Changing Slowly…

Lately I have been taking time to reflect on where I am internally compared to where I was almost five months ago.

Throughout each year, there are markers that serve as points to pause, reflect and compare to a year ago… Yet, this time, rather than reflecting on a year ago, IΒ find myself processing how much has happened inside of me since July of this year. I went into Uganda struggling very much internally, but not even really in a place to recognize it because of how hard and hectic May and June had been in every regard.

Before we left, I had begun asking God to reveal the lies I had been believing, and to restore hope where I had lost it… Then I closed that box of my heart, and got on a plane and launched myself to another continent.

Twice on the flight over I was asked how my heart was doing because people who know me, are aware of how much I struggle and have to actively work to link my head and heart well. I have had a habit of locking my heart up and setting it aside, especially if I am uncertain or overwhelmed by what I’m feeling.

Perfectly timed, around that same time before we left for Uganda, I also began asking God to help me navigate my head and heart well together. I had started to realize that Grace and Truth as well as Head and Heart are the balance of the Holy Spirit. God is perfectly both sides in unison, and in order to be more like Him, and more sensitive to His guidance, I too needed to start learning how to balance these things rather than setting one aside.

I was not prepared for the answer God was going to give me, nor the longevity of what it would mean to get the answers to these prayers.

I actually think if I had known how long and hard this all would be, I would have peaced out and quit right from the beginning. I am fairly confident IΒ  would have shut my heart down and opted out of the process to protect my heart had I known the pain and struggle involved. Yet, one of the many graces in this whole journey has actually been my lack of knowing God’s timing. – I struggle with it all the time (as in allllll the time), but not knowing has also created a reliance on Him that I simply did not have before. Not knowing God’s timing has been so good too because I was unaware of the depths of intensity it would take to fix and heal certain areas of my heart, and just what it would mean to restore the trust and hope in God that I had lost. – Back in July it was as though my prayer for help balancing my head and heart caused God to lock my heart in the open position; it has been exhausting and overwhelming almost every single day since.

Even still, almost five months later, I regularly feel overwhelmed by how I am feeling, the ways I am changing, and how far I still have to grow. About once a week I have a late night meltdown over how exhausted and weary I feel internally due to actively processing every day. I am given the option to choose to grow and learn more about who I am supposed to be in Christ, and to face the ways in which I lack in trust/faith/fruit of the spirit (throw a dart at some character trait and I’m probably working on that too)… I assure you, it is Not. Easy. Nor. Fun.

But, God does not force me, He allows me the freedom to choose to face these things or quit… However, because of who God has made me, I will not give up, and I will choose to daily engage in this process of growth and change.

My journal of prayers is getting record use (literally). The current one (each one is 40 sheets/80 pages) is my 4th one in just about four months…

But so that there is no patting me on the back with congratulations: My prayer journal just makes me look like a crazy person.

Seriously, going back and reading the day-to-day prayers, they just swing widely back and forth, it’s embarrassing, but also they are incredibly intimate and real. These prayers reflect my struggle, my anxiety, my fears, my heart wide open and effort that it all takes, but also the ever so slow changes that are taking place, and just about every emotion possible finds its way into my prayers.

These journals are very how I am choosing to press closer to God and processing all of my tension, thoughts, and emotions.. But, in all honesty, they just really make me look like a wackadoodle. I wish I could share about how sweet the prayers are, but no. The sheer level of back and forth my prayers exhibit is ridiculous; the overwhelming emotions, the joy, thankfulness, the over analyzing things, the confusion and uncertainty, the copied scripture trying to help me grasp onto solid truth amidst the chaos of feelings, the waffling ebb and flow with how I feel vs what my head knows… EXHAUSTING.

Yet, I am also currently reading through the book of Psalms: I feel like my journal looks a bit like David’s prayers and hymns.

Some are so sweet, loving, encouraging, full of thanksgiving, while others are all raging and demanding that God do something (usually an overreaction to an emotion or situation). Some are declarations of praise, faith, love, and hope, while others are full of anger, sorrow, and despair. – This could literally be the description of my prayer journals AND the book of Psalms… So, I guess that is comforting?

At the end of every journal (about every six weeks currently), I go back and review it. I re-read things I have prayed for, asked God about, passages of scripture I copied, and then compare them to my calendar and remember what was going on that day. Every few weeks I am amazed at all that the Lord has done, how I feel about those days after the fact or in light of things that happened a few days later. I marvel and thank God again for answers to prayers, and for His continued patience, grace, and tenderness as I try to press in, learn, and grow.

But, let’s be honest: It. Is. So. Hard.

Several months ago I felt like God told me three things:
Hold Steadfast.
Be Obedient.

Then about a month ago I felt like God added Faith, Hope, Love.

As I review my journals, I am amazed at what it looks like to hold steadfast, persevere, and be obedient, and how these three things play out (and don’t). Previously I never would have been able to accurately identify what it truly looks like to hold steadfast and persevere, because I struggle each day with them. – Before all of this, I would have felt as though the level of my struggle daily would clearly indicate I was not in fact holding steadfast; yet as I go back over my prayer journals, I realize in the long haul it absolutely does. Holding steadfast and persevering doesn’t mean a lack of experiencing emotions or struggle, it means turning to God with every single little bit of it, and remaining there with Him.

I have learned that holding steadfast and persevering throughout scripture leads to faith, hope and love… but also proven character. It is in the journey, the long haul, the process that we refine, create, and prove who we are at our foundational core. But, let’s not dismiss how much proving character takes time, and is incredibly difficult and oh so awkward of an imperfect process.

In the last couple of months I have begun to see the transformation, and just how much I am changed forever because of the time pressing into the Holy Spirit and expressing all the things to God. Choosing to return back to Him with every little thing has changed the way in which I handle joy, hope, failures or despair on a daily basis. Because of the difficulty of modifying who I am on the inside, there has been an increase in desire to spend dedicated time every day with God; I am not entirely sure I can name any period of time in my entire life that I felt this way for months on end… I am so incredibly grateful (and hope it continues, recognizing seasons of life and all).

I long for connection with God, I need time to tell Him how I am, ask for what I want, and process everything that I’m struggling with. Every day there is a nuance to the areas He is work on growing in me, and whatever is heavy on my heart or mulling around in my head that day also gets some much-needed time laid before Him.

Now months into this whole process, I realized this week, on one particularly intense and emotional day full of stress, frustration, anxiety etc.. I still had the clarity and presence of mind to actively choose my responses. I was not swept away in any explosion of emotion and even the intensity with which I experienced my feelings was still there just like before, but despite it all, I found myself able to actively chose grace and patience. – Well that’s new…Β and not easy.

I have started to realize over the last couple of weeks that the force with which I feel and experience my emotions has not changed at all. God has not lessened who I am or the passion and intensity that I process, feel or express things; instead, He has changed my ability to see perspective, have understanding, and respond in grace and love. It is as though the spring that feeds into my heart-well is different, and therefore what is coming out is also distinctively changed, but that I am who I have always been in many ways, just a better version of that person.

A couple small excerpts from one of my prayers at the end of a particularly difficult day recently:
Thank you for being with me and giving me the extra measure of grace, patience, and presence of mind to choose my responses…
Help me to follow your leading better tomorrow. Give me more wisdom and understanding, and bless me with a greater capacity to love well…
Forgive me for the things I said and did today that did not line up with you. Forgive me for the things I missed…
Show me how to trust you more and be confident in your faithfulness more…

It has been an interesting experience reading through my prayers over the last few months,Β I would never have chosen this ahead of time had I known how hard it would be. I also have realized that I would never have been able to predict beforehand the ways in which I would respond (good or bad) to how God would grow and make me new. Yet, through it all, I am starting to recognize the small ways He has shown up and proven Himself trustworthy and faithful. But, above all, recognizing this gaining familiarity with Him as I spend more time communicating with Him. His presence and “voice” feel different to me now than they did in July (or previous to that).

My daily struggle to hold steadfast, persevere, and be obedient is still going strong.
Learning how to love well is not easy.
Finding and growing my faith and hope feels ambiguous, but slowly I am realizing that it is creating a foundation I did not have previously.
Making decisions against my own insecurities, and choosing to share my heart rather than shut it down and set it aside is still incredibly hard.

I am not the same person I was a few months ago.
My heart has changed. I have changed.

It has been a slow sometimes arduous process, and it certainly is nowhere near complete, but I am also incredibly grateful… and exhausted.

I am learning that the process and journey is full of challenges and pain (there are good and joyful times too, but let’s be honest, we don’t need people to identify with our good times as much), but it is worth it to become more of who God intends for you to be.

Choose to face it all head on, experience every emotion, and sift through them with the creator of your heart; it will change you forever and it will be so good.

31 Birthday Loves

I turned 31 last week.

I love birthdays, and this one was no different… Only it was so different in many ways.

I wanted to celebrate with a brunch!… So we did. While we were dumped on with 30 inches of snow! (Winter and I have a long history of hatred for one another)

My sister came to visit, and we had a blast. – She will never know how much I love her and cherish her. It amazes me that she is truly 12 1/2 years younger than me because our relationship is so sweet and fun and funny!

My sister, a friend and I went on a whirlwind trip to NYC, and it was one of the best days! Exhausting, but so much fun!

I had to work long hours on my birthday and the day after (thankfully I very much like my job), but we still found time to do so much celebrating with breakfast with the roomies, dinner and an amazing and intense movie (13 Hours), another surprise dinner the day after with SO many of my favorite peoples, and then yet another surprise of going shooting at a gun range… Which means I can now cross off Revolver from the guns I want to shoot list!

So much love, but what made it truly amazing was the hundreds (and I truly mean hundreds without exaggeration) hugs, happy birthday songs, phone calls, e-mails, text messages, pictures, and social media posts wishing me a happy birthday.. Sweet notes, full of love, encouragement, and prayers… Not to mention the cupcakes, edible arrangements, flowers, gifts, and cards.

Overwhelming in the absolute best way possible.

Never in my life have I felt such a consistent outpouring of love and excitement.

So, while I think I was able to respond to everyone and thank them, I want to be sure and let you all know how grateful I am…

Thank you for loving me, speaking into my life, seeing the best in me, celebrating me, praying for me, and for all of the big and small ways that you choose to do life with me!
Thank you for laughing with and at me, encouraging me, helping to make me better each day, and for caring so much about me!

What an amazing birthday completely overflowing with love, 31 is going to be an amazing year!

Thank you for loving me on my 31st birthday week!



Unchosen Change…

Late night writing has pretty much always been my thing. There is just something about the silence and stillness that comes late into the evening that just causes my mind to think differently. Tonight, as I sit in my soon to no longer be mine living room, with my incredibly large puppy sound asleep at my feet, I am struck once again by one thought: Unchosen change is the hardest.

I have said for a very long time that change is hard, even for someone like me who tends to really enjoy change (yes, 7 different hair colors in the last year). Change brings a lot of things, many of which take the form of uncertainties that simply cannot be answered. But, I will always stand by my personal view that it is actually the unchosen change that is the most difficult.

The complex situation can sometimes be caused by someone else choosing and making decisions on your behalf, other times it is because of illness, and every so often it is because of a series of tragic events. Regardless, the things you did not decide, but have no choice except to walk through is where the grieving of the change comes in.

My mantra for the last year has been pretty simple: “It’s just different, it’s not good or bad, just different.” And, that could not be more true for my life right now.

This week, I have had such a whirlwind of emotions play through me.

I am 7 weeks out,
100 job applications in,
23 rejection letters received,
15 packed boxes later,
2 cans of primer required,
and a solid 50/50 mixture of sorrow and joy.

Sorrow because I am painting my place back to white (which is never my favorite), and not preparing for a new exciting place yet.
Sorrow because I do not see the plan nor do I have a plan for what is coming next.
Sorrow because I am not excited about my next steps.
Sorrow because I did not just lose a job, I lost my community, and my home.
Sorrow because I learned a lot of bad habits due to some difficult people.
Sorrow because I miss and am going to miss a lot of people immensely.
Sorrow because it all just sucked.

And then, mercifully, I also find joy has just as much room in my heart and emotions.

Joy because I really do love adventure.
Joy because I get to take a furry companion with me this time.
Joy because a safety net fell into place exactly when I needed it to.
Joy because a terrible situation provided the means to get me through this season.
Joy because I know without any doubts that in a few days/weeks/months/ this time next year, I will be focused on other things.
Joy because I am loved by so very many people.
Joy because I trust that this all happened for a reason.
Joy because tomorrow brings new things.
Joy because I by my choosing or not, I am taken care of and Loved, and I know that when I look back, I would gladly choose every time for this all to work out exactly as it is playing out currently.

Unchosen change honestly sucks and it is hard. But, if we only ever got to choose the change, we would only ever do what we knew we could… And, where’s the fun adventure in that?

True Joy…

My name is Krista Paula Beata (bee-ah-tuh). While it is unusual, and may sound odd, my name is very dear to me, there is an incredibly rich history behind my name… and I enjoy having two middle names.

You see, my parents named me (and all three of my siblings) based off of the meanings behind the names, they prayed for us, and felt compelled by the meanings they felt held true to who we were meant to be. My beautiful little sister and I both have two middle names, a tradition my older brother and sister in law kept when they had my most adorable niece (known to mankind), and one I will likely keep as well if I ever have a daughter. Making the history even deeper, both of my middle names come from my grossmama (German for grand-mama) and grosspapa (grand-papa), but even more than that, my name literally means “joyful little Christian.”

I love it because every part of my name and the history behind it fit me. I very much enjoy the uniqueness that is the story behind my name, I love that the meaning fits me exactly…

Joy has typically been a fairly tangible characteristic of mine, and even more than that, I (like my dad) have a fairly loud laughter that gets more comments than anything else. It took me a while, but now I love the laugh that is often just a little too loud, very distinctive, and causes my entire body to partake in the laughter. One of the things I have found is that my laughter has a direct correlation to my joy… I laugh easily and often… and usually loudly when joy is down the core.

Joy is a choice, joy is hard… But, joy is also a gift I am so thankful my parents have been praying over me since before I was born, and one that seems to be woven into the very fibers of who I am because joy is where I am the most comfortable in my own skin. 

There have definitely been periods of my life where I literally could not find joy, it was as if it had evaporated like the mist in the morning, and all that remained was a sweltering day followed by a pitch black night. During those times in my life, when I laid in bed at night, I remember thinking several times, “where has my joy gone?… Oh Lord, find it and bring it back to me…”

Every single time, the joy eventually comes back, not always right away, and sometimes it takes much… much longer than I would ever willingly choose, but it also brings with it an unexpected layer of faith that once again my sweet savior protected me through the heat of the day and carried me through the overwhelming darkness. Each time joy returned to my life, it brought with it an additional understanding of the difficulty it takes to choose joy, but also the absolute importance of joy as well.

True joy is not a result of naivety or a way of choosing not to see reality, there is something about true joy that ushers in hope, that paves a way for faith, and that replaces fear with peace. More specifically, the joy I am speaking about is not to every be confused with happiness, and definitely not to be mistaken for fake or fleeting. I am talking about an unmitigated joy to the very core. The type of joy that could only come from my Lord, my king. The kind of joy that resonates from within and somehow finds a way of reaching to the very core of those it touches as effortlessly as a feather wafting along on a breeze. True, authentic, unhindered joy… That is the joy that returns to me faithfully, brought to me like a perfectly wrapped gift from the God of the universe.

I am so thankful for true joy in my life.

Dancing The Night Away…

So, over the last week or so my friends and I have been out dancing twice.. and by out dancing.. I really mean out once, and staying in once too. Last Friday a few of us decided it would be fun to go to the local dance academy/night club.. haha which really isn’t like what it sounds at all.. It’s a “dry” night club.. which really isn’t a club, but just a dance academy that they opened on Friday night too. We all got there early so they can teach us something about what we’re doing.. since we only have one gifted salsa dancing friend. πŸ™‚

There was a fairly even number of guys and girls so it made it lots of fun cause no one HAD to be the wall flower, and much to my surprise and joy the guys were great about rotating around to all the girls, especially the ones along the side. It’s never a fun feeling of having to be the wall flower because everyone else has a partner…

We all had a blast, and you wouldn’t believe the work out that comes from dancing! haha! Much more so as the girl who does tons of twirling. Which, lets be honest twirling is what makes it as fun as it is πŸ™‚ Especially when, my friends and I act like goobers while dancing. My friend Doll who is down here visiting and I even though dancing with our partners, at one point decided warring with each other was more fun.. So, regardless of where the guy tried leading us, we were more interested in acting like we were trying to upstage each other! lol πŸ™‚ It was a blast and we laughed hysterically all evening long πŸ™‚

Then, last night Doll, Brit, and I went over to a couple of our friend’s house and got private salsa lessons. We had more girls than guys, but it was ok, we blasted Pandora and had a blast anyway. Trying to manage, learn, demonstrate, and practice in a very small living room with 5 people all trying to do the same thing was comical to say the least… Which of course caused more laughing as we’d bump into each other, the couch, the chair, the ceiling fan lights, the banister, or when we’d realize the next move we were learning would send the girl (us) into the wall… =O Then, which ever girl was not partnered seemed to always sneak away to get watermelon, brownies, oreos, water.. whatever. πŸ™‚ It was a lot of fun learning and laughing at each other trying to learn. At the end of the evening we popped on some youtube videos for assistance, which was also a lot of fun.. Then we got ambitious and thought we could learn the Lindy Hop.. lol yeah.. that’s about where our adventure came to a screeching halt πŸ™‚

But, regardless we had a lot of fun. We laughed and joked around. The guys didn’t hurt us or drop us as they attempted new moves (which is always a bonus!). Sometimes I think it’s amazing how all you need is just something that’s just fun. A reason to laugh until it hurts. Somehow, it restores what needs to be righted, causes joy to return. I’m not sure how, but it does πŸ™‚ I’m such a fan of those moments. If I could freeze and hold onto them, I would because at those times nothing else matters, just the joy and the laughter. I love it.

“Let them praise his name with dancing, making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!” – Psalm 149:3

Tired Contentment…

A few days ago I was told I have a warm and inviting smile. I’m not really sure how someone has a warm and inviting smile versus a normal smile, but it was a nice compliment. It got me thinking about it though, and I realized the most common compliments I receive always involve my laugh and my smile. Apparently my two greatest distinctive features…

So, what makes me smile? Well, I could easily make a list a million miles long about what I laugh at and what makes me smile.. But, what I really want to do is actually address what causes me to be joyful… I mean here’s an example of normalcy for me…

Saturday night I slept a grand total of.. MAYBE 4 hours. I mean I went to bed about midnight, and didn’t need to get up until 7:30… but clearly God and I had some business to attend to, so about 1:30 I gave up trying to sleep, and read my Bible, journaled, blogged, and prayed… For HOURS. It was a great time with my Jesus…

Sunday morning I was definitely dragging a big.. I mean who wouldn’t be after not falling asleep until 3-4am!.. But, I didn’t feel it in my attitude or mood at all (which I don’t typically have the problem of sleep affecting my moods), but it was more so than normal. I mean literally I was joyful inside, my heart was content, and I was happy… which carried over into Sunday school class, and church, and interactions with friends, and movie night..

I laughed a ridiculous amount.. I mean seriously. Our leadership team prays before anyone arrives for Sunday school.. we laughed and seriously struggled to pull it back together for prayer for a good 20 minutes or so. Then, lunch was lots of fun with a large group of people all laughing and enjoying each other’s wit. Then I went to the park with several friends and threw a Football and Frisbee around for a while.. attempted to throw with my left over and over.. which caused my stomach to hurt from laughing so hard at my failed attempts lol I got to spend some great quality time with a couple friends.. Then went over to a friend’s house and watched Bolt… Which is HYSTERICAL.. I mean seriously sooo funny. And my friends and I cracked up the whole time.. in part because of the movie, and in part because of each other’s reactions to the movie. It was great.

So, last night when I crawled into bed… TOTALLY exhausted I was completely full inside. My “cuddle meter was full” even though I hadn’t actually cuddled with anyone lol I went through the entire day tired, and lacking some serious sleep, but I was fulfilled.. mostly due to my extremely long conversation with My Savior where we talked about everything I was feeling.. But, also in part because the sun was shining (although the wind would take you away if you weren’t careful), and my friends and I were able to just enjoy each other’s company and humor and wit. I can’t even begin to describe to you how truly good that combination is.

So, I highly recommend the occasional time of forgoing sleep to chat with your creator.


I have a whole slew of things bouncing around in my head.. but I can’t seem to get anything coherent or solid to grab a hold of. It’s like I have a list of things I want to talk about or process through, but nothing that has solidified to even give me a starting place.

Some things I have been thinking of…

Hope isn’t just “wishful thinking” it’s a solid foundation.
Which then brings a whole new meaning to:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” – Hebrews 11:1

Joy has nothing to do with happiness or circumstances, and actually is better described as the motivation… or even better the motivation despite terrible circumstances.