Category Archives: Seeking

Writer Wednesdays: Your Voice

Think of the stories that you tell your friends and family. What triggers you to share? I can think of three main reasons I share my experiences with others. Moving forward, I would like to formally invite you to consider a moment or some moments in your life that need to be share with others.

These moments could be tragic. These moments could be hopeful. They could bring laughter or they could bring tears. Most importantly, these moments are truthful.

What are the three reasons I share stories from my life?

  • I share stories to give encouragement

There are times in my life that have been straight out of a Law and Order: SVU episode. I grew up in rough circumstances. My choices as a teen were destructive. My young adult life has been plagued by trials, grief, illness and shame.

Yet, God has brought me through. I am an overcomer by nature and my blood type is resilience. If I can share who I once was in light of who I am now–my voice matters–it gives people hope.

  • I share stories to bring abundant laughter.

I’m hilarious. It’s true. Sometimes, I forget how funny I am. People get used to me. Then, I’ll be out at an event or in public and I’ll say or do something that’s classically Cheryl–and people will choke from laughter.

When life tries to suck the joy out of you, when all the news is bad news, when people seem to be negative for no reason–humour aptly placed can bring life. Just think of how much time we spend (waste) laughing at memes or watching Youtube videos. Laughter is the best medicine for many things.

  • I share stories to create understanding.

“What’s the big deal?” & “Lighten up.” are two phrases you wouldn’t expect are spoken to someone as laid back and hilarious as myself. Fact is, I hear them more often than is comfortable. You see, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve had a lot of hurts and I’ve helped a lot of broken people.

We might not know why something is important until someone tells us how it impacted them. Casually mentioned atrocities can cause deeps wounds in those around us and retraumatize them without our knowledge.

This is where you come in. Your voice, your story, your humour, your experiences can make the differences in the lives around you.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself “you have no idea”, here’s your chance to give the world an idea–a new perspective. Who knows, you just might change a life.

~Cheryl

Rediscovering Joy: Getting to Know Me Again

You may have been wondering where I’ve been for the past week. After steady blog posts, more than a week of quiet makes readers wonder if you’ve lost your drive. I’m here to say it’s quite the opposite.

I took a step back and had some time to reflect on recent events. I’ve had sit downs with friends, family and strangers on all points of the spectrum as it relates to faith and sexuality. For the most part I am greatly encouraged.

For a long time, I haven’t been doing the things that bring me joy. All of my actions over the past while have been what’s expected of me in public and I hid the real me behind closed doors. I’m not just talking about gender identity and sexuality.

We cannot choose which parts of our true selves we shut off. It’s like a light switch, it’s either on or it’s off. I was deeply depressed because I lost joy in the things that made me who I am. I had quit music, I had quit reading for pleasure, I had quit writing (outside of schoolwork) and I had quit being outside. I was hiding. I was scared.

This week I did a few things that I haven’t done in a long time. I read a 600 page novel in under two days, I went on a couple outdoor outings by myself, I restyled my hair in a crazy way and I spent an entire day in my pyjamas. I am actively rediscovering who I was before I started hiding.

Most importantly, I am doing it with Jesus every step of the way. God is reintroducing me to the intricate, fun and beautiful ways that he’s made me–and it’s giving me appreciation for those around me.

I used to feel contempt and annoyance for people who were freely themselves when really I was just jealous that they didn’t seem to be afraid. I thought them naive when really I was just scared. Not everyone is will support and endorse everything we become, but you have to be your own biggest fan–can you live with the person you’re becoming–or like me do you need to pause and re-introduce yourself.

Following

Following has never been easy
this path is overgrown

so long I’ve been climbing
this great mountain
on my own
Looking over my shoulder
I see how far I’ve come
By Your strength I can reach the top
spend all my days
with the Son
So I place my foot where
Your steps have led me
cling to the promise I’ll see You soon
I climb this mountain
as Your Spirit whispers
“I am here with you”
Each trial deep, dark and daunting
is like a cavern wide
the Truth gives me all the courage
I’ll ever need
to reach the other side
So I place my foot where
Your steps have led me
cling to the promise I’ll see You soon
I’ll cross this canyon
as Your Spirit whispers
“I am here with you”
Gazing up to Heaven
I see a glimmer of Your Glory
Your Son brought love, peace and joy
by the tragic cross
rewrote my story
He rewrote my story
So I’ll place my foot where
Your steps have led me
I’ll cling to the promise I’ll see You soon
I’ll dance like David when I reach this summit
Cause I’ll be there with You
I’ll be there with You
I am here with You
–Cheryl Folland
I wrote this May long weekend 2015 while on a camping trip with some friends. I was sitting on the river bank looking out at all the beauty and reflecting on my life. And then God gave me these words. I am hoping to building them into a song. If you’d like to try your hand at it, go for it and post a video of the finished product. Who knows, it could end up on my album the way that you compose it!

Untitled

At the cross I lay it down
exchanging burdens for a crown
receiving truth, grace and life
rejoicing in this sacrifice.
Truth restores my tired mind
grace covers what’s left behind
life revives the death in me
for Your glory, set me free.
Free me from my sin and doubt
cleanse me from the inside out
remove each ounce of fear in me
for Your glory, set me free.
Joy is here for those who come
open hearts receive Your Love
the new is here the old is done
by Your grace we’ve been reborn.
Sung in the style of a hymn where each phrase has a slight key change giving the final verse a tone of excited victory! 
–Cheryl Folland May 2015.

A Truth Spoke Harshly: Learning from the Ephesian Epistle Pt III



14 Then we will no longer be infants,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29287A" data-link="(A)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> tossed back and forth by the waves,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29287B" data-link="(B)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29287C" data-link="(C)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> 15 Instead, speaking the truth in love,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29288D" data-link="(D)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29288E" data-link="(E)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> that is, Christ. 16 From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29289F" data-link="(F)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> and builds itself up<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29289G" data-link="(G)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> in love,<span class="crossreference" data-cr="#cen-NIV-29289H" data-link="(H)” style=”box-sizing: border-box; font-size: 0.625em; line-height: 22px; position: relative; top: 0px; vertical-align: top;”> as each part does its work. Ephesians 4:14-16 

What’s the point –Literally??

When followers of Christ learn to use their gifts in unity and walk in the knowledge of their identity in Christ and the power of the Gospel Ephesians 4:7-13 they begin to mature. It’s immature to follow each new teaching that comes along without taking each of those teachings back to the source of all truth–that is scripture. This can be tricky as many false teachers are well read and have a great amount of charisma. Their clever speech and heartfelt passion can keep people in their immaturity and even lead them astray. The word “instead” in verse fifteen points back to the previous passage of scripture. By walking in unity with the body of Christ, believers become mature and in turn it’s now their role to guide up the generation behind them. The method of doing this is “truth in love” that supports one another. This love is what binds believers together and enables them to accomplish the good works they’re called to. Ephesians 2:10 

What’s the point–Personally?

I want to share about two things that I learned studying this passage. One of them was as I was reading, and one of them was a repeat experience in my life. 

Firstly, as I become more knowledgeable in Christ and more firm in my calling–I become more mature in my faith. This means that my role, by design, is to lead new and less mature (I avoided the word immature here on purpose) believers in there faith journey. I’ve been given partial responsibility to guide new believers and to help them discern the truth-tellers in their life. 

Secondly, the only way any of this is effective is truth delivered in love. Recently, I was at an event and a message (albeit true) was delivered so harshly and violently that myself and my friends left shaken and with a sour taste in our mouths. I don’t think it is a coincidence that the passage I am studying is mirroring life. I feel like sometimes God likes to teach us through object lessons–it’s the part of the relationship that I love the most. Those times when you can see God at work in the little things once they all line up. Thinking back over that message (and a few conversations I’ve had myself) I can see how truth can be a stumbling block to people if it’s delivered without love and compassion. 

Throughout scripture Jesus seemed to save rebuke for those who already claimed to be religious and were not listening to the truth. Those who knew not, he spoke with humility of spirit and love. He still told people to ‘go and sin no more’ but he didn’t do so harshly. I think of when the rich young man came to him and asked how to have eternal life Matthew 19:16-21 Jesus responded in a way that invited conversation. Imagine if he said “Well, you’re going to find it impossible…” with a hint of sarcasm? Or if he shouted at the woman caught in adultery about how much of a promiscuous immoral person she was? The gospel of love and hope that he was offering would have lost it’s draw and it’s power over them.

Take away: I want the love in my life to make the truth I’m entrusted with irresistible. How about you?