Becoming Chris Kamalski

"There's a Writer outside ourselves, plotting a better story for us" ~Don Miller

Tag: Love Yourself

A Letter From Maxie.

Maxie truly is, "In Good Company!"

Maxie truly is, “In Good Company!”

May 2013

To All Our Dear Family, Friends, & Partners In Mission…

I am so grateful that God is always with me and that He constantly has the best in mind for me! Every single time, He seems to come up with ways to remind me that I am loved and that He has good in store for me. What I love is that God is really concerned with my heart and cares a great deal that I am cared for.

And it’s in this journey that I’ve come to a place where some change was needed. After being in full-time ministry and community development work for 11 years in some of the rough and painful places in our world, it’s become time for me to take some time out to care for and rest my own soul. A few months ago, after learning of a specific incident involving sexual assault and retributive justice in one of our communities, I realized that my own capacity to address such issues with compassion has been reached and I am in need of some restoration myself.

Right as I was realizing this, I received a wonderfully unexpected offer from my neighbor and dear friend to help her launch a Cape Town branch of a creative party and decor shop called In Good Company. After a great deal of prayer, consideration, and conversation with Chris, along with the full support of Bridges of Hope South Africa, I made the decision to accept this full-time shop assistant role while still assisting Bridges with fundraising and grant-writing on a part time basis, as Bridges continues to pursue becoming financially self-sustainable within South Africa.

I began my role part-time at the end of March while slowly transitioning my full-time responsibilities with Bridges of Hope, and it has already been such a restorative season in the past few weeks. I knew I needed to make this change for a reason and am excited to see what God will make of this obedience in loving myself well. I have realized that sometimes it is okay to take a season to primarily care for your own heart, because you need a well cared for heart to truly take care of others sustainably. I am certain that stepping out of full time ‘community development or missional work’ does not mean that I will not get the chance to be a part of some awesome stories of transformation in this coming season. And yet I also know that this is not the end of my work, but rather a different season to step into with joy!

I have already had some wonderful realizations about not only about myself but also towards what is stirring and growing in my heart as I look towards the future. Thank you for walking with me into this new season, and for partnering in encouragement, support, and tangible resources for Chris and I. I look forward to sharing stories of this new adventure with you!

Grace and peace friends,

Maxie Kamalski

P.S. I recently wrote an article for EKerk, an online South African teaching ministry, where I reflected on some of these personal themes in a more general way. Entitled, “Love Your Neighbor As You Love Yourself,” you can read it here. We sincerely hope it blesses you in your own journey of transformation.

P.P.S Head to Facebook for an album showing off the new shop!

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Sunday/Monday: Our Marriage Counselor Made Us Rest.

A powerful maxim of Jesus, interpreted in a modern way via the East London street art graffiti scene.

I’ll keep this short, as of this writing Maxie and I are getting married in just over a week, hosting family and friends from around the world in a few days! Essentially, the amazing marriage counselor we have been meeting with weekly the past few months, who has prayed over us, taught us, and encouraged us to engage our fears and move forward in trust and faith as we join together, took charge in our last session and forced us to rest.

Yes, she forced us to rest.

So, on Sunday, which was the Sabbath after all, we did just that. Maxie and I slept in, spent the morning together watching movies and generally laying comatose on the couch, and generally unplugging from a busy, stressful season of marriage preparation. I can’t even remember what we did that day, it was so wonderful. Suffice to say, sometimes you need a wise voice in your life that simply gives you permission to love yourself enough to stop. To rest, to ponder, to daydream, to let your mind become blank. Rita Malan was that voice in our lives at the end of a busy week, nearing the end of an intensely strenuous season of life.

Maxie and I couldn’t be more grateful.

I was privileged to carry that rest into Monday of the next week, as my monthly afternoon of solitude and silence came due. I headed over to Mohale Rest + Retreat and promptly took a nap yet again! That afternoon, I sat next to a koi pond, trying to open my heart and mind to the reality that I was going to be united in marriage to a deeply amazing South African woman I love more than anything prior in my life. I shook my head at how deeply we have walked through past fear and shame, and still how far we have to go in our respective brokenness. I haven’t always made loving myself easy on Maxie, but she has been faithful, steadfast, and consistent in sacrificially loving me each moment of our relationship. I am so grateful for her.

I read a section of Donald Miller’s newest work called “The Thing About A Crossing,” and was struck by these passages as deeply relevant to the massive event about to unfold in my life’s journey:

“The point of a story is never about the ending, remember. It’s about your character getting molded in the hard work of the middle…you become the character in the story you are living…It’s like this with every crossing, and with nearly every story too. You paddle until you no longer believe you can go any farther. And then suddenly, well after you thought it would happen, the other shore starts to grow, and it grows fast. The trees get taller and you can make out the crags in the cliffs, and then the shore reaches out to you, to welcome you home, almost pulling your boat onto the sand” [Donald Miller, A Million Miles In A Thousand Years].

Maxie has been this for me in our story…pulling me forward to the best reality I can ever imagine. Our shore is reaching out to us, welcoming us to make a home in each other, pulling us forward from paralyzation to new, unified life as one couple. I for one cannot wait for June 4!

(Each day this week I will post a story or reflection about some aspect of my work and life that our missional community, NieuCommunities South Africa, is currently engaged in here in Pretoria. I’ll simply attempt to answer the questions, ‘What does a week in my life look like? while framing that within the larger question of ‘What stories are you co-writing with God in South Africa, and how does this story fulfill your unique mandate to apprentice South African leaders in the way of Jesus into sustainable mission around the globe?’)