Cynthia's Thoughts

Then Sings my Soul

Listening to: Carrie Underwood – How Great Thou Art

As I was growing up, I rarely identified with people my age. I was always looking to the future, to this longing that I had, but could never put my finger on. That longing made me different, it made me think of my teenage friendships as fleeting, not something that I should hold on to. I felt as if I viewed life differently than all of my peers… I always felt ahead of them somehow. These feelings made me feel like I never quite fit in.

I can’t say that this is truth, but I can confidently suspect that God was present even in those years of unbelief—at work in my life, stirring up my heart to yearn for something greater than I whatever it was that I presently settled in—stirring up my heart to not quite fit in.

Shortly after I married Luke, I lost touch with all of my friends from high school. When I got married, most of my friends were in school or figuring out what to go to school for, while I was marrying the love of my life and dreaming about children. I never quite fit in.

Shortly after having Isla, I realized that I needed some friends. The church we were attending was large and I felt unnoticed, even unwelcomed sometimes. It was hard to make meaningful connections and reaching out to women my age was hard. We attended that church for about six years and while we were blessed with meaningful relationships with our pastors, we never seemed to make really good friends. I never quite fit in.

One weekend we decided to try our current church—Renaissance. A friend had been attending for a year or two, and we were already attending bible studies at the church, so it seemed like the logical choice. That was the Sunday that changed everything.

For months, I struggled with feeling like I wasn’t quite fitting in. I was shy in approaching new women, and many women seemed to know each other so well that it seemed as if they didn’t need another friend. But God! In His good timing, God opened up my eyes to women who I could reach out to and He blessed me with a group of women who I would develop deep-rooted, meaningful, sisterly relationships with. These women support me, encourage me, listen to me, pray for me, babysit for me, visit with me, cook for me, cry with me, laugh with me and love on me—among so many other things.

Even though I was blessed with these relationships before we left on our journey, I still didn’t feel like I fit in. I was accepted and loved, but I doubted my value in my relationships. You see, because I thought of my first teenaged friendships as fleeting—it was hard for me to understand that others found value in my friendship. Only now, do I have a true perspective.

Since we left Brooklin in August, we’ve received several invites for weekend sleepovers from our brothers and sisters. We’ve only taken one family up on their offer, simply because it’s a familiar space and there are only two people living in the house—our pastor, John and his wife Janine.

We left my mother-in-law’s cottage 28 days ago, we’ve been in Brooklin for 14 of those days, taking over John and Janine’s basement (and Netflix). Each of those days has been filled, to overflowing, with visiting with friends, eating with friends and praying with friends. We’ve had the privilege of being a part of a family I didn’t fully understand the value of. From being invited to stay much longer than planned, to being treated just like another daughter, from being invited to take part as the only non-familial guest at a family dinner, to crying together and being encouraged by sisters at a women’s dinner… We’ve been on the receiving end of a John 13:35 kind of love. The love and relationship I have the privilege of experiencing while we live with them is beyond anything I could ever imagine. I quite fit in.

This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—
when they see the love you have for each other.

We just returned from our second weekend with them and the only word I can ever utter as we drive away from Brooklin is… Overwhelming.

My heart is filled—a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over. God, the giver of good gifts, is abundantly blessing this once lonely heart with an entire church family full of love—redeeming what I didn’t even know was missing from my own life. I find myself buried under the weight of this practiced biblical love and I wonder…

How can this be just a small portion of what is to come?

Cynthia's Thoughts

Don’t You Wanna Curve Away

Listening to: Coldplay – Strawberry Swing

After seven months of travelling, I grew weary of thinking about Brooklin as we drove more and more north. I was apprehensive about coming back to our friends and family after such a short time away. I felt like we weren’t done travelling and I wasn’t done learning what God was trying to teach me. I didn’t know how to explain how we spent our time over the last seven months, I didn’t know what conclusions to draw for anyone, I didn’t know how to respond to everyone’s reactions over our homecoming. Honestly, I was more excited to see my Auntie Janie (Who was fostering our cats… And I say “was” because she informed me that they’re officially her cats now and won’t let us have them back. I knew that would happen, she loves cats too much and our cats are the best cats in the world. And I don’t think you’re understanding me—they are literally the best cats in the whole world.) and our cats than I was to go back to Brooklin. 

Cynthia's Thoughts

Pressed Between the Pages of my Mind

Listening to: Elvis Presley – Memories

The night before I visited Graceland, I could barely contain my excitement. I couldn’t fall asleep because I was too darn excited to be at Graceland the next day. I couldn’t figure out why it was too much for me to handle… I wasn’t huge Elvis fan, I wasn’t counting down the days until I got to visit the mansion… I racked my brain for reasons why I would be so excited and then I realized that this was 26 years in the making.

Cynthia's Thoughts

For the First Time in Forever There’ll Be Magic

Listening to: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel – For the First Time in Forever

Before Christmas, we took the kids to Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I knew it was going to be an overwhelming experience to be at these parks at such a busy time and with our three excitable kids. I even asked for prayer the day before our visit to Magic Kingdom. I was terrified that we were going to be in such a magical place and I was going to be so Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful, Sleepy, Happy, Doc, GRUMPY! trying to control my children from running around like crazy people. 

People We Miss

Blackman Family

John is the pastor at our home church, Renaissance Baptist Church in Brooklin. He’s married to the lovely Janine and together they have three beautiful daughters, Jordan, Justine and Jessie. The way their family takes on the challenge of leading our church is admirable.