Oh Michael Bublé… your voice makes me so happy!! Take a listen.
Life has been a bit crazy – we all have experienced this period of crazy. When, ever, has the whole world participated together in a life-changing experience! There have been pandemics over time – but never in a way that was shared globally via tv, internet, social media – we ALL know what is going on everywhere. We are all aware of the tensions of masks vs no masks. We are all aware of the dilemma of running out of toilet paper or sanitizers. Everyone knows the word COVID. That is insane!!
So, where have you wandered during this time? Where has your soul/heart taken you?
There are times that I have fallen into deep holes of doubt and darkness and then there are these amazing mountain top moments that have only come about because of COVID. AND on this weird strange journey – life has continued!! I have continued to work. I have continued to get the car serviced, get gas, get groceries, make food, eat food, play games, check on the weather, help kids move, help a mother move – life continues in the midst of ‘chaos’.
Just recently, the group I work for, Multiply Network, started its Central Canada TREK program.
This program is a 10-week orientation bases in Manitoba, followed by a 7-month assignment. Participants choose between an international assignment, or a Canadian church internship. The program closes with a 2-week debrief back in Manitoba. So, we are in the orientation phase – 2 months of classes and volunteering and growing together at the Winnipeg Centre Vineyard on the corner of Main and Sutherland. This space is located in the North-end of Winnipeg. It is surrounded by two hotels that we have been told not to enter. There are some sketchy going-ons in this area but also so much beauty available for us to find!
For me this was an opportunity to get out of the house and be with people… until lately, Code Orange has put a damper on that to some extent. BUT, I can listen to fantastic speakers online and still participate in my own way.
Things I have learned?
Well, there are a few, but one big thing took place early in September. This should have been something I learned a long time ago – but if I would venture to guess – I will continue to re-learn this as I go.
I am who I am. (with some caveats)
When groups, such as TREK or summer camp, SOAR, or other religious intensive gatherings occur – there is a vibe or a feeling in the space. There is a connection with God and the spirit in a way that is unlike what we find in our everyday normal lives. However, for me. it seems that when I enter these types of spaces, instead of being filled – I tend to find myself wrestling with all of my inadequacies. I don’t pray enough. I don’t read scripture enough. I don’t listen well enough. I don’t hear God like everyone else. I don’t have images come to my heard/mind/soul. I am a poor Christian – AND ALMOST ALL OF THOSE STATEMENTS follow with… not like all of these people – they have all their God stuff in order.
Now, I recognize that deep within me I know that is not true. Name someone who has all their stuff together – and all their God stuff in order – I dare you. WE are ALL messed up – we are all searching – we are all trying.
However, even with that knowledge, I still tend to believe that small voice that sits on my shoulder and whispers into my ear… yeah, but listen to them – listen to them speak like prophets or prayer warriors. Listen how they pray out loud for other people. Watch how they raise their hands and sway and dance. Hear them listen to their God – they have a direct connection – not like you, Tam. Listen to that little girl – even she hears voices from God. And how about them – they sold it all to follow Jesus. That speaker – he throws devils out of people and heals people – you can’t do that. That little voice sits there, all comfy like, on my shoulder – like some demented monkey – and whispers and whispers and whispers until I break and decide that I just will never be ‘all of that.’ And then my soul hurts and I don’t know where I fit in.
This year I was gently reminded, by a trusted colleague and friend, that I, Tammy Rempel, am enough and I am who I am.
I didn’t grow up charismatic in my faith or prayer life – so it is ok that I am quiet, that I pray to God behind the wheel of my car or as I fall asleep in bed. It is ok if I wasn’t called to be a prophet or a teacher or a healer. It’s ok if I don’t see visions and dream dreams.
God has called me to this place – who knows, but for such a time as this – for a reason. This person reminded me that God is using me in my own unique way – perhaps it is quieter, perhaps it isn’t as flamboyant, perhaps it is subtle – but God uses my voice too.
She also reminded me that perhaps God doesn’t want us to try harder at being Christians – maybe He is happy with us the way we are. (here is the caveat – doesn’t mean we can’t strive to do better things and be better people – but…) He is delighted in us the way we are. Maybe I don’t read my Bible enough – and I should read more – but maybe God just loves spending time with me. And if I can convince myself of that – then maybe the Bible reading becomes a natural thing instead of a forced thing.
She said: “God is delighted in you. He loves spending time with you.” This isn’t new – I’ve heard this before – but in the context she was presenting it to me in, this time felt different. When I think about people I love and I love spending time with – they are not all superstars, perfect, totally educated, incredibly intelligent, prophetic, shit-together people – they are all people with different gifts and abilities and different issues and struggles. I love spending time with them – not because they are doing things for me or trying to impress me – but because I just love being in their presence with them because they are who they are.
Ephesians 1:11-12 - “It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.”
1 John 3:1 – “What marvellous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are.”
So, little voice sitting there all comfy on my shoulder – I am going to look at you now with new eyes. I know you will still be sitting there but I want you to know I am going to work on shutting your mouth. If it takes many rolls of duct tape – then I will shop at Peavey Mart and grab a pile of rolls; if it takes a mask – well, I know where to get a lot of those; if it takes a high kick – well, then I will take a martial arts course! Little voice – you are not my boss, you are not in control – when you speak, I am going to work at not listening to the lies you have to tell me. Because in my heart and in my soul and in my mind – lives a saviour who loves me and wants to be with me – flaws and all!! And his warrior voice is stronger and more powerful than yours.
I encourage you to snap that little voice that sits on your shoulder and drowns your heart and mind in lies – snip it away and bring out that larger voice that says, “I am a strong Warrior there to save you. I am happy to have you back and calm you with my love and delight you with my songs.” (paraphrased from Zephaniah 3:17).
I end with the words of the famous prophet, Popeye.
"I yam what I yam."