“Mom do you want to…?”

“Mom do you want to…?”

I have come to appreciate these words deeply in recent weeks because those of us parenting teens know that doing so is no easy job. And when you’re raising a large family (remember I have six!) there are a variety of personalities. Those personalities translate into various struggles as our children enter the teen years and go through a transition of trying to figure out who they are and how to deal with the many pressures that surround them.

I’ve discovered after parenting through several teen to young adult transitions that at some point part of our teen’s vocabulary goes missing. As of late I have especially noticed how certain questions seem to disappear. Questions like: Mom do you want to hear my poem? Mom do you want to know what I got on my test? Mom do you want to know what happened today when I did my presentation in class? If you are raising a teen(s) then perhaps you have another question that you would throw in there.

Now before it simply sounds like I wait for them to ask me questions I want you to know I don’t. But when the kids were younger (and two still are in this season!) they were all too eager to jump in the car after school or after an event of some sort and tell me all about it the moment I said, how was…? Now some didn’t wait for the question, they just started giving me and anybody else in the car a detailed description of their experiences that day. But as some of the kids have transitioned into the teen years it appears at times as if they have lost their voice. Why? Because within themselves they are going through a very real struggle with emotions and their current reality of life.

Growing up is not easy in today’s world with its information and message overload. And even when you provide your children with the most loving and nurturing environment that you can, many will still struggle. But don’t lose hope! When it seems that they are pushing you away, respect their space but keep asking the questions. You may not get a response, but let them know you are still interested in what’s going on in their life. Read their school work, the notes they leave around, and take time to listen to the songs they sing or the art or poetry they write – you will learn a lot about what’s going on with them! And at some point, when they find their voice, they’ll being to speak up again to ask, Mom do you want to…? And when they do, it will fill your heart with joy. I know this full well because it happened to me just yesterday!

A picture of my beautiful family!

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A Forever Home is Coming Grandma

Last weekend I had the opportunity to head east to Alberta. The primary reason for going was to watch one of our daughters play in a volleyball tournament. (That was quite an amazing experience!) Another reason for going was that I wanted to have the opportunity to visit family that I had not seen for many years. (This was amazing as well!)

Since returning home I have been reflecting on the visit with my grandmother. Our visit was both joyful and emotional. The first time I visited her I did so with my hubby and some of our children. I took great pride in introducing two of my girls to their great grandmother! The second time I went for a visit I did so alone because I wanted to just be with her, and it was a very special time.

I sat with her over dinner and we talked about this new home she is in, it’s very different than what she is used to. She’s now in a care home, and though I am sure the nurses and staff are doing the best they can, it is not home to my grandma. At one point my grandma looked at me and said, “I understand that I can’t go home and I have to accept it and not think about it.” That statement was filled with pain, longing, and a sense of hopelessness, but she knows that one day she will be in a home, an eternal one, that she will never have to leave, so she holds out hope that this will not always be this way. Revelation tells us of a new home that will be permanent.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

(Rev. 21:3-4)

I love you Grandma. Thank you for always praying for me.

I wanted to write this post to remind us that it is important to take time for family, to take time to listen, and to take time to tell those we love that we do indeed love them.

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Finishing Well

I did it!  I graduated with my Diploma in Christian Studies. And not only did I graduate, I did so in a way that I would have never imagined! Perhaps others might start their journey with a goal of achieving the highest academic marks and becoming their class’ valedictorian, but that was a goal that never crossed my mind. In fact, just doing my best and crossing that finish line was my goal. Did I dream about certain things along the way? Sure I did.

I remember in my first year as a student sitting in chapel listening to fourth-year students giving a message. I distinctly remember feeling a sense of aws. Awe because I realized that that could be me one day! Interestingly enough, I never did give a message in chapel. And not because I wasn’t asked during this past year, but because I had so many upcoming commitments during the available season that I suggested I could do it the year after graduation. (Being on staff means I get to continue to hang around the college!) Well, the Lord had different plans. As I steadily plugged away at improving my ability to communicate and learn, it payed off in the end. I will go down in the history books as the 2014 Horizon College & Seminary Class Valedictorian. I treasure that happy memory as a reminder that you just never know the blessings that will come your way when you commit yourself to doing ALL that you do with excellence. In the end, I recevied four awards: the Delta Epsilon Chi, you can read more about that here; the Validectorian Plaque; the Faculty Award; and, the Saskatchewan Women’s Ministries Award. Humbling, to say the least.

As I was preparing for my validectorian speech I asked the Lord to help me. (I’ve often prayed for his help during this process of learning  and God has been faithful to answer!) I was drawn to a story in Mark where a group of people witness Jesus heal a person and they remark, “He has done everything well…” (Mark 7:37). Immediately upon reading that statement I knew this was going to be my central message of encouragement to my fellow graduates.  And though I won’t rewrite everything here that I spoke that day, in essense what it means that Jesus does “all things well” is this: whatever Jesus set out to do measured up to its intended purpose, that the way Jesus lived his life – both in the public eye and in private – was done so with excellence and intentionality. And having a standard or spirit of excellence is not the same as being perfect, Jesus was the only perfect human being; however, I believe that a spirit of excellence can (and should!) be the mark of a Christ follower.

As I continue in my journey as a Christ follower, I look back on the last five years with fond memories and a grateful heart. I remember taking time to walk from Horizon over to the U of S for my Hebrew class. As I walked during those beautiful spring days with my backpack on my back I can still recall the smells and the feeling of joy I took as I strolled along and reflected on the fact that I am a student and how GREAT that felt. (Now don’t get me wrong, learning Hebrew was no walk in the park, but the season itself was one of great joy.) I’m grateful because I have had the support of so many amazing people! I’m grateful because God answered my prayers in amazing ways! I’m grateful for all of my teachers! I’m grateful for the interactions with fellow classmates! And in the end, I’m grateful because I know the Lord has used this time to deepen my roots in him and I am coming out of this season with an inner strength and confidence that I didn’t have at the beginning of this journey!

For my closing today, I want to leave you with this blessing (same one I used at graduation!): May the blessing of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon you. May the Spirit of God empower you to fulfill all that has been purposed for you, may a spirit of excellence rise up within you so that you may live your life in such a way that it can be said of you, as it was of Jesus, that you do all things well.

My eldest daughter and I.

My eldest daughter and I.

Hubby & I.

Hubby & I.

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I am a limited resource and I am enough.

I am a “limited resource” and I AM enough. This phrase, “limited resource,” is something I have been reflecting on for the last few months since I first heard it in a class I’m taking. I’ve been reflecting on how often we can find ourselves trying to be all things to all people, don’t we? (It’s okay if you say, “That’s not me I don’t do that!” and simply stop reading this entry now.) But for those of us who at times do, isn’t it also true that we can often find ourselves striving outside of our giftedness and abilities in order to prove ourselves because we desperately want to fit in and be part of something? But here’s the truth: you are and never will be all things to all people and you weren’t created to be so. However, you were intentionally created and have purposes for which you alone were created to fulfill. God knit you together with a unique giftedness of his choosing, and yes, you and I are a limited resource.  (What I’m trying to say is that you are NOT superman or superwoman and God isn’t asking you (or me) to be so!)

I am enough. God’s living and powerful Word tells me that he (God) knows me through and through. It tells me that when I was being formed in “secret,” being “textured in the depths” that nothing was kept secret from God. His eyes saw me and in his book are “inscribed” all my days, every single one of them. Isn’t it hard for us to grasp God’s thoughts towards us? One of the things my professor from the above-mentioned class suggested we do is meditate on Psalm 139, and I want to suggest for you to do the same as I think you’ll marvel at an amazing God! As I have been reading and thinking on this Psalm what speaks to me is this: God created me and I am both special and enough – so, my friend, are you.

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Returning to Israel in February 2015

I am very excited to share with you that I have booked myself on a 2015 trip to Israel. This is a guaranteed tour, and by that I mean this tour will run regardless of how many register to join me on my return trip. Why is that? That is because I have booked myself onto a tour that Ayelet regularly runs; therefore, it will be a for sure return trip. (Short of any emergency that would cause Ayelet to have to cancel the tour.)

Because I have chosen to go this route it means that I do not, unless we have 20 participants register, have total control over where we go because as I said it is a tour that Ayelet regulary runs. So, for those that decide to join me on this tour we will as a group schedule time to gather together, but I will not always be teaching on this tour.

Jeff (my tour organizer) has asked us to “please note the pricing listed on the page is the full credit card pricing, which we are required to list first.  Participants can choose the Cash/Check discounted pricing once they click book (they can still send deposit by credit card and pay remainder by check to get the discount).” Also, please note that you will need to click the box that says you will need assistance booking flights and Ayelet will make all of the arrangements for you.

Lastly, this tour is open to both male and female participants, and there is a good chance that we will have the opportunity to meet others from around the world who have booked themselves on this tour as well. (I love a good adventure and meeting new people!)

Please consider joining me!

Kampman Holyland FEB 2015 FLY

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What kind of person do I want to be?

This is a question that I think is critical to ask ourselves, and I think in different seasons we will have different answers depending on what is happening either around us in our circumstances, or in us as a result of the Holy Spirit’s work. (I spent some time in a Grade 11 class today observing a very good teacher and she asked this question of her students, which in turn prompted me to write about this very thing that I, too, have been reflecting on lately.)

As of this moment, my answer to that question would be this: I want to be someone who is wise and who gives wise council to others.

In recent weeks I have been reflecting on a couple of verses from Proverbs 24: 3-6. It reads as follows: By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches. A wise person is full of strength and a person of knowledge enhances their might, for by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory.

I am reminded that we need not only God’s perspective on things, but that we need to understand God’s perspective – we need his eyes. He brings clarity! His WORDS are a “lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path”. And when we have God’s wisdom we can be “firm in our purpose” as one commentator said and “brave in our conduct” as another said. We become less reckless!

It’s hard at times to walk in what we know, I get that, but I love the idea of my house (both literally and figuratively) being one that is filled “with all precious and pleasant riches.”

And I embrace this truth “for waging war you need guidance and for victory many advisors,” but the Scripture here is not talking about just any advisors, it’s talking about those filled with God’s wisdom.

Today this is my prayer: Lord, help me to see as you see. Help me to understand your revealed truth as found in the Scriptures and extend me much grace to walk those things out. And Lord, use me to be a wise advisor to another in need for you glory and your kingdom purposes. Amen

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This one is for my “all your heart” friend, Deborah

Deborah is a woman called of God who is passionately in love with God and is an “all your heart” kind of woman. I have known Deb (sorry, had to shorten it!) since I first arrived at Horizon College and Seminary in 2009, and I was so powerfully moved by what I witnessed  this past Monday evening that I just had to share it with you. And the funny thing is Deb asked me in recent days if I was going to do a blog post and I told her “yes,” but she had no idea its was going to be about her, nor did I until I saw Deb performing in the Elim Tabernacle Christmas Concert.

Before I get into what captivated me this week, let me share with you a bit about my friend Deb. She is one of the biggest encouragers of others I have ever met. You will never hear her complain! She is one of the most optimistic and faith-filled women I have met. And she has memorized the Scriptures like no one I have ever met in my life! Deb is the kind of person where, if you are going through a struggle, she wants to know about it and she WILL be praying for you. She will write you notes of encouragement or leave candies in your box. Oh, and let me not forget, she makes a sinfully delicious birthday cake too! I had the privilege of being at the receiving end of her baking this past November when she took great delight in making me a cake, despite the fact that I’d told her I just wanted to let this one slip by. (Being 44 was not high on my priority list of celebrating!) She would have none of that nonsense. Why? Because Deborah loves to celebrate others and to let them know that she cares.

One of Deb’s many loves is singing, or so I had heard over the years, but I had never witnessed her “in action” so to speak. She would often invite me (and others!) to come to her churches’ Christmas event, but for whatever reason I had never made it over the years. For several weeks leading up to each year’s event, I would hear the excitement in Deb’s voice as she shared about the joy of going to rehearsal. As opening day approached her joy seemed only to intensify. Now I know why: Deb is a worshipper of the living God.

As I sat in my seat waiting for the choir to enter and ascend on the bleachers, I noticed Deb right away. I suppose it would be hard not to notice her as she was the first one to enter, but it was more than that, Deb had this beautiful smile on her face that melted my heart. She oozed delight and exuded joy simply by the way she walked. And as she took her place at the end of the top bleacher she turned to the audience and smiled. In that moment, I felt joy in a way that I have not experienced in some time, and I felt this sense of rising pride and excitement for my friend, who knew we were all there, somewhere in the audience, to experience and share this evening with her. And I have to tell you she sung with passion, joy and exuberance, causing me to offer silent words of praise to God for Deb and her example to us all.

Deb, may your heart always be set upon the Lord. You brought new meaning for me to the scripture that says “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” (Deut. 4:9) And, let me write out this verse for you because it is my prayer for you. “But let all who take refuge in you [the Lord] rejoice; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, so that those who love your name may exult you.” (Ps 5:11)

Merry Christmas Deb. Thank you for being you! 

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A March 2014 Israel Trip with Pastor Chow Leng

Although I made the decision to cancel my trip to Israel due to not having enough registered participants, I have directed others to tours that are going and this is another one. I had the privilege of travelling to Israel, Egypt and Jordan with Chow Leng, his wife and their daughter in 2010 – it was a life changing trip for me and one I’ve shared about often.

I am pleased to help get the word out regarding another trip that Chow Leng is planning in March of 2014. Chow Leng, together with the tour companies, plan an exceptional tour.  I highly recommend him and the tours he plans. Arrangements can be made from those travelling from locations other than BC.

Please view the links provided. Explore Bible Land 2014 – Publicity Leaflet

Explore Bible Land 2014 – Itinerary

Explore Bible Land 2014 – Registration Form

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Embracing the Moments

Embracing the Moment

In recent days I have been reminded of the fact that living and participating in God’s kingdom is an ever-present reality. Sometimes we are aware of the moments God brings to us to be his servant to another and other times they pass us by without a flicker of a thought.

I volunteered this week at an event called Under the Dome. It was an event that was sponsored by Athletes in Action, but which also included many of our local youth pastors and their respective churches. That in and of itself was an amazing thing to witness – leaders partnering together for the gospel message!

During my time there I met a young boy by the name of Baso. He was thirteen years old, small in stature, and his father had dropped him off for the evening. He was by himself and not with a group. I found myself paying attention to him and thought to myself how overwhelming it must feel to be in a room of about 250 people and not know anyone. Though he recognized the occasional face from his school, he had come alone. We chatted for a while as he wanted to play mini golf, then off he went.

Later in the evening when the lights dimmed and the dance music began, he came back to me and asked me if he could stand with me. He didn’t want to dance, he said, because his knees were sore. He did however just want to observe from the sidelines, but he clearly didn’t want to be alone. So we hung out for the evening and I introduced him to many of my friends and people I knew. The youth pastor from my church, Mike, was so wonderful because despite how busy he was (organizer of this event!), when I introduced him to Baso he took us over and introduced us to one of the CFL players that was present at the Under The Dome Event. But despite meeting this wonderful CFL player, Baso just wanted to hang out by the mom (me).

At the end of the evening I gave Baso my card and told him I was a student and employee at a local Bible college and if he ever wanted to look me up because he was wanted to study God’s word in a deeper way when he got older he could, but he needed to tell his Dad that he had met me.

The lesson that God reminded me of that evening was this: It is not always about the speaker that can make the most impact (though they are very important!), it is about God’s people embracing the moments that He gives to them and taking the time to recognize what God has put right in front of them. I take comfort knowing that Baso found a safe place to hang out at this wonderful event and I receive the reminder from the Lord than he can use us in meaningful ways.

So I want to encourage you to pay attention to the people that God brings your way – you never know when you might be that safe person for someone else who is feeling totally overwhelmed by the circumstances they find themselves in.

First Peter 4:10 says, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others.”

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The Ultimate Makeover

Hello friends,

I had the opportunity to share this summer in my home church, and many of you have asked me how it went. I decided to upload this here for your convenience and you can listen for yourself.

I am very thankful for my pastor who allowed me this opportunity, and I pray that pastors everywhere will continue to champion for and develop those within their midst who have speaking/teaching gifts.

I pray this message will speak personally to you. It is not the entire service, so the message is just under 30 minutes.

Grace and Peace,

Carmen

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