Friday, May 18, 2018


A couple weeks ago I was asked to give a presentation on "What Jane Does" Last week I agreed to be interviewed during devos, so co-workers would know, "Who Jane Is".

The questions:
1. Tell us about your family, (parents, siblings, where you were born, and onwards).
2. Tell us about your faith journey; when did you become a Christian?
3. How did you end up working at Focus?


I was born in Vancouver to a former May Queen and a James Dean wannabe. My dad was an immigrant, taking the long road from Russia; he and his mom, aunts, siblings and cousins all left their village in the Ukraine shortly after all the men were executed. My dad was a toddler when they started walking. After a few stops along the way, my dad arrived in Vancouver at age 17, with 3 years of formal education, a basic understanding of the how to communicate in English, and a strong desire to be a success. He learned about the North American culture by going to the movies. James Dean was his hero.

His first Sunday in Vancouver he went to the only Mennonite church in the city. He sat in the back pew with his collar turned up and his attitude turned on. My mom, 13, angellic with blonde curly hair, sat a few rows in front of him and flirted.  He told his buddy, “I am going to marry her.” Six years later he did.

They were Christians. They were Mennonite. They were determined not to look like they were. She had a thing for mini skirts, white thigh high go go boots, big hair, and false eyelashes. He wore whatever the guys weren’t; if ties were in, he'd have on a turtleneck. He had shaggy, permed hair, t-shirts ripped open at the chest,  and always a huge smile.

I was their first child. We lived in my grandma’s basement, in her home off Fraser Street, with all the other Mennonites. My first language was low german. By the time my brother and sister were born, we’d moved into our own house and spoke English.

My parents were very liberal.
I rebelled as a teen by being conservative. And academic. And introverted.

In grade 10, the cute guy in my Science class asked me to be his date at the Christmas dance. My parents urged me to go saying, “Just because you go on one date with the guy doesn’t mean you have to marry him.”
Six years later, I married him.

Fifteen years and three sons later, he left. 

Since then I've been raising my kids, working, walking the seawall, travelling with friends, taking the odd pic now n then ... 

I became a Christian when I was 5. I didn’t want to go to hell. 

Jesus wasn’t necessarily my friend; he was just the only way I could escape an eternity of being burnt alive. Most of my big decisions in life are made with my head, not my heart, so my head was telling me this was the right thing to do.

I was baptized at 16, taught Sunday School, ran the Pioneer Girl’s program, helped with our church’s events. 

After we were married we joined a new church plant, in Fraser Heights and worked in whatever capacity they needed in order to get the church off the ground. 

I was a Christian like I was blonde. It's just who I was. Who I'd always been. 

Then Mark left.
And the church I moved closer to was shutting down, and my friends were all scattering to other communities, and my dad had a heart attack, and the store that my mom and I owned, Billie’s Country, was up for sale and one evening in the fall of 2000, it was just me and God. I had no husband, my strong dad was fighting for his life, waiting for bypass surgery...
Sure, it’s easy to be a believer when everything is going good. BUT WHAT ABOUT NOW?

So on that day, my faith became personal. In my head nothing made sense. So I made the decision to have a relationship with the Almighty, not because I needed a Get Out of Hell card for when I died, but for a Help Me Live This Life Now, card. I handed over all the bits of my broken heart, and a bag of dreams that would never come true, and said, OK. It’s all a blank canvas, my life is yours. Please be gentle with me. I’m a little fragile.

He held my hand and took me to Murrayville where I bought a home and filled it with memories. We joined another church plant, made more friends, I got a part time job at Arrow, and spent our summers at the lake and going to Creationfest. The golden years of parenting. Haha. 

In the fall of 2007, all on the same weekend, I found out that drugs had made their way into my home, the church voted to close down, my mom’s bowel burst, and my dad’s brain broke. And I said to God. I CANNOT DO THIS BY MYSELF. Someone had to stay with my dad fulltime. My mom was in the hospital on and off for weeks. My kids were on a free fall, taking advantage of my inability to be everywhere at once. And my church? Closed two weeks later. 

I leaned on God every second of every day begging God to protect my boys from the temptations they were struggling with. And to give me wisdom in my parenting. And to heal my dad and mom, and give me strength to help then adjust. More than ever I knew that my faith was on display here. My kids needed to see their weak mom made strong because of Christ in her.

For the first 38 years of my life, I never knew I needed a savior. Life was easy and good. 
Haha Since then? 
I need Him every single day.

In the Spring of 2012, it was becoming increasingly apparent that my days at Arrow were numbered,. When I was hired, we were a team of 12. We were now down to 4, so I wasn’t surprised when they told me I was going to be laid off. I was a little concerned about being an aging senior citizen and unemployed. But chose to trust that God had a good plan for me. 

That same week, my dad had a severe, life-ending stroke. We said our goodbyes, planned his funeral, sat at his hospital bedside for weeks until it became obvious he had no intention of dying. Because he was incapable of feeding himself, walking, going to the bathroom, we had to find a care home for him. Now not only was his brain broken but his big strong body was too. He cried and waled and screamed to be able to go home. He was scared and lonely and didn’t understand anything and my sister would spend the mornings with him, my mom the afternoons, and I would go every evening for 4 hours. I’d cry on the drive over, be strong and happy and positive while I was there, and cry all the way home. I took a night off in June to attend Drew’s graduation ceremony. While we were at CLA and I was watching him do a standing back flip off the stage in his cap and gown, someone was breaking into my house. They ransacked it, stole my laptop which hadn’t been backed up, (so three years worth of photos and journaling were taken), plus they took all my jewellery. I put it away, keeping it for my boys, as it was from their dad… but it was all taken. The next day at noon, they came back, because they’d taken my spare set of keys, and stole my truck from my driveway while I was in the house. Drew moved out that night. He was 17 and he never lived with me again. He just didn’t feel safe.

I was now an unemployed, empty nester who had just been robbed of the only valuables that had meaning for her, with a dad who was crying and begging and not understanding his life. Because Drew moved out, I stopped getting child support, because I was unemployed, I wasn’t getting a pay cheque. I was receiving EI, but had been randomly chosen to be audited. Because I couldn’t prove I had been looking (all evidence was on my laptop) and because I wouldn’t accept the part time minimum wage jobs they felt I was qualified for, they discontinued my payments. I put my house up for sale the same weekend that Clint’s buddy was borrowing  our lake cabin to have a wedding. Clint called to let me know, on the Friday night that the septic system had backed up and overflowed out the basement and there was solid waste matter floating all over the yard. Could I get that cleaned up? And no one brought any food for the rehearsal dinner, could I stop at Costco and get food for 50 in the next hour or so? And I turned to God and said, YOU BETTER BE BIGGER THAN THIS. BECAUSE I’M ABOUT AT THE END OF WHAT I CAN HANDLE.  

A few weeks later I got a call from someone at EI to follow up and that person asked a few questions about my situation then said, “You’ve had a tough go of it, haven’t you? I’ll get you started back up today. You’ll get retro pay and you’re covered until Nov 26.”

I kept applying for jobs, being interviewed, and being the first runner up in a number of situations. Focus was one of those jobs I applied for. As you know our interview process is very thorough, and we don’t hire quickly, so at the beginning of November I said to God, “OK. I’m doing my best. My absolute best. I’m getting an A in applying for jobs. The deadline is Nov 26. IF I don’t have a fulltime job offer by then, I’m going to assume you have other plans for me. Like, do you want me to work PART TIME and care for my dad and mom those other hours? Do you want me to become a missionary? OK, then. Please not India. Do you have a husband in mind for me? And it would be best that I not be employed because he’s super rich and wants to travel? OK. Ima gonna trust you. But I need to know by Nov 26.

On Nov 26, I got a call from Focus offering me this job. 


End of interview. 

I hope I'm done doing presentations and talking about myself at work. Twice in one month is exhausting I tell ya.

Three things I'm thankful for:

1. Hearing OTHER people's stories. Inspiring. Interesting. 
2. Old pics. (Wish I wouldn't keep losing them. Everytime I get a new laptop I lose about a million files.)
3. The way God answers prayer in such a way that you absolutely know its from Him. 


1 comment:

Susan said...

Thank you ever so much for this post. It is such an encouragement as we face a most unexpected job loss at a time when my husband is unlikely to be hired again due to his age. Reading your post has reminded us of all the things God has done for us in the past...often at the last minute like you have experienced...but he has always done something good and gotten us through. We needed that reminder and I thank you for being the vehicle for setting us back on the right spiritual track for the future. Blessings of peace be yours.