Focus on the Good.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” -Jeremiah 29:11.

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As another year comes to an end, many people begin to reflect on what happened over the course of it.  I think it is really easy to give into the negatives and remember all the bad things that happened to us, I know I can be really guilty of this.  Though today, all I want to do is think of the good.  On this day, five years ago this is what I wrote online:

“The amount of change I have gone through in just the past month has been mind-blowing yet absolutely amazing. I don’t even recognize myself anymore. I do things no one would expect me to do, experience everything I can, and chase after dreams I once thought were impossible. I realize now that it was totally worth taking that gigantic leap of faith.”

December 29th has been a great day of reflection and joy for me.  It is a day to remember the amazing things that have happened in my life. 2016 was a hard year, but yet it was so wonderful for many reasons:

  1. I survived the hardest year of teaching thus far.
  2. I graduated from graduate school with a 4.0 GPA.
  3. I became bolder with speaking about my faith and grew in my walk with Christ.
  4. I grew closer to my family.
  5. I moved into a beautiful new place.
  6. I graduated school with ZERO debt.
  7. I’m getting better with my battle of desiring the approval of others.
  8. I traveled to new and exciting places.
  9. After 5 months, I finally have full hearing back in my ear!
  10. I found out who my real friends were.

My plans for 2016 did not really work out like I was thinking they would (but when do they ever?????), but I am so glad it worked out this way. I guess God really knows what he’s talking about when He says He had plans for our lives, right?

What amazing things happened to you this year?

-Kristin-

Not By Accident.

“For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; or if we are of sound mind, it is for you. For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.”-2 Corinthians 5:13-15

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I have never felt as crazy as I have the last two years that I have come to know Christ. Like have to sit around sometimes alone and question if what I am doing makes me slightly psychotic. Like call up my friends and ask them if they think I’m being ridiculous kind of stuff.

This once non-confrontational soul has been speaking out for what is right. My once very analytical way of thinking has been totally flipped upside down; I try to think about WWJD instead (corny but you get the point). I am more patient than I ever thought I could be. I am less anxious and more bold than I ever thought humanly possible. I’ve been able to say sorry and mean it. I’ve been able to forgive things that have happened to me personally that I know people would not blame me for not forgiving.

This is not by accident. This is not of my own works. This is from God.

I’m still a sinner. I still struggle. BUT I am finally beginning to feel some of that peace people talk about when they try to live the life God has called them to live.

I’m beginning to accept that I certainly am crazy, but in the best and most life changing way ever. People may not be able to understand this way of life, but aren’t we so lucky to have a loving God that always will?

-Kristin-

 

 

Amazon.

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace.”-1 Peter 4:8-10

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There is a new commercial out from #Amazon, and it is by far one of the most powerful commercials I have ever seen. I have literally seen it ONE time on television, about three days ago and it has been on my mind ever since.

This is the commercial:

So pretty much a priest and Imam (which I found out from Google means a person who leads prayers in a mosque) meet for a cup of tea. It is noticeable that they are both older, and enjoy each other’s company.  Then one leaves and you see them both order something for each other from Amazon. Later you see that they each ordered the other knee supports so that they could each pray in their own house of worship with less stress on their knees.

What an incredible, incredible, incredible example of what love is.

We do not have to be of the same faith to be friends with someone. Or be the same skin color. Or culture. Or anything.

We are to love. To care. To show what true friendship is. To be kind. To hold our tongues when necessary and give tough love when needed. We are to be human.

This commercial has given me hope that maybe one day a friendship like theirs will not be so uncommon. That we, myself included, will change to see the world as Jesus wishes it to be.  One where we show love, even when it is not the popular choice.  One where we care even when it is not easy.

The love and kindness that Jesus showed others while He was on this earth is alive and well today. We just have to realize that it is within us, and that we are capable of using it.

-Kristin-

I Am What I Am.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”-1 Corinthians 15:10-30

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50. Fifty. 25+25.

F.I.F.T.Y.
I am so blessed to be writing my 50th blog post on Forth As Gold.
I never wanted to start this blog.  It began as a friend getting me interested in writing for her own blog, but then it fell through. I had already pre-written quite a few posts for the first blog, but really did not feel like creating my own blog. It sounded like a lot of work, and responsibility. I was going to let them be until my boyfriend, Lee, talked me into just doing it. He convinced me to create the blog and to start posting.
So I went onto #Wordpress and did just that. & you know what? It was a lot of work and responsibility (and still is). It was confusing and kind of weird to navigate, but I have grown to love how perfectly imperfect this page has become.
I never wanted it to get big, I never wanted it to be a “follow for follow” blog, I never wanted it to be just me griping about life. All I ever truly wanted was for God to use my life stories to reach others through this blog.
5 months later, I am realizing that He has done just that in the most beautiful and secretive way possible. I am vulnerable in my writing, because God has given me the courage to do so. My posts are called powerful only because He has given me the correct words to say. I am a new person because He has given me a new life found in His name. God has shown His love and Grace to others through the use of this blog.
& that is all I could have ever asked for.
If this blog has touched you in anyway, I praise God for that. When you send me private messages and texts or pull me aside and tell me that this blog is changing you and your walk with Christ it brings me to tears. I thank YOU for your continued support and encouragement by reading and responding to the words I put out there for the world to see.
I used to believe that my life struggles were nothing but painful memories that I wanted to forget about.  But God has completely changed my mindset on this.
Thank you for loving me. I cannot express in words what it means.
Love you times 50,
-Kristin-

Fine Perfume.

“A good name is better than fine perfume, and the day of death better than the day of birth.”-Ecclesiastes 7:1

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I have this old glass perfume bottle in my room that is in the shape of a horse.  The top part of it, the head of the horse, broke years ago. The bottom part of the horse is filled with this old perfume that I have never worn, and will never wear. I can never get rid of this though. Why, you ask?

It smells like my Great Aunt Golda. She passed away in 2005 and I have missed her deeply ever since.

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When we lived in New York, I spent quality time with her (I was very, very young), and my few memories come from my times with her. She used to come over and see me. She would babysit me. She would spoil me.

We went up to visit her right before she died and I remember having the best time with her. She could not speak well because of complications due to smoking, but she always got her point across somehow.

I have no idea how I got a perfume bottle with her scent in it, but I cherish it because it is a small piece of her.

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I believe that it is okay to grief and remember our loved ones even when it has been a while since they passed. What a beautiful ode to their memory it is to even just SMELL something and be reminded of the memories you had with them.

I know God does not want us to be sad, but of course he wants us to remember those people! We just have to choose to let the memories bring us great joy instead of great sorrow. Isn’t it so amazing that God gave us such special people in our lives that meant so much to us that we can never erase them from our memories & hearts?

If you are grieving the loss of someone today, I pray that you find comfort in the little things. I hope you smell their scent on something, or see their name somewhere, or feel their loving presence around you.

& that the memories flood you with happiness, and that you can smile. ❤

With much love,

-Kristin-

Surviving & Thriving.

“And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”-Matthew 10:28-31

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I am a survivor of spousal abuse.

It is something I do not usually openly speak to others about because it feels somewhat shameful and uncomfortable. It also feels weird because I have vowed not to slander his name anymore. The past is the past, and moving forward means forgiving and letting it go.

So I will not mention this person’s name, and I will not give any information out about him, because as bad as it was, no one deserves to have hatred from others. Especially from my words.

But, I will tell you this:

I have been emotionally beat down to the point where I truly believed that I could never do any better than this person.

I have been name-called, ridiculed, and put down by a person who claimed to love me.

I have been told that I am ugly, disgusting, and fat by a person I thought of so highly, that I developed a slight eating disorder from it that I still have to mentally fight it every day.

I have been taken advantage of physically by the person I loved, while tears filled my eyes.

I have had to ice my wrists from being held down to be screamed at relentlessly for things I had never done.

I went back to a cheater after he convinced me that it was MY fault why he had been unfaithful.

Then something happened. I woke up one day and realized that there had to be so much more to life than the miserable one I was living. One of control, degradation, and pain. So I walked away entirely from this person, and it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I still had troubles with the aftermath of the break up and had to go through a lot of drama to get through it,but I will never regret the hardest/easiest decision I have made.

I think if I could say one thing out there to one person who is going through anything even remotely similar to the situation I wrote above: find a way out. Ask a friend, confide in a family member. Consult a professional. Do what you have to do to leave.

There is life beyond the box these people place us in. Do not continue to life your life in constant fear, always walking on eggshells.

If you are not in a situation similar to this, I thank God for that. But please pray for those who are currently living it or still have the emotional/physical trauma from it.

God did not make us to be fearful and controlled. Break free as you were made to be!

-Kristin-

P.S. This post is dedicated to my friend Nora, who married the man of her dreams today and is a fellow survivor who chose to not allow her past to control her future. ❤

The Chosen One.

“And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”-Romans 8:28

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My best friend Madison got married in August of 2014. It was a beautiful ceremony at a golf course in Michigan and I was chosen as one of her maids of honor. I had the honor of standing by her side as she married the love of her life, Josh. Then, as a total shock, she asked me to be one of the witnesses on her marriage license. I was so excited when they passed me the pen that I almost cried! It was such an honor and so humbling.

There is something so beautiful and incredible about being chosen. To be picked above all else, to be deliberately decided on. It really is an amazing thing.

BUT, honestly, I felt a totally different feeling when I started to feel the tug at my heart strings of God asking me to step up and complete the plans He had for my life. I knew I was a chosen one, it says it in His Word.  That all who love God are chosen to show His love to others and to be leaders in this world. But, seriously, me?

I was scared. I was nervous. I was freaked out.

& truly, most days I still am.

I am unqualified for pretty much everything. Socializing is not my favorite thing to do. Public speaking has never been something I am good at. Confrontation gives me anxiety. Yet, here I am, literally doing all of these things on a daily basis. Through God and for God.

I never, ever wanted to be a leader. But now, I constantly find myself in leadership positions, not even by my choosing. It is funny how God’s plans for our life rarely match our own and how His plans always win.

Just like when I was asked to be a maid of honor for Madison and to sign off as a witness on her marriage license, it felt like a huge responsibility.  Though, it was incredibly humbling and a total honor. Isn’t it cool that God wants us to be a part of His plans?

What is God calling you to do today? That is a huge responsibility, but the greatest honor of all?

You are a leader in God’s world. You are a chosen one. God does not make any mistakes.

-Kristin-

The Midnight Burden.

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”-Matthew 11:29-30

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It is way past this teacher’s bedtime, but I just cannot sleep.

I am bothered and uncomfortable.

I cannot understand why God has placed ME in these situations and circumstances.

He knows confrontation is hard because I do not like biting my tongue. He knows my heart struggles to forgive. He knows that I am a people pleaser and do not like going against the grain.

Yet, here I am. Again. In sticky situations that I have tried most of my life to stay out of.

I am bothered. But more than anything, I am feeling the pain.

The pain of being at odds with others is hard.

Do you know what it is like to love someone so deeply yet not be able to be at peace with them because of moral reasons? They are upset because you do not see things the way they do.  They do not believe you love them because of this.

I struggle with something so much, and I wish I could tell you what it is, but it is not my story to tell. I am just stuck in the horrible middle of it. But I have prayed and prayed and prayed…and God put on my heart that it is not my job to judge. Or to pick sides. It is my job to love all.

Not to swear and call people names. Not to ignore them. Not to hate them. Not to gossip.

But, wow. More easily said than done right?

I believe God knows what He’s doing. & that I have somehow wound up in the middle of situations I never thought I would be in (seemingly becoming a recurring thing) for a reason. But I do not believe I will ever understand that reason this side of Heaven, and that is torturous.

Today, at this moment, I choose to lay down the pain I have in my heart over all that has happened this year and the anger I have felt toward so many situations.

For I realize, it has never been my burden to carry.

-Kristin-

 

Addicted to Comparison.

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” -Galatians 1:10

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Comparison is the thief of joy, right?

But we choose over and over again to have that joy stolen but comparing our lives to the lives of others.

I will admit, I am pretty addicted to comparison (if that is even a real thing).

I have to stop myself in my tracks all the time because I am comparing myself to others.  These comparisons are leaving me miserable, feeling inadequate, and pretty much feeling like a loser.

For example, most of my friends are getting married and having babies. It is beautiful and amazing, and something I hope to experience someday but I KNOW that it is not my time for this.

But yet, I still compare.

I get anxiety when people ask me when I am going to follow suite like my friends. I feel inadequate going on with enjoying my twenties while everyone else is having their own family. I feel weird constantly being the third wheel. Honestly, I feel like a loser most of the time having everyone talk about their pregnancies and marriages while I am just over here cuddling my dog. It was almost like guilt that I was not doing these things that others were doing.

I HAVE LET COMPARISON STEAL MY JOY.

It took some prayer a few months ago and talking to my parents to remind myself that it just was not my time for those things in my life and that it was okay. My parents even said that they never wanted that life for me.  They wanted me to get my education, have an amazing career, be a happy, independent, twenty or thirty something for a while, and then meet the right guy at the right time (when it was meant to happen) and have that part of my life. They did not have that themselves but they wanted it for me. It is not that there was anything wrong with that lifestyle, it just was not the time for me at 24.

& God had to remind me that He gave me those people as parents for a reason and that even though they’re a little crazy sometimes, they know what is best for me.

What was best for me was to realize that I did not have to be like others to have an amazing life full of joy.

So whether you are a guy or gal who got married young and started having a family right away or you are still out there waiting for that life. Whether you went to college/trade school or are envious of those who did. Whether you live in a mansion or a little place on the side of the road.

Believe and know that the grass is just as beautiful on your side as it may seem on the other. God made us all unique for a reason, and I know He does not make any mistakes. ❤

-Kristin-

Pray. Fight. Wait.

“I once heard somebody say that God had closed a door on an opportunity they had hoped for. But I’ve always wondered if when we want to do something that we know is right and good, God places that desire deep in our hearts because He wants it for us and it honors Him. Maybe there are times when we think a door has been closed and, instead of misinterpreting the circumstances, God wants us to kick it down. Or perhaps just sit outside of it long enough until somebody tells us we can come in.” -Bob Goff

yes.jpgI was always under the impression that if something did not go right for me, that maybe that was just not my path.  If I did not get the job I applied for, it just was not meant for me. If I did not get the response letter I wanted from a college, it must not have been for me. Right?

My life group and I read Bob Goff’s “Love Does” this semester and it really changed the way I view life.  Bob is a lawyer. But did you know that he could not get into law school so he sat in front of the dean’s office every single day asking them to let him in that they finally gave in and told him to go buy his books for his classes because he was in?  What if he had just given up on that dream? Where would he be today?

I really believe God puts us in these frustrating situations sometimes so we can learn more about ourselves and about His love for us. He wants us to pray and ask for His help. He wants us to show how much we care and how patient we are for the thing we are waiting for.

If I had not fought for it, I would not be a teacher today. I would not have a Master’s degree. I would not live in this beautiful apartment. I would not have the life I have now. The struggle made me grateful. I thank God that He taught me (and continues to teach me) patience and perseverance this way, even when its incredibly frustrating.

What is God placing in front of you today to pray, fight, and wait for???

-Kristin-

P.S. SO proud of my friends Rachel & Lindsey for fighting for their dreams. Congratulations on your graduation!!!!!!!!!!!!!