Education and Experience
For more about my passions and approach to spiritual care, read more in the About page.
I am trained in theology, spirituality, and psychotherapy. I have a Diploma of Christian Studies from Regent College (Vancouver), a Master of Theological Studies from Taylor Seminary (Edmonton). I have completed the Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) program, and I am currently working on a Master of Psychotherapy and Spirituality at St Stephen’s College (Edmonton).
I have been working as a hospital chaplain for four years, providing spiritual care and companioning with people of all faiths in the midst of crisis, trauma, questioning, and lament.
Finally, I have been a recipient of spiritual direction for many years, and it has had a profound impact on my spiritual journey.
Jesus has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I "asked Jesus into my heart" at the tender age of three with my mom, and that began my long and winding journey of faith. I have never doubted that God was real, that God loved me, and that I was God’s child. As a young adult, I began to understand my conversion more as a process than a point, and I have seen this taking place over many years: in my decision to go to Bible College, my subsequent rejection of a rules-based fundamentalism, my discovery of how exciting theological education could be in Scotland and Vancouver, and my continued efforts to better integrate theology and practice that will stretch out ahead of me for the rest of my life. My friend and fellow spiritual director Anne once offered me the word “becoming” as an alternative to the idea of being or doing: I am becoming myself, a follower of Jesus, a little more each day, by God’s grace.
Over the years, my spiritual focus has shifted dramatically, from rule-keeping and a fear of stepping out of line to renewed relationship and grateful acceptance of God’s grace that meets me in the mess of my daily life. This has come through a willingness to loosen my grip on certainty and a movement into trust and curiosity. This comes from the conviction that my faith does not rest on beliefs, but on my relationship with God, and so there is room to question, wrestle, and doubt along the journey.
As my spiritual questions and explorations have sometimes led me into unknown territory, I have been grounded by my affirmative response to the question my spiritual director taught me to ask myself: “Where is Jesus?” He is here, with me, in this tangled path – yet continuing to get bigger, not smaller – as I take the holy risk of wrestling with my faith. Jesus is my traveling Companion as well as my Guide.
This bigger, expanded view of Jesus allows me to recognize him in so many places I had never seen him before: he informs my conversations on culture, politics, parenting, technology, housework, science, and everything in between. This incarnating of Christ in all places is what excites me – I want to invite others to experience God more fully, in more places, as others have done for me.
These are lessons borne out of an extended time in the “desert” during my thirties. When I moved to rural Alberta in 2003, I had no idea of the extended culture shock that would happen as a result of being transplanted from the learning environment of my Vancouver seminary to a rural environment in a new province. During my eight years there, I grappled with questions of purpose: Why am I here? Why does it matter? Does God even have a plan for me? It took me a very long time to admit I was angry and felt abandoned by God, but when I finally did, we (that is, God and I) were able to make some progress together. The stalled outer journey turned inward and I began to notice God’s hidden work on my soul.
A key part of my journey out of discouragement in the desert came to me during a particularly dark time. I sought out a spiritual director. Nancy became my faithful companion for my remaining years in the country. She helped me to unravel the layers of my pain, disappointment, and sense of failure, and she was the one who taught me how to look for Jesus in all these places. My conversations with Nancy were the lifelines that helped me to finish out my time in the country with a firm conviction that God did indeed love me and have a plan for me (although not quite in the detailed blueprints format I’d imagined), and that God was at work producing wisdom and maturity in me. I am grateful for the spiritual formation that happened during my years there, and the ways it has shaped me and informed my ongoing journey. The spiritual companioning that Nancy offered me is the kind of relationship that I want to offer to others: a companioning soul friend who helps to pull back the veil of my imagination to reveal a God who loves me with tenderness and lovingkindness, and who calls me on the path of adventure.