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The Day Sofia Evelina was Afraid

Sofia Evelina’s bed time was always 8:00 during the week. And she didn’t like it. Everyone in the house all got to stay up later. But her and her younger sister Tenley, always had an earlier bed time. Sometimes, Sofia would cry about having to go to bed so early, other times she would beg her mom or her step-dad Kris to let her stay up later. But the answer was always no.

During one spring, for an entire week, it was especially difficult for Sofia to go to sleep. And when she did fall asleep, she’d wake up at least once or twice during the night with bad dreams. It was very hard on Sofia, she was becoming more and more scared of bed time every day. And more and more tired!

         As Sofia’s mom was putting her to bed one evening, Sofia cried about going to bed. Mom laid down beside her and put the blankets over both of them. Snuggling really tight together, she asked her what was really going on.

         “Well,” said Sofia, “I’ve been having a lot of bad thoughts before bed and bad dreams while I’m sleeping. I’m scared there’s monsters in my closet. I’m scared that you’re going to leave me and I won’t have a mom any more. And I dream that my whole family dies except me, and I’m all alone. I keep having all these bad thoughts and dreams, and they just won’t go away!”

         “Oh honey! Why didn’t you tell me all these things before? I knew you were having bad dreams, but these are worse than I thought!” Sofia’s mom put her arm around her and pulled her in tight.

         “I don’t know why I didn’t tell you. I guess I thought maybe they’d go away. And I didn’t think you’d care that much.”

         “Why wouldn’t I care? I love you and care about everything that goes on in your life. All the things you care about, I care about. Just like our heavenly Father cares about them too.”

         “Well, I was scared that you’d get mad, and maybe even leave. And I couldn’t stop thinking that you wouldn’t want me anymore!”

         Mom didn’t know how to respond. Part of her was upset that her daughter would think that after all she has done for her, Sofia would still think that she didn’t want her and would leave. But the other part knew that those thoughts were lies from the enemy that needed to leave her mind right then and there! Closing her eyes, mom whispered a silent prayer for God’s help with what to say to her beloved daughter.

Cupping Sofia’s face in her hands, looking at her straight in the eye, mom said, “Sofia, my love. You know that I love you more than anything in the whole world. You know that I would never leave you. I never have before and I never will. Ever. The thoughts you’re letting come into your mind are lies from the enemy. You have to stop thinking them. The Bible says to take every thought captive against the knowledge of Christ, and that means that every thought we have, line it up with what Christ says about us. If it doesn’t match up, put it out of your mind. And Christ only says good things about us, so whatever we think should be good. Dreams are kind of the same, but kind of different. We can’t really control what we dream, but we control what we think about before we go to bed, and sometimes, both are similar. If you’re afraid before you go to bed, chances are you might have a scary dream. That’s why we always pray before bed, that God would give you good dreams. Perhaps we should do that now?

         Sofia sigh, “Yeah, I guess.”

         “But what do you think we should do first?” Sofia’s mom smiled and winked at her.

         “Say what we’re thankful for and make declarations.” Sofia giggled quietly.

         “What?! How did you know that??”

         Sofia rolled her eyes, “Mom, it’s what we always do!”

         “It is?! I’m shocked! Whatever do you mean?!”

         “Oh mom, as if you don’t know!” Sofia laughed. “Okay, I’ll start. I’m thankful that my mom loves me.” Mom bent down and gave her a big slobbery kiss. Sofia shrieked and wiped it off. “Ewe, mom! I’m trying to do something here!”

         “Okay, sorry!” mom laughed, “please, continue.”

         “I’m thankful that when I have bad thoughts or dreams that I can always talk to my mom and she’ll be there for me and pray for me. I’m thankful that God will always help me think good thoughts and help and comfort me when I have a bad dream. I’m thankful that God keeps us safe and there isn’t any monsters in my closet, or any other scary things. And I declare that God is my protector, He will keep me safe. I know he will comfort me when I need it. God loves me and only wants the best for me!” Sofia yawned, and her eyes started to get heavy.

After mom prayed that God would give her peace and a good sleep, she got up and tucked her in. Kissing her forehead, she whispered, “Goodnight my Sofia Evelina. Sweet, sweet dreams.”

The Day God Didn’t Answer Sofia Evelina’s Prayer (Or So She Thought)

It was going to be a very full weekend at Sofia Evelina’s house. Sofia had a lot of different emotions about it all, some of them she didn’t really understand. On the one hand, it was her little sister Tenley’s birthday, which she was excited for. She was also happy that the weather was supposed to be nice so she could play outside with her friends. Although, on the other hand, she didn’t know if there would be much time for that, because her mom was getting married in just three days.

         And Sofia didn’t know how she felt about it. She wanted her mom to be happy. And her soon to be, new step dad, Kris, seemed like he was a nice guy. But now she was going to have to share her mom with other people, and she didn’t love the idea. But most of all, it really meant that her mom and dad would never get back together, which was something she had been praying for since they split up, three years earlier.

         Sofia was confused. Doesn’t God answer prayers? Did he even hear me? Doesn’t the Bible say that he always hears us and answers us? If that’s true, why didn’t he answer my prayer? Is there even a point to praying if he’s not going to answer me? She knew her older sister had been praying for her parents to get back together too, so did God not hear her either? Her mom even prayed for the same thing, for a while, too. God didn’t hear her either? Does he hear anyone? Does he answer anyone’s prayers? If he doesn’t, what’s the point of loving him?

Even in the hustle and bustle of everything happening around the house, Sofia’s mom noticed there was something off with her. She didn’t seem like her usual happy self. The night after Tenley’s birthday party, just 2 days before the wedding, mom was putting the girls to bed. Sofia started to cry. “What’s the matter, honey?” Sofia’s mom asked.

         “I’m happy that you’re happy and getting married again, mom. But I’m really sad that God didn’t answer my prayers about you and dad getting back together. I prayed it lots and I don’t think he even heard me!”

         Just then, Olivia walked in the room and joined the conversation, “yeah, I prayed that lots too! He never answered my prayer either!”

         Mom sat on the bed and snuggled them all close. “I know girls. I prayed it for a long time too. The truth is, I have no idea why some people get back together and some don’t. I don’t know why God heals some people of sicknesses and others he doesn’t. A lot of people have the same questions. But he always hears us and answers our prayers. Sometimes he says yes, sometimes he says no, and sometimes he says to wait. In this case, his answer was a no. And that’s okay because that means he has something better planned. We only see a little tiny part of what is happening, and he sees the entire picture.

“I also know, more than anything in this world, no matter what happens or doesn’t happen, God is still good and loves us so much. So we must trust him in everything. Even when things are hard, or don’t make sense. Or when it feels like he’s so far away. Or when it seems like he doesn’t hear us. He’s always there and he always, always cares. And he always answers our prayers, just sometimes, not in the way we want him to.”

Mom reached toward Sofia and grabbed her hand. Squeezing it, she continued, “okay, so what’s the first thing we do when we’re feeling down?”

“Say what we’re thankful for,” both Olivia and Sofia said together.

“That’s right!” mom smiled. “But this time, I’m just going to do it because it may be a harder one that you may not know what to say yet.”

Both girls let out a sigh of relief. Mom laughed. “Ok, I’m thankful that no matter what happens, God still loves us and always answers our prayers, lots of times in ways we’re not expecting. I’m thankful that God always hears us. I’m thankful that God comforts us when we have a broken heart. I’m thankful that I can always trust him and let him figure out everything for my life. I’m thankful that when I don’t understand, I can just throw my hands in the air and say, ‘God, you deal with it!’ and he does! I’m thankful that he is always good, no matter what. I’m thankful that he always has our best interest in his mind. I’m thankful that even when I don’t see it, or it doesn’t seem like it, he’s always working for me and my good. I’m thankful that God answered my prayer and gave me Kris, who is a wonderful gift to all of us!

“And while we’re at it, I’m going to declare. I declare that God loves each and every person in my family. I declare that God has amazing plans for all of us. I declare that we will trust him with our questions and prayers, and know that no matter what, he hears us. Father, You are a good, good God. You are faithful, kind, gracious, compassionate, merciful, true, patient, loving, and beautiful.”

Sofia smirked. She didn’t know if Kris marrying mom would be better than having mom and dad back together, but she realized it wasn’t for her to understand. She had to decide to trust that God had a bigger plan for them all.

The Many Adventures of Sofia Evelina – Chapter 3

The Day Sofia Evelina learned to Read

Sofia Evelina was the most outgoing and friendliest kid you’d ever meet. She knew and played with every kid in the neighbourhood. She was the happiest when she was out with her friends. So you can imagine how she felt about having to come inside to do her homework every day after school. In case you were wondering, it wasn’t good.

         Sofia’s very least favourite subject in school was reading. For some reason, it just wasn’t going well for her. Sofia and her mom read together every day, and there was some improvement, but she still struggled. She wished she could be like her big sister, Olivia. Olivia was so smart. She didn’t need help with school work at all. Someone could show her how to do anything just one time, and she would pick it up, and be great at it. She was amazing at reading, math, sports, music, and everything in between. It just wasn’t fair!

         One day after school, Sofia and her mom were reading together. Sofia was trying to sound out words and her mom kept having to help her. Mom let out a frustrated sigh, which Sofia noticed right away. “I can’t do this, mom! I can’t read! I’m so stupid!”

         “Oh honey,” said her mom, “I’m so sorry. This is frustrating for both of us, but you’re by no means stupid. You’re so smart. Everyone just learns differently, and that’s okay!”

         “No I’m not smart!” Sofia argued. “Everyone can read better than me! I’m never going to learn to read!”

         “Now Sofia, you know that isn’t true!”

         “Yes it is! No one in my class is as bad at reading then me! I’m never going to learn!”

“Okay, that’s enough now! No more talking bad about yourself! Everyone learns differently, and is good at different things. You always compare yourself to the kids in your class, or Olivia, and it’s not a good thing to do. Olivia may be your sister, but she learns completely different than you. She is better at different things than you are, and she enjoys different things. Just like you’re better than her at some things.” Sofia’s mom pulled Sofia close and gave her a big cuddle. “Sofia, what do we always do when we’re feeling down?”

         Sofia rolled her eyes and sigh, “say what we’re thankful for. But I don’t feel like doing that. I just want to stop reading and go play!”

         “When we don’t feel like being thankful is when we should do it the most! I know when I don’t feel like being thankful but I decide to do it anyways, I always feel much better after.”

         Sofia looked up at her mom, puzzled, “You don’t want to be thankful sometimes?!”

         “Of course! We all go through times where we don’t want to be thankful. It’d be much easier to stay in our bad moods. Most people aren’t naturally thankful, and we have to work hard to make it a habit. So, with that all said, let’s do what we do when we’re down. You go ahead.”

         Sofia took a deep breath, “I’m thankful I can go to school and learn new things. I’m thankful that God gave me a mind that helps me learn new things, like reading. I’m thankful that my mom reads with me every day and helps me.”

         “Good job Sofia, now what do we say?”

         “I declare that I AM smart. I will learn to read, no matter what. I will be patient with myself, and not give up. I AM a good reader!”

         “Very good Sofia!” Her mom paused, and then continued, “Hey, do you know why we declare things? And say them out loud?”

         “No, but I do feel better when we do it.”

         “I’m glad you do! There is power in our words. What we say matters. The Bible says death and life are in the power of the tongue. So it’s really important to speak life.” Sofia’s mom gave Sofia a huge hug and a big sloppy kiss, “And did you know the name Sofia means ‘wisdom’? So every time I say your name, I’m saying that you’re one of the smartest people I know!”

         Sofia’s eyes widened. “Really?! That’s awesome! I should be reading in no time, then!”

         Her mom laughed, “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you this whole time!”

The Day Sofia Evelina Didn’t Feel Beautiful

This is one of my stories in the first volume of “The Many Adventures of Sofia Evelina”. It will be available on Amazon very soon and I’m so excited!

The Day Sofia Evelina Didn’t Feel Beautiful

It was a beautiful sunny day when Sofia and her friends went to play outside at the park. The park was just down the street from Sofia’s house, so they spent most of their summer there. Whenever any of the kids were looking for each other, they always knew to look at the park first. And when any of the neighbourhood parents were looking for their kids, they too headed to the park.

         Most days, all of the kids got along pretty well. But every once in a while, one of the kids would make one of their friends angry. And when that happened, they’d usually come home upset and tell their parents all about it. This day was no exception. For some reason or another, Sofia came running home angry that her friend, Timothy, wouldn’t share his popsicles with her. He gave everyone else one, except her! It just wasn’t fair!

         Feeling sad for her, Sofia’s mom gave her a Popsicle from her house and back she went to play with her friends. An hour later Sofia was called in for a bath and bed time. Her mom noticed that she was quieter than usual.

         “Mom,” Sofia said, while staring at herself in the mirror. “I am fat and ugly.”

         “What?! You absolutely are NOT fat and ugly!” Sofia’s mom was in shock. “Who on earth told you that?!”

         “Well,” Sofia sighed heavily, “Timothy said I was a big, fat tattletale. So he thinks I’m fat and ugly.”

“Oh honey!” Sofia’s mom’s heart was broken, but she stayed as calm and positive as she could. She turned to face Sofia and brushed her hair behind her ear. Then cupping Sofia’s face in her hands she said, “You are absolutely perfect just the way you are. You are kind, wonderful, smart, friendly, passionate, generous, thoughtful, polite, strong, and creative. God made you just the way you are and everything he makes is good and perfect. The Bible says we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Anyone who tells you otherwise is lying.”

         Sofia looked down at the floor. “Yeah but my legs are bigger than Olivia’s legs, and she’s my older sister. She should be bigger than me.”

         “That’s the beauty of how God makes us. None of us are the same. Each and every single person in the world is different than the other. Just like no two snowflakes are the same, no two people are the same. And just like snowflakes, we are beautiful, unique and perfect in our own way. There’s no rhyme or reason for the way God makes us. I have two younger sisters and they’re both taller than me! Does that make sense? Nope! But that’s the way we are each made.”

         Sofia sighed, “Yeah, I guess.”

         “So, my beautiful daughter, what’s the first thing we do when we’re feeling down or going through a hard time?”

         “Say what we’re thankful for,” Sofia replied.

“And why do we do that?” asked Mom.

         “Because it helps us have a more positive attitude.”

         “That’s right,” said Mom. “This time I am going to go first. I am thankful that I have three wonderful, amazing daughters, who are such perfect gifts to me from my heavenly Father. Today, I am especially thankful for my Sofia Evelina. You never stop amazing me with your spunk, your passion, and your beauty, both inside and out. I’m so thankful that you never give up, even though sometimes you want to. I’m thankful for the wonderful treasure that you are. All the rainbows in the whole world are not as beautiful as you! Okay, now it’s your turn.”

Sofia smiled, “I’m thankful that I have a healthy body and that everything works the way it should. I’m thankful God made me the way I am. I’m thankful that God made me and loves me and thinks I’m perfect. I’m thankful that my mom and the rest of my family loves me and thinks I am perfect, just the way I am.”

         “Very good,” said Mom. “Now we declare to encourage ourselves and boost our confidence. I’m going to go first this time, too. I declare that you, Sofia, will know how wonderful and beautiful you are, no matter what anyone else says about you. I declare that God will give you wisdom to make healthy choices in all aspects of your life. I declare that you will know that you are a child of the Most High King. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and loved more than you will ever know! Okay, Sofia, your turn.”

         “I declare that I am beautiful, no matter what anyone else says. I declare that I won’t let other people’s words tell me what I should think about myself. I know that God made me just the way I am. I declare that I will keep myself healthy and make healthy choices as much as I can. I know that I am an amazing, wonderful person, and the daughter of God! And I ask, Father, that on days I don’t feel good about myself, you will remind me how much you love me.”

         “Very good Sofia!” Mom gave her a big bear hug. “You’re my most favourite Sofia Evelina in the whole world!”

         Sofia rolled her eyes, “I’m your ONLY Sofia Evelina!”

         “Yep,” her mom winked and gave her a big sloppy kiss on her cheek. “I know!”

God, my Provider

There are so many people right now who are struggling financially. Many have lost their jobs and are unsure what their next move is. Thankfully, my husband is still working, but it’s still financially hard to keep up with all our bills.

There have been times where I have been so overwhelmed by our financial situation. I think we’ve all been there, where we’re so anxious about money; we don’t know how we’re going to pay our bills or buy groceries. Sometimes full on panic attacks start and we do everything we can to try and calm ourselves down. Tell ourselves it’ll all work out… somehow. I’ve tried to surrender every part of my life to God, and trust that He’ll work things out, but sometimes, it’s just more than I know how to handle.

But I suppose that’s exactly where God wants us, a place where we feel like we’re in way over our heads, so we have no choice but to completely hand it over to Him, and not try and handle it at all. I feel like I’m drowning in some financial stress, but mostly marital and family stress that I don’t know which way is up. Which again, is right where God wants me. A place where I can do nothing apart from him. Absolutely nothing… but that topic is for another day. Back to finances…

A few months ago I spoke at church about being diligent to remember the things God has done for us. I talked about what God wanted from the Israelites in Deuteronomy, where it says “You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, His testimonies, and His statutes which He has commanded you” (Deut 6:17, NKJV). God uses the word “testimonies” because He wants us to always be giving our testimonies, telling people about what God has done for us. The more we share, the more our faith is built up. Then I shared about how Jesus fed the 5000 men, plus women and children, with just a few fish and a little bit of bread, (written in all 4 of the New Testament Gospels), and then how He fed another 4000 men, plus women and children (written in Mark 8 and Matt 15). And after these huge events, the disciples were worried they wouldn’t have any bread for their one particular voyage (Mark 8). Jesus gets after them and says, “Don’t you remember what I’ve done for you? I’ve fed thousands of people, multiple times, with just a couple loaves of bread and some fish. Do you think I’d let you go hungry now?” I think if they would have remembered the miracles they witnessed firsthand, they wouldn’t have been so worried.

So that caused me to think, God has done so much for me. He’s provided so many times, why would I think that He’d leave me hanging now. I began to recount out loud all the times He not only rescued me out of financial trouble, but He also provided things that I were simply a ‘want’.

Honesty, I don’t even know where to begin. Over the last 4 years, there’s been so many times!

1) I really disliked the vehicle I was driving and really wanted a new one. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to afford my dream car, but I found myself looking at one at the dealership anyways. The car I took a picture of a few years prior, and texted to my then husband saying, “one day I will have this car.” I looked at it in the lot, got the price, and came home defeated. It was way out of my price league, of course.

A couple weeks later, my ex came over to put together the girl’s playhouse and overheard me talk to his family about looking at this car. I had no idea he was even listening, but the next day he texted me and offered to pay extra money on top of his child support to cover part of the payment. So back to the dealership I went, and came home with my dream car!!

2) After being in my house a couple months, I realized that my dark hardwood floor was very unforgiving and the tiniest speck of dirt made it look so dirty. So you can imagine what having 3 little girls made it look like on a regular basis. And I didn’t like that my kitchen cabinets were so dark, and my kitchen island was so awkwardly big and dark. I started to really hate my flooring especially, and prayed for a way to pay for my flooring and kitchen to be redone. I wrote it on my “Miracles I’m Waiting For” list and prayed about it often. One December, I wrote down my miracles again and prayed that some of them would be fulfilled the next year. Some way, somehow, I really, really wanted new flooring.

A month later, in the middle of January, my dishwasher leaked one night and completely wrecked part of the hardwood floor and the wood panels in my island. The insurance adjuster came and decided that because they couldn’t match the colour of the hardwood, which was on my whole entire main floor, I’d have to get all new flooring. She also had a couple different cabinet companies come and look at my island. One of the companies said the entire island needed to be replaced, the other said just the panels needed replacing. Miraculously, the insurance adjuster agreed with the first company, so we went with them. It was a small family run company who made everything from scratch, so I asked them if they could redesign my island to be more practical and white, instead of dark. No problem, they said.

Because it all went through insurance, everything took a while to get done, and the whole main floor was a disaster for almost 4 months. BUT, I got brand new flooring, a brand new beautiful white kitchen island, and it only cost me the insurance deductible and a little bit extra to the cabinet company. A $34 000 job cost me $1900 bucks! Seriously, God is so amazing!

3) My sister and her husband go to Florida for a month or two every winter. If I can, I try and go and take a kid or two with me. The first time I had enough money to take my oldest daughter, but I really wanted to take my middle daughter with. She was only 5 at the time, but I thought it would be really fun to have them both with me. I wasn’t sure how I’d pull off paying for her ticket, but after some prayer, I decided to ask my ex-husband for the money to cover her flight. Miraculously, he agreed, and she was able to come with us!

3.5) The second time I went, I decided to just take my oldest daughter with me and have a mommy-daughter trip. My middle daughter would get to come the next time (which, she reminds me, has yet to happen). I tried saving up any extra money I could so that I wasn’t paying for the trip after the trip itself was over. I spent some time praying about it, and God gave me some really cool business ideas to make more money selling my homemade cupcakes. Before I knew it, I was super busy baking away and putting a lot more money towards our trip! Sometimes God provides actual money, sometimes He gives us more ways to make it ourselves. He’s so amazing!

5) My credit card was maxed and I had no money to buy groceries. I was in the car with my mom telling her that I was financially strapped and it was a week until any money was coming in, and I needed a few groceries. She bought me a cup of coffee, but she really didn’t have money to lend me either. As we’re talking about this, my cousin calls and says, “My aunty has thank you cards for you guys for singing at her wedding. They’re here at my house if you want to come pick them up.” We picked them up and inside each card was $50. Just enough to get me through the week until next payday!

6) There are so many stories I could share like the one above. There were countless times when I ran out of money, and just like that, money would come from somewhere. One time, I was getting ready to go to Costco because I needed groceries. I had absolutely had no money, and again, no room on my credit card, but I needed a few things. As I’m doing my hair, another cousin stops by and gives me a cheque for $200 for helping me doing some bookkeeping stuff. Talk about God-timing!

7) My ex-sister in law and her friend were going to New York for a short trip, and asked me if I wanted to come. Of course I wanted to, but financially I couldn’t do it. There was just no way. She kept trying to get me to come, I needed to get away from everything, she argued. I agreed, but there was literally no way I could afford it. A day or so later, she texts me and says “If I pay for your flight and your share of the hotel, will you come?”

“What?!?! Seriously?!?!”

“Yep!” she says, “I really want you to come!”

“Well how can I say no to that?!” So the three of us went to New York for 4 days and had the absolute best time!

I want to make a point to remember the things God has done for me. He’s given me so much and done so many things for me, I could probably fill a journal or two. So whenever I start to get anxious about incoming bills or low funds, I take a step back and think about all the times God has come through. I know if He’s done it before, He’ll do it again. I just need to trust Him.

Has God provided for you recently? Have you stopped to think about it? I bet He’s provided for you more than you realize. I encourage you to take some time and think about great opportunities or ideas you had to make extra money, or if actual money unexpectedly came your way, or even if someone paid for your coffee one morning. Whether big or small, His hands are in it all. Then take some time to thank Him for His provision. And then, most importantly, above everything else, trust Him completely… with everything.

22

I see the number 22 everywhere. I see it throughout the day on the clock, sometimes up to 6-8 times a day. I see it on license plates, phone numbers, addresses, crosswalk timers, you name it. For almost a year now, I’ve seen it anywhere and everywhere.

God loves to speak to us more than we want to hear. Maybe because we expect Him to speak in certain ways, or the ways we think He speaks are in a neat little box, never to be opened or ventured out of. The truth is, He speaks through absolutely everything. He can tell you something He wants you to know through anything He wants. He once spoke to me through a drunk man, and I knew it was Him because I knew the man, and I knew he would never say anything like that in his right mind.

I kept asking the Lord what the number 22 meant. I had a Christian dream/signs interpretation book that I studied. I went through every book in the Bible, chapter 22: verse 22. I’ve had a few dreams about keys, so I thought maybe it was Isaiah 22:22, “I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open.” I thought that’d be pretty cool if that’s what God was trying to speak over my life. But no, I knew that’s not what God meant. Not for now anyways.

Then one day I was browsing through my Passion Translation Bible, just flipping pages, and stumbled on Proverbs 22:4, “Laying your life down in tender surrender before the Lord will bring life, prosperity, and honor as your reward.” I have written a book about surrender and have spent years trying to practice it, so I thought this was it for sure! I was so excited I had finally figured it out. The words on the page had just jumped out at me, so it had to be what the Lord meant! Yes!

But a small part of my heart didn’t feel right. Maybe this scripture was a part of what God was trying to tell me, but it wasn’t the main thing. What then, could it be?

One Sunday afternoon, I was really fighting with discouragement. What was my purpose in life? I know that loving on and being there for my 3 daughters, 2 step kids and husband are a huge part of what I’m supposed to be doing now. And I know they will always come first in whatever stage of life I’m in. But I was still fighting with this gnawing feeling that I am or will be called to do something more. And I don’t know what it is. Should I be doing more with my book, or my church, or my blog? Should I be trying more things with my cupcake business? Why is it so hard to not be content where I am right now? Why am I so miserable?

Then I heard these words out of nowhere, “When the time is right, I, the Lord will make it happen.” They came so powerfully to my mind that I could have sworn I heard audibly heard them. Hmm, that’s interesting. Where have I heard that saying before? Is it a scripture? I typed it into my phone and sure enough, Isaiah chapter 60. I scrolled down, only to find it in… yep, you guessed it: verse 22! I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that, that was what 22 meant. God is so funny sometimes. Scripture says He loves to speak in puzzles, Jesus even spoke in parables all the time. He does that so we will search it out, and position our hearts to hear.

I still don’t know what “it” is. I have no idea what my future will look like. I suppose none of us do, but that’s a side point. What I mean is, is that I know God wants to do something big in my life, but I don’t know what it is. I knew that before, but I actually have more peace now. I’m only doing what I know to do now, and let God take care of the rest.

So every time I see the number 22, which is still all the time, I smile and remind myself to trust God, because when the time is right, He will make “it” happen.

The Many Adventures of Sofia Evelina

(I’m writing a children’s book called “The Many Adventures of Sofia Evelina”. It is a contemplation of short stories loosely based on my middle daughter Sofia; a wild, blue eyed, blonde haired, overly dramatic, girl, whom I love more than anything in the world. Each story has a theme and teaches kids about the power of their words; practicing gratitude and making positive declarations.)

The Day Sofia Evelina Didn’t Want to Dance

It was the first day of ballet class for Sofia Evelina. She had been looking forward to it all summer, and now the day was finally here! She opened the dance studio door wide and waltzed in like she owned the place. She looked up and stopped. “Oh, this place is so much different than I thought. There are so many bigger girls that are amazing dancers!”

         Suddenly she felt so small and afraid. “What if I can’t dance?” she thought. “What if I’m not a good dancer? What if I fall and all the other girls laugh at me? What if I can’t learn the steps and the teacher yells at me? I don’t think I can do this!”

         She glanced into one of the studio rooms as she walked down the hall. There were girls just a little older than her dressed in their suits, tights and ballet slippers, practicing their jumps and turns. “That looks amazing!” she thought. “Will I ever be as good as them? Yeah, I don’t think me being here is a good idea.” She shook her head and said, “Mom, I want to go home. I don’t want to dance anymore.”

         Her mom let go of her hand, turned and knelt down to face Sofia. She brushed the hair off Sofia’s face and said, “Honey, I know this might be scary for you, but you can do this! Besides, you’ve committed to do this for a year, and you have to keep your commitment.”

         Holding back tears, she nodded her head, turned around and walked into her studio room. Her teacher, Miss Katie, was so nice and welcoming, which made Sofia feel a bit better. There were 7 other girls in her class. “Okay,” said Miss Katie, “today we are going to learn what first position is.”

         “Nope, that’s it! I can’t do it!” Sofia said. She turned around and walked to the back corner of the room. Sitting with her knees to her chest, she put her face in her hands and cried.

         Miss Katie called out to her, “Sofia, why are you in the corner? Come join us!”

         “I don’t want to dance! I want to go home!” Sofia sobbed. Miss Katie called for Sofia’s mom to come talk to her.

Again, Sofia’s mom knelt down in front of her. “Okay, maybe we should do this differently. Sofia, what’s one thing we always do first when we’re going through a difficult time?”

         “Say what we’re thankful for.”

         “Okay, so let’s do that now.”

         Sofia took a deep breath. “I’m thankful that I have parents that will take me to dance. I’m thankful I can go to dance. I’m thankful I have two arms and legs, and a healthy body to do different things like dance. I’m thankful that God has made me strong enough to dance and exercise. I’m thankful for the other girls that are in this class that will be my friends. I’m thankful I can learn new and different things.”

         “Very good!” said Sofia’s mom. “What’s the next thing we do?”

         “Make declarations,” replied Sofia.

         “That’s right. So why don’t you go ahead and declare.”

         “I declare that I CAN do this. I WILL be a good dancer. I WILL work hard and take ONE step at a time. I WILL be patient with myself and give myself grace. When I fall I WILL get back up and keep trying. And when I feel I can’t do it, I know God will give me strength.” Sofia kept repeating these things until she really believed them. Then, with her newfound confidence, she got up and stood with the rest of her class.

         “I’m so glad you’re rejoining us Sofia!” said Miss Katie.

         “Thank you,” Sofia replied. She paused, smiled then said, “Just one step at a time. I got this!”

Dream about the Rapture

Back in September I had a dream that Jesus had returned and taken the Christians up to heaven with him. What I saw was the aftermath of that, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.

I’ve heard it said that young children who don’t have the ability to understand salvation will be taken up with Jesus in the rapture, or if they died, they’d go to heaven. I don’t know what the cut off age would be, but regardless, I saw mothers whose children disappeared in the rapture. Mothers who one second had little ones running around their feet, suddenly vanish the next second. Even mothers who were pregnant, their babies disappeared too, gone right out of their bellies. And I saw the panic and chaos that ensued after that. The frantic searching, the screaming, complete and utter horror. It made me think of the different scriptures in Matthew and Luke when Jesus is talking about the end of days, and he says how dreadful it will be for pregnant women and nursing mothers. He may have been referring to something different, but I couldn’t help but agree. Very dreadful, indeed.

Then I saw Christians driving in cars and suddenly vanish. Car wrecks everywhere. Christian drivers taken up, leaving non Christian passengers in their seats, crashing and being seriously injured or killed. Vehicles colliding into buildings, driving off of bridges. Complete chaos, destruction and death everywhere.

I also saw young people, whose parents were Christians, but they weren’t, be left behind. Again, I’m not sure the age cut off, but let’s say they were 10-12 years old. Their parents have disappeared, they’re frantically searching and can’t find them anywhere. They’re left alone in their house, no way to buy groceries, pay bills, get anywhere. They’re afraid and completely alone. And it could be like this for years for them. Would they starve to death? Now that the Holy Spirit is gone from the earth, would people have a heart to take these children under their wing and care for them? I started to panic at this point. Will my children be okay? Are they saved? Will they be left behind? I’m pretty sure I was sleeping or trying to sleep when this happened because I remember trying to calm myself down. Telling myself that my children will be okay. They have Jesus in their hearts. They’ll be with me.

But after all of this, I had this overwhelming feeling that nothing matters except our relationship with God. The money we work our whole lives to make, the cars we drive, the houses we live in, all of it… it doesn’t matter. We leave it all behind when we go. The ONLY thing we take with us to heaven is our family. So now, when I think of the passage, “seek FIRST the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” I take it much more seriously. I seek FIRST what God wants for me and my family, how we can serve the Lord and his kingdom, share the gospel and love others. Everything else is secondary.

Faith like a Child

The summer before last, the Lord asked me if I was willing to serve the small church I attended, in whatever ways needed. Was I really willing to give the Lord my all through this, no matter what it was or how much it cost?

“For the sake of the call, will you lay down your all?” were the words that came to me over and over.

“Yes! Yes I am willing! I’ll do whatever you ask me for the tiny church I love… just please don’t ask me to do children’s ministry! I’ll do anything except that! Please! I’m begging!”

So, I’m sure you can guess what happened. Both of the children’s ministry teachers stepped down at the same time and I had to decide if I was really going to put my money where my mouth was. “Ugh, you have got to be kidding me!”

However, over this past year I have learned so many lessons about children and my attitude towards them. I have 3 of my own, and 2 step kids, and all 5 range from 4-16 years old. So I am learning a lot about kids at home. But now I’m also learning a ton from the ones at church.

First; whatever we’re doing for the Lord is worship. When I first started having to teach, I was so annoyed that I had to miss out on the worship and message upstairs. I just wanted to be a part of what I thought was real worship. But then the Lord gave me a picture. He was sitting on his throne and I was worshipping him, alone. There was no one else joining me. It was just him and I. In that moment, all he saw was me. I had this strong impression that we are all accountable for our own worship. We give an account for what we do, not what the person beside us does. I think we all know that, but now I really knew.

Shortly after, I started to feel somewhat guilty. “Lord, I can’t worship if I’m downstairs with the kids. I’m missing out on being a part of the worship, therefore I can’t worship you the way I really want to.” But one day it hit me like a sack of bricks right in the face. Everything we do for the Lord is worship. Obedience is worship. Teaching the kids every Sunday, doing what the Lord asked me to do even though I don’t want to, is worship. And I needed to worship with my whole heart.

Second lesson; kids go through some really hard things and a lot of them don’t have anyone to talk to or answer their questions. Even in our small church, over half the kids in my class are from broken homes, including mine. And they’re hurting. Sure it’s good to teach them about Daniel and the lion’s den, but what they really want to know is, and I quote from one of them, ‘why doesn’t God answer my prayers? If he’s good, why do bad things happen?’

I’ve been reading a book about the world coming into a new era of God’s glory, and it’s amazing. One thing she talks about is trusting God with childlike faith and having that childlike awe and wonder of the Lord. Reading it put a fire in my soul. I want that childlike faith where I can take Jesus at his word and trust him completely. But I want our children to have that childlike faith too. I want that incredible sense of awe and wonder of our majestic, powerful, awesome King, and feel the love he has for even me! To be astonished and amazed with the things we see him do. And I want our kids to feel and see these things too!

 The enemy is attacking our babies, breaking up homes and forcing kids to grow up faster than they should. Stress, depression, and anxiety in children are at an all-time high. It’s causing them to leave their childlike faith and wonder behind. Nothing seems to excite them anymore. Some kids are so used to disappointment, that there’s no point in being excited for anything. Apathetic attitudes are everywhere.

My 10 year old has been questioning everything for years. She hasn’t taken me at my word for a long time. I’ve never steered her wrong, but because other adults she loves and (used to) trust have, I sometimes fall under that too. I wish she would just trust me. I wish she would just be a kid and let me be the adult. I wish she would just take me at my word. I wish she would have some faith in me.

I think Jesus wishes the same for us. I think he wishes that we would just trust him. That we would take him at his word. How can I teach my children or the kids in my class to trust him if I don’t? How can I show them that only Jesus can mend our broken hearts if I haven’t let him mend mine?

I know now that I need to teach these kids. It is imperative. If I don’t teach them about all these things, who will? One of my favourite songs says “I see a generation rising up to take their place, with selfless faith…” I want to be a part of that. I want the rising generation in the church to take their place with strong unfaltering faith.

Psalm 90:16 (TPT) says “Let us see your miracles again, and let the rising generation see the glorious wonders you’re famous for.” This is my prayer for all children. May we all be astonished and amazed at his glory, wondrous works and awesome power. Let it be done! And please, Oh Lord, let me be part of it!

Things I’m Thankful for:

Clean Sheets

CLEAN BED SHEETS

There is probably nothing better, after a long crazy day, than getting into soft, clean bed sheets. If it’s cold out, warm sheets are the best. Sometimes I put my sheets or blankets in the dryer for a few minutes right before bed time, so they’re nice and toasty when I crawl in. When it’s been a hot day (I live in the great white north so I don’t remember when that was), climbing into cool sheets is literally the best. Currently, I’m covered with 2 blankets and have 2 layers of clothes on and am still freezing, so I can’t relate to that one, I just vaguely remember it being pretty awesome.

Getting into my bed with the clothes you’ve been wearing all day, is absolutely forbidden. Many know this, and have tried, but only a few have succeeded. And with it came the screams and cries from an enraged female, which actually only made it worse (sometimes younger brothers are the worst). You should have been there the fateful day when I still lived with my parents, he got into my bed with his dirty work clothes on… the horror.

Anyways, back to the topic on hand. There really is something amazing about clean sheets. But not cheap sheets, a good set. The 1 million thread count ones… which I don’t have, but the Costco sets are a pretty close second. I’m only guessing because I have no clue what 1 million thread counts sheets would feel like: probably heaven, I’m guessing. I wonder if my mansion up in heaven will have them… Seriously though, the Costco sets are pretty fab. Perfectly fitted on top of my pillow top king sized bed = glorious, magnificent comfort. Now just to get my sleeping kids out of my spot and on to their own side.

Sigh, I had so many things I wanted to get done tonight. But writing this just made me super excited for bed time… ah bed time, another thing I’m beyond thankful for. My first and foremost favourite part of the day. We’ll save that one for another time. It deserves more thought and affection than I can currently give.

For now, I can hear my clean sheets calling… I’m on my way!

MY GARAGE

I lived in a couple houses where it didn’t either have a garage, or it was impossible to park in it in the winter. So when I moved in to my current house, I made sure I could park in the garage. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t say to myself or out loud that I’m thankful for my garage. Something many wish they had and others take for granted.

My morning consists of making lunches and yelling at children to get ready for school. But when we leave the house, it could be -1000 and I still don’t put a winter coat on, or even get out of my slippers. Why? Because I parked in the garage.

I thought about letting the girls take the bus. But the bus stop is down the street… I’d actually have to go outside and walk them to the bus stop. Yeah… I’m not doing that.

Think about it this way, a few weeks ago it was super cold and snowed over 2 feet in a period of a week. I didn’t have to start my car or brush the snow off of it once. I’m not bragging, I’m just trying to be thankful for everything. So many people park in their garages and don’t even think twice about it. Not everyone has this luxury. And yes, it is a luxury.

Things I’m thankful for.

TOQUES/HATS/BEANIES

Girls, we all know the same truth: washing our hair is a huge pain. You know that meme of the girls who has to wash her hair but isn’t emotionally ready to do it… yeah, that’s me. It’s not just washing my hair, it’s blow drying, straightening, etc., etc., etc. And while I am thankful for shampoo, conditioner, my blow dryer, and especially my straightener (I would be lost without it), sometimes a good ol’ fashioned hat, is a perfect way to cover up the fact that my long locks need to be washed.

Not only am I thankful that it covers it up, but it’s super cute. “Awe, you look so stylish with that hat on! It goes perfectly with your outfit!” “Oh thanks! I just kind of threw it on.” Meanwhile, you’re really thinking “thanks, I didn’t feel like washing my greasy hair this morning, and I’ve used all the dry shampoo I can, so I needed something to cover it up.”

In fact, it’s so stylish that even my 7 year sort of compliments me in it. I picked her up early from school the other day, and she says, “I thought I’d be embarrassed when you came to my class, but I actually wasn’t.” Thanks Olivia, that means so much.

So I’m thankful for the option of a touque or hat or beanie. Some days, really, really thankful.

SWEATPANTS

If you’ve ever come to my house, 99 percent of the time, you’ll find me in sweatpants. That’s because as soon as I wake up, I put them on. And as soon as I get home from anywhere, I change into them. There’s really nothing better than a good old fashioned pair of sweats.

I have 3 pairs that I rotate. My oldest pair is 19 years old, and I can only wear them because I cut the string out. For some reason when I was in my early 20’s I tied a knot in the waist string because I thought I’d never get bigger than that, and if I did, life was over. When I could no longer get them over my thighs and butt, I put them away. But a few years ago, I accepted the fact that I’d never get that small again and cut the string. Such a good life choice, if I do say so myself. I’m wearing them right now actually.

My second pair is about 18 years old, and falling apart. But I still love them and wear them, all the time. I just have to be careful because there’s a big hole in the crotch. Haha.

My third pair is from my first year of university. They’re also falling apart, but I still love them too.

None of them are flattering, in fact, they’re the exact opposite. They look horrible. They’re not the fashionably cute ones that my sisters wear, either. They’re so frumpy. I always used to put my feet in them and step on them, so they all have huge holes in the heels. But I don’t care. I love them all. They’re all so comfortable. Pair them with a hoodie and no bra, and all is well with the world. Considering I’m in such an uncomfortable stage in life, I need to at least dress comfortably when I’m home. Home is where we should be comfortable, whatever that means to us.

So today, and pretty much every other day, I’m thankful for my sweatpants.