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Finding Unshakeable Joy

Posted: November 13, 2017

These are the dark days of remembering. The paramedics revived my beloved Jack’s heart on November 11, but then he died November 15th. Yesterday (November 11th) one of my children asked, “Mom, what did you think about when you first work up this morning? I responded, “My house full of paramedics, machines, frenzied and hushed conversations and a lot of thumping.” But as the day evolved, the images changed from the horror of that day, to the beauty found in the valley of pain. My two words for 2017 are hope and healing. For the past year those two words were on my prayer sheet, and the lenses through which I sought God to birth fruit to meaningless words on paper. However, those words became alive through my faith, family and friends. Faith: Faith is my top spiritual gift, but it didn’t feel like it during the dark and lonely…

Posted in: Faith, Families, friends, happiness, healing, Hope, joy, laughter, love, pain, pray

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When the Lights Go Out-Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: October 15, 2017

“Let’s look at it like an adventure,” my daughter Michelle and I said to each other. The freakish Southern Alberta snowstorm that shut down the highways, lost all electricity and closed the schools soon turned the experience from grins to groans. We made the best of no school, no heat, no showers and no dishwasher for almost three days. There was plenty of wood for the fireplace, a gas top stove to heat up food and lots of snow for forts and snow angels. It was all good; until it got dark. Yes there were plenty of candles, story telling and laughter but it all felt different, strange and unfamiliar. Darkness feels different and unfamiliar. Walls felt closer, steps steeper and hallways longer. I thought I knew the distance from the bedroom to the bathroom or the length of the family room. But in the dark everything feels distorted and…

Posted in: darkness, Faith, Jesus, light, Overcoming Struggles, Prayer, trauma

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When Worry Doesn’t Remove Anxiety-Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: September 11, 2017

I’m not prone to worry or struggle with anxiety. The only times I’ve felt anxious is moments before I step onto a platform with a large audience or waiting for biopsy reports. For thirty years I’ve taught people to find “the peace that surpasses all unde rstanding” (Phil. 4:6,7) by changing their worry words into prayer words. It looks something like this. Instead of worrying about a huge problem at work, change your words into a prayer: “Heavenly Father, You know that by tomorrow I have to resolve (the problem).   I confess that I don’t know what to do. I ask that when I wake up tomorrow you will guide me to the right people, the necessary paperwork and give me wisdom to resolve the issue. I thank you in advance for how You will work this out. Thank You, Amen.” In the last thirty years God answered this prayer…

Posted in: counsellor, Faith, friends, isolated, Jesus, joy, Peace, pray, Prayer, trust, unanswered prayer

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“If Only…” by Heidi McLaughlin

Posted: August 27, 2017

Those haunting raw words keep us awake at night, encrust our hearts and trap us in the “City of Regret.” If only the ambulance arrived sooner. If only I saw symptoms. If only I hadn’t opened that cash drawer. If only I hadn’t said that, done that, ignored that. If only I hadn’t started gambling, drinking, overeating. The pain gnaws at our soul and accuses of us failure and forbids us to move forward in freedom. What I’ve learned in the last few months is that resurrection life isn’t just about what happens after we die, it’s what happens while we live. Fully alive! Right now my darling Jack is experiencing resurrection life in ways our human minds cannot even imagine. I miss him dreadfully and can’t even comprehend the joy he experiencing. But resurrection life starts in our spirit when we receive Christ as our Saviour and is completed…

Posted in: death, Freedom, grief, if only, Jesus, joy, pain, regret, resurrection, unbelief

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7 Ways to Prepare for Trouble

Posted: July 30, 2017

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of having a conversation with Don Piper, the author of the book and movie, 90 MINUTES ON HEAVEN. His gentle and kind words comforted me, gave me wisdom and put a smile on my face. His trouble came on a bridge, when his car collided with a semi-tractor truck and Don was pronounced dead. Ninety minutes later someone prayed over him, started singing a song, and soon Don sang along with him. His recovery was dreadfully painful and in the first year he had thirty-four surgeries.   We will all face trouble, and sometimes within seconds we feel helpless when our lives change. The Bible says, “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33). My latest trouble came last November when my darling Jack, my second husband, dropped dead going for a cup of coffee. We don’t have a checklist on how…

Posted in: community, crisis, death, decisions, Faith, finances, grief, Hope, Jesus, love, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, relationships, troubles, Uncategorized

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When God Doesn’t Answer Prayers

Posted: June 29, 2017

We don’t like to talk about unanswered prayer, we prefer miraculous stories of where the blind can see and the lame can walk. Don’t get me wrong, I love prayer. I have been a prayer advocate and warrior for over thirty years but often God has not answered my prayers. He’s not answered the ones where, years later, I saw evidence of how God protected me from harm or pain because He had something better in store for me. I get that. But sometimes, unanswered prayers change our lives dramatically in ways we didn’t choose or ask for. And it’s hard to live with the fallout. The Bible says we are to pray and believe, and that’s what I did. In fact, when Jack had his heart attack and they brought back a pulse, thousands of people were praying for his healing. Friends and family all over America and even…

Posted in: endurance, Faith, grief, Jesus, joy, Prayer, troubles, unanswered prayer

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UNOPENED GIFT BOXES

Posted: May 28, 2017

Imagine a room filled with gift boxes of every shape, colour and size. What would you hope to find that would make you happy beyond reason? Perhaps a new car, the latest TV screen, latest version of I-phone, a promotion, a new puppy or a luxury vacation? Or maybe you need a good night’s sleep, less stress, be able to get pregnant or stop the neighbour’s dog from barking late at night. I know those are all good desires that would bring a smile to your face and ease in your life. As Christians we have access to a room filled with gift boxes that hold everything we need to feel rich and fulfilled. But we won’t recognize our need for different boxes until a phone call, conversation or tragic incident throws our world out of balance. How do we find the kind of gifts we need during this dark…

Posted in: ask God, desires, friends, happy, Hope, i-phone, joy, Laughter, Making Wise Choices, Overcoming Struggles, pain, Prayer, purpose, rest, trauma

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When Hope and Grit Collide

Posted: May 8, 2017

Hope gets us up in the morning. We can get through the rough stuff when we believe that something good is going to happen. But sometimes, out of the blue, grit shows up and stops us dead in our tracks. It may be a call from your Doctor’s office, an accident, divorce, bankruptcy, death or other bad news that changes everything and time stands still. That is what happened to me three months ago. Grit showed up in the way of a panic attack. I’ve only had two panic attacks (after the death of my first husband) so I was familiar with the sensations and breathing my way out of it. But it was a panic attack that would not stop and days later I was diagnosed with PTSD. I knew Jack’s (my second husband) death was traumatic and I thought I was dealing with that deep pain during the…

Posted in: alone, community, death, Families, friends, grief, grit, happy, Hope, Kindness, panic attacks, trauma, trust

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Surviving the “Land Between”

Posted: March 6, 2017

It’s a strange and raw place…that “land between.” It’s a lonely and dry desert; caught between our old normal and longing for our glorious destination. It could be a myriad of things that brought us there like divorce, bankruptcy, death, move or any other painful loss. What once was familiar is gone, and the unknown future looks bleary, sad and perhaps even hopeless. You and I don’t want to be like the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years lamenting the meat and melons they left behind and yet fearful to embrace their promised land. While we are in that dry and lonely place, how do we move toward the hazy horizon to make our new destination a glorious reality? The “land between” is a hard place. In the last four months of my grieving journey I have seen and experienced many glimmers of hope for my good…

Posted in: Fear, God's promises, grief, Hope, pain, pray, Prayer, rest, time

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Friends Help us to Heal

Posted: February 7, 2017

I call it my “Black Friday.” Throughout the three weeks of my husband Jack’s death and funeral, my house was a revolving door with family, friends, neighbours and super sized casseroles. Then the day came when I drove my last child to the Kelowna airport and walked through my front door. Empty house. Alone. Then came Friday. The sky was heavy with winter gloom and grief stabbed at me with knives that shook me to the core. Never before had I experienced the depth of such pain, darkness and “aloneness”. I was startled when my cell phone rang and then heard the gentle and loving voice of a dear friend. Once I heard the emphatic tone in her voice all I did was sob. And sob. She didn’t try to console me, fix me or make things better. She simply cried with me and then listened. Once I was able…

Posted in: alone, death, empathy, friends, Friendship, funeral, grief, listen, pain, pray, relationships, sympathy

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