#BecauseofRHE.

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39

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I have felt devastated since reading about the passing yesterday of an amazing Christian writer and woman whom I have never met. I read Rachel Held Evans’ book “Searching for Sunday” a few months ago and it completely changed my life and how I felt about my relationship with God. I saw that she was sick but had no idea it would lead to her death at the age of 37, leaving behind a husband and two young children.

I wish I could let Rachel know how deeply she affected me due to her transparency and vulnerability.  She was a visionary, a rebel, and a Jesus lover. She spoke up for the oddballs and outcasts – the ones who feel alone in a full room of people. She spoke up for people like me (and maybe like you).

She spoke about how doubts are okay, and that we should speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. That loving Jesus also means loving everyone. That walking with Him means walking with those who traditional churches like to rag on piously.  That going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. That not going to church doesn’t mean you don’t love God.

#BecauseofRHE and her bravery, I am more alive in my faith than I have ever been or will be because I now know I am not alone with the feelings that I have.

I choose to live today in honor of Rachel, with praising God for all the beautiful things in life, and accepting that I praise in a different way than most but that I am not any less because of it.

I ask that you pray for Rachel’s family, friends, and followers today as they go through the grieving process of losing such an incredible person. We may not understand why this has happened, but I know on the other side of Heaven someday that we will.

God is good even when we cannot understand. Rest in peace, RHE.

-Kristin

 

Seasons of Struggle.

Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”-Romans 8:5-6

Kristin + Lee Engagement

Photo by Christina Craddock Photography

Ever feel like you’re just not yourself?

Not being true to yourself. Not being who you know that you are. Not being who God made you to be.

I am going through this cycle right now.

This highs and lows game of life has me on the low side, I am struggling with the feelings of not living up to who I am.

The reality is that I am disappointed in myself. I am struggling with giving myself Grace, and letting go of things that were meant to be let go of.

So I am going to worship, and study the Word, and try to detach from the world for a bit. I am ready to have myself back.

Struggling today. But I know that struggles don’t last forever.

-Kristin

These Are My People.

“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:11

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I have taught English to non-English speaking adults for three years now.  It is at night and if you have ever seen “Here Comes the Boom”, yes it is very much so like that just English and not citizenship…they are getting there though. 🙂

I work 2 nights a week helping the lowest level of English learning students to learn how to speak, read, and write in basic English. I have met people from all over the world, of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds. & I call them my people.

They are my people because they are hardworking, loving, caring, and hungry to learn and better themselves. I do not speak any language other than English so the barrier is pretty intense but for the last three years we have made do and learn how to communicate.

Many of them are Jesus lovers, and even the ones who may not know Jesus are kind and respectful to those who are.  I believe this classroom is a small representation of the verse of Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.”

We are a mighty group made of many different things: skin color, gender, age, culture, language, experiences, etc. Yet we are all here together for a common purpose and living on an earth made for us by the One and only Lord almighty.

They remind me every day through their actions and love that Jesus exists and that he puts us in certain places with specific people for a reason. A reason that is beyond what our minds could ever understand to know.

I am thankful today for my people as we continue to move through this world of learning and of life. Who are your people? How are they different from you and yet the same? How do they inspire you to love Jesus and life more each day?

-Kristin

Listening.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

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Happy New Year!

Today is the first day of 2019 and I for one am so excited. I often dread the beginning of a new year, change is hard, but this year I am embracing it.

I definitely feel that I am being called to do some new things, and I am wondering how these things are going to play out.

I feel I am being called to stop and breathe. 

Have you ever felt like you keep getting the feeling you need to slow down, or focus more on certain things, or just do important things you have been putting off? That’s where I am at right now, and I am choosing to embrace that.

So I am going to slow down, to check out, to plug into what I know I am supposed to, and to be true to myself and the one who made me.

No real resolutions for me this year, just to be me and to recognize that God constantly whispers in our ears what we need…we just need to listen. This year, finally, I think I am going to listen. 🙂

What is he whispering and calling you to do? & will this be the year you listen?

-Kristin

The Bells.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” -Colossians 3:15

As Christmas approaches, festivities are in full swing. Christmas movies are playing, nativities and decorations are being set up, carols are playing all day long on the radio.

My favorite Christmas song is one I just discovered last year called “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” . It is such a heartbreaking, beautiful song and the writer of it has a story that’s even more heartbreaking.

Lost, heartbroken, sad, and lonely he wrote this song and ended it with this big, triumphant “Eff you Devil” attitude that resonates so deeply with me.

He had this awesome, shaky yet strong, faith even in the deepest sorrow. He had this amazing kind of faith that I admire and envy.

It reminds me that Christmas is much more than Jesus’ birth, it’s everything about Him and what He’s done for us. It’s about our faith and beliefs and remembering His ever present love and support for us even in the worst times.

Always choose truth. Always do what God has called you to. Always be the person you’re meant to be.

The wrong shall fail, and the right will prevail. Always.

-Kristin

Slow Down.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

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I am a big believer that each one of us is meant for a greater purpose.  Most of the time, we probably may not even know what it is, but I have to believe that there is purpose.

A purpose for our pain. For our healing. For our losses. For our successes.

There just has to be a purpose and results that come from that purpose.

I knew someone who fostered children and she always used to say that it broke her heart when they would go home or move on, and that she often struggled with the pain of wondering why they’d been brought into her life and she theirs just for a short period of time.

Then she would say, “I remind myself that we may not necessarily get to see the fruits of our love and labor on this side of Heaven, but we will one day on the other side, and it will be beautiful.”

It was a saying I had never heard before, but now years later, I think about it and meditate on it almost daily.

There are so many days where I am not sure I am doing well. I do not know if I am making a difference. There is no half-an-hour episode special in life where you can find out the answer to your problem quickly.

Sometimes there is no answer. I am learning to accept that it is okay to not know everything, and to not be able to see if the fruits of your labor were sweet or sour. God did not ever call us to be perfect. He has called us to love all, ourselves included.

This means we have to slow down.

We have to breathe, and love, and accept that sometimes we really won’t “see” what the purpose is, what our hard work did, what our pain accomplished.

I think sometimes we get so caught up in seeing the results that we forget that the purpose gets pushed to the side. I am choosing today to slow down and wait to see what the beauty of the purpose was when I get to the other side.

What are you excited to find out about your earthly love when you get to the other side of Heaven?

-Kristin

Honesty Hour.

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body, which is the church, in filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions.” -Colossians 1:24

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Since becoming a Jesus follower at the age of 22, I have explored and discovered many churches around my town and surrounding areas.

In the short span of 4 years, I have found, loved in, and left many churches.

If there ever was an actual definition of a rebellious Christian, they’d probably have a picture of me for it because I have struggles, and doubts, and I will leave when I can’t take it anymore. I don’t tough it out because I have been burned.

I usually find a church and I stick around for a while. I feel happy, am called to get involved, find myself spending all Sunday at church, find myself spending other nights running Bible studies, then other days being “a light” to others in need in the church.

Before I realize it, I am deep into church and no longer deep into a relationship with Christ. I begin to doubt what it really all means, and find myself doing things out of obligation or selfish means.

Then the gossip begins. Then the political hidden agendas start to begin. I feel exhausted and overwhelmed.

The one big church that I came to love and know so deeply, turned on me. I started getting the literal messages from people who knew me as acquaintances and let me know their disgust with the way I lived my life. The sermons that silently screamed that the way I lived my life was not one that a child of God’s would live. It broke me on top of everything else.

& I RAN.

I rebelled, I kicked, I screamed, I ran. & lately, I am not even giving church a chance. I don’t stay long because I can’t go through with it again.

The church hurt.

I still love God. Churches that are home or not home to me couldn’t change that. But I felt closer with him away from church than I did in His house. 

I stayed away for a while. I started to think, it’s okay, I will just wait for a while until I can get my act together in the eyes of the church. Then I can go to one and feel okay and not feel shameful and can feel happy.

But Rachel Held Evans’ book about the church struggle rocked my world, and made me remember that church is not for perfect people. It’s for sinners like me. And sinners like you. And for pastors and church goers who struggle secretly like us and need church and Jesus just as much.

The thing is I don’t blame church for how I feel. I don’t blame people. I blame sin. It is a sickening piece of us that makes us hateful and judgmental of others, but it is something we can’t help. But its not easy to take the brunt of it.

I am sick of waiting. I am sick of the pain. I am sick of the exhaustion.

But I want Jesus. And for now, I find Him everywhere but the church.

I know that someday, that feeling will be felt in church for me, and I can’t wait to feel it again. But for now, I am where I am, and that is okay.

-Kristin

On My Way.

“Above all, keep your love for one another at full strength, since love covers a multitude of sins.” -1 Peter 4:8

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My Lord is just the best.

I find it hard to use words to describe the incredible love story that He and I have.

He has saved me from myself. He has saved me from the evil thoughts that the Wicked One puts in my head. He has saved me from the belief that I was not worth the fight, the ridiculous notion that I was not worth this life I have been given.

I have been surrounded lately by questions about my faith.

I have been asked why bad things happen. Why horrific, sad, earth shattering things exist in this world that we live in. Why, oh, why?

I have said it before, and I will say it again…

The Wicked One rules this world right now. He will continue to have horrible things happen in order to try to tear us away from God. But God has an incredible response to these horrible and sad things that happen:

He sends us people.

He sends us people we did not even realize we needed.

People who will be strong for us when we are not able to be. People who will hold our hand when we feel like depression is going to swallow us whole. People who will be the light to us in a sea of what seems like never-ending blackness.

So if you’re feeling a little lost today, I ask that you send up a prayer to God. Tell him you are in need of some love and help.

I can guarantee, someone will come along to be just that right when you least expect it.

Have faith, pray, and never give up hope that God is listening always!

-Kristin

For You.

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?“-Romans 8:31

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It is so easy to praise God and love on Him when things are good. It is easy to the point where we do not even always think to praise Him because life is just going so well.

Not so easy when things are not so good, right?

That does tend to be the reminder of God then though. Like where the heck are you? I am going through Hell. Aren’t you supposed to be here?


I want to share something with you that became the most important and influential piece of knowledge I have ever come to realize.

God is for us, not against us. It is the Devil who does the wickedness and evil that happens to us in this world.

He is the one who puts death, sickness, injury, anger, frustration, and heartache into our lives.

Not God.

Not God ever.

Because those are evil things, and God has no evil in Him.

Once this piece of knowledge came into my heart and I accepted it for what it really was, my life changed.

Bad things still happened, and let’s be real…bad things will continue to happen.

But when they do, I realize where they come from and who they come from.

And that God is for me.

You see, God and I become a team now especially during those times.

He sends me the people I need to overcome my obstacles. He sends me His strength. He breathes His love into me. We get through it together.

I no longer jump to complete anger with God anymore when bad things happen.

I jump to having the pleading heart of a child asking for Her father, and He comes running every time.

I praise the God who is for me, not against me, in all times, and in all ways.

-Kristin

 

She is Fierce.

“Though she be but little, she is fierce.”-William Shakespeare

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This is our cousin, Stefanie.

She is beautiful, funny, and smart – she’s the real deal!

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On June 30, 2018, she and her mother, sister, step father, and family friends were on a tour boat in the Bahamas when the boat suddenly exploded. After a harrowing rescue which included friends and strangers coming to their aid, they were all taken to a nearby (which was actually really far away) hospital there which tried to stabilize them. They were then transferred to another bigger hospital in the Bahamas where they stayed for a few days.

Stefanie’s mother sustained many serious injuries. Her step father and sister were injured and shocked as well.

Stefanie sustained serious, life threatening injuries. In order to save her life, part of both of her lower legs had to be amputated.

A few days later, the whole family was Medevaced over to Florida to be treated and taken care of in the United States instead of the Bahamas.

It has been weeks since the boat explosion happened. Stefanie’s mother, step father, and sister are all doing better physically today. But Stefanie is still in a Florida hospital today, going through the ups and downs that come with healing and recovery.

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She hopes to get back up north soon closer to where she lives in the Northeast. ***

Forth As Gold is based in Florida, so our family has been able to go down on the weekends and spend time with Stefanie and family these past few weeks.

We’ve seen the good and the bad. We’ve seen the strength of the family and the love of her friends. We’ve watched Stef fight for her life. We’ve felt the love of strangers, including her caring nurses/doctors who love her like family now.

We’ve seen God through all of it.

Sometimes He’s quiet, and other times He’s loud. But we know without a doubt that He is here with them even when they cannot feel it. He always has been and always will be. We pray that He continues to show His love to the family because it is not always easy to believe in His presence and power when you’re in the midst of a time of living Hell.

We ask today that you think of our girl and the family as they continue on this journey. We know Stefanie is going to survive and thrive. She has come so far and we have no doubt she will continue to fight to get back to her normalcy of school, family, friends, and home. 
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There is so much you can do to support Stefanie and her family/friends during this time:

-Pray for her physical and emotional healing and well-being

-Pray for her family’s emotional healing and strength

-Buy a bracelet (email me at forthasgold@gmail.com) as seen above for $3 to wear and support Stef, all of the proceeds go directly to her

-Donate to their Go Fund Me account directly.

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Through their journey, we’ve all been taught some brutally honest, but necessary life lessons we’d like to share with you: tell your people that you love them every day, appreciate even the things that seem insignificant in your life, make time to spend the limited time we have here on their earth with the people that you love, never forget that every day we are alive is a blessing. And talk to God. Always.

With Love, Kristin & Sarah

***Update November 4, 2018.

Stacey and Stefanie were air transported to Massachusetts from Florida in August. They spent quite a few weeks there at Spalding Hospital Cambridge where Stefanie fought like crazy to get her health better. It worked and she was able to come off of dialysis permanently (finally!!) while there.  She has since been transferred to another rehabilitation center in Massachusetts where she is thriving and improving every day. She is determined to walk again someday with the use of prosthetics, and despite what doctors say, we know she will find a way no matter the obstacles ahead of her.

We got to visit Stef and family while they were in Cambridge and can say for certain that they are stronger than most of us will ever have to be.  Other friends and family have been visiting as well, and I believe that is probably more healing than any medicine/therapy out there. 🙂 She also gave a beautiful interview that showed everyone just how far she’s come.

Keep praying guys, it’s working!

#StefStrong

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