About Kurt Germaine

I love to write, and I love to help others through what I write. I began writing this way, and will continue to do so Lord-willing as He gives me the words! That’s why I have this blog instead of all this stuff just sitting in notebooks and on my laptop. I hope you enjoy what you read. I hope it challenges you, encourages you, edifies you, and most of all points you to Him. To God be the glory.

Mourning

American Christians don’t mourn well. It makes us uncomfortable. We withdraw. We are left alone. Our isolation during our most painful moments is unbearable. We are a haunted people, having hidden ourselves away as others withdrew during our most vulnerable moments.

Our coming to light and community will be through grieving what is lost. It will be through learning to mourn together in a community. It will be through coming along side each other in grief.

Grief will not be a disease or a weakness. Mourning will be a beautiful and intimate process we go through together. We will love in the darkest of times and bring His life into suffering. Christ Himself will complete and make you what you ought to be, establish and ground you securely, strengthen, and settle you (1 Peter 5:10 AMP).

My adventure

What a crazy, crazy past couple of days. A routine drive turned into an adventure I didn’t see coming.

It all started near Jacksonville, FL with a flashing check engine light. My night ended with my car stalling as I thankfully made it off the highway and into a gas station. Since it was so late at night and I needed to get it to a shop early, I decided it was best to sleep in my car. I’m glad I was prepared and had warm clothes, because somehow in FL it was close to freezing!

I managed to get some sleep and got it towed to a shop that had good Google reviews. I quickly realized the reviews belied this shop’s honesty. After getting advice from my dad and mechanic, we decided it best to get it to an honest mechanic and to someone we know. I told them to stop any work immediately. Having paid them an exorbitant amount for doing nothing to speak of and an expensive tow bill, I left.

After managing to get a costly uhaul and trailer for the first time ever (and having a scary moment of having to merge blind once) I brought it to the shop. There I had to back in a trailer with a 20ft uhaul so I could load my car. This was the second time I’ve done that, the first was when my dad taught me. It ended well. Thankfully the guy at the shop helped me push it on the trailer. They put the bolts and little bits in a box. Everything else in the engine bay that they had unbolted unnecessarily I put in the car. This includes a belt literally left hanging, an air box and several bits just sitting there. Not cool. Finally secured it all.

Then began a five hour journey south on about four hours of sleep and hardly anything to eat. It started with rush hour traffic. First time driving a uhaul and being as long as a semi, this was a baptism by fire. It soon calmed down, and I had no incidents. I finally arrived at 11pm.

A kind friend and mechanic helped me unload my car into his shop. Thankfully, there was a guy staying late to help us. Then we went to return the rental truck and trailer.

At the first place we went to, we couldn’t find the entrance. Then a man pulled in front of me and walked up with red eyes and what looked like water coming from them. He was very kind, and told me that this was his shop. It used to be their family business and they had closed it three weeks ago. He’s still looking for work.

He told me about uhaul places that were open and was incredibly kind. He also began to tell me about his wife, Janet, who is in the hospital. After seeing three doctors, her condition is undiagnosed. She is on so many pain killers she is barely cognizant.

After talking to him and learning about how much was going on in his life I realized that his red eyes and wet face were the makings of actual tears. This man, who had gone through so much tonight was helping me. It helped me to realize my problems were completely insignificant to what this man has gone through.

So God gave me and my friend the chance to pray with him and encourage him. He was genuinely glad and my friend gave him his business card so he could update us on how his wife is doing.

I suppose the crazy thing is I wouldn’t have had the chance had all of this not happened. I don’t understand completely why I have a broken car (with an expensive new-engine fix, if I decide to take that route), unforseen bills, and a now terrible financial position because of this (the money I had saved to last me for two months of job hunting is now gone), but I do know the first night I arrived here God has given me the chance to be used through those circumstances and despite them.

It is incredibly humbling to be in this position. It’s also incredibly tough. However, I know I am trusting an old Friend who has Todd’s (the man’s name) and my best interests in mind. I don’t know His ways, but they have been good for my heart. I ask you as my readers to join me in continuing to pray for Todd and Janet.

So things might not be easy, but God is always good and put an incredible capstone of blessing to my adventure down to Florida.

My heart

“When a writer gives something for you to read, they are showing you their heart.”

I resonate with this quote because whenever I write something, I feel as if I’m sharing a part of me… an essence of who I am in the form of print. Sometimes I share very vulnerable parts. Sometimes I take risks, some larger than others. I tend to imagine that my audience extends beyond my circle of friends. In essence, anyone.

I ask if those parts that I show will glorify God. I ask if those risks in what I say will further the Kingdom. That’s something I’ve been wrestling with a lot recently, especially the fear of getting it wrong. To be truthful, I’ve procrastinated and haven’t finished a piece for a long time because of this.

As I branch out and continue to speak about the things that impute passion on my heart, I worry about the implications of what I say might have. On the positive side, I imagine the change that may come from my words. It’s an exciting world of Christians dedicated to taking action and loving the individual like Christ has loved the Church.

With my next piece I’m working on, loving the individual is my heart.

Healing

I bear the wounds of the past.
As much as they want to fester
I have more compassion for yours,
For you to find healing at last

Time and years go by,
And memories are still poignant.
Yesterday is the same as years ago.
I want to see you free from the lie

Coming from a place of fear,
Rejection is a very real thought
Frought with worry and doubt.
There are ones with ears to hear

There is hope on this side,
A place where Jesus comes near
With people who will love
Community by your side

So put down the mask
That hides the beauty of who you are.
Nothing you can fashion can match,
Seeing the true you is all I ask

Transition

Life is full of transitions. Sometimes they are simple, like adjusting to a minor change in the way things are run at work. Sometimes they can be more life changing and complex. In my case, it is the latter.

For many months I’ve been thinking about what is next in life. I knew surveying was temporary. Working that job allowed me to heal and grow in a desert season. I gained new skills and worked the best job I’ve had to date. However, consistently being torn away from community was frustrating. I want to grow, and the best way to do that is within a community.

Since I knew surveying wasn’t going to be a lifelong pursuit for me I began to ask what will be that pursuit. For the longest time (and still somewhat) I didn’t know how my gifts and talents line up into a lifelong career. Nothing I enjoyed doing as a hobby wouldn’t pay the bills, and I’m just not good enough to turn them into profit. That is perfectly ok, because I get to enjoy them for what they are. For me, jobs are an avenue in which I can interact and influence those around me. It’s a way for a people person to be a people person.

After thinking for a while along those lines and reflecting on what God has done and they ways He has used me, I kept coming back to counseling. Had I chosen a different major in college, that would have been it. Over the years, God has given me the avenues and encouragement to start seriously looking at counseling. So I began the search for schools and ways I could achieve the goals I wanted to achieve. I wanted to be able to work mostly full time to support myself and pay down debt while I’m in school. I also wanted to be able to be consistently involved in a church. Because of these things, an online degree seems to be the most convenient.

After talking to friends and random people I’ve met I kept hearing great things about Liberty University’s program. No school is perfect, but being in the top five of online counseling programs is hard to beat. I applied and was accepted in the summer. Then came financial aid, and there was none except for more loans. That was a road block for me for a while. The debt I have from undergrad is already annoying. At the same time I view this as an investment into my life, and in time it will pay for itself. Even beyond that, I’m trusting God that I can go through this and be provided for. He took care of me during college and in the years after, He’ll continue to be faithful. If this is the path He is leading me down, He will be there.

This line of thinking coincides with my move. So far, I’m still looking for a good job (Uber driver is my backup, and a few potentials). I’m trusting Him with my finances and getting to know a new set of people. I’m also trusting Him during the pain of transition. Moving isn’t easy, especially away from those I’ve grown to love here. Everyone here has been a shelter to me, and for that I am overflowing with thankfulness.

Figuring out where I am moving to was a rather difficult process. I sought to weigh my options and pray through all of them. I did this for months as well. After many conversations I made my decision. A few brought to light that in making this decision I wasn’t going to make a mistake. Fear tends to rule my decision making, especially that I’ll hurt the ones that I love as a result. One conversation in particular asked me this question: What does your gut say? My answer was that have a gut feeling that Fort Myers, Florida is next on the list in the places I’ll live in this life. I’m excited to sink my roots into this community. I’m excited for another place to call home.

I’ll be flying back in a week. I’ve yet to sell my car and wrap up a few things. Time is flying, but God is good. I know I’ll be taken care of.

Hopefully this isn’t too disjointed. Feel free to message me if you have any questions.

On to the next adventure in life. God is good.

Life, Change, and Living as a Transient

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything like this. This has sat in my drafts in various forms for a long time. I haven’t mainly because there were many issues in my life where I’ve needed to heal from. I’ve needed time and space to write something personal. What I have written has come indirectly from dark times and good times. I’ve written what God has put on my heart. I feel like I now have the freedom to go deeper and more specifically about my struggles.

This past year and a half has been really difficult one for me. I was working at a retail store in Georgia. I was barely making ends meet and constantly searching for a better job. I was feeling all the pressure to “be more successful” and be a provider for a new family that was about to start. The problem was, no matter how many hundreds of places I applied they went nowhere. They had promised me a promotion, but it didn’t come to fruition. I had a college degree but couldn’t find any positions where I could use my degree. It was incredibly frustrating and made me feel like I wasted money on something that wasn’t going to earn its keep back. I felt as if I’d be doomed to the world of retail, a place I had become increasingly frustrated with its politics. There were few managers who cared. On top of the this, there was a rash of firing people. Lots of good employees were terminated or left. Fear emanated through our workplace. We didn’t know who would be next. Thankfully, things eventually stabilized but I knew this company would never be one I could see myself growing in. At the time, it had the hallmark of many typical American businesses, which is all about the money and your employees are simply tools. Being in that position was very stressful on top of what was going on in my life at that point.

This leads me to telling you earlier this year I was engaged to someone. I’d rather not go into details in public to protect her, but I do not mind explaining more in private. In May of last year, our relationship ended. It was a relationship where I did everything in my control to do things right, and still ended up making mistakes. I ended up hurting her beyond words. I left myself a wreck. Those are hard lessons to learn when you have the best of intentions.

Right after this a great opportunity presented itself. I had the chance to move to Calgary, Alberta and work as an assistant surveyor. After much prayer and deliberation I took the job. It was a rather difficult decision, because not only had I just begun to transition out of a serious relationship, I was moving away from my support while I dealt with that. I knew with all of its green (and eventually snow) I was moving to a desert time. I knew I was going to live alone among the sand dunes of memory and grief. In the end, I was right. That summer once I moved up there was a very dark time for me. I went through depression and I had to live alone every night the memories of what had happened this past year. If anyone knows me I am one who empathizes. I am really in tune with peoples’ emotions when they are in pain. This was especially true of her. I had known her very well, and even though we didn’t talk I knew what she was thinking and feeling. I took those emotions on as my own and was drowning in the guilt and pain.

On top of this, the reality of the nature of my job was overwhelming. Work itself was great, but the pain of isolation was at times almost unbearable. My work required me to be away for weeks at a time, on top of having moved away from my relationships in the US. I didn’t know how hard it would be in practicality to only have myself to spend time with the majority of my days. Every night, it was always me left alone to my thoughts and reliving the nightmare that had happened during the year. I had no one to spend an evening to talk with and simply hang out.

It took me a long time to pray through and gain a correct perspective over the situation. I had to learn to own the emotions and forgive. I had to make intentional choices about how I thought and lived my life. I could drown in isolation and my floods of emotions or I could choose a life raft. I had thought about simply giving up and living like everyone else around me. The carnal life didn’t sound so bad, it numbed many peoples’ pain. No one would know I was any different, and I was away from anyone who would. I could have put on a mask and did whatever I wanted. However, every time I thought about going through with this I kept coming back to one thing. That thing was where my identity was. It wasn’t about others’ perceived identity of me, but what I perceived my identity to be. I was struggling in my faith at this point, but I knew still at the end of the day I was a follower of Christ. After all my mistakes and loneliness, this is still who I was. Realizing my identity and its implications marked a turning point in my processing of my whole situation.

I still thought there was a lot of vanity in my interactions with people. I would get to know people, or spend time with them and have to leave. My time was always short lived. If anyone knows me, quality time is one of my love languages. I haven’t been able to fully express myself in a long time because of that. At the time, it was incredibly frustrating and fed into my depression. I couldn’t stay around those I loved. Jesus did something here too. He taught me value in the moment, instead of what I’m missing or can’t do. He also brought wonderful friends and family into my life though my traveling. I’ve had an incredible chance to get to know my cousins and the rest of the family. A group of friends accepted my crazy life and brought me in.

As time has gone on, I’ve also adjusted to the pace of life at work. I still don’t like being away all the time. Even so, God has blessed me with good friends from work. I’ve embraced the loneliness. I still fidget under it, but I also know I can grow and learn while I’m longing to be with people. Being lonely doesn’t have to suffocate. Instead, it can invigorate. My best nights are with a book and coffee. I’ve been able to intentionally seek Jesus when I could turn to so many things to distract and fill the void (shows and games). It has been a long process, but a good one.

God taught me it was good in the end and a lot like the missionary life. I can’t always be where I want to be. It has been my struggle since I was a Third Culture Kid and it will be throughout my life. I will likely leave friends in another place. My heart will always be left wherever I go, and its strings will tug at me to go back. It’s a reminder I’m not of this world, and of the much greater one to come. All I love will be in one place, with Jesus. Nothing can get better than that. My heart will finally be in one place, at peace with joy. Until then, I’ll keep giving pieces out for them to return later. My life’s goal is to give until there’s nothing left. Christ can fill the rest.

I’m blessed. I came into a desert to find an oasis. An oasis of friends and family who stuck with me through my shortcomings. My dad would constantly keep tabs on me, tell me he was praying for me, and ask how I was doing. My mom checked I’m on me and gave advice when she could. So did my brothers. I’m thankful for my family. I have friends who are doing similar things, and followed me through my hectic life. I couldn’t ask for more love. It dumbfounded me, and taught me a deeper truth.

The oasis is Jesus. He has sustained me and has been super patient with me. I’ve made mistakes and wanted to do my own thing. He stuck with me. His love is loyal. I found a place to drink in wisdom and experience. I rested in peace in the shade of a God who let me sweat my mistakes out. The coolness of trust passed my parched lips. In a desert void, I found teeming life.

Roots

Something I’ve learned over the past year: Roots are important, and how to have them when I’m constantly moving.

Those two points seem mutually exclusive, because to me roots are generally tied to a geographic location. Growing up in Africa, coming back to the States for furloughs, moving back again, moving for college, moving for jobs, and moving for my job here have all culminated into a transient lifestyle.

I’ve noticed young people want to chop their trees down and sever their roots for the sake of independence. In their naivety they end up searching for a place to belong afterwards. In ways, I believe this is a normal process to go through. It’s part of turning into an adult and separating from parents. A major importance in how a person develops later in life depends on if they sink roots again, and how they do so.

I’ve craved roots. I’ve become bitter when I couldn’t sink any down. I’ve questioned God at the heartache constantly moving causes. I’ve wondered how I can grow and succeed when I’m starting again every other year it seems.

Roots are a place of constancy. Consistency. A home and a refuge that you turn back to so you can find your identity. When you’re away, a reminder of where you came from for perspective on your journey to where you’re going. They are also a place of community and friendship.

Since I haven’t had constant ties to a geographic location growing up as a TCK (third culture kid), I began to sink my roots into people at an early age. When we moved, I struggled the most not being away from Africa or even culture shock, but mostly being away from those I loved. It took me years of working through those things to begin to come to terms with being away.

I almost had a panic attack (never have those) at the thought of going through the same thing again when I graduated college. I had four years to really sink deep, and I did. I knew just like leaving Africa, most of my relationships would change. People would fade away, and life moves on.

What saved me then and what have I been reminded of now? A place in which I can sink roots that doesn’t change. The only Person who doesn’t change, and is with me wherever I go. I know, it sounds cliche, but constant change makes this pertinent. Having a singular place where the state of being in a relationship doesn’t change is essential for my mental health. I have a place of reference and perspective to keep investing in others. I know it is temporary, but I can keep giving because I’m given to.

I can move anywhere and weather the storms of change because God is my refuge. Change still can feel like diving into frigid water and my breath is taken away, but that shock is also invigorating. I feel alive. It gives me something to battle against and refines me. It reminds me that my true home is waiting for me with Jesus.

This doesn’t discount people, as God uses them as well for grounding and reminding us of our identity. I believe those people have to be well chosen. Most of the time it is family and select friends. What is cool is God has brought both along in my life. For that I am thankful. I may not be able to be around them most of the time, but thanks to technology I can keep in contact. Remember God is Provider. In every sense of the word, He is.

If you feel like I do, sink your roots into Jesus. Life will change around you, but you will have a constant hope and place of refuge when it does.

A new generation

A whole new generation of Christians has come up believing that it is possible to “accept” Christ without forsaking the world.
–Tozer

And there are some of us who have not forsaken the world as Christ accepted us.

Our desire is to spread the Gospel, and in that we are naturally counter-cultural. Sometimes that means being counter-cultural to American culture that has invaded Christianity. It means going back to loving the unlovable, and wrestling out our faith before God. We want to live life with those around us instead of being strangers telling them only what our convictions are. We want our friends to see our convictions in action as we navigate our world.

So yes, there are those who would rather put on appearances to gain acceptance by the world. Just remember, there are still young ones who genuinely want to follow Christ. We are out there. Our walks are messy, and we aren’t perfect. But we’re learning and growing in wisdom. We want to see the world changed for the cause of Christ. We want others to know His unfailing love. We want them to know redemption.

We want those in the older generations to know that. We want your wisdom and your help, even if it appears at times we don’t. I know I value it immensely. 🙂

A different focus

As I’ve seen the repercussions of the SCOTUS decision, I’ve become acutely aware of how imperfect I am. Before I go into this, this isn’t some share my sins game so people think I’m a good Christian who is humble blah blah blah. This is me letting you into my life so you can see a little of how it really is, apart from what I share, funny things, and little nuggets of wisdom God gives me to share. It’s a good facade, but I don’t like those.

There are many things in my life that I need to work on. I’m prideful, struggle with lust, and have been complacent. Let’s not get into my prayer or devotional life for the past year. It’s been spotty at best. Those are the obvious things, and things I could say are wrong with my life. Let’s go deeper than that.

Here is how God is changing and refining me. I still desire to know God, and he’s shifting my focus from being performance based to relational based. That has generally been my desire when I interact with people, is to “be good” for them. In short, I’m a people pleaser. This has gotten me into trouble, because I wasn’t good at setting a boundary as to how much I could give. I would either get hurt, burnt out, or both. I wanted to be good and whatever I needed to be to make people happy because of my fear of the negative consequences if I didn’t. I always feared a break in the relationship if I didn’t do right. I treat God the same way as I do other people. Surprised? Me either.

After a process I’ve been approaching God in a different way. A way that is safe, without fear of judgment. It’s the same kind of safe place I feel when I go to talk to my best friends, that I just want to talk to them because I care about them. I just want to know them. To talk to them. I’m not running away from them because I’ve done something bad. In fact, they’re the very people I can own my mistakes with because they get me. They also know how to say I was a bozo in a loving way, and what ways I can go about changing if need be. They accept me for who I am right now, not some figment of who I think I should be.

You know what I feel when I process that they accept me? Pure, unbridled, deep-tingling joy. I didn’t have to do anything but be me. And it’s not a me characterized by things I’ve done wrong in the past, but a me that is the sum of all the good and bad I am. The me that is included in my personality, gifts, and attributes. It’s the same me that God know so much more deeply in all my intricacies and He not only accepted me, He died for me. How crazy is that?

Think for a moment. Don’t think about your sin, it’s common to hear Christ died so that we can be sanctified. It’s true. We know that. Instead, think about the sum of the individual that you are and that you are loved. Think about the other billions of individuals who each have their own story, just like you who Christ died for as well. It’s overwhelming how God can love this much. It’s hard for us to love just one partner for marriage completely, our family members, and our friends completely. God loves us entirely. It only makes sense because God is love. Love is infinite, because God is infinite.

God gives us that same love and shares it with us. We are given chances every day to be a representation of the infinite love coming from God. The English language (or maybe my vocabulary here) fails to encapsulate all that love is and means. It’s more than romance. It’s more than a good feeling for a cute animal. It’s also when things aren’t easy. We have the chance to ask ourselves, “Is this the right way, the best way, to treat this person?” Sometimes this will require heavy introspection within ourselves, and sometimes it also require setting boundaries with the person of inquiry. Love isn’t all fuzzy feelings of goodness. Sometimes it is rather difficult, and you will bleed.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
-1 John 3:1

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
–1 John 4:7-21

How well do you know yourself?

How well do you know yourself? That’s a question I’ve been asking myself recently, and I’ve come to conclude I’m a stranger. Maybe not quite that extreme, but I do have trouble looking outside myself and seeing myself for who I am. I’m sure I’m not alone.

There is so much I can do on my own, so I’ve come up with a questionnaire to give myself some insight into who I am. Specifically, how others perceive who I am. I know what I’m giving out as who I am, but I don’t necessarily know all the time how it is being perceived.

As for the questionnaire, I just ask for honesty…The kind of honesty you would bestow a good friend, so that they can be the best that they can be.

This can be messaged or responded to on here.

Number one:
What talents am I known for?

Number two:
How would you describe me?

Number three:
How would you describe my interaction with other people?

Number four:
Name one or more areas where I could use some improvement.

Number five:
Name one or more areas where I am excelling.

Number six:
How have I changed over the years that you’ve known me?

Number seven:
How have I remained the same over the same period?

Number eight:
What do I love?

Number nine:
How have I affected you?

Number ten:
With who I am and the gifts I’ve been given, what profession do you see me in?

Thanks to everyone who participates!

Bonus:
How would you change these questions if you were conducting the same survey for yourself?