Choosing Peace During Uncertainty

Yesterday, I shared the exciting news that Ben has a new job, but if you’ve ever taken a huge leap of faith, then you’ll know there’s always a story lurking behind a neat and tidy announcement.

Today I want to share a bit more about what we’ve been going through the last few months, as we’ve waited, prayed, and tried not to agonize over the whole process.

Late last fall, Ben decided to resign from his position as Executive Director of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce. It was a hard decision, for many reasons, and it was a stressful time. He had some ideas about what could come next, but we didn’t know if anything would pan out. There was a lot of uncertainty and financial questions, and all the kind of stuff that makes me very anxious, because I do not have Ben’s gift of embracing the unknown as an adventure. He was excited, and I was a mess. I went through a bad stretch for a few weeks, and things felt very dark. My health took a big hit from the stress, and I was struggling badly to get my footing.

But one night when I was kneeling down to pray about our situation, it became extremely clear to me that something needed to change. I was so incredibly miserable and desperate, and I reached a point of just knowing I couldn’t go on dealing so poorly with the stress of it all – not now, not ever. I was suddenly overcome with an intense desire to be free from the thought patterns and worry habits that have controlled me for most of my life.

Suddenly, I got this very clear, kind of strange picture: I saw a bubble, like the kind our kids blow in the summer, that floats aimlessly on the breeze, gently bobbing around until it finally twirls over the neighbor’s fence and disappears. Our family was in that bubble, bobbing along, without a care in the world. I could see everything passing by us, but it felt a bit distant, because we were safe and sheltered and separated from it all by that bubble.

Photo by fotografierende from Pexels

And just like that, the fear and anxiety were gone. For weeks after, I bobbed along in that bubble. My thoughts and emotions were changed in an instant, and it took absolutely no effort for me to stay in that place of peace and calm trust.

I’ve never felt that way in my life, and it was heavenly. I never wanted it to change. I bobbed right through Christmas, amazed that life without a paycheck could be so relaxing!

Then January hit, and my bubble burst hard. It was a harsh return to handling things the old way, and it was terrible. For two weeks, I tried to get my bubble back, but it was just gone. It felt as though God had removed His protection from me, and I was disappointed and confused. But one day as I was praying about the whole thing, I realized that God had never removed it – silly me, in all my humanness, had somehow gotten the idea that I didn’t really need the bubble so much anymore. Surely once Christmas was over, Ben would quickly find a job, and this hard time would soon be over. I had climbed out all by myself.

When I realized this, I knew I didn’t want to handle stress the old way, on my own. I was ready to climb back into my bubble, and there I stayed. I’m still bobbing along. Sometimes the temptation to take things into my own hands and get lost in worry comes creeping back, but the more time passes in my bubble, the less appealing the old way feels to me. I can usually catch myself pretty quickly when I start down that path, because it feels so panicky and miserable. I try to spend time praying and getting my focus back on God’s protection and provision, and off we go again. There’s only room for one day at a time in the bubble!

That may sound ridiculous, but it’s what’s working for me right now. Or maybe it sounds too easy, and it is and it’s not, at the same time. I have to be hyper-vigilant about staying in a good place. If I let my guard down for a moment, I’m sucked into the old mess, but if I stay focused, I can stay in my beautiful, safe bubble. In the beginning, I think God was just gracious with me, and I could stay there without trying, but now it takes effort. Overall, I’m learning that it’s much easier to stay there than to try to get back there after the damage has begun.

It’s hard to explain it without it sounding too simplistic – although we’re called to faith like a child, so maybe it’s okay for it to sound very simple. And maybe it sounds like I’m trying to be oblivious to real life, but it’s not that, either. It’s more like a visual reminder for me, in my head, to protect myself from mentally running too far into the future. The bubble is about staying in the moment, and trusting that God will carry us where we need to go. I still have rough moments, but I’m learning to choose peace instead of worry.

Now, while all my lessons in bubble floating were going on, God was up to something else. On the morning of the very same day Ben resigned from his job, a man from our church was on vacation, taking a stroll with his wife. He had started a consulting company two years previously, and had been on his own journey of trusting God, as he developed a company focused on leadership training and team building.

As Darrell and Elaine walked along that morning, he said to her, “I think God is leading me to get a partner.” And that afternoon, Ben happened to email Darrell to say he had resigned from the Chamber.

They met for coffee numerous times those first weeks, but I was not excited. Out of all the employment options Ben was considering, this one scared me the most, because it didn’t involve a regular, dependable paycheck. It was by far the riskiest option, and it was the one Ben was most drawn to. He would come back from coffee with Darrell, bursting with ideas and enthusiasm, and I would pretend to be interested until I just couldn’t fake it anymore, and then there would be tears and panic. (Obviously, I was a very lovely, supportive person to live with during that stretch!?)

Part of the reason I was so nervous was because Ben was so excited about something that felt very unpredictable. He’s talked about this kind of opportunity ever since he got his Masters in Leadership years ago, and it’s what he’s wanted to do most. But we weren’t planning on it happening right now. It was always a dream for the future, when we would hopefully be more financially stable, and our kids would be older. Yet here it was, and I didn’t want him following a dream. I just wanted a regular paycheck, so we could feel safe and secure – not in a worldly way, of course, just a practical way, I’d tell myself.

But Ben’s enthusiasm did not disappear, so one day I prayed, “God, if you want this to happen, change my heart.”

And then I promptly forgot about praying it, because I knew it would never happen!

Fast forward a couple of months, along with all of my bubble dwelling, and one afternoon, Ben and I were driving around running errands, discussing his employment options. He had kept moving forward in discussions with Darrell, but after awhile, he began to get cold feet. “It’s the riskiest option,” he said. “Maybe it’s best just to forget it.”

And then I forgot about this being the moment I’d been waiting for, and instead of agreeing with him, I passionately responded with something like this: “Ben, it’s your DREAM!!! It’s what you’ve wanted to do for years, it’s exactly what you’re gifted at, and who cares if it’s risky!!! We’ll find a way to make it work in the beginning until things get easier. When you look back in 20 years, you’ll wish you would have done it. We should just trust God, and go for it!!!!!!”

And suddenly, after months of not thinking about it, that desperate little prayer popped into my head, and I thought, “Oh my goodness, who am I, and what am I saying???!!!” The miraculous had happened, and my heart had changed.

From that point on, I was in. As a friend said, “This whole thing smells like the Holy Spirit!” And that’s really how it felt.

It wasn’t an easy decision process, though, because it was a big decision to make, and Ben loves to take a looooooong time making up his mind, but none of that bothered me very much, in my bubble. I just had peace because I knew it would all work out somehow, and then finally it did.

Ben and Darrell officially became partners just over a month ago, and God is good, and I want to stay in my bubble forever! We feel really blessed and thankful to Darrell and Elaine for their part in this process. They opened up the business they started from scratch, and we’re excited to experience this adventure with them.

So that’s what we’ve been up to for the last six months – a lot of growing, transitioning, and learning to trust. It’s been hard, rich, and very good. There’s still a lot of work and trust that needs to happen, but right now, we celebrate the start of something new and exciting!

To see what Ben is up to, check out the SCOPE website.

When I Feel Too Busy for Morning Devotions

A couple of years ago, before Everett entered our family, before pregnancy and morning sickness, I would get up an hour before my family to do devotions and exercise. Those were really amazing mornings. I loved the quiet, I loved getting myself in the right place to start the day well.

And then I suddenly found myself back in the chaos of nausea, sleep deprivation, and then the busyness of having a newborn baby. Morning devotions quickly ended, and it’s only recently that I’ve started waking up before Everett to have a few minutes by myself in the morning once more.

Through all of the busy months, I’ve kept hanging on to is this: God can get a lot done in a short amount of time.

I loved the days of leisurely reading my Bible, and at first, I felt really guilty when that wasn’t happening anymore. But I also knew I desperately needed sleep. (My family desperately needed me to sleep!) When I didn’t have the energy to wake up early, and Everett was waking up at 6:30 every morning, there was no way I was setting my alarm for 6am.

So I did what I could – I’d snatch a few minutes to read a verse or two, or I’d lock myself in the bathroom to spend a few moments praying and focusing on Jesus to get my mind in the right place to start the day. I did my devotions every evening before I went to bed, but with time, I noticed how important it was to get even a little bit of time in the morning.

I’ve listened to other busy, tired moms talk about how impossible it feels to get up early for devotions, and I feel their pain. For those who are able to, that’s awesome, but for those who feel they just can’t during this phase of life, and to anyone else who feels as though they just can’t fit in one more thing to their busy mornings, I want to say: Do what you can.

I try to keep reminding myself, if I can squeeze in a few minutes here or there for Facebook or Pinterest, or any other distraction, I can just as easily read over a couple of verses. Just a little bit in the morning or throughout the day can change the direction of my thoughts.

This morning, I had a few minutes to myself before Everett woke up, so I grabbed my Bible and started reading Ephesians. I only read the first two verses before I got hit right where it was needed:

I, Paul, am under God’s plan as an apostle, a special agent of Christ Jesus, writing to you faithful believers in Ephesus. I greet you with the grace and peace poured into our lives by God our Father and our Master, Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace poured into our lives…We’ve been lacking some peace around here, and I have not been responding with a lot of grace. I got on my knees, cleaned out a bunch of junk in my heart, and asked God to keep pouring that grace and peace into me until it overflowed. For the rest of the day, I kept returning to those simple words, trying to keep them in my mind and heart in the midst of the busyness.


I still look forward to the days when I will once again have an hour of time to myself each morning, but in the meantime, I want to become more intentional about giving Jesus the time I do have, and trusting Him to multiply it.

How I’m Teaching My Kids to Stop Fighting This Summer

This has been a summer of much conflict in our home.

From the day we stopped homeschooling for the summer, and started our holidays, the level and frequency of conflict increased dramatically.

Judging by what I hear from other moms, we are not alone in this.

It’s understandable – there’s so much time suddenly for spending a lot of time at home with siblings, with much less structure.

But I felt like I was losing my mind, just a bit.

What annoyed me even more than the fact that I was losing my mind, was the common response to all of this:

Kids just fight. It’s normal – get used to it.

Let them figure it out on their own – it’s good for them.

Just increase your tolerance.

I listened to all of that for awhile, until one day it suddenly hit me – It goes against what I believe about parenting, and raising children who will be godly adults some day.

I believe in training children to become awesome adults. (I don’t expect that to happen all on it’s own.)

I believe in using Biblical truths when training my children. (Peace and unity are taught in the Bible. I think they’re pretty important.)

If something is wrong, and it’s hurting my heart, I believe in standing up and doing something about it. (Not turning my head and ignoring the situation until it passes.)

Yes, there is such a thing as “natural behaviour”. But as Christians, I believe we can long for the supernatural.


I know I’m not an expert on parenting. Most days, I’m at a complete loss, and don’t have a clue. If I look like I know what I’m doing, I’m probably faking it.

But here’s what I do know: Conflict is a part of life.

It would be unrealistic to expect my children to play perfectly together, every single moment of the day. HOWEVER, as their mom, I believe I can do a lot to teach them how to have healthy conflict, and solve problems in ways that will equip them for being adults.

I’ve witnessed a lot of conflict between adults. After being in full-time ministry for over 10 years, we’ve seen some things. I’m still learning, but I know of a few things we’ve learned along the way, which I am trying to teach our girls right now, that work equally well for adults or children:

1) Almost anything can be expressed, as long as it’s expressed in the right way.

This tidbit of wisdom was given to me by someone whom I really admire when it comes to self-control, living with intention, and choosing words wisely.

I’m not a fan of holding things inside. Emotional constipation has never worked well for me.

However, letting all those emotions burst forth all over another person can become extremely messy.

But when we can express our thoughts and feelings in a calm, reasonable way, we build bridges of understanding. I’m still learning to do this myself, but I believe in giving our girls a head-start. Children are capable of calmly expressing their needs to each other, but they will most likely not do this naturally, of their own accord.

My friend gave me a great tip: Teach them to use a “bug” and a “wish”.

“It bugs me when _______________. I wish you would ________________.” (Seriously don’t think this would be a bad idea for some adults, either…)

I’ve been trying to use this a lot over the last week, and it’s been working wonderfully with Anika. Kaylia, not so much. She didn’t seem to be catching on, but suddenly one morning, when Anika was hugging her a bit too tightly around the waist, Kaylia surprised us all when she burst out, “Anika, it bugs me when you choke me! I wish you’d go choke someone else!!!”

I think she gets it now. I have some work to do in other areas, though, it would seem…

2) Look for ways to “lower the temperature”, as quickly as possible.

When everybody is all fired up, nothing is going to process well. Anika will be all loud and worked up about something Kaylia’s done, but she finds it hard to hand the situation over to me. It’s worked really well to explain things to her by comparing fights to temperature.

“What temperature is it in here right now – hot or cold?”

“How can we lower the temperature so everyone calms down enough so we can discuss this?”

(This has also been an extremely uncomfortable reminder to myself to keep my own “temperature” down! You can’t yell that line to your kid, with a clear conscience…)

3) Time alone for a little break can be a good thing – not a punishment.

Everybody needs a break sometimes. When things are crazy, I separate the girls, which Anika always took as a “time-out”. I explained to her that it wasn’t a punishment – it was just a way to distance herself from the things that were upsetting her.

Time alone before things get bad can also be really helpful. Even adults get sick of each other if they overdo time spent together. It sounds ridiculous, but before we ever left on our honeymoon, Ben and I decided we would take one afternoon during our trip to spend time alone.

It was an amazing afternoon. We were staying at a bed and breakfast in Victoria, and I spent an hour doing my devotions (which had been very neglected during our honeymoon!) in the beautiful garden. Afterwards, I played piano for a long time, never knowing that Ben heard me, and sneaked down the stairs to sit and listen to me playing.

After our alone time, it was great to be together again – we had new thoughts to share, and felt refreshed and ready to continue enjoying our trip. Being alone for a bit made being together again even nicer.

Learning to enjoy being alone, as well as learning to recognize the need for it, is a skill I want our girls to learn.

4) God offers us peace in every situation.

A few weeks back, as I was wrestling with how to keep my sanity this summer, I was praying about the fighting, and asking God to show me what in the world I was supposed to do.

Instantly, a picture came to my mind of me rushing over to my fighting girls, laying a hand on each of them, and praying out loud, “Father, where is your peace in this situation?”

I would never have come up with such an idea on my own. But as I thought about it, I realized this strategy would accomplish a few things:

  1. It would teach my girls that prayer is always the first and best answer, in any situation.
  2. It recognizes the fact that there is peace in every situation. God longs for us to live in unity, and I believe He always provides a way for us to find it, if we look to Him, and pray for the wisdom to rise above what’s natural and human. He always offers a supernatural peace.
  3. Instead of one girl against the other, I form a bridge between all of us as we look, together, to God. Suddenly, we’re kind of on the same side as we search for the peace. We get our heads together as we try to find a strategy, a compromise to which everyone can agree.

(I don’t do this every time. I’m still learning, too. We’re all practicing.)

Maybe the best part in all of this is that I no longer feel as though I’m helpless and frustrated as I repeatedly watch my children fighting and hurting each other. Now I have a plan. I have tools. I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want to accomplish, and I know this: It will not happen if my children are left to themselves.

Sure, they may learn to work things out, but in what way? If some adults don’t even know how to work through conflict in a healthy way, how are children going to figure it out? I am of the opinion that they must be taught, and they need tools.

I can try to do that for my girls.

What are your strategies for resolving conflict, with adults or children?!


What is a sanctuary?

Anika was asking me this last week when we were getting ready to visit the goose sanctuary near camp. She’s been there many times before, but this time she had a lot more questions about the purpose of it, and wanting to know why geese need a sanctuary.

Trying to explain it to her got me thinking a lot about the word “sanctuary” in a different context than one for geese.  A few years ago, I read a book called Soul Sanctuary (which I can’t find on Amazon, and can’t remember the author – too bad, it was so good!) It was about creating space in your life for your soul to “breathe” – for peace, quiet, worship, and rest.

What would it mean for your soul to rest?

I got out my dictionary to dig deeper into the meaning of “sanctuary”, and I found words like refuge, protection, haven, harbour, port.

I like that – the thought of a safe port for my soul to sail to.

Life gets so noisy sometimes, and I don’t even think about whether my soul needs some rest.

As I stood there at the goose sanctuary, looking out over the peaceful lake surrounded with beautiful rocks and trees, I was thinking about how lucky those geese are.

Maybe I need to get away to the goose sanctuary and join the geese a little more often! I need a sanctuary, too.