Love & Joy.


“And above ALL things, have fervent love for one another, for love will cover a multitude of sins.”-1 Peter 4:8

What is true happiness? What makes each one of our hearts scream out in delight?

My happiness has been found in the most random & weirdest of places:
In the classroom when I child tells me that her face that had a huge scratch on it had somehow disappeared and she said it was because she prayed Jesus would heal her.
At a Tropical Smoothie Café table when my best friend hints that she is pregnant.
On top of a mountain looking out at the creation God has made.
On my porch listening to the birds chirp and sing.
Driving around at night with the windows down and music up.
Talking to my grandmother on the phone about the night my grandfather proposed to her (even though she’s told the story 100 times).

I feel like people think that BIG events have to happen in your life in order to feel happy, but I just don’t believe that anymore. I think happiness is found in life’s little moments. The little moments that we tend to overlook or take no interest in.

We often choose to talk about our troubles than our joys in our lives as well. Why does it feel so much better to vent to friends about our issues than the things which make us happy? I find myself falling prey to this mindset of thinking quite often. What if he made a definitive CHOICE to talk more about the joy in life than the trouble?!

This is my challenge for you: when talking to someone, try to bring up the happy things in your life (even if it is something extremely small and seemingly insignificant) instead of the painful/worrisome/awful things. You never know how much joy sharing a little, good, positive sprinkle of happiness can bring to someone’s life that day. Show God’s love for others by giving them the most joy you can!

-Kristin-

Depth

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8.

Christ died. For us. The sinners of the world. People He never even met face-to-face in His short time here on this planet.

How can we possibly understand the depth of this statement? How can I as a human being ever truly understand what it would be like to live an absolutely perfect life and then be whipped, beaten, flogged, smacked, punched, and then left to die nailed to a cross (adorning a sickening crown of thorns) for a world who does not deserve it?

Here’s the thing though. He did know us. He knew that we were beautiful, and extraordinary. Though He also knew that we were naturally (MAJOR) screw ups, who no matter how hard we tried, could not make it Home without Him. We were often ugly, mean, cruel, conceited, selfish, and so much more. We were murderers, liars, gossipers, adulterers, enviers, and downright evil sometimes. So He came, He loved, He sacrificed it all for us so that could be with Him forever.

I am a murderer. I have murdered people’s hearts with my words. I am a liar. I am a gossip. I have said things I can never take back. I have been cruel with purpose, and sometimes without. I have been so envious of what others have that I cannot sleep at night because I cannot stop thinking about it. I have disrespected myself and the body that God gave me more than I like to think about. I deserve death. I deserve to be separated from God and His perfection.
But God…He says I know what you have done, and yet you are still loved beyond measure. Christ DIED for you, by His blood you are saved. This is God’s Grace. We may never be able to understand the depth of His death for our life but I do know that it is the greatest act of love we will ever be given.
What greater love could there ever be?

No matter where you are, no matter where you have been, no matter who you are, GOD LOVES YOU. You never are too far away from His love and Grace. He is just patiently waiting for you to be ready for you to say yes to Him. Do it today, friends, you will not regret it.

-Kristin-

Band Aids.

Psalm 147:3-5 He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. He counts the stars and names each one. Our Lord is great and very powerful. There is no limit to what he knows.

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There was a country song on the radio by Dierks Bentley called “Different for Girls”. It is catchy and kind of sad. It basically talks about how men and women tend to react differently when a break up occurs. It implies that men tend to go out more and try to forget/drown out any feelings that they are having while women tend to be more open with their brokenness and take longer to heal. One of the lyrics about women is “they don’t scroll through their phone just looking for a Band-Aid”. This one line has been stuck on my mind for days now and it finally hit me last night, and left me sobbing for about ten minutes.

I scroll through my phone looking for that Band-Aid every time my heart is broken.

I was not always this way. When things went south, I would often retreat for a while and be sad. Send regretful text messages, cry, and just be downright bummed for a while. Then after a few days or weeks, I would get over it. I would be single or end up meeting someone else and the cycle would begin all over again.

Now, somehow between what the Internet, my friends, my family, and strangers have said, I have come to this place of mind where I think I need to move on RIGHT AWAY. I mean like the next day, I am on to something else. Usually online dating or just going out to a bar or something, I mean anything to stop myself from feeling the pain.

I feel the need to write this very personal thing, because I see so many women out there doing the same thing as me right now. Continuing to put a fresh Band-Aid over a very broken heart without ever letting it breathe and feel the pain will do nothing but cause you more sorrow later on down the line. I tell you this, because this is what I am currently living with. For years, I have continued this Band-Aid cycle and it has never allowed me to heal.

I have become so numb to dating that I do not even get nervous for first dates anymore. We agree to meet up, we go usually have a drink and some dinner (with me eating wings or some kind of drippy meat in which I usually get it all over myself and do not even care) and then it ends and I go home EMPTY. There have only been a select few men who I ever really actually felt something for after these dates, and that is heartbreaking.

I have been searching for something to fill that hole in my heart that’s been covered up by Band-Aids for now. It’s taken me a long time to realize and admit that the only thing that can ever fill that hole, and bind up that gaping wound forever, is Jesus. I’ve been searching in the world for something that I could never find when all along Jesus has been sitting there waiting for me to realize that on my own.

I don’t want temporary healing anymore.

I don’t want numbness.

I don’t want frustration and short-lived happiness.

I would rather deal with the pain upfront and deal with the short-lived sadness then to push it aside and hope that it goes away on its own. We must allow our wounds to be open to the air and breathe a little for them to heal. Then Jesus can come in and bandage it properly, as only He can, in the right time.

I want true healing.

I want Jesus.

I refuse to settle for anything less.

-Kristin-

“Little Jacob”

When you are in school to become a teacher, you are required to spend an internship in classroom for a school year. Usually the first semester you are in one classroom and then you switch to another the last semester. Meanwhile, you also take some actual college classes on the side. My first semester I was in a fifth grade classroom in Vero Beach, Florida and it was something that would change my life forever.

Before I started in that classroom in August of 2013, I had one heck of a summer (and not in a good way). The guy I thought I was going to marry had dumped me, I had just finished an awful summer camp job where I went in and left crying every single day, and my dad started not going to work anymore and gave no reason why. Emotionally, I was wreck and alone. I took the picture above on my day of my deepest depression, trying to make myself believe that I was actually okay.

Then the semester started, and things got even crazier. I was driving to Vero Beach three times a week (a 45 minute drive from my home) and then Cocoa Beach for those actual college classes twice a week (an hour and a half drive). I was exhausted, and emotional, and so lost. I cried in the car every day, and screamed myself to sleep in my muffled pillow every night. Ever been there? The loneliness and pain is too real to describe. I was depressed, and quite frankly, I just wanted things to end. I did scary things to myself during that time that should have left me for dead, but somehow I am still alive today and I do not know how.

I woke up one Monday morning with red eyes and messy hair and fumbled around to get ready for another day in the fifth grade classroom. The students were awesome, but they had TOUGH lives. Many were homeless, hungry, and hurting, but they came to school every day just like me. They acted out sometimes, and yelled from frustration. Some carried around big Harry Potter books from the library everywhere with them to make an illusion that they were great readers even though most could not even read a first grade level book.
Jacob (name changed for privacy reasons) was one of these kids. He had been held back before and could not read well. The kids would call him “Little Jacob” as a joke almost because he was not little by any means, he was actually much larger than myself. He thought it was funny and took the name with pride. He was pretty funny and liked to be the class clown. On that same Monday, he said something to me that would change me forever.

I was passing out papers morning and he whispered to me, “Hey Miss S, are you okay?” I was shocked and asked him why he was asking me if I was okay. He then replied “You just look different lately, ya know? You look defeated.” I was even more in shock that he said such a big word and that he was actually recognizing that something was going on with me. Without me even saying another word he said, “I am sorry for whoever did that to you. I hope you feel better.”

It was the biggest reality check I have ever had. After this, I went to the bathroom and pulled myself together. I vowed to choose happiness at school when I was with them, even when it hurt to do this, because they deserved my best. Did I get over my depression after this encounter? No. I still felt pretty awful, and I did for quite a few months after this. But did I feel better knowing that someone (even a 12 year old) recognized it and let me know that they cared.

I tell this story because it is SO important for us to show our love to others. Later on, some people who were close to me admitted that they knew I was not doing well, but that they were afraid to ask if I was really okay. How I wish they had! How I wish there had been more brave “Little Jacobs” out there who had let me know that they cared for me even when I was not myself. I feel no anger toward any of these people either, because I know how hard it is to feel like you are getting in someone’s personal space. It is hard, but it is so necessary.

Please, please, please speak up if you believe that something is wrong with the people you love. Even if they are not ready to talk about it, that person is going to know in their heart that there is someone who cares and sometimes that is all we need. Be a friend, be a shoulder to lean on, be a Little Jacob. ❤

-Kristin-