I have an unwavering, overwhelming, constant need to write. I’ve had it since before I can remember. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher entered a paper I wrote in a writing contest that I ended up winning. From that point forward, I was […]
It’s something I’ve been piecing together for many months now about the state of my own mental and spiritual health (SO not a fixed state), and about the way I’ve been living. And it was something so outside of me that I will attempt to […]
I had just told myself university would not be the time for a boy.
But God knew differently.
I noticed Johnny Fulford the moment I sat down in my Tuesday afternoon “Public Faith and Theology” class. He was smilely, shy-looking, and downright handsome. When the professor asked us students to share our names, and a little bit about ourselves, I knew his name, “Johnny,” would stick in my mind.
Every Tuesday afternoon that first semester of my freshman year in university, I was encouraged and excited by what Johnny had to say on the topic of Christianity, much of which related to God’s almighty power and sufficient grace. In a place fraught with haughty opinions and lacking semblance of truth, Johnny only spoke when absolutely necessary, and without drawing attention to himself… except for, perhaps, my attention.
I also caught him nodding along with some of the points I would bring up, while I tried not to care. After all, I didn’t want to get caught up in a boy.
But God had other plans.
I always hoped Johnny might talk to me after class. Instead, when we had a field trip to Queen’s Park in Toronto, and I asked a classmate who would be driving there if we could carpool, I saw Johnny approach the same classmate to ask for a ride a few minutes after I did.
And the car ride was the beginning I’ll never forget.
Johnny and I must have spent more time getting to know each other than I realized, because, when we got to Queen’s Park, a fellow classmate who had also been in the car asked me, “So, are you and Johnny a thing?”
At Queen’s Park, we watched a political debate, and then had the opportunity to ask the politicians questions about their faith. I remember Johnny asking questions that didn’t spark my curiousity about Johnny, but drew me to prayer and to seek God’s will. I wasn’t distracted by him, but pressed forward to focus on God’s heart for these politicians, and our classmates.
It is for that reason that, when Johnny asked me if he could take me for coffee after the field trip, I didn’t say, “I’m actually not dating right now,” I said, “Yes.”
I would later learn that Johnny had also recently wondered if he was called to be single all his life. He had also recently turned down a few other potential relationships. And he had also felt drawn to the way Jesus was working in me.
The coffee date led to more dates. The couple months before Johnny asked me to be his girlfriend were spent awing in Jesus Christ and not in each other. And that is why I love Johnny second. Jesus Himself has called us to, and built up, the foundation on which our relationship stands.
Flash forward three years. Johnny and I are both almost done university… but in different provinces.
When Johnny and I met, he already knew that the school we both attended in Waterloo, ON was not his forever school. Ten months into our relationship, he transferred to Providence University in Otterburne, MB, as it is a Christian university where he could play varsity soccer in the States.
So, much of our relationship has been long distance, though we see each other four months of the summer, over Christmas, and have surprise visited each other, too.
This December 14th, 2018, Johnny returned home from Winnipeg for Christmas, and we reunited emotionally and excitably as always. Johnny’s birthday was the following day, and his sister-in-law had texted me a few days before, having bought us tickets to the Toronto Symphony, and recommending a dinner spot as a birthday gift to Johnny for both of us.
That next day, I was so focused on making Johnny’s 23rd birthday special. After giving him his birthday gift, which included 23 photos of us with 23 things I love about him, Johnny suggested we dress up fancy for the symphony.
We drove to Toronto, talking endlessly, and were so pleasantly surprised by the beautiful atmosphere of the dinner spot that Johnny’s sister-in-law recommended, Bar Reyna. We enjoyed delicious food in one of my favourite settings of all times, and each other’s company, before deciding to walk half an hour to the symphony rather than drive over.
Being pretty clueless with directions, I didn’t realize we were passing Queen’s Park until we were standing right outside it. “Wow, is this Parliament?” I asked. There wasn’t a soul around, and it was dark outside, lit only by tinselly Christmas lights adorning the trees. “Yeah,” Johnny smiled. “I’m surprised you only just noticed.”
I immediately started reminiscing on that field trip three years ago. “I knew I was drawn to you, not because of who you were, but because of who Jesus was in you,” I said. “I knew I believed in Him the same way you did. I just had never before had the vocabulary for it.”
Johnny and I were both tearing up. I was silently praising and thanking God.
And it wasn’t until he stopped me, right out front of Queen’s Park, that I had a single CLUE that he was about to ask me a very important question. “I have a confession,” he said.
My heart went into my throat in excitement, emotion, and joy.
“Sarah didn’t plan this day, I did. All to bring you here, where we first met. To have the hopes of having the best birthday gift in the world.”
The rest of what he said was a blur. I was in the midst of the greatest surprise of my life.
When he got down on one knee and said, “Cassandra Andrea Wolfe, will you be my wife?” I nodded vehemently before pulling him up and kissing him.
Finally, Johnny pointed to the bushes far off, where my sister, Krystal, was taking photos. Johnny had paid for her trip down to capture the moment.
This semester, I have been fortunate enough to take Biblical Greek with one of the greatest professors I have ever had. The following is part of my final assignment for this class, and I wanted to share it here, because I am truly blown away […]
Dear Maddie, You’ve heard it before. But when I met you, literally from the moment I saw you, I remember thinking, consciously, “I want to be that girl’s friend.” Little did I know, less than a week later, I would share more of my soul […]
Does winter get anyone else down in the dumps?
I’m not trying to blame my attitude on the cold, because I know that owning my attitude is always my responsibility. But man… I really, really hate the cold.
It is one sensation I can think of that makes me truly ANGRY.
It makes every activity more difficult. Like today, thinking about leaving the house for the different things on my agenda, from a meeting at my pastors’ house with their kids, which is one my favourite parts of my week, to a coffee and study date with beautiful Mary, to shopping, all things I love and have a generally positive attitude about– the cold weather can literally be enough to almost keep me inside.
Always “almost”… it’s never actually kept me inside, that I can recall.
But the severity of my disliking toward cold weather makes me wonder why we have it in the first place.
And then it makes me reflect why we have much bigger, truly problematic situations present in the world, hardships and fighting and poverty and greed.
More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Now, I am a baby and out of line to liken dealing with the cold as a very privileged Western person as “suffering.” But my internal and external struggles with it reminded me of the promise of this verse in Romans. Suffering, hardships, difficult times, and struggles… they are part of the Gospel. They themselves produce endurance, which produces character, which produces hope in God’s love, NO MATTER WHAT.
So, to my friend struggling… with ANYTHING…
God knows you. Inside and out. And He hears your silent prayer. Bring it to Him, for real, and entrust it to Him. Know that He has deeper plans for every trial, and that an attitude that says, “This hardship will produce endurance, which will produce character, which will produce hope in the ONE THING that will never fail” is one God calls you to.
Don’t judge me, but I’m still gonna go into the cold with an attitude that says that God is gonna use the chill in my bones to produce endurance, character, and hope… and honestly, He does. He uses everything.
Today’s post is all about double majoring. Why did I decide to complete my undergrad as a double Major? What are the pros and cons of this? Who I recommend it to? My application story: I cannot recall ever being stressed about post-secondary, having doubts, […]
Welcome to the blog, and welcome to the fourth instalment of my research for the Bible Study I am launching in March 2019! I am so excited to be sharing the official graphic for the study, credited to my wonderful and compassion friend, Sam Stuckless. […]
Money, Money, Money: How I Went From Being a Self-Serving “Hyper-Saver” to Finding Balance with my Finances
It’s one of those things I was always taught not to talk about. I learned in childhood not to disclose how much of it I had, not to talk about my savings– and to save as much as possible.
Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.
These two proverbs are I think important when considering the use of money and, actually, the importance of saving it and “being smart” with it.
However, one could easily go to far with this, and save money with only his/herself and his own life in mind.
1 Timothy 6:10
The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
When I was in this hyper-saving, can’t-spend-a-penny-outside-my-budget mindset, I thought I was pretty awesome. I thought the amount I had in my savings was a virtuous thing. I thought I was better off than someone who spent a ton of money. Now, I didn’t think these things consciously, but they were definitely beliefs in my subconscious.
Now, reflecting on what I actually believe to be true, and praying about it, I have learned a few things.
Budgeting is important, but it’s not everything. As those proverbs state, wisdom with money is certainly important, because I don’t want to spend it all on myself. A lack of a plan with money is not what I’m called to. But an inability to go out with a friend for coffee who is having a really hard time because I “went over my coffee” budget is not necessary. If that friend really wants Starbucks, I can afford a couple dollars for a coffee– and even think about treating her of course! If this becomes excessive, I may think about inviting that friend for at-home coffee instead, but it doesn’t need to be so wound up in “my budget.” That is where I’m convinced of my conviction that it becomes selfless saving.
It is always better to give than to receive. Jesus Himself says this. And a giver is who Jesus is. And since really recognizing this is as Truth, this importance of giving– I’ve experienced such freedom with money.
Obviously, I’m not going to give all of my money away! Part of the calling I have with money in the society we live is to look after myself, paying bills, and even understanding when I’m meant to bless myself with that money. But knowing that I am blessing myself because I’m honouring God when I bless others with money– also recognizing the privilege it is, but that it’s not everything, is man-made, and temporary– is important.
All things belong to God– including “my” money. It isn’t really mine if everything under Heaven is God’s.
There is a common saying along the lines of “you earned it!” But I would urge you to think critically about everything you hear. As a Christian, I think about this in light of Scripture. My life story, actually, is that I am undeserving of any of the blessings graciously bestowed upon me– it is entirely because of Jesus that I have this life. This is my core belief. And so, when I work, and receive money for that work, I didn’t “earn” it or deserve it as much as I was given it as part of duty: working for the glory of God. And so, I come under Him with my money.
I had an experience in church a few months ago in which I heard God’s voice so clearly.
I don’t experience His audible voice very often, but He was incredibly clear to me about an amount of money I had in my bag that I was called to give to the church that day.
I was tight for money for the month based on the arbitrary budget I had in my head, and going over that budget would usually cause me stress.
Rather, I was overcome by Jesus’ love and very easily gave that money up. I have already watched Him tangibly bless and multiply it, as He promises to.
Since then, I have learned that it’s ok for me to like budgeting. It’s actually a blessing that I enjoy saving. But the Holy Spirit will always speak about generosity, and when He does, it’s always for all good that I listen.
There is also always room, and in Christ, I am literally, actually, truly free from the law. I have learned my fair share about the destruction strict rules can wreak on a person.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Above all, I pray my treasure is in Jesus Christ, and that my heart, then, is fixed on serving Him.
Happy Monday friends! Today, I am so excited to share some of the prayer and research I’ve been up to in preparing for the interactive Bible Study I’m releasing in March 2019. The research Im releasing will be extensive in its range of sources, all […]