When the ceiling caves in…

I dream a lot. Like, almost all the time. And my dreams are vivid, complicated, sometimes confusing, sometimes really out there. Usually I wake up, shake my head, maybe tell someone in my family about the weird dream I had last night, and that’s it.

Last night I had another vivid dream, but this time it was so relatable to my life that I thought it must have come from the way things have been lately with my house. In the first half of the dream, we had bought an old house. It was full of extremely outdated finishes and had a really strange layout to boot. We tried moving things around and hashing everything out but we just couldn’t make sense of how to fix it and make it livable. In the dream, we were only fixing it up to sell it again, so it didn’t need to work for us, but had to make sense for someone else. One day as we were looking at all the mismatched flooring and making plans for what we would put in its place, we thought we would see how things looked if we knocked out a wall to a bedroom. I feel as though we were planning to rebuild it, but as soon as it was done, we could see that the problem was space and as soon as we turned the three bedroom house into a two bedroom house and moved the living room that was next to the kitchen into the new space so that a dining room could be next to the kitchen, it all made sense. We became excited for the potential in this new space we had created.

In the second half of the dream, we were living in a too-small house and trying to fix things all at once – getting half a project done before starting a new one. It wasn’t just us working on it, we had hired a few people as well. The floors were mostly torn up but not replaced, walls were half painted, etc. It was a mess and I felt hopeless in the dream because the finish just seemed to be so far away. Halfway through this part of the dream, I walked into the living room and looked up and suddenly saw that the ceiling was full of cracks. Not just little ones, but huge cracks that were starting to gape. In the back of my mind, I knew there had been a few cracks present before, but this was the entire ceiling in that room. I turned around and saw one area bulging downward and water dripping from it. I panicked and ran out through the back door to catch Mike as he was walking away from the house to go pick up something for a project. He came back in and with him came a few of the guys who had been working on the house. One was a man we know, a respected pastor and prophetic voice in Canada. He does a lot of construction which I see on Facebook, so it made sense that he was there in the dream. He walked to the back of the room after seeing the crack I was so concerned about at the front and reached up behind the fireplace to the relatively low ceiling and grabbed a piece of it. A huge chunk of ceiling came out with a slight touch and a piece of the chimney swung down and nearly hit him. Suddenly, the whole ceiling on that side of the room was gone and we could see this huge vaulted expanse above it. At that moment, it wasn’t dismay that filled me, it was excitement – I said to him, “Now when we fix it, we can have a vaulted ceiling!” He laughed and said, “Sure, why not!” I knew it would make this house feel bigger and as I studied the space, I realized we would even have room for a loft. I imagined a master bedroom loft in this new upstairs space that hadn’t been there before and the fact that it would free up another bedroom on the main floor in this house. All the frustration about the state of the house was gone realizing that there was this huge potential there now.

When I woke up, it was all still very fresh in my mind but at first just felt like another weird dream. And really, one that was very relatable to me as our house has a long list of issues that need fixing, and at the moment, it feels like more than we can manage while the house feels all the time “too-small.”

But after thinking for a bit, I realized that this was not a dream about a house or construction, but about seemingly awful circumstances revealing great promise. About choices made to remove something in order to make room for something better. How could we have been living in a house with low ceilings and not see that the roof was so high and there had to be room for so much more in that house? And why had someone built it that way?

Sometimes we do what is easy and avoid or cover things up because we can’t handle the potential work it will take to get the job done. I’m not speaking about the physical as much as I am about the spiritual. We know that studying the Word, spending time in prayer, being mentored and digging deeper will produce good things but it feels like too much so we build the ceiling a little lower where it’s a whole lot more comfortable.

I think this dream has two meanings. The first is that we are not to limit ourselves by building our ceilings too low or making our life so compartmentalized that we miss the potential for bigger things (like the bedroom that was taking up valuable living space in the first house). The second is that we are sometimes overcome by circumstances beyond our control. A caved in ceiling sounds like a nightmare, but in this case, it revealed an expanse of space behind it that had so much potential. I think this part of the dream can apply to most of us right now in the season we’re living in. This year has often felt like a caved in ceiling. And we can choose to only see that if we want. For some, it’s a lot harder to see promise after this year. I am not making light of the horrendous things some people have lived through in the last eight months. But I do believe there is promise after this. We have had our systems broken down – they have caved in on us and for some, have nearly crushed us. We have been powerless to stop it and dismayed and depressed watching it happen. But there is this expanse of vaulted space beyond it – I believe that. The Church has the opportunity to come into a new season, new ways of doing things that may actually be better than before. In our own lives, we have the ability to help pull down those ceilings full of cracks and reach for something greater.

In the second half of my dream, I remember thinking that because of this seemingly awful thing that had happened, I could now see a way that we could stay in this house instead of moving out due to a lack of space. Maybe the caved in ceilings in our lives are showing us a new and better way to continue in areas we thought we had to walk away from.

Personally, I’m going to let this one simmer in my heart and mind for awhile. I’m going to ask God what my ceilings are, where my unnecessary bedroom spaces are that need to be pulled down to make room for more important things. What areas need to be shifted to see their full potential. Maybe this dream was just for me, but maybe one of you will see meaning in it as well. It just pressed on me a little too firmly to let it be something I write off to an active imagination, and I knew it was something I needed to share.

Facing Impossible

Yesterday I suddenly became overwhelmed with all of the impossible we are facing right now.

We have been driving two vehicles since the end of June when we swapped our dying 15 passenger van for a minivan. We look regularly for another big van but everything we’ve seen is either way beyond our budget (which is pretty low) or is very far away from home.

We live in a province that is not seeing an increase in hospitalization or deaths from Covid-19 and is in fact looking at fairly low numbers in general but are being placed under increasing restrictions due to rises in positive cases in certain regions of the province. One restriction directly affects our family and many others as the newest order does not allow people to have more than six people visit their home. We have eight kids. Under this order, we would not be allowed to visit anyone else in their home.

We have a house that feels as though it is falling apart bit by bit. The list of projects continues to grow, right at the time when I’m starting to feel like we need to look into selling and finding something more suitable for us. Again, money must be spent, and we don’t have a whole lot.

There are other situations we are in the middle of that also feel impossible – no matter which way I play them out in my mind or talk them out with Mike, I cannot see how they will be accomplished.

I took a bath yesterday and put on an unfamiliar worship playlist from Spotify. The first song was one we sang in church on Sunday: Yes, I Will. The chorus rang out and the tears started flowing:

“Yes, I will
Lift You high
In the lowest valley
Yes, I will
Bless Your name
Oh, yes, I will
Sing for joy
When my heart is heavy
All my days
Oh, yes I will”

My heart is heavy and I feel as though we are in the lowest valley right now. I know I need to lift Him up regardless of all of this but it’s not easy.

Then Rattle played: “Since when has impossible ever stopped you?”

I have seen God deal with the impossible in my life before. I’ve seen Him do it in the lives of others as well. Why do these mountains feel so big? Why does it all feel like too much?

Each of these situations on its own may not pull me down but it’s a bit overwhelming right now when they all present themselves in front of me as things that cannot be solved with anything I do. And I know this is true – I cannot stop the government overreach or lack of transparency going on in response to Covid in Canada. I cannot instantly acquire $30,000 to buy the van I’d really like and another $50,000 to fix all the things wrong with my house. I cannot make all of those other situations play out perfectly or disappear, no matter how hard I try.

In Matthew 19, Jesus told His disciples that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. They marveled and asked, “Who then can be saved?” He said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

All things are possible with God.

All things are possible with God.

All things are possible with God.

I’ve been in the habit for the last year of telling mountains to leave in the name of Jesus. Mountains of migraines, cancer, illness, depression, etc. And sometimes I have seen healing happen after those commands. I just haven’t been very good at telling my own mountains to be cast into the sea.

And even with all my prayers of “God, fix this! Deliver and protect us! Provide! Give us direction!” I will admit that my faith in His response has been weak. I have struggled to really believe that we will be delivered, protected, provided for, directed. I need to build my faith and at the same time let these things go and stay in His hands instead of constantly pulling them back out to worry over.

I think we’re all facing mountains right now, in one way or another. Some are very personal and others are societal. We look around at the world we’re living in right now and sometimes it’s hard to feel a lot of hope. Facing the impossible has only one response – give it all to Him and let Him deal with it. When we need to act, He will show us what to do, but if we try to hold it all and lean on our own understanding, we will flounder and become overwhelmed.

I will admit that even writing this I have a hard time believing that it’s all going to be sorted out. That’s because I think with my finite mind and cannot see what is going on behind the scenes in the spirit. He is working on these things even when I cannot see or feel it.

“Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I can’t feel it, You’re working
You never stop, You never stop working
You never stop, You never stop working”

I sing these words easily enough but it’s time to start believing them.

Search and Rescue

I had a dream in early July that again, I knew had meaning as soon as I woke up. After sharing it with my church, I knew I wasn’t wrong, but it is probably a hard message for the Church as a whole. I pray it is received with grace.


In my dream, a cousin who lives in the States had a son, around three years old. He and his son were in the backyard together and one minute he was there, the next he was gone. Searches were conducted but everything pointed to an abduction, not a death. One day a month or two later, I received a program in the mail for his funeral – it had his date of birth and the day he disappeared as his date of death. I was angry. I felt like they were giving up hope. I went to the funeral anyway and while I was there, I was in deep intercession for him, praying for his safety and for his return. I prayed in tongues for most of the time and wept as I did so. I seem to remember that people thought I was strange for my behaviour. I am also certain that at the top of the program, it read “social distancing,” as a reminder not to get close to people. I thought about how awful it was that we could not hug people at a funeral.


I believe that this dream is about the Church in North America (and maybe the attitude some have about commerce and the economy as well). Believers have given up hope. We have had things taken away from us suddenly – church and Bible studies one week and the next told that everything is shut down – disappeared. Instead of searching and praying for their return, we are having a funeral – and that without loving each other as we would need in a time like this (social distancing representing lack of unity, distance from each other both literal and figurative). We should be on our faces weeping and praying for the Church but instead we are planning her funeral.

Imagine a large field where a child has wandered off. A search party would line up, nearly shoulder to shoulder, possibly even arm in arm, and comb through that field looking for the child. They would search until they were told they had to stop and even then, experts would come in and look longer. They certainly would never hold a funeral a month later without any evidence that the child had died. There are parents who are still hopeful their son or daughter is alive thirty years after disappearing like this. This is the posture we need to take right now – maybe not literally, but certainly in the Spirit. Hopeful expectation, prayer and fasting, unity in the search.

God has a plan and I know He is making good from what the enemy meant for evil. Will everything look exactly the same when we get it back? Probably not, but let’s not give up, Church. Hold onto hope and keep searching for what He has for us.

The New Normal

Listen, I know you’re likely in one camp or the other: you embrace this term or you reject it. I have swayed back and forth for various reasons, some of which I will explain.

On the one hand, yes, we will have a “new normal” because none of us has ever experienced anything like this. Yes, our oldest generation has gone through worse. I believe that: think of the world wars, the great depression, genocides, etc. But this is different. COVID has happened in an age of information that is historically unrivaled. News travels fast – lightning fast – whether it’s true or not, and often influences so efficiently that if it is later debunked, it is hard for people to believe the actual truth. I believe we also live in a very fearful age. I actually think that safety has ironically made us more fearful. We live so safe and clean and healthy (at least we perceive life to be this way) that we are terrified of a bad cold, needing a few stitches or a surgery, offending people, the list goes on and on. And so this fear fed the narrative – I don’t think you can disagree with this no matter what side you fall in your beliefs about this virus and its socioeconomic effects. And when you have been taught to fear something, it is very hard to walk away from that.  Worldwide lockdowns, terminology no one had ever heard before (social distancing, anyone??), confusing science and data have left us in a very different place than we were five months ago. And those living in epicentres or who have lost friends or family members will be scarred and will never go back to the normal they knew before.

On the other hand, I can see that there are freedoms we have given up in the name of health and safety that I still believe we should get back. Using the terminology “new normal” has the potential of convincing people that these freedoms are no longer our right. That we are too vulnerable to stand closer than six feet apart as we might get sick or get someone else sick. That we will accept the prices of groceries that have steeply risen or the extra taxes we’ll inevitably be paying to handle the government financial aid that many of us have received. I know these things are par for the course in the middle of it all but I am concerned that over time, these things will continue even though the virus itself passes. That we will be quick to do things we are told even when they are unreasonable. People aren’t meant to live alone and stay apart. I certainly intend to fight the new normal in that area at least.

So here’s the third perspective. Hopefully a Godly one.

I embrace the New Normal. Not the losses in freedoms or the fear of disease. I wholeheartedly embrace what God has been doing in the Church during this time. I believe that many who were lukewarm have become hot in this time. I know that there will be some who let their love grow cold, and will fall away. I do not deny that. But I feel revival in my heart, in my family, in the Church. I have experienced beautiful community borne out of trial and I don’t ever want to lose that, not to go back to what was “normal” before. I have prayed more, worshiped more, read more of the Word. I am revived, even in the middle of global crisis.

Yes, I still get frustrated. I still feel sorrow over what has transpired, over lives lost or in ruin. I still wonder when it’s going to end. But then I actually didn’t want it to end too soon. I wanted a chance for more of the Church to grab hold of something incredible.

In the first few weeks of lockdowns and health orders, I woke up with part of a song in my head: “You take what the enemy meant for evil, and you turn it for good.” I have tried to make that my anthem for the last few months. No matter what was meant for evil, He can turn it for good.

The provision of God

I have been telling these stories for a long time and in this time of financial insecurity for so many, I want to tell them again. Sometimes I forget just how obvious this provision was at the time but then telling the story reminds me and I am in awe.

Mike and I got married in February of 2004. He was working a pretty good job but when we got home from our honeymoon, he was called to go to camp for a week. Not a great start to a marriage, especially when you add the fact that I had just moved 1,400 kilometres from home and didn’t really know anyone here. He quit that job about a month later because we knew we didn’t want that lifestyle and then we lived off of our savings for a few months, just enjoying our time together and settling in. That summer, he started looking a little harder for a job as the money had nearly run out. He had a few opportunities but took a cash job on trial at an auto body shop. He did detailing on cars for a short time and eventually moved to prep work. At this time, I was surprised we were not expecting yet (because we were not trying to prevent) and started praying more earnestly for a baby. Right around the time that I would have conceived, he got a “real” job for the company and a simultaneous $4 raise. By a year later, he was making $4 more than that per hour and not only did we have enough to provide for the baby that came in June of 2005, but we had enough to buy a home that summer. The timing of everything was just too perfect to call it coincidence.

In January of 2008, we were expecting our third baby and Mike had moved on to another auto body shop where his Dad worked and was even talking about going to school for some certification in body work. He didn’t exactly love the work but he did like the people he worked with and the company took care of their employees. He had only been there for six months when things slowed down and he got laid off. When I think of the year 2008, I think “recession.” It didn’t hit Canada in exactly the same way but I know many people had a hard time. It was early in the year, though, and all I could think was that we didn’t have any substantial savings, had a mortgage to pay and were about to have three kids, three and under. I was shocked and didn’t know what would happen. Mike started looking for work, applied for EI (unemployment) and we listed our ’85 Honda Accord for sale, hoping that would bring in a bit of cash. Not even two weeks into the layoff, we were sitting down with his sister and her husband for supper and talking about Mike’s need for a job when our brother-in-law told us that the small engineering firm he worked for might have a job but it was unlikely that it would interest Mike at all. He started to explain the job to us and rather than finding it off-putting, Mike was intrigued. He got an interview with the owner of the company and then we went on a trip for a conference that we had already had planned months before. I forget the fine details of when things happened, but we definitely got a call when we were in the Edmonton Ikea that they had a job for him and he could start work by the middle of February. Shortly after, our 23 year old car sold for $1,200 – the exact amount of a two week paycheque at that time. Not only was this job a Godsend in timing, it turned out to be something Mike loved and has continued doing for 12 years now, working through a company buy out and a everyone else in the company leaving over time.

Now, 2020 and the COVID crisis. Early this year, we went over our budget and determined that we had around $600 in excess every month if I kept my spending relatively tight. We had changed the way we budgeted and so we could see where money had been wasted or unaccounted for before. We talked about investments or just putting it into savings but in the end, we needed the extra for a few things in January and February so we didn’t make any final decisions about it. In March, we were told that the company would be implementing a 10% wage reduction due to COVID. It wasn’t long before I determined that the difference in wages for us was almost exactly the amount of extra money in our budget. We had never squirreled it away anywhere and so it was just there, available to make up the difference for us.

We have had countless times when God has provided for our needs – both tangible and otherwise. Sometimes these cases of extra provision have been totally obvious. Other times, we have had to look back and realize how incredible they really were. They have all pointed us to a God who knows what we need and has provided.

Psalm 37:25

I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Psalm 50:10

For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.”

Matthew 6:28-32

 “And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”