a lesson from tap dancing lessons

A most exciting development occurred at Monday night’s Tap Dancing Class.

A new girl joined!

Do you appreciate what that means? It means that am no longer the new girl! I’m not the least experienced. I’m not the most lost!

It came alive for me when we started doing warm up drills and I was in the “you girls keep going” group – not Miss Abbie’s “let me walk you through that in slow motion” group.

Looking across at the deer in the headlights expression on the new girl’s face I was awash with empathy. I know that feeling, I know that fear!

But the second wave of feeling was the growing realisation that I had advanced in my own skills – not just when compared to the new girl – in and of myself. I could do the drills that Miss Abbie was giving us. I could look ahead at where I was going not just down at my feet (to check if they were doing the right thing, you can never be too sure!) I was able to go fast enough to work up a sweat and feel the strain in my muscles. The clickety clack of my taps were vaguely rhythmical and consistent.

Yay for development! Yay for progress!

We went on to practising the routine and, although happy with my recall and general ability to keep up, there were still those parts that I haven’t quite got right yet. And we’re not even half way through the song, there is still much more choreography to learn, remember and master. But it was a nice little moment to pause and reflect on how far I’ve come.

There’s this week’s encouragement from my tapping adventures. Pause a moment. Take a quieting breath. Look around. There still might be lots to learn and more to improve – but look how far you’ve come! Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, just compare you then to you now – you last week, you a year ago; you this morning.

Philippians 1:6 He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it.

Happy tapping! 🙂

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do all things really work together for good?


I have this verse (Romans 8:28) on my wall. 


Because I walk by the wall so frequently, I am constantly reminded of this promise and affirmed and strengthened by it. 

As with all scripture, this verse has the potential to be misinterpreted or misapplied which can lead to disappointment and disillusionment. 

Here’s three truths that are essential for understanding this text correctly. 

1. All things work out for good – even if they aren’t good now. 

This is a future promise not a present guarantee. Paul does not say “all things ARE good for those who love the Lord”, he says, “God WORKS all things for good”.  There’s a big difference. 

Our faith and trust in God allow us to interpret our current trials and pains through the lens of a future hope we have that these hurts will not be for nothing – that they will be caught up in God’s big picture plans for our lives and His glory. 

To look at some of my own life experiences – death of family members, family breakdown, miscarriage or a painful divorce are NEVER good in and of themselves. This verse doesn’t suggest that for those who love God divorce is good or for those who love God death and loss are good; not for a minute. It does promise us that in the hands of a loving Father those experiences can be redeemed and we can learn, grow, mature and flourish through them, because of them and inspite of them. 

2. All things work out for good – but sometimes even that good doesn’t feel good. 

Because we are not God and because of the many shortfalls in our character and ability to know the future, what we think is good for us and what God knows is good for us are not always the same. 

God’s plans to redeem all things for good may include the good of doing without things that He knows aren’t healthy or helpful for us – even if we want them. They may include us being humbled or learning painful lessons that ultimately grow and refine us. 

To fully appreciate the “good” God is bringing about we need to ask Him for HIS eyes to see and appreciate what He has in mind for us. It may not look good to us, but He is a perfect Father who only gives good gifts. He invites us to trust His big picture plan. 

3. All things work out for good – but the timing of the good is not ours to know or control. 

My maternal Grandparents were killed in a car accident together when I was 11 years old (and they were only in their early 60’s). Our family treasured the promise of this verse as we absorbed the news of their tragic death and prepared for the funeral and life without them. We learnt it as a song! At the funeral, a family member came to faith! The witness of Grandma and Pa’s lives and the confrontation of their death brought this lady into an eternal relationship with God. See, we said, God is even using this for good!!

I love that story. I love the grace of God to make this promise so tangible for us. It stood me in good stead for future trauma and tragedy that was ahead for us as a family and me personally. But the more common story is that it can often take more than a few days for the “good” to evidence itself. Sometimes it may be years in the making. Sometimes it may even remain unknown to us. 

Just because we haven’t seen the good yet doesn’t mean it’s not coming. God’s timing is always perfect. 

How have you seen this promise at play in your life? When do you find it hardest to hold on to? When has it been most encouraging?

Comment below or email me directly at kimberlyrsmithministry@gmail.com 

8 questions to ask in every season


Our lives are a series of stages and seasons. Sometimes they pass faster than we’d like – when things are great it can seem like time moves too quickly (like holidays, for instance!). Other seasons just seem to go on forever – sickness, waiting, uncertainty, grief – these are seasons we’d love to skip through and yet they can seem interminably long.

Much of this is out of our control. We’re at the mercy of our age, our ageing bodies, the decisions of others or God’s sovereign (but ‘secret’) plans. So the only thing left for us to do is maximise the season we’re in.

Here are eight questions to ask to ensure that whatever season we’re in – however we feel about it – we’re not wasting this time.

1, Where is God?

There is no season in our lives that God is not present. Even when He feels distant – He is not. Look for Him. Be aware of how He is making His presence known – as teacher, comforter, defender, peace, joy … God is always ALL of those things, but in specific seasons we experience different aspects of His character in new or increased ways.

If there is a season for everything, then God is in every season. Look for Him.

2, What can I learn?

Each season holds opportunities to learn new things. What can I discover about myself? What can I learn about other people? When we are forced to walk a path we didn’t want or intend to we often meet people or experience things we might not otherwise have encountered. What can that teach us? What can we learn about the world around us and the character within us?

3, What can I develop?

Some seasons feel like they are ‘on hold’ seasons but they can actually be opportunities to develop skills and character we might otherwise not. Maybe part of the purpose of this season is for you to grow in patience, confidence, empathy, trust, compassion or a particular skill.

4, What does it reveal of me?

For better or worse, various seasons will show our “true colours”. In some situations you might discover that you are stronger or braver than you thought – or it might reveal that you’re NOT as strong or brave as you thought. A season might reveal impatience or intolerance. It might uncover a heart or passion for a cause or a specific group of people. It may reveal a deep trust in God or a strength you didn’t know you had.

5, What is it preparing me for?

Sometimes that’s a bit self-evident. If you’re studying something in Uni it’s probably a preparation for you to USE that study in some sort of work. (That’s the hope, anyway!)

Maybe it’s not quite as clear or obvious as that – but something of this season will be a preparation for a future season. Nothing is ever wasted. Some of your darkest seasons can be preparing you for a unique ministry to others who will go through similar experiences. Some of your greatest joys can be building reserves to draw on through more challenging times ahead.

6, What am I tempted by or to?

In seasons of struggle – of loneliness, grief, sadness, frustration, rejection, or difficulty – we are often tempted to self-soothe or distract to avoid facing them. When we are experiencing dissatisfaction or disappointment, when there is a sense of hopelessness in the season we are in we can turn to things like food, exercise, approval, pornography, alcohol, work, perfectionism, relationship – all manner of temptations or ‘escapes’.

Any of these things can lead us to addiction or to patterns of unhealthy behaviour when we try to avoid or ignore the realities of our season rather than face them.

7, What needs to be resolved?

Is this season you’re in the result of something that is unresolved? It may not be – but it’s a question worth asking. Is your broken relationship with your family because there’s forgiveness that needs to take place? Is there conflict or disconnect to resolve? Do you need to forgive? Do you need to ASK for forgiveness? Do you need to stop blaming someone for something? Do you need to stop blaming yourself? Do you need to get outside or professional help? That’s not to suggest that all our difficult seasons are our own doing, but it is a good question to ask to make sure we’re not being our own worst enemy!

8, What can I give or enjoy?

The uniqueness of each season – difficult or otherwise – will also hold unique opportunities to bless others or experience joy. Sometimes the joy will be harder to grasp and sometimes blessing or serving others will be the last thing we want to do, but maximising the season often comes on the back of taking a posture of focusing on others.

old dog | new tricks 

“KimmE!?! Now tell me the truth! Is this a joke or are you for real?!”

That was the response from my little friend (6) when I told her I was starting tap lessons. I’m not sure which part of the idea she found more unbelievable but she asked many more times and many other people and I’m still not sure she believes me. 

But it’s true. I’m taking tap lessons. I ordered tap shoes on line. Things are getting real. 

So, “why tap lessons?” I hear you (me) ask. Well firstly, why not? But the other answers include for the fun, for the fitness, for the improving of my “pretend” tapping skills (although I think they’re pretty convincing) and for having something in my week to look forward to and connect me with others. Not to mention the joy I will bring the previous worst dancer in the group to know that mantle can be passed along to me, or the entertainment of those who will get to witness me in all my tapping-glory. 

But it does tap into (see what I did there?) a more fundamental value I have to always be learning, always growing; always stretching (literally and metaphorically). 

Learning a new skill, placing ourselves in a room where we’re not the smartest or most experienced, submitting to the leadership of others (rather than being the leader), being humbled by our inadequacy or in circumstances where we are less sure are all acts of discipline. The kind of disciplines that keep us moving forward in an upward growth trajectory. The kind that halt the stagnant regression that is the natural gravitational pull of our unattended selves. 

Tap classes start Feb 1st for me. When does your next lesson begin? 

Did you have a good day?

We ask and answer that question all the time – “how was your day?” Our answers can range from “Awesome!” to “Terrible!” but probably most commonly land somewhere in the middle – “good” or “fine.” 

Behind our answer is a process by which we assess and determine how our day actually was. How we measure is based on our own priorities, expectations and circumstances. 

  • Today was awesome because I didn’t have to get out of my pjs!
  • Today was the best ever because I signed three new clients. 
  • Today was terrible because it rained. 
  • Today was a success because the kids are all alive and the house is still standing!
  • Today was great because I won at tennis. 
  • Today was awful because I fought with my friend. 

Our definition of success (or failure) is unique to us and our particular life circumstances – and it can change from day to day.  

However, without consciously considering those yard sticks; without intentionally determining what defines a successful day, we can find that each day just rolls into the next. We can find ourselves disillusioned by a seeming lack of accomplishment or meaning. We risk letting days slip by unmarked or acknowledged for the gift they are and the fact that each of them added together is painting the picture of our lives. They will become our history – the story we will tell. 

When I ponder the question “how was your day?” I do it through the filter of these three categories. 

MAKING and DOING

We have a natural leaning towards being productive and creative because that gives us purpose. Some of you don’t consider yourselves creative because when you hear the word creative you think artistic. Not all people are artistic but, made in the image of a creative, creator God, we all bear the capacity for creativity – to make things better – be that aesthetically or practically. Pleasing to the heart or eyes or pleasing in terms of efficiency and sensibility. A balanced account, a streamlined distribution process or practical storage solution are the marks of creativity – just as a sculpture, dance or poem might be. The sense of satisfaction found in a task completed, a list ticked, a system maintained, all testify to our bent for purposeful, meaningful engagement. 

A good day involves making and doing. 

LEARNING and GROWING

When we stop learning and growing we stagnate. And stagnant things are smelly and gross and not the stuff “good days” are made of! 

Trying a new recipe, learning a new computer program or other skill, growing in God’s Word, increasing in patience and tolerance, understanding another’s perspective, engaging in study or training, and receiving coaching or mentoring all serve to stimulate our hearts and minds. They contribute to our ongoing transformation and maturing. 

The concepts of ‘learning and growing’ also empower us to redeem otherwise frustrating,  hurtful or meaningless experiences because we can always ‘learn and grow’ from them. When we reflect on a day of disappointments or challenges we can claim it as a “good day” for what God might use it to establish or develop in us. 

A good day involves learning and growing. 

LOVING and LAUGHING 

Some people can be hard work and annoying. Not you, of course, other people. Many times the success or failure of a day can largely rest on the nature and outcomes of interactions with others. Introverts and extroverts respond differently to highly social situations and times of isolation but – in the end – it’s the people that matter most. In the image of a relational God and in the love of our Heavenly Father our hearts are wired for intimacy and relationship – with God and with one another. People matter more than things or tasks. Relationships matter. 

Was it a good day? Who did you get to love? Who did you express kindness to? Who did you serve? Who did you encourage or comfort? Who did you help? And what of those things did you receive yourself from others? Who did you laugh with?

A good day involves loving and laughing. 

For me, the success of a day considers each of those three categories. If a day includes all three it’s off the charts!! That’s a red letter day right there!! And as for a bad day? Well, I’ve come to discover that they are normally more to do with me not looking hard enough rather than these three things being entirely absent. This checklist then provides a lense through which I can reinterpret the events of a ‘bad’ day to see that it hasnt been wasted or futile. 

So, how about you? Did you have a good day?