Last week, with our boys away on a missions trip in LA, Lyndon and I left behind the delightful spring temperatures of Kelowna and winged our way to chilly Montreal, where spring has not yet sprung. Not even a little bit. Clearly we didn’t go for the weather— we were in desperate need of a daughter fix. We hadn’t seen Charlotte and her new hubby Ryan since last August, and frigid temperatures seemed like a small price to pay when we needed to warm our hearts with some family time. But I hadn’t expected it to be arctic…
Actually, on our first day it was a balmy minus 1 degree, so we went out exploring their beautiful French-speaking neighbourhood…
And after a mammoth walk in the snow, we warmed our cold feet at the most adorable bistro ever called Café Le Petit Flore and enjoyed some French deliciousness. You can’t appreciate a warm, cozy atmosphere fully unless you’ve come in from the freezing cold, right?
Then on a particularly chilly, blizzard-y day, we decided a movie down in Old Montreal would be perfect. You have no idea how utterly thrilled I was to learn that the new Cinderella movie was playing, and this was a perfect opportunity to see it— with my little girl! Was it really 20 years ago that we watched the original movie numerous times daily as she toddled around, persuading my dad (the pastor) to play out the part of the cat (Lucifer), the wicked step-mother, and the ugly sister— all of which he did very convincingly, I might add. It was her/our favourite movie, and here we were again! As we ducked into the movie theatre from the sleet, my cold feet paled in comparison to my very, very warm heart…
It seemed that no matter where we were in the crazy, un-spring-like, harsh elements (as cold as minus 15 degrees) there was always somewhere snug where we could take refuge. I only nearly lost it once, when we had to navigate a particularly treacherous, slippery downhill street after dinner one night. The cutting wind literally took my breath away and my gloved hands were too frozen to retrieve the hat from my bag. I was sure I would die right there on the snow, or at the very least break a hip or something. The Metro station never looked so delightfully inviting. I survived the ordeal (so relieved nobody caught my pathetic-ness on camera) and I’m pretty sure I shivered for a good 12 hours after that. But the next day I was in for a treat. Talk about warmth…
We had been looking forward to meeting everyone at Charlotte and Ryan’s new, tiny church plant called Renaissance, and we were aware that sometimes there are only four of them who meet together, but they all believe God has a plan for them, and they all have willing hearts. This day just happened to be the one time a church youth group and the pastor’s parents were all up visiting from the US to do ministry in Montreal, so it was a goodly sized gathering!
The service was truly amazing. We shuffled in from the ridiculous cold and soon warmed up with hot coffee and singing— some of which was in French… how awesome? The preaching was right up there with the best we’ve ever heard. This young church-planting pastor preached his socks off with a passion, maturity, sincerity, and humility that blew us away. Better yet, he prepares and preaches like that every single week. Even when there are 4 of them. He has faith and fire and the biggest of hearts (also, he’s Texan!) They are reaching into the community and building relationships. The warmth this little group exudes is quite something in the harsh, cold city. But God does that— He sends hope to the hopeless, His Word is a beacon of light in the darkness, He is able to melt the most frozen of hearts:
“He spreads the snow like wool
and scatters the frost like ashes.
He hurls down his hail like pebbles.
Who can withstand his icy blast?
He sends his word and melts them;
he stirs up his breezes, and the waters flow.” (Psalm 147:16-18)
His breezes are being stirred alright. This was such an affirming, encouraging trip for us. We had our family fix and made some precious memories with the newlyweds, and were shown that there are people with very warm hearts in the coldest of cities.
And it caused me to consider… do I exude warmth and love to others— ALL others? Or do I have cold feet when it comes to reaching out? Hmmmm…
A (thawing out) work in progress,
Linking up with some fabulous encouragers! Check them out: