Given Over

I’m at the start of month four of having no home of my own.

Not taken lightly and not entered into quickly, these past few months, and any number of years to come, is simultaneously challenging me and blessing me.

‘Home’ has boiled down to where I unpack my toothbrush and toothpaste and where I have a place to lay my head at night.

Thankfully my family has been stellar. My parents have given me a corner at their place and my extended family has ok’d me staying (i.e.:camping of sorts) at our family house on Mayne.

I’m a bit of a professional bum at the moment.

And so far, in the months since August I’ve not been any one place longer than 1.5 weeks at a time.

This giving my life over to the Lord’s compelling, vision, calling (whatever you want to call it) has come with its cost.

I’ve given over so many of my rights.

I’ve given over the right to have my own kitchen stuff at hand. Because it’s all packed away for the long haul I am always a guest in every kitchen I’m in. Using pans that are not my own, utensils not my own, cookware not my own… any woman will recognize the sacrifice this is.

I’ve given over the right to have my own children sit around my table. When will I ever have them over to my place again? I have no idea. Now I go to them and (bless them) they welcome me and extend their homes to me.

I’ve given over the right to decorate and arrange furniture just as I like. I’ve given over the right to have things just so and to make a space as I would really love to have it. I’ve given over the right to have my own pretty and familiar things at hand.

I’ve given over the right to privacy and that unique north american product of doing life with few watching. My life is now a communal experience with many ‘in on’ the logistics of where I lay my head each night.

I’ve given over the right to earn a decent wage. Living below the poverty line everything I am and make goes to the work of Capturing Courage Int’l. As anyone knows who has risked to begin a business, company, or organization, significant sacrifice is the modus operandi for some years; you would be shocked to know how little I am living on.

I’ve given over the right to financial privacy. I have those who know every single dime I spend and on what and when. In quest for transparency and integrity I am completely and totally financially naked.

I’ve given over the right to giving gifts. For the third Christmas in a row now (and for birthdays too) I’ve not bought one of my children or grandchildren one gift. Nothing. Zip. Zero. I’ve just not had the funds for it.

I’ve given over the right to comfort and ease. Most everything and everywhere I am and go asks of me inconvenience, some of it significant. My most prominent pleasure at the moment is simply keeping a few of my favourite mugs at my various ‘homes’.

I’ve given over the right to friendships. Many (I’ve lost about 20 friends this past year alone) cannot or will not move along with me as I enter into that which is bigger than me, and I’m not sure I will ever truly get over the sorrow of this.

I’ve given over the right to be understood. There are still those actively shunning me, there are those who gossip and assume the worst about me, there are those afraid of endorsing me, and there are those that don’t care enough to actually ask or get to know me or the work of CCI but rather simply pull back into the shadows… and are gone.

I’ve given over the right to my own bathroom. Most everywhere I go others know my bathroom habits. Overseas using a toilet or taking a shower is never a private affair, at my folks we must jostle and wrestle each other for bathroom time – well not quite. 🙂

I’ve given over the right to washing my clothes on my time. Except when I’m on Mayne my clothes must be washed in sync with others schedules and availability everywhere I go. This too is never private – I still feel an intruder in this way.

I’ve given over the right to a closet of clothes. The extent of my clothing could fit into one medium suitcase. I’ve learned to wear the same things over and over, to buy one pair of jeans and wear them till they die (before buying another), and to keep my tops to a system and uniform of sorts; clothing that works for both at home and abroad.

And finally, I’ve given over my right to independence. Everywhere I go, the places I settle into, require that I am okay with depending on others for their hospitality and generosity to me. Whether I am at ‘home’ ( the lower mainland, the gulf islands, in Alberta with my daughter and her family) or whether I am at ‘home’ overseas (with Daniel and his family in Mozambique, with Mamma Bosa or with Edith in Uganda – or any number of the smaller villages and homes which host me in various countries) I am dependant on others. Completely.

My main concern and query at this time is how to manage this for the long haul. What and how might I settle in my heart and mind so that I can sustain this kind of living? I am fairly certain there is an expiration date on such a style of life, but I am equally certain that for me that won’t be for significant time down the road.

I’m therefore working at setting routine into my days that remain the same no matter where I am. Habits of silence and contemplation, quiet time with the Lord, writing time to clear my mind, these things I can do anywhere thankfully.

When I was twenty I wanted nothing more than to sell everything and travel around north america random happenstance style for a years time. Now, nearly thirty years later, I’m getting to do this but on a much bigger scale – around the world happenstance style (well… certainly nimble) and for many years.

Those who pray for me tell me that my time is now and while I’ve been preparing for this for years I am quite aware that significant investment, significant results, require significant sacrifice. Something that is in fact an incredible honour to give.

My Year in Review

I’m thinking about the things that stand out to me as I look back at my 2013 year. Here is my list so far:

– We welcomed a new baby grandson into the family – I love babies
– I packed up house and home in order to focus on international ministry – now I have two homes… how did that happen?
– At CCI we slogged through all the financial requirements to go forward on strong footing – thanks team!
– We found out that tens of thousands are being blessed by the Capturing God’s Heart volumes that I regularly post – speechless
– I made a trip to Mozambique – was amazing
– My children made many big movements this year as they each took hold of their lives – I’m so proud of them
– I got to sleep under thatched roofs in Africa – tickled pink!
– I got to attend church under a mango tree – a true delight
– I had open sky showers in Mozambique – stunning to say the least
– I wrote and wrote and wrote – and then wrote some more
– I led a trial group through my material Walking in Spiritual Authority – with success
– I learned to sleep on floors and benches – on the floor at JFK airport in New York, on a bench at Johannesburg in South Africa, on a bench at the train station in Mozambique, and on mats on dirt floors in Mozambique villages – something bold and daring about it all
– I prayed with my Pastor friend in Pakistan after the church bombing in Peshawar / I prayed alongside another friend directly impacted by the attacks in the mall in Nairobi – lives changed forever
– I was changed forever by eight weeks of interaction I had with a young man in Pakistan as he came to know God and how that impacted his life – there are no words
– I’ve been blessed more than can be told by the many, many individuals from around the world with whom I’m privileged to do life alongside – profound thanks to each of you

– My own focus was narrowed down and fine tuned, I stopped doing all that I wasn’t to be doing – phew!

– AND as we turn the corner into 2014 we celebrate Capturing Courage Int’l being 5 years old.

Needless to say, its been a good year. The future is now

Stepping Out then In to Christmas

Some dozen or so years ago Christmas was a much embellished affair at my house. I’d always loved decorating and wrapping gifts just so (this is an understatement). But as the years went by and as the demands grew I found myself increasingly dissatisfied with what Christmas was becoming and my bondage to it.

The straw that broke the camels back was the year my ex and I took our five kids to the dollar store. Each child had their gift list of some 20plus family members that they were going to get a gift for, and then their friends on top of this.

Now, I must say that teaching our kids to give gifts instead of focussing on receiving them was one of the really great things we did. For many years the children rarely thought or voiced what Christmas might bring them, rather it was always about their gifts to other people.

So the year that we realized that the dollar store could facilitate this gift giving in a fairly economical way was a bit of a eureka. And I still have fond memories of children with a basket in hand trying to shop for their siblings and parents while all in the same store at the same time.

It was later at home that it all unravelled for me. The next day or so and just in time for Christmas I found myself helping five children over the course of some six hours wrap and keep straight 300 gifts!

This on top of all the food preparations for our Christmas Eve dinners. On top of the shopping for our own five children, “Oh I found another gift for so and so, and now we have to find one more gift for the others so that they are all equal…” And so on brought me to a ‘no more’ in my spirit.

I just couldn’t do it any longer. Christmas had become way out of control and I just wasn’t enjoying myself any longer.

To confound the difficulty my ex was making decisions that then required me to carry the brunt of the work (of those decisions) and I was toppling under the loads.

So I began extricating myself. The camels back was broken.

Needless to say I began dialling back on what I was willing to do and be part of. It was a slow process. And a hurtful process for my ex. He couldn’t understand why I wasn’t in agreement anymore to some of the things we had most been about at Christmas.

But I just couldn’t do it any longer. And so I began to make Christmas what I wanted it to be, what I could be glad for and what didn’t kill me each year.

And in that process I learned that it needn’t all be done. I learned in fact that nothing need be done at Christmas. I learned that Christmas happens first and foremost in my heart and that all the rest is simply expression and worship.

Since then till now, for some years to this point, early in December I find a deep peace and quiet and worship descending into my inner being. My soul is bathed in holiness as the Lord presses in close. This to me is the heart of Christmas and sets the table for whatever else the season may hold.

As I’ve refused the craziness peace floods in.

I decided that what I really wanted to do was to buy one gift for each of my children. Instead of keeping tabs on numbers and dollars spent between them all, I would instead take a leisurely afternoon shopping and find one gift for each one that I wanted to give them.

No more shopping lists that makes me feel like I’m at the grocery store. No more requests filled out like I am a vending machine. Don’t tell me what you want, I want to surprise you!

So, for Christmas each year I’m simply in charge of making the 20 lbs of mashed potatoes for our family dinner. One year I took scads of pictures.

I might buy a few gifts (but even these last two years I’ve not had the funds to even do this). I put up a small tree.

And I might do some Christmas cards, every three years or so perhaps.

And guess what. My children still know I love them. Family is still there to hang with. We still eat just fine.

Christmas is now a true expression of the freedom and grace that Jesus Christ came to give. No longer is it wrung through with ought and should and exhaustion.

Instead there is freedom for my children to come and go throughout the day. There is peace and comfort in just being. We always have a great meal that is spread between all of us in the making.

It simply works.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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Receive from Others

Our current North American church model goes something like this: 

1. Come and gather with us.

2. We have something amazing for you.

3. We have things to teach you.

4. Once you have learned the things we have to teach,

5. Once you have proven your value to our organization,

6. Once you abide by our rules,

7. Once you fit in with us,

8. Then we just might think about … receiving from you.

The model of church found in Luke 10 is remarkably different than this. 

Jesus, sending out the 72 instructed this: 

1. Go out – with gentleness and no snarl (10:3)

2. Make no provision for yourself – be vulnerable (10:4)

3. Become guests in the homes of others (10:5)

4. Lead with peace (10:6)

5. Allow them to care for you – receive from them (10:7-8)

6. Declare the Kingdom of God – heal the sick (10:9)

The method that Jesus taught is in stark contrast to the way we tend to do church in the west (and wherever has copied this western model).

The church says ‘come to where we are’.

Jesus says ‘go to where they are’.

The church says ‘fit into what we are doing’.

Jesus says ‘fit into what they are doing’.

The church says ‘receive from us’.

Jesus says ‘receive from them’.

And in this humility of mutual need, of honour of the individual and of what each brings to the table, of receiving, of deep listening, of building rapport, then and only then do we have invitation and full agreement  (most of the time vs.11-12) to share and declare the Kingdom of God.

The first one to get down, the way to lead forward: Receive from others. 

If we get this right the rest just might fall into place.

Thoughts

thoughts.coverThoughts – Taking One Day at a Time

My latest book takes you through your year with solid thinking, one day at a time.

Like a coach in your back pocket, each day’s small encouragement and challenge will harness your best, taking you forward in strength.

With 365 Days of thoughts, you will be encouraged and challenged to refine, focus, consider, explore  what it is that brings out the best in life.

We cannot grow at great rates of speed – smallest is best, and in this volume of small daily wisdoms you will find validation and peace woven into the ways you go after life.

At $20 each this book is the perfect thing to take your 2014 forward. It is also the perfect thing for Christmas Gifts and more. It’s the gift that keeps on giving, 365 days a year.

To get your copy Let Me Know or find them on Amazon

“The first time I met Cyndy I knew there was something special about her; she has a graceful presence that emanates her love of God and humanity.   Every morning for the past year I have eagerly checked my email to be inspired by the “thought of the day” and I am simply delighted that they are available for all in print form.

This book is an outpouring of what is close to her heart: not just a collection of her daily thoughts but a series of careful meditations within the soul. Each page presents an encouraging and insightful glimpse into Cyndy’s personal journey of discovery. Many of these ideas are forward-thinking and challenge the very nature of our lifestyle. With life’s ever increasing speed, these thoughts act as a gentle prompt for us to dedicate time just to think. It is in these rare moments of processing that we often realize what matters most to us, and then recognize that we’ve been completely preoccupied with something less important.

I have known Cyndy for a few years now, and every time we meet she just makes me want to be a better person. After reading this book, I’m sure you will feel the same.”

Lynn Matson,  Consultant

Contact ME for Your Copy Today

Kingdom Come to Earth

P1410342I began my day with some painting. Early mornings, before the sun begins to rise, are sweet times of introspection, journaling, prayer and the like.

Today I pulled out my art journal and the acrylics. I have been asking the Lord lately to tell me more about the kingdom of God. And so as I got out of bed there was simply a desire to paint the kingdom of God.

Really, to catch the emotions and the grandeur and the heart of God within it.

Continue reading Kingdom Come to Earth

Bitter-Root Judgments

Bitter root judgments are nasty business. The thing is, we’ve all had them.

A bitter-root judgment is recognized by the decisions we have made about how life works. Its the determinations about people and places and things.

The problem with bitter-root judgments is that they are not conclusively true. We may have recognized a certain truth but then, in our judgment, blew it up out of proportion and have often assigned the same judgment to multiple people and situations.

And what we expect, that is what we get.

What we focus on, grows.

Continue reading Bitter-Root Judgments