10.31.2014

Day 31: Five Minute Friday: Leave

Every week, a whole heap of fabulous women get together and write for Five Minute Friday. This month is no different, despite my 31 Day Writer's Challenge. Today's prompt is...

Leave

Go

I'm kind of in love with the fact that this last day of our 31 Day challenge ends in a Five Minute Friday response. Why? Because it ensures us a clean break. A breath of goodbye. A chance to move on without going on and on.

All month we've talked about encouragement, and while I pray that I've touched you in some small way each day, you've been the hero in this story. The outpouring of love and support for these long days has been completely overwhelming and not at all expected. Although, shouldn't it have been? Expected? I don't think I could imagine any less from each and every one of you.

Since my gift cannot in any way surpass what you have already given to me, I'll leave you with this:

Hope.

The thing about hope is that it doesn't matter where you are, what challenges lie before you, and how long it may take to get you there. Hope gives us courage to get to the other side. Hope waits while we sift through the nitty-gritty. And hope provides a pathway even when our eyes can barely see what's coming next.

We did it, friends. Together. Thank you. I pray you find encouragement in each of your days, that you seek out hope, and find the courage to be brave in whatever challenge you may face.

Stop


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xoxo, k.

If you'd like access to any of the 31 Days for this year, click on this button:

10.30.2014

Day 30: Brave


As I drove down the highway with the rain pelting the window, I looked in the rearview mirror to see those sweet faces dancing to the beat of the radio. And the tears came rolling down. The words carried such weight for this particular time in my life, that I could barely catch my breath.

We know we were made for so much more than ordinary lives
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive.


I had been hardly surviving, but I’ve been called to thrive. I’d been so focused on the present moment: the dirty dishes and never-ending laundry, the piles of dog hair taking over my life, and the imperfect house, that I had forgotten our purpose here: To bravely thrive in this broken world. To be the light.

But my story doesn’t start on that rainy day. It started the day we up and moved our family from our comfy-cozy lifestyle with great friends and a network as big as the Capitol building to depend on. It started when we plopped ourselves in the (seemingly) middle of nowhere with no one to call on for eggs, a quick chat or a reality check.

It was just the five of us. And a bunch of deer. And spiders the size of my head.

Really.

But then He began to provide.

Urging us to go to church one random spring morning in a town we’ve never even heard of. Finding a realtor who understands our hearts, and sought to make sure we were taken care of in not one, but two homes to live in this year. Placing the sweet angel of a woman in a park on a random early fall day, who had the courage to invite me to join a group of preschool moms when I had no one to call ‘friend.’

I didn’t realize it at the time, but God was giving me little chunks of courage. Little bite-sized morsels to tell me, “I’m here. Be brave, Kristin. You were called to thrive in this place.”

Twelve months. It took me twelve months to see the bravery in it all. Bravery in my life has been to take one step forward without actually knowing what lies ahead: moving beyond fear and the comfort of the known by reaching out praying for someone to catch me.

What I didn’t know that first day we travelled to our new hometown, was what brave actually looked like. I didn’t know bravery meant to do what the heartstrings of your soul were telling you to do, even if it didn’t make sense. I didn’t know that bravery meant asking for help in a community of women that already seem filled to the brim with commitments to others. And I didn’t know bravery would lead to this very place of stepping so far outside my comfort zone it makes my palms sweat.

So when the days wear on, the tantrums persist, and there isn’t enough Frozen in the world to get you through the day, let the tiny morsels of courage help get you through. You’ll find that you’ll not only just survive. You’ll thrive.



xoxo, k.

10.29.2014

Day 29: Your People (Part 2)

This is Part 2 of "Your People." If you haven't had the chance, go ahead and read Part 1 about knowing people. It'll be worth your time. Promise :)


It was unseasonably warm for early spring, which meant the neighbors were out, starving for human interaction after suffering a winter that beat us with snow storm after snowstorm, week after week. Pleasantries were made, we caught up on the latest in each other's lives, and then the conversation changed course. It was a simple invitation, really. But to me, it was something that was completely out of my comfort zone.

"I lead a book club. Our next book is called Power of a Praying Wife. Would you like to join us?"

Had it not been for another neighbor nodding her head enthusiastically "yes," I probably would have politely declined. But she did, so I did, too, and somehow found myself the following Wednesday evening in a room full of Christian women, sharing God's word through Stormie Omartian's prayers for our husbands.

I was sure I'd be found out as an impostor at some point that night. They knew so much of the Bible, and prayed aloud with eloquence, and had confidence in their faith. I wanted to know more. I yearned for it. With the tiny fingers and toes growing inside me, who turned out to be our first daughter, I knew that I was called for something more. That I wasn't where I should be in my faith, and something had to change.

But here's the kicker: They never called me out. They never shouted, "Impostor!" and ushered me out the door. They listened. They commiserated. They held my hand. They prayed. They met me right where I was, and never made me feel less than.

Three and a half years later, we moved from the cozy comfort of knowing our neighbors, late night talks on our front stoop, and all of our kiddos running from house to house. Saying goodbye was hard, but it was right for our family.

Saying goodbye to those sweet women who met each week on a Wednesday? Heartbreaking. They filled me up in ways unimaginable. They accepted me for who I was without question, they demonstrated outward faith, and lived it outright each and every day of their lives.

Life changing relationships. They were my people.

This sweet going away present hangs in my office :) 
When we moved down to the country, I have to admit I initially basked in the freedom of not knowing anyone. But as the days grew short and winter creeped in, I began to realize something was missing from my life. My people. I missed my people (and my house). No visit or phone call could replace the consistent filling up on God's Word and sweet fellowship that was no longer a constant in my life. Don't get me wrong. I studied the Bible more than I had in any other time in my life, but God doesn't call us to worship alone. We thrive in community, and as Christmas came and went, I knew what was missing, but I had no idea how to find it.

After the first of the year, a few girls from my MOPS table were getting together one night, and I was urged by Mr. Kuda to get out there and make friends. So I went, and by the time the evening had dwindled down to just me and one other mom, I just knew I had to say something.

"Do you want to start a small group Bible Study? Like without our children? At my house? Every week?"

My friend encouraged me to get started, to send out feelers, and to just start. She was my people.

If you had told me twelve months ago that I would be meeting each week with a group of women that I hadn't yet even met, and that they were some of the sweetest friendships of my life, I would have laughed at you. I hold these women so dearly and closely to my heart. Things aren't always tidy. We don't all necessarily agree. But there is an unconditional respect and love that oozes out of each and every one of them. They are my people.

Something happens when you get face to face, dig down deep, and share your life. I'm not saying that you need to do this with every person you meet. But you need people. People you can count on. People who love you unconditionally, but speak truth and hold you accountable to your beliefs, even when you don't want them to. Maybe to you this doesn't look like a weekly Bible study. Maybe it's a monthly book club, or an annual trip with your girls, or even just meeting up for a cup of coffee. But friends, you need people.

There's such an important lesson here, and it bears repeating: Get out there and know people. Because you don't know how one small interaction with an acquaintance can turn your life around. Because you don't have to live this life alone, and you shouldn't have to. And most importantly, because God calls us to community. He has designed His Church so that we hold one another up in encouragement through support, love, and honor. He is My People.

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 (added emphasis, my own)

Is what I'm saying striking a chord? It starts with you. It starts with a question. Know people. Love people. Encourage People.

xoxo, k.

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