Friday, December 2, 2016

the wheels on the bus...

"Are you awake?"

I am not the best at asking for help. I would almost rather spend an extra hour doing something in my own power rather than asking for help from others. Call it independence, call it fortitude, call it something frilly and pretty and noble, but I know what to call it... pride.

This week my car has been in the shop for repairs, and will continue to be there for probably another three. Inconvenient, but not the worst thing in the world. So for a week I have been taking the bus to and from work and asking all my friends for rides to events, to church, to the grocery store. It's definitely humbling to be so dependent on others. 

Yesterday was just like any other day. I stood at the bus stop. I waited for the bus. I chatted with another woman at the stop and then we got on. I sat and prepared for the seven minute ride. Then, we switched to the left lane. NOT NORMAL. Then, we switched over to the left turn lane. SO NOT NORMAL. My bus ride is literally a straight three miles on the same familiar street. I started to panic. I pressed the little button for a stop request. We turned on to the next street. The bus stopped and I walked off, completely bewildered. HOW COULD I HAVE GOTTEN ON THE WRONG BUS? I walked to the stoplight and immediately called a friend. She happened to join a 6am yoga class this week, so I knew she would be awake. I walked across the street to the local Starbucks, texting frantically. She was quick to respond and even quicker to drive over. 

"...sharing life with people means humility..."

She pulled in to the Starbucks, I jumped in her car, covered my face, and laughed. Friends, sharing life with people means humility. It means calling them at 7:30am asking them to pick you up at a local Starbucks because somehow you took the wrong bus and have no idea how to get to work on time. And can I just tell you what my friend said when I told her that I owe her a cup of coffee?

"You don't owe me, this is what friends are for."

My prideful, stupid heart needed to be reminded that this is why we are never meant to do life alone. We need people, we need Jesus, we need to be dependent on others (ultimately Jesus) outside of ourselves. 

Humility. Community. Grace. May we all continue to learn the gift of each.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

a list of thanks...

I am thankful for the many cups of warm, sweet coffee shared amongst friends.

I am thankful for the copious amounts of sunflowers that have graced my life this year.

I am thankful for pie, for cherry and caramel banana and apple and pumpkin.

I am thankful for the provision and faithfulness of the Father through the many small and big trials of this year.

I am thankful for my church family, for their love and protection and acceptance.

I am thankful for the ministry that I am allowed to take part in every single day.

I am thankful for the healing balm that worship music has been in my life this year.

I am thankful for where my passport has taken me this year.

I am thankful for the ability to walk and run and see and hear.

I am thankful for the beauty of laughter.

I am thankful for handwritten cards and words.

I am thankful for dancing, the kind that without your shoes on.

I am thankful for the yeses and the no's of this year.

I am thankful for Jesus.

I am thankful for another year.

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything GIVE THANKS, 
for this is God's will for you…" - 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
What are you thankful for?

Friday, October 21, 2016

on guards and walls...

Hi, my name is Kristi, and I am a Feeler.
It's hard living life as a Feeler. Being a Feeler means I filter life through my heart, not my head. Being a Feeler means I bear my burdens and the burdens of others in a very serious way. Being a Feeler means I am quick to trust and quick to love; it means discernment and gut instinct over fact and formula. I tend to love people and things when love doesn't make logical sense. My heart carries a lot within it, and by a lot I mean A FREAKING LOT. I like this about myself, I truly do, but sometimes, having a big heart means you need to install big boundaries. Because when you wear your heart on your sleeve, when you love everyone and everything with all you have, you are exposed to a serious amount of pain, rejection, and false hope.

"...sometimes, having a big heart means you need to install big boundaries..."

Recently, I can feel myself beginning to install walls around my heart; big, hefty, Home Depot-type walls. The walls are being laid brick by brick, sort of haphazardly and unintentionally. There is no rhyme or reason, there is just construction. Where once there was liberty to hope, there is the beginnings of a hedge. 

The Bible speaks of the heart as both a wellspring and as wicked. In Proverbs 4:23 we are warned to guard our hearts and in Jeremiah 17:9 we are told that we aren't to trust it. A wellspring bent towards wickedness, that's our heart. Wellsprings and wickedness and walls... What do we do with all of that? (Seriously, asking for a friend myself.)

In an effort to try and understand my own heart and my own hopes, I am resting in a place that says guards are healthy and needed. Guards are healthy, walls are not. Guards are meant to keep something safe while walls are meant to close off. A guard allows my heart to be protected, a wall confines my heart to be hidden. In my plight to keep myself safe, sometimes I end up closing myself off completely, and that is not a tendency that I want to cultivate. 

We all want to be safe. We all want to be protected from pain, from embarrassment, from shame, from false hope. Friends, there is nothing worse than a false hope, of this I am absolutely sure. And this is why I want the walls... I want the walls because earthly love does fail. Earthly love disappoints and expects too much, it has too much potential for pain.  But, in the fear of false hope, we cannot lose all hope. While I was listening to the words of Ellie Holcombs "Love Never Fails", my prayer echos her words: "Oh Lord, help me to live like love never fails..."

" the fear of false hope, we cannot lose all hope..."

I want to live like love never fails, because real love is unfailing. I want to live like love never fails, because love itself offers as a wall of protection. I want to live like love never fails, because I don't want to live like love fails. When we live like love never fails, we love without fear and without expectation and without walls. 

His hope is secure and His love is unfailing, I am praying my heart finds solace and comfort in that place, and that I allow His secure hope and unfailing love to act as guards, protecting me and softening me from the walls I continue to build.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

a coffee date...

If we were on a coffee date, it would be in honor of the "Gilmore Girls" and their 16th Anniversary! I am the biggest fan of this show and I am currently mid-binge in anticipation for the revival in November! (Also, I am a little bitter that the closest "Luke's" to me is about an hour away. Not fair, Stars Hollow, not fair.)

If we were on a coffee date, and we were close to a Trader Joe's, we might walk over and buy some little pumpkins. And hey, let's toss in a package of pumpkin pancake mix and a bunch of flowers while we are at it because Fall. 

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you to start reading "Uninvited" by Lysa TerKeurst. Honestly, this book is deeply needed, in my life and the lives of so many women. I highlighted an ENTIRE page in this book. Buy it, you will not regret it!

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I have been making magnolia wreaths and it is strangely easy and extremely therapeutic.

If we were on a coffee date, we would talk about the undesired "no's" of life. Sometimes, an unwanted "no" allows you to see that you actually needed a "no". 

If we were on a coffee date, I would talk about my hair. I am choosing to grow it out, but, it is now in that crazy phase where I can't do the normal things to it. It is getting harder to curl and harder to manage. And, although you most likely do not care about my hair, I just have to talk about it, you know?

If we were on a coffee date, I would ask you about the things that are life-giving and restful for you. How do you fill up your empty tank?

If we were on a coffee date, what would you want to chat about?

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

the standard of sweetness...

"So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, 
and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, 
to a land flowing with milk and honey..." 
- Exodus 3:8

The Old Testament is NOT the place most Christians gravitate toward. We don't really think it's beautiful; it's hard to read, there are a lot of battles and laws and lineage and Jesus hasn't physically shown up yet. The Old Testament is not full of warm, fuzzy feelings. It is not going to give you a big, theological hug. 

In college, I had a professor who instilled within me a love for the Old Testament; for the history, the wrath, the goodness, the story. This is the greatest lesson and gift that I was given as a theology student. He allowed me to see that the Old Testament is absolutely needed and beautiful; because without the wrath, there is no need for love, and without the love, there would be no wrath. We miss that, us Christians, and we miss it hard. This summer I have journeyed through the pages of the Old Testament with a brilliant group of women. Their love for God and His Word completely encourage me. We just finished Genesis not too long ago. We wrestled with the text, asked questions, and began to hide the stories in our hearts. 

We are currently finishing Exodus, the culmination of slavery and freedom. All throughout Exodus, we see the brokenness of slavery and the beauty of the promise of freedom. These pages are meaty and hearty and full of symbolism and story. We do not just read about the chains, but feel the heaviness of the bondage, the deep anticipation and longing to be set free.

The thing that I have been clinging to is the sweetness of the Lord; Yahweh, this great and powerful and wrathful God also establishes Himself as the standard of sweetness. We see this as He provides the way to the land of flowing milk and honey, as He turns the bitter water to sweet water, as He writes the story of redemption in the midst of the wilderness. Honey, thick and gooey and sticky and sweet, a pure reflection of tangible grace.

"...this great and powerful and wrathful God 
also establishes Himself as the standard of sweetness…"

The land of flowing milk and honey is referenced four times throughout Exodus. Yahweh reminds them that there hope is coming, that although now they experience the dry and weary land, they will experience a land in the future that is abundant in all good things. Manna is sent from Heaven and, we are told in Exodus 16:5, that it tastes much like the sweetness of honey. Another taste of what is ahead of us; our sweet God is faithful to remind us of what is coming, that we should measure our experiences from the standard of His provision.

And I don't know about you, but I really need to lean in to that space. I need to be washed by the sweetness, to let God drench me with the thick and gooey truth of His goodness. I want my heart to trade in its bitter places for the sweetness of His constant provision and faithfulness. He leads us from our bondage into His blessing, from slavery into sweetness. And you know, sometimes we can't feel it or taste it or see it, but it is coming. The brokenness and bitterness and bondage now will allow us to taste and see that the Lord is sweeter than we could have ever imaged.