Can I have this dance?

It was the 8th grade school dance and once again I would be standing on the
sidelines…alone.
All the popular girls were being escorted to the dance floor by many of the
popular boys. I wore a cute outfit and took time to do my hair. I even took the
risk to wear a pair of high heels I borrowed from my mother’s closet. Yes, in the
8th grade, I wore the same size she did. I remember leaning against the wall really
enjoying the music of my generation, the 80’s and was even singing along to many
of the songs. I was enjoying myself for the most part but still had a deep longing
to “be asked to dance”. It didn’t happen.

So, I took matters into my own hands and walked nervously across the gym floor
to him. He will remain nameless for many reasons. There was an Air Supply song
playing that “set the mood” (in my case courage…don’t judge). Before I knew it, I
asked, and he said “sure”, and we were on the dance floor together. Although I
was elated, I was also petrified that I was going to stumble and somehow
embarrass myself or him. Looking back on that day, it seemed right that I would
dance with him because we were the same ethnicity. Although our school was
very multi-ethnic, deep in my heart, I believed I didn’t have a chance with any
other type. Perhaps it was also because I was discovering how I identified
ethnically and racially. And maybe this is the adult me making that assumption
because the 8th grader me, was just trying to get involved so I didn’t feel left out.

 

Class pic

Grade 8 class of 1984.  Milliken Mills P.S., Markham, Ontario, Canada

 

 

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Salt & Pepper shakers resting in a dance position 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fast forward thirty plus years and here I sit, married to the man of my dreams, a
mother to very-quickly-growing-children, and so far away from who I was back
then. I have learned, lived, cried, celebrated, laughed, and danced much since
that evening in the school gym. That young man followed his own religion and
became a brain surgeon. Clearly, we took different paths.

I also have learned something in these past decades. It is NEVER a good idea for
me to take the lead ahead of God’s plans. I have learned that it is ALWAYS best
for me to wait for the Holy Spirit to lead me to the places and spaces He wants for
me.

Thus, the phrase, “Can I have this dance?”. This phrase has become an intimate
part of my spiritual journey but has great rewards in my physical one as well. Let
me explain.

Can I have this dance? This is the Holy Spirit asking me to dance with Him on the
“dance floor” of His choosing. Over the years the dance floor has been locations,
relationships, parenting, jobs, speaking engagements, churches, and a whole list
of conversations where I needed the guidance of the Holy Spirit. There were
many times, when I “didn’t know the song” or “the steps” or even what “shoes” to
wear. But every time, He gave me the assurance that He would “fit my feet” with
the proper shoes. He would lead me across the dance floor in a graceful manner,
cascading to the “music” of His choosing. All I needed was to “trust Him”. God is
a good God and if I followed His steps for me, He wouldn’t allow me to stumble. I
do that on my own. Considering I don’t have the greatest dance moves on a real
dance floor, I knew I could use all the help I could get!

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A little fun with my hubby on the dance floor of a friend’s wedding 🙂

He leads, I follow!!

I make my desires and longings known to Him and in His good time and according
to His purpose for my life, He invites me to dance with Him as He opens doors to
the dance floors of his choosing.

There are some “dance floors” I haven’t been asked to dance on yet, even though
they are places of deep longing. So, I am trusting Him to groom me for the
appointed time.

What about you? Are you ready to dance?

REFLECTION:

What is holding you back from dancing with the Holy Spirit?

What is the “dance floor” you want the Holy Spirit to invite you on?

How willing are you to dance with the Holy Spirt when He asks?

Where in your story are you “taking matters into your own hands”?

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey as I dance with the Holy Spirit.

Kinita

Directionally Challenged

It has been almost a year since my last blog post. In 2017 the LORD took our family on a very big detour that required all our time, attention, emotional energy, and brain space. In a way, we were living out all the ideas I wanted to blog about. We believe we are now on a renewed journey where the road looks much different. We are learning and discovering new rhythms and seeing His faithfulness and goodness in a whole new way. We continue to grow towards wholeness every day. This topic seemed most appropriate for the first one this year in 2018.

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On a recent trip to Ontario, I needed to travel on Highway 401, a common thoroughfare that extends the length of the province. Instead of taking the 407-toll road that would save money and time in getting to my destination north of Toronto, I chose to endure the company of MANY other fellow travelers on the 401. I enjoy “their company” since we were all going in the same direction (pun intended). Unfortunately, it also makes me think of life in a church where so many people are going in the same direction (heaven) but don’t really know their fellow travelers. Perhaps that’s for another blog.

As I travelled this always busy and crowded highway, a news report came over the radio (CHFI 98.1, my favourite station when I am in town) announcing that there was an accident along my route that was causing a backup. I soon realized that the accident was so severe that the authorities chose to close all four lanes of traffic near an upcoming exit. I decided to get off at an earlier exit to visit with my sister-in-law and her beautiful daughter in hopes that the blocked roads and traffic congestion would clear up once I was back on the road.

Unfortunately, that was not the case at all. The accident took longer to investigate and clear up, so the highway was completely blocked off and all the traffic was directed to the nearest exit. Fortunately, for me, the exit to the 407-toll road was right in front of me just at the right time!! Go figure. God provided a way out. Although this detour was going to cost me more financially, I trusted that God’s plan was always better than mine. Along this new path, there would be more detours, a few more challenging than others. But I eventually made it to my friend’s house with minutes to spare. I had told her I would be there between 4:00 and 5:00 pm and I arrived at 4:55pm. For those who don’t know me, I love being a woman of my word and I don’t like being late! 😊

So many times, in life, we make decisions about “where we are going to go and how we will get there”. Then, something happens in our story that makes us feel like we are “changing direction”. I haven’t always liked that feeling but eventually the Holy Spirit gives me a different perspective in that space.

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Years ago, I handed God the pen to my story when I decided that I wanted His way for me and not my own. Since then, I have come to see “a change in direction” as God putting a detour into my path. A detour can come in multiple forms. From illnesses, job changes, loss, a new romance, a pregnancy, etc., all of which can make us question our own decisions, callings, and passions. Sometimes, these detours have an unintended cost in the short run, but great rewards overall.

Can you relate?

When it comes to my spiritual life, I am NOT directionally challenged. I face the Cross. I face Jesus and seek to do what He wants me to do and go where He wants me to go. My passion to grow forward (#growingforward) has sometimes been detoured because I was going faster than He wanted me to go. I needed to stay or go in a different direction to keep learning the lessons He wanted me to learn. He wanted to equip me with all that is good from Him to allow His lessons to grow deep roots in my heart as I journeyed with Him. I continue to learn to trust in His timing and His direction…and then follow His leading. The distance between those two is getting shorter with every day I face Him.
There will continue to be detours, accidents, and road blocks in my story. But I am learning that my responsibility is to keep my eyes on Him and not on the obstacles and negative feelings I experience from the perceived inconvenience. It is always for my good!!

The Enemy gets a kick out of watching us come to a detour in our lives. He wants us to think that God isn’t a good God. That He (God) doesn’t want the best for us. After all, He is a jealous God, eh? Yes, the Enemy will twist God’s word…a detour that is very damaging to our souls.

Dear friend, please…

Embrace the power of God when you come up to a different direction in your story.

Seek godly counsel with those who are truth tellers and Jesus lovers. Sometimes they are one in the same and other times, not.

Pray and trust that His ways are ALWAYS better.

Don’t follow the crowd.

Let go of the wheel. (but not while you are physically driving please 😊)

Stay in your lane and live your own story.

REFLECTION:

What is your destination?

What are the obstacles, accidents, road blocks in the road you are travelling?

Are you being asked to take a detour in your journey? If so, how are you responding?

 

Thank you for joining me on my journey to find Jesus.  Blessings on yours.

Kinita

For the Sake of Friendship

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The theme of the retreat was “Surrender” and it was based on my book, “I Am Hagar: Forgotten No More”.  The retreat was held offsite at a Christian retreat center – great for camping during the summer or renting an upscale cottage anytime of the year.

On this particular retreat we were set up in one of their beautiful cottages that made us feel right at home and provided most of us with the rest and relaxation we needed.  Each cottage had its own special name.  Happiness, Faith, Joy, Jubilee, just to name a few.  However, there was one name that was disturbing and somewhat alarming to some of us.  The name?  “Amistad” – with the word “Friendship” below it.

 

 

First of all, for those who may not know, “Amistad” was the name of a ship that transported slaves and was featured in the well known movie by the same name. On it the slaves endured horrible atrocities which have lingered in the memories and hearts of many African Americans as a painful reminder of what was done to their ancestors.

Below the nameplate at the “Amistad” cottage was the word “Friendship”.  It was also the only sign that had an explanation word after it.  Actually, it felt like an oxymoron.

 

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Secondly, all the other cottage names were positive and self-explanatory while this one didn’t seem to fit. Although it did need explaining, the word “friendship” didn’t help.  Needless to say, none of us were impressed with what appeared to be a very insensitive and demeaning message on that cottage.

In defense of the decision-makers at the camp, we didn’t know them or understand the reason behind the decision.  Perhaps it was in effort to be inclusive.  Perhaps there was something of significance to the name that we didn’t know. We wondered if they included the word, “friendship” after it so as “not to offend”.  However, it did offend.  A powerful name like “Amistad” is too full of historical pain and anguish for a lot of people.  Some of us wondered how the nameplate was accepted in the first place.  We chalked it up for effort through ignorance, which is probably one of the most common ways people offend.

All-in-all, it left many of us feeling unsettled, disappointed, embarrassed and yes, even angry for what our African American sisters were feeling.  During the retreat, a few of the women who were staying in that cottage revealed their feelings of  frustration and anger about the sign.  It brought deep sadness and hurt that someone would do such a thing, especially at a Christian camp.

That was enough for the leaders of the retreat. They decided to call the contact person of the camp and lodge a complaint.  It was received and within an hour the sign was removed.

Following the retreat, a formal letter was sent to the leadership of the camp and the issue will be addressed at their next board meeting.  The church group is suggesting that the new name be “Surrender”.  I personally think that’s a great idea!!

 

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This whole scenario played out in the hours between my second and third talk that I gave on that day.  Why is that significant?  First because there were various cultures and races represented at the retreat and secondly, my third talk was entitled, “He Sees Us”.  During that session, I challenged the women to consider what their “us” looked like on a personal level and for them to think about how they include other cultures and races in their personal relationships. I also challenged them to look at their “us” from a women’s ministry angle and then as a church community.

How might God  use them/us to stand together with the people He has put among them/us?

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That day and through the experience with the sign, we were not only given the opportunity to stand with our sisters of colour in what they were experiencing but we also witnessed first hand how the Holy Spirit was very present and showed us in a clear way that He saw us!!

We should hurt when our brothers and sisters hurt.  In this case, it happened to be around the issue of race and slavery. That is true unity in Christ.

Friends, it is our Unity in Christ that binds us to each other.  Unfortunately, we often allow the messages of the world, the flesh and the devil fracture that unity.

Let us not take our oneness for granted or to excuse away our ignorance.

Let us keep learning and growing forward with our brothers and sisters of all races and cultures.

Let us not only keep the lines of communication open between each other but especially between us and God.  If we do so, we will be able to hear what the Holy Spirit wants us to do to be part of the solution instead of the problem as far as the sin of racism is concerned.

Let us give and receive forgiveness (for misunderstandings) freely as Christ forgave us WHILE we were still sinners (Romans 5:8).  His forgiveness is available for all of us.  He went to the Cross on our behalf and sent his Spirit in order that we would be drawn to Him with confession on our tongues and a receptive heart for His forgiveness.

Have you been forgiven much?  Then I remind myself and encourage you to share that forgiveness freely.

REFLECTION:

What “sign(s)” has God put in your life to challenge your walk with Him?

What circumstance(s) has God put in your life to grow a deeper intimacy with Him?

Who has God brought into your “us”?

How is God leading you to stand / walk beside another person to become part of the solution and not part of the problem?

 

For more information on this retreat, the “Understanding Culture” workshop or other topics, and how you can have them at your church or community group, check out

https://wordpress.com/page/kinitaschripsema.com/188  (retreat)

https://wordpress.com/page/kinitaschripsema.com/586  (Understanding Culture)

https://wordpress.com/page/kinitaschripsema.com/413  (Speaking Topics)

Or please feel free to contact me at kinitaathome@att.net.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Kinita

 

Do you see what I see?

From my heart:  It’s been awhile since I last wrote.  Life has been very full and very complicated and I haven’t been able to blog the way I have wanted.  I decided I wanted to finish out the year better than it started. I have many pieces waiting in the wings.  I hope you will continue on this journey with me and that you will receive peace and insight for yours. 

I love to write and share what God has put on my heart and I THANK YOU for joining me!!!! 

“I’m looking at the man in mirror, I’m asking him to change his ways…”

You might recognize those lyrics if you, like me, are a child of the 80’s.  “Man in the Mirror” was one of Michael Jackson’s most critically acclaimed songs released in 1988 and nominated for “record of the year” at the Grammy awards.  Many radio stations continue to play it today, nostalgically taking me back in time.

A song I turn up in the car and sing along to my hearts delight.

Truth be told, I was a huge Michael fan growing up and even remember seeing him in concert when I turned 13.  Sadly, his life ended at the age of 50 leaving behind a legacy of music, fashion and talent that no other artist has ever measured up to.  He was aptly named “the king of Pop” for those reasons.

In the past several months, the lyrics of this song have taken me into deeper intimacy with Jesus causing me to have a lump in my throat and tears to follow.

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Here’s why.  I have been asking God to change His ways.  I have had more requests for Him than affirmation, praise and gratitude for Him amidst the many storms surrounding me and many others in this country.  I sat with these lyrics and God showed me something different.  He changed the lyric for me to read, “I’m looking at the man in the mirror and He’s asking me to change my ways”.  Who is this man you ask?  Please read on.

I look in the mirror and see a woman.  A woman of strong convictions that aren’t always received by those around her.  A woman with scars, blemishes and character qualities that aren’t always welcomed, accepted or admired. That’s ok, because God isn’t finished with me yet.  More importantly, He loves me just the way I am.  I don’t spend a lot of time looking in the mirror.  But the glimpses I get I haven’t liked because the messages of rejection seem to be louder.  I confess, surrender and ask God to show me what He wants me to see.  To show me how He has created me and what He wants me to do with it all.

That’s when it happens….

Amidst the pain and struggle in my journey, I see the Man in the mirror.  It is Jesus.  The King of kings.  I see the tenderness of His eyes and He is smiling and delighting in me.  He tells me I’m beautiful and reminds me of His healing in my life.  He shows me His scars, on his hands and feet as He reminds me that I have been crucified with Him, therefore I no longer live but He lives in me (Galatians 2:20).  He reminds me that I have a Companion and Comforter in the Holy Spirit especially for all those times I feel alone.  I feel the Holy Spirit’s presence while I look at this Man in the mirror and He has become my Advocate.  He points me to the things I need to think on as He has written them in Philippians 4:8, “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and whatever is admirable.  If anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” 

Do you see what I see?

This Man in the mirror is asking me to change my ways.  Not because He doesn’t love me just the way I am but because they aren’t ways that reflect Him.  He loves me more than I will ever know yet for today I receive that correction and walk in the way He wants me to.  I tell Him it is hard to change some of those ways in my own strength and He assures me that when I am weak, He is strong (2 Corinthians 12:10).  I need to surrender to Him and He will do the changing.

I am learning to sing out those verses to my heart’s delight as I grow forward (and older) on this journey to find Jesus in the small moments of life.

A song written the year I graduated from high-school has become a landmark in my heart for the woman I am and the woman I am becoming as God grows me to hopefully reflect Him more and more each day.

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 REFLECTION:

What do you see?

Who do you see?

Is God asking you to change your ways? How will you answer Him?

Is God asking something of you that you feel is impossible to do / change?

 

 

 

“Be the change you want to see in the world” –Mahatma Ghandi

Thank you for taking this journey with me,

Kinita

The Great Debate

As a Canadian living in the USA, especially during election season, my voice hasn’t always been welcomed in some conversations. I have been okay with that for the most part because politics has never been a strong passion of mine anyway. I struggle with retaining information pertaining to what party stands for what cause and what their plan is to carry it out so I have often felt that I don’t have much to offer. Broken promises and failed expectations seem to be the bottom line in most political arenas these days, that much I understand. So I pray.

My personal life has been full of broken promises and failed expectations as well, so, on some level I understand this political circus we are in right now. However, it doesn’t give me the right to “dis” or slander anyone. I am just tired of it, as I imagine many of my American friends and family are as well.

This morning in my devotions I read James 1:26-27, “if anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he declares himself and his religion worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

This is not my voice, but God’s – thru His Word – Scripture.

“A tight rein on his tongue”. I think this idea has been absent by the politicians throughout these past few months (maybe years. Maybe decades). So many people have shared that they are sick and tired of the rhetoric and lack of verbal self-control many of the politicians have shown.

I too have struggled with maintaining a tight rein on my tongue over the decades. Maybe you think this is one of those times. It has been a life-long process of surrender for me. If you know me personally, you have heard me on more than one occasion say, “Refraining” as I tightened the rein on my tongue (while tempted to make a sarcastic or harsh comeback)

I trust that other speakers, writers or those with a quick wit know what I am talking about. On occasion, when I haven’t had a tight rein on my tongue I have also made promises and broken them, which sometimes makes me not much different than those I am watching in the world in the world of politics. But with God’s help I am growing in the right direction everyday!!

To some I am a religious person. But honestly, I care more about my relationship with Jesus than I do with being religious. I have learned that when I care more about cultivating an intimate relationship with Jesus, I am more receptive to His Voice and what He is doing in my life and am ready to pour out what He has poured into me. As a follower of Christ, when we fill ourselves with Christ and His Word, that is Who we pour out.

When we allow ourselves to be polluted by the world then we pour out that pollution on those around us.

People are hungry for the truth. People are hungry for honesty. People are hungry for strong character. Me included.

Follower of Christ…what are you pouring out?
Hate, anger, resentment, slander, tolerance, apathy and compromise? Not helpful.

Please don’t live your life in a way that deems the religion of Christianity worthless.
Please don’t refrain from cultivating an intimate relationship with Jesus.

Whoever becomes the President, God still remains The King.
REFLECTION:

Will you receive this scripture today?
Will you please learn to keep a tight rein on your tongue as you face the barrage of political rhetoric?
Will you please own up to your broken promises?
Will you please forgive those who haven’t fulfilled your expectations?
Wanting to stand United…in the States and in the Body of Christ.
Thank you for joining me on my journey,

Kinita

Not Alone

Worked out this morning…not just for my body but for my mind and soul specifically. Having some personal challenges lately and thought a boost to the endorphins would be a good idea.While on the eliptical, “Home” by Phillip Phillips came on my playlist. These lyrics struck me…
“…settle down, it’ll all be clear. 

Don’t pay no mind to the demons they fill you with fear. Trouble, it might drag you down. 

You get lost you will always be found. 

Just know you’re not alone…”
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The struggle is real. The enemy wants to get me down in the midst of the challenges I face. But God reminds me that I am not ALONE. He is right here with me in the midst of ALL of it.
So I share this with YOU as a reminder that YOU are not alone in your struggle either.  It might feel like it because your “peeps” aren’t around or your “person” didn’t show up.  Trust me, I understand. Forgive them and fix your eyes back on Jesus. The Author and Perfecter of your faith. (Hebrews 12:2). 

God sees you, hears you and knows exactly what you need. Trust Him to provide a “home” for you.  

There is no place you can get lost to that He cannot find you.
Self-discovery…I don’t like to workout alone. Need to find me some workout buddies!!

REFLECTION:

Are you at home with Jesus while still on earth?

Don’t know Him? Let me know and I would love to pray for you today!! 
Thank you for joining me on my journey. 

Kinita