Friday, November 23, 2012

God's Provision in Unexpected Ways

This morning I am just in the midst of my Quiet Time (affectionately known as QT) with my God.
I do may things during my QT.  I (lately) have started off by just focusing on a verse or a passage of Scripture.  I have also been pairing up my QT with reading from a book called YOUR EARS WILL HEAR ~ A Journal for Listening to God, written by Steve & Evy Klassen (founders/directors of The Mark Center in Abbotsford, BC).  I know them, as Alvin and I have had the privilege of booking into The Mark Center, as well as in September I participated in a Listening to God morning session with Steve at our church's (Eastview Community Church) downtown campus One88.  After that Steve came home with me, and spent some time chatting (the three of us) and then talking some more while I drove him to his next location.  SO ... I am really being blessed by YOUR EARS WILL HEAR (which by the way, I have some if you want to purchase one).

ANYHOW back to this morning.  Here is the portion of Scripture that I meditated on:

           Job 11:7

              New International Version (NIV)
“Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
  Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

Job 11:7
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Can you find out the deep things of God, or can you by searching find out the limits of the Almighty [explore His depths, ascend to His heights, extend to His breadths, and comprehend His infinite perfection]?

The question that Steve encourages the reader to think of/ponder is this:
When has God provided in unexpected ways?  As you pay attention to how God has been providing for you, focus is on this element of the unexpected.  How is God revealing his character to you as you receive provision from unforseen places?

I have been thinking alot lately - about how God - being God - NO ONE can even begin to fathom the deep things of God!  You know, sometimes my mind goes there, and my finite thinking just makes me overwhelmed.  God - His greatness, His might, His power, His omnipotence, His mysteries, His limits ~ CAN NOT BE FATHOMED!!  Sometimes I have said about something, "it is a mystery only God understands".  There is way more to our relationship with God, way more to the way He moves, acts, blesses, guides us - than we can even ask or imagine!

When I think of how God has provided in unexpected ways - I am continually blown away by the "UNEXPECTED" ... and I love that about my God!  Being a somewhat spontaneous person, I love the surprise element (well, most of the time) and I just have loved the adventure that God has us on - with the building of our house, that we are using for ministry.  I am loving the fact that once God laid this vision on my heart - that HE has also done HIS thing over and over and over again, and that He has brought in the unexpected into this adventure.

Let me list you some of the "unexpected ways" that God has provided thus far:

  • names of people that we needed to connect with
  • volunteers that have come and donated their time and effort
  • unexpected cheques in the mail
  • land purchase with no conditions, no counter offers needed
  • neighbour with dozer who helped do some landscaping
  • some help with reduced costs from 4 different businesses - covering landscaping to mattresses to soil to furniture.  BLESSED!!
  • an architect who designed the retreat center, and we were so "on the same page" that very little changed in the design from start to finish
  • brothers who KNOW codes and gave sound engineering advice
  • a friend who listened to our hearts and designed a landscape plan for us and has informed us that someone is ready to donate the rock needed for the yard
  • opportunities to share my story of this adventure to women's groups
  • last night - the Pineridge Hollow Christmas Home Tours 2012 started, and Jan Regehr has selected Women Refreshed at the Well as their charity of choice and we will received proceeds from the home tours.  (OK that one knocked my socks off)
  • Christian Week story (2009) Manitoba Cooperator (2009) and the MB HERALD (coming next month) all wrote stories about the retreat vision.  (I am one of 2-3 written about in an article in the Herald, but CW and MC were exclusive about the Vision!)
  • more cheques that come unexpected
  • people speaking prophetically in our lives and us seeing how the words they have been given for us/ the dreams and the visions - match fully with this adventure God has us on!   
  • and on and on....
How is God revealing his character to you as you receive provision from unforseen places?  I love thinking about this question Steve asks.  God - He is such an amazing God!!  This is what I think about his character!

I think personally, that God LOVES to surprise us.  If you are a parent, you could think in those terms (although our parenting comes NO WHERE close to what God is as a parent to us)  I loved to give my kids surprises .  Even still as they are older.  Personally, I have been surprised over and over again by how God is in the details of my life, and in the details of this adventure He has called us on!  I think that the unexpected ways show us that God is way bigger, way greater, way more beyond our comprehension - that show us how He loves to guide us.  I love that the unexpected things we encounter are like continued road markers along the path, or like continual "kisses" that help us to remember again that even though we don't SEE him in person, we hear him, and see how he works through people, and circumstances.  Personally I believe there is NOTHING coincidental but that God knows, allows, puts into place at times, ORDAINS things along this journey!

I am seeing that God - MY God - is way bigger than anything I could ever think.  He is blessing us more than we could ever ask or imagine - and I just really stand in awe and thanksgiving.  This is HIS vision - we are merely the vessels through which He is building, through which He is bringing to be - a place where one can "just be" and experience rest, renewal, and refreshment.  WOW .... what a God HE IS.  

also posted on my personal blog

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

what's happening around 5839

What is happening these days?
It has been almost 1 YEAR since we did an open house - for people to come and see how things are going.  1 YEAR.  I can hardly believe it, and yet other days - it seems like forever.  How DOES that work.

Let me fill you in on what is happening these days.  My husband, who still has a full-time career with the City of Winnipeg Fire Department continues to work hard at finishing up loose ends.  I commented to one person that it seems like the "finishing up loose ends" is MORE than the "building the house" part of the project.  I realize that the "finishing" is the part I have a real love/hate relationship with.  I think that is because it is not as "measurable" or obvious.  For instance - you frame a house.  THAT IS OBVIOUS.  You put in the central vac ... or some tiles ... NOT so obvious. (ALTHOUGH I LOVE THE CENTRAL VAC!!)  My "NOAH" is working hard.  And I am thankful.  Sometimes I worry about the pace that he is going at.  (although he seems to want me to believe he is handling it).   I think that a two week holiday SOMEWHERE will be part of our winter plans before we open up to the public.  Time will tell.

Anyhow - things are happening.  Let me just tell you a little of what is going on.

  • Alvin cleaned up the yard.  One afternoon Josh gave him a hand at some of that stuff.  You know, stuff that accumulates when you move/move again/build etc.  Just STUFF.  The yard is much neater, much tidier.
  • Alvin made a parking area (where our semi trailer used to be) and all we need to do is get power to it, so that we have plug in spots for people's cars during the winter months.
  • Alvin got the spring put on the door - and now we will just get the automatic openers and I can start to park the car in the garage!!  
  • more loads of gravel was dumped on our yard, and Alvin spent some time in the bobcat spreading it
  • the base for the hot tub is ready for it to be delivered.  Alvin is also putting up a small wall close by so that the tub is semi-sheltered
  • he put the central vac into the house
  • he is working on the tiling of the kitchen back splash and soon behind the stove, although I think one of our young friends is coming to do this
  • Willy P, our good friend, has come for several hours to put the little latches into the door frames (you know where the door click into when you shut it?)  This is tedious and takes time.  I called Willy the "keeper of our door latches" yesterday.  We are so blessed by his help
  • Audrey P. came and did some Christmas decorating yesterday.  It is beginning to look alot like Christmas at 5839.
  • several people have stopped by to visit.  We are always thankful for a visit!
  • there are still many things to finish, but little by little - it is moving ahead!  
I am thankful for a husband who believe strongly in what God has called me (first) and he and our family to.  I do not take that for granted.  I could not have done this without him - in so many ways.
I am thankful for my kids who are constantly helping with something.  Thing is - they all have their own full lives too!  But they are part of this journey.  I also do not take that for granted.  
I am thankful for people who have offered their time in volunteering at something.  Or their expertise in advising us about products.  OR those who continue to believe in this Vision, and send cheques in the mail.  

I am thankful - and my soul - it is singing today!!  I praise you God - at what you are up to - in my life, in OUR lives and in the life of this ministry to which you have called us.  I give you all the praise!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Snow Day Thoughts

It seems that today, at least in Manitoba, is supposed to be a snow day!  Apparently a big snow storm, what is known as a "colorado low" is supposed to dump record breaking snow on us.  Right now, it is just lightly falling.  However, we believe that what they say - will be true, since it is more than a "chance".  So, we will just stick close to home (unless of course Ashley calls to say it is "baby delivery time" which (let me tell you) will be music to this Granny's ears!  With Alvin home, I have NO DOUBT that I would get to the hospital IN TIME as the work truck is a 4x4.  (I am so excited as my daughter and son-in-law have asked me to join them in the room for L&D).

But, with no phone call yet - we wait.  And we will work through some of the stuff in the house.  We are still moving in, so to speak.  We are still unpacking boxes, still furnishing, still finishing trims, etc.   A snow day is a perfect day to just stay warm, and work, and stop for coffee along the way.  A restful day, a day of solitude in some ways.  Just Alvin and I working together at different projects.  

It is quiet in here right now.  And I am thankful.  Sometimes (actually alot of times) I just love the "quiet" of this place.  The outside scene of serenity, just adds to this inner feel.  It is like God is laying his hand on my shoulder, ever so gently, and saying "shhhh.... enjoy .... be still.  As you work, see my fingerprints all over your day.  Feel my presence beside you.  Shhhhh.... enjoy!"

So, I am going to.  My cup of coffee beside me.  The fireplace switched on and glowing.  A chair beside it to sit in, and my bible and journal. A quiet start to our snow day!  

Enjoy!!  And maybe later you can make some snow angels!

I got this e-devotional from INSIGHT FOR LIVING and it just seemed timely for today.  So, I am sharing it.
I originally posted this on my personal blog ( but think that it suits both that one, and this one, since it is in this house - that we want to foster a ministry that speaks to the benefits of solitude - of rest - of just "shhhhh.... enjoy .... and be still!"

November 10, 2012
The Benefits of Solitude
by Charles R. Swindoll
Every word of God is tested;
He is a shield to those who
take refuge in Him. 
Proverbs 30:5
The Scriptures are replete with references to the value of waiting before the Lord and spending time with Him. When we do, the debris we have gathered during the hurried, busy hours of our day gets filtered out, not unlike the silt that settles where a river widens.

With the debris out of the way, we are able to see things more clearly and feel God's nudgings more sensitively.

David frequently underscored the benefits of solitude. I am certain he first became acquainted with this discipline as he kept his father's sheep. Later, during those tumultuous years when King Saul was borderline insane and pursuing him out of jealousy, David found his time with God not only a needed refuge but his means of survival.

God still longs to speak to waiting hearts . . . hearts that are quiet before Him.

Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Wisdom for the Way (Nashville: J. Countryman, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

the picture worth a thousand words

As I was going through some boxes of papers etc, I came across this picture of my daughter Ashley blowing a dandelion that had gone to seed.  For some reason then - I had decided that this picture captured part of our hearts in regards to the ministry.  I printed these pictures back in 2002 and gave them out to people who were encouraging us/praying for us in the ministry God had entrusted to me and called me into.

That was 10 years ago.

"Thanks for being part of the vision.  Thanks for your prayers"
At this time, I think back to the past 10 years - and can not believe where time has gone.  Of course the picture is of a younger Ashley - and at the time she was in actuality older than she was in the picture.
I love dandelion puffs.  I love how they go to seed and how they blow in the wind.  I love how the seeds take flight like little helicopters, only to land and come up as dandelions in someone else's yard.
To me - I know dandelions are a nuisance but they are such a bright cheery little weed!!

At the time when I gave these out - I had NO idea what was going to transpire - my call to pastoral ministry - our family's losing Jay - hearing God say that NOW was the time to move ahead - having the kids suggest a slight variation that God had laid on their hearts - leaving pastoral ministry - beginning the build - selling our house of 27 years - living in limbo for 2 years - and trying to now put all the finishing touches on our house which will be used primarily for retreat bed and breakfast for women.

I knew that God had planted a big seed.  But what he would do with that - I had no idea.  Often we say that we really did have no idea how big this project was.  That little seed has flown, taken root and has multiplied and we continue to be in awe of all the things God HAS done and IS doing and is YET to do!  We stand amazed.

So, here is the picture again, and I just want to say one more time - thank you for your prayers and for being a part of this vision