Looking For Ways to Show Honour

We’ve been talking about honour in our home recently. I listened to a podcast a few weeks ago about how it’s even more important to show honour than obedience. Obedience can happen even if the heart is angry, but honour happens when we value someone’s heart, and are motivated to obey by a deep desire to bless others with our actions.

It’s a tricky thing to teach, because it’s a heart thing. Obedience and honour can look the same from the outside, but it’s the unseen that I’m more concerned about – with my kids, and also with myself.

A synonym for obedience is compliance, which can mean simply going through the motions. A synonym for honour is reverence, and to me, this speaks to the fact that each of us is created by God, made in His image, and we honour Him when we value each other.

I was trying to explain all this to Anika one day, and searching for ways to make it easier to understand, when a memory popped into my head. Sometimes it’s easier to understand what honour looks like when we think about what it does not look like, and although there are many sad, horrible examples in the world around us, I thought she’d enjoy my memory.

I was in college, and I met a boy who was convinced we were meant to be together. I did not share his conviction, and although we were friends, there were many reasons why I was not interested in pursuing a relationship with him.

He had a lot of trouble understanding this, and kept asking me out so often, I started keeping track, just for amusement. He reached a total of 17 times, which is a testimony not of my ravishing beauty or charming personality, but rather of his amazing persistence.

I finally asked him why he wanted to date me so badly, and his reasons were as follows: I didn’t have pierced ears (which he considered a rare novelty, for some reason), I had long hair, and it wasn’t long distance to call me.

That was it.

I remember having a very mixed response to this. I thought it was ridiculous, I couldn’t wait to get back to dorm to share this with my friends to give it the mockery it deserved, and deep down, I also felt really… yucky. I felt like an object. I felt like all of who I was – my thoughts and ideas, my sense of humour and creativity, my dreams and fears, joys and sorrows, whatever all combines within me to make me who I am – had been diminished to a phone number. His desire to be with me was based on an area code. He thought I was cheap and convenient.  He didn’t really care about me or what I wanted, he didn’t value all of the things that made me Kendra. He did not honour who I truly was.

It’s a pretty harmless example of not being honoured, but I’ve been thinking a lot about this since telling Anika that silly story – about how such a tiny example of being devalued still affected me. And yet, how many times in a day do I not value people around me, even in the smallest ways?

When I’m in a rush to get to an appointment, and I don’t want to let someone into my lane because I don’t “have time” – I forget there is a person driving that car, who is living a life, like me. They are not randomly driving their car around the city of Winnipeg just for fun. They also have places they need to be, a schedule I’m completely unaware of.

When I brush off someone’s opinion because it’s different than mine – or even get offended by the things they say – I forget they are on a journey, like me. They go through stuff, they feel things, they have their own junk to work through, and things that make them happy or sad. They have reasons for thinking the way they do, and I forget to find out what the story is behind those reasons.

The grumpy clerk, or the annoying salesperson is living a life, and they didn’t get up that morning with the intent of making my life frustrating. They have their own frustrations – can I honour them in the way I treat them?

I once had someone try to sell me something that was supposed to change my life. It was going to fix all my problems. Only problem was, they didn’t take enough time to actually understand what my problems were, or what I had already tried. They had the answer, but they didn’t listen to my questions. They didn’t wait long enough to hear my whole story, or to understand this crazy journey I’ve been on. It made me not want to listen to them, because I didn’t feel like my experiences were valued.

I want to learn how to honour people. I want to value where they are, where they’ve been, and where they dream of going. Anytime these things are forgotten, things start to fall apart.

I’m trying to pray about that – to start my day with asking God to show me how I can honour my family, or the people I come in contact with throughout the day.

There are so many examples in the news and in the world around us of ways in which people are being devalued. Things are a mess, but I wonder if the first little step to take is remembering the life behind the person, and looking for the smallest ways to show honour.

I found this quote which seemed to sum it up well:



Maybe we just need to take a little more time to see the other person’s heart, and honour what we see.









Every Little Act of Kindness

There’s an intersection in Winnipeg that makes me sad every time I drive by it.

intersectionIt’s the intersection where we used to turn when we drove to our chiropractor’s office. His name was Dr. Tapper, and I first met him eight years ago. He burst into the room with so much positive energy and life, it was impossible not to feel hopeful about a future with much health and wellness.

When Anika fell down an entire set of stairs, head over heels, we added her to the regular visits to Dr. Tapper’s office, and when Kaylia was born, it seemed natural to include her right from the start.

After every session, Dr. Tapper would always say, “Power’s on!”, with his unfailing optimism.

And then last spring, he passed away, at the age of 35. He got cancer, which was kind of impossible to comprehend, because he was always the picture of health and vitality.


Someone once told me that a person’s life is like a finger swirling around in a tub full of water. When life ends, the finger is removed, and immediately, all life and energy and motion is gone, and the water is still.

I never liked that picture. It seemed too momentary. It depressed me to think that life could be forgotten that quickly, and the impact of a life be stilled and silenced so suddenly.

I don’t believe it’s true, and that’s what I think of, whenever I drive past that intersection in Winnipeg.

Our family didn’t know Dr. Tapper very well. We saw him every week for seven years, but we didn’t really know him.

And yet I feel as though my life will always be different because of how he impacted my family. His office was always a happy, comfortable, enjoyable place to go, and my life had less pain in it because of those appointments. He was so gentle with my girls, and he was always so cheerful and encouraging.


I used to think that if I wasn’t going to have a deep, ongoing relationship with someone, there wasn’t much point in putting a lot of effort into the connection.

It feels embarrassing to write that now, but it’s where I’ve come from. It took me awhile to learn that any meeting, no matter how brief, is an opportunity to love.

Now, I’m learning to find joy when a cashier or waitress or any random stranger comes my way, and I have the opportunity to show a bit of kindness. I will never see them again, and they probably won’t think of me, but does it matter? If, for one short moment, my life connects with theirs’, and there will be just a shred of light and kindness left behind, isn’t that worth it?

I’m listening to an awesome message series by Bruxy Cavey right now, called “Who Am I?”. He talks about how we marvel at God’s creation in nature, and we grab our cameras to take pictures of a beautiful sunset, but sometimes we forget to marvel at people.

Do I see the beauty and significance in every single person I meet? Do I enjoy them, do I thank God for creating them, do I bless them in every way I am able to?

I have so much to learn, but already I can see the great difference between being nice to the stranger because it’s socially correct, or truly desiring to show kindness because they are God’s creation, and I am overflowing with His love.

A life might stop swirling the water in the tub, but a blessing never stops giving.

Jesus’ love doesn’t die, and so I want to put my effort and energy into the things that matter. I want to touch people’s lives, and I want that sad intersection to continually remind me that kindness and joy are always worth passing on, even for a moment.

May your day be filled with many wonderful opportunities for blessing others, and passing on short little bursts of love to the strangers you meet.

Adventures with Jesus…and Peter Pan

On Monday morning, I prayed that God would give me an adventure.

I asked Him to show me who I could talk to that day, or how I might see an opportunity to connect with somebody, or bless someone close to me. As I prayed, the thought came to me that since I was taking Anika to her theatre class at the Forks, I would have the chance to meet all kinds of interesting people. There are always parents sitting around, waiting for a whole hour while their kids are in class. Surely there would be someone there just waiting for some kind of awesome conversation.

I was happily anticipating it.

So, we drove off to the Forks, Anika ran off to her class, and I sat down to wait with Kaylia in a large, open area where a number of other parents had already gotten settled. Everyone was kind of busy, so I started reading to Kaylia, quite confident that before too long, something special would happen.

Kaylia is obsessed with Peter Pan these days.

Peter Pan

I found a used copy of a kids’ chapter book version of the story, and we’ve been reading and rereading it every single day for a week, so this was her obvious choice of reading material that day during Anika’s class.

As I sat there reading, the most unusual thing began to happen – I began to collect children.

Little boys wandered over, and snuggled in close to hear the story. A baby toddled over to me, dragging her mom’s water bottle behind her, and beamed every time I paid attention to her. Kids’ moms came over to watch how intently their kids were listening to the story, expressing their amazement that these active little boys could sit so still for a chapter book.

Sadly…it was Peter Pan, with many details about pirates, and plenty of politically incorrect references to “Indians”. It’s not like it was an uplifting story in any way.

And I never got my inspiring conversation with any of the moms there.

But as the baby with the water bottle gave me a huge, toothy grin, and a boy with incredibly curly hair leaned against me as if he’d known me his whole life, it suddenly became clear to me: This was the moment of blessing – for them and for me!

I may never see those children again, but I had the opportunity to give them my time and attention. I spread a little love that morning. It didn’t look the way I expected it to, and yet I felt a strong sense that these little children needed as much love as any adult, and are no less important because they are presently smaller in size. And I remembered all over again that sometimes, we love others by loving their children.

So I never did anything huge or inspiring, and Jesus is never mentioned in the story of Peter Pan, but I felt like I had the little adventure I’d prayed for that morning. Kaylia beamed with pleasure at her new “friends” enjoying the story with her, and as she snuggled against me on one side, and a little boy leaned in for a better view of Captain Hook’s picture, I decided that unexpected adventures are the best kind of all.;)

May you enjoy your Wednesday,and experience an adventure or two, as well!

Love Covers Over

This morning, I was sitting on my couch and looking out the window at the trees. Everything was sparkling, white, and beautiful. Everything was covered with crystals.


Suddenly, the verse popped into my mind: Love covers over a multitude of wrongs.

These last few days, I feel like I’ve been needing some extra covering. When patience runs short, and things get a bit bumpy at our house, I love the idea of my wrongs being covered.

frosty branch

But as I sat there looking out the window at the world transformed in white, it suddenly hit me:

God’s love doesn’t just cover me – it transforms me.


He doesn’t just cover over my mistakes so that I look like Kendra-who-doesn’t-do-anything-wrong.

He transforms me into something completely new and different.

On a morning like this, everything looks different.

frosty grass

Let His love make me different, too.

Write a Good Story

If I have a hope, it’s that God sat over the dark nothing and wrote you and me, specifically, into the story and put us in with the sunset and the rainstorm as though to say, Enjoy your place in my story. The beauty of it means you matter, and you can create within it even as I have created you. (p.59, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years)

It’s interesting that in the Bible, in the book of Ecclesiastes, the only practical advice given about living a meaningful life is to find a job you like, enjoy your marriage, and obey God. It’s as though God is saying, Write a good story, take somebody with you, and let Me help. (p. 246-247, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years)

Isn’t that great? That last line is my favorite.

Writing a good story has been on my mind a lot in the recent weeks, for two reasons:

  1. I just finished Donald Miller‘s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which is so good that you should really head on over to Amazon immediately to buy it. It is changing everything about the way I look at life.
  2. Everything in our lives has been changing anyway, because of moving. We are in this huge state of transitioning and starting over, so Ben and I have had many, many talks about how to start well. What do we want our story to be? How do we want this to look? What choices do we want to make which might not make sense to everyone else right now, but lead to the story we want to write, as a whole? Big questions, lots of ideas, a work in progress.

What I’m finding most often right now, is that “good” doesn’t have to be “big”. I think our culture teaches us that in order for something to be worthwhile, meaningful, and valuable, it needs to be big – big dreams, big ambition, big success.

But how often is it not the little things which really end up being the big things? The good things are the small, simple things.

If God chose to make every single sunset different and unique, just for the beauty of it, you’d think it means He’s into details. He seems to create for the pleasure of it. He made us to create, for the pleasure of it.

He also gave us the ability to experience flashes of joy from such simple things, we almost don’t notice it – flash, and then it’s gone.

But in a world with so much pain and suffering, I think the small flash is noteworthy – it gives us more joy to hang on and let it linger, and it tells us something about God’s view of size. Small flashes of joy, again and again and again, add up after awhile. He made it pretty easy for us to feel joy, but He often does so in the small things.

So basically, I’m learning about living a good life, writing a good story, and realizing that it’s found in the little things, in holding onto the quick flashes.

It’s the everyday stuff, like loving my family, going off on an adventure, and finding Jesus in all of it.

Now you should go buy Donald Miller’s book. 🙂

Family, City, Love

There are a bunch of things that I love.

I love my family.

I love exploring.

I love old buildings.

I love being a tourist in unexpected places.

I love photography.

I love doing fun things for free.

We took a day in the city to do all of those things. And I loved it. Two observations, though – I love pictures taken from behind people, but…a lot of the time, I’m taking those types of pictures because I’m always trailing behind my family with my camera in front of my face. There is a limit as to how much that should happen.

And also? As much as I love having pictures of all these fun times, I can’t have as much fun with my family if I’m always taking pictures. I’m photographing my family having fun…without me. Well, that’s just no good. So I consciously put the camera away after awhile on Monday. Next time I’ll do it earlier!

Mentor Me (Part 2): Sharing Some Personal Stories

When I look back on my teenage years, I can clearly see that there are two women who profoundly affected my life. They never called themselves my mentors, but that is exactly what they did, during a time when I desperately needed it.

I have always been very close with my parents, and could talk with them about anything, but there is something different about having an adult choosing to spend time with you, even when they have no obligation to do so. My parents kind of have to love me and think I’m wonderful. 😉 These two women voluntarily met with me, filled me with their words of encouragement, and built me up in ways that I will never forget.

The first one was a Sunday School teacher. One fall when I was in junior high, the Sunday School committee had a lot of trouble finding a Sunday School teacher for my class. All of the other classes had teachers – had them for weeks, and yet there was our class, still teacherless.

In junior high, when things are a bit insecure at the best of times, that seemed like a big deal. The girls would get together and talk about this. What was wrong with us? How come no one wanted us? I expressed these thoughts to my dad, who was the Sunday School Superintendent at the time, and he was moved to action.

He approached a woman in our church, and told her about how we were starting to feel like we were the problem, the reason why no one would volunteer for that Sunday School class.

She immediately agreed to teach it.

And she kept on teaching it almost until I graduated. She loved us like crazy. We could just tell. And so we loved being with her. She showered her words of affection on us, and constantly told us how fun, wild, and crazy we were, in the best way possible.

She had us over to her house, she spent tons of time with us outside of the “official” Sunday School time, and most importantly…she took me out for coffee. I felt so grown up. And she’d ask about how things were going in my life, and then she’d really listen. She would speak spiritual truths into my life that I still remember to this day, and pass on to other people.

She passed away a few years ago, and I am so sorry that I never told her how much she meant to me, and how much she blessed my life.

The second lady, on the other hand, is alive and kicking, and still bursts into my life every now and then with the same amount of energy and enthusiasm that she had all those years ago when I first met her.

I met her at a time when I was ready to give up on church. Not God, just church. I had heard the term “church family”, but had never really felt like it was much of a family. But that’s a longer story that you can read about here.

Anyway, she attended the new church I was very, very hesitantly trying out, and she greeted me as though her life was now complete, just because I had walked through the doors of that church. I was shy and insecure, still in high school, and lacking confidence in many ways. And there she was, refusing to let me be shy, laughing at all of my jokes and stories, sincerely interested in every detail of my life, full of smiles and hugs and encouragement.

She is the reason why I went back to that church the second time. By the third time, I was realizing that it was just a really great church in general. I will always be thankful that she took the time to draw me in, to make me feel noticed when I felt invisible, and important when I felt insignificant.

She asked me questions, and took the time to listen to the stuff going on in my life as though it really, really mattered to her. I knew that I could drop in at her house any time, and she would fill me up chips and homemade salsa and joy, and she helped me to see that no matter how confusing or hard life was, laughter could be found in everything.

I think back to the experiences with those ladies, and how they impacted me, and I wonder how many teenagers there are today, feeling lonely, insecure, invisible and insignificant.

I wonder how many adults there are out there who missed out on having a mentor when they were younger, and inside they still desperately need that type of relationship. They’ve learned to hide it better now, but really, they still need a listening ear, many words of encouragement, and someone who becomes a safe place for them.

I know that for me, it is not an exaggeration to say that mentoring changed my life. It is still changing my life. (More on that another day!) And I think that the need for it in the Church today is very great.

I believe that if you want to change the world and impact people in the greatest way possible, you do it one at a time.

This post is part of a series. Here are the links to the rest of the series:

Part 1: Embarking on a Journey

Part 2: Sharing Some Personal Stories

Part 3: So How Do I Find Myself a Mentor?

Part 4: Choosing a Victim

Part 5: What Do We Talk About Now?

Conclusion: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Showing You the Way

I taught my last Counselor-in-training session yesterday. It has been great, and I’ve loved it.

I’ve heard that the one teaching is the one who learns the most. I think it’s true.There is one truth that has come out over and over again for me over these last few days, as I’ve taught about prayer, reading God’s word, sanctification, and loving others. The truth is that I get out what I put in. If I love God’s Word, it will show. If I spend time talking with my Father in private, it will show in public. If He is making me new every day, it will show.

If I don’t do those things, I’ve got nothing to show.

And I think that showing is the very best way to be a witness. Live a love for Jesus in a way that is true, and that can’t be contained, and He will take care of the rest.

I was reminded of something Donald Miller wrote in Blue Like Jazz:

I never liked jazz music because jazz music doesn’t resolve. But I was outside the Bagdad Theater in Portland one night when I saw a man playing the saxophone. I stood there for fifteen minutes, and he never opened his eyes.

After that I liked jazz music.

Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is as if they are showing you the way.


For Times When I Think I Know Everything

“There is always one fact more in every man’s case about which we know nothing.”

(Oswald Chambers, My Utmost For His Highest)

I read that quote a few days ago, and it’s been on my mind ever since. Every time I start to think critical thoughts or start to feel frustrated by something someone does, that line pops into my head.

And it kind of changes everything.

One time when I shared a thought in a group of people, someone asked me a question that seemed really insulting. I tried to hide my emotions, and respond kindly and graciously, but inside I was annoyed.

Afterward, this person took me aside and apologized for offending me with the question. He then proceeded to share why he had asked it and where he was coming from, and I began to see that there was a whole different side to that question than I had ever imagined – and a whole different side to the person, too.

Maybe it’s because of that experience that the quote by Oswald Chambers stuck in my head. I believe it to be true. Even when I think I know someone, and believe that I understand their motives and actions, there is no way that I can truly understand their heart, their past, their hurt.

There is always something deeper. I want to learn to leave room for that. The Bible says that love covers over a multitude of wrongs.

I think that includes the invisible ones.