Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Adherents of xmas are exhausted and over-extended, but Christmas worshippers are joyful. Are you rushing or feasting?" - CS Lewis

This Christmas was different than any other I've had; for the first time ever, I was not in Illinois with my family. (One more step into adulthood.) As the days leading up to Christmas passed, I found myself a little nervous about the holiday. What would I do? Would I spend the day alone? Would I regret not going back to Illinois? Would it actually feel like Christmas? But, once again I was shown that worrying is useless because He works all things together for our good. 

Christmas Eve morning I spent time mulling over the Christmas story and was especially captivated by Luke's account of Mary's perspective; it's funny how something you've heard your entire life can reveal itself to you in new ways. After being Skyped into both family Christmases, I prepared for our Christmas Eve service in the Common Ground chapel. Despite the pouring rain, an intimate crowd gathered there, and as the last minutes until Christmas day ticked away, we rose our collective voices in song and liturgy and shared the Elements. It was beautiful.  

And then it came, Christmas day. I awoke to a quiet and empty house - no Christmas parade blasting on the t.v., no little brother jumping on me to get me to come open presents, no smell of Jesus' birthday cake baking in the oven...just quiet. It was weird. I must admit, I started the day feeling a little sorry for myself. Silly, I know. But then something really wonderful happened - I got to play Santa's helper, delivering presents throughout Cedar Grove; through the generosity of the community of people who love and support Common Ground we were able to provide gifts to 19 of our neighbor families (totaling 67 individuals). As we made our way from house to house, I was overwhelmed with joy. Over and over again, I got to hear the gratitude in parents' voices, feel the love in the hugs, see the excitement and surprise on the kids' faces - I'm not sure it gets any better than that. It was, without a doubt, the best Christmas I have ever had. 

This Christmas proved unconventional: I didn't open presents, but man did I receive some awesome gifts. I wasn't with people I'm related to, and yet, I was most definitely still among family. Everything was different, but every part of this season was so beautiful. I was blessed with a new perspective this year. Most importantly, this Christmas season I stopped and remembered to "rejoice exceedingly with great joy" (Matthew 2:10), and I hope you were able to do the same. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I can't get Haiti off my mind. My heart aches to be back there.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Team K

Out of all the pictures of us, I chose this one because it makes me laugh and catches the candid awesomeness of our friendship.  Laughing in the aisles of Target, does it get any better?

The picture above of Kels and I is one of literally hundreds. As I scrolled through iPhoto trying to choose one, it was a reminder of just how much life Kelsey and I have shared. 

She was one of the very first people I met at Jewell. We've road tripped. We gorilla-napped a plastic gorilla named Sharon. Experienced first loves and heart-breaks. 5 birthdays. Big moves. Tattoos. We've seen each other through some of the darkest parts of life and the loss of loved ones. We shared a life-changing summer in Louisiana, and now have family there (here). Stayed up all night. Graduated (or rather, survived) college. First big girl jobs, and even quitting a first big girl job. We've fought, hurt each other, been to the brink of ending our friendship, and came out of all of it even stronger. We make each other laugh out loud, a lot. We've been through so much. And now this...

She's getting married. 

So, in a few months, she'll promise to spend the rest of her life with him, and I'll be standing next to her.
And I hope she knows what an incredible honor that is. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

The longer we talked, the more she shared, the more I thought, "Holy crap, our stories are so similar. We are so similar." My heart broke for her a little more with each story of disappointment, each fear, every frustration she shared. My heart broke because I remember that. I was there not so long ago.

My heart broke, but it was also filled with hope. Hope resting in the fact that not so long ago my God reached into the depths of the darkness that had overcome my life and pulled me out - pulled me out, dusted me off, and set me on solid ground. Hope that knows that He works all things for our good (see Romans 8:28). The kind of hope I'm praying she comes to possess herself. 

Putting your hope in the Lord doesn't mean your life magically turns to gold, it means that your hope can't be shaken. Hope in your job, hope in other people, hope in government, hope in money or success, hope in graduate school, etc, and you'll be disappointed every single time. Those things can be shaken, those things can be destroyed. But hope in the Lord, an immoveable fortress, creator of all things, the lover of your soul...you can't go wrong with that. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

(Sonatra, summer 2008)
This is Sonatra. 
He was 12 years old when I met him in the summer of 2008.
A sweet little boy walked into my life and stole my heart that summer.
Now, 3.5 years later, he's a little taller (okay, a lot taller) and is more of a young man than a little boy. 

Sonatra has had a rough year. He made a few poor decisions and is now dealing with the consequences. Ever since I met him, we've always joked about him driving my car. He really wants to learn to drive.  So, about a month ago, he and I made a deal: If he stayed out of trouble and worked hard in school, I would teach him how to drive. 

He turns 16 on Tuesday. 
He's upheld his end of the deal, so now it's my turn. 

I get to do this every day, ya'll. I get to look back and see how far my kids have come. I get to encourage and love on them. I get to strive to change the norm of Cedar Grove. I get to help them become amazing people. 

Not a bad job. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A dear friend (you know who you are) gently suggested to me this evening that I should update my blog more often, so here's a feeble attempt at just that. 

I've sat staring at this same screen several times within the last 5 days, hoping that I'd be able to string together words to form sentences to form thoughts, thoughts that would bring you into my world that has become so closed off recently. I haven't written. I've been distant (some of you have experienced this to a greater extent than others). I process internally, so in times like these, I tend to shut down. Please don't take it personally. The truth is, my friends, is that my mind is foggy and my heart is a wreck...and I don't yet have the words to express why. 

Nothing and no one is holy like God,
      no rock mountain like our God.
   Don't dare talk pretentiously—
      not a word of boasting, ever!
   For God knows what's going on.
      He takes the measure of everything that happens.
   The weapons of the strong are smashed to pieces,
      while the weak are infused with fresh strength.
   The well-fed are out begging in the streets for crusts,
      while the hungry are getting second helpings.
   The barren woman has a houseful of children,
      while the mother of many is bereft.
  God brings death and God brings life,
      brings down to the grave and raises up.
   God brings poverty and God brings wealth;
      he lowers, he also lifts up.
   He puts poor people on their feet again;
      he rekindles burned-out lives with fresh hope,
   Restoring dignity and respect to their lives—
      a place in the sun!
   For the very structures of earth are God's;
      he has laid out his operations on a firm foundation.
   He protectively cares for his faithful friends, step by step,
      but leaves the wicked to stumble in the dark.
      No one makes it in this life by sheer muscle!
   God's enemies will be blasted out of the sky,
      crashed in a heap and burned.
   God will set things right all over the earth,
      he'll give strength to his king,
      he'll set his anointed on top of the world!
- 1 Samuel 2:2-10

Monday, September 12, 2011

It's always there. Sometimes it screams a little louder than others, but it's always there. The pain is a constant reminder - a reminder of Tiega, Angelo, the tent cities in the medians in Port Au Prince, Isabela, building pews, Sunday morning in Dasma. It's a strange pain: very much physical, and yet, it is accompanied by deep emotion. 

Maybe I should go to the doctor. 

Or maybe it'll go away when I finally figure out what happened in Haiti.  

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Story of the Hummingbird.

The dark silhouette sits on my forearm, hovering softly over the words by which I live my life.
Every time I glance down, I remember her.

My little legs swung carelessly from the rod iron patio chair. The yard was relatively quiet, opposed to it's normal state of being filled with the sounds of the cousins. An unusual 5 year old, I had no issue appreciating the general silence I was sharing with my grandmother. (We're a big family, so stealing solitary moments with her was priceless.) My eyes were fixed on the bright red feeder, earnestly trying to avoid blinking, in fear of missing them. Every once in a while I would quickly glance at my grandmother, only to receive a look that said, "Patience, child." Back to waiting. And then the reward finally came. The hummingbird's delicate frame sped in and magically hovered in mid-air next to the feeder. I was completely enthralled. The wait was totally worth it, and so was the smile on my grandmother's face when she saw my pure excitement. 

This is the only real memory I have of my grandma Waeckerle. I can still describe her house with every little detail, but I can't see her in it. I could tell you about the chair she used to sit in all the time, but I can't place her in that chair in a memory. I remember the two Christmas decorations I absolutely loved and one Christmas when my uncles blew a fuse putting lights on the Christmas tree, but I don't remember her being there (though she obviously was). What I'm getting at is that I have just this one memory in which I can see my grandmother. Grandma Waeckerle passed away when I was 6; it's been 17 years and I recently realized I was struggling to remember her. I have trouble picturing her face. I don't remember the way she smelled or the sound of her voice. It's deeply saddening.

She was a strong and quiet woman, and my dad tells me I reminded her of my grandfather (whom I never had the honor of meeting). She raised 6 strong children, who are now in turn raising more strong children. She was the cornerstone of our family. And I sure don't want to forget her.

{Legends say that hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration. The hummingbird's delicate grace reminds us that life is rich, beauty is everywhere, every personal connection has meaning, and that laughter is life's sweetest creation.}

Monday, August 22, 2011

Migrating South

My car is packed. 
I've said my goodbyes (more appropriately "see you later").
It's time.

Shreveport, here I come...for good this time. 

To my Kansas City family: Words fall short of what the last 5 years have meant to me. Know that it breaks my heart to leave you and this city, but that this is not the last you'll hear of me. Thank you for the impact you've made on my life; I am a better person because of your presence in my life. I love you all and will miss you terribly. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I turn 23 today.
I lived through another 365 days.
I am blessed with another year, more simply, another day.
...and only by the grace of God. 

{Fact: I love birthdays. Like, REALLY love them. And not just mine...every one's. I make a big deal of them, because you should.}

Last night, as I sat in my living room with my house church family one last time, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Katie made me a birthday/we're sad you're leaving cake. They made me blow out the candles twice, and sang to me three times. They prayed over and eulogized (birthday blessings) me. We worshiped. We laughed. I have never been blessed the way I was tonight. I savored every second of it. 

As this new year of life ushers in a time of big transition, it is moments like last night that I will hold onto. Moments when I'm surrounded by family - family who love, cherish, and encourage me, but who first and foremost point me to the Father. Moments when all we've been able to do is laugh so hard we cry. Moments I see the Kansas City skyline and realize how much I love this city. And the moment I realized just what it is I will be leaving in five days...

Thank you in advance to all who celebrate with me today.
I am blessed beyond measure.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Give & Take.

I'm really excited to start sharing life with these people again...

...but I'm going to  severely miss these people (among others)...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Long Time Coming

I've started this post numerous times, never satisfied with the words on the page, unsure if they do justice to the desired message. One more try, here goes nothing...

The past month has been a complete whirlwind of events and emotions. As many of you may have gathered, I've recently made several huge, life-changing decisions - my life will look much different this time next month. 

At the beginning of July I was fortunate enough to get to take time off work and pay my Louisiana family a much anticipated visit. While time there always provides rest and rejuvenation, it also exacerbates a constant battle of my heart. Since the day I left three years ago, I have deeply struggled with returning in a permanent capacity. Those of you who know me well understand that moving back is a deep desire of my heart. I have been talking to the Lord about it for years. At first, I prayed for the opportunity to go back because that's what I wanted. But as I've grown up and into a deeper relationship with the Lord, my prayer has been to be in the center of His will for my life, regardless of where it takes me. As I've prayed for revelation of the Lord's will for my life, I have asked Him to take the desire to move to Louisiana from me if that's not what He'd have. (It's very difficult to live fully present one place when your heart is in another.) So, there I was in Louisiana once again...but this time things were different. I can't go into all of the details here, but the important thing for you to know is that there was a series of very intentional, spirit-led conversations had about where the Lord was leading me during my time there. About halfway through the week, my heart had shifted and I knew I was facing some major decisions (for real this time). I entered a constant state of prayer - about Shreveport, about Kansas City, about Common Ground, about Hillcrest. As the days went on, my prayers became less and less cluttered and ended up sounding like this, "Lord, release me from fear. Show me your will." And He did.

The Lord is leading me back to Shreveport. I move August 23rd. And as you've probably guessed, I resigned from Hillcrest two weeks ago. Although I had been struggling at Hillcrest for months, I did not quit because it was difficult - I think I could have worked through that had the Lord told me to stay in KC - I quit to move to Louisiana. I now have an even deeper appreciation for Hillcrest than I did when I started; it will always have my support. I've grown up a lot over the past 10 months. 

There are many details that aren't here, and if you'd like to know the long-winded version of the story, let's get together. This is huge for me, friends. I'm super excited and very nervous. I still can't believe it. But right in the center of the Lord's will for my life is the safest place to be, and it never comes without His provision. 

Kansas City has been so good to me. I'm going to miss this city and the people it holds dearly. But, I am so excited to start this new chapter of life. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Green & Gray

There is sacrifice in every decision; it is not whether or not we will sacrifice, but a question of how great the sacrifice. In most circumstances, it is human nature to take the path of least sacrifice; but sometimes, sometimes we're brave enough to take that big leap of faith, to choose the one with the greatest cost.

This is scary, exciting, stressful, heartbreaking, refreshing, stretching me, forcing me to grow up a little more, still unreal, a little crazy, and quite possibly the biggest thing I've ever done. The good news is that the Lord's will never comes without His provision.


back and forth we ply these oars
they move in time and get entwined
green with joy and gray with sorrow
ripened fruit that falls tomorrow
filing us with brilliance.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I felt a piece of my heart break, but when you're standing at a crossroad, there's a choice you gotta make...

My chest tightened as I pulled open the heavy wooden door. The sanctuary was filled with familiar faces, each warmly welcoming me back after a long time away. My heart ached more and more with each hug. Almost at my breaking point, I was saved by the start of worship; I've never been more relieved to hear Micah's beautiful voice. As my family worshiped around me, I silently pleaded with the Lord to ease the pain. My eyes burned with impending tears, so I closed them in hopes of keeping it together, but my eyelids where no match for the wells of hot tears. I retreated back into my chair. The tears came instantaneously - not a few silently shed tears, no, these were sobs. It was as if the pain I felt was rolling down my cheeks. I sat sobbing, praying to the Lord for comfort, and then I felt it - her hand landed softly on my back. As my sobs continued, she was unrelenting - she continued to gently rub my back, letting me know she was right there. I could hear her lifting up prayers on my behalf. When I finally regained some measure of composure, I escaped outside for a moment. The hot sun hit my face and humidity filled my lungs. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, only to be pulled out of the moment by a familiar voice calling my name. His sweet smile was a sight for sore eyes and his embrace felt like it lasted forever. I think he knew, but he didn't press in, and I was grateful. 

I struggled to stay focused the rest of the service, it was all I could think about. It's like I'm carrying around a bomb, just waiting for the right time to drop it on all of them. But the truth is that there is no right time, no easy way. Every conversation will hurt. But I know this is right, I know this is the Lord's will. 

So, tomorrow evening we'll sit on her porch swing as is ritual, and I'll tell her. And it'll break my heart. 

I know there's a blue horizon somewhere up ahead, just waiting for me. Getting there means leaving things behind, sometimes life's so bittersweet.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Promised Land

The Israelites wandered around the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land (see the book of Numbers, Joshua 1:1-7, Numbers 20:7-12). Not all of them made it, many turned back. For many it was easier to return to Egypt and make the best life possible there, rather than pressing into their destiny and forging on to the Promised Land. Who could blame them? Have you ever wandered around the desert? Yeah, me either. Wild guess here, but it's probably not too enjoyable. Pressing on to the Promise Land took patience, trust, faith. Am I saying the Lord couldn't/didn't work through the lives of those who turned back? No, not at all - us taking the easy road or making the wrong choice doesn't negate the power God has to work in our lives. We can live the best life possible where we're at and He will still receive his glory, but we're not called to live the best life possible, we're called to live into our inheritance. (Graham Cook once said that the only thing God will have against some of us who stand before him in the end is that he had all of THIS for us and we only received this much.)

I don't want to make the best life possible in Egypt, I want the Promised Land. 

Friday, July 8, 2011


"Mary, your wiener is crying." - Ellen

What have I spent the last 7 days in Shreveport doing? 

I have been blessed with 4 new friends this week (5 if you count Weasel the kitten), and we make each other laugh out loud...a lot. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Sometimes loneliness cuts me to the core.
Sometimes I get so angry the only response my body has is to cry.
Sometimes I long so deeply for things it physically hurts.
Sometimes I shrug things off and act tough when in reality I'm dying for someone to notice I'm falling apart.
Sometimes I'm a selfish jerk.
Sometimes I just need you to hug me.
Sometimes I eff up.
Sometimes I make people laugh.
Sometimes I don't know what the hell I'm doing.
Sometimes I take things too personally.
Sometimes I unfairly displace my anger.
Sometimes I wish I could tell you just how much I need you.
Sometimes I'm awkward.
Sometimes I'm ungrateful.
Sometimes I want to quit my job and be an irresponsible 22-year-old...or just a normal 22-year-old.
Sometimes your indifference really hurts.
Sometimes I just need to be better. 
Sometimes I want to move.
Sometimes I can't let it go.
Sometimes I laugh to myself when I think about how ridiculous I must look when I have to push my car door open from the inside because it's broken and I'm too cheap to get it fixed.
Sometimes it's all just too much.

Sometimes, sometimes, sometimes. Most of the time. Practically every day.

I'm unhappy. There, I said it.
Once I get a moment to breathe and deal with it, I'll move forward.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Kids Say The Darndest Things

I've been thinking about Louisiana today. Here are some funny things the kids said that summer that still crack me up:

Toby, upon first sight of the green house: "That house ain't green, it's clear." 
Me & Kels: "Well, ya got us there, Toby. "

All: "I gotta use it."

At Sonic with Toby and Sonatra:
Toby: "There are onions in these onion rings!"
Me: "Uhhh....what did you expect to find in there?"
Toby: "Well, I don't know...chicken."

Playing UNO:
Worm: "Skip you, Miss Krysten!"
Me: "It's not even your turn!"
Worm: "I still skip you!"
Me: "...."

Stank, referring to his disposable camera: "Can you turn it off?"

Madeline: "Krysten, do you have a best friend?"
Me: "Yes ma'am."
Madeline: "Is it me?"
Me: "Yes, yes it is." :)

Stank: "He's sheeting!"
Me: "He's what?"
Stank: "Sheeting!"
Me: "You mean cheating?"
Stank: "That's what I said!"

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Southern Summer Sun

I always eagerly anticipate returning to Louisiana, this time is no different. Yes, I am counting down the days - 25, in case you were wondering. This trip will be different then the rest though; with the day count at 10, it will be the longest amount of time I've spent there since I left at the end of summer 2008. (I'm also hoping a certain someone *cough, Kelsey Rogers, cough* will get to join me. They haven't seen us together since our very first visit back.) Shreveport has been graced with my presence many times since I left that summer but only for a few days at a time. And while I would much rather have short visits then no visits at all, it gets difficult. I'm so looking forward to seeing the kids and not having days jam-packed in order to see everyone. 

Life in Kansas City is wonderful, and continually gets better. I live in the hood with awesome people, have a good job, great friends, am part of an incredible family of believers, and am loved really well. I love it here, and know this is where the Lord has me, but my heart still longs for Louisiana. Each day brings the constant battle of living fully present here in Kansas City. Staying here was not my preference, but rather a matter of obedience to the Lord. Is it difficult to not be in Louisiana? Yes. But the Lord has greatly rewarded my obedience. 

My life is in Kansas City, but Louisiana is home.

I'm ready to feel the southern summer sun. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Word of the year thus far: overwhelmed.

I'm barley making it, friends. There is an all-too-familiar weight on my chest at all times. I feel like I'm drowning. Everything is getting to me. Things I've ignored/put off are coming back to bite me in the ass. I'm slipping back into old habits. Time is fading, and I'm collapsing under the pressure. I need a release - I need to cry or scream or tell someone the whole truth about everything or hit something...but I can't do any of those things. The tears well up, but they never stream down. I open my mouth, but nothing comes out. I should have told her last night, but fear took over and stifled the truth. I'm terrified that if I let go, even for just a second, I'll completely loose control.

All of this is quite paralyzing. I am literally having to remind myself to breathe. Thank God I have friends who can make me laugh out loud over lunch and who will sit on a porch swing with me for a few hours, just enjoying a cool night. It's been little moments like those that give me just enough time to breathe to keep going.

Even in the midst of all this, God is still good. Yesterday evening I had a moment of uncharacteristic excitement. Tuesday was a crappy day, but excitement had welled up within me...and I had no idea why. So I sat with it, took it in, asked the Lord about it and here's what it was: I'm excited to grow up, to grow into the woman He's created me to be. Even in the middle of the crap, He's giving me little reminders, saying, "Look what I've already done in you. Hold on."

I will not be in want, I lack nothing; the Lord of the universe dwells within me, He is the source of all life. I need only tap into Him.

I am overwhelmed, but I will not be overcome.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls." - 1 Peter 1:3-9

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

All These Things

Things are crazy right now, friends. On top of everything else going on, I'm moving. Don't get me wrong, I am SUPER excited to move in with the Morrisons, but that means I'm downsizing from a house to a bedroom. No biggie, right? That's what storage is for, yeah? Wrong. I've decided paying for storage isn't the best decision, so I'm getting rid of pretty much everything. So, I've slowly been chipping away at my stuff - going through things, getting rid of about 90% of what I currently have. (Side note: Need any furniture? If so, call me, because all of that's going too!) I'm also slowly chipping away at about (no joke) 15 loads of laundry; if I can have 5 laundry baskets stuffed with dirty laundry and still have clothes to wear, I have too much...WAY too much.

Typically, you don't realize how much stuff you have until you have to pack it. True. I'm also finding there's truth in the statement, "You fill the space you have." When I lived in the dorms, everything I owned fit in my car. Then I moved into this big house, with lots of places to put things and have somehow accumulated a bunch of stuff.

And that's all it is...stuff. Granted, I'm not very sentimental. But honestly, do I love a friend less if I don't keep that birthday card forever? Will the memories mean less if I don't have something tangible? The answer is no. Seriously, if it's packed away in a box somewhere and you never see it, how much could it possibly mean to you?

So, here's to moving, clean laundry, and a simpler, less cluttered life.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A New Season

Cause I need freedom now, and I need to know how to live my life as it's meant to be. And I'll find strength in pain, and I will change my ways. I'll know my name as it's called again.

God is so good, my friends. So very good.

There is no way I could possibly articulate here what's taken place over the last 5 months of my life, more specifically the last three weeks. The words "roller coaster" come to mind. There's so much, but not all of it needs to be shared here. (But friends, if you'd like to know all of it I'd love to sit and share over coffee!) Here are some of the biggest things going on in my life and heart right now:

I left Jacobs Well. For those of you who really know me, you understand how big a deal that is. I never thought I'd leave The Well, but over the past few months the Lord has shown me that my season there has come to a close. So, I cried, fought Him on it, ignored all the signs, got excited about something new, and finally chose the path of obedience. He took me to The Rock (check it out here: http://www.rockchurchkc.com/). Long story short: the Lord had been placing bits and pieces of The Rock in my path for about the last 4 months. It's in the Northeast - aka, the hood (KCMO). A bunch of them live there. They are working to lower crime rates. They do urban farming and house church. They're a family. It reminds me in some ways of Common Ground. How great is it that the Lord always knows exactly what we need...even when we don't?! The Rock is already proving to be exactly what I need right now -- I've been warmly and sincerely embraced by so many. I'm being met where I'm at, but pushed to be more. I'm uncomfortable, but it's the kind of discomfort that forces complacency to run and hide. Comfort isn't always a good thing. To quote my dear friend Jerusha, "It's the scariest safe place."

I'm moving to the hood! Monday afternoon everything fell into place. It left me speechless and in awe of the goodness of God. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here's the story: For the past 9 months I've been living in a house in Pleasant Valley; it's been a good fit for that time, but over the past two months I have been extremely anxious for something new. All the leads I had on houses and roommates fell through. Basically, I've been super frustrated and really impatient. Sunday Jerusha and I talked about how we miss out on a lot because we don't live in the Northeast. Monday I commented about that conversation on a friend's Facebook status. Are you ready for what happened next? Probably not...I sure wasn't. Another girl who lives in the Northeast with her family and goes to The Rock responded to my comment with this, "You know, Krysten, we have two spare bedrooms in our house. We'd love for you to fill one of them!" I'm fairly certain I stopped breathing for a second. So I talked to her that afternoon, her mom called Jed, Jed and I talked about it, and then I talked to Mrs. Morrison that evening. And well, we're going to talk about it a bit more, but it looks like I'm moving in with them. Yesterday I said, "God is so good." and really meant it for the first time ever. But it gets even better! I knew that the Lord had me in a period of waiting over the past few months, but I couldn't see why...I mean, all I was asking for was a roommate. :) But last night, like I said earlier, it all came together and I saw why. He had to prepare me to leave Jacobs Well. I had to leave Jacobs Well to move to The Rock. I had to be at The Rock to get to know Christina. I had to know Christina for Him to open the door to living in the Northeast with her family. He kept saying "no" and closing doors because He had something so much greater in store for me. He is so good.

My whole perspective on life is changing. Life is nothing like I thought it would be after graduation. I thought I would be floating from here to there, doing a lot of different things, living a lot of different places. Not the case. I have a full-time job. I'm living in KC indefinitely. When I decided to take my job and stay in KC, I thought, "Okay, I'll give it a few years and move onto somewhere else." Now I catch myself thinking, "What would it look like to buy a house in the Northeast?" I used to be jealous of my friends who were fluttering about the country/world, but not anymore. I'm coming into an understanding that that kind of lifestyle isn't the one the Lord intends for us. We are created for community, for family...to be rooted. Is this me saying those of us who live that lifestyle are wrong? No. Please don't hear that. What I am saying is that I am learning the importance of commitment, rootedness, being present without constantly looking for the next big thing, and family.

Part of me wishes I could fully express to you the state of my heart, and what it's been through over the past few months. I just can't...I don't have words for it. Just know it has been terrible and incredible. I've cried, challenged God, laughed, almost given up, and have experienced the overwhelming (literally) goodness and love of the Lord and the incredible people He's placed (and continues to place) in my path. My whole perspective is changing. The Lord is pulling me out of the religious mindset and into an understanding and experience of His awesome love for me. Is there still a lot of pain and crap I have to work through? Yes, but that's no longer what I feel every day. It's not my focus.

I'd like to thank those of you who have been, and will continue to be, at my side through all of this -- you know who you are. Your support, love, and encouragement are of greatest value.

Surely goodness and mercy will follow me

all the days of my life,

and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

-Psalm 23:6

Ooh, your love is a symphony, all around me, running through me. Ooh, your love is a melody, underneath me, running to me. Your love is a song. Yeah, yeah. Your love is my remedy. Oh, your love is a song.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Stand on the Rock or drink at the Well?

I never thought I'd be facing this decision. Never.
My heart hurts just thinking about it...but it also quivers with a hint of strange excitement.
I've read up, made the pros and cons lists, wrestled with it quietly for a few weeks and finally spoke it out loud last night.

Half-committed doesn't work for me - this is family we're talking about.
This is huge.

I should stop thinking and start praying.

Jesus, I ask for discernment, for guidance. If it's time, show me.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Orion has gas.

"Orion has gas and poops out baby stars."

Last night was one of the best Friday nights I've had in a long time.

disc golf
new friends
good conversation
perfect weather
follow the leader}

We laughed, we accidentally hit each other with discs, we ran around like fools.
I loved every minute of it.

Maybe it was the new faces and scenery, maybe it was the cool night air, maybe it was the feeling of throwing something again, maybe it was actually getting to act my age for a night, maybe it reminded me of what life used to be like before I got so bogged down trying to be an adult...maybe, maybe, maybe...who knows.

I don't know what it was, but last night my heart was a little lighter than normal.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Jesus I wonder could you provide
A love that goes deeper than darkness can hide
Cause you know that I’ve hidden my heart from your grip
Into darkness I’ve wandered, into darkness I’ve slipped

Would you take all these ashes, they’re all that is left
From a life I have squandered on idols bereft
I was hoping you’d take them and scatter ‘em wide
And turn them to sweetness, sweetness and life
I was hoping you’d take them and turn them to love
The love that you offer that no darkness can hold

And when I’m down and when I’m out
Would you save me from my doubt?
Cause I’ve believed and I’ve received
Countless times your mysteries
But life weighs down, my thoughts turn black
I wonder if you’ll have me back…again…

Will you be my friend? Would you take my hand?
Would you lead me to a place where I can stand?

Where I can feel…Where I can heal…
Where I can be revealed so I can be a friend…

Jesus I wonder could you provide
A love that goes deeper than darkness can hide
A love that is stronger than the weight of my sin
A love that is wider…A love that will win

Help me love the way you love
When it hurts, when none returns
So the one in front of me
Fades away and Your face is all I see
Help me be a friend…
To my fellow man…
Help me love someone…
Help me understand…

Friday, January 14, 2011

The F Word

"Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It's about letting go of the other person's throat."
- William P. Young, The Shack
There is a voice inside of me that says it's time -- time to let go, time to let go of their throats, time to forgive, to move on. And yet, my fingers still clench around their throats. Every once in a while, the voice wins and my grip starts to loosen, but then fear and anger take over again.
There's a battle going on inside. What do I believe has more power, fear and anger or forgiveness?
My head answers forgiveness, and yet, my grip continues.
I need there to be forgiveness. Not for the other person's sake or to mend relationships, but for my sake. The unforgiveness I hold in my heart towards people, specifically three, is poisoning my life. It seeps into every aspect and lashes out before I even realize it's there. I can't live like this any longer. I need freedom.
That's the thing about forgiveness: it is first for you, the forgiver...to release you from something that will eat you alive, that will destroy your joy and ability to love fully and openly.
So here's the first step of what will likely be a long and difficult journey. But every step towards freedom, no matter what the price, is a step worth taking, a step that must be taken.
...my hands are tired, and so is my heart.
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