A love that stills anger

“Some people’s ideas of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.” – Sir Winston Churchill


In recent days, it’s become a lot less enjoyable checking my social media pages. Fun, loving and interesting comments and images have been flooded out by words of anger and hostility. The topics invariably are about politics, religion, sexuality, and animal rights. I find myself not quite knowing how to respond.  Part of me feels something akin to a sense of horror. What has happened to the goodness of humanity? Why is everyone so angry? Many of the posts are correct in revealing things that are not right, good and honorable. Sadly, many of these things have been going on for a long time, however, does the fact that they can be posted, mean that they should be? Is all this awareness doing any g­­ood, or is it only making everyone angrier?

Has the quest for what is good become lost in the battle that ensues?

I find myself standing back and watching. It’s not that I don’t have opinions. I have many. But, I can’t help but watch individuals and communities become polarized. This is most obvious in the digital space. Somehow, by not standing face-to-face, people feel bolder and are more willing to put edge into comments, or simply share a hostile article and allow it to do the work of expressing a viewpoint.

Safe places have become battlefields

Some of the very places we have been encouraged to be vulnerable and authentic have become a battlefield. As one looks a little closer, you can see the sidelines are crowded by people who are afraid to step in or possibly are too shell-shocked to respond to what is taking place. The topics that trigger anger are often short lived until another headline takes over.  In some of these cases, I wonder if people even know what they are angry at. They march in anger, they hurt people; the ones who have a different opinion than themselves.  This is all done while declaring that all should be loved.

Freedom of speech is met with silence

In recent years, openness and the expression of one’s viewpoint have resulted in admiration for one’s courage. This is no longer the case. While some have become vocal, many have gone silent.

It has almost become dangerous to express an opinion.  People fear setting themselves up to be attacked.  The very act of clicking like on a comment or post can result in one stepping into the fray of the battle and becoming open game.  It’s become a huge risk to speak up.  In a nation that celebrates freedom of speech, many are going silent.

Practice a love that truly transforms

Hostility and hatred cannot create love. Love is the result of love. When we truly care about people and show love to the very ones who have opposite opinions than we do, then we become a loving nation.

We can change things. We can still some of the storm, at least in our own corner of the world. Each of us can learn to show love to those who are different.  This is precisely what the people are crying for. They are just going about it all wrong.

Let’s remember, “Above all else, they will know us by our love.”

No love such as this

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Dedicated to #littleschenk and his beautiful parents, Luke and Hazelle Schenk

Warm water wraps itself
around my tiny body.
Each day I continue to grow.

I feel safer now, than I probably ever will.
For, where I am, nothing can harm.

I have a special bond with my mother.
I feed off her rich blood,
I lavish in her love.
I feel it every moment.

She and my daddy talk to me.
They tell me how eagerly they await my arrival.
They dream. They talk about great plans.
They call me by my name.

Somehow I just know that I am a miracle. I am alive.
I am deeply loved by the only two people I know.
Someday soon, I will meet my mommy and daddy.

I long to look into their eyes,
for their tender voices to speak to me,
for their skin to touch mine.

Yet, I am hesitant.

No longer will it just be the three of us.
There will be others.  I know they will love me too.

But, for now,
I know there cannot be any place such as this.
It is only I and the two whose love means most.

– written by Karen Schenk, 1986, modified 2016.

We close a chapter of parenting

June 2016 brings an end to a season of Cam & my parenting. We no longer have a child in grade school.  This month was one of the fullest, most eventful ones we’ve experienced.

The end of a season always leads to the beauty of a new one. We are looking forward to life with adult children, but cherish the memories of the road we journeyed to see our three kids become amazing adults.

Enjoy these  photos which give you a little glimpse into the action packed eventful and emotional month we have just completed.

Kaylin’s graduation – June 3
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Yes, Luke & Hazelle came to celebrate with us

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A special moment with dad

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Mother daughter love

The grad dress custom designed and created by Kelsey McIntyre at Kathryn Bass Bridal

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Adams Award night – June 9

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Cappies Award night – June 12 – Kaylin performs at and wins a Cappie Award

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Cappie award with friend, Shelby

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Performing at the Citadel as Ariel

 

Brett and Jessi move to Calgary

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We meet Brett’s girlfriend, Sarah

 

The surgery

Upon completion of the flurry of activities, Kaylin wrote her final exam on June 17th and then on June 21st, went to Rockyview Hospital for a Femoral Derotational Osteotomy.

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And while she was in the hospital, she was featured in a short film clip as a sick patient (no acting required!).

 

Canada Day

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The month has come to an end.  So many things took place, so many emotions as we close a chapter in our lives and begin a new one.  If I were to imagine what an exclamation mark feels like, I think the month of June 2016 would describe it well!

Simply stated in white

IMG_2123White.
It’s clean. It’s simple.
It’s powerful.

Life is hurried and full. I sometimes wonder how we make everything come together. I look for solace and peace. I’ve always loved white. I could have an entire house painted white with every item white. It makes me feel peaceful. I love the incredible beauty of white, coupled with a little bit of black.  Whoever said these two fabulous colours are not colours?  They are my favourite. In Fort Langley, is one of my favourite little stores and restaurant.  It’s called, “The Little White House”.  It takes me back to my Grandmother’s farm house. It is truly the definition of serenity (till I look at the price tags).  But this serenity is something I can capture with my camera and share with you.

White. It’s the color of peace and simplicity. It gives me a sense of calm. My days are full and busy, yet, I love to tell stories with my camera.  I’ve decided to begin to share these photo stories through my blog and not only wait till I have time to share a piece of writing. Enjoy these photos of a time and place that you too may remember.  If not, don’t forget to stop by The Little White House when you are next in Fort Langley.

IMG_2114This serene place waits for friends to share their lives

IMG_2098Chandelier in the sunlit shower room

IMG_2099A gown waiting to be worn during a quiet afternoon escapeIMG_2102Modern styling with vintage products

IMG_2101Scripted fabric makes me feel like writing

IMG_2110Books always accompany my places of solitude

I gave God my yes – AGAIN

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Castle of Teck, Germany

*Wade sat on a stool in font of a large audience. He was struggling to push back painful emotion as he told a compelling story of a big decision that he and his family were facing. His immediate answer had been “no”. The situation did not go away. His wife asked him to pursue exploring this option.  Wade then told the story of how he struggled and fought within himself and with God. Was this really what he was to do? Was he to embark on this huge and enormous change when everything was working so well in his life?   He decided to explore the opportunity by taking his family to this new city to check out the offer. His still couldn’t see that this is what they should do. On the flight home, the battle within him raged and he finally reached a point where he clearly stated, “I gave God my yes”.

Awareness of risk sometimes paralyzes

Wade had barely finished saying those words, when something began to take place within me. I didn’t understand it. His story had nothing to do with me. I was simply listening. Yet, the words “I gave God my yes” sent shivers through me. It brought me to a place a year ago, when God called me to take a step of faith and set up a company to create media, do ministry and help others. It was only a year ago when I had given Him my yes. Upon saying those words, things had begun to happen in amazing ways and a business and ministry came together. Every week came with a sense of amazement at what God was unfolding.   Then things changed. I wasn’t even aware of it, but when someone asked me a simple question, “how could your husband let you take a risk like that?”, my eyes opened and I could suddenly see the risk we were taking.

Risk with God is never what risk is without Him

As Wade said those words, I realized that, like him, I too, had given God my yes. However, I had then allowed my faith to weaken – especially when I entertained the idea that God’s way might just be impossible. I had begun to believe that we were taking a risk – a huge risk. I realized that as long as I had not been looking at the risk, and focusing on the direction God had taken us, I had been immune to the fact that this was a risk. But, now, I was trying to walk by faith WHILE seeing the risk. It was time for something to change.   These key things became clear to me and I would like to share them with you.

It’s time to say yes – AGAIN

  1. Give God your yes. When we give Him our yes and agree to step out in faith to what He has called us, He will equip us and take us through the euphoric moments and the tough spots. He will never leave us or forsake us.
  2. When you focus on impossibility, it makes things impossible. The fastest way to lose hope and to see the absolute impossibility of God’s plan is to look at why it won’t work. This is when we no longer walk in faith and we put our hope in things that we think we cannot do.
  3. You can give God your yes … AGAIN! If you become aware of the risk you are taking for God and focus on the difficulty of the situation you are in, ask God to show you why you said yes – and then say it again.

In the hours since I said yes AGAIN, God has given me an incredible peace. I’m no longer focusing on the risk, but on the opportunity to watch God do His work in and through me in the way that He promised me what He would do when I stepped out in faith with my husband a year ago to obey God’s call on our lives.   And… in the way God so often does, He indicated to me the promise of His provision through a very practical communication.

It’s never a risk when we are in the sweet spot God wants us  and are walking in faith, giving Him the opportunity to show us what it is that He has in store for us. He alone can see the big picture that He has invited me to have a piece in.

*used with permission

Top characteristics of entrepreneurial leaders

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Successful traits of a change leader

Leaders who are motivated by a specific purpose and have a compelling vision become change leaders of society and culture. The leaders who are entrepreneurs are those who take initiative to create something that they believe in and have the vision for. They align others to come alongside them and help the vision to become a reality. They are willing to take difficult situations and use the unfair advantage to their advantage. They see opportunity where others may see none.

Dr. David Javitch in “The Entrepreneur as a Leader” gives 10 traits of successful entrepreneurial leaders. He states these points, “The successful leader has vision, communicates well, supports and guides the employees, believes in him or herself, creates an atmosphere that encourages others to thrive, by walking around, acts and reacts in an honest manner, creates and fosters a learning environment, perseveres, and shares successes.”

Top 3 characteristics of a leader

1. A compelling vision
2. The ability to get people on board
3. The ability to execute

4 unique traits of an entrepreneur  

1. Can create something out of nothing
2. A much higher than average desire to succeed
3. Will do what it takes by partnering and working alone wherever needed.
4. The ability to sacrifice to make something happen

The energy behind entrepreneurs 

I typically refer to entrepreneurs as “blank paper people”. They have the ability to be energized by a blank and white piece of paper. They are challenged by opportunity and excel even when the odds are against them. I have been an entrepreneur for many years, but am now truly in a place to develop entrepreneurialism.  It’s been highly energizing to step out, take risks and develop my entrepreneurial skills.

If you are a leader who has entrepreneurial traits, seek opportunities to develop them and become all you were intended to be.  An entrepreneur is not necessarily someone who creates and builds new things alone.  They work within any environment and seize opportunities to create never-been-done concepts.  Our society celebrates the new approaches.  Doing something different is not only often highly successful, it’s also incredibly fun and rewarding.   Once things work, you can then embrace change management, but that is a topic for another day!  Meanwhile, embrace the leader within you that is desperately wanting to try something new.  Go. Create. Be a change leader!

The hopelessness of self-destruction

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The monster within 

If only for a moment, the sun shone so brightly.

Were you prepared to forget and throw away the beauty of that moment in your relentless drive for perfection?

Perfection. You will never find.

I, if any, have been enslaved to becoming all that I felt lay beneath the definition of perfection. The more I strive to become the perfect being, never created, the farther I am from ever becoming that which I know I’m intended to be.

Love – a word that holds so much meaning – has become so empty and dry.

I once felt I love you. Now, I know not what I feel. There is sadness, joy and hatred – yet, beneath all that, I see the person you revealed to me. The person you stripped of all that you now hold so tightly to.

Where are you now? Where is your beauty and tenderness? Is it lost because I gave way to the monster within – often my only true reliable companion?

That monster has become my lover, my strength. The sadness lies in the fact that it is my true destroyer. How true to life, that which I hold so tightly to – seeks to destroy and kill me.

It isn’t love I search for in my quest for thinness. I search to kill the desire to be loved, which so often has shown itself to be the invitation for another knife within.

How lost I am. I search for a reason to find my way home. I see none. So, I journey onward with my only love.

I crave for a love that loves me enough, so I no longer need to hold on to the enemy within.

Once – your love promised me all that. Until I knew it was a conditional love that only loved me if I were perfect.

I’m going in the wrong direction. I’m paying a heavy price to go in this way. Why can’t I turn? I know not. I only know I see no reason to.

You once were so meaningful to me. You are a beautiful person, when you lay alone – without a world to please. Where did you go?

Hope discovered 

These words, written in 1987, expressed my inner torment.  I was desperately trying to numb my pain through self-destruction.  In writing this, I began became to see some of the lies I was believing. I could see that my starvation was an attempt to silence the inner monster.  In facing the lies and dealing with them spiritually and emotionally, a journey towards healing began.  It took a long while, but the darkness disappated. The destruction ceased.

I kept that piece of writing, “The Monster Within” to remind myself of the depth of the blackness I had experienced in contrast to the freedom and light I now have.  I am now filled with a passion and zest for life that would have been unimaginable when I penned those words.

These words written so long ago come from private journal and are now being made public. It’s possible that you, or someone you know, may be experiencing darkness and anguish. You may seek to understand what it is that drives the deadly destruction.  It is lies that are there because of brokenness that needs to be repaired.  I want to give you hope that in the deepest despair, and the greatest hurt, we can find our way to freedom. It’s sometimes a long journey and help is often needed to unravel the twisted lies that have been deeply imbedded.

God desires to walk the road with us and give us all we need to come to a place that we realize we found our way home.

God uses my faith to perform miracles

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I choose faith.
I believe.
The impossible is possible!

Miracles still happen.  God wants to break the bondage of my disbelief and show His power through His works. He is then honoured and glorified. He calls me to seek Him in His name and as I do, He shows me what to believe in and pray for.  He wants me to stay the course with my faith through prayer.  He then will fill to capacity that what He has shown me to believe in and to pray for.   “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” (John 15:7)

I was speaking to Keith Seabourne of Cru recently. He shared with me that faith requires building God-sized systems.  My responsibility is to prepare and realize that I have no control over God’s blessing. God tends to bless those who prepare to receive his blessings. The oil flowed till last jar was full, Peter, while in the boat was collecting fish until his boat filled up and then Andrew came with his boat. The fish ceased when there were no more boats. (Luke 5:3-11)  God tends to bless us until whatever we have built is full. Keith then said, “We need to seek God for what we think we can handle and then ask the God of the universe, “would you do this?”  Then we need to prepare for what we believe He wants us to do and ask Him, “will you fill it?”” Our responsibility is to build the capacity – and see if God will fill it up.

As we walk in deep communion with God, we learn to hear His voice. We may wonder how we can walk with Him in that way. It’s easy to think that these kinds of things only happen to the “super saints”.  In recent months, I’ve come to know God in a whole new way. I’ve realized that instead of waiting to see what He will do, He wants me to engage deeply with Him. He wants me to pray for the things He is prompting me for and He wants to be lifted up through these miracles.  I need to seek Him and ask Him what to pray for. It often starts as a quiet “sense””.  I talk with people I trust who confirm this and I seek God’s Word for further direction. When all of those things come together, I pray fervently towards the impossible coming to  fruition.  Then, I begin to prepare for that miracle to happen.

I pray, I believe, and I don’t give up even when the enemy begins to interfere. There is  no doubt that He will. He does not  want to see God’s miracles happen. He will distort things, try to  disrupt and do everything to hinder your faith and the outcome God is wanting to do.  God is greater than he is. I claim the authority of Christ and ask God to fully take control.

It’s time to ask God what kind of impossible things He wants to do. Then pray, prepare and praise Him as He reveals His power through the miracle He will to do!

 

To laugh again

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“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

 

In the darkness, a smile mocks your pain. There is confusion to think that others can go on with their lives while tragedy, heartbreak and pain have seemingly removed your ability to experience joy.

Deep and utter despair somehow feels sacred. It’s as though one should never interfere with the solitude and isolation you feel as your heart wonders if it will ever heal again. You know this is not what you want to feel, but there is a betrayal to your deep inner spirit as you imagine yourself ever laughing again. You stand alone, the world has turned into a series of still photos of days gone by or others, whose lives look extraordinary blissful.

Dark days go on without hope until the One who loves you deeply gives you what you need for even just that next moment.  You cling to that and exist again. Eventually, the darkness of the soul is interrupted by rays of the dawn. This feels like an interference, but triggers an element of intrigue.  Could it be that there may once again be light?

As the sky turns aglow, your soul has a glimmer of hope. There are still moments you long for the night.  It’s where you know you can exist in a catatonic state of sadness.  The light expands and you awaken. You begin to take steps towards the light. Your healing has begun. You seek Him to hold onto you and lead you further into the light. Others come alongside. The aloneness is no longer your deepest craving. You begin to feel and to realize that others exist. There is a sense of potential purpose again. You have something to offer.  You feel different. The dark night of your soul changed you. It made you new and stronger.

Then, there is the day you burst into laughter. It startles you. Is that you? Is it ok? Are you really in that place that you can laugh again?

He’s been healing you in your pain and giving you reason to live, to love and to laugh again.  “He will yet fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with shouting.” Job 8:21

Your soul is renewed. You are different. Anyone who has gone through the dark and black nights of the soul is refined. There are things you took for granted that you now know are extraordinarily. You love deeper. You feel more deeply.

Your laughter. It’s real.

Renovation of my soul

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Deterioration is gradual. It is subtle… until… it’s not so subtle anymore. The state of disrepair becomes obvious and, before we know it, it drives us mad. At this point, the dreaming begins. A simple thought like, “What if we ….” results in an endless flow of ideas. In our minds-eye, we see the results of elaborate and ornate reconstruction.

The excitement continues until the practical reality stage. It is there that plans are often needing to be scaled back. Our magnificent renovation plans sometimes become a simple paint job or a modified version of the grandeur. However, unless we take that path of dreaming, we will never experienced these ideas becoming reality and seeing the beautiful renovations that transpire.

Realization of disrepair

According to Webster, renovation means “to restore to a former better state or to restore to life, vigour, or activity.” A “former better state” as it relates to me as a person is an interesting thought. To be better than I was at a time when things seemed best actually sounds like a great idea. This could refer to fitness, health, emotional well being or possibly it could refer to relationships or my spirituality.What does that look like for me? How could I go through that kind of renovation process? Is it even possible to plan towards that?

The key begins in recognizing the state of disrepair. How have things deteriorated? Is it possible to restore your condition back to a former better state? Is this even something that should happen?

Nearly a year ago, I wrote “Winter of my soul”. It is a reflection of a broken place, where I going through a major transition in my life. I could no longer imagine or dream. Instead of “what if...”, I couldn’t help but sadly wonder,”now what? One difficulty after another came my way. The world as I knew it crumbled. I called out to God and I sought after Him. I became very aware of the state of brokenness.

Strengthened by His Presence

I knew I was not alone. Initially, God’s assurance was only a whisper. Then, as time went on and the circumstances seemed to worsen, God’s presence became stronger.

I realized that I was under renovation. God was at work in my life. He may not have created the circumstances, but He did allow them. He was at work in me. He cared deeply.

A decision is needed

There was a deep inner tension in me when I realized I was at a crossroads and had to make a decision. Would I ignore the need to renovate or would I embark on the messy process? It would be costly, and I knew it would require more demolition and deconstructing before the rebuilding could happen. I was either going to walk with God through this journey and let Him do His work and completely overhaul me OR I was going to choose to no longer trust in God and limp along in the state of disrepair and hope that the ultimate damage was not too great.

Ironically, the choice of to not further disrupt my life and not trust God to finish the work actually was the most appealing. It was easy to believe that God had let me down. Why would I want to trust Him? I was tired of pain. As I pondered that option, I had a deep sense that if I went that way, I would miss out on something great. There is something in my deepest part of my being that hates missing out! So, I relinquished myself to God. I gave Him my pain, my plans and my future.

I fully believed and trusted God when He said, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” – Philippians 1:6

A time to rebuild

As I gave in, the destruction went quickly and, ironically, it was much less painful than before. God’s strength carried me through. The dark days were filled with a deep underlying sense of hope. Somehow I knew that it was part of the renovation process and that, while it was hard and so very messy, it was going to be beautiful. Every single day, God gave me scriptures, a word from a friend, or a powerful sense of His presence. In all my life, I had never encountered Jesus in that way. He promised, “They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.” – Isaiah 61:4

Things started to take shape. God gave me a clear vision of my calling. This gave me hope! Spiritual gifts that I had not had before began to develop and others became much more evident. My soul was soaring. My circumstances slowly began to change. At times, I felt like the ever-optimist because I knew that God was creating a magnificent and grand transformation even when the situation looked like a construction zone. As I embraced the process and received the joy, God spoke to me. He gave me clear promises. I wrote them down with the long list of prayer requests. I began to see answers.

The story of renovation

I felt the transformation deep in my soul. The anxiety over the situation lessened, the hope of the future flooded my heart and joy permeated my being. I felt it, I knew it. God was up to something BIG. He loved me. He had renovated me deeply from the inside out. God had restored me to a former better state AND restored me to life, vigour AND activity.

It was an enormous renovation. I’m a new person. I don’t need to push to make life happen anymore. I ask God what He wants me to pray for and then I watch Him do incredible things and open doors I would never have known existed. God is my drive engine. He propels me forward. I want to stay in renovation and manage the upkeep. I want God to keep- fine-tuning, fixing, and updating.

Makeovers are intriguing and fascinating. There is something so exciting about seeing a complete and beautiful transformation. The old becomes new. In fact, it becomes so much better than it was in it’s best former state.

That. is. what. God. is. about.
He restores.