Dark Clouds & Silver Linings

Dark Clouds & Silver Linings

Transparent post alert: Gonna share some things in today’s post that I’m not sure if I should really share or not but to some degree, writing helps to get things out of my head and it’s a way of processing them.

This week, we’ve sat under the threat of some dark clouds. But we’ve also seen God’s hand at work… there have been silver linings.

Yellow Vests

Protests in France are now into their third week.

Proto Credit: Bernard Guay, AFP

Some of you have perhaps seen scenes of what Paris looked like last weekend. It was incredible… Incredibly sad.

Paris may be 300km away, but the impact is being felt everywhere. Last Sunday we went to every gas station in town, a 45 minute trek around a town of 35,000 people that usually takes 10 to cross. All stations were blockaded and we were unable to purchase gas (a problem when you’re at less than 1/4 of a tank).

Resolved to head home Liz prayed & praised.

As we came by our neighbourhood supermarket – the first place we’d checked earlier – protesters had opened the pumps. We were able to get gas – after prayer and praise.

A dark cloud and a silver lining.

An Impossible Bill

Wednesday night we got word that our Revenue Canada Income Tax returns had not taken into account, since January 2015, that the government no longer considered us residents of Canada (even “tax residents” – since we paid all income tax there). As a result, they required that we pay back everything that we’d received in Child Tax Credit benefits, for three kids, over three years. If you receive family allowance-type benefits, you’ll have an idea of what that represents.

Dark cloud
Honestly… after finding that out, we were numb.

How – when you’re doing your best to serve God, living on less than $40K/year for a family of 5, and being upright to the best of our knowledge, in all aspects of income tax reporting… how do you wind up having to pay back that kind of money?

… but there were 2 silver linings:

  • Firstly, we found this out just after coming back from prayer (talk about kicking the wind out of a good prayer time) … but upon reflection… God had given us a psalm during that prayer meeting, (Psalm 13) right before we’d need it.

How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I take counsel in my soul and have sorrow in my heart all the day?
Consider and answer me, O Lord my God; light up my eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death,
lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed over him,” lest my foes rejoice because I am shaken.
But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.

  • Secondly, we still had just enough left from the sale of our house, in 2014, to pay this bill. (It had been locked away in an investment, but one that carried no penalty for getting it out – silver lining within a silver lining)

In the end, we come away having without being indebted. But that money would’ve been a down-payment on a house upon our eventual return to Canada. Now, when we go back, we start from zero. Zero.

Nonetheless… God gave us a psalm before we’d need it.

A Broken Wrist

The next morning (Thursday), while I was teaching in Poitiers, Timo was at school and broke his wrist during gym class.  – The. Next. Morning. (after the night before).

Our neighbours drove Liz to the school and from there Liz & Timo walked to the Dr’s office and then to the clinic where they x-rayed him and prepared him for surgery the next day. This was him yesterday. Oh by the way, he broke his left wrist and he’s left-handed.

A Dark Cloud
…but God had given us a psalm the night before:

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

Fortunately, aside from resetting Timo’s wrist, Friday was without incident.

Silver Linings

It may seem unrelated… but this week, our 82 year-old neighbour caught my attention and told me that I had edible mushrooms growing in my lawn. Not ones that were in any way risky to eat.

I’d never, in my life, eaten mushrooms that didn’t come from the supermarket because they were just always considered too risky. But here we had several patches of them and in one fell swoop, they became part of an omelet.

It’s just a small thing, but it was a reminder that the same faithful God who sent quail to Israel in the desert, could feed us as well.

Another silver lining came in the form of friends from Texas who contacted us about wanting to “do a little something extra for our family for Christmas.” These were friends that we’d not seen in several years, but the Lord had put us on their hearts.

God’t timing, though we really shouldn’t be surprised, never ceases to amaze.

Questions

I would be lying if I said that the thought of throwing up our arms and finally giving in didn’t cross our minds this week. (but then who wants to go back to a country that just sent you a bill like that?) 🙂

Oh that thought came… but it went away almost as quickly. Our ability to rely on our own strength continues to be stripped away little by little.

God has brought us to this place, given us a few people who are hungry for him, allowed us to fit into the community and the kids into their schools. He didn’t bring us this far to leave us and besides… He had given us a psalm right before we’d need it.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”

We need Financial Partners

If you are a pastor or part of church leadership and would like to bring your church along-side us financially. You would be a huge blessing to our ability to continue working here. Currently, we could not remain in France solely based on the number of monthly financial partners – this is why I’m teaching English.
Find out how partner with us here.

Other ways to support us:

  • Etsy: I have some note cards available there featuring photos I’ve taken here in France.
  • Amazon:  I have two books on Paris, one on Short-Term Missions and one on McKee’s Mills New Brunswick. You can support us by purchasing one for yourself, for a friend or just by helping spread the word.

NOTE: Starting NEXT SATURDAY I have special pre-Christmas promo pricing on the two Paris eBooks on Amazon.com. Even helping to spread the word on this promo week would be greatly appreciated.

Paris Christmas Book Promo



This is the honest, unfiltered version of our week.

I hope it’s OK to be this transparent. Missionaries often feel compelled to privilege “inspiration” over “honesty” when communicating to folks back home… “People give to a vision… so always project faith” we’re often told.

Sometimes though, faith is choosing to walking forward, step by small step, under dark storm clouds (possibly in the rain), keeping your eyes open for the silver lining that you know will appear… because in the Lord, there always is one.

But I have trusted in your steadfast love; my heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, because he has dealt bountifully with me.”
Psalm 13.5-6

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