To: Krista, Love: Jesus…

So, sometimes I think God just does things for us to serve as our pretty little gift wrapped present especially to us from Him… haha

Here’s the story.. I was in a situation I was not totally comfortable with, but partially because it could have been fine, or terrible, or indifferent.. There were a lot of variables and I did not know where it was going. Mostly though, I was uncomfortable with it because I could not find anything especially glorifying.. or to be honest, I could not find anything that gave a legitimate reason for the situation at all… and at the same time, I also had no way out of the situation without seriously offending people… SO, in an attempt to find my happy medium, I did what any self respecting, assertive, confident girl does.. I begged God for His help and guidance as I hatched my plan in my mind for how to make sure the situation stayed in the appropriate comfort zone. haha.. God must’ve giggled at me and my plans…

So, mid story God gave me this wonderful little gift I was totally not expecting, and was later so excited about it that I could barely contain my excitement!..

I was doing laps in the pool to work off calories that I’d consumed and was probably going to consume later that evening… The other girls I was with were half heartedly swimming, but I was on a mission to work off the calories (and warm up cause the water was less than ideal).. A guy comes over and extends an invitation for us to join “them” in the hottub, (them being three other guys and a girl). I gave some “oh, ok well we’re mid laps but maybe, thanks so much though!”… essentially my answer without actually answering him type response. After about 2 more laps I realized the other girls had gone to the jacuzzi.. dang it, that meant I had to at least make an appearance. So, I popped over and sat there awkwardly for about .0237 seconds before I decided I was gonna have to take some initiative or this would be a not so wonderful time…

I went around and asked them their names, where they are from, are they in school, etc..etc.. total basics in meeting new people 101. It became very apparent about this point that they were drinking and smoking.. or some of them were drinking and some of them were smoking, not all of them were doing all of it… but each of them was partaking in some form of something.

*Pause Story*
Let me clarify… these types of situations don’t make me nervous so much as more alert. I’m not nervous around alcohol and smoking, but I become much more aware of the ability for it to go south quicker… so, I tend to make a much more asserted effort to “be on my game.” *Un-pause*

One of the guys suggests playing Chicken… hmm yeah not on my agenda of things to do with guys I don’t know.. So, I basically ignore the suggestion and continued with basic conversation and began using my charm to allow me to say whatever needed to be said… For example, one guy said he was graduated from highschool and unsure of going to college cause he hated school.. so I pointed out that ANY college degree typically means you get paid TWICE as much as you would otherwise “just sayin”.. and that it’s legit instead of “off the street” which he said he could make a ton of money there… The girl was going for business, and intends on opening a strip joint because “men are dogs even in a terrible economy…” That comment made my heart hurt both for her and her obvious past, and for the men who it’s a true statement for…

I peaced out and cooled off in the pool, did a few more laps then went back. Once I’d returned Guy A (Bob for the sake of the story)was asked if I was engaged….
“uh, nope, why?”
“because you’re wearing a ring…”
“oh, haha, yeah the ring actually says ‘Jesus,’ it’s my purity ring.”
You would have thought I’d shot all of them in the face… It was like I put a halt on the entire conversation and crickets started chirping.. lol
Guy B (Billy), “So, you’re a Christian then?”
“uh, yeah I am actually…”
Bob then began asking me if I’d attended this certain church and I explained that I had only been there a day and had no idea where the church was.. so he told me about how he really liked the pastor and the guy just says it like it is and is straight forward.. So, I explained how much I respect that because even if you disagree.. if you TRULY believed something wouldn’t it be worth telling others anyway?…
Billy began telling me how religious his mom is and how she tries shoving that on him… I told him I was sorry, and that is never pleasant when people hit you over the head with things instead of love you regardless… Slowly the conversation began to flow again… And then Guy C (Sam) said “ok, so wait… How long have you been wearing that thing?” “8 years.” Which brought a whole slew of profanity and crude comments from him and again sorta halted the conversation… But, I took no offense cause clearly this was a new concept, so I just laughed and shrugged my shoulders and Bob and I began talking about other things… only for Billy to interrupt a few minutes later and say “ok, I gotta know.. what does ‘purity’ mean to you?”

Haha.. oookay *pause* at this particular moment I realized this was a make it or break it conversation from here on out.. I can either somehow finagle my way around the topic and answer without actually answering.. Which would be a greatly missed spoon fed to me opportunity… OR, I can be straight up front, and hopefully paint some color in their picture at the expense of some seriously awkward vulnerability on my part. I chose option 2. *un-pause*

“Well, it means that I’m still a virgin.”
The stares I got were priceless, and it was more than slightly amusing to watch the registration on their faces as what I said sunk in. It was as though Billy had never even heard of the idea and he continued with “How come?” So, I explained how I think it will just be really neat and special if I can tell my husband (who I clearly don’t have yet) he was and is the only one I’ve ever slept with… Sam jumps in with “I just COULDN’T do it!!!!” lol Again, crickets chirping… and finally Billy comes back and says “ok, I can respect that.” And conversation moved on.

The end.. I had been gifted by God the chance to have a conversation glorifying to him in the middle of a situation where I was already questioning the glorifying aspects of the whole evening.

My God is so good. 🙂

To: Krista
Love: Jesus

Rock, Mortar, Moat, Gators…

So, the other day I was talking with a friend and we were talking about guys.. haha! We were talking about different ones and who is simply just a fantastic friend, one we look up to and cherish their presence in our life. Ones who are attractive in a variety of ways, the different qualities in each of our friends that we like and have since added to our “list.” Ones who serve as the opposite and cause us to “thanks but no thanks” when it comes to what we are looking for. And then of course the conversation about guys that inevitably involves giggles.

While talking we began meandering through not only what’s important to us, but also fears and how we handle them. I explained that I am very scared of repeating past mistakes, and sometimes I feel as though I AM the definition of insanity… repeating over and over the same type of guy, same qualities, same reactions, same role to play.. and yet expecting it to be different every time. When so far it is all disappointingly the same, including the heartbreak at the end and the struggle to regain what my heart lost.

Given the last time my heart was broken.. I’m not sure I would come out better because that was seriously dark, and I would never ever choose to go through it again… So, it sort of goes without saying that I’m terrified of a repeat. I’m scared of the “night” what I would feel, what I would allow Satan to totally get a hold of and sink his claws and teeth into… And, that I would need my daddy to intervene again because I wouldn’t be able to do it on my own… Just a lot of pain there that I can now more than a year later look back and see how it was used (thank goodness something good came from it), but I don’t want to have another time like it that can be used later… My heart just feels too fragile for that, like it’s being held together by strings that slowly are getting stronger, but any wrong bump could also still cause more damage than good.

So, in an attempt to explain it to my friend I said that I’ve built this 20ft wall with rock and mortar, a moat, gators.. and I’ll send out smoke signals… Which is more of an amusing way to explain it than anything.. and we joked about having razor wire and broken glass on the top, and there MIGHT be a bridge, but I’m more likely to just push them off it… We joked about the height of the wall saying that 7ft is a “good” height because it allows them to see in if they really stretch and jump… but that I’m way more comfortable with 20ft… After a bit we got serious and talked about the fact that all joking aside my wall is there, and I’ve become an expert at disguising it so that no one realizes it’s there. I don’t often tell someone “no I won’t allow you to know this or that about me”… so instead I dance around the topic or I give them an answer that will satisfy their question without going deeper or exposing a tender area.

Now, with all that said, I think it’s only fair to mention that my wall might be really tall and guarded very heavily… But, I have come a HUGE long distance from where I used to be. The things I hold and guard carefully aren’t nearly as large and complicated as they used to be, my walls no longer cover the circumference of Africa like they used to. 🙂 And, I have begun to share and allow people to help me.. which again is such a testament to me on how wonderful my Savior is, because I did NOT used to allow that 🙂 So, while this is all about how scared and careful I am with my fragile heart, I also realize I’m not nearly as scared and fragile as I used to be.. which gives confidence and assurance to the future.. which while still scary is covered in more hope than I used to realize.

It’s Ok To Not Be Ok..

On my morning commute to work I was listening to Matt Chandler and he was talking about Blessings and Woes (blessings and curses basically). He went through and detailed out why it would say in Luke “blessed are the poor” and later “woe is the rich”… he pointed out that it has nothing to do with the fact that you are a starving college student, or arrived to church in a multi million dollar car.. He went to Matthew where it explains it’s “blessed are the poor in spirit”…

Anyway, he went on to explain how important it is for us to realize that either we are totally incapable of doing life on our own, or in some cases we realize we DON’T feel like we need God.. and in the process it hits us that we SHOULD realize how much we need Jesus…

He points out that one of his favorite sayings about his church is “it’s ok to not be ok… but it’s not ok to stay there.” He continues by explaining that he grew up in churches where everyone was perfect, no problems etc..etc.. and in a previous podcast he talked about how when people pretend to be ok, but aren’t.. when they fake the smile for long enough suddenly something explodes and they’re having an affair, getting divorced, killing someone.. and it all seems out of the blue.

At church, in community, it’s ok to not be ok… to not have it all together. But, it’s not ok to stay there, it’s important to grow.. even if you are struggling and don’t see the growth, it’s important to be putting forth the effort to allow God to move you and your heart. He also pointed out that so often we focus on someone’s conversion “THEY ARE SAVED!!… the end” when really their story begins with “And they got SAVED… and then…” We forget that saved doesn’t mean absolved of every temptation and issue, that sometimes it takes 1, 2, 10, 20 years to get past an issue… That the progress can be so painstakingly slow that we don’t even realize we’ve accomplished a huge task or over come something, until after we’ve passed it then it’s like it suddenly clicks and we realize God moved us!..

So, it’s ok to not be ok… but it’s not ok to stay there. Or, it’s ok to be broken and hurting, it’s not ok to wallow in it.

To Be Enough…

Part of my heart is seriously troubled because of things that I see as failures in the recent days and weeks. When I comment on things I fail at, and how much it bothers me… I get the “bless your heart” look (aka you stupid retard) as I explain how I wish I was more like this or that, I wish I was better at that, I wish I wasn’t so much like this… and to be honest they laugh at me. Not because I’m dumb or because my wishes are stupid… I don’t ever feel that is their intent, but more because they see in me what I do not see in myself… Or in some instances because they don’t see in me what I see in myself.

Let me explain, I know a lot of things about myself (clearly), for the most part I’d like to think I’m fairly self aware. But, I also know that my striving to be perfect never ends, and that others don’t see my drive at all the way I do. I always want to be the best at things, not to prove someone else worse or less than me.. but simply to be the best possible me I can be. My striving has nothing to do with other people, and in fact my being “the best” is not in comparison with someone else, it’s being the best that I am capable of being. I enjoy being well rounded so I push myself to learn things, and understand things, and gain skills, be a better friend, a more compassionate follower of Jesus, and simply to be better than I was on this day last year. To have gotten closer to the goal God gave me… to be the person I was meant to be without wasting anything away out of laziness or boredom.

So, please understand that first, my drive has absolutely nothing to do with you, I don’t care if I’m better than you. More or less talented… I just want to know I am the best that I can be with my abilities based on myself.

On the flip side recently I’ve discovered a few things I was unaware of… For instance, I have a tendency to assume that I am not extraordinary, but that I am more of the fairly common “everyone must be like this” type. This sounds kinda funny.. but I’m serious. My view tends to be that everyone feels the way I do, they push themselves them same way that I do… Apparently that’s not really the case.

In the last little while I’ve had several people make comments or ask “is there anything you can’t do” and while it’s such a nice compliment from some people.. and sorta snide remark from others. My first reaction is to create an insta-list in my head of all the things I don’t do well, or messed up, or have absolutely no skill doing…

The more I’ve been thinking about it, the more I’ve realized they aren’t actually asking if I’m perfect, skilled, not skilled, or whatever.. What they’re asking is for a moment of vulnerability from me (something I have to work on all the time for sure). ‘Cause see, the thing is, I tend towards being the “strong friend” I encourage people to vent to me or lean on me for support… (and, that to me is an ever present example of how God has totally shaped my heart) Or, at the very least I tend towards leading because it’s natural for me…

In these things what I’ve started to realize is people make statements or ask things because they really just want to have a moment of vulnerability with me. More me expressing to them to help them feel connected and equal with me. In realizing this I’ve also realized that it’s not always a good idea, but more often than not it is. This goes back to the idea that I am not expected to “make it” alone, God gives us community on purpose.. which is only effective if I actually utilize this idea and to some degree at least allow myself to be vulnerable to certain people…

Pulling this all back together… I am in constant battle with myself to be enough, be the best, be better than this day last year… When I fail it is seriously hard for me, especially when others are insistent on pointing out my failure. For whatever reason I am always striving to be enough, not in a sadistic/masochistic way but in my black and white I want to be the best I can be.

I’m still learning how to view myself as enough, see myself through the eyes of my Savior and yet continue to push myself hard every day to be the best..

” Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6:34

Be Dull or Be Revived…

Ok, so this week has been one of those weeks where I had literally more to do than I had time for. And, while that’s the case most weeks, usually it just requires me to give a little more, give up my extra free time.. This week that was simply not the case. I became quickly stressed because it was not a matter of just giving up my extra time or just actually focusing. Nope. This week it was about not having any time extra other than my sleeping or eating (and on more occasions than I will admit I let go of my right to eat so I could get extra time in…).

This week in Krista’s world of work…
7 Attitude stricken seniors.
2 All day directors meetings.
1 Quarterly magazine.
1 Becoming an adult camp.
1 Info packet for coworkers.

This week in Krista’s non-work world…
1 Video creation for a friend.
1 Screen play read and review.
1 Synopsis review.
1 Sunday school birthday party.
4 Days behind on my daily Bible reading.
5 Days less of my hour drive/God time.
3 Friends in serious need of Krista phone time.
2 Friends in serious want of Krista phone time.
1 Mom in serious need of Krista phone time.

I physically had no time. *sigh* I can handle all these things usually with a flawless ability to work it all out.. it just, was the butt kicker when I had a seriously lacking amount of drive time to spend with my Savior…

Wednesday I definitely needed my Jesus time. Time to worship, reconnect, hear from, speak to, sit with, and love my Savior. Before Wednesday I was dull.. I was worn out, and I was running on empty. After the service I definitely felt better, like I’d been hugged by the only one who meant anything. My Savior touched the heart He created and reminded me it’s ok to not know how to work it out, fix it, do it, whatever.. I’m totally incapable and need Him, and that’s ok. Granted the stress didn’t go away, it wasn’t suddenly all better… I still had to be on my game that I felt like I was losing, I still had to give it everything I had.. But, I no longer felt desperate for something inside. I knew it would be ok, I might just miss a couple of the things I was juggling… and that’s ok.

So, be dull, be empty, be desperate…

or

be still, be peaceful, be revived, be renewed.

Not really a hard decision to make. Sit with Jesus for a few moments.

All Who Are Weary…

“I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” – Jeremiah 31:25

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

"All who are weak, all who are weary
Come to the rock, come to the fountain
All who have sailed on the rivers of heartache
Come to the sea, come on be set free

If You lead me Lord I will follow
Where You lead me Lord I will go
Come and heal me Lord I will follow
Where You lead me Lord I will go
I will go I will go

All who are weak, all who are weary
Come to the rock, come to the fountain
All who have climbed on the mountains of heartache

All who are weak, all who are weary
All who are tired, all who are thirsty
All who have failed, all who have broken"

Just know, God is enough.

In the Moments…

I dunno if you’ve ever experienced this, but I’ve been thinking lately about all the little moments in my life that create significant differences.

Here are a couple moments in my life recently that have had a significant difference in my mood, heart, life.. etc..

I heard a song that ALWAYS reminds me of my daddy.. so I texted him the lyrics “Every time I tried to tell you the words just came out wrong, so I had to say I love you in a song” just to let him know I was thinking of him 🙂 … I love these things cause it makes me feel like I’ve connected and affirmed the relationship.

I got to have coffee and chat with Brit for like 2 1/2 hours after an insanely long day… We got the chance to just talk about wherever our hearts wandered. She is so good for me. 🙂

I have recently decided there are certain aspects of my history I am incredibly proud of… so in an effort to make sure I don’t let those go I’ve begun reminding myself of basics of German, and including that in talking with my mom… That, and I miss hearing German every day as though it’s normal. 🙂

Since I am such a touch person there have been soo many people who make a point to hug me, or just pat my back, rub my shoulders.. whatever.. and although it’s small and not a big deal, not long.. whatever, you have no idea the mental change that goes on inside.. I can go from a “whatever” day to “such a good day” in the amount of time I get a hug and a “how are you?”… it’s really rather amazing!

I appreciate when people go out of their way or do something that doesn’t benefit them.. like giving up a sweatshirt when I didn’t ask, but was cold. When they compliment my hair, or outfit, or make-up… or don’t say when I look terrible 😉 haha… All those things are so appreciated, and doesn’t benefit them at all.. which makes it so much more meaningful.

I appreciate it when someone makes it clear I’m not just welcomed to be around, but that I’m wanted. Either in my presence or in just sitting next to or near someone.

I cannot begin to explain how wonderful it is to have people actively seeking to mentor and love on you. I was able to chat with Lisa a lady who’s husband teaches our Sunday School class.. she’s essentially become the mom to all of us who attend. And, we just had a great conversation.. not super long, but long enough to make you leave feeling special. She essentially told me the same thing my parents have been saying for years, but it’s somehow different when someone who doesn’t know you intricately like your parents do… She told me some things she saw as gifts, and how it blesses others when I’m around.. It was just so simple and sweet.

As silly as it sounds, inside jokes are some of my favorite things… Not that I’m not willing to share or include others in the joke. But, they simply make you feel special because you understand either that person, a situation, something funny, or whatever that no one or few others understand… It gives you that connection. I love it 🙂

I appreciate it when friends drive 8 hours one way to spend Easter weekend with me :).. I cannot even begin to explain how excited I am to see them!

My prayer is that I can do just a fraction of these things in return for other people, to help them feel precious, important, cared for, and loved. That, in all these tiny moments I can show them Jesus and refresh their spirit. I want my moments and my days to be about doing things and being places that will encourage others. Half the things I do, I go or do them because I want to make sure others know they’re cared for. So, my prayer is that I can somehow make others feel the way they make me feel 🙂 Or, pass it on to someone who doesn’t get it.