A Time to Heal…

I grew up as a pastors kid. I often say that I was raised in the church and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I loved my country church, I loved the people, the potlucks and feeling like I had special access to the place that no other kid had. I volunteered as soon as I was old enough and tried my hand at most of the ministry areas so I could confirm  my area of giftedness, like a good Christian leader in training does. As a teen I went to all the leadership camps, sat on the student leadership team in my youth group and highlighted every youth event in my school planner so I could count down the days until I’d be with my people again. Church was my safe place, I belonged there and so as I entered adulthood, of course I wanted to be in church ministry, it was what I knew and the place of safety. 

As an adult youth pastor, I was lucky to find a church that welcomed me and treated me so well. In that church I became ordained, I found friendship and got to know some of the most wonderful students. Again, it was my safe place. After 4 years there, I felt led to move into a new position that took me away from my family and all that I knew and loved.
I haven’t spoken often of this past year and unless you have asked me about it over a latte or in my living room, you wouldn’t have likely heard me talk much about it. 

It’s because over the year I lost my safe place. I don’t want to slander anyone because I did meet some wonderful people along the way, which my heart is very thankful for but I’ve always been a believer that there is power and healing when people are willing to be vulnerable with one another. 

In a short time, I saw another side of the church. It wasn’t the safe place I had come to know. I became afraid to enter through the doors, afraid of what others would say to me while I was there, I couldn’t sleep, I put on weight and ate my feelings and I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I lost myself. 

By the grace of God, I was rescued from that situation. But I can distinctly remember walking through the airport doors in Toronto after my flight home and seeing my parents and collapsing into a ball of tears. I left at the beginning of the year hopeful and I came home broken. 

I’ve never been broken like that before. The kind of broken where you have nothing left, where you don’t know what you think or believe anymore and where all you want to do is sleep because for the first time in a long time you feel safe. 

This year has been about healing for me. And since I broke my ankle in October and had to have surgery, this year has been about both physical healing as well as inner healing. And the biggest thing I’ve learned is that healing hurts. It’s not easy or painless, it isn’t quick and you can’t just get over it. It comes out of you slowly, over time and it is exhausting. 
I decided to take a break from church to give myself time to heal, to take a break from the hypocrisy I had witnessed, and because I was tired of the church culture. 

I needed time to rest and breathe. 

And here I sit, with more time to myself, more time to rest and ponder and reflect. I often wonder why I felt led to move across the country and I’m not sure I will ever know. But for those of you who feel like you are on the outskirts of faith, for those of you who have been wounded by the church, the place that was supposed to welcome you in and be your safe place, for those that don’t know where to fit on the spiritual scale anymore, I see you. And for those that think this is Jesus, it’s not. Jesus is for you. He is patient as you wander, as you try to hold onto hope, as you cling to healing. Don’t give up, you are not alone. Your questions and your hurts are real and it’s ok. I’ve become convinced amidst all of the crap, Jesus is still there with me, holding onto me even when I’ve let go. 

One of my favourite lines from the show Downton Abbey is when Carson says to Mrs. Hughes “life alters us”. Isn’t this the truth?

In my Waiting, God is not late

andrew-neel-199543-unsplashI’ve been listening to a new song on repeat today. There’s a set of lines in the song that I just can’t get out of my head…

“I count on one thing, the same God that never fails will not fail me now. In the waiting, the same God who’s never late is working all things out.”

These words struck me today.

Perhaps because I feel like I’ve been stuck in a season of waiting and wandering for some time now. I think it’s easy to get lost in a season, to wonder if you’ll ever emerge out of the deep waters. And while you’re lost in the season, you lose sight of what really matters. You get yourself lodged in the muck and every step forward feels like weights are pulling at your feet.

I’m one of those rare kids that crazy loves my parents. I’m also one of those few people that have had a chance to work with my Dad and actually really have enjoyed it.

A few weeks ago I learned that my Dad would no longer be continuing with his current work situation. I know it’s for the best. But I ugly cried.

No, you don’t even understand.

Like I blew out my sinuses from crying so badly.
Like I made myself cry so badly that the next day was shot.

I’m admitting this to you because for those of you that have ever ugly cried, you feel relieved when you find out there are others. Me too people!

So ya, total break down because of fear.

Fear of being alone.
Fear of the loss.
Fear of the change.
Fear of the unknown future.
Fear of being alone.
Fear of still wandering lost in my season.
Oh and did I mention fear of being alone?

So in my wandering, I seek to fill the space with empty things, trying to run from any chance of having another ugly cry breakdown.

So today I had a meeting a few hours away from my house, which I knew meant a drive, which I also knew meant me and God alone in the car for a few hours. I loaded some new music onto my iPhone, pressed play and drove.

And then these words…

“I count on one thing, the same God that never fails will not fail me now. In the waiting, the same God who’s never late is working all things out.”

God is never late.

But how can this be? Doesn’t he see me stuck in the muck, wandering lost in my season?

In my waiting, the same God who has been with me is still with me. And in my waiting, which feels like F-O-R-E-V-E-R, God is still working all things out.

He’s not late, which means I’m not lost.

This truth may not change the fact that I’m still waiting and wandering and asking when? But this truth gives me the opportunity to breathe in God’s faithfulness in my waiting because this God is never late and he’s still working things out for me.

Maybe you need to breathe this truth in as much as I do right now.

“I count on one thing, the same God that never fails will not fail me now. In the waiting, the same God who’s never late is working all things out.”

Dear Me…

I’m turning 30 in September.
I know.
Me, a 30-year old.
I’ve been trying to rack my brain around what it will feel like not being a 20-something anymore. I’ve also been trying to figure out how my 20’s went by so fast? They say your 20’s are all about learning and getting experience and trying new things and they say your 30’s are about doing, because you have the confidence from everything you learned in your 20’s. I’m not sure if that’s true but I hope to find out.
There are some things I wish I would have done differently in my 20’s. There are some things I wish my 20 year old self would have known. If I could write a letter to my 20 year old self, I think this is what I’d say…


Dear Me, 

Happy 20th birthday! I know, it feels big! You’re done high school, you’ve travelled a bit and you’re wondering where life will take you next. You want to be older, to thrive and to be loved. You want to know more about Jesus and you want to experience truly knowing him. 

There are some things I want to tell you. You won’t listen to me because you think you know best and you’ve watched too many fairy tale movies and you’re so stubborn, but I’m going to tell you anyways. 


Your 20’s will be full. 

Full of laughter. 

Full of travel.

Full of family.

Full of worry.

Full of moving from one place to another.

Full of weddings.

Full of friendships that come come and go.

Full of learning.

Full of heartbreak. 


They’re not going to be like you planned. I know you want to be married by the time you’re 25 and you have this picture of what your life will look like when you get there but it’s not going to look like that. And you’re going to have a bit of meltdown over it all. 


But here’s the thing, you’re going to be ok. 


The heartbreak of things not turning out like you hoped will make you deeper, make you love more, make you empathize in new ways with people. Darcie, don’t fight this, embrace it. The best plans are often the ones you don’t plan. 


Yes, you’re going to travel. You’re going to go to some places that if I told you now, you’d have a stomach attack and worry yourself sick and you might not go. But you have to go because seeing these places, going on these adventures will expand your mind and your view of the world. You have to go because these opportunities are a gift from a God who loves you and who, despite what you sometimes feel, sees you right where you are. You are not forgotten. 


You are going to have people come into your life that remind you of all the good in this world. They will challenge you and pray for you and walk with you through the highs and lows. 


You’re going to feel lonely. The type of loneliness where you’re in a crowd of people but you still feel like the only one. So when you feel lonely, do some things that feed your soul. It’s ok, I give you permission. Cuddle up on the couch and watch your favourite movies. Go the mall and buy that outfit. Go for a drive, listen to your country music and cry. Crank the worship and praise God in the storm. Call Mama love, she makes everything better. And sleep. You don’t do well when you’re tired. 


I know you feel like you have to prove yourself. I know you feel like the odd one out. I know you feel ugly and fat and like no one will ever love you. You have to fight these messages or they’ll paint your view of life. You don’t have to prove yourself, God will give you a place you thought you couldn’t have because of your gender. If you feel fat, girl, get to the gym and exercise and put down that ice cream! And seriously, you’re going to learn to exercise and you might even love it (trust me on this). And one more thing, God don’t make ugly. 


A few other things I wish to tell you:

-See a counsellor, work out your junk

-Find a mentor, go after meeting with that person that inspires you

-It’s ok to go on a date with someone and not marry them

-Your stomach disorder won’t ruin your life

-You can travel alone

-Spend more time with the people you love

-Be fully present where you are 

-Go after Jesus, don’t settle for a faith that doesn’t breathe 

-Wear the shorts, it’s hot

-Share your stories, it will help others share too 

-Don’t give up on the church

-Embrace all things Jewish (haha, you’ll understand later)

-It’s ok to not always be ok

-Choose Joy

-Name your thankfuls 


I know all of this won’t make sense to you now but one day it will. Be brave Darcie girl, you don’t have to worry so much. Don’t stop loving with your whole heart, even when people hurt you, keep trusting, keep forgiving because the story isn’t over yet. 


You’re living the everyday adventure! 


Love always, 

Your older (and somewhat wiser) self 

Dear 2017, I need to find my way again…


Lately I’ve felt the need to write. Sometimes the words sit on my heart while I fall asleep urging me to get up and empty them onto a page of some sort. I try to fight that urge. Writing makes me feel things and sometimes I just don’t want to rehash those feelings.

2016 has been a full year. I moved into my Rose Cottage. I travelled to St. Louis and New York and Israel and Paris and London and then Paris again. I learned how to apply dry wall. I learned how to travel by myself. I’ve learned how to knit. Ok. My bad. I’m learning how to knit. I got a tattoo. I’ve learned that winter sucks solely for the reason of having to shovel the snow in my driveway. I mastered the dodgeball court at SkyZone. I found a new drink I love at Starbucks. Did I mention that I got a tattoo, like for real?!!

There have been some absolutely wonderful things about 2016.

But I have to tell you. I’m glad it’s over.

I’m glad because I need a fresh start. One that a number seems to bring with it.

Because what my Facebook page and my Instagram and twitter account don’t tell you is that this has been a hard year. There’s been a lot of tears and anxiety and disappointment. There’s been a lot of brokenness. There’s been a lot of “God, I don’t understand”, and “God, why them and not me”, and “God, do you know how much my heart is breaking right now?”, and “God, when will it be my turn?”.

And the truth is that I have no answers. Sometimes I feel like I’m barely holding on by a thread.

And so I need a new year. I need to lay this past year down and say it’s over. I need this year to be about different stuff. I need to be brave enough to reach for hope and hold onto it for dear life. I need the hope that says “I will find my way again”. I need the hope that says “I will let go of being jaded, of being jealous, of feeling like something has been withheld from me.” Next year I want to write that this year I learned to feel loved, to feel whole, to let go of the ugly feelings I cling so tightly to and the lies that I’ve embraced as truth. I want to write that I grew closer to Jesus. I want to write that 2017 was beautiful and full and good.

I’m a big believer that as human beings we go through seasons. Some seasons are so full of joy and happiness that it almost doesn’t seem real. And some seasons are dull and boring and we can’t remember what it feels like to be excited. And then other seasons are full of grief and sadness and the sun never seems to shine. And when you’re in that season, it doesn’t feel like it will ever be over until one day the clouds seem to clear and a ray of light peaks through.

I feel most human when people own up to their story. And so I’m owning up to mine because there is freedom and beauty when we share our joyful moments and our loneliest moments with one another. There is a release of shame when we hear those words “me too”. Because I feel like maybe one person is reading this and their heart is breaking because their story doesn’t seem to make sense right now and it’s not going how they planned it and they’re sick and tired of seeing everyone else’s happy. You are not alone. And this is not the end of your story, this is a season. And I need to tell you, just like I need you to tell me, that it’s going to be ok, you’re going to be ok and this season will end and the sun will break through. You are not your shame or your disappointment.

And I want to invite you to reach out with me and grab hope, even if it’s just a sliver right now, stretch for it. Let God use this season to make you deeper, to make you more human, more empathetic, more aware of the people around you who need to hear those words “me too”. Through tears, I speak those words to you now, “me too”.

The sun is going to shine.

Wait for it.

I’m waiting too,


12 Years Later & I’m Still Not Married to a Tall, Dark & Handsome Youth Pastor. Insert Single Pity Party Here…


Every summer my family vacations at Chesley Lake Camp located in the beautiful Bruce Peninsula, not far from Sauble Beach. My Dad vacationed here as a child and the tradition carried on through my childhood and now into my adult years. Through the years, I’ve brought many friends to this place. For years we shared a cottage with Grandma and Grandpa, while Grandpa was still living and Grandma’s health allowed her to get around. There were years when my oldest brother Ben was still small enough that we could lift him from place to place and his wheelchair could fit in the cottage. There have been years where our cottage was bustling with people, so much so that we had to bring in extra cots for sleeping. Then there have been years like this one, where it’s just me and Mom and Dad. Some years me and my brothers have been able to come for a day or two and other years our work schedules won’t allow it. This year, I’m giving thanks that I get to be here for the whole time, it’s such a gift.

I often don’t realize the memories this place holds until I drive down the Chesley Lake Road that first day of vacation. Until I see the lake sparkling as I pass it by, until Dad comes back from his first round of Chesley golf, until our first ice cream stroll followed by watching the nightly baseball game outside the camp’s main building. And as I slowly start to feel my body relax and release the tension I seem to bury and hold onto in every pore and fold of my body, I start to reflect on life, on where I’m at after a year has gone by since the last time I was here.

I was speaking at a camp to a bunch of Jr. High students a few weeks ago. Generally when I speak to Jr. High students, I tend to lose my filter because like any good youth worker, when with the kids, I try to speak their language (ha). Since most Jr. High’s don’t have a filter, I too adopted the custom. During our last session together I shared far more than I ever was planning on… actually, I had absolutely no intention of sharing any of the things I did at all but in typical Darcie fashion – MAJOR OVERSHARE! During that session, I was talking about the “more” that God has for us, how we are often held back by the things we are afraid of and our own plans for how our lives should look.

Insert personal story here.

I shared with them that when I was 16 I dreamed of how my life would look by the time I was 25. I would be married to a youth pastor (tall, dark and handsome of course), we’d have youth kids over to our house all the time. I’d have a cute little toddler with a baby on the way. Life would be deep and beautiful and full of love and laughter. My Mom and Dad would dote on our kids and I’d get tips on raising kids from my Mom, cause she knows everything. I told them about Chesley Lake being a special place for my family and so how of course I had even worked out a seating plan for how we would all fit around the table… my brother and their significant others (potentially), one of my friends and her husband and kids, my hubby and our toddler and my parents. We’d all be at the lake together, we’d watch the kids play t-ball, and go to the beach together and we’d all share one big cottage. This was the dream. I went on to share about how God had different plans for my life that I couldn’t have dreamed of, how he had more for me than I could know.

I also reminded them that making a plan when you are 16 that depicts how your life will look in 10 years can be a very bad idea, because you might get there, realize your life is nothing like you planned and have a total melt down (I try to pass my wisdom on to the young folk)!

It was a great week at camp but sufficient to say, my overshare during that final session at camp brought some things to the surface that I have tried to continually push down…

So here I am 12 years later at Chesley Lake once again. I’m not married to a youth pastor, in fact I’m not married at all. I have no toddler and no baby on the way, which is fitting following the previous declaration. Our cottage is quiet this year, just me, Mom and Dad. I came up north following being present at a beautiful wedding where two of my friends from university committed their lives to one another. Now attending weddings aren’t a new thing for me; they’re very typical in this season of my life. However, it does feel a bit strange when the people getting married were kids in your youth group or even worse, in your kids ministry! Weddings are always a celebration and I feel honoured to be invited to be a part of that couple’s day but I’ll admit, most weddings leave my heart aching. It’s the ache that comes with unfulfilled longing and it’s an ache that’s become familiar to me at weddings, at the declaration of engagements, and when my friends tell me they’re expecting a baby. I often wonder how you can feel such joy and such an ache at the same time?

I don’t write as often as I want to anymore. I think it’s because some of the things I struggle with seem to be wrapped in self-inflicted shame. I don’t want to damper the celebration of engagements and marriage, of babies and new homes with sharing about the ache I feel when I hear or read those stories and see those pictures. I imagine it must feel similar for a woman who may have just lost a baby and then sees a picture of a friend who just gave birth to a healthy one. Such ache and such joy.

If I’m being honest, the ache makes me question the goodness of God.

I feel selfish even giving voice to those words.

Because you haven’t yet fulfilled my deepest longing and desire (currently), I question whether you are really a good Father. It’s like I’m in the garden of Eden and you’ve given me the whole garden to enjoy except for one tree, but I’m fixated on that one tree, all I see is that one tree that I don’t have and because I can’t have it, how can you be good? Forget all these amazing gifts around me, just give me the darn tree!

Tonight as I contemplated how much I waiver in my belief, in my trust and in my devotion to a God who has poured out love and good gifts into my life, as I pondered my unsteadiness, I read these words from a favourite writer of mine:

I want to cultivate a deep sense of gratitude, of groundedness, of enough, even while I’m longing for something more. The longing and the gratitude, both. I’m practicing believing that God knows more than I know, that he sees what I can’t, that he’s weaving a future I can’t even imagine from where I sit this morning.
Extraordinary, indeed.
More than enough.

(Bread & Wine, Shauna Niequist)

This is my prayer in my seasons of ache and longing and in struggling to trust that God sees me and knows my story and is for me. That I would release the self-inflicted shame I feel over the parts of my story that in my eyes can’t seem to compete with those of my friends and acquaintances. That the thief of comparison wouldn’t rob my joy just because my life doesn’t look the way I thought it would. That I would refuse to believe the lie that tells me because of all of this, I’m not enough. My prayer is that I would be aware of all the gifts that are around me and that I would be filled with gratitude and groundedness.

I need to say these words out loud, I need to write them here because I know I’m not the only one who feels the deep ache over whatever unfulfilled longing or desire we have that we witness being fulfilled in someone else’s story.

I know it hurts.

Just like we share in one another’s joys and reasons to celebrate, may we share in one another’s aches too. May we be friends who aren’t afraid to ask how someone is really doing. May we be willing to laugh and celebrate together while also sitting and crying together. May we be sensitive to those who are in seasons of heartache but may we also be people who celebrate with those who are in seasons of celebration.

Because one of the greatest mysteries and tensions in our humanity is our ability to feel joy and to feel the ache of grief at the same time. To acknowledge this and to act accordingly is to truly embrace what it means to be human and to open your heart to this truth.

And for the record, I still believe what I told those Jr. Highs – that God does indeed have so much more for each one of us, more than we planned and more than we can see right now.

I Want To Have Courage…


I like to choose a word for the season I find myself in. Sometimes it’s a word that I need to hear, and see and write down over and over again. Sometimes it’s a word that I want to be or that I need to remember that I am. I’ve found that the word I choose shows itself in layers, in different places and in people who I least expect to find it in.

I’m not sure how I go about choosing the word but somehow it finds me. I like to think that God speaks it to my heart in the silence. I’ve come to believe this because my word usually seems to perfectly connect with my season. Strange, I know, but divinely so.

My word in this season is courage. Here’s why this word is connecting with the deepest parts of my soul right now…

Courage is one of those words that means something different for every person and in every situation. Courage is deeply rooted in who we are, in our stories and in the choices we make everyday. Courage is always a choice that we get to make. Courage is something that can grow and it often begins so small and tiny and fragile. Courage is always evolving as we evolve.

I want to have courage.
I want to fight against the voices that tell me I can’t do something.
I want to keep trying, even when all I seem to do is fail.
I want to believe that people can change, if they choose to.
I want to be a person who gives second-chances and more grace.
And in my life, these things demand courage.

I have a friend who recently lost his brother, who was also his best friend. Sometimes when we talk, he tells me that he wishes this could have just happened to someone else, someone who he doesn’t know, someone across the world. Why did it have to be him and his family? He knows that somehow, someday God will redeem this and it won’t hurt so bad, but right now it hasn’t been redeemed. It hurts everyday and he doesn’t know when the anxiety of his grief will hit him next, because that’s what grief does. And so he keeps going, somedays in a complete fog functioning on very little sleep. And some days his grief makes him suffer in silence and other days he shares it. This is courage – to keep going when you’re broken and when your story hasn’t been redeemed yet.

I have another friend whose life hasn’t turned out as she thought it would. She’s been through some things that have ripped her heart out and thrown it in her face. Yet, she’s let these things soften her heart and despite unfulfilled dreams, she keeps asking God what he’s up to next. Sometimes she tells me about the things she’s trying and the places she’s visiting and the things she’s learning on her own and I’m amazed at her. She is a woman of courage, and I don’t even think she knows it.

I recently had a conversation with another friend who has been deeply hurt by people who she thought were on her team. She invested her whole heart into her work only to have it end in a way she never expected. And as she cried the kind of tears that can only come from a broken heart, she talked about wanting to figure out how she can be a person of grace when things haven’t gone as she thought they would because she speaks it, but now she has to live it. She is living courage out in the flesh. And while my heart breaks for her, she is inspiring me with her courage.

Sometimes courage is asking the second question.
Sometimes courage is going to that wedding alone.
Sometimes courage is going back to school when you’re 50.
Sometimes courage is letting yourself say no to another thing.
Sometimes it’s having a conversation that is uncomfortable and awkward.
Sometimes it’s saying I’m sorry.
Sometimes it’s walking through those church doors.
Sometimes it’s asking for help.

Courage is the choice we get to make.

So in this season, I’m learning about what it means to have courage right where I find myself. And my courage may not seem like courage to you, but it’s mine and it’s the stuff that’s changing my heart. And some days for me, courage just means being ok with not being ok because I’m giving voice to the things that shame tells me to keep silent.

So where are you choosing courage? It’s ok to let it start small and fragile because I’m telling you…

It will grow and it will become part of your story and it will make you deeper. But maybe courage isn’t your word for this season. Maybe there’s another word that’s changing and challenging you. And if that’s the case, my prayer for you is simple:


Is being known really worth all the work?

I recently had coffee with a good friend of mine who also happens to be an avid writer. He was telling me how he’s gotten into the habit of getting up at 5am before everyone is awake and all is quiet just so he can have time and space to write. I admire this in many ways. Mostly because I’m the exact opposite of a morning person. I could set my sights on waking up early to write, but I doubt I’d be able to string two sentences together, let alone have them make any sense.

For the most part, I do my writing late at night. When all is quiet and all I can hear is the hum of the air conditioner and the oscillating of the fan. I take in the day attempting to be fully present, and then late at night I sit in my Papa’s chair, which has been passed down to me, and I rock and ponder the day. And sometimes, I want to write it all at once, and sometimes it comes slowly.

It’s funny how we are the same and yet we are so different. One of my favourite things about getting to know someone is learning their quirks. You know those little things that make people weird in their own way. Like sleeping with a fan on all year round, or having to have the toilet paper rolling a certain way, or taking a water bottle to bed, but you forget that there’s one there from the previous night and when you go to change the sheets, you find 10 in the bed! Learning a person’s quirks is what makes me feel like they are really known to me.

It is those quirks that also test our patience and grow our capacity to love someone. It’s one thing to love certain quirks, it’s another thing to know there are ones that you hate. The ones that get under your skin and on a bad day, can make you erupt. In many ways, I feel like I’ve become a student of relationships. By that I mean, I’ve become an observer of how people who are in relationships engage with one another. I listen to how they speak to one another, I watch to see if they actually have fun together, if they build one another up when they are together and when they are apart. I watch to see if they are still trying to get to know the other person after they’ve been together for a few years. Do they really see one another when they are together? Is the other person their safe place?

Over the years, I’ve talked to person after person who tell me things that they feel they could never talk about with their significant other because they don’t feel safe enough to bring it up, or they just don’t talk about things like that. I see patterns form early on in relationships where one person gives and the other just takes. And it doesn’t usually start out this way. So what happens to cause this disconnect, or this breakdown of continually seeking to know the other person? Do we get too busy? Do financial burdens get in the way? Do we just think we know everything there is to know about the person? Do their quirks that we don’t like silently build a wedge into the blind love we once felt?

I think this disconnect is what makes me afraid of marriage. I can control how connected I am, but I can’t control how connected the other person is.

The husbands and wives who after 15 years of marriage, still talk about their spouse when they’re not around like they are their absolute favourite person in the world; the couples who are continually asking each other questions because they want to know the other person more; the boyfriend who looks at his girlfriend, after dating for 7 years, and makes sure she knows that he really sees her ~ these are the small glimpses that make me desire marriage. To spend a lifetime getting to know someone who just wants to get to know you, now that sounds like something worth committing to.

Much of this can be said of friendships (not the romantic kind) too. I’m learning to live with a new roommate and we are having to be really intentional about making time to sit down and talk about things that bother us or things we really appreciate. We both want our home to be safe space, but I’m finding out that creating safe space with someone else takes a lot of work. Taking the time to ask the second question; finding out how that person receives love best; checking in to see how they are really feeling ~ many of these things don’t come naturally to us and so when we first start doing them, it’s weird and unnatural. But this is the stuff that builds friendships and relationships where grace and love flows so freely that it makes others want what you have.

I’m not a morning person, a 9am start is hard enough for me! But I’d like to think that if someone I loved a whole lot really loved having coffee together in the mornings, I’d at least make an effort a couple times a week to get up early just to sit together and drink coffee.

It’s funny how we are the same and yet we are so different.
Many of us long to be known, but are we really willing to put in the time and effort that knowing takes?

It’s my challenge and it’s my fear. But somehow, I think it might be worth it.

I thought God forgot about me…

It’s been over a year since I last wrote.

It’s been a year of transition.

When I graduated last spring, I told myself that this next year would be my transition year. I wouldn’t pressure myself into making a rash decision about where to live or what to do. I would just take my time and wait to see what would happen. And over the days and weeks and months of this year, I feel like I’ve made the transition from child to adult. I know, I know, I’m almost 28, you’d think I’d consider my childhood days long gone, but I’ve held on longer than most.

It was an uncomfortable transition, one that has come with unexpected disappointments and deep hurts. It was realizing that people change and sometimes you can’t go back to the way things used to be. I knew it in my head, but I had to learn it in my heart. And in the midst of tears and pouring out my soul to Jesus (and my Mom), and watching a lot of sappy movies, somewhere in the midst of all that, I changed too. I could feel it in my soul, that this season of uncertainty, of having no clue what I was transitioning into, of loneliness and exhaustion and disappointment, this season was making me deeper. I can’t really explain how I knew it, but my perspective and awareness started to shift.

I often thought about writing during the year, but if I’m honest, I couldn’t bring myself to share any of the things that kept me up at night and weighed my heart down. At the time, it was too raw.

In the midst of my “transition year”, I’ve found myself learning some new things.

I learned how to exercise. Not the once every blue moon or twice a week one month and then skip a month in between. No, I learned how to commit to exercising 4-5 times a week. I learned that I can lift weights and my body will run (in small increments of time). And even if the pounds haven’t poured off of me, learning to exercise has made me feel better about myself and about my health.

I’ve learned a lot about sticking at things and trouble shooting! I somehow found myself in a job that I’m not really qualified for, but it’s opened up a whole new world to me. These people believed in me and have given me the grace and space to learn to do a job that I didn’t go to school for! And the funny thing is that I love it. I love the challenge of such a steep learning curve. I love that I get to meet so many interesting people. I love that my love for photography and videography has been re-awakened! I didn’t expect it, and certainly not in this way.

I’ve learned a lot about what bitterness and anger can do to a person’s heart. And in turn I’ve learned that forgiveness is the only thing that can get rid of those things that take root so easily. Sometimes it’s literally been me asking God every time the situation comes to mind, to help me forgive even when I am still hurt and angry. You don’t realize it then, but God is doing the soul work, little by little.

And maybe the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that God is in the business of restoring people and making all things new.

I thought I was the exception to this.

For a long time I felt like I was sitting on the bench watching the game and all I wanted to do was play. I felt the ache of wondering if God had forgotten about me or if I just wasn’t the type of person he was looking for. I felt like he didn’t see me. Even as I sit here and write these words, tears well up in my eyes because I know that deep ache, that deep longing to be seen and known. I know the deep ache of watching your friends get married, of holding one baby after another wondering if that will ever be your story. I know the ache of wondering if there will ever be anything for you, if what you do really matters and wondering if you were gone, would anyone notice. I know the desire to have meaningful friendships that give you life and the struggle to find a place to belong. And I know what it’s like to walk into parties and church and other special occasions alone, I get what that can do to a person after they’ve done it for the 20th time.

There were a lot of days this year, where I lived in this space, with these thoughts and these aches. But here’s the thing:

I wouldn’t trade it.

I can’t believe I’m saying that. But if I wasn’t there in that place then, then I couldn’t be here in this place now.

It was around Easter time that I started reflecting on the idea of resurrection – how things have to die so they can be resurrected and experience new life. I remember distinctly getting to the place where I said to God that I’m giving up all the things I dream of and hope for, that I’m letting them die! I needed Him to do a resurrection in my life, to make something new out of what was dead. Because none of my efforts were working. I was walking beside the ocean when I told God that I was letting my dreams die because I believe that the dreams he has for me are better than anything I could orchestrate.

It was after those moments by the ocean just laying it all on the table when my year of transition was suddenly over. I left that place with a lightness that I didn’t have previously. Somehow I had this sense that where I am in this stage is where I’m supposed to be and it’s ok that it doesn’t look the way I thought it would. God has new dreams to give me.

And so now I find myself sitting in my new apartment in mid-town Toronto with a roomate! I’m learning how to live in the city and how to park in really tight spaces with my big car. I’m attempting to figure out how to use tools to put furniture together. God has given me a church that I love, something I had given up on finding. He’s given me ministry opportunities left and right, and many working with students. He’s opened my eyes to some of the people around me, that I didn’t notice before. And I’m giving thanks because I never could have dreamed any of this up, these weren’t my dreams. And some days are still really hard, and there are tears and sappy movies. But that’s ok. Cause I know I’m not the only one and my story is still being written.

So maybe you feel like you’re sitting on the bench watching the game, wondering if God has forgotten about you? Maybe you know about the deep aches that I mentioned and have a whole list of your own that you can add. Maybe you’re keeping silent about all that your heart is feeling because it’s too hard to talk about it, and you know that with one word, the levy might just break. Let it break. Pour it all out to a God who does see you and does know you and who wants to love you through the heartache. And maybe it’s time to let some of your dreams die, so God can bring new life to them in ways you could never imagine.

And maybe you just need to be reminded again that

you are seen

you are known

you are loved

and your story isn’t over.

God is in the business of making all things new.

Why We’re Asking Graduates The Wrong Question…

college graduationSo, what is your plan now?

What will the rest of your life look like?

What’s next for you?

Any way you frame it, this is the question I’m pretty sure almost every new graduate is facing. Please map out what the next 10 years of your life will look like! Um, I’m sorry, I can’t even map out the next 10 days!

At first, I was overwhelmed by this question because I felt like I needed to have something profound to say. Oh, I’m thinking about doing a masters or I’ve got a few things lined up, I’m just weighing out my options. Of course there’s always the number one Christian cop-out – “I’m praying about it.” And actually, it’s true.

But here’s the thing – I think most of us are asking the wrong question. We don’t realize that the way we ask about someone’s plans is actually inferring that they have to have a plan. It’s sending the message that what we are doing at the time isn’t good enough. It’s actually communicating this idea that we need to know what comes next or what the next 10 years will hold and here’s the question I have for you – why? Where is the adventure in knowing exactly what I’ll be doing for the next 10 years? I’m not against having goals; I think goal setting can be very important. But having goals is different from knowing exactly what your life will potentially look like for the next 5 years.

Why don’t we ask questions like: What’s God teaching you right now? What are you loving about life right now? Do you have people around you that are pouring into your life and that you do likewise? What are your dreams for the future? What is filling your mind these days?

We are not promised tomorrow, next week, next year or 10 years from now, and so I’m much more interested in knowing where a person is at right now then where they’ll be in a couple of years.

Some of us have this expectation that when we graduate, we know what job we will do and of course we will do it for the rest of our lives. But the world just doesn’t work like this anymore. What I originally went to school for is definitely not what I’m doing now. But nothing is ever wasted. My previous experiences have shaped who I am and brought me to the place I’m in now.

So to answer your question of what’s next for me? I’ll let you know when I know, but in the mean time why don’t we talk about what’s happening in the now.