I decided to really start blogging. In order to best do that, I felt like a fresh blog was in order. You can now find me at The Chronicles of Kristin. Thanks! 🙂
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…”
Amen to that.
I was in a somewhat dark place today. As the night came, I grew agitated and knew I needed to go for a walk. Normally I hate to go walking in my neighborhood by myself– not because it’s really “dangerous” but because I’m not as big a fan of the dark and what could be lurking in it. Tonight, though, I had to go. So I tied my shoelaces, grabbed my phone and left. I walked for over three miles in the cool air, talking to God about my feelings of detachment and unexplainable feeling of being downtrodden. When I got home around 10 o’clock, I went and grabbed my journal and just wrote.
It’s amazing the sort of feelings that a “God-walk” can evoke… peace, contentment, hope, love… the darkness began to dissipate and the light reigned within me again. Thank the Lord for that… for someone who is generally optimistic, at peace and content with life, I can get pretty upset (saddened) at times, lately with little to no warning. I’m grateful for a God who heals those feelings over and over again and grants hope and new mercies each morning.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. -Colossians 1:13-14, ESV.
Beautiful, isn’t it? We’re so undeserving and yet given so much. There- in Christ- lies our hope. My hope is built on nothing less.
I was cleaning today in preparation of a yard sale that will be happening sometime this spring/early summer. I found this scrap of paper among some of my things… it’s a flyer insert from one of my old church bulletins. On the back are a bunch of handwritten words. They fill up the page. It’s dated 4/27/08. I just read it and am feeling oddly challenged and in agreement with the idea presented, even though the circumstances likely aren’t the same. Past Kristin and Present Kristin are sharing a same-heart moment, though, so I felt compelled to post it on here.
APRIL 27, 2008:
We talk too much. For some reason we think that if we know things, then we’re going to be able to communicate that and get people “on our side.” The problem is, words are powerful. And unfortunately we often choose the wrong ones or our words of good intent are misunderstood. I know I run into that problem often when I speak and at times even when I write.
I feel like we don’t do enough. We talk the world’s ears off but we don’t move more than our mouths. We’ll talk about what disgusts us; we’ll tell the world it’s wrong. But how often and with how much authentic joy do we show the world what’s right?
What are we thinking? We say we love God, but where is the proof? Whose hands are feeding the hungry? Whose shoulder is soaked with the tears of the broken? Whose feet stand next to the homeless, the widowed, the orphaned, to meet their needs?
Why do we think words are enough?
Why won’t we move?
This isn’t what Jesus wants for/from us. Look at His life! He fed the hungry, healed the sick, the broken; He smiled with orphans, loved them. He showed the world a love so radical, so moving, that the people were shocked… they didn’t know what to think. They didn’t know what to do with Him.
We’re supposed to be His followers. Where is our mind-boggling love? Our lives are words. The question is- what do they say?
If I could tell you just one thing today, I would say:
“I am grateful for the grace of God.”
That would be the end of this post. That one, single statement that encompasses so so much. My heart is full right now, so much so that I don’t even really know what else to say. But I’ll try.
More and more lately I’ve been having these moments where I am so closely seeing what grace looks like in my life; what the Gospel looks like in my life and the lives of those I love and care for; what the Almighty God has done for me, one who is so small and broken in every way. I can tell you that, but I can’t describe to you the feeling that sweeps over me in those moments. I can’t explain the way my eyes well up with tears or my heart with gratefulness and wonder. I can’t explain those things or share that feeling with you, but I feel it.
I felt it just now.
I’m working on a mix CD right now, one that I’ll be listening to as we approach Easter. I want my heart to be ready for it. I want to be so aware of the grace in my life– the grace of God that drew me to Him and the daily graces that He so freely gives me. I want to be reminded of the cross and what that means for me. Music is a really great way for me to do that. I went through the music on my laptop, gathered from various CDs and friend recommendations and i-Tunes downloads, and I chose the ones that displayed the message of the Gospel the most to me– songs of the frailty and brokenness of the human race; songs of hope despite our sin; songs of freedom in Christ; songs of the holiness of God; songs that the heart can never grow tired of hearing, though they’ve been around for generations. And in coming to my final playlist for this CD and thinking of all that is proclaimed in sixteen tracks, all the truth and all the Gospel, I am overwhelmed.
The grace of God and the Gospel… I am overwhelmed. I am loved. And I am so, so grateful.
But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18, ESV, emphasis mine)
But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:22-23, ESV)
Today I didn’t feel like going to be with the Church. I had been alternating working out with lounging on the couch, all while watching tv. By the time I was ready to shower and get ready, I just wanted to take a nap and stay home. But I knew better than that.
You see, there are times that I don’t feel like going to Church meetings or am feeling sad or sick or whatever that thing may be that’s tempting me to stay home and keep to myself. When these things come up, sometimes I stay home and sometimes I go to meet with the Church. And there has never been a time when the Lord hasn’t shown me something or reminded me of something when I go despite of the lack of desire or the uncertainty in my heart. I guess you could say that often when I’m “not feeling it,” He makes me feel.
Tonight was no exception.
I walked in to Living Church, glad that I had chosen to come, though still tired. I saw my dear friend, Tracy, and hugged her. We discussed meeting for coffee in about a week and a half. Right as we finished, I hear a loud, excited voice calling my name. Next thing I knew, I had a little girl’s arms squeezing my legs tightly in a hug. Following her came another young girl who had a hug for me. After her, another young lady.
Call me crazy if you want, but in that moment, I felt overwhelmed by love. Those hugs from women of varying ages were like getting a hug from God- a tangible welcome and acknowledgement that you’re loved, that you’re wanted. It was people who know the love of Christ and are sharing it in their lives. It was beautiful and encouraging and brought tiny tears to my eyes.
There have been times in my life when I’ve felt lost or sad or just overwhelmed, and in moments like those I’ve been able to close my eyes and quite literally feel the loving arms of my Savior wrap around me. With my eyes closed, I could picture it. Those moments may not have been an embrace you can see, but it is one you can know and feel. There’s nothing quite like it.
I shared a verse tonight at the gathering. Mark had asked me to share a passage with everyone and pray before we started. I read Lamentations 3:21-23.
But this I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.
I have hope in Christ. I’ve witnessed the mercies of the Lord countless times in my life. I was aware of it tonight when some young girls wrapped their arms around me in greeting and the sense of love swirled around me.
So tonight, I’m grateful for love and acceptance. I’m grateful that the Church loves each other, and that they do so because Christ loves us. I’m grateful for God using a five year old child to remind me of His love. I’m grateful for a Redeemer. And I’m grateful for those moments when I feel hugs from God.
I wanted to post around Valentine’s Day, but I was busy and just not feeling like updating on here. My physical journal has been filling up fast lately, though, which is a great thing. I love sitting and jotting down thoughts in writing. There’s a sense of finality and it’s so much more personal than fingers flying over keys (at least to me). So here I am now, ready to take the time to write this.
If you’ve known me for awhile (or simply read back in the archives), you know that I’m single and have been my whole life. I’ve never been on a date. I’ve never been asked on a date. I’ve never kissed, held hands or written love letters. I’ve never had that sort of relationship. For a long time, I had no desire for it. My mind was on other things and I spent my time with mostly girls in school. I liked it that way… I had a lot of fun with my friends and didn’t feel much, if any, pressure to have a boyfriend or date. I’ll admit, there were a couple of times I wished I had a date to homecoming or junior senior (prom). But my general opinion on that, which I remember stating to a friend once, is that ‘nothing ever comes of it, so I don’t really see the point.’
As I got older, though, that desire for companionship and really, for love started to develop. I started to want it. I wondered if maybe something was wrong with me because I hadn’t had a bunch of “crushes” or dates. I wondered if maybe my destiny was to be single forever and pondered it more than once. My heart started to pick up on the deeper stories of romance I’d heard and at times, longed for a story of my own.
Amidst that, though, I felt like I wasn’t ready for a relationship. I felt like my mind was so focused on school, on my photography, on the things I wanted to do and be before another person entered the equation that if I were in a relationship it wouldn’t be fair to the other person. I work weekends in the summer; I like having time to myself. Those things and a romantic entanglement didn’t seem to mesh to me. So, I told myself I wasn’t ready and shrugged it off for awhile. And then the feelings came back and I longed for that company of the man meant for me.
The Civil Wars just released an album at the beginning of the month, and one of their songs immediately got my attention. It’s titled “To Whom It May Concern” and addresses the very things I’d been feeling.
Why are you so far from me?
In my arms is where you ought to be
How long will you make me wait?
I don’t know how much more I can take.
I reached a point somewhere along the line where I truly desired this man to be in my life. I didn’t know who he was or if we’d even met yet, but I longed to be with him. I wanted to know what he looks like, what his laugh sounds like, and what his hand in mine would feel like. I imagined it sometimes.
I missed you, but I haven’t met you
Oh how I want to, how I do
I missed this man… the one I trust that God has planned for me. I didn’t know his name or his looks or his touch, and yet I missed him and longed to know him.
I got to a point, though, where I realized that all my longing wasn’t doing any good. I was focused on this man, “the one” I wanted the Lord to bring me and not on the One who loves me already. What a grave error! I wrote about His steadfast love awhile ago and knew His faithfulness to be real and evident in my life. But somehow, in the midst of my discontent and overwhelming desire for a human love, I let the idea of a physical, emotional romantic relationship be at the forefront of my mind when it shouldn’t have been. Eventually, I decided to try to let it go, though every now and then my heart does yearn for that sort of love. I guess you could say it was a restless season, a time where it may not have been at the front of my mind anymore, but it was still present and I didn’t know what to do with it.
Slowly counting down the days, till I finally know your name
Oh, the way your hand feels round my waist
The way you laugh, the way your kisses taste
I recently read Passion & Purity by Elisabeth Elliott. Wow. This is on my list of books that everyone should read! I hadn’t read it before and was floored by the way God orchestrated the love story of “Bett” and Jim. My heart ached with them as I read their story of waiting and trusting on God and being apart from one another. They were so in love! And yet, they loved God more.
I’d always said, even as a young girl, that I wanted to have a great relationship with God before I started to date or entered any sort of ‘romantic’ relationship. I was serious, though a bit naive in terms of what that would actually look like. After reading that book, I really started to pursue that. I prayed (and still am praying) for contentment in my season of singleness. My desire is to truly know and love the Lord, to be intentional in my prayer, my reading of the Word, and the ways I serve with my day-to-day life. It’s hard and I mess up every day, but it’s worth it. Christ is everything and I want that to be secure in my heart before I plunge into the waters of romance.
I want that for my future husband, too. I’ve been praying for him- that God works in his heart, that this man would pursue the will of God, that he would be pure in heart, mind and body, that he would wait for me as I wait for him. I do this because I do already miss this person. I do already feel a sort of love toward him. I do desire for him a life filled with Christ and focused on Him, because that is the sort of man I want to be with when the time comes: a man secure in his beliefs, willing to serve God and live Christ in the day-to-day, to lead me in our spiritual journey, and to love me after loving Christ. I want to be second in his heart, a tangible remembrance of the love Christ has for the Church, not the sole object of his love and affection. I want a pure love, and that can only come through Christ.
Until it’s the appointed time for that pure love, though, I’m committed to waiting. When I feel that deep want for love, I pray for peace and contentment and I pray the same for him. I’ve dedicated my 21st year to God and being with Him, not any sort of search for a human love. He’s been faithful in keeping my heart settled and content in this season, and I love that! I’m truly at peace and enjoying my singleness as I seek to better know and serve God. Letting go is a beautiful thing.
On Valentine’s Day, I spent time with a friend, sharing some of my heart about love with her. It was a great time of honesty and encouragement for both of us. That night, I went to a nursing home with my home church group. We played games with the residents, sang for them, and had snacks; we shared Christ with them. When I do meet my someone, I want to be able to serve with him on days like that day. That’s mostly what I’m wanting now- the love of this man, whoever he may be, and the life of serving together, in our home and in our city, as the Lord leads us.
Dear whoever you might be,
I’m still waiting patiently.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the sense of entitlement I see around me, and when I’m being honest, in me. It’s rampant! We live in a land of wealth and instant gratification in America, and I think it’s warped our way of thinking.
At work I see people who express that they’re entitled to something– better service, a special discount, more stuff in their photo packages– just because of who they are. I thought it was pretty ridiculous and kind of shared a few stories with some close friends, laughing over how crazy it was. The more I’ve thought about it, though, and really looked deeper, the more I realize that I’m the same way. You probably are too. It’s easy to not even realize it!
We feel like we’re entitled to a nice house, to hang out with our friends, to have dessert, to own an i-phone, to watch TV, to have excellent service at restaurants… the list goes on and on. I found myself the other day lamenting the fact that my birthday party wasn’t working out as I had planned. I was wanting a fun lunch at a tea parlor with some dear friends where we could dress up and enjoy the day. It didn’t work out and I was frustrated and genuinely upset, even though I could rearrange and still see my friends (the part that really matters in the end). I felt entitled to having a tea party! Shortly after my bout of self pity, I had a blunt reality check and was pretty embarrassed at my own ridiculousness. To think I was so upset about something so trivial! Yet we so often act that way all the time. Really, just think about all the times you and your friends justify doing, spending, or saying something because “you deserve it” or “they deserved it.” Our mindsets are so focused on what we feel we should have by default and we get so frustrated when we can’t have it or it doesn’t work out right or when we aren’t treated a certain way; we get so consumed with ourselves and what we’re “entitled to” that we don’t even realize our own selfishness.
We’re studying Romans in college group right now and I’m so enjoying our discussions. We just got to the middle of chapter 3 tonight, so what we’ve been talking about the past few weeks is how we’re all guilty. It struck me- all we’re really entitled to is Hell. That’s it. What we deserve based just on who we are and what we’ve done is eternal separation from the Almighty God. Hell. Death.
Still want what you’re entitled to?
That thought has been quite the wake up call for me. I have such a renewed appreciation for my salvation and hope in Christ! To think that every time I sin, the wrath of God is stored up with my name on it, but because of the redemption I have in Jesus Christ I never have to face what I deserve. He took it all on the cross. Really think on that… it’s incredible!
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” (Romans 3:23-24; ESV)
It is my prayer that now when I start to have these moments of selfishness, when I think I deserve something better, when I struggle with discontent, that I remember the grace I’ve been given and that will be enough. Christ is enough.