How are you doing?

If you’re like me, you probably have many answers to the question, “how are you doing?”

  1. I’m doing well! And you?
  2. It’s alright. Maybe not the best week, but that’s okay.
  3. Not bad! Can’t complain.

And these answers are fine, especially if you’re seeing someone in passing. But if these are the only answers you ever give, you are closing off your heart, and denying the fellowship of others.

In high school, my drama teacher didn’t allow one word answers. When asked how we were doing, we had to tell how we were doing, and why. It was annoying to most, and painful to many. But he taught us such a valuable lesson in communication and relationship building. You get to the heart of the matter, and engage the other person by talking about the why.

Trust and relationships are two way streets. And this is where I struggle the most often. Vulnerability means exposing yourself — your true self. But vulnerability also means inviting someone into your life. And the latter is worth the former. Yes, you might get hurt. Yes, you might embarrass yourself. But if that happens, then that person isn’t the type of person you want in your tribe anyway.

By closing off your heart, you are denying fellowship with others.

Since moving back home after 6 years away for university, I have had to make new friends and find a new normal. When meeting new people, there isn’t the same familiarity that I have with old friends, so it can be hard to open up.

I’m not pointing my finger at you, I’m pointing my finger at myself. I am guilty of keeping my guard up more than anyone. I have mastered the art of sharing more than a one word answer, but less than a full response. Because of this, I feel like I am stuck in a world of in-between. I crave more from myself, and I want to go deeper with friends.

Live authentically and invite others into your life.

There are some things that are worth guarding, but my pride isn’t one of them. I wonder what it would be like to live life as an open book, to put it all out there and live authentically and invite new friends into my life.

Let’s have a real heart-to-heart. Send me a message, let’s meet up for coffee. I’d love to share what’s on my heart, and know how to pray for you. I may be mega socially awkward (hi!), but I genuinely love connecting.

Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
– Hebrews 10:25

By inviting someone into your life, you are allowing them to encourage you, and to pray with you. You allow them to know you, the real you.

If you see me on the street and ask me how I’m doing, and I say “I’m doing well, and you?”, you have my permission to ask me how I’m really doing. I will most likely be taken aback. But give me a moment (and let my introvert mind process for a second), and I’ll get back to you on how I’m really doing, and why.

I love hearing life stories, and I want to challenge you (and myself) to live authentically and share your life’s stories.

xo,

stephkoanie

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Baptism Sunday!

Baptism Sunday isn’t a real Sunday, haha. It’s not like Palm Sunday, or Easter Sunday or some other set date that everybody celebrates together. It just happened to be that last Sunday, my church had its baptismal service, and 4 people got baptized!

I love baptisms, because I love hearing about how God worked in other people’s lives! Baptism is an opportunity for a believer to publicly proclaim the belief in God, and declare that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour. Then, our pastor dunks them in the water tank, and their immersion represents Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. The act of baptism gives a person no extra grace, or anything. But is a representation of what has happened in their spiritual life.

I always have such a good time at baptismal services. It’s so fun seeing those who are about to get baptized, and how giddy and nervous they are. And it’s always such a blessing to hear them share their stories, and share the gospel with everybody. This year, everyone was so different! One young girl, two university students, and one adult. They all had different back stories, and different experiences, but ultimately have Christ in common.

Praise God! And if you’ve never seen a baptism before, I highly encourage you to ask a friend and see if you can tag along. It’s very surreal, and such an amazing visual depiction of Christian salvation.

Women of the Word (Review)

Okay, I have a confession to make. I am not a reader. Eep! I hate the sound of that. Don’t get me wrong, I love books, and I love reading, but.. I am simply not a reader. I don’t soak up books like those around me do, and maybe you’ve noticed the lack of any mention of any book, ever. Well, that’s cause I am not usually reading, so I don’t have any recommendations for you.

Don’t get me wrong, I do have some great recommendations up my sleeve, if you are ever interested. But they don’t change often, because I probably have not read any new books since you last asked me.

Recently, I read Women of the Word, by Jen Wilkin.

I have always enjoyed Jen as a Bible teacher, and the subtitle of her book really appealed to me: how to study the Bible with both our hearts and our minds. I know that approaching things heart first is one that is so oft taken by women. Although, I may argue that as a student of science, I put a large emphasis on evidence, or “head-knowledge” as Christians like to refer to it sometimes. But I am still a woman, and I love my emotions. Jen argues that we need to use both our minds and our hearts to study the Word, and boy is she right.

J warned me that this book would probably cover things that I have heard before (either through him or through my church’s teaching – and praise God for that! I have access to really great resources). But the book was still just what I needed.

The book is simple, short, and really sets you straight about how you should read the Bible. Sure, I didn’t actually have any mind-blowing realizations while reading the book. But I still think it is a superb book that all Christian women should read (the principles apply to men too, although the book is written to women).

wildbloom blog: http://www.wildbloomblog.com/2014/09/birthday-weekend-photo-diary.html

This book reaffirmed my understanding of Scripture, and gave me the necessary kick in the butt where I needed it. The Bible is about God, not me. So I ought to read it that way and ask, “what does this passage reveal about God, and his story of creation, fall, redemption, and restoration?”.

  • If you have no idea how to read the Bible, this is an excellent read.
  • If you want to know God more, I encourage you to give this book a quick read. It is exactly that, a quick read.
  • If you get solid Biblical teaching from your church, your spiritual leaders, etc., then this might just be a quick summary of what you think you already know!

Ultimately, this book is a short guide to reading your Bible. In the end, I would encourage you to go ahead and do that- read the Bible!

*Note: the images above are not my own. Hover for sources.

Handlettered Verse Mug

I recently had the opportunity to design a mug for my friend to gift to his girlfriend. My first commissioned work!

The verse he chose serves as a reminder of why she studies law (hint: because God is good!). It’s such a sweet gesture  she’s a lucky gal!

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Isaiah 1:17 (ESV)

The other side includes the verse reference.

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So, friends, if you would like me to help you create something, please let me know! I love being creative, with a purpose.