Monday, August 30, 2010

A New Wardrobe

These four years since my divorce have been a great financial struggle. However, without the struggle, I would never have had the opportunity to see God's faithfulness and His unfailing hand of provision - and so I am grateful for these amazing years!

I really like clothes. Like most women, I tend to get bored with my wardrobe and love to have new things. It's difficult to do much about the boredom if one can't afford to shop - which is exactly where I have been.

A few months ago, I was so tired of wearing the same old things and mentioned to the Lord that it would be really nice if I could have a new wardrobe. I live gently and so my things weren't worn out - I was just tired of them.

The following week, a friend of mine (who also loves clothes and buys nothing but the best) called and said that she was downsizing her wardrobe and wondered whether I'd be interested in taking a look because she had a lot of things she had never worn. She laughingly suggested that I come over and we could play "What Not to Wear!"

When I arrived, her bed was covered in a huge mound of wonderful clothes - leather jackets, dressy things, casual things and many things with the tags still attached! We had so much fun that night, trying this with that and that with this. When it was time to go, my friend helped me to my car with two big green bags and three smaller white bags full of new clothes - the new wardrobe I had wanted!

When I arrived home, I dumped all the beautiful things out on my bed and immediately went through my closet and drawers, filling up the same bags I had just emptied, ready to give another friend for her daughter who needed things. Then I put all my new things away, amazed at God's provision!

Even if I had had the funds to be able to shop, I never would have bought so many lovely things for myself. Never! I would have felt too guilty. But here they were - with no expense - just a lovely gift from my Heavenly Father who responds with His love.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Carnival of Hope

Last Saturday I was very happy to play a part (however small) in the Carnival of Hope, put on every year by my church in Oshawa on the third Saturday of every August. It was astounding to see the work and organizational efforts that went into making this amazing event the roaring success it always is.

Billed as “Durham’s Totally Free Festival,” it began in 2003 as a way to bring joy and practical help to those less fortunate in the  area. For one day, struggling families can forget about all the cares and daily challenges of life and be blessed by a totally free day. Everything is provided at no cost to the five or six thousand people who attend (many who are bussed in from poor areas) – hot dogs, drinks, popcorn, cotton candy, ice cream, games & prizes, blow up rides, petting zoo, pony rides, paint ball, music, drama, shows, hundreds of great prize giveaways, haircuts, massages, manicures, groceries, clothing, toys and on and on it goes.

Last year, the church gave away over 2000 stuffed toys, over 30 brand new bicycles, a pocket motorcycle, an ATV, TVs, VCRs, a new refrigerator, plane rides, remote control cars, and many more incredible prizes donated by the community. This year there was just as much if not more for people. It is a huge undertaking, with a huge price tag, but one in which almost the whole church gets involved as a wonderful outreach, sharing the love of Jesus.

This year (my first) I was in the area where 10 hairdressers from the community were cutting hair (free), four manicurists were doing nails and two masseuses were giving massages. It was more heart warming than I can describe to see young moms who couldn't afford haircuts for their kids, come into the church and get their kids all fixed up ready for the start of school. Many of the moms and dads got haircuts and manicures or massages as well. It was so beautiful to see them being pampered, loved and looked after. One old fellow with long gray hair and a huge gray beard (who I have seen many times walking the streets of Oshawa), sat up in the barber's chair happily kabbitzing with the hairdresser. He eventually left with a tidy trim, obviously feeling like a million bucks!

At four o'clock in the afternoon, all the rides and events were shut down for an hour while a drama (relevant to the everyday challenges of life faced by many of the people) was presented onstage. Following the drama, the Gospel message was presented. having just seen the love of Jesus so clearly in action, many people raised their hands, signifying their desire to accept Him and have their lives transformed.

There is no greater miracle than a life transformed by the love of Jesus. :)

Friday, August 27, 2010


One of my closest friends has been given an extraordinary task by the Lord. It's not something that puts her out in front of thousands of people or gets her name in the paper – but it's something that requires her to spend several hours a day in prayer. Recently, she has been doing a lot of study in Revelation and asked if I would like to study it with her. I looked through my study books and found nothing (beyond commentaries) that appealed to me as having the depth of insight I wanted.

A couple of days later, I went to a bridal shower for another friend who is getting married in September. In the course of the shower, we played a few of those silly games without which a shower just wouldn't be a shower! One of the games involved each of the guests opening a surprise gift which could be stolen by another guest if she was not happy with what she opened. When it was my turn, lo and behold, my gift was a study book on the Book of Revelation! Because it was such a wonderful gift, I was sure it wouldn't stay long in my possession! However, it was as though everyone was blind to it! All around me people were giggling and stealing boxes of chocolates, little doo-dads and mugs – but my book remained in my lap! I actually got to take it home! Who ever gets a study book on the Book of Revelation as a silly shower game gift????

Anyway – with confirmation that I need to be studying Revelation, last Monday morning I assembled several versions of the Bible, my commentaries and the book on my study table where I can dig into them every morning before starting my work day. It's a tough go and I'm feeling thick-headed most of the time,  but I am excited, knowing God is at my elbow, guiding me through the maze of imagery, symbolism and prophecy.

It's going to be very interesting to see what God has in store when my friend and I get together and discuss what we have learned!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Last week I was becoming increasingly distressed about a granddaughter who has been in Europe for the summer. There had been no word from her during the whole month of July and my imagination was beginning to cook up a multitude of scenarios. It hasn't helped to have the horrors of sex slavery so predominant in the news, to say nothing of the publicity surrounding the plights of numerous North American teens who have found themselves at odd ends with foreign cultures and laws.

I went to Thursday morning prayer meeting at the Embassy and requested special prayer for my granddaughter. After a time of heavy intercession, a woman came up to me and said that the Lord had told her to tell me that I would hear from my granddaughter that day. I was so grateful for the encouragement and hope.

That evening, I went home and took a look at Facebook. There was my granddaughter with a cheery little note, apologies re her lack of communication and an explanation of how difficult it was to get computer availability where she was traveling.

Thank you Lord for bringing rest to my heart. :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010


A couple of weeks ago, I posted a request for prayer for a miracle. My only sister, Dona, had just been diagnosed with colon cancer. The word reverberated in my mind like the sounding of a death-knell. The thought of losing her was overwhelming.

The diagnosis came on July 29, just one day after my move. She visited me that day and it was unnerving to say the least, to see her down to 76 pounds, the weight of a child.

When I prayed for Dona that night, I didn't know whether to pray for healing – or how to pray – but then I had a strong impression of the word, "recovery" and felt new hope that perhaps I wouldn't lose my precious sister after all. On Sunday morning, before leaving for church, I e-mailed my pastor (Doug Schneider), thinking that he would probably receive my request for prayer later on that day. However, he obviously checked his e-mails prior to the service that morning, because during the service he told the congregation that my sister had been diagnosed with cancer and requested that the church join him in prayer for her.

On Tuesday, Dona went in for surgery. As she waited in her hospital bed, she heard an African American quartet singing Gospel songs from the deep south. Every word was so clear. When she asked her roommate where the music was coming from, the roommate was puzzled because she could hear no music at all!

Following a four-hour extensive surgery, Dona was wheeled into the recovery room with the news that the cancer had been contained and the doctor thought she had gotten it all! When I saw her the next day, she was sleepy and as white as a sheet, but was definitely holding her own. The following day, the colour was back in her cheeks! We went for a walk and had a great visit. By Sunday, she was home.

Prior to the news of cancer, Dona's children had planned a 75th birthday party for her. There was to be a big tent and all the invitations had gone out. Naturally, we all feared that the celebration would not take place.

However, Dona wanted to carry on and so – last Saturday we had a party. friends and relatives, some from many miles away, gathered for more of a celebration than any of us ever expected.

There was Dona in a lovely long teal blue skirt and peasant blouse, walking around among her guests, happily chatting, loving her grandchildren, sharing and making memories. It was astounding to see such a remarkable recovery. Thanks to all who prayed and, most importantly, to God for restoring my sister – by design.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Miracle of My First Book

About a year after my return to the Lord in 1978, my (then) husband and I were on our way to a Sunday School concert with our young sons. It was a blustery, cold winter night. We stopped for gas along the way and as I watched my husband, after paying, return to the car through the swirling snow, an idea plopped into my mind.

"I am going to write a book," I said as he began to merge onto the highway.

"What about?" he asked.

Without skipping a beat and with no fore planning, I said, "Ministers and their kids."

As if it were the most normal thing in the world, he said he thought it was a great idea.

I was surprised that he responded positively, but deep inside, absorbed the support as confirmation that I could really achieve such an amazing thing as writing a whole book.

I knew I'd need to do some interviewing and would need a tape recorder. Looking around in the stores, I found one for $127.00. At the time, my husband co-owned a multimedia company and they had boxes and boxes of slides that had to be cleaned prior to being used in productions. I offered to clean them at 50 cents per box for boxes of 50 slides. Day after day, I'd polish slides until, finally, I had the $127.00 and went and bought my recorder. It was very exciting.

Then there was the problem of typing. I had never done it! Nevertheless, someone loaned me a Selectrix electric typewriter. All I had to do now was become a typist. So - I dug out an old "How to Type" book of my mother's, figured out where to place my fingers and the rest is history.

I made up questionnaires for my subjects, interviewed pastors and the children of pastors all across the country, correlated my statistics (thanks to my Sociology 400 class at Acadia) and began to write.

The house in which we were living was small and, with no office, I set up shop on the dining room table. I set a goal of writing five pages per day. Sometimes I got those five pages done when my little boys were at school in the afternoon, but more often than not, after I got them into bed at night, I'd have to fill my daily quota. There were nights when it took until two or three in the morning before those five pages were finished.

As I wrote, sometimes I felt as though I was working in a vacuum because I had no contact in the publishing realm, knew no publishers and had no idea how to actually get a book published. Sometimes I would look over at my piano and imagine my book sitting casually on top with a few others.

Finally the book was finished! I ran up the road shouting, "I've finished! I wrote a whole book!" My neighbors were all excited and it was a very happy time.

Because David Mainse and his "100 Huntley Street" program had been so instrumental in my return to the Lord, I dared to hope that he might write the foreword. Surprisingly, I was able to make an appointment with him and, wonder of wonders, he not only agreed to write the foreword, but he was so taken with the book that he wanted to publish and promote it over "100 Huntley Street!"

Twelve thousand copies later, it was obvious that God had been at work; plopping the idea into my mind, providing my needs every step of the way and opening doors that needed to be opened. It was a miracle - by design!! :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

How Did That Happen?

On my way home today, I was thinking about my recent move and realizing what an incredible thing God had done in the midst of it all. I was so busy that I took it all for granted without hardly noticing what had happened.

About a month ago, I tore a tendon in my shoulder rotator cuff. I'm not sure how it happened, but it was terribly painful. It was extremely difficult to dress myself, let alone pack, lift and move my possessions. Very bad timing!

It was so painful that I went to a doctor who ordered an ultrasound and x-rays. When I went to my family doctor for the results, she explained the tear and discussed the therapy that would be required. Meanwhile, I had been doing all the work that I wasn't supposed to have been able to do.

Between the time of the tests and the visit to my doctor, I had had several of my friends pray for healing. The result was that I regained full mobility in my shoulder and went through the entire move doing whatever needed to be done with very little pain. I occasionally had a reminder of the weakness of the area, but was able to lift and carry anything that needed to be lifted or carried.

The doctor was very surprised that I had full mobility in my arm because of the evidence before her from the tests.

God is so good. Without His intervention, I don't know how I could possibly have accomplished the move. Thank you Lord! :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Supernnatural Response

I was thinking today about my response to the 2006 confession of my husband which precipitated our divorce. It was totally unnatural.

As he stood there that cold January night, having just uncorked years of bottled secrets under the pressure of fermented evil, something from above poured into me vertically, permeating my mind with a supernatural gift of forgiveness. It was that fast. As mercy met blame, it neutralized the power of bitterness with a preemptive strike, totally disintegrating its poised seeds.

The natural response at that moment would have been to jump up and scratch his eyes out—but to this day, I have never  experienced a vindictive kind of anger, despite the total shattering of our family. I have stumbled through deep, deep grief, but never a destructive anger. At that moment, it was as though God anesthetized my emotions, my brain, my senses, with mercy.

There were many people who declared that I was just going through one of the phases of trauma, but my feelings have not changed since that day. It had to be supernatural grace taking me through.

When the eruption of his confession gradually settled into the ashes of our lives, I realized that I had thought I had been dealing with reality all those years. Silly me. I remember staring at him, so earnest in his confession, so open in his desire to connect, so visible with the evaporation of his walls. Once I was actually able to see him, I didn’t recognize him. He was a stranger. No one I had ever met before. I felt incredibly sorry for him. He was like a prince who had signed over all the joys and riches of his kingdom for a soiled bag of deadly snakes. How could he have been such a fool?

The stranger standing before me was not a monster. He was the embodiment of what happens to a human being when the most base inclinations are allowed to surface, roam around in one’s mind and reach out with poisoned tentacles to destroy everyone within reach. But there was no denial of his total responsibility.

Everyone has dark inclinations, but living a life that contributes in a positive way to society requires a constant renewing of the mind with positive, healthy thoughts and appetites, not allowing any space for darkness to grow. My husband didn’t live like that. He had gradually allowed the darkness in his heart full rein. He was human, but pathetically enslaved to evil desires.

Thankfully, I had spent the previous 28 years of my life developing a relationship with God. I knew Him and He was with me. This was no time for scrounging around, trying to figure out who the real God was. My God had already stood up and made Himself known to me. I was not alone.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Fragrance of God

Have you ever experienced the aroma of God? It is the most beautiful scent I have ever absorbed. Beautiful was not the first adjective I was going to use to describe it. I tried several others, but they all seemed too contrived; none matched the essence of the aroma and so I'll just say it is beautiful.

I first experienced it one night, shortly after coming back to the Lord. I used to sleep with my Bible on my chest because I wanted its life to permeate my being even as I slept. One night, I awoke to the sensing of an angelic presence on the room. I didn't see anything, but the room was filled with a beautiful perfume. That happened numerous times and was always accompanied by a pervasive sense of peace, security and love.

Four years ago, when I arrived at my sister's place, I had no knowledge that I was about to hear the most shocking, devastating news in my life. As I walked from my car towards her house, the air was filled with that same scent of God's presence. It was winter – January 9th, 2006, a cold and snowy day. There were no flowers blooming anywhere, no fruit trees blossoming. It had nothing to do with my sister because she is allergic to perfume and no one can wear it around her. It was like a cloud of lavender escorting me from my car to her door. I had no idea about the significance until I looked back on that day.

Recently, my friend Jane-Anne and I were on the deck at her cottage and once again became aware of the evidence of God's presence with us. It was overwhelmingly lovely. Some time before, we were sitting in her car talking, prior to me dropping her off from running some errands. As we talked, the fragrance of God filled the car and we were both immediately aware of it. It lingered and gradually dissipated as I drove home.

There have been other instances, but never at expected times – lovely reminders of the beauty of God's glory, grace and love for us.