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On the days I’m feeling most empty and broken, I remember the woman who reached out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment.

The one whose touch He felt amidst the jostling crowd.

The one He stopped to not just look at, but to truly see.

The one He called “daughter.”

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One of my favourites things is listening to stories.

We each have them. The story of how we came to be — of what shaped us and transformed us. The words that describe us. The gritty and grace-led moments that spread their way across the pages of our lives. It’s uniquely ours.

And the stories that I love most are the ones that feel authentic and messy. The ones that grapple with real-life questions and face them head on, rather than hiding beneath filters or Instagram-perfect poses. The ones that point to an over-arching story that reaches far beyond our day-to-day lives. The story that points us to Christ. To a greater story.

This is the premise that immediately drew me to Sam Collier’s book.

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“Thy will be done.”

The words are familiar to us. Memorized and held close against our hearts, this prayer was given to us by Jesus himself in Matthew 6. It is a simple but weighty instruction manual to prayer.

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.”

Matthew 6:9-10

But those words, “Thy will be done.” My sinful self finds them much harder to say.

It’s difficult to say, “Thy will be done” when faced with tremendous pain or suffering. How can I pray “Thy will be done” knowing that I may not be comfortable with the answer? Or when faced with the realities of this world — with sickness and job loss and injustice and brokenness? Can I trust His will even then?

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A year ago, this little book on pregnancy loss was released.

It’s a book that I poured everything into. A book that I have wept over and prayed on. Edited and loved and gently nudged out into the world. This messy collection of broken stories and longing hearts, peels back the layers of grief to reveal something raw and tender. Hope.

Because hope after a pregnancy loss isn’t a myth.

And yet, we know that the road isn’t an easy one. The pain of losing a child is sharp and messy; a fire hotter than anything we’ve had to endure before. Standing in the furnace, the flames press in around us — blistering and suffocating. Blindly, we call out to be rescued. For God to remove this pain. It’s too much too handle.

But He draws us closer still.

And over the roar of the inferno, we hear the still small voice. The voice of a shepherd, steady and true. The voice of One calling us to press in and dig deep. To lift these hands seared by fire lifted high in surrender.

Not to run. But to embrace.

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When it comes to the church, we all have stories. Some stories are of ones where we feel welcomed and included, comfortable and free to worship; while others are stories of pain and confusion, uncertainty or discomfort.

I remember my first few months away at college, hopping from church to church in a small prairie town, trying to find the one that felt most like home. One Sunday evening, while out for a walk with a friend, we encountered two elderly ladies on their way to an evening service in the school gym. I’ll never forget how excited they were when we agreed to join them, how overjoyed they were to show us off to the other attendees during after-gathering cookies and coffee. The love of Christ radiated off our new, white-haired friends. That church wasn’t the one for me, but I’ll never forget that feeling of being welcomed so warmly. That was what I was looking for in a church family: community, a warm and open invitation, and most of all, Jesus.

In Traci Rhoades new book, “Not All Who Wander (Spiritually) Are Lost,” readers are invited to look past the denominational differences that separate us and instead find Jesus amidst the differing worship styles. As she says, “We don’t all practice our faith the exact same way, but our God is big enough to embrace all the ways we encounter Jesus. And Jesus sits at the head of the table. Always.”

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It doesn’t matter who they are. As soon as she sees them walking towards her, the little hand pops up over the edge of the stroller, waving hello.

She sees them.

The neighbours. The dog walkers. The ones busily shouting into their phones. The ones walking alone. Old. Young. The ones I’d chose to avoid eye-contact with.

She sees all of them.

And I can’t help but wonder what life would be like if I stopped to truly see them too.

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A year ago today, we said good-bye.

In an ugly hospital room, surrounded by friends and family, my mom gave up her failing, earthly body for the arms of Jesus. And if I’m honest, it felt too soon. This wasn’t the script I’d written. There were more grandbabies for her to hold. More laughter and smiles for her to wrap us in. More life.

It seems fitting that this one year anniversary falls on Good Friday: a day marked by death and sorrow. A day for tears and mourning. A day when the clothes are black, the mood somber. But what man meant for evil, God meant for Good — even death upon a cross.

Because Good Friday holds such GOOD news.  Read more

“God is calling His warrior women to invest their lives in something that is bigger than themselves: the kingdom of God. These kinds of women give their lives to relentless prayer.”
– Sheila Walsh, “Praying Women”

If we’re honest, we’ve all had times in our lives where prayer has been a struggle. We may find ourselves in seemingly impossible situations, wondering if God actually hears us. Can He truly fix this? Why hasn’t He answered? Or perhaps, we enter into prayer time with the best intentions but immediately find ourselves daydreaming or drifting off to sleep. We equate prayer time with a chore, a box to check.

When it comes to prayer, we all come to the table with baggage and history. With wounds and scars. Thankfully, prayer isn’t about perfect people. It’s not about knowing the right words or being doubt-free.

It’s about our hearts. It’s about step-by-step transformation. It’s about trust, even in the silence. It’s about coming and laying it all before Him. 

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Remnants of breakfast muffins sprinkle the floor. Toys dance across kitchen counters as I appease hungry babes with slices of vegetables and bits of bread. I search for the holiness permeating the mundane. The transfer from ordinary into missional.

It’s here. The call to more.

Not to do more but to be more. To look closer. To scrape off my blinders and truly see.

A call to holiness.

A holy call.

The dishes and the diapers. Toilets in need of scrubbing and laundry still to be hung. Downy hair softly caressed as sobs make way to comforted sniffles. Sibling arguments broken up and consequences meted. Snacks diced into perfectly-sized bites. Midnight prayers offered as patience wanes and exhaustion sinks deep and grace abounds. Everyday moments with Kingdom potential.

Look up, sweet child, fix your eyes on Him and see all that which He is calling you to.

A call to more. A call to holiness.

A call to intentional living in the ordinary. Missional motherhood. A holy calling. A call to follow and serve and love. To see HIM in each of these otherwise unremarkable seeming snapshots of life.

A call that transforms the everyday into eternal promise. Never by our works but His. This redeeming, life-altering act of grace that touches everything.

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This is the face of someone who was riding the rollercoaster of “pregnancy after loss” emotions: excited and anxious, nervous and confused, joy-filled and overwhelmed.

The day I found out about this baby, I was at the hospital. It was nothing scary, just my GP being cautious and a fun, human puzzle for the doctors to unravel.

But as I waited on bloodwork and tests, the nurse gave me a little, “Congratulations.” Because those very faint positive pregnancy hormones showed up in my bloodstream and it was official. We were expecting again.

For someone who’s lost five babies, this wasn’t the way to start a calm pregnancy.

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I know you’re looking for answers.

For reassurance.

You’ve stumbled onto this blog after a quick Google search, desperately hoping for a miracle.

You’re praying that the doctors were wrong. The ultrasound results must be wrong — oh, please God, let them be wrong.

You’re praying that the blood you found on your panties this morning really is just “spotting.” Your heart is crying out that something’s wrong, but maybe, it’s not. Maybe this will all just go away.

You’re praying that the cramping will stop. That this baby would not be making its way into the world so soon — that your body would hold on for a few months longer.

You’re praying for a miracle.
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Church life with a baby is hard. I forgot how hard.

I haven’t heard a full sermon in over half a year now. The messages are fragmented: bits here and there, snatches of verses and sentences caught and quickly forgotten as I scurry out to quiet a hungry babe. I sit in the nursery, rocking and burping. Sometimes the sermon plays through the speaker, sometimes it doesn’t. Most often us moms are all too distracted by feeds and naps and foul-smelling diapers to hear the words anyway.

Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden.

The invitation presses against my soul. To come and lay down my aches and my insecurities, my doubts and my fears, and to simply sit in His presence. To stop striving and simply worship.

This is a season too.

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