New Year's Eve over the past few years hasn't really looked like the typical night... Mr. Kuda travels often during this week, which has led to home-cooked meals from neighbors, surprise visits from friends, and always falling asleep far before the ball drops in Times Square.
This year would be different... He sits just feet from me as I type, but this year is anything but typical. And as I scrolled my FB feed between folding loads of laundry, this little ditty came up and it just made me smile. And reflect. And only start to grasp the enormity of this past year. The year of 2015.
I've prayed more than I ever have. I've poured tears over my journal seeking my own purpose, asking God for a blinking neon sign to what I'm supposed to be doing with this little life. I've prayed for my husband, for my children, for my friends, for my family. I've prayed for strangers and acquaintances. For this world that seems just so far from God's glory.
I've potty-trained my second child. And as Mr. Kuda and I did the victory dance of no more children in diapers, God laughed and blessed us with the surprise of our lives: a third kiddo on the way.
We celebrate the second year in our brand new forever home. The walls and the floors are becoming second nature to us. We've celebrated two Christmases, two Easters, two kiddos' birthdays twice.
I've read the Bible in a year. The whole kit and caboodle.
I've been prayed over by the hands and hearts of strangers more than once. I've felt healing in ways I didn't know I needed. I've found my purpose, as well as my calling this year. And discovered they weren't the same thing.
So tonight? We painted Miss E's new bedroom closet. We've gotta make room for the new little Kuda, and this is the first step. We ate pizza and I drank a glass of egg nog and some sort of cranberry-lime-fizzy concoction (not necessarily in that order. Or consecutively). My sausage toes were propped up by 8 pm, and Mr. Kuda and I snuggled in for the remainder of the night. If you had told me 365 days ago that this is where we'd be, I'd laugh at you. But isn't that the point? To make grand goals, set up expectations, and watch it all unfold as each year progresses? Two-thousand fourteen was such a year of transition, while this was a year of settling in, deepening our roots, and digging in for the long haul.
So 2016, we're coming at you. A little wiser, and a lot more blessed than we were last year. We welcome you with open arms, and can't wait to see what you have in store.
I spent a few minutes in Colossians this morning. In brief, Paul is in prison, and he is writing with joy to a people who had encountered heretical teachings encouraging them to stay the straight path with fervor.
Y'all. He is in prison. With joy. AGAIN.
His last words to the Colossians are, "Remember my chains." In other words, "Y'all better not forget about me here! I know it's bad, but I'm in prison and still spreading the Gospel with JOY. Keep it going, people!"
I'm not quite sure that's exactly how he meant it, but in my head, that's how it goes down.
What in the world does this have to do with me talking too much? And more importantly, where do you come in? Let me take you back a few (five, to be exact) months...
May 2015: The last time I wrote (within this medium). You've noticed the radio silence, yes? Looking back at a few of my last posts, I can't help but notice: I talk too darned much.
Yes, I know that's kind of the point as a writer. I'm supposed to engage you, the reader, and enlighten you in new ways and introduce familiar concepts with a fresh eye. I'm supposed to inspire you to find new perspective or maybe even enrage you so you feel stronger than you ever have before.
But I talked and talked until my face turned blue about following your calling, obeying God's will for your life, and rid yourself of the unsettling feeling of not living up to your potential. But while I feel I provided you with sound advice, I stopped short of my promise. I didn't follow through, nor did I follow my own path.
Our dear friend Paul, in his sweet letter to the Colossians, also says this:
Work willingly at whatever you do as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people. Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ. (3:23-24 NLT)I guess this is an apology of sorts. For Talking the Talk, but not Walking the Walk. For painting a picture of what obedience looks like, but not living it myself. And I have no excuse but for the chains that bind me: fear.
The thing about fear is that it's a slow, yet sudden take-over. The swirl of smoke is almost pleasant until you realize it's blazing out of control and has consumed all that surrounds it. So while I continued receive confirmation that The Incredible K be a platform of encouragement, faith, and a little home-y goodness (add in a splash of my cute kiddos), the more I felt as if my words would have no impact. Worse, the more those around me urged me to continue, the more I felt I wasn't equipped to share God's plan for me. For you.
And guess what?
Equipped, that is. But neither are you. Most grand gestures have the greatest impact when they're a step out in faith; a belief in the unknown, but just knowing it's right. The thing is, God has given us each unique gifts to fulfill His glory-filled plan. And when our plans align with His will, we need not be "prepared" in the classical sense, but to openly follow what we know He has called us to do. As Paul says, we are to work willingly at whatever we do as though we were working for the Lord Himself (paraphrased). We're not to work in His glory as a means to an earthly ends, nor are we to work to please the people around us. Serve them? Yes. Please them? No.
Do you feel the needling in the back of your mind? The one that says, "YES! That's it! That's where you're supposed to be!" Is it confirmed often, but you haven't yet taken the steps? THAT is what I'm talking about. When ten different people ask me why I haven't written in a while, then three different friends forward me an email about an upcoming writer's conference, and then I participate in a workshop to determine my God-breathed gifts in my life and WRITING comes up number one? That's it. That's where I'm supposed to be. My lack of follow through despite God-given directives has directly resulted in the uneasy, restless feeling I've had this year, my year of CONNECT. Because I just simply haven't.
What it is for you? What keeps you up at night and gets your heart racing? Come with me. Come as I unabashedly write from the heart, reach out to others, and fulfill the call in my life at this moment in time with joy. And you do the same. Follow that small voice. The Holy Spirit is strong, and He confirms your gifts. Come with me.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
Every week, a whole heap of fabulous women get together and bravely write for Five Minute Friday: five minutes of writing without thinking, without planning. Just the sweet written word through the clicks of the keys, or the pen on the page. Today's prompt is... Meet
You've been there (Oh, please tell me you've been there!), when you've been moving through the motions, but your actions and heart songs don't meet anywhere on the same playing field. And when this happens, when your life looks nothing like the passions resounding deep inside your soul, you wake up one day to find yourself floundering among the masses, unsure of how you got there and questioning how to return.
Returning to the basics almost makes you cry, because the "what I want to be when I grow up..." is such a distant and blurry memory, you hardly recognize the one you were so long ago.
But what if I told you this: that if you give yourself the chance to truly dig deep, to truly look around you, and to give yourself the chance, you could have those things. The things that make your heart pitta-pat and the things that make you move and sway, so your life begins to take shape in a way where actions meet your passions.
What if I told you it was directly related to obedience to your calling, and that the longer you ignore it, the more restless you feel: dangling on the edge of something mediocre, wondering when your life will mesh with your dreams?
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you,
Lord, my rock and my Redeemer.
Oh, #FMF how you tease! So thankful for this community of beautiful writers, following their pen each week, even when the words are slow to come. Hope you have a great weekend!