Are you “ready” for Christmas?

“You can either walk inside your story and own it or you can stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” – Brene’ Brown. …

“Are you ready for Christmas?” They ask. What they mean is: have you got all your presents bought and wrapped, have you signed the last card, have you baked and iced all the cookies? Are you ready for the chaos?…

But I want to ask, are you ready for Emmanuel?

Are you ready for a Saviour?

Are you ready for the Prince of Peace to invade your chaos?

Are YOU ready for Christmas?

Are any of us ever TRULY “ready” for that kind of Christmas?

But oh how we so desperately need Him.

Thankfully He comes not when we are ready, but when He is needed.

In a small, lowly stable. Laying his newborn head in a cow’s feeding trough … maybe the cow nibbled his hair before Joseph shooed him away. Maybe Mary’s heart was so filled with joy she wept.

Maybe the shepherds flat out RAN to worship him… knowing they were desperate. Knowing that nothing else in this broken world could save them.

No matter how broken and bruised we are this Christmas.

Emmanuel… He is with us… The weary world rejoices.

Look, yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees, like the shepherds.

Care like Joseph.

Weep like Mary.

Sing like the angels.

Glory to God in the highest.

Our broken world needs peace this Christmas.

Are you ready?
If you want to care for this broken world, share a little love to those who have nothing.

This year I sent gifts to Aleppo, Syria by way of


Breaking Seasons -Part One.  

It’s that moment when the phone rings, that bit of news you always feared would come, that conversation with a friend and her world has shattered in a million pieces. And we cry and try to understand the why. There is no why. Just heart break. 

I remember the first news. Where I was standing in church when I happened to overhear my youth pastor say to a fellow youth leader those dreadful words: We need to relax today because we just heard that one of our youth passed away. 

Who? My world stopped. I couldn’t breathe. Who is it, Pastor Nate? Zina. Then he rushed off to find his wife. 

My world wasn’t stopped anymore. Now it was spinning. I sat down and felt like I was tipping over still. I sobbed it out on a friends shoulder. 

Church – His body. When one hurts we all feel the pain. And we need each other’s shoulders to cry on and arms to lean on as the world tips off its axis. 

Her funeral was bigger than her family realized. I remember the weight that had been crushing my heart lifted as they talked about how Zina loved Jesus and her passion was evident – I hadn’t known. How do you know, as a youth leader, that when they go off to college if they’ll remember anything you tried to teach them? But she had. More than I could have hoped. We’ll see her again one day. 

Fast forward one month… the phone buzzes. A text from a dear friend. Then another. Life keeps shattering bit by bit. I can’t help them, but I can pray. We will be ok. I try to say what I can, though I know nothing will help. I didn’t know that when their worlds crashed in… when their hearts broke. I did not know that mine was about to crash even more. A heartbreak I’d never known. 

It was a Sunday afternoon in February. The sun shone. Bright on the snow. I had just had a beautiful day at church and was just finished dinner with family. The day was as perfect as could be, in spite of the hard week. Sunday is like a fresh slate – we all get a second chance. 

The phone had rang twice and I missed it… 5 frantic texts and a voicemail from my little roommate/sister in Christ. I called her back – her voice shaking: Claudia passed away. Last night. No one knows why. She’s gone. 

My world crashed. My heart shattered. 

“Great grief isn’t made to fit inside your body. It’s why your heart breaks.” (Ann Voskamp – The Broken Way) 

It couldn’t be real. I loved that girl. Tried to help her through her mess and pain… reached out countless times and heard her stories and tried to point her to Jesus. She always pulled away, but I knew one day she’d see and know My Jesus.

 I couldn’t breathe. Guilt overcame my senses. Did I do enough? What if I missed something? I should have tried harder. Oh Jesus… that poor little girl all alone in that apartment. What could have happened to her? 

When grief and guilt overcome, it’s hard to control ones actions and reactions to life. And sometimes the way we react is to shut down completely. 

If we shut down we cannot feel the pain. If we can’t feel the pain we can go into a sort of waking comatose in which we pretend that everything is ok… when really, our hearts are shattered. 

Sometimes it seems the only way to survive heartbreak is to pretend it never happened. 

This was the beginning of what I call my breaking season. I’m currently learning to heal – bear with me as I’m still rusty. My heart shut down in order survive the pain. But some say when you shut your heart down to pain you shut out the love as well – and Jesus is the one who loves. My heart also shut down to beauty and creativity as well. (To be quite honest, I haven’t written much this year at all since the breaking season. Not writing – it’s almost like not breathing. Suffocation.) 

My desire this month is to share my journey of brokenness through this blog as I read through a sweet book called, “The Broken Way” by my dear friend Ann Voskamp. I’ve learned that grief takes time, hearts need to be held, and pain is part of the beauty. Also, the pain is eased when holding tight to the Body of Christ. We are all meant to hold each other through the breaking. 

More next time… just one last golden quote from this beauty book. 

“Maybe the love gets in easier where the hearts broke open…” Ann Voskamp. (The Broken Way) 

(The Broken way can be preordered at Release date: October 25, 2016!) 

Setting Sail

Forever ago I wrote a poem (in grade 10, I think) called “Set your sails”. It was about a man who sailed the ocean and learned how to trust God in the midst of the storms of life.

I’m thinking of this old poem now and realizing how much it really foreshadows all of our lives – especially mine.

I’ve found myself in more storms than I can count in the last year and a half. Some were beyond my control, some were definitely because of my own response to life, and some were my reactions based on past experiences to other (sometimes unrelated) storms.

But here’s what I’ve learned… The bigger the storm, the bigger the TRUST!

It’s always a matter of heart connection.

How much are you willing to go through – how big of a storm? Just to be closer to Jesus and hear his steady voice saying, “Do not be afraid. I’ve got you. Have faith.”

Cuz that’s what storms are all about. Seeing his power break through and carry you higher. Higher above the clouds until the storm is raging under your feet.

Sure he walked on water that one time with Peter – who had his faith strengthened – but we are called to do greater things than even Jesus.

John 14:11-12 The Message (MSG)

“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it.”

Because we are called to greater AND because we have the power that raised Christ from the dead living inside of us, we can rise above the storms of life and not just merely walk on water… WE CAN WALK ON THE STORM!!

Life is tricky though and we need to cling to him every moment that we’re walking up there because an instantaneous run-in with someone who doesn’t walk on storms can potentially leave the enemy’s fingerprint in the shape of a huge “what if?” searing in our mind.

But let me tell you this… The storm is worth it. The storm is the biggest thing that will seemingly carry you further into the unknown… but ultimately the storm is the thing that makes you KNOWN!

Known by the King of Kings – my provider who owns everything.

Known by the Prince of Peace – the Son of God who walks on stormy seas and calms the wind and waves.

Known by a loving Father who protects and goes before you.

Known. Seen. Loved. Adored. Provided for.

No matter what your “storm” is today, whether it’s a living situation or finances or trusting for your future or praying for a loved one or an illness or even getting out of bed in the morning (not so simple)… No matter what it is TRUST him. He is Faithful to carry you over the clouds and into the unknown… because YOU are known.

stormDon’t give up because you can’t see through the rain and fog and clouds… Rest and know that your God conquers storms and the hands that raised the dead are holding you. There’s so much hope in trusting Him in the storm. I pray you find that hope and peace… And I hope I stay here too, since this is what I’m currently learning. 😉

One last thing… listen to this song. It helps. 🙂

Amanda Cook – Set our Sails

Oh, and as for the poem about the sailor… It must be lost in the recesses of my basement and old poems from high school days. But if I ever come across it I will post here to all of you. 🙂

A REAL Happy Valentine’s Day

Hmm… how do I explain this.

Ok. I’ll just say it flat out. You’re single for a reason. There are people who look up to you and need you whole and healthy as a single woman – your relationship with Jesus stronger.

It’s just a season, trust me. You’re only single once, but you’re married for a long long time.

These are things I should have told my younger self on valentines day through the years, rather than getting all mopey and binging on chocolate and movies that made me cry. That’s right, I’m a binger. Doesn’t matter what it is I’m currently addicted to, I binge. Music, movies, chocolate, romance novels, even masturbation.

That’s right, I went there. The mind is a dangerous place for a young woman.

An addiction I was caught in for 10 years that I thought was an innocent way of finding satisfaction for what God created to be beautiful and with one man in marriage.

But my addictive personality caused me to get caught in a trap of sin. Sin keeps us longer than we meant to stay and takes us further than we wanna go and costs us more than we can afford to pay. And guess what, only Jesus can fix sin. Only Jesus can heal our minds.

But wait… I didn’t mean to go there with you today – whoever you are finding yourself reading this. Today is Valentines Day… Love day.

I love LOVE – I love the stories, the feelings, the butterflies (yes those annoying things flying around in your stomach with a crush) and the idea of having someone special in my life.

All these years it never went past crushes and butterflies. All these nearly 28 years (yes, I’m turning that old in May.). All these Valentine’s Days without the man of my dreams.

But I’m writing this to you today because I want you to know I got over my addictions. Not by myself of course, because sin is a trap – Jesus set me free. Complete Freedom.

And I want to try and disperse today a little of what trapped me.

The world says you’re nothing without someone special in your life, so it’s easy to buy in.

How many times have you heard the term “Singles awareness day” this year?

I can’t remember a year where it didn’t fill my social media newsfeed more. People mourning the fact that they are “forever alone” or the brave ones (the liars) that say they’re totally fine on their own. People buying in to the concept that they need a person to make them feel complete. Let me tell you this, if this desire is in your heart, GOD will make it happen! And I’m not gonna tell you you don’t need a person to feel complete. You DO! But it’s not who you think it is. It’s not Mr. Tall-Dark-and-Handsome, Mr. Amazing or Mr. Hot-stuff.

Let me tell you after 28 valentines days without that guy… JESUS is ENOUGH!

Jesus is more than enough. He is the one you need to fill your heart. He is the only one who actually can complete you.

You know that feeling when you’re with your crush (or boyfriend) and you think you’ll be together forever, and then when it doesn’t work out it’s like 10-tons of ice fell on your heart and left a hole big enough for a cupid army to fly straight through? Yeah that feeling. Go back to that emptiness for a moment with me. I know you know it. We’ve all been there.

That emptiness? That’s meant to be filled with the man who actually died for you. His name is Jesus. He knows you, he knows what you did to fill that emptiness and how you try to mask your pain with those Facebook posts about being single. He knows. He KNOWS!

And here’s the best part… HE LOVES YOU!

He loves you until you’re whole again. He loves you and completes you the way you’re meant to be completed. He fills that empty spot more than any man could. And he wants the BEST for you! I’m not saying you won’t ever have fairytale romance and hearts and red roses delivered to you on this day someday in the future… but don’t let the butterflies define your life. If you’re going from one guy to the next, or even from one addiction to the next because you can’t function without your sin vice, let me tell you this: Let Jesus in and let him take over that part of your life. Give HIM your love, your affections, your emotions, and your body. He created all of that and he knows what’s best for you – even better than you do.

So down with the singles awareness day facade… You guys, it ROCKS being single! You know why? Because we get to spend a season just doing things with Jesus, undistracted by what the world says about love. We can wait for real love, knowing He’s the one writing this love story.

So whether you’re reading this single or married for 50 years (either place can be empty without Jesus) I just want you to know… You are NOT alone! Jesus is just waiting for you to stop for a moment with him. Guaranteed, a moment will change everything, if you let him.

And if you’re reading this on this Valentine’s day and are totally blank to what I mean, let me know. I would love to share more with you on my freedom journey. I never get tired of bragging on my Jesus. He’s amazing.

Also… if you’re scared to talk to just one person right now (though community and accountability is the best way to stay free – people who will remind you that Jesus is there loving you in the dark moments), but if you are scared and just want to start exploring some ideas, I highly recommend this website: These teachings really helped me think through some stuff and come to a place where I did reach out to my accountability for help.

If you’re reading this today and know it’s for you, remember this: Valentines Day is a day to celebrate LOVE! So stop feeling sorry for yourself. Stop listening to the lie that you’re not enough and that you should mope today with chick-flix and chocolate, under a pile of soggy kleenex. Stop thinking the bitter things that Love will never happen for you. It HAS happened, His name is Jesus. And he wants to heal you and make you whole and then bless your socks off with the most amazing things in life (marriage may be included, you don’t know.).

Also, if you’re like me and have more married friends than you can count and you’re spending Valentine’s alone because there’s literally no one left, let your FRIENDS know you love them and admire them! They’ve taken some big steps in their lives (it ain’t easy being married) and they probably won’t hate some encouragement from time to time.

And one more thing. If you do find yourself alone today, know that you’re not. There is someone a little younger than you probably facing the same things you do. Use this valentine’s day to reach out to them as well. They need some love today too.

So in closing remember this: Love is real. Jesus loves. He wants you to be loved by him. He died for you. He will never leave you. You are NOT alone.

And lastly… Singles awareness day is a joke. Don’t buy into that. You’re single and it’s not fatal. Romance will come in the right time. Focus on Jesus until that time. He was single all his life and changed the world in the process. He gets it, more than you know.

Happy Love Day everyone! 

Why I’m buying a house – Part 1.

A few months ago I stood on the sand and wished I was brave enough to be walking straight into them. To have them crash over me and under me. To learn how to really walk on water. A new longing to TRUST my Father.


To walk up there where impossibilities really don’t exist.

It’s funny because a few months later I read that last story about the wave game and my nephew and what God showed me… And I heard that quiet Holy Spirit voice speak something new about it to my heart.

But let me tell you some of my life these days.

After that moment on the beach in Florida… I had to go home to real life. But the problem was I wasn’t happy in real life anymore. So I began a searching journey.

So applications went out… 5 of them… to 5 prestigious colleges… for 5 Journalism programs.

My heart was saying, “Go to Hamilton… Go to Mohawk… Be a Journalist… Write for a living…”

Looking back I think my heart was making things up in order to try and make up for a dream that was beginning to die in my heart… like the way one part of the body works overtime in order to make up for a failing organ. (and all of you know how I am SUCH a dreamer.)

But that’s another story for another blog.

A lot of frantic praying went into the college dream… Prayer. And making sure all my people were supportive. They were! There were green lights all the way! So I told the college yes. I looked up student jobs in the area, browsed course lists, and dreamt about how my life would change… and then as things got more and more real there was something deeper in my heart.

I can only really explain it like my heart was knit to this place called Crossroads Life church. And when something is knit, it is so intertwined that any amount of tearing can completely destroy it.

I got really really sad… heartbroken.

And then one night I didn’t want to look up college courses, I didn’t want to pack my things, I didn’t want to downsize and sell my car… and I ended up just crying uncontrollably on my Jesus’ shoulder.

Suddenly these words came out of my mouth… “Lord, I’m sorry if going to college is wrong. But I’ve GOT to do SOMETHING! I’m going CRAZY here!”

As soon as I said that, I chalked it up to nerves. Even denied it for a few days.

But then Jesus sent a sweet and truthful friend my way… A friend who gave me a brighter perspective on living here and serving this house we’re both planted in. Hearts knit together.

And because of that moment of tears only days before, I listened. I cried. I opened my heart to her. I explained how torn my heart felt. She explained why. She even mentioned that dream that I had been trying to replace. 

But I didn’t want to make a decision because of her. Or because of my pastor. Or my parents. Or my best friend. Or my mentor.

No, I was beginning to see how this journey was because my Heavenly Father – my Papa – wanted me to know without a doubt WHO I am and WHO He created me to be.

So I sat down with Him and wrote it out and decided not to go to college. To not become a city girl and leave my churchy family.

Instead I wanted more than anything I wanted to move back to my hometown and BE exactly who my Papa says I am. I am His. I am Loved. I am worthy. I am His daughter. I am filled with His Holy Spirit. I am called to this place. For this time in History. To do exactly what He wants me to do. He told me I didn’t have to go anywhere else or be anything more than I am right now.

He told me not to chase new replacement dreams just because my God-dreams aren’t happening in my own timing. He told me not to fabricate my own blessing, because I may accidentally steal someone elses.

He has plans for me here… This is my adventure.

… To be continued. 🙂

Waves over my head…

It was 2 days after Christmas when this was my view…


So different, a sunny Christmas, for this Canadian.
But not for the brown-eyed boy smiling at me from the waves… “C’mon Aunty Chelle! Lets play the wave game!”
For life is a game, to all who are unafraid.
His goal – to not let the waves touch his dancing feet.
My goal – to keep up with him.
But alas, this Aunty got tired quickly.
Sometimes the pressures of life build… and suddenly you’re in up to your ankles in sea-foam and saltyness.
The crazy thing about being up to your ankles is that the incoming tide will find a way to come higher… until suddenly my sundress was soaked and Carter laughed… “Aunty Chelle! That’s not how you play the wave game!”
See to most of us the “wave game” is to stay away from the things that will get us wet and sweep us off into the sea.
How could I tell him that I wanted to get swept off to sea… that a little part of me was still afraid, but the reality is that I was – that all of us are – born for a greater adventure. And I was too tired to fight against it anymore.

So I let the waves carry me and splash against me and I was so blissfully happy…


Fast-forward a few weeks… I’m back in the land of ice and snow.
And my sweet friend is leading worship, as I stand in the front row… I don’t remember what song. I was too lost in His face – my beloved Jesus was there speaking words over me. I could hear him.
Sometimes Jesus talks to me in pictures while I’m worshipping him. I think because he knows how I love beauty and visual things.
This time I’m standing on that ocean shore again… I’m in up to my ankles and the waves are getting high enough to hit my knees, like before. The hem of my dress gets wet and I’m so happy to be here with Jesus again.
But wait… He’s trying to tell me something. He wants me to know more of his plans for me. (Plans to prosper me, not to harm me. – Jeremiah 29:11)

“Look at the waves around you…” His voice. So beautiful. So loving. So strong.
“Look at the waves… My daughter. You could stay here on this shore where it is safe and warm and happy. You could stay here and live a full and happy life on the shore where you can always know exactly where your feet may land. You can choose this safe path… OR! You can choose to come up higher. Come up with me. Come away with me. Up where the waves crash over your head. Here where it isn’t “safe” but it’s instead a grand adventure. Come further up and further in… I will show you how to walk on water. Up here where impossibilities do not exist!”

This is what my Jesus says… This is how he calls all of us.


What will you choose? Will you choose to stay safe and warm and happy in whatever sphere you are in right now.
Or were you meant to choose more – to be more.
Will you trust Him enough to jump into the waves… Over your head… up where impossibilities do not exist?

A few more weeks pass and I’m listening to a new album just hitting the iTunes market from a church that defied all impossibility and made beauty out of a small-town called Redding, California.
Something about these lyrics were written for me in this season…

I choose this… whether I sink or whether I swim. It makes no difference.
As long as I’m with my Jesus.

It’s not glamorous… but it’s a wonderful life – Pt 2! :)

So in order for me to continue explaining to you about Community and how it has defined my life, I must re-visit the realizations that have gotten me to the place I am as far as friendships. I want to show you a blog I posted some time ago – a throwback, sort of. It covers the foundation of what I want to say about friendships – and next time we discuss this beautiful topic, I will share what I’ve learned since August 2011 when this appeared on my old blog.

So without further ado…

Cheerleading Friendship

By the time David had finished reporting to Saul, Jonathan was deeply impressed with David—an immediate bond was forged between them. He became totally committed to David. From that point on he would be David’s number-one advocate and friend. (1 Samuel 18:1)

He loved David more than his own soul! (1 Samuel 20:17)

True Friendship… here a picture is painted.

Two unlikely friends – Jonathan, the young Prince of Israel – David, a poor shepherd boy, but God’s anointed as the next King of Israel.

Do you think Jonathan didn’t know that in the usual lineage of Kings’ successors he should have inherited the throne? Don’t believe he could have been that naïve… is father, King Saul, pretty much shoved it down his throat everyday that David lived and breathed. Saul tried his best to kill David – envy and anger ate at his soul from the moment God’s hand of favour left Saul’s life.

But Jonathan’s deep love for David transcended the mind of his worldly father.

Jonathan knew God’s anointed, and would not rest until David was put in his place as King. Even risking (and eventually losing) his life, Jonathan knew the honour and favour of God that would come from protecting the future King.

What would happen if we understood friendship like that?

What kind of honour, favour, and blessings would be bestowed upon us, if we – instead of seeking our own success in life – instead built our lives around encouraging and pushing others forward.

What selflessness would abound!

What a better world we would have!

Years later, after Jonathan & David are long dead, a man named Jesus Christ – the son of David – came to show the world true love like that only even more powerful! He was the Son of God and his love took him to a horrible cross, he died and overcame death and all our troubles and fears.

The Bible says we are the body of Christ… this means we are connected.

As a body, how can we function without each other?

I have a couple of personal stories to share about this…

I have the privilege of working with one of my best friends – Elsbeth.

We have a unique friendship. A true Proverbs “Iron sharpens iron” relationship.

I love her to death – she loves me – we get on each other’s nerves – we are very much sisters. J

Yesterday at work I was in a bad mood about something (I even forget what it was now) and I was letting it hurt our friendship, (though I was more to blame, on this one).

I returned from a lunch break (to just get away) and what’s the first thing my dear friend does?

She chooses that moment to come up, massage my back, and pray for me.

It was such a sincere moment, I felt so convicted.

Isn’t this how God treats us?

In our moments of weakness, negativity, and pain… He loves.

The bible even says “While we were yet sinners, He died for us.”

Such profound love is only capable through Jesus Christ.

Another thing about the body – we are called to be advocates and cheerleaders for each other.

An advocate is one who speaks for another.

This is the selflessness I mentioned earlier – for who is more unselfish than one who puts others first at the risk of promoting others before himself?

This is not something you see often in our world today.

We seem obsessed with being first and climbing the ladder to success.

The thing about this is that we usually trample someone on the way up!

How is hurting and pushing down helping to build the body of Christ?

As a member of the body of Christ, we are called to be different from the world!

In this race we call life, we are all called to be runners AND we are all called to be cheerleaders!

A cheerleader is one who believes in their team even when they are not at their best. They are constantly encouraging and uplifting the spirits of their fellow team-mates.

A cheerleading friend is a true friend.

A “Jonathan” type of friend.

One who is willing to put aside all his selfish desires and pray, lift up, and encourage his friend to succeed in his calling.

I know what you’re thinking. You wonder if you start to put others first, what will happen to YOUR dreams and desires? Doesn’t God have a calling on your life too?

You bet He does.

But will He honour you for a sacrifice and a pure heart to see your friend succeed in His calling?

You bet. J

Besides… Jesus said: If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Another personal story.

I have a few AH-MAZING friends who demonstrate cheerleading friendship to me by consistently believing in me (even when I don’t believe in myself) and encouraging me on in everything I do.

I love them so much, I hope someday I can be there for them as much as they are for me.

Tonight I got home from work and felt a lot of fears filling my heart (I won’t get into that because this is not the point of my story).

I texted my girls and asked for prayer – and one in particular called me out and encouraged me to fight back the enemy’s lies by quoting the word.

Another encouraged me by saying “perfect love casts out fear”…

After a good long talk with Jesus and quoting a LOT of scripture, I texted them back.

With so much love, my beautiful cheerleading friend simply stated that she loved me, couldn’t stand to see the enemy keep me in a foothold, and that’s what she was here for – To build and encourage the body of Christ.

You see, a cheerleading friend will speak into your life and lovingly state:
“If YOU are winning, then I have won.”

I want to leave you with one last thought on cheerleading friendship.

One that I believe is key to everything I just talked about.

Remember Job? He had problems… and he had friends who were slightly less than encouraging.

But God honoured him for his faith.

Look at this:

And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10)

So friends – wherever you are tonight. Whatever struggles you face. Whatever lies the enemy has you ensnared in…

Take heart – have faith in a very real God who loves you enough to send His Son to display true love for you.

Then turn around and begin to PRAY for your friends…

God will bless you beyond your wildest dreams.

A side note: if you are reading this and you find yourself without friends (my heart weeps for you) – remember there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother – His name is Jesus. He loves you more than life.

And then start asking Him to send you people who will be an encouragement to you as you are an encouragement to them.

I pray you find a real friend you can build up and be a “Jonathan” towards…

Something I’ve been learning – in regards to Job’s prayer for his friends.

If I pray FOR my friends and they pray for me, we often get answered faster than if we pray selfishly.

Try it. I bet you won’t be disappointed.