Monday, 28 November 2011

Becoming Desperate...

Right now in my English literature class we are reading some of the works from a writer named John Donne. I can admit that poetry doesn’t always grab me but there are some poems that catch me off guard. They strike me in ways that it’s hard to believe a poem can. Last Thursday we read one of John Donne's poems and at first I didn’t like it because it made me uncomfortable. My friend loved it and so we talked about it after class. Then it wouldn’t leave me…all weekend long it was there. I have to write it out…..

“Batter my heart, three-person’d God; for, you
As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
That I may rise, and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn and make me new.
I, like an usurp’d town, to another due.
Labour to admit you, but Oh, to no end,
Reason your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captiv’d, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth’d unto your enemy:
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

John Donne ~ Holy Sonnets

This is a violent sonnet. The writer is basically asking God to be violent with him until God is everything to him.

Does it make you uncomfortable? 

My professor compared the word “ravish” in the last line to the word “rape”.
I hate the word rape….I hate it for all it represents. I hate that it’s become slang in our culture and we use it as a joke. That word gives me shivers. I don’t understand how you can take a word that represents such torment and invasion of someone’s will and use it in your everyday humorous language. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
Rape is a violent word. It represents becoming powerless and you will being overcome by someone.
Is this really what the writer means?

I read his words and I can feel his desperation for God to invade him. He doesn’t want his will to win even if it’s painful and it has to be broken.

I don’t understand this kind of desperation. If I were honest I would say that it scares me. I don’t know if I could say these words to God? I don’t know if I am desperate for him.

As I’ve been contemplating the state of not only my life but of our culture, I’ve been thinking about how easy it is for me to go through my day without depending on God at all. When I really need Him then I can depend on him but how often is that?

I am a blessed woman. I have food, I have shelter, I’m getting a great education and I have a family that loves me. I am not really in desperate need of anything and I don’t really want to be.

But the thing is that I want to be desperate for Jesus.

I want to love Him first; I want to know Him so much deeper than I do. I want Him to pour out of me and I want to say that I’m desperate for His presence. I want Him to invade my life but am I desperate for this? Maybe I’m scared of what that might mean? Maybe I’m not sure how to not just say it but to live it? I don’t just want to go through the motions of saying I need Him and saying that I love Him but not living in this reality.

And I don’t know where all of my questions and theological issues fit into all of this. How can you be desperate when there are so many things you don’t understand and when sometimes you’re honestly afraid to trust Him because you might get hurt?

I don’t know.

I don’t even know if I’m expected to have this desperation? Is it only for the few that can handle it? If I want to be desperate then am I just asking for hardship, and am I shallow if this makes me not want to ask for it?

I’m left somewhere in the middle of all this stuff, overcome with my shallow faith and my inadequateness.

And yet somehow His grace covers me, 
even in this place. 

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

The Ugly Meter...

If you know me than you know that I’m an Apple guru. I may have even been the one to convert you….helped you see the light. There’s been many that have been stuck in darkness that I’ve led to see the light and those Apple users have never turned back. Once you go Mac you never go back; it really is that simple.
I’m straying from my point, sorry.

Today I was surfing the app store on my iPhone. I’m not an app queen, of course I enjoy using them but I’m not on top of the latest and hottest apps but I decided to look around today. I found some gems – the “Timmy Time” app, the “Starbucks” app, “The Gas Buddy” app (shows me where the cheapest gas is) and the “find my iPhone” app but there was another app I came across that I chose not to download for some reason.  It’s the “Ugly Meter” app and here’s the description:
“Do you ever wonder if you’re ugly and your friends just don’t tell you?
Do you have an ugly friend, and you just don’t know how to tell them?
The Ugly Meter takes your photo and scans the details of your face to give you a rating of 1-10 on the Ugly Scale. If you rate a 10, you probably have a face that only a mother could love. Depending on how bad your rating is, the Ugly Meter will comment on your looks! Who’s the hottest? Now you can find out”.

And we wonder why we have a society filled with people who hate themselves? 
We wonder why we have kids growing up with self-esteem issues? 
We wonder why we have so many relationships failing when they’re built purely on outer beauty that fades?

In case you’re not quite convinced that you’re beautiful, why don’t you allow an app to give you a good dose of truth?

I’m so glad someone out there has created yet another app that proves just how shallow and degrading our society is. Instead of looking to the creator of the universe who constructed our innermost parts, who knows how many hairs are on our heads and whose thoughts about us outnumber the grains of sand, instead of looking to Him we can now look to an app to give us an accurate measure of our worth!

It’s disgusting really.

It’s disgusting because we have taken a word that was not meant to be purely physical and made it just that. “Beautiful” has become an analysis of our face and of our body, when what it should look at is our hearts and our minds.

I care for a lady who is severely disabled. I know that when someone who doesn’t know her sees her, they wouldn’t call her beautiful. But I know this woman’s heart, I know her quirks, I know the sound of her laugh and the touch of her gentle hand on mind.
I know her and because I know her I know that she is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. She was knit together by the master, He sees her and He knows her heart and He calls her beautiful.

And He does that for me too.

I had coffee with a friend this morning and in a rare occasion I opened up about my own insecurities. I told her that I don’t usually feel beautiful and that most of the time I feel that no one could possibly ever love me. It’s easy for me to tell someone else they are beautiful and to share with them all the reasons why I think so but when it comes to myself I just can’t believe it is true.

And maybe it has something to do with the idea of the Ugly Meter, maybe I have a very distorted idea of what beauty is really all about and maybe I’m not the only one?
Perhaps the lies rooted in the Ugly Meter have seeped into our culture so much that they’ve also seeped into our hearts and we don’t even realize it.  

Beauty is more than what we’ve made it.
It’s not skin deep and it’s not a rating on a stupid app.

And I think that might be the message that some of us need to hear right now, in this moment. 
We need to breathe it in, let those word go right to our very souls.

I need to do that.

I think we all have this longing to be known and understood and to be accepted even with all of our flaws and our faults. I’m not quite sure we will ever meet anyone who can love us and fulfill the desire of our hearts the way we hope for. I think only Jesus can meet that need. I think He’s the only one who can come into the deepest places of our soul and wash away the lies we’ve come to believe.

And when we let Him in, I think He will speak these words over us…

“I made you and I know all about you. You don’t have to try to hide. Who you are is enough. You are worthy of love and you are loved. I see you and I call you beautiful”.

So the question becomes:
When the creator of the universe notices me and when He calls me beautiful,
why in the world would I need to buy an app to do that?

Yours truly,
~The Kindred Spirit 

Saturday, 12 November 2011

A Fall Update...

I've been in the city for almost 3 months and I haven't written one single word on here. I thought I'd have more time to write but the challenge of going back to school has certainly been keeping me busy. I'm adjusting fairly well to the city life except for the whole not going out between 3pm and 7pm due to CRAZY traffic's no lie....Toronto traffic is nuts!

A little while ago I was considering adding a Philosophy minor to my degree so I went to speak with one of the Philosophy professors who somehow convinced me to major in Philosophy! I added a religious studies minor onto that so I now have the best of both worlds. It's been really neat how I feel like God has just orchestrated things at Tyndale. I never would have applied to major in Philosophy in a million years but not that I'm here in this environment I'm learning that Philosophy is such a great fit with my personality and the inner workings of my mind. It fascinates me how God moves us into the places where He knows will be best for us and it's not something we could ever figure out on our own.

So that said....I'm now a Philosophy Major and with the addition of the minor plus all of my transfer credits I'll be at Tyndale for the next two years hopefully!

I never would have been so engaged in my studies if I decided to go to University earlier. College was a whole different ball game, much more mind is being stretched beyond belief now and I feel as though a lot of my world view is in pieces on the floor and I'm entering into the intentional and somewhat uncomfortable process of trying to figure out which piece fits where. It will be a lifelong journey but I think it makes for a more meaningful and rich life. It's slowly changing me.

There are so many things I could write here....things that I'm grappling with and oh so many new "city lessons" I'm learning....and I'm sure I would put more effort into pouring them out here if I didn't have so  much reading and paper writing to do! It's the life of a student I guess!

Words can't express how thankful I feel for this time in my life. Time to learn and think and be in a different place. It's such a gift.

Along with my lack of writing I have also not been taking as many pictures as I would like hobby of photography has also been put on the back burner a little bit but I have managed to capture a few shots of the first few are just a few favourites...

I got the opportunity to hear Rob Bell speak and even got to meet him....a very special highlight for me! 

This is of the most amazing people I have ever met...she is one of the lovely people that I get to hang out with everyday! 

The Civil Wars, one of my favourite musical duo's came to Toronto and played at The Pheonix, I was front row....and boy was it fantastic! 

There really is no music sweeter! 

I hope fall is finding you well....and I hope to be able to write a bit more when things slow down.

Grace & Peace,
Darc :)

Monday, 20 June 2011

Ending Is Beginning...

Is ending really beginning?

For the last 19 years I've lived in Wainfleet. I've had my childhood here. I've made some of my dearest friends here. I've moved to the highway twice and back to Perry Road three times. I've learned to drive, learned to wear jeans, learned to work, made it through Winger School, E.L. Crossley Secondary School and Niagara College and all while breathing this country air into my soul. My roots have grown deep into this place, into the fabric of life here; so much of me is woven into the people here and the experiences we've had together.

In September I'm moving to Toronto to go back to school, I've written about this previously, which means that for me this summer is one of finishing. I'm finishing a job that I've loved at a church that I've loved. I'm finishing another job at a group home full of people that I've come to love and cherish. I'm finishing being a jr. high leader to my kiddos at Port Colborne, hoping that someone will take my place and love my girls just as much as I do. And while I've felt led all along that this is the right thing, I didn't really imagine the grief that comes along with finishing, in a way, with ending.

4 and a half years ago the children's pastor at Wainfleet BIC and myself sat in an empty board room at a large table overwhelmed with the task before us; to begin something new. We wanted to start a new Sunday School program at Wainfleet, one that would be drastically different from anything done before, with new approaches, a new style and a new look. We were overwhelmed but began to put the pieces together one by one, we dreamed and brainstormed and prayed that God would give us the right people in the right places. It's been 4 years since the beginning of 252 Basics and I'm amazed at how much the program has evolved, how our team has grown and become stronger, how I've watched people serve, watched people become better leaders, give of their time, their energy, their gifts and how much those things have impacted us as a church family and impacted me individually. I'm not the same person that I was when we started 4 years ago and I wouldn't be surprised if there are others that could say the same thing. Last Sunday we had our end of year 252 Basics party and we sang and played games and ate yummy snacks and we had a sharing time where the kids could share some of their favourite 252 memories. I was amazed at how many of the kids shared memories not just from this year but some even from our very first year. At the beginning of the party I welcomed the kids and asked them if they were excited and one of the kids who I never really thought loved being there shouted out 'NOOOO'. In my head I was thinking of course we would go to all this work to plan a fun morning and first thing you shout out is that you're not excited! I said to him 'what do you mean no, this is a party', to my amazement he responded that his lack of excitement was because it was the last 252 Basics of the school year. I was shocked! This little guy's response probably will never leave me because in his one little statement I was reminded why it's all worth it. That was my last day leading 252 Basics and it was a perfect ending.

As I begin to think about not going to work at Bethesda in September and not seeing the ladies I already feel an emptiness in my stomach. As I think about not coming into the church office and having 3 hour check-ins with Renee, the children's pastor, I can already feel my heart sinking. As I think about not being at youth on Tuesday nights to hear my girls talking about their boy problems, their friend and family problems, their French work that they hate, the test they didn't study for but still fervently prayed that they would pass, and hear them laugh and giggle and brace myself for them jumping onto my back at any moment, I already miss it and it's not even gone. As I think about the wonderful childhood that I've had; waking up and walking downstairs to find my Mom in her brown rocker praying for the day, setting my alarm 5 minutes earlier so I could beat Josh into the shower, long drives with Dad talking about everything from how standard vehicles work to the theology of the church and always being able to have a good laugh with Greg, hearing Ben laugh and yell at the top of his lungs during the singing time at church, as I think about these things I realize how these moments and these memories have each ben gifts.

Someone asked me the other day if I'm planning on coming home on weekends and I realized by the tone of the conversation that they assumed that my life would still be based here but I'd just be finishing up school. This might have been the case if I'd gone straight to University after high school but I think maybe it's different because I'm a bit older now and it's time to start something new. In a way I feel like I'm leaving my childhood and beginning the next chapter. And I'm scared to death. I'm scared that it will be a mistake, that I'll get there and want to come back, that I'll wish I'd never left. It's a risk and with any risk there's always a chance of those things but there's also a chance that it will be great. That what is ahead will be worth the pain of finishing what is behind. But I'll never know if I don't take the risk.

If I'm a bit sentimental these days you'll know why. I'm recollecting 19 years of wonderful memories, I'm looking back at how much we've all changed, I'm hugging longer, taking more pictures, and maybe shedding just a few more tears. I'm trying to figure out what it means to let go without secretly holding on. And for the first time in my life if you ask me what I'm going to do when I'm done school, I'm going to tell you that I don't have a plan. I've always had a plan, it didn't always happen like I thought it would but I've always at least mapped out a few possible routes. This time I'm plan-less.

And do you know what?

It feels great.

They say that to start a new chapter you have to close the last one. I don't remember them saying too much about the ache that seems to accompany it. But in all these things I hold tightly to the promise that I go forth not alone.

And just maybe I'll find out that ending really is beginning.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Handicap Parking Bust At The Seaway Mall, Shame!

I sent this letter to the editor of a local paper earlier this was a bit of a vent....thought I'd share it. Please note my use of sarcasm in the article...

If you hail from anywhere in the Niagara region then you’ve probably chuckled at the Seaway Mall’s continuous attempts to be better, bigger and let’s be honest, to not die a slow death. Just a tip for the mall admin: you might want to rub shoulders with the city of Welland parking enforcement officers if you want a bit more business.  I’ve shopped at the Seaway Mall and heck I’ve even worked there but last Friday’s events may have just made me a permanent Pen Centre shopper.

I work for a local organization that serves individuals with mental and physical disabilities. Last Friday I took one of the individuals I work with to the movies and on a rare occasion I opted to take her to the Seaway Mall Cinema instead of the other larger theatres with more comfortable seating. The car I was driving had an up to date handicapped-parking permit displayed in the windshield as usual and so I pulled into the handicapped parking spot to give plenty of room to unload the wheelchair and make an easy transfer. After the movie I headed out to the car and while pushing the individual in the wheelchair an older gentleman that was parked beside the car approached me and pointed out the parking ticket on my windshield, puzzled as to why I would have gotten a ticket when my permit was displayed in perfect view. One might think the ticket would have only been for a mere 10 or 20 dollars but the spot checked off was for a whopping 300 dollars; the fullest amount possible!

A few days later as I stood in City Hall arguing my case to the poor woman who happened to be running the parking reinforcement desk that day, she showed me the picture that was taken of the car by the parking officer who had issued the colossal ticket. I laughed and looked at her in amazement; the only part of the permit that was not being displayed was the fine print at the bottom that was slightly difficult to see because of a small tinting line across the bottom of the windshield. The lady at the desk responded to my look of shock by adding that the parking attendant was also short. I should have asked if the parking officer was below 3 feet tall, I would have just paid the money if she said yes. Luckily the parking ticket was forgiven (thank goodness for my yearly forgiveness card).

The ticket is not the point, we all get tickets for things we do or don’t deserve. Perhaps the point is that while one anal individual signs their name, making their daily ticket quota, another individual looks at the ticket and wonders why it can’t ever be easy? Really it’s not as if a person with a disability does not have enough to overcome, why don’t you just add an extra $300 and a whole lot of hassle onto their all ready too heavy load? Or why don’t you penalize the support worker because they were too busy taking care of someone, making sure they were fully supported and safe that they forgot to check to make sure the small print on the permit was over the tint line, shoot!  Are we creating a society that thinks empathetically, I’m not so sure? But I am sure of one thing, next time I head on an outing to the movies, I won’t be choosing the Seaway Mall. One more thing, maybe the city of Welland should implement a new regulation that says parking officers must be over 3 feet tall, might save the Seaway Mall another store?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A little Jr. High Spice of Life...

Over the last two years I have fallen in love with Jr. High Students. I didn’t expect it. It was one of those answers to my prayers; one of those answers that I thought would look a lot differently.

Two years ago I began praying for new friendships, for something different to be a part of, something new. I thought that if God chose to work this out in my life then it would come in the form of some new people I would meet that would introduce me to new people and so on, all people my age or older. Clearly, my thinking was inside the lines.

Two years ago a friend of mine moved to the area to take on the role of the Youth Pastor at a nearby church. He needed some female leaders and so I said I would come out, unsure of the time commitment I would be able to make due to working shift work. I started going to the weekly youth night regularly and began trying to build some friendships with the kids. The youth pastor had gotten together a team of young adults to lead the program, only a few of us actually knowing each other. After youth every week we would head to Tim Hortons to hang out and talk about the night. Those first few meetings were a bit awkward, as we didn’t really know each other too well.  

It’s funny as I reflect on those first few weeks now…’s funny because I didn’t know then that…

…That team of young adult leaders would become my close friends, an unexpected community. We laugh with and at each other, we miss one another when one of us is absent, we see the gifts we each have to offer and we pray for each other’s needs.

…I never thought that I would love the kids as much as I do. My small group of girls have absolutely stolen my heart and I can’t get enough of these ladies….they’re spunk, energy, and passion for life is contagious! They bring out the best in me, they remind me what really matters and they never neglect to speak it like it is, which can be challenging sometimes but it brings this realness that we don’t always get with adults.

…Tuesday nights (jr. high youth night) would become my favourite night of the week!

…I never expected that I would get the blessing of being able to speak into some of these kids’ lives. I didn’t think they would share their stories with all their hurts and their joys and their young emotions with me. I didn’t think they would bring their toughest questions to me. I didn’t think that I would get to witness them learning to pray and learning that God cares about ‘their stuff’.

I didn’t expect that a bunch of jr. high students and a few leaders would be the answer to my prayer.

Even more, I didn’t expect that they’d far exceed my prayer.

And I am reminded in these moments of reflection that God does know best, that His plans for me are better than my plans for me and that He has better ways for me to use the gifts He’s given me than I could think of myself.

And sometimes I forget these things.

But I see this...

And this...

And this...

And this too...

And I get yet another glimpse of the GOOD things God can bring into your life when you ask Him and when you’re open to the possibilities He might have for you.

And it's really true,

Jr. High's really do bring some serious SPICE into your life! ;)


Saturday, 12 February 2011

A Complete Write-Off...

I had a terrible day yesterday. It was a complete write-off to my "Bring on the Laughter" post. I didn't accomplish any of my goals,





I got home from work and made a bee line for my room, I thought that not talking to anyone would be the safest option since I'm pretty sure I was ready to snap at anyone who so much as looked at me.

I mean, if Jesus would have been in my room in the flesh, I think I would have snapped at him too.

Heaven forbid.

Seriously, I hate days like that.

However, I did have one bright spot. This video and I must share it with you and please, you must watch it...

Don't you just love this? I feel like I can breathe a little deeper after seeing goal accomplished!

Hope your day is bright,

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Bring on the Laughter...

I’ve been reading a new book.

Ok, that’s not true.

I’ve been reading several new books.

My favourite is this one called “The Happiness Project” written by Gretchen Rubin. The book is an international bestseller and I certainly know why, it’s absolutely fantastic.

Anyways, in one of the chapters I was reading, Gretchen was writing about her goal of starting a blog. One of the tips she received about starting a blog was that you need to post on it everyday. Clearly my mind wandered to my blog and how I’m lucky if I update it once a year! Maybe it’s not that bad. I think I go in blogging spurts, like I get in a blogging phase and I just blog blog blog and then the phase ends and I take a serious blogging hiatus.

At least I’ve started to recognize the pattern of my behaviour, that’s the first step right?

Moving on…

Can you believe it’s February already? All I can say is Bring on the Spring, that and the end of the Valentines Day season!  

I feel like my mind’s been moving at the speed of light lately. So much to think about. I’m starting to get super pumped about moving to Toronto next September. In case I haven’t filled you in yet I’m going back to school next fall. I’m going to be finishing my BA in religious studies from Tyndale University College and Seminary. Yes, this country girl will be packing up and moving to the big city! You’ll for sure want to tune into the blog next fall to read up on how the transition goes. I can see it now, September’s first blog will be entitled “Darcie learns to ride a city bus”, it’s going to be EPIC!

After being inspired by a conversation I had with my Dad I decided to create a “dream journal”. Basically it is a journal where I write down short snip-its of dreams and hopes I have, things that inspire me, quotes that I love, words that move my spirit and the endless possibilities that each day can hold and each life can bring. I’ve decided I want to be the kind of person that dreams, that always looks for possibility and is determined to live the best life! That saying, I also am learning that to accomplish this requires me not just to say it but to actively choose it, which is not always so easy. I’ll let you take a brief glimpse into my dream journal and I’ll share a few quotes that have been inspiring me lately….

“If you’re going to risk and maybe fail, fail at something that matters. Fail gloriously so that even in failure, lives change.”  ~Jon Acuff

“God wants to usher us into new seasons….some of us won’t go into the new season because we don’t know how to let go of the old season.” ~Bill Hybles (paraphrase)

“Whatever it is that we are hanging onto that keeps us from the life that God wants us to live becomes sin….it keeps us from living fully alive, it is baggage that we need to drop, it is baggage we need to let go of. ~Ken Davis

“It’s easy to be heavy: hard to be light.” ~G.K. Chesterton

I love that last one. I’m notorious for taking myself too seriously, I’m trying to change this but like it says, it’s hard to be light! So I figure perhaps I should make a list of how I can work at being light…this is what I got so far….feel free to add to it…

·     -Laugh More.
-Think about positive things.
-Try to banish guilt.
-Think about 3 things I’m grateful for each day.
-Cut people some slack.
-Break a rule.
-Give someone a hug lasting at least 6 seconds at least once a day. (6 seconds is the minimum time necessary to promote the flow of oxytocin and serotonin, mood-boosting chemicals that promote bonding)
-Breathe deep.
     It’s a list in progress. The big thing I’m realizing is that


…and I don’t want to waste it. I want to take it and live it for all it’s worth and I don’t want to look back and wish I didn’t settle for something less that what could have been.

It’s a bit of a mind and heart shift, one that I’m learning and one I think you should think about learning too!

Well that’s enough ranting for now.

I’ll work on blogging a bit more frequently…it’s a good goal.

Sweet Dreams,
The Kindred Spirit

Tuesday, 25 January 2011