Broken Bodies

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I found this picture on a friend’s social media page and with her permission I am using it to illustrate my thoughts.

Hopefully by now you have recovered from the poses and absence of certain body parts.

Since pictures speak a thousand words, this blog is going to be shorter than most.

At first when I saw the picture, I had a flood of emotions and then several writer’s thoughts too – not all good but I knew right away I needed to take a deep dive!!

Missing or broken limbs, missing bodies, so much detachment.  Dear friends, based on many conversations I have been having as of late, this is how our churches are beginning to look.

People are missing, some have detached themselves or parts of themselves because they don’t feel like they fit or belong, some have simply moved on to other churches, or simply drifted away all together.

Is that you?

Do you know someone?

Well then, what are you doing about it?

Aren’t we, as believers, called to “keep the body together”?

What will it take?

For those dolls some good tape, glue or some other strong adhesive will be required.

Within the “Body”, we have forgiveness, reconciliation, acceptance, patience, and the love of Christ as adhesive for fellow believers…in Jesus’ Name!!!

A few suggestions to help you on your journey: (assuming you have some proximal relationship with the person).

DON’T SAY: “you look good, must be everything is going well!”

INSTEAD SAY: “I’ve missed seeing you, how have you been?”

 

DON’T SAY: (when you do see them in church) “I see you haven’t been in church for some time.”

SAY: (via text, call, email, social media…) “I haven’t seen you at church in a while, would you like to talk?”

 

DON’T SAY: “I was giving you your space.”

SAY: “I would like to come over and sit with you as you work through your situation.” (or something that sounds like you are stepping into their mess with them).

 

Let’s do our part to fix The Body.   Who’s ready to do their part?!?!

 

Thank you for joining me on my journey.

Kinita

Driving in Unity

These past eight months have been so full of travel and interestingly enough, most of them involved a lot of driving on busy highways and roads.

I often find myself alone in my passion for multi-lane highways that wrap around concrete jungles.  And the more I stay true to this unique passion; I find more of my true authentic self.

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So why do I like them? You ask.

It’s simple really. Everyone is headed in the same direction.

The vehicles are all unique, various makes and models, but they are travelling in the same direction.  Notice I didn’t say destination? From time-to-time, vehicles make take their exits but then others join us as they merge from one of many on-ramps, joining the masses, all of us on our merry way…in the same direction.

That my friends, is called UNITY- “The state of being united or joined as a whole”.

We are united by going in the same direction and yet staying uniquely individual, traveling in our own make and model.

The Problem?  I find that as we travel on a highway in a united fashion, some travelers become weary and impatient and they begin to grumble.  They don’t like the “PACE”.  Perhaps they don’t like the masses and would prefer a country road that would take them to the same destination faster, without all the extra traffic.  Some get annoyed when someone else wants to join the journey and merge into the mass of travelers.  They don’t like to create “SPACE”.  Perhaps they don’t like the fact that each vehicle is unique, and the comparison of “who has the better vehicle” gets under their skin.  They like to “COMPARE”.   

I remember on one recent road trip as I was merging onto the highway, I almost got clipped by the truck that was in the lane I was trying to merge into.  The driver didn’t have room to move over to make room for me so I needed to let them pass before I could merge safely, at which point I realized I was holding my breath out of fear the whole time!!

Whatever the case, everyone is forced to go forward in UNITY (road rules).  But are they really experiencing UNITY if all they want to do is get to their destination and “get rid of / ignore” those who aren’t like them, or choose to take a different highway to decrease the number of others on the road so they can simply get to where they are going faster?  And are they really driving forward in UNITY if they demand that “it is their way or the highway”? (Pun intended).

Then it happened…

architecture building chapel church

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

This visual got me thinking of the Church (shocker).  There are so many people who say they want UNITY.  Although, they may be genuine, don’t seem to know how to live it out.  There are some who want it, but only for the sake of their public image (aka: being a ‘good’ Christian).  There are some who want UNITY because they have embraced it as heart of Christ’s ministry to His people.  And there are some who could care less, and they do.

I don’t know who you are or how you define unity, but as Believers, we are all headed in the same direction…all on a journey of following Jesus and ultimately headed for a destination called heaven.  God made a way for us by sending His Son, Jesus ahead of us to the Cross on our behalf.  That secures our identity and our destination of Heaven.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the life.  No one can get to the Father but through Him.  Do you believe that?  Then you are on a journey of living the abundant life and on your way to Heaven.  It doesn’t matter how long or short you have been on your journey. The question is, do you believe in Jesus?

I think what seems to be trapping so many people within our church communities is in-fighting and as a result, they take their own version of “road rage” to their social media sites.  If that describes you, I encourage you to consider how you are representing Jesus in the spaces and places you go.  This is not an argument to support or deny what Jesus says or does. It’s simply a reminder that there are some who are meant to be on this “highway” and are waiting on the on-ramp.  They want to find a place of hope and rescue and to travel a better road, not the road where they experience what the world is giving them.

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I’m not saying, “go to church (the Building) and you will find Jesus”.  What I am saying is that “we as the Church” (who we are) need to do a better job of making room for those who desire to join us on the journey and to help them experience more unity as we travel this road together.  Whether you are on a highway, a bi-way, a country road or trail and have a relationship with Jesus, then you have the responsibility to share that with others and encourage them to join you from the on-ramp and not discourage them to get out of the way or to take an exit.

What a privilege, to leave our church buildings, to spend the rest of our week building relationships with those who are not yet on the highway, who feel they are on the outside and give them the gift of inclusion.

On this road trip of life, I have discovered that the destroyers of unity are PACE, SPACE, and COMPARISON.  We have all been guilty of those from time to time.

Let’s make today different…

Check your pace, make space, and don’t compare…Live your story!!

 

Reflection:

What does God’s word say about the direction you are going in?

Is He asking you to consider a “rest stop” so you can take a spiritual inventory of some kind?

Is He asking you to move over and make room for another on your journey?

 

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Kinita

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.

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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

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

My Wake-Up Call

Matthew 6:24 says, “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money”.

Our team at the top of the Monkey Temple for Buddhist and Hindu believers.

Our team at the top of the Monkey Temple for Buddhist and Hindu believers.

Saturday April 25th, 2015 will forever remain in my story for many reasons. That was the day of the tragic earthquake in Nepal that killed over eight thousand people and rendered millions homeless, not to forget all the people that will live with the trauma of that day in the deepest parts of their soul for months and maybe years to come. I am discovering that being a survivor of a tragedy like that challenges me to think about “what is really important to me”.

Since my conversion to Jesus Christ at the age of 14, I have grown to really love the LORD and have chosen to serve Him ONLY. Like most relationships, there have also been ups and downs in my relationship with Him. There have been times when I have grown in trust, faith, understanding and strength while at other times I was afraid, doubted, or held on to fear, pride, self-protection or other things that I believed were important to me. Yet, time and time again, God would bring me to scripture passages that would gently turn my heart away from those ups and downs and help me to focus the eyes of my heart on Him.

That day when the LORD shifted the tectonic plates, ultimately destroying physical Hindu idols and monuments made and worshiped by man, I believe He also crushed my idol of self-protection.

You see, protecting myself (aka: porcupine – see “blog post called “Anger Management”) was what was very important to me leading up to that day. You could call it my idol. Although I had confessed and surrendered it on several occasions, I guess it was never completely gone.

The Porcupine I used as a visual aid.

The Porcupine I used as a visual aid.

That day not only did the earthquake take down physical idols that were important to Hindus, my idol of self-protection was crushed – permanently.

Idols can be defined as things that are so important to us that we would be devastated if they were gone. They block our view of Jehovah Jireh (God as Provider). We then run the risk of missing the way He is providing for us in our crisis.

At noon on the day of the earthquake, the Hindu “rain god” was to be paraded through the streets of Kathmandu. The Hindus had prepared a way for the 7-story-tall rain god to move through the city by taking power lines down and blocking area roadways for it’s safe passing. The earthquake hit at 11:56 and was so powerful it toppled and destroyed that structure. To me that was a wake-up call to the church (Church = who we are not just where we go), the Body of Christ, the Body of believers to acknowledge our idols.

The remains of a Hindu temple following the April 25th earthquake.

The remains of a Hindu temple following the April 25th earthquake.

In the Hindu faith, the religion includes worship of stone gods and idols that are in plain view of passersby. In the Christian faith, however, as much as it is a religion, it is more specifically a relationship with a living God. This relationship with Jesus produces a transforming of our hearts and lives so we reflect a living God and not the things of this world.

Unfortunately, some Christians tend to hide idols (in their heart) while showing great commitment to God on the outside (perhaps through service or words). Let’s not forget that, “…The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7). I assure you, I am not exempt from that. The Holy Spirit reminds me everyday to hold things loosely so as not turn them into idols.

I believe that Christians would experience the abundant life referred to in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have life and have it abundantly” more effectively if we grew in our understanding and awareness of our internal idols.

I like the way author and pastor Tim Keller says it. In his Epilogue, he writes, “…idolatry is always the reason we ever do anything wrong”. He then quotes Martin Luther, “the fundamental motivation behind lawbreaking is idolatry” (referring to the Ten Commandments). There is something you feel you must have to be happy, something that is more important to your heart than God Himself.” (pages 165-166; “Counterfeit Gods”)

All this might sound judgemental to you (believer) but the truth is, as we read in 1Corinthians 5:12 and 13, “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside…”. We are also called to “build each other up in the faith” (1Thessalonians 5:11) and that is my hearts desire. In reality, when idols are brought into the light, they not only lose their power but we make more room for Jesus.

Want more Jesus?

“For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to Him….They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than The Creator”. (Romans 1:21, 25)

Hey believers, can we please stop feeding our idols and instead, can we be united in Christ and share Him with the world?

REFLECTION:

Ask God to show you the things or people that “if they are removed from your life” you would be devastated.

How powerful are the idols in your life?

What do you need to take down so you can make room for MORE God in your life?

Are you being lead by your idols or lead by Jesus?

Thank you for joining me on my journey.  Blessings on yours.

Kinita

Overcoming Bridges

Ah, yes the subtle ways the enemy uses to derail our lives. A situation or relationship is “SO hard” that we find ourselves either avoiding the person or ignoring how we really feel because it’s just SO hard. As time goes on, we give up trying.

We don’t realize it but all of a sudden (or so we think) the relationship becomes TOO hard. TOO hard to work at, TOO hard to forgive, TOO hard to accept and sometimes even TOO hard to pray about. We have for so long focused on how it was SO hard that we just don’t have the strength or willingness to try anymore. It’s just TOO hard. We give up. (not to be confused with surrender, unless surrender is where we land).

The bridge from “SO hard to TOO hard” can become a reality in every aspect of life.

What is something in your life that is really difficult and super challenging for you right now? Is it a job, a parent-child relationship, a marriage, finances, your health? You fill in the blank.

Is it SO hard or TOO hard? Are you at your wits end? Or are you persevering through the rough waters and finding the strength to go another day. Maybe even another minute?

I had that as a parent of a challenging child. It was just SO hard for so long. So many times I wanted to throw in the towel and give up. But by the Grace of God, I didn’t. I stayed true to my commitment to God to raise that child into adulthood, I got help from a counsellor, I communicated to my husband more clearly what I was feeling along the way and most of all I surrendered my responsibility and calling of motherhood to God. But I tell you, it was SO hard. For the readers I know, I can picture some of you nodding your heads in agreement.

I believe the LORD gave me the strength to go another day. He surrounded me with truth-tellers and Jesus-lovers while exposing the judgemental and critical voices in my life. I needed help to move forward and He provided it.

There were days where I felt that the situation was becoming TOO hard (and it was).

Sometimes it was my own sin that would create the bridge from SO hard to TOO hard.

God’s word would often remind me that “with Him all things were possible” (Matthew 19:26). Or on other days, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). It was clear, the enemy didn’t have a chance, but I assure you he tried everything he could. One time I even fell on the verse, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). Those were my “ugly cry” days. Don’t judge, you’ve had them too.

Ironically, now when young moms come to me about their struggles in parenting or their marriage, I chuckle inside at the journey I survived. Yes, that is how it felt sometimes. A matter of survival. Can you relate?

It was SO hard.

I survived because I had Jesus. I thrived because I chose to wear my armour during the battle for those relationships (Ephesians 6).  I survived because I chose to receive love and encouragement from those who supported me whether they understood or not.

He didn’t allow the enemy to finish the bridge that was being built from my SO hard to the TOO hard. Jesus held my hand througout the journey, especially when the people who promised they would stay, let go.

The enemy wanted me to give up on my child, my marriage, my family. I said “NO!!”.

God wanted me to grow into an overcomer. To Him I said, “YES!!

What bridge do you need to overcome?

What is in your story?

Is it SO hard or TOO hard that you want to quit?

Don’t give up, it’s not too late. God loves you and wants the best for you. You matter to Him!!

If you are reading this blog, it might be His way of pursuing you, especially if you are hearing about Him for the first time.

Thank you for sharing in my journey.  Blessings on yours.

Kinita

One-sided Friendships

Ever have one of those? You know the kind, where either you or the other person is always the one that does the calling, texting, e-mailing, connecting? It can be in a friendship that is new or one that has spanned the years. If you haven’t, trust me, they are not fun. They are draining. They end up making the person who is doing all the “work” feel desperate, feel devalued, and wondering, “am I not enough”, and ultimately feeling rejected. I’ve been on both sides, I know.

We, the people, make so many commitments in our lives and yet don’t keep them. So often our children follow in suit. Take our teenagers, for example. Some of them have so many friends that every other week they have a new “Best Friends Forever” (BFF). No one friend “rises” to the top and stays there. That’s not all bad, in my opinion, since there are different seasons for different kinds of friendships, but I think it eventually shows a lack of intimacy with any one friend.

For me this lesson of one-sided friendships became a reality when I moved from my hometown in Canada to the United State after I got married. I had many friends but the there were two women that I chose to stick with. Mostly because of our history and the commitment they made to “not forget me”. I know, cheesy right? However, I think many of you are starting to relate to my story already.

Well, unfortunately the commitments weren’t as strong as I had hoped. However, because I valued each one differently and loved them both deeply, I made sure I did my part to stay connected, including taking the time to ask and answer the tough questions. Now it is almost 30 years later, and both of those women have continued to be in my corner and have my back. They have walked with me in prayer and often when I have gone back for visits, we have picked up as though I had never moved away. We have agreed that even though each of us is wired differently, our commitment to the friendship is strong.

Last year, two close friends in my current hometown moved away. This time I was the friend who stayed. Those feelings from decades ago resurfaced. However, this time I was able to reflect on the growth that had taken place in my heart since then. The development of technology has definitely helped foster the growing intimacy in our friendships. I value and love these two women deeply. They are prayer warriors who seek and love the Lord with all their hearts. They value many of same things I do, know how to have fun, are truth-tellers and most importantly love me for me. I’m sure our friendship will look different from time to time, but I can confidently say we will have a friendship that will last a lifetime.

Bottom line…..I made a commitment to “not forget them”.

There is another relationship that often feels like a one-sided friendship to some. A relationship with Jesus. Perhaps you call on Him through prayer or dig through the scriptures and all you get is silence. You get others to pray you through stuff and still “feel” nothing. You find yourself in the middle of a storm and you “feel” completely alone. Maybe you resort to technology and social media out of desperation to soothe your loneliness. Perhaps you indulge in alcohol, food, or other forms of temporary comfort. Or maybe you are being pursued by God in so many areas of your life but you are so buried under the rubble of excuses that you don’t respond.

Unlike our women friendships, God is a God who is a keeper of promises ALWAYS!! He keeps His commitments, no matter what. Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “He will never leave you or forsake you”. (other versus Joshua 1:5; Psalm 27:10; Psalm 94:14; Hebrews 13:5)

It is ok to have those above feelings, but the truth of the matter is, He is with you. You are not alone. Proverbs 17:17 says, “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother”.

I believe, the question shouldn’t be, “are you there, God?”, it should be “what is in my life that is blocking me from seeing and hearing you, Lord?”. I know, tough question. But it’s the tough questions that grow our intimacy with Jesus. Just like in our friendships we could ask, “am I too busy for intimacy in my friendships?”.

You are not alone in this challenge either. Just this past week I was once again going through a storm that caught me by surprise. After a few days had passed, I started to “feel” lonely. I felt alone. I felt frustrated because I was confined to my bed for longer than I would have liked. I used social media and technology to soothe my lonliness. I got a little upset when my husband didn’t pull away from his activities to give me attention. The pain medication was messing with my senses and I felt out of control much of the time.

Then a dear friend called and told me she was committing a whole day to pray for me. I was humbled and thankful. She reminded me that perhaps God had a specific reason for this storm in my life. I won’t lie, I was feeling inconvenienced. I was feeling like a burden to my family. I felt like nobody “really” understood.

Until she called and reminded me that God understood because of the suffering He went through on the Cross on our behalf.

Maybe you are the friend that has become distant. Maybe you need a little reminder disguised as encouragement that “there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother / sister” (Prov.17:17). Maybe a name or two have come to mind and you need to contact them and share the love.

My prayer for you is that God would show up in a mighty way and comfort your heart as the True Friend He really is. If you don’t know Him in that way, seek out a trusted friend who knows that kind of intimacy. Perhaps check out a local church while you are at it.

It’s time to stop being casual in the friendships and relationships that really matter.

God will see you through it!!

How about you?

What are some tough questions you need to address in your life to improve intimacy in your relationships, with others and / or with God?

How has reading this blog post been an encouragement to you? If you don’t want to respond to this blog because of it’s public nature, feel free to contact me on Facebook. You can private message (PM) me at Kinita Kadnar Schripsema.

Thank you for joining me on this journey.

Blessings, Kinita