Hello wonderful readers :)

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God Provides

Earlier this month, I got to attend the Youth Unlimited Western Regional.  Each year, all the staff from both British Columbia and Alberta meet together for a time of teaching, connecting and refreshing.

After 16 hours with a bus full of rowdy youth workers, we stepped off the bus and into negative 30 degrees Alberta.  I never knew that cold dry air would make your nose feel like its freezing over!

On top of some hilarious memories going down a make shift luge track and running full speed across the gym while in a giant plastic bubble, I also took home a very important lesson.

Colossians 1:17 says, “He is before all things, and in him all things hold together”.

God is the sustainer and provider of everything and so there is nothing in this world that will not be upheld in His hands.

During that week in Alberta, I was reminded of God’s omnipresence and I found so much peace in that fact.

Coming back to BC then, I thought about what I was trying to accomplish through my own strength and I realized that I wasn’t allowing God to use me in regards to Stepping Stones.  I was so wrapped up in the micro aspects of the ministry, that I ignored the bigger picture.  God has placed me here not only to influence and be influenced by young families, but also to utilize all God has blessed me with to help sustain Stepping Stones.  This includes advocating the necessity of such a ministry, connecting with community partners and sharing the resources I have with Stepping Stones.

So, with that in mind, I am asking all of you, who have been and continue to be a huge support for me, to look at the following wish list.  To be what we are to the city of Surrey, Stepping Stones relies on the generosity of many.  Here are a few things that we need.  If you are able to give in such a way, please let me know!  Thank you all!

Stepping Stones Wish List
- Diapers (all sizes)
- Baby wipes
- Formula
- 2 couches (3 person and 2 person, preferably industrial grade)
- 1 bar table (that is easy to carry in and out of storage)
- 1 zone adult bus tickets

 Volunteers needed!
- Afternoon Drop In (Mondays 2-430pm, interact with moms, take care of kitchen duties (coffee, cookies, etc))
- Muffin Morning (Wednesdays 930am-1230pm, drive moms to and from, child care or kitchen volunteers)
- Muffin Morning Speakers (life skills teaching, community resource presentation, workshops, arts & crafts, etc)

And now, here is a nice funny video of me taking a tumble.  Enjoy!


Prayer during transition

Please pray for wisdom and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as I transition to doing more one-on-one’s with some moms.  It is an exciting transition and I am really looking forward to meeting up with moms outside of program times.

Please pray for diligence and discipline as I try to balance work and rest.  I am struggling (as always) with making sure that I take care of my health instead of adding more and more to my plate.

Praise for God’s providing!  I am half way to my fundraising goal or $2200/month.  I am still looking for 10 more monthly donors that can give $50/month.  There are some fundraising events in works and some potential supporters that I can connect with.

Prayer for God’s direction as I think about staying on with Youth Unlimited after my apprenticeship ends in August of this year.

Day in the Life of…..

iStock_000002042391Large-1Here is a little glimpse into my Monday world at Stepping Stones.

Monday is drop in day.  On this day, we set up a living room downstairs making sure that the atmosphere oozes comfort and openness.  We brew coffee, make tea, and bake cookies for the moms and dads to enjoy and we set out toys and play mats for the children.

While set up is quite predictable, how the day goes is always in the air.  Drop in is meant to be a low barrier place for moms and dads to get support.  Whether it is practical support such as diapers, a computer or community resource connections, emotional support or spiritual support, we are prepared to meet those needs.

Most mornings are fairly quiet.  I get to sit back and connect with moms and talk about life.  Some moms stay for the whole morning while others may come and go.  What is most important is that each person feels welcomed and cared for even if the moment I have with them is from the door to the diaper room and back.

The afternoons are much more hectic.  School is out and many of the moms from a local teen moms program come to our drop in.  There’s lots of chatting, lots of babies and tons of coffee.

Myself and another staff run drop in with the help of other available staff and volunteers.  During the week, we always make it a priority to debrief about Mondays.  Are there new moms and dads?  Are there any that need extra support outside of drop in?  Are there any that would be open to meeting up outside of drop in?  Perhaps someone is looking for a new place to live or has health issues and needs to see a doctor or needs advice and support with breastfeeding.  All of these issues are laid out and we at Stepping Stones work hard to ensure that each family feels supported and known.

By 4:30pm, most families have come and gone, sometimes we have a few sticking around to hang out and to be around other people and feel connected.  I am thankful that they stay because it means we have done well in making drop in safe and supportive.  Once everyone has left, we clean up the space and talk about the day.  Sometimes there is a lot to rejoice while other times these are stories that just break our hearts.

Every time though, we find ourselves driving home in prayer in preparation for the rest of the week ahead.

O Strength and Stay by John Bacchus Dykes
O Strength and Stay upholding all creation,
Who ever dost Thyself unmoved abide;
Yet day by day the light in due gradation
From hour to hour through all its changes guide.
Grant to life’s day a calm unclouded ending,
An eve untouched by shadows of decay,
The brightness of a holy deathbed blending
With dawning glories of the eternal day.
Hear us, O Father, gracious and forgiving,
Through Jesus Christ Thy co-eternal Word,
Who, with the Holy Ghost, by all things living
Now and to endless ages art adored. 


Rejoice Rejoice, Emmanuel

Today I had to pay a credit card bill and I did not have enough money.  Is there anything further I could have done to not be in this situation right now?  Probably.

As I walk back home thinking about different options I have and daydreaming miraculous deeds of God that will whisk me out of this situation, an old man yells a warm hello to me.  I am awakened from my revelry and look up to smile back and say hello in return.

Daydreaming is not going to help it seems.  So instead, I sing.  The words “rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel” swirl through my head.

I then realize to even have options is an immense blessing.  How many people in the world wish for options and have nowhere to turn?  Even though it is not the most ideal situation to be in and it was absolutely in my power to not be in it, I have options to be out.

I thank God that I have options.

An old woman passes by and says a warm greeting also.  She asks why I don’t have an umbrella and I say it is not raining.

It is not raining.  This set back will not be a wet parade if I don’t make it to be.

I walk home, spirit heightened.  I might not have the ideal solution but I have learned to see the light in this dark.

Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. 


ThriveGrad_35Celebrating the right now moments no matter how small, is so important.  When we forget to celebrate, we begin to see that one step forward is not good enough.  Cynicism creeps in and sooner or later, we lose hope.

I look at myself and I know that in my everyday victories I also experience set backs and failures.  In such moments, I look for community, I remember my identity and I take heart in the eternal hope and promise I have.  Some may be walking backwards more than forwards and in those times, a supportive community is even more essential, one that can empower and lend hope.

Last Thursday, I got to witness seven brave women bare their hearts to an audience of loved ones, supporters and even strangers.  After 10 weeks of intensive classroom work, these Thrive moms pushed back their fears, their anxieties and even their present struggles to stand up on stage as a beacon of courage, vulnerability and beauty.

In those 10 weeks, they learned so much more than budgeting, parenting, resumé building and other life skills; these women learned their value, their gifts and their heart cries.  They experienced what it means and how to be a support to one another.  Now, they walk together into this new beginning with the assurance of knowing that the past does not define their future.  There is hope.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”  – Romans 15:13

Do you hear? Are you listening?

waytruthlife“Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—  meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.

When you put on your next prayer-performance,
    I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
    Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.”
- Isaiah 1:13-17, The Message

Today at our Surrey staff meeting, Kellie, the Stepping Stones program director, led devotions.  She shared with us this passage from Isaiah 1:13-17.  Her heart was heavy and her message spoke straight to my soul.

When I worked as a youth coordinator within the church, I always felt a lack.  I felt there was something missing within my ministry and I associated it as lacking community involvement.  I had a lot of dreams to serve our community with the youth group, to figure out how the youth of our church could reach out to the people in the margins of society, to wake up from our comfortable slumber to the world that is full of lack and longing.

As the church we are called to be a prophetic voice – a voice that listens deeply to God, that speaks of and lives out justice, grace, love and kindness.  If Jesus came to our church today, would he want to be there?  Where would we find Jesus in our neighbourhood?  Are we where he is or are we busy with our life – our meetings, worship charades, religious games and monthly conferences?

I, myself, am questioning where I am in my life.  Am I truly living the life that Jesus calls me to live in Matthew 5?  Or am I sedated and blind to His heartbreaks that should also be mine?

If the church has a voice (and it does), what is it saying today?

Would Jesus call us his good and faithful servants?

“’We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ’; ‘Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord.’  Judgment is coming and it is going to ‘begin at the house of God’, where it should begin, because of the claim we make.”
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount - Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Musings of a Sick Girl

musingsThese three days of being sick has taught me a lot.  I am at heart a martyr.  I want to sacrifice as much as I can for anything and anyone.  The harder and bigger the sacrifice, the better it is in my mind.  So these three  days that I stayed home sick, I recognized my twisted perspective.

My body and heart told me to stay home and rest but my mind kept running scenarios and assumptions that said otherwise.  Would others see me as less hardworking?  Shouldn’t I forget myself and only care about others?  My sickness is so little compared to other struggles and so on.  All of these are actually the opposite of helping, opposite of love and life.

One, I am saying, with that perspective, that other people are so dire in need of help and saving that I need to drop what is important to rescue them.  That is oppression.

Two, I am taking the role of God in my all-powerful, no weakness attitude.   That’s selfishness.

Three, I am not respecting those around me by modelling a lifestyle that puts my own safety and health last.

Lastly, how can I amount any real help when I’m sore, brain-tired, raspy and snot-ridden?  Plus it’s gross and probably contagious.

But I am absolutely not perfect.  I confess to going to a meeting and staying up late to Skype for fundraising.  I confess to not sleeping as much as I should have in those two days.  I keep telling myself that there are more important things, that my health comes secondary but I’m slowly learning that perhaps I am thoroughly wrong.