To All The Teachers and Students Heading Back to School

After six months of navigating COVID-19, and a sudden pivot to at-home learning last March, this week in Canada some are returning to school. There are a host of new rules being implemented, and I suspect this stirs up a diverse mixture of emotions in both students and teachers alike. It’s always a little anxiety-provoking when navigating unknowns.

I wanted to send along some encouragement to every teacher and student this fall, whether you are learning at home or in an actual classroom. This new normal may take some adjusting to and you may not get everything right. Things won’t be perfect, mistakes will be made, but despite the challenges I believe you will beautifully rise and adjust to the new circumstances.

At my daughter’s school, the children are required to wear masks all day and there are numerous new protocols. There is certain courage that is required amid all this change, both for the students and educators. It’s because of this, I wanted to write a few words in the form of a blessing to cheer you on.

Fall Blessing to Teachers and Students

This fall, as you navigate new circumstances, may you have all you need in every situation. May your mind and soul be still, free from worry and anxiety, and may you feel God’s presence and peace surrounding you amid any uncertainty. May you be enfolded by God’s love and care, knowing that He will never leave you or forsake you throughout anything you face.

When things are difficult and you feel discouraged, may you turn to God’s ever-open arms of comfort. When there is a decision to be made and you feel uncertain, may He give you much-needed wisdom and guidance. When you feel unsteady or make a misstep, may you feel His arms surrounding you and providing stability. When you feel confused or lost, may He help you navigate your way.

May you be filled with patience for those around you who, like you, are doing their best to navigate the newness and who may at times grow weary of it all. May you offer compassion and kindness to those in your midst and freely extend the grace we each so desperately need.

May you walk in God’s rich joy ever at your disposal. May any feelings of uncertainty or fear be replaced with poise and peace. May you have an overflow of each to give back to others, aiding them in their fearful moments. May you sprinkle hope—like well-watered seeds springing up all around—that yields rich deposits of beauty.

“Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!” (1 Peter 4:8)

Bless you this fall, teachers, students, and home educators, and throughout your entire school year. May you stay healthy and well. Be assured that you have everything you need in Christ.

Peace to you,

Amen

P.S. And don’t forget to smile, great big enormous smiles, the kind that reaches your eyes so that despite those masks, those around you can see you’re smiling and be warmed! xo

Prayer for Today

Today has been declared a National Day of Prayer in the USA. Prayer is powerful. Imagine a whole country—a whole world—collectively praying. I have witnessed the power of prayer in my own life and in the lives of others. Though I’m Canadian, I join our neighbors in the US and share my offering below. Won’t you join me in praying in the midst of this health crisis?

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Lord our God,

We come into your presence with thankful hearts for your tender mercies and lavish kindness. We are grateful for your unfailing care and love. We are thankful that you never leave us or forsake us, and will never do so, especially in our time of great need. 

Despite the chaos we see and hear and experience in the natural world, we also understand and are reminded that you are still in control and haven’t left us or forsaken us. 

We confess our fear and worry and release it to you. In its place, we take your peace and find our comfort and rest in you. Please fill our troubled hearts and minds with your presence. 

We are grateful that you are our provider and have given us all we need. We confess that we have so often taken your provision for granted, behaving self-sufficiently as though we are the ones in control. Please forgive us and have mercy on us. Teach us greater trust in you. Continue reading “Prayer for Today”

Unknowns, Courage, and Creativity

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A photo of my author copy the day it arrived in the mail.

Tomorrow, my debut novel launches. 

I’ll be honest, a cocktail of emotions are brewing at the moment. A hearty mixture of excitement, nervousness, and outright fear of failure. It feels rather like I’m about to fling my heart out into the world hopeful it won’t get flattened. It’s always that way when trying something new, don’t you think? Maybe even more so with creative pursuits because a part of you is sewn right in with it.

Yet, where would we be without the kind of courage creating requires? Without those brave first strokes of ink or paint, our bookshelves would be barren and our walls unadorned of colourful masterpieces. There would be no music to make us merry. No architecture to take our breath away. No sculpture to stop us in our tracks. No gardens to still our souls. No chocolate—I go too far! Our beings would be bereft of nourishment without people answering the creative call.

I admire the courage of creators, those who bring life to their ideas despite the naysayers and critics. I applaud those who keep creating, keep trying, and keep overcoming obstacles to do both what they love and what gives them life. I’m inspired by the ones who continue to show up and don’t give up even when their inner critic won’t shut up. I’m grateful to those who pursue their gift as a gift to others.

But it’s not easy. 

As a recovering control freak, unknowns make me uneasy. The blank page—that sacred inhalation of breath before beginning—is crowded with both possibility and nightmarish uncertainty. And right now, I’m on a new precipice of uncertainty and in desperate need of exhaling.

But there’s hope. I’m considering reframing my concept of unknowns. Instead of attaching fear to them, I’m thinking of renaming these unknowns “new firsts” and viewing them as dynamic opportunities to explore something new. 

So let’s say it together: An unknown is a dynamic opportunity to explore something new.

Feel better? I do… for now. Ask me tomorrow when I’m standing at the book launch trying to wax eloquent about my book! I’m slowly easing into my “new first” by only inviting family and friends to the launch. I’m going to take that nervousness I feel toward introducing my book to the world, and all that goes with it, and view it as a dynamic opportunity to explore something new. 

I wonder, do extroverts require this much reflective self-talk? And at what age did I begin to be unsure of creative pursuits? But that’s another blog.

What it always comes down to is a conscious effort to hand over control. It’s not a one time fix. It’s a trust thing, and for me, there’s only one who can be entrusted with it—God. The unknowns, ahem, I mean the dynamic opportunities to explore something new are also an exciting chance to grow closer in my trust journey with my Creator.

So let me expand my definition: An unknown is a dynamic opportunity to explore something new and trust God more fully. 

Boom. There it is!

I hope you’ll join me on this trust journey. Let’s do this!

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  1. Do you have a fear of the unknown?
  2. What creative pursuit have you been putting off for fear of failure?
  3. Breath in, breath out, and begin that sacred journey trusting God every step.

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Available September 17th, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4866-1537-7

Print Availability: Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Word Alive Press, and wherever fine Christian books are sold. 

eBook Availability: Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, and in Adobe PDF format for additional vendors.