Cindy: “God took my never​s’ seriously”

Hi friends, I’m here with the delightful Cindy Kettle. A dear mutual connected us at our home church during the latter part of my mom’s illness (read more about that here). She prayed for us and my family will never forget how she was heaven-sent with her help at my memorial service we held for my mom. 

I’m looking forward to discussing more about her life, her testimony, and more.

Meet Cindy, everyone.

I mean full disclosure here: but you are my boyfriend’s mom actually— or as one of my friends actually call you my future “MIL” (mother-in-law) or mom. You and I connected many months before Matthew came along! You raised the man I love, so you are an automatic favorite of mine no matter what. I love you and Dan (husband) and it’s been so fun getting to spend time together. 

Debbie, you are truly an answer to prayer! Matthew is so blessed to have you, a truly Godly young woman who loves the Lord and serves Him so faithfully! From the start, after we had met, I asked the Lord on how Matthew could meet you… I couldn’t see it happening, since he is ministering up in Alhambra (LA area) and is going to school.. He usually wouldn’t come to our church.

Should we just get out of the way this fun set-up story of how Matthew and I came to meet? We all know I’m excited to talk about that [laughs]

Pastor Mike said, “These two have to meet!” I couldn’t believe it and I told him how I’ve been thinking the same thing all these months! Mike said your dear friend Margo had the same thought! He arranged for you two to be at a dinner at he and Hannah’s home.. Dan and I had the privilege of being there and to witness the beginning of a beautiful relationship! The Lord orchestrated the two of you to meet… to happen!

Mike was so incredibly proud of Matthew, I’ll never forget the day he asked me if I was interested in meeting him. Mike, always keeping others on their toes, told me about Matthew’s life, all of his wonderful qualities before actually telling me who this guy actually was [laughs]… 

And we have been praying for Matthew to meet you for many, many years! He had been discouraged how it seemed like everyone around him during college had someone, but I just continued to encourage him that maybe God wanted him to just focus on school for now and  he would meet “her” outside of school, at church… and then I had prayed with a friend who had known Matthew since he was young and she said that maybe his wife would be someone from his past? And here you are! Such a blessing. We are glad to be gaining a daughter.

Awwww. Well I am so flattered and so very blessed. It’s kinda ridiculous how we’ve all taken a liking to each so quickly. I see you and Dan more than Matthew does actually. Haha.

Now, we can go on and on about Matthew for hours (at least I know I can) [laughs]– but I want to get talk about you and a little more about your life.

So, tell me how you spend your days?

Daily, I start by being in the Word and praying. Then I am off and running! My days look different now, since I am retired and have an empty nest. There are days the Lord sends people He wants me to connect with and sometimes they contact me and I learn about their life situations and needs.

God blesses me with the ability and time to serve them through prayer, and at times, actually to “be there” for them in whatever way is needed… visits, meals, shopping, errands, etc. Flexibility is a blessing at my current stage of life!

That is so sweet. I love that you are so open to what God wants you to do in this season. I have seen first-hand how you so lovingly care for your family and I know you strive for excellence in all that you do, because that’s just who you are.

You are originally from Hawaii. Born and raised. Now how did you come to CA? Can you talk a a little more about your life in Hawaii and career as well?

 Hah! Well God took my nevers…I was content to be a gerontological social worker… to never marry….to not have children…I was completely content! I was settled!

[Laughs] God likes to do that a lot. I said never to a pastor! Well, then someonecame into life and your life took a turn didn’t it?

Dan entered my life when I least expected it!! He was stationed in Hawaii and we together for 2 years before we married. He had to leave for CA so that is how we arrived in Oceanside. Soon after, Matthew came along and God gave me a new career: MOM!

I left my career back in Hawaii, and was blessed to be a full-time mom to my one son, who has always lived up to his precious name, Matthew: “Most Precious Gift of God”

Then, Dan responded to the Lord’s call to serve Calvary Chapel Oceanside… a new calling on my life, from being the wife of a marine, to being a pastor’s wife.

Pastors wives have a special place in my heart. They are all so different and come from so many backgrounds, and support and care for their man as he serves the congregation. How do you feel your background in social work has helped you minister to others at church?

Social work taught me to appreciate how to uniquely and preciously made God’s children are. When God leads me to help someone, my desire is to understand theirperspective of life events that are ongoing. Getting an idea of theirstory, history… it gives me a glimpse into how they are coping with their life events. My hope is to meet each person’s need as the Lord has led me to minister to them.

Can you discuss a little bit about how you came Christ and He changed you?

I was a 21-year-old student that was on “cruise control” for far too long in my freshman and junior years at the University of Hawaii. Suspension from UH was the wake-up call that I needed. It was ingrained early in my childhood that college was a given and not a choice– so suspension was utterly devastating. God found me in that broken place, in the midst of depression and anxiety.  And then, Julia through Campus Crusade, prayed for me one day on campus… I’ll tap her on the shoulder in Heaven someday, and thank her!

That’s so wonderful. It must be crazy about all the time that has passed since that day. And all that God has done in your life since.

 In the time we’ve known each other, I’ve seen how much you have a love for God’s Word. Can you tell me how you go about studying the Word? How does that look for you?

The Scriptures are indeed alive and available to us through the power of the Holy Spirit, to exhort, teach and mold us. The Lord uses His word to teach me about Him, His character, and as Kay Smith always taught– How to leave to please Him! My desire is that I continually grow to be who He desires me to be… to live for Him… and to please Him!

For my personal study, I have a song set on my phone or I use our Amazon Echo to play praise and worship songs. Then prayer, and I dive into God’s Word.

Personally, studying God’s Word in a group setting keeps me accountable. I appreciate structure and time frame to completing Bible studies. It helps me to keep on track and dig deeper! I also love to hear how the Lord speaks to other members of the group through the study, it is so very enriching! I love when the formal group studies include digging deeper into the background behind the Scriptures for the week.

Lastly, can you speak on the different seasons of life and how studying God’s Word looked for you in each one? As a single woman, then married and then as a young mom!

 As a mom of a baby… of a toddler… it was difficult. Time and energy were at a premium and there seemed limited, if any, amounts left for Bible study.

Yet, I was parched and not able to function in the godly manner that I couldn’t accomplish on my own. It was easy during that time to lose perspective, being mired in the busy-ness!

Similarly, when I began working full-time when Matthew was older, many times I came home exhausted, trying to fulfill my roles as wife and mom to a teenage son… without God’s Word and time at His feet, I kept running into a wall! The enemy planted depression, frustration, anxiety, guilt– I was exhausted!

 I learned a very important lesson: being at His feet, first and foremost, changed everything. God will bless and multiply time if you honor Him first in your day. He will allow you to accomplish all that He would have you to do in your day. God is in control and sovereign. I had to learn, I am still learning to daily turn over the reins to Him and let Him reign!

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Well folks, I think I just fell in love with Cindy all over again while putting this blog post together. I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s not hard to do. Others are quick to say, that she is one of the most thoughtful and genuine people you’ll come to meet.

 She’s pretty fun too and has the most contagious laugh. A fun fact would be that she and I realized that we… are lacking a sense of direction. Honestly, like I think east is west and I can’t get anywhere without my maps app. Once, I got lost in a mall with Cindy and it took me a half hour to get us out of the mall… and it took her another half hour to remember where she parked the car. Also, we both laugh pretty easily and love reading!

Enjoy this picture which accurately describes our relationship (and lack of direction… why am I pointing to the sky?! I guess some of us are more challenged than others.):

 

September 2017 part 2: “Hey, I’m with you”

August was the longest month ever it seems.

Last two weeks of August were dark and deep. Like this heavy cloud was above our home and the thickness just couldn’t seem to let up. Looking back, I don’t even really remember what the month consisted of except that it was really sad.

The fog started to clear a bit for me, and it began with a fun day. I had a lovely respite sharing one of my very favorite places (Symphony!) with a dear mentor & friend. She and I sang along to a well-beloved musical’s score and shared laughs and turkey wraps from her favorite sandwich joint.

We talked about our week, about how the kids were back at school and swapped chicken marinade recipes. I say “swapping” nonchalantly, but there was actually no swapping (hah, in my food network dreams) more like just her telling me that there’s no way a naïve cook like me can mess up a simple chicken marinade.

Oh, my little tank running on empty was filled, not only by the music but by the sweet company and conversation. I had a feeling that my people back home needed a similar change of environment and needed to share laughs and everyday conversations and time with their some of our loved ones, who were just a state-line crossing away.

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Sometimes it’s not the deep or moving words that help the most, many times it’s just a hug from others who say “hey, this is messy and sticky- but we’re with you.”

That’s exactly what God did, when you think about it. He sent Jesus,  and in some places in the Bible, He’s called Immanuel, which translates to “God with us.” Jesus came to be with us, in our mess, in our trenches and we He plants Himself and says He’s never leaving.

So soon after, my little clan of three plus one (mom, dad, me and our ever loyal and sweet-looking but fierce bichon-poodle mix, Henry) packed our bags for a last-minute escape to Arizona, where the 2/3 of the Enverga daughters and their people do life. It used to be where I did life at GCU too.

One of my favorite memories of the trip was when us three sisters gathered together in the living room and recounted stories of how mom worked to bring the best out in us—some things we couldn’t quite understand, but at least we were all laughing about it now. Mom provided commentary, and answered our dying questions like—“Why did you make us all eat oatmeal every day?!”  “Did you really send 10-year-old Maui to the supermarket?” “What were you thinking letting me wear those ugly shoes?”

To which she responded:

Yes, because my parents did that with me and it [oatmeal] helps with constipation.
Yes, she was so shy- it brought her out of her bubble.
Yes, Deb- you were so hyper and those shoes protected your toes.

Mom, what were you thinking?

I was trying to hone your character.

What about my feelings?!

Your feelings don’t hone your character.

… said like a true Asian mom.

Later in the week, I made a quick visit to my old stomping grounds, GCU. It was the place I called home for a single semester before our world turned upside down.

I found my friends moving into new apartments, entering nursing programs, hanging new pictures, unpacking their boxes… I thought being back would make me sad, but as much as I missed campus and everything it stood for–I just knew I didn’t belong there anymore.

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My forever school bestie, Ruthie and I got to catch up as she started her very first week of nursing school! She and I tackled the first semester at a new university together, both as pre-nursing students. We were the friends each of our moms back home were praying we would find. We had so much fun being together (we even have a whole video of our very fun semester), we had even planned to coordinate our future RN work schedule and get our future kids into the same homeschool co-op (naturally, since we were both homeschooled).

This was so us. We dreamed about our future like it was as easy as planning our weekly movie nights and downtown outings or organizing our shared Spotify playlist.

Oh if only things could be always as easy as that! Even though I entered September wishing for no more cloudy days, I realized that the cloudy days only make the sunny ones much brighter. That sounds like a line, and it probably is, but it has truth behind it.

As Christians, we realize this: Jesus didn’t promise us a trial-free life, or blissful days on earth with no trouble. In fact, he guarantees trouble, because of the fallen state of this world. But He says that we don’t have to go through it alone because He’s right there with us. He’s overcome it all, and we can overcome through His working in us. Oh, for grace to trust Him to be enough!

My clan has been back home in our breezy San Diego for awhile now, and there have absolutely been cloudy days- some days of uncertainty, fear and sadness and pain. Though, there have been moments of great joy and growth all the same. I can’t fathom or seem to explain it, but God uses the hard things- the hurt- to get to a place in my own heart, that only He can work on and get to. Fears and insecurities are exposed in times of crisis, and trying to plunge the hurt on my own can be maddening because it never seems to stop. We weren’t meant to fill that void- Only Jesus can.

And he so willingly jumps in my trenches, the hard places where the real work is done and says- “Hey I’m with you.”

 

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