As followers of Christ, we all have the opportunity to treat others with integrity and love, making a difference in a sometimes unkind world. Full House and Dancing with the Stars actress Candace Cameron Buré is putting this into practice in her daily life by seeking ways to show little kindnesses to the people around her daily–even if only through a smile. Author and speaker Kristin Fry knows the challenges of being a single Christian woman in a community that prizes marriage and family. She gives her perspective on how to date with compassion and integrity–never forgetting that despite our marital status–God has chosen us for His purposes and loves us just as we are.
The Unfailing Kindness of Christ: Candace Cameron Buré and Kristin Fry – Jesus Calling Episode #103
Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Our guests today bring us their unique perspectives on being women of integrity and staying grounded in their faith amidst the realities of a fast-moving world–star of Full House Candace Cameron Buré and writer and speaker Kristin Fry. Candace Cameron Buré came to national fame as one of the stars of “Full House” in the 90’s and now again in the series continuation “Fuller House.” Always strong in faith, Candace has now written a book called Kind Is the New Classy where she reveals the thought patterns and practices that have empowered her to stay centered in who she is; while practicing radical graciousness toward others.
Becoming a Woman of Faith
Candace Cameron Buré: I’m Candace Cameron Buré. You probably know me best as D.J. Tanner on Full House and Fuller House, or maybe my Hallmark movies—I do a lot of Christmas ones. I’m also an author. And I’ve written several books and have a new one out called Kind Is the New Classy.
Well, I grew up with a mom and dad, a brother and two sisters. We didn’t really grow up in a faith-filled home or a Christian home. But we started going to church when I was 12 years old, and that’s because my parents were thinking of divorcing. And so some friends had invited our family to church, and that was the first time, which has been a huge part of my life now.
I would say that I became a Christian at 12 years old, but didn’t really live my life for Christ. It was just like another title in my life. But in my early 20s, my faith really became my own, and I wanted to really know Jesus and have a relationship with God. And that’s when it changed for me.
“In my early 20s, my faith really became my own, and I wanted to really know Jesus and have a relationship with God. And that’s when it changed for me.” – Candace Cameron Buré
Knowing Who You Are In Christ
I’ve often said, and I say in my new book, “If you don’t know who you are, the world has a way of defining you before you get out there.” And I say that because we really do have to know where we stand, what our boundaries are, what we’re willing to do, and when we’re going to say no. And if we haven’t really thought about those things before we walk out into the world, whether you’re a college student, or you’ve become a new mom and you’re making those decisions, well, you’re going to hear a lot of different voices. And you’re going to read a lot of different messages. And the world really will tell you who it thinks you should be. So if you don’t make those decisions beforehand, you can lose yourself. So I think it’s really important to know who you are before you get out into the world.
“If you don’t know who you are, the world has a way of defining you before you get out there.” – Candace Cameron Buré
There are a lot of cultural clashes out there and expectations that the world puts on us. And what has kept me the most grounded is my faith in Jesus. I know what my purpose is, and my purpose is to glorify God in all that I do. And so no matter what I’m doing, whether I’m working, whether I’m co-hosting The View or writing books or acting on television, whether I’m being a mom or the best wife that I can be, a friend—I know that my purpose is to glorify God in that. And so that grounds me, knowing that everything I do is really before the Lord. And I always want to give the Lord my best.
Kindness Starts With Each One of Us
My mom and dad always taught me to be kind growing up. And that is a message that I have carried on to this day, and I think it is so important and even more now than ever, with our country and the world being so divisive and in so many issues.
I think that we all have kindness in us, but we need to be reminded of it. We need to put the spotlight back on kindness. So it’s not that it’s in short supply, but we all have the ability to make a difference. And if each one of us made one small change every single day, it can have a ripple effect. And so kindness doesn’t have to be something major and huge every single time. It can be as simple as smiling to someone. It can be as simple as asking them if they need anything. I know how encouraged I am when someone asks me those things or, just, if I’m getting my coffee in the morning and they say, “Hey, have a great day, be blessed,” that’s something special. It brightens my day. And when we can pass along those things, it will generate more and more kindness. So it starts with each one of us.
“We all have the ability to make a difference.” – Candace Cameron Buré
I remember trying to show kindness to a woman that not only, I hope, made her feel good, but made me feel good. And it was really simple. But I was in New York working. I was on the subway, going to my job. And it was packed. It was crowded. It was hot. We were all sweaty in there, and we’re crammed. I’m holding the pole in the subway. And I saw this woman pregnant, very pregnant, and every seat was taken. And as the train would stop for the next exit, people would get up and leave, and everyone would jam for the open seat. And this poor woman, I just saw her. She couldn’t even take a step fast enough to sit down. And I was thinking to myself in the subway, “why aren’t you people giving up your seat for this pregnant woman? Where is the courtesy? What happened to it?” And it just kind of broke my heart.
I didn’t know what I could do because I was standing myself. And I just kept looking at the woman, because I wanted to just offer her some empathy and some sympathy and say, “I know how you’re feeling right now, and I’m so sorry.” And so I just I finally caught her eye and I just gave her a really gentle smile, like, “Sorry, you should not be writing 50 blocks standing up. Someone should give you their seat.” But she smiled back, and I could just see the relief in her eye of, like, Thank you. Thank you for feeling my pain at the moment. And you know, I hope she left better for it, knowing I just could sympathize with her. And I certainly left better knowing that if anything I could just kind of offer my love to her through a smile.
Channeling The Joy of the Lord to Others
So, I’d like to read one of the devotionals from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. And I’m reading June 13th. That’s my husband’s birthday.
“I Am creating something new in you: a bubbling spring of Joy that spills over into others lives. Do not mistake this Joy for your own or try to take credit for it in any way. Instead watch in delight as My Spirit flows through you to bless others. Let yourself become a reservoir of the Spirit’s fruit.
Your part is to live close to Me, open to all that I am doing in you. Don’t try to control the streaming of My Spirit through you. Just keep focusing on Me as we walk through this day together. Enjoy My Presence, which permeates you with Love, Joy, and Peace.” – Jesus Calling
I love that. I love that. It really feels to me . . . I mean, I know the Holy Spirit flows through me. And sometimes people ask “Where do you get your joy? Or how are you so positive? And why do you always have a smile on your face?” And the answer is, honestly, sometimes I’m like, “I don’t know.” I mean, I do because it’s the Holy Spirit. You know, sometimes I don’t always feel that way. And yet His presence and His spirit flows through me. And that’s what happens because He changes you from the inside out.
I know that my joy comes from the Lord. And in everything I do, especially with work, because although I work hard, I just feel like things have been given to me that I should not have earned, or I should not have gotten there to that place. And it’s just a blessing that the Lord has given me. And it brings me such a joy to give Him the glory for it, and to honor Him and thank Him for it. For people to be able to see that in my life, I just think to myself, like, “What did I do, Lord, to deserve this? And thank you.” And I hope that I am blessing others by it, by sharing the Word and writing my books and and spreading the message of kindness. I hope that is a blessing that people continue to pass on.
“I know that my joy comes from the Lord. And in everything I do.” – Candace Cameron Buré
Narrator: If you’d like to learn more about Candace’s TV series Fuller House, or her new book Kind Is the New Classy, visit candacecameronbure.net.
Narrator: We’ll be back with the second half of our podcast after this brief message about a new program from Jesus Calling.
As a listener of the Jesus Calling Podcast, we hope you’ve enjoyed the stories of faith it is our honor to bring you each week. Now, we are bringing our stories to you on video, with the guests you’ve come to know and love from the podcast. Not only will we feature stories from well-known people like Reba McEntire, Max Lucado, Lysa TerKeurst, and others, but we’ll also bring you real life stories of Jesus Calling readers, just like yourselves, who share their stories of hope, restoration, and inspiration. Join us twice monthly on the Jesus Calling Facebook page where we’ll bring you Jesus Calling Stories of Faith on Sunday nights. Also, so you don’t ever miss a new story, be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling YouTube page by going to JesusCalling.com/YouTube where you can watch all of our videos.
Kristin Fry Takes On Digital Dating
Narrator: Our next guest is speaker, writer and consultant Kristin Fry. As a single woman, Kristin has had to learn to navigate a “new normal” for Christian women–dating in the digital age. Kristin relates her own experience, not on finding Mr. Right, but on how to take practical steps toward dating with integrity and purpose. Kristin encourages women who tire of the often superficial nature of online dating to keep their peer friendships strong and to never forget their identity in a God who loves them just as they are.
So, growing up I did not grow up in a Christian family, so we barely did the go-to-church thing on Christmas and Easter. And I think even with that, I somehow figured out how to get out of it, because I really just wasn’t interested. Which makes it even more interesting as to how my life turned out. But there was still something in me that knew that there was a God, and that God was real, although I just couldn’t put language around that. And I didn’t even know why I believed that. It was just in me.
“There was still something in me that knew that there was a God, and that God was real, although I just couldn’t put language around that.” – Kristin Fry
Developing a Real Relationship With God
When I was in middle school, my parents got divorced. And so what that look like for me was really throwing myself into academics and throwing myself into friendships and trying to find everything to build a new sense of stability and people who I could trust, though that was that was really challenging because I really wasn’t sure who I could trust. So, I show up to college really wanting to redefine myself, and sort of leave the broken family situation behind, and rediscover who I was, and make this new identity for myself.
That’s when I ended up moving in with these girls who were Christians and they were part of Campus Crusade for Christ, which we call “Cru” now. And I’m living with these girls, trying to figure out who I am, who can I trust, who do I want to trust, who do I want to be.
All the while my roommates have this thing called a “personal relationship with God.” And that was brand-new to me. I had never heard of anything like that. It wasn’t like that was off putting to me. It was just unfamiliar to me. And over the course of the next, I would say, six weeks, there were some very specific people that God brought into my life and very specific conversations that sort of happened as I was in this “eyes-wide-open” and “ears-wide-open” season.
And it took my roommate sitting down with me reading through a tract and getting to the end where it said “Jesus is God’s provision for man’s sin. And you have to make a personal faith decision.” And because I’m so academic and logical and systematic, that made perfect sense to me. And I thought “oh my gosh. That’s how Jesus fits into this picture? I get it. I want that.” That’s how I have this relationship with this God who is real, then yes, I have sinned and Jesus took care of that. Yes, I personally believe that and I made–not everyone has a day that they you know they’ve made the same decision–but for me that was when it made sense to me. And that’s when I chose to follow God the best I knew how.
Of course, things were not perfect overnight by any stretch of the imagination but it gave me this new foundation into which I could start beginning this new way of living and there was so much trial and error and all of that.
Why Am I Not Married?
When I was in elementary school, middle school, and high school, in my mind it was a no brainer that I would get married when I was 22 or 23 and have my first kid when I was 25. And then, how many kids I wanted to have after that would be two years, and on down the road, I just assumed that was going to happen. And I wanted that to happen. And then I got into college and I realized “oh gosh, this is not how my life is turning out there. I’m not dating anyone seriously. There are definitely a few guys here in there that I’ve been on dates with and that have lasted maybe a month or two. But this certainly is not going to lead to marriage.” And so I graduate from college as single as can be, and that’s when you start seeing some of the first wave of friends who got married, you know, a little bit younger start getting married. Now I’m 22-23-24 wondering, “whoah, what’s wrong with me?” Like really having to reorient myself to where I’m single and I’m this age. And I don’t know what to do about that. So that was really interesting.
Even though I come from a divorced family, there was still something in me and it is still there to this day that believes that “happily ever after” is possible for me, and I want that. I just didn’t know that it wasn’t going to happen during the time that I thought it was going to happen.
There were so many books that were out when I was in my 20s about trying to be intentional with dating. Then you get into your early 30s and start having all these conversations with friends about–”wait, now I’m in my early 30s and I’m still not dating.” So the ideas of well, how are you changing your traffic pattern? It’s like, OK I need to go and meet new people I need to show up at new events. I need to go to a different grocery store, and go to a different gym, and change all my traffic patterns, and really just be more aware of who I’m meeting.
“There was still something in me and it is still there to this day that believes that “happily ever after” is possible for me. And, I want that.” – Kristin Fry
I did meet a few guys here and there and I dated a few of the– somewhat seriously–as a result of meeting them during these new traffic patterns. But then it didn’t last. And so I finally got to a point where I thought I have run out of options.
What the Bible Has To Say About Relationships
It’s no secret that when it comes to the Bible and dating, that the Bible is relatively silent on how to date. However, what God, through Scripture, is not silent on, is people and relationships. So, as I read the Scripture and as I ask God “what does this look like in terms of dating?”
I know for me, when we’re dating–specifically when it comes to dating on a dating app–and you’re matching with people, and they just feel like it’s a picture and 140 characters on the screen. But the reality is; there’s a person on the other side of that. And so when it comes to what God says and what does that look like for me in dating–God has a lot to say to me about how I treat people, and how I be kind to people. And how do I be honest with people, and how do I give people respect. And how do I say things that aren’t going to tear them apart and how to say things that are going to be encouraging? And likewise, God has a lot to say about how I live my life, and what does it look like for me to honor God with my decisions?
“God has a lot to say to me about how I treat people, and how I be kind to people.” – Kristin Fry
Spending time with God through reading His word or through devotionals has been so important for me, because it’s a way for me to put my life into perspective, honestly. It’s a way for me to have conversations with God and be like “hey, here’s what I’m thinking and feeling. What do you think and feel about this?” And for me to look at Scripture and go, OK here’s what’s true here’s what’s true about me. I may be feeling like I am alone or I am forgotten or I am abandoned. But when I look at what God says to me in Scripture, in fact, I read that “nothing can separate me from God” and “God has me engraved on the palm of His hand,” I get that that isn’t comforting for everybody, but for me it’s a way for me to say OK I feel like I have been forgotten about. But what I know to be true is that God says ‘I can’t forget about you.’
“Spending time with God through reading His word or through devotionals has been so important for me, because it’s a way for me to put my life into perspective.” – Kristin Fry
And that’s a really big deal for me to begin to retrain my mind to believe what I know to be truth, over what I’m feeling in the moment. And the more I do that, the easier it becomes, and the less my feelings dominate–the more truth dominates. That does not mean I get that right. I actually mess it up quite a bit. But to have a place that I can come back to every day and sort of rework that process again and say, OK, here is what truth is.
Staying Grounded In the Word
I just love the Bible. I just love the Word but I get distracted really easy. So I am always looking for – what’s a tool that’s going to help me just stay focused? So when Jesus Calling came on the scene, I thought “this is awesome.” It felt very conversational. It was a way for Scripture to come to life for me, but it also felt like–I mean here’s a plan that’s not going to require 90 minutes of my day, but it’s still going to give me a way to really understand what is God saying, and to get into God’s Word, and then have something that’s like–yeah that makes sense. I get that, OK, I get that.
It bridged this gap between Scripture feeling distant, but God being very personal. And so reading through it, it was like, No, God is personal through scripture. So that was why I loved Jesus Calling.
“God has a lot to say about living a life of integrity and making the next best decision and making a right decision and inviting God into our decisions.” – Kristin Fry
Single or Married; You Are Loved By God
Sundays for single people can be some of the most lonely days of the week because it’s easy to fill Friday and Saturday nights with our friends, and we’re going to our jobs typically Monday through Friday. But then Sunday, you walk in the door, and it’s here are all the families coming in and sitting together. And you’re in the row by yourself, or you’re just trying to find that one seat where no one notices that you are by yourself.
So I think people on staff and on stages need to be aware of who is sitting in the room.
So oftentimes, whoever it is that speaking, gives so many examples from their marriage, or examples about their kids, and especially when it talks to “here’s how I’ve learned how God loves me because this is how I love my son.” But what about everybody in the room who doesn’t have kids, and who is unmarried? So when the people onstage are consistently and only giving examples about their spouse, what that does is it unintentionally says to anyone in the room who’s single “I can’t relate to you. And here’s this wall between me and you.” I don’t think that anyone on stage ever wants to do that on purpose, but that’s what it feels like from a single person sitting on the other side.
So the reason why I wanted to write a book on this whole idea of dating in the digital era, is because number one; I was noticing that there were a fair amount of married Christian men who are having opinions on this topic which—there’s nothing wrong with that–but they’re married and they didn’t date during, sort of, when technology was on the scene and there were very few single Christian women who were having a voice into this topic. And the reason why that was important to me as a single Christian woman was because I can say to these other women. “Yeah, me too,” And I wanted to be able to give that to someone. And the other element of why wrote this book was; there were so many conversations from women who were having negative experiences with dating apps, honestly, and they were feeling like they were just treated as an option.
But women are feeling this pressure that they needed to compromise, or settle, or play some sort of game, so that them as an option would rise above all the other options. And I was just watching this, and I was watching these games, and I was hearing these conversations, and I thought, whoah, hold on. I don’t care what technology is doing for the dating scene. You never need to settle for being someone’s option–dating app or not–the right guy will make you his priority.
“I don’t care what technology is doing for the dating scene. You never need to settle for being someone’s option–dating app or not–the right guy will make you his priority.” – Kristin Fry
And so I very strongly wanted to write this book as a voice to say “I want to give you a tool.” And, again, this is my opinion; it’s not the only opinion. But I want to give you a tool that empowers you to be confident in who you are and confident in what you’re looking for and then feel competent to say “this is what I’m waiting for and I don’t need to settle for anything less,” and God’s best is still possible for you even in the context of technology and online dating.
When it comes to women who they believe that their sole purpose in life is to be married and raise a family and they really don’t want to do anything outside of that, and they don’t know what to do with the fact that they’re single and that hasn’t happened. What I always say to women in those situations is–and I have to say this to myself also–is that first of all; you are not incomplete as a single person. You are not less than. There’s nowhere that God says. “when you get married, then you will be complete. In fact. it’s the opposite. God looks at us and says, “hey you, just as you are, I chose you. You are worthy. You are whole. You are complete. And when you are married, all of that is still the same–exactly as you are. None of that will change. No one can add to or take away from who you are.”
“You are not incomplete as a single person. You are not less than.” – Kristin Fry
God has put us on planet earth to do some very specific things that no one else can do. And if that wasn’t true, then you wouldn’t be here. But the reality is; I am here and God has a purpose and a plan for my life. that He has purposed and planned for only me to fulfill. Being married or not married isn’t going to affect any of that. So I want to make the most of the life that I have been given. I always see that to other women too. “Hey, you can do things that only you can do. You’ve been created on purpose for a purpose. And so what does it look like for you to keep putting one foot in front of the other and to do those things?” it is so real and it is so normal to want to be married. And there is nothing wrong with that. But in the same token, that doesn’t mean you don’t have a life to live right now.
Narrator: You can find Kristin’s book “Beyond the Swipe: Honoring God, Respecting Yourself and Finding the Right Match,” on Amazon.com or anywhere books are sold.
Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling podcast we speak with pastor, teacher and author Dr. David Jeremiah, who shows us how to see God’s faithfulness in our lives–even through dark times.
Dr. Jeremiah:There’s a wonderful way in the scripture where the faithfulness of God is connected with our desire for faith. Our faith isn’t in our own faith. It’s in the faithfulness of God. And so every day every time we have an opportunity every time we have a challenge we get a new opportunity to experience God’s faithfulness.