Thursday, December 31, 2015

Today is the day

At this moment I don't really know what to say, but as I'm contemplating I think of two movies I often see this time of year, and so I say;

so long, farewell, aufedersein, adieu....


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Not Goodbye

So, I've been mulling over the idea of ending this blog for awhile now.

It's not that I don't want a place to share my life and insights.

It's not that I've out grown the platform. Maybe some of the types of posts, but I still love blogs.

It's not even that life is too busy. Well, it's a little that I'm too busy. :)

It's more that I'm already sharing my life and insights so much more in person now, it feels redundant to come here and write it out after I've already told so many people.

It's more that I'm already writing journals for school, writing essays for school, writing posts for my infertility support group, and soon I'll also be writing posts for my Personal Coaching web page as well. I'm already writing. A.LOT.

It's more that I am beginning to think of collecting my insights for a book and feel like my efforts would be best channeled straight into the book rather than having several personal writing avenues.

There may be a few other reasons to stop, and there are a few reasons to stay, but right now this where I feel I am at. So as of December 31, just over eight years after I started this blog, I will say goodbye to Lori In His Hands, but not to you!  Who knows what the future holds, maybe a different blog, maybe a different format all together, but for the most part I think those of you who follow me know where you can find me, and this is not goodbye :)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Grace Recognized

A few thoughts on what it looks like to truly recognize and embrace the gift of God's grace we've been given.

Joy - It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratefulness that brings us joy. Gratefulness for God's grace, sacrifice, mercy, love brings us a joy that surpasses happiness. It's trusting God enough to find ways to rejoice in all circumstances, rejoice because we see how He always takes care of us, and because we are so grateful for all we've already been given.

Love - God loved us first, before we transformed due to His love and grace. And God actually loves our frailty, vulnerability, and imperfection, and He extends this love and grace to every human, and so in recognizing we've only received love due to God's grace for all humans, we should demonstrate His kind of love to everyone, imperfections and all.

Hope - When we recognize God's unconditional and unchanging love for us, shown through His generous gift of grace, we can trust that He will always love us by providing for us, whatever we need. Recognizing this and allowing it to help us unconditionally trust Him gives us a hopeful outlook for our future, on earth and in heaven.

Just a few things that have increased in my life as my ability to see God's grace has increased.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Nothing is Insignificant

Hey! Long time no 'see'!  I have been super busy living life and haven't had a lot of time to squeeze out for things like being here in blogger-ville. A LOT has happened since July so I figure I'm about due for an update :)  Today I'll stick to, mostly, the career updates.

I have been at my new job 5 months now and it's going great. I really enjoy our mission, my co-workers, my hours ;) It's been perfect for me and where I am at in life right now.  I love that God placed on my heart to be completely open here, open about my vision for my future as a Counselor, open about my work/life balance priorities, but most of all, completely open about my faith.  I eventually became fairly open about it at my last job but then again, not with everyone, just certain people. Here I am not watering-down anything, and it's a great feeling. I have a co-worker who is definitely a spiritual seeker and she loves conversations about spiritual things so I have this opportunity with her I have never had before. God has given us hours together in the oddest of circumstances, where we've just been able to talk so freely, and I feel blessed to be part of what I sense God trying to show her.  She actually said the other day, "Have you ever felt someone was brought into your life for a reason? That's how I feel about you working here."  I am certainly feeling the same way!

As for the future career I'm working on, in Spring, as part of my obligation to Employment Insurance, I attended a Career Symposium where I went to two professionals speaking on their careers, one Psychologist and one Life Coach, somewhat bookends to the spectrum of my career possibilities. I found I was actually much more inspired and motivated to seek after what the Life Coach described than the Psychologist! And, right at that moment my school was announcing the end of my Counselling program and it was uncertain whether or not my group of classmates would have the opportunity to finish, and so with that in mind I was looking towards other potential options, none of which looked like they would bring me to a Counselling position anywhere near soon. I had already been disheartened it would take almost another 3 years at least to graduate THIS program! So I looked into Life Coach certification and ended up deciding to go for it! Even if I managed to stay in these classes and graduate no later than 2018 as planned, I thought it would add nicely to my education and experience, and with being able to have my coaching certification completed in September, I could immediately start seeing and helping clients! What timing that this opportunity was shown to me right then!

As the certification weekend in mid-September approached, I actually grew nervous about this decision, wondering if I had taken God's plans into my own hands. I was beginning to feel that cringe in my tuning fork because of expectations I placed on myself, based on my research into how Coaches make a significant portion of their earnings. I was beginning to wonder if I had wasted time and money, this was the uneasiest I had felt about any decision since a year earlier. Actually, just about exactly a year before, that's when my full blown anxiety about staying at my job was kicking in!

And right at that time, September 2014, God started playing a few songs excessively on the radio just for me....I am certain of this because I was hearing 3-4 songs, 2-3 times per day, every work day, in the only 40 minutes of radio time I had per one else was hearing them that much! I wrote about this one song a year ago at my layoff time, The other songs I were hearing had similar messages, "no more counting dollars, I'll be counting stars", "we are stars, we are built for loving", "you're a sky full of stars, such a heavenly view." I knew at that time I wanted to stop chasing the pay cheque I was getting, I was willing to take a risk and do what I was built for, and I am built for loving, nurturing.  I could never quite figure out how stars fit in other than God had been talking to me about being His diamond, one aspect of that being 'like a diamond in the sky.' And the Coldplay song "A Sky Full of Stars" seemed to play the most of all the songs, and it began to feel like God was singing it to me personally.  And at really significant moments in my life over the next 4-5 months. The songs slowed down a little after I was laid off, and I pretty much stopped hearing all of them all together by Spring 2015. But they had given me hope the 2 months I waited to be able to leave my job, and it helped me feel like God was doing something in it all, whether I knew what that was or not. They became comfort songs.

So, back to September 2015. By the time I walked through the door of my classroom to get my coaching certification, I was managing my expectations of what I would get out of this. My thoughts were, I will probably get a few useful tools, re-affirm what I'm learning in counselling, and get a piece of paper that will help my credibility in whatever steps I take after that weekend. I got there early, like I always do, and the instructor was still preparing but welcomed me in. As I sat down and settled in, I heard that he was playing a CD, not sure if it was for himself or us, but it was the newest Coldplay CD and the next song that came on was "A Sky Full of Stars!" I still get choked up thinking about it! The realization that God was still there with me in this step, that it wasn't as far off course as I thought, and in fact this confirmed for me I was RIGHT ON course. He had been pursuing me with hope for my future with this song for exactly a year and He brought me to the place He had in mind for me all along. I learned that weekend nothing is insignificant.

Not only that, but I had two other Ah-Ha moments that weekend. The first was when we were in groups practicing using the tools, I selected a fairly tame goal for myself, losing weight, but of course these tools help you uncover obstacles we create for ourselves and my self-sabotage in this area came to light. Suddenly the woman coaching me stopped and said, "This is off script, but why does your weight effect your happiness so much? I've only met you a few hours ago, talked with you for only an hour, and you are one of the most genuinely happy people I have ever met. Seriously, it shines through so much that your eyes sparkle, and it makes you so beautiful! I don't know any skinny people who are happier than you are, who radiate like you do! So just let yourself be happy as you are!" Honestly, it was a moment where I'm sure God just took over her mouth and preached to me a wake up call I really needed, it hit home to the reasons I self-sabotage and it resolved instantly a lot of my emotional eating. Seriously, ever since that weekend I have done so much better loving myself the way I am and not needing to resort to comfort foods nearly as much!

The second thing was my inner battle on how much of my spiritual life to bring into my career. I certainly want to be free to talk about my faith, be able to bring God into it because He is the only reason I have come to my own place of healing, yet I didn't want to alienate someone from seeing me because they don't share my beliefs.  I was already beginning to fill my future website with information about my coaching and was back and forth what to include about spirituality. Then, my coaching trainer started dropping little spiritual hints, using analogies from Scripture, using Proverbs, and turns out he was a former Pastor!  And over the length of the course, he became more and more open about how his life, his coaching, and his wellness had a strong spiritual aspect. I realized, if this Master Coach who does high level executive and corporate coaching, who is one of the lead trainers for my association, could be this open about his faith without showing fear of ramifications in a secular venue, so could I. I thanked him so much for his spiritual authenticity and how inspired I was by it, and I look forward to continued mentorship from him!

Those short 16 hours showed me just a few of the ways God has been working all along to bring me to this place I am in right now, which is simply a place of such fulfillment and joy!  I've barely even started, but the dreaming and planning have been so exciting, and now I have myself 3 'practicum' clients, and even in just the first few meetings I am so indescribably happy for my opportunity to help them!  I put the call for clients out there and trusted God would bring me those who I needed and who needed me.  He's given me surprising people yet once I hear their story and can see the harmony in us working together, it is not surprising at all. It's a little unbelievable this is my life, especially when I think of where I was at one year ago.

Nothing is insignificant.

Monday, August 10, 2015


You have probably heard by now the Scripture that speaks over us, we are God's masterpiece, a treasured work of art. This weekend I read, in my new favorite book, "Love Does" by Bob Goff, a whole other level of this analogy, and it was just too amazing not to share. Here is my (teensy bit paraphrased) summary.

Bob fell in love with a painting in a gallery he walked by frequently. It really spoke to him about God and his own picture of his life with his family, he really loved it, but it was 4 times the value of any of his last 4 vehicles. So he saved up for a whole year to purchase this beloved painting. As he finally made his purchase, the curator handed him two paintings, and they looked identical!  

"What do I need two paintings for?"
"Well, ze one on the left is ze real one. It's museum qualeetay. It's very expensive, almost priceless. You don't want to hang ze original where it might get damaged, so you put ze original in a vault. Zis other one, however is ze fake one and iz ze one you put up on the wall for everyone to see."

Well, which of the two paintings do you think he put up on the wall. Bob understood why the guy at the gallery wanted him to hang the fake one and hide the real one, damage to the real one would be a huge loss, it was as Bob put it, 'not long for this earth, rare, one of a kind, irreplaceable.'  But that's exactly why he wanted the original on his wall.

So he hung it up, perfectly framed by two windows where he the sun comes up over the waters in colours to beautiful to be real. Fitting. Then one morning as he sat in his favorite spot that overlooked the two windows and the original painting he looked up and his jaw dropped. The night before there was some typical family chaos going on, no one recalls doing the damage, but the painting in fact took a hit. That was awhile ago now, and every morning he still does his usual routine, sits in his favorite chair, and looks at his favorite piece of art, still taken by its beauty. He doesn't even notice that it's damaged anymore, he's not mad or disappointed about it. The reason is simple: it reminds him fondly of his kids. He sees his kids engaged in life, he sees all the mischief, the whimsy, and the spontaneous combustion that is their hallmark. Truth be known, he likes the original painting even more now.

There are times in life when we've gotten into mischief, taken chances, taken some big risks. In the process, sometimes we've let people down or it didn't go well. We've taken some damage.  But after that painting got hit, Bob realized, God doesn't think any less of us when things don't go right. Actually, it's more likely He plans on it. What God doesn't plan on is us putting a fake version of ourselves out there to take the hit. God is the master artist and made an original version of us, a priceless one that cost everything to create. A version that can't and won't be created again.

God asks us to hang that version of ourselves for everyone to see. Despite our inherent beauty, each of us is tempted to hide the original so we won't get damaged. It's obvious to see why. But the fake version of us is not worthless, it's just worth less. Because it's a copy, a version we don't care about as much, it's like a stunt double standing in for us, yet we're telling the world this is the best we've got, the best we'll risk. 

But our value, as the masterpiece, is not because of the beauty of canvas, we have infinite value because of who created us, God, the master artist. The best we can muster on our own is a fake.  God asks us to leave the cheap imitations in the closet. That doesn't mean he's saying that when you hang the real one out there - the priceless one - that things will go great. It's pretty clear from watching Jesus' followers that when you risk the real you, you'll probably take a hit. God did when He hung Jesus out there. But the thing is, when we take hits, and we will, God isn't going to think less of us. He's still going to go to His favorite spot to look upon His original masterpiece, and He loves us, damage and all.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Follow Me

I have been trying to explore what discipleship means in this day and age, what it means for me specifically.  I'm the kind of person who starts by creating a foundation of understanding in how something is defined. Discipleship is defined not only as a follower of God, but also a supporter of, a devotee of, a witness to, and a student of God.

The last two definitions in particular resonate with where I am at. How can I keep my testimony relevant if I am not learning more and more about God? If I am not experiencing Him in fresh ways in my life?  There are thousands of characteristics of God, if I am not learning about, experiencing, Him in new ways then it's because I'm not trying.

I have felt the pull to become a student in more than one ways these days, and this curriculum I'm finding is a lot like my Counselling studies, they need to be hands on, experiential. I need to be God's apprentice. Apprentice - to bind to a master artisan for instruction.

To me, discipleship has come to mean connecting with God, to understand Him better, which will lead me to receive His instruction better. But I think that's only a secondary benefit to knowing God, His ultimate heart is to connect with us for relationship sake.  God is always trying to use new things to show us another side of Himself, to become intimate with us on a whole other level.

Take for instance, waltzing.

Almost 3 years ago I was blessed with some newer friendships with women who experienced God tangibly, through very realistic visions.  Back then I mentioned here some life changing moments they facilitated in my life, like this vision and this vision, God had been responding to my choice to seek Him out in new ways, showing me sides of Himself I longed to know better.  Then suddenly, out of the blue, He chose to reveal a part of Himself that I hadn't even asked for.


One day at Church, as I was worshiping, I began seeing my own version of a vision my friend had shared, Jesus sitting on His heavenly throne, being worshiped by a sea of thousands, I being just one of those. I was far, far away from Him but yet still so in awe of His glory I could feel it even there. Then, suddenly I saw Jesus walking through the crowd, right in front of me, making His way through them, towards me. I could touch His robe, I still remember what it felt like. He looked like the earthly version of Himself, not the heavenly one that glowed so brightly moments before. And then He took me in His arms and we started waltzing.

While perplexed, I let the moment happen and just savored it. These types of visions are few and far between for me, I had wished dozens of times the visions I heard from my friends were mine, and this was mine, so I basked in it. It didn't matter why.

But now, two years later, as I contemplated discipleship, this moment spontaneously came to mind and suddenly it did matter why. I am just the kind of person who sometimes gets burdened by the why, and when I do, I need to figure it out. So I examined why God could possibly have wanted to connect with me through dance.

I DO have a desire to dance, I love dancing and find myself constantly moving when the right rhythm comes along. But it isn't a huge part of my life, I can't even full on dance when no one is watching, never mind LIKE no one is watching. Unless I'm not alone. I suddenly have the freedom to dance if I am not the only one I know on the dance floor. Growing up Mennonite, dancing was not encouraged, and I danced maybe a handful of times by my grad. I never dated anyone who liked dancing, only had 2 friends for most of my young adult life who would go out dancing with me. There has been only one time I've even danced with a guy using more movement than just a mere sway.

This one time was with my guy friend, who happened to be gay, so he didn't just dance next to me, he danced with me, swinging me all around the dance floor and it gave me this inexplicable feeling, this wave of femininity washed over me. There is just this mysterious chemistry that happens when a man and a woman dances, I've seen it in others many times before, but never experienced myself. But because he was gay, he and I were able to simply embrace it without any burden of a deeper meaning. And now, married to a non-dancer, I have never felt that particular chemistry or particular femininity ever again.

Weird, right? No one else in my life has ever been able to give me that feeling in any other way. I don't know what it is about a twirling twosome that elicits a womanly essence . Maybe it's all the Disney princess movies? Yet I've seen it in little girls who haven't ever watched Disney.

Or maybe it's a desire God has planted in females for some reason.

I am inclined to believe the latter since a couple of times in the last 2 years God has taken me for a spin on the ballroom floor of my mind during worship at Church.

After examining the whole experience, I see now He was blessing me for pursuing Him in a brand new way. For opening my mind to who He is, not who I want Him to be. And I think He was redeeming my one encounter with femininity of that kind. If I had not been open to getting closer to God, connecting to Him in more and more intimate ways, I maybe would have just dismissed that first waltzing worship, maybe even been embarrassed by it, shut it down because I grew up with dancing as 'bad'. But it turns out, God is a complete gentleman who wants to embrace me as we glide around to beautiful music, in step together, like only dancing can do. He wanted to meet a need I didn't even know I had, a desire to dance, a desire for a different kind of intimacy between man & woman. And, in a brand new way He spoke to me the same ancient lesson.

Follow me.

And so I've added this to my growing list of lessons on the character of God. And my discipleship has grown ever stronger for it the last few years.  Just a few weeks ago He showed me even more about the harmony of life with Him. Our life with Him a song, a dance. A song I can't get out of my head, or my heart, and I look forward to the many new verses I will discover until we finally dance again in person.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Never Imagined

I have the kind of personality that imagines.

Imagines in a good way. 

Like I just had fun water painting this.

Imagines in a bad way. 

When a potential scenario, no matter how bad, enters my mind I have to imagine it to prepare myself, somewhat - as much as possible, for the possibility it actually happens. 

I have imagined never having kids.

I have imagined Sean dying.

If there is one thing I have feared even more than those two sad, sad scenarios, it is losing a child I finally have. I haven't even been able to bear fully imagining that situation. 

But one thing I never imagined is attending the funeral of an 18 month little boy. 

I don't even know how this is really happening, I can't even begin to imagine how his parents are feeling. 
No matter how difficult the things I imagine, nothing is as difficult as reality.
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