Monday, September 27, 2010

Eleven Weddings and a Cocktail

I have been blessed beyond measure with lovely friends. I don’t think I could be more happy for and proud of them, even if I tried. People joke about the movie 27 Dresses when they realize how many weddings I’ve been apart of over the years (and I’m only 23, mind you). Let’s see, this summer alone, there’s been 3 backyard weddings, 5 church weddings, 1 wedding at a Manor, 1 beach wedding, and 1 barn wedding. Needless to say, my wardrobe has stepped it up a notch in the dress department. That being said, watching the Lord work through their relationships has touched my soul. They give me hope. Love exists.

All that aside, here’s the truth. Your wedding day is only the most important day in the world to you. We love you, but we love lounging around and watching the Reds more. But soak it in and drink it up, my bride friends, because the only other time you’ll have a day that’s all about you will be your funeral. And you won’t even be there to enjoy it. Cheers.

the thing about clenched fists

Another season is just around the corner. Summer is putting it’s finishing touches on 2010 and slowly allowing autumn to swoop in and amaze us once again with her beautiful colors and smells of bonfires and cider. It’s awfully polite of Summer to pack it up and leave so soon, although it leaves girls like me a bit heartbroken. Not because fall isn’t fabulous. And not because we don’t appreciate the pure fallen snow Winter promises. It’s simply because Summer is good. And between you and me, Winter overstays it’s welcome.

Kids remind me of this. Children run around the play room, grasping their favorite toys. It’s innocent, really. No matter who comes along or what else comes their way, they don’t let go. The problem arises at the swing set. In order for children (or lets face it, adults…because who doesn’t enjoy a good swing?!) to enjoy the swings, they have to surrender their toys in their fists. Then and only then can they hold onto the chains on the swings and kick their feet and laugh and play, pretending to fly away.

Everything under the sun has a time and a place that is so perfect, we can’t deny it. Things change. So have I. I’m learning that the secret is to keep up. Staying teachable is absolutely indispensable. Every season has something beautiful to offer, and if I don’t find it and delight in it soon enough, it will be gone. And sure, there will be other blessings in other stages of life, but each is unique and I don’t want to miss it.

On the flip side, I also find myself dwelling on the blessings in the past and wishing so badly they were still here. See, you can’t receive many blessings with clenched fists. It’s not how life works. There are times you have to surrender the toys and grab hold of the swing. Otherwise you’ll never feel the wind in your hair as you pretend like you’re flying away…

A Bootin' to the Gluten

Goodbye, sweet gluten.

Let’s venture back. We’ve all been there. We’ve all experienced something so bittersweet. Something so good, yet so bad. Take Sun-In, for example. Who didn’t want to be blonde in the 90′s? We sprayed and sprayed that lemon juice and flower extract all over our innocent locks in hopes to become bleach blonde legends like Princess Diana or Zack Morris. Over time, however, we had to face the truth. The “lighter, sun-kissed” hair we were once longing for had evolved what was left of our hair into brassy, overused garage broom bristles. I, for one, felt a little foolish. And orange. Very, very orange.

Unbeknown to me, I have indulged in you, Gluten. I delighted in your flavors for over twenty years. You have been my midnight Baja Chicken Chalupa and my Papa Johns pizza crust and my Cinnamon Toast Crunch…oh, the Cinnamon Toast Crunch. You deceitful son of a protein.

It came to my attention a few years ago that you were my personal Sun-In. You were the promise of satisfied taste buds and fast food forever. Now, you’re nothing more than an inconvenience on the road and a pricey grocery bill. Sure I stay skinny, but not without turning down my own stinkin’ birthday cake. Do you have any idea what it’s like to look a kid in the eye and tell him you can’t make a purchase from his lemonade stand because the maltodextrin would lead to an inflamed small intestine and a night on the toilet?

In the beginning, I felt so defeated. Every aisle I would forgo in the grocery store would talk about me behind my back. So did the people who judged me every time I read a label before I decided if I should put the particular brand of peanut butter back on the shelf or in the cart. But what I’ve come to claim is the fact that I’m one tough gluten free cookie. And be it bitter or bland, at least I can wash it down with a glass of milk.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sick and Tired of being Sick and Tired

Complaining is easier than not because it requires no responsibility. A person can complain on and on about something and never do anything to improve the situation. So this is my confession. I have been a horrible complainer these last few months. Granted my circumstances would have required most to complain a little, but I believe I’ve been called to a higher standard. And I am to do everything without complaining or arguing, a Wise Man once told me. I was reminded the other night, despite how sick and secluded I’ve felt, how awesome it is that I can run to Jesus. And how precious those nights are, me crying out to Him. As much as I’d love to feel better forever, there’s another part of me that wouldn’t trade those nights in agony for anything, because they were beautiful, intense embraces with my Savior. I choose to believe the Lord is able, He hears my voice, and He needs me to believe in His good and mighty plan.

"For I will restore health to you and heal you of your wounds," says the Lord. -Jeremiah 30:17

"He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." Matthew 8:17

"Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours." Mark 11:24

Monday, February 9, 2009

pointing fingers.

The difference between your love and mine
Is I will always stand beside you and
You'll just stay til you have to go...

Sometimes I feel as if I give and give and give in relationships and gain nothing in return. I sacrifice, serve, and try my best to love in the most unselfish manner. And as the end of the day, I'm one step forward and two steps back, left empty handed and on my wits end. I want to be heard and known, and I feel so overlooked. I ask myself, "What's the point?" knowing full well I'm gonna wake up tomorrow morning and do it all over again anyway. Because life and love is tough and the only way to do it well is to do it with all my heart. Rejection is painful, but sitting in my bubble of safety is far, far worse. I sit here and blame others for dismissing me, but when I point, there are three pointing back at me...

Jesus reminds me daily how He understands what I'm going through entirely. He gives Himself continually to those He knows will reject Him. He has been used, mistreated, lied to, and disrespected more than anyone I know. He tries to talk to people because He, too, longs to be heard and known, and you and I both know people don't give Him the time of day. However, He never questions His persistance in loving us. As tired or sad people may make Him, each day He promises new mercies and new grace, offering forgiveness and second chances over and over again. He knows life and love are tough, but the only way to do it is to do it with all His heart, all of who He is, laying down His own life. He deserves all the glory and honor and praise, yet He's lucky if we give Him 5 minutes in the morning. It breaks my heart, because I'm the one to blame...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Fearfully and Wonderfully

Isn't it funny how a black and white fuzzy sonogram with a picture of what can best be described as a peanut can take your breath away?

I was reminded today of God's mighty plan. His plan for my life was laid out long before I took my first breath. He knows the number of my days and hairs on my head.

My parents were telling me last week about how scary my mom's pregnancy was with me. They couldn't find my heart beat. I had glaucoma at the time of delivery. Plus I was 25 days late. Every mothers dream, right?

The Lord is Love and His love is so great. He cares about every little thing, whether it be a test coming up, an argument with a friend, flat tire, or picture of a peanut on a sonogram. "God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves." 1 John 3:20

Congratulations friends. I cannot wait to be an aunt-ish to this little guy and spoil him rotten. :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My Lord and His Laughter

I believe the Lord works in funny ways. Time and time again, He humorously reminds me of His goodness and His unwavering love for me. A girl like me needs that now and then. I've been more blessed than I could have ever hoped for, and I recognize I don't have much to complain about. So when things seem to hit the fan, when I feel lost in my own head, when I've failed and disappointed myself, it's easy to take it hard. Lucky for me the Author of Life actually knew what He was doing when He designed me this way, and He has lavished me with blessed assurance and a peace surpassing all understanding.

Sunday morning, my sister and I were teaching the fifth and sixth grade girls Sunday school class. Kortney thought to hand a paper to each of them with Get to Know Ya questions. These always crack me up, because I tend to change my mind a lot. If you looked at the papers like these from the past, you would think you were looking at a completely different person. Some weeks I like green. Other times Chocolate is my favorite ice cream flavor, not vanilla. My dream job changes all the time, with varieties like a stay at home mom, a news anchor, a star's personal rep, etc. So this Sunday was no different than any other. I started writing down bogus answers, like how my earliest memory was sleeping in a camper in my driveway, or that my ideal vacation included a trip to Paris, and my favorite left over food really was pizza. TomAto, TomOto.

Second service was awesome. Our pastor talked about how the Lord is always at work around us and through us, but that more often than not we miss out on these miracles because we write it off as luck or coinsidence. He reminded us of our God's great love for us...that He really does hear our prayers and takes them to heart. This was comforting to me because I've been praying for some big things lately. This stage in my life has been a refining stage. Which is great, because I've really grown so much. It's also been so tough because it hurts when the Lord and I take a good look at the garbage in my life. I've been praying for a break, for a chance to be enlightened, for a new chapter.

About 26 hours later, I get a text message asking if I wanted to go to Paris. I laughed and cried, because I knew that the Lord of the Universe was sitting on His throne, laughing and saying "See Kayla, my Love is alive and at work..." Which was all I needed to hear before accepting this extraordinary offer.

My God is Good.