Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Problem is Bigger Than Me and Jesus is Dealing With It

I put effort into eating healthy these days. I find my quality of life improves when I eat well. But I know that nutrition is not enough to cure every illness. Even if I could get down six green juices a day (you know those thick green ones with ten pounds of kale in them), it still would not address the root cause of my problem.  

The problem is bigger than nutrition and it’s bigger than me. All of creation has fallen under the dominion of sin since the first man and woman ate the forbidden fruit. The wages of sin is death, and we cannot be surprised when it rubs up against us.

I know that God has a plan for humanity's redemption. It involves his own son and a guaranteed outcome. Jesus accomplished what I could not.  He was butchered on a tree to “reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Col. 1)

I can’t fix the the problem of sin or even my own illness. The problem is bigger than me and so is the remedy. I take steps toward health and healing, but I know that each step is like one drop of water in an ocean of God’s power and providence.  He created all things, he holds all things together, and he is making peace by the blood of his cross.

Read more about how God’s Word changed my perspective on illness here and here.

Monday, November 30, 2015


I’ve tried to find a cure for what ails me, but I’ve never found the proverbial magic bullet. Not many of us do. I think of the young woman I was chatting with in the doctor’s office who was fighting tooth and nail against her illness. “Have you tried BodyTalk?” she asked me.

“No, I don’t know what that is,” I told her.

“It’s kind of hard to explain...the person kind of taps your body in different places. It’s an energy thing.”

I couldn’t quite think of how to respond. But she continued and spared me the need, “My practitioner is very good. She told me how I died in a previous life.”

I will spare you all the gory details about how she died, suffice it to say, it was more than I wanted to know. But her story did make me think. Don’t we all want someone to tell us deep, life-changing secrets about ourselves?

God sees all things clearly, but we see only partially, and sometimes I long to see what God sees. For instance, how and why does autoimmunity happen? There are clues, but no answers. I don’t know. My doctor doesn’t know. The specialists don’t know.

So I look to God’s word and find that Jesus has unlimited knowledge. Not only was he involved in the creation of all things, he now holds all things together.

For by  him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible...And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together…(Col. 1)

He was before disease. He was before human intelligence. He was there at the beginning of the world when everything was good. He created the forests, the oceans and the sun’s warm rays. He created love, and the angels, and every invisible process of life. And God saw that it was good. He created all things and in him they hold together. Not one antibody in my system rebels without his permission.

Read more about how God’s Word changed my perspective on illness here and here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Who Sinned?

Last month I sat down to write 4 short meditations on illness and spirituality. (Ok, the truth was I was lying down most of the day, because of an exhausting lupus flare, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to place the laptop on my lap and start typing.) The flare stirred up questions that I didn’t want to answer, and while I’m feeling a little better now, I thought I would share what God taught me in those hard days. Here’s part 1.

It’s been 2 years and 4 months since she gave me the diagnosis I didn’t want to hear. I sat on the paper-clad table in my doctor’s office, sweaty palms clenched in my lap, waiting to hear my fate. The open-ended uncertainty of my disease unnerved me then, and it still unnerves me today. On the bad days, like today, aching joints and deep fatigue cling to me. I feel weak and slow, like I’m moving through water.

And it is in these low moments that the questions plague me. Questions not so different than the one that Jesus’ disciples asked him about the blind man,

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Is this illness a spiritual battle? Is it my fault? One author I read believes we cause our own illness. Another believes we can heal ourselves. Opinions blow in from every direction. I look to God’s word for clarity and I find Jesus’ words:

“It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (Jn. 9)

Most days I can’t see past the end of my nose, but Jesus’ words remind me that It’s not about me. Or at least it’s not only about me. I am not an autonomous creature looking to find my best life now. I live my life under God’s authority and in close connection with other people. God may have purposes for my life that extend beyond me.

Read more about how God’s Word changed my perspective on illness here and here.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Are You Too Busy?

Two years ago I experienced some health trouble that awakened me to the fact that I don’t have superpowers. It turns out that you can’t live however you want without paying the consequences. This may seem obvious to you, but I was genuinely surprised. Stress, sleeplessness and trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations had depleted my health and energy. Naively, I thought that to be selfless and godly, I needed to be busy. But in the end, it was just pride talking.

Keep reading here.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cultivating Masculinity in a Houseful of Cowboys

I am a mother to three precious cowboys. I could also describe them as walking tornados who love adventure, sports, and rodeo. Now aged 4, 6 and 8, these boys stretch me in ways I didn’t know I could be stretched. And while I delight in their boyish antics most of the time, I also see a great need to shape their masculinity in ways that would honor God.
Whether your son is a wild child or a sensitive soul, all boys have one thing in common: they need biblical truth and encouragement to practice godliness.
Keep reading here.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Spiritual Training for Weary Souls

I walk hand in hand with the man I love. Golden evening sun warms the flowing barley field, and we circle around it in contented quiet. My husband knows me well. My sensitive nature has been bruised, and I still feel the effects of it. Sometimes I wish I had thicker skin, but I'm reluctant to form calluses that shut people out. What I really want is to be able to forgive when people hurt me. But I'm weary, and it feels hard.
"It's like a muscle you have to train," he said gently. "You just keep practicing until it becomes easier."
His comment got me thinking more about training for godliness. Each choice—no matter how small—is like flexing a muscle. The apostle Paul encouraged his spiritual son, Timothy, to "train yourself for godliness" (1 Tim. 4:7). And I wonder if training looks more ordinary than we imagine.
As strange as it sounds, sometimes we need to think smaller. Our longings for extraordinary experiences can blind us to the opportunity right in front of us. Even good ambitions require little steps first. Before you climb a mountain, you have to do your push-ups. And sometimes finding the motivation to "train yourself" is harder than you imagined.

God's Grace Is More Than a One-Time Blessing

Do athletic metaphors for spirituality make you feel deflated? Maybe you are struggling in your spiritual life and can't imagine how you could run harder.
Christians feel the pull of sin because we live in tension between what is sometimes called "the now and not yet." Christ's sacrifice for our sin has made us "perfect" and yet we are "being sanctified" (Heb. 10:12–14). Our position before God is holy, and yet in practice we still struggle with sin—both our own and also the sins of others.
Paul describes it by saying, "For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. . . . Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Rom. 7:19, 24).
We all feel this tension of not being good enough and a frustration with struggles that we can't seem to conquer. Remember there is grace for this moment. God's grace is not exhausted by justification, but overflows into sanctification. So we can respond with Paul, "Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7:25).

Where Do You Find Hope?

Scottish pastor, Robert Murray M'Cheyne, once said, "For every look at self, take ten looks at Christ." In other words, however long we analyze our struggles, we need to spend that amount of time—times ten—meditating on Christ and His promises. When we read God's Word, listen to preaching, and pray, our minds are transformed and our spirits are renewed. These disciplines feel ordinary, and even boring at times, but God uses these ordinary means of grace to do an extraordinary transformation in our hearts.
Far too often our struggles blind us to the hope in front of us. Like a millionaire who acts homeless, we have a wealth of resources in Christ but can't see past our circumstances to take hold of it. But when we look to Christ, we find hope, because in Him we have everything we need for life and godliness (  2 Peter 1:3).
Does godliness seem like an intimidating goal? Do you know that there is hope in Christ when your heart feels weary?
Spiritual Training for Weary Souls was originally posted on

Monday, July 6, 2015

Love, Romance and God's Eternal Purposes

12 years have passed since God joined us together on that cloudy day in May. I have learned that marriage is not about romantic highs, so much as it is about unconditional love. As the years pass, there are highs and lows and everything in between, but we love each other anyway.

Hollywood tells us romance is about desire, chemistry and fate, but that’s only half the story. Until we do the deep work, it’s all superficial.

The deep work is knowing and being known. We must own both flaws and grace in ourselves and each other and choose to embrace them. We must love and believe we are loved.

It requires seeing God’s eternal purposes for each other. As C.S. Lewis said, there are no “mere mortals”. We are eternal creatures, created in the image of God for divine purposes.

This does not heighten the expectation for perfection in the other, but rather extinguishes it. Lewis says:

“This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

There is no ideal for the spouse to live up to. Rather, sincere, humble, unassuming love is given--love that sees the authentic other, and delights in them. A sinner and saint. A mortal being swallowed up by immortality (2 Cor. 5:4).

We need a lifetime to learn to love this way. Thank God for His wisdom in creating the lasting bond of marriage. We are far too selfish and sinful to love well without His loving boundaries to help us.

I have known the privilege of being loved well. Affection and loyalty have been my portion and I am eternally thankful for the enduring love of my husband.

Together we have explored Toronto, farm life and small town dynamics. Brandings and operas. Tragedies and glorious days. We’ve birthed three young souls that changed our lives forever and by God’s grace we are bound so tight that only death can undo it.

In covenant love, two souls merge. My ‘other half’ has enriched my life in ways that I didn’t know I wanted or needed. A human reflection of divine reality. His love blesses me everyday.