Category Archives: Faith

Peace on the Boulevard

Our media has recently been full of news stories reporting rampant murders, gang shootings, knife attacks, robberies, suicides, domestic violence and sexual assaults, on and around King George Boulevard, where NightShift serves. When Terror pushes its way into our homes and neighbourhoods it makes everyone pay. It creates a tsunami that smashes over innocent victims, their families and the surrounding community, leaving agony and heartache in its wake.

The perpetrator is Evil. A Bully. “It comes to steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10)

It threatens our well-being and floods our hearts with fear. It forces us to scan our terrain when we venture outside or keeps us cocooned inside to protect our safety.

Our shouts for justice fill the air. Our accusations take aim at police and city officials demanding law and order. But sadly our well-intentioned pleas can’t reverse the injustice or extradite the wickedness.

But our actions can. Individually and collectively we can made a difference. God has given us the power to retaliate against this bully by using the opposite spirit – Love.

“God didn’t give us a spirit that makes us weak and fearful. He gave us a spirit that gives us power and love…” (2 Timothy 1:7)

Love ‘shifts’ the atmosphere. It touches hearts. It soothes pain. It brings peace to chaos.

Not long ago, I witnessed this Love in action.

An elderly man, undoubtedly struggling with life, lay on the grass in a deep slumber just steps away from where I had parked by car. As I slid into my driver’s seat, my eyes caught a woman shuffling along the sidewalk pushing a shopping cart. She stopped unexpectedly, reached into her meagre bag, and silently bent over the snoring gentleman, and ever so gently balanced a muffin on a bag lying next to him! He was as oblivious to her presence as she was to mine. I could almost feel her heart smile.

random AOK - the muffin
I was so impacted by this Love in action; I had to capture it in a photograph. As I drove away, I pondered to myself what the world would be like if everyone performed one small act of loving kindness, such as this, to a stranger every day. It would conquer evil. It would eliminate fear. It would usher peace back into our communities.

“Love is patient. Love is kind. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.”
(1 Corinthians 13)

Love wins out – all of the time! Our actions can force back the powers of evil. Love can enforce lasting change. What are we waiting for?

This is Love

Christmas strains bounce off my truck windows as my grandson throws his head back and belts out his renditions of “Away in a Manager” and “Jesus Loves Me,” while shouting ‘Happy Birthday Jesus!’ and ‘Merry Christmas ladies!’ to the two women travelling in the lane next to ours.

I wonder what goes on in the head of a three-year old, I ask myself, as we near our destination.

A question intersects my musings.

“Why is this Baby Jesus’ birthday, Nana?” as he gazes out the window. “Jesus is a big person, not a baby, right?” To which I answer, “Yes, He’s big now but He was a baby when He was born, just like you were.”

“Ohhh…” he replies thoughtfully and returns to watching the world whiz by from his child seat vantage point.

Seconds later, he probes again. “Nana, where does Jesus live now?” Stumped for a few seconds, I respond, “Well Henry, Jesus lives in your heart!”

“Ohhh…” and returns back to his ponderings.

Nativity scene snow globeHours later, I find Henry peering quietly and intently into a Nativity scene snow globe placed at the entrance of my sister’s home. He carefully points his little finger to Baby Jesus and inquires, “What is Baby Jesus’ mother’s name?”

“Mary,” my sister softly answers.

“Ohhh…” he lovingly whispers.

A sweet smile unfolds, his eyes twinkle and ever so softly, he leans in and gently places a tender kiss on the globe.

“Happy Birthday Jesus!”

Papa’s kiss

Some days I am downright discouraged. Tired, overwhelmed and cranky. Days when I’m not even happy hanging out with myself. Yesterday was one of those days.

I admit this to Papa this morning, as if He didn’t know already, and ask Him if we could do a ‘do over’. Would He forgive me, encourage and bless me in some way today? He is most gracious, forgives, envelopes me with His Love, dusts me off and sends me out for yet another day’s assignment.

Ready for the shift? I’m sitting at our board table a few hours later when I hear the front door open. No-one is manning the front desk so I step into our reception area and encounter one of our street friends, who is having a day just like mine was yesterday.

“How you doing?” I ask gently. With tears welling up in his eyes, he responds, “I’m having a really bad day. I feel like no-one cares and everyone has abandoned me.” My heart breaks. This is a familiar feeling. I remain silent and listen. He continues, “I was walking past your NightShift door and thought if I could just come in and sit for a second, I could have a cry and no-one would see me.”

Sigh.

I invite him to sit with me. I have nothing to offer other than my listening ear. My heart understands. As he readies to leave, I reach for his hands and together we bow our heads in prayer. I ask Papa to comfort him, surround him with Love, to encourage and bless him. I ask Him for a Papa kiss!

I return to my desk and lose myself in the busyness of my morning. Two hours later, my friend reappears.

“Nothing like this has ever happened to me in my whole life! God heard me. He cares!”

He explains that after our prayer together, he walked up the road and ventured into the BC Lions training field, where the team was practicing. As he leaned against the fence to watch, he spied Wally Buono, BC Lions General Manager, standing a short distance away. My friend is thrilled – apparently he’s a HUGE football fan and has been following Wally’s career over the years.

God nudged. Wally responded. Not only did Wally speak to my friend, he called over three of my friend’s favourite players off the field to meet him.

sunsetGod cared. Wally cared! That’s a Papa kiss.

Papa answered a prayer this morning. He knew exactly what my friend needed. And He knew exactly what I needed.

Papa, thank you for the ‘shift’ – thank you for the ‘kiss’.

And Wally, thank you for caring!

Have books will travel…

God works in mysterious ways!

I’m on the road back to Vancouver following a few restful days in Barriere, BC, pondering the upcoming launch of our mobile library and literacy program and wondering where the inspiration had come from.

My reflections carried me way back to a memory in my home town of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, where my love for reading and writing was kindled by the book mobile that parked weekly in my school yard and nearby shopping mall.

Seconds later, I pull into a gas station and find myself next to the Thompson–Nicola Regional District Book Mobile, the only one of its kind in BC. I could hardly believe my eyes! Coincidence? I think not!

Book mobile exterior Curiosity got the better of me – I scrambled out of the car to pay a visit. As I stepped over the bus’s threshold, I was whizzed back to childhood familiarity. The scent of tattered pages, the thrill of countless stories and the power of words encircled me like a warm blanket!

Book mobile interiorThis was it! The inspiration! To inspire, educate, encourage and share this experience with those on the street who are either uncomfortable with the grandiose of our brand new Surrey Library or have difficulty signing out books without a fixed address or ID.

With our very own Care Bus we have started to implement a book-sharing system in our very own community. On Tuesday evenings, anyone can access our mobile library via an honour system where new and used donated books are lovingly placed in the hands of adults and children, whose eyes light up with the prospect of losing themselves in a good book.

Thank you Thompson-Nicola Regional District staff for the blessing of allowing me to snap pictures and glean new ideas for our Care Bus Library! It looks like we have a pair of mobile library busses in BC now 🙂

The tug of loneliness

What a blessing. A ‘sleep over’ weekend with my two precious grand babies!  My heart grew larger from the abundance of their love.

grand babies“I never knew how much Love my heart could hold,
’til someone called me Nana.”

But today, I’m feeling empty with a deep longing for more ‘hugs and I love yous’. I don’t like this feeling. It’s called loneliness. It makes me vulnerable. I run from it. Get distracted. I wander aimlessly without purpose or direction.

It helps to write.

Many years ago, someone suggested ‘loneliness’ was simply God whispering in my ear to draw me closer to him.  What a beautiful visual!

As I roll out of bed this morning, my eyes rest on this image:

Be Still“Be still, and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

So I’m still today. Just as my heart grows larger from the love flowing from my grandsons’ hearts, so it grows deeper in the knowledge of God’s love for me when I get alone with Him.

There is a difference in being alone and being alone with God. Being in the Holy presence of Papa, wipes away my tears and shifts my aching heart for human love to the Divine. I am Loved.