I’m Still Here…

A lot can happen in a year. It’s been about that long since I’ve written on here. Not because I have nothing to say or because I haven’t thought about writing but because it has felt too raw, too real and too personal to share. 
Last August I moved my life across the country to the city of Vancouver. I took a job here, working with youth at a local church. 


Last April, I declared to the Lord that I was putting everything on the table. I didn’t know what was coming next but I wanted to be open. 
Someone should have told me how dangerous a prayer that can be. 
That same week I got an email inviting me to consider a job in Vancouver. 
I’ve lived in fear for a long time. Fear of what if, fear of losing someone else I love, fear of missing something, fear of disappointment. Fear had made my world small. Somewhere in the middle of all those feelings, I decided that I had to rebel. I didn’t want fear to lead my life anymore. 
So I jumped into a journey that wasn’t expected, that wasn’t planned or even sought after. 


If you would have asked me a year ago if I would be in Vancouver, I would have laughed in your face. Of course not. My family isn’t there. I don’t know anyone. It’s across the country.  Of course not. 


And it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. 


I think a lot of people can make a move like this seem so glamorous, that what they left behind was less than where they are experiencing now.
That’s never been the case for me. It’s not a matter of what’s better or worse, it’s always been about what am I being called to enter into now. 
In this season of change all around me, God is teaching me new things. 


God uses our past to prepare us for our future.  I couldn’t have been ready to be in this place at this time if I hadn’t experienced what the last few years have taught me. Those people and those moments together were all gifts. 


There are good people everywhere you go.  I won’t lie and tell you that being the new person is often a very lonely place to be, but I am reminded as I jump into the life happening in a new place that the world is full of people who God puts in your path. People who are kind and good and will welcome you in, even when you feel so far away from all that you know. 


It’s ok to cry.  In this season, it seems that I’m always feeling all the feels. I’ve discovered that sometimes you just need to go to your room and have a good cry. It doesn’t mean things are bad and life is over but allowing yourself to be present in the feels of change is so necessary. 


Change takes time to feel normal. I’ve seen this in my own life and in my ministry here. You’ve got to give yourself grace during the process. It’s not gonna happen overnight. 

So I’m still here, just in a new place. Still learning, still growing, still feeling and still hoping. If anything, this season reminds me how human I am and how in need I am of the grace Jesus offers me. 

We were never meant to do it on our own. 

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My Soul Is Calling Me Out…

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Life is full of change.

Sometimes I don’t believe this. Sometimes life feels the same. Sometimes life feels like it will never change.

And then all of a sudden I find myself letting go of my home and letting go of a job. And then all of a sudden I’m living in a new apartment embracing the silence that leaving behind a job has created.

I know that somewhere in my heart I long for change, for the newness that comes with something different.

But change is hard.

Change involves grieving what was, in anticipation of what will be. Change involves embracing living in a state of uncertainty and discomfort for a while.

I feel like it’s fitting that I’m walking this journey during the season of Lent. Lent beckons us to reflect, to repent, to accept forgiveness, to live in hope. I always feel like the season of Lent holds some of the most grey and rainy days and I wonder how Jesus felt wandering the dessert during this season?

This year Lent is calling my soul out. Sometimes I think we have times where we just have to get the ugly stuff out. Times where we beg God to do something new in our hearts, to help us let go of all the crap we hold so tightly to, to release the darkness we harbour deep in us. I need God to do this kind of soul work in me.

I’m asking for open palms, free to let go of what I hold onto and free to receive what Jesus has for me.

So for me this year, Lent is about letting go. It’s about discovering who I am now, not who I’ve been. It’s welcoming change because I think change and hope go hand in hand.

And I want hope.

I want it really badly.

What do you need to let go of during this Lenten season? Maybe your soul needs to call you out too?

 

I Was 7 When I learned Shame…

child_in_corner940I was recently reading a book about relationships. The book explored how we learn to act in relationships and what actions are learned behaviours that we picked up somewhere along the way. We all get this choice about whether a relationship is worth us unlearning those behaviours that cause the other person pain (and in turn ends up hurting ourselves) or creates an environment that doesn’t feel like safe space. The choice to unlearn behaviours can be really hard and we often discover some really ugly things about ourselves during the process, but I think that’s the difference between relationships that work and are centered around grace and truth, and those that aren’t.

I’m finding that at the root of many learned behaviours is shame. Shame is that feeling that we are not enough, that what we did or who we are is bad, this sense that we will never meet the bar. Guilt often goes hand in hand with shame and I’ve become convinced that many of us are walking around with this deep sense of guilt and shame. Throughout history, the church has been an excellent producer of shame in people. The strategy to make people feel so guilty and ashamed of themselves that they must get “saved”, or the missionaries who compel us to give money by shaming the way we live so we give out of guilt, instead of joy. Guilt turns life into a “have to” instead of a “get to”. Shame makes us hide in dark corners and tells us we have to struggle in silence or else we will not be accepted.

But how did we learn shame? Can you sit and remember that exact moment when it entered your life, when you first felt like you weren’t good enough?

I sat and thought about this for a while and then it came to me and it brought tears with it, suddenly as I relived that moment in my mind, the sense of shame was so real all over again. Growing up, I was always slightly overweight. I blame my grandmother who introduced me to cinnamon buns as a toddler when I was going through a phase of not eating anything, until I met those buns. Needless to say, I’ve always had a little junk in the trunk. My second grade teacher never really seemed to like me, even though I tried everything I could to make her happy. We were doing a math lesson and all I remember is that she decided that she would weigh each one of us in the class and put the number on the board so eventually we could add them up. I froze. I knew I was a bit heavier than some of the kids but more than that; I didn’t want to step on the scale in front of everyone. I didn’t want them to know how much I weighed. I waited until the end hoping she might forget me by accident. She didn’t. I stepped on the scale and I weighed more than most of the kids in my class. Everyone snickered and whispered things. I sat down at my desk and at the age of 7, I felt complete and utter shame. It was that day that I learned to hate my body, a behavior I’m still trying to unlearn 20 years later. It was that year I developed a stomach disorder because I went to school nervous and worried everyday. What would the teacher make me do, what would the kids say? I was 7 years old when I learned what real shame felt like. Not the kind where your Mom scolds you for hitting your brother, the kind that takes root in your soul and reminds you daily that you are not enough. Not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not tall enough, you are not worthy of love or respect or being treated with equality.

There are few of us that walk around with a sense of entitlement but there are many of us walking around with the sense that we aren’t worthy of anything good.

I have too many conversations with people who tell me they don’t feel like it’s safe to bring their junk into the light; they are too ashamed and too afraid of what others will say. And I get that. The church can be the most frightening place to bring any type of sin and shame to the surface.

And that’s not ok.

And no, it shouldn’t be like this.

This is not how God created us to live. This is the stuff he longs to free us from. And so I don’t want to be silent any more and hide in my dark corner because my shame has made me feel so afraid and so alone.

The truth is that I am not alone and neither are you. You don’t have to struggle alone. I absolutely believe that Jesus doesn’t want to throw another stone at you, he wants you to know that you are loved, you are known and you are seen. And it’s ok. There is more life for you so don’t waste it hiding in the dark.

Like I wrote earlier, the choice to unlearn behaviours can be really hard and we often discover some really ugly things about ourselves during the process. Unlearning to cling to shame and guilt is no different. The process can be messy and bring up stuff we’ve tried so hard to hide and it’s a daily struggle. But I want to be a person who offers grace and truth to people and I can’t do that if I haven’t let those things invade my own life and my own relationships. This is the journey of faith and it’s where Jesus longs to meet us. We were never meant to cower in the corner; we were made to live in the light with other people, working our junk out together.

This is the Jesus way and it’s the stuff that makes for the deepest and most meaningful relationships. So let’s dump the shame and live in grace. We just might discover the “more” we’ve been longing for.

No Regrets: One Married Woman Looks Back on Her Choice to Save Sex for Marriage…

Holding Hands

I was 22 years old and I knew everything. I stood on my desk in front of 23 grade 8 students and said one word. Sex. That’s all it took to get their full attention as well as many giggles amidst a prepubescent group of blushing kids. One word that carried so much weight and so many misconceptions. One word that could silence a room or start a heated debate amongst my circle of Christian friends. One, three letter word that I seemed to know everything about while at the same time knew absolutely nothing. One word that would end up looming over me for a very long time.

I signed a contract. You all know the kind. The kind that is written on the back of a bookmark or a track or a pink paper heart that is intended for you to stick inside your Bible to remind you every time you are in the midst of a make-out session in the back seat of a car. You know the kind. A binding agreement between me and God to keep myself pure and honourable and pristine for my future spouse. I can almost guarantee that it wasn’t that contract I signed at the end of some Teen Challenge event that challenged me to make a decision that would impact the next 20 years of relationships. Whatever the reason, I made a decision to save myself for my future husband. It sounded so easy and so righteous at the time. However, I never imagined that God would send me on a journey that would last much longer than I intended or planned.

I realize that sex before marriage is no longer a topic of prevalence with young Christians today. Some may have justified it while others may have made the same decision that I made as a teenager. Whatever the stance, whatever the Biblical perspective, and whatever the convictions, I have never had any regrets. I made my decision to wait for one simple reason: to honour my future husband as God intended.

You see, my future spouse was always real in my mind and in my heart even though he may not have been by my side for the numerous weddings I attended as a single person or even as part of a couple. I longed to honour him with all of my thoughts as well as my actions. This of course did not happen. I messed up and I did things and thought things and acted upon things that were in no way honouring at times. However, something deep within me knew that by offering all of myself in this physical way, I would be offering pieces of my heart along with it. Yes, I wanted my future husband to receive all of me as a gift physically, but more so, I wanted to offer him a full and complete heart.

I met several amazing men on my journey that loved the Lord and honoured me in every way. However, it took over 34 years for me to meet the man that I am married to today. The man that I chose in the midst of my journey. At the ripe age of 18 I never imagined it would take so long to experience this stage of life. In fact, my plans were always so different from my Lord’s. Was it easy to wait? Absolutely not. There were temptations, and failures, and forgiveness, and fears, and even more temptations. However, the longer I waited, the more I wanted to wait. The more I prayed for him and wanted to honour and respect my future husband in this way.

I believe that waiting to share this most intimate and God-honouring gift until marriage is possible. I am proof. I am proof that I made many mistakes over the years and pushed the limit of my convictions more times than I am proud of. I am also proof that waiting for marriage does not make the actual act of sex any better or worse or in between. It will not make you the star of some romantic movie on your honeymoon. In fact, it may make things even more awkward and uncomfortable, yet despite the physical act, I can say that I was proud to have the majority of my heart in tact. I would challenge teenagers and young adults and 40-somethings who have not married yet, to wait. Waiting is not something we like to do with anything in life. We are impatient people. We want what feels good now. We want to impress the opposite sex and be appealing and desirable. However, I challenge you to wait because the rewards will come in the end and those rewards will be plentiful.

I cannot speak for others nor can I claim that sex before marriage is happening more than it ever used to in “my day”. I can make assumptions. I can also challenge others to save themselves as a gift to give their future spouses that no one else can give. Along with giving him or her all of yourself physically, you will give him or her a heart full of life, desire, curiosity, and wholeness.

No regrets.

~ ~ ~ ~

View More: http://carolynbentumphotography.pass.us/camryn-kuhnCari is happily married to Kevin who hails all the way from Atlanta, Georgia. She is also the proud mama to their three beautiful children – Avery, Skylar and Camryn. Cari spent most of her twenties as a teacher and then moved onto become a principal. Now she enjoys devoting most of her time to making home for her family and can often be found scheming up creative adventures that she’ll embark on with her three little ones. Cari also spends time mentoring many young women who are struggling with many of the things she’s been through. 

Making Room for Grace…

Well I think I hit a nerve.

Yesterday I wrote some honest thoughts that I have about a recent conference that was held for men. I wrote these thoughts to share a side of a story that I think rarely gets attention. Let me tell you first why I didn’t write that post.

I didn’t write to speak against the opportunity that people have to meet Jesus, which I fully admit can happen at a conference like this one.

  • I didn’t write to discuss the theology of Harvest Bible Chapel, and how their leadership chooses to govern themselves.
  • I didn’t write because I had the 411 on what went on at the conference and wanted to debrief.
  • I didn’t write to discuss marriage, homosexuality, or the role of women in the church.
  • And I didn’t even write to slam Mark Driscoll, although I did admit I wasn’t a fan.

 

So allow me to set the record straight and tell you why I did write that blog.

  • I wrote it because not everyone thinks the same and not everyone is moved by the way some people choose to communicate their ideas. Can we not make room in our evangelical christianity for differing opinions? For different expressions?
  • I wrote because there has to be a place where people can talk about things openly and honestly. Without fear of being yelled at or belittled, and without the fear of some man or woman going on a theological power trip.
  • I wrote because I think coming against opposition in terms of what we believe sometimes helps to form our thoughts about life, about faith and about people. It’s actually healthy.
  • And I wrote because for as many people who are really impacted by these leaders, there are  a lot of people who are just not ok with some of the messages that are being sent and some of the ways they choose to send them. I recognize this works both ways.

 

So let the record be set straight…

It’s awesome that people came to know Jesus! It’s fantastic if there were some guys that left wanting to love their families more! It’s wonderful if men felt empowered to rise up and take responsibility for their lives.

Why would I be against any of these things?

The point that I wanted to make was two-fold:

  1. We have to make room for people who don’t fit the mould, who don’t find themselves empowered by this type of language, and for people who feel like they don’t fit into this picture of what it means to be a “real man”.
  2. Christ is the goal, not a culturally, man-made definition of what it means to be a”man”, even if this is what the conference tried to get at, and whether it succeeded or failed, Christ should always be the goal. We can be united in Jesus.

 

It’s clear that many of us land on opposite sides of the spectrum. I think this is ok. More than that, I think having healthy discussion around these issues actually helps us to grow in our faith and understanding of one another, like I mentioned above. What’s not ok is when you take an opportunity for discussion and turn it into an opportunity to bully, to belittle and to shame each other.

We are all in progress and we are all just working our faith out, and even better, we get to work this stuff out in community.

So let’s keep that in mind and remember to have grace towards one another and for one another, wherever we may find ourselves on the spectrum.

Act Like Men…

ImageIt’s no secret that I’m not a fan of Mark Driscoll or his Acts 29 movement. It’s also no secret that I have some major issues with some of the theology of Harvest Bible Chapel. But when it comes to this issue, I’d like to say for the record that “this” is not about “that.”

There’s a conference going on in Hamilton this week. It’s a conference put on by some of our American friends and by golly, aren’t we lucky that they managed to add a Canadian city to their tour. The “Act Like Men” conference has been held in Hamilton this weekend. Here’s the description:

Look around. What’s so desperately needed where we live, in our country and in our world, are men who embrace all that God created them to be. Men who are loud and ruthless about their own sin, but patient and full of grace in leading others. Men who follow God without limits and meet the needs of those around them without hesitation. To get there need radical surgery. It’s time to cut deep and get it all, and not be afraid of what that means. We challenge you to join thousands of men for a two-day conference this fall – to step up with us and Act Like Men.

Their title is based off of 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong, let all that you do be done in love.” (ESV) Although many translations choose to omit the phrase “act like men” and simply add “be courageous.”

I heard that this conference was coming to Hamilton a few months ago and couldn’t help but wonder if people would actually want to attend. I’m curious to know if it’s the idea of a group of men getting together, or the call to rise up and “be men” that draws the crowds? Perhaps guys get something from Mark Driscoll standing in front of them and yelling at them? I’m not really sure I’ll ever understand it.

Here’s the thing, I don’t have a problem with a conference for men. There’s lots of conferences that are have a gender specific focus like “Promise Keepers” or “Women of Faith.” I think that events like these can often be beneficial for people. But I do have a problem with a conference owning the title “Act Like Men!” And I have a problem with a few complimentarian male leaders standing in front of a group of men telling them how to be men.

Who defines what it means to be a man?

Does Mark Driscoll? Or Matt Chandler? Or James Macdonald? Does Driscoll yelling at you empower you to go out and get a job and be a leader?

What happens to those guys who just don’t make the cut?

I’ve asked this question before after listening to one of Mark Driscoll’s rants about men but I’ll ask it again. What happens to those guys who just aren’t so cookie cutter when it comes to the definition of a “man?” We all have those guy friends that are just not what the world defines as “manly.” We so easily label these guys as “gay” or “feminine,” and are quick to put them into a box. But what about them? Does this type of message and language actually demean those guys who don’t exhibit certain qualities? Because I have really good guy friends who wouldn’t know what to do with a hammer, and who aren’t always quick to “take the lead” or who tend to excel in areas we would label as “womanly duties.” So does this make them less of a man? While the conference obviously aims to focus on the ability to show love, I wonder what other messages will be slipped in the cracks. I wonder if there will be some guys in the room who leave secretly feeling like they just don’t reach the bar.

If someone held a conference that was called “Act Like Women,” how do you think that would go over? I can tell you right now that the feminist movement would be

ALL

OVER

IT!

Because who defines what it means to be a woman? Does it mean that she exemplifies the qualities of a proverbs 31 woman? Does she sew and cook? Do she work outside the home? Does she stay at home with her kids? Does she obey her husband? Is she quiet and submissive?

Can I look at a group of women with unique personalities and gifts and tell them what they must do to act like a woman? If they didn’t follow those rules then are they any less of a woman? Is there a double standard here?

Why are we sending the message “Act Like Men” when the message that we should be sending is “Act Like Christ?” Does Christ not reach out and unify male and female, Jew and Greek, those who are free and those who are slaves? Shouldn’t we instead seek to act more like Jesus instead of acting more like the disputed roles that society continues to argue about?

I don’t pretend to know what is actually spoken at this conference, especially since it’s clear that women are not allowed. I’d like to hope that some men do leave feeling encouraged and empowered to love Christ more and love those around them more. However, I can’t help but wonder about the type of message that a conference like this sends to people. I can’t help but feel compassion for those guys (and girls) who silently struggle to feel like they are enough and to feel like Jesus loves them right where they are. Does this type of conference leave room for those people? Could they feel safe there? I have my doubts.

It’s hard for me to picture Jesus standing before a guy struggling to find his identity in such a mixed up culture, and yelling at him to just “ACT LIKE A MAN!”

I have an easier time thinking Jesus might take the guy out for a drink and help him work out his junk.

But then again, I’m just a woman.

Looking Back To How I Got Here…

I have 2 weeks left of work before the rush of books, papers, lectures and research takes over my life. When summer begins it always seems like it will go by slowly and that September is so far off. Then all of a sudden I’m staring the end of August straight in the face, wondering where the days go. 

This summer I’ve been interning part time with a church called The Meeting House and part time with BIC Canada in compassion engagement. I’ve gotten the chance to do some pretty cool things this summer and I’ve gotten to meet some really fantastic people. And somehow I’ve managed to learn more than a thing or two about who I am and what I love. Here’s a quick overview in pictures of some of the things that have happened this summer…

I got the chance to be a part of 2 Jr. High Compassion Trips to Kerr Street Day Camp with some amazing students and leaders from The Meeting House…
I participated on a serving and learning trip to White Dog, a reservation in Northern Ontario…

Which included traveling to Eagle Lake to attend a Pow Wow…


I caught my first fish…
Two of my favourite gals came to stay with me and I toured them around Toronto…
I saw the Blue Jays play more than once…
I faced my fear of heights and went on the Skywheel, which overlooks Niagara Falls…

And of course a few other wonderful things could be added to the list. 


It’s been a rich summer of learning for which I am grateful. I can’t help but feel like I’m coming out of this summer just a little bit wiser, with eyes opened a tad bit wider, and with a heart a whole lot fuller. This summer has humbled me in more ways than one. I’ve gotten a chance to learn about a people group that I really didn’t know much about except for vain assumptions. I’ve went into relationships and judged people first off and come to realize how wrong I was about those people. I’ve had conversations that have changed my opinions on things, that have moved me from there to here and helped me to recognize things in my own life that I’ve been blind to. And so yes, my summer has been a rich one. 

I can’t help but feel like I went into it with the wrong attitude, wanting to just get through it. It’s funny how God uses us even when our attitudes are not what they should be. Perhaps it’s just another evidence of the grace he pours over us when we deserve it the least. 

The grace that comes even when I’m at my worst. 

So thanks God for an unexpected summer of lessons and interesting people and beautiful places. And to think, I could have missed this. 

Sincerely, 
The Kindred Spirit

Hey Miss TwentySomething, YOU ARE NOT AN ISLAND!!!

I’m not quite sure what I thought my twenty’s would be like. I think I assumed that everything I desired most would somehow just fall into place without much work. Somewhere along the line while working in my dream job I’d be taken by surprise by the man of my dreams, who would sweep me off my feet. We’d start a family and I’d immerse myself into being a young mom, a devoted and super involved member of my church, of course all while still maintaining my strong since of womanhood. Most of this would be accomplished by age 25. 

I never voiced any of these things out loud but I’m fairly sure I was thinking it at age 18 and 19. I was still hopeful at 21 and 22. At 23 I knew it would take a miracle, and by age 24 I was in denial. 

My twenty’s were looking nothing like I imagined. Instead of feeling put together with purpose, I was feeling lost at sea. And the worst thing was, I thought I was alone in all of this. 

When I turned 25, the age where I was supposed to have “arrived”, I realized that it was time to wake up and get a grip on my life. It was time to let go of some things I’d been holding onto for too long and open my hands to whatever opportunities might be worth pursuing, things I hadn’t given the time of day to before. The problem was that changing is messy and brings up emotions and stuff you need to talk through. Stuff that feels shameful at times, stuff that’s hard to admit. The worst thing was that I felt like an island, alone in the ocean. No one else was experiencing my feelings, my frustrations, my disappointments and my questions. At least, no one was talking about it.  

Until, a few months ago I came across an article entitled “21 Secrets for your Twentysomethings” and from there I found allgroanup.com. I began reading article after article talking about things that I was feeling, fears that I had, realities that were the same as mine. For the first time I was hearing about other people who were feeling like I was! 

I heard about Paul’s (the author) upcoming book and I knew I had to get a copy. 

I’m a lover of books, but it’s rare for me to find one that somehow speaks to me from start to finish. No word of a lie, this book did that. I recommend it for every single twentysomething! It doesn’t matter if you’re in college or university, working the late shift at the local gas station, newly married, forever single, living on your own or still in your parent’s basement….read this book! I promise you that somewhere in these pages you will find your story. You will nod your head in agreement, you will laugh out loud because you’ve lived it, or you will cry because it’s what you needed to hear. 

A few of my favourite quotes from the book are…

“I don’t think our plans and dreams are the problem. Our krizaaaazzzy timeline of how quickly we wanted those plans and dreams to be sitting on our doorstep with a big Christmas bow is the problem.” 

“But we’re not settling. We’re visiting. This is a season, a stage, the perfect place in time for us to prepare to take the next needed step. You can settle for a season without settling. You settle when you completely give up, when you let your dreams be suffocated by your current reality. Visiting is simply a pit stop, and even though it might feel like the pits, don’t let it stop you.” 

“God gives us what we can handle, and sometimes that means not giving us the exact thing we cry out for the most.” 

Because your 20s really aren’t about jumping off the plane and going back home. The life of a twentysomething is that of a nomad. Picking up your tent and continually traveling to locate the herd and test the soil so that you can find the right place to land, the right place to call home. Your 20s are not about finding home; your 20s are about finding the right place to build it.”

Are you freaked out that you have no idea what you’re doing? Perfect! So is everyone else.” 

Being lost might be the exact spot that I can be found. Explorers get lost on purpose, with purpose. Explorers only find something greater if they first lose site of the familiar.”

The words in this book have encouraged me beyond belief and I honestly think they will encourage you, no matter where you’re at. 

Because you’re not an island and you’re not alone. 

You can order 101 Secrets for your Twenties here or find a retailer near you. Check out the blog here

Here’s to not just surviving your twenties but learning to thrive too! 

Darcie 

AFRICA BOUND…


I never thought I’d see the day where I’d be sending my parents off to Africa. 


They are going on a learning trip for 10 days with BIC Canada. They will be learning about what BIC Kenya is up to, meeting with Kenyan church leaders, and helping to run a pastor’s conference. They also get to get to go on a Safari, visit a school and spend the day in one of the slums, plus a few other things along the way. It’s always been my Mom’s dream to get to visit Africa and so I’m excited for both her and my Dad to experience so many new things. 

However, I’m extremely nervous! 

Usually I’m the one leaving and they’re the ones staying. I feel like I’m experiencing all of these new feelings with the thought of having to let my parents go! 

I admit that I have an unusual relationship with my parents. That being that they’re two of my closest friends. They are two people that I admire, seek counsel from, look forward to having coffee with and even go to the movies with! I talk to them daily even though I don’t live at home anymore. They’re my greatest allies, my biggest cheerleaders and the most important people in my life. 

And they’re traveling across the world for 10 days. 

I know I know, 10 days…it’s only 10 days. But it’s not really the timeline that is the big thing here. It’s me having to put my parents completely in God’s hands. Which they really are always in, it just somehow seems like having them in the same province and in the same country feels safer. It’s almost like we’ve switched roles, which makes me terrified for when I will have these feelings with my own children, if I ever have any. 

How do you get to the place where you let go and just trust? 

I’m actually asking! Because I’m not sure and I’d value your opinions. 

I’d appreciate your prayers for my parents and the rest of their team as they embark on this journey together. Prayers for safety, for relationships to be formed, for hearts to be impacted and for an overwhelming awareness of God’s presence. 

I consider this having to let go just another lesson I can chalk up to my twenties! 

Boy I’m learning a lot! 😉

Tomorrow afternoon the team flies out of Toronto…bound for AFRICA!!!!

Sincerely, 
The Worried Daughter

Lessons From My 3 Year Old Cousin…

That’s her…isn’t she adorable!!!! 
Almost a year ago I was out for a drive with my little cousin. She was about 3 years old at the time. My aunt was driving and showing me around the area, as I had just moved in. As we drove around the sun was starting to set. My little cousin said ever so sweetly, “Mommy, will sun come out again tomorrow?” My aunt answered her assuredly with a yes. 
It’s been almost a year since I was privy to that short conversation but I’ve been unable to get it out of my mind. It might have been the innocent way that my cousin asked the question or it may have been the sheer wonder in her eyes as she watched the sun go down and really wanted to know if tomorrow she could count on seeing it again. I took that moment in and stored it away. 
I wonder if as adults we learn to do away with wonder? If at some point we lose our sense of awe over a new day, over a beautiful sunset, over winter ending and spring budding before our very eyes. Are we taught to do this? Are we just consumed with a sense of business and productivity that takes over our thoughts? 
It was as if in the moment with my 3 year old cousin that God was speaking to my heart reminding me of the gift of his assured presence and how it is evidenced through creation. It was the reminder to approach life with childlike wonder. To see things with fresh eyes. To be amazed by the smallest complexities that I take for granted all the time. These things are all around me and too often I pass by them because I become so busy and rushed. 
I know that so many of us live full lives and they are often packed to the brim with good and real and meaningful things. But do we ever make room to marvel at the utter brilliance of life’s gifts? It’s like a kid at the candy store overwhelmed by all that is around him, by all the colours and smells and tastes. Where to start? 
Do we approach life like this? 
Here’s the challenge for you and for me. Make room for wonder in your day. Set an alarm on your phone or put a reminder in your journal to stop wherever you are, look around and find something to marvel at. Let yourself rediscover that childlike sense of awe. 
It’s just another one of those ways to be fully present right where you are. 
Sincerely yours, 

The Kindred Spirit