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

He Leads, I Follow

While vacationing at a friend’s cottage for a few days up in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, my devotions were centered around Matthew 11. Specifically verse 28.
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest”.

I love how God times His Word to be the exact thing I needed on this vacation. We were entering this vacation after a several exhausting few months for our family. I was continuing the work of recovering from the effects of the Nepal earthquake. We had recently buried my sister after she lost her battle to brain cancer. My first book, “I Am Hagar: Forgotten No More,” was published and released (you can find it on Amazon.com). And a plethera of other situations that required my attention. The ups and downs of my emotions and the hard work I had done to cope has been exhausting, to say the least. This road, amidst it’s great joys and disappointments has been very treacherous!!
Without my supportive and loving husband, my children and friends who have been genuinely walking this journey with me, I think I would have been fit-to-be-tied months ago.

There was actually a time during those weeks where the “ride” seemed fast and furious and left my head spinning. I remember just closing my eyes and asking God to show me where He was in the midst of all this. At that precise moment, He gave me a picture of me sitting on a roller-coaster chair/bench and the lap bar was His arm. As I held on to His arm (the lap bar), I began to stroke it and had peace that He was holding me in place. I was assured that He would not let me go and would see me through to the end. That day (and since) He gave me an inexplicable peace that I was going to make it.

Back to the verse…I love this verse because it is very direct. For those who know me personally, I love direct communication. When I hear indirect communication it makes my brain work harder to have to decipher what looks like hidden meanings.

Jesus says, “Come to Me”….not, take a bunch of detours and then come. Yet, even if we have taken those detours, He still wants us to come to Him. If Nike was the speaker, they would say, “just do it!!”.
“All who are weary and burdened”, I think that everyone reading this and those we know have been weary and burdened at one time or another. I wonder what would happen if all of us who have obeyed this gentle command “Come to Me”, were to share with those who are currently weary and burdened, the Hope and rest they can find in Jesus?
“I will give you rest” is a promise from a promise-keeping God!! The kind of rest we can have in the midst of the fast and furiousness of our lives is uncompromising and available to all of us.

He lead, I followed very close behind.

He lead, I followed very close behind.

Our vacation ended with a day on Mackinaw Island. My time on the island started with a bike ride on a tandem bike with my husband. We rode the 8 miles around Mackinaw Island with the family and had a great time while learning a lot about us and other areas of our lives. Ken was in the front and I in the back. He did all the driving and I was along for the ride. I just held on. When he changed gears and went faster (than I would have liked), my heart raced and my muscle spasms (a result of the earthquake) kicked in with a vengeance. But I held on (perhaps muttering a thing or two under my breath). He would check on me every now and then and my answer was the same everytime. “I’m doing ok”. I’m not sure what He wanted me to say, because I really didn’t have a choice but to keep trusting him.

That gave me the beautiful picture of journeying with Jesus. I am doing ok and I don’t have a choice but to trust Him!!
He is leading, guiding and taking me on the ride of my life. I choose to rest in Him and hold on to see what other great adventures lie ahead. So, no matter how “fast” and “furious” your journey may be right now, know that God will lead you safely through it all.

REFLECTION:

What are you going through right now that needs more faith?
How do you respond when things don’t go your way?
How have you been responding to Jesus’ invitation to “Come to Him”?
Maybe you say that “God is leading” but are you following Him?

Thank you for joining me on this leg of my journey!

Kinita

I LOOKED UP (Part 2 – the story continues…)

This was my fourth trip to Nepal to serve with a ministry that buys and frees slaves. We hold women’s conferences in a church and as the speaker, I encourage the women to grow in their relationships with Jesus Christ through various topics that lend themselves to the Discipleship process already going on there.

I am very intentional in preparing a team for the ministry, opportunities and experiences we might have there. The number one way in which I insist they prepare is to, “stay in The Word“. God is writing each of our stories and as we stay in His Word, we will grow to see how it weaves into the fabric of our lives. I cannot stress enough how important it is for ALL of us to take time to “seek first the Kingdom of God…” (Matthew 6:33).

This trip would prove to be one that would challenge each of us to rely on God through the unique relationship we had cultivated with Him during that preparation.

In the hours following the initial earthquake….. (excerpt from my journal on April 25, 2015, following the Nepal earthquake).

“Fear, anxiety and emotions are running high. I think I am internalizing them now. I pray, I sing, I claim the power of God. The aftershocks continue as we sit outside the church. We are being encouraged to move to the open field behind the church to seek greater safety”.

As I walked out to the clearing I began to sing, “I’m gonna go with Jesus anywhere, no matter the roughness of the road….”, a worship song we have often sung in our church. The Holy Spirit reminded me of Psalm 91:1, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

That day, I also chose to trust God with every shaking fiber of my body.

 

field for squatters and animals running wild. Lots of human and animal waste and trash littering the area.  A very rough place to walk.

field for squatters and animals running wild. Lots of human and animal waste and trash littering the area. A very rough place to walk.

Once in the field, I look up and see power lines criss-crossing the sky, which presents more danger and uncertainty if they were to fall. But before more fear can take hold, the Holy Spirit showed me what He wanted me to see instead.

"I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from?  My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot slip..."

“I lift up my eyes to the hills – where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip…”

For the first time, in a few hours, I felt a twinge of peace in my soul that “everything was going to be alright”. God was truly present and He would see us through this. No matter how uncertain the circumstances were going to be, I could be certain that God would continue to be faithful in this situation. Looks like He chose to calm His child instead of calming the earth storm.

We hung out in the field for awhile and once it was “safe enough” (which was debateable), we headed back to the church site.

By now you might be thinking that “Kinita is really good at memorizing scripture”. I assure you, I am not. I can usually remember the words of a passage but not where it is found. Or I will remember that a certain book and chapter of the Bible is significant but can’t remember why.

A random white bird landed on a branch near by during this time.  Perhaps as another visual reminder of the Holy Spirit's presence.

A random white bird landed on a branch near by during this time. Perhaps as another visual reminder of the Holy Spirit’s presence.

That day, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me the help I needed by speaking those words into my ear. When I got home, I looked them up and found them in print.

Believers in Jesus…..here’s how it works. When we say, “we died and we are now hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3), it means first we have died to our own desires, passions and expectations and that God is our protector, shield and guard. The Holy Spirit is our companion. Unfortunately, so many people say this and then in a crisis, run and hide behind idols. That day, something died in me for good. Even though I can’t quite put into words what died in me that day, I can say with more clarity and vigor, that God’s Words and His Presence became more alive and palpable than ever before in my life.

We have an incredible gift of His “Shadow” (Psalm 91) and yet some still choose the things of this earth.

Please understand, I haven’t arrived. God continues to refine me. My prayer is that God will use this experience in my life to give you the Hope that He wants for you.

That day as Kathmandu was lifted approximately 1 meter in the air (statement made in a report I read), I believe I was lifted onto God’s shoulders as a reminder of His care for me (Luke 15:5 was prayed over us before we left on the trip).

Although I continue to deal with some physical ailments from that day, my heart is stronger today because of how God showed Himself to me when I looked up.

“Shoulders” by King & Country …was a great inspiration and a song I held in my heart throughout this particular trip and as I prepared for going.

Thank you for journeying with me. May the LORD be gracious to you when you look up.

REFLECTION:

Where is the earth moving under your feet and causing you uncertainty?

What is the earthly storm you are going through?

Where are you looking?

How do you respond to the “aftershocks” surrounding the crisis in your own journey?

 

Rough Waters

Dozens of cookies we made last year out of inspiration and time!!

Dozens of cookies we made last year out of inspiration and time!!

Cookies, cookies and more cookies....last year!!

Cookies, cookies and more cookies….last year!!

2 Samuel 22:5-7 says,

“The waves of death swirled about me; the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me. The cords of the grave coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From His temple He heard my voice; my cry came to His ears.”

I have been wading through some rough waters lately – waters of parenting teenagers, doing my part to help our daughter deal with adoption pain, rough waters of communication struggles in our marriage, loneliness in leadership, and the racial tension we are facing in this country just to name a few.

Sometimes I feel that if I don’t stay engaged with the above mentioned situations, then I will be taken over by them. I know, I know, sometimes that only makes things worse. However, at times I felt like I was drowning. Have you ever felt like that?

I debated about giving this blog post the title, “It Takes A Village”, to quote a famous politician from several years ago. Her message really was “it takes a village to raise a child”. She is right. It does take a village to raise a child. However, my world is bigger than that of parenting and I imagine yours is as well. Learning to navigate rough waters in every aspect of life is normal. From work to relationships to health and illness. I believe anything that has the potential to be impacted by the world, the flesh, or the devil is a great place to foster rough waters. As I go up and down with every swell of waves, I’m tired. No, I’m exhausted. I need someone to throw me a life ring. I just want to close my eyes and sleep.

And then it happens…….

I am reminded in Jonah 1:4, “But the LORD sent a strong wind on the sea, and the storm was so violent that the ship was in danger of breaking up”. I know God allows these things in my life and as I feel like I am in danger of breaking up / aka: crashing, I know the Truth that God is holding me right now. “Nothing touches my life without going through His fingers first”.

In Job 37:1, I am told, “The storm makes my heart beat wildly”, almost making me want to throw up. BUT GOD calms my spirit with His.

When Psalm 48:7 says, “…like ships tossing in a furious storm”, I am sensing dread but am reminded of 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind”. These rough waters are crazy!!!! Back-and-forth-back-and-forth, I feel tossed.

Because God is a keeper of promises, I choose to trust that He will do what He says He will do in Psalm 107:29, “He calmed the raging storm, and the waves became quiet”….and I can trust Him because He has done this for me before and will do so again. At other times He has calmed my inner spirit so as to strengthen me for a particular storm in my life.

Oh, how I craved the quiet waters and the peaceful sunset.

Oh, how I craved the quiet waters and the peaceful sunset.

Proverbs 10:25 also says, “Storms come, and the wicked are blown away, but honest people are always safe”. I can be safe. I am safe. Are you?

We are in the throws of the Christmas Season right now. Just a couple of days away in fact. As much as I have enjoyed the hustle and bustle, to some extent, I have found myself often close to tears, physically tired, and sometimes even clenching my teeth.

0136a0207e667c950b308567436f6b828dedfa4867

So I let the tears flow and I cry out to Jesus. He hears me. He reminds me of His love, peace and presence and that He is sending His Son as a baby in a manger as a greater reminder of things to come. God is my Rescuer. My disappointments and struggle lead me to believe that I only need a village. Yes, I do need others. But first I need Jesus to strengthen, heal and help me surrender the pain some situations and some people are causing along the way.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the storm will go away, but for me it means He will give me His peace and His joy. The rough waters need to run their course, as the LORD shapes me to look more like Him. In the meantime…..I hang on for dear life and perhaps look around for what village He is calling me to be part of.

01d9366025255bd62c965963fdd9313b53d739425a

I want to close with this truth from 2 Samuel 22: 17 – 20.

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

My comfort in these weeks has come from saying,

“I CHOOSE joy. I CHOOSE peace. I CHOOSE Jesus!!”

He is seeing me through my storm and He wants to do the same for you.

Will you trust Him for that Peace and Joy you crave deep in your spirit?

Whether you are in the swells of the rough waters or diving into the depths of the struggles. My prayer is that you will finish out this year well and know and believe that you have a Rescuer Who hears you.

Christmas blessings to you and yours,

Kinita