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Showing posts from January, 2008

Standing on Holy Ground

By Joyful Fox

I lay awake in the inky black thinking of today. Husband breathing softly, I reach under my pillow to turn off alarm...close to 5:00...I sigh softly...aware of the warmth of blankets and silent home. Wouldn't it be nice to burrow here awhile...a long while. These days have been hard.

I'd rather not begin today. I smile to myself and choose to slide out of bed. I take captive, erring thoughts...and remember muted yellows and blues of my journal...the crisp white page awaiting first thoughts of the new morn...afghan of burgundies, rust, and evergreen... beckons from soft leather sofa. The Father's love stirs a longing in my soul. I need this...the first meeting of the day.

Ready now, I scramble into clothes. Fingers fumble as I find the tag, slipping into athletic pants, silently snatching sweatshirt, ever mindful of all who slumber on...cautious now, I creep down the stairs. This time for seeking, listening, meditating, and exploring...far too precious to tarry l…

Courage

Hebrews 12:1-2 (New International Version)
...let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith...

It was one of those conversations that God was all over, a conversation that plumbed some deep places as she worked on my hair.

As I went from chair to hairdryer, to sink, to chair again; in between consulting on colour or hi lights (just colour this time) , conditioning treatment (please), trim (yes, the ends need it), we went deeper, from light hearted banter to "God talking." I saw it in her eyes, her spirit responding; not to me but to him, and I felt it in my own heart as she shared a story prompted by our conversation.

She told me about two elderly customers, a mother and daughter; the mother in her nineties, both of them now living together; how they were both crusty characters but the mother was so bright, intelligent and feisty that she had asked her, "You've lived such a long life; do you…

Hair Dye

I was in the bathroom the other day and realized that I need to dye my hair again, if I want to maintain that elusive appearance of "no grey". It's emerging, right on the top of my head and creeping down the sides just a few short months after the last application. A mix of black and grey topping off the lighter tones and highlights blended into the rest of my "glory".
Why do we do this? I swore I wouldn't be caught in the trap. At the most I only apply dye twice a year. To do this I must let all the colour fall out until I am back to that salt and pepper look that somehow makes me feel older. After all "grey hair is the crown of the aged" isn't it? But wait a minute...I'm not aged. At the ripe old age of 41 I'm only half way through. I know women older than me who have a lot less grey, and they don't dye. It's in my genes they say. Well my jeans don't fit the same way they used to either. But yes, Mum did go grey …

Update on Lucy's Parents in Kenya

Lucy heard from her parents this morning. They made it through the weekend and for now things seem to have calmed. Please still keep praying.

Thank God for answered prayer. Through another writer on this blog, Joyful Fox, I am aware of an orphanage that one of her neighbours in Alliston founded. Please pray for the safety of the children and their caregivers. More information is in Joyful's comment on my post of last night, For My Friend.

The Canadian Blog Awards

For those who have not yet voted on the Canadian Blog Awards, this is to let you know that the voting ends tomorrow at midnight PST.

Whatever He Says is nominated in the Best Religious Blog category. For those who have honoured this blog with your vote, I and the contributing writers thank you!

Chewing the Fat, Dave Hingsburger's blog is nominated in two categories, Best Activist Blog and Best Blogosphere Citizen. It was Dave who nominated Whatever He Says, thereby setting off a huge flurry of excitement.

... you do not have to be Canadian to vote for a blog. If you'd like please visit ...http://cdnba.wordpress.com/ and follow the instructions to vote.

Blessings to you--voter or not! :)

For My Friend

John 13:12-17 (New International Version)
12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. "Do you understand what I have done for you?" he asked them. 13"You call me 'Teacher' and 'Lord,' and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

The tension in the room was as palpable as the rank smell of tired, sweaty feet and bodies.

The air hung, close and warm. A deep eddy of inexplicable sadness tinged the familiar preparations for Passover. A darkness moved among the friends, biding its time; a traitorous heart.

The story is told in the language of paradox, "...the …

Please Pray

This morning an urgent need for prayer came to us at work, from Dwayne Milley. Dear readers, please join your voices with ours in prayer:

Lucy, our Volunteer Coordinator - her parents live in Kenya. They are from the tribe which is being targeted by violence. So far the violence has not been near them. However, in recent days some of their properties have been burned. They are now at the point where they must stay in hiding, and are worried they might not make it through the weekend.
Lucy's parents are happy that Lucy and her siblings are out of Kenya, some here in Canada and some in South Africa. But that's little comfort for Lucy.
Please pray for Lucy, that God's peace will sustain her. I can't imagine what she's feeling. Please also pray for her parents, that God protects them.

A Still Small Voice...

The words silenced all thoughts. My heart leaped for joy. I wept. A knowing began to wash over my soul...a sunrise, after night...brightness after murky dark...the freedom of truth...again God's grace.

I first read these powerful words from I Kings 19:11-12 on a friend's blog on Thursday afternoon...God's revelation to the prophet Elijah on Mount Horeb (Sinai):

Then He (the Lord) said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. I Kings 19:11-12 NKJV

Interesting that God speaks...after the wind...the earthquake...the fire...in a still small voice. God chose to speak to Elijah in the proverbial, "calm after the st…

Let the Chips Fall

What's the matter with me? Why can't I write ANYTHING?

Is this what writer's block is? It must be.

I think about what I've read in my bible the last few days - how the Father has distilled certain parts of it into pure spiritual water washing over me, cleansing my sullied heart and mind. I think about all the profound teaching in the last two weeks from a number of different sources and how I heard his voice through it many, many times, bringing enlightement and peace to some dark places in my heart. I remember the moments of solitude; the quiet listening and waiting, my mind becoming still; strength being renewed and purpose re-formed. I ponder again the rich conversation of this very afternoon - the sifting and the blowing off of chaff between two friends. I start. I stop. I erase. I think. I start again. I can't do it. I can't.

God? What's wrong with me? Why can't I write anything tonight? Again!

I pick up my bible and begin to read in Exodus again where…

Step by Step

Exodus 23:30 (New International Version)
30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.

In a difficult moment yesterday, even though I felt really badly at the time, instead of reacting in accusation, judgement and emotion, I was able to be calm, pretty quickly understand where the other person was coming from, and not take what they did personally. I had help from a book that I just bought that was relevant to the issue.

Thanks to getting some insight last May, and realizing that I have a propensity for trampling boundaries, I was able to recognize that "the issue" belonged to the other person and not to me, and I was also able to focus only on my part, not theirs.

I say this not to boast--I know how fatal that would be--but to encourage others. People who have been on the journey with me for a while know that I have my struggles like everyone else. I just feel the need to celebrate good things when they hap…

Panic

Exodus 14:14 (New International Version)
14 The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

Psalm 46, in which is found that wonderful verse, "Be still and know that I am God," starts out saying that if things happen, such as the earth giving way, and mountains falling into the sea, then, be still.

That's rather funny, because the last thing I tend to do when I am panicking about something is to be still.

Well, there is another important part to the directive: "Be still--and know that I am God."

I'm starting to get it at last because of reading Watchman. It isn't a "being still" in the sense people intend when they say in a crisis, "I've got to centre myself;" meaning to focus on an inner core of peace. No, this is an entirely different type of stillness.

This stillness is the utter peace of knowing that God the Giver, the Healer, the Provider and the Protector is the "doer," and the "mover." "Th…

My Father's Bones

Exodus 13:19 (New Living Translation)
19 Moses took the bones of Joseph with him, for Joseph had made the sons of Israel swear to do this. He said, “God will certainly come to help you. When he does, you must take my bones with you from this place.”

It was early morning yesterday when I sat down in my room of olive green to read and pray.

Opening my tattered and love-worn Daily Light, I momentarily caught my breath, for on the top of the page I had written 5 years ago, "Dad's homegoing."

The day had taken me by surprise.

I read the scriptures for the day, taking special comfort from many of the verses, but one in particular:

Psalm 61:2 (New King James Version)
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

The verse took me back to my childhood.

On top of my parent's shiny dark brown wooden wardrobe, with the intricately engraved handles, there was a battered cardboard box.

I used to enjoy hauling it down f…

The Canadian Blog Awards Round 2

Dear Friends,
Whatever He Says has made it to round 2 of the Canadian Blog Awards in the category of Best Religious Blog! This is very exciting.

To vote, go to http://cdnba.wordpress.com/ and click on the voting tab.

Also check out Chewing the Fat at www.davehingsburger.blogspot.com Dave's blog made it to round 2, too, in the categories of Best Activist Blog and Best Blogosphere Citizen. It was Dave who nominated Whatever He Says for Best Religious Blog. Thank you Dave!

Thank you to all who voted and if you enjoy Whatever He Says, I hope you vote again.

Dante

In the fall our family went to the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. A fantastic experience for the children and Frank and I too. One of the events we enjoyed there was seeing the SuperDogs go through their paces and races with their owners.
They had a special guest that week.
Dante Camacho a Brazilian Agility Champion and member of the Superdog team was there with one of his dogs and the performance was stunning.
This man and his dog went through a series of moves, sometimes dancing, sometimes demonstrating obedience....but the thing that grabbed the attention of both Frank and myself was the dogs' posture toward Dante. His eyes were constantly fixed on his masters face. Constantly. He was sharp, attentive and obedient. He was riveted, waiting for the next command.
At first I wanted to call them partners, as in the dance, and didn't want to call Dante the owner, but there was no mistaking that each knew their roles extremely well. There was no doubt that Dante was…

Pondering Watchman's Words

1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 (New International Version)
12May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. 13 May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Paul and I, as I've mentioned here before, are reading a little book by a man named Watchman Nee. Watchman has been dead for thirty six years and he died in a jail in China, where he had been for the last twenty years of his life.

The book, called, Sit, Walk, Stand, compiled from the spoken ministry of Mr. Nee, is only 78 small pages long but every morning I read some of it out loud to Paul, and we find enough in a few paragraphs to give us food for thought for a whole day.

So this morning, as I drove north to Huntsville, over snow covered roads, tucked in behind a large red truck rumbling solidly along, I was pondering Watchman's words. I had to keep my min…

A Soft Rain

Like the beginning of a soft rain...I feel the gentle wet. God's truth touching my soul.

To "be", simply "be"...an instrument of Him...is about understanding His grace...abundant grace lavished upon us, even us.

Are we worthy?
Am I worthy?

Thankfully, it isn't about me or how much I can accomplish for Him. It is about Him...being available...willing...for Him to use me...when... as...He chooses.

I have lived a lifetime of striving...wanting to be good enough...sports, academics, writing, marriage, parenting...even striving to be the best friend I can be...fearing rejection...fearing failure...trying to earn acceptance, love, value...

Not surprisingly, I never measured up.My standard was illusive....just beyond my grasp...but I'd continue to try...strain...persevere.

No one can be the best at everything. What does 'being the best', mean?

In sports 'being the best' is clearly defined...medals...trophies...ribbons. I have boxes of those.

I have l…

Celebrating a Miracle

I was hard at work in my sunny, pale green office yesterday morning when the phone rang.

As usual the day was flying by; an intense series of quickly answered emails, phone calls, meetings, and churning through the stream of paperwork that seems to grow exponentially like the Amish Friendship Bread will do, that Ellen gave me on Wednesday.

The AFB lies flat on my counter top in a clear plastic bag on which Ellen has helpfully marked the dates of the days I have to add flour, sugar and milk and in between I have to "mush" it. By day ten I will divide it into 4 and make a loaf of bread with one of them, giving the other 3 bags to 3 friends. Now my friends are warned--Amish friendship bread is coming--and day 10 is Friday, January 25th.

But I'm off on a rabbit trail!

Into the middle of my concentrated busyness came an interruption that poured like liquid, golden honey onto the bread of my day, saturating the paper white with sweetness.

I heard Lori Lei's warm, low voice on …

Anybody!

Yesterday was my golden opportunity to sit in a time management seminar. God is so good. It was an incredible opportunity and truly one of the deepest desires of my heart meeting reality in God's plan for my life.

My purpose in learning how to better manage my time was not to figure out how to cram more busy-ness into an already too busy life, but rather to discover how to live more purposefully - and less frantically. I want to be able to trim the excess "busy-ness" and to become, not only more efficient, but more "effective".

One of my ancestors, my dad's grandfather - was a stone mason and first came to Canada to work on the bridge that crosses the Niagara River at Fort Erie. Every time I've crossed that bridge, I have marveled at the work and the careful design that went into it. Each stone had to be finely and accurately crafted by one of an army of stone masons and, following the design of the master builder, laid one by one to finally fulfill the p…

A Long Obedience in the Same Direction

I ran to the window, attracted by a relentless movement.

Several days of gusty wind and dancing rain had given the land a fresh "wash and blow dry" and the coat of snow had vanished from Ontario in mid January; an unusual thing. Green dared to show itself in plant roots; vibrant spring life playing peek-a-boo with winter.

But now something was afoot outside and lazily swirling, down they drifted, an army of a million foot soldiers taking back the land into captivity. As soft and light as goose feathers, but theirs was a deceptive gentleness, for the green was quickly vanishing beneath this gentle force of white.

A phrase that has lingered in my mind for months came back to haunt me over subsequent days as I thought about the power of many small things, small acts, small thoughts--in the same direction; "A long obedience in the same direction."

I'd heard the phrase used in a talk and wrote it down to remember. I didn't know that it was the title of a book on dis…

Ultimate Joy

Genesis 37:28 (New International Version)
28 So when the Midianite merchants came by, his brothers pulled Joseph up out of the cistern and sold him for twenty shekels of silver to the Ishmaelites, who took him to Egypt.

Genesis 42:25 (New International Version)
25 Joseph gave orders to fill their bags with grain, to put each man's silver back in his sack, and to give them provisions for their journey...

Some of us are in week three of The Marathon of Biblical Proportions and I have to say it's been fun doing this reading through the Bible with a relatively large group of people of friends and to have our pastor preaching from some of the passages we have "marathoned" our way through each week.

The pace though, feels more like a daily sprint than a marathon at times, and reading 3 or 4 consecutive chapters a day is like watching a reel of one of those old black and white silent movies in which the people all seem to be running in fast motion. Fall behind a day and it'…

The Canadian Blog Awards

Hey Every one,
Whatever He Says has been nominated for Best Religious Blog in the Canadian Blog Awards by Dave Hingsburger of Chewing the Fat www.davehingsburger.blogspot.com which is also nominated in the Activist blog and Best Blogosphere Citizen categories.

If you would like to vote, go to http://cdnba.wordpress.com/ and click the Vote tab at the top of the page. Next, on your left you will see the instructions on how to vote. You get one vote in each category.

Voting closes for this round on Friday.

Exciting! :) Belinda

See The Wind

"Mommy come and see the clouds", he said, grabbing my hand in his own little one. He took me to the living room, where three tall windows look out over our front yard. We climbed on to the couch and he leaned forward, pointing out and up. "Look Mommy, the clouds are moving". And indeed they were. Large dark splotches against the sky being blown straight across by the wind blasting through our neighborhood. It whirled around our house and had buffeted the children and I as we walked to the school bus.

Heavy, dark clouds filled with rain, sent onward by a forceful wind.
Rain clouds, full, bursting, releasing, splashing, cleansing.
Blowing wind, sending, wind of the Spirit.

Now as I write, clearing skies, patches of blue and clouds turning from stormy black to soft peachy brown. Gentler wind still blows, continues to send, but softer, more subtle.
Sometimes I need the force of wind, His wind to blow me with strength where I need to go, so pregnant with all His filling to s…

The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Last week I wrote a post entitled, "Making Room," and the next day posted a response from Ellen Fox. We received an email from a fellow writer, Magda Wills, which I asked to be able to share. Here it is--with some thoughts to reflect on. Thanks Magda!

Dear Belinda and Ellen,
The struggle with BUSYNESS is a difficult one for the world presents so many challenges and yet Christ wants us to come away in silence with Him. How do we manage it all?

The scripture passage I have been reflecting on for the last week is from Matthew 11, The Message:

"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."

I love the words unforced rhythms of grace. What does He mean by that…

Well done, Jennie...Well Done

I think of Jennie. I've thought about her a lot this week. Her radiant beauty...freckles and blue eyes, a ready smile that melts your heart...kind...loving...vibrant

She would have been 11 on February 21st...now she will be forever 10.

Jennie is with Jesus.

We are here...pilgrims...the light of Christ, shining through us in these dark places of our globe. Each one with a purpose...a cog in the wheel of our Father's divine plan. Each one so loved...cherished by our Father, created in His image...

Our days are numbered. Time finite. A gift.

While we sojourn on this planet, we do the work that our Father has prepared beforehand that we should do.

Jennie's work here is done. She was faithful...she is part of God's great plan...although no longer on this earth...yet she lives on...we will see her again...her family will be re-united again...their 'home going' so much more glorious...such a celebration.

But for now they carry on...the spirit of Jennie, their memories, the…

Plan "A" or Plan "B"? It's My Choice.

Everyone has heard me whine about how busy I am - and how pressured I get at work. Truth is, much of the reason for my busyness is my woefully inefficient use of time. There is so much more I want to do! So much more I could do, if only I could organize myself better - in every area of my life: time, money, tidyness. This is no small problem. It is something that has plagued me my whole life long. Recently, when it became more and more of a struggle at work, I decided that, instead of giving into my fear of being "found out" and running away from it (as if I was the only one that could see it!) I would fight the urge to try to hide my weakness. I knew that the answer to much prayer on this matter was that God would help me find a way to stop moving those ever larger piles of unorganized paper from my desk and into boxes where they were out of sight at least, if not out of mind. I determined to face the problem head on, look my weakness straight in the eye, and conquer it. My…

Making Room--A Response

Belinda,
Making Room is beautiful.

In this world where we create such busy lives for ourselves; where sometimes the lines cross between what He lays on our plates and what we take on; in this life in North America, in this decade--there's so much at the "all-you-can-eat" buffet. It's hard to make healthy choices...it's hard to find those nutritious, healthy foods...it's hard to have the self-control to know when to stop.

Just like in life....so many choices...some healthy and wise...some empty of eternal value...feels good but of no merit in His Kingdom. It's hard to make room sometimes when our plates are already full....when we don't know what to let go of...when we're addicted to being "stuffed" and we don't even know that we've lived here so long...Oh Belinda,I pray that you...that I, that others would know how to make room...that there would be room simply because our schedules aren't so full...wearying, keeping us busy, ca…

Making Room

2 Chronicles 6:18 (New International Version)
18 "But will God really dwell on earth with men?...

Exodus 25:8 (New International Version)
8 "Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.

I read the verses above in this morning's Daily Light and they caused me wonderment as they always do; these verses that speak of God wishing to camp out with us. But yes, that is exactly what they say--that he isn't far away and distant; he really wants to be with us.

Sanctuary; a sacred place; I thought about the need to make that place for God in my life daily.

We have to create space for him, a place set aside and then guard it, for it will be assailed by all the forces of hell. They know well that when we linger with God, in intimate communion, we are transformed and strongholds are broken through prayer rising to heaven.

Making room for him; how that reminds me of Bethelehem. We ought to be throwing open the doors, inviting him in and anointing his head and fe…

Being Known

A week ago we gathered, two musicians and five singers, from each of our churches worship teams; to learn new worship songs.

We worked hard; laughing, listening to the music, listening to each other, helping one another get it right. None of us are professional singers and we have varying degrees of technical knowledge and ability, but all of us love to sing and feel a calling to lead worship. As our voices warmed up and began to blend more smoothly, our pleasure in singing grew and I felt re-energized.

I had been tired when I arrived; it having been my first day back in the office after New Years. Not every one was back yet, so I had slogged away uninterrupted in the office, working hard.

An hour and a half later we were done but my mind was already on the things I still had to do when I got home. By then my eyes as if they were about to fall out of my head. A day staring at a computer screen had taken its toll.

We turned off lights, set the alarm and headed out into the dark, windy nigh…
PART II

TO CLEAVE

One never knows if one is going to be the bearer of just a greeting, conversation or a delivery of some sort, of meat, as it were.
Today, “Our Farmer”, as I like to call him (aka Paul) came by to deliver our meat order. And what started out as a simple conversation over why he is growing his hair, turned into a two and a half hour session of teaching, questioning and growth, for me. Let, me make it clear, that any conversation had with Paul is always deep and full of a journey. When I told my husband on the phone that he was on the way over with the meat, Frank laughed and said “Well I know you’ll have a great, long conversation about something!” And so we did.

It started in Genesis 1:1 where I was challenged to study more deeply the meaning of the words "In the Beginning..."
Paul has been studying the way and words of the Hebrews for years now and he and his family practice what they've learned in their daily living.
He speaks of Yeshua.
So we journeyed throu…
PART I

Edith Bunker My Role Model: Who Would Have Thought

My husband says Edith Bunker (married to the notoriously ignorant Archie Bunker of the sitcom All in the Family), is a perfect Christian woman.

Trying with all the self control I can muster, I have decided to study the attributes of this character. At first glance she comes across as a simpering fool who tiptoes around her chauvinistic, bigoted husband squeaking out in her silly voice “O’ Archie, would you like another cup of coafeeee?”. She seems to miss all the insults he sends her way, or just waves her hand and panders to his nastiness.

Yet as I find myself sucked into hating him, I also find myself somehow respecting her.

In the last episode we watched, their daughter Gloria had PMS and said some horrible things to both her parents. When accused of being a doormat by her daughter, Edith spoke up and said that “No” actually she was winning over Archie by going in the kitchen to have a cup of tea, when he was being nasty. She…

It's All About You, Lord

At times, we strive...accomplish...set goals...develop ideals...build lives. We fail...call out...remain...too often, fiercely independent.

At other times, we withdraw...become passive...an inert complacency settles...we pass time...dependent on others.

You are faithful, God. You formed us, called us by name and know our every thought...as countless as the grains of sand.

Your lovingkindness, longsuffering...waits...for our call. We need you, even when we think we don't.

We need you, when we look to others to fulfill our needs.

We need you, when our busyness erodes our awareness of your presence.

As we stand at the brink of another year, we are thankful for the gift of time.
Let us seek your abundant life...rich...vibrant...May we celebrate with joy...the time You give us...each day...the moments...savor all you give...

Mighty God, Holy Father, Lord:

You are our redeemer...You give us beauty for ashes...Your mercies are new every morning...Your grace...all is grace. Each life a testimony…

By Faith Alone

Genesis 15:6 (New International Version)
6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.

Romans 5:1-2 (New International Version)
1Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.

"Believing God;" I'm finding that it's a choice. It usually involves believing in spite of what a person can see, not because of it; so I need to decide whether to believe the apparent evidence, or believe God because I choose to.

I read these verses on Friday morning and they powerfully came alive to me. God credited Abram with righteousness, simply because he believed him. And in the verses from Romans, I was reminded again that it's all about faith, which is another way of saying "believing."

Later that day at work, I was praying about some staffing shortages over t…

Amazing Grace

These people, seen singing their hearts out, are a small part of a Salvation Army church choir, one of the best I have ever heard. They are known as “The Songsters” and attend the Yorkminster Citadel in Toronto. As good as they are, and as appreciated that evening as their performance was, this post isn’t about them. It’s about the young woman on the far left of the front row whose fair skin is contrasted by the crisply pressed black serge of the Salvation Army uniform she wears. Her blonde curls have been tamed temporarily for the performance, pulled back from her face and waiting to be instantly released by the pins that are holding them down. Her mouth is formed around words which are singing praises to God. She is beautiful. A trophy of grace.

Just over five years ago she was so lost - to the point of telling her parents, “You can take your religion and flush it down the toilet”, and she meant it. She was going to do her own thing, go her own way and oh, she tried. Her once tender…