Who wants an upgrade?

I never buy myself things when out shopping for Christmas presents.  But this past Christmas something small but significant happened.

We bought a lotion set for someone and the store was running a special deal of “buy 3 get 2 free”.  Although that was more than we needed, I trusted that God would let me know who we were to gift the extra ones to.  He was faithful in giving me two names of people I normally wouldn’t buy gifts for, but I was happy to bless. But there was still one lotion left.

I pondered some more and then my husband said, “why don’t you keep it”.  I reasoned that I couldn’t possibly keep it because keeping it went against my personal policy of “not buying anything for myself at Christmas”.  He then reminded me that I had put lotion on the grocery list and perhaps this was just an “upgrade”.  He did have a point.  BUT was I okay with an upgrade?  Did I deserve it?  There must be someone who needs it more than I do.  These were just some of the questions running through my mind as we paid for the items and left the store.

So, I kept the lotion for myself and felt compelled to look for a greater purpose.  That’s when the Holy Spirit nudged me to ponder the thousands of wishes I have had over the years.  Many of them never came to be and many I have forgotten about.  For a season of my life I carried a lot of regrets in my heart.  I came to understand that some of those were simply wishes and not desires God wanted for me.

IMG_9601

Wishes. Desires.  Dreams.  Fleeting as some of them may be, we all have them.  But maybe God wants to give us a reminder of something better.  An upgrade, perhaps?

At the change of a calendar year I take the “woulda, shoulda, couldas” of the year and lay them at the cross…again…for the last time. Lol!!  I can’t go back and change time, I can only grow forward with what I have learned and try to do a little better.

I wrote the first draft of this post in the last few days of 2018 and now it is officially 2019.  It needed an upgrade, aka editing and now I am ready for an upgrade too – an upgrade of my attitude, my approach to life and situations that it holds, my thought life, my choices the first time and the reminder to keep simplifying and downsizing so there is an upgrade in my faith.

I continue to practice trusting God for the desires of my heart and for His timing.

There isn’t much I deserve in this life.  I believe that “while I was yet a sinner, Christ demonstrated his love for me.” I am not my own.  I have been bought with a price.  It wasn’t a “special” that was running during a particular season.  Christ paid the price with His life ONCE, so I could have mine ETERNALLY forever!  That my friends, is an upgrade no one else can match!!  It truly is a deal of a lifetime. No gimmicks. Just truth…all year round.

Maybe you are entering 2019 with a thousand desires that might be unrealized from years past.  My prayer is that:

  1. You will learn to surrender your desires (if you haven’t already) and embrace ones that reveal God’s greater purpose for you. They might even be one in the same.
  2. That you continue to grow in gratitude for what you do have.

 

May you have a blessed 2019 and enjoy the upgrades God has in store for you this year!!

 

REFLECTION:

What was your favourite gift at Christmas?

What are some wishes, longings, desires that you need to surrender?

Where do you need an upgrade in your story?

Are you carrying regrets from the past? What is God asking you to do with them?

Who in your life needs the gifts God has given you?

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey,

Kinita

The Welcome

They welcomed a baby into their world and were told to call Him Immanuel, which means “God with us”.  They displayed Him – God – in the form of a baby, in a manger, on a bed of straw, with the stench of the barn animals and noises that go with them.  As strange as it might sound to some, this was a regal moment in an environment that was clearly less than stellar for a King.  They were afraid, they had anxiety, they had fatigue.  Yet they welcomed the shepherds that night. And later, the wise men.  They were open to whoever would show up to worship this king.

Over the years, truth be told, I have become bored with the Christmas story.  Maybe because I am so accustomed to hearing it.  And partially because I have experienced, first hand, the conditional sharing of Jesus from some believers.  In my journey, I am learning that I want the meaning of Christmas to be an experience carried throughout the year and not one event that happens in December.  Christmas music, on the other hand, can start 2 weeks before and not a minute sooner. LOL!!

So, every year, I pray that God would rewire me, so I can hear what He wants me to hear in this season of my journey.  Because He is such a faithful God, He has done just that, yet again.  He is revealing something this year that I hadn’t ever considered.  Something simple in a new and fresh way hidden in the Christmas story.

What is it? You ask?

…Let me tell you. (using some creative license of course)

I have given birth to 3 sons and I assure you, I wasn’t “people ready” that soon after giving birth.  I had no interest in hosting guests.   How did Mary do it?  How did she welcome the shepherds to her “home” so soon?  How did she put up with all those “unwanted” smells in that space?

Here it is…

“Immanuel”.  God with us.

Mary had God with her, so she welcomed the strangers into her home.  She didn’t know them.  She didn’t know that they would arrive.  The shepherds had angels to announce the arrival of Jesus and the wise men had a star to follow till they found His specific location.  But Mary had no announcement, she didn’t have a butler, nor a maid, nor any technology that would give her a heads up that they were coming.  She didn’t have time, energy, or reason to clean up the stable for these unexpected guests.

She welcomed them because she knew they were coming to see Jesus.

Will this be the experience in your home this Christmas or throughout the year?  Will you welcome guests into your home so they can experience Jesus?  Or will you be caught up with the hustle and bustle, cleaning, prepping, and complaining, all in the name of Christmas?

To my Christian friends, this is “doing missions”.  You don’t have to leave your neighbourhood, town, city, state, or country to express your missional heart.  You only need to open your doors.

Make room at your table.  Make room in your story.   We can give what we do have.

If you have Jesus, you can give Him freely to those around you.  Don’t distract them or allow yourself to be distracted with all the trimmings of the season. Let them see the real you this Christmas and help them experience Jesus through your story.

I think when Mary pondered in her heart the realities of becoming the mother of Jesus, perhaps she understood this in a very deep and intimate way.  She knew that Jesus would be the Saviour of the World and so she freely shared Him without expectations. What a great example for us today.

I believe God births things in us not just as a gift for us but for those around us.

2013-07-13 20.47.49

Over the past several years, we as a family have struggled to feel welcomed into certain relationships, certain homes.  No judgement, only forgiveness.

We used those times to welcome those who didn’t have a place to go and made the most of the experience in our home, despite the pain we may have carried deep in our hearts, sharing what we had and welcoming whoever God brought our way.

 

 

Jesus offers you the same kind of welcome when you come to Him.

photo (2)

As you head into Christmas, I wish you a time of celebration, peace, and joy!! May you feel the presence of God through the gifts you give and receive and through the smiles and laughter all around you.  If your season includes tears of sorrow, know that He catches every tear and will one day pour them out over you in the form of blessings.

 

January is around the corner and I hope you don’t forget that “God is with you” still!!

Merry Christmas to all and please know that you are always welcome in my story!

 

Thank you for joining me on my journey,

Kinita

REFLECTION:

What is God birthing in you?

Who is God asking you to welcome into your story today?

Do you extend the welcome you received at the cross?

Less is More

We are approaching the end of another year.  Time is flying by.  Like many others, I tend to feel very nostalgic and introspective at this time of the year.  Perhaps, because it is the Advent season where we celebrate the arrival of the Christ child, while also practicing His presence each day. Christmas, 2015

Today, as I reflect, I am reminded of a significant word that the LORD gave me at the beginning of this Advent season.  I am not much for focusing on one word, but it looks like this year is different.  What is the word you ask?  Downsizing.

What a strange word to be pondering during Advent.  And yet, not that strange at all.  Advent is a time to prepare our hearts for the arrival of Jesus as a baby in a manger and then to celebrate His birth on Christmas Day.

Plain and simple…right?

Unfortunately, we tend to do the opposite.  We make it complicated.  We fill our houses, calendars, fridges, credit cards, minds, and stomachs with all the treats and trimmings of the season and allow ourselves to indulge, with excuses that end in “Tis the season!”.

I am not trying to be a scrooge.  I like Christmas, just not in the way most people in my life do.

For the past 2 years, I have seen a trend in my heart.  The dislike for what I call, “Christmas clutter.”  Because of some personal circumstances, our family has taken a break from decorations, shopping, gift giving and many other common festivities that happen during this time of the year, here in America.

Sounds dreary and scrooge-like to many of you, I am sure.  But we have found a Joy unspeakable and a Peace that passes all understanding as a result.

Isn’t that the real reason for the season?  Joy and Peace?

I am now being called to downsize to make even more room for Jesus in my story.  Just like when Mary & Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, there was no room at the inn for them.  I don’t want my story to go like that.

The more I get the more I want…of Him.

I asked God where He wanted me to downsize, since His view of my story is better than mine.

He gave me this… “boundaries in pleasant places” (Psalm 16:6), so I could gain clarity about how and where He wants me to downsize.

Physically – house size, clothes, body size, possessions.

We are not changing our address anytime soon (unless God decides otherwise).  I clearly have too many clothes than I know what to do with.  Although we have had garage sales for various reasons over the past few years, I am sensing that God is asking us to sell even more of the items we own.  Perhaps He already knows something we don’t.

Emotionally – deal with all my feelings (good, bad, otherwise), put boundaries in place that guard and protect, remove certain people from my life that cause undue emotional stress (toxic people), implement healthy social media boundaries.

This past year has been full of feelings new and old, shallow, and deep.  God has been faithful in leading and guiding every step of the way.  In some cases, it was easy in this area. But in other ways, it was quite challenging.  I want to continue to pursue emotional health not only because it is a special gift that I give to the people in my life, but it also strengthens my witness.  I learned a phrase last year, “one cannot be spiritually mature while being emotionally unhealthy at the same time.”  This statement has impacted me deeply and helped me downsize effectively.

Mentally – evaluate what I am feeding my brain, determine how I am strengthening my brain to function the way it is supposed to, identify lies I am believing and replace them with the truth.

God’s Word has been the most effective tool that does the above for me.  Just being in the Word isn’t enough, I have to let it do its work in me.

Spiritually – tighten down on my theology, step into the Gospel more intentionally, seek the presence of God in the deepest parts of my story so I have more of Him and less of me, push away teachings and practices that don’t line up with God’s Word.

If I don’t have a good handle on the Gospel, then my life will show it.  In 2015, I survived an earthquake that resulted in a deeper pursuit of Jesus and the determination to live like I want to die.  With integrity and deep resolve.

In a couple of weeks, we will celebrate Jesus’ birth. In the meantime, I will continue to downsize by dying to myself so there is more room for Jesus when He arrives.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!!

REFLECTION:

How about you?

Is God calling you do downsize?  If so, where?

How will you respond to His invitation this advent season?

Is there room in your story for Him or will you turn Him away?

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

Kinita

Satan is a pimp…

[I wrote this back in May, but haven’t posted since then.  I have been writing pretty faithfully so watch for more posts in the near future.  I started my own business in June called Seema Ministries, LLC.  Checkout our website at http://SeemaMinistries.com and let me know what you think!!]

 

…kick him to the curb.

I have a picture burned in my brain’s photo album and because of the sensitivity of the subject matter, the actual location this picture was taken and the danger it might bring to people I dearly love, I cannot post it.

The picture is of men standing on a balcony of a nearby dingy building with their phones in hand and their eyes fixed on the women prostituting themselves on the street corner below.  They were the pimps, watching their possessions.

(These facts were given to me by the trusted people we were serving with).

Please, stay with me a moment longer.

I took the picture and stood there watching them watch them.  I was overcome with emotions of anger, disgust, a deep sadness, and a sense of “why???”.  These men are made in the image of God, right?  So why the deep feelings of disgust?

It’s the behavior y’all.  They stand around prowling and waiting to steal, kill and destroy the spirit of innocent young girls, young boys, and women.

Sound like anyone you know?  It did to me. Satan.

As I embraced the negative emotions that I was experiencing in that moment, the Holy Spirit revealed that those pimps are no different than the Enemy (Satan) himself.  I also have a deep disgust for him and a sadness of how he tries to infect the lives of those I love and hold dear to my heart.

As we read in John 10:10, “the Enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy…”

Also, in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour”.

The only difference is that we can’t always physically see the Enemy prowling.  Is God’s Word enough for you to believe he is?

As the Enemy prowls around (like a pimp) looking for someone to devour how are you making yourself available?  How are you guarding yourself?

There are so many little (and big) ways that the Enemy pimps his way into our lives.  It seems the big ways are “easier” to fight off sometimes. A few little ways he might be trying to pimp us with.

  1. He keeps us busy.
  2. He provokes us.
  3. He deceives us.
  4. He feeds our idols.

The list goes on and on.  I would love to hear your thoughts!

2 Timothy 3:16-17, “Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

I am a firm believer that God’s Word fills me with His truth to fight the lies that I believe.  He corrects my thinking, so it doesn’t become “stinking thinking”.

Satan wants to be the pimp of our minds which then affects our behaviours.   Prostitutes have been physically prostituted, but I think Christians are being mentally / emotionally prostituted in many ways.

Where our thoughts linger, so go our behaviours.

Quoting Tim Keller, “sin is a kind of practical atheism – acting as if God were not there”.

Since God’s Word is teaching us that the Enemy is going to do it anyway and we can’t change him, then I believe what we need to do (as followers of Christ) is protect ourselves as we remember the second part of John 10:10, “…I have come to give life and give it abundantly!”

  1. Confess your sin. (unconfessed sin opens the door to the Enemy)
  2. Put on your spiritual armor (Ephesians 6)
  3. Get accountability from a truth teller and Jesus lover. (sorry to say, that not all Christians fit this description)
  4. Choose to walk in the freedom that The Gospel of Jesus Christ has afforded you.

Doing these things doesn’t mean the journey will be easy.  It means that you will be able to grow stronger in your faith and understanding of God’s love for you because He is the one that does the protecting as we engage in this way.

Several years ago, one of my dear mentor/friends, Patty, said these words to me during a very challenging season in my life.  “The Enemy plays dirty”.  Through her stories, experience, and wisdom she worked with the Holy Spirit to develop in me the confidence to stand firm in my faith and not sway towards what the world, the flesh and the devil do.  With the help of the Holy Spirit, I have learned to “play nice” and allow Him to pour out His Grace whenever evil is present as He is protecting me.

I have been back from that trip for about a month now and the picture I have burned in my brain continues to sit at the forefront of my memory.  I realize that I am still sad because I can’t really do anything about them.  But God gives me HOPE, and I can do something about the Enemy wanting to pimp you.

I can point you to The Rescue, Jesus Christ.  He Rescued us by pouring out His blood as a ransom for our sin. He paid the price, so we wouldn’t have to.  As a result, we are free.  We aren’t getting the life we deserve (mercy), we are getting this life as a gift (grace)!

Please dear friend, LIVE into that freedom.  LIVE into that Truth.  For your sake, and mine…and theirs.

 

REFLECTION:

Where do you see the Enemy pimping you out?

Are you on standing on the curb too?

What are you willing to do about it?

 

Thank you for joining me on the journey,

Kinita

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

 

 

IMG_0345

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!

IMG_6441

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.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

IMG_0620

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

DSC_1063

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.

 

IMG_3104-Amistad

 

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!!

 

IMG_3112-surrender

 

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?

IMG_3114

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