She Got It

 

Sweet Kelli, as many of your friends sat together to remember you the words were repeated, “She got it.” As we recalled hilarious and meaningful moments we have shared with you, it became glaringly evident just how deeply you got it … The last conversation I had with you was about the grace of Jesus … The radical mercy drenched on us by Love blood.

After shattering darkness and death once and for all, Jesus spoke hope to His disciples saying, “I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” – John 14:4

Kell, you knew the way. You got it. We could see it in your life. Your words spoke life and your life spoke hope even louder than your words did. Even now, your life speaks hope.

When you couldn’t see hope here, your hope was set on what is unseen.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” – Cor 4:18

Kelli, sweet friend. Your eyes were fixed. You were not content to wait for heaven to see God. You looked for Him everywhere and directed the eyes of others to Him, to the Life-Giver Himself. You showed people they are important and valued by God. You would remember the details happening in their lives (even people you didn’t know well) and ask about them weeks later. You were hospitable and kind. You were open and inviting, making everyone feel included. You cared genuinely and loved extravagantly. You were enabled to do this, because you got it.

The more I think about the beauty of your young life Kell, the more I feel the weight of loss – It was too soon – God, it’s not right! This is not right, I don’t get it.

He speaks. No – it is not right. You don’t yet live where it is all right. You don’t have to get it, but rest in this: Kelli got it, and Kelli gets even more fully now.

For those of us struggling to get it, know this: it’s alright to struggle, but she is where it is all right. I can just imagine her explaining her home. “Look! Your sunsets on Earth dim in comparison to the brilliance of these!” (Kelli often spoke with captivating wonder about the beauty of nature) “There is joy exploding in every direction!” (She was a fighter for joy on Earth and practiced thankfulness) “I will never ever feel sad again, no one here does! No one is hungry, thirsty, or in pain – I have never felt so completely fulfilled and whole and free! The WORSHIP and music is like nothing you can imagine!” (She loved to sing) “And the beauty of God is overwhelmingly bright, warm and good. I cannot wait for you to see and experience this! In the meantime, while you don’t get it, rest easy knowing that I do, and God does. It’s alright loved ones. Here, it is all right.

Just Passion Is a Game Changer

“Justice for Colten! Justice for Colten!” These were the chants cracking the North Battleford sky yesterday outside the courthouse. A 22-year-old man shot and killed on a farm near Biggar, Saskatchewan …. The people’s plea for justice is loud, and passionate. This sad news story was my morning wake up.

Some people say they have no passion. However, there is passion embedded in every person for justice. God’s definition of justice is simply, “How things should be.” God is justice, and we have been made like Him. When God finished crafting man, He said He made people to reflect His nature, “So they can be responsible for … Earth itself” (Genesis 1:26 msg). Do you ever wonder what separates the people on Earth who hear about injustice and close the newspaper, and those who do something about it? Passion is a game changer.

Yesterday my path crossed with hockey rock star Adam Oates on a jet plane (Poor guy, there was no escape from his new chatty companion). He is clearly a champ on and off the ice because he answered all kinds of questions and jumped in to discussion with a farm-girl-school-teacher from Saskatchewan. He was even humble enough to compare my work to his as he coaches players, and in a sense, I, students. As we were talking, I noticed how his voice raised and words flowed like wild lava when he talked hockey. The man was, and is fiercely passionate about the game, strategy, skills, injuries, and the thrill of open ice. Passion drives action, and changes the game.

Passion is defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion.” Somehow Adam Oates and I swung in conversation from hockey jabber to social justice. We talked about the power of one story. We discussed the image of the Syrian Refugee boy that has shaken the world with emotion and passion for justice. He talked about visiting a child in the hospital with leukemia. He said he will never forget that fundraiser because the statistics of leukemia have a face. One story ignites passion. Sometimes we think we either need to change the world (way too overwhelming), or close the newspaper.

What if there is another option? Mother Theresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

We were created to have a passion for justice, or to have: Just Passion. If you are wondering how you can get some, passion comes from The Passion Himself. The second definition google gives for passion is “The suffering and death of Jesus.” This is passion that saw your story of need, and did something. This is passion that hung for you. This is red sweat drops of scandalous love mixing with dirt in the garden of Gethsemane. This is the source of Just Passion, and the deeper we understand the heart of God himself suffocating, demonstrating unthinkable love, the deeper our own well of passion goes so that we can be love to the person in front of us. The more we feel our purpose and our “Just Passion”, the more likely we are to restore the world back to “what should be”, one person at a time. Just passion truly is a game changer, for you, for the person in front of you, and the world.

Get your Just Passion on by diving into the power story of one of these game-changing people of the last century:

Nelson Mandela (South Africa)

Paul Rusesabagina (Rwanda)

Ken Saro-Wiwa (Nigeria)

Iqbal Masiah (Pakistan)

Aung San Suu Kyi (Murma)

Craig Kielburger (Canada)

Corrie Ten Boom (World War 11)

Rosa Parks (United States)

Irena Sendler (Warsaw Ghetto)

Farida Nekzad (Afganistan)

Malala Yousafzai (Pakistan)

Regretless

In Bronnie Ware’s book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, the number one regret expressed was this, “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

May we all grab shovels and dig for that courage so that we can live regretless. It begins by examining our habits, as they are the building blocks of our lives.

Routines are double-edged swords. Establishing regimens helps us to be consistent and achieve our goals. It has been said, “Sow a thought, reap an act; Sow an act, reap a habit; Sow a habit, reap a character; Sow a character, reap a destiny.” This quote embodies the importance of habits. However, unchangeable routines make your world small so keep them flexible and be gutsy enough to pursue the new.

Many of us want to be able to do this, but we don’t know how or where to start. Let me suggest your master-grey-matter-controller works powerfully in conjunction with your prayers and your God to make change in your life. Spice will erupt when you get intentional about doing something different. Our brain capacity for empathy and problem solving increases when we get serious about breaking the mundane. This benefits everyone because emotional intelligence is the best indicator of your success – and your success, if channeled for the greater good, makes a better world.

There are many beliefs that I claim to believe in my head – but sometimes my stated beliefs have a hard time gushing from the paint-tube of my mind to the canvass of my life. Gandhi himself said, “Action expresses priorities.”

One of my core values is this: every life has equal value. However, often I do not live like I believe this – and the truth is – I never will be able to live this belief perfectly. I often judge people different from me because I have not taken the time to understand or learn from them – I have been too afraid or lazy to pursue new.

If I truly believe that all people are of equal value, my life canvass should be full of all kinds of colour, designs, and stories. Pursuing new experiences doesn’t have to shake your life completely. Perhaps it’s time to let the taste buds dance with a new salad dressing flavour, to walk through that unknown park, to try another running path, or sway to some reggae. The most powerful “new” we should pursue is people. Have the courage to intentionally get around people unlike you, and feel your heart and mind expand. People are incalculably prized by God, and as such, should be considered immeasurably precious by us – every story matters.

Mary and I are rocking different life stages. However, she marks the canvass of my life with stories of invigorating worldwide travel and various daring work experiences of a young woman in the 1930’s (These tales far surpass The Adventures of Odyssey I used to doze off to).

My mentor and friend Betty Mutwiri and I have differing cultural backgrounds. She introduces vivid faith growth and leadership development insights to the canvass of my life by sharing her experiences and astounding accomplishments.

My cousin Rachel Cey marches behind me about a decade (but stretches above more than a foot, as she likes to remind me). Gravel road walks and summer camp adventures with her have splattered my canvass with rib-cracking humour and the most intelligent considerations.

May we all get audacious enough to step outside our established norms and circles in order to pursue the new, and live regretless.

Stand Tall

It’s not a good feeling when you don’t know where you stand. This is why a DTR (define the relationship) is often required after a summer fling. Whether it be with a significant other, family members, friends, or in an organization – it’s good to know where you stand. Clarity is confidence, and it’s no fun to question your position.

If you are reading this, you’ve got a body and a brain. You’ve got thoughts on the inside and steps on the outside, and together, these components make you, you. Your inside person is connected to your body; It’s how God wired you. Hormones, chemicals and body movements dazzle, move and flow together in mystifying ways. A blood pumping work out stuffs the brain with feel-good juice, and the collision of taste buds and chocolate create brain bliss. Thoughts, feelings and actions all mingle and contribute to who you are.

With this in mind, it’s not surprising … if you know where you stand, it will alter how you stand.

So, where do you stand?

You stand valuable, intrinsically.You stand fashioned by the fingers of God.You stand with remarkable thought and distinct laughter.

When you know this is where you stand, notice how you stand … because of our brain-body connection, how you stand, physically, will change how you feel.

Feel courage straighten your spine. Feel confidence broaden your shoulders. Feel crossed arms release and open to receive God’s love. Stretch those same arms to extend love unreservedly to others.

Stand Tall.

Whether you find yourself standing awaiting chemo treatments, or struggling to stand at your bedside, tempted to stay under the covers … perhaps you are standing in line-ups, flying kites, flipping burgers, or studying. Wherever you are standing – know you stand valuable. Fly kites with purpose and freedom, raise kids with gusto and vigor, hold the elevator with confident candor.

… Not because you have made yourself something by your own doing … this kind of “standing tall” will never be consistent. If we are honest, none of us can consistently stand tall on our own. We will disappoint ourselves and we will let others down … but notice the ones who stand in grace.

Make way for the ones who walk forgiven. They are a satisfied army marching with poise and certainty. Look out for the ones inhaling and exhaling the grace of God. They stand with hands open, receiving blessing and honor purchased for them on a bloody cross. Behold the ones who know they stand named by the Author of life himself. They stand tall, consistently.

Be brave. Be audaciously yourself. Be wise. Be compassionate. Brim with the grace poured on you, freely. We are whole brain-body people. And we have been made whole. Stand Tall.