I turn 30 in just a few months, and lately I have been reflecting on the awesome adventure that has been my 20’s. One of the highlights of my 20’s was when my dear friend April and I took a trip to England…
Look kids, me on the Thames in front of Big Ben!
We really wanted to see a castle while we were there and, due to a change in plans, we ended up going to Windsor Castle just outside of London and having a blast!
The used-to-be-moat is now a garden surrounding the castle…
The Queen herself was actually in residence at Windsor while we were there, and because Windsor is still a home for the royalty, we were not able to see some parts. There was still plenty to see–we were at Windsor for an entire day!
But, in spite of the chilly March day, we had a blast taking the tour and then exploring the grounds on our own for a while….
April and I have been friends for almost 19 years now, and she is a treasured part of my life!
Whenever the Queen is in residence at Windsor Castle, a specific flag is raised (I have a picture in my scrapbook of this, but not online). It shows that specific protocol should be followed and, most importantly, that royalty is in the house. <raise the roof> In other words, when the flag is raised, people act differently at Windsor.
As Christians we are called to live like royalty, to act in such a way that people know that we are children of the King. That means…
…we live with contagious joy
…we treat one another with love, kindness, and respect
…we work to redeem that which the enemy has tried to steal, kill, and destroy
In other words, people should know that we are different…in a good way!
One of my favorite Scriptures that I’ve blogged about here and put on Facebook many times over the past years is The Message version of Colossians 3:12-14:
“So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.”
“Now there are different gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different ministries, but the same Lord. And there are different activities, but the same God activates each gift in each person.” -1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (HCSB)
At our studio staff meeting on Tuesday, I gave a devotional about the body of Christ and what that specifically means as Christian women who work together at Reverence Studios. I can’t help but get a little emotional (what can I say? I’m an emotional person) when I think of the amazing team that God brought together to minister at Reverence together this year. I like to think of us as a patchwork quilt, of sorts. We are all individual pieces–beautiful, uniquely crafted, worn in different places, and comprised of our various life experiences. We each have our own unique areas of giftedness, and we each have our own special part to play. But…we wouldn’t be a whole quilt without each woman there and fulfilling her role. You see, Reverence would not be all that God intended it to be this year without every person doing her part.
And so it is with the body of Christ.
“For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ. For we were all baptized byone Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. So the body is not one part but many. But now God has placed each one of the parts in one body just as He wanted. And if they were all the same part, where would the body be? Now there are many parts, yet one body.”
-1 Corinthians 12:12-14 (HCSB)
So often it’s easy for us to play the comparison or competition game. We wish that we had her gift, his job, her home, his ability to learn foreign languages, her book contract, his blog readership, her income, his manly chiseled muscles (haha)….and we spend so much time wishing that we were someone else that we forget that God created US to be unique and beautiful parts of His Kingdom. We stop celebrating when others have good things happen to them. We stop living. And, as we spend our free thoughts and hours envying others, we stop sowing seeds.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…
Unity is a heart issue first. We can outwardly tell someone that we are excited for them, and still inwardly despise them. We can serve together with someone at church and then say nasty things behind their back. But, when we truly feel that unity and kindred spirit in the Lord, it’s reflected outwardly by how we treat each other and how we are free to live out our calling.
“Now may the God who gives endurance and encouragement allow you to live in harmony with one another, according to the command of Christ Jesus, so that you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ with a united mind and voice.” -Romans 15:5-7 (HCSB)
As Seth and I have continued to see God’s unique fingerprints color our lives, He has been burdening our hearts more and more with orphan justice which involves more than just adoption. We started sponsoring a child with Compassion International after we got married because we love what they’re doing for orphans around the world and providing the necessary means for children to get solid, Biblical education and still remain with their families. I got involved in the fight to stop human trafficking a couple years ago, and was in shock at how many orphans are subject to trafficking. Of course, as you all know, we are in the process of adopting a child from Uganda, but adoption–while highly important–is just one piece of orphan justice.
And still…there is more to be done. I’ve had some incredible opportunities to educate other people and share Seth’s and my story of what led us to where we are now: in the midst of His exciting plans for us. I’ve already mentioned that we want God more than a life of ease. This is just one way we’re following His call.
“Often, we forget that we were once orphans. Jesus Christ endured the horrors of the cross to rescue us from an eternity in hell….It is imperative that we fast and pray about all aspects of orphan care. We must pray for the orphans themselves. We need to go before God as we fight against the injustices that orphans face. We must lift up families in the adoption process, as well as adopted or foster families who are having a difficult time in the transition of their child into the home. These families need not only physical and emotional help, they also need real spiritual breakthroughs–the kind that comes from fasting and prayer. All of us must ask God to show us the specific ways He wants us to help the orphaned and vulnerable children in our world.
When we realize the fact that spiritual warfare is at the heart of the orphan crisis, it brings prayer to a whole new level. It is desperately needed and extremely important.”
-Johnny Carr, Orphan Justice
So, I’m excited to add a new piece to this blog until He releases me from writing about it on my tiny corner of the internet….a place where we can gather to pray for orphans all over the world and a place where whoever feels led can join Seth and I in prayer for our orphan and our adoption process. If you’re interested in joining us for prayer, you can either subscribe in the box in the upper right corner of this website (if you already subscribe to my blog, you will automatically get this) or you can stay tuned on Facebook. Either way, we would be grateful and you would be making an eternal difference.
“We have put our hope in Him that He will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on ourbehalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.”
-2 Corinthians 1:10-12 (HCSB)
You know when something incredibly awesome happens, you’re feeling great/happy/joyful/excited/on top of the world, and then someone inevitably says something weird/mean/ugly/critical?
Regular Jane: Hey, guess what! I just got a promotion!
Wah-wah Sad Trumpet Person: Oh man, you are going to have to work like a dog now!
Regular Joe: We are so excited about our vacation. We’ve been saving our pennies and vacation time for-EVER to take next week off.
Wah-wah Sad Trumpet Person: It must be nice to get to go on vacation.
Regular First-Time Mom: I can’t believe it’s happened. We’re finally pregnant!
Wah-wah Sad Trumpet Person: Kids are so much work. Say goodbye to your free time and money and body!
Wee 22 Year Old Kirsten Six Years Ago: Well, I’m doing it! I’m finally opening my Christian dance studio!
Wah-wah Sad Trumpet Person: Good luck! Most small businesses fail within their first year.
90% of the time the “Wah-wah Sad Trumpet People” aren’t haters. In fact, if you spoke with them chances are that they would describe themselves as realists or pragmatists (as opposed to someone like myself who is a dreamer). Most of the time they’re not trying to rain on your parade or be Martha to your Mary. They see themselves as being helpful–good friends and family–people who want to make sure you are realistically thinking about what’s to come. A few of them want to take you down a peg, but I’ve found that’s not the norm. The other times they’re not really thinking about you and how their words are going to make you feel.
So, besides a major rolling of our eyes, how is an eternal optimist to handle these wah-wah sad trumpet people?
1. Appreciate them. If the world were full of optimistic dreamers, we wouldn’t get anything done. Learn to appreciate how God created people differently first and hear the heart behind what they are saying.
2. Be kindly truthful. Whenever that person bluntly delivered the facts about small business failure to me (as if I didn’t already know how big of a risk I was taking), I smiled and said, “Who knows what God will do? I’m very aware of the facts, but am stepping out in faith believing that He will go before me.” Saying something firm, but kind lets them know that they came across as unintentionally wah-wah sad trumpet and how they made you feel.
3. Resist the urge to be wah-wah sad trumpet person back. That speaks for itself! And don’t put them in their place either. Shouting, “Well maybe if you worked harder, you would get a promotion too!” in their face isn’t good.
The most important thing to remember is that people will always be people, and you just have to love them.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
-Colossians 3:12-14 (MSG)
Even though I think my Mom is the best Mom in the world (hi, Mom!) and never felt any need to go looking for motherly love outside of our home, I have been blessed to be surrounded by a handful of older women who invested in me, cheered for me, and acted as “spiritual mothers” to me throughout the years. Growing up, my brother and I were very comfortable conversing with adults, and my parents didn’t get jealous, but always encouraged those other relationships knowing that it really does, at times, take a village.
One of the most influential women in my life outside of the women in my family was a spiritual mother to both my Mom and me. She was a writer and speaker, and she used to take me on some day trips with her to do dramatic sketches or just to keep her company. She always encouraged me to be the best version of myself and take every available opportunity. She would say things like, “The Lord has some great things in mind for you, Kirsten. You are incredibly special.” And I knew that, even during those awkward teenage years, if she said so it must be true. As I grew older and entered college, I realized that I wanted to be her: working with and ministering to and mentoring other women. I had to interview someone for my freshman Learning & Transition Class at Geneva, and I picked her (of course). We laughed our heads off the entire interview because we could not think of what to actually call her job position. She knew even before I did that dance, ministry, writing, public speaking, mentoring, and counseling would be my life some day, and continually set up opportunities and meetings with others to help me along the way. She taught me the values of generosity, of being a friend and mentor to other women, and of accepting other people for who they are.
I also think of my Gramom. I’ll never, EVER forget how she and my Popop just poured themselves into my brother and I as we grew up. To this day, I am still very close to them. My Gramom and I email back and forth several times a week, and she is a huge example to me of what it means to live a life of humble service to God. Not only do we have a fun relationship with our stamping weekends and back-and-forth book trading, but the godly wisdom and counsel that she offers me (as well as the prayer support) based off of the wisdom of her years and relationship with the Lord are invaluable.
There are others, of course. I’ve been reflecting on these women and how I was shaped by their small and large investments into my life throughout the years. I love that I can have that heritage of faith and godly women, and I’m thankful that I can invest that same heritage into the young ladies at Reverence Studios, into my family, and into any one who comes my way. Younger women do not just have to be spiritual mothers–we can be spiritual big sisters and spiritual aunties, too (the teens at the studio said I am the equivalent of the “awesome aunt” in their lives, lol! Love it!). When we, as Christian women pour into others who are younger than us–without jealousies or unrealistic expectations–we become a part of that legacy of grace that has been changing lives for centuries.
And then I look at the women who are my age and my friends, and how they continually model Christ’s love and teach it to others around them. Together we make up a community of godly women, motivated by God’s love and grace, who support each other. It’s a beautiful thing. My prayer is that I can continue to be a spiritual mom, big sister, or auntie to whoever is in my life. And, when Seth and I have kids, may they be blessed by women who pour into them just as I have had and will continue to do. And so today, I say “Happy Mother’s Day” to each of you who invest in me and the other young women out there!
“Many women are capable,
but you surpass them all!”
Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting,
but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised.
Do you have a spiritual mom, sister, or auntie? If so, please share about it in the comment section!