RELATE with Helen: Pathways of Friendship

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“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” Anais Nin

Last night, John and I returned home from a trip to Germany where we ministered at a relationship conference and spoke in several awesome churches in the very quaint and beautiful city of Detmold.

The time I spent there was so extraordinarily special to me because I was able to share it with my husband, John. It fed my soul in ways that perhaps only a girl like me, who grew up Mennonite, could truly appreciate.

The Language of Hearts

Something awakens and stirs me so deeply when I can connect with my Mennonite Russian/German roots in such a palpable way. We may live across oceans, but the language of our hearts and heritage connects us deeply.

I’ll never forget my initial introduction to this small, but remarkable group of people…

I had just finished teaching my session at Charlotte Scanlon-Gambill’s women’s conference in Bradford, England, when a group of seven rather tender and teary-eyed women approached me and said,

“I think we are your people.”

At first those words seemed strange to be hearing in England, but very soon it all made sense. Their ears had tuned in to certain words and customs that I had brought up during my teaching—things that would be unique to someone raised in a Mennonite church and home. We shared a common history, a common faith, a common language, common customs within our community, as well as common food.

Sharing Community

It was a ‘moment’ I’ll never forget. Time stopped as we shared our stories and our journeys to “here and now”. Suddenly I was lost in a world of beautiful familiarity, speaking German and found myself longing for a delicious feast of my favourite dishes that my Oma, Mom and aunties would make like Borscht, Perishky, Kotletten or a yummy helping of Rollkuchen, served with a juicy slice of watermelon. My mouth is watering as I write.

Following our encounter in England, we continued to stay in touch with each other. I became especially connected to my friend Vera. We were so very aware that our relationship was divinely orchestrated by God for a greater purpose than we could understand at the moment.

This recent trip was my third visit to Detmold and this stunning community of friends that God so graciously introduced into my world. The opportunity to minister there astounds me and blesses me beyond what I could express in words. It simply makes my heart and soul sing ridiculously loud!

Building Family

I am continuously in awe of how lavishly and thoughtfully God knits His big, magnificent family together. He is the divine connector-of-the-dots, and not one detail ever escapes His notice.

Over 25 years ago, God asked John to lay down his dental practice to plant a church. I knew it was a clear directive from the Spirit of God and I willingly released the security of the financial stability that dentistry afforded us as a family. I admit however that I struggled laying down a deep desire to travel and explore the world. I couldn’t imagine there would ever be enough money in our budget to do that ever again.

I love how God puts His desires in our hearts and then uses them as a cord of connection to His heart. He is an extravagant Father who loves to lavish His children.

I have traveled to more countries than I would have ever imagined in my wildest dreams and it has been with the greatest purpose imaginable—to grow and build the family of God. It has all happened so beautifully and organically. I have been learning to leave the details to God. He knows what He is doing.

It was just a few short years ago that I found myself in Bradford, England, where I met so many people with whom my heart will forever be connected, and in the midst of this glorious opportunity walked seven more friends—friends of my history and friends of my destiny.

These gorgeous Mennonite sisters were so hungry for God that they dared to step out into an unfamiliar place, get on an airplane and head to a conference that they had seen advertised on Christian Television. It was there that our lives collided and we have never been the same since.

God is always up to something! He has created pathways for us to walk on that will supernaturally align our destiny with others. Much fruit has come from that one encounter—there are always multitudes on the other side of our obedience to God.

My heart so resonates with these words from Romans 8:12-16…

“So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! (Message)

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My dear SheLoves friends, I’d love to hear:

  • How has God aligned your life and purpose with others’?
  • Which friendships in your life have come as a result of obedience to God?
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Helen Burns

Helen Burns

Helen Burns and her husband, John, speak around the world on the topic of relationships. They host the popular TV show “Relate with John and Helen.”
Helen Burns
Helen Burns

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Helen Burns
  • Oh my lanta!

    I want to eat Rollkuchen (pronounciation?) with a juicy slice of watermelon. What is it?!!

    God is *always* up to something! I love when He aligns our destiny with others.

    “There are always multitudes on the other side of our obedience to God.”

    I’m letting the word “multitudes” marinate …. #woah

  • Sara

    I had to chuckle as I read your post & wonder how does it feel to be experiencing the “unforced rhythms of grace” in your current relationship with the Lord in light of your background?!
    I’m not Mennonite but I think we surely have common Anabaptist roots. Maybe?? My background is German Baptist which definitely has roots in…Germany. I also am on a journey of getting on with my new life!
    Looking forward to seeing how God will choose to weave my dreams & desires into His plans for me!