Borrowed Hope…

2012 Wrap-Up...I was walking my pups, thanks to the (attempting to improve) weather, and thinking and praying through this season of life that I am trying to escape from vehemently, and it dawned on me, I am so thankful despite the suck.

So much of this season has been trying to cling to hope while feeling mostly pain.

In less than two weeks it will be nine months since I have had a full-time permanent job. It has been 264 days since I have felt financially secure.

You can read more about my journey so far herehere, and here if you are interested. That is where you will get at least a small understanding without me having to rehash the struggle and emotions here today.

I have been stressing about money for 263 days, and my bank account has even got down to a balance of -.19. Yet, despite it all, I have not had one missed payment. I have had to fix my car three times, and been able to continue to support the missionaries I have supported for years. The very small amount of income I have has allowed me to continue to tithe, feed my dog, pay my car insurance, cell phone bill, and gas money. And, amazingly, my student loan payments have been able to be paid or deferred.

While I was surveying where I am, and where I have been, the thing that sticks out the most is the provision at exactly the right time. Regardless of my feelings, I cannot deny that more often than not, God has used friends and family to show me tangibly that He still loves, cares about me, and knows exactly what and when my needs are. Despite the mounting obstacles, I have been blown away recently by how much things have come together at exactly the right time.

Normally, and naturally, I am not a person who cares much about being told nice or encouraging things… I am really not a words person at all. I am not a gifts person, and I do not particularly notice if you do or don’t do something nice for me.. Yet, during the last nine months, those things have been life lines to my heart. The small gifts, the words of encouragement, the nicest and most humbling ways that people have shown me love have all been tangible things that God has used to infuse hope into my heart little piece by little piece.

I began thinking through the sheer number of people and times where someone has given me money or supported me in some way; it is absolutely ridiculous. Every single day (no joke) people check in to see how I am doing, let me know they are praying for me, offer me financial support, send a job posting, send me an “I love you” gift, or just listen to me while I verbally process the most recent stress in my life and then show an endless amount of patience with me.

Even people I have never met, but connected to through a mutual friend have shared encouragement, prayers, and potential job leads.

Over and over I have struggled through feeling stuck and trying desperately to hold onto hope. Without fail, ever single time, someone has sent me a letter, message, text, or called and infused my heart with borrowed hope and encouragement.

The sheer fact that I have not been told to shut up and suck it up, or entirely left alone proves how much I am loved; I am amazed and totally undeserving. Goodness knows I have not been the easiest or happiest person to be around. I am amazed by the grace extended to me by so many of my friends and family while I try to work through the stress and emotions each day.

As I think about the last nine months (has it really been that long?!), I am in awe of not just the journey, but also the hundreds of people who have come along side me in one way or another to help me get through it all.

Thank you for allowing me to borrow your hope and for sharing so much tangible love with me throughout all of this. I simply could not have made it this far or at all without the help. I am so grateful.

Frustrations About Race Talks…

I have a love hate relationship with the current dialogues about race, discrimination, and racism going on right now in the media and among friends.

What you read below is a random splattering of thoughts on the issue. They are not all connected to each other, and are thoughts based off of discussions I have been a part of, heard, read, watched, and my thoughts in response to them. These thoughts below are in response to every side of the discussion because I have friends from every perspective.

To give some understanding of myself first.. I am from Michigan (grew up in the Metro Flint area), I have lived in Ohio (briefly), the south, the Metro DC area, I have traveled to many areas around the country and several countries in Africa, East Asia, a couple Central American countries, and European countries.

Please note before you get into this post, I am most certainly not intending absolutes in what I say, these are my experiences and perspective alone. I have (a few or a lot of) exceptions to virtually every thought and frustration below. My thoughts are in reflection to the entire discussion as well, not to one or two things said by people.. Please read below with a thoughtful and compassionate voice, not anger or argumentative one.

Good luck reading my rambling!

I find myself so incredibly frustrated at every side of the “discussion” on race, discrimination, and racism.

I am frustrated because (all) people do and say terrible things for a slew of stupid reasons.

Maybe I’m frustrated me because I am a white woman from the north.

Maybe I am frustrated because I have traveled around the world and have seen and experienced what this topic looks like through the eyes of so many people from all walks of life that I find the discussion often frustrating, ignorant, and shallow.

Maybe it frustrates me because I (personally) have seen and experienced more women (of any color) discriminated against than blacks in America. (I am not saying it does not happen, just that this is my personal experience)

Maybe it frustrates me because I have seen Africans (in various countries in Africa) hated and treated horribly, and it’s awful.

Maybe I’m frustrated because people are people, no matter how they look. Individuals all have good and bad and beauty and personality and preferences and understanding and experiences and many times that is all boiled down to what “group” you are supposed to fit with.

Maybe it frustrates me because when I try to engage in a conversation to gain perspective, my thoughts on race are dismissed because I’m on the “white side” of “privilege” and therefore my understanding boils down to my skin color too instead of my experience and knowledge.

Maybe it frustrates me because my parents are in an interracial marriage, but because both their skins are white everyone dismisses it.

Maybe I am frustrated ’cause I find darker skin tones more attractive and that instantly puts me in a group to be hated upon.

Maybe I am frustrated because American culture tries so hard to make mixed people choose sides… (ps. They are the prettiest people!)

Maybe it frustrates me because I see so much hate and absurd things said on every side of this issue and I just want to facepalm people who refuse to listen and gain perspective.

Maybe it frustrates me because I have watched more of my “white” friends try to seek out diversity and understanding while some of my “black” friends say “that’s right, you should” instead of also seeking out diversity and understanding.

Maybe I am frustrated because some of my white friends are clueless.

Maybe I am frustrated because I don’t understand the issue at all because some of the people I look up to the most and have learned the most from are not white Americans. They are some of the most well-rounded people I have ever met and I want to be like them.

Maybe it frustrates me because I want true authentic dialogue, not just to be accused of having privilege or being racist or ignorant or for having been born white… I can’t do anything with those accusations, but I can change what I am educated with and so can you.

Maybe I am frustrated because personal experience is belittled and trustworthy news sources are held up as the reliable sources when it comes to the topic of race, discrimination, and racism.

Maybe I am frustrated because in America, the vast majority of people (everyone) are melting pots… even the African-American community is a melting pot… Don’t believe me? Go to any country in Africa or the Islands, they look entirely different, and in some places even kill each other for being from a different tribe.

Maybe I am frustrated because there has been a clear confusion between dislike and hate.

Maybe I am frustrated because I watch “race” being pulled in as a factor more often than it should (from all sides), instead of identifying the hate or actions of people as being just that: Hateful.

Maybe I am frustrated because I get judged for my opinion on race simply due to my skin color too.

Maybe I am frustrated because people on every side love to claim discrimination or a lack there of while they take the media to be accurate and reporting the whole story.

Maybe I am frustrated because racism still exists, but now it is tricky because every side expresses racism.

Maybe I am frustrated because avoidance, dislike, or ignorance is not actually racism at all… doesn’t make those things right or wrong, good or bad (depending on context), but it does not make them racism either.

Maybe I am frustrated because I just don’t understand, why does this need to be an issue? People are people, God made you, beautiful and perfect, and sin ruined us… I wish we could just move on everyone.

Maybe I am frustrated because racism and discrimination won’t entirely go away ever, until after Jesus returns.

And, I’m frustrated cause I am fairly certain there will be freaking out and anger in response to this post… Although, I really hope not, I would love for this to be a time of seeking to understanding and dialogue instead.

Single v. Married…

I have been watching an interesting debate discussion lately about the benefits of being Single or being Married.. Or getting married young.. Or staying single longer.. whatever.

It has felt recently as though there are two teams and they are at odds with each other. I think it is a little odd that we seem to be “fighting” or trying to convince others that our current state is the best or correct one.

Here are a few of the articles in the discussion so you can follow along with why I am writing this post:
23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23
The Results of a Closed-Minded 23 Year Old
I Got Married at 23. What Are the Rest of You Waiting For?
Marriage Isn’t For You
Why I Did I Get Married so Young

(There are more, and you possibly have read different ones)

The “conversation” as a whole really just interests me quite a bit. Obviously some of the blog posts are in direct response to one another, whereas others seem to be oblivious to the conversation at large, and are merely adding their thoughts to the world.

I also think it’s interesting that 23 is the number that keeps getting brought up.

Let me start out by saying, I am not loving on or hating on one side of this conversation or the other, merely responding to the conversation as a whole. I think it would be helpful to highlight some things.

Some background on myself so you can be more aware of where I am coming from:
I am a turning 29 years old, still single, never married or engaged woman.
I am not at all against marriage, and not only did I think early on in my life that I would be married by this point in life, I still would like to get married to the right man someday… But, I am content single, actually love aspects of it, and I am willing to wait for the right man because I have seen the destruction of divorce in too many people (of all ages).
I also have done quite a bit of reading of research on Millennials (those born between 1980-2000) because I find people and culture fascinating (especially my own).

Now that my vantage point is known, here is my personal perspective and thoughts on the Single v. Married conversation:

Not everyone who is single loves it.
Not everyone who is married loves it.

Not everyone who is single thinks they have made a better choice than getting married.
Not everyone who is married thinks they have made a better choice than to stay single.

Being single has some major pros and cons.
Being married has some major pros and cons.

Singleness can be hard.
Marriage can be hard.

Selfishness is pervasive among single people.
Selfishness is pervasive among married people.

Some people “do” single better than being married.
Some people “do” married better than being single.

In some cases staying single was the wise choice.
In some cases getting married was the wise choice.

Grace, compassion, and selflessness is common among an astounding number of single people I know.
Grace, compassion, and selflessness is common among an astounding number of married people I know.

Life is an adventure when you are single.
Life is an adventure when you are married.

Staying single is better/healthier than getting divorced.
Getting married is better/healthier than sleeping with someone you’re not married to.

Remaining single “late” into your adult life does not automatically mean you are wiser than a young married couple.
Getting married young does not automatically mean you are unwise or pathetic.

Being single “late” into your adult life does not mean you are against those married young (or older).
Being married young (or older) does not mean you are against those still single “late” into adult life.

Being single does not mean you have purposefully chosen to be so to “get your life together”.
Being married does not mean you have purposefully chosen to be so because you’ve “gotten you life together”.

Etc..etc.. See?

For me, there are days that singleness is just straight up hard, and other times I love the advantages of flying solo. But, from my plethora of friends (married at all ages), there are days that they remind me that being married is just hard too or they love every little bit of the married life…

From where I sit, both have the same qualities, it just depends on the person or couple.

My perspective is that regardless of if you are married or single, you should have goals.. Good goals ones, fun ones, hard ones, solid ones, frivolous ones, and seemingly impossible ones, I think that is how you help yourself grow, and a way to help measure success as a single or married person/couple.

So, please, let’s stop justifying why one is better than the other as if our choice was the right one for everyone… or the perfect decision forever.

If you are single and loving it or wish to be married, that is awesome and good things can and will happen during this season.
If you are married and loving it or wish you had waited, good things can and will happen during this stage of life.

Not Feeling It…

There are so many times that I have things to say, and question whether it is ok for me to blog about it because I struggle daily with boundaries… Not just my own and finding balance in my life, but also with people passing judgement before understanding. While it is true for everyone, literally everything I do has people watching and evaluating whether it was good or bad… and then making judgement calls on whether that means I am good or bad, have good intentions, or even really care at all. It’s exhausting and tonight I am over it with absolutely no patience for someone else’s decision on whether I have a good heart or not.

Realistically no matter how many people think what I have done or said was good, there are always people who view it as bad. Literally no matter what it is I have said or done.

Tonight I am pretty much fed up and annoyed at the world.

I am tired of being explained by people as being a “High D” (referring to the DISC test).. When in actuality, I am a higher “I” than “D”, but I just so happen to be incredibly high for both “D” and “I”… You cannot actually explain away my behavior by stating “Krista is a high D” because as with most personality tests that I take, I am never just one thing, I always end up being extremes of multiple things…

If you do not know what the letters stand for:

  • Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness
  • Inducement – relating to social situations and communication
  • Submission – relating to patience, persistence, and thoughtfulness
  • Compliance – relating to structure and organization

It is a much better description to realize that I am both high dominance and inducement… I’m blended.

Some realities of my life:

I work 60-80 hours a week, every week, and have been for 7 straight months (assuming I don’t work more than 80 hours a week). I do not hang out or go out unless it is by myself.. I could literally count on one hand how many times I have gone out or hung out with other people.

I live alone. — If you pay any attention to me at all, this fact is pretty self-explanatory.

I am in school on top of everything else. And, to top it all off, my computer is acting stupid, still.. But, I don’t have the time to send it into the shop for a week. Grr.

To say that I am tired would be the most laughable exaggeration.

In February I told a group of people that they need to ensure they are pressing their refresh/reboot button regularly… I have totally failed at taking my own advice. Complete fail.

I cannot vent. For me, not venting means not gaining perspective and not processing. I feel as though because I am single, there is an understanding that things cannot be shared since I do not have a spouse to bounce thoughts off of or vent to and gain perspective. The reality is, I am a verbal processor, venting and getting someone to tell me how what I say sounds is the absolute best way for me to process through things.

Judgement is passed on me constantly. I am rarely asked to clarify or explain further, and worse yet, I hardly ever know if someone has misinterpreted what I have said.

I can count in one hand the number of people who I believe could adequately describe “who I am” here. After this length of time, that fact alone makes me want to scream… or cry maybe. Either way it is frustrating.

The concept of healthy confrontation seems to be lost on so many people. I cannot change what I do not know, and I cannot clarify what I did not know needs clarifying. Dealing with confrontational situations are always painful to go through for sure, but I believe you cannot completely trust someone who will not confront you.

I rarely share my heart with people here. Mostly because I am judged constantly, if I say something wrong, then instantly my ministry is “hurt.” But also, I do not often get the opportunity to share my heart; that alone frustrates me more than most things.

People say some the most rude and insensitive things to me all the time.

I appreciate the people who joke with me purely because I get the chance to just be ridiculous.

I am constantly questioned (and judged) about everything I say and do.. literally. Then I am questioned about how I handle it…

Not to sound like I am making excuses, but I would like to draw the attention to the fact that I work, a lot.. and I am in school.. and I have no outlet.. and, believe it or not, I am only 28. I do not make apologies for not being older and more mature, but I am not arrogant enough to not think or recognize that I make a lot of mistakes every day..

Tonight I am tired of it all, and tired of feeling hurt that people don’t even pretend to try to understand me or my perspective. Just totally over it tonight. Tomorrow will be better, but it’s gonna take a lot of prayer time to get me there.

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.

Listen to Me…

People don’t care how much you know until they know how mucH you care.” – John C. Maxwell

This idea consumes my work life right now. Not in a bad way, it just is a reality of my life. Every single day I am confronted with options, blather on and on about what I know, my experience, my education, my passions.. compounded with the mounds upon mounds of tasks and work to do, and yet I find myself compelled to pause all of it, and just listen and express in any way I can how much I genuinely care about those around me.

I have had to readjust my priorities at work.
Sitting and listening is more important than the stacks of papers that are calling my name.
Hearing the faith stories of those around me has eternal value infinitely more important than the programs or design projects that require my attention.
So, I am teaching myself to be still, to listen, to laugh, to be fully present and divert all of my attention from the tasks sitting on my desk to the people sitting in front of it. Which, honestly is how my life operates naturally… outside of work.. Now I am learning to orient my work life in this manner as well.

Do you care enough to stop and actually listen to me?.. That is what I hear when I meet new people.

Red Eyes…

I have a red eye flight back to DC tonight, and somehow it manages to be delayed by a couple hours… Which is fairly aggravating since the whole purpose of my red eye flight back is so I can attend a leadership summit at my church, and as it stands right now I am likely to miss it.

One of the things I am fairly amused by though is people watching as everyone deals with the delay… There is the cutest little boy with his siblings and dad waiting ever so patiently as it is likely hours past his bedtime. He has been looking at me and averting his eyes every few minutes which has been an amusing game for me to make faces at him. haha While it is annoying to wait so long for a delayed airplane, people watching is definitely one of my favorite things to do.

Here is hoping the delay does not mess up too much of my schedule this weekend.