Whosoever.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

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I feel like many people are under the misconception that I have always been a Christian.

That is far, far, far from the truth.

My parents took me to church sometimes. They even had me baptized when I was a child. But I never fully believed in what I had been told.

I did not get God. I did not get why sometimes He granted these “wishes”of prayers, and often He did not answer at all.  People still died horrible deaths, and suffered through tragedies and where was God? Other people exposed me to different religions, and going to a public college (which typically tend to be very liberal) got me to start thinking that maybe God just did not exist when all these other things did too. I just did not get it.

So when people tell me that they do not believe in Him, I truly get it. I have been there. I have had to wrestle with all the thoughts and beliefs that were thrown at me.  & really, when you look at the world with a nonbeliever perspective, it is VERY easy to overlook God’s hand in everything.

It took me going through the absolute worst living hell on earth to see God’s face and to feel his love and Grace surround me.  It took me screaming myself to sleep each night, reaching out for some kind of hope to even hear His voice call me.  It was not easy to get to that point.  But, it was so worth it. & if I had to go through it all over again to get to know Him like I do now, I would do it in a heartbeat.

He loves you, and He loves me.

Jesus was a perfect man who came to this earth to be beaten, tortured, and hung on a cross as a complete sacrifice to SAVE us.

& all He is asking is for us to look past the crap we see with nonbeliever eyes on, and put on a believer’s perspective for just a second to see how great He truly is and how DEEPLY He loves us.

If you are on the fence today about Jesus, I understand how you are feeling more than you know.

But I also know that your life can be changed in a second if you make the choice to just open your heart and mind for a little while.

If you are looking for peace, love, joy, and Grace, He’s got it y’all.

“I believe in Christ as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” -C.S. Lewis

Love a former non-believer,

-Kristin-

 

SO DAMN HARD.

“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.”-Psalm 37:8

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I do not think I have ever been invited to as many fights as I have this year. Fights meaning verbal assaults and nastiness toward another person.

The Devil has been knocking on my door and telling me to come play.

 

I have chosen not to attend every fight I have been invited to. & that has probably been the hardest part.

I wish I could lie and tell you I have had the amazing year that social media makes me look like, but it’s been freaking hard y’all.

Work is hard. Family life is hard. New changes. Broken relationships. Broken friendships. Frustrations. Struggles with my faith.

It’s been tough.

I want to fight. I want to curse and scream and tell you to that I think you are a piece of crap who does not deserve anything good in life. & so much more. I want to gossip. I want to lose it.

But I was never meant to be that person.

I am meant to be the bigger person. I am meant to bring the peace. I am meant to pray for someone instead of tear them down. & it is so damn hard.

You ever feel like that? You know you are called to love the sinner not the sin but you just don’t want to?

Lord, help this natural fighter of a heart who has been having to fight the urge to fight back all of her life.

Love,

A Very Exhausted, Tired of Fighting,

-Kristin-

The Holiday Hurt.

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18

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The holidays are upon us!

I am headed out of town soon so I wanted to post just one more time because I think it is important.

The holidays are exciting for many of us, but for a lot of people out there they are dreaded. They may be alone for the holidays or are experiencing a low time in life that is not allowing them to celebrate as they usually do. The holidays may bring back memories that bring tears and pain.

I’ve been there, and I know many of us have been.

If you are there right now remember this:  YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.

You are loved and cherished and treasured by a God who died a gruesome death just to know you. 

If you are struggling with that notion today, I suggest you check out some of the links below.  They help me when I am having a hard time, and I hope they can help you as well.

You are loved.

-Kristin-

P.S. I was saved while listening to “Never Alone” by BarlowGirl. 🙂 God is good!

Let’s Do The Impossible.

“The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against Him.” Daniel 9:9.

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There is a popular saying out there that talks about how forgiveness is not for the other person, that it is for you.  That it is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. That it is like letting that person living rent free in your head.

But I have struggled with this statement ever since I became a believer in Christ. Is it really all just about us?

Jesus Christ is all about forgiveness and love.  But He did not do it so that He could feel better. He did it because He loved us, flaws and all, and looked beyond our faults. He forgave us of our sins by dying a gruesome death on a cross.

I know Jesus was and always will be the only person to live a perfect life, but I do not believe that it is impossible to adopt the same mindset that He had: love the sinner, not the sin.  Forgive even when it hurts so bad you cannot see straight, and do it for as unselfish reasons as possible.

There just has to be a healthy balance in forgiving, right? That we can forgive not just to release that pain from us, but that we can also do it with some selflessness. To let people know that we forgive because Jesus Christ now LIVES in our hearts, and because of this we show Grace and mercy onto others.

I am not a perfect forgiver. I often drag my feet when it comes to this, but I know that with Christ on my side it is totally possible to forgive as I know I should.

I want to love like Jesus does.

-Kristin-

The Challenge.

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The first Beth Moore Bible study I went to was on the Book of Proverbs. It was an incredibly powerful study and I left every night feeling totally different than I did walking in.  Her words really shook me to my core and it was awesome because they were linked with Scripture (if you have not done a study by her yet, DO IT, amazing stuff).

In the end of each session she would usually give us some kind of homework or a challenge to do.  One week, she gave a challenge that really rocked my world.  She asked us to pick five things that people had said to us that really hurt us and could be refuted by Scripture. So I went home that night and did it, and it brought back a flood of painful memories & HEALING.

My other four points I wrote were pretty important to, but the first one I did had the most effect on me.

When I was younger, I dated a young man for a long time. It was a up and down relationship and became emotionally abusive over time. He once said something to me that I was never able to forget. We went to the beach and I had my bathing suit on. I was laying down on a towel and he came up to me and whispered that I should cover up with my towel. Very taken aback and afraid maybe something was hanging out that should not have, I asked him why. His response was cruel and cold. He said “well, you just do not look very beautiful today.”

At 19, from a guy who claims to love you, this hurts like hell. We ended up breaking up later on that year and have been broken up for a very long time but I can still remember what it felt like to have him say that to me.

So I wrote that comment down. & I looked up in Scripture something to refute that comment. It did not take long.

“You are altogether beautiful my love, there is no flaw in you.” Song of Soloman 4:7.

Where human words fail, God’s Word brings life and healing. I read it over and over again for about 5 minutes and let it sink in. It did not matter what that boy said to me. It matters what God says to and about me.

Who has said something to you that has hung on your heart forever?

Steal Beth’s idea and find something in the Bible that refutes it.

& feel the healing that God so beautifully gives.

-Kristin-

Far From It.

“Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” -Colossians 3:2

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In March of 2016, I did something that took me more courage than I thought I would need:

I quit serving in the children’s ministry of my local church.

I felt so stuck and further from God than I ever had since becoming a follower of Christ. I started to see serving in the church as a job and that I was doing it to look like a better person in the church. I felt like it was an act. Like “hey, look at me. I wake up early on Sundays and go to service, then serve at the children’s ministry the following service, then go to my Young Adult’s group at night while still finishing my master’s degree online.”

Jesus was on the bottom of the totem pole of my life, and I was so disappointed in myself. 

I felt like serving and being so involved in the church had become an idol for me and I was worshiping it, for real. But I was afraid to back away from it because I thought others would shame me and say I was being lazy for not wanting to be so involved. Because that is what it looks like right? We are told that if we love Jesus, we need to love his church by getting involved and serving. But what do you do when you realize your heart is becoming obsessed with the idea of looking like you are passionate for Jesus when truly it is far from it?

I started telling people, and most saw it as my way of getting out of responsibility. Getting told you are junk, really makes you feel like an actual piece of junk, ya know?

Though, a few very special people told me that they understood the struggle I was going through, and that they respected me for doing what was right, not what was easy. & that meant a lot.

Since I stopped serving so much in the church, I have noticed my relationship with Jesus strengthen. I have been feeling God more in serving random people in the world, serving friends, family, coworkers, and blogging to this online world than I ever did serving traditionally in the church (I served in another area too before children’s ministry), and I do not know why. I feel connected and that I am connecting with others like never before.

But it does not mean I feel good when I hear the pastor say, like he does every weekend, that we need to be serving in our church. He’s right. We are called to and I appreciate all of those who make the local church possible by serving.

But I have to believe that serving can be more than it just is in the traditional sense. It has to be more than just something that I constantly try make an idol of and run myself into the ground over.

Ever been there? Like you thought you were doing something for the right reasons, but you really blew it? I feel ya. I am there right now wrestling with it.

That’s what is so awesome about God’s Grace though. He just picked me back up from my mess up, and said “try again”. He knows my heart and that it tries, but often fails.

& He still thinks I am deserving of love besides how much I mess up.

Are you in need of some Grace today? The Lord loves your messed up heart just as much as He loves mine. If you are struggling today, reach out for that Grace. It is still there waiting for you just as it always has been.

Praying for your heart and hoping that you’ll pray for mine.

-Kristin-

Kindness Wins.

“But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.”-Luke 6:35

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I have been an animal lover all of my life. Except for a few years when we were moving to Florida, we have always had a dog and usually a cat (or a FEW cats). Most of my pictures growing up have German Shepherds included.

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Since we have lived in Port Saint Lucie we have always taken our pets to the same veterinarian and they have always treated us with KINDNESS. They do not overcharge us for things, they are honest, and they truly care about the best interest of your pet.

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We have had a dog and two cats put to sleep at our vet’s office, and all three times it was a result of what the vet’s best judgment was for our pets.  Our dog was dying of cancer and surgery would be costly and probably not help. Our first cat was dying of old age/complications from some genetic diseases and would need to be hospitalized if she was not put down. Our last kitty Tebow was this year and was so hard. He was a stray we had taken in as our own. My sister rushed him to the vet that day because he had been attacked by another cat and was badly injured.  The vet called me a few hours later and said he had contracted Feline AIDS and at age 5, would probably never recover even if they operated on him due to his underlying disease. I had to make the decision and it was awfully painful; you could even hear the vet choking up on the line as he told me I was making the right decision for Tebow.

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Then, we lost our dog Beck this year.  He was at an emergency veterinarian so he did not pass away at our usual vet.  Though, when they found out what happened they were just as heartbroken as us. They loved him and remembered him with fond memories.

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Then just as they did for us when Tebow passed, they sent us this beautiful card.

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It is probably a customary thing to send sympathy cards when patients pass away, but this felt so much bigger than that. It felt like they really wanted us to know that our boy was loved, and that they loved us too. It felt special.

I feel this way, because I have seen their kindness on so many occasions.  Bringing my pets in for check ups, and seeing others bring in their pets to be put to sleep.  The veterinary and office staff are kind, and soft spoken with these sobbing and heartbroken owners.  They hold their hands and pet the animals as they wait to have their suffering end.  Words of comfort are spoken, and money is not talked about. Great memories are discussed instead of the sad circumstances they are currently in.

& I love this so much about them. They do not just love the animals, they love the people too.  They deeply care about them and care for their needs.  They go above and beyond what you would think people would do in their field of work. They make everyone feel important, loved, and special.

If only we all treated each other the same way in every day life.

What would the world be like if we held someone’s hand on a bad day? If we spoke words of kindness to all we met? If we sent a card to someone just to let them know we are thinking about them without expecting anything in return?

You do not have to be a Christian to love others. But as Christians, we should be the first to set the example.

-Kristin-

Dear Fellow Jesus Lovers.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?  And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?  Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”-Matthew 5:43-48

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Dear Fellow Jesus Lovers,

I do not think I have ever seen as much hatred on the Internet as I have today, November 9, 2016.

People calling others horrible things based on THE PERSON THE VOTED FOR. Saying that they hope they die, and they they’ll see them in hell someday. Burning the flag and saying that they are not proud to be Americans. Like, is this for real?

Let’s pull it in for a second here.  You may be rejoicing over the fact that Donald Trump is our future president. You may be feeling broken and fearful over it. But wherever you are remember this, it is not our job to: ridicule others, to gloat, to lash out, to be cruel.

It is our job to love others. When things are good and when they are bad, we are to love.

We cannot say we love all people and then turn around and hate people for who they believe is best fit to run our country. It does not make any sense. 

Friends, it is a crazy time and we MUST come together. We cannot continue to divide ourselves and say cruel things to each other based on how we chose to use our freedom of speech.  We cannot continue to say we are moving to Canada to get away from Trump and his “bigot, racist deplorables”. We cannot call ourselves Christian and say we hate anyone.

Love others who think the same as you. Love others who think differently than you.

We are called to love, so let’s head down that path together today.

We are not perfect and we are going to mess up (probably a lot) but we have got each other and Jesus to pick us back up again and remind us of where we are headed.

With Immense Love,

-Kristin-

 

My GRAM-cracker.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in the evil, but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” -1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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My grandmother is my best friend.

She has always been there for me. She has loved me through the good and bad times.  She wakes up for my 3 am desperate, can barely speak, phone calls.  She loves me deeply.

But, we do not agree on many things. She thinks it is silly that I love Jesus while I think it is crazy that she does not.  She thinks I make some bad choices, while I think they are what is right.  She thinks country music is awful, while I cannot help but listen to it.

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We are opposites that have truly attracted.

She used to drive five hours back and forth every other weekend (my grandfather and her would switch) to come to New York state to help my mom take care of me.  My dad had to move to Florida for a job while my mom had to take care of me, the ailing dog, and sell the house at the same time. So the grands stepped up and helped out to the best of their ability.  & that is where my grandmother and I really bonded.

We talk on the phone a few times a week now and she always brings up those times, and how much enjoyment she had out of watching me grow up during that time. & how much she missed me when we moved across the country to Florida.

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I often see people do memorial posts about people they love after they have passed on. But my grandmother deserves more than that, she deserves to know now before that horrible day comes, that she was loved beyond measure by someone who was her perfect opposite.

Thank you for loving me Gram.

-Kristin-

Eyes Wide Open.

“I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” 1 Timothy 2: 1-2

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In a few days, we here in the United States of America will find out who is going to be our President for the next four years.

Terrifying, exciting, and nerve-racking.

As much as I do not like talking about politics, it is important to discuss.

The media has given out a ton of nasty misinformation about both of the candidates.  They have also given out truths too.  Both candidates have been dragged through the mud, but only one has been truly portrayed as evil by the media: Donald Trump.

The media has dug up the old skeletons in his closet and SLAUGHTERED his name.  He is called an idiot because he is not a beautifully eloquent speaker.  He is called a maniac because he will speak about the violence that can and will continue to occur in this country if we do not step up and do something about it. He is called a racist because he believes in a stronger immigration policy.  He is called a misogynist because of things he has said about women in the past (which is extremely wrong of him, but he has apologized and cannot go back in time and unsay what was said).

I am not trying to compare anyone else to this (for example, HRC), but the Devil himself is an eloquent speaker who has been able to persuade others to believe his lies because of his words. Pretty, seemingly powerful words do not always mean what they come out as.

I am sick of watered down, eloquent speaking that tries to be politically correct. I am sick of Common Core. I am sick of the lies politicians get away with. I am sick of the media showing only events that support “their candidate”. I am sick of our country being trillions of dollars in debt. I am sick of being a sheep led to slaughter.

It is time for a radical change.

& I hope and pray that on Tuesday night it is found that the change will be to #MakeAmericaGreatAgain.

-Kristin-