What Plans?

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

blog

“For I know the plans I have for you…” is a verse that many people use at their graduations and when they move onto new things in life. It is well known, and honestly misused a lot.

Because for some reason, we tend to believe that OUR plans are the same as His. We create these scenarios in our heads, and make these goals/plans for our lives. When those plans fall through or those goals are turned into something else or flat out turned down, we have a hard time thinking about Jeremiah 29:11. How could my plans be different from God’s? Doesn’t He know that I know what’s best for my life?

Nope. 🙂

When we talk about Jeremiah 29:11, we have to remember that they truly are HIS plans. We can plan and plan and plan, but those plans are not always going to be what He has planned out for our lives.

The truth is, you cannot prosper without hard work and even some pain.

You’ll never know what it means to hope if you always have everything you want and need.

You will not be able to have a future unless you’ve had a past in which you can learn from it.

This life we live isn’t an easy one, but it’s so worth it. We may not see the things that are being thrown into our life as good and empty of harm, but they just mean that God’s preparing us for something bigger and better.

Living with Jeremiah 29:11 in your head and heart is a reminder that God loves us through the good, and He loves us even more through what we perceive as the bad.

Not all things are as they seem!

-Kristin

 

In Sickness.

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” -Isaiah 40:29

SJ Photography

At the age of 21, I went to the doctor feeling sick and hopeless. I could not stop having painful stomach episodes and as a soon-to-be-teacher, I feared that if I couldn’t get it under control that I would never be able to have this career.

After blood tests and examinations, the doctor diagnosed me with Irritable Bowel Syndrome-an underlying condition of my overarching issue called Leaky Gut Syndrome. Both names sound pretty awful and they are. But, the doctor gave me some natural suggestions to try first. He suggested the Paleo Diet (which he warned me would be brutal at first and it definitely was) as well as taking a supplement every day and exercising. I did this regimen and for 5 years it worked for the most part. That is until December of 2017.

In December, I became incredibly sick and was convinced I had a bad stomach bug. I was out of work for a week and by that weekend, I was headed to the emergency room extremely dehydrated and weaker than I thought possible.

As I laid in the hospital bed with an IV in my arm, I looked up to the ceiling and felt helpless. I remember closing my eyes and praying that God would save me from this pain.

They ran tests at the hospital and when the tests came back, they said there was nothing wrong with me. This had most likely been a serious flare of my syndrome. I explained to the ER doctor all I had done for 5 years and he said I’d gone above and beyond what I could do, but I needed to contact a specialist because I needed medical intervention now.

I remember coming home, staying up late, and feeling devastated. I’d been a crazy health nut for so long, but I was still sick. I had been fighting taking medication for so long because I believed that only the “natural” way would heal me. But I now have to do the natural way and take a medication each day to allow me to be able to function. An expensive medication my current insurance does not cover. Life just isn’t fair sometimes.

That led me to seeing my primary doctor who wanted me to do blood work to rule out any other issues. & they did find an abnormality. They found something that was serious and needed to be treated, though luckily it was not life threatening. But it would mean another medication and even more strict lifestyle changes.

I am sick. & It is caused by genetics. I could not prevent it.

But it bothers me all the same.

I’d be lying to you if I said I wasn’t angry. Most of my anger has been directed at God.

I’ve begged and asked to be healed of the things which ail me, but they haven’t subsided yet. Honestly, I’m not sure if they ever will.

I’ve had to listen to “Even If” every single day to remind myself that God loves and cares for me even when it feels like He doesn’t. No matter what I do, no matter what others say, I still often immediately feel anger when I think about these things. I have to make a conscience effort to remind myself of His unwavering love for me even on the bad days.

But yesterday I was sitting outside, and I started to think about it all. I felt the anger and some sadness rise up in me. Then suddenly a huge blast of wind came out of nowhere and shook me to my core. I felt that amazing, only God, kind of whoosh that reminded me that He loves me and that He walks with me through every hard moment and that this time is no exception.

He loves me in sickness, in anger, and in sadness. He will hold me through these times when I don’t feel strong enough to stand. He will comfort me as I navigate this new world I’ve been thrust into.

& Even when I don’t understand and I begin to feel all those feelings, I will cry out that it is well with my soul. I know with everything in me that My God has not forsaken me, and He never will.

-Kristin

Not I.

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

amen

In 2016, I wrote a post about how I was a survivor of spousal abuse.

I received so many messages from friends, family, and my fellow bloggers about the post. It was a hard one to write, because this is not a fun thing to talk about.

But it is a post I hold near and dear to my heart, and I am glad I shared it.

Because I am not alone.

We are the fighters. We are the ones that cannot be silenced. We are the ones who make people see those for who they truly are.

Though the world may not ever understand the struggles we face and will continue to face-we know.

They try to tear us down. They try to quiet us. They try to make us feel as though we are not enough.

But we refuse to accept those notions.

Not I. Not us.

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” from 2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us that God made us to be strong.

Be strong. Be feisty. Be powerful.

Be who God made you to be-not who that person claimed you were.

-Kristin

 

 

Photographic.

“Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”-Matthew 28:11

uno

I do not have a photographic memory. Yet for some reason I have the worst moments I have experienced seared into my brain. I remember exactly what that nasty text message or email looked like. I can see what that person looked like as they gave me horrible news.  I can see the look on the other person’s face as they found I had let them down.

I know exactly where I was and exactly what I was doing when these things happened.

I remember all the feelings: devastation, anger, disappointment, confusion, frustration, futility, and injustice.

Sometimes I visit these memories, and they make me feel all those emotions again.

It not only physically, but emotionally exhausts me.

& I have come to the realization that I do not want to be that person anymore. 

I want to change my way of thinking and processing. I want to focus on the good. I want my memory to change from remembering the bad so deeply to remembering the good times so intensely.

My mindset must change.

I have to CHOOSE to focus on the good. I have to CHOOSE to be in those moments when they happen and be grateful for all the amazing things I have chosen to look over in the past.

I want to choose peace. I want to choose goodness. I want to choose God’s mercy and grace.

What do you choose today?

-Kristin

 

Sweet 16.

I am being given one of the coolest, craziest, scariest gifts ever: I get to turn 26 this week.

I am reflecting on the last quarter century I have lived and am in disbelief of how fast life is going.  I really feel like I was just in high school a minute ago!

I loved high school (for the most part). I do not think it is necessarily an easy time for anyone and is kind of crazy, but I mainly think about it fondly.

But.

I wish I could change some things.

If 16 year old me would listen to the present version of myself I would have so many things to say:

Do not let it beat you down when things don’t go your way.

Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” (NIV)

Your parents have your best interest at heart: always.

Ephesians 6:1-3 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother—which is the first commandment with a promise— that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” (NIV)

Follow your dreams-no matter the cost.

1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” (NIV)

You will always end up where you were meant to be-even if it is not where you thought you’d be.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (NIV)

Love others for who they are, not who you would like them to be.

Ephesians 4:29-32 “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.”

God is real and so is His love for you.

John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”

What would you tell your 16 year old self if you had the chance?

-Kristin

 

 

Voluntary Prisoner.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”-Psalm 51:10

5

Why is letting go so difficult?

Sometimes it seems so much easier to hold onto something than to let it go.

I have been in multiple toxic relationships that I somehow thought were better to keep than to just let go of. It never ends well, and it usually ends worse than it should have because I just could not let go.

Recently, I have been dealing with toxic friendships.

Friendships that I should have let go of a LONG time ago, that I instead chose to continue with. As with the relationships, they are ending more painfully and way worse than if I had let them when the time came a while ago.

But I chose to ignore that knowledge.

Psychology Today describes a toxic friendship as an “unenviable position of being mistreated by (someone they consider to be) a friend” (Betchen, 2013). You know you are being treated unfairly, but you choose to stay. Even worse, you may even know that you are the one who is treating someone unfairly and you choose to continue to mistreat them. Ever been there? On one side or the other or dare I say…you have at one point or another been on both sides? Me too.

The more we try to hold on, the more painful it becomes. It’s like holding onto a pot as the water in it slowly comes to a boil. It starts off okay, but then slowly it becomes hotter and hotter and more painful.  If we let go as soon as we feel that the heat is becoming too much to bear, and we know that it is not going to get any cooler, we may have some burns but we are not too scarred.

But, if we wait.

We end up with so much pain and horrific scars that never go away. They will eventually heal up, but they will form a scar that we will have to live with for the rest of our lives.

God did not make us to be weak people who allow “friends” to walk all over us. He also did not make us to be bullies who walk all over people and still have the audacity to call them our friend. If you find yourself in either boat, it is time to reevaluate. If you know both parties are not willing and/or able to fix it or you have tried and it did not work: let go.

I feel like people think you are only strong if you suffer through things that you do not need to and basically kill yourself trying to save something not worth saving. But true strength is found in recognizing that it is time for endings and new beginnings.

Let it be. & be free.

-Kristin

References

Betchen, S. J. (2013, January 09). Toxic Friendships. Retrieved December 28, 2017, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/magnetic-partners/201301/toxic-friendships.

Then You Will Be Happy.

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” -John 15:13

4

I had a fabulous Kindergarten teacher. I may not remember a lot of things from my childhood, but I remember being in her class more than anything else. I remember the stories she read to us and all the amazing activities we did.

The one story I remember more than the others was the book called “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein.

If you haven’t read it before, I really suggest you do…but the premise of it is that a gigantic tree takes care of a little boy’s needs/wants for his whole life.

The boy comes to her often as he grows older and says he needs certain things, so she gives him her branches, and her trunk, etc. until she is just left as a stump.

She never asks for anything in return except for him to be happy and even let’s him just sit on her stump when he is old and gray.

She shows this person incredibly selfless love.

& in this story, she reminds me so much of God.

How He gives, and gives, and gives. That all He asks in return is that we believe that His son Jesus died for our sins. That He too, just wants us to be happy.

Selfless love can change the world as long as we are open to not only giving it, but accepting it as well.

-Kristin

Happy December.

With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.”-Isaiah 12:3

santa

Oh, December. How much I have missed you!

This is by far my favorite month of the year. Filled with worship, happiness, joy, Christmas movies, chilly nights, gift giving, and fun.

December is such a fun month. For me at least.

But for some, it is the most dreaded time of the year. & If we are to call ourselves true lovers of Christ, we cannot just act like these people do not exist.

They are the ones who plaster a smile on their face while coping with the loss of their family member and realizing this will be their first year without them.

They are the ones who lash out quickly because their loved one is incarcerated and there is nothing they can do to bring them home for the holidays.

They are the ones who avoid the holiday parties and activities because it makes them feel even more depressed because they feel so alone.

They are the ones who cannot sleep at night because they do not know how they will afford presents for their children for Christmas.

They exist. They suffer. They cry. They break down. They lose it.

Because December is not always the happiest time many of us think it is.

If you know someone who may be having a hard time this time of year, please just reach out to them. Offer a hug. Offer a smile. Offer a hand. Offer a prayer.

Being the hands and feet of Jesus does not always have to be extravagant, sometimes it truly just takes being willing to stand on your feet and hold out your hand.

Let’s try to truly make this one a happy one for all!

-Kristin

Onward.

“The righteous shall move onward and forward; those with pure hearts shall become stronger and stronger.”-Job 17:9

Letting go.

Why is it so hard to let go of people?

They choose to walk out of our lives. Or do something that requires us to walk out of theirs. Or we realize the relationship is totally toxic so we have to try to get out now before it destroys the both of us.

Letting go may be necessary, but it’s not easy.

I remember hearing a sermon once that had to do with purity. The person explained that having sex with someone was like gluing two pieces of wood together. When it’s not your spouse and you break up, it’s like pulling those two pieces apart. You may be able to separate them, but those two pieces will never be the same again. They may have pieces of one another stuck to each other and they are left forever changed.

That sermon reminds me very much of what it is like to lose a friendship as well.

You get to know each other well and become “stuck together like glue” and when the friendship ends, the two of you are both left scarred. Left with the memories of your time spent together, and the longer the friendship-the greater the damage.

This is why letting go is hard. You’ve got pieces of them stuck in your heart, and that is incredibly painful.

But, God. But, Grace.

He heals all wounds, and as that sermon explained to me, He’s got a sander.

He sands down the extra pieces so that we can live without the constant reminder of the pain. He sands it down so we can let go and heal.

It does not mean that we go back to being the exact same person we were before-we’ve been broken and sanded down, and due to do that we will be forever changed. Though now, it does not hurt as bad.

I thank God for His Grace because trying to let go of certain friendships/relationships has been so hard.

But, thanks to God I think I’m finally ready to let go.

-Kristin