Category Archives: Restore

Our First Bed & Breakfast Guest

I have always dreamed of having a Bed and Breakfast. In 2019 that dream slowly started to come to fruition.  We bought the house next door and have begun the work of renovating it so it is suitable for short term rentals, but we not yet ready to open the doors of the Urban Cottage.

Shortly after we purchased the Urban Cottage, one Saturday morning, I woke up and went to the kitchen to make coffee. I looked out the window as I usually do and noticed that I had forgotten to take the hammock in the night before.  I was a bit alarmed when it looked like there was stuff in it, but figured Jason was pulling a prank on me.  I went to check with him and he said he hadn’t done anything like that. I returned to the kitchen and started knocking on the window.  The full hammock began to move, but I saw no-one. My adrenaline kicked in and immediately my thoughts went to our travel trailer. J went outside via the front of the yard and saw that the door had been tampered with and at least one lock was broken.  Not knowing if someone was inside, or how many people may be inside, and what sort of state they were in, J called 911.  Soon an unmarked car arrived and the RCMP officer called for back-up. They checked the trailer and the trespasser had not been able to break the second lock on the trailer.  They made their way to the hammock and tried to rouse the trespasser.  I he wouldn’t move until he was dumped out and was then cuffed. My heart was racing. I kept telling myself that there is no danger, but the PTSD that I have battled against for several years, had my body so confused. Fight or flight was in high gear and I just kept telling myself that we are all okay and there is no danger.  Our bodies continually amaze me in how they work (or don’t work properly).

When I saw the man who had trespassed, attempted to break and enter, and shaken our little world, I saw a little boy and all I wanted to do was weep.  What had happened to him, that got him to this point? Where was his family? Where was his support system?  He didn’t put up a fight, he embarrassingly hung his head low, trying to get his hood over his head to hide his shame. The officer wouldn’t let him. She kept pulling his hood back down. Then it hit me. He had a similar build as J…the same build I have always imagined Mikail would grow into one day.  His hair and beard were the same colour as Mikail’s with the same hints of red shimmering in the early morning sun.  This could have been our little boy someday.  This IS someone’s little boy.  Where was his Mama? Is she as lost as her son, or is she weeping at home, waiting for her prodigal to return? The tears came and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to control myself but knew I needed to, for Olivia who was also awake and feeling very unsure about what was going on.  What a broken world we live in.

Of course, there is no proof that this man attempted to break into our trailer. Everything is circumstantial. He will get fined for trespassing but beyond that, we aren’t hopeful that any charges will stick. I don’t even know if the drug paraphernalia found in the hammock with him, can make any drug charges stick. I doubt it. Circumstantial.  I just hope that whatever happens to him, he will find the road to healing, because that little boy that I saw in that grown man’s body was so broken.

Olivia asked why he chose our yard and our things? And why did Adam and Eve have to sin? If they hadn’t, then this man wouldn’t have felt like he needed to take ‘bad medicine’ and sleep in our yard. Pretty good theology for a 7 year old. As to why he chose our yard? I don’t know, but perhaps it’s simply so that there would be at least three people praying for him and his freedom from the slavery of addiction; praying that he would find hope in Jesus and turn his life around.

It struck me how desensitised the RCMP officer was when speaking of this man and his choices. How angry he was at the drug situation in our city. My heart has been broken for the lost in our city in a whole new way ever since, and I don’t quite know what to make of it or what to do about it. What would truly make a difference? I don’t have an answer, besides Jesus come quickly.

I do know that this was not quite how I dreamed our first “Bed and Breakfast” experience would be.  Strange as it may be, J and I were both thankful that the hammock was outside, providing a place for him to sleep. Perhaps we should have offered him breakfast. 😉

“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” Matthew 9:36

One Little Word 2021

Every year God seems to place “one little word” on my heart to focus on for the year. Last year my word was ‘bold’–as in ‘be bold and fear less’. The perfect word for a pandemic year. It always pushed me to keep going because God has it all taken care of. No need to fear.

Every year I secretly hope it will be a year where we can just skip the whole ‘one little word’ thing all together. hahaha No matter what the word lands up being, it always, always challenges me to grow, helps guide me and become a better version of myself as God refines me and shapes me to become more and more the person He desires me to be.

For 2021 the word ‘restore’ kept coming to mind and the more I tried to put it out of my mind…because truthfully it’s a BIG word…the more it stuck and the more it became evident that God’s word for me is ‘restore’. At first I looked at this word negatively because restoration is a lot of work and it is not easy work–believe me, we’ve been restoring our house for almost 3 years and there are many more years to go. I have been beyond exhausted for at least seven years and the idea of adding more restoration projects into my life makes me want to go for a 7 year nap. Then I got to thinking, yes, it takes a lot work and is hard, but the end result in any restoration project we have done is always so worth it, so if God is calling me to a year of personal restoration, it may be exhausting and hard work, but the end result will be 100% worth it.

During the month of December, God kept bringing me back to Psalm 51 through the old Keith Green song we sang years ago. It has been stuck in my mind for weeks:

Create in me a clean heart, O God
And renew a right spirit within me
Create in me a clean heart, O God
And renew a right spirit within me
Cast me not away from your presence, O Lord
And take not your Holy Spirit from me
Restore unto me, the joy of your salvation
And renew a right spirit within me

As I was thinking about why God would place the word restore on my heart, I reflected on the challenges the past few years have been. How choosing joy has becoming increasingly difficult. Psalms 51:12 talks about the restoration of joy and the changing of a reluctant spirit to one that is willing. My joy? It’s been gone. My spirit? It’s been unwilling. I love the TPT version which says:

Let my passion for life be restored, tasting joy in every breakthrough you bring to me. Hold me close to you with a willing spirit that obeys whatever you say.

When I think of the word ‘restore’ and think beyond the hard work and the heartache that can come with it, there are also positive associations: restore a house, restore a classic car, restore a painting, restore a relationship, restore peace, restore joy, restore hope…the end results are always worth it.

When I think of each of our lives, there is so much that can be restored in each of our lives: inner restoration, marriage restoration, health restoration, career restoration, financial restoration, and the list goes on. The more I think about it, the more exciting a year of restoration can be.

So, here’s to 2021: the year of restoration, of breakthrough, and reclaiming abundant life that God has already given, but I often forget to receive.