Refusing to Fix

I work with indigenous leaders around the world. Many of them are in third world countries, some of the poorest in the world. Many of these leaders are working amongst the most difficult of circumstances trying to live the love of God to their own people.

Due to difficulties, both the chronic and the unexpected, I am often approached for tangible assistance with the needs facing these pastors and evangelists and early on as we were nailing down the scope of our work at Capturing Courage we were tempted, and tried on a few occasions, to fundraise to meet various needs around the world.

All of these efforts met with dismal failure. We couldn’t even raise $1 to help with a toilet door! And we began to realize that our work is not one of tangible help with the problems at hand, rather we truly are only called to grow leaders in terms of spiritual transformation, emotional wholeness, and in strong leadership skills.

In this and as I continue to work with leaders, those given assignments bigger than themselves, I have really settled this year on the fact that I would be doing them a disservice if my help removed from them their difficulties.

My eyes are wider and my view is broader and I understand like never before that for leaders to be leaders they must be well versed in difficulty. They must in fact be grown in capacity to head into trouble and to creatively look for solutions that are right at hand but often just out of sight.

This inner capacity within each one of us is only grown and strengthened in the face of difficult things. Difficult things grow us up. Our stamina is increased when we learn the love of God in what is the worst.

The ability to carry on, to remain abiding in God no matter what, is a skill all its own and one that must be acquired by leaders if they are going to go successfully forward to which they are called.

For it is not difficulty that undoes us. It is the nagging questions about the presence of God in the midst of these difficulties, these are what really undo us and it is only in difficulty that these questions about God can be fully answered.

Tree roots must go deep in order to withstand storms and it is drought that sends them deep.

What the many who approach me for help don’t know is that I’ve weathered my own many difficulties. I’ve walked a path of strain and faithfulness woven together for many, many years. And while I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face for a lot of that time I now look back and see that those years were the investments years paving the way for the rest of my life’s journey.

The spiritual authority, the leading that I am called to was birthed and nurtured and grown through those most difficult years. And now, as I visit and mentor and pray for leaders be it online or in person or over the phone across oceans I encourage leaders to embrace the difficulties that they are facing.

Are they hard? You bet. Are they crushing? Yes. Are they pushing them to their edge? Yup.

But this place where we end and our Lord begins is the richest place to be. Standing in the tension between faith and all that doesn’t seem to be working is in fact the call of all leaders. For leading is not about telling others what to do. It’s not about organizing building projects or arranging pastors conferences.

Rather, those who truly lead us, showing us the way, do so on the basis of how they themselves have met God. Where has God become real for you? This is where you lead from. And here in the shadow of your own journey others are nurtured and grown and empowered to go forth with strength of their own.

Every capacity a leader grows and allows within is a capacity that all around can catch hold of and make their own.

We need to be capacity building people. And capacity is built in the difficulties. Period.

What satan intends for evil the Lord makes good. What has been robbed from our lives will be replaced many times over. The losses we have experienced are the seed-beds of fruitfulness for others.

Imagine a portion of your heart, the part that all the stress and harm and difficulties go. Imagine that as life goes on and the difficulties surmount that this portion of your heart is stretched out of all proportion. Imagine your heart being stretched by difficulty as hard circumstance after hard circumstance is poured in.

Now, imagine that this portion of the heart can contain just one of two things. It can contain the grumbling, the bitterness, the rushing to fix things, the impatience, the complaining, the disillusionment, the harm, the hatreds, the unforgiveness, the doubts about God, and more.

Or this stretched out part of your heart can be inhabited by the living God. Entering the Lord into our grumbling, into our bitterness, into our rushing to fix things… you get the picture, turns our cauldrons into reservoirs.

And once we have been pruned and threshed with all chaff burnt away we are then in possession of strength and stamina, belief and wisdoms that cannot be taken away. Ever. The solid knowing of our Lord Jesus Christ is a possession that will not rust or decay. And this is how leaders are made.

I don’t rush to fix anyone’s problems any more. I wouldn’t do them the disservice.

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

On the Inside

“Thank-you for coming on the inside, for living among us, travelling as we do, eating as we eat.”

This came from one of the pastors after nearly two weeks of travel and ministry amongst ten churches spread over a wide area during my recent trip to Mozambique.

I am convinced that being on the inside is the only way to be in service to others.

By the time I’d arrived in Mozambique (after over 30 hours of travel) I already had a few clothes that needed washing. And as we were heading out for more travel within another day I took it upon myself to wash my clothes.

I was staying in a guest house that had running water and so it was fairly easy to in fact wash my own clothes. I had even brought some twine from home and so managed to hang them to dry.

The Mamma’s (the wives of all the gathering pastors) giggled and ooh’d and aah’d over this clothes washing. But later in the day Daniel came to me with a sincere apology from them that they’d not washed my clothes.

I was struck. My first misstep of the trip was washing my own clothes. Here I thought I was doing a favour but instead I was heaping shame and embarrassment. I made sure not to make that same mistake again. Rather, from there on I dutifully handed over my dirty laundry to Mamma.

Coming on the inside is an exercise in humility and requires great ease with one’s self. It requires trust in the human spirit and in the Lord’s direction and provision found through others.

In Luke 10 Jesus sends out the seventy-two and instructs them to enter towns, to stay with those who will keep them, to eat what they are fed, and to leave their peace to those who can receive it.

Right from the start of Capturing Courage’s international launch this has been the conviction of how we do what we are called to do. We do not enter a town and set up camp and say, “here we are come and see the great stuff we have for you” rather we come to visit and minister from the inside out.

Before ministering, before blessing, before encouraging, before healing, before wisdom, before prophecy, before praying, before anything, we arrive tired and in need of some basic care.

“Where is the toilet?”

And once some food is prepared we simply receive the hospitality afforded with due thanks. We shake many hands who have arrived to welcome. We sit and receive the stares of many who are intrigued and so delighted we are there. We smile our own greeting time and again.

We might then ask, “May I please lay down and sleep a bit?”

And everywhere we go, each place visited it is the same. Sit where I am sat, eat what I am given, smile and shake hands and affirm that ‘yes indeed!’ my own excitement of being there does match their own. We are on common ground and in good company together.

I am observed tired and hungry. I am walked to the toilets and given showers. I am cared for and fed. All before I ever open my mouth to share anything I might have from the Lord. First things first after all.

And then, by the time I am standing in front as the welcomed minister they’ve already seen that I am simply human like them. They’ve seen that I am as dependant on them as they might be on what I am about to speak.

The preaching and the praying, the wisdom and the prophetic words, are simply one small portion of the work as I travel. Perhaps 20%. The other part is in fact the coming on the inside.

It is the travelling as they travel, bouncing along in the back of trucks over rutted rattle-your-teeth-loose roads. It is sleeping at the train station just as many others are doing. It is being packed onto a motorbike with a couple others to get the last distance to our destination. It is making my butt fit into the eight-inch space left for me in the back of the bus (minivan packed with 20 people).

And what amazes me is how prepared I am for all this and how much I absolutely love it. The fellowship and camaraderie found on the inside is like nothing I can adequately describe. In this the Lord ministers to me profoundly. My own heart that has experienced so much loss and dysfunction relishes in these simple interactions that – thank God – are saved from pretence.

And I think this is what must mark any of our work and callings. Where are we simply glad to be on the inside? Where does our love extend past the inconveniences and difficulties?

You know, the Lord said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light. Where might that be for you?

For myself it has taken many years to get here. Primarily because it took this many years to eliminate the self-doubt, the lies I had believed, and the disqualifications that I held between myself and this work.

I still pinch myself at the amazing privilege and gift of this work.

Where might this be for you? What work are you called to that once you enter into it isn’t even work but rather a saving of self and deep fellowship and ministry to others?

But I suspect these are the wrong questions. For until we get there we cannot recognize this place. Rather, I will ask these questions:

What is the biggest disqualification that you are holding between yourself and what the Lord might call you to?

What are the deepest failures and regrets of your life? Where is your loss the most profound?

To what have you had the most sympathy, to whom are you drawn to help? Where do you keep tripping over yourself in your eagerness to assist? Where have you been most rejected in your attempts to help?

The answer to these questions is the same answer to those other questions.

Begin systematically and boldly removing the lies and the disqualifications that you so gladly hold up for all to see.

Put them down and begin the process of entering into work made just for you.

A Good ‘Ol Romp

My bags are packed and I’m ready to go. I’m heading off to Mozambique for three weeks.

I’ll be ministering alongside 9 churches there. We will be waiting on the Lord’s touch, declaring the Lord’s touch.

As an apostle and prophet the Lord sees fit to my inner preparation. There is little I must do other than rest in his work in my person.

When I first began entering into the work of inner healing and deliverance, some dozen years ago, there were all sorts of compellings that I obeyed.

Continue reading A Good ‘Ol Romp

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

God’s Bath

When the Holy Spirit says, ‘Take a bath’ then I know that I am entering a new arena in the spirit realm.

I’ve experienced this a number of times before, where the Lord directed and compelled me to take a bath. A real-life bath in a real-life bathtub.

The first time I thought I was a bit nuts. It was back in 2009 and I was going on a weekend away with a girlfriend to her parents empty home. We were using the place to rest and relax and in the midst of my packing I was compelled to include a new bar of soap.

Who does that?!

But as the weekend progressed I found myself on the Saturday evening running a bath and settling into a deep presence of God over me.

Other times since have been the same. Always before a new level of ministry. Once after a heavy duty of outpouring.

Today, I’ve started my day with a bath. I never do that. Baths are reserved for evenings and before bedtime in my world. But today the compelling of the Holy Spirit had me bathing before breakfast.

Most of the time, and particularly lately, I feel most human. I’ve been packing and preparing to move, hanging out with my children, cleaning and sorting, none of which have the Spirit pouring through me per se. And so I’ve been feeling a bit humdrum and less than ordinary.

I am used to the Lord’s presence and while God is still here even when I am just Cyndy, the heavy presence of him I miss.

This bath though, alerts me that indeed life is moving forward. Ministry and freedom in Christ are at hand, not for me per se, but as I pour Him out on others.

And a deep gladness is settling over me. Contentment. Delight.

The work of God is like none other. It is a communion with the Spirit that nothing else matches.

And so now with my body ceremoniously prepared and cleansed for the next outpouring of God’s might and glory, all I can say is, ‘Look to the Lord, run after God, invest in what the Spirit has for you.’

You won’t ever regret it. Even if you feel a little daft at the start.

Settled and Finding Momentum

Years back I would wander the halls of Missions Fest looking for organizations that were working with indigenous pastors around the world.

I remember finding barely any. Merely one or two each year was only sorta like the kind of organization I was interested in collaborating with. I had a few interesting conversations but there wasn’t any conclusive sense that, ‘This organization would be a fit’.

Little did I know at the time that I was to in fact found and direct the kind of organization I was looking for.

And even when we launched Capturing Courage International, there was still only a vague idea of the international aspect of the work.

Looking back I realize I had many if not all of the dots, but in the moment I couldn’t connect them.

Thankfully, the Lord is the master dot connector! And so here we are, as an organization, now ministering to thousands of pastors who are in turn ministering our material to tens of thousands of people.

The work has solidified, personally I’ve navigated the concentration stage and with the work picking up momentum, we know exactly what we do and how we do it.

Simply put, we are equipping and encouraging indigenous pastors around the world.

We do this through:

1. Building authentic relationships of mutual prayer and encouragements via email, facebook, phone, and texting.

2. Sending out Capturing God’s Heart on a monthly basis – this is a topical Bible study that is assisting in the spiritual formation of both pastors and their congregations.

3. Providing Walking in Spiritual Authority, a CCI Discipleship School curriculum comprised of three parts – The King’s Heart, At the Cross, Spiritual Authority.

4. By being on the ground with our colleagues around the world, participating in pastor’s conference, preaching and praying the heart of God, bringing inner healing and deliverance.

I’m heading to Mozambique in October. Pastor Daniel along with 9 churches have been waiting for me for over a year and a half. It’ll simply be good to in fact show up, to fellowship and to experience the Lord touching and encouraging and healing lives and hearts.

It is his specialty after all!

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

To find out more head over to Capturing Courage International.