Chapel – Cheryl Haughton 

Thank you very much. Thank you for that lovely introduction, Dr. Genie, I wasn't expecting to hear some of the things you said. But thank you.

Good afternoon, everyone. It's, um, it's really great to be here. And I want to thank Tyndale University for inviting me here today. And most importantly, for trusting me with this platform. It's truly an honour, and a privilege. When Dr. Genie invited me to speak here today, I knew instinctively what the Lord wanted me to share with you. And as she mentioned, I've never ever spoken about it publicly, because it's very, very personal, very, very private. So, as I stand before you here, I just want to empty myself. I just want to invite the Holy Spirit, I just want to yield to the Holy Spirit, and may His will be done.

42 years ago, I met my husband. We were teenagers at the cusp of adulthood. And we met in college. 10 years later, we got married, we had two beautiful sons, and we created a Christ centred family. On January 27 2019, one snowy morning, with a single cough, he was gone. Vapour in the wind, the Bible tells us, here today and gone tomorrow. But who knows that God really prepares us for the battle. And that brings me, I want to share with you three nuggets, three discoveries, three promises that I clung to, and still cling to today, as I walked this journey, and the first one I mentioned, God prepares you for the battle, if you would allow Him.

You see my husband and myself, we're always having discussions around current affairs, from a biblical perspective. And one of the things we were talking about in the 12 months or so leading up to his passing, was about death. And how we as Christians need to mourn and view death. And I remember thinking, Yes, Lord, because his mom was in her 90s. And he was very, very, very close to his mother. And I thought this was the Lord preparing him for this. Little did I know, that the Lord was preparing to me, for me, prepared me for this, because I will look back on those conversations, and they will mean, they would minister to me, and they would help guide me. And one of the conversations I remember, one of the quotes that we always talked about, was from the great evangelist Billy Graham, I don't know how many of you are familiar with this quote. But, years before he passed away, Billy Graham said, "One day, you will hear and you would read that Billy Graham is dead. Don't you believe a word. I will be more alive than I am today. I'll be in the presence of God. I've just changed my address."

What a difference perspective makes. What a difference when you're a be able to apply the Word of God. You see, it's not a matter of if, it's when you will be squeezed, because we live in a fallen world. So challenges you're going to encounter. So what happens when you're squeezed? You can't get apple juice from an orange. If you squeeze an orange, you're gonna get orange juice. So it's what's in you, that's poured out when you're squeezed. And I remember crumbling to the floor of the emergency room, when the doctor said to me, sorry, he didn't make it. I crumbled. My world was rocked, devastated. And you know, there's a little room that they put you in, in the hospital, and my family and my pastor, it was a snowy morning they came in. And I remember looking at everyone and saying to them, now we're going to have to walk the faith that we talk. I was in a lot of shock. I have no idea where those words came from. But I said that, and when we got home, because I didn't want to go anywhere. I wanted to go back home. My sister said to me, not my sister, my son said to me, Mom, what are we going to do now? And I said, we're going to keep trusting the Lord. Because I could just hear those this discussions that we would have and I could just hear my husband's voice and his Jamaican parlance. "Yeah, man, you know, we can't mourn like everyone does", I could just hear that. And that preparation, that I didn't know what was taking place, have carried me through.

And number two that I want to share with you, is that find God in every single moment, because He's right there with you. Whether it's a little moment, a big moment, whether you're in the valley or on the mountaintop, He's there, look for him and find him. I remember, I'll always be, I work downtown Toronto, I live in Peel, so I take the GO train, and I'll be running down the stairs. And my husband would shout to me, Cheryl, don't forget your your lunch. I'm running down the stairs, now my son shot to me, Mom, don't forget your lunch. And I go "Thank You, Jesus, thank You that I had a husband, who showed my sons how to treat a woman, how to treat a female with love and respect". So I learned to find God, I went through the Bible, and I found every scripture that spoke about widows. And you know, when someone passes, you go through the estate planning and so forth, and I would look at anyone who dared to try to take advantage of me. And I would say to them, "God is a defender of widows." I owned it, I owned it. And he became my God, not the God of Abraham, not the God of Moses, not the God of some great songwriter. But Cheryl's God. Once He became Cheryl's God, I related to Him differently. I experienced Him differently. I trusted Him. And I brought everything, I literally talk to God, like I'm talking to a friend. I know Him intimately.

And it brings me to point number three that I want to share with you. And it's that when you're going through life challenges, it's very easy to be self centred, rather than God focused or God centred. And when you become self centred, that's when it's so easy for you to be depressed. That's when it becomes so easy for you to be in self pity. And I learned not to do that. Romans 8:28 was one of the key verses for me. "God will make everything work for good for those who love Him, according to his purpose to His glory." And I literally dissected that verse. So I never asked God, "Why?" I asked God "What for? What is the good that you will make come out of this? What is the purpose you're calling me to? Because I love you. What is the purpose for your glory?:" And I learned that it wasn't about me. I learned that it was about God. And I had to find that purpose.

So what do you see here today. A bolder person, I don't speak publicly. I wasn't one that proclaimed my faith. But you see here a bolder person, a more compassionate person. I learned to see God behind every person, behind every action, a more forgiving person. I look at challenges differently. I go God, okay, what is it? What is it? And I apply that. So whatever you're going through, I know you have exams coming up shortly, I understand. Be prepared. Be prepared. You can't go in and write that exam confidently, if you didn't prepare. You can't pour out what you haven't poured in. And find God in every situation. Whatever your celebrating, God is right there. God is here with me now. When I walk out that door, he is with me when I gotta, get in my vehicle. He's with me. See him in every situation and celebrate him. When you celebrate Him that makes a difference. You don't have time for pity. I still find myself crying. But I do not stay in that place for long, I'm grounded.

So that is what I want to leave with you here today, is that God loves you. God is with you. There's no challenge that you face that you can go through without Him. And just not be afraid. Be strong and courageous. Deuteronomy 28:36 tells us "For the God your God goes with you. And He will never leave you and He will never see, forsake you." God bless you all. Thank you very much.

Chapel – Cheryl Haughton 
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