To My People.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about this past year.

Last year at this time, I was at camp getting ready for the hundreds of campers I was going to meet. I had just moved back to Canada and everything in my life was in transition.

A lot of new things happened in this year but the thing my mind keeps wandering back to is all the people I got to know.

I’ve met some incredible people.

I love meeting new people but it’s never been something that I was very good at. I’ve always been very shy and (something I also realized in the past two years) I always seem to attract people who take and take from me rather than give.

This year was different.

Guys, between camp, school and church, I can’t stress enough how many cool people I have in my life. Real, genuine, down to earth people who encourage and love me like Jesus does.

Jesus really knew what I needed this year. Moving away from my family was hard but it was made easier by the people He brought into my life.

We need people in our life who spur us on.

We need people who ask hard questions, who talk about real issues and who aren’t afraid to confront you when something is wrong.

We need people who teach us things – as hard as those lessons may be. We need people who leave and we need people who come so that we can learn and grow and develop who we are as a person.

Right now I’m sitting in bed and I am so happy. I feel so blessed that Jesus has given me the old and new friends and relationships he has this year.

This year was a real growing year for me and I think most of it is due to the people that are in my life.

So to my people,

Thank you, I love you and I’m better off because of you.

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Suffering

“My Father! If it is possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Tonight is the night that Jesus is betrayed. I don’t think I’m ever fully prepared for this weekend and what transpires on it. I’m never prepared for the weight of Friday, the anxiousness of Saturday or the joy of Sunday. It’s all so overwhelmingly amazing that my flighty human flesh can’t handle it.

As I was reading my Lent series tonight, I came across the verse above and I was struck all over again with awe at how amazing Jesus is.

How many times have I prayed the first part of this prayer? How many times have I desperately asked God to take away my pain and suffering? How many times have I told Him that I don’t deserve this and that if He would just take it away, I would serve Him better? How many times do I fail in my faith in Him?

I really don’t believe that God causes suffering, but I do think that He can be glorified through our struggles and suffering.

Jesus knew this too. Jesus knew He had to die for us because of all the suffering that sin had and would cause. Jesus wanted it to go away; like me He asked God to take it from Him. Unlike me, He went one step further. He trusted and knew that God’s will is higher, that He knows better, and that He has a plan to make goodness shine through our suffering.

I may not understand why I suffer and I may not be able to handle my pain at times. But through it all, I know that God is faithful. He is in control and because of that I can say, “yet not as I will, but as You will.”

Tomorrow Jesus is going to die for me and yet again, I’m not prepared. But tonight I’ll rest in the truth that my God is faithful and that He will bring to completion every good work that He has begun in you and in me.

The Little Reminders

I’m realizing that this grace thing is never ending; I constantly need to be reminded and those reminders come in so many different, even crazy ways.

Sometimes I’m reminded through the peaceful way Jesus writes on my heart.

I will not shame you.

My grace is enough for you. 

Sometimes it’s just through stories I find in the Bible. Beautiful stories of people who have messed up big time, people who are similar to me and who have found grace and forgiveness in the same God I do.

But other times, reminders come from the most unexpected places. Like from a small church in a Peruvian city.

The past two weeks we’ve been staying in Urubamba which is a city that is about an hour away from Cusco, Peru. We’ve been staying at the Seminary here and last night we decided to attend their church.

This church is just a little hole in the wall. You could walk right past it and never know it was there but sitting in church last night, Jesus hit me in the face with his grace all over again.

If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t really paying attention to the guy preaching at the front of the church. Sometimes trying to follow a sermon in a foreign language when you’re not completely fluent in that language can be an extremely hard task that takes all of your energy and last night, I felt exhausted.

I was in my own little world, reading a completely different passage when I heard the pastor say these words,

“El justo murió por el injusto.”

The righteous died for the unrighteous.

The only perfect person to ever walk this earth died for the “bad” people, the murderers, the liars, the cheaters, me. He died for me.

I think this is a truth that will never cease to amaze me. It’s something that will keep me in complete awe and wonder of this man named Jesus who loves me.

It’s something that’ll keep hitting me square in the face, leaving me on my knees in worship and leave the words, “grace upon grace” ringing in my ear.

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