Category Archives: Being real

Broken Pieces


We decided to go down to the beach for one last walk to look for shells.

It was much colder that morning and the wind was blowing the dry sand across the beach. The waves rolled and crashed and after a few minutes we threatened to go in.

I love hunting for treasures. When we vacation in the summer with our kids it is one of my favorite things to do. It maybe be quartz or agates or shells….but the thrill of finding that one perfect treasure keeps me going. So that morning I kept walking.

The reality was that most of what we found was broken. Hurricane Matthew had done some major damage on those beaches in Georgia just months before and so what was washing ashore was broken pieces of once beautiful shells.

But as I walked I reflected on some of the broken pieces of my own life. Times where I too had found myself shattered. Times where I had done the damage to someone I loved. At the time I could only see the shards of what was remaining….it didn’t seem like beauty could come from the brokenness.

But over and over again God has restored those broken places. Not because I deserved it, or even because I had changed, but simply because He is sovereign and merciful and He loves me.

As I picked up the pieces of the broken shells I could imagine what they looked like whole. I could see their beauty despite their brokenness.

I spent some time that morning walking and praying. I thanked God for all the ways in which He has changed me. I thanked Him for His love and mercy. God has been faithful to restore and redeem me even when I have fought Him and actively gone against His will before coming to that place of surrender.

He has always been constant in my life. A good, good Father. We sang that song in church a few weeks ago and it is so beautiful. A praise to the One who makes all things new.

Even when we can’t see it, when we are in the midst of the struggle, God sees us whole. Because of the saving sacrifice of His Son, God sees me as the perfect shell. He doesn’t see the chips and cracks, the shards left from the brokenness I have caused…no He sees the whole me. A vision of myself I may not comprehend this side of heaven.

Friends, I don’t know what might be the cause of your broken pieces, but I am sure you have them just like I do. It is easy to get stuck in the pit, focused on all of the negatives and unable to see the beauty.

But the beauty is there. Sometimes it takes a perspective shift to see it…but it is there. It is a new year. A time for fresh starts. Take a moment today and look for the beauty around you. Acknowledge where God has moved in your life and thank Him for that. Hold tight to the truth that He sees you whole and that those broken pieces in your story may just be the thing that gives another hope.

The Unmaking

the-unmaking

Recently I had the opportunity to hear Nicole Nordman perform. She has a very powerful testimony and she shared about  how walking through some of the darkest moments of her life helped her to find God in a new way.

Then she sang this song called The Unmaking. It was incredibly powerful and as I have listened to it over and over again I have realized that this is where I am finding myself once again.

It is coming to that place where we are broken because we can’t manage life on our own. It’s the giving up of the lies we have believed, the things that have shaped us and kept us stuck. It is the letting go of the need to control and finally being ready to trust God with our lives.

The chorus of her song says it beautifully:

This is the unmaking
The beauty in the breaking
Had to lose myself
To find out who You are
Before each beginning
There must be an ending
Sitting in the rubble
I can see the stars
This is the unmaking

I have walked some difficult roads over the past several years. Ones that were hard by my own doing. Through a lot of hard heart work I have come to that place where I am letting go of shame, embracing who God has made me to be. I am finding joy and contentment in where I am (especially with my writing here) and am letting go of the burden of jealousy and envy. Something that has tripped me up for far too long.

Just like the song says, I had to come to that place where I was completely unmade and yet because of my faith, I could trust that God had a plan for it all.

Freedom came from that refining. I wrote an entire 31 Days series that came as a result of that time in my life. I am so grateful that God met me there and I really thought that maybe I was done with my “trying” times for awhile.

But today I had a realization that I once again was going through a refining time.

I am inching closer to 42. When people told me that things would change once I turned 40, I didn’t really think it would happen to me. But (of course) it did happen and over the past almost 2 years I have gotten more physically weak, more tired and deal with back pain every day.

Something had to change. I was tired of making excuses and so I joined an accountability group that’s led by an amazing coach and started on my first round of the 21-day fix exercise program. Guys, it’s HARD. And this morning I shared the following in my accountability group….

“My husband and I were talking to our oldest son a year or so ago and joked that when you turn 40 all bets are off. It gets harder to keep off the weight, to exercise etc. We made up this acronym to describe ourselves. WOLFS. You would think it might mean something strong but no, it stood for Weak, Old, Lazy, Fat and Soft. That’s how I have viewed myself for the past year or more.

Back in 2012 he and I were doing the 30-day shred videos. I was stronger and more fit than I had ever been. I felt great about myself. Then my husband fell off a 15ft extension ladder and shattered his heel bone into 3 pieces. It was a major injury, changed his life. He lives with constant pain and will never run again. He has 10 screws and a plate holding his foot together. It was a miracle he didn’t break his back, leg etc.

Once that happened I felt guilty when I would go exercise because he physically couldn’t. For 4 months he couldn’t even walk on his leg. And so I quit. Once I stopped it was easy not to get back into it, to make excuses.

Today as I did the pilates fix I struggled. At one point I cried. I am so not flexible. I can’t even fully straighten my legs. I always have to follow Kat (the modified exercises) and I am so tired of being a WOLFS.

This is not only a physical battle for me but an emotional and spiritual one. I believe lies much faster than I do truths. I get discouraged and quit when it gets hard. This time I want something different. So while I am discouraged at how poorly I do on the exercises, I am determined to keep going. I am only 4 days into the actual program. But I have done at least 20 minutes of hard exercise 9 out of 11 days. That’s huge for me.

I can do this. Tomorrow I will get up and do the next cardio workout in the program. I will probably have to stop and my body will hurt, but I am getting stronger. And I will see results. I am holding on to that this morning.”

Sharing that truth felt like a weight lifted.

But laying on the floor this morning I realized that I was in that place of brokenness once again. I could stay there and feel sorry for myself, or I could commit to getting back up and working for my best health.

I don’t know where you are today, what needs rebuilding in your life, but I am guessing you are stronger than you realize. God has equipped you and will strengthen you and even in the rubble you can see the beauty…the hope that’s available.

If you are holding onto lies, I am praying you would ask God to reveal the truth. And remember that when we are at our “bottom”, the only place we can look is up. I encourage you to listen to the entire song The Unmaking…I hope it blesses you like it has me!

YouTube Preview Image

Email Subscribers click HERE to see the video.

 

Photo credit: changeable focus

Friday Loves

Friday Loves

So I always see these fun Friday Favorites posts in my inbox and thought that I would put together a fun list of my own “loves”. I can’t promise that I will do this every week, but I hope to share some of my favorite things, favorite people and favorite blogs when I do! I’d love to hear some of your loves so share them in the comments below!

Favorite new book I am reading: Chase the Lion by Mark Batterson

I was fortunate enough to be on another launch team for Mark Batterson. You must read his books – life changing! I think this one will be the same. I am only a few chapters in right now, but essentially it is a book about chasing your dreams. As a dreamer who is also a scaredy cat, this book will be sure to challenge me!

Chase the Lion

Favorite place to shop: Noble Women Botique

NWB

Their store motto is “Look Good, Feel Good, Do Good” and is inspired by Proverbs 31: 10-30. NWB was one of the first “local” stores that I shopped at when we moved to Marshall 5 years ago. I honestly didn’t have much of a sense of style back then and you likely would have found me rocking my mom jeans. But as I have added to my closet I have discovered that I do have a particular style and I can dress fashionable, even at 41! 😉 If you are ever in Marshall you just let me know and we will go shopping together!

Favorite new item on my 2016 wish list: ViBella Brittany Necklace

ViBella necklace

Oh my, this new necklace from ViBella is on my wish list for sure!! Not only for it’s beautiful colors, but it is made by an artisan in Ecuador and by purchasing this it helps women in poverty have gainful employment. Love the product and love the company mission even more!!

Favorite skin care product: Rodan & Fields Multi-purpose Eye Cream

R&F Eye Cream

About 2 years ago I started using Rodan & Fields. For the first 6 months I used the Reverse line in-between other products that I needed to use up. I hated to throw anything else away. I also, typically, only use the product in the morning. Does anyone else struggle with washing their face before bed? So silly I know, but I get so tired and brushing my teeth is about all I can handle. Anyways, I am working at treating the melasma patches I had on my cheeks after having Karlena. My face always looked dirty or like I didn’t know how to apply my makeup. Their skin care line has transformed my skin. And this multi-function eye cream is one of the best! Yes it is a little more expensive than your drug store brand, but I spent $$$$ lots of money on every product available and none worked like this has!

Favorite part about summer ending: Canning!

Canning

I know that probably seems crazy, but I love the satisfaction of canning/freezing for winter eating! This year we froze approximately 51 quarts of bagged sweet corn stuffed full, we also froze pounds and pounds of peaches, strawberries, blueberries and cherries for smoothies! And we have done 2 or 3 batches of tomatoes. We have so much salsa left from last year that I didn’t do any of that this year. But we will have lots of tomatoes for chili, soups, spaghetti and lasagna! Yum yum!

Well that’s all I have for today! Share your favorites below won’t you?!

I Want to be That Woman

Be a Light

James 3:13 “Who in your community is understanding and wise? Let his example, which is marked by wisdom and gentleness, blaze a trail for others.”

Her name flashed across my phone as a call coming in. I was in the middle of my Bible study and I couldn’t answer it right then. It was a bit unusual that I was getting a call from this friend so I made a mental note to touch base with her when I was done.

I sent her a text an hour or so later when I was getting ready to drive back home, she asked if I was free and her call came in a moment later.

“I knew if I called you, you would pray” she said as she poured out the incredibly difficult news she had received earlier that day.

My heart was breaking for her and I worried that I wouldn’t have the “right” words to say to her. “It’s too big Lord.”

And then I remembered something that we had talked about in Bible Study just an hour before. We were on our last week of studying the book Fervent. I had the incredible opportunity to lead the 12 week study and even wrote the outline that we used to do so. God was in all the details with that one and I can’t wait to tell you more in October!

But that day we had discussed relationships and how the enemy will often attack even our Christian relationships. If he can bring dissension, he will. He wants to see us broken and weak and alone.  We talked about how we can fight against that. What does it look like to be a light in our church and our community?

Then we read James 3: 13-18. I happened across the Voice version and loved what it said.  James 3:13 “Who in your community is understanding and wise? Let his example, which is marked by wisdom and gentleness, blaze a trail for others.”

That is who I want to be, I had shared. A woman who is understanding and wise. A woman who is marked by wisdom and gentleness. I want to blaze a trail for others.

I know that I am not all there yet, but I have hope in God’s ability to continue to restore and refine me. And in the doing so, I want to be able to share that hope with others.

So this morning, in the darkness of my living room, I knelt before my couch and I prayed. It is embarrassing to admit that it had been a long time since I had prayed like that, with that much fervency. Here I had been leading a study on fervent prayer and my own prayer life had waned a bit.

But it didn’t matter at that moment. What mattered is that I wanted to follow through on my promise to pray.

I spoke bold, miracle-pleading prayers.

I believe my God can answer those prayers in the way I would like. I also know He may not. So I prayed for peace and understanding. I prayed for this friend and her family and I knew that God WOULD be there with them through this season.

I can’t begin to speculate on the outcome, but I know without a doubt that God can and will be glorified through it all. I also prayed that I would have discernment and wisdom so that I could be the best support possible to my friend.

We were texting this morning a bit and she asked “how do always have the right thing to say?” I laughed to myself and then told her that every once and awhile I listen to God’s leading and I have that “right” thing to share. But the reality is that I am human too and it is also just as likely that I will get angry or frustrated and snap at my husband or kids, right after being fully filled with God’s wisdom.

I don’t get it right most of the time. But I still want to be THAT woman.

I want to blaze a trail for other women to follow.

I can’t do that on my own though, God must go before me. It is only through Him that I am able to be any hope to another. It is an honor and a privilege to walk out this faith journey and share it with others. I know what a mess I am most days and so if God can use me He can use any of us!

So walk with me won’t you? Blaze a trail of your own and be THAT woman to someone else! And if you would, please join me in praying for my friend. God knows who she is and what her specific need is. I will continue to pray for a miracle, trusting that God will be there regardless of the outcome.

A Curly Girl Hair Routine

Curly Girl 1

Alright friends, it once again has been a LONG time since I have updated about life here. The summer in our part of the state is still going strong and school won’t start for another 3 weeks (Lord help me those kids need to GO.BACK.TO.SCHOOL!!) Can I get an Amen?!

Anyways, I have been writing. But I can’t share what I am working on yet. It started with writing a study guide for the book Fervent and has led into a 31 day series that I am sharing in October! I am pretty excited about having over 1/3 of my posts fully written in early August. But it means that other writing has taken a back seat.

But last night at Bible study I was sharing my hair woes. I showed up with my hair in a ponytail. Which I never do unless I am having a real bad hair day. Which led to the discussion about my curly hair routine. It is pretty laughable and so I thought it would be fun to share here!

I was sent a new product to try and review that was a shampoo and conditioner. It did not get my glowing review, thus the ponytail…but I have weird, finicky hair and specific steps that I MUST take each day so that I don’t look freakish.

So a little background.

I had stick straight hair, and apparently a solid mullet as a child. Evidence below…

Kristin teenage pic

When I was 10 maybe 12 I started getting a perm at the local beauty school. It was the 80’s and what you did.

Kristin child pic

Once I started getting perms, it seemed the easiest way to do my hair. I have very fine hair but lots of it. So it can look thick, but if I try and wear it straight now it behaves terribly. The routine I will share in a minute would be 3x longer if I wanted to try and wear straight hair every day. And I have a longer face…straight, no body hair gives me a horse face. I don’t have a picture to prove it, so you are going to have to trust me on this! 😉

When I had Isaac I decided to cut all my hair off. It was SHORT. And Dominic hated it. It took me years, painfully slow years to grow it back out. Once it got long enough I permed it again to give it body. I like the big hair I guess, if it can’t be beautiful, sleek hair then it should be Texas big! ha!!

With each pregnancy my new hair seemed to grow in more and more curly. So today I think I have a mix of natural curl and perm. I get a perm about every 18 months or so. She uses these long rods which are different than the rods I traditionally had. Something like this. Only hers are more narrow and white. But you get the point.

Perm rods

The perm gives my hair nice curl, and good volume. But I think it looks pretty natural. Just a few days after my perm it doesn’t have that 80’s frizz look. Over the years I have tried EVERY shampoo, gel, mousse combination possible. I have finally found a system that my hair seems to respond well to. (I am telling you it is finicky hair) If I change it up my hair goes nuts. Every single time.

Steps

Deva Curl No-Poo shampoo is the only shampoo I like. Other shampoo makes my hair shaft expand 3 times its normal size. The product I was sent to test out made my hair a snarly ball in the shower.! It was awful. No-poo shampoo doesn’t create suds, but it still cleans your hair. I could easily comb through my hair in the shower, it keeps my hair light and non-expanded. The conditioner just adds some moisture.

A few years ago I read that curly girls shouldn’t use towels on their hair, but a t-shirt. Something about the towel sucking out the moisture too fast and causing frizz. So I have 2 t-shirts that I use each morning. One for when I get out of the shower, and another to use after all the products have been added.

So I wear t-shirt #1 while I get dressed and then I start the process of layering on my products. Layering? Seriously guys this hair of mine!! Anyways, I use Redkin snap to strengthen my ends and a small, pea-sized amount of argon oil right before I comb through my hair. Everything I do, I do with my head upside down. There is something about doing it this way that seems to comb easier, stress less, etc. It works, try it!

Once I have combed through (I use a pick) I apply my mousse. The only mousse that my hair likes is L’Oreal Everstyle Alcohol free curl enhancing mousse. It is light-weight and not sticky. I don’t know that the company is making it any more. I have probably 8 cans I bought in bulk in my closet. It is less than $6 a bottle and I will cry if I ever can’t find it anymore!!

After the mousse comes my Deva curl light defining gel. I use one-half a pump. So not much. The 32oz jug I bought 2 years ago is less than 1/2 full still. It lasts me a long time!

Steps Final

The entire time, I have my head upside down and I am scrunching my hair up. The final step {for now} is to use some Moroccan sea salt spray. This too is a light-weight product, but gives my hair extra bounce. Finally I get out t-shirt #2 and wrap up my hair to dry while I do my make-up.

If I let my hair naturally dry, it is lifeless and a little crunchy. If I use a hairdryer it gets too frizzy. So a few years ago I discovered that if I sit in front of a space heater it dries the outside layer enough so that I can curl it and gives it body, but doesn’t leave it too frizzy.

Seriously, do you know anyone who needs to use a space heater to dry their hair?! My hair has it’s own DIVA personality!

Wet with heater

So in the picture above it me with wet hair, and my trusty space heater. :):)

Scrunch and Dry

While I sit, I scrunch, always the scrunch to help enhance the curls. The picture above it me scrunching away and the after picture once it is dry. (It is not fully dry…the underneath layer is always still damp and just dries naturally.

Now I am almost done!! YAY! I am tired, aren’t you?!

I have never found a hairstyle that has allowed me to not pull my hair back a little. I can’t stand having hair in my face, and I don’t want to be constantly tucking it behind my ears…so I pull it back every day. It used to bother me but then I remembered that girls with straight hair, or short hair pretty much style their hair the same every day too…I am no different.

Before and After

My final step is to curl the very bottoms of the front of my hair and add in some soft curls around my face. My ends, even when newly cut, can have a bit of frizz to them…the curling iron softens those. I don’t have to do much else, but set it with hairspray.

At this point I have been up 4 hours and 42 minutes…ha! Kidding!! But I would say that everything, start to finish, including showering, dressing, my make-up etc takes me a full hour. I do not have wash and go hair. I can’t skip a few days and not wash in between either. My hair would be gross if I did that. Dry shampoos don’t work on my hair, so this is a routine I have mastered and accepted as my life.

Seems a bit extreme doesn’t it?! I am so jealous of those women who can just wash and go, or dry brush and go. I may never know that kind of luxury!! #curlygirlproblems

Are you a #curlygirl? What are some of the products you use that you love?! I’d love to hear!!

No Longer Ashamed – Finding an Identity in Christ

identity in christ!

I have spent a lot of my life living under the weight of my past and my failures.

Convinced I didn’t have anything to offer, and further justified in my mind when I would see others succeed and I did not.

My identity had become something that was defined by my success (or lack thereof), if I wasn’t invited to be a part of something I must not be worth it. I became more and more ashamed of who I was and certain that I had no value.

I can see today that it was a lie – but in the thick of it, it seemed like absolute truth.

Oh how we can be deceived. The Bible says in John 10:10 that the thief comes to kill and destroy but God has come to give us life and abundantly at that!

I have heard that verse hundreds of times over the course of my 41 years and it wasn’t until recently that I really understood its truth in my own life.

I have read a couple of books about shame in the past 6 months, most recently one called “Unashamed – Healing our brokenness and finding freedom from shame” by Heather Davis Nelson.

In it she describes shame as “the feeling that we have missed the mark according to our own standard or our perception of someone else’s standard for us. Shame keeps us from being honest about our struggles, sins and less than perfect moments. Fear of shame drives us to perfectionism in all areas of our lives, so that there would be no imperfection to be noticed and judged. Shame is what we heap on others when they fail us. Shame keeps us holding onto bitterness and refusing to forgive. We are impacted by the shame of sin committed against us, and this drives a wedge into our relationships.” p20

That feeling we have missed the mark….

The story of my life really, but I want freedom and I believe it is possible!

But it starts with an honest look at what has shaped me over the years. How I see people seeing me now. Why the opinions of others matter SO much and a look at who am I living my life for.

These aren’t easy questions to explore and honestly it has been a bit of a painful process.

But I believe that the heart work has been necessary to get to that place that I can be honest with others. The hope is that in doing so we can surround ourselves with a body of believers that encourages us in spite of our failures.

Heather says this…“Imagine a community where we are free to be known and seen for who we are on our best days and our worst days.” p83

If I want that community for myself I first need to be that kind of community to others. And I can use Christ as my example.

Finding my identity in the One who can fully restore me from all shame, all my sinful past, all my mistakes and hurts.

Heather said it beautifully here…“Rescue comes only through Jesus. Jesus took the shame of our shame-filled (and shame-fueled) performances and mis-placed blame, and bore it in His body and shed blood for us on the cross. He covered not only the guilt of our sin, but our shame of trying to cover up our sin. And the good news doesn’t stop there! We have Jesus’s righteous performance in place of our feeble half-hearted attempts.” p93

Jesus did it all.

And He did it EVEN THOUGH He knew what my sins would be. He loved me that much. And now because of this great sacrifice, my identity isn’t one of sin and shame but instead an identity filled with the goodness of who Christ is.

It’s pretty amazing really and I am so grateful for this gift of new life He has given me!

I don’t know about you, but trying to be something I am not is exhausting. I won’t ever get this life “right”, I can’t be perfect and when I try (and for all the wrong reasons) I will fail every time.

Instead I am finding peace and sanctuary in the knowledge of my new identity and claiming it with TRUTH from His word.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has done, the new has come!” 2 Corinthians 5:17

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, for the law of the Spirit of life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1

“I have been crucified with Christ and therefore I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20-21

Take some time today to revel in those truths. If you have struggled with your identity, start praying about how God can open your eyes to your real identity through Him. Take a step of faith and start building community with someone you can trust, and start getting real. I think that as we do this and then also claim truth in our hearts from the scripture we will start walking in the freedom that God has intended for us all along!

Heather’s book is really good and explores areas of shame in our body image, our social interactions and our performance. What I loved most about the book was that it is filled with the truth and encouragement that can only be found in a relationship with Jesus. Not another self-help book but rather a hope-filled book that can help you identity shame and then break free from the chains it has on you!

I was sent a copy of Unashamed to review for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The wonderful people at #FlyBy have a copy of this book for me to giveaway to one of my readers!! If you would like a copy simply leave a comment below! I will pick a winner next Friday the 8th!

Unashamed book

“Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guidelines Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”) Many thanks to Propeller Consultin, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Photo Credit: via

Shining Light in the Corners

Light

We have a vacuum with a light on the front of it. It feels all fancy-like really and my only complaint is that when I switch over to use the hose, the light goes off. There have been times I wish I still had the light on when I use the hose, but that’s not what I am here to talk to you about today.

My vacuum and I have become fast friends. It sits out in my kitchen because I use it almost every day. No I am not completely OCD, but we have this dog. Now at the risk of offending my true pet-loving friends can I just take a moment and admit that the reality of pets in my home is waaaay less appealing that the original idea of having pets.

There, I’ve said it. I am a horrible person I know, but I just am realizing that I am not a great dog owner. I am tolerating her for the sake of my husband and kids. My husband said she is a good lesson in me not giving up on something that is hard. I resent him just a bit for the truth in that statement. 😉

But this dog of ours sheds 352,000 pounds of fur approximately every other day. It doesn’t matter what we do…she sheds, it is her breed. I thought she might only shed after winter, but no she sheds every waking moment.

Thus the need for the vacuum out and available.

I can’t stand dog hair in clumps all over my kitchen, on my rugs, the sides of my couch…I am drowning in fur balls…but that really wasn’t what I came here to talk to you about today.

I was vacuuming the other day and my handy light on the front was revealing hair in places that I hadn’t seen without the light. If you came into my kitchen right now you might look at the floor and think it is fine…but with the light of the vacuum the true reality is revealed.

And I was struck by the idea that is just how sin is in my life.

I can pretty myself up just enough so that I look clean to those I come in contact with. And just like when I walk through my kitchen, I stop and deal with the visible chunks and then I think things are just fine.

But when you shine a light on the edges and the corners of the room, the reality of the “dirt” is revealed. And it isn’t pretty.

Sin that I try to hide and ignore, while it may be tucked away in the corners of my life and not completely visible to others, is still there and at some point it needs to be taken care of.

I have been a “stuffer” for the majority of my life. I get hurt, feel slighted, feel angry, whatever and instead of dealing with it, I stuff it away. I easily get resentful and then I allow those resentments to fester. Pretty soon I have made a mountain out of a mole hill…and it keeps going until I explode.

You can only stuff emotions away so long….at some point everything comes to the surface.

And so last fall I got angry and said some terrible, hurtful things to my husband. Something needed to change and it needed to start with me. It was a hard season, one that I went into kicking and screaming, if we are being honest.

I didn’t want to deal with my issues, I had gotten so good at pointing out the wrong in others I had been unable and unwilling to look inward. But with the help of a wonderful Christian counselor I started to examine my life. My responses, my feelings, my anger and what caused it.

I didn’t want to be the woman, the wife and mother that didn’t have it all together. It hurt admitting my faults. I was humiliated by who I had become.

Thankfully I had people in my life who loved me in spite of me. I joined a bible study of women that I felt compelled to be honest with. They accepted me and encouraged me. The need for perfection started to fall away as I realized that I was ok not being ok.

I can honestly say it has been an amazing work of the Holy Spirit in my life. There has been a transformation in my heart, in my mind. Things that would upset me before can be let go. I am not holding resentments but rather extending grace to others in a way it has been given to me.

There is still “dirt” in my life. It will always be a walk of progress not perfection. But I am not walking covered in shame anymore either. I have a desire to be more transparent, if anything maybe my admission will allow someone else to seek out freedom in their own life as well.

Today I am not afraid of the light shining in the corners of my life. I may not like what I find there, and I might need to do some heart work to make things clean again…but even though the work is hard, the joys that come from that kind of freedom-work are immeasurable.

Are there areas you need to address today so that you can walk in freedom? 

Photo Credit: williamnyk

What If?

What If

Last week I had a humbling experience. And while I would like to keep it to myself and not admit my weakness, I feel like we can learn from each other’s mistakes…so why not start with making an example of myself.

This online world can be a tough one to navigate, especially as women.

Take a moment and scroll through Facebook or Instagram and you will likely find someone who seems to have it more put together than you. Perfect kids, happy family, no worries, making money from blogging….it’s all there in some way, shape or form.

And if you are someone like me and struggle with feelings of self-worth and doubt, those “have it all people” can stir feelings of jealousy and envy.

I’d like to say that I didn’t get there but I did. And when we are filled with those negative feelings, we run the risk of pouring out the bad onto others. And that is what I did.

A blogger that I have followed since 2007 posted recently about taking a blogging break. I think that’s great and there have been times here that I have been quiet because I haven’t felt called to share anything.

This blogger started out a lot like me, wadding the waters of this online space in those early years, sharing her life and her family, making memories. But somewhere along the way she started getting opportunities to review products, to work with brands and make an income off of her time spent in the online space.

I have seen it all over, except in my little corner of the www. My numbers haven’t grown, I don’t make a dime off of blogging and really I am ok with that. But at the same time I was jealous of those that did. Hypocrite much?!

So when this blogger posted about her break I commented that I supported it. And then I followed up that support with a bunch of word-vomit that I was tired of sponsored posts and how I wanted to go back to the good-ol’ days of blogging where people just shared their faith and family and didn’t work so hard to promote themselves.

In my prideful mind I thought that maybe my comment would encourage her to come back and stop working with brands, stop making income. Because if I couldn’t, why should she. (Ouch I know!!)

I forgot about my comment until late that same night. I happened back over to her site and saw she had responded. She was gracious with her comment but when I read my own again I realized how hurtful it was. And I was ashamed.

We need to work at building one another up, not tearing each other down.

I was so convicted that I sent her an apology email. I confessed that my comment was spurred by jealousy, plain and simple. As difficult as it was to write and send that email, I knew that it was a character building opportunity and so I humbly apologized.

She responded a few days later, once again gracious. God allows us to be taught in these moments in life if we are just open enough to hear His voice and follow His leading. It isn’t always easy, but it is necessary work in this faith walk.

_________________________________________

And then last night we spent some time in our bible study talking about jealousy, shame and judgement.

We’ve all done it. Looked at someone and the way they are living their lives and judged something about it. I judged that blogger for how she was choosing to make a living for her family. Who am I to do that?!

It happens more often than we like to admit. One of the women shared how she felt judged about the choices one of her children made. We all assured her that it wasn’t a reflection of her – but the truth is when you are living in those moments it does feel like it is a reflection of you.

And as a church body (and I am talking all religions here…not a specific church) we have failed one another.

Jesus taught by example, He is the very measure of what grace should look like.  And if I am being honest, often times I am willing to give grace when and to whom I feel “deserve” it instead of giving grace freely.

Once again I was humbled by the discussion and challenged to do something different.

What if we started showing love to those around us, even if they are making choices we don’t agree with?

What if we came alongside a young, teenage mother and encouraged her, encouraged her family?

What if we had a baby shower for a unwed mother, choosing to celebrate the new life instead of condemning the choices she had made?

What if we became a safe place for women to grieve the loss of a baby or a pregnancy – not dictating a time table of when they should be “over it”?

What if we stopped being so afraid of finding the right words to say and just admitted we don’t know what to say but we are praying?

What if we started being real and honest with one another so that the walls of perceived perfection would crumble and we could use our difficulties to shine Christ’s redemption?

What if?

I get up every Sunday and I get ready for church. I doubt that I will ever feel comfortable going without makeup or fixing my hair. Vain, yes but it is my reality. But don’t let the nice outfit or “put together” appearance fool you.

I am a sinner saved by grace.

I likely yelled at my kids on the way to church or got frustrated with the dog before we left. I walk in the doors and want you to believe something about me that really isn’t true. I don’t have it all together and I never will.

And that’s ok.

What if instead of judging what we think we know about someone, we start getting brave and start working to really connect with those in our church, our community?

What if when people asked us how we were, we responded in truth instead of just “I’m fine”?

And what if we got over being uncomfortable with this new reality and embraced it as an opportunity to come alongside a fellow believer that is hurting?

I am tired of being “fine” and ready to be real. Because when I am “fine” I start believing that I have it all under control and God is the first thing to go when I’ve got the reins.

We have an opportunity friends to be the church, be Jesus to a lost and hurting people. Some of those people are in your workplace, your community, your church body. Some of those people need to know that they don’t have to have it all together to be accepted by God. Maybe you, maybe I,  am just the person that can be the one to be real, and by doing so, will open the door to a relationship with God.

What if?

An Unlikely Bunch – The Gift of Friendship

Gift of Friendship

I’ll just start out by being really honest with you. I didn’t want to be a part of their “group”. When Dominic “recommended” that I go to the new bible study meeting at church I was less than enthused.

There were several times over the course of the past 4 years that I wanted to participate in one of the bible studies, but there never seemed to be time. But now it was HIS idea so somehow it was a priority. And I didn’t want to go.

You see we were really struggling, no…I was really struggling. My attitude and behavior were less than ideal and I was creating waves in our marriage that were drowning us both. I needed something, I knew it…but I didn’t want it to be something he recommended. Admitting this was a good thing was also an admission that I needed help and I wasn’t ready for that.

I can be a bit overreactive and emotional if you couldn’t tell….

A small piece of me knew that if I didn’t go to this study, I may ruin future opportunities…so that first Monday I got in my car and drove to church. It is a 15 minute drive and I fought with God the entire way. “I DON’T want to be doing this Lord. I know that I need something, but I don’t want it to be the something he recommended. I know I am being terrible right now, so please Lord would you give me even one thing at this study tonight that I could take home with me?”

In my time of desperation, when I called out to God, He heard and He answered.

We are an unlikely bunch. The women in my bible study come from all different places. Some of us are mothers, others grandmas. Some of us are moms of teens and others MOPS. Each of us have a different story to tell. Hurts that have cut us deep and shaped who we are today. Struggles with finances and marriages and freedom from the lies of the enemy.

None of us the same and yet each of us are connected in unity with one goal in mind.

We are seeking a God that loves the very broken women that we are and we are working towards knowing Him more. Becoming a light to those around us, sharing our hurts and our hopes in order to lift one another up.

If you were there with us, you would be warmly welcomed. We don’t have all the answers so we search the God that does. We fail in our jobs and our homes and then we come and share our stories of imperfection. It is a safe place that we can be real and yet walk away lavished in the truth of who we are in Christ.

It was not at all what I expected and exactly what I needed.

I don’t know where you find yourself today. Maybe you have been hurt by the church, or by women…I know it happens and can I just say that I am sorry! I know that I have been that judgmental woman myself, believing that I wouldn’t fit in with “that group.” But boy when I prayed that simple prayer for God to give me one thing I could take home, He gave me an unlikely group of women that have become friends. And I am so grateful.

It is my prayer that we can continue to be that gift to more women that join us…that His love would spread into our homes and our workplaces and communities. That by gathering together as imperfect women, seeking God, we will be able to then be a blessing to someone else who really needs it.

I think that is exactly why God gave us friendships, and today I celebrate that!  Celebrating the friendships that give life today and celebrating the launch of this new book. The Gift of Friendship – Stories that Celebrate the Beauty of Shared Moments by Dawn Camp is available for sale now. A beautiful book filled with stories from women who are doing life with friends. The hard, the wonderful, the scary moments that happen in friendship are all shared in this book. A perfect gift for the friends in your life!

“I’m a Terrible Person!”

Broken Chains

She came in the door sobbing. The kind of cry that would make one think something must be broken.

“I’m a terrible person”, “I’m a terrible person” she yelled in between sobs.

I grabbed her close and asked her why she would even say that.

She is 5. Oh how I don’t want this for her. This naming and claiming of lies.

Apparently something had happened as she and her brothers came back home from a friend’s house. I don’t know if she fell, or if she intentionally did it…but somehow snow got inside the barrel of one of Gabriel’s nerf guns that she was carrying.  In response, one of the neighbor kids told her she was naughty.

She was almost inconsolable. And while I know that my girl can be naughty at times, there is no doubt, I wanted to get at the heart of what she was saying.

I grabbed onto her hands and made her look me in the eyes.

I reminded her of the three truths we had given to her. Elijah had helped choose words for his sister after we picked his.  Karlena is Adventurous, Kind and Brave.

As I held her hands I repeated those three words over and over.

“Karlena, you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave, do you remember that?’

“God made you with those special qualities, look at me Miss…do you remember?”

“Adventurous, Kind and Brave”

She was still crying, but the intensity with which she was, had decreased.

Truth, she needs truth at this moment.

“You are NOT a terrible person, you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave.”

And then we talked about how sometimes even filled with our God-given attributes, we make mistakes.

“Mommy makes mistakes, Daddy, Elijah and Gabriel…even Isaac off at college. None of us is perfect.”

“But we can’t let those mistakes define who we are. Not when you are Adventurous, Kind and Brave.”

We talked about forgiveness, about saying we were sorry if we had hurt someone/something…even if unintentionally. I encouraged her to tell her brother that she was sorry and promised her that he would offer forgiveness.

She said sorry with big, fat tears in her eyes but the second Gabriel said he forgave her she ran and gave him the biggest hug.

And as quickly as the storm had come in, it had left.

I am 41 years young 😉 and at times I still walk around reminding myself that “I’m a Terrible Person.”

I could make a list of all the reasons that would support my claim. But is that what God wants for us?

Yes it is necessary for us to take responsibility for our actions, and sometimes that means saying we are sorry and asking for forgiveness. Hopefully as we mature (and I am not quite there yet, trust me) we learn from our mistakes and turn from those choices to better ones.

I can’t expect perfection from my kids. I won’t.

I do pray that they start to embrace the amazing truths about who they are so that even when they do make a mistake they are so firm in who God made them, that they can weather the storm, the lies that will come at them.

This isn’t a parenting “fix” so that our kids will be appropriately behaved.

No, instead this has been an opportunity for growth in our home. A naming and claiming of the truth and a stomping out of the lies.

It is easy for me to start down the path of “why didn’t I do this sooner…” But I can’t stay there. I have an incredible opportunity to change the path we have been on. Less good versus bad and more truth to overcome the lies.

I start to get a little excited when I think of the freedom that will come of this…Chains are breaking friends, can you hear it?!

Have you given yourself or your kids three truths? I so encourage you to try it and then watch what happens as a result…I’d love to hear your stories as they happen, because I am confident they will blow you away!

Original Photo Credit: via

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...