Does One Life Matter?Jun 17, 2023
Does one life matter? Especially the messy ones?
What do I mean?
Let me introduce you to my friend Cindy-Lou Barclay.
I met Cindy-Lou when I moved to Ontario in 2016 and we attended the same church together.
Later, as I got to know her, I found out she was this amazing artist that had only developed her artistic skill in the latter years. Her heart of gold for the broken and the lost was very evident, taking in those who many would have turned away.
Bit by bit I found out her earlier years contained a lot of pain which she covered over by decades of drugs and alcohol. Dreams of terror plagued her sleep from childhood through to adulthood.
Her birth family was sworn to secrecy because they thought a toddler would never remember, so as an adult, when Cindy-Lou would ask her family questions about her past, the information she needed to heal was never given.
Cindy-Lou eventually was able to piece together her past through researching newspaper articles. What she discovered was that as a young child, she had witnessed an act of murder and arson by a close family member.
Not knowing the truth had caused this childhood trauma to be locked up in Cindy-Lou's subconscious memory. The horrific crazy dreams that had tortured her for decades actually had been her body's way of trying to reveal the pain and let it go. Drugs and alcohol were just tools she had used to suppress the pain and survive something so overwhelmingly horrendous that made no sense to her.
In her 30's and 40's, doctors had given up on Cindy-Lou. She was regularly taking 12 medications per day, bound to a wheelchair and walker, and struggling with four mental illnesses. When she became fully healed and totally free of all her past trauma and torment her doctor called her "a walking miracle."
I was never one who walked with Cindy-Lou professionally, but the more I came to know her, the more I grew in awe of her courage because of the level of pain she had faced to turn her life around.
Cindy-Lou is one who I would label a "CHAMPION!"
Not just because of what she overcame, but because she has taken the broken pieces of her life to touch the lives of others with equally broken lives, in a nation that has no system of trauma healing in place.
Just like Jesus had asked His disciples "What do you have in your hands," Cindy-Lou looked at hers and realized that God could use an artist's paintbrush.
Today, Cindy'-Lou is over in Mongu, Zambia serving with an art/education missions group called SIM Canada (Serving In Missions) restoring lives and hope through the medium of creativity and the arts. The mission work she is doing over there has been life transforming, not only for her but also the lives she touches.
Cindy-Lou has shown that yes, one life matters no matter how messed up it may be at the beginning.
She didn't always value her life but those who took the time to invest in helping her to heal now get to watch her transformation touch the lives of so many others.
My prayer is that this does not stop.
But it could.
All because of insufficient funds.
You do not know Cindy-Lou.
But I do.
And I care enough to share her need.
I've never used this platform before to make a financial appeal on behalf of another but I don't want to see Cindy-Lou have to return to Canada in order to fundraise, when it would be so easy to do online.
Cindy-Lou doesn't know I am letting her request be known via my blog, but if every person gave $10, it would meet her immediate need. Reality is, not everyone will read this blog and not everyone will give, so for those who can give more and are willing to sow, please do so today. Her need is an immediate $2,000 shortfall and then an additional $1,000 per month.
All of us have had people touch our lives in various ways and if I have touched yours, please, pay it forward and give what you can for my friend Cindy-Lou. It can be a one time gift or (like me) a monthly commitment. This gift will be between you, God, and Cindy-Lou. I will not know anything about whether you give or not.
But I'm asking that together, let's make a difference and let Cindy-Lou know that not only she matters, but the lives she touches matter as well.
Click on this link: Make payment directly to SIM.
Cindy-Lou's story told by Richelle Wat 2022:
Off to Zambia at 62 At an age when many mission workers are celebrating many years on the field and well established in ministry, Cindy-Lou Barclay was just being introduced to Christianity. In 2005, at 45 years old, she was baptized. When she was young in the faith and trying to maintain control of her life, it was a challenging time. Up until that point, her life in Canada was characterized by pain and hardship. She found it hard to trust others, including God. It would take the next 10 years for him to transform her heart of stone. One of her first steps in learning to trust God was returning to college at age 50. She planned to take a business course; instead, the Lord redirected her vision to an art program, although she was unaware of how God was going to use this for his glory. At 55, she made a promise to God to take his Word more seriously, and spent hours each day for the next seven months reading the Bible. Her days consisted of studying scripture, drinking tea and journaling; she was amazed at how God worked in the lives of his people throughout history and she had visions of how God had been constantly present in her own life. She realized that, in his grace, he waited until she was 55 to reveal these things to her - when she could handle the darkness of her past. In her 30s and 40s, doctors had given up on her. She was regularly taking 12 medications per day, bound to a wheelchair and walker, and struggling with four mental illnesses. Today, she is fully healed, physically and mentally; her doctor calls her “a walking miracle." As Cindy-Lou was growing in her faith and artistic skill, out of the blue she received an email from SIM’s arts coordinator for Africa, inviting her to apply to do an art-as-mission residency in Kenya. They had never met, but God forged the contact. At 57, Cindy-Lou arrived for this 3-week 'Age is not a factor when you are on God’s path' Cindy-Lou with a Maasai friend 23 Prayer cast photo event, realizing from the first morning that Africa was the place she wanted to spend the rest of her life serving God. One year later, she returned for another three months, and since then has been up-skilling to return full-time, being discipled, doing biblical studies and studying ministry through trauma healing. Cindy-Lou says, “The Lord revealed to me that we are never really done with being teachable. Our hearts must always be open to learn.”. Her recognition of God's grace has deepened as she considers challenges she might face as an older mission worker. She will miss her four granddaughters, but knows technology will help her keep in touch. In fact, her journey into missions has been a positive witness to her eldest granddaughter, who is now asking questions about faith and ministry. Cindy-Lou plans to leave for Zambia in July. She will incorporate arts and trauma healing at the Mongu Youth Centre. In the pursuit of raising money and completing her course requirements, Cindy-Lou has travelled from city to city and country to country. At an age when some mission workers are preparing for retirement, she admits, "I do not plan on slowing down and have forgotten how old I am. Age is not a factor when you are on God’s path." She testifies that she feels stronger now at 62 than 40, and says, “I know that God’s power in healing has prepared me for his will to be done.” — Richelle Wat
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