Overcoming My Miscarriage

Dear World Changer,

We’ve been doing an “Overcoming” Series lately. Some of these posts have been about overcoming past events, and some, like this one, is learning how to overcome while you’re still walking through it.

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One month ago Kyle and I lost a baby.

It was devastating as we looked at the ultrasound and didn’t see a heartbeat. We were so excited to be parents. Every decision we had to make, we had this little babe in mind.

I told Kyle by writing “I’m pregnant” on a pizza.

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We told our parents with signs and Starbucks mugs.

 

We told our IntenCity leaders and close friends.

I’ve learned recently how many families suffer in silence when they miscarry. They tell you to wait 3 months before sharing the news for this reason. But more than anything, I’m glad we told a lot of people. I’m glad there were people to be excited with us and to mourn with us. And like any other situation whether it’s a miscarriage, going through a parents divorce, bullying, depression, anxiety…you should never suffer in silence.

We’ve learned a lot through this. A lot about ourselves, about faith, about healing. We shared this with our youth a few weeks ago and if you want to hear the “live” version, head over to IntenCity Youth’s podcast on iTunes.

We (Kyle and I), don’t share this for the “I’m sorry’s,” or the attention, or any other reason than we just want to be role models. And being a role model doesn’t mean JUST being an example in good times, but it’s being an example in the rough parts of life too. And we haven’t handled it perfectly. Not at all. But when I was younger, I would have died for someone to model how to cling to Jesus when life sucks. Because when I looked around me, when life threw a curve ball most turned to drugs and alcohol.

I don’t want to see a Christian go through good things, I want to see a Christian go through bad stuff because that really shows how tight you are with Jesus. And being tight with Jesus doesn’t mean you handle things perfectly, but it means that as you’re walking through the journey imperfectly, you’re walking with Him.

So here’s what a miscarriage has taught me.

Peace is a Thing…A Great Thing 

So often people pray that you’d have peace through sucky stuff, but rarely do we say “I accept that peace.”

I see a common pattern in how God works through cancer, divorce, death, feeling like our dreams have fallen apart etc.

It’s that a lot of the time, he calms you before He stops the circumstance.

I mean, could you imagine if He just babied us and stopped everything and attended to our every need right away? We wouldn’t grow. We wouldn’t get stronger. All through Bible College I heard the phrase “God cares more about your character than your comfort.” And boy does that ring true! And I’m glad He does. He really is a good good father.

Ever heard the term “storm” for rough seasons of life? Well, God gives peace while it’s still raining. 2 days after the ultrasound tech told us there was no heartbeat we were sitting in the doctor’s office to discuss options on how to get the baby out. And peace filled that room. Peace filled our hearts. And peace doesn’t mean you’re not crying or hurting or broken. But peace is this trust in God that you know everything is going to be okay and that He’s working behind the scenes to make everything come together for your good and you can’t see it at first but you know it’s there.

God gives peace that goes beyond our understanding. What that means it that you’re going to feel peace when it doesn’t make sense to have peace. Your world is crashing down yet you’re calm. And that’s a blessing. And I’ll say it again and again…I accept that peace.

Get Your Hopes Up

God brought me back to the story of when Jesus walks on water and Peter asked if he could walk on water too.

Peter asked Jesus “If this is really you Jesus, let me walk on water too.” And as he stepped out of the boat he saw 2 options. He saw the giant waves that could cause him to drown, and he saw Jesus. And seeing 2 options of how this could go (drowning or Jesus saving) caused doubt and that made him begin to sink.

 

We need to see one way…Jesus.

 

4 days after we got told we were miscarrying I got called into the doctor’s office immediately. My doctor looks at me and said “I’ve never seen this before, I’m 99% sure you’ve miscarried but there is this small chance your baby is alive.”

And at that moment, I had a decision to make.

Now most of you know my past. I’ve been a part of the stats since I was a kid.

I was in the 50% of kids whose parents divorce

I was the One in 20 who will experience death of a parent

I was in the 50% of families that are blended families

I was the 1 in 6 who get sexually assaulted

 

And so I just figured I would be the 20% of pregnancies that end in miscarriage.

 

***But you can’t base your theology off of your experience***

 

I was seeing 2 ways instead of one. I was seeing my baby dead and I was seeing Jesus. All my life it just seemed like if something bad was going to happen, it was coming MY way. So as a kid, I made the decision to never get my hopes up, then I would never be disappointed, and I would never have to grieve again.

I didn’t want to get disappointed. I didn’t want to get my hopes up that this baby was alive. I even told my doctor “I have zero hopes.” I didn’t want to believe in a miracle then have to grieve all over again. But I pushed myself to just see Jesus. To have the faith the size of a mustard seed and to get my hopes up (to be honest, it felt like my faith was a quarter of a mustard seed). But I prayed every 30 seconds that God would breathe life into this child. I got my hopes up.

Because faith is a RISK.

Next day it was confirmed that the baby had been dead for 3 weeks. It was a miscarriage. And I had to grieve all over again. But getting our hopes up wasn’t for nothing. It brought us to a new depth with Jesus, a new faith level.

Remember the woman in the Bible who was bleeding for 12 years? She had tried everything. She spent ALL she had on doctor’s visits getting her hopes up that she would be healed. Nothing worked. She heard Jesus was in town. I bet she had to make the decision, do I get my hopes up? There’s going to be a huge crowd, will I even get close enough? Will I even get to see him? Do I want to go through the disappointment of not being healed again?

But she got her hopes up. She fought through the crowds and crowds of people. This type of disease made you an outcast in the town. I bet she got nasty comments and hurtful glares as she ran to Jesus.

All she did was touch the edge of Jesus’ cloak and she was healed. That was worth getting her hopes up. And Jesus said, your FAITH has healed you.

Her story and mine are different. Both worth it. I got my hopes up in Jesus, he didn’t heal my baby, but he did heal Kyle and I’s heart and continues to do so.

I’ve learned not to discount the small miracles. We only see miracles one way, and if it doesn’t happen that ONE way, we don’t say it’s a miracle. But there are ALWAYS small little miracles happening. The doctors thought there was a cancer that caused the baby to die which would mean a lot of testing and doctors appointments for me. I got the results two week ago, and it was a normal pregnancy! Be grateful for the small miracles.

Your situation has to look impossible to know it was a miracle.

If you look at all the miracles in the Bible, each looked impossible. People who had lived with diseases all their lives who were so much considered outcasts that they weren’t even allowed in the town.

There was the little girl who was pronounced dead, Lazarus who was pronounced dead and even put in grave clothes!

We always think “God you showed up late, why didn’t you come WAY before this.” But it has to look impossible for us to know it’s a miracle. He is always right on time. And because of the impossibility of the situation, Jesus’ name was brought everywhere. People started to say, truly you are God!

Sit with grief

As a kid, I was the type of person that wanted to do everything perfect. So when I lost my Dad or went through anything else, I would just numb myself and act sad for “the right amount of time”, then get okay at the “right time;” the time that everyone told me. WRONG WAY of doing things!

Don’t let anyone tell you how to grieve. I used to think in my head, “stop telling me how I’m doing everything wrong, it’s not like I practiced loosing my Dad.”

And recently someone very wise (shoutouts to Pastor Shelley), told me, “sit with grief.” So this time around. We sat with grief. I picture grief like one of these guys (don’t make fun)

Inside-Out-Collage

And you need to sit with grief in your bedroom, living room, wherever. You need to cry to grief, yell at grief, ask the why questions. And eventually grief will get out of your bedroom or living room and it won’t be there anymore. But if you numb yourself to grief and ignore it, grief will always be there. And it will start to look like anger and bitterness in you.

And everyone needs to sit with grief for however long you need too. Don’t worry about people pleasing, this is YOUR life, YOUR future. Deal with grief right.

Bear each other’s burdens

Never go through something alone. We’re not built for that. We need people. And it doesn’t mean that everyone on your Facebook needs to know, but SOMEONE needs to know!

Like I mentioned above, I am so thankful people knew about this.

And because people knew, we didn’t cook a meal for over a week, flowers and chocolate were brought to our house, gifts were brought to our house, family came over and cleaned and ran errands for us.

And although it’s been one of the toughest months of our lives, it’s been easier. We’ve felt like Moses. When Moses and his army were in war with the Amalekites Moses had to keep his arms raised, he had to hold the staff. And when his arms got tired, Aaron and Hur got him a rock to sit on and they each held an arm up for him, making it easier. They took some of the weight. That’s what it feels like when we bear each other’s burdens. We NEED each other! Never suffer in silence. Don’t keep things hidden and in secret, been there and done that! And the hurt and pain lasts longer.

There has to come a time when you LET GO

It’s crazy how quickly you get attached to an unborn baby. I was SO attached! For 9 weeks I had been pregnant. I had this embryo that went everywhere with me. And when it was time for surgery, I looked at Kyle and said “I don’t want them to take the baby out. Like I’m attached to this baby. It’s mine. I didn’t want it gone.”

And it painted this picture that we get attached to our storms.

But the sooner you let go, the sooner you can move on. The sooner that baby came out, the sooner I could get healthy again.

Jesus died so we could be free. Free from the burden of losing a child, or losing a parent, of the effects of divorce, of our sin, our shame and regret. Letting go comes at different stages for everybody, but it has to come. You have a purpose, God has this huge plan for your life and you can’t do it while holding onto your past.

Turn around

Remember the story of the 10 lepers?

There were 10 people with leprosy. And this disease made you an outcast in society, so much so, that they weren’t allowed inside the town so they stood outside the gates.

Jesus came by one day. And those 10 lepers stood outside the gate yelling and begging for Jesus to heal them. And he did. Jesus said “Show yourselves to the priest, you are healed.” And as they all walked away, only ONE leper turned around to thank Jesus.

Picture the one thing in your life that you really need a miracle for, or need healing from, or that one family member. And for years and years and years you’ve been praying for that. You beg God every 5 minutes and then one day, that miracle, that healing comes. And you never thank the God who did it. Imagine how that feels?

We need to turn around and be grateful. Even if the miracle doesn’t come like mine, I was taught by God to turn around for the health I’m in – a lot of stuff could have gone wrong but it didn’t. I thanked him for my husband, for the roof over my head, for our jobs, for food.

We have a lot going for us. Turn on the news for 2 seconds and you’ll realize how much we have to be thankful for.

A Friday night (Youth) or a Sunday morning shouldn’t be the only time we thank Him. TURN AROUND

Lord I will Still Love you

Even if the healing, or the miracle doesn’t come, will you still say “Lord I will still love you?”

If you lose all your money…

If you don’t get into the school you want…

If you get diagnosed with a disease or disability…

If you lose the people you love in your life…

Will you still say, Lord I love you.

I tell our youth this all the time. Jesus needs to be more than JUST Saviour, he needs to be LORD over your life.

Yes Jesus is Saviour, but that’s not all He is. If He’s only Saviour, than to you He can fail. If you only come to Him to ask for something (save me, do this for me, redeem this, give a miracle) and He doesn’t do it, He’s failed in your eyes. But when He is also LORD over your life, He can never fail because you KNOW he’s working everything together for your good whether it looks that way or not. Whether the miracle comes or not. Whether you get healed or not. He wants more than just “do this and do that.” He wants this personal relationship, this deep connection.

Put your life in his hands. Make Him LORD over your life, not just Saviour.

 

The cover picture for this post was a photo shoot Kyle and I did not too long ago. It was supposed to be the shoot where we would announce our pregnancy. But instead, it’s a reminder that my God is good. It’s a testimony that we’re okay. Okay enough to still do the shoot. Okay because we trust in God and His plans. And okay, because when our baby first opened their eyes, they saw Jesus.

What a perfect life for that child. And one day, we’ll get to meet our little treasure in Heaven.

Pastor Natasha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overcoming Fear

Dear World Changer,

Fall is such a busy season, for everyone, for many different reasons! For many it’s the beginning of a new school year, along with preparing for upcoming holidays such as thanksgiving and Christmas! (Woops, I said the “C” word :P) And many of us really don’t want to be thinking that far ahead. But I just LOVE fall. It’s my favourite season; the colours of the trees, the smell of the crisp air, the warm drinks and desserts, and of course, the cuddles! Not only do I love the way it looks and feels, I also love what it represents: a new season! However, there are many negative things that come with a new season; the fear of change, the fear of failure, the fear of rejection… the common denominator being FEAR.

How can we be ready to do what God is calling us to do if we let our fear hold us back?

I mean, there’s so much to fear in life, right? What do others think of me? Will I say the right thing? Will I do the right thing? If I mess up, will it ruin my life? Where will I end up? Will I make enough money? Will I be happy? Do people even care about me? How do I make a difference?

It’s overwhelming. Fear is the sole reason for all of our worries, and we’ve become so accustomed to feeling worry and fear that we actually believe it is okay because everyone fears and worries, and how can we not?

Well, I’m not a bible scholar or a seminary graduate of any kind, nor do I consider myself perfect. But today I do hope to share with you some insight for how to overcome the natural human tendency to fear. And as I remind you of these things, I am also reminding myself. For it is seldom that I go even a day without consciously realizing I’m stuck in my negative thoughts of worry.

First of all, we can be sure that God did not create us to worry. In the beginning with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, everything was as it should be, and our relationship with God was flawless. It even talks of them walking WITH God through the garden! However, when the Devil (or serpent) tempted Eve and then Adam to sin, their eyes were opened to their nakedness and they hid from God out of FEAR. (Genesis 1-3) So from this we see that fear came from sin and that it was not meant to be.

It was fear of the ‘giants’ that caused the Israelites to wander in the desert for 40 years instead of entering into the promised land. (Numbers 13:17-14:35)

It was fear that caused Peter to begin to sink when he was already walking on the water toward Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-33)

It was worry that caused people to sin because they would put too much emphasis on the things they didn’t have or the things they needed rather than trusting that God will provide. (Luke 12:22-34)

Sin causes fear and fear causes sin. And we begin to reap the consequences of our actions, such as not being at peace, struggling with anxiety, getting physically sick from stress, and even such things as depression if we dwell too long on the things that we should not!

 

So how do we stop ourselves??

 

Here is one of my favourite passages of scripture on overcoming fear: (I know it’s long but please read the whole thing, it will be such a blessing!)

Psalm 91
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”

Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,”
and you make the Most High your dwelling,
no harm will overtake you,
no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him;
I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.
He will call on me, and I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will deliver him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him
and show him my salvation.”

 

This is amazing imagery! God is our Protector no matter what we’re going through! If that doesn’t give you confidence – that Jesus always has your back – I don’t know what does!

Not only does this passage give us a vivid explanation on how He will deliver us, it also is quite clear on what we can do to keep our thoughts from wandering to fearful and worrisome thoughts: Calling on Him! We are to admit aloud that we need Him and constantly remind ourselves of His promises.
So here are more of His promises:

 

“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

 

“Fear not, for  I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

 

“There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

 

“[Cast] all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

 

“The weapons we fight with are the not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

 

Therefore, make every effort to attain self-control, control of the mind and of the spirit and of the body, memorizing scripture, and calling on God to keep yourself from fear, anxiety, and worry. Learn to be content in any and every situation that you may be focused on praising His name rather than worrying about what’s coming next.

 

Overcoming fear is a constant journey but it makes change and transitions so much easier when we trust in God to take care of all of our needs. Oh how the world would look so different if no one ever worried.  I pray this for you and for me today and always, that we may be the change and all would see our peace and joy. I know that “my God will meet all of your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:19)

 

“To God our Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” (Philippians 4:20)

 

Miriam

 

Life Lessons With Kolby 1.0

Dear World Changer,

Meet Kolby. He’s two years old and absolutely loves life. His favourite things to do include tug-o-war, catch-me-if-you-can, long walks, slow car rides, and anything that involves food! He loves to spend his afternoons at the dog park running wild and free. His favourite toys have squeakers inside them – he squeaks the toy until someone is annoyed into playing with him! He hates playing fetch – he sits down and looks at me like I’m dumb when I throw a ball for him – but if you start to run too then he is so down to race you for the toy. He’s a big suck for attention and his life goal is to please the ones he loves. He likes to cuddle and give too many slobbery kisses. He makes everyone laugh with his crazy antics and I am completely jealous of his insane energy level. He is smart, crazy, adorable, and absolutely loveable.

This might sound crazy to you but I learn so many life lessons from this pup! There have been so many times when the Holy Spirit has used this beautiful dog to completely blow my mind with truth and love and wisdom. And today I would like to share some of it with you…

A couple days ago I drove my mom to work and took Kolby along for the ride. Kolby love love LOVES car rides. Well, mostly he just loves sticking his head out the window. When he was just a baby he was so scared in the car that he would shake uncontrollably! But once he was big enough to enjoy the wind in his face, he hated being left behind. When winter rolled around we stopped rolling down the windows for him and he did NOT like that. And before long he figured out how to roll the window down himself! (I promise you this is true!) Now when the weather is cold or wet we have to lock the windows so he can’t open them. But when the window is locked he goes cray cray in the backseat. He whines and cries and sticks his face over the seat into the face of the driver. When he is still ignored he tries to climb in to the front seat to get the driver’s attention. He just loves driving with the windows down!

The other day I had to drop my mom off at work and I took him along for the ride. Now, let me remind you what month it is: MAY. And let me remind you of the precipitation that occurred the other day: SNOW. Crazy right! So I did not want to roll the windows down that morning. It was too cold. But Kolby? He didn’t care. He never cares what the weather is like. He just wants to stick his head out the window. He just wants to be on an outdoor adventure. It doesn’t matter if the day’s weather consists of sunshine and 30+ temperatures or if it’s a blizzard and -30 temperatures. He just loves life and the outdoors. Sometimes he even PREFERS the cold weather! And mounds of white stuff in the backyard simply means more fun.

What’s the point of this story? It’s to remind us all to appreciate the things we too often hate on. The thing about Kolby is that he simply appreciates God’s creation for what it is: beautiful. And he joyfully goes about his day without letting the weather dictate how he feels or what he does. Yes, I realize that he is a dog and doesn’t have the same understanding that you and I do. He doesn’t know the purpose of sunshine and rain, snow and wind. But WE DO. God created dogs with intelligent brains and he created humans to have intelligent brains with an even greater capacity. We have the capacity to understand the meaning and purpose behind some of the things of this world. There are people in this world who are in desperate, desperate need for rain as they face a hunger crisis due to famine. And there are people in this world who are in desperate, desperate need for dry air and sunshine as they face the loss of their homes and livelihoods to flooding. Kolby may not understand that we need the sun AND the rain. He simply loves the day. But we do understand the need for both. We may dream about how wonderful it would be to live in an area that is all sunny days and beach weather year round but we know that is not reality, nor is it a good thing. And yet so many days I catch myself hating the weather or allowing the weather to dictate my mood. The Bible says, “Today is the day the Lord has made. Rejoice and be glad in it!” Whatever the temperature today, it is still a day that the Lord has made. Whatever the weather today, the Lord still chose to give you breath. Whatever the forecast today, there is still purpose for your life and ways the Lord plans to use you to bring light to the world. So rejoice in today! Be glad for the day, regardless of the weather.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you are a terrible person if you are frustrated with constant rainfall and snow in the month of May when you should be wearing your cut offs and sundresses to school. I’m tired of it too! I just want to wear my flip flops and rock my tank tops and sunglasses! But I learned to appreciate the rain during my time in El Salvador three years ago. And Kolby reminds me of this every time he wants to stick his head out the window in the middle of January or barks at me until I take him for a walk on the windiest day of the year or play outside during a torrential downpour.

I pray that today we all learn a lesson from Kolby. I pray that we all rejoice in the day that the Lord has made! If that means that today you need to do something you love to lessen your frustration with your least favourite weather, then do it. If it means that you need to curl up with a mug of your choice of hot beverage in a comfy chair and pray for someone else around the world while you look out the window through the rain, do it. If it means you throw on your rain boots and take your dog for a wet, muddy walk, DO IT. Do whatever you need to do today to rejoice in the day of the Lord and to refuse to let the weather dictate your mood and consequently your behaviour. Do whatever you need to be glad that today is a precious gift and that you have a God-given purpose. If you never love the rain, snow, cold weather etc., that’s ok. But learn to appreciate it. And learn to rejoice in it because it was created by God for a purpose. And you darling, are a daughter of the Light. Let that light radiate through you and touch the lives around you regardless of the weather today. You have a purpose. You have been chosen. Whether your rainy day is tangible or metaphorical for the tough stuff in your life, you can rejoice in today. Take your focus off the dark clouds and direct it to your Creator. Don’t get sidetracked by the weather. Instead, pull a Kolby and simply enjoy the day.

I pray your day is filled with love and light and joy, even if it rains again.

Love always,

Charity & Kolby xo

kkolby

PS – This is the pic taken of Kolby on that snowy day in May!

PROM

Dear World Changer,

Ah prom…for some of us it went really well….for others…not so much!

I’m sure you’ve heard stories of people getting arrested, babies being conceived that evening, bad dates and poor hair choices. So all your leaders created a list of tips and tricks to make the most out of your prom! Here’s our TOP 20:

  1. Don’t loose all your life savings on the dress, shoes, hair, makeup and accessories, but spoil yourself! Prom is a big event that you will remember forever. The next time you’ll get super dressed up is your wedding, so take advantage of this moment!
  2. Have a hair and makeup trial! If you are paying someone usually a trial is included within the price. If you are getting a family member/friend or you yourself are doing your own, always try it out a week before. That way you have time to research and try different ideas if you don’t like your original plan. NEVER try anything new on the day of! [Pastor Natasha story: I had a family friend do my hair and she decided to experiment the day of my prom with a new hairstyle! I hated it! I had to go home and fix it up myself! Luckily I knew how to work my hair and loved the end result!]
  3. Try on your dress a week before to make sure no threads came loose, the zipper still works and that it fits like a glove! If anything has changed, you can get it fixed in time!
  4. Put some necessities into your clutch that night…it could be a life saver! (powder, lip stick, tampon, bandaids for your ankles from your heels, extra bobby pins, deodorant, extra jewellery incase yours breaks etc.)
  5. Break in your shoes! You should be walking around the house in them so that on prom night, your feet aren’t going to die!
  6. Eat throughout the day! Sometimes nerves get going and we don’t feel hungry, but force yourself to eat something! Last thing you want is to faint at prom!
  7. Want to make your perfume last all night? Put some vaseline on the area you spritz your perfume (neck, wrist) before you spray. That way the perfume has something to hold onto – makes it last longer!
  8. Turn to the right in photos – researches say the left side of your face shows more emotions and creates flawless pictures!
  9. Remember – it is possible for every girl in the room to look stunning. Take time to compliment your friends AND yourself.
  10. Allow your parents to take photos of you! This event is JUST as big and just as special for them too! Don’t rush out the door!
  11. Go with a group of people you love! Even if you have a date, join other couples! The people you are with make or break your prom experience!
  12. Speaking of dates..don’t ever feel pressure to have one! Going with a bunch of girlfriends can honestly be WAY more fun!
  13. Take TONS of pictures! Some of us forgot to do that and are left with nothing…not even a picture in our dress!
  14. If a guy asks you to dance, only say yes if you’re comfortable! Your gut feeling is especially important on this night! Some people have before prom parties where they get really drunk… you don’t want to be dancing with that guy! And you also don’t want to spend a chunk of time coming up with ideas in your head on how to ditch him on the dance floor!
  15. Be wise and make smart choices! Make decisions that will be good today, tomorrow and the years to come! You are finally graduating! You spent hours on homework, studying for tests, working a part time job to pay for college, going through the lengthy process on deciding your future university and you’ve finally made it…you are about to walk the stage and all your dreams are coming true. Don’t throw all that away on ONE night! Bad decisions can effect you forever! We’ve had friends get pregnant on prom night, get arrested, overdose and I’m sure you can name the rest! Those bad decisions effected them the rest of their life!
  16. Advice for the afterparty if you go…DONT drink! First of all, y’all are underage! Secondly, there are millions of bad things that can happen if you do. You need to be alert that night. Also, never leave your drink alone or accept one from people you don’t trust – they may have put something in there!
  17. Don’t spill chocolate fondu on your dress (brought to you by Miriam Staal – ask her about that one!)
  18. If the after party is risky, grab some friends and hang out after. Charity and her friends went mini-putting in their dresses then watched movies until 3am!
  19. No drama! Yes this is HUGE and a very memorable night, but you also have the rest of your life ahead of you…prom isn’t worth getting caught up in the drama.
  20. And seriously…have the time of your life! You just accomplished something huge and prom is to celebrate that! Enjoy getting ready, enjoy the family pictures, the dinner, the dancing…everything! Make the most of it!

 

Here’s a throwback to some of your leader’s prom!

 

Your leaders

XO

The Next Step

Dear World Changer,

I am on the cusp of graduating university within a couple weeks (by the grace of God)! I’m sure like me you have spent a significant chunk of your life doing some type of schooling. For more than ten years the next phase of my life always involved school but now I’m approaching a season of life where school isn’t necessarily the next step. I have often found myself realizing I could literally go anywhere! At times, dwelling on this exciting but unpredictable season upon me has been a little overwhelming thinking about the endless possibilities of what I could be doing.

In navigating this upcoming season, I’ve learned the best way to approach it is to just take the next step. You may read this and think about your own life and say to yourself, “I don’t know what the next step is”. For each person, ‘the next step’ will look different. For me, the next step after graduating from university involves a few things. First, applying for an additional part-time job and completing graduate school application. Now, you may wonder how did I conclude that doing those things were my next step. First, I discussed it with my parents. I’m thankful for the good advice they’ve always given me. In addition to parents, turning someone you trust that knows you well for advice is a good option too. This is going to sound so cliché but after going to your parents or someone you trust you should commit your plans to God. A verse that is grounding me as I go forward is found in Proverbs 3:5-6. It says:

 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (NLT).

 

From this verse, the Lord taught me three things:

  1. Be anchored in your calling: Going through any season of life I have found is easier to do well when you’re aware of the calling Jesus has placed on you. The reason being you can put what you’re experiencing in a godly perspective recognizing that the purpose of where you find yourself is preparing you for your calling. Your calling is important and you need to hold on to it. If you don’t know your calling, that is okay. In fact, a wonderful journey lies ahead of you! Commit yourself to you consistently seeking Jesus to show you what He has anointed you to do. I say this from personal experience when I promise that He will show you.
  2. Prepare yourself for as far as you can see: I know I have been carried away with thinking I can plan my whole life! Life has a way of unfolding in ways we don’t anticipate. Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have goals or prepare properly for the tasks before you. All I’m saying is in the midst of preparation, allow God to take you in a direction you may not have expected.
  3. Live in the present. Being in the season you are in NOW is just as holy as the seasons of life that are to follow it. Be in tune with where God has you now and when it’s time to move, He’ll direct your steps.

It’s impossible for us to predict what our future will be but we can trust in the One who holds our future. Be obedient to the path God has called you to walk. Choose to stay faithful to chart the course when it’s smooth or bumpy. All you need to do is be willing to take next the step or steps Jesus has lined up for you walk in not in fear, but in faith.

Ahiney

XOXO

 

 

Being Okay With Being Me

Dear World Changer,

If I could go back 10 years ago to talk to myself before I went into high school I would tell myself that I had it all wrong. That finding worth in what other people thought about me was going to lead to disaster…

The summer going into grade nine all I did was hangout with my elementary school friends. We knew we didn’t have much time together because of the different high schools we were going to be attending so we took advantage of the time we had. These friends knew who I was, that I was a pastors kid and literally lived at the church. They would come to youth with me on a regular basis and not just to the fun nights. They knew that I loved Jesus with all my heart and wouldn’t miss church for anything. Then came high school, where I knew no one, I was scared to meet new people. I was scared to tell them I was a Christian because I didn’t know what they were going to think.

All my life I have been so focused on what everyone else thought of me. I was worried about being too fat, too annoying, too crazy, too silly, the list could literally go on forever. I always looked for the approval of others, and if they didn’t seem impressed, I would try anything to get them to think I was awesome, no matter what. For some reason I never felt like I would find my self-worth in God, I never heard an audible voice, or a clear sign that would tell me “Natalie, this is what you were made to do” or “Good job Natalie!” I also didn’t listen to what the Bible said about me and God’s plan for my life. Even though I heard about it at church all the time, I was never able to believe it.

When High School came around nothing changed, I walked into the doors and thought, “Wow, here is my chance to finally be with the ‘in crowd’, to start fresh and be with the cool kids”. As I started to meet people I would find myself hiding the fact that I’m a pastors kid and go to church at least three times a week. I began hanging out more and more with my school friends rather than my church friends; I also became willing to miss youth more often to be with my “cool friends”. I had a fear on missing out on things and felt that if I wasn’t there they would stop inviting me and I’d lose my social standing with them. So I went to my friend’s houses instead of youth, birthday parties instead of youth, and then when grade 11/12 came those harmless birthday parties turned into real parties, and that’s when I began to enter the party scene. I began to act like my friends, in the way I thought, talked and acted.

Eventually my friends found out that I was a Christian, that I grew up going to church and my dad was a pastor so I began to overcompensate for it. I would go to a party and drink not because I wanted too but because I had to show them that I was “one of them”. All I wanted was to fit in and feel accepted…to feel loved. I thought “If I only had their approval that everything would be okay,” and because of this God’s approval of my life lost value.

Looking back, I honestly have no idea why I did what I did or made the choices I made. I wish I knew why because even though I had a huge group of friends in high school and was classified as one of the “it” people to hang out with, I now talk to none of them. When they found out I was planning to go to Bible College and become a pastor, I am pretty sure they were confused. I made a hard choice and took a year off after high school to get right with God and get back into being heavily involved with the youth group at Church. All I can think about when looking back is how confused my “friends” must have been and how they probably have a messed up view of what a Christian is.

Instead of trying to fit in with my friends and be the person everyone wanted to hangout with, I wish I had focused more on who God wanted me to be. I wish I thought about what His plan was for my life. I wish I had been straight up with my friends and led them to Jesus instead of giving them a messed up version of what a Christian is. I wish I could take it all back.

As much as I say that I wish I had done things differently, things would not change until I had it in me to change my mindset, and what I truly thought of myself. I had to do a mind shift and stop believing what others thought of me and start believing what God thought of me. I had to believe that I was a Proverbs 31:25 woman, and remind myself of this verse constantly “She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.” That I truly was beautiful on the inside and out, that God loved the fact that I was a crazy, silly, loud, overly enthusiastic girl. In fact, he made me that way for a purpose! He had a plan for my life, and I needed to fully surrender and trust Him. That He wouldn’t let me fail, but prosper. Jeremiah 29:11 has been a verse that I am literally constantly saying in my head, and reminding myself of every day.

God does have a plan for everyone, and He loves the person you have always been. He isn’t there to drag you down, or remind you of your poor choices but He’s there to lift you up and see you succeed! It may be a bumpy ride to get to that spot, but it is so worth it. I’m still figuring out His plan for my life, but let me tell you, it’s already been amazing. I married my best friend whom I love so much, and loves me for who I am. We now have an amazing 2-month-old son who has totally stolen our hearts, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for us as a family, and my life individually. I have hope for the future because I know, and believe, that the God who created me loves me more than I could ever imagine. Anxiety of people liking me or feeling accepted is now washed away because I know that I’m never alone & always Loved by Him.

 

Natalie