Mean Christians…

Christians can be some of the meanest people you ever encounter.

Why is that? — I mean, let’s look at the facts for a moment…

Christians have the Truth of eternal life, their model for good behavior is a man who was actually God and perfect, they have been given both grace for their sins and forgiveness that they do not deserve and have not earned.. And, in return they are asked to merely love others, and love God.

Seems simple enough.. But, I wish it were that easy.

Somehow merely loving others does not seem to play into the every day reactions of Christians. Somewhere in the mix of being told to tell others, “Jesus loves you” Christians seem to scream instead, “I am RIGHT, and you are wrong.”

Now, do not misunderstand me here, I know the real thing that makes Christians mean: Christians are fallen, broken, and not even close to perfect, regardless of the role model…

But, what astonishes me is the ability for someone to go from talking about how much they love their Lord and Savior or “serving,” and then mere minutes later be intentionally reaming someone out for a minor offense. The real reason for the meanness likely truly stems from their internal voice wanting to be right or their personal feelings being offended.

Let me highlight a few things. First, the Bible is pretty clear about how to handle disagreements, conflict, and forgiveness:

“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

‘Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.’

At that point Peter got up the nerve to ask, ‘Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?’

Jesus replied, ‘Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.'” Matthew 18:15-22 (MSG)

Jesus leaves no room for Christians to choose to be right or arrogant, offended or offensive. — Our only true option is acting in love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

Second point, speaking personally, I have no inclination to help anyone who is in my face upset or yelling at me. — However, I will pretty much bend over backwards, for someone who has made it clear I am a priority and they care about me.

It truly grieves my heart though when I experience, hear about or watch Christians making fools of themselves with their attitude, complaints, and false pretenses of being better than someone else… Or worse yet, when Christians are straight up acting a fool and claiming it is on behalf of someone else.

I mean, I am a Christ-follower to the core, and I still act a fool regularly, say insensitive things, react poorly or flat-out respond in a harsh and entirely mean way. But, the reality is that it never gets me what I want, and I certainly never feel better after I “get it out.”

Really, the answer is “No,” it is not ok to break God’s commands merely because you are offended, upset or taking up the cause of someone else… In fact, God told David that he was to be ruler, and then he was presented with the opportunity to KILL the current king Saul in a cave. However, he chose not to because it was against the law to murder the king… And, lo and behold, God was able to still orchestrate David becoming king.

God does not ever require us to forsake His commands in order to “do good” or “make right” on His behalf.

So, a few challenges that even I myself, need to pay more attention to:

  • Deal with conflict/concerns/issues/problems/frustrations Biblically.
  • When you fail to handle a situation well, apologize quickly.
  • Give up the false pretense that your feelings must mean you are correct. (ouch.. this one is really hard for me)
  • Do not judge the actions of others and the intentions of yourself.
  • When in doubt, fruits of the spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control.
  • When in doubt, love. Because love is patient, love is kind, love keeps no record of wrongs, love does not boast, love does not envy, love does not act unbecomingly, love does not seek it’s own agenda, love bears all things, love believes all things. Love. Hopes. And. Endures. All. Things.

When in doubt, love.. Not meanness.

***Disclaimer: I am not pretending that I have not also fallen into the behavior I am highlighting.***

The State of the 28th Birthday…

Today I turn 28.

My office on my birthday!

My office on my birthday!

For those who know me, birthdays are awesome, lovely, wonderful, and should be so much fun!.. In fact, I love birthdays so much that whenever possible I make mine and anyone around me’s birthday a week-long event!.. I mean why not?

Birthdays are the one day (or week) a year where showering love, gifts, words of encouragement, and just in general attention are acceptable because after all the chance to return the favor later is part of the fun!

Birthdays allow the chance to just in general love on the person.

Growing up, I thought 28 was SO. OLD. haha

However, today, I love that this is my age. — It feels right, and I feel as though I know exactly who I am at this stage in my life.

This morning I woke up to thunder and lightning (whoa loud) in slush covered Michigan… I choose to believe that it is God’s way of saying “Happy birthday”… And, this is the first time

in my entire life that I have no worries about snow ruining my birthday plans (thank you 58 degree forecast!)

As I look back on my 27th year, so much has changed.

28 things for my 28th birthday:
(in no particular order of importance)

  1. I live in a different state than last birthday.
  2. I have a job I love, and don’t mind allowing to consume ridiculous amounts of my time.
  3. I have a very large, sweet, loving (but loads of work) puppy.
  4. I am weeks away from being done with school!… For a least a little while.
  5. I have lots of plans to travel!
  6. I have an idea of next steps in my life, and what I want to begin working towards on a personal level.
  7. I have never been more sure of my friendships, near and far.
  8. For the first time in my life, I am content with how I look, flaws, acne, weight, and all.
  9. I am excited that I have worked myself down to living off of 75% of my income. — Tithing 10%, gifting 8%, and saving 7%… I have “tricked” myself into this pattern and am totally fine with that!
  10. This year I am excited about reading the Bible from start to finish.
  11. I am excited about reading 40 books this year (two down so far), and intentionally cultivating new gifts and skills.
  12. I love that I spend my job, personal life, and as much time as I want to focusing and loving others!.. How did I end up with this life?!
  13. I am excited to see where God takes me because I have no clue what to expect out of this year.
  14. The only debt I have is student loans (thank you $94k), but I have a plan to pay that off in the next eight years!
  15. I am thankful that I am more compassionate, patient, and have more grace than I did on this day a year ago.
  16. I love that I get to spend more of my 28th year with my family than I have any year in the last five years.
  17. I am so beyond thankful that turning 28 includes contentment.
  18. I am thankful for birthday fairies.. haha
  19. I know people might think it’s silly, but I cherish all the social media birthday wishes, videos, jokes, humor, and love…
  20. I am finally beginning to feel connection here in MI.
  21. I appreciate that I have several projects underway.. even if it is a slow progression.
  22. This year my baby brother gets married to the most amazing woman, my little sister turn sweet 16, and I get another niece!.. Not to mention several best friends are having sweet little ones too!!!
  23. I am happy that at 28 I have finally settled into enjoying this stage of life consistently.. Instead of only finding contentment for short periods.
  24. I can confidently say that my singleness feels like a good fit.
  25. I am a big girl now and own a for real bed (what?!), a washer and dryer, a (paid off) car, a dining room set, a living room set, and I live by myself with a spare room for God to fill however he sees fit, and that I am completely able to pay all bills…
  26. I am excited that at this point in my life I can honestly say I would be more than happy to give anything I own away for free.
  27. Despite the government declaring there are no mermaids, and saying no to building a death star, I have a feeling this is going to be a great year!
  28. For my 28th birthday, I am asking for those around me to pray for three things this year:
    I. More Love and Grace for those around me.
    II. Health (no, really).
    III. For God to use this year to blow me away unlike any other before it.

So, there are the 28 things on my mind for my 28th birthday!

My decorated phone at work.

My decorated phone at work.

I Love You…

There are so many ways to interpret such a simple phrase “I love you.”

There is the I love you like I love chocolate or my favorite jeans type of love.

There is the I adore you because you just brought me a coffee love.

There is the I love you because you are my friend or because Jesus has commanded me to type as well…

There is the passionately IN love with you version.

And then, there is the I love you born out of history, compassion, choice, and friendship.

It dawned on me today as I was chatting with my sister in law, we ended our conversation with our typical “I love you.. I love you too.” Not only is this nothing new or out of the ordinary, but my entire immediate family talk to each other in this manner. My brothers, my parents, my sister and sister in laws, even my nephews and niece and our assimilated-into-the-family-brother, all of us say and show each other love all the time. — So much so that we do not even think about it anymore.

After spending some time at my parents house, as one of us leaves, everyone else literally lines up and hugs the one leaving… Every single time. I cannot remember when the line of goodbye hugs started, but I truly treasure this naturally born habit we have formed as a family.

Conversations on the phone virtually always end with “I love you” before we hang up… Chatting online tends to follow the same pattern.

I think what has struck me in this commonplace action in my family is, no one person instigates the hugs or the I love yous, it is never a one sided action, and there is never any doubt that we each mean it.

What a special and precious gift.

Frozen Mitten…

So, apparently winter has officially “hit” in the mitten state, as in, it has been 0 degrees before the windchill. (painful)

This is the longest and now the coldest winter I have had in five years! Sounds ridiculous, but I am totally serious.

Yet, in the midst of freezing my butt off, and avoiding gassing up my car as long as possible in hopes of the temperatures returning to a reasonable number, I have a few thoughts that have been sparked by the cold:

  • Going on a winter retreat with a bunch of teens is cold, fun, hysterical, and completely unpredictable. – And possibly completely worth the bitter temps…
  • My 70+lbs pup’s body temperature is warmer than mine.. therefore he is getting trained to warm me up when we return inside from our (mostly brief) walks.
  • I cannot express how thankful I am that my pups does not want to play in the snow for long.
  • I love the heat of summer infinitely more than the cold of winter because heat never just hurts like cold does.
  • I. Am. So. Thankful. For a working heater in my apartment.
  • I need to get a new pair of gloves… And, possibly a snow suit for every day use… And potentially, more thermal socks…

Due to the sub-zero temps, I have been reading, doing homework, and watching movies more than I have in winters past… So, at least I am being productive! But, I keep trying to console myself with the idea that I will be shocked at how quickly spring comes…

Spring flowers!

Spring flowers!


Starting Fresh…

So, I have officially made the transition over to a new platform! I am not entirely sure

Latest hair change!

Latest hair change!

how this will all begin to unfold, and if it is anything like most of my posts, it will still focus on the things rolling around in my head or planted in my heart.

However, a few changes, obviously there is more information about myself. This is on purpose, and I intend on cultivating my “brand”… I am not entirely sure what this will look like in the future, but I feel it is the next step for me. The site is not completed  yet, but it has a foundational start and will be expounded upon as I have time (and inspiration).

Also, I will be including guest posts.. Although, I have not formulated what that will entail entirely, but eventually it will come out.

Starting fresh always feels like a good thing, a spring cleaning of sorts (in the bitter cold on January), however, despite starting fresh, I have imported the posts from my previous blog because honestly it was a little sad to think that I would be without the last four years of history documented.

So, we shall see how this fresh start begins to develop… After I finish figuring out how to post and do things correctly!

Toying With Possibilities…

I have been toying with the idea in my head to change things up a bit… Shocker right?

Although really, the change would only take place online, and it would be in the form of creating a new blog and website for myself… But, it would be change none the less.

I love blogging, I love sharing my thoughts and life with the digital realm. But, mostly I love the people that my blog connects me to. I love how God uses this platform and medium to speak to the hearts of people (not just the one I write, but soo many others).

For example, I am considering doing something a little bit more like my online friend Renee Fischer, or like this collection of women, or even still like this blog for new or soon to be marrieds. Obviously it would be like these in terms of the fact that it would become more dynamic and engaging, but it would be in my flare and style.

Honestly though, my biggest worry against making this move is my ability to move all of my 700+ posts to this new site. I mean, as much as I love change, this blog is an intimate history and chronological description of God’s story in my life… it would have to come with me. Although, I am fairly certain I can make the transition… But, it would of course take work and time to make the move.

However, the thought of making the transition and exploring what it would look like to invest more in my writing online.. I like this thought just because I have talked to people and received numerous e-mails or messages about how much a particular post helped someone. I love that. In the moments and times when I have nothing to share or I hurt too deeply to express well, I write and put whatever I can out there because there is a chance that it might impact someone else.

How could I say no if all of this work sews just one seed for Jesus?.. Or waters just one fertile plant? Or encourages someone struggling? Or reminds someone they are loved unconditionally? Or helps someone express forgiveness? Or gives words to the voiceless?.. How could I choose not to write if just one post has the chance to change someone’s eternal life?

No, I will continue to write, because what if?…

The real choice now is do I stay here or migrate and give myself more possibilities?

Why Help?…

I have been thinking lately about the idea of why we help others.

Sometimes I think we “help” those “less fortunate” than ourselves for credit or recognition. Not always obviously, but sometimes it is even just wanting credit from the person we are helping… Then there are other times when I think we are told to help, and we obey, but in obeying find ourselves feeling incredibly awkward. I have had several instances lately where I feel like God has told me to step in and do something instantly without question. Ironically I find I get incredibly awkward in those moments because I am purely following the Holy Spirit, yet I want no recognition, so it is almost as though I do not want anyone to notice… Even though the particular situations require lots of people around to notice.

Then, on a totally different side, we help people despite themselves. We fight for what is right on their behalf, even though we often are fighting them instead of someone else…

***Pause*** Let me be explicitly clear here, I am not referring to everyone or even close to everyone… It will be clear in a few moments what I am talking about, just stick with me.

Helping can be frustrating business sometimes. I mean really, I have DOZENS of stories of helping people at my church, some funny, annoying, frustrating, infuriating, and many more emotions… and it has only been a few months! Yet ironically, I spend most of my time helping by actually fighting for change within themselves; usually nicely.. but sometimes bluntly… and still other times I completely ignore their bad behavior in order to get them one step closer. (Yup, I just referred to some Christian adults as having bad behavior…)

I find that I keep having to remind myself is that this is purely a season, this is where the heavy lifting comes in, and quite frankly, no matter how I feel I have been told to go and do, and I have no choice but to be obedient. 

My job, or at least a huge portion of it is to be a catalyst for change… Actually, if I am being honest, my job is a lot of things… But, mostly my job is to teach people HOW to change. Not because we want everyone to look the same, act the same, smell the same (ew), or speak the same.. But because we want everyone to serve as God has made them uniquely and specifically to do. We want everyone to grow in a way that speaks to their own hearts and minds. A Christ follower should be serving and growing constantly, and in order to do that, we have to change… constantly.

Yet, if we have not ever been in a place or position that has forced change, we tend to stay mostly the same. Sometimes staying the same is reflected in our hair (clearly not mine), our manner of speaking or in the case of “the church” it comes in the form of our comfort zones and the places we are terrified to touch or go. So, my job is to create the space and opportunity for people to learn how to change… I work to give them the tools that will make the process one that each person understands how it works on their level. What makes creating space for change difficult is that, it looks as different as each person that attends our church… which means that everything I do to create space and encourage growth becomes a full frontal assault to someone no matter what I do.

Thankfully (not even joking), the Lord has been with me, and in moments where I was about to lose it on some poor afraid of change soul, God intervened and took care of me and the person I was engaged with. In some instances I was able to clearly see the words and actions for what they were, nervousness. In other cases I was able to respond to what they meant instead of what they were saying. While still other instances, I was given the gift of silence.. No really, for me that does not come easily or often…

I have also been thinking about all of the minor little things I do every. single. day. to help institute change in the hearts of the hundreds of people who attend my church, and subsequently the hundreds of people they have then contact with on a regular basis outside of “the church”… Cause let’s be honest here, it only will mean something if the people who currently go to my church learn to grow and change, and then in turn reach out to those they have contact with who do not currently go to church or know Christ.

What I have also been thinking of is how no matter what I do, someone doesn’t like it, while at the very same time it is an answer to someone else’s prayers. How bizarre… And, talk about having to know where you are going, why you are headed in that direction, and then on-top of it all pray.. lots.

So, if it is so difficult sometimes, why do I help? Because I care. Genuinely. Deep down in my very core, in every fiber of who I am, I care. I was made to care, I was broken to have compassion, I care what happens in your eternal destination. I care what happens to the eternal destinations of the hundreds of people in your sphere of influence. It matters to me that each person be pushed to in turn learn why it matters that they help.

And, no matter what people think or say, I can, and will change the world.

Not me as in Krista by herself, in her own strength; but, “me” as in God created me uniquely and specifically, and He is going to use me to make His kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven unlike anyone else. Just like He will use each one of us to do the exact same thing, especially if we intentionally bow and bend our hearts towards Him.

Why do I help others in the joy, fun, exciting, frustrating, awkward, infuriating, and uncertain things? Because God has told me to. There is no other reason.