Kenzie, or Kenz as most of her friends call her, has the biggest, most beautiful heart ever! She fearlessly loves everyone around her, no matter what difficult circumstances she might be facing! Her passion for the Lord radiates from her and she can't help but sing His praises! Thats right, this girl has got PIPES. Kenz is no stranger to difficult times but always faces with the utmost courage and grace - always trusting in God and His greater plan. She is encouraging, hilariously funny, brave, trendy as heck, humble, strong, determined, SASSY, and talented. Always going the extra mile for those she loves and always making the people around her feel extra special. She's actually one of the greatest humans I know. Currently Kenz is living in Calgary, Alberta with her family and is working towards going to school to become a pastor (I know, she just keeps getting cooler and cooler).
- Melissa xox
Take it away Kenz!
Hey Guys! Kenz here, When Melissa first approached me to guest write a post for my beloved on toxic relationships, I admit I was a little bit hesitant. As I considered how to formulate my experience into words, I found myself once again swimming in the anxieties, and deep sadness of walking through a relationship that caused more damage than I will probably ever comprehend. I took a step back, put on some worship music, and prayed into the topic at hand. I recognized that I didn't want to write a post littered with indecent bashing of another person, I didn't want it to be a sad story of a girl who had her heartbroken by a boy, but rather, I felt the Lord gently whisper "Kenz, here's an opportunity for redemption. An opportunity to empower". So that's what I intend to do today. If you want to get cozy, clear your mind, and get real with me for a little while, I'd be more than happy to share my heart with you.
This past June I returned home from New Zealand after living there for six months doing a YWAM dts. I spent my time there pressing into The Lord, questioning, learning, growing, praying, worshiping, adventuring, stretching myself and my faith, and spending an awful lot of time asking God to bring me a husband(this sounds ridiculous, but I promised to be real with you, and that is the truth). I left New Zealand with a robust thriving faith in Jesus, a new found trust in my ability to hear his voice, an ability to encounter him radically in worship and intercession, and most of all a new discovery of the beautiful and tangible identity he has given me. My experience there drastically changed me as a woman, even saying that is a bit of an understatement. I knew God in a real and living way, and God knew me.
Lets fast forward a little bit. As I am a bit of a wandering soul, and like to move around a lot, I suddenly found myself getting antsy for new surroundings. I made the decision to move to Vancouver Island, to see what it had to offer me, and what kind of new adventures I would find myself in. Now this is where the thriving, in bloom season I found myself in, started to turn to winter. Upon my arrival there I soon found myself reconnecting with an old friend. He led worship, my family liked him, he wasn't poorly dressed, and at the very top of the list; I immediately fell in love with his family. The first few weeks of our relationship were completely fueled by infatuation, and that 'I never want to leave your side' feeling. About a month into our relationship, he said I love you, he told me The Lord had told him that I was the girl he was going to marry, he immediately started discussing engagement , and he endlessly spoke of having a life with me. He fed me full of everything I had hoped and prayed for since I was a little girl. This is where every thriving promise turned to dust. He began breaking me down with bitter and hurtful words, and bit by bit began to rob me of the identity that Christ had fought so hard to write on my heart. (I'm not going to go into detail of the things that were said, and the bruises that were made, but I trust that if you have experienced a similar season in your life you relate to what I'm saying right now). I soon went from a passionate woman full of life and desire, to a little girl standing in the destructive wake of someone else's dreams. Eventually our relationship dissolved, he eloquently tried to explain to me that everything he had said The Lord told him about our relationship was a fabricated lie, for a lack of better words. I was left in shock with a blurry and warped sense of self, and an even more distorted sense of who God was. I moved back in with my parents in Calgary, and often found myself laying in bed with a deep numbness in my heart. I felt myself grasping and clawing for even one minute in the clarity of the Holy Spirit's presence. I felt myself begging for him to hit the reset button on my heart, to knit back together the confidant woman that once inhabited my body. I felt as if the weight that now resided on my shoulders was to much, unbearable.
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."
Matthew 11:29 kjv
I want to shift gears a little bit, and encourage a heart that feels like it has no more fight left. Listen up. This is where Jesus breaks into the room, and changes the atmosphere of your despair, and your confusion. There was a point in this season of my life where I had the deepest most pure revelation, that the God I knew before this, was the same God that was knocking on my door now. He was asking me to simply invite him into my chaos, and allow him to pull me out of the ocean I was barely staying afloat in. When we admit to ourselves that we can not handle anything without the grace and love of our Father, is when healing happens.(and THANK THE LORD we are not designed to do this alone). He slowly began cleaning me off, polishing my heart, and revealing that Kenzie was still in there. That crazy girl with weird taste in music, and a sense of humor all her own, she was still thriving under the residue that remained. There was clarity, and life after what felt like a dead end. There was healing for my heart, as well as an opportunity to grow more than I could ever fathom, and I promise there is healing for yours.
I have some closing pieces of advice that I'd like to pass onto you...
Get into the presence of God.
Even if it feels like it takes every ounce of strength you have left, fight to be with him, fight for intimacy. Get into his word, listen to worship music, surround yourself with truth. If I know one thing for sure, it's that in the presence of God, all things come into alignment, there is clarity in your suffering, and there is joy amid pain beyond understanding when he enters the scene. Avidly ask God to refine your heart, and to speak identity over you once again. This is when the empowered woman of God rises up, stronger than ever.
Guard. Your. Heart.
In the aftermath of a damaging relationship I found myself terrified of entering into a relationship again. First of all, If you find yourself trapped in a toxic relationship currently, no matter the consequences, get out now. This is where you need to take a birds of view of the destruction, and resolve to protect your heart. Understand that you hold infinite value, and someone who does not recognize that, and someone who is willing to disrespect you in anyway is not allowed to have a piece of you. This sounds cliche, I know. but hold out. Hold out for the man that will pursue your heart with the fervor of your heavenly father. Hold out for someone that allows you to be unapologetically yourself, transparent, and honest, silly, and care-free. Someone that doesn't put unrealistic expectations on you, but rather prays for your growth and spiritual maturity. Someone that challenges you, but doesn't tear you down. Don't give up hope, don't lose heart. Do not sell yourself short, but wait it out for the person who is going to see the Jesus within you.
You do you, Girl.
Probably my favourite, and most offered piece of advice. Give yourself permission to be yourself. God made you the way you are, because your are good, and you are lovely in all your ways. You are not to blame for painful things that have happened to you, and most of all you are not defined by the labels other people have tried to stick to you. Don't allow yourself to succumb to an unrealistic ideal of a past relationship. Surround yourself with people that recognize your worth and your beauty. And do the things that make you genuinely happy and enriched. You do not need to change for anyone. You do you. Holla. Drops mic.
I could probably go on for another nine years on this topic, because it's one that resonate so deeply in my heart. I just want to finish by reminding you that you are going to be okay. You will thrive once again with a heart that is fully intact. Know that I am praying for you, and I am cheering you on with every fiber of my being. Remember, You are strong and you are courageous.
God is breathing life, and giving healing. Grab hold of his promises today. I dare you.
All of my love and support,
ps. If you want to connect with me, feel free to shoot me an e-mail(firstname.lastname@example.org), follow me on instagram(@kenzietanis), or facebook message me. I would love to hear from you. xoxo