Never The Same…

Today, while not my official last day in DC feels like it because tomorrow will be full of packing and goodbyes.. Although, to be honest I am well into my goodbyes.

 This is the view out our front window, I spent dozens of Sundays doing homework with this view.
I am so thankful for my time here in DC. The first 10 months here were pretty craptastic, but like most things that suck, I would never ever take them back or do them differently because it changed me, moved me, molded me, and like everything difficult caused me to propel myself into my Savior’s arms.
Words just do not seem to do justice to how I am feeling about moving away from my friends and my church. I have said this numerous times, but I love National Community Church more than I have loved any church before, I consider myself blessed to have attended here for two years, and I love the people I met, the people I served with, and am so thankful for the things I learned about Jesus here.
I have made a lot of friends here and have done a lot of growing up and maturing with their assistance. While it might sound somewhat melodramatic, I do not think I have grown so much with the help of my friends as I have in the two years I have been here. A few key people really helped me, but there truly are dozens that have taught me so much about love, friendship, grace, mercy, compassion, and seeking Christ. Seriously thank the Lord for technology that helps me to stay in contact with the people I love.. 
I came to DC during one of the crappiest years I can remember, and I did not want to be here.. and found myself pretty much stuck in another terrible year.. Or most of a year really. 
Now I find myself leaving with the heaviest of hearts, yet completely full of joy and hope for what God is doing next.. These two conflicting things collide in my chest, and cause me to fight off tears of both grief and joy. Sounds ridiculous and over the top, but it is true… As much as I hate to admit to the emotions that I do not often express, and as much as I struggle to be strong and portray strong, the reality is, I know I am very weak.
Nothing will ever be the same, and as much as I do not want to admit it, that is a good and perfect thing. God has never ever ever lead me astray, and every single time life has changed and I have moved or done something crazy and different God was there, and looking back I realize how perfect it all was; this time is no different. Despite the emotions, and the difficulty I have in leaving before I feel ready, I have absolutely no doubts about this being exactly what God wants me to do… 
My life will never be the same, and despite it all, I am praising the Holy One and thanking Him for this change.
I will forever love this city and probably miss it, but it is time to say goodbye and follow Christ to MI.

My Puppy…

I am still in full fledged moving mode.. which includes lots of stress and emotions, but one (of several) things making it better is this little face.. and knowing that in about a month I get to snuggle with it.

He is a Silver Merle Great Dane, and I am still working on coming up with a name..

Welcome Home…

I signed my lease yesterday and got the keys to my new place.. Complete with a fun decorated key. I am really excited about the new place, it is a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment, complete with a carport… and washer and dryer hook up.. Not to mention  a great amount of storage space, and an extended balcony facing the woods!.. I have vaulted ceilings and can paint! This place will be perfect for me and my soon to be new puppy!
However, once I got these keys, it solidified for me that I am moving. That my life in DC is wrapping up, and that my life in MI is starting. It solidified that my life will never be the same, and that it will likely blow me away to see where God and I are going, and in a year I will look back so thankful for this moment when I received my keys. 
I am excited, and yet I am sad.
If I am being honest, I kept it together long enough to set everything up with the post office for my new mailing address, made a few phone calls to wrap some things up in MI.. Sent a couple e-mails, then got on the road to make the 9 hour drive back home.. to DC, for the last time.
I cried, a lot.
A friend called and talked with me, and just listened as I cried. We talked about the reality that I know God is going to do great things, that He is leading me in an entirely new direction in my life, and that I am so blessed, but that it is ok to grieve that what I know and love is changing.
I have a week left here in DC, I have so much to do, including homework, but the reality is all I want to do is hang out with the people I love here.
Next week I will be excited about my new life, but this week I will grieve that I am leaving.

Nefarious Merchant of Souls…

Nefarious: “extremely wicked or villainous; iniquitous: a nefarious plot.”

Tonight I watched a movie at church titled “Nefarious Merchant of Souls” It is a documentary (the first in a three part series) about modern slavery and sex trafficking. It takes you to several places around the world and gives you a glimpse into the reasons and people causing the problem as well as a perspective from the women in each situation. The movie takes you to Moldova, Amsterdam, Thailand, Cambodia, Switzerland and Las Vegas. Each place has a culture that plays a role into the reasons behind prostitution and sex trafficking. 

From the very beginning of the movie it is clear that the whole thing will be hard hitting and a very real picture into the entire world of sex trafficking. They interview women who have gotten out, women who have gotten out only to go back to it after the interview, men who pimped out women, men who bought the women, men who own the stores in the red light district they work in, and men and women who are working against the sex trafficking around the world in different capacities. 

At the beginning I was saddened but “fine” as they were explaining methodically the various aspects of sex trafficking… Until they got to the portion talking about children in the industry in Thailand and Cambodia.. At that point I began to cry, and continued to cry as they moved through the various countries and finished in Las Vegas. Then, near the end of the movie a few of the women that have gotten out of prostitution and sex trafficking began to explain their encounter with Christ, how they almost died or what caused them to meet Him and know that He has forgiven them, He loves them unconditionally, and that they are forgiven for everything… And that they are valuable to Him. I cried for their pain, but also for their joy in meeting the one Savior who can restore it all. I cried with both pain and joy because no one should ever know their experience, but also because our God is bigger.

I appreciate that a huge part of this movement and organization is prayer, and that they are able to give lots of examples of things they have prayed for and ways God has shown up… As well as they are able to point to the women’s success rates in getting out of prostitution and sex trafficking for good because of the therapists reliance and use of prayer. 

I plan on getting the movie so I can show it to others. I also plan on looking into the organizations and movement more.. and I plan on increasing my donations to Wellspring International, and encourage you to donate to them as well. I will also look into if I want to support another organization doing great work as well…

I think the thing that still has my emotions reeling.. and grasping at straws for how to deal with is the realization that so much evil is in the world… So much pain, dispair, hopelessness, fear, and senseless hurting of others.. We were not meant to live like this or ever understand these things. My heart hurts for the little girls who believe they have no value, and for the women who have spent years in situations that are dangerous and have caused them to become jaded and hurting.
I am so thankful for the men especially that are doing things to end sex trafficking, because it is also men causing the problem, and there is just something comforting about men who stand up for what is wrong.
I am thankful for the women involved either due to them having gotten out of it themselves, or due to it being laid on their heart, because it is mothers that are putting their daughters into this lifestyle.
I am so thankful that Christ forgives, changes, restores, makes new, and never leaves us. I am even more thankful of the stories in the movie of how Christ met each person and changed their life.

White Walls…

I have amazing friends.. Seriously, if you ever need to discover who your real friends are, and who cares about you.. Dislocate your hip, tear a very crucial ligament in your hip, then plan to move 650 miles away before you will heal..

Honestly, a part of me wonders if this is God’s way of saying “I will move you to MI, stop getting in my way.” Because truly, I am not allowed to move anything heavy that requires my legs or is heavy enough that I should use my legs… Which means I am perfectly capable of… almost nothing. haha. Lovely.

My friends have been amazing throughout all of this. I mean, let’s be honest, they have teased me a lot about my “handicap” because of my injury, but everything I have needed help with, one or more of my friends has stepped in to fill the void and cheerfully do it for me. I really have no idea what I have done to get such amazing friends, but I am so beyond thankful… Especially knowing that, I soon have to rely on my friends here in DC to pack me up, and then my brothers and dad in MI to unpack me. Talk about seriously humbling for this “I don’t like to ask for help” girl… However, to be total honest, despite all of my emotions and my pride having to take a back seat to allow my ridiculous injury to heal, mostly I am overwhelmed by how much others care about me enough to actually take care of me…

Perfect example, tonight a friend came over and helped me prime my bedroom. I felt horrible as she moved things around my room, cheerfully and more than willingly, but the fact that I could not move it was just frustrating… Then, she used the roller and primed my entire room while I edged. I mean honestly, we had a great time talking and laughing and sharing stories, but it is still really hard to have to be in a place of needing to ask for help.

Now, I lay in the middle of my completely disastrous room (yes on my plush air mattress… but, don’t judge me or feel bad, it’s been my bed for 4 years haha) surrounded by insane asylum white walls. Not only does my room not look like mine because everything is in utter disarray as boxes and heavy items are pushed together in the center of the room, but I have no curtains since we had to take them down to paint… and worst of all, the walls are white. WHITE. The only thing worse than white bedroom walls are beige bedroom walls (it is either insane asylum white, or beige hell). Well, actually, to be more accurate, the walls are more splotchy white since we just primed, but I painted my room a mocha brown the day I moved in, and the two places I have lived before this I painted as well.. so to be honest, my bedroom has not been white or beige in more than 3 1/2 years.

Now I find myself in my bedroom feeling like I am invading someone else’s space, such a weird feeling.


Saturday I had my DC Farewell party.

Let me just start by saying my best friend in DC is amazing, she knows exactly how to do things to make sure I know I am cared for. She has this way of just being the solid and steady support I need all the time. Words just cannot truly express how much she means to me, how much I rely on her support, wisdom, encouragement, perspective, care, and just overall friendship. More often than not, we look at things and find the same sense of humor in the situation, and I love that I can look at her while we are in a group of people and usually know what she is thinking or feeling… What makes our friendship even better is that we have known each other for a long time, but have gotten an amazing opportunity to truly get to know each other’s hearts… and, it has changed me in all the best of ways. She has never been afraid to call me out in private, to laugh with me over randomness, to grieve with me, pray for me, and support me in everything going on in my life. I love how much I can jabber on about anything and everything or sit in total silence while we “watch” a movie, I do homework, and she reads a book… Or while we lay on a beach and just soak up the sun and sounds of the waves. She truly makes my life better, and I have a feeling she has almost no idea how much I look to her and seek her out when I need perspective or support…. And, to be totally honest, we are still operating as though nothing is happening.. and will likely continue to operate this way until we HAVE to say goodbye… ugh.

ANYWAY… On to my farewell party that she threw me. Such a great time to see so many people that have been an active part of my life here in DC (and from a few other places that made the trip to see me!). We ate tons of food, laughed, joked, ate some more, and just in general spent time hanging out. I was honestly overwhelmed by how many people made it out or the people who made a point to contact me if they were unable to come. Talk about feeling so blessed. It was a lot of fun to see some people that I have not seen in a while, and some people that I do not get to see very often, and just chat, laugh, bring up the same three topics over and over… somehow always working into the conversation perfectly, which provided more laughter.

All I can honestly say to everyone who has been a part of my life in the last four years is thank you. You have no idea how much you all have changed me, shaped me, loved me, made me a better person, encouraged me, and made me laugh. I am so blessed, and so thankful, and am going to miss you guys more than my smile lets on.

It really did not hit me until today.. I am moving, and these amazing people I will be leaving in two weeks. Oye. I was really glad that no one made me cry last night.. however, I did have to hug on, then walk away from someone who began to cry because neither of us wanted to “do this” at that moment with other people around. Then, today at church I seriously had to fight tears four or five different times throughout the production set up, the sermon, and the production clean up… Why do I keep coming back to “I am not ready for this to be over”? Seriously, not a fan.

I recognize that some people find my aversion to crying odd, and others do not get it.. But, honestly it has more to do with my desire to function and accomplish all of the things I need to before I allow my emotions to take over. I do not want to give into the emotions that are flitting around on the outskirts of my thoughts and feelings incessantly so that I do not parking myself there and wallow when I have things I need to do, and precious time I need to spend with people. There is a time for grieving and mourning, but that time cannot be here and cannot be now, because I need to treasure these moments, these jokes, these bits of time with each person while I can… Then, I will fall apart and allow the emotions to envelope me later. After the time here is over, and the last two weeks and whirlwind that is my life is finished, then I will allow myself to grieve and truly feel the emotions. For now, I am trying to treasure everything.

This is one of those periods in my life when I am way more emotional than I am letting on, and that I am deeply feeling things that I refuse to allow to be seen so it does not affect those around me… The hiding the emotions will continue to get harder and harder, which I suspected it would.

The one good thing about all of this, I am praying SO MUCH. Praying about leaving my friends and church here. Praying about where I am going. Praying about the people I will become friends with, and the people I will work with, and the people I will love on (there will likely be a lot of overlapping of those prayers and people). Then, I have been praying for God to help me and guide me, because my heart is torn, but likely torn in the absolute best way a heart can be torn… I have a job to do, and I have no doubts God and I have a lot of things to accomplish. I have so many thoughts, prayers, and plans for where God is leading me now, but I am still working through leaving DC when things had gotten almost perfect. haha, I should have known that was when He and I were going to move on to something and somewhere else.

Should be a great couple of weeks, with hopefully only a few minor breakdowns.

Small World…

My family has joked for years that I either know everyone or know someone who knows someone type deal, and that soon it will be the seven degrees of Krista instead of Kevin Bacon. (Ha!)

Sometimes I think they may be on to something…

Yesterday, I went to the beach to see my roomie and her boyfriend (I know, you would think we would see each other in the house we both live in.. but instead, due to our schedules, we choose to meet elsewhere). It was a great time seeing them and hanging out on the beach.. (oh the beach.. always the beach… I seriously love the ocean.)

To give some real quick background information that makes the story a little crazier… My roomie came to live with me and several other girls a year in a half ago via an online posting for Christian roommates. A couple months ago she started dating her now boyfriend who lives near the beach, and around that same time he moved in with another guy who owns the house they now both live in, although the other guy recently deployed, so he was not around for my visit.

A fairly long, pretty humorous, and much more detailed story incredibly short, my roomie’s boyfriend lives with a guy I worked with six years ago, and the only reason I realized who he was is because I saw his name printed on his Bible… And then, I was able to locate a picture of him and confirm it was the same guy.

What is even crazier is, I remember a specific moment in time six years ago praying that this guy would not be changed by the career he wanted to go (and is now) into. The reason I remember the prayer is because it was the last day of work, and as I left I remember randomly thinking about a bunch of the people I worked with, and praying small little things for each one of them. This particular guy I always thought was incredibly nice (in a good way) and kind all the time; it was clear he had a strong faith, and part of me was worried his career would change him. I know everyone grows and changes, but I did not want his faith to dwindle or his career to cause his kindness to dissipate. After I realized who the roommate was, and that I was hanging out at his place, I asked what he was like… and what an amazing and unexpected answer to prayer SIX YEARS LATER to find out that this guy is doing what he has wanted to do for years, is still following Christ, and he is still just as kind.

I love when God randomly answers my prayers… and blows my mind with how small the world can be sometimes! Weirdest small world experience ever!

For safety purposes names and specific information have been left out because I do not want to post it online due to him being deployed…