Obedience before Understanding

Reflections from the Bryce/Zion Freedom Challenge…

When I signed up to be part of the Prayer Team on the Bryce/Zion Challenge this past June, I didn’t know what God was going to do, but considering it felt like a miracle for me to actually be going, I was very expectant.

Saying Yes
It felt like a big step forward for me to say ‘yes’ to this challenge, as just to physically travel there was something I knew God was going to have to really help me with.

Three years ago I got very sick, and from that time have been on an interesting journey with God, where I have learnt to remain thankful despite 24/7 (and many times unbearable) nerve pain.  My ‘work’ since 2013 has been in Zambia with OM, developing a skills training & discipleship centre for vulnerable and marginalized women.  However, last year the pain from nerve damage became so debilitating and I had to return to Canada for further medical care.

Not Losing Hope
Throughout the past year there were many times when I actually didn’t think I would ever be pain-free enough to be able to walk beyond 5 minutes at a time.  If it wasn’t for Jesus, I really would have lost hope.  When a trial starts to span a few years, there may be moments when we start to shift our eyes onto ourselves and our weaknesses, rather than on God and who He is.
I think that is what was starting to happen with me, but God had a plan…

Throughout different types of involvement with the Freedom Challenge over the last number of years, I have always seen how God is not only using the movement to bring healing and hope to those who are oppressed around the world, but also to each of us who say ‘yes’ to participate in the challenges.  I knew God wanted me in Utah for this challenge, maybe even for a boost forward in my own healing journey…

And Unexpected Invitation…
Being part of the prayer team was so amazing, but after the first few days of the challenge I had the urge to experience God on the hiking trail…but how would that happen??  A few minutes later after having that thought, I somehow found myself in a conversation with one of the hiking guides.  She said to me “so, are you going to join us on the trail tomorrow?” I felt a surge of nervous excitement go through me, but proceeded to remind her that I am on the prayer team and am still recovering from a recent back surgery.  I said I feel God might be asking me to try hiking, but I have not yet walked for more than about 20 minutes at a time, and would really hate to slow the whole team down just because of me.  That didn’t seem to bother her, she was so gracious!

It almost felt surreal.  I had zero fear, just expectation.  My mind was focussed on God and his strength.  I didn’t know how I was physically going to hike the next day, but I knew that taking this step of faith was an act of obedience, and that He would make it happen.

Totally Relying on God
So there I went – I ended up hiking with the beginners group for a total of almost 5 miles!!  This was a miracle!  It was an incredible day, where God proved that if we stay focussed on Him, he will keep showing his power through us.  I realized that if I would have doubted God and let fear control me, I probably would have not made it very far at all.  Each step that I took turned into an act of worship…and It was so rewarding to totally rely on Him to give me the power to keep going beyond what my body was previously capable of.

I am still on the healing journey, but will not forget that day and how I experienced the faithful God walking with me.  During that Freedom Challenge God really blessed me with a deeper understanding of His love for me, plus physically blessed me with a boost forward in my healing.  I am SO thankful I responded to His invitation to go!

Through this journey, especially in the chapters of much challenge, I am reminded to continue walking faithfully together with Him, to be obedient and trust the route He’s taking me on even if I do not fully understand ‘why’…this is when it gets exciting!

For more about the Freedom Challenge, visit www.thefreedomchallenge.com



July Update

It’s that time again….I’ve got enough things that feel worthy of sharing in a newsletter 🙂

In this update I had the privilege of sharing a bit of my story over these last few months, my experience at the recent Freedom Challenge, some updates from Tabitha in Zambia, and my next steps forward!!

Click here to read on – July 2018

The journey continues…

‘Loosen the controls of your own life.  This means being free from dictating to God the conditions in which you think you need to live.’ (Viv Thomas)

Two weeks ago I came down to South Africa for our bi-annual Africa Area leadership meeting and retreat.  Five days after arriving I began experiencing sever back pain.
The summary of my Easter weekend was spent right next to Jesus, as I lay still with Him, seeking refuge from pain and in some minuscule way relating to the affliction he endured for me some 2000 years ago.

My colleagues all went back to Zambia on Tuesday, but I remained for further tests and treatment, thinking that I would fly back to Zambia by this weekend.

The last six months somehow felt like my spine was improving.  However, my MRI has revealed otherwise.
I cannot fight or run from the reality, but I do continue to trust Him who designed and knows me best!

I recently read the following – ‘Inner freedom is where people no longer desire health more than sickness, wealth more than poverty, a long life more than a short life, honour more than dishonour but instead they desire what brings them closer to the end for which they are created.’  (Ignatius of Loyola)

I am tangibly experiencing that now, as my current state doesn’t permit me to travel or move around much at all.  I have been restricted from any further movement until my appointment with an orthopaedic surgeon on May 10th.

May God continue to be glorified through His guidance and miracles upon my life!

‘I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord; be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart; wait, I say, on the Lord!’ Psalm 27

The Alps

Freedom Climb 2015, what a journey!

One month before the climb I injured my back to the point of immobility. The pain was severe and the climb soon began to look like an impossibility. Four days before the climb I was cleared to fly, with the permission to even try to climb a few days. By faith I flew to Europe, not knowing if I really would climb or not.

Upon arrival in Chamonix, France, I soon was plagued by fear, anxiety and doubt. Numerous questions were rolling through my mind, with the one major one of, ‘Why am I even here?’   My initial decision to climb was simply to stand up against the exploitation, abuse and poverty forced upon many women and children. That still remained true, but when standing at the base of the mountain with a weak body that still needed a lot of healing and recovery, the need for a much more personal and intimate reason to climb became real. I proceeded to ask God to please show me in a deep way why I was there at such a time.

From that moment on, I experienced an incredible joy coming over me and knew that it was only the joy of the Lord that would be my strength. I also knew that God would show me each day if I was supposed to climb or not. This brought great contentment, as I didn’t need to worry the night before if I would be climbing the next day or not, but could rest in the fact that he would show me each morning what I was to do that day.

In faith, I set out on the trail and joyfully hiked 4 out of the 8 day trek through the Swiss and French Alps! Each of these 4 days had their own challenges, but each day God gave me just enough strength to reach where I needed to.

Day 4 will be a day I won’t easily forget, as there was a strong answer to the ‘why’ I had been asking God just a few days earlier…

We had already been hiking all day and still had another 2 hours to go to reach our mountain hut, yet my body was nearly at its limit. I really wondered how I would make it to the hut this time. There was no option of stopping, as we were hiking in heavy rain and didn’t want to get stuck hiking in the dark. I continued to press on and endure the pain. I held fast to the confirmation I had received in the morning from God to climb that day, trusting that he would get me to the hut. Now with only about 1 hour to go, I really didn’t have the strength to continue forcing myself through the pain. It was in this moment of the most intense pain I have ever experienced in my life that I also experienced God right there with me… Suddenly I remembered the reason I had chosen to climb. It wasn’t for my own comfort or adventure experience, but rather on behalf of the many women who have been thrown out, rejected and left without a voice. I began thinking of specific ladies I had previously met and the terrible things they have endured every day for many years, completely against their own will. I suddenly felt privileged to be climbing on their behalf and experiencing some pain through it all. The whole idea of choosing to climb for the freedom of others suddenly became intensely real to me in a whole new way. Although incredibly difficult, I continued climbing in faith that I would make it to that nights hut…and I did. God once again proved to me and the others around me that together with Him, all things are possible.

The joys together with challenges I experienced on this years Freedom Climb were so impactful on my personal faith journey with God, and for that I will be forever thankful.

Faith never knows where it is being led, but it loves and knows the One who is leading. It is a life of faith not of intellect and reason, but a life of knowing who makes us go.
– Oswald Chambers

Beautiful views

Beautiful views

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So amazing to have the privilege of climbing together with my mom!

So amazing to have the privilege of climbing together with my mom!

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Team Canada

Team Canada

Team Africa

Team Africa

Loved climbing together with this long time friend

Loved climbing together with this long time friend

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Beautiful mom with a beautiful heart