We ended the DayBreak year with our Spring Brunch on April 23. It was a great morning of good food, lots of chatting, and celebrating the good things that have happened over the year. A slide show reminded us of classes, people, childcare, and special events this year, and we enjoyed a panel discussion on Relationships That Have Helped Us Grow. Thanks to Nikki Stuart, Heather Malkinson, Brandy Jones, and Lindsay Kelly, who shared their perspectives on their relationships, and to Pastor Carla, who moderated the discussion.
Here’s a sample of what that discussion included; Lindsay Kelly has given her permission to share her comments with you.
1. How did you get connected to Foothills and how long have you been part of the church?
When I was a university student in Edmonton, I had a friend from Calgary who had gone to Foothills growing up. I grew up in a small town and never imagined myself moving to the big city of Calgary. God had a different plan in mind for me. After getting married, we ended up moving to Calgary and my friend from University steered me here.
I loved the church from day one, and when my husband was on his days off, and able to join me, he also really loved the church too. We got involved in a small life group of young married couples, and six years later we are still supporting each other in many ways. They are my family in Calgary. We have seen triumphs and weathered many storms together. I initially resented moving so far from home, but now I see that I am exactly where God needs me to be.
Through the church, I have grown in my faith journey and gotten to know a community of friends I never dreamed of having—women who have challenged me as a follower of Christ, wife, mother and friend. Attending DayBreak this past year has given me a renewed passion for the church I attend and challenged me at a deep level personally. I will go forward with new strategies in my toolbox as I face the world I encounter every day as a result.
2. Being new to the community and church, how did connecting with a group of women in the church at the same stage as you help you to grow personally and spiritually?
When I first came to Foothills, my world was a bit upside down. We had experienced job changes and I did not know a single person in Calgary. I soon met women who would later be part of my life group. One of the advantages of a large church is there are lots of people to connect with, and God, in His mercy, saw fit to allow me to meet the women of my life group—strong, courageous, beautiful women with hearts for our Creator. We were all fairly recently married and had so much to learn together.
Each woman in the group has challenged me to grow in who I am as a person. They have shown me what friendship looks like, how to give well, and how to love deeply. When surrounded by that type of love, you are challenged to continually give back, to be more real. Connecting with women with whom who I could grow from a new wife, to a new mother, to a mother of young children, has allowed me to know I am not alone, and that type of community is a rare commodity in our busy world.
With the love I have been shown, I now know better how to serve my neighborhood. Many things I would have never thought of doing, now come to me instantly and have opened doors for me with those living nearby, as a result of acts of love from those in our life group. I owe so much to those women, and thank God so often for them.
Connecting with a group of women at church has challenged me to grow immensely in my walk with God. It is very exciting to me to think of where God will direct my girls, and help mold me to be who I need for them. It makes me want to know more about our Christian faith and makes me want to strive to know our Lord more.
My faith has been challenged, stretched and expanded by relentlessly pursuing the gift of community with others through women I have met at the church. I have changed from someone who is ashamed to let others know about my identity in Christ, to someone who is entwined in who I am as a believer.
3. We know God best when we are in relationship, because that is how he designed us, in the image of the Triune God. What’s one bit of advice you would give to the rest of us about building relationships that make a difference?
One book that changed my whole perspective on relationship building several years ago was John Ortberg’s Everyone’s Normal Until You Get to Know Them. It’s embarrassing to say, but there was a time in my life when I was on the lookout for relationships without issues or baggage. However, I came to realize, to quote Ortberg, “none of us are normal according to God’s definition, and the closer we get to each other, the plainer that becomes. Yet for all our quirks, sins, and jagged edges, we need each other. Community is more than just a word-—it is one of our most fundamental requirements.”
My one bit of advice is to be authentic. There’s something so freeing and healing with sharing with others where we are really at. We easily can put on masks to disguise where we really are at in life, and that does a disservice to those we are trying to build relationships with—whether our neighbours, church friends, or those closest to us. We may build up walls that protect ourselves—projecting our perfect self—but meanwhile isolate ourselves. We desperately need relationships. God commanded us to love our neighbour. Rather than being embarrassed about who I am, or where I am at, God has allowed me to get to know other women at a deeper level in practicing humility, and authenticity in my interactions with others.
“Peace is not the absence of trouble, but the presence of Christ.”-Sheila Walsh
Join us at DayBreak next Fall on September 10!