Weariness Comes and It’s Okay.

Today, I am feeling weary. I had a hard morning with Charlotte as it goes sometimes when one lives with a toddler. She is potty training, teething, just two, and pre-verbal. A hard combo for a little soul. And a hard combo for a tired mom and dad. Alas, she is now with her grandparents, so Ian and I have some refuge this evening.

After that hard and emotional morning, taking the blow of her relentless anger, I took a rapid test (which I am privileged to have access to for work at the moment) – it was negative. But Ian and I had a funny moment where we sent each other a picture of our negative tests and I thought, “When will this end?”

Two negatives, and a thanks be to God.

I then geared up to head off to work, leaving the house like a tornado ran through it which I hate to do. I put on my sweater, then my headphones, then my N95, then my scarf. Wait the scarf knocked my N95. Scarf and mask off. Scarf on. Mask back on. Headband, jacket, backpack. Now I am sweating and foggy. I walked to the subway and it was empty, a sign of no kids in school and more restrictions. I’ve had the same mask on since arriving to work at 9:10 and I won’t remove it until my coworkers and I eat lunch together in our large room more than 6 feet apart. This is the only time I will see their faces today.

We check in, type, walk, work, pray, laugh, cry behind these masks again and it feels strangely like when I came back to work in October of 2020 after my maternity leave. I miss praying with my coworkers without the cover of a tight, squishy mask. I miss not telling community again and again to space out in line when we are used to sitting shoulder to shoulder eating a meal. I miss our old life.

All of this to say, today is a weary day. This happens to many of us after Christmas. Yes the days are slowly but surely staying light for longer. But it is colder and wintery-er. Fatigue comes. It’s harder and takes longer to get outside. There are less people to see as this Pandemic literally drags on. I fear Ian or I getting ill from work or transit. Toddlers are lovely and hard.

And it is okay that it’s hard and weary. It is okay to go through seasons with hard phases. It is okay to wade through grief with heavy limbs. It does not mean I stop praying or thanking God. It does not mean I don’t recognize the privilege I have in having access to masks and tests. It does not mean I love my kid any less. And it certainly does not mean that I forgot to lean in to the strength of the Lord. It just means that I do all of these things with a heavier heart. And that’s okay.

May you find peace if you are feeling weary today too.

Love, Meg

PS: You know when you’re having “one of those days” and you do something trivial but annoying…. on top of my weariness, I sliced two fingers open doing the dishes. Thank goodness Joanna is efficient in her first aid skills 🙂

___

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. I must fundraise for my entire salary in order to do this work! Please consider partnering with me as a financial supporter and walking alongside me on this journey. Visit https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/the-dale-ministries/.

Choosing Joy.

This week in the advent calendar, we are focused on Joy. This time last year, I wrote a blog about the death of Ian’s mom who died on the third Sunday of Advent (which just so happened to also be the week of Joy last year). Joy was hard to find at that time, as Christmas crept closer and our arms were heavy from carrying an unimaginable grief. Much has changed. Charlotte is older and growing, the grief from the death of Ian’s mom is still present although it feels less heavy, and Covid has made progressions in terms of vaccinations and less restrictions – to name a few things. However, I find myself still searching for joy this week with somewhat of a heavy heart.

This time of year can be really difficult for so many reasons. Many folks in our community are feeling the sadness that comes with being estranged from family. We are having a memorial today to remember all of our friends that died during the Pandemic. Covid still lingers, although it is always changing. There are hard conversations to be had. There are many reasons that this time of year can feel so dark, even though Christmas songs ring out loudly and lights blare from trees and homes.

On Sunday, Erinn spoke about Joy. She talked about how joy is not just an emotion to feel or not to feel. It can be. But in terms of Advent, Joy is knowing that God is near. Jesus is coming. These times are literally quite dark (does anyone else feel overwhelmed knowing the sun sets at 4:30?). But we can experience Joy in knowing that Jesus is coming soon and He is bringing the light. That change in perspective does not change circumstance in things that are heavy. But for me, it was enough to provide a new mindset and some hope. There is heaviness, and that is okay. There is also Joy in knowing our Saviour is coming and that He knows what it is like to be vulnerable.

Knowing this, I can choose joy. Our friend Dan wrote a song that we often sing at The Dale. It goes, “Choosing joy — to You I run
Choosing joy — for what’s to come
Choosing joy — this I do
Just because I love You”

Sometimes I really need to choose joy, the emotion. I can see it in my daughter when she visits The Dale like she did this past Sunday and hugged every single person outside. I can feel it when we finally have a space to come together to grieve our friends in a collective way, whatever that looks like for each person. I can sense it when my team gathers on a Monday to check in and pray together. I can feel it in the love I have for Ian that we have worked so hard for over this past year. There are so many things.

I know this time is chalked with loud happy music, bright lights, gifts and a sense of urgency. I know what it’s like to find excitement in that and for it to also feel unreal and fake when your hands and heart feel grief, much like mine did last year at this time. And I know, for me, that it helps to know the true meaning of Joy in this season, that Jesus is near. We only have to wait a little longer.

Peace to you as we wait.

Charlotte at The Dale after our service!

I am a community worker at The Dale. To do this work means I must fundraise my entire salary. Please consider joining my support team! If you sign up to be a financial supporter or increase your donation in the month of December, you will be entered for the chance to win a painting done by me! Feel free to email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com for more information!

Just Another Day at The Dale.

We have an expression amongst our staff team at The Dale that we’ve turned into a hashtag, “Just Another Day at The Dale.” It often comes out when we are doing odd things or redundant things or things that would be hard to explain to anyone else. It is when we find ourselves in one of these times and laugh together that I find myself blessed by the odd jobs we sometimes take on in our work with community.

A couple of weeks ago we received a call from a community member. She had broken a button on one of the couple of pants she owns. This woman has had many of her belongings for years and years. She repairs rather than buying new for many reasons, and so was hoping that we could fix the button on her pants. Joanna said she would give it a go, and she not only fixed them but she did such a great job that our friend brought another pair to us with the same issue. We were given a little gift for our repairing skills (which was unnecessary but so sweet) and the satisfaction of helping a friend. #justanotherdayatthedale

Jo fixing our friend’s pants!

A couple of years ago, our friend Chevy who has now passed away, was in the hospital for an extended time. At the time she had maaaany a number of pets including multiple cats and a feisty little dog, Jacob. We offered to pet sit for her in an effort to convince her to remain in the hospital and ended up in an almost daily rotation with some other community members in order to feed her beloved pets for months on end. #justanotherdayatthedale

There are so many instances where these odd jobs come up… I have handfuls coming into my head. So many times where we shake our heads and chuckle at the odd thing we are doing, the moving around taking place, the situations we find ourselves in, the love we share with our friends, and silly situations. But while some of these instances are silly (ie: moving frozen meat from one place to the next over and over), there are many more that are just our life.

Accompanying someone to get ID, bringing cleaning supplies to someone’s place and a helping hand, laying hands on a friend’s leg to pray over them in hospital, sharing a meal, reading scripture, playing guitar in the park, moving items from storage… even fixing a button on a friend’s pants. These aren’t simply just tasks to be done to fill our week. They are moments of vulnerability and trust happening. They are acts of love. They are teaching moments and confidence boosters. They are giving and receiving. They are community work.

I am so glad to be in community at The Dale. I am so glad for silly jobs and #justanotherdayatthedale moments. And for serious, life giving, community building, kingdom work that draws us closer together with each other. For as many hands as I lay on my friends to pray, I have been prayed for abundantly in return. That is a beautiful gift I will always cherish.

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale! In order to do this work I must fundraise my entire salary. Please consider joining my support team by emailing me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com. If you join my support team in the month of December, you will be entered to win a painting done by me!

Pray Without Ceasing

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Since Charlotte was a baby, we have had the same nighttime routine, the end of which includes praying together as a family in her room and singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. I then rock her and put her down to sleep. I must admit that before bed was the only intentional time I took to pray with Charlotte. More recently, as her imagination grows, she has taken to treating her teddy bear like her own baby and putting him to sleep before it’s time for her to get ready for bed. My mom taught Charlotte how to put her hands together and pray with Teddy just like we pray with her.

As many of you know, Charlotte isn’t speaking all that much yet. But she uses her hands and sounds to communicate with us. Since learning to put her hands together to pray, she has come to “ask” me to pray numerous times a day. She indicates she is done by proudly saying, “Mmmm-Hmmm” as her way of saying Amen. At random times throughout the day, my sweet girl will walk up to me with her hands clasped. I ask her if she wants to pray, and she nods an enthusiastic Yes. I put my hands together and pray whatever I can think about and she listens intently and copies my Amen. This usually does not end our routine, as Charlotte then wants to pray by herself. We have a moment of silence and I tell her when she’s done she can say Amen. And she does.

We go about this routine many times during the day. At least 10 times or more we are stopping whatever we are doing to talk to God. I have to tell you at the beginning of this routine, I was not all that jazzed. I’m talking stopping in the middle of dinner, stopping while doing dishes, stopping while we read a book. Anytime is a good time to pray apparently! I would tell Charlotte she could pray and I would wait until she said Amen but she was always verrrrrry insistent that I pray too.

However, now I look forward to this little stop in our day. I look forward to taking a minute and thanking God for our day and our food and each family member and the sun, etc etc. I spend a lot of time asking for peace and safety, for hope and sunshine. My daughter is always looking at me waiting for my words to God. And I am so grateful for her persistence. I am grateful that she knows what it means to pray. I am grateful that she quite literally makes me stop and pray. I am grateful for new chances to talk to God on her behalf. And as she turns two in a couple of days, I am grateful for her strong sense of faith already.

Thank you, Charlotte for taking our little routine of prayer before bed and extending it all into our day. Thank you for making me pray without ceasing. Thank you for making sure we take the time to thank God for it all. I am grateful for your tender toddler heart.


I am a community worker at The Dale ministries. The way that I can earn a living working at The Dale means I must fundraise for my entire salary. The cool thing is that means I can share my work with you in hopes that you will believe in it and want to walk alongside me prayerfully and financially. Please email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com to chat more about what this looks like. Giving can be done monthl

Looking Into The Face of Disappointment

Yesterday I was supposed to facilitate an art group at The Dale. It was going to be outside in the parking lot of our HQ, physically distanced, and safe. The goal was to give each participant their own supplies, and make leaves for a community wreath in which we would write on each leaf all the things we love about The Dale community. I had bought supplies and prepared the leaf stencils. The weather in the morning was looking up… or so I thought. About an hour before our group was meant to gather, I went outside and it was drizzling, damp, windy and cold. Now, The Dale is used to gathering here and there – outside and in. We are used to the elements and even have a tent for church outside. We are known for being good with going on the fly. However, strong wind and dampiness is not conducive to tracing and cutting delicate papers.

So I made the choice to cancel the group with the support to of my coworkers. I called folks that had wanted to show up and let them know. We decided to go on an outreach walk instead and give out hot chocolate (like I said, we are used being out in the elements). Suffice to say I was a bit disappointed. I had already felt like the day was “off” and this was just the icing on the cake. On top of that, by the time we finished outreach and I was preparing to go home, the sky cleared and the weather was lovely.

This is just how it goes sometimes. Things do not always go how we want. I know I don’t have to tell you that. Plans are going to change and days are going to feel off. Sometimes, that is hard to swallow. I was so excited to be facilitating this group. It had been a conversation Erinn and I have been having for a long time and it seemed logistically like this was the time to go for it. I was excited to get out of my comfort zone and “lead” a group – even a small one. I was excited to add this to the list of ways I have grown in my capacity, however small it may seem. And in one cloudy, windy, wet hour all those things went down the literal drain.

Now that I have had time to digest, this is not a big deal in the grand scheme of things. It’s okay that I was disappointed and frustrated that things did not go to plan. And it is okay to want to try again one day when the weather permits. There are much larger things on the scale of life disappointments that can take the cake in terms of “hard stuff”. But it was a good reminder of what I would have written on my leaf had we had the art group:

I love that The Dale teaches me resilience. I love that my community is good at pivoting. I love that there is room for grace and imperfection. I love that there is room to continue to try again. I love that there is strength in saying, “I’m upset about this, and that’s okay.” Things will not always work out. The Dale’s COVID schedule is a prime example of how important it is to flow with life’s tips and turns and roll with the punches. Our friends’ strength in what can be a series of hard life things is a lesson in deep love and grace and strength and trust. So even though my art group blip is just a little drop in the hat of disappointment, it’s important for me to remember that when things don’t work out it does not mean you FAILED (my worst fear). It means that you can look disappointment in the eyes and say, “I will try again.”

With peace,

Meg


I am a community worker at The Dale ministries. The way that I can earn a living working at The Dale means I must fundraise for my entire salary. The cool thing is that means I can share my work with you in hopes that you will believe in it and want to walk alongside me prayerfully and financially. Please email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com to chat more about what this looks like. Giving can be done monthly or one time via CanadaHelps, cheque, or PAR.

Receiving is Rooted in Love.

The Dale is built upon the foundation of love and relationship. That includes our relationship with Jesus, and each other as a community. It means we are free to find peace and hope together, grieve together, celebrate and mourn, eat and worship and build trust and belonging. One important aspect of building relationships is the act of giving AND receiving.

As a staff member of The Dale, one might say I give a lot. I give my time, my space, our resources as an organization, my friendship, prayer, peace, cooking skills, pet sitting… you get the idea. It is my joy to work at The Dale and give these things in love and hope in order to build relationships with many folks in our community and lean into friendship and care. I give very gladly and only for the glory of God who has given me much as well.

A sign in our community garden, in which we grow and share vegetables and herbs.

However, learning to receive has been a lesson I have leaned into during my time at The Dale, and one I am so glad for. This is an honest truth, one that some of you may feel as well: It can feel awkward for me to receive at times. Especially if the gift comes from the last coins in someone’s pocket, or the business that they work so hard for, or treasures that are few for them. I tend to feel guilty being the recipient of someone’s “stuff” when they may not have much to give. However that is not for me to know or decide. In additions I believe that gifts of the heart are not rooted in money or items. They may BE money or items, but they are rooted in love. And that is what we are learning to receive.

A granola bar given to me by a community member. She had one for each of us.

I have been given many coffees, a porcelain turtle figurine, movies, rings and clips, prayer over my child, momos (Tibetan dumplings), granola bars, secrets and tears, hands to hold, forgiveness and love. They all vary in size. But to me, they are worth the same: priceless. They may cost something to give me. But they are worth more than money can buy because they were given in love. Learning to receive love has been a lesson that my value is not in what I can give as a person or what I am worth to someone else. But that we all have love to give in many forms. It shows love to give to someone. And it shows love to receive gladly.

Tibetan Momos freshly made for us for lunch

Just like Jesus’ love for us in dying on the cross, it was not because of our value. God knew that we were sinners. And still he made the ultimate sacrifice in love.

It has been a blessing to give of myself. And it has been a blessing to receive. I am so grateful for the care that we share at The Dale that is all done through God’s work through us.

What a gift.

In peace, Meg.

I am a community worker at The Dale ministries. The way that I can earn a living working at The Dale means I must fundraise for my entire salary. The cool thing is that means I can share my work with you in hopes that you will believe in it and want to walk alongside me prayerfully and financially. Please email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com to chat more about what this looks like. Giving can be done monthly or one time via CanadaHelps, cheque, or PAR.

Growth Through the Cracks.

This morning, I was standing near the front of the line where we hand out our breakfast to-go every Thursday. Most of our friends had come and gone, receiving a meal and a small chat. Thursday mornings tend to be slow and sleepy, not as hectic as our Monday lunch. I was enjoying the cool breeze and waiting for any last minute folks to show up for the last couple meals we had left. I looked down and saw this grass growing out of a crack in the sidewalk and it struck me as beautiful. I did what I always do in that case and took a picture! It’s been on my mind all day, and I was trying to think of a blog to go alongside such a beautiful site to show all of you.

Sometimes, for me, the pressure to blog feels heavy. I would say most of the time it does not, and I can think of a story that stays with me and try to attach some thought to it that’s been on my mind. I get to share our beautiful life at The Dale with all of you and reflect on some thing that has happened. I love this part of my job.

But sometimes, the words just don’t come. That’s not to say that good things aren’t happening, because they are. And it’s not to say that I don’t have anything to share, because I do. But life has been heavier recently. The warm summer days are slowly fading, encampments in the area are being cleared, worry for our friends who sleep outside is higher as the nights get colder, Covid is still around so we remain outdoors, and people are tired. Community is beautiful, but sometimes there is a lot to worry about at once. Not to mention personal life things that can be heavy as well.

So while I reflected on this beautiful sight and tried to think of something hopeful, I could not. There is hope there, but there is heaviness too for many people. And it’s okay to feel both. I look at this picture and I see grass growing dutifully out of an odd place. I see hope and possibility. But I also see a brown leaf next to it. A sign of change, colder days, and hard times. Am I looking too deeply into some grass on the floor… probably! But it’s what I do. Thanks for being here when there are bold stories and reflective lessons. And thanks for being here for pictures of grass in the sidewalk and not much to say. I appreciate you.

One thing I may ask of you is for prayer over my friends Erinn, Dion, and Cate. If you’ve been here before you will recognize Erinn’s name. She is our pastor and director here at The Dale. You can find her blog here about the heaviness going on for their family right now. Erinn’s faith reminds me of this grass through the cracks – always looking towards the light. But there is heaviness now too and much change. I urge you to pray for The Oxford’s with us.

May peace find you today.

Meg

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this ministry I must fundraise for my salary. I invite you to partner with me prayerfully or financially! Please email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com to talk more about what this looks like!

When Life Hands You Bird Crap.

Last week we were doing outreach, as we usually do midweek. You can often find us walking or driving along Queen Street through Parkdale checking in with our friends outside. We bring water, snacks, toiletries, or sometimes just ourselves and look forward to connecting with folks in a setting outside the bounds of our drop-in or to-go meals. Last week was a week not that different from usual. We set off with stuff in hand and walked through the heat. We were nearing our last check-in spot on our usual route when the unfortunate happened.

I was standing outside a convenience store talking to our friend Robert when I felt and heard a splatter on my head and arm and the sidewalk beside me. It was not raining, so I knew instantly what the culprit was… a bird had relieved itself above me in such a way that I got the leftover splat from it’s bottom. It was green and wet and landed mostly on the sidewalk but also on me.

I was in shock. I just held my arm out and patted my head and looked at the floor as people came to my rescue. Jo and Olivia started checking me all over to see the damage. A stranger walked by and saw the events, handing me a napkin and assuring me of it’s cleanliness. Our friend Robert starting searching through his bag for another napkin. Olivia and Joanna took them and starting cleaning me off where the poo had reached me. Everyone assured me how lucky I was (if we were standing in a country where bird shart can be seen as lucky).All I could do was stand there in my shock and hope the colour would soon drain from my cheeks.

As unlucky as I felt, I still found myself thinking of a silver lining. I had community. People didn’t laugh and point and say “Sucks to be you!” They came quickly with napkins and hopeful words and patting of hair. It was a simple thing, but it reminded me of the bigger picture of this life of work I am blessed to be called to do. There is hope and napkins to be had in the village you surround yourself with. I am so grateful for my friends who helped that day, and for the way we could share the story on the rest of our walk and find laughter in the midst of a hot poop filled day.

This isn’t the first time I have been handed napkins in a tough situation. And surely it will not be the last. Whether it be napkins, a prayer, a coffee, a check in, a gift of service, love, thoughts, or a walk – I am glad to have my life enriched by this Dale community. What a beautiful gift.

With peace in days that may have a little extra poop. I hope you get handed a napkin drenched in love.


I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Parkdale. In order to do this ministry I must fundraise for my salary. I invite you to partner with me prayerfully or financially! Please email me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com to talk more about what this looks like!

Like a Sunflower.

The sunflower is my favourite flower of all time. I am wooed by the way they stand up tall and grow wide and big. They shine bright for all to see and add colour to the world. Everywhere I go I look for them, and smile when I find one. Last summer my mom gave me sunflower seeds to add to my garden. Not having the capacity to plant them with a young baby in a Pandemic, I left them be.

This year when getting my garden ready in the Spring, I found the box of seeds and decided to try to plant them even though I definitely had not stored them properly. My expectations were low, but I carefully and diligently planted them and monitored them. Slowly they grew and I moved them from a container into the earth. Out of a handful planted, only a few survived and I tended those four in my backyard, hoping for the best.

I’ll tell you what happened… they grew. Slowly but surely those sunflowers grew taller still, reaching up toward the sun. Since early Spring for what feels like forever I have watched and watered day by day, tending to their needs. But the mind is a funny thing. Even though I planted those seeds and watched them grow slowly I am comparing them to many others I see in my neighbourhood. They are in the sun, they are fertilized, they are watered… but they are slow to bloom. And I wonder what is wrong with my efforts.

But that’s the thing, right? Everyone and everything grows at it’s own pace. My sunflowers may not be as tall or as bright just yet but I have kept them alive. They are finally starting to bloom and I know in the heat a bright flower will soon emerge. They have taken their time, and I have gotten the chance to watch them all Summer long. What a beautiful gift.

My journey at The Dale is Like a Sunflower. I was planted from seed in perfect conditions, called by God into Parkdale to do this work. I was meant to grow here. I have been tended to and cared for by my team, our board, and my community. I have been slow to grow, I think, taking my time to learn each person, our routine, and my place here. But slowly and surely my beauty (which was there from the start) has emerged more and I am confident here now and in my place. I know I am growing because I can feel it, and I am proud to have watched my journey from the start. I have been fertilized by encouragements, experiences, and motherhood which has made me stronger. I am an emerging flower. It feels so sweet.

My place at The Dale is such a gift to me and I love being here so much. I love growing here and am so glad I was planted by God in Parkdale. Yesterday, I posted this on Facebook but I thought I would share it here again incase it was missed:

“If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that I have worked at The Dale Ministries for four years now. Around this corner of my Facebook world I can often be known to share my blogs which I use to share stories from my community and ministry. They have been shared by many of you, and read far and wide. Together we journey along at The Dale, each member bringing a gift. Whether you pray for me, read those blogs I write, share them with a friend, or think of me in my work – you bless this ministry abundantly. I know reading my blogs has caused many of you to get to know my work at The Dale as I share about our lives together in Parkdale. Recently, I have had the opportunity to increase my time spent working at The Dale. I have been able to increase my hours to 22/week (and my pay) to be able to provide for my family. Here at The Dale, we fundraise every cent we have. That also includes our salary! Many of you have come alongside me in my work and have given financially to this ministry in Parkdale. I know it is because you see that God is calling us together in community. I am grateful for that.With increased time at The Dale, it means increased fundraising efforts. I am here humbly now, asking for you to join my community of supporters. If you are financially able to walk alongside me in my work I invite you to reach out to me at meagan.gillard@gmail.com. I would love to have a conversation about what it would mean to partner with me. Most practically, this would look like a monthly contribution in order for my income to be stable over a longer period of time. I need to raise about $630/month in order to continue my increased time at The Dale every week! Simply, that would look like a large handful of people donating $20/month.There are many other ways you can support my work. By partnering with me in prayer over my work and family, by continuing to read my blogs, and by asking to receive my seasonal newsletter in which I keep my family of supporters more up to date on what life at The Dale as looked like for the past number of months.”

Thank you for reading these blogs and walking with me here at The Dale. Thank you for tending to my spirit and watching me grow. I think I am blooming in part because of YOU. I am grateful.

With much peace as we grow together,

Meg.

To Speak Boldly.

I wrote a blog a couple of years ago now titled, “to pray.” You can find it here! It was June 2017, just two months after I had started at The Dale. In it I described how I don’t feel adequate when I pray out loud, and was often insecure in doing so in fear of saying the wrong thing or not asking something in the right way (whatever that may look like). However I concluded in writing that prayers can sound so different, can evolve and they can be varying in shape, size, and length. God hears us in our words and in our silence.

I still believe that this is true – that God hears us no matter what our prayers sound like. In words and in tears we can find Him next to us listening. And if we stop to listen in return, we can find some wisdom or direction from His Spirit. What I am also learning as I walked deeper into my work at The Dale, is that God can call us to do all sorts of things that we think we are incapable of. That can be anything from my work here that I truly feel I was called to do (and was the first time I heard God’s voice so clearly). To finding our voice in prayer and in speech.

Recently, Joanna and I went to visit a community member. We see him pretty often at his home as his decreased mobility makes it hard to get out to the store for groceries. This time around, he just needed some encouragement. Finding himself lonely, down on himself, and struggling he asked that we pray together. A couple of years ago, this would have really scared me to do! I would have found myself nervous, waiting until the last minute to pray – if at all. I didn’t think my voice could or should be added to the praying session. However since coming back from maternity leave especially, I have come across some boldness from within. I was not anxious to pray, and instead I found myself speaking boldly and confidently, praying over our friend with honesty, hope, and gladness.

He thanked me for my prayer after we had finished, and said that it was really helpful. I quietly thanked him, and Jo and I went on our way chatting and giggling about something else. That night as I ran on my route, I got a text from Erinn: “I spoke with P on the phone after you went for your visit. He felt you were “very strong in the spirit” today :)”. I stopped running, not surprised by her message after hearing something similar from our friend earlier, but confused. Me? Strong in the spirit? After praying? Out loud? Huh?

It got me thinking, maybe I can be bold. Maybe I can find the words. Maybe prayer has been coming easier. Maybe affirmation from friends is the very thing you need to make a realization about God’s mercy in calling the meek to speak in boldness. These are things I did not think I would find within myself. But God thinks bigger than we ever could. His Grace covers all things – my meekness and my bold tongue. He calls us out AND gives us what we need. What a great gift.

God has called me to do something else. Every year in August Erinn leaves for the month to take a much needed holiday. We miss her soooo dearly. Her presence is a huge part of all of us. And we celebrate gladly that she can rest during this time. While she is away, Joanna usually leads church service. Erinn has always made the habit of inviting me to participate in any way I feel that I have the capacity to do. This usually means I do not participate (in the way of speaking, I mean)! If I didn’t think I could pray in front of people, how could I do the teaching time also? No way!

This August, God has taken my no way and quietly whispered, “try.” I said, “Are you sure about this?” And He said, “Yes.” And so on August 22nd I will be leading the teaching time during our small outdoor church gathering. I have feelings about it – they are still mixed up! I would appreciate your prayer as I prepare for this biiiiig step.

I am grateful for a God that knows. That walks alongside and listens. Whether they are tears or bold words, I am heard and I am beloved. I am called… and I am trying to answer. Only by His strength.

Peace to you this week.

I am a community worker at The Dale Ministries in Toronto! In order to continue doing this work I must fundraise my salary. If you would like to come alongside me financially and partner with me in supporting my work here at The Dale please leave me an email at meagan.gillard@gmail.com.