but friend, I’ve lived this life well.

So for now, I’m saying, “Well done. My dear, you’re doing swell.”

How to help when someone you love’s life is upside down

Today I watched you play and all the world just fell away.

It was exactly what I needed, because lately my worlds felt heavy and today I couldn’t carry it a second longer. I needed to remove the load and walk away, even if only for an evening. 

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We were at grandma and grandpas- great grandparents to you- in the same home, with the same smells and the same blankets to cuddle in. The ones I used to wrap myself in when I was your age. 

I watched grandma run after you, sing songs, play pretend and teach you new tricks, all the while you squealing and babbling in delight. She used to do that with me too. 

I watched her pick Disney movies, pull you up on the big soft bed and dim the lights so the room was all cozy. She used to do that with me too. 

She fed you dinner, poured you juice and sent you home with a Nic Nac bag or two. She used to do that with me too. 

And while nothings changed – no problems were solved and no deep conversation was had – everything felt right in my world.  What we shared instead was something better; something mommy needed more instead: comfort, company and simple unconditional love.

Because 90% of showing you care is simply showing up. 

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Love doesn’t always have to try – to be intense, exhaustive or laborious. It doesn’t always have to have the answers or silver line the hard stuff. Is doesn’t always have to ask questions. Love is sometimes just about being there; being humble and quiet, ordinary and predictable. 

‘Cause when all the world feels upside down, this kind of love speaks louder. 

 

He Touched and She was Healed

He touched her hand and the fever left her; and she she got up and began to wait on him. – Matthew 8:15

Jesus has authority over all evil that is a result of this fallen world. He speaks a word, he gives a touch and people are healed; made new and restored to wholeness. He does this to glorify God.

At the time of this story, the Bible tells us that Jesus healed this woman “to fulfill what what spoken through the prophets: He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” vs. 17

In todays world, Jesus blesses to gift us with a taste of what the whole world will one day experience in God’s kingdom. It’s a glimpse.

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When God chooses to heal us or bless us it is an unnecessary and willful act of love; a gift. Yes he loves us and yes he wants to see us happy, but first and foremost it is to glorify God and give testimony to his goodness and power.

It’s always been about God first and never about us. We are here to make manifest him!

His acts of love are not mandatory. They are a free gift lavished upon us in mercy and kindness. Our response then should be one of gratitude and debt.

How else would you respond to someone who gave you a gift of incredible value and selfless love?

Say your life for example. You were standing before a judge who had pronounced the death sentence for you and some man stood up and said he’d take your place. An exchange. His life for yours. The judge agrees and you go free….

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Too often, our response to God’s blessings is one of entitlement or expectation, like he owes us something for our “allegiance.”

Yes, we should expect God to answer our prayers, but it won’t always be in our time or our ways. While God loves us and desires for us to know and experience joy in this life, he ultimately wants to be the source of that joy- just him and his relationship – that isn’t dependent on circumstance.

His delight in us sure isn’t based on our performance (ha!) so why then, so often, is our devotion weighed on a scale of his ability to “bless us” and answer our prayers the way we’d have it?

Jesus is far more concerned with our hearts condition than with our comfort or circumstance. He wants to see us grow up and mature spiritually, moving beyond asking what God can do for us, to a place of asking what we can do for him.

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Peter’s Mother-in-law, the women healed in Matthew 8, is a perfect example of how we should respond to Jesus, especially in times when we receive his touch; his blessings, his gifts.

To love and devote our lives in service.

Immediately, not after she did the things she needed to or after she got bored, immediately she got up and waited on him. She served Jesus.

She responded to his act with acts of her own that blessed him. She received his love and lavished it upon others in return.

These are the things he calls us to. This is the heart of God; Love and Service, all as an outpouring of gratitude in response for all thats been done for us… already.

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So let me ask you. How have you responded to God in the past? How will you respond to him today? Right now? And with the vary gift of your life?

 

Pray with me:

Lord, Thank you for your love that you so graciously lavish upon me. Thank you for your desire to know me and be known by me.

Help me to respond to your love in a way that is worthy and honouring to you- to receive your blessings and love and respond with my life as an outpouring in thanks for all your are to me and all you’ve done for me. But not just for the now or the blessings of my current circumstance, but for what has already been done, accomplished and made available to me, through Jesus’ ultimately loving and selfless sacrifice on the cross.

Ignite in me a passionate desire to seek you, love you and serve you, devoting my life to the things of your heart. Fan in me your flame and may many come to know and experience your love for themselves, through me.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

She lived to give it away

It was a dismal day, and by most’s standards, not the optimal day to celebrate anything…

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But the morning was pregnant with light and hope. One that radiates only from a grateful heart. One that counts it all as grace, lavished abundantly upon her by the one who gives… and give.. and gives.

Love. Mercy. Grace. Forgiveness. Confort. Joy. Peace. Even trials.

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That day was her 28th birthday.

And while many would choose to celebrate with gifts and soirees and pampered “me” time, she wanted to give it away..

love that is.

Because she knew she had been blessed to be a blessing.
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But first, we could eat cake!

And like he knew her beautiful selfless acts that would follow, he gifted her with a birthday brownie on the house.

Like that. Things like that… gifts from above. No thing too small.

Count it all as grace. Receive with open palms of thanks. DSC_0724

She strolled the market aisles in search of gifts to give away.

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And breathing in the sent of peace and pure delight.. joy in bloom…DSC_0730DSC_0744

She picked the perfect bouquet to give away.DSC_0746 DSC_0735DSC_0737

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Then, like the divine appointment it was, another opportunity shone bright.

You’re latte, it’s on me, please.

Stunned. Shocked. Both her and the baristas.. not quite sure how to handle, let alone accept her gift of grace.

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She knew her day was special, because she was made in His image.

Beautiful. Loved. Acceptance.

Danced over and died for willingly.
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And like the day she was born, He looked down at her and said “It was good.” DSC_0763Happy Birthday to my beautiful friend, Chervelle. Thank you for being a light in his name and for sharing your grace and love with others, include me. xo

His Love Song

As I ran and the warmth of winter rays hugged my skin, I heard His voice. Tears began to stream and my heart felt as if it would leap from my chest.

He whispered to my aching, longing heart…

I’m holding on to the hope that one day this could be made right
I’ve been shipwrecked, and left for dead, and I have seen the darkest sights

Everyone I’ve loved seems like a stranger in the night
But oh my heart still burns, tells me to return, and search the fading light

I’m sailing home to you I won’t be long
By the light of moon I will press on
Until, I find, my love.

 

And as if He put the words into my heart, I answered Back….

Trouble has beset my ways, and wicked winds have blown
Sirens call my name, they say they’ll ease my pain, then break me on the stones

But true love is the burden that will carry me back home
Carry me with the, memories of the, beauty I have known

I’m sailing home to you I won’t be long
By the light of moon I will press on

So tie me to the mast of this old ship and point me home

 

Lord, forgive me for doubting your love; for ours is the greatest love story there ever was. I, your bride and you my bridegroom. You stretch out your hands, you offer your life, you love me unconditionally while I give you my half-hearted left over love. I’ve loved others more than you. Things have stolen my affection. And I come to you only when I need something- when i’m desperate or have nothing better to do. And yet, you stand there loving me, longing for the day when I’ll stare back at you the way you stare at me and I’ll tumble head over heels wanting nothing more than you.. to just be with you and our love with be enough. complete.

The day is coming. I feel it in my bones – the inner recesses of my heart. I’m coming home to my one true love. So, weave your heart into mine.

The “Jug” ornament.

 

Each year, we add an ornament to our tree.

We make a special effort, to set out on an annual festive date and along the way, select our new addition. Typically, we choose something from the actual place of our date and today was nothing less.

This year, my wonderful husband treated me to that which I adore most; afternoon high tea. We ventured to the Little White House, an ultra swoon worthy heritage building, containing both a boutique and a cafe parlor. I was in heaven!

The lunch was delectable (not to mention the signature tea and hand-made sweets), but what was even more memorable was our time together. To be perfectly honest, this Christmas season has been anything but relaxed and fun filled. We’ve been burning the wick at both ends, trying to keep our business strong and our commitments and responsibilities in order. This weekend, after having  both arrived home close to midnight, we flopped down on the couch and stared at the wall.

We felt tired, emotional, disconnected and some-what ba-hum-buggy. (so every unusual for us holiday lovers) And the usual fixes like christmas movies, carols and baking, just weren’t cutting it. When you’re mentally exhausted and the things that normally fill you up aren’t working, you know its time to step back. In these times, we tend to loose light of the beauty that’s around us and the blessings we’ve been given. We both knew what needed to come first for a day: us. 

It took nothing more than a few connected hours and all felt right in our world again. We recounted this {astronomical} past year, dreamed about the future and counted our blessings twice. Almost finishing each other’s sentences, we expressed how full our lives are;  an outpouring of God’s love, grace, compassion. The result is two lives, now one, wonderfully rich in blessings. So, to represent this outpouring, this years ornament is a pitcher or a jug. Ours is full and for that, we’ve so grateful.

It’s safe to say, we fell in love all over again.

“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at your from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith life is forced into the open and shows its true colors.” ~ James 1: 2-4

 

a Grateful Heart.

Thanksgiving has passed and I recount the many wonderful memories, made throughout the weekend. Dinner with our closest friends, a quiet family gathering and a 24 hour bout of food poising; each bearing their own gifts and blessings.

Countless quality conversations, moments of bonding and sharing, expressing our blessings, gathering over food and in the case of our food poisoning…countless cuddles and “According to Jim” episodes.

I caught myself many times throughout the weekend, re-counting my blessings in an effort to fully appreciate all I have been given; as if I hadn’t yet reached the cheery thanksgiving feeling, of fullness and content.

And as I stood pondering, my own words, spoken on my wedding day, rang clear. “While today is very special, exciting and memorable, it’s hard to top my everyday life. I am so incredibly happy and content; each day brings with it joy and anticipation; And truth be told, that feeling is hard to beat.”

And in that moment I smiled; My heart split open, even wider than before and I grabbed the hand of my wonderfully loving husband.

Life is full of struggles, hardships and at no time, are things ever perfect. But God provides in so many ways, its overwhelming. I can honestly say, I never knew such joy until I came to accept Christ as my saviour. And since that glorious day, he continues to inspire me, shape my being and mould my heart. God’s love is incredibly big, beautiful and all encompassing! And when I finally opened the door to His knock, that love floored my entire life, like an outpouring of grace and compassion.

“But you, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness”

Psalm 86:15

So, in that weekend of thanksgiving, yes I was grateful.
But I am so unbelievably grateful everyday and  “that feeling is hard to beat!”

ps: For a peek into our festivities, look HERE. 

To be loved.

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“The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

How wonderful it is to be loved!
Think about it for a second….

  • The mother with her new born baby.
  • The son seeing daddy in the stands.
  • The bride on her wedding day.
  • The grandma baking cookies with her grandkids.
  • The fallen with their hands up singing in worship.
  • The hugs from your best friend.
  • The “it’s ok” from mom.

And what do all these moments have in common? You know that you are loved! There’s a sense of belonging, of purpose and of safety. There’s a feeling of wholeness and of completion. And in those moments there Is joy: pure and content.

When we know we are loved, our souls are set on fire! We feel invincible, unafraid and ready to take on the world. We want to stand on tall places and sing the praises of love. And in that joy, we love others, unabashedly and whole heartedly. We want to give of ourselves, encourage and rejoice over others. How great is the world, when people act in love.

Some days its hard to remember but try to look around you. You are TRULY loved! By your family, your friends, the stranger you smiled at and a God: perfect and almighty.

So, do not fear. Do not be anxious. And do not live in hiding. Remember and Know that you are loved; fill your soul with that feeling and go out to share it with the world.