Tag Archives: trust

Pieces Woven Together

Our pastor has been teaching on the life of David and we have been walking through a good portion of 1 Samuel for many weeks now. I love this type of Bible teaching because we, for the most part, are going through this book verse by verse.

We did this in Romans and Acts too. It helps me get a feel for what was really happening. He gives us background about the time in history etc., and I can put myself into the story and see it from all angles.

David has an incredible story doesn’t he?! A shepherd boy, the unmentioned of many brothers who is chosen and anointed by God to be the king. A boy who then waits YEARS from the time of that anointing to the time he is actually appointed king.

Talk about waiting to walk into your calling!

And we see that David struggles. He makes mistakes, he runs from God, he sins and falls short. God knows David’s heart though and he uses him anyways. What hope stories like this give me. I too can be the chief of sinners and yet God has found ways to use my story for good. How we should fall on our knees grateful that He loves us that much to redeem our story and allow us the opportunity to share His grace with others!

Today our Pastor was talking about dark times. The bulletin referenced 1 Samuel 2 (or I thought it did)…we were actually in 1 Samuel 28. But I happened to turn to 1 Samuel 2 and started reading. I have to admit, I don’t have a full grasp of the entire Bible, and how things are woven together. But today I discovered a connection I hadn’t made before and it so encouraged me.

Back in 2013 I shared a post about a woman named Hannah. I was so moved by this woman’s faith. Childless for years, tormented by the other wife, she begs God to give her a child. In exchange she vows to devote that child to the Lord’s service.

God hears and grants her a son. And then she follows through and actually gives her son over to the priest at the church. I said it before, but can you imagine the pain of having to follow through on that promise? I’ve found myself bargaining with God, making promises I probably didn’t intend to keep. But Hannah followed through.

When I wrote about it a few years ago I was amazed at her faith…but I didn’t fully understand the rest of the story. I didn’t read on through the rest of 1 Samuel to see what happens. Today it came together for me in a new way.

You see the Bible tells us that Samuel grows as a man and in his understanding of the Lord. So much in fact that he becomes a trusted advisor and a prophet. Samuel eventually anoints Saul as king. Saul the very king that we later hear is to be replaced by David. Samuel becomes David’s trusted advisor as well. He has become a man of great influence.

Our pastor said today, “Samuel had been a spiritual anchor for the people for 50+ years.” Isn’t that incredible?! And my thoughts immediately went to Hannah once again. A women who desperately wanted a son. A woman that was true to her promise and let her son go.

Do you think she had any idea the man her son would become so many years later? That he would be a spiritual anchor? We don’t know for sure, but I honestly don’t think so. It may have been easier to give up her son had she known the outcome…but so often we don’t know what will happen.

But like Hannah we take those bold steps of faith and do the hard thing anyways. And when we do the results are often more than we could ever imagine they would be. This connecting of stories gave me hope today. It was a reminder that the trials I have gone through and the lessons that I continue to learn may not only impact me and my kids…but generations to come!

So we keep walking forward, taking those hard steps and allowing God to use us, knowing that we may not see an answer to our prayers in this lifetime, but that they may continue to bear fruit for years and years to come.

Isn’t it amazing how God works?

Photo Credit: ame h

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.

For the Times You Don’t Feel Equipped

Being Equipped

It has been mostly silent here in my little corner of the www.

Except for the occasional book review/giveaway, I haven’t really had the words. It is frustrating for someone like me who has learned to process through writing. It isn’t that I haven’t wanted to write either.

In April Dominic and I attended a marriage conference that was really impactful. I knew I wanted to write about it, but I just couldn’t find the words to do so. In June we celebrated our 20 year anniversary and with it came a tough lesson I had to learn about my stubbornness and pride, and how the enemy targets those very character defects in me. Some  day I will share that with you as well if God leads.

I know that the “experts” would tell me that I should get up and write regardless if I have the words…but when I don’t feel God leading me there, it feels forced and in-genuine. Some day soon I hope to be back to a regular writing schedule though…God-willing.

This morning as I was getting ready I was thinking about those times when I have felt ill-equipped to do what God has called me to.

Do you ever find yourself there? In a situation where you know God has brought you to but yet you feel like the least qualified to be there?

A few months ago we were getting close to wrapping up the bible study we were on in our women’s group at church. We started talking about what we would like to do next and someone mentioned the book Fervent.

I had read it 3 times through and really loved it so I was all on board for that. I didn’t think that it was something I would lead, I just wanted to read it again. Each time I have been through it I find things that I missed, or nuggets of information that mean even more to me with each new read.

The morning after the discussion I woke up unusually early and started writing. Within a short amount of time I had 5 bible study lessons written that would be the start to a guide for the book.

If you have read it you know that there isn’t a specific bible study for the book. I sent what I had written to the ladies that lead our group and said that I thought I could write out the rest of the guide for the remaining chapters. It really was a God-led thing and honestly the book made it easy.

And so a few weeks ago we started our study of Fervent, using my guide, which is still a bit of a surreal experience for me. This feels largely out of my skill set. And in addition to writing the guide I am now leading the study. Another thing that feels outside of my talents.

I was praying on the way to church on Tuesday that God would just give me the words. I worry about filling those uncomfortable gaps of silence, of creating a safe place for everyone to share and be honest. There is the time factor, what if I can’t fill the specified time…what if times gets away from me!

It all seems so much more than I can handle. And I start to doubt that I am the right person to be leading this group of women that have so much more wisdom than I ever have had.

But it is where I am finding myself.

This week as I left bible study I was just overwhelmed by how God shows up. It doesn’t matter that I don’t have it all figured out. The women that are attending each have their own wisdom to share, and collectively as a group we grow from our shared experiences.

And I wondered if maybe that’s why God called me to this.

It wasn’t that I had so much to give, but rather that it was an opportunity for me to witness how incredible my God is. {Click to Tweet}

To find myself in awe of how He would use me, grateful for the new women that are there this time and how much I have learned from them. Filled with a passion to continue to have a place where we can be transparent with one another and grow in our understanding of prayer.

It is a humbling experience and such an honor to be a part of this amazing group of women.

So if you are being called to something that feels outside of your comfort zone, don’t worry. Trust that God will give you just what you need. And wait with hopeful expectancy that He will give you more than you expect out of the process!

Flocked in His Grace

Flocked tree

We had our first big snow recently. Heavy, wet snow fell over the course of 2 days. 2 days that Dominic was out of town and my oldest away at college. Yes I cried and whined having to shovel twice in 2 days and still hurt from the after effects. (Old age stinks) 😉

In an effort to embrace this expected season change and colder weather I tried to focus on the positives….most of which included how beautiful the trees look after a heavy snow. The entire block was white and the once brown, dead looking trees, looked vibrant again.

Yesterday I was driving out of town and while some of the snow has melted, most of the trees were still covered. They glistened in the sun and it was a beautiful sight.

And for some reason I had a flash back to a memory long forgotten.

For years as a child, my parents would take us to get a real Christmas tree at a local nursery. Long before trees were available at every Sam’s Club, Home Depot and Costco, there was one special place we would go each year to get our tree.

The smell inside the nursery was heavenly. The front shop was filled with handmade wreaths and trees decorated with ornaments you could purchase…and then there was a special place in the back corner.

If we were lucky there would be a tree in the contained area that had just been flocked that we could see.

For those that don’t know what flocking is, they use a substance that is white and spray it all over the tree, it makes it look like it was snowed upon. Flocked trees were probably double the price of a regular tree.

I knew they weren’t in our budget, but I always thought they were interesting. It felt like those trees were reserved for the elite, the “special” and just knowing that made them desirable to me.

As I was driving yesterday I realized that the trees outside looked like they had been flocked. Covered full in white, so beautiful….and it was a reminder for me.

I have been walking through the past few months feeling like the brown, dead tree.

I know that I am a sinner, we all are I get it…but there are times that the weight of the person that I am is too much. I get stuck in old habits and patterns of behavior that have long been unacceptable, but I tidy up just enough so that I don’t have to deal with the underlying issue.

I place so much emphasis on how things look on the outside that I have ignored the inside, heart issues, for way too long.

Becoming aware, even slightly of the work that now needs to be done, feels overwhelming and I (as is my nature) want to give up.

Sometimes redemption seems impossible, and grace – real, life changing grace, feels out of reach.

And then I get a simple reminder in the picture of some flocked trees that I too am covered by God’s grace.

Isaiah 1:18 says Come now, let us reason together, says the Lordthough your sins are like scarlet,  they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”

Jesus paid for my sins. How quickly I forget that. I get wrapped up in my own emotions and feelings about my present state and forget that the Son of God bore the weight of MY sins when he hung on that cross.

He did it for me.

And as a result, in the eyes of God, I am white as snow.

Now this doesn’t give me free reign to go and continue to allow sin to wage a war inside of me. There are things I can and need to do with God to work towards freedom.

One of the first things is changing my perspective.

I have believed that I was like that dead tree and couldn’t ever see myself as the beautiful flocked tree.

I could only see the sinner, forgetting what grace looks like. I get stuck in the hopeless and don’t know how to move forward.

My eyes need to be fixated on that vision of grace. I need to embrace it for my own life and then be as generous with it for others as God has been with me.

It is a start, and for me at the end of this year….I guess it is the place that I need to be.

Maybe you have been struggling with something too, feeling like that ugly, dead tree for so long that you have forgotten grace is available for you. Friend I am grasping at these truths with all that I have and want you to know that you aren’t alone.

You are beautiful and loved and flocked by His grace.

Photo Credit: JusDaFax

The New Face of Brave

Elijah pool 1Elijah has been taking swimming lessons every Tuesday and Thursday evening for a few weeks. The first night we got there they had him in level 3. We aren’t a huge “spend the summer at the pool” family…so he has been in a big pool maybe 3 times.

He didn’t know a thing about it.

They thankfully moved him into the Level 1 class after the first night and it has been fun to watch him swim. He works hard, and even when it is tough, he smiles and keeps going.

He is one brave boy, my Elijah.

Tonight the teacher asked at the beginning of the class who wanted to jump off the diving board at the end of class.

He initially didn’t raise his hand and I was secretly relieved.

I had visions of a drowning accident, what if he let go of his noodle…what if she didn’t catch him. The water is 13ft deep and he doesn’t know how to swim yet without assistance.

Quite honestly, the whole idea seemed ludicrous to me…what was she thinking?! 

At the end of the class they headed towards the diving pool….and there was Elijah right in line with the rest of the kids.

Was he going to go through with it?

Elijah Pool 2He walked out on that board and put his toes on the very edge just like his teacher said. She was treading water ready to catch them as they jumped.

And then he just went for it.

Elijah Pool 3

What I loved most was that he didn’t timidly jump in, he leaped.

He trusted the noodle float, he trusted his swim instructor and he went for it.

My brave boy Elijah is such an example to me. He shows me how to be brave.

Elijah Pool 4

So often I won’t even step up to the ladder.

I know that I am going to be scared looking down at the unknown. I feel unsure of the next step and so I quit before I start.

And taking that leap? Heavens no. I am not brave like that…

But my boy reminded me today that sometimes we make a choice to do something even when we feel afraid.

Elijah told me later that he initially didn’t want to do it, but then he decided to be brave and try.

We all have that choice don’t we?

When we are facing a big decision, a job change, an unknown situation of any kind…we have a choice.

We can make the choice to stay stuck in fear, or we can choose to jump anyways.

Elijah trusted he would be ok, he choice faith over fear and became the new face of brave for me.

What a gift to watch it all unfold before my eyes.

Next time I am faced with something that induces fear, or worry or doubt I will remember my boy who lept into the scary and came out a little bit stronger from the experience.

For When The Wall Needs to Come Down

Wall Crumbling

We all have walls in our lives that need to come down.

I personally struggle with jealousy in a BIG way. It is a wall around my heart, the need to compare, the envy of others and how “put together” they may seem. My focus on what is important is skewed.

It is one of the reasons that I started sharing my Mom Confessions here. I hope that I haven’t ever come across to another as “having it all together,” because I don’t. Ever. If sharing a few of my failures each week keeps me more transparent, well it is a necessary practice.

Sometimes God calls us to the hard. He calls us to step out in faith and do the seemingly impossible. We dream big God-sized dreams and often enter them knowing that without God’s help, we can’t accomplish them.

I have been in this place many times. My “word’ for this year is Depend and man has God given me multiple opportunities to put my money where my mouth is. Do I really believe what I say here? In the walking out of my faith am I actually trusting God with everything and not just saying that I want to?

This hasn’t been a fun 5 months. I would love to tell you that I have it figured out but I don’t. The one thing that I do know is that fear can have a huge factor in my actions.

What will people think? 

What if I heard God wrong?

What if this isn’t what He wants for me anymore?

How will I know….how can I possibly discern His will in my life?

Have you ever faced those questions?

I am convinced that fear is often what the enemy uses in my life to keep me from moving forward. (<===Click to Tweet)

I can be certain of a calling from God, but then if when it doesn’t go exactly as I had planned/hoped/imagined…I start to second guess everything. I wonder if I have made a mistake and I start looking for an “out.”

Heck, I have a heart for community. Loved the idea of the turquoise table, FINALLY got one in my yard, shared the idea with my church. And guess how many parties I have had? NONE. It has been the coldest (weather wise) and busiest (work & family wise) 6 weeks we have had…and my passion sits on the back burner.

And if I can be completely honest, that table taunts me some days.  “All talk and no action huh?!” “Maybe this was a mistake, besides hosting scares you…” “What a joke you are….”

The fear creeps in, the lies come more loudly and I start to doubt God’s call for community in my life.

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I have seen this in other areas as well.

Whether it is a project, a new business, a campaign at church…we prayerfully enter into new opportunities and trust God’s plan. We move forward, do our best, and set expectations that are God-sized.

We know we need God to achieve the plans He has given us….but when it doesn’t come together like we thought it would, the fear and the doubt start to creep in.

Did we hear God correctly?

Should we continue forward?

Don’t we have a responsibility to be responsible with what God has given us?

All legitimate and valid questions. All worth discussing and exploring.

But having walked through some unknown seasons of my own, I start to see things from a different perspective.

I can see how we so often act in fear, myself included. And quite honestly, I am sick and tired of living my life in chains.

Healthy fear can be ok. I don’t stand in the middle of the road, in oncoming traffic to test God’s plan for my life and safety. But I am choosing to walk forward in faith when God’s calling is present, even if it means it might be hard…or unknown.

In the Bible we see stories time and time again of people that God called to do something hard, impossible..unfathomable even.

Read the story of the Wall of Jericho in Joshua 6. There was a literal wall that needed to come down. So God tells Joshua that he and his men need to march around the wall, once a day for 6 days. And on the 7th day they marched around 7 times and once they had marched the final time around they shouted out and the wall fell.

It is impossible.

Without God, it is impossible that men marching around a wall for a week would cause it to crumble. Some may have thought that Joshua was a little bit crazy, don’t you think? And after about the 3rd day…don’t you think the questioning started? Maybe the doubt started to settle in deep.

What if they had quit? What if they had believed the lie that this call wasn’t from God?

And then there is Abraham.

Oh you know Abraham and his beloved son Isaac? The entire story is found in Genesis 22. Go spend some time there reading it. Here is my favorite part of that story. Abraham was OLD, he finally has his promised son, who is guessed to be a teenager at this point. God tells him to sacrifice his son and both Abraham and Isaac start on their journey.

They even get to the point where the alter is built, and Abraham is ready to do what God has called…and just in time God provides an alternate sacrifice. He tested Abraham and because he was faithful, generations of people were blessed.

Generations were blessed.

There are so many more that I could share, but I encourage you to spend some time searching yourself.

You may find yourself in a time of testing. Can we trust God with the vision He has given us? Go ahead and ask the questions that come, spend time in serious prayer asking for God’s wisdom. But know this, from my experience I have seen this to be true…we can question and pray and explore the best angles but sometimes we are just called to keep walking forward.

If God didn’t want the wall to come down after all of that walking, it wouldn’t have come down. Joshua was faithful to what God had called him to, even if it seemed impossible, and ultimately God’s plan for the wall was seen.

Whatever wall you have in your life that needs to come down….march on forward. Be prayerful, ask for discernment, but march on friends. March on!

Photo Credit: E.Briel

Why I Blog

Why I Blog

Recently, as a part of some God-sized Dream team building, we were asked by one in the group to share our “why I blog” story. It has been awhile since I have written about that so I thought it would be fun to revisit it today!

I started blogging in 2008. Honestly as I type that I can’t believe that it has been that long. We lived in SD and had dial-up internet. Writing a post took forever, uploading a single picture was 30 minutes at least! It is a wonder that I stuck with it for several years with those conditions! 😉

I have always loved sharing stories and writing.

When I was young I had a journal, the Type A personality in me also had a clothing log. In my great efforts to become popular (it didn’t work btw) I would record in spiral notebooks my outfit of the day. Had there been blogging in the late 80’s early 90’s…OOTD may have been cool. But this was my sad attempt at making sure that I didn’t wear the same thing in a 2 week period. Yes even then I had problems!

For a time I had a prayer journal and would write out all things I wanted to do or change in my life. And then for many years the writing stopped completely.

Life got HARD. I was unable and unwilling to see any good in my life and so I shut down. If I had a blog then I would have called it “Let Me Count the Ways My Life Stinks”…catchy huh?! At that point I didn’t believe God could really make a change in my life. I had prayed for it, begged even and He hadn’t answered my prayers…(or maybe I wasn’t listening…)

In 2006 God grabbed a hold of my heart in a BIG way. I could see clearly my desperate need for a Savior. I couldn’t keep living the way I had and became willing to do whatever I needed to find peace.

It was 2008 when I first heard the word blog. I had tickets to attend a concert with Point of Grace and Selah. Selah had to cancel our concert because the lead singer, Todd Smith’s wife, was pregnant with a baby who was “incompatible with life” and she was due to deliver any day. The radio station that hosted the concert asked for prayers and directed us to Angie’s blog where she had been documenting her journey.

My heart was instantly grieved for this woman I hadn’t ever met. In February, just a few short months earlier, I had lost a pregnancy as well. One that I was so excited about, one we had prayed about…a pregnancy that had felt like a “reward” for finally being on the right track with God.

So when I had a miscarriage I couldn’t understand why God would allow this to happen. Weren’t we doing everything right? My heart hardened towards God and the relationship that I had been building over the past 2 years began to crumble.

But every morning I would go and read Angie’s words.

Filled with heartache and pain, but yet hope, she shared about her God. A God that was the same yesterday as He was today…regardless of the circumstances happening around her. Her transparency was remarkable. Of course she was heartbroken, she wanted a different outcome for her daughter, but she never stopped trusting God with all of it.

Her words, her story, gave me hope. (<====Click to Tweet)

I began to ask myself if her faith can stand firm in that situation…then why not me as well? How could I sit with my hardened heart, cursing God for not saving my pregnancy and Angie was praising God even in the storm? How do you get to that place of complete surrender and full faith?

I wanted what she had, a faith like that. A hope in Christ in ALL things.

And so I started a blog of my own. A place where I could work out this shaky-knees faith. A home that I could share my hurts and my pain and hopefully one day share the hope I had in Jesus.

It didn’t come easily at first. I can say that in the beginning the words may have just been that, words. I wrote what I wanted to feel but didn’t truly believe them for my own life.

But God has a funny way of working on our heart and over time I started to see the blessings.

In late 2012 I started this blog. I probably should have called it KristinSmith.com, because according to people who tell you how to blog best…that is the way to go. But the reality for me really was this, it isn’t about me. This space, my ability to write and share stories, is all God. (<====Click to Tweet)

God gives me the words. And by trusting in God and working through some difficult life experiences, I have a chance to be a light here. To share with someone who is hurting the hope that is found in Him. My life isn’t without problems today. But because of Christ I am lavished in love, riches that are beyond my understanding.

Oh it is my honest prayer that maybe just one person might rest here for a moment and find hope.  And that is why I blog!

Do you have a blog? I’d love to read your “why” story…would you share a link below?!

Photo Credit: JeanbaptisteM

Backup Singer, Comedic Relief and Why Dying to Oneself is So Hard

Sheet Music

I have always loved to sing.

In the most difficult times of my life, singing praise and worship songs, belting them out in my car as my cry to God,  were my lifeline.

When I didn’t feel able to praise God in spite of my circumstances with my own words, the lyrics to my favorite praise songs did that for me.

I haven’t ever taken lessons, and in junior high I was always jealous of those girls that were a part of the jazz or swing groups. The would sing and perform on stage and had such confidence.

I tried out for concert choir in high school and while I felt like I botched the audition, I made the group and I loved that time learning and singing.

When we moved to Marshall almost 4 years ago we found a church that we loved right away. I remember seeing the worship team lead and wished I could be a part of it…half hoping that someone would hear me singing and tell someone that I needed to be up on stage.

It all happened a little differently than the magical way I had dreamed of, but about a year and 1/2 ago I started singing on our worship team.

It terrified me.

I am not kidding, like all out body shaking, voice quivering, terrified.

Don’t get my wrong, I equally loved it at the same time too, but it was all I could do to not run off the stage on the Sunday’s that I helped the team.

We have some really great, strong singers on our team and as we practiced my confidence grew a little. I started learning how to hear and sing harmony on some songs (which has completely wrecked my ability to NOT sing harmony on most songs I hear on the radio) 😉 But the one thing that terrified me more than anything was the possibility of leading.

As the person leading the song, you have to know when to start, when to come in, you need to sing strong and know all the notes…you are leading and the rest of the group depends on you.

So clearly my scardy-cat self was not prepared for a job like that.

You see I joke that I was hired for background vocals and comedic relief. Now of course we are all volunteers and don’t get paid…but if we did that is what I would be paid for. I would not be paid to lead. At least not in my mind.

And then this week I was asked to lead. Sometimes leading means everyone on the team sings with you, and as the lead your mic is just turned up a little louder than the rest. Other times when you lead it means that you sing a solo for a time before others join you.

The latter option is horrifying to me. Horrifying.

And so, of course, THAT was the option for me this week.

I didn’t feel confident and the song felt to high. Do I try and sing it strong with the risk of straining my voice, or do I revert to the falsetto high voice that I need to reach those notes that are waaaay up there?

Switching between the 2 wasn’t coming smoothly. I practiced throughout the week. I listened to the notes on CCLI, and I begged God that He would impress on the team that someone else was better equipped for the job.

Clearly I struggle with a few self-confidence issues.

And here is the deal. I KNOW that I sing because God gave me a voice, and I do it for Him. But the voice in my head tells me that if I don’t have it perfect, then I will be a distraction to those trying to worship.

If I can’t sound like Natalie Grant or Kari Jobe…then I shouldn’t be leading.

Dominic told me to sing loud and proud. But as we approached the song in practice yesterday morning I just knew that I couldn’t do it. I tried and it sounded awful, there may have been a few tears too…I was so mad that the whole thing was such a struggle for me.

It is embarrassing to feel that emotional about singing a verse and a chorus by myself. Our team is amazing, and they came in early and sang the chorus with me…and one of the WT leaders talked to me before the service started.

This too is like labor. A process we must go through, and in the end there is a reward. We get to honor God with our voices – even if they aren’t perfect.

Because it isn’t about me. And yes I KNOW that…but boy the physical reactions that I feel in that situation say otherwise.

And I am not there yet. She said that this too is a process of dying to oneself. Of getting to that place where we are leading in worship, unashamed. I can’t and won’t get it perfectly. I am not Natalie Grant or Kari Job, and the people at my church don’t expect me to be.

They all give me grace but I am unwilling and unable to give it to myself.

And she also said that my perception of the situation and the reality may just not be the same. (Who knew?! 😉 )Which is unfortunately the case in so many areas of my life. If I really sounded as terrible as I felt I did, they wouldn’t have me up there.

So this is a process that I am going to have to walk through. I will be honest it would be easier to just ask to never lead a song again, or to quit. Because it is my nature to flee from things that are difficult like this.

But God doesn’t want us to run from the difficult. He calls us to walk through those things, and promises that He is with us.

I don’t know when I will get over the fear. But I know that I want to honor God with the voice that He gave me…so regardless of how I feel on the inside, I will choose to keep trying, and will trust that He will refine this area in my life as well.

What do you struggle with that God is calling you to walk through? I would love to pray over you this week!

Photo Credit: Marcin Wichary

Roadblocks

Roadblock 2

Recently I got an email from a sweet reader B asking about roadblocks. I have written several times about the various ways in which our family faced difficult times, changes in our plan etc. She is facing a roadblock of her own and she wanted to know they whys…and what to do about it.

While I am at times an expert in living with the roadblock, I unfortunately don’t always deal with them well. In looking back at some of the major setbacks we have faced, I can see more clearly. I can see why God has us walk another path…why we needed to go through the difficulty.

But honestly, in the moment, all I can see is pain and frustration.

Dominic and I were talking again yesterday about how God answered a very simple prayer with a seemingly difficult answer. Almost 5 years ago Dominic started praying that God would bring him someone that would teach him another area of law…give him a chance to learn and thrive.

When we got that call from a head hunter about a position in MN, we did everything “right”. We researched the area, the type of law he would be doing, the man he was being interviewed by. We got down on our knees every morning and prayed together that God would clearly open or shut doors so we knew we were making wise decisions.

We didn’t want to make a choice based on money alone, and while the salary increase is what we needed financially at the time…we didn’t want to have dollar figures rule us. At the end of several months of interviews that resulted in a job offer, we took it excited to face the adventure ahead.

Dominic and I are the type that are comfortable in sameness. We don’t go out  much, we are homebodies and do well with routine. Living apart for the following 8 months, he in MN and the rest of us in SD, was one of the hardest things we have been through.

On top of the difficulty of living apart, his position at the new firm quickly turned to a hostile one. The environment there was awful, to say the least, and Dominic was under so much stress he was wearing it on the outside.

Why would God lead us to this place that was so toxic?

We pushed forward though, prayed about selling our house which sold after 1 viewing, in 4 days. An open door to make a move to MN to all be together.

And then, as I have shared before, months later we both found ourselves unemployed. How did this happen? How could God let this happen?! Those were the thoughts that went through my mind each day.

That year on my birthday my sister gave me a plaque with the following saying on it. “Sometimes God doesn’t give you what you think you want, not because you don’t deserve it, but because you deserve so much more.”

At the time I couldn’t see the truth in all of it.

I was bitter and angry at God and just wanted to be done with all the struggle. Have you ever found yourself there? Just wanting life, everything to come easy?!

But as you know, those dark times led to big steps of faith. Those steps led to the opening of our own business, my transferring to the office to work with Dominic…and today a successful business.

It isn’t easy. We are busy and often stressed at the workload, but it is a good stress. One that we are grateful for because we know that God’s hand was in the entire situation. God answered Dominic’s humble prayer so many years ago.

He provided someone that would teach him the basics of this new area of law, and while we had anticipated that he would be working there for a very long time…God had bigger plans for Dominic. Ones that we couldn’t have thought or imagined at the time.

Yes we had to face roadblocks and setbacks through the process, but ultimately our prayer was answered with a result that is far better than we could have hoped.

I don’t know what roadblock you may be facing today. And like I told B, I wish that I could tell her the “whys”, and the “what nows.” I don’t have all the answers, and honestly as I walked through my own I didn’t do it with a lot of grace.

So instead maybe learn what not to do from me! 🙂

Today I try and spend some time in the Bible each morning. I pray that God will guide our every step. And I try to remember all the ways that He has been faithful to us throughout the years, so when I face another roadblock (and oh they WILL come) I am prepared with my arsenal of faith stories to get me through in a positive light.

If you are facing a seemingly impossible situation today, would you leave a comment and let me know. You don’t have to give details if you don’t want, but I would love to pray for you!

Photo Credit: B4bees

In Beginning to See

Sunset

I have been silent again here recently and it hasn’t been because of a lack of words, but rather a lack of sight.

I had intended to share this “news” after all of the healing had taken place, I guess to be honest I didn’t want any judgement about it and was afraid if I shared my reality that I might get some of that.

But I am beginning to see that God doesn’t and hasn’t called me to share the perfect here.

As much as I would rather do that…I am seeing that the times when I grow the most, learn the most about myself and my trust in God, is in the messy times. And I have been in the thick of it this past week.

Last Thursday September 4th, I had eye surgery. PRK to be exact. I plan on blogging more specifically about that experience because as I approached this surgery I did a lot of research and had a hard time finding quality/reliable information. But that isn’t for today.

What I feel God is asking me to share instead is the heart journey I have taken.

But let me back up just a bit. My husband and I both started researching Lasik surgery several months ago. As is the case for most things, much of what you find when you google these surgeries is negative. We had initial consultations and discovered that Dominic was eligible for the Lasik surgery, but because of my thin corneas, I was not. PRK was my only option and while it is a “safer” surgery it has a much longer recovery time.

After reading some horror stories online I got scared and cancelled the surgery I had scheduled. But Dominic made a decision to move forward.

I initially didn’t agree with him. Partly because I had fear and mostly because I was so jealous that he was going to get the “easy” surgery. Dominic is a Type A, like myself, and I was worried that if things didn’t turn out liked he hoped they would that he would be miserable. Miserable to be around, and I didn’t want to deal with that.

It stinks even having to admit that was one of my primary concerns but it was. And I let him know it on more than one occassion.

Surgery day came for Dominic and I spent time praying that everything would be better than expected. And, praise God, all went perfectly. On day 1 he was seeing 20/20 and 20/15…by the end of week 1 he was 20/15 in both eyes…almost 20/10. He is more than pleased with his results.

Throughout this entire process I was sure I wasn’t going to move forward but there was a hitch in my gut about it. I wanted the surgery but I was afraid. Afraid it wouldn’t be easy for me and afraid of how I would react if it wasn’t.

I did some more research, talked to the Dr. again, and some people who had the PRK procedure done recently…and felt like I needed to move forward. I know it may sound crazy but I felt like God was asking if I was willing to trust Him with this too.

So I scheduled the surgery. Told a few close friends to pray for me and went in believing I was fully prepared even if the “worst case” scenerio occurred.

As far as the actual surgery went, it couldn’t have been better. I didn’t experience the terrible pain I had read about and only had 1 day in the first 4 where I had an issue with light sensitivity. I believed that because I was better than expected, I would be seeing 20/20 in no time.

On day 4 the bandage contacts were removed and my vision was tested for the first time. While my vision had improved, it was not good enough to pass the standards for driving. I was crushed.

You see I DO NOT like having to rely on others to do things for me. Especially things that I should be able to do on my own.

Instead of being grateful that my mother-in-law was here to help take care of some of those basic things for me, I got resentful. Resentful that she got to hear the end-of-the-day stories before I did. Resentful that I had to ask for a ride to the grocery store, resentful that I was struggling to see my computer at work and couldn’t do my job well.

Are you seeing a theme here?

Instead of gratitude, I was filled with resentment.

On Thursday I was scheduled for my 1 week check. I wasn’t seeing a difference in my vision but I NEEDED to be able to drive again. I felt like my sanity depended on it.

When I didn’t pass the test I broke down in the Dr’s office. The good news is that everything is healing perfectly. It basically comes down to the fact that my eyes need more time, and that is normal and expected.

As Dominic drove me back to our office I had another meltdown. Maybe more like a crazy episode, but who’s keeping track?! I wanted my life back, I wanted it to be easy and gosh darn it it wasn’t fair that I still couldn’t drive!

Hadn’t I been so worried that Dominic would act the very way I was now behaving? Here I was faced with a choice – accept my circumstance with grace, or remain resentful.

Remaining resentful just takes so much work…it doesn’t feel good and it makes everyone around me miserable.

This is getting long, I apologize. I feel like I have to get the post out and amazingly can see my computer screen better than I have all week…so I am sticking with it.

Tonight Isaac had his senior pictures. A local friend took them and we went out to her farm for some fun outdoor shots. At one point she apologized for the mess in her yard. Because you see, not many of us are comfortable with other people seeing us in our “mess”.

I wouldn’t have necessarily known if the yard was more messy than usual…but she could see it.

Often our faults, and our flaws…our mess, bother us the most of all. (<====Click to Tweet)

We want to cover it up, put it in a closet, or apologize it away. But God sees our mess each and every day and loves us anyways.

When we don’t have it together, when we have crazy flip-out moments and unrealistic expectations…God walks through all of those moments with us.

We are not judged, we are not condemned. We are loved.

Do you hear that tonight?

You are LOVED.

There may be things you are hiding from, things you feel need to be explained away, messes that remain long after they should have been dealt with, heart-isssues that you try and manage by your own devices when God is the only One that can heal them.

If you are there…would you stop with me and find something of beauty to focus on?

The picture above is the sunset we saw when Isaac was driving us home tonight.

Beautiful, the picture doesn’t do it justice.

A reminder for me that while my sight today isn’t perfect, there is still beauty around me.

God is in the blurry and the  clear. (<====Click to Tweet)

I didn’t act like I believed that this past week. If things had gone better than expected, of course God would have gotten the glory.

But because they didn’t, does that mean He deserves any less?!

No!

So tonight I am seeing His beauty in a simple sunset. I am praising Him that I am on a road to recovery and He is with me every step. Because I don’t need perfection to find peace.

With Love, Kristin

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