Normalize Thankfulness.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” -Romans 5:1

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I think it is very typical to not have many nice to things to say about our exes. Our ex boyfriends/girlfriends and even our ex friends.  I am not saying that it is right, but it is pretty normalized in our society.

I know I am one of those people. 

 

I do not believe I have really ever had anything nice to say about the people of the past. That’s why they are in the past, right?

 

But, I have been starting to think lately…what if there is more to these stories than just pain and anger?

 

No matter how badly they ended, all of these friendships/relationships were for the absolute best.

 

Every single one of them made me the person that I am. Every. Single. One.

 

I became a more well-rounded person because of the adventures I took with these people.  They taught me patience.  They showed me Jesus. They changed my thinking.  They showed me what love is.  They taught me what hate is.  They showed me what forgiveness is.  Then put me into situations where I had to learn to forgive for real.  They taught me to be strong, because I was able to live without them.  They showed me so much about life I never thought imaginable.

 

I am so thankful for every broken heart. For every moment of pain I have gone through.  For everything.

 

Thank you Jesus for those who force us to change without even realizing it. God is good even when we cannot understand His plan for our lives.

 

-Kristin-

 

Not-So-Perfect.

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.-2 Corinthians 12:8-10

I prayed a prayer that was never answered…the way I wanted it to be answered.
I was a new believer and was in total belief that God would answer all my prayers.
I screamed and cried out to God. I begged for Him to help me in my conquest. I asked all those around me to pray for me.
I did a 24 hour fast (nothing but water and a little tea) in order to get focused on the Lord and my prayers. Which I had never ever done before. Talk about determined. I was convinced that my desire just HAD to be His will. If I prayed hard enough, it would happen. Why The thing I wanted seemed so good and pure and it just had to happen.
The only answer I got was “wait” so I waited and waited. And waited.
But, the waiting seemed to turn into “NO”. I could not understand why. Why had God denied me of something that was so great?!?! Why did God say no?
Like a child having a tantrum, I had a complete fit at God. I cried out WHY. Don’t you know this is what’s best for me?
If we’re being real here, it caused me to stumble. Big time.
I rebelled and did a lot of things I’m not proud of, out of just anger.
I missed out on a lot of GOOD things because I was so wrapped up in anger and heartbreak.
It took me a long time to realize that God isn’t a genie who grants wishes that I was calling “prayers”. He is not going to always give me what I want. He is going to give me what is best for me. & that is not always easy.
We’re going to go through the earthly version of hell sometimes. We’re going to feel lost. We’re going to feel like God has abandoned us and that he is ignoring our cries.
But He hasn’t.
He not only hears us, He responds. He reminds us that no matter whether we like His answer or not that He loves us and is there for us. That even when we rebel against Him, He loves us and still wants the best for us.
I think that is one of the hardest things for us to understand about God. Why does He love us even when we rebel? Why does He want us even though we ask for selfish wishes and get angry with Him when He doesn’t “grant” them? How could anyone ever feel this way for us, it must just be impossible.
But y’all it’s true.
He truly gives us what we need, even when we don’t want it and can’t see why at the moment. He loves us, for real, even when we’re not the best.
What a beautiful thing it is to be loved by the God of the Universe (P.S. that’s all of us, even you!!!!)
-Kristin-

He Speaks.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whoi have been called according to his purpose. -Romans 8:28


I always thought it was weird that people said they spoke to God and that sometimes He would talk back. That is, until I became one of those people. 

But He doesn’t speak to me in some audible voice. He never has and I don’t believe He ever will. In the instances I’ve had, it’s like He comes into my head and talks in my own personal voice. It’s crazy and hard to explain.

The first time this happened was when I was saved in 2014. After going through the deepest depression of my life, He came to me and said “I’ve always been here for you and I always will be.” AMAZING.

In 2015, I was bitter. I went to a new church just to try it out and during worship I felt Him come to me again. I was thinking about a guy who I’d been dating that was not good for me, and then all  of the sudden I felt Him say “LET IT BE.” 

I was slightly freaked out, but pushed it out of my mind for the moment. 

Then I started thinking about my dad because there was a worship song about God being our Father. My earthly father and I had a serious blow out and I was still upset about it. But then wouldn’t ya know, He came to me again and it felt like the biggest command ever: “YOU HAVE TO FIX THE RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR FATHER.” #ohcrap

This wasn’t just my conscience y’all. This was some serious Jesus talk.

I can’t even begin to explain to you either why when I’m doing my devotional that I write things down sometimes that I know are not my words. Like “be brave” and “faith stands strong through every season.”

The only thing I do know though is that all of these words have one central message: I do all things for your good  (Romans 8:28) even when it hurts for the moment.

What is God trying to tell YOU today and are you listening?

-Kristin-

P.S. One was fixed, one was let be, and I became more brave than I ever thought possible. 🙂

Drown My Fears.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.”-Mark 12:30-31

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This is a hard one for me to write. To put into words. To express what I have felt for so long.

 

Most of my Christian walk has been spent alone.

 

By alone, I mean for the most part, it has just been me and Jesus in this whole thing.

 

I come from a family of (mostly) non-believers, and in the last three years since becoming a lover of Jesus, I have spent my time in the church alone.

 

I drive myself to church, alone, on Sundays. I tend to sit alone in the pews.  Every holiday service, I am usually the only person who is by themselves in the church. & for a little while, it really really hurt.

 

Sure, I have been in life groups and have served and through that I have made some really awesome friends at my church.  But either we would go to different services, or they would not be able to come that time, etc so I would often end up by myself.

 

The first Christmas service alone was the hardest.  I remember the parking lot was filling up and we were having to wait in a long line so people were dropping their families off at the front of the building and I remember feeling a pain in my heart I had not felt for a while. One of loneliness and a reminder that I had no family to participate in this with me.

 

But I swallowed the pain, and went on inside by myself. I ended up having the most wonderful time and praised the Lord with those around me.  Even though I was there alone on Christmas Eve, God reminded me that I was never truly alone.

 

After a while of going in it alone, I really started to find peace and confidence in this.

 

I found myself more focused on talking to people I had never met before and being focused on the Lord and His message.  In my loneliness, I found so much more than I ever thought I would.

 

If you are feeling discouraged today, and lonely as you make the drive into the church parking lot along, I pray that you remember that with Christ we are never truly by ourselves.

 

I hope you find strength in your time with God.

 

I hope you see the joy God has when He sees you worshiping Him even when others do not choose to.

 

I hope you feel the love He has so freely given us, even in our hardest times.

 

-Kristin-

Another Day.

 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”-John 13:34-35

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Valentine’s Day is less than two days away. Can you believe it?! I felt like just yesterday, we were celebrating the beginning of 2017, and now it is already mid-February.

Valentine’s Day can be so overrated sometimes, but it is also a great chance to share with others the love we feel for them.  A few years ago, I received the best surprise Valentine’s Day gift ever.  From someone I never expected to receive anything from. It will probably forever be one of my favorite Valentine’s Day stories:

I was in college and had just recently broken off from a very unhealthy relationship that I had been in for a long time.  I started calling/texting with a family member’s friend who was about my age and actually lived on the total opposite side of the country. He knew that I was not interested in anything more than friendship at the time (and I mean, really, we lived in totally different parts of the country). But he just wanted to be my friend and that is really what I needed.

He showed me kindness. He cared about me. He supported me as I went through my first year away from home. He encouraged me to be the best person I could be.

As February came around, he asked me what my plans were for Valentine’s Day. I told him for the last year, I hadn’t received anything for that day from my significant other because he thought it was just another day.  So I in turn had believed too, that it was just another day.  He said he understood, but he hoped I could have a good day anyway!

February 14th came, and the day was a normal one, but also filled with people getting and giving presents at school and lots of red and pink everywhere. That night I was in the shower when there was a knock at our apartment door.  My roommates came pounding on the bathroom door and said there was something for me. My first thought was “For ME? No way!”

I came out and found a beautiful bouquet of flowers in a vase, with a red ribbon tied around it.  With an anonymous note that stated: “Kristin, I hope this makes your day a little more special than just another day.” I was shocked, but immediately realized who it was from and I was so floored by his incredible act of kindness. I even dried out the flowers and made this shadowbox (which unfortunately got ruined when I was in the process of moving).

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When I called him, he laughed and said that he meant it: he wanted me to know that it does not just have to be “another day”.  I can make it amazing or I can make it boring, it is all how I choose to see it.

I have never forgotten that incredible, selfless act of kindness toward me. & It has motivated me to try to do something nice for someone else each Valentine’s Day, because let’s be real this is a tough holiday for a lot of people.

Who is someone in your life that you can be a friend to right now? Who is someone who could really use some of God’s love in their life? Who is someone who really needs a random act of kindness?

I hope that you have the courage and motivation to be kind to someone this February 14th. Who knows how much it might mean to them!

Thank you, Marc, for being my friend when I needed it most.

-Kristin-

The Gift.

“For nothing will be impossible with God.”-Luke 1:37

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I am in my third year of teaching elementary school.  It has been nothing short of absolute insanity. It has also challenged my faith, made me see the world differently, and caused me to see the beauty in everything. I have never cried so much over someone else’s child. Or spent as much time awake at night thinking of how to help them. I can never forget the way it feels to help someone learn a basic they will use for the rest of their lives.

But there came a point not too long ago when I really started to believe that teaching was not for me. I had a particularly difficult (understatement) class, and I left every day feeling drained physically and emotionally. I could share so much more but ya know, privacy reasons, so we will just say it was really bad.

It was like everything I had worked so hard for meant nothing anymore. I had worked so hard to become a teacher, and yet here I was feeling like I had made the worst decision of my life.

Somewhere along the way, I lost the passion I had for what I was doing. I became exhausted from the actions of others, and discouraged by their unkind words.  I had come to forget that I had asked for this. I may not have asked for the bad stuff, but I have come to realize there can be no good without also experiencing the bad.

My heart was strained and I was not sure what I was going to do.

Then, I sat down in the silence of my classroom one day after school and remembered all of the times I had spent in a college classroom dreaming of being in the same position I was in at the moment.  I longed to be a teacher.

UCF was wonderful to me, and really prepared me to be an incredible teacher. They required us to do a ton of hours in real schools working with real teachers and students. I did observation and volunteering hours in over 6 schools in three different counties in Florida.  I loved being with the students, but I also could not wait to no longer “volunteer” in other teachers classrooms and actually get paid to do this.

I could not wait to no longer be under the authority of a supervising teacher and get to do what I wanted to do with my own students.

& in 2014, I was granted that wish.

I was able to work with students of all walks of life, and being at a Title 1 school, I really was able to work with students who needed love more than just an education.

It has been hard and wonderful all at the same time.  & when I was going through that difficult year with that specific class, it was extra difficult.

But I am a better, and stronger person and teacher today because of the tough times.

I believe God sometimes brings us through rough waters to show us how much power and strength He has given us to overcome anything.

If you are a tired, worn out, exhausted, defeated teacher today: know that you are not alone.

You are deeply loved.

You are needed.

You are God’s gift to the world.

No matter how many “I hate yous”, curse words, rude remarks, physical acts of violence, and threats have been thrown at you today; please remember that hurt people, hurt people. The people who hurt us the most are the hardest to love, but they need our love more than anyone. 

I hope you find the strength to continue to use the beautiful gift of teaching that you have been given even in the hardest of times.

It is worth more than GOLD.

-Kristin-

 

 

Jesus Loves the Little Children.

“The rich and the poor have a common bond, The LORD is the maker of them all.” Proverbs 22:2

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With all the hatred going on in the world, I remembered a story my
grandmother told me about that happened in the early 1970s.  The
background information needed to understand this story is that my
grandparents (whom are white) had three children of their own and then
adopted a five year old little girl from South Korea.  They lived in Vermont
and loved their family deeply.

I hope my remembrance of this story is able to give it justice:

My grandmother and her friend decided to take their children to a zoo
that was in Canada. In those days, you weren’t required to have a
passport and all you really needed was some kind of identification to
go back and forth between the US and Canada freely.

They came to the border and the man looks over their identification
and then he looks in the car. He sees two white women, a few white
children. And one little Asian girl.

He immediately asks my aunt Lisa (who is probably 7 at this time) if
she is an American citizen. She says yes. He asks her if she was born
in this country and she says no, she was born in Korea. He tells her
to get out the car and come with him.

He did not question any other person in that car. Just the one who “looked different.”
My grandmother starts to freak out and tells him that her daughter,
Lisa, was adopted and that she had forgotten to bring her papers. The
man starts to badger them with questions and begins to accuse my
grandmother of bringing this child to this country illegally. It got
pretty ugly and she said it was downright terrifying. She was afraid
they would detain her and not let her go home. Then luckily, my
grandmother was able to get in contact with someone who she and the
border control person had in common who could attest to the fact that her
daughter was brought to this country and adopted legally. And that she
certainly was an American citizen.

Long story short, they were then able to go through the border into
Canada, go to the zoo, and come back again. But my grandmother has
never forgotten that day and how it made her feel.

I asked her why she didn’t think to bring the papers and she said she
truly had forgotten because she didn’t not see my aunt as any
different from her other children. They were ALL her children, even
though one hadn’t been carried in her physical womb.

She said it killed her to think that people believed just because her
child did not look like her, meant that she was not her mother.  She
said it broke her heart knowing that people thought terrible things
about HER child just because she was not the same race as her
siblings.

& I wonder if God feels the same way about us as my grandmother did that day.

People will say that because a person is a sinner and has made a
lot of mistakes, it must mean they are not a child of God.

People will insinuate that because a person struggles with addiction
that they are unable to reach God’s Grace.

People will accuse others of never being able to be loved by Christ,
because they do not live up to society’s standard of what a Christian
is.

But the thing is, that God does not see us the way that others do.

He fights for us, because He knows that we are His children.

He loves us no matter what we “look” like.

WE ARE HIS CHILDREN AND HE IS OUR FATHER.

No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you look
like…know today, right now that you are one thing over anything
else: a child of God.

& you do not need a passport or papers to get into Heaven.  Only a
true belief in your heart that Jesus Christ died on a cross 2,000
years ago for you. So that you could receive the honor of being called
His.

What a beautiful thing it is to be loved so deeply by a parent who
will never give up on us.

-Kristin-

The Living Proof.

“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”-Romans 10:9-10

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My journey with Jesus Christ has been the absolute craziest, weirdest, most amazing thing ever. I often think a lot of people believe I make this stuff up, because it is just downright outrageous.

How could it be that this King of Kings, this Lord of Lords, this Lord God Almighty want to deal with me and my crazy emotions? It is pretty unbelievable stuff. But the best part is that this is no fairy tale, this is real. I know because I am living it.

I once came to a point where I no longer wanted to live.  And if you have never been there, it is incredibly hard to describe how desolate and lonely that place is.  You don’t want to talk about it. You don’t want to be judged.  But at the same time, you just don’t care.  You would rather leave this world than deal with the pain it has caused you. You become numb and you don’t know how to fix it.

Nothing makes you happy. There is no joy. Only pain.

I used to cry as soon as I would get in the car. And then I would scream into my pillow at night until I couldn’t anymore.  I felt like the world’s biggest failure. I did not feel wanted nor loved. & my heart aches for you if you can relate.

But Jesus.

Jesus Christ had been quietly pursuing me all of my life. I just had not wanted anything to do with Him for about 22 years.  I wanted to be considered a Christian when it was convenient for me.  When it made me seem like part of the group.  But I didn’t know him.

Until one day He literally reached down from Heaven and said “I HAVE ALWAYS BEEN HERE FOR YOU. AND I ALWAYS WILL BE.” Then it all made sense.  The reason why I was still breathing. The reason why I had been given small whooshes of peace in the midst of my depression.  The reason why things would never be the same.

He has saved me from the lies of the Devil.

He has saved me from being a total slave to the fear of my fate.

He has saved me from myself.

Whatever ails you today, I pray that you open your heart and mind up to the fact that there is a God who loves and cherishes the ugliest and most beautiful parts of you.

You just have to be willing to listen for His voice.

-Kristin-