Wednesday, August 26, 2015

a coffee date...

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that all I want to do is sleep in, make cinnamon rolls, and curl up with a good book for 293,876 days.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about Planned Parenthood and ISIS and Ashley Madison and all the brokenness in this world. It is interesting to see that these are no longer “Christian” issues, but basic human rights issues.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about how I can’t wait for El Nino this Fall/Winter. Cold weather doesn’t scare me… I own multiple Columbia jackets. Also, PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES. Too soon? #sorrynotsorry

If we were on a coffee date, I would share this quote with you:
“There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.”
– Zora Neale Hurston in Their Eyes Were Watching God

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you for prayer for me this week, because Jesus needs to really show up in certain areas.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I am really dwelling on the idea of brokenness. Our world is broken, which means things will inevitably break; hearts, trust, families, marriages, dishwashers, and plastic toys. Things break. But it is not letting that brokenness define that area of life. Do not let a broken trust ruin your for trust; do not let a broken heart ruin you for love; do not let a broken family ruin you for the hope of a loving, Christ-centered family.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I am still praying “Jesus, just please.

                      If we were on a coffee date, what would you like to talk about?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

jesus, just please...

You would have no idea. You would have no idea that right now I am in one of the hardest seasons of my life, emotionally and sort of spiritually. The LORD has gifted me with joy, and sometimes, because of that, my life seems joyful through and through. It’s not.

My inner people, my kindreds, know this. They know that I just don’t know right now. They know that I am in an overwhelmingly painful and numbing season, which doesn’t make sense but also makes all the sense at the same time.

My prayers are short and small and simple. Because I don’t know how to pray through this. My role, my responsibility, my identity…

I just don’t know how.

Through this season, I am learning the immense truth of His strength versus my own. A lot of times, we diminish God’s strength into a strength that gets us through busy days without coffee or other trivial means, but friends, His strength was never meant to replace a cup of coffee, it is meant to carry you through the trials and burdens of this fallen world; His strength is meant to replace our weakness. In the moments where we just really don’t know how to and the moments where we just simply can’t, He knows and He can.

...His strength was never meant to replace a cup of coffee, it is meant 
to carry you through the trials and burdens of this fallen world; 
His strength is meant to replace our weakness...

My prayer for the past weeks has been, “Jesus, just please.” I may not know how, but He does, and there is power in the name of Jesus when we call on it.

Jesus, just please for strength.
Jesus, just please for comfort.
Jesus, just please for hope.
Jesus, just please for wisdom.
Jesus, just please.

Let’s remember the strength of Christ, the kind that bled and died up on His Cross, not the kind that we think we can replace with a cup of coffee. Let’s remember that when we ask Him to just please, He will, even if we don’t know what that means.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

all the things: june + july...

These past two months have been a complete whirlwind.

I am basically playing catch-up with June and July, so bear with me. These past couple months have held joy and heartache, spiritual rest and spiritual turmoil. All I have to say is I am so thankful for the Lord’s hold on me, for my community, for the truth that sobers anxious thoughts.

That being said, here are all the things of June + July...

Stress Relief Aromatherapy Lotion (Eucalyptus + Spearmint): This stuff SMELLS SO GOOD. I keep it at my (new) desk and it is heavenly. Bath & Body Works has a sale going on right now, all aromatherapy scented lotions are $8! That’s basically a steal. Run, don’t walk.

Johnnyswim: This husband and wife duo are the soundtrack to my office days! “You and I” is on repeat, all day e’eryday.

My New Car: You guys, I just made a big adult purchase. A NEW CAR. (Cue the Oprah “EVERY BODY GETS A NEW CAAAAAAR” clip”.) It is a black 2015 Honda Civic and it is perfect. I am so thankful for people in my church who helped me find the best option for my lifestyle and budget as a 25 year old person. Also, I have named her “Bonnie”, short for “Black Bonita” which is Spanglish for “Black Beauty”. Naming cars is fun.

Concerts: This past weekend I went to my very first country concert EVER and it was the best. We saw A Thousand Horses, Brothers Osborne, BRETT ELDREDGE, and Darius Rucker. Please see BRETT ELDREDGE. What the heck, even? My very first country concert and it was one of my most favorite musicians in the business. My heart melted as he sang about love and country and trucks. Heart eyes forever.

Graceland: My newest obsession via Netflix. This show is still “live” on TV, but there are two seasons on Netflix and I just finished them last night. Cop shows are my favorite and this one did not disappoint. Now I have to wait until Season 3 is released on Netflix… HOLD ME.

Friend Dates: Now that I am working 8am – 5pm, Monday to Friday like a real adult, my weekends are full of intentional time spent with friends (and grocery shopping). I am so thankful for my community and the joy that comes from good food and good conversation.  

Fruits of the Spirit + Jesus: I think that Galatians 5 is such an important portion of Scripture and a lot of times we reserve it for VBS and children’s ministry (because there are so many art projects we can do with this, right?). But, this month I am studying through the fruit and the intertwining’s of them all. I am reading through writings by Jonathan Edwards and Tim Keller and the Lord is blessing me with a fresh perspective.

The Beach: As a Southern California resident, I don’t take advantage of the beach as often as I should, until recently. It was my go-to place the day my grandpa passed away, it has been my go-to place for adventuring, and it has been my go-to place for friends and Jesus time (and because it has been so hot). There is something about the ocean; it reminds me that God is in charge of the huge things. The ocean, I think, is one of the most tangible representations of His sovereignty and power. I sit there and think about life and I am humbled and sobered up from the attacks of the Enemy. Thank you Jesus for the beach!

Insta-Sayings: The insta-world has been on point in terms to graphics as of late. My favorite one I have seen is pictured above. “Drink some coffee, put on gangster-rap, and handle it.” You guys, this is the best because this is 40% of my life in a nutshell.

What about y’all?
Tell me about some of the things that have 
gotten you through the past couple months!

Monday, July 20, 2015

a coffee date...

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that my new job at CBU is pretty much the best thing ever. Each day I wake up with such peace and purpose; I know that God is completely in this new position and new season and I am just overwhelmed with thankfulness, truly.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I am dying to see the new Amy Schumer movie, “Trainwreck”. It is a super salty movie, but I would like to acknowledge that I am a human being, and even more so a sinner, and I can appreciate a good joke here and there. Actually, I can appreciate very much. Popcorn, Junior Mints, and Amy Schumer… I am coming for you!

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you about the new series that my church is currently in, The Art of Forgiveness. Honestly, it is the series that I didn’t know that I needed. Generally, I can forgive people (Disclaimer: I haven’t been deeply hurt or wounded like many people I know; I have never had my heart broken, never lost a loved one to a drunk driver or murderer, never had something stolen or taken from me, so yes, forgiveness is something that kind of just flows out of me.). Each week, the Lord has brought something or someone to memory, either someone to forgive, something to forgive, sometimes reminding me to forgive myself. I am also learning a lot about trust and past wounds and what trust issues actually look like for some people. 

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you what God has been teaching you lately… How has He been moving? What does He keep recalling to your mind? What have you been praying through? What Scriptures have been on your heart lately? You know, the usual.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I am itching to be up at Summer Camp with my girls. The fact that I am not up there right now makes me want to eat an entire pint of ice cream and watch a Nicholas Sparks movie. Send help. And Cherry Garcia.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that we are knee-deep in a summer storm, complete with lightning, thunder, and humidity. This kind of weather is my favorite weather and reminds me of the summers I spent my time in the Carolinas, Louisiana, and Georgia. #southernsoul

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you to buy the “Island Moonlight” candle from Target. It is roughly $10 and smells EXACTLY like the Volcano Blue candles from Anthropologie. As much as that smell makes me swoon, I am not about to spend an entire days work on that candle, so thank you Target for meeting yet another need in my life.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that right now, life is pretty awesome. Despite the weird idea of planning for a retirement in 2055 and being a little bit more tired and off my work-out schedule, this new season is just peachy and sweet and a ball of fun!
What season are you in?
Are you judging me for my love of Amy Schumer?
What would you tell me if we were on a coffee date?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

three years & three cheers to CBU...

Big News!

I mentioned in a previous post that my life was about to change, that I had exciting news… And I do! Drum roll please… You are looking at the new Receptionist for University Card Services at California Baptist University! People, this is huge and big and awesome and crazy. And here is a little bit (or a lot bit) of insight into my whole process…

Things that I need to recognize up front:
1. God’s timing is perfect; He is sovereign and good and the fact that I question this makes me the lamest person alive.
2. I am about three years ahead of God in all things. Seriously, I have a pattern.
3. His peace surpasses all things.

Roughly a year ago, I began the interview process for a full-time position at my alma mater, California Baptist University; long story short, it was a year of interviewing, waiting, and praying. Except, I want to give you the long story long because it magnifies God’s sovereignty and is just so good.

I have always wanted to work at CBU; I was told over and over that I would end up being one of those people who would “get stuck” here, and to tell you the truth, that sounded like heaven. CBU was my first home away from home, the place where Teenage Kristi became Adult Kristi. My heart will always be for CBU and for student services, and that desire grew my senior year. I applied vigorously for positions the months before graduation and the months after, thinking that I would work for CBU right out of college… NOPE. That did not work out and I really struggled with that. Naturally, I ended up working for my church with our junior high students and I LOVED IT. Please hear me say that I don’t view that as time wasted, it was just not what I originally planned for. But, my desire to work at CBU was not granted until three years later… Which is apparently my pattern. Seriously. I have noticed that many desires over the course of my life have been planted about three years before they actually come to fruition. Crazy, right? So, long story long…

For a few months last year, I had been applying to various positions within the university. I interviewed for the Financial Aid Department, Graduate Admissions, the School of Education, and a handful more and each led to no avail. I started to question myself and God… Am I not capable? Am I not enough? Is God not capable? Is God not enough? (Seriously, being denied over and over and over will lead you into some crazy wilderness talks with God.) One day, my sweet friend Kelly told me that a new office was hiring and needed a receptionist and that I should apply. I thought about it, prayed about it, and thought why not? (Note: I didn’t seek it out, it completely fell in my lap, which is pretty typical of God… He gives when we least expect it.) I applied that night and received a call the next morning for an interview. After the first interview, a week later I had a phone interview with one of the Deans of Student Services. The next step was to interview with the President. I thought, “This is insane; this came out of left field and it is actually happening! I am interviewing with the President, I am going to work at CBU, GIVE ME A BOX OF TUMS BEFORE I THROW UP.” And then I waited, and waited, and waited some more until I was told the news that pretty much shattered my excitement… CBU entered into a hiring freeze, university wide. I was told that it would be lifted for the Spring semester and that I could be looking at my final interview for December 2014. And then December rolled around, the hiring freeze was not lifted, and I questioned everything. I was told August of 2015. And I doubted. I spent many nights driving and crying and yelling at God. In Riverside, there are orange groves and fields for miles on Victoria Avenue; this is my street. I drive through there with God, windows down, the smell of orange blossoms filling my car, and me talking out life with My Savior. Victoria and I have good memories.

Suddenly, we were in June and I received a call for an interview with the President. I happened to be substituting for a high school art class when I received the call and it took everything within me NOT to just start crying. Luckily, I was in the middle of the prep period and it was totally appropriate for me to answer the phone and start jumping up and down. The following week I interviewed with the President himself, and three days later I was offered the position... 


I had three weeks to wrap up three years of youth ministry. Not to mention, my last week employed at my church would be a mission trip! It was the perfect ending to time well spent. We had cake and ice cream, I packed up my desk and my duffle bag and began praying for my transition. My prayer was to finish well, and at times it was very hard, but I think that God honored that prayer.

We came back from our mission trip on Friday and I started my new position Monday. It was crazy, but it was good.

Looking back, the year of waiting was perfect; it was frustrating and confusing, but it was perfect. That year allowed me to finish my time with my 8th Grade Girls Small Group (and the fact that I now get to move up with them to high school?!?! INSERT A THOUSAND PRAISE HANDS EMOJIS HERE.), to help our new pastor transition into our ministry/church, to begin a journey in counseling, to use my time more liberally (sleeping in, going to Texas, planning a last minute road trip through the Northern Coast, etc.), take some risks and lower my inhibitions, and to settle in to adulthood, kind of. I didn’t know that I needed this past year, but the Lord did, and I really should never question His timing. Proverbs says that we plan all our things but the Lord establishes our steps, and man, am I just so thankful for that. Is it frustrating at times? WELL YES. But, even in the frustration, I am thankful for a God who knows more than I do and has enough love to answer certain prayers with “waits” and “nos”.

So, this past week was my very first week as an official, benefit-receiving, retirement-planning, 8AM – 5PM CBU employee, and it was everything I imagined it to be AND MORE. I was welcomed with open arms, celebrated with balloons, brought in donuts for my staff as we got through (my first) Transfer Student Orientation, and then went out to spend the weekend in San Diego with my best friend. Each day I drive in to work, I am overwhelmed by peace, a peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. The days are full, but rich; I am able to have lunch with past residents and my close friends who work at the university, not to mention Chick-Fil-A is directly across the hall from me (I have told myself that I can only buy lunch there once a week, because health). You guys, it is such a good season and I am so excited to see what God does through this, both in ministry and professionally!

Thank you to every single person who has prayed, encouraged, and loved me through this process. God is faithful and good and sovereign and I still can’t believe that this is real life. I am trying to soak up the blessing of this time and not look for the next season (because as humans, we are really good at not being satisfied, even we are given what we want).

So friends, here’s to three years and three cheers to CBU!